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EllyBlue (United Kingdom)
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Someone Else's Skin (DI Marnie Rome 1)
Someone Else's Skin (DI Marnie Rome 1)
by Sarah Hilary
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising start to a new series of crime novels, 4 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great read. It's a promising start to a new series of police procedurals featuring DI Marnie Rome who has to confront her own past as well as dealing with her current investigations. The plot centres around events in a women's refuge. It is page-turningly exciting with developments and twists coming at exactly the right pace to keep the reader wanting more. Not everything or everyone is what they seem. There is some fairly graphic violence described so this might not be one for you if you are likely to find it upsetting. If you enjoy crime writing in the current vogue of strong female detectives, then this is definitely a series to watch. Both Marnie Rome and her colleagues have real depths which I can see the author delving into in future stories. A good read and I shall definitely be looking out for the next one in the series.


Rapesco 2200 Punch Heavy-duty 2-Hole Capacity 150x 80gsm Black Ref PF220AP1
Rapesco 2200 Punch Heavy-duty 2-Hole Capacity 150x 80gsm Black Ref PF220AP1
Price: £73.58

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels like it will last for years, 3 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a serious piece of kit for some serious hole-punching. Too big for the average home user I would have thought but ideal in an office environment, this hole punch feels robust, and it has made light work of punching about 80 sheets of paper (the most I have needed to punch in one go since I received it). There are paper guides which pull out so you can be sure that you are getting your holes punched into the right place. You do need to bring a bit of weight to bear to get this to cut through that many sheets, but it is hardly surprising. The holes are punched cleanly. After each punch, you are supposed to rotate slightly the little grey discs onto which the punching rods land; these will eventually need to be replaced. There is a storage area for spare grey discs on the flat part of the punch. There is also a small storage draw on the upright part of the punch too. If you need a substantial hole punch for punching multiple sheets at a time, then this weighty device is just the thing. If on the other hand you are looking for a small hole punch for a few sheets, then this is too much.


Breathe
Breathe
by Sarah Crossan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Breathe is a brilliantly written story with a great plot, 29 Sep 2014
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Comments from my daughter, an avid read, aged 13.
Breath is a great novel with interesting characters. It is set in an apocalyptic world divided into two groups in society: Auxiliaries and Premiums. The Auxiliaries only have enough air to remain alive; the Premiums can live a normal life and have air to spare.
Alina is a rebel and tries to escape from the pod (this is a glass dome where everyone lives) but ends up travelling with a premium. Together they unearth a conspiracy which proves that their whole lives have been a lie. What will they chose their lives or the truth? This is a really exciting read that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I really enjoyed it.
I would recommend this book to 13-15 year olds. Also if you like Allie Condie or Suzzanne Colins you will enjoy this.


Skullcandy Air Raid Rugged Water and Drop Resistant Portable Rechargeable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Black
Skullcandy Air Raid Rugged Water and Drop Resistant Portable Rechargeable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Black
Price: £129.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a powerful speaker for its size!, 29 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This speaker looks like a mini boom box, and thus my daughters thought it looked very cool! Its rugged looks are certainly noticeable and this item would certainly fare quite well if thrown into a rucksack for journeys (although it is quite heavy for its size so you'd notice that it was there!). There is a metal ring on the side next to the on-off switch, so you could attach it to something - if you were on a boat perhaps. There is a removable rubberised cover, and the ports are also covered, so you would feel happy using tho item in places you wouldn't take a less robust item. Pairing was quite easy - you just need to press the round button in the middle for about 5 seconds, and the lights flash blue and red to let you know that the speaker is in pairing mode. I've tried pairing a number of gadgets and they all connect well. The range of the bluetooth connection is about standard for this sort of device but move too far away and you will lose the connection. As soon as I'd made the connection successfully and started playing music, my next job was to figure out the volume controls because this is speaker is really loud for its size! Definitely enough to fill a room in most people's houses. In fact, probably enough to fill the entire house. If you took this outside, you'd probably be able to fill an entire field with sound (There are plus and minus buttons on the front which control the volume by the way so you can turn it down!). Sound quality is good, with enough bass (although not excessive amounts if that is what you are into!), and for the most part the bluetooth connection held well, although there were a few more irritating drop outs than I experience with my other bluetooth speakers. If you are interested in a rugged, loud, bluetooth speaker, judged by the young to be cool, then this is definitely something which is worthy of your serious consideration.


