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Reviews Written by
Zola fan "Nana" (Hants, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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El Nino [DVD]
El Nino [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jesús Castro
Price: £14.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Gibraltar Straits drug runners, 22 Nov 2014
This review is from: El Nino [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
El Nino is a young teenager living in Cadiz, close to Gibraltar, thinking of ways to make money during the current economic depression. He’s a whizz at fixing and testing speedboats and decides that a bit of drug running across the Straits from Morocco would be quick and easy money. Together with his friend, El Compi, they meet up with Halil, whose uncle is a drug dealer. They all have aspirations of making a better life for themselves. On the other side of the operations is a cop called Jesus, who - together with his partner Eva - has been on the drug trail for two years hunting Mr Big, El Ingles.

There is so much to this Spanish film, which has English subtitles. The action and stunt work were especially good and for the most part, there wasn’t a dull moment. Despite the subject matter, there was humour – an early scene where police search a container ship is really amusing.

The characters in El Nino were believable and the action scenes quite spectacular. Friendship and loyalty between characters on both sides of the law were tested amid the violence, corruption and suspicions associated with the drug trade.


The Road to Reckoning
The Road to Reckoning
by Robert Lautner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I dreamed a lot. I do not want to write about them dreams", 15 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Road to Reckoning (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Every now and then, I pick up a book and right from the first page I think, ‘I’m going to love this’. Such was this book and it didn’t disappoint.
It’s 1837 and 12-year-old Tom has led a sheltered life in New York as a home-schooled, only child living with his father and aunt. When Tom’s father lands a job as a travelling salesman for Samuel Colt’s new invention – the revolver – he decides to take his son with him. High hopes and spirits are dashed when a tragic incident befalls them and Tom finds himself in a desperate and heartbreaking situation.

The style and pace of Lautner’s writing in this tale reflects perfectly the characters and subject matter of the period. Lautner conveys so much in so few words – this is a real skill - and it’s a joy to read. The descriptions of scenery and lives lived in and around the rough settlements in the shadow of the Appalachians were wonderful. Times were hard and accidents, illness and death often spelt ruination for the whole family. Lawlessness often went unpunished. I could picture it all in my mind’s eye.

This is a relatively short book – 228 pages – but it reads like double its size. I hesitate to describe it as ‘a coming of age’ or ‘rites of passage’ tale (I can’t stand those clapped-out clichés) because the book is so much more. If you enjoy the Texas/mid-west settings of books by Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy and Philipp Meyer, you will love this book.


Always Discreet Medium Incontinence Pants - Pack of 96
Always Discreet Medium Incontinence Pants - Pack of 96
Price: £53.93

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wear with confidence, 15 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Each of the 8 packs contains 12 pairs of pants with built in protection, so there's no need for separate pads. The pants are made of a soft material and have elasticated rouching on the front, back and sides, but the stitching is so fine that you don't feel it. They are very comfy, lightweight and are nicely scented. The waistband is generous and fits where it should, but although the elasticated legs are comfortable, I found them a little too generous - I am a 14-16 and have quite hefty thighs.

People who have a bladder weakness often avoid certain social events for fear of being unable to find a bathroom in time. Using ordinary pads or sanitary towels is not really a solution because they don't have the necessary absorbency. These pants will encourage confidence in people where incontinence is a regular source of anxiety.

As a conscientious Vine member, I wanted to put these pants through an extreme and thorough testing. I stood in the bath and with a full bladder, proceeded to do the necessary. I am happy to report that apart from a small trickle that escaped as a result of the elastic around the leg being too loose, the pants absorbed it all. This is excellent absorbency, given that the category of these pants is `normal' and - if required - there is a `plus' version available.
It should also be remembered that these pants are designed more for leaks so although my test was extreme, it proved that the pants will cope with a full accident. I apologise to anyone who feels offended by the in-depth detail.

