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Maybe Im biased, but I dont think they make toys like they used to. Id like to point out (before the Dooyoo police come out and tell me that my review is off topic) that Id absolutely love to get my hands on these toys. Thanks to sites like ebay, we nostalgics can now get hold of some of the things that we loved, or couldnt have as children. The following toys are those that I wanted back in 1987 and still very much want on 2007! Yes, I am indeed a big kid.
These were bright colourful animals with a shell. Each one came with a key so that you could unlock the shell and keep all your secret stuff in them genius! I think I kept sweeties in mine.
I can remember the TV adverts for Mr Frosty so clearly. All you had to do was put some ice in his tummy, turn the lever, add some syrup and hey presto! I imagined that a Mr Frosty drink would be the most delicious tasting thing in the whole world. My mum told me that Santa had run out of them that year.
Big Yellow Teapot
The name says it all! It opened up to reveal a playhouse inside and came with furniture and little play figures as well. My little cousin had one and I played with it more that her. I might be mistaken, but Im sure there was a Boot that turned into a house as well.
Jem and the Holograms was a cartoon in the 80s. They were a rock group and saved the world from time to time. I desperately wanted a Jem video, but we didnt even have a video player in our house! You could get Jem dolls, which were bigger than Barbies, and were even better because when you pressed a button on her back her earrings flashed. Ooooooh, how I wanted one
This was a round plastic thing that was a type of drawing game for girls. You could rotate parts of it to create ladies wearing different outfits. Then you put a piece of paper on top and did a crayon rubbing of it. Ill admit it doesnt sound too exciting but at the time I thought these were amazing.
I loved these when I was a little girl. Sweet secrets were toys that transformed from jewellery or make up into other objects like animals, dolls and play sets. This was done by opening the object and unfolding the arms and legs. I had a bracelet that turned into a doll with red pigtails. I think it was called Sparkle Heart.
She-Ra Action Figures
I spent countless hours playing with she-ra figures in the 80s. I think my best friend and I were a tad obsessed. I was really jealous because she had Swift Wind (the horse) but I didnt tell her that in case she wouldnt let me play with it anymore!
A few years back I watched the 100 Greatest Childrens TV Shows and this wasnt on it! I cant imagine why because it was fantastic and had one of the best theme tunes EVER. One Christmas somebody gave me a Fraggles jigsaw, which I was chuffed with but it was a Red doll that I reeeeeally wanted. She was a little girl Fraggle with bunches and she was mad. I loved her.
This was a hand held music toy. You slipped little plastic cards down the front and then pressed on the pictures to play games and make tunes. It was slightly bigger than a remote control and shaped like the body of a Major. He had a moustache which I didnt like very much.
Lights Alive was a type of drawing toy like Spirograph or Magnadoodle. It was much better though, because you used special tools to create pictures on a black background and the pictures were all different colours that lit up! I know I would have had hours of fun with one of these.
I recently adopted a six week old fluffy bundle of fun from the Cat Action Trust. She can, and will, get into absolutely everything. My kitten is fast becoming a spoilt madam, as I just cant resist those big eyes of hers and every time I leave the house I find myself returning with yet another new toy. On my last trip to Pets At Home I picked up the Cleo Hide NSeek Cat Scratcher.
The toy comes flat-packed and pops up easily to a triangular prism shape. It is covered in vertically ribbed carpet to provide a good scratching surface for the cat. At the front there is a round play window that is large enough for the cat to jump in and out of. A small soft animal (available as a yellow fish or red mouse with googly eyes) attached to a piece of string is firmly fixed to the top edge and dangles enticingly in front of the play window. The soft toy is filled with catnip the stuff that makes cats go waheeeey.
I chose this toy because I thought my kitten would enjoy hiding inside it, and because I wanted something for her to scratch. I already have a scratching post for her, but had read that it is best to have several in the house. At present, my kitten only seems interested in scratching my ankles! However, scratching is a perfectly natural (and expected) behaviour for our feline friends and Im sure it wont be long before she moves on to my furniture.
Reasons for scratching
Claw care every cat needs a manicure!
Territory Marking a visual clue to other cats
Exercise Hanging by your claws gives the body a good workout
The idea of scratching posts is that you can divert Pusss attention from the place he wants to scratch to the place you want him to scratch.
My kitten has had a whale of a time with this toy. She has tried all her best wrestling moves on the toy mouse, and it has remained firmly affixed to the prism despite her efforts to get it off. She enjoys grabbing it with her mouth and swinging in and out of the play window. The only damage that I can see to the mouse is that its tail is a little frayed after a weeks use but I have no concerns about it coming off the string as it appears quite sturdy. The carpet material allows the cat to climb all over the toy, and my kitten just loves jumping on and off it, stalking it, and pushing it around the living room. It is a very lightweight toy, but can withstand her weight without becoming flat. I am unsure if the same could be said of an adult cat.
I have not seen my kitten actually scratch this toy, but she may of course use it to sharpen her claws at a later date! It is worth pointing out that she doesnt use her scratching post for this yet either, as my ankles are evidently more preferable.
I have given the toy four out of five stars as the product could be improved if one surface was made with sisal instead of carpet. This is a much more durable material and is recommended by most vets and breeders as the best scratching surface for cats.
I bought this toy for £9.99 from Pets at Home
There are so many shows on TV these days that tell us what to wear, what not to wear, what to eat and what not to eat. There are even programmes with experts telling us how to clean our homes, discipline our children and paint the garden fence. It makes you wonder how we all managed before the birth of the reality TV genre. How did we choose what clothes to put on in the morning? How did we decide what to make for dinner? How did we manage to polish our coffee tables?
Lifestyle and generic makeover programmes all have pretty much the same concept. The experts find some poor gullible saps and rip them to shreds. Then they rebuild them or help them see the error of their ways and the experts congratulate themselves. I was doing some channel flicking one night and came across the latest makeover show, How to Look Good Naked.
The programme attracts an average of 2.7 million viewers. The first series was so successful that Channel Four doubled the length of each episode from 30mins to one hour. Over 6,000 women applied to appear on the second series.
So what is all the fuss about?
Gok Wan has worked as a stylist for 8 years. Hes the gay best friend that I wish I had, and therein lies his appeal. While Trinny and Suzanna are elitist and rude, Gok treats the women on his show as if they are his friends. He really seems to empathise with their lack of body confidence, which is probably due to the fact that he struggled with his weight as a teenager and once weighed over 21 stone. The women that Gok works with are clearly able to trust him as he takes them on a journey from body-loathing to body-loving.
Every programme features an ordinary woman who doesnt like her body. The women who take part are wildly dissatisfied with their body shapes, and Gok delves into how their negative body images have affected their lives. Tales of woe include the lady who couldnt leave the house without wearing thick black tights (apparently she had a special pair for sex the mind boggles .), and the woman who dressed like a tent each day in order to disguise her hideous figure. I imagine the vast majority of female viewers also have body parts that they loathe with a passion, and we can relate to these women and their hang ups.
Gok Wan starts by asking the woman to strip down to her underwear and face herself in the mirror. He asks her to take a good look at herself. The women taking part in the show have very negative and distorted body images and Gok tries to give them a bit of a reality check. He does this in several ways. Firstly, he asks them to take part in a police style body line up. The line up consists of other women (in their underwear) of various shapes and sizes positioned in order from biggest to largest. Supposing the lady having the makeover hates the fact that she has a big bum, Gok asks her to compare her bum to the other bums and place herself in the line where she thinks she belongs. The woman will invariably place herself at the fat end of the scale, at which point Gok declares that she is in fact much smaller than that. Another Gok Wan tactic is to project an image of the woman in her underwear onto a big building, Gayle Porter style. He then invites passers by to tell the woman what they think of her body. The woman then blushes when passing gentlemen make remarks like, Coooor! Id give er one!!
Like most other makeover shows, Gok shows his ladies how to dress in a way that will enhance their assets. He is a little bit obsessed with underwear, and preaches that good underwear uplifts, streamlines and nips in(thats all well and good, but all these spandex/ spanx thingies or whatever you call them tend to cut off the blood supply in my experience and make me feel like a vacuum packed shoulder of lamb). The women also get the obligatory new hairdo and fancy make up to make them feel like a million dollars.
Once Gok has helped the woman form a more positive relationship with her body, she takes part in an arty and tasteful photoshoot. She also models underwear in a catwalk show for that You go girl! moment.
A beauty segment was introduced for series two which attempts to get to the bottom of claims made by the beauty industry about its products. Journalist Dawn Porter fills a bucket with the featured product of the week, then 100 women wearing only underwear stampede to grab a sample. The women report their findings as if they were scientists in white coats. Personally, I find it hard to take a persons opinion on eye cream seriously when they are virtually naked but for a gormless expression and an ill-fitting brassiere.
After the commercial break there are lots of shots of topless women talking about their breasts. The show gets away with this pre-watershed nudity because it is educational. I suppose they have to do something to entice male viewers. Seriously, more boobs than a weeks worth of porn spam guys!
The show usually ends with the naked photo reveal. There are some tears of joy, and everybody lives happy ever after.
I think the title How to Look Good Naked is a tad misleading. Perhaps it should really be called, How to Look Good in Strategically Placed Underwear. The advice that Gok gives to the ladies on the show is hardly groundbreaking. The thing that sets this programme apart from the rest is the presenter himself. He comes across as being such a genuine guy who wants to empower women, not humiliate them. The change in women after they have been Goked is quite amazing. You can see their confidence radiating from within. There is a part of me that thinks these women might not be as self-conscious as the producers would like us to believe. After all, they seem to be able to strip off for the cameras without too much trauma.
I cant help but think that the show is giving out some mixed messages. It attempts to debunk the myth of perfection, and encourages women to love themselves the way they are. Then it shows ways for us to appear slimmer, younger, and prettier in order to conform to the women have to be slim and wrinkle free to be sexy stereotype that has spread within society after society.
Go ahead! Embrace your cellulite and your wrinkles. They are a part of you, and you are beautiful! Now here is some underwear that we think you should try. You wont be able to breathe, but youll appear slimmer. Oh, and you must buy this wrinkle cream. Itll help to hide your fine lines a treat! Youll look much more like the ideal woman by the time weve finished with you.
The only way Ill ever look good naked is if I stand in front of one of those distorted fairground mirrors. Id love to be able to go out in slinky dresses without having to cram myself into body shapers first, and spend the evening walking around like a penguin or unable to bend over because my underwear doesnt allow for movement.
Having said that, I would love the Gok Wan treatment, but only if I didnt have to appear on national television in my bra and knickers! How to Look Good Naked is a feel good show with real women, and good advice for all shapes and sizes.
If any dooyoo readers feel that they would like to take part, the producers are recruiting for series three right now! Visit http://www.mavericktv.co.uk/list_news.php?id=1126 for more details.
Jaws (Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker)
Jaws is one of the best known henchmen from the James bond Films. He appeared to die during the destruction of Atlantis in The Spy Who Loved Me, but his character proved to be so popular that he reprised his role in Moonraker. Jaws towered around other characters, and with a mouthful of metal teeth he managed to appear intimidating without actually saying anything. As a child, I was terrified of him! In Moonraker the character was played for more of a comic effect, and he even found love with a dizzy blonde called Dolly. Personally, Id rather take my chances on match.com.
Mr Henry Potter (Its a Wonderful Life)
Thats Henry F. Potter, the richest and meanest man in the county.
You might think that an elderly man in a wheelchair would be quite a vulnerable character, but Mr Potter of Bedford Falls is a hard hearted man who will stop at nothing to ruin life of George Bailey. Potter is not capable of love, and merely lives to make money. In one of the darkest moments of the film George gets down on his knees and begs Potter for a loan, but Potter refuses point blank to help, and mocks him by saying that he is worth more dead than alive. He gets away with stealing $8,000 in the film, and remains proud and unrepentant to the very end.
Freddie Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Whatever you do, dont fall asleep!
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a horror classic that launched 6 sequels and made Freddy Krueger into a legendary character. He is a wisecracking child murderer with a hideously burned face and razor-sharp knife blade tipped glove. Freddy is without doubt the reason that I spent the majority of 1987 as an insomniac; for fear that I would be hacked to death in my sleep! His appeal as a villain lies in the fact that we have all had nightmares at one time or another. To think that such a madman could enter your head and slice you into bite size pieces is terrifying! Even now, I am very uneasy around people in red and black striped jumpers.
Scar (Lion King)
Ill admit that a cartoon has its limitations as to how scary it can be, but even childrens films have baddies and for me, Scar stands out a mile. I will simply never forgive him for killing Mufasa and leaving poor Simba without a daddy. To leave your own brother to die in such a manner is simply inexcusable. Scar is the archetypical villain, generally feared, despised and loathed. He even has his own trio of hyena henchmen that he enlists to help him take control of the Pride. Thankfully, he gets his comeuppance in the end!
Hannibal Lecter (Silence of The Lambs)
I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Few things can be more petrifying than being faced with a man who plans using you as the main ingredient in a recipe. Lecter could be described as a gentleman serial killer, as he only kills people that he finds generally unpleasant. Perhaps one of the most unnerving things about him is that he is hugely intelligent, so your chances of outwitting him and leaving the encounter alive are paper thin. You get the feeling that hed use his clinical psychology super-skills to anticipate your every move and thought. He has to be the only criminal that can remain terrifying behind three inches of reinforced glass.
Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction)
Im not gonna be ignored!
Lets face it, the dating game isnt easy. The legacy of Alex Forrest is that the fear of meeting somebody so unhinged is forever in the unconscious minds of single males (or married men, grrrrrrr ). Signs that you are a potential bunny boiler include, replying to a text message straight away, letting on that you might want to have children someday, or (gasp) complaining that he didnt call when he said he would. Yes, we females are a dangerous breed. Alex Forrest is a woman who knows how to get her man, whether he likes it or not. Her seduction techniques include faking pregnancy, boiling family pets and attacking family members. Horny married men beware!
Annie Wilkes (Misery)
I am your number one fan.
At first, Annie Wilkes appears to be a good Samaritan who takes in an injured man and nurses him. However, we discover that her motives are far more sinister when he attempts to leave. I am still unable to watch the scene where she applies a sledgehammer to his ankles without a cushion in front of my face! Thank goodness the NHS doesnt offer hobbling as part of the training programme for nurses. Kathy Bates truly deserved her Oscar for this performance as an utterly sick and demented woman who can fly from absolute calm into total psycho in seconds.
Mr Blonde (Reservoir Dogs)
Torture you? Thats a good idea. I like that.
The scene where Mr Blonde has some fun with a cop with Stealers Wheel playing in the background is one of the most immortal scenes in cinema. Mr Blonde is so sick that he enjoys every second of cutting off the guys ear, and dances around like a ten year old girl at her birthday party. He knows that the cop isnt going to tell him anything, but slices him up anyway just because it amuses him. It is impossible for me to listen to Stuck in the Middle without thinking about that moment.
Wicked Witch of the West (Wizard of Oz)
Ill get you my pretty, and your little dog too!
Anybody who terrorises little girls and cute dogs for fun is not somebody to be messed with. Especially if there is a chance they might set their flying monkeys on you. This is a character that scared the living daylights out of me when I was a little girl, and she hasnt grown on me much over the years! There is something so freaky about that painted green face, and that screechy voice of hers sends shivers down my spine. The strange thing is that despite her scariness, all you would need to get rid of her is a bucket of water!
The Wet/Sticky Bandits (Home Alone films)
Marv: Kids are afraid of the dark.
Harry: Youre afraid of the dark too, Marv.
These are the least scary guys on my list, but without question the most useless and most amusing. Ive never seen two people take such a beating while relentlessly trying to break into a house. They provide good old slapstick comedy while attempting to outwit that pesky McAllister child, but alas the wet bandits are no match for his booby traps. There is something about the way Marv shrieks that I find endlessly amusing.
Id imagine that most women have at some point in their lives either plucked or waxed their eyebrows in order to prevent the dreaded caterpillar look. Nice eyebrows can really frame the face and draw attention to the eyes. I have to say I am a tad obsessed with plucking away stray hairs, and Ive never been entirely happy with my eyebrows because the hairs are a bit sparse. My friend suggested that I try Benefits Brow Zings.
Brow Zings is a little square black compact. It has a mirror and comes with two tiny brushes, one has a slanted edge and the other is a blending brush. It also has a miniature set of tweezers. On the left side of the compact there is a pigmented wax, and next to that there is some complementing setting powder. Brow Zings is available in three shades; light, medium and dark.
When you are applying Brow Zings, you start by taking the hard angled brush, and carefully brush the wax along the eyebrow which helps to define their shape. The wax goes on easily, and darkens your eyebrows slightly. In order to give your brows even more oomph, you finish by using the blending brush to smear some powder over the top of the wax, all along the eyebrow. Personally, I find that the powder makes my eyebrows look a little too dark, and I tend to stick to just the wax. The staying power of the product is average. After a few hours you may need a quick touch up.
I do like Brow Zings, but I think that the product is poorly designed. The brushes are too small and awkward to use. A longer shape for the compact would have been better, as this would allow for longer brushes. Also, the tweezers are too tiny and blunt to be of any practical use. As people dont tend to pluck their eyebrows when they are out and about, I think that the inclusion of a small brow comb would be far more useful.
To be honest, I think Ill be hunting for an alternative brow filler when my Brow Zings runs out, although it looks as though it will last quite a while. My eyebrows definitely look better after applying the wax, but the powder is of no use to me and at over £20 a pop I am sure I can find something that is more effective and better value for money.
Alex Berenson is a journalist for the New York Times. The Faithful Spy is his debut novel. It won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best First Novel ( the USAs leading prize for Crime Fiction) and was also shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.
Berensons protagonist is CIA agent John Wells. Wells (known by his Muslim compatriots as Jalal) is the only agent to have ever infiltrated al Qaeda. For ten years he has been working undercover in Afghanistan in an operation known only to a couple of CIA big guns. Wells is fluent in Arabic and Pashtun, and has studied the Koran in depth. He also has the ability to beat up the bad guys without breaking out a sweat. These credentials made him perfect for the mission.
Due to the nature of his operation, Wells is not in regular contact with his CIA handler, Jennifer Exley. He is only able to pass on information when he initiates meetings with American Troops. Understandably, this is difficult to do without blowing his cover.
Wells convinces fellow members of the Taliban that he is truly committed to their cause. He is desperate to get closer to Bin Laden in order to gain valuable information. When one of Bin Ladens closest advisors, Khadri, asks Wells to take part in a mission in the USA, Wells sees this as his chance to uncover more of al Qaedas secrets.
Once Wells arrives in the USA he feels free for the first time in a long time, and makes the mistake of going to visit family before reporting to his CIA handler. When Exley discovers that Wells has returned without getting in touch, the senior CIA officials become very suspicious of his motives. They are concerned that Wells has become so involved with al Qaeda that he has switched loyalties. When they catch up on Wells, he fails to convince them that he is still very much on their side. The fact that he admits to converting to Islam leaves them no doubt that he is in Bin Ladens pocket.
The only person to believe in Wells, is his handler. There isnt much point to Exley in the story apart from the inevitable love interest between them. Despite the fact that they have only ever had a couple of very brief meetings in a ten year period, the reader is expected to believe that they are besotted with each other. I dont mind a bit of romance in a novel, as long as it is realistic and adds something to the story. In this case, it doesnt.
Wells decides that the CIA will only interfere and prevent him from linking up with Khadri. He escapes from custody to continue with his mission as he is sure that this is the only way he will prevent another attack on American soil. Khadri does not make this easy for him, as he does not truly believe that Wells is the real deal.
I did enjoy this novel, but to be honest, I found the whole idea of an American penetrating al Qaeda a bit unbelievable. By making Wells a Muslim, Berenson can not be accused of demonising Islam, even though all the other Muslims in the book are terrorists. He has attempted to show that terrorists twist the words of the Koran to justify their actions, but the characters are stereotypical nonetheless. The author has spent a great deal of time in Iraq, and this shows in his writing. The Faithful Spy is a good debut novel, but it lacks the pace and suspense that I expect in a good thriller and I found the plot to be entirely predictable. Berensons second novel featuring John Wells, The Ghost War, is due for release in March next year. It will be interesting to see how he develops the character and no doubt I will give it a read.
The Faithful Spy is available in Tesco for less than £4, and is one of the titles of the Tesco book club.
Ive been on the hunt for a decent blusher ever since I started wearing make-up. Im not too good at applying the old war paint, and if Im not careful I end up looking like a younger version of Barbra Cartland. Blusher has always posed a bit of a problem for me, because Ive never been able to find the right colour or a product that was idiot proof to apply. If it is possible to fall in love with an inanimate object, then I must confess to being utterly besotted with this latest Benefit product.
Benefit Rush Hour is one of those multi-use products. You can use is as a blusher or a lipstick. It comes in a chic looking gold tube with black graphics/squares on the background. It is slightly longer and thinner than a lipstick, and will fit nicely into your handbag or make-up bag. Rush Hour is only available in one colour , sunberry.
To use Rush Hour on your lips you apply it just as you would your usual lipstick. It glides beautifully on the lips, and the colour is gorgeous. I have found it a tad drying, but that is a problem that I have with most lipsticks. If you put a bit of lip balm or gloss on top then you will look even more glam. The staying power of the lipstick is pretty good, but it does come off easily when you are eating or drinking. Again, that could be said of most lipsticks.
When I use Rush Hour as a blusher, I usually dab about four dots onto the apples of my cheeks and blend in. The product is very easy to blend in, without being greasy. I usually have to reapply about ten minutes later, as I find that my cheeks turn quite pink when I am rubbing it in (from the rubbing and not the actual product) so it is hard to judge how much to put on. When I am done I look like I am flushing prettily, and the colour looks very natural.
I have fair skin and freckles, and find that this sunberry colour suits me perfectly. I would imagine that it would look equally good on other skin types too. Rush Hour is one of those products that make me feel good after Ive applied it. It makes me look healthier! The name Rush Hour comes from the fact that the product is quick and easy to apply. I have to admit, I was dubious at first, and was really looking for a powder as I find them easier to apply, but as long as you put on a little bit at a time then you really cant go wrong with Rush Hour.
Like most Benefit products, it isnt cheap at £16.50 for 1g but for me it is worth every penny. You can pick up this little wonder at a Benefit counter near you, or go to www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk. It is available at larger boots stores, for those of you after advantage card points.
Ive often walked past the Benefit counter in Boots, looking longingly at all the pretty packaging and wishing I had the budget to sample some of their lotions and potions. Last month I decided to treat myself using the masses of Advantage Card points that Id saved up. I was unsure of what I was looking for exactly, and spent ages looking though all the products at the counter before allowing the sales assistant to unleash her sponges on me. I mentioned that I had heard of Dr Feelgood, and asked if I could try some of that first.
Dr Feelgood is a primer, that gives you a matte complexion. It comes in a small round tin (slightly larger that the 99p tins of Vaseline) with an applicator sponge. The balm itself is a pale yellow colour, and has a subtle flowery smell. Using the sponge provided, you pat the balm over your face, paying particular attention to any areas where you have fine lines or enlarged pores. It is possible to do this either before, or after you apply your make up.
Dr Feelgood is enriched with vitamins A, E and C. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, which helps to protect your skin from pollution, smoking and sun exposure. It also helps to enhance the synthesis of collagen in your skin. The addition of vitamin E helps to retain the moisture in your skin. Vitamin A is recommended by dermatologists to help the skin to appear young and smooth. I dont know if enough of these vitamins have been added to the product to have a significant effect on my skin, but it makes me feel better about all those chocolate bars that Ive been eating!
I had heard the hype about Dr Feelgood, and it was all true. I pat this on my skin after moisturising and it instantly gives my complexion a matte appearance. It also makes my skin feel velvety smooth, and does make my enlarged pores less noticeable. After applying Dr Feelgood, I only need to use a fraction of the foundation that I used before I purchased this product. You can use Dr Feelgood on top of your make-up, but I find that it works much better if you apply it before.
Before I started using Dr Feelgood I used to have a sweaty face problem in the summer months, or after the slightest bit of exertion at all! I used to find it embarrassing that my T-zone would be dripping wet whenever I got a bit warm. I am amazed that this balm has now made this problem virtually non-existent. It seems to act as a barrier to the moisture leaving my skin, so I dont get the dreaded sweaty glow half as much as I used to. That alone is worth the £19.50 price tag to me.
This is an expensive product, but it will now be a firm staple in my handbag. It is wonderful. You dont need to use a lot, so one tin will last quite a while. I would recommend that you ask to try it out at a Benefit counter before buying it, but be warned, the Doctor will seduce you!
Nicholas Evans is best known for his novel The Horse Whisperer which was made into a film starring Robert Redford and has sold 10 million copies worldwide. The Divide is his fourth novel.
The story begins with the discovery of the body of a young woman embedded in the ice of a remote mountain creek. The body is that of Abbie Cooper, who was wanted by the FBI for murder and acts of Eco-terrorism. Her story and the story of her family is told through flashbacks. We discover the events leading to her death, and how this seemingly respectable and intelligent girl was led astray from her family.
The Cooper family was a family much like any other living in suburban New York. They were close, and enjoyed seemingly idyllic holidays in Montana, where much of the novel is set. When Ben and Sarah Cooper become divorced, Abbie becomes increasingly distant from her parents and her brother. She falls under the spell of an older man, Rolf, who is able to manipulate her thoughts and emotions. When the pair go on the run from the authorities, Abbie has become unrecognisable to her family. She is no longer a pretty upper-middle-class girl, but a shadowy criminal and environmental radical, willing to do anything for her boyfriend.
The break down in the relationship between Ben and Sarah is central to the story. Evans examines how two good people can begin to make each other so unhappy over time as they change and grow in different directions. I felt a great deal of sympathy for the characters, and enjoyed reading about their break-up from both viewpoints as it enables the reader to see how they both hurt for different reasons. In one chapter, I felt sorry for Sarah, and perceived Ben to be a womaniser, then in the next chapter I couldnt help but empathise with Ben because of the way Sarah treats him.
The title of the book has several meanings. In addition to being the name of the range where the Coopers spent their holidays, it refers to the divide between those who want the beauty of the earth preserved, and the large corporations who want to destroy it. The title also refers to the divide between man and woman, or husband and wife when they grow apart for whatever reasons. The divisions within a family are also clearly evident in this story as Abbie becomes estranged from her parents and brother, Josh.
The Divide is a good story with rich characters. Evans has written about the break up of a family unit in a sensitive and thought provoking manner. The author supposedly based the book on his own divorce, and I think his insightfulness comes across. I feel that the story has left me with a rather gloomy view of marriage, but Im not sure that this view is a realistic one! I think that there are divides within most families, however perfect they may appear to casual observers, so most readers will be able to relate to one of the characters in the novel at some level. I felt that the story came to a satisfactory conclusion as the characters were able to gain closure and the mystery of how Abbie died was finally revealed.
Im not sure what genre this story would fall into. It is part crime, part family drama and part romance. I think that the novel would be a good choice for a book group as there are lots of points to discuss, however I wont describe those here as it would spoil the story. I did enjoy the book, but not enough to want to read any of Evanss other novels.
I have recently purchased my first flat, and it has proved so difficult to buy a property that I settled for somewhere that needed renovating. The previous owner needed a good seeing to from Kim and Aggie in my opinion. Armed with my marigolds and industrial strength antibacterial spray, I attempted to rid the kitchen of the layers of filth and rather questionable looking crumbs that may have been around since Michael Barrymore could take a swim in public. However hard I scrubbed, I was left with a kitchen that would be too unsanitary to cook dinner for a dog. This was not good news for my love handles; the future didnt look rosy for them. After much deliberation I decided that the size zero lollipop head look just wouldnt suit me, and that I should continue to eat. I needed a new kitchen.
If you look in the phone book there are numerous lesser known companies that will design and fit kitchens for you. I just didnt have the time to shop around as much as I would have liked and opted to visit B&Q and MFI. My visit to B&Q was fairly traumatic to say the least but that would be a whole other review. MFI seemed to be the lesser of two evils.
MFI has a large range of kitchens suitable for all budgets. Unlike B&Q, MFI is more of a showroom, and doesnt hold any items in stock within the store. You can see all the kitchens on offer on their website, and I would recommend having a look at this before you visit the store. When you walk around the store, the ranges of kitchens and types of worktops etc are clearly labelled. I would advise that you take a notebook to jot down the name of any sinks or laminates that take your fancy as it is easy to get confused with the wide range of styles available.
In order to compare the prices of each kitchen range, there are information cards by each one that show the price of a typical 8 unit example. I opted for a Hygena Kitchen, which is in the lower price range (still waiting for that lottery win) and tried not to be seduced by the extremely snazzy granite worktops that cost more that a years salary. If you are loaded then the more luxurious Schreiber kitchens might be more your cup of tea.
MFI sell all the appliances that you will need for your kitchen, but unless you are getting integrated appliances, or you enjoy throwing your money away, get them elsewhere. To give you an example, a 60cm stainless steel chimney hood would have cost me over £160 from MFI, and I bought one from Currys for less than £100.
It is best to book an appointment with a sales person before your visit to ensure that you will be seen. In order to obtain a fairly accurate quote at this point, you should take the measurements of your kitchen with you, and sketch a basic plan remembering to mark where your windows, doors, and sink are located.
Once you have decided which range you are going to go for, and you have chosen a worktop and any sinks etc that you need, you can sit down with the salesperson and they will draw out a plan for you on their fancy computer. Using your measurements, they will tell you how many units you can fit in, and help you pick the appropriate sizes. Then they print out a nice little picture of how your kitchen would look. After that, hold your breath while they calculate the cost. This is always going to be more than you anticipate by the time you add the cost of the pelmet, etc. Again, if they offer to supply any down lighters or drawer organisers for you, I would suggest that you get them for a third of the price elsewhere.
In addition to the cost of the kitchen, they will also give you a quote to have the kitchen fitted. This is very expensive, and will cost at least one thousand pounds for a small kitchen. You can check in your phone book for local kitchen fitters, which will almost always be cheaper, but this can prove to be a hassle as I discovered the hard way! If you are happy with the price, you must pay for the kitchen there and then, or agree to one of their finance plans. In my opinion, it is always better to shop around for a loan and I wouldnt touch theirs with a very large bargepole. Finally, you are given a choice of dates for delivery, and you arrange an appointment for the salesperson to call at your home to double check the measurements.
THE HOME VISIT
This is a service that MFI provides free of charge, and it is relatively quick and painless. When the salesperson came to my flat, there was a 2cm difference in the measurements. You must be prepared for the fact that if your measurements are way out, then the cost of the kitchen could go up or down. In my case, the price didnt change but the 2cm was serious enough to warrant a whole new order, and the delivery date had to be put back two weeks. When I was sent a new invoice, I noticed that an item was missing. They could not link this to my order, and I was told that I would have to wait a further 10 days for it. This postponed the fitting of my kitchen even further. Luckily, the takeaways I was ordering every night was ensuring the maintenance of my love handles.
The delivery will be either between 8am-1pm or 1pm-6pm. You can phone the delivery line two days beforehand for your delivery time. Make sure that you have cleared plenty of space for all the boxes when they have arrived. My delivery arrived when it was supposed to. When I opened the door I was faced with a large hairy man with a rather confused look on his face, scratching his head. Ahll no get that worktop up these stairs doll! He said Its tae long!
Well, what on earth am I supposed to do with it then? I gasped.
Ahll just leave it doon in the close outside like. Like hell you will, I thought, thinking of how much Id just forked out for my nice gloss laminate worktop. I had visions of buckfast drinking youngsters having their wicked way with it once it grew dark, and I was not prepared to have my new purchase violated in such a manner. I stormed downstairs to find the organ grinder and gave him a glare that I have perfected over many years in teaching, with my hands planted firmly on my hips. Luckily, this seemed to work, and my worktop was placed on my living room floor stretched out all the way into the hall, where I proceeded to trip over it approximately every five minutes for the following six weeks.
