Profile for Benson > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Benson
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,597
Helpful Votes: 1116

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Benson (Cardiff, UK)
(VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-18
pixel
Frommer's New York City 2012 (Frommer's Colour Complete)
Frommer's New York City 2012 (Frommer's Colour Complete)
by Brian Silverman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative but heavy!, 30 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really great comprehensive indepth guide of everything New York City has to offer. However, weighing in at approx 486 pages it is rather heavy and not the kind of book you'd want to be carrying around the city with you. If you like reading up on a city before vacationing there and making notes of what to do and where to go it is perfect. But for someone looking to take a book with them for aeroplane reading or to carry around with them I would not recommend it as it is far too large and heavy for that purpose. It also touches up on all manner of food and has expensive and inexpensive suggestions outside of the well known commercial favourites.

Content wise it is very informative but geared more toward the artistic personalities who love culture, history and food. You'll find a lot of historic facts about buildings, museums and stores which are not everyones ideal of a vacation in the city. As a frequenter of New York I know that doesn't interest everyone and for the majority they just want to know how to get to the obvious sights and the most famous stores. If this is you, go for a more common city guide such as the DK series.

If the artistic and chique are more up your street you'll take plenty away from this book and find plenty of things to check out in the city outside of the obvious.


Red
Red
Price: £6.99

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet!, 22 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Red (Audio CD)
I was actually blown away by how good this fourth album from Taylor Swift is. I can quite easily listen to it from start to finish without track skipping and that is rather a rare occurrence for me. It fluctuates from toe tapping, head bobbingly catchy to delightfully peaceful and thought provoking to at other times, completely danceable.

Musically, there is a logical growth from `Speak Now'. On that third album Taylor started to play with a more pop influenced sound. `Red' goes in that direction a little bit more without wandering completely away from those country tinged acoustic numbers we like to hear. However, instrumentally I hear a lot more rock and pop influence than previous albums. At times the production rather reminded me of Avril Lavigne back in the days she was churning out acoustic guitar lead pop rock anthems.

Max Martin is involved on a few tracks this time around (perhaps most famously known for being the guy behind a whole host of Britney hits including `Baby One More Time') and he makes a rather great team with Taylor and `Shellback', evident in the already massive single `We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' and the equally as infectious `I Knew You Were Trouble' and '22'. Other than that the majority of the tracks (as previous albums) are credited to Taylor Swift as a singular songwriter.

If catchy is what you like that continues in the ridiculously cute `Stay Stay Stay', one of those songs along the lines of `Mean' you can't help but hum. I'm sure Ed Sheeran will be a talking point of this album and as it goes he is a rather great choice of collaboration. While this track is perhaps not essential to the album, it was co-written together and is the kind of acoustic gem you would expect from two artists leading the singer/songwriter genre. I feel like this track might've lacked depth without Ed Sheeran's harmonies though.

My favourite thing about Taylor Swift is how she takes a simple scenario and turns it into a song that is beautifully peaceful yet tragically sad at the same time. If you loved `Enchanted' or `Last Kiss' from Speak Now there are songs here like `Treacherous', `The Lucky One' and `Begin Again', all capturing that awe inspiring feeling that is hard to put into words.

As Taylor points out herself in the linear notes, this album relates to the poem by Neruda that makes a point that `love is so short, forgetting is so long'. If you relish on moments of `newfound hope, extreme joy, intense passion, wishful thinking and the unthinkable letdown' you will love everything about this album and want to share it with others who think like you.


Glassheart
Glassheart
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £3.00

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A step in the right direction, 15 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Glassheart (Audio CD)
Back when Leona won the X Factor in the UK she was hailed as 'the next Whitney Houston' and with the phenomenal success worldwide of 'Bleeding Love' it looked highly likely. However, despite a rather strong debut she was just as quickly criticised for not living up to expectations. I remember when I first got 'Echo' I was a little disappointed with the melancholy feel across the whole album, and it took a while for me to connect with the songs. 'Echo' was by no means a flop but it went largely unnoticed in the US and it seemed Leona had disappeared just like the rest of the UK X Factor winners.

Rumour has it when 'Collide' didn't go down as well as was hoped 'Glassheart' was shelved to shift the focus away from dance orientated music that Leona had been recording. I would praise this decision as while 'Collide' is a catchy song it is far too meaningless for the potential of a voice like Leona's. It always seemed more of a 'feature' track to me. I would have happily welcomed it on an Avicii album but not a Leona one, so I'm glad to see it absent here.

