Profile for Chantal Lyons > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Chantal Lyons
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,747
Helpful Votes: 937

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Chantal Lyons "C.S. Lyons" (England)
(VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Uprooted
Uprooted
by Naomi Novik
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic in every way, 27 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Uprooted (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm a huge fan of Novik's Temeraire series, but the last few books have gone from bad to dire. So I'm delighted that Novik's gone and written this instead - it's given her the break she clearly needs from Temeraire, and it's a fantastic book in its own right.

I'd been planning to read a different book before this one, and only meant to glance at the first few pages, but I was sucked in too quickly. The blurb of the book reveals barely anything, to its credit, and the story soon started to have more than a hint of Studio Ghibli's "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" to it. In a way it's hard to pin down exactly why I felt so gripped; I just know that it was so hard to put down, even to the point where if I was walking to work and I had to wait at traffic lights before I could cross the road, I'd get the book out to read another paragraph or two.

The magic in "Uprooted" is one of the stars - beautifully described and imagined, novel-feeling despite the classic fairytale style. I felt less attached to the main character than to the Dragon, her (definitely human) teacher, and to her best friend, Kasia, but that was fine, and often the dialogue and the exploits would have me grinning or smiling or my eyes racing across the lines of the page. The ending was perfect. I'd like to keep following the characters, but I don't know if there is any more story left to make a sequel - perhaps it's for the best.

This is quite a hefty book, as fairytales go; a more cautious publisher might have split it into two. But if you start with any trepidation, it'll soon turn to gladness that there's so much to read. It's also a novel that I expect will appeal to a wide age range, from about fourteen-fifteen and up. I'm almost twenty-five and I can see myself going back to "Uprooted" again and again over the years.


Oral B Vitality Plus Trizone Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Oral B Vitality Plus Trizone Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, 23 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm pretty sure this model is the same as the one I've used for the last four years, although if it is the price has really dropped, and makes the brush good value for what it does.

The brush arrives fully charged (a nice courtesy), with two heads included. I probably don't need to say this but just in case, you can use any Oral B electric head on the brush. Putting on and removing the head is simple and easy. The charger which the brush comes with is also standard across Oral B electric toothbrushes. The battery isn't great, and even on the first try I found that the toothbrush does that odd stalling thing halfway through my brushing like my previous Oral B one did, but again, it's still good value for money.

I'd also recommend patting the body of the brush dry after use - my previous Oral B toothbrush ended up getting a black mould on the silicon/rubbery part which was absolutely impossible to get rid of.


Philips SatinPerfect Deluxe HP6581/03 Wet and Dry Epilator, with Skin Tautening Attachment, Shaver Head and Precision Epilator
Philips SatinPerfect Deluxe HP6581/03 Wet and Dry Epilator, with Skin Tautening Attachment, Shaver Head and Precision Epilator
Price: £100.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Best epilator I've ever used, 16 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This epilator pack is utter luxury.

I've used two epilators in the past, that both cost in the region of about £30. They never left me feeling smooth, rather "slightly fuzzy", but I shrugged and accepted it because it was cheaper than shaving in the long-term. I assumed all epilators were like this. But when I tried this one for the first time, with the skin tautening attachment, I was amazed - my legs genuinely felt like I'd shaved them. It was a revelation. Sure, not a cheap revelation, but have you seen how much shaving heads cost?

The other attachment you can use with the main epilator is a massage one, but it didn't work so well in getting all the hairs. The pack also comes with a trimmer, a slightly scarier-looking piece of equipment that I may/may not use. Given how much epilating on the armpits hurts (regardless of how long I've been epilating them), I don't think I'd be brave enough to try on the bikini line.

The precision epilator is useful for the harder-to-get hairs on knees and in awkward parts of the armpit, although it's only marginally better than the main epilator at this. It runs on batteries (which Philips helpfully provides the first batch of) instead of a rechargeable battery like the main epilator, presumably because of its small size.