Most Kitchen fitters will not touch a flat pack kitchen, and you will have to assemble the units yourself. Try to find some gullible chums to help you out if you can. I decided to embark on this project by myself, as I was in one of my strong independent woman moods, and Im pretty handy with a screwdriver even if I do say so myself. If youre really smart, youll check all the boxes as soon as they arrive. Two of the kitchen units had broken panels in my case, and Im glad that I found this out sooner rather than later. MFI exchanged these without any problems, but I had to arrange for their delivery which delayed my kitchen fitting even further! The boxes have instructions inside, and these are pretty easy to follow. If you have bought décor end panels (they match the colour of your doors) for your end units, make sure that you use these instead of the relevant side panels in the box. I didnt realise this straight away, and had to dismantle a couple of the units in order to fix it. I can assure you that the air turned blue. It isnt necessary for you to affix the doors at this point.
I purchased my kitchen during the last week of a sale and was told that I got it half-price. As the sale is still on two months later, I think that this is a tad misleading. The MFI customer service is reasonable. I called the helpline for stupid people who cant put their furniture together after I became confused over a drawer unit, and this was very useful. They also exchanged units with broken parts without any quibble. A word of warning if this happens to you, dont tell them if the box was bashed as they try to recover the cost from the courier and this will take twice as long. I was peeved that the delivery date of my order had to be changed over a very small changed, and then an item was missed off the second order. As I was a renovation virgin before this experience, I have nothing to compare their service to, but it certainly could have been better. The kitchen itself is looking good so far.
Jeffery Deaver is one of Americas most prolific crime writers, and his novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His book The Bone Collector was made into a film starring Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme. Deavers latest offering is the seventh instalment in the Lincoln Rhyme series.
Rhyme was the former head of forensics at the NYPD but is now a paraplegic. His protégée Amelia Sachs, a young cop with model looks, acts as his eyes and ears on the field. The two characters have a very close relationship and are romantically involved. In The Cold Moon they work together to catch a serial killer who goes by the name of The Watchmaker. The killer is obsessed with torture and murders his victims in a way that will ensure their maximum suffering. He appears to be as smart as Rhyme, and with eight more victims planned, the clock is ticking.
Sachs is given her own Homicide case as lead Detective for the first time, and this causes conflict with the Watchmaker case as she struggles to divide her time between the two. She is helped out by eager rookie cop Pulaski, whom she takes under her wing. As Sachs digs deeper into what seemed to be a straightforward suicide case, she unearths family secrets and corruption within the force. These revelations put her life in danger and lead her to question her future in the police force.
Deaver has used The Cold Moon to introduce his latest protagonist, Special Agent Kathryn Dance. Dance is an expert in body language and a brilliant interrogator. She assists Sachs and Rhyme in their investigations, and although Rhyme is initially very sceptical of her specialist skills, she eventually earns his respect. Dance is a pretty interesting character, and I enjoyed the scenes where she conducts her interviews. Her ability to read body language makes her seem like a mind reader, but Deaver has described her technique in a convincing manner.
On the whole, I found The Cold Moon to be a real page turner. About half way through the book, the case appeared to be solved, and I was quite disappointed, but there were still plenty of twists and turns left to keep a thriller lover like myself interested. However, there were so many red herrings and curveballs that the plot began to seem slightly absurd, and I dont say that lightly. Naturally, Rhyme has figured everything out in the end, which is convenient for Deaver of course, but he doesnt explain Rhymes thought processes or reasoning in a way that I would have liked. I just couldnt see how Rhyme could possibly have second guessed the Watchmaker in the way that he did.
I dont believe in the ongoing romance between Sachs and Rhyme, and I dont feel that it adds anything to the story. There is just no chemistry between the two characters, and their relationship seems more like a professional one. However, this is the first Deaver book that I have read, so perhaps if I dipped into some of the other Lincoln Rhyme books the relationship between the two might appear more meaningful.
Deavers latest novel, The Sleeping Doll features Kathryn Dance as the main character, and it looks like it might be worth a read. As for The Cold Moon, die hard Lincoln Rhyme fans wont be disappointed. Personally, I dont think hes a patch on protagonists such as Jack Reacher or Myron Bolitar. However, I liked the book enough to plan on reading other novels in this series
The Cold Moon is available in Tesco or Asda for less than £4 at the moment.
Markus Zusak grew up hearing stories about Nazis, the bombing of Munich and about Jews being marched through his mothers small, German town. He wanted to tell the story of the other side of Nazi Germany, about the rebellious children and people who didnt follow the rules, and hid Jews in their houses. Since the publication of The Book Thief, Zusak has been dubbed a literary phenomena by Australian and American critics.
This is a story narrated by Death. It is an interesting concept to have Death as a character with thoughts and feelings, and it actually works well. I particularly liked the image of Death gathering up souls in his arms and taking them to their resting place. The main character Liesel has her first encounter with Death when her younger brother dies. Death develops a fascination with this young girl and it is through his eyes that we watch her grow and follow her story.
In January 1939 Liesel Meminger is taken to Molching, a town near Munich, to be fostered. Her father has been taken away and her mother is unable to look after her. Her brother, Werner, does not survive the journey, and it is at his burial that she steals her first book The Gravediggers Handbook. Liesel is taken in by the Hubermann family. Rosa, her foster mother, is a larger than life and grumpy character who swears constantly! In contrast, her accordion-playing foster father Hans is a gentle soul who patiently teaches her to read and write and consoles her during her night terrors. Liesels partner in crime is a young boy called Rudy, who has an obsession with the runner Jesse Owens. He lives in hope of getting a kiss from Liesel, who always rebukes his advances and has no interest in Romance. Together they commit small acts of defiance against the Nazi regime. When the Hubermanns agree to hide a frightened Jewish man in their basement, their lives are turned upside down. Leisel develops a close friendship with him, and reads to him as he fights with Death. In turn, he writes books for her over the whitewashed pages of Hitlers Mein kampf. Their growing relationship is central to the plot.
Leisel steals books as a means to compensate for her losses. She takes great comfort from the written word, and gives comfort to others by reading aloud in the bomb shelter to distract people from the horrors of what is happening outside. The power of words is a recurring theme in the story.
This book gives us an insight into what life was like for ordinary German citizens during the war. A war that they did not necessarily support. I found the lack of Nazi stereotyping very refreshing. Instead of villainising the enemy, Zusak makes them human. We see how they suffer through the raids of Allied bombs and the loss of friends and family, and we sympathise with Hans as he is forced to enlist and fight a war he does not believe in.
In some countries The Book Thief is marketed towards young adults, and in others it is marketed as an adult book. Like Harry Potter, it is available here with either an adult or a child cover. Regardless of who the book is aimed towards, I thought that this was one of the most beautiful and moving stories that I have ever read. Im not sure if I have ever cried from reading a book, but I sobbed my way through the last fifty or so pages of this one. There is often a kind of snobbery towards books that may have been written for younger readers (hence the choice of book covers) but this is a book with adult themes.
