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Reviews Written by
Rachel "rachel337" (Brighton, England)
(VINE VOICE)   

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Rapesco Popper Wallet - A3. Assorted Transparent Pastel Colours. Pack of 5
Rapesco Popper Wallet - A3. Assorted Transparent Pastel Colours. Pack of 5
Price: £8.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Useful, 11 Aug. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lovely colours. Feel sturdy and durable. I've had some of these before and they last a good long while so worth the money. The popper enables you to store about 30-40 pieces of paper before it declines to close.


PURINA PRO PLAN Dog Large Adult Athletic with Sensitive Skin with OPTIDERMA rich in Salmon Dry Food 14kg
PURINA PRO PLAN Dog Large Adult Athletic with Sensitive Skin with OPTIDERMA rich in Salmon Dry Food 14kg
Price: £50.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, 11 Aug. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This certainly seems to be a winner. It disappears very fast and appears to be having a beneficial health effect. It isn't too stinky- a common problem with much dog food; even better it doesn't seem to contribute to the lovely silent but deadly stinkiness that dogs can be prone to!

The bag is super easy to open. The size of the bag lasts a good while. Overall, recommended.


Pendulum
Pendulum
by Adam Hamdy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Elementary, my dear Watson...., 11 Aug. 2016
This review is from: Pendulum (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Let's start by extolling the virtues of this explosive little tome. It is a corking action novel. I really enjoyed this and kept finding myself late at night going 'just one more chapter...just one more..oh, go on then...let's have another...' I couldn't wait to pick it up each evening and it was marvellous distraction. The action really thrums along. The whole set up is incredibly intriguing and I found myself at odd moments in the non-reading work day trying to unravel the conundrum that connects the plot-dots.

Now, I'm no novice crime/thriller/horror/spy novel reader.Oh no. Devour two or three a week. I'm also one of those annoying people who can usually spot whodunnit pretty much in the first few chapters of most novels and in almost any given movie or series with a few minutes. My personal record is actually in the movie titles once (yes- annoying, right?!) So for me to be stumped was a novel and very exciting experience. I was genuinely very intrigued by the investigation as it unfolds for Hamdy's characters and totally loved trying to solve the puzzle. I adore fiction that makes me work and makes me think. This totally did.

The characters are solid, with a genuine sense of threat and angst. The settings are diverse and alive, with much of this set in the UK. I really liked having a UK setting but a fair amount of travel and jet setting also ensues to keep interest high. The novel is richly and evocatively written. Action and pace are superb. So why aren't I giving it five stars? Well for one reason only. I felt the ending was a cheat.

I'm not going to spoil the twists at the end but lets just say this was akin to one of Sherlock Holmes's lofty proclomations to Watson; a kind of 'if you'd noticed the cat hair on the umbrella every Wednesday and the smell of pineapple at precisely 4pm each afternoon, you'd know the killer was....' And that's just the thing. There is NO WAY anyone could work out the why in this novel. It puts the reader in Watson's shoes in that we cannot work out WHY the 'who' did it because we don't have the information available to us. For me that removes some of the enjoyment of reading these kind of genre works. They have to be fair. Pendulum wasn't. I mean working out who dunnit wasn't that hard but why they did it? That's kind of the whole point in a convincing thriller. And in a novel so cunningly exciting and with the lead trying frantically to put it all together, well...neither he nor the reader could work this out without the killers help. The end result is I'm just not convinced the killers motivation hung together.

I love it if a writer is intelligent enough to trick me down a red-herring cul-de-sac. I love slapping my head and going 'Of course it was X!' when I've been cunningly manipulated to discard X in favour of Y as the culprit What I don't like is being made to churn my head round why Pendulum struck at his victims when the writer keeps key information from the reader that means they are utterly unable to see the arc towards the reasoning, even in hindsight.

Mr Hamdy, shame on you! You're a bit of a cheat. But you do write a bloody good book and I really really enjoyed this till right near the end; so next time, seed a few obscure and devious clues that an attentive and perceptive reader could work out and you'll have my undying devotion as a fan.


Red Earth & Pouring Rain
Red Earth & Pouring Rain
Price: £8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lush and Sparkling Wall of Sound, 2 Aug. 2016
I’m going to be really honest. I hadn’t a clue who Bear’s Den were before the evocative album cover for ‘Red Earth & Pouring Rain’ popped up in my iTunes ‘recently released’ feed.

To me, an ardent Stephen King fan, the cover reminded me of ‘Christine’, a novel about a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury. So of course, I had to click on it and preview, unsure what I would be hearing.

What an unexpected treat. A lush wall of sparkling sound. Immediately listenable, beautifully arranged and whilst undoubtedly modern, has a superbly retro vibe going on; not of the 50’s but of the era Christine was actually written in- the incomparable 1980s where some of the most stylistically diverse and enduring sounds were created.

There are elements of this album, particularly the intros and hooks that hark back and pay reverence to the best of glorious 80’s power ballads. I’m reminded of The Cutting Crew and ‘I Just Died in Your Arms’; Don Henley’s ‘Boys of Summer’ and other such retro delights.

There’s also something in this album that reminds me of the fabulous soundtrack to ‘Drive’; the melancholic and stylistically gorgeous film starring Ryan Gosling and directed by the auteur Nicholas Winding Refn with an award winning soundtrack that sat resolutely on my play list for months after the film’s release.

I’ve been delighted with this album. Superb vocal clarity and heart; superior background arrangements; a sense of longing and melancholy. All in all, an utter delight that is easily accessible, references past 80’s greats and yet is of our time.

