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Chess Quant (Sydney, Australia)

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Dungeon! Board Game
Dungeon! Board Game
Price: £16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good game, 11 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Dungeon! Board Game (Toy)
ITs nto a great game as the strategy is somewhat limited, and it is a bit of a dice fest, but the kids love it and it has introduced them to some of the ideas behind d&d which we are now moving into so its great.


Prisoners of the Sun (The Adventures of Tintin)
Prisoners of the Sun (The Adventures of Tintin)
by Georges Remi Hergé
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Great as always, 11 Mar 2014
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Its Tin, tin you know what you are going to get, but I feel this was one of the better ones as they climb through the mountains and jungles of Peru.


Mr Stink
Mr Stink
by David Walliams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, but hardly great. Trying a bit too hard to be Roald Dahl, 11 Mar 2014
This review is from: Mr Stink (Paperback)
Read this through with my 8 year old. He reads it on his own then I read it and he asks questions about bits he didn't get. Anyway he moderately enjoyed and I though it was also ok, however it did seem quite forced, and also that he was trying to be Roald Dahl with the mean parents and the Quentin blake, but lacked the sparkle.


Cities & Knights of Catan
Cities & Knights of Catan
Price: £26.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but prefer without the expansion, 2 Jan 2014
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Cities & Knights of Catan (Toy)
Don't get me wrong the expansion is good fun, but to me the original game was a near perfect game that could be safely played in under an hour. I like long and involved board games, and when I was younger and had more time a 8 hours session of various Avalon hill games was standard. However one of the things I liked about settlers was the pace of play. You could play one or two quick games and didn't get bogged into long and involved play sessions. For me this makes the expansion somewhat of a disappointment as it lengthens the game considerablly with out improving the game (I don't think it detracts either its about the same only longer). However since one of the key pieces of enjoyment was the relatively rapid play for me this expansion detracts from the game. My play group eventually stopped playing the expansion. With settlers we were looking for nice game that could be played fast. If you are looking for something longer then you may have a different view of this.


Rockport FW Plain Toe K72399 Black 14.5 UK
Rockport FW Plain Toe K72399 Black 14.5 UK
Offered by FYFO
Price: £54.19

1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 25 Sep 2013
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I have had a lot of rockport shoes over the years, and always found them very comfortable. However for some reason these shoes were uncomfortable. Not immediately but over time wearing them I got a fairly bad case of plantar faciitis, which began clearing up gradually once I realised it was probably these shoes causing it and stopped wearing them. Not sure why these shoes irritated my heel so much as they felt comfortable enough at first wear. It would not put me off rockports altogether but whatever it was about these shoes they did not suit my feet - even though they apparently fitted very nicely.


The Vatican Betrayal
The Vatican Betrayal
by Nicholas Spratt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.52

3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and some history to boot, 10 May 2013
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This review is from: The Vatican Betrayal (Paperback)
A light and easy read, the pace moves quickly through the tourist cities of Italy and works well as a travel guide for those intending to visit. There are many flaws in the Vatican Betrayal, not least the female characters who are pretty weak. Similarly its hard to find the books McGuffin as important enough to inspire the characters to the acts that follow.

Still forgetting these things the book is an easy read and compelling enough and will leave you enlightened wwith some interesting historical snippets as the characters follow the tourist route and visit some of the most popular sights in Italy. You will learn some intersting titbits and perhpas be inspired to read more about it. Certainly his writing comes more alive when he is discussing the historical material.

The ending could also be better but then I could say that about all too many books!

So overall an easy read with a fast pace and some interesting history thrown in. Appears to be the first novel from this author and self published. What I can definitely say is that amongst the half dozen self published novels I have read this was clearly the best.


Old Man's War
Old Man's War
by John Scalzi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid and fun and entertaiing but not a SF classic, 10 May 2013
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This review is from: Old Man's War (Paperback)
Read on its own and not in the context of all the similar books that have proceeded it, this is a fun, military SF novel, about mankind in a universe filled with nasty aliens that in most cases MUST BE DESTROYED. The book is solidly written and entertaining, however I would comment on my 4 star rating in saying that I regard it as a low 4 stars in that I debated between 3 and 4 stars.

Essentially what seems to be lacking in this book is some really inventive and new SF ideas. Perhaps I've read too much and I'm a little jaded now! The novels that it clearly draws from are in short more original, more inventive and clearly better. For a book written in 2005 there is no real attempt to push out new ideas about how technology may impact on us in the future. The new tech in the book, skip drives, nano tech cloning dna splicing etc have all been explored before by other writers in the 90s.

However, the most disapointing feature I thought was that nothing was made of the difference between "old" soldiers and the very young soldiers that most Armies have fought with and indeed the characters seem to return to a near teen state of mind once they get their new bodies. I thought there was going to be some really interesting stuff there and it never appears sadly.

That said if read purely as an military adventure novel, then its a fairly gripping read. Similarly to someone less well versed in SF then they might not have the "seen it all before" response that I had to parts of it.


Ringworld (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Ringworld (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Larry Niven
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that great, 9 May 2013
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i have been rounding my SF reading over the last year by working through what are widely regard of classics in the field from the last 40 years or so. Now having done most of this I can confidently say that this was one of weakest of those books. Its not totally without some merit which is why it gets 2 stars. Compared with the real classics of SF I found this trite. As Big dumb object fiction goes Rendevous with Rama was much better and far less cartoonish.


The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe (Arkana)
The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe (Arkana)
by Arthur Koestler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of science., 9 May 2013
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WEll its not often that I can find myself hoping for more after reading a long dense history of a bunch of astronomers! I was most disappointed in this book that it did not cover Newton in the way it does Kepler or even Galileo. While I am aware of some of his personal history I loed Kosteler's descriptions and work on the others so much I would have loved to read his take on Newton. Anyway this shouldn't detract from the book but give perspective of how good the rest was.

While I was aware that the Galileo case wasn't so clear cut science versus the church as it is sometimes portrayed, this certainly a good book for giving you some perspective on how the fight was mostly bought on by Galileo for more or less his own personal vanