Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Profile for Book Critic > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Book Critic
Top Reviewer Ranking: 309
Helpful Votes: 2171

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Book Critic (UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
The Smoke Hunter
The Smoke Hunter
by Jacquelyn Benson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting and all rather silly, 11 Jun. 2016
This review is from: The Smoke Hunter (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It’s 1898 and Eleanora Mallory is an educated woman burning with (justifiable) outrage at the limitations and condescension inflicted on her gender. Sitting in her boss’s office, waiting to be dismissed from her beloved job, she finds an old book that turns out to be hollow, containing a map and an artefact, which she decides to steal, setting out on a bold adventure, sailing to British Honduras in search of a lost Mayan city, pursued by relentless, ruthless men determined to get the map and artefact back.
So far so good; a premise thrilling with promise I thought, anticipating an involved and detailed, high-concept, Dan-Brownish brick of a book. Sadly, it was nothing of the sort. The Smoke Hunters is a very light, throwaway, silly sort of a tale – and nothing wrong with that, of course, but it was so much less than I was expecting I couldn’t help but be disappointed. My mistake entirely, I fully accept, but the tale is so improbable (not in a good way) and so depressingly chick-litty (I began to fear that if I had to read one more line about handsome, capable Adam’s tanned and rippling torso, wet shirt and bulging biceps, I would go insane) - I began to skip an awful lot. The Americanisms are annoying too (English girls don’t talk like this now, they certainly didn’t in the 1890s); I won’t say they spoiled the fun for me, because I wasn’t actually having any fun, but they do jarr and were really getting on my nerves by the time I laboured through to the end.
It was all so very silly. Thoroughly foolish nonsense. An airport book - something daft to read on the beach and leave behind when you go. I’m sure most readers will absolutely love it; it was just not my kind of thing at all.


The Trap
The Trap
by Melanie Raabe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great idea spoiled by an annoying voice and slow narrative, 11 Jun. 2016
This review is from: The Trap (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A woman sees her sister murdered; she knows who the murderer is (but the police are dolts and would not believe her). Years later, when she has become an acclaimed yet reclusive novelist (agoraphobia brought on by the trauma of what she witnessed), she sees the murderer on TV; he is now a respected journalist, so she writes a novel, telling the story of the murder and insists that the murderer be the one to get the exclusive interview with her.

It’s a great idea; a little far fetched (so many questions unanswered, glossed over and not well dealt with during the unfolding of the story) – but it wouldn’t matter if this was a better read; in a good page turner, you can forgive a great deal, but The trap is not a great page turner. The story could have been really good, better handled, it could have been terrific, but the execution is exceedingly slow; it took forever to get going and maintained the same snail’s pace to the very end. It’s not uneventful; there are twists and turns but they’re not so much squealing, rubber-burning hand-break turns so much as a gentle three-pointers on a quiet country lane.
The worst of it to me was the voice. This novel is translated from its original German, so I don’t know if it’s an issue with the translation or the original work, but I found the protagonist so cold and unemotional: there is no feeling in anything she describes and yet it is all so long winded; every point, every thought that passes through her head seems to lead endless rambling off the point (and off the boil). The first-person narrative doesn’t help, because you’re listening to that same monotone on every single page, with the kind of endless self-questioning and navel gazing I find annoying in literary fiction, in a thriller, where plot and pace are all-important, it is unforgivable.


Zero K
Zero K
by Don DeLillo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ouch, 11 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Zero K (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"I'd never felt more human than I did when my mother lay in bed, dying. This was not the frailty of a man who is said to be “only human,” subject to a weakness or a vulnerability. This was a wave of sadness and loss that made me understand that I was a man expanded by grief.” - These are abut the best three lines Zero K, and they’re about as emotional or involved as anything in this novel gets.
Don De Lilo is 80 years old now and he’s written a novel about the many ways of death and done it with a deal of audacity and courage. But.
I have loved De Lilo – I haven’t often *enjoyed* his work, but he writes novels that you can’t get out of your head: he leaves you thinking. He is undoubtedly A Very Great Writer who takes on massive themes – like death - unflinchingly, beats em up and leaves them bleeding in the alley. I do Understand, but this is not one of his great works, this is not going to leave me pondering, it is not going to sit in my head, keeping me awake for a long, long time.
So many reviewers are heaping this novel with praise but it feels like the emperor’s new clothes to me. There is a deal of excellent writing– it is still Don DeLilo - but there is no plot; almost nothing happens. There are no real characters, just lines of rambling, repetitive, deeply tedious dialogue with names assigned to them. You can’t feel for any of these ciphers, they don’t feel anything for themselves. ‘I feel artificially myself. I'm someone who's supposed to be me’ (Artis says on page 52) - so how am I supposed to love them or feel for them at all? This in itself might have been fascinating; the themes were interesting conceptually, but so drearily drawn. It was dull beyond belief, so tedious a read; by the half-way point all I wanted it to do was end. I have tried hard, I have laboured to love this, but even to finish it was a trial and when it was done, I felt like I’d been on a forced march, not at all glad or proud to have done it, just exhausted and immensely relieved it was finally over.


