Profile for Brett H > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Brett H
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2
Helpful Votes: 685

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
The Cabana Cookbook
The Cabana Cookbook
12 used & new from CDN$ 24.47

4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Mix, Aug. 14 2014
This review is from: The Cabana Cookbook (Hardcover)
Looking through this book, it is clear that there is quite a mishmash of recipes, some undoubtedly of Brazilian origin but others of rather dubious pedigree. However, that is not to say at all that this is not a worthwhile book with plenty of interest. As well as the recipes themselves there is quite a lot of background information on Brazilian cuisine in general and in particular about each of the dishes.

Generally there is a modest list of ingredients, all of which are easily sourced. I had not come across Cachaca before, which is a distilled spirit, but apparently Waitrose and, I would presume others stock it. Similarly the methodology is quite clear and straight forward with useful little tips thrown in such as ‘try not to overcrowd the pan or you will end up stewing them’, which rather suggests that these are all tried and tested recipes.

I do not think it likely that this cookbook will join my small group of essential recipe books, but it does strike me as a fun book which one can dip in and out of to find something interesting when the fancy takes you. Some recipes are incredibly simple but still mouth watering such as Avocado and Mango Salad, some are great barbecue recipes for something a bit different whilst others, such as Lobster and Prawn Moqueca, would not look out of place served up by an accomplished chef at a dinner party. So a very good book when you are looking for a little inspiration!

Yoga For Dummies (For Dummies (Health & Fitness))
Yoga For Dummies (For Dummies (Health & Fitness))
Price: CDN$ 9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not The Best Guide For Beginners, Aug. 14 2014
This is an extremely comprehensive book, in some ways a bit too comprehensive for its own good. There really is a great deal here from a basic understanding of what yoga is all about, what it is trying to achieve and how to go about getting involved to yoga positions (about a hundred pages of these alone) to creating your own routine. There is certainly an effort to cover all bases as there are even sections on pre and post natal yoga, yoga for kids and teens, yoga for the older etc etc.

If you are already into yoga then you are going to enjoy dipping in and out of the text to augment your existing knowledge and to look in greater depth at whatever aspects interest you. However, for the absolute beginner who is looking for some basic introduction and guide as to how to get involved then this comprehensive book is likely to prove quite intimidating and they may well be better off purchasing one of the many more basic guides to just get started. There is a real danger here of getting lost in the maze. If this is your first acquaintance with yoga, then page 177 and the section on designing your own programme should probably be one of your early ports of call.

Unlike, I imagine, most I am not familiar with the basic layout of the Dummies books. Clearly this is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. However, the print and paper quality are poor and the illustrations are not sharp. Successful yoga books really have you itching to get started and unfortunately the combination of the mass of content and poor production meant that this book rather disappointingly did not work like that for this reviewer.

Cut the Carbs
Cut the Carbs
by Tori Haschka
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 20.65

5.0 out of 5 stars A Winning Combination, Aug. 13 2014
This review is from: Cut the Carbs (Hardcover)
The premise behind this book is to enable you to replace the so called white carbohydrates such as rice, bread, potatoes and her personal downfall, noodles, with ‘smart carbs’. These are the ones which do not get digested quickly and result in a sugar spike, but which provide longer term fuel for the body.

The author provides us with a selection of, mainly very interesting recipes covering breakfast, light snacks, soups, sides and salads, summer feasts, comfort foods and, last but not least, moreish puddings. Most of the recipes have a manageable number of ingredients and nothing very obscure which the reader will find difficult to source. The description of method is succinct and quite clear which is a nice contrast to some recipe books.

Most books have a few or even quite a lot of recipes which one is quite eager to try out. However, here it is quite difficult to find anything which is not rather tempting. Favorites at the top of my list? Well, that’s a difficult one, but I would say that Lamb Shank and Fig Tagine, Thyme Roasted Chicken Legs with Braised Baby Lettuce and Peas and Orange, Chocolate and Hazlenut Pudding particularly appealed to me.

Overall this is a well thought out book, with a great mix of recipes and which has the aim of making your diet healthier by cutting out bad carbs. A winning combination!

