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Profile for Chantal Lyons > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Chantal Lyons "C.S. Lyons" (England)
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Silentnight Soft Touch Throw - Cream
Silentnight Soft Touch Throw - Cream
Offered by Branded_Bedding
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warm, soft and machine-washable, 15 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I haven't put this through a wash yet, so will update my review if anything unexpected happens (though I expect it not to!).

This is a well-sized throwover that when fully unfolded covers a single bed, but when folded length-ways looks very nice on a double bed too. It's luxuriously soft and makes you feel warmer the moment you use it (either to wrap yourself up in or to lay under or over a duvet). The perfect thing as winter draws in...

Please note that the colour of this throwover is very slightly more yellowy than would appear from the photo.


The Timbuktu School for Nomads: Across the Sahara in the Shadow of Jihad
The Timbuktu School for Nomads: Across the Sahara in the Shadow of Jihad
by Nicholas Jubber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 13 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I wasn't gripped by this book, but I'm glad I read it - now I know just how little I know about the complexity of the Saharan region, in terms of the sheer multitude of tribes, cultures and battles that it has been host to. I struggled to remember the names of all the rulers, rebels and tribes but it's thrilling to once again be reminded of just how much human history there is.

Eye-opening aside, I did have issues with the way the book was written. It was often ambiguous as to where chapters sat in relation to each other chronologically, "is this before he went to 'nomad school'?" etc. The prose could be beautiful and vivid but almost as often, overblown - what does a "flinty shrug" look like??

If you're looking for a book that specifically discusses the origin of many modern jihadist groups, this one certainly provides a good introduction (there's a particularly great paragraph about jihadists in Iraq in which Jubber conjures the allegory of a virus, without ever mentioning "virus"). It's only one element of the book, but within this Jubber invokes comparisons between modern day and historical jihadists, and explores the conditions (both environmental and cultural) that have created the former.


Zyliss Fresh Rectangle Food Storage -  1 L, Transparent
Zyliss Fresh Rectangle Food Storage - 1 L, Transparent
Price: £4.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 3 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
You can't go wrong with this container - it's sturdy and seals perfectly, enabling you to store anything from oily salad to soup. The (recyclable) label that comes inside the container even advises on how long certain foods will last inside it, in the fridge (37 days for a red pepper, apparently - very impressive).

I hope this'll last a long time. I have a similar container whose lid affixes in the same way (four flaps) but the flaps are starting to show signs of stress, and the plastic has warped slightly, so it's a struggle to shut it. This Zyliss one definitely seems more durable, but I'll update the review if not.


Heathcote Atlas Silks Oil Diffuser, 190 ml, Multicolor
Heathcote Atlas Silks Oil Diffuser, 190 ml, Multicolor

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing aroma, 29 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's a shame to give this diffuser a bad rating, because the presentation is exemplary - what a beautiful box, and a pleasing-looking bottle!

But the scent itself is a disappointment. Blunt, dark, almost like male cologne, something that's nice on... a male, but not as a general smell permeating through one of your rooms.

The smell doesn't carry that far, which could be good or bad depending on what you want exactly. I have it on my upstairs landing currently (I will probably just move it to my utility room soon) and it's only noticeable when you're actually on the upstairs landing. And my landing is pretty small.

Based on my experience of other diffusers, this one should last a good long time - probably a year and a bit. So a good investment in that regard, I suppose, but I can't recommend this particular one, particularly given the price. It's not nearly as nice-smelling as any others I've had before.


ROSA non-acetone nail polish remover 100 ml.
ROSA non-acetone nail polish remover 100 ml.
Offered by Hair Products Online Ltd
Price: £9.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 25 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I didn't actually realise that standard nail varnish remover was potentially harmful to nails (and skin?) but now that I know, I'm glad this product's available!

I'm used to to using a Boots' own brand remover which is, to be honest, awful compared to this one. Varnish comes off quickly with the Mavala remover, with a minimal greasy feeling. So top stars from me for efficacy.

The tube is well-designed, with only a small hole at the top which allows you to be very precise with how much liquid you want, and reduces the possibility of spilling. It also just looks nice!

The smell is no less stronger than other nail varnish removers, but you can't have everything.


GhostBed Memory Foam Mattress - Single
GhostBed Memory Foam Mattress - Single

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 16 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have a musculo-skeletal condition which means that a night's rest can result in pain in the morning, if the mattress isn't right. I live between two places and while one bed's mattress gives me the right support, the other didn't - however, I now have much less pain since using this GhostBed instead. And that makes a huge difference for me.

The mattress comes vacuum-packed, so you'll need to give it about a day to fully expand (though most of the expanding happens within the first few minutes - pretty cool to watch, weirdly enough!). It's about the same weight as "normal" mattresses.

Being something of a "hybrid" between normal mattresses and ones such as Tempur, the mattress maintains a great balance between firmness and yield, meaning it feels very comfortable to lie on. Now, I've not used a Tempur mattress or similar before, but I've heard they can be really hot to sleep on. I haven't found that to be the case with this mattress, even on the really hot nights we've been had recently. I didn't feel noticeably cooler than usual, but I wasn't exactly expecting miracles!

A mattress is always an investment, and ones like this especially so. But I thoroughly recommend it on the basis that it noticeably reduces the pain I feel after lying down for a night, and I imagine there would be similar benefits for anyone with back problems.


JO HANSFORD LONDON Illuminoil 50 ml
JO HANSFORD LONDON Illuminoil 50 ml
Price: £29.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Nope, 14 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Me and this did not get on at all.

Firstly, the top came off in the post, so the whole vial was covered in the liquid which is incredibly slippery and resistant to being wiped off with tissues, towels, you name it. So using it is like trying to handle an eel (and I should know, I've handled an eel).