Leitz Wow A4 Ruled Notebook - Metallic Pink
Leitz Wow A4 Ruled Notebook - Metallic Pink
Price: £6.96

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ordinary every day notebook but not the best value, 17 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is quite a nice notebook. The plastic covers are quite sturdy and textured and I like the fact that they slightly overhang the paper contained within, although this does make the overall notebook slightly larger than A4. There is a plastic ruler which can be clipped out from the spiral binding where it is attached which is handy, but I suspect that many students will carry a ruler (if they need one) anyway. The paper is punched with 4 hole and is lined, with the addition of a box at the top (for a title?) and a space for a date which is slightly unusual. The paper itself is smooth and thick enough at 80 g/m2 although nothing out of the ordinary. I don't like it as much as the paper in the Pukka brand of paper products which I usually buy. Don't get the impression this is a poor product. It isn't at all. It's fine. The problem with it is that for the price, it needs to be better than fine. It needs to be special - a real premium product - and this isn't. It's ordinary and lacks the "wow" factor.


AmazonBasics Mini Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Blue
AmazonBasics Mini Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Blue
Price: £23.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb value for money and a lot better than I thought it would be, 17 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting great things from this speaker. The relatively low price (compared to some other bluetooth travel speakers on the market) and the look (which on the website looks plastic and cheap) made me think this might be a useful spare for when the speaker I tend to use needs charging. The packaging in the Amazon Basics cardboard box (easy to open) rather than in the snazzy plastic cartons (difficult to open) that some companies use, reinforced my low expectations when this arrived. Well, it just goes to show that sometimes you do get more than you paid for and that appearances can indeed be deceptive from time to time.
In real life, the speaker looks a lot ore classy. The exterior is a nice pearlised finish, and the speaker grilles are on both sides with sound coming out of both sides. Pairing was easy, and there is an LED on the top so you see when the speaker is in paring mode. I was immediately blown away by just how much sound this speaker could generate (should have turned the sound down on my iPod I guess!) but volume can be adjusted with the volume buttons on the top of the speaker. Once I'd got the sound to an acceptable level, I tried a range of different genres of music, and for its size, I think you will be impressed with the clarity that you hear. There isn't the booming base you can get with some speakers but they are a lot bigger and more expensive than this. I was certainly very surprised by just how good this little speaker sounds and I think you will be too.
There's an on-off switch on the side, together with a micro usb port for charging. A cable is included for this purpose although there is no wall adapter. This is probably a good omission since most people must have several of these lying around the house. The is also a line in connector so if you want to connect a non-bluetooth device with a cable (not included) you can do this. This speaker is clearly intended primarily for travel (there is a black pouch to keep it safe in your bag) but I would say that you will be quite pleased if you want something ultra portable to take round the house with you.


Amy and Matthew: A Love Story
Amy and Matthew: A Love Story
by Cammie McGovern
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A unique book that stands out in the crowded romance genre, 14 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Review from my 12 year old daughter who loved this.
Amy and Matthew is a romance with a twist. This book is great because it writes about people we may see as different as us because of the way they look, are actually they same as us and do fall on love.
Amy has a severe disability that means she can't talk well,she drools a bit and she can't walk properly. She always has an adult near her because of her disability but she wants to make friends so she asks her mum if she can have people her own age around her and no adults around. She meets new people and she particularly likes her carer Matthew. At the end of the year they separate in there different ways. Disaster strikes can they pull through together?
This is a really unique book that stands out from the mass populated romance genre. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good plot and lovable characters. I also recommend this book for 12-14 year olds who like Gayle Forman and Amy Tintera


Corsair CMFAIR-VA2-1000-EU Voyager Air 2 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Wireless Hard Drive - Black
Corsair CMFAIR-VA2-1000-EU Voyager Air 2 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Wireless Hard Drive - Black
Price: £138.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine as a hard drive but fiddly and frustratingly powerless!, 14 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a portable hard drive, this is good. It's small and the casing feels robust meaning that it will probably put up with a reasonable amount being carried about. It transfers files to and from my Mac quite quickly because of its USB connection. However, when I came to use this wirelessly, I was slightly less impressed. It took me a while to update the firmware needed for the drive to work with the most recent versions of the apps (both Android and iOS versions are available), and although I'm usually pretty good with technology, it took me a while to get the wireless connectivity going, although we got there in the end. The apps themselves work ok, although you don't actually have to use them - you could connect the drive wirelessly and then use a third party file browser (like ES file explorer), at least on Android. There were a couple of limitations too which seem to me like a downgrade by comparison with the previous version. There is no LAN port so you can't connect this to your router and use it as a network drive. Also, frustratingly, although there is a DC in socket at the back to charge the battery, there is no power adapter included in the box. It is available through Corsair at extra cost, which I don't really feel is good enough. You can use any USB plug and charge that way, but while doing so, the wifi is deactivated which was frustrating. I like the idea of a wireless drive which can be used to store media between devices. However, with just a bit more thought to the user interface, and the inclusion of a couple of extra hardware features (LAN and a plug!), this product would have been so much better. I am happy with it as a hard drive, less so with what it claims as its unique selling points.


