Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's
Profile for Sam Tyler > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Sam Tyler
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,053
Helpful Votes: 5092

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Sam Tyler (Reading, Berkshire)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
The X-Files: Earth Children are Weird. A Picture Book
The X-Files: Earth Children are Weird. A Picture Book
by Kim Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth is Out There, 26 Sept. 2017
It’s the early 90s and the lights are dimmed, my sister and I are gathered around a TV that today would seem archaic. It provided chills and thrills that were far too scary for children our age, but also memories that would last us forever. The show was called ‘‘The X Files’’ and in my humble opinion it remains the best TV show ever. It was so great that it has spawned a cult following of fans that have craved new films and new episodes to this day. But have they ever craved a children’s book based on the characters?

A young Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are having a sleepover in the back garden when they hear some creepy noises and see some strange lights. Surely this is the proof that Fox requires to show that aliens exist, but each discovery shows that the supernatural is all too plain natural, or is it …..

To anyone who knows the truth is out there, ‘‘The X-Files: Earth Children are Weird’’ by Kim Smith is not cannon. We know that Mulder and Scully met for the first time in ‘‘Pilot’’, the episode that started the phenomenon that was the show, but something like ‘‘Earth Children’’ is pure fan service. What would have happened if Mulder and Scully were friends as children? Who really cares; the book is meant to be fun.

As a standalone children’s book Smith has created something that a child who does not know their ‘‘X Files’’ from their ‘‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’’ can still enjoy. The premise stands on its own – a couple of kids looking for aliens, but finding nothing. The illustrations are bold and full of a spooky wonder. The book sets the right tone and is a little scary, without making anyone fearful. In fact, when Mulder and Scully venture into the woods there are loads of strange and wonderful things to spot in the background.

Despite the book holding up on its own, that is not really the point. There are other books that cover similar themes without the baggage that this book has, but it is the baggage that is this book’s USP. There are enough parents out there of an ‘‘X Files’’ age who will get a thrill from reading this book and being able to see the many Easter Eggs hidden all around. The very idea of a children’s book about these characters is absurd, but also exhilarating for a fan. In fact, I can imagine that as many copies of this book will be sold in a comic book store frequented by adults as the children’s section of a bookstore.

On balance, the appeal of this book does depend if you are a fan of the show. The story is adequate and the characters cute, but without the imbued knowledge of why the setting is so fun, the book does fall a little flatter. However, even as a standalone book for someone who does not know Mulder or Scully, they still get a decent, fun book.


Barking Heads Wet Bad Hair Day Dog Food Tins, Pack of 6
Barking Heads Wet Bad Hair Day Dog Food Tins, Pack of 6
Price: £10.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Meaty Treat, 26 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ask me as a northerner what I think of a plate full of meaty chunks in gravy and I will tell you, put a pie crust on top and I will have it for my tea. Tell me its dog food and I will have second thoughts, but reality is that the contents of ‘Barking Heads Wet Bad Hair Day Dog Food’ looks meatier than many of the pie fillings I have had over the years. Won’t make me eat it. Thankfully, this is for my dog who is the doggy equivalent of me – a Labrador. This essentially means that whatever food you put in front of her does not touch the side and does not collect £200. Therefore, the concept of buying premium dog food is a little alien for me as she is happy eating scraps as she is caviar. However, ‘Bad Hair Day’ was certainly a treat to enjoy.

A tin contains a nice mix of meat and veg that is almost like a collection of quality scraps after a Sunday Roast, in this case lamb, but all squashed together into a pate. The percentage of actual meat in the mix is what makes this a premium product, with up to 85% meat, that is more than I ever get. At this price I add half a tin of this to my dog’s normal dry feed and it proved extremely popular, going the way of so much other food in seconds. Here lies the rub. This food looks excellent and your dog will love it, but unless they are a fussy eater they would also wolf down something of a lower meat content too.