I have a major problem with frizzing right now, as I cut my hair short a while ago and the recent heat/humidity makes my fringe flick up in an unattractive fashion. I really hoped this product would help, but it didn't - it just made bits of the fringe stick together, like eyelashes stuck together with gloopy mascara. So then I tried applying in the morning, after a brief towel-dry and before a brief blow-dry - but it didn't stop the frizzing and if anything, made my hair look greasy.

Perhaps it's the thinness of my hair, in which case I can't recommend this for other people afflicted with thin hair. And if you're lucky enough not to have thin hair... I still can't recommend it.


A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic
A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic
by Peter Wadhams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars "I quail at the thought of how nasty humanity may become", 5 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I think this book could've been much more engagingly written, but given how informative it is about something so important to the human race and the planet, it deserves four stars.

It isn't quite as accessible as I'd hoped - I consider myself reasonably capable of grasping scientific concepts, but the chapter at the very beginning on the science of ice itself (how it forms, how it's structured, etc) was something of a struggle, and perhaps unnecessary for understanding the basic mechanics of the phenomena described later. What would have made the book truly excel is a smattering of personal anecdotes from the author (we get just one, about an explosion on a submarine below the Arctic ice). He must have seen so many beautiful, incredible, terrible sights in the Arctic and the Antarctic, the kinds of sights you don't need to be a writer to convey. If only he'd opened with something personal, something emotional - that's the way to hook people, to truly engage them.

Fortunately, I was able to plough through to the good stuff - the many feedback mechanisms that make climate change so devastatingly effective and far-reaching, the many and sometimes unexpected effects that climate change will have through things such as ocean currents and weather systems, the wilful fallibility and self-denial of the IPCC, and the possible - "possible" often being rather tenuous - ways in which we might be able to mitigate some of the impact of climate change. Particularly affecting are the parts when the author considers the humanitarian impacts of climate change-induced resource crises in the future (see the title of my review).

The one other thing that could've enhanced this book, apart from more of a personal touch, is a "TL;DR" FAQ section for rebutting the commonest and most insidious claims by those who refuse to accept the reality of climate change.

To round off - sadly, I fear many people will be dissuaded from reading this book by the second chapter on ice, and after that may still struggle without an engaging authorial style. It's an important book, and recommended for anyone with an interest in the environment or human quality of life /human rights or the future, but I suspect most of its audience will already be converts.


The Ice Lands
The Ice Lands
by Steinar Bragi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't it 'The Sand Lands'?, 30 Aug. 2016
This review is from: The Ice Lands (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What a disappointing book. The only reason I've given it two stars instead of one is that it wasn't so irritating or boring that I gave up on it, but then again, I was stuck on a boat with no other means of entertainment.

The premise is SO promising. I loved 'Burial Rites', so I was keen for another suspenseful tale from Iceland, and perhaps a nightmarish creature or two.

What I got was something horribly slow and bogged down by reams of backstory. In a desperate attempt to give life to the characters, the author force-feeds the reader with their pasts multiple times, usually without any logical transition from the present. There's a lot of discussion about Icelandic politics and culture, and while I'd normally be interested to read about a different place, in this instance there were no explanations or any context to help me understand. I'm all for reading translated books but parts of this one were impenetrable in a way that I don't usually experience.

There was a wrongness to the book that had nothing to do with its subject matter. The characters felt weirdly anaesthetised to the things happening around them, ignoring or apparently forgetting things, reacting slowly or tepidly. But the key flaw of this book is the randomness of the story, the way the author chucks all kinds of things in without resolving anything. Frankly, I was surprised aliens DIDN'T turn up at the end.

Frustrating, and pretty much a waste of my time.


Replica
Replica
by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm..., 24 Aug. 2016
This review is from: Replica (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I agonised for a bit over whether to give this three or four stars on Amazon (the option of 3.5 would've been really appreciated!). I guess it didn't help that I was really expecting more of the author - already a bestseller and well-established on the YA scene. I suspect this'll still be popular with the vast majority of YA readers, and the romance is handled well, but as a "new adult" reader, I think there's plenty of YA that's much better than this.

The split narrative structure of this book - it's in two halves, and you can choose to read the halves alternately by chapter, or one half after the other, or any other possible combination - wasn't nearly as innovative as it wanted to be. The author explains (in two different forewords) that part of the intent behind this was to convey how the story was different depending on which character we were reading it through. But I didn't find this to be true when actually reading - there seemed to be no difference at all in the description around dialogue (the dialogue itself is identical, of course, but the author had said that tones and inflections were conveyed differently depending on the character's POV), and the variations in narrative between the two POV characters were no more unusual than any other book using multiple POVs and repeating scenes.

My disappointment with the structure/narrative ploy aside, the plot is a compelling one, and increasingly so towards the end - but even though I the blurb stated that this is the first book in a duology, the lack of a climax was pretty deflating. Sure, there's a twist, but that's not a proper ending. But I guess established authors are allowed by their editors to get away with that kind of thing.

Veering away from the negativity, the prose and turns of phrase are for the most part vivid and evocative, and there are some truly sweet moments. I probably will end up reading the next book... while feeling resentful that the author couldn't have provided a more rounded story in this first instalment.

I do want to mention one more thing. One of the protagonists, Gemma, is overweight. One of the book's key messages is that this doesn't matter, that Gemma is beautiful, and should accept herself as she is. And that's fine. It's understandably a common theme in YA, particularly female-targeted YA. So why, then, do all the teenage boys in this book have perfect bodies? All (three) of them are described as being lean and muscled in all the right places. It stinks of double standards.


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