Bolse® [Apple MFi Certified] 6 Feet / 1.8m Extra Long Cloth Jacketed Tangle-Free USB 2.0 A to 8 Pin Apple Lightning Cable for iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPod nano 7, iPod 5G (Light Blue/Yellow)
Bolse® [Apple MFi Certified] 6 Feet / 1.8m Extra Long Cloth Jacketed Tangle-Free USB 2.0 A to 8 Pin Apple Lightning Cable for iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPod nano 7, iPod 5G (Light Blue/Yellow)
Offered by T.M. Enterprise
Price: CDN$ 29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive and Efficient, Aug. 9 2014
The first observation about the Bolse cable is that is Apple certified, which is important given the number of cheap and inferior imitations on the market. In practice I found that it appeared to charge my Apple products just as efficiently and quickly as the Apple supplied cables.

It is not a comment which I thought I would be making about a charger cable, since they generally look much the same, however this one is really nicely designed and quite different from the norm. The body of the connections at each end is in rather a nice, brushed steel finish whilst the cable itself is really quite novel. It is not the usual, plasticky finish but is made from nylon fibre cloth. This is the normal width, but is the sort of finish which you would normally see on the cord to an iron. I have no idea if these innovations have practical advantages, but the result is certainly attractive and different.

It is very useful to have a lead this long which is something which Apple do not supply with their products. Overall this is a very well designed and useful product which I have no hesitation in recommending.

This product was kindly sent to me so that I could test it and write an objective review.

Eat Meat And Stop Jogging: 'Common' Advice On How To Get Fit Is Keeping You Fat And Making You Sick
Eat Meat And Stop Jogging: 'Common' Advice On How To Get Fit Is Keeping You Fat And Making You Sick
Price: CDN$ 6.53

4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging Accepted Wisdom, Aug. 1 2014
The title of this book is deliberately provocative and sets the tone as the author sets out to debunk accepted wisdom as to what constitutes healthy behaviour in our modern society. I always find books like this refreshing as they force you to look at things from another perspective, and even though you may not wholly agree with all aspects of the argument it is entirely proper to question.

Some of what is being proposed seems entirely reasonable. For example, it is clear that low fat diets do not work for most people on a long term basis, and even successful dieters often end up putting the weight back on. There are a huge number of yoyo dieters who try one diet after another. The author explains why he thinks this is the case, and how this sort of diet is self defeating and results in loss of muscle which is clearly not the objective.

Other areas I found more controversial. I would agree that, whilst there is a strong correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease, I am not entirely convinced that it is a causal relationship. However, whilst the author draws attention to, mainly very rare, possible side effects of statins, in reality the only relatively common one is aching limbs, which is hardly life threatening and the solution is normally to switch to a different statin. Numerous studies have shown that patients on statins have a lower mortality rate than those without, not just due to a lower incidence of heart disease, but also due to various other areas. Even with cancer patients the survival rate has been shown to be higher for those on statins.

I would agree with the other reviewer who criticised the presentation of the graphs. Whilst doubtless they support the author’s argument, in the paper edition they are totally unreadable and I don’t mean just a bit difficult to make out, but quite impossible. I really do not think the printer should have been allowed to get away with wrecking quite a crucial part of this book.

Overall I found this book to be thought provoking and a worthwhile read. I do not believe that what is being presented is an entirely balanced argument, but I do not think that was the author’s intention. What he set out to do was to make us question what is too often regarded as fact and perhaps not to blindly follow advice that may not be as beneficial as it is presented.

Smart Weigh GEM20 High Precision Digital Milligram Scale 20 x 0.001g Ideal for Weighing Gems, Jewelry and other Precious Objects (Silver)
Smart Weigh GEM20 High Precision Digital Milligram Scale 20 x 0.001g Ideal for Weighing Gems, Jewelry and other Precious Objects (Silver)
Offered by MeasuPro
Price: CDN$ 39.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 26.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Accurate Set of Precision Scales, July 29 2014
I have an ongoing use for an accurate portable scale suitable for small items. We tend to visit our local auction on a weekly basis and my wife has a liking for jewellery which can be an outstanding bargain there. However, the majority of bidders are professionals who are interested in the scrap value of the items in the auction, rather than any aesthetic appeal, and bid accordingly so as to make a profit. It is hugely helpful to be able to assess the scrap value of items and pitch bids accordingly. This item is perfect for the job.