Other pluses:
- The main epilator has a light which helps show you errant hairs to go back over
- Small pouch provided as is standard with epilators, although it can't quite fit everything in (but you're probably unlikely to need everything in one go)
- Includes one of those nifty pairs of tweezers with a bright LED light
- All the equipment is waterproof so cleaning the epilating heads is much easier (my last one didn't allow this, annoyingly) and probably more hygienic

Unfortunately, there are a few cons which - bearing in mind the cost of this pack - made it four stars rather than five:
- The instructions only have pictures and no words, which didn't always seem clear
- The power button on the main epilator is extremely fiddly; I thought mine was defective at first because I kept pressing and it just wouldn't turn on. There's a skill required to push it in exactly the right way. Which is pretty annoying.
- The attachments for the main epilator are very hard to detach; when I wanted to switch the tautener for the massager, I spent about five minutes wrestling with the equipment and worrying that I was going to end up breaking it


Gemini Cell (Shadow Ops)
Gemini Cell (Shadow Ops)
by Myke Cole
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Myke Cole goes from strength to strength, 13 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It tends to take me a few chapters to get into Cole's books, but once I'm there I'm gripped harder and harder till the only way to escape is to finish the story. And what a dark one this is. No one's safe (not even dogs and goats).

Cole manages as usual to fuse a hard military atmosphere with arcane magic in spectacular fashion, and things move at a breakneck pace for the whole book. I wasn't sure if his next one in the works - "Javelin Rain" was a sequel, but after finishing this one and checking on his blog, I was happy to find it is indeed. Because I really, REALLY need to know what'll happen next.

(Apologies for the short review - there wasn't anything else that needed to be said!)


Reasons to Stay Alive
Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 8 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Reasons to Stay Alive (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Before reading this, I didn't have many pre-expectations, although for some reason I had been imagining a series of slightly-distanced stories from the author's life, a bit like "The Moth", but focused around dealing with depression.

It's much closer to the bone than that - it consists of short and shorter chapters, in a vaguely chronological order, of the author's battle with depression. Before, I'd felt reasonably confident about my knowledge of this affliction, but only know do I realise how abstract that knowledge was. With the words of a true storyteller, Matt Haig gives us a glimpse into the being of someone going through depression. It was shocking, terrifying, and distressing. But also uplifting to see how he'd survived and thrived (although in this chiaroscuro of a book, I still felt more sad than happy!).

Definitely something to be recommended to anyone and everyone.


The Catalyst
The Catalyst
by Helena Coggan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two and a half stars, 8 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Catalyst (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First off, this is an impressive book for a thirteen-year-old to write, and I have no doubt that Coggan will be a fantastic author in five-ten years. But it's mediocre otherwise.

I started out really enjoying it. The opening was fantastically cataclysmic and just about the right amount of confusing. It was even hard to put down. Then, about halfway, all momentum was lost and the plot seemed to come off the rails, at a point that another reviewer also noted. To try and avoid being spoiler-y, Rose ends up in a very messy situation that could end up with her and maybe her dad too being locked up and the key thrown away or worse. But when her actions are revealed, there are no repercussions - everything is brushed over and she's allowed to continue life as normal. It didn't feel real; it threw me totally out of the story.

From thereon, I struggled to re-engage, and the author/editor mistakes stuck out more. POV was a major problem - it switched between paragraphs, often without any indication or signpost to the reader. A particularly bad scene was when it starts out in Rose's head, but suddenly another character notes that Rose has left the room. There's a chance this was ironed out in the published edition, since my copy was an ARC, but then again, it might not have been given how prevalent POV-switching was throughout the book (and FYI, POV-switching is not a substitute for good characterisation). The climax of the book felt rushed and used up the rest of my impatience. I struggled to visualise it - a lot of the description being very vague - and it felt awfully contrived by way of having Rose hide things from the reader even though we're meant to be in her head.

Although the book is undoubtedly imaginative, the author's youth did show through. Simply, the adults just didn't do what adults should have done, whether it was a big thing like giving Rose a slap on the wrist for some incredibly illegal things or the small things like allowing a non-government teenager (Rose's forgettable best friend Maria) to sit in on a top-secret mission just because another friend had brought her into the building on a particular day and the adults couldn't be bothered to send her home.

