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Quiverbow (Kent, England)

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No Harm Can Come to a Good Man
No Harm Can Come to a Good Man
by James Smythe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.89

2.0 out of 5 stars Number crunching, 13 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Not far into the future, everyone uses a prediction programme called ClearVista. Fill in the questionnaire and the software will search everything known about you to come up with a percentage to the question you ask about yourself, or anything else for that matter; imagine, "OK Google, will I pass my driving test?". (As a result of this, there is no longer any gambling.) One person to fill in the top rate thousand question form is Laurence Walker, a man running for Presidential nomination, who wants to know what his chance of success is. Walker has paid for ClearVista's premium package that also cobbles together a prediction video.

What starts as an interesting concept soon dissolves into a 300 page narrative of one man's fall into the abyss of despair and nervous breakdown. Granted, the death of his seven year old son, which he blames himself for, would be enough to send anyone over the edge but Walker isn't helped by an incessant media that wants to find out every scrap of information about him, whatever the legalities involved. The prediction of ClearVista is just that, a prediction, but the intrusion of media outlets is such that they are in a position to make such a foretelling actually happen.

I found myself changing sides on numerous occasions, wondering why a potential presidential candidate can't see what's happening. Manipulative a politician may be, but unless television and print plays the same game, they'll lose. Mob rule also plays its part when people really do believe everything they're told. Maybe technology should take a step back for a while. After all, there are some things about ourselves we are better off not knowing, especially when the prediction can't change, which somewhat defeats the whole point of something like ClearVista. If it can foretell who will win the next election, why bother voting. If it tells the world that there will be an economic recession followed by a five year slump then World War III, anarchy is the only route out of town. Yes, the premise may have been intriguing to begin with but if you place yourself as a viewer of what occurs (surely the aim of any author), you'll be thinking there isn't any point as everything has already been decided for all of us.

The numbers might not lie but the text does. A character asks, "Do you know how many people work here [at ClearVista]? Me. Just me." Then, a few lines later says about someone else, "He works for ClearVista." Eh? A long-winded psychological thriller that didn't offer up any surprises and was, in all honesty, quite tedious in many places.

All Day and a Night (Ellie Hatcher)
All Day and a Night (Ellie Hatcher)
by Alafair Burke
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Set me free, 9 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
No, this isn't a poorly spelled biography of The Kinks; the title comes from what American convicts refer to as a life sentence.

Ellie Hatcher and Jeffrey James “J J” Rogan are a couple of New York City detectives assigned as a fresh pair of eyes to an 18 year old conviction of a serial killer when a psychotherapist is murdered and new evidence turns up which may link the two cases. In light of this new evidence, the incarcerated felon is now contesting his original conviction. With a judge agreeing to release the convict due to unreliable evidence in the original investigation, it's up to Hatcher and Rogan to either prove his original guilt or find the real perpetrator. The problem is, the newly released villain’s lawyer is the half sister of one of the victims.

Yes, it's a whodunnit but also a psychological thriller in the did-he-didn't-he mould and a ripping good tale it is too. Both Hatcher and Rogan work well together, and his laconic retorts are sometimes amusing. Meanwhile Carrie, the lawyer, seems totally out of her depth though it's nice to read that the detectives appear to be happy in their lives with no demons to exorcise. They may not like the task they've been assigned but when things escalate, they both realise how a town's future lay in their hands. Not so some of the other characters involved.

There isn't as much descriptive text as you might imagine, as much of what's here is speech, which may very well be the author's style. But it's not detrimental. What makes for that good narrative is when you feel empathy for particular characters but annoyed and disappointed when it turns out you were wrong about them. It's also sad to read that some people are motivated by things other than what's right.

Books in the crime/mystery/thriller genre are rarely straightforward, which makes many worthwhile. This is one such book.

Philips GC2048/80 Easyspeed Steam Iron with 120g Steam Boost and Ceramic Soleplate, 270 ml, 2300 Watt, Purple
Philips GC2048/80 Easyspeed Steam Iron with 120g Steam Boost and Ceramic Soleplate, 270 ml, 2300 Watt, Purple
Offered by BestBuyUk
Price: 54.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Iron(ing) man, 31 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Why is it that whenever you look for an iron, they all seem to come in some variation of blue, or white with blue flashes? (Yes, I know not every iron follows this practice but the shelves do appear to be full of these.) Those nice people at Philips have bucked that trend with this purple offering.

Whilst this doesn't have the weight and gadgets, etc. of a high-end iron, it doesn't come with that equally high price tag either. This might be at the lowest end of the scale in monetary terms but it does do what it's made for. Fill it through the nose and the plate will be ready to use by the time you've laid out your first item of clothing on your board. Considering its weight it was a pleasant surprise to find out how well it got rid of the creases in everything – I have to admit I had been ironing for a while before I was informed I didn't need to do socks and undies (no wonder it was taking so long). What I did find was that it did need filling more often but that's only down to the reservoir capacity. It's not a complaint, just an observation.

