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Sandford "Sandy" (Kent, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Rexel Advance 180x162mm Subject Notebooks - Black (Pack of 5)
Rexel Advance 180x162mm Subject Notebooks - Black (Pack of 5)
Price: £16.64

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Design, 21 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The two star rating is due to the design of the notebook which claims to help divide out your notes into relevant sections by tab dividers. There is only one tab divider in the notebooks I have received, which defeats the object in the first place if you need to use the notebook for several functions. Also this one tab divider is very fiddly to alter position anyway, so all in all this design application fails miserably.

The only saving grace for this product is that I do like the novel cloth spine, which makes for a firm grip and feels good to the touch. Also, the price is just about reasonable. However, I can’t recommend this product, chiefly for its poor design. If there were more tab dividers that were actually user friendly, then this might even possibly have achieved a 4 star rating, at least a 3.


The Island Escape
The Island Escape
by Kerry Fisher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Escapist Novel, 19 May 2015
This review is from: The Island Escape (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This novel is ideal for a holiday read, something to snap up on as a last minute buy before catching the plane. I particularly like the format of the book with its tightly structured chapters - it makes it a book ideal to pick up and put down without losing the plot as each chapter is dedicated to the voice of each main character, whether Roberta or Octavia.

An alternative title could be “Octavia Comes to The Rescue”. Olivia is the more solid counterpart to Roberta, with her stolid, dependable character. She is more stable emotionally and is considerate. Roberta on the other hand does lack some personal depth, often insecure and relatively immature. The character differences complement each other very much and in this sense the novel works well, Roberta being born with privilege, and Octavia not.

As usual for this genre too, there is the acceptable face of the male chauvinistic pig, in this case Scott, the husband of Roberta, who seems a right head case. The husband of Roberta, Jonathon,is equally unlikeable with his chronic obsessive compulsive and ritualistic approach to daily life, which leaves him desperately self centred. Of course, by default both lack emotional intelligence, and are presented as ogres - (the remaining males like Jake in this novel are otherwise presented as part time romantic lushes). So between these 2 married couples lies the source of the plot, and we learn much about their frustrations of married life, (a version of “un-domestic bliss”which everyone will recognise something of….!)

So from this background both Roberta and Octavia experience the difficulties of making decisions, that when you love a beast of a man, it is hard to change direction even if the spirit is largely willing to do so. Do you settle for a routine domesticity that could be dangerously boring, or does excitement beckon? Read the novel, and you will find out after this quite engaging read.

It is very easy for this genre to fall into the 3 star, “OK” range, as most are pleasant, but mediocre and tend to have the odd over-romanticised view of life which becomes gushing. This novel is a bit more mature than that, and just scrapes it to the 4 star.


Adult Nursing at a Glance
Adult Nursing at a Glance
by Andrée le May
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Nuts-And-Bolts Textbook, 18 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have little negative to comment on this excellent textbook, if indeed at all. It has been extremely well produced on high quality grade paper, which makes it a pleasure to read, and it is very easy to locate any topic. All nurses will gain benefit from having this textbook to hand, whether a new undergraduate, or qualified nurses needing a brief top-up the number of topics that broadly cover various syllabuses. With the CourseSmart function of the website it proves a great corollary to this hardcopy version, and can be a handmade tool for the keen student to make the most of their studies.

Overall a great nuts-and-bolts text that does the production team much credit, and won’t pinch the purse too much for a textbook that will sustain in its use over a few years. I speak as a qualified nurse both in mental health and adult nursing who has practised for 40 years.


Learning Disability Nursing at a Glance
Learning Disability Nursing at a Glance
by Bob Gates
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Overall Very Competent Text, 18 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Revision guides are generally a difficult beast, in that it is hard to please everybody’s needs, but this text on Learning Disability Nursing seems to fit the bill. I haven’t pursued the use of the e-text version, but I feel this would admirably suit the individual learner’s needs to make it that much more user friendly for targeting learning areas alongside working with this hard-copy version.

I feel it caters for a wide ranging audience, from the initial enquirer as to the suitability for a career in this challenging area of medicine, and those just starting of course on their degree pathways. I feel it can also served as an admirable focus for those newly qualified nurses as a great aide-memoir when applying for that all important new post. I speak as a qualified nurse in adult nursing and mental health for 40 years.

So, an overall recommended text.


Leifheit 85271 40 m Linomatic 400 Comfort Rotary Clothes Airer, Green
Leifheit 85271 40 m Linomatic 400 Comfort Rotary Clothes Airer, Green
Price: £132.78

5.0 out of 5 stars A fine compact dryer., 16 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Another great product from Leifeit’s Laundry Range.

As with all Leifheit equipment, you get what you pay for - quality.

The main points that we like about this particular model are

The four ‘coat hanger’ hooks - one at the end of each arm for items that are best hung free from folding;

The 1.8m plus width of the outer lines - suitable for hanging table cloths and sheets;

The easy ‘pull-handle’ lift system that is so less demanding than the usual push-up from the centre pivot - with this model you just grab the red toggle / handle - walk backwards and the arms spread releasing line from within the casing - with no tangles and ready to use;

The lightweight aluminium construction that not only enhances the appearance, but inhibits rust;

When not in use, simply pull the eye-level handle and release and the line will fold down into itself keeping the lines dry.

The line can be concreted into place with the supplied socket, or easier still use the dedicated self centring ground socket - which can easily be re-located as desired. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leifheit-85607-Centring-Rotary-Clothes/dp/B00149AJUW/ref=pd_cp_kh_2

Our only minor grip is - as others have reported - that the socket should be included in the retail price of the line.