Mika Home Jacquard Dog Animal Style Throw Pillow Case Cushion Cover for 18X18" pillow inserts Cream Black
Mika Home Jacquard Dog Animal Style Throw Pillow Case Cushion Cover for 18X18" pillow inserts Cream Black
Offered by MikaHome
Price: £9.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adorable image and such wonderful quality, 8 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Oh, how I love this cushion cover! I adore all dogs and this particular design instantly caught my eye; such a noble face, slightly sad. I feel a little sorry for him yet he never fails to make me smile. It’s an absolutely super quality cover too, the material is so thick and soft; the lovely design is jacquard – the pattern is woven into the cloth on the loom, not printed; it should not wear off or fade out. The covers are the standard size (45 X 45cm, 18 x 18”) and slip easily over your cushion pad. A thin white nylon zip keeps it closed; the zip lies invisibly inside a seam. The cushion back is a cream coloured, soft velveteen material.
The design is fabulous and the overall quality is great. My only gripe (and it’s a very small one) is that there is no label to say what the cloth is made of (I suspect something synthetic, or a blend, but I don’t know) and no wash label. The description says machine washable (which is a boon; most of my cushion covers are dry clean only; such a nuisance) but there’s nothing on the cushion itself so will I remember when the time comes? It’s certainly not enough to temper my joy. I really do love this wonderful cushion; fabulous quality at this price; I am really happy with it. I received this cushion cover from the vendor for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion.
Comment Comment | Permalink


Mika Home Jacquard Dragonfly Pattern Decorative Pillowcase Sofa Pillow Cover for 18X18" Inserts Coral Cream
Mika Home Jacquard Dragonfly Pattern Decorative Pillowcase Sofa Pillow Cover for 18X18" Inserts Coral Cream
Offered by MikaHome
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So lovely!, 8 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Absolutely super quality cushion covers. The material is so thick and soft; the lovely design is jacquard. The pattern is woven into the cloth on the loom, not printed; it should not wear off or fade out. The covers are the standard size (45 X 45cm, 18 x 18”) and slip easily over your cushion pad. A thin white nylon zip keeps it closed; the zip lies invisibly inside a seam.
The design is really pretty; the overall quality is great. My only gripe is that there is no label to say what the cloth is made of (I suspect something synthetic, or a blend, but I don’t know) and no wash label. The description says machine washable (which is a boon; most of my cushion covers are dry clean only; such a nuisance) but there’s nothing on the cushion itself so will I remember when the time comes?
It’s only a small gripe and certainly not enough to temper my joy. I really do love these lovely cushions. They are absolutely super quality for the price and I am really happy with them. I received this cushion cover from the vendor for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion.
Comment Comment | Permalink


Mika Home Jacquard Leaf Pattern Accent Throw Pillow Case Decorative Cushion Cover for 18X18" Inserts Blue Cream
Mika Home Jacquard Leaf Pattern Accent Throw Pillow Case Decorative Cushion Cover for 18X18" Inserts Blue Cream
Offered by MikaHome
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply gorgeous, 8 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am so very pleased! What a pretty design in a soft yet bright blue - I wanted it for my bedroom and it fits my décor perfectly. It is absolutely super quality; the material is so thick and soft. The lovely design is jacquard – the pattern is woven into the cloth on the loom, not printed; it should not wear off or fade out. The covers are the standard size (45 X 45cm, 18 x 18”) and slip easily over your cushion pad. A thin white nylon zip keeps it closed; the zip lies invisibly inside a seam.
The design is really pretty; the overall quality is great. My only problem (and it is only a small one) is that there is no label to say what the cloth is made of (I suspect something synthetic, or a blend, but I don’t know) and no wash label. The description says machine washable (which is a boon; most of my cushion covers are dry clean only; such a nuisance) so I’ll wash them on a delicate 40 degrees, but there’s nothing on the cushion itself so will I remember when the time comes?
It’s only a small gripe and certainly not enough to temper my joy. I really do love these lovely cushion covers. They are absolutely super quality for the price and I am really happy with them. I received this cushion cover from the vendor for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion.
Comment Comment | Permalink