How does one describe a sound? Well here, the melange is a heady blend of jangly guitars with a synth back that swells before the vocal emerges. Its the swelling heart in the vocal that speaks of unrequited passion and yearning. The title track has the best use of tambourine since Stevie Nicks shook her moneymaker. The hypnotic Bryan Ferryesque guitar recalls but never imitates his ‘Boys and Girls’ years. At times this is almost pop-y but in a dark, grown-up and brooding way, elevated by intelligent lyrics of a poetic and thoughtful mien.

What I like best though is the raw emotion here and the fact it is sustained across the album. Some albums run from happy to sad, fast to slow across their tracks. Red Earth is a seamless blend of lush sound waves that roll over you like breaking surf, maintaining the momentum and the emotion across the album’s duration. Superb.


The Wolf Road
The Wolf Road
by Beth Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible, unique and scary creation, 23 July 2016
This review is from: The Wolf Road (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The wolf road is a superb read. A real grabber. Intelligent, measured and unique. Yes it's a post apocalyptic thriller but reading, I often forgot this has a future setting. It's like a tale out of the past with as much or more in common with turn of the century Wild West novels or epic survival films like the recent and brutal "The Revenant", than your average post civilisation collapse novel. In fact, so well does Beth Lewis weave her narrative spell that I felt like I'd opened a unique window in the past with this book, only to be startled every time some mention of current items like antibiotics or plastic bags reared their head.

The question of who to trust is put under fascinating scrutiny in 'The Wolf Road". Why do we trust some people and not others? Is it their words, their actions or something as ephemeral as our gut instinct? Trust is a slippery thing. Often misplaced, slow to grow and frighteningly fragile. Above all one often learns, particularly in hard times that you can only trust yourself.

There are several compellingly scary evils for Elka to flee in this novel. A scary "big bad" who may or may not be stalking Elka; the mysteriously driven "long arm of the law"; the evil intent of strangers; the casually indifferent cruelty of the elements but scariest of all are the revelations hidden in Elkas own psyche, snapping at her heels and in glimpses revealing that perhaps the person she should be most afraid of and trust the least lives inside her own unreliable head.

A raw and emotional book, I utterly loved this. It has excitement, scares, horror aplenty. It also has hope, redemption and kindness. The triumph though is the central character of Elka. A brave, tough, complex, vulnerable, intelligent yet uneducated heroine to warm to and root for- even after some utterly shocking revelations about her past. Elka is a triumph as a character. I was utterly gripped by her story. Her voice is what makes the story live and breath. Her heart and compassion to escape the trap she has been caught within and to leave things better than she found them is what drives this compelling tale on.

This book has a uniqueness to it. A cinematic sweep that would reward a skilled filmmaker. The writing is so vivid you can almost smell the woods. "The Wolf Road" has a wild beauty that will live in my memory a long time. Ill be recommending this far and wide. It is beautifully written. Undoubtedly literary yet never staid, always exciting, clever and rewardingly complex.

I'll be waiting with interest for any other works the astonishingly accomplished Beth Lewis creates in future. With one beautiful, unique book she's made it into my favourite author list.


Post-it 63.5cm x 77.5cm Super Sticky Meeting Flip Chart Pads (Pack of 6)
Post-it 63.5cm x 77.5cm Super Sticky Meeting Flip Chart Pads (Pack of 6)
Offered by West End Stationers
Price: £249.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Epic, 22 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Blimey these are monstrous! I mean, truly the Godzilla of post its. Really fab for training or brainstorming. The only problem is storage. You need somewhere pretty big to store them. Oh, and the price tag to match...they aren't cheap but they are effective.


Post-it Super Sticky Notes - Lined Ultra Colours - 4 Pads Per Pack - 45 Sheets Per Pad - 125 mm x 200 mm (colors will vary)
Post-it Super Sticky Notes - Lined Ultra Colours - 4 Pads Per Pack - 45 Sheets Per Pad - 125 mm x 200 mm (colors will vary)
Price: £13.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Really useful, 22 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Oh I love these! Great size, eye popping colour. Brilliant for leaving substantial notes, using for working out things or for moderately epic to-do lists.


Post-it R3301RPT 76mm x 76mm Recycled Z-Notes Pad Tower Pack - Pastel Rainbow (Box of 16, 100 Sheets Per Pad)
Post-it R3301RPT 76mm x 76mm Recycled Z-Notes Pad Tower Pack - Pastel Rainbow (Box of 16, 100 Sheets Per Pad)
Price: £19.96

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bunting, anyone?!, 14 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Useful, gigantic tower of post its. Easy to fit on a desk due to the handy tower casing. Im not a massive fan of these Z note shapes though where the sticky bits alternate side. And if like me you can be a bit heavy handedly enthusiastic when swooping in to write a note, it is easy to drag out more than you wanted, like an over-enthusiastic spin of the toilet paper reel! Post it streamers ensue.


Popband Ponytail Holders, Cocoa
Popband Ponytail Holders, Cocoa
Price: £6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, not ultra brilliant., 12 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Wider than I expected, these do a pretty good job. As advertised, no kinks left in hair. After a reasonable amount of uses they use some of their 'twang' but not much more than averagely priced hair bands. The only thing I don't like much is the colour. I had hoped these would look virtually invisible on my hair (or at least one shade of them would). Unfortunately they've got a pinky purply undertone that's kind of like a 'girls world ' wig. Not naturally coloured at all. For me this loses them one star


Purina Pro Plan Large Puppy Athletic with Optistart Dry Dog Food Rich in Chicken Food, 3 kg
Purina Pro Plan Large Puppy Athletic with Optistart Dry Dog Food Rich in Chicken Food, 3 kg
Price: £12.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Meh, 11 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Decent sized bag. Kibbles are sized down for a pup. Doesn't get wolfed down as fast as other brands. It gets a solid 'OK' verdict but no more.


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