I would have given 5 stars but two reasons:
1. The sizing is a little big - this size fits sizes 10-16 but was generous on my size 14-16. If the legs were a little loose on me, what would they be like on someone size 10 or 12?
2. The price works out around 56p per pair of pants. For a person on low income or disability benefits, they would be quite costly. The pants, albeit discreet and comfortable, are not too dissimilar to larger sized disposable nappies so I don't understand the difference in cost.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 19, 2014 10:19 PM GMT


Tomy Counting with Luke the Loop
Tomy Counting with Luke the Loop
Price: £10.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly educational, but good fun., 9 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This brightly coloured toy is a real eye catcher for little ones. Luke the elephant has a sweet and friendly face and looks very cute sitting in his aeroplane, wearing his flying helmet and goggles. The toy is lightweight and has a smooth carry handle along the fuselage - perfect for little hands to hold and carry. The plane can be wheeled along the floor, or it can be looped in the air to activate the counting action from 1-10. If Luke’s head is pressed, the plane’s propeller rotates slowly and he emits a cheery “Whoo hoo!” while “Here we go loop-de-loop” plays in carnival-style music.

This is a lovely little toy. I would have awarded it 5 stars but for two things:
- the counting action is dependent on completing the loops correctly and I’m not sure that children under 4 would get the hang of it, even if they had the patience.
- a child whirling around with a toy in air without supervision could be an accident waiting to happen.


Supa-Fix APX4 Ultra Strength Adhesive and Reinforcing Filling Powders
Supa-Fix APX4 Ultra Strength Adhesive and Reinforcing Filling Powders
Price: £10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars because it works!, 9 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Yes, this stuff really does work. I think most of us have a little dish or drawer where we store the fallen-off bits and pieces from various things around the house. Most of mine comprised of past failures with super glue type products. My marble water buffalo man lost his hat more than 20 years ago and all attempts to stick it back were useless. Part of the problem was that the two surfaces were not smooth and even - they were more like mini craters with various holes and cracks. This was obviously why super glues were not bonding properly.

The kit I received contained 2 x 10ml plastic bottles of adhesive (piercing pin supplied), 1 x 10ml bottle of grey powder and 1 x 10ml bottle of black powder. The powder pours from the nozzle in a gentle flow, so the amount used can be controlled and I didn't end up with a messy work surface and wasted materials. After pouring just a small amount of the powder onto the lumpy surface inside the hat and adding a few drops of the adhesive, it took just a couple of seconds for head and hat to bond like new.

I was impressed with this product and I'm off to repair various items I had given up on but was loathe to dispose of.


AnySharp 1-Piece ABS Plastic Suction Cup Hanging Hook, Black
AnySharp 1-Piece ABS Plastic Suction Cup Hanging Hook, Black
Price: £3.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective but unattractive, 7 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I can verify that this suction hook really does bear up to 12kg of weight. I tested it overnight with huge bags of daffodil bulbs and it didn’t budge at all. A smooth surface is required for the suction cap, so bathroom or kitchen tiles would be ideal. No screws are required. A little water smeared around the ring before clamping the latch is all that is needed for a secure hold.

This is a really good device, but I have a couple of reservations. The suction cap is quite big and noticeable (mine came in black) so personally, I wouldn’t want it on show in the kitchen or bathroom. Also, given time, I am not sure whether the hook would bear up to constant use.


Petmate Portion Right Programmable Pet Feeder, 2.25 Kg, Brushed Nickel
Petmate Portion Right Programmable Pet Feeder, 2.25 Kg, Brushed Nickel
Price: £53.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable dispenser for cats that gorge., 4 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
You will need 3 D cell alkaline batteries if you are thinking of buying this programmable pet feeder because they are not included. The base of the dispenser appears to look like metal in the online image but is, in fact, brushed nickel. I thought it felt like hardened plastic. The instruction book is excellent, with straightforward steps and clear diagrams. The four pieces that make up the unit are easy to assemble and, once together, it is surprisingly sturdy.

Programming the unit for breakfast, lunch and dinner is relatively simple. Times can be set not only for individual meals, but also the amount of food to be served. Once a portion of food has been released, it will be recorded on the screen and remains visible up to a total of 99 feeds before it re-sets itself. So, if your feline chum starts acting like he/she had been starved during your absence, you have evidence to the contrary.