If you are someone who really wants to treat their dog and are willing to venture into the premium brands then ‘Wet Hair Day’ is fantastic, but most dogs will eat it in moments.


Anne Klein Women's Claire Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue Display and Black Leather Strap AK/N2618RGBK
Anne Klein Women's Claire Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue Display and Black Leather Strap AK/N2618RGBK
Price: £74.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Timepiece, 26 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are many styles of watch, but the one I like is timeless. This is not a particular look or feel, but an idea. This would be a watch that you can imagine would have been worn anytime during the 20th Century until today and has an elegance to it that means it could have been handed down to you, or be brand new. The ‘Anne Klein Women's Claire Quartz Watch (Black)’ is one such watch. The look is art deco chic with a lovely rose gold coloured case and quality leather strap. The proportions are ideal for a women who want a slightly understated watch that looks classy and is not too in your face.

There is a simplicity to this watch that gives it its quality, a simple hour, minute and second hand with roman numerals. This is not a watch that has a stopwatch or date to fill out the face. By keeping things simple the watch has a nice clean look that makes it easy to read and look very pretty. The detailing throughout is also quality with the nice transition from the watch to the strap as well as some nice artwork on the back casing. Overall, this is a very elegant watch that would appeal to a women looking for a timeless style timepiece.


I Want to go First!
I Want to go First!
by Richard Byrne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pack Your Trunks, 25 Sept. 2017
This review is from: I Want to go First! (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are loads of ways in which children's books can be interactive; flaps, noises, texture etc. However, Richard Byrne specialises in doing something that is both simpler and more complex - breaking the fourth wall. Essentially, he makes his books interactive by having the characters speak directly to the reader. In the case of 'I Want to Go First' he has the character of the smallest elephant, Elphie, talk to the reader so that they can help him move further along the line to the watering hole. This takes the form of perhaps hissing like a snake to scare someone, or to shake the book. Whenever the reader does an action it effects the story.

Done correctly this works well, but getting a child to do the 'right thing' is not always easy. The fourth wall as a concept it alien to most adults, never mind a child, therefore getting them to buy into the premise of this book takes a few reads. Once they realise that their actions are having consequences, the fun truly begins. Now all that matters is whether they really start to get this concept at all. As for the book itself; the story is simple, but fun and the bold illustrations means that the elephants all appeal. There is also a fun message at the end about being willing to share and to try and think of a solution to a problem.


Eric Bristow: The Autobiography: The Crafty Cockney
Eric Bristow: The Autobiography: The Crafty Cockney
by Eric Bristow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Let's Read Darts, 25 Sept. 2017
The best autobiographies are not always by people that you admire. Celebs often seek to protect their reputation and keep the reader at arm’s length. Often the best biogs are actually written by those celebrities who have courted controversy throughout their careers and are not always the most liked. Eric Bristow certainly falls into this camp; undoubtedly one of the most famous and acclaimed dart players of all time, but he does not always come across well. He was known as ‘The London Lip’ for a reason and recent antics have seen him get into hot water when posting his views on the football grooming scandal. ‘The Crafty Cockney’ predates this latest faux pas, but still has plenty in it that skates thin ice. But, is that not why the book is fun?

Bristow grew up in a poor area of London, when it was still poor. Many of his childhood friends are in jail or dead, but through his skill with the arrows, he found a way out. Although you can take the man out of Hackney, Hackney never really left this man. Bristow took his upbringing onto the oche with him and that it what his made him a champion, often intimidating his opponent before a dart was even thrown. In ‘Crafty’ Bristow gives a warts and all look at his life from the days on the rob to being on the circuit with a group of men you would find hard to call athletes.

I like my autobiographies to have a genuine voice of the person and that is the most distinctive things about ‘Crafty’. Bristow is not ashamed at all of the man he is and is rightly proud of what he has achieved. Like his manner in real life, this book can be a little abrasive at times. In most cases this works brilliantly; his tales about a naughty youth makes the early chapters highly entertaining. The book is also great when he discusses his peak as a player. There are some great stories about the darts scene at the time; loads of practical jokes. Bristow is also happy to tell the reader about people he dislikes and why. This is always fun, if a little full on.

