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THE PAINTED MAN By Peter V. Brett – Reviewed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by stanleyriiks

I’ve been really getting into fast-paced, action packed SF recently, so it was a nice change to take on the more sedate pace of fantasy. Before I go any further I have to say I spent a great 544 pages with this book, this is the first book in a series that’s going to be absolutely epic. Almost the entire first book is an introduction, building up the three main characters of Arlan, Rojer, and Leesha as they grow from childhood to adulthood, dealing with their various separate dramas and are brought together (late in the book) by circumstance. You see the world they live in lives in fear of the dark. When the sun sets corelings (demons) come out of the earth and eat and kill humans, and have done for the past three hundred years. Only wards (ancient writing) learnt only by a precious few can be used to protect them, and only then if the wards are perfect. Any imperfection will be found by the demons.

The world in which the story is set is a tired, dangerous place, humans have mostly given up fighting, instead prepared to hide and live a small, simple life, without travel, without night, and with danger just outside their warded walls and doors. There’s so much to the world that Brett has created that it would take more space than we have here to describe it all, suffice to say, it is brilliantly realised, with a nicely tied-in religion, a wide range of characters, and purposeful travel throughout the known lands to give us a nice guide tour, with much opportunity for expansion.

The only problem is that most of the book feels like an introduction or prologue. We don’t get to meet the Painted Man, as such, of the title until near the end of the book. There’s so much information on the characters that they do stick with you, but at what cost? There’s some action, and the final battle is great, but it takes it’s time to get there.

This is a difficult book to review alone, as it’s obviously not meant to be read individually. This is most definitely the first part of a mammoth series, which will no doubt be spectacularly entertaining and brilliant, but without the next book it’s so difficult to tell. A very good first instalment in the series, but I find myself reserving judgement until more titles in the series are available, although I will definitely be ordering the second book in the series very soon. (The cliff-hanger ending is ridiculously exciting!)

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Shopping Intelligently: Part 2

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by stanleyriiks

We’re talking about groceries here, if you’re even thinking about any other kind of shop you need to stop right now. Unless you can’t eat it or drink it, or need it for washing, then don’t buy it.

Never ever go shopping without a list. Big mistake. Also, have something to eat and drink before you go, so you won’t be tempted to buy yourself a snack (this is my biggest problem, I go to buy myself some lunch and eat up with £20.00 worth of crisps, biscuits and chocolate!).

Stick to the list!

You will need to buy essentials, food, drinks, cleaning stuff, washing powders, you know the type of thing. Check out the offers, half price and buy one get one free (BOGOF) are the best. If they have something you will use, shampoo, shower gel, frozen pizza, toothpaste, get double you normally would. If it’s something you use all year-round such as shower gel, then stock up when it’s BOGOF. I recently bought sixteen bottles of Original Source Shower Gel in Tesco when they had a BOGOF offer which will keep me going for several months, at half the cost.

It’s important you don’t get carried away with offers. Never buy anything you might use just because it’s on sale, only things you will definitely use and are on your list.

If you do internet shopping it’s much easier to check all the offers, it’s how I choose half my shopping.

It’s also worth changing your supermarket once in a while. The big supermarkets will often send you a discount voucher to use online to entice you back, if you haven’t been there for a couple of months.

Shopping intelligently is about not buying more than you need, making offers work for you, and adding value to every purchase.