If you want something that is easy to use, won't break the bank and is light enough to possibly double up as a travel iron, this is one to keep an eye on.

Melissa & Doug Bella Butterfly Chair
Melissa & Doug Bella Butterfly Chair
Price: 19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Take a seat, 27 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We have a pair of Black's chairs that go everywhere with us. Young Cassie always commandeered one for her own use, but with this Melissa & Doug chair she now has her own. As with the 'grown ups' chairs, this also incorporates a cup holder in the right arm and comes with its own carry bag.

When this chair is set up, the legs click into place so no small fingers will get accidentally trapped, as it cannot be folded up without pushing in two clips at the back of the frame. With the seat and back pink and the arms and legs green (the case is also mainly pink), I don't think this chair will be mislaid.

To know whether this butterfly chair is worthwhile, you need to know how much use it will get. Ordinarily, Cassie goes from one toy to another but on this particular visit, she sat in her new chair and listened as a whole raft of Dora the Explorer books were read to her. She's never usually still long enough for that to happen.

Well worth it.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden First Vehicles Set
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden First Vehicles Set
Price: 15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Planes, vans and automobiles, 26 Aug 2014
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Melissa and Doug is a brand that seems to be taking over the world at an alarming rate. Cassie is two and a half and has an M&D dollshouse with garage. Though she plays with it each time she visits, she does wonder where the cars are. Now she has something to place in the previously empty garage.

This pack has three sturdy wooden vehicles; a lorry, a plane and a car, all coloured yellow and blue. All three also have red wheels, which is where this set loses a star. Whilst the vehicles themselves are of that solid construction, the wheels are flimsy plastic, as are the spindles holding them on. Knowing how children play with these (and adults who join in), I can envisage a few tears when the wheels break. (The spinning propeller on the plane is also red plastic but that won't be used nearly as much.)

Notwithstanding that, this set will provide many hours of enjoyment and will also help with a child's spacial awareness, fine motor control skills (being able to use your fingers) and imaginative play. These vehicles are far superior to those of an all plastic variety.

LOGIK LG10SK13 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 & Note 10.1" Starter Kit
LOGIK LG10SK13 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 & Note 10.1" Starter Kit
Offered by MegaSaleStore
Price: 4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Take a tablet..., 25 Aug 2014
This review is for the Tab 2 7.0" starter kit. (There is no option available for that one.)

I've just bought a Samsung Tab 4 7.0" in the local branch of a well known electronics and white goods megastore. (I don't think it's right to say it was PC World, so I won't.) As with a mobile phone, the first thing anyone should do is get a case to offer some protection if you drop it. I baulked at paying 20+ for one specifically aimed at the size screen I have but I then noticed this.

It came with a screen protector, which was too large for my Tab 4 but I wasn't bothered about that, a cleaning cloth and a soft tipped stylus pen. It folds against itself so it can be used in a landscape semi upright position. Yes, it was for a Tab 2, which means the hole for the camera is in the wrong place so I have to take it out to use that - oh the hardship, but my Tab 4 fitted well but what swayed me in its direction was the price; 1.91! Has to be five stars at that price.

Vax Performance Floor-2-Floor Pet Eco Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Vax Performance Floor-2-Floor Pet Eco Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Price: 129.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Filling the void, 24 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's a bit of a shock when you order an upright vacuum cleaner and it turns up in a squat box. It's then that you realise it has to be put together. Fear not (1); it's easy to do. The back panel slots into the sweeping base, the cylinder also slots into the sweepy thing, the hose then slots into the available tube and the handle clicks into the top. Fear not (2); other than another small part slotted into that back panel to hold it together, that's it.

There are actually three versions available, this one being the middle, Pet, variant. The difference is in the accessories supplied, with the Pet type coming with a 3-in-1 tool, a TurboTool and a blue Tool Connector, which slots inside the handle when not in use. (The TurboTool clicks onto the handle.)

So, how good is it in doing its job? Providing you set the height adjuster to the correct setting, it's good enough for most things. I've tried using the carpet setting (backwards) on a hard floor, and vice versa, and although it does work, unsurprisingly it's nowhere near as efficient. The cylinder can hold a fair amount of detritus but the only annoying aspect of this is the way in which this cylinder is emptied. You have to use both hands; one to hold the container and the other to open a catch holding a hinged base, which seems to be the way a Vax is emptied.

The base itself is wide (maybe slightly too wide) but that's where the attachments come into play to help in all those awkward places. The extension pipe is about three feet long, which is a bit short, so coupled with the handle/connector, the maximum reach for stair cleaning, etc. is about six foot. (The mains lead is 24 foot.)

