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Reviews Written by
H. Ashford "hashford" (Sheffield, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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14 Silver Strings: Toccatas, Partitas And Dances
14 Silver Strings: Toccatas, Partitas And Dances
Price: 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful introduction to Renaissance music, 24 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this album because I heard Kapsberger's Canario on the radio, and it's all too easy to follow the link and find you have bought an mp3 download!

The Canario, with its wonderful contrapuntal complexity, is by far the nicest piece on the album, but I am coming to appreciate the others too. For me, this album has provided a wonderful introduction to music from the pre-baroque era, and I am very glad I bought it.


Atkins Endulge Bar - Nutty Fudge Brownie
Atkins Endulge Bar - Nutty Fudge Brownie
Offered by Healthy Goodies
Price: 6.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!, 24 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I think these little bars are unbelievably gorgeous - and definitely reminiscent of the nut truffles that disappear so quickly from a box of chocs! My biggest problem is reminding myself not to eat more than one at a time!


The Rosie Project
The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, touching and insightful, 24 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Rosie Project (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, is a genius, a geek and a social incompetent. He can count his friends on the fingers of one hand and has never had a second date. Having decided that he needs a wife, and being aware that the approaches he has made in the past haven't worked for him, Dan hits on the idea of designing a questionnaire that will filter out unsuitable applicants and leave him with the ideal partner. And so The Wife Project gets started.

When Rosie walks into his office, Dan assumes she is wife candidate - and quickly rejects her as unsuitable. However, in defiance of all logic, he keeps finding reasons to see her again. After discovering that Rosie was conceived at a drunken graduate party and doesn't know her real father, Dan, who is a geneticist after all, offers to help her identify her real father - and they set off on a mission to obtain DNA samples from potential subjects.

What follows is comic, and sweet, sometimes poignant, and beautifully written. Dan's narrative voice is both disarmingly honest, and sharply insightful. This book is readable, funny, perceptive - and unputdownable.

If you love Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, then you will love Dan Tillman!


London Falling (James Quill 1)
London Falling (James Quill 1)
by Paul Cornell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantasy detective thriller, 18 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When leading drugs baron Rob Toshack dies mysteriously in a police interview room from no visible cause, DI James Quill is tasked with finding out what happened. His small team - Quill, two undercover cops and an analyst - quickly realise that there are supernatural forces at work. Magically, mysteriously, the team all acquire "the Sight" which allows them to glimpse some of what is going on ... but how do you go about stopping and arresting a person who has magical powers that you don't share?

As the story progresses the team all have to dig deep to find sources of strength inside themselves to enable them to unravel the mystery and track down their prey.

I don't normally read a lot of detective fiction, so some of the language / writing put me off a bit at first. But once the story got going, I was absolutely enthralled and found it hard to put the book down. The pace was right for me, and the characters interesting and realistic enough for the needs of the story.

The mix of urban fantasy / magical realism with detective novel worked well for me. I believe this book will be loved by anyone who enjoyed Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series.


Backlash
Backlash
by Lynda La Plante
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable detective thriller, 13 Feb 2013
This review is from: Backlash (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This audiobook livened up the school run for me and my daughter. It has a great plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep you engaged, and we enjoyed the reading by Kim Hicks.


D'Addario Planet Waves Acoustic Guitar Accessories Essentials Pack
D'Addario Planet Waves Acoustic Guitar Accessories Essentials Pack

4.0 out of 5 stars good quality guitar accessories, 13 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This pack comprises:

- A set of good quality acoustic guitar strings (D'Addario phosphor bronze)
This is my favourite brand, D'Addario make consistently high quality strings with a bright sound that lasts well.

- A nifty little tool to help you with the chore of restringing the guitar
Neat if you like gadgets. Personally I don't cut my strings, preferring to weave them into a little circle, and I'm not keen on machines for winding the strings (too easy to overwind and break them).

- A neat little tuner that clips onto the headstock
This is the best part of the pack, superbly easy to use, accurate, quick and discrete in size. The display is easy to read. I have only two minor negative points. The first is that the back plate which holds the battery in place has a slight tendency to work loose and could easily get lost, rendering it unserviceable. The other is that it took a bit of time to work out how the clamp mechanism for attaching it to the guitar works. However, the positives easily outweigh the negatives and this tuner is one of the best I have used.

