Reviews by zendai

Fowler's Household Helps

by A.L. Fowler

This book comes from a time when electricity had become "no longer just for the rich" as the book puts it, and offers the homeowner some advice on how to use it and all the other new marvels of the home.

The book also has hundreds of tips some rather dated but some that are still very useful. If you have access to half a lemon, a bucket of warm water and some vinegar then there's very few domestic disasters this book can't guide you through safely!

Some of the solutions seem so unlikely that I tried a few of them to see if they really work and I haven't found one that doesn't yet. In fact this book actually saved me quite a lot of money on a house repair that I thought beyond my abilities but turns out to have an elegantly simple and low tech solution!

Reviewed on 2009.05.15

Games for Hallow-e'en

by Mary E. Blain

Most of the games in this book are really just variations on picking a letter to determine the name of your future lover, the sort of games played by little girls for centuries. What's interesting though is that the author of this book is clearly either a pyromaniac or just plain hates children.

The very first game in the book suggests you place a cardboard box over your gas jets with some holes cut out in it to make a spooky face. If that wasn't flammable enough for you the book goes on to suggest cramming it full of crepe paper. The author rather reluctantly adds not to let the entire thing burst into flames.

My other favourite is the fun game of inviting your friends to thrust their hands into a bowl of flaming brandy to retrieve pieces of burning fruit. The person who gets the most is rewarded with being the one most likely to get married that year. Presumably to another person with blackened stumps instead of fingers.

Only really worth a read if you plan to set fire to your neighbours on halloween and want something to blame it on. None of the other games are really that interesting.

Reviewed on 2009.05.15

Pushbutton War

by Joseph P. Martino

I downloaded this book because of the interesting title but within a couple of paragraphs I realised it wasn't going to be that great. The writing is extremely clunky and the characters are so wooden the Apache character could hollow them out and use them as a canoe.

Talking of the Apache guy, don't ever ask him anything! You only have to ask this chap if he wants a cup of coffee and he'll hit you with six paragraphs detailing his proud heritage and what he thinks about life in general. They should have called him Big Chief Exposition. The other characters are equally daft.

The story also goes to great pains to eliminate any excitement that the situation might hold early on.

Reviewed on 2009.05.15

The Monster Men

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

This book is superb. A simple mad scientist tale is turned into a distinctly menacing and believable story that's a real page turner. Good characters, an intelligent plot and even a few savage spears for good measure.

Reviewed on 2009.05.15

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