However, like in life, sometimes one of Bristow’s rants hits a bum note. It depends on your own stance whether you will be bothered by what he has to say, but his views on mental illness and passive smoking feel archaic at best, dangerous at worst. He seems to lack empathy towards other people and this may make for a good read, but it can also be uncomfortable. The suicide of a former friend’s wife is handled particularly insensitively.

A good autobiography will transport you to a life far removed from your own; this is often Hollywood glamour or sporting heights. ‘Crafty’ transported me somewhere entirely different than other biogs I have read, but still far removed from my norm; a world of smoky bars, functioning alcoholism and bawdy humour. What you have here is a glimpse into a completely different lifestyle that not everyone will agree with, but at least Bristow has attacked it with gusto and gives the reader the unvarnished truth.


FIND Women's Plain White Wrap Shirt Blouse, White (Weiß), 14 (Manufacturer size: Large)
FIND Women's Plain White Wrap Shirt Blouse, White (Weiß), 14 (Manufacturer size: Large)
Price: £30.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Wrap Around, 24 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A white blouse is not the most exciting outfit so it great to see FIND trying something different with their 'Wrap Shirt Blouse'. Like the name suggests this has an added wrap feature in the centre. The material is cotton, but with a touch of elastic so that it fits most shapes. This combination does mean that the material is harder to iron and getting the crisp lines back into it takes a hot iron.

The face that their is a lovely feature to this blouse means that it can be worn as a nice causal outfit, but also for work.


FIND Women's Asymmetric Peplum Blouse, White (Weiß), 12 (Manufacturer size: Medium)
FIND Women's Asymmetric Peplum Blouse, White (Weiß), 12 (Manufacturer size: Medium)
Price: £14.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Asynergy, 24 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Fashion is a wonderful thing as some people will love a look whilst others will hate it. The FIND range seems to revel in this with a selection of outfits that take a normal look and gives it a twist. This could just be another blouse, but it is a 'Asymmetric Peplum Blouse' so has a little extra. The cut is a little large, but this is to allow the asymmetric cut to work. It is lifted slightly on one side and has a seam in the centre. It is a really nice touch that makes it a little more special.

It is worth noting that, like many items in the FIND range, the material is a little sheer, so a top underneath would be required, or at least be aware of what bra to wear. I have been reliably informed that this metrical choice is a current fashion so many people will be looking for the slight see through look. If you are not one of these, take note. No matter the material, the cut is different enough to make this a fun blouse to wear.


FIND Women's Ruffle Sleeve Dress, White (Weiß), 12 (Manufacturer size: Medium)
FIND Women's Ruffle Sleeve Dress, White (Weiß), 12 (Manufacturer size: Medium)
Price: £23.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flying Without Wings, 22 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The FIND collection of clothing has had a few interesting cuts with its items, but the 'Ruffle Sleeve Dress' is probably the oddest yet and makes this an item of clothing that is for a very specific person. Firstly, to call it a dress is a little generous, a long t-shirt is a better description. If you like you dresses short, then perhaps this is not an issue to you, but you will also want them a little sheer. This is a see-through dress so you will need a short undershirt or appropriate underwear. Perhaps, just great confidence?

The most telling element in the winged sleeves, they stand out and are a little unusual to look at and wear. If you decide to forgo the official use of the clothing as a dress and instead use it as a top under a denim sleeveless jacket for instance, it gives a very nice look. This way the wings are on show, but you still get to maintain your modesty. The thing is, fashion is subjective. This dress may be too short and transparent for some, but to others it is the perfect going out outfit. Although a little odd, the cut is right for what it is trying to achieve, just make a note if this is what you want.