3M(TM)  Platform for Keyboard and Mouse with Leatherette Gel Wrist-Rest
3M(TM) Platform for Keyboard and Mouse with Leatherette Gel Wrist-Rest
Price: £68.93

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable to use, attractive and strong, 7 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very well-made keyboard/mouse base with a soft wrist rest which runs the full-length of the board. There are non-slip pads which stop it moving around. Quietly handsome in two-tones of grey; a pale grey textured plastic base and a dark grey, soft, comfortable leatherette wrist rest which is separate to the main board, with a sticky back so it can be positioned for left or right handed use. The mat part is a very stiff, strong base that does not shift or slide about at all – the mouse mat is positioned where you want it, it is not fixed; I found the mouse ran wonderfully smoothly on it. The wrist support does the job very well, it makes using a keyboard and mouse a much easier, less frustrating and hugely more comfortable experience.
Some reviewers have commented on the size; I don’t think it is exceptionally large, it is as large as it needs to be, big enough to hold a normal-size keyboard with enough room to the side to allow comfortable use of the mouse. Actual dimensions are 27 x 65 x 2.5 cm – that’s about 11 inches by 26, if you, like me, still run on imperial measures.
It is a very well made, extremely strong – built to last a lifetime – attractive object that offers comfort and support to anyone who is chained to a computer for much of the day. I spend several hours a day working at a desk and I’ve found this board a boon and a blessing – I’d never considered a wrist rest to be so vital, but it really does take a lot of the strain off my shoulders after a long session at the keyboard. I am exceptionally pleased with this, it really has made long hours at the keyboard much more comfortable for me.
My main gripe with it is that it is horribly over-priced. Yes, it is an extremely well-made, good looking and useful addition to my desk, but £55 (apparently discounted from £92) is much too expensive, £20 – 25 would be about right.


Thermos Performance Stainless Steel Cold Cup - 470 ml
Thermos Performance Stainless Steel Cold Cup - 470 ml
Price: £17.47

4.0 out of 5 stars It's very good at what it does (but that is very specific and somewhat limited), 5 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is quite a large ‘cup’ with drinking straw – over a foot tall with the straw, it holds just under a pint. Very simple to use, you pre-cool it with a little cold tap water for 5 – 10 minutes, then add your cold liquid and you’re set. It does keep drinks cold and fresh for absolutely ages. I like my smoothies very cold with lots of frozen fruit in the mix and this cup did keep my morning smoothie *very* cold *all* day – over 8 hours in fact, in a warm bag and a warm car on a very warm day indeed. Being a vacuum cup, there’s no cold feel on the outside of the cup at all, just a pleasing soft warm feel from the very attractive brushed steel finish.
This is impressive, but this is ALL it does, so be sure what you want/need is a container to keep a drink cold for up to 13 hours. This will not keep drinks hot – it specifically states you cannot put a hot drink in it. It is not really portable as the drinking straw top precludes making a seal, so if you toss it in your bag, it will leak, it must be kept upright.
The instructions (which are TINY; I needed a magnifying glass to read them properly) are very comprehensive. There are a few don’ts: don’t put anything hot in the cup; don’t bleach or use any chlorine-based cleaner; do not put it in the dishwasher, a simple rinse down with soapy water is sufficient. They suggest an overnight soak on occasion. They advise that dairy-based liquids are not kept in the cup for prolonged periods (presumably for health reasons; it may be cold but it might have gone off). I was dreadfully confused for a time by instructions to ‘press button on lid’ (what button?!) until I realised this referred to another model. As I say, the instructions are tiny and rather hard to read.
It’s quite a specialist need this product is meeting – maybe if you are in the habit of buying cold drinks on the road and want something that will fit into a cup dispenser, this would fit probably your bill. It is very good at what it does but its uses are exceedingly limited. If I was buying a Thermos to keep a drink cold (I was kindly sent this one to test for free by the Amazon Vine programme), I would be more likely to go for a regular, everyday Thermos with a cup-lid I could drink from; that way my drinks would stay cold – or hot – and I would be able to toss it in my bag or into the car and not worry it would leak everywhere.