Ultimately, I was left feeling disappointed, and had no curiosity about where the story might go next.


Spontex Disposable Dusters (Pack of 12, total 84 Dusters)
Spontex Disposable Dusters (Pack of 12, total 84 Dusters)
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, 5 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I recently moved to London and I wonder if that's the reason for the prolific dust my little house gathers. I'm always waging war against it, but despite my best efforts it still feels like more of the dust is just being shifted around than is being got rid of completely.

These disposable dusters are really handy - before my dusting involved a lot of dusting then flapping the duster out of the window, then repeating over and over again. With this product, I just use it until it seems sensible to change it for a new one. The dusters aren't quite as good at holding onto the dust as the labelling claims, but it's still way more convenient than the other method. The dusters are also made from bamboo, so are biodegradable. And considering how many you get for the price listed on Amazon, what's to lose?


The Rocks
The Rocks
by Peter Nichols
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.58

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to love, 25 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Rocks (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For me, this book had an identity crisis very early on that set the tone for my not being able to engage with most of the story. The casual, almost cutesy typefont of the title on the cover, and the opening, with an elderly Lulu suddenly becoming prone to liberal use of profanities following a stroke, together suggest a light-hearted, amusing affair. But the mood abruptly changes to sadness and regret; then we zoom a little bit back in time, to a party where there's a dizzying number of names and the physical appearance of every person is fastidiously described, but you're already feeling cast adrift and struggling to immerse yourself. Then there are sudden flights of fancy in the prose that completely throw you out, like:

"...she was skilled in bed, but with a rote avidity that smacked more of concious performance than lust..."

"Overhead the light breeze soughed the breath of multitudes through the needled branches"

I'm not a fan at all of POV jumping between characters between paragraphs (do it between chapters when it must be done), but probably the main reason I never felt like I was doing more than looking at the book rather than reading it was the sheer number of characters who are given prominence and are meant to be interesting to the reader. Maybe others might appreciate this - I felt a disquieting anxiousness throughout reading that I was really missing something - but it felt to me as if the surface complexity of the characters and places were all hiding the fact that there wasn't much underneath.

I appreciate that this book was trying to capture life in its full spectrum - from humour to joy to anger to sadness - but for me, there were very few moments of sheer pleasure (the only two parts that stood out for me were Luc's mishap at sea and Aegina and Luc's exploration of the markets of Morocco), and the rest had to be waded through.


Revlon PhotoReady Primer, Shadow and Sparkle - 2.8 g, Metropolitan
Revlon PhotoReady Primer, Shadow and Sparkle - 2.8 g, Metropolitan
Offered by L4RGE
Price: £6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A real help (and everything is better with glitter), 23 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a woman who is hopeless with make-up, this eye-shadow-by-numbers is a huge help, and excellent value for money all things considered. I'm not quite sure how useful the primer layer is (all the primers I've seen before were liquid ones) but I felt happy with the final result when I saw it in the mirror. And in the photos of me from the subsequent night out, the brown colour (which looks more grey in the product image) really brought out my blue eyes.

My two criticisms/suggestions for improvement would be:

1) The instructions are placed on the back, which is quite awkward as you keep having to shut the case and flip it over
2) The two eyeshadow applicators have two brushes each, so four in total, but of course there's five different layers of eyeshadow provided in the case. Three applicators would've been better!


SmartBedz Eticat Natural Cat Litter 5.5 kg
SmartBedz Eticat Natural Cat Litter 5.5 kg
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I really liked this - my three cats, not so much., 16 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thing I noticed about this litter is that it smells really good - a sweet hay smell. And once the cats started using it, the bad smells stayed down. I've always used clumping litter, so I'm not quite used to having to thrown the whole load out instead of sifting. It saves time though, and I could have easily got used to it. Unfortunately, my cats were determined not to. They ended up flinging wads of the litter and the *other* stuff out of the tray (quite impressive really, given that it's a covered one with a smallish hole for them to get in). A clear protest vote. Maybe after a while they would have got used to it, but given the price of this product, that is quite a financial commitment. Top marks for the recyclable packaging though.


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