Furies Of Calderon: The Codex Alera: Book One
Furies Of Calderon: The Codex Alera: Book One
by Jim Butcher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Fury He's A Jolly Good Fellow, 22 Sept. 2017
It sometimes feels as a fantasy fan that if you have read one, you have read them all. There seems to be a set of unwritten rules that an author follows; dragons, elves, magic, coming of age tales. However, although some fantasy can be samey, a lot of it actually has elements that are different. Jim Butcher is best known for his Harry Dresden novels, but he also produced several in the Codex series. ‘Furies of Calderon’ was the first and hits many of the tropes of the genre, but also has some ideas of its own. Are these newer ideas enough to make up for yet another downtrodden orphan coming good storyline?

Tavi is a shepherd in the tough mountain region of Calderon Valley, far from the riches of the city. He lives in a world where everyone if blessed with a Fury; a familiar who grants them an elemental power. Almost everyone. Tavi has no powers and is therefore at a constant disadvantage, especially when danger is around. This danger comes in the form of a proxy war heading to the valley that will determine who sits on the most powerful seat in the land.

There is a reason why the fantasy genre starts off so many times with a poor orphan that goes onto great things; as a structure it works. It also allows you to start the book early and really stretch it out over several tomes. At its worst ‘Furies’ is a prime example of generic fantasy fiction, but the furies themselves are the saving grace. Whilst magic is certainly not new to the genre, or familiars, at least Butcher has created an interesting dynamic of magic. He uses the RPG style system of elements – some are better at fighting others e.g. earth, fire, water. Another good idea is that the magic is not always literal to the element, it is not just throwing fire and water around, but the characters also offer subtle powers such as healing or the power to instil fear.

‘Furies’ is by no means a book that redefines the genre, but instead sits comfortably within it. Fans who just want another solid fantasy book will be very happy with the time spent in the Calderon Valley, but those looking for a little edge are best looking elsewhere. The characters in the book all seem a little forgettable; I was more interested in their Furies than the person. Later Dresden books suffered from being a little too action heavy with no downtime. The benefit of stretching this book out is at least there is some time to ponder between action set pieces. Solid fantasy fiction best left for fans of the genre.


I Dare You
I Dare You
by Reece Wykes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.91

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Monkey See, Monkey Eat, 22 Sept. 2017
This review is from: I Dare You (Hardcover)
Some children’s books require a robust sense of humour from a parent, or at least the ability to look the other way when a book is being naughty. There are more books on pants and poo than could fill a landfill, but when is something too far for a children’s book? Bragging? Lying? Cannibalism?

The game of dares is always a dangerous one that I never partook of as a child – it only led to grief, but for two bored gorillas there is not much else to do. This is a game of I dare you to eat … Things start of small and then get larger and larger, until the only thing left to eat is of a meaty texture.

I am not usually one for spoilers in reviews, but one of the final acts of this book determines whether you think this is suitable for your child or not – one of the gorillas ends up eating the other. Perhaps in the right context this would work in a children’s book as a daft aside, but this is a book for 3-5 year olds who probably do not quite have that wild sense of the absurd yet. It is not aided by Reece Wykes dry style. The gorillas in the midst of the book are quite arrogant and self-assured. When one beats the other in the ultimate game of I Dare, they don’t have a sense of regret on their face, but one of smug victory. I just can’t imagine that this is suitable for many children.

Perhaps it was never the intention of Reece for this to be a book that was actually read by children? There are elements that are fantastic; the art design being one. However, this art design looks great because it is so stylised. A parent will appreciate the use of colour and bold lines more than the child.

Primates are meat eater and do sometimes eat other primates, but is that what you want to read before bed? You should heed that little tingle at the back of your head when the book starts – a beetle and bird are soon eaten. This felt a little off to me, but the conclusion is just bizarre for a toddler to understand. The book is meant to be viewed with a detached sense of humour, but how many toddlers have this? There is a nice end which will make the adults chuckle, but they may have to settle down their confused and scared child first. Best to check this book out first before purchase to ensure that your child has a robust enough constitution for it.


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