Topdon TP550 Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Stereo Headphones with Over-Ear Design and Built-In Microphone Lightweight Wired + Wireless Headset for Hands free Calling, Music Streaming, High Fidelity Audio Experience
Topdon TP550 Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Stereo Headphones with Over-Ear Design and Built-In Microphone Lightweight Wired + Wireless Headset for Hands free Calling, Music Streaming, High Fidelity Audio Experience
Offered by Ebest-zone
Price: £99.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great headset but poor noise reduction, 4 Jun. 2016
Length:: 2:16 Mins

There was a time when Active Noise Reducing (ANR) Headphones would cost you hundreds of pounds and indeed high end ones from prestigious names still do. So I was keen to see if this budget pair from Topdon were any good.

The headset arrived nicely presented in an upmarket windowed gateleaf display box inside of which were the headphones themselves, a mini-jack to mini-jack audio cable, a USB to micro-USB charging cable and a User Guide. Build quality seems good. The headset seems well made and attractively designed if not luxurious. The stitching is good throughout, the ear-cups are well padded and comfortable and the plastic used seems pretty robust. Nothing feels like it is about to snap or fall off any time soon. It is well made and nicely designed but does not feel like a prestige product, it is a little bit on the lightweight side for that and the design and build quality although good and above average for the price nevertheless lacks the luxury feel. The lack of any sort of carry case makes this worse and I have seen this design of headset taking advantage of the swivel flat design to fit into a very slim and easy to transport case.

Bluetooth pairing to my Android phone was quick and easy thanks to the Bluetooth 4.0 protocols the headset supports. It was a surprise then to hear no spoken status prompts but just the tradition red/blue flashing LED’s. No matter, the connection was still fast and stable and auto connected upon rebooting.

Audio quality was first rate with plenty of bass and decent well defined mid and upper tones, with little difference in quality when streaming by Bluetooth or over the audio cable. For fifty pounds this headset would be an excellent buy without the noise reduction circuitry.

What about the noise reduction - not this nor any non professional headset can offer true noise cancellation - here I was not too impressed. Switching from normal to ANR did not reduce the lower frequencies too much, at least not enough to annoy, and there was no pronounced hissing as some ANR headsets produce. However, the noise reduction to me at least was not particularly impressive and reduced the ambient noise by about 20%. I have used many other ANR headsets - not all of them much more expensive - which much better noise reducing capabilities.

Leaving aside the ANR features this is still a very impressive set of Bluetooth headphones with excellent audio reproduction, attractive design and good build quality. I was not sure if I should deduct a star for the poor ANR but decided that the other qualities and above all the price compensated for this.

I received these headphones for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the product.

The Good
Excellent sound quality
Good build quality
Good User Guide
Good packaging
Microphone
Ear-cups swivel for storage

The Bad
Poor noise reduction
No carry case
No voice prompts
Ear-cups do not fold


eBoot 100 Pack Self-locking Nylon Cable Ties 4.8 * 300 mm 11.8 Inch, Black
eBoot 100 Pack Self-locking Nylon Cable Ties 4.8 * 300 mm 11.8 Inch, Black
Offered by eBoot
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable!, 4 Jun. 2016
Such a useful item, so easy to use and thoroughly practical. I know they are mainly used around the home for DIY projects, but I use them in my job as a landscape gardener; supporting poles and branches and for shrub and tree training. I use them a lot of espalier-training trees, I can fit them easily to size and, being nylon, they do not tend to rub or pinch delicate bark and branches (I sometimes use a foam protector under them, if the plant being trained is delicate and likely to be damaged by ties rubbing, but this is unusual; I have only seen damage to a well-grown plant from these ties once and I have used them hundreds of times). They take less than a minute to fix and are immensely strong; they have never failed me yet and when they need to be taken down, a simple snip of the scissors does the trick in a minute. I particularly like the black colour for landscape wok as they are much less visible than the white ties. I used to use twine for these jobs; it was slow and frustrating work and the twine had to be replaced every year. These ties last; maybe not forever, but for many, many, years. They are absolutely invaluable and I would not be without them. I received these ties from the vendor for free, in exchange for a fair and honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion of an excellent product.
Comment Comment | Permalink


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20