- 10 medium guitar picks in assorted colours
Useful if you want medium picks - pity they didn't provide a selection of gauges

Having everything together in one pack is nice if you want to give a present, or as a starter pack for a beginner. However, it doesn't particularly offer great value compared with buying all the items separately ... so if you don't want or need them all, then I don't see much point in buying the pack.


Gillette Venus & Olay Razor with Shower Holder
Gillette Venus & Olay Razor with Shower Holder

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A joy to use, 13 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I agree with other reviewers. This razor is a joy to use, no fuss, no mess, a nice clean shave first time, and comes with a convenient suction cup holder for the shower wall - but the soap/moisturiser bars don't last very long and are expensive to replace.


Cooking with Bones
Cooking with Bones
by Jess Richards
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.39

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complex, sinister and fascinating fairy tale, 13 Feb 2013
This review is from: Cooking with Bones (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Amber and Maya run away from the artificial "perfection" of life in the city of Paradon and settle in an apparently empty cottage in a small seaside village. Here they find an old recipe book and a set of bone spoons.

Maya is a "formwanderer" - she intuits and tries to fulfil the desires of anyone who sees her - which means that she has to be kept away from people, partly because she finds it confusing and frightening to be around too many people at once, but mostly for fear that she will act on an unspoken but sinister wish.

We also meet Kip, resident of the village. Kip's job is to collect the "fair" - a sort of tithe provided by the village people and delivered to "Old Kelp" in the cottage; in return he collects honey cakes baked overnight by Amber and distributes them to everyone in the village. Kip glimpses something terrible at the cottage, but is forced by fear and by tradition to keep it a secret.

Amber immediately feels that she belongs, and sets about cooking the recipes from the book using the bone spoons. But these are no ordinary recipes and Amber no ordinary cook and her cakes have mysterious effects on those who eat them.

I loved this book! I love the magical realism, and the sinister feel to it - an up to date, adult fairy tale! As good fantasy should, it uses magical situations to explore themes relevant to all our lives - truth and lies, identity, and hope. The rather weird setting, and the unusual prose style serves to bump the reader out of their usual "comfort zone" and make them receptive to the messages Richards wants to explore.

I found this book poetic, compelling and disturbing all at the same time! A very unusual read, and highly recommended.


WMA 2x New Car Seat Belt Extention Extender Support Buckle
WMA 2x New Car Seat Belt Extention Extender Support Buckle

1.0 out of 5 stars dangerous - do NOT plug your seatbelt into this product!, 2 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I guess you get what you pay for, and this product WAS very cheap.

I bought it to silence the wretched seatbelt alarm in my car (a Volvo S40). Which it does satisfactorily. And so long as you don't want to actually plug a seatbelt into it, I suppose that's OK.

However, it isn't sold as a seatbelt alarm silencer, it's sold as a seatbelt extender. And for this purpose it is thoroughly dangerous. It is very poorly manufactured, and a good tug will pull the seatbelt out of the extender socket. You don't want that to happen in the event of an accident!


A Red Sun Also Rises
A Red Sun Also Rises
by Mark Hodder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.81

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Victorian sci-fi adventure, 2 Feb 2013
This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is certainly unusual and interesting, and it is worth a read just for that.

We have two appealing and empathetic characters in Aiden Fleischer and Clarissa Stark, and the interaction between them is thoroughly entertaining, as Clarissa continually challenges Aiden's pre-conceptions and makes him think more deeply about his beliefs.

We also have a large (and confusing!) cast of very imaginatively drawn aliens; indeed Ptallaya is one of the most strangely alien worlds I have ever come across.

This is all mixed with a generous dose of humour. Especially when the aliens start speaking upper class Victorian English without really understanding it ("Toodle-pip old things, when you've settled in I'll drop by for a cup of tea" isn't exactly the sort of phrase you expect from a multi-legged carapaced alien!), and set up a class based society with Aristocrats, Servants and Working Class.

So why only three stars? I can see why a lot of people will love this book. But for me it just didn't quite work. The plot line seemed incredibly (and unnecessarily?) complicated. And I found the stilted writing style (which I guess was intended to evoke a Victorian feeling) rather irritating.


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