Leifheit 85272 50 m Linomatic 500 Comfort Rotary Clothes Airer, Green
Leifheit 85272 50 m Linomatic 500 Comfort Rotary Clothes Airer, Green
Price: £136.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Leifheit Quality - but at their usual price premium, 16 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
£140 for a rotary clothes line - a lot of cash when many other can be picked up for £20 or less.

But as with all Leifheit equipment, you get what you pay for - quality.

The main points that we like about this particular model are:

The 2m plus width of the outer lines - makes hanging bed sheets so much easier;

The easy ‘pull-handle’ lift system that is so less demanding than the usual push-up from the centre pivot - with this model you just grab the red toggle / handle - walk backwards and the arms spread releasing line from within the casing - with no tangles and ready to use;

The lightweight aluminium construction that not only enhances the appearance, but inhibits rust;

When not in use, simply pull the eye-level handle and release and the line will fold down into itself keeping the lines dry.

The line can be concreted into place with the supplied socket, or easier still use the dedicated self centring ground socket - which can easily be re-located as desired. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leifheit-85607-Centring-Rotary-Clothes/dp/B00149AJUW/ref=pd_cp_kh_2

Our only minor grip is - as others have reported - that the socket should be included in the retail price of the line.


The House of Hidden Mothers
The House of Hidden Mothers
by Meera Syal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The House of Hidden Mothers, 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have not read Meera Syal’s previous novels, but I was very pleasantly surprised with “The House of Hidden Mothers”. It was very much expected in terms of style, her unique voice certainly coming through.

Essentially the plot is well thought out, quite the family saga, with lots happening to sustain interest. She communicates well the clashes of culture and political tradition between Indian and British society, particularly sympathetic to the difficulties that different age groups experience in both adapting to a new way of life, but also the struggle to maintain strong links with diverse cultural differences. The ties between generations is constant throughout, and she conveys her own knowledge and experience with an observational humility. She is also not fearful of presenting some brutal realities which is quite impressive, with certain images still resonating with me after reading it. All this is done quite gently in some ways against this very solid and energetic story.

The only negative comment I can make, is that some chapters are inordinately long, for instance the 90 pages of Chapter 11. This made it a bit difficult to draw breath, but perhaps this is because of having a proof copy to review?

So overall this is a well deserved 5 star rating from me.


Galina Petrovna's Three-Legged Dog Story
Galina Petrovna's Three-Legged Dog Story
by Andrea Bennett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wholly Pleasurable Read, 13 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Here we have a novel bubbling with life and full of 3 dimensional colourful and wholly endearing characters. The plot is bold and strong with a beautiful and subtly turned out ending that I feel couldn’t be better - the kind that brings a nice lump in the throat, where it all turns out nice in the end with a lovely dash of pathos.

The two elderly babushkas, Galia and Zoya are pure delight. Galia is stolid, strong and caring, who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is a point of sanity in the book. She is certainly, the kind of granny that resides in my fantasies. Zoya is a hoot, her behaviour as if she is on a drip feed of small doses of ecstasy - she is decidedly a bit loopy but loveable. One minor character that really shines out for me, and had me almost in convulsions is Kommandant Krapevin.

Andrea Bennet’s knowledge of the Soviet Union provides a solid foundation, where the sense of a fading communism whispers from every corner. There feels a collective sadness of peoples’ difficult histories that reflect stoically on 20th Century Soviet History, a pervasive image of a decaying and fusty society which never dominates the comedy. A corker of a story bouncing with energy, this is a tale of a group of maturing people in the autumn of their years who have so much accumulated wisdom that just has to be respected. It is certainly a lesson on stopping drinking vodka once you hit 65….! This has to be one of the better novels that I have read this year and wholeheartedly recommend it.


All Involved
All Involved
by Ryan Gattis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You Play, You Pay", 9 May 2015
This review is from: All Involved (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An unrelenting pace from the outset, this novel has a gripping immediacy. The language is economic, but full of energy and guts. I wonder how the author managed to switch off and sleep whilst in the process of writing this book. The writing is edgy and taut, but Ryan Gattis manages to balance this at times with a softer edge, notably the welcome warmth and tenderness of nurse Gloria, and her coyness in her admiration for fireman Anthony. His own shyness and reserve lends added realism and counterpoint to the brutality and violence witnessed throughout the novel.

The toxic atmosphere of Los Angeles at this time, with its citizens from disparate cultural backgrounds and belief systems is brilliantly communicated. This city of neighbourhoods, the recognisable equivalents of “Manors” in gangland London, is a fragile community, always in a state of flux, where gang membership results in a de-humanising experience. Life is deemed worthless unless you come from the same “clica”, where crime is a virtual career path. A statistic in the book states that at this time the highly fragmented gang population roughly numbers 102,000.

Here the author provides us with a glimpse of a hidden America, where “we see its layers, its unfairness, its unavoidability”. We only have to compare the events outlined in this novel to the recent riots in Baltimore and Ferguson to realise that sadly, these uprisings are all too depressingly frequent. The experiences of all the characters detailed over this 6 day period is expertly and seamlessly dovetailed together by Ryan Gattis. This is an unreserved 5 star novel from me.


Little Book of Clarity: A Quick Guide to Focus and Declutter Your Mind
Little Book of Clarity: A Quick Guide to Focus and Declutter Your Mind
by Jamie Smart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An Aid To Clear The Head, 9 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The compactness of this book is a bonus, and it is easy to locate specific points of interest. I particularly like the layout with the numerous word boxes, their conciseness aiding understanding and focussing attention.

I found the writing style fluid and easy to grasp his ideas if the reader is prepared to be open to change. He does not pad out the text with unnecessary information which I feel makes for a more engaging read, steering the reader gently through a process whereby a clear mind will inevitably materialise if we read for insight rather than for information.

A self help book that is very easy to dip in and out of, and a book I feel I can recommend.


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