Kipling Women's Halia TT A4 Shoulder Bag K10624B78 Black Pearl W
Kipling Women's Halia TT A4 Shoulder Bag K10624B78 Black Pearl W
Price: £51.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks better in real life than in the pictures - an excellent work bag, 14 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am a real fan of the Kipling brand so I had high hopes for this larger bag and I was not disappointed. First of all, the monochrome design is very striking. The chequerboard effect at the front looks better in real life than it does in the photos. I was worried that it might be a bit cheap looking but it isn't at all. Rather than being printed on, the effect is achieved by weaving strands of black and pearl white fabric together, and it looks really classy. The black is the normal Kipling black nylon material. The white is also nylon but it is a slightly soft white with a sheen to it, hence the name "pearl". I like the sleek lines of the design of this bag too. It does have separate compartments to organise your belongings, but this isn't obvious when you look at the bag. The main compartment in the middle of the bag is secured by a magnetic popper rather than a zip. It's big enough to get my 11 inch Macbook Air in, wearing its sleeve, and you'd get a bigger laptop in sleeve in there too, up to about 15 inches in terms of screen size. Inside this compartment, there is also a zipped section which runs all the way across the width of the bag. On either side of the main compartment are zipped compartments. Inside the front one there are slip pockets big enough for a smart phone, a pen, iPod etc and a cord with a clip on the end to keep your keys safe. The back compartment doesn't have any additional features. Incidentally, the lining is a bright white material which makes it very easy to see your belongings, although I suppose it could be prone to picking up grubby marks. Kipling bags are wipeable though (and I have been known to stick them in the washing machine) so I'm not too worried about it. At the very front of the bag, there is a further compartment secured by a slightly concealed zip. There is a lot of space here. You will definitely get an A4 ring binder into the middle section, and A4 papers in a plastic wallet will fit into any of the three main sections. I have been using one of the sections for taking my lunch to work - including a flask of coffee (1 litre size) and a couple of plastic boxes with various nibbles in. If you don't want to put too much into the bag, there are poppers on each side to retain a narrower profile at the top; when opened, they do increase the breadth of the bag. The base of the bag is fairly broad - a useful indication that you can get quite a lot inside it.
Kipling bags are superb quality and this one more than meets my expectations. The zips and stitching are very good, and although the nylon fabric is light, it is very hard-wearing and also provides good protection when you are out and about in the rain.
You can either use the handles on the bag (which are plenty long enough to go over my shoulder) or there is a removable shoulder strap if you prefer to use this.
This would make an excellent work bag or college bag for a student. The chequerboard pattern gives it a smart edge I think. Although it isn't the cheapest option, I think that in this case, the adage "you get what you pay for" rings true. It will last and last, and continue to look good for years.


Thin Air: (Shetland book 6)
Thin Air: (Shetland book 6)
Price: £6.59

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very welcome return for Jimmy Perez but the Shetlands themselves are the real star attraction, 14 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Shetland series, featuring detective Jimmy Perez just gets better and better. This story is set in Unst in the north of the Shetland Isles. A group of four friends are sharing a holiday cottage, Sletts, so they can attend the "hameferin' or post wedding celebration of friends from university, Lowrie (from Unst) and Caroline. Everything seems to be going well, but the night after the party, Eleanor disappears. An email purporting to be from Eleanor gives cause for concern about her safety and it is not long before her body is found, arranged in a stylised manner in a small, nearby loch. Eleanor had claimed to have seen the ghost of Peerie Lizzie, a young girl who had died on the shore in the 1920s, and the investigating team wonder whether the current events are in some way connected to a tragic story from long ago.
Jimmy, with his superior Willow Reeves and Sandy Wilson are sent to investigate. It is a satisfyingly complex mystery to unravel, with many twists, turns and false leads before the final solution is revealed. Ann Cleeves is good on plot, but she is also excellent with her characters. Jimmy, Willow, Sandy and the cast of characters - some Shetlanders, some from further south are well drawn, with complex motivations for their actions. If you haven't read the other Shetland novels, I would recommend that you do so before embarking upon this. There is enough of the back story to enable you to understand what has happened before, but you'll be spoiling the pleasure of watching the character of Jimmy Perez develop fully if you start here.
Once again, it is the Shetlands themselves which are the star attraction here. Ann Cleeves writes brilliantly about the landscape and the weather; the swirling fog in this novel almost seeming to be a metaphor for the fact that the detectives cannot see where they need to search to find the killer. The simmer dim (bright summer nights) are unsettling and slightly disorientating to outsiders, and Ann Cleeves evokes this very well. Although I have not been to Shetland (yet), I have a really clear sense of the place from Ann Cleeves's writing.
For fans of this series, this is a very welcome return. Although newcomers could start here, I would really recommend starting with Raven Black (Shetland) and working your way through these excellent stories in the correct sequence. My only sadness is that I've finished reading now and I'll have a while to wait before the next one comes out. Write faster please Ann!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2014 7:20 AM BST


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