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Reviews Written by
David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom)

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Singleton Spey Cascade Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70 cl
Singleton Spey Cascade Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70 cl
Price: £26.40

5.0 out of 5 stars sexing up the whisky, 3 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I rather saw this as a reward for all the hard work I have put in reviewing the various books etc that Vine have been sending me for the past year or so though writing a review of this wondrous single malt is no problem...

The above details of the Scotch is tale in itself with the history of the Dufftown Distillery with its poetic description :

This fertile triangle of land between mountain and sea has long been known as the Garden of Scotland.

I was also fascinated by the almost forensic detail of the Appearance, Nose & Palate information, though this was certainly surplus to requirement since all became inevitable the moment I released the slim bottle from its box.

A corked and sealed bottle was revealed, and who doesnt like a cork in their bottle these days, the pleasant plop of release and the subsequent intoxicating aroma was all that was needed to seduce me ! My nose and palate were quickly followed by the tumbling of the amber liquid into a fine glass, a quick swirl and my tongue and throat were embraced with the angel's fire of this exquisite liquid. Once it fell into my expectant stomach I was lost to the erotic bliss of the Singleton Spey Cascade Single Malt Scotch.

To repeat he experience was inevitable
To repeat the experience was inevitable
To repeat the experience was inevitable

I have rarely tasted a finer Scotch!!
p.s. I would advise taking it neat for the ultimate drinking experience, diluting in any way might feel like an insult

We Are All Made of Molecules
We Are All Made of Molecules
by Susin Nielsen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars complicated families need our care and attention, 30 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Poor sad deluded, "what will people think of me?" Ashley "airhead" Anderson has problems. Not only has her dad left the family to live just yards away with his new boyfriend but her mum has moved her new partner, Leonard and son Stewart in to the family home and so she is surrounded by the complicated family she can not deal with.

The YA novel has the courage to tell it like it is by presenting a thoroughly dislikeable heroine ~ not an easy task and Ashley is just about as horrid as she can be to her new "blended" brother and potential step-dad. Susin Nielsen shares the book between the two kids so there is a kind of balanced narrative between Ashley and Stewart and events are seen from both sides.

The author further punishes the latent homophobic girl by landing her with the gorgeous boyfriend ~ air head and narcissist to boot ~ who is probably the nastiest character I have read in this genre for a very long time. But truth and honesty will out and retribution is swift and strong.

A book with a lesson without being too preachy except maybe be careful what you pray for

Stewart and his dad are probably treated more generously as they are in the secondary stages of grief following the awful death of mum/wife.
the book will no doubt frustrate, annoy, irritate by turns as the selfish central character of Ashley primps and pouts her way through the non-understanding of her new family
. Stewart's generosity and general well being is a lesson to all readers

Tails of a Country Garden
Tails of a Country Garden
by Phil Janes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Closely Observed Cats, 28 April 2015
It is so true to say that cats don't have owners they have staff ! And having been a Chief Feeder several times during my own life span I recognize the curiosity of young Fleet all too well, having cat-flapped kittens into the wilderness that is our garden and watched the sibling rivalries and older cat/young cat education programs. To. laugh at a cat is the ultimate insult....

I was interested to see that Phil Janes had also written in the scifi genre since this book creates an alternate universe as seen from cat's eye level and with the vocabulary a cat might invest in. Th felines have names for each other that reflect their status rather than the twee names we awful humans label them with.

Fleet's adventures into the garden beyond the patio to investigate the smells beside those left by Elegance and Strongclaw, the adult felines on his way to "The Secret House", dealing with Stupid Dog and the rain are truly magical and will be so recognized by any cat lover/owner or just plain cat watcher.

A charming addition to what is still a very slight genre of animal focused literature with meaningful outcomes.

In a Dark, Dark Wood
In a Dark, Dark Wood
by Ruth Ware
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.69

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars girls just want to have fun, don't they??, 18 April 2015
This review is from: In a Dark, Dark Wood (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the wood there is a house of glass. In the house a reunion is taking place or a hen weekend if you will. The girls (and Tom) meet for fun, games, drinking with a very large dash of bitchery, an equally large one of suffocating adoration, a revelation all wrapped up in some pretty nasty goings on that can only lead to ......danger,

This tale of claustrophobia in all its physical and psychological forms will have you gripped from page one as you wonder what the f*** is going on here, the slow reveal will have you turning the pages so fast they are in danger of igniting!

Ruth Ware's first novel for "grown ups" is already so mature that cutting her teeth on the YA series was no bad thing. She has such a grasp on her characterisations that you know these women (and Tom) have them in your friendship group complete with their secrets and lies.

This is not a book to be taken lightly though with its various nods to the crime novels of the Golden Age - hidden jealousies, closed community, unreliable narrator - you might be seduced in to thinking so.

An excellent holiday read that you will no doubt share with that group of friends you thought you could trust, thought you could rely upon, thought you knew...oh dear dear no. No such animal exists!!

by Graeme Cameron
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant new and disturbingly clever writer, 12 April 2015
This review is from: Normal (Hardcover)
Well now, dear reader, this is a strange one, don't get me wrong I was glued to the page and could not read it fast enough it was just when the literary sleeping policeman caused me to pause I realised I was feeling guilty!! .......