These scales are a convenient size being approximately 4.0 inches by 3.5 inches by an inch, and can easily be carried in my wife's handbag. As far as accuracy is concerned, when I tested these against the two 10 gram weights supplied, they came in at about 0.02 of a gram heavy. This level of accuracy is fine for my purposes. However, I then used the recalibration method described in the instructions which was very simple and took all of about 30 seconds and they then measured within 0.002 of a gram of the supplied weights.

The scales are only suitable for relatively small items as the range is up to 20 grams or roughly 0.7 of an ounce. As a guide a ring would typically weigh about 3 grams. They take two AAA batteries which are supplied and easily replaced with a clip-on cover at the back. The unit turns itself off after a short period of non use to preserve battery life. Alternative measurements are in carats, grains, OZT or DWT.

I was very impressed with this set of scales which was exactly what I was looking for. Smart Weigh are very good at manufacturing this sort of precision item - this is the second very small digital scale of theirs which I have reviewed and I have had no significant criticism of either. I imagine they would also be a good investment if you had a reasonable quantity of scrap precious metal to sell to avoid being cheated or if you had a scientific use for a small set of scales since they are very accurate.

This unit was kindly sent to me by the manufacturers so that I could write an objective review.

Portfolio Architect: 5 Keys to Design, Build, and Manage Your Ultimate Investment Plan
Portfolio Architect: 5 Keys to Design, Build, and Manage Your Ultimate Investment Plan
Price: CDN$ 8.64

4.0 out of 5 stars The Structured Approach, July 25 2014
The author is a financial advisor and I was a little concerned that the main message of this book would be to push his readers towards using a financial advisor or even his particular service. However, although it certainly does recommend using the advice of a professional the message here is much more than that and there is a lot of information packed into 290 pages.

What this book is not, however, is a book to assist you in stock picking. It is much more a discussion of the classes of investment available, efficient ways of investing in these classes and ways to structure your investments so that the result is not unbalanced and hence with an excessively high risk ratio attached. In fact reasons are put forward why individual stock picking is not the way forward, one being that since markets are efficient the current share price will be the `right' price taking into account all known current information. Personally I understand this analysis but I do not altogether agree with it since most individuals in the market are under informed about any particular stock, or in the case of traders, probably totally ignorant. Hence it is perfectly possible to know more than the market about a particular company, and that will particularly apply to small companies that are not greatly researched. Using this weapon, individuals do have the tools to beat the market if they are prepared to do put the effort in.

However, there is a great deal of information and a great deal of common sense here. It is true that it is difficult for individuals to have the emotional set up to stomach large falls in their portfolios and most are too ready to be swept up by euphoria and greed, or being overtaken by fear and despair. This is what leads people to buy at the top and sell at the bottom. A structured approach such as is being outlined here is a great starting point to avoid these pitfalls - you are not going to take all this in in one go and will probably have to keep revisiting this volume to really take it all on board.

Overall, if you read this volume carefully - and that will take some effort as most will not find it the easiest read - you are going to learn a lot. It will certainly be worth the effort whether you are a novice of a seasoned investor. Finally, looking through the other reviews, this book has clearly inspired quite a number of people to write their first review and to give it Five Stars which must be a worthwhile comment by itself!

The Flip
The Flip
Price: CDN$ 1.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly Happenings at Bedlam, July 25 2014
This review is from: The Flip (Kindle Edition)
Michael Phillip Cash is no stranger to the supernatural genre having written a previous novel, Stillwell: a Haunting on Long Island and the novelette, The Hanging Tree, both of which I have read. He has an instinctive feel for this sort of story and is able to create a fine balance between including enough in the way of ghostly occurrences to keep the story moving along and the reader engaged without overdoing it and losing credibility.

