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Reviews Written by
G. Brack
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Midnight Blue
Midnight Blue
by Simone van der Vlugt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Tense and engrossing, 26 Jun. 2017
This review is from: Midnight Blue (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A gripping story of a woman's life in 17th century Netherlands. The factual background is lightly threaded through without the historical research being overly prominent and, as you would expect from an experienced novelist, the construction is good. It also benefits from a good translation. I look forward to more of Ms van der Vlugt's books becoming available here.


Alice in Brexitland
Alice in Brexitland
by Lucien Young
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Light and entertaining, 26 Jun. 2017
This review is from: Alice in Brexitland (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's a fairly clever parody and if, like many parodies, it has an occasional misfire, there is much in here that neatly mirrors the original. Of course, the problem with current events is that they're current, and therefore they change, so what seemed a square-on hit when written may look a little off-centre a few months later, but overall a good effort.


Fundamentals of Care: A Textbook for Health and Social Care Assistants
Fundamentals of Care: A Textbook for Health and Social Care Assistants
by Ian Peate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A useful primer, 20 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a useful primer and as such it meets its target. For each chapter the Care certificate learning objectives are clearly set out. However, there is a feeling that the concentration is on meeting those objectives rather than going beyond that to enable people to do an excellent job. Understandably with great variation in the possible local arrangements that its readers need to master those sections are the weakest because essentially all they can do is encourage the student to collect information.
There is good use of colour (slightly misaligned in places in my copy) but in some of the tables the typeface size has been reduced to make the text fit a space, which does not add to readability. However, the illustrations are generally good and have a clear rationale for being there (I exempt the little sketches on the first page of each chapter, some of which are frankly baffling.)
There are places within the book where students can add their own information but some of these are grossly inadequate. Take, for example, Stop, look, respond table 11.1, which asks the student to complete the needs and experiences of patients with anxiety, depression, dementia and learning disability but allows enough space for only two words for each condition. Presumably the publishers have compressed the text to make the book more affordable, but they have done the author a disservice by doing so. If I were using it with my students I would suggest that they copy the exercises into their own portfolio and take as much space as they need to do justice to the text as they need, rather than completing the grids in the book.


Vax CCMBPV1P1 Power Pet Vacuum Cleaner, 2.2 Litre, 800 W, Blue
Vax CCMBPV1P1 Power Pet Vacuum Cleaner, 2.2 Litre, 800 W, Blue
Price: £79.99

5.0 out of 5 stars First class high power vacuum cleaner, 24 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's an excellent little vacuum cleaner, well packed and very easy to put together. It packs a lot of suction - we found it hard to move if the surface is too soft, but it certainly picks up hairs and fluff comfortably and the selection of tools mean that chairs and sofas can also get a cleaning. Easy to remove the clear chamber to empty and even with the extending hose attached you can easily carry it upstairs without effort.


Honeywell HPA710WE Premium Air Purifier True HEPA Allergen Remover with Smart LED Air Quality Sensor, 33 W
Honeywell HPA710WE Premium Air Purifier True HEPA Allergen Remover with Smart LED Air Quality Sensor, 33 W
Price: £296.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Light, portable and impressive, 19 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We're really impressed with this purifier. Within 24 hours of use it had made a noticeable difference to a musty bedroom and it's small enough to be carried from room to room to work its magic. It doesn't take up a lot of space and the handholds on each side make it easy to lift and move - it's surprisingly light.

When it's on it emits a gentle blue glow, but the colours change as it works. At night you can switch it to sleep mode, which dims the light and quietens the machine so it's almost inaudible. It certainly doesn't disturb sleep. Even at full speed it's much quieter than a bathroom extractor fan, for example.


Rapesco Retro 30 Sheet Heavy Duty 2-Hole Punch - Powder Blue
Rapesco Retro 30 Sheet Heavy Duty 2-Hole Punch - Powder Blue
Price: £14.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Robust and stylish, 30 Mar. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Excellent product but try it out on a sheet of scrap paper first so you can work out where the holes are going to be. It takes a beating and has already been dropped from a desk but was fine afterwards.


34 Amazing Color Paintings of Judith Leyster - Dutch Golden Age Portrait Painter (July 28, 1609 - February 10, 1660)
34 Amazing Color Paintings of Judith Leyster - Dutch Golden Age Portrait Painter (July 28, 1609 - February 10, 1660)
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating little book, 14 Feb. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This little book collects the work of a talented 17th century Dutch painter who just happened to be female. Unfortunately she stopped painting after her marriage but this legacy was left to show what might have been.


What They Didn't Teach You in Art School: What you need to know to survive as an artist (What They Didn't Teach You In School)
What They Didn't Teach You in Art School: What you need to know to survive as an artist (What They Didn't Teach You In School)
by Rosalind Davis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reminder to use plain English was especially useful. I've seen exhibition flyers where nothing in the ..., 19 Jan. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not a professional artist (nor do I plan to be) but I am in business, so I was interested to see what advice was given. This is a well-written, well-produced book. If I describe it as a primer, that is not to belittle it; merely a recognition that if it provided more depth it would be a different (and much bigger) book. I can imagine that it is a helpful corrective for those students who think that talent will ensure success and it may help young artists to avoid making costly mistakes. Even if they do not plan to market their work themselves there's some interesting advice here on pitfalls to avoid. For the self-seller, I'd have thought this was a must.

The reminder to use plain English was especially useful. I've seen exhibition flyers where nothing in the text would have enticed me to attend because I have absolutely no idea what to expect from the waffle there.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2017 2:33 PM BST


Spaceman of Bohemia
Spaceman of Bohemia
by Jaroslav Kalfar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting novelty, 9 Dec. 2016
This review is from: Spaceman of Bohemia (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Writing this on the day after John Glenn died, I am reminded of his comment that as he was approaching re-entry he was very aware that all the equipment and systems that were there to secure his safety had been provided by the lowest bidder. Jakub, the central character (I won't say hero) of this book, would have understood that very well as he hurtles on his way to Venus in a second-hand spacecraft.

To some extent it's a story of relationships that just happens to be set in space. They're given more point by the fact that he's in space and therefore unable to do anything about them, but it's the isolation that matters rather than where he is; and, perhaps, his inability to handle them. As Jakub's long journey progresses, he revisits his past and begins to see wonderful things - but are they real, or a fruit of his isolation and relative sensory deprivation? In particular, there is a creature inside his spacecraft who talks to him (and steals all his Nutella).

First, I have no special knowledge of the science involved, but the explanations in the text rang true. They're convincing enough for this reader. Second, the novel has some very funny moments, along with some touching ones. I found myself caring about what happens to Jakub, which is always a good sign. There is a certain amount of satire about present-day Czech life too - the rush of sponsors wanting to be associated with the flight, and the ready acceptance of their free goods regardless of whether they are optimal for the job is one such barb.

All in all a fascinating and enjoyable read.


Rapesco A4 Flexi Presentation Display Book 40 Pockets, Assorted Colours - Pack of 10
Rapesco A4 Flexi Presentation Display Book 40 Pockets, Assorted Colours - Pack of 10
Price: £20.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a basic product, 5 Nov. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Very good quality product and well worth the price. The pockets are not flimsy like some display books we have had before.


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