I'm pleased to say there is a lot to like on 'Glassheart' and it seems very evident that Leona is trying to mould a distinct sound for herself instead of relying on the talents of all the best songwriters and producers Syco can team her up with. I would say this album sits comfortably between 'Spirit' and 'Echo'. If I had to sum up the album I would say it is mostly full of anthemic midtempo power numbers. Think 'I Will Be' with the driving piano or 'Happy' with those infectious Ryan Tedder beats. 'Lovebird' is a great example of that.

Leona will always do ballads the best justice but they seem to be taken to a different place on this album. On 'Fireflies' you hear a beautiful contrast between piano accompaniment and heavier electro accompaniment coming in later. I was drawn in throughout. For the purest you have 'Fingerprint' which I would describe as the 'Footprints in the Sand' on this album, a largely stripped back ballad. One for the fans who loved Leona's rendition of 'Run'

Biggest surprise for me was the poptastic 'Shake You Up' which channels 1980s pop not dissimilar to Whitney Houston in that era. 'Forgive Me' with Akon was not the best attempt to go poppy but 'Shake You Up' gives me a lot of faith in Leona to experiment with funkier pop sounds next time around. Even Leona's attempt to incorporate dubstep in the lead track 'Glassheart' is not awful. It's a very well produced track but is heavy on vocal processing and effects due to the dubstep nature. I have no qualms in it being included but if this is anything to go by what the 'Glassheart' album was originally you'll probably agree the album would have lost the voice of Leona and moved focus to the club ready beats. Leona is far better than that.

All in all this album is the rebirth of Leona Lewis and I'd be confident to say she'll be sticking around a while yet! Third time lucky!


Disney 365 Stories Treasury
Disney 365 Stories Treasury
by DISNEY
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely magical, 14 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was blown away by this book just for its sheer brilliance at incorporating so many disney movies both new and old into wonderful short stories. There is literally a story for everyday of the year, with each story on its own page with a simple but clear and effective layout... movie title, story title and an accompanying picture to match.

If you have two children that are a boy and a girl I would think this one is more likely to appeal to both, rather than opting for the girls book which I would imagine involves mostly princess and fairy stories. Hopefully the following is a comprehensive list of stories included... 101 Dalmations, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Aladdin, Hanny Manny, Monsters Inc, The Incredibles, Wall E, Hercules, Dumbo, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch, Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, Cars, Bambi, Toy Story (1, 2 and 3), Ratatouille, Atlantis, Winnie the Pooh, The Jungle Book, Pinocchio, Little Einsteins, A Bugs Life, The Rescuers, The Emperor's New Groove, Basil the Great Mouse Detective, Robin Hood, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Up, The Sword in the Stone, The Fox and the Hound, Chicken Little, The Aristocats, Oliver and Company. Hopefully it has your childs favourites, although do note 'Up' is the newest movie referenced here. No stories for 'Brave'.

Perfect bedtime stories. Fantastic gift! Most ideal for older children with good listening skills as there are not extensive illustrations to go with the story.


Lumie Bodyclock ACTIVE 250 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Extra Audio Options
Lumie Bodyclock ACTIVE 250 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Extra Audio Options
Price: £99.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says but is the price tag a bit too high?, 4 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I read about these clocks a while ago, noting that they help the non-morning person adjust better to waking up. As someone who isn't a huge fan of getting up in the morning, I liked the sound of that but I wasn't sure I wanted to part with so much money in it.

So is it worth it? The first morning I used the clock I was actually convinced I had been sold short and that real sunlight was lighting my room, hence hindering the ability of the clock. However upon turning the alarm off I realised the clock had done all the work and that infact the sun was barely out yet. So on that note, the way the clock imitates a real sunrise is amazing. I wouldn't go as far to say it makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning but I do wake up feeling a lot more energised. And while I'm still happy to press the snooze button it's more for the reason I'm just too warm and snug, rather than feeling a need to sleep on.

On that note, I'd praise the success of the wake up light for those looking for a little boost to get up in the morning. I think the only thing holding this clock back is how most alarm clocks nowadays are up to date with technology by default and include some kind of device to connect an ipod. The alarm has a FM radio you can use as your wake up sound or a choice of five highly repetitive and annoying sound effects. The waves and 'white noise' are fairly relaxing and bearable; the cockerel and alarm sound rather irritating... it might make you want to get up to turn it off but defies the point of the 'light function' of the clock to me.