The title refers to the hobby/business of a young married couple, Julie and Brad, who buy run down dwellings, give them a face lift and 'flip' them at a profit if all goes according to plan. However this time round they have taken on a Victorian pile, Bedlam House, mainly at Julie's behest, and have got a lot more than they bargained for! The story bounces between the present day and previous time periods so that we come to understand the reasons for what is happening in the house.

I enjoyed this tale and read through it quickly. Although at nearly 400 pages, one might assume it to be a fairly formidable read, it runs at about 15 well spaced lines a page so probably amounts to only, perhaps, the equivalent of 150 pages in a more usual type face. I look forward the author writing more in this vein, and possibly exploring this sort of subject matter in more depth with a longer novel.

Smiting the Bear: The Last Stand of Comrade Fox (The Life and Times of Archibald Brinsley Fox Book 2)
Smiting the Bear: The Last Stand of Comrade Fox (The Life and Times of Archibald Brinsley Fox Book 2)
Price: CDN$ 3.14

5.0 out of 5 stars The Thinking Man's Flashman?, July 24 2014
Having followed Archie Fox's previous adventures before and during the Russian Revolution, this time round we find him in the chaos that is Russia post Revolution in 1920. Our hero fails to break the habits of a lifetime by backing the wrong horse yet again - this time he has elected to desert the Bolshevik cause and fight with the Whites which, with the benefit of hindsight was perhaps a little ill judged! The country is divided with various factions fighting throughout the country and rape, torture and even cannibalism not uncommon.

However, he remains the unscrupulous, self serving adventurer who we grew to love in the first volume of his memoirs and is quick to pick up on his previous obsessions ie chasing after Inessa, Lenin's girlfriend who sadly seems to view him in rather a motherly way as a wayward boy, and attempting to recover the Faberge egg which he has previously secreted at the Catherine Palace. Both appear hopeless quests. Sara, his lover and mother of his children really comes into her own in this book and it is clear that Archie has met his match here since she is just as ruthless in protecting her own interests as he is his.

As in the previous volume the author demonstrates his considerable knowledge of this period of Russian history, and whilst it reads very well on its own, I found that reading this story in conjunction with the numbered notations did add some historical perspective. This is added to with short articles about the Besprizornye (orphaned and abandoned children), the End of the 1917-23 Civil War and Imperial Incompetence which are included at the end of the book. It is fair to say that I understand the Revolution significantly more after reading these two volumes of Archie's memoirs.

Overall I have greatly enjoyed Fox's adventures which it would not be unfair to describe as a thinking man's Flashman. It is unclear if this is, sadly, the last we are going to hear of Fox or if Stewart Hennessey plans to write more in the same ilk. Certainly I hope it is the latter and the ending here has left open that intriguing possibility.

Rough Men
Rough Men
by Aric Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.97
37 used & new from CDN$ 2.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Quite a Ride!, July 21 2014
This review is from: Rough Men (Paperback)
This is a short read- 187 pages. But don't let that put you off - this novel is jam packed with action.

Will Daniels has not led a good life. He fears he has failed his devoted wife, Alison and their son Alex. When Alex's body turns up burnt beyond recognition, he fears the worst. He's right to: Alex has not died an honourable death. Before he died he was involved in a bloody robbery with some erstwhile friends from his prison days. It seems one or more of them may have engineered his death. Will may not have been a great dad but Alison was a great mum and she and Will want justice for their only boy.

When the Police investigations turn up only blanks, Will turns to his long forgotten bad boy friends to find Alex's murderers. But their form of hardball looks soft as they discover the real movers in this murderous tale. Will, his brother and bad boy Jason come close to losing everything as the worst storm for years hits the State. Is revenge really redemption and will Will ever hold it together to make sure the right thing is done?

This plot has more twists and turns than a barrel full of monkeys and will keep you gripped right to the end. One word of warning - the violence and torture are not for the faint hearted nor is the child abuse - but all are short lived if graphic. Quite a ride and the dedication in the front is a lovely, lovely touch.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20