When I was a child, I would often read my favourite books over and over again, savouring every single word. This is the only book I have read as an adult that would fall into that category. It has been a long time since I read a book twice, but I enjoyed this story so much that I do plan to dip into it again. It made me laugh, it made me weep, and it made me think.
The Book Thief is not yet available in paperback. It can be purchased from www.play.com for £9.99
I must admit to being a bit of a junkie when it comes to beauty products. Using all those lotions and potions makes me feel a bit pampered, even if I only look marginally better for it! Lets face it; we dont all get out of bed in the morning looking like Angelina Jolie. Some of us dont even get out of bed in the morning looking human! I, for one, need all the help I can get. Here are the beauty products that I just cannot do without:
MAX FACTOR 2000 CALORIE MASCARA £7.99rrp
Ive tried lots of mascaras over the years; the ones that promise to volumise and separate, the ones with a base coat, the ones with the teeny brushes, yet I always come back to this one. For full on sex kitten eyelashes you cant beat 2000 calorie mascara in black. Its only downside is that it isnt waterproof (as it claims to be), so cry babies like me can end up with panda eyes after a good greet. 2000 calorie is also available in black/brown for the fairer glamour pusses. If only all things containing 2000 calories were this good for your appearance
SUPERDRUGS VITAMIN E BODY SCRUB - £1.99
Exfoliation is a weekly ritual for me. It is important to get rid of all those dead skin cells (euuurgh!) to stop your skin from becoming tired looking. If youve never exfoliated before, then you basically squirt some body scrub onto the palm of your hand and massage it over your naked self in circular motions. I find it easiest to do this in the shower. Vitamin E body scrub is cheap and cheerful, and it does what is says on the tin. My skin always feels amazingly smooth after using this. A word of warning this product might not be suitable for those of you with sensitive skin. Youd have do buy a separate facial scrub to use on your face as they are more gentle, I tend to use the Apri range for this.
THE SANCTUARY SALT SCRUB - £7.95
This is one of those products that I save for days when Im feeling a bit crappy. It is a little pricey, but does come in quite a posh looking jar! Unlike most scrubs, it is best to use this in the bath. You rub in into wet skin, and then lie back and have a good soak. It smells heavenly. The Dead Sea salts exfoliate, and the blend of almond, jojoba and evening primrose oils intensively moisturise your skin. After using this you come out of the tub with silky skin, smelling like a dream. It comes in a sachet for 99p if youd like to try it before splashing out on a jar.
VASELINE from £0.99
I always carry a little blue tin of Vaseline in my handbag, and at this time of year it is essential. I apply it regularly to stop my lips from becoming dry and chapped (You just never know when a handsome man may grab you and kiss you Hollywood style! Well I live in hope ) and it has other uses too. Vaseline can be used to soothe nappy rash, groom your eyebrows, and condition your eyelashes amongst other things. It isnt the most luxurious of products, but Im not willing to pay an extra £5 or so for a product that has a nice smell or prettier packaging.
PALMERS COCOA BUTTER from £1.98
This is a product that I absolutely swear by for super soft skin. It is an unbeatable moisturiser for your body, and is effective at helping to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. There is now a wide range of Palmers products, but I always stick to the original Cocoa Butter formula. I basically rub it in all over my body (apart from my face) every morning, and it keeps my skin baby soft. If I ever run out for a few days, my skin is noticeably drier. Im convinced that Cocoa Butter prevents razor burn too as Ive never had this on my legs since I started using it. The only thing that I dont like about the product is the smell, which is a bit too sickly sweet for my liking. It is available fragrance free, but I never seem to be able to find it!
ESTEE LAUDER ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR EYE RECOVERY COMPLEX - £32.00
I am fighting the aging process every step of the way, and when it comes to facial skin care this is one area that I am prepared to splash out on. I discovered this little beauty after winning skincare products from Estee Lauder, so luckily I was able to try it out for free, and Id been eyeing (excuse the pun) it up for a while. This eye recovery complex can be applied day or night underneath your normal eye cream. It moisturises, reinforces the skin barrier, reduces the appearance of dark circles and helps to repair and prevent environmental damage. The jar comes with a little plastic applicator which you use to dab the ointment around the eye area. You then blend it in with your ring finger. It leaves the skin around the eyes velvety smooth. It is pricey, but hey youre worth it!
CLINIQUE SUPER DEFENCE MOISTURISER from £24.00
This is another weapon of mine in my fight against wrinkles. Super Defence has an SPF of 25 and protects from UVB/UVA rays. My friends find it quite amusing that I insist on using an SPF of 25 in Scotland, but Ill have the last laugh when were all 50 and I have the skin of a 30 year old!
SUNSILK CARE & REPAIR SHAMPOO from £1.99
For years I always bought whatever shampoo was on buy one get one free in Boots or in the supermarket because I wasnt too fussed about what shampoo I used. Now I always buy Sunsilk Care and Repair and my hair has never looked better. It is shinier, smoother and healthier that it has ever been. My hairdresser actually commented on it as well, so it is not just my imagination! This product is marketed for dry hair, which is not really my hair type, but it has worked wonders regardless and didnt break the bank. The shampoo gives great protection against the daily wear and tear of blow drying and straightening etc. I strongly recommend for all your crowning glories!
ST TROPEZ WHIPPED BRONZE SELF-TANNING MOUSSE from £20.00
Im one of those pale and interesting types. I dont get a suntan, only bright red stripes down my legs and a red face if Ive been out in the sun too long. For years I avoided fake tan like the plague because I hate the orange look and was convinced that no tanning product would look natural on me. Last year I went for a St Tropez spray tan and was so impressed with the results that I decided to buy the mousse and try and achieve the same result at home. The great thing about St Tropez is that it works with your natural skin tone so it looks totally natural. Honestly, I was amazed at how healthy it made me look! Before using the mousse you should exfoliate and moisturise, but you dont need to use St Tropez products for this. Make sure that you put on plastic gloves before applying the mousse, as your hands could get stained. I usually work from my feet up, and rub in the mousse in long strokes. When you have finished you might look a bit dark and blotchy. It is best to do this at night, and then let the mousse work as you sleep you will have to wash the sheets afterwards though. When you get into the shower in the morning you see most of the colour going down the plughole but you will be left looking like I bronzed goddess I promise!
LEE STAFFORD POKER STRAIGHT FLAT IRON SPRAY - £4.99
I use hair straighteners on an almost daily basis, and Im sure that my hair would have been burnt to a frazzle long ago if it wasnt for this little pink bottle of sweet smelling goodness. Just squirt a little bit of this stuff onto each section of your hair before running the irons over it et voila! You are protected. Go forth and straighten.