All in all I conclude it is rather a high price tag for what it is. And I'm assuming you will have to replace the bulb every so often also. With a little more high tech add ons like an ipod connection, it would be more tempting, but as it stands its rather a traditional alarm clock and taking that into consideration a bit overpriced.


Magical Christmas Tales Treasury
Magical Christmas Tales Treasury
by Parragon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little mislead but wonderful winter book, 27 Sept. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As the synopsis of this book was described as containing 'classic carols' I was actually expecting accompanying sheet music so you could split your child's time between music and story. This is unfortunately not the case though and you'll just find song lyrics for well known carols 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas', 'Away in a Manger', 'Jingle Bells', 'Silent Night', 'Deck the Halls', 'O Little Town of Bethlehem, 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and 'The Night Before Christmas' poem in its entirety.

It's quite a hefty book weighing in at approximately 192 pages but it's very clearly split into small stories and the song lyrics. It would be very easy to pick out one story to read along with a child or read aloud at bedtime. It is beautifully illustrated throughout and the writing is rather large which would make it a nice read for a slightly older child. The content is all appropriately Christmas and/or winter themed so really is perfect for the festive season.


Disney Classics Storybook Collection (Disney Storybook Collection)
Disney Classics Storybook Collection (Disney Storybook Collection)
by Disney
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully festive!, 3 Sept. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are quite a few books in this Disney series presented in a similar fashion so if you are familiar with them expect the same kind of quality. Where this one stands out is its beautifully festive narrative and illustrations throughout. I've seen Disney DVDs in particular in the past that are marketed as Christmas products but the actual content fails to deliver and is often only loosely related to Christmas.

Each Disney story in this collection is appropriately related to Christmas or the holiday season and is full of appropriate illustrations. Sully from Monsters Inc dressed as Santa, Pinocchio around a Christmas tree and Dumbo delivering presents just to name a few. This would be a perfect early Christmas gift for a child who loves Disney to get them in the mood for the holidays. The book contains 8 short stories (each around 10 pages) perfect for bedtime reading. A good mixture of classic and newer characters. Ideal for a young boy or girl.


200 Super Salads: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
200 Super Salads: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
by Alice Storey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 23 Aug. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Third book I have in this series and this one is just as good. One page per recipe with an accompanying photograph. This book is full of more 'cold ideas' if that is your thing. Traditional salads and then rice and pasta salad dishes with interesting variations to try out. I'm big into healthy eating and will be trying a lot of these recipes out for sure.


Promensil Double Strength Red Clover Tablets Pack of 30
Promensil Double Strength Red Clover Tablets Pack of 30
Price: £17.03

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hit or miss? Mostly miss., 23 Aug. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Got these for my mum to try out as she has had issues with hot flushes. She hasn't found them that great at all and would conclude they made little to no difference. In the products defence it does recommend taking for around 3 months to see an effect. But at initial impressions she does not have enough faith in them to buy more and keep taking.


Virgin to Veteran: How to Get Cooking with Confidence
Virgin to Veteran: How to Get Cooking with Confidence
by Sam Stern
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great encouragement for the young, 31 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What struck me right away with this book was how immaculately presented it was. The photographs are vivid and appealing while all the recipes are laid out extremely clearly making it easy to find your place when glancing back and forth between cooking and reading. For those who like to watch their calorie intake you'll notice many recipes are very clearly labelled 'healthy' and the quicker to make recipes are also helpfully labelled 'fast'.

I don't personally know too much about Sam stern but it's evident he is quite young - late teens to early twenties. I thought this was a unique feature in encouraging younger people to take an interest in making tasty and impressive food in addition to making it very current. Saying that anyone older shouldn't be put off as the recipes would be great for anyone wanting to get more into cooking.

There really is a terrific selection of recipes to choose from including quick healthy pasta dishes, a simple roast and Spanish meatballs.

All in all a book of very simple recipes using ingredients we should have all heard of. The book is also full of useful kitchen notes for things such as storing vegetables, oven tips, spotting good fresh produce and precise information on herbs and spices with ideal places to add.

I would imagine this would make a great gift for someone about to live by themselves for the first time or who doesn't know a great deal about cooking.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-18