The size of the meal ranges from ¼ cup to a whopping 3 cups each time. Each serving can be varied depending on the programme set - for example, you may prefer to dispense a smaller portion for the lunch feed. The hopper bowl holds a massive 5lb of dried food so it’s more than enough to keep a cat, possibly two, fed for a couple of days. The unit also has a manual override and unless you have a rare species of cat with poseable thumbs, it is moggie proof. My only concern with the product – and it’s a small one – is whether the little plastic clips on the locking lid will snap off over time.

This is an excellent product. It works well and so far, has proved reliable. The dispenser is a viable alternative to leaving a cat for a short stay in a cattery. Owners know that this often results in everyone involved being stressed out and wondering whether the whole thing was worth it!


Haig Club Scotch Whisky 70 cl
Haig Club Scotch Whisky 70 cl
Price: £37.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice but overpriced., 3 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is not like any premium whisky I have tasted before. It is very light both in colour and flavour, honey and vanilla on the nose with some floral notes. It is soft on the palate with no harshness at all, not what one might anticipate when drinking neat Scotch.

I suspect that this particular whisky has been carefully crafted to appeal to a younger set of drinkers, including women, who might not normally consider trying Scotch. I believe there may be some stereotypical images abroad of whisky drinkers as old codgers falling asleep in club armchairs.

It is certainly a very approachable drink that will, I think, appeal to a wider range of potential consumers. The asking price is rather steep; perhaps nearer to £30 a bottle would be a more realistic price. One would imagine that a distinctive and unusual bottle, a high profile and rather jazzy marketing campaign, coupled with an endorsement by a football legend, all add to an inflated shelf price.

I would have awarded this 5 stars but for the price.


Honeydew
Honeydew
by Edith Pearlman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but not to my liking., 2 Nov 2014
This review is from: Honeydew (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Edith Pearlman’s collections of short stories have won prestigious awards and she is applauded amongst professional reviewers. One respected newspaper quoted Pearlman’s tales in Honeydew as “meticulously made, miraculously precise...”. Perhaps, but I struggled to finish the book and persevered only in the hope that I would have that eureka moment to discover what it was that I had been missing.

Most of the stories were fairly good, but it was Pearlman’s style – described variously as gentle, sympathetic, perceptive, etc., that I didn’t like. When a story ended in what could, or should have been shock, surprise or resignation, (as in Honeydew, Deliverance and Assisted Living), it delivered like a damp squib. Other tales such as Castle 4, I found quite tedious, long and drawn-out. Some stories contained too much detail, such as the drawing of an insect and the dream of a drugged teenaged anorexic.

Pearlman has been compared favourably to Alice Munro, but I can’t see the similarity. It bothered me why I didn’t enjoy this collection when Pearlman writes intelligently and with insight. Then it hit me! Ms Pearlman’s writing is very similar to Anne Tyler – another popular author whose style is not to my liking. I am probably in the minority in not enjoying Honeydew, but I am sure fans of Anne Tyler and readers who like a more gentle delivery will enjoy this collection. It just didn’t do it for me.


Tacwise 1038 Hobby 53EL Kit
Tacwise 1038 Hobby 53EL Kit
Price: £27.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Reliable and easy to use., 29 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’ve rated the TACWISE brand ever since I first had the TACWISE DUO 50 electric staple/nail gun. This previous experience was useful when I unpacked this TACWISE Hobby 53L staple tacker/nailer because the instruction manual is not as good as the product.

The kit is ideal for a whole array of hobbies, I’ve used this for picture framing and for stretching cross-stitch tapestries. The nails are brad nails - they don’t have heads - but they are brilliant for securing canvas/tapestry fabric before the final stapling. The stapler is surprisingly light to use and feels comfortable in the hand. Both nails and staples are sturdy – I repaired a child’s wooden jigsaw frame with a neater finish than when it was new. I can’t see it coming loose again either. There is also a staple remover supplied with this product - I tested it for reviewing purpose and it performed well.

For those not used to a TACWISE stapler tacker/nailer, the staples are loaded with the points facing upward. I didn’t have any jamming whilst using the staples or the nails and very little pressure is required. By the way, there is a safety catch on this stapler/nailer - an excellent addition for when inquisitive and quick little hands try to ‘fix’ things too!

As I said at the start, I really like TACWISE products and would have given this a 5 star rating had the instructions not let the kit down.


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