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Content by Phil Robertshaw
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Reviews Written by
Phil Robertshaw (North Somerset)
(VINE VOICE)   

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Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Puppy
Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Puppy
Price: £12.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and interactive, 2 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We got this toy for our baby daughter. Currently she's a bit too young for it but I can see it's going to be a big hit. It's bright, fun and is likely to be highly entertaining for her. Like many baby toys, it could get a bit irritating for parents after a while! But it's well-designed, and although I'm uncertain how practical the three 'smart stages' are in reality, it doesn't really matter. Worth taking a look - a good toy.


Summer of Ghosts
Summer of Ghosts
by P.D. Viner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and original, 27 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Summer of Ghosts (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Summer of Ghosts is the follow-up to the excellent The Last Winter of Dani Lancing - see link - The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by Viner. P.D. ( 2013 ) Hardcover in which Detective Superintendent Tom Bevans and others investigated the murder of the girl he grew up with and loved. Here, Tom (aka The Sad Man) attempts to follow up a promise he made to himself to reinvestigate the deaths of other girls. Prevented from doing so officially, he enlists Dani's mother and others to assist.

This is P.D. Viner's second full-length novel and he shows that he wasn't just a one-hit wonder. Summer of Ghosts is hauntingly written and like the first novel, draws you in more and more as it progresses. It's written in the present tense, which may not be to everyone's taste, but it somehow suits the mood. And it's undeniably sad but with a hint of underlying hope.

Personally I would recommend reading The Last Winter... first, as without some of the background knowledge it would be more difficult to fully appreciate this one. Furthermore, there are key spoilers in here if you're planning to read the first novel next. For me, P.D. Viner is a fresh voice on the thriller scene and one to watch. I enjoyed Summer of Ghosts and look forward to the next.


The Kill: (Maeve Kerrigan 5)
The Kill: (Maeve Kerrigan 5)
by Jane Casey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Casey scores another big hit, 5 Jun. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Jane Casey has become a must-read author for anyone with an inclination towards British crime fiction. Her lead character, DC Maeve Kerrigan, is developing into a brilliant heroine - likeable, feisty, humorous, and tough but sensitive.

The Kill is the latest in the Kerrigan series and sees Maeve and her colleagues investigate the shooting of an off-duty policeman, which is followed by more murders of police officers. There's some topical real-life background to the story which helps to give it credibility, with references to the 2011 death of Mark Duggan which sparked riots in London and beyond. But there's also some good old-fashioned detective work and a whodunit element to the plot, which keeps the reader engaged.

You would be best to read the previous Kerrigan novels before The Kill, as it's one of those series where there are plot developments from book to book. To fully appreciate the sub-plots and relationships between the officers, you really need to have devoured the others first. But Casey is getting stronger and stronger. This is perhaps the best book she's written to date, and she's certainly become a must-read author for me. Excellent.


McAfee Total Protection 2014 - 3 User - 1 Year (PC)
McAfee Total Protection 2014 - 3 User - 1 Year (PC)

4.0 out of 5 stars Good software, less irritating than Norton, 20 Feb. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was using Norton previously, which worked perfectly well but had a habit of over-interference and constantly popping up with information I wasn't interested in. So far, this software has been much easier to get on with and just runs quietly in the background most of the time. It wasn't too difficult to set up for more than one computer.

It puts a useful little green tick next to internet links it's checked and deemed safe. I've been using it for a couple of weeks and so far, so good.


AURAGLOW 5w COB LED GU10 Light Bulb, Warm White, 50w EQV- 350 Lumens - RETROFIT
AURAGLOW 5w COB LED GU10 Light Bulb, Warm White, 50w EQV- 350 Lumens - RETROFIT
Offered by Safield Dist. Ltd
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin, 20 Feb. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Decent enough light bulb. You need to make sure that you've got the right fittings for it as it won't fit everything, but it's quite bright and good to know that it's energy saving. We haven't used enough of these for long enough to know how much power it's saving, but no complaints.


BaByliss 2777U Big Hair Rotating Styler - 42 mm
BaByliss 2777U Big Hair Rotating Styler - 42 mm
Price: £38.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Works fairly well, 24 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My wife has the original Babyliss big hair styler but has also tried this one. Conclusion: you don't really need both. She says that this one is good and from my point of view, the result looks great! However given the choice between the two, she would go for the original, bigger model.


Vanish Easy Clean Carpet Cleaning Kit - 600 ml
Vanish Easy Clean Carpet Cleaning Kit - 600 ml

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for patches, 24 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to concur largely with many of the other reviews of this product. It's decent enough - quite easy to use and not too expensive. We found it quite effective for dealing with some small stained areas. The main flaw is that it's not really suitable for large areas of carpet. For our smallish home, that's fine, but in a bigger house you might want to look at something else. Fairly good but not spectacular.


Frommer's England with Wales 2012 (Frommer's Complete)
Frommer's England with Wales 2012 (Frommer's Complete)
by Nick Dalton
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Wide coverage, but light on detail, 27 Dec. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At first glance, this looks like a really comprehensive guide to England and Wales. It's a big tome and covers quite a large area of the country, but once you get further in and realise that it's fairly scant in its coverage of some pretty large areas and towns, you realise that you'd be better off with a guide book devoted specifically to those areas. It's not all bad - for the overseas visitor, this is probably quite a useful general guide to England and Wales, if supplemented with other books like a Lonely Planet guide. For the average British tourist, though, it is questionable how much use you will realistically get out of this. There are quite a lot of details on accommodation and the main attractions of particular places, but inevitably it can't devote too many pages to each place because it's trying to cover the whole country.

In summary, then, more for the foreign visitor. Nicely laid out, but not really detailed enough on any one place.


Shut Your Eyes Tight
Shut Your Eyes Tight
by John Verdon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great follow up to Think Of A Number, 27 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Shut Your Eyes Tight (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
John Verdon's second novel was always going to have difficulty living up to the originality of his debut novel 'Think of a Number', but Verdon continues an excellent start to his thriller career here, in the follow up. Once again 'retired' detective Dave Gurney is called upon for his expertise in solving a baffling murder in which the killer has apparently vanished into thin air. Like the first novel, this plot is set up as a teaser and gradually unravels throughout.

Gurney is an interesting character and here we see more of his relationship with his wife. Madeline is one of the more interesting and enigmatic characters in the book and again there is a focus on Gurney's reluctance to get drawn back into another case. The affect this has on the husband-wife dynamic is explored and adds an interesting sub-plot.

'Shut Your Eyes Tight' is implausible, yes, but it's hard to deny that it has a charm which sets it apart from other thrillers in the genre. Verdon has an eye for detail and draws interesting characters. His style is original and makes a welcome diversion from the pulp fiction being pumped out by some authors. Overall I highly recommend this novel, but recommend reading 'Think Of A Number' first.


Breville VKJ551 Stainless Steel Kettle, Colour Select
Breville VKJ551 Stainless Steel Kettle, Colour Select

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kitchen talking point, 19 April 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This kettle does what it says on the tin. It functions perfectly well and is easy to keep clean, being stainless steel. The selling point is the colour that it lights up with, with several to choose from (or you can have them on a cycle).

Considering the gizmo-nature of this kettle, it doesn't use as much power as you might expect and is quite attractive when it gets going. After a while of inactivity it preserves the power and the colour fades. It's something of a talking point when making a cup of tea for a guest.

Overall, it's a nice product which should enhance most kitchens, but some may find it a bit too gimmicky.


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