I started writing on Dooyoo a couple of months ago, and for a while it was an enjoyable enough hobby. Im not really bothered about my ratings, and getting crowns isnt important to me. At the moment Ive just lost interest. There are a lot of really nice people, and great writers on Dooyoo, but I just feel that there is a great deal of pettiness at times.
Why do certain members feel that they have a god given right to receive crowns? Ive never read a crowned review that I felt didnt deserve it, and Ive read plenty of great reviews that didnt get crowned. Maybe there is some bias when the crowns are awarded, but Im not going to have a cow over it man. I dont know if the guides do get more crowns or not, nor do I care! This is an issue that some people get far too worked up over.
Ive seen perfectly good, concise reviews get poor ratings because of their length, which is a bit unfair. Some reviews dont have to be lengthy in order to be good. If Im reading a review about breakfast cereal, or a chocolate cake I just want to know if it tastes good, I dont want to read a 2000 word essay about it. I would want to read a longer and more detailed review if it was for something I was going to fork out a lot of money for, like a computer. I dont enjoy reading speakers corner reviews that are too short. You just cant do a topic like abortion any justice with one paragraph.
Some members are outraged if you rate them anything other than Very useful, and will bombard you with comments about why you were wrong to give them a lower rating. That really annoys me . I just find it so arrogant, and it is also quite intimidating. Some people have such an inflated sense of self-importance. Revenge ratings are so petty, but I think it is best to just ignore them rather than get into an argument about it.
Why do people get so annoyed about off topic comments being left on their reviews? Unless the comment is insulting or argumentative, I dont see what the big problem is and I find it really pedantic.
I wish people wouldnt write nominated in the comments sections. It is pure brown nosing in the hope of receiving reciprocal nominations. You can let somebody know that their review is excellent without having to say that youve nominated it.
Some of the comments that members write are far too personal. Leaving negative comments about a review is fair enough, but leaving nasty comments about the person who wrote it is out of order.
I didnt take Dooyoo too seriously at first, but recently some of the things that members have said and done have upset me, so Ive had enough. I dont need somebody that Ive never even met questioning my ability as a teacher on the basis of a review. I dont need people that Ive never met pretending to be my friends when they are just taking the piss out of me, and I dont need crowns or VUs to make me feel good about myself.
I know that this is a poorly structured rant, but right now I dont give a toss, so bring on the NUs because Im going to eat my body weight in chocolate and enjoy my holiday from Dooyoo.
I rarely pay full price for a book. You can get chart books for £4-5 in the major supermarkets, and failing that there are always the 3 for 2 offers at Borders or Waterstones. I love reading, but I just think that books are pretty expensive, and pick up most of my reading material from the library. Last year one of my friends stuck my name down for a catalogue from The Book People, and now they send me one a month. I have bought quite a lot of books from them that were unbelievably cheap! For example, Ive got a massive Times Atlas of the World that costs £75 in the shops, and I picked it up from The Book People for £15 which was an absolute bargain.
The Book People buy all of their stock in bulk, and sell directly to the customer, which allows them to offer such huge savings. They are not a book club, so you can order from them as often as you like, with no further obligation to buy anything. There is not a massive range of titles to choose from, but they do have quite a mixture of books on offer.
Here are a few examples of what they are selling in their current catalogue:
A set of 10 childrens picture books - RRP £49.90 TBP £9.99
The Chronicles of Narnia (Hardback) RRP £90.00 TBP £20.00
A set of 10 Garbiel Garcia Marquez books RRP £81.90 TBP £9.99
Jamie Oliver, Jamies Italy (Hardback) RRP £20.00 TBP £4.99
BBCs Coast (Hardback) RRP £20.00 TBP £6.99
Gordon Ramsay, Humble Pie (Hardback) RRP £18.99 TBP £6.99
The Book People often sell sets of books by particular authors, but they do sell individual books as well. They offer a good range of educational books for children too.
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
If you order from The Book People three times in a six month period, then you can become a Points Passport Holder. All of the books in the catalogue have a certain number of points awarded to them, typically between 1 and 9 points, depending on how expensive the purchase is. Once you are a Points Passport Holder, you can begin collecting points for all the books that you buy, and you can redeem them for free books.
75 points gets you a book worth £2.99
100 Points gets you a book worth 3.99
125 points gets you a book worth £4.99
As a Points Passport Holder, you get an automatic upgrade to priority postage and packing that guarantees your books will be with you within two working days of placing your order. You are also given a priority telephone number, and are given unique offers and special promotions only available to Points Passport Holders. Ive not joined the loyalty scheme yet, but I have a friend who has picked up quite a few free books this way.
HOW TO ORDER
The Book People have a large distributor network, and have reps that visit many places of work including schools, offices and hospitals. They drop off books for you to have a look at, and come back at a later date to pick up orders. The distributors visit each locality every six weeks, and the books are delivered to your place of work rather than your home address. For more information e mail email@example.com
To obtain a free monthly catalogue call 0870 607 7740. The lines are open seven days a week from 8am until 8pm. You can phone the same number to place your order. If you prefer to post your order, there is an order form at the back of the catalogue, and you can enclose a cheque or postal order as payment.
The best way to order books is via the internet, because you will see a wider range of books available on line. The website is divided into categories for ease of use, and you can also make secure payments online. Visit www.thebookpeople.co.uk
If you are paying over the phone or on the website, The Book People accept the following cards; MasterCard, Visa, Delta, Maestro/Switch, Solo, and Visa Electron.
The standard UK delivery costs £3.50 (£2.50 for OAPs and registered disabled), and the books will be with you in 5 7 days. If you live in the back of beyond, (certain areas in Scotland, N Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) then you will be charged an additional £3.50. There is a list of the applicable postcodes in the catalogue and on the website. Next day delivery is available if you place your order before noon, and it costs £5.95. Obviously, this service is not available in all areas, but you can check with customer service. At the moment, they are offering free delivery for all orders. If you are not happy with your books when they arrive, then you can return them within 28 days for a full refund.
Ive ordered from The Book People several times, and although the books are very cheap, they are of good quality. Ive stocked up on loads of childrens activity books and reference books that were extremely cheap and excellent value. All of my orders have arrived within a couple of days. The Book People dont offer a huge range of novels, and most of the novels that they do sell are sold as sets. However I would say that their prices are unbeatable for the books that they do have. They have some great offers, and it is well worth checking out their website in the run up to Christmas. I just bought Gordon Ramsays biography for a friends birthday and it cost me £15. Today I received The Book People catalogue, and they are selling it for £6.99! If you love bargain books, this is the company for you.