Aesthetically, it looks nice with the blue flashing setting it off and it does most of the tasks asked, I used it on a carpet that was hoovered the day before and it still collected loads of 'stuff', which was of great surprise to the owner of the carpet. She could see where this vacuum had given it the 'once over' and was mightily impressed. I still think the Vax C91-MZ-P Mach Zen Pet Multicyclonic Bagless Cylinder Vacuum is better for homes with pets but I guess it's down to whether you prefer an upright or a pull along. I don't think it's any noisier or quieter than other cleaners.

This is a 1600W machine (mine is blue but there is at least one other colour [orange] available) but you need to be quick as the EU is outlawing production of all vacuum cleaners over this wattage on September 1st, and from 2017 all cleaners over 900W.

GOODOGS TREAT Dogs Snack for Dogs, Small
GOODOGS TREAT Dogs Snack for Dogs, Small

4.0 out of 5 stars The dog's whatsits., 20 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Archie, doesn't have many teeth left (he is 17) so these seemed to be perfect for him. They're small, soft and he likes them (I know he likes them as he sits by the door where we keep his biscuits and whinges until he gets his own way), and you can't get a better recommendation than that. It doesn't weigh much but there seems to be a lot in the box. A decent treat.

I've given this four stars, as, at the time of reviewing, there is no price given and that does have a bearing on any rating.

1Byone Easy Chime UK Plug-In Wireless Doorbell Door Chime Kit With Sound and LED Flash 36 Melodies Tunes To Choose - Black
1Byone Easy Chime UK Plug-In Wireless Doorbell Door Chime Kit With Sound and LED Flash 36 Melodies Tunes To Choose - Black
Offered by 1Byone Products Inc
Price: 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's somebody at the door. There's somebody at the door, 13 Aug 2014
Length:: 2:28 Mins

Apologies for the quality of the video but it's due to restrictions on size. And I was working without a script and hadn't cycled through all the chimes so didn't know what to expect.

To be honest, of the 36 chimes available here, the only two I can envisage anyone using is the traditional 'ding dong' one and the one following, unless you want your visitors to think they're outside the Trotter's residence in Nelson Mandela House. Mind you, I'm sure there are those who will think nothing of having a Christmas melody in August. The bell push itself can be either screwed onto a door frame or stuck on with the sticky pad. Its working range is a claimed 300 feet (subject to obstructions) but my guess is most people will have this within a fraction of that distance.

It's cheap and does its job and can give a bit of entertainment to the kids when they change the melody whilst you're out and you don't realise until the next visitor comments on your Del Boy 'taste' in musical bell chimes. It's a functional doorbell that's loud enough to hear at the end of the garden. There isn't much more to say about it other than there is also a black version, which seems to have the LED in a different position.

I was sent this by the manufacturer for review purposes.

Summer of Ghosts
Summer of Ghosts
by P.D. Viner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.69

4.0 out of 5 stars If I had a hammer, 9 Aug 2014
This review is from: Summer of Ghosts (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It wasn't until I was part way through this that I realised this is the second book to involve Detective Superintendent Tom Bevans, and also other participants. Though there are references to what occurred in the previous book (and you might think Bevans strange to still hold a candle for a love who didn't reciprocate those feelings), to have read that (or not) won't matter when it comes to involving yourself here. And involved you will be.

DS Bevans is investigating a rather vicious murder that has similarities with two others but everything leads to a dead end and the investigation is shelved. Four years later, having been on sick leave for six months, he returns to duty and wants to reopen the old cases but is denied so he takes it upon himself to delve into things. Things get complicated when the daughter of Europe's top drug dealer is taken causing him to call in a favour owed to him by Bevans.

You might think 'Summer of Ghosts' (the title is about the time and that one character sees and talks to his dead daughter) is about the detective but a good portion relates to Franco, the drug lord. All the characters are well written and we find out a lot about them. I did feel some sympathy towards Franco when he realises, despite all his power and money, he is helpless when his daughter is abducted. DI Jane Thorsen, who secretly fancies Bevans; the put upon Jim Lancing. My own favourite is the somewhat weird and psychotic Patty Lancing, a former crime journalist who is cold towards her husband until she watches Bevans and Franco 'interrogating' someone. She then goes off to shag her husband senseless. Whatever floats your boat.

Viner is good at describing the environment and gives a good word picture image. The pace is just about right, though it did seem strange that the police could find no leads into the murders yet within a few days, Mrs Lancing has discovered things about an initial suspect that no one else seemed to bother about. Still, it's all conducive to the plot. The narrative is set in London but moves to Brighton and the Royal Pavilion in particular, which makes for a better read as they are places that are easy to relate to.

As in many books in the genre, the main characters have demons but these aren't the usual gambling/alcoholic ones to exorcise; no, they are more lasting and not something you can ever envisage overcoming. It's violent in places but also exciting. Maybe things like this really do happen in the 'underworld' and the 'dark web'. The final few sentences suggest the author is currently writing a third book. I liked this.

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