...and here is why. Towards the end of Hitchcock's masterpiece "Psycho" there is a scene where Norman Bates is trying to sink a car into a swamp, the car contains one of his dead victims, and the car stops; you find yourself willing the car to sink into the ooze and then you realise that you want it to so that Norman will "get away with it". You are siding with a psychopathic killer.....!

In Graeme Cameron's exceptional "Normal" you also want the unnamed serial killer to get away with it, indeed in the nail-biting finale the reader is not too sure just how much he has got away with ( book number two methinks!)

Precedents to this novel have been hooted far and wide Highsmith's Ripley Jeff Lindsay's Dexter ( and just how many tv series did that make?) just to mention two. Cameron, too, gets away with it because he has written a very engaging book with a very winning central character whose obsession just happens to be slaughter, torture, dismemberment (not the curiosity of Ripley's daring or Dexter's retribution but a seemingly unmotivated urge that may well become clearer in later volumes, that I , for one, hope for.

The experience of the book from its very ironic title ~ he is the man who slows his car to allow you to cross the road, he is the man who will return a dropped glove or mobile phone; he is a decent chap and all the more dangerous for that because it would seem you can trust him. He just has a little penchant for knives and stuff, and also a great skill in the disposal of corpses. It is possible that his tongue in cheek flirtation with the reader is why the book is so damn readable.

Well done, Mr C. you manage to have found a new way to terrify (and delight) your audience

The Furchester Hotel Elmo Jumbo Plush Toy
The Furchester Hotel Elmo Jumbo Plush Toy
Price: £19.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elmo, super toy and TV icon now appearing in a chair near you, 12 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Elmo is a bit of an icon alongside many other Sesame Street characters; he went on to prove that there is life after the "Street" appearing on many television shows and now appearing in our own home as a "life size" pelouche of an adorable doll who will be loved to pieces and no doubt lose patches of his glorious red fur.

As a non threatening toy (i.e. clowns) he is an ideal addition to any family who have loved their teddy bears into virtual extinction. In our home he keeps warm a reading chair and is a great companion to any reader who chooses to share the chair with him.

He is the cuddliest of toys, witnessed by many, and may well be dragged off to bed as a night time companion without doubt

Tilly's Moonlight Fox
Tilly's Moonlight Fox
by Julia Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars deserves to be found in every school library, 8 April 2015
This review is from: Tilly's Moonlight Fox (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is really nothing so poignant as the loneliness of a lonely child who must invent a world and friends to maintain stability during times of crisis and anxiety.

Tilly is a very imaginative child and finds herself at a very critical time; new house, new school, sick and pregnant mum, preoccupied dad. For her the "alternate" world into which she retreats through dreams and "sleepwalking" episodes are so richly drawn by Julia Green that the line between fantasy and reality is blurred and, as in so many great children's books, the reader is drawn along with the fantasist, in this case Tilly, into that magical world of moonlight, foxes and a friend from the past who is caught up in the time warp and befriends our little heroine to become her saving grace.

This is a superbly crafted children's book that deserves to be listed as a "classic" since it takes every single box required to make a most memorable read.

Smart Weigh Professional Digital Kitchen and Postal Scale with Tempered Glass Platform
Smart Weigh Professional Digital Kitchen and Postal Scale with Tempered Glass Platform
Offered by Five Star
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and practical scale for all domestic weighing, 4 April 2015
As with all the scales I have tested and reviewed for Smart Weigh this little guy is of the highest quality doing weighing jobs way beyond the capacity you would assume capable for its size.Range of 0.1 oz to 11lbs with three different measuring units

Made from the most durable of materials it has a sensitivity that is second to none and with the recent increase in postal rates it is a practical and money saving (not to mention face-saving) device on which you can check your postal rated before queuing up in the Post Office and anticipate the required rates.

it can house any small(ish) plastic bowl for kitchen/cooking based measuring jobs with an accuracy veering on OCD !! just how accurate do you need to be when baking??

Highly recommended. The scale comes well packaged including battery and instruction booklet

The House of Hidden Mothers
The House of Hidden Mothers
by Meera Syal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a beautifully textured tale, 4 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This exquisite tapestry of two parallel lives that meet is shot through with a genuine artist's skill; each thread is vibrant, not only with cultural colour and verve but also with an excellence of language, at times poetic, that makes Meer Syal's new novel a total pleasure to read..

She has a writer's magic to bring her character's to life so vividly that you would swear you had met them.

I am unsure just how autobiographical the novel is (though all writing is to some extent so); the twin stories of Shyama and Mala, cultural sisters alienated by geographical and social differences come to life and the pages keep rolling...

Superb job and a great summer read, Meera

Old School [DVD] [2003]
Old School [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Luke Wilson
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £2.55

1.0 out of 5 stars really don't bother, 30 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Old School [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
totally incomprehensible, I have no idea what language this film was in!! Moron I am thinking

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