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Reviews Written by
Jo Bennie (UK)
(VINE VOICE)   

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The Madwoman Upstairs
The Madwoman Upstairs
by Catherine Lowell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

3.0 out of 5 stars In two minds..., 30 Jan. 2016
This review is from: The Madwoman Upstairs (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have rarely been so conflicted about a book. On the one hand this is a fun sweet romance come mystery, a fun ride through academic life and the books and lives of the Brontės.

Samantha is a distant descendant of the Brontės. Idiosyncratically home schooled by her obsessive father she come to Old College, Oxford to study modern literary theory. Her father is dead, and her tutor Orville young, good looking and merciless. As she is shown to her room she realises that rather than being in comfortable student rooms she has been housed at the top of a twisting flight of stairs in a tall spooky tower. Her room is decrepit complete with eerie painting.

We follow Samantha as she comes to terms with the loss of her father, the rigors of academic study, her family legacy and the obsession with it of those around her.

I think I found it both compelling but a little shaky in terms of plot and character. This had the potential to be a much better book.


Go Stationery Shimmer A6 Gold Polka Dots Notebook - Pink
Go Stationery Shimmer A6 Gold Polka Dots Notebook - Pink
Price: £5.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty but a bit expensive, 22 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A nice little book just the right size for popping in a bag. Good quality paper and lined pages, flexible board cover. A little expensive for what you're getting


Vax C85-Z2-Pe Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, 900 W
Vax C85-Z2-Pe Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, 900 W
Price: £115.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Good but relatively pricey, 20 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Packaging/Looks/Build
The product was very well packaged in a compact box. Upon unpacking it looked good and well built with strong plastics used in its construction.
The tools looked sturdy and very practical with the "turbo tool" looking particularly sexy!
The instrctions were very clear and it was easy to put together
Use
Upon initial startup the product was very noisy even at the lower setting but showed amazing suction. I had to put it on the lowest setting or it just sooked the rug off the floor. It was a bit clumsy to move, falling over quite alot. One of the small wheels kept falling off of the main tool but clipped back on easily. The dust compartment is very easy to take off and empty but it was very small. No bags though so saves money.
Dog Hairs
As the product is called a "Pet" the real test would be for my particularly stubborn Labrador's hairs! Initially it was not making an impact on them but as I messed about with the settings and used the different tools I found it quite effective. The turbo tool looks impressive but didn't work very well on carpet, again maybe more trial and error is needed. It didn't pick up all the hair but that is a difficult task when a Labrador is concerned!
The dust compartment did get clogged a couple of times with the amount of hair.
Conclusion
A very robust (apart from the small wheel) product which looks good. Picked up the dog hairs better than any other vaccuum we have used but was not a massive improvement on our Henry which cost a third of the price.


The Starlings & Other Stories
The Starlings & Other Stories
by Murder Squad and Accomplices
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning combination of pictures and stories, 11 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The concept is simple enough. Give 12 writers a photo each, get them to write a short inspired by it and publish the collection. But these are David Wilson's brilliant dark brooding photographs of rural Pembrokeshire: of decaying farmhouses, low angles, leafless trees and threatening skies. And the authors are the Murder Squad and Accomplices, a group of seasoned award winning crime and thriller writers. The book is heavy as each story is preceded by a high quality copy of the Wilson photograph the author was inspired by. I devoured the book in one sitting, a breathless set of glittering well crafted mysteries twisting, surprising, shocking and moving. Loved it.


Go Stationery Hearts A5 Notebook - Pink
Go Stationery Hearts A5 Notebook - Pink
Price: £3.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty little notebook, 8 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well made A5 spiral bound notebook, the pages are of a good weight and the lines are light grey and wide spaced


Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout Plus LED with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit, Black
Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout Plus LED with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit, Black
Price: £54.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Works, is fun but expensive, 29 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I usually grow herbs on my windowsill with mixed success so I was intrigued by the Aerogrow. It is compact and fitted neatly on my kitchen worktop. To begin with I found it noisy as the water bubbles continuously for 14 hours a day but I barely notice now. The unit is easy to set up and very mess free: the seeds grow from little pods in conical plastic cages and just slot into holes. Water and fertiliser are all that needs topped up.

Germination was very quick on the dill, slower on the basil and the parsley has only just germinated 20 days in. This does mean that whilst the light should really be moved up because the tallest plant is touching it it also needs kept down to encourage the newly germinated onemail

Great gadget but not cheap


L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick - Violet Saturn (Number 214)
L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick - Violet Saturn (Number 214)
Price: £5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Luxurious, 29 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A moderately expensive lipstick that is worth the price. The lipstick is luxuriously creamy and the colour a subtle darkening of my natural lip colour, with the addition of shimmery smoothness. Not five stars because a little expensive


Maybeline 24hr Super Stay Lip Stick 110 Quartz Star
Maybeline 24hr Super Stay Lip Stick 110 Quartz Star
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty, good value and lovely smell, 14 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A lovely neat double ended stick, first you apply the lip colour which smells sweetly fruity. This colour was very pretty with a bit of sparkle. The colour dried quickly and then you use the clever little applicator in the other end to put a smooth sealing lip balm. Feels deliciously girly


Maybelline Volum' Express Lift-up Mascara
Maybelline Volum' Express Lift-up Mascara
Price: £5.76

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, good value for money, 14 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A light curved brush puts a really light layer of mascara on the eyelashes without clumping


Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner - Black (Number 01)
Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner - Black (Number 01)
Price: £7.98

3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use but a bit thin, 14 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Set comprises a stylish little glass pot of black eyeliner and double ended brush / smudger applicator. The brush creates a lovely sharp line and the smudger does its job well, but the pigment is more a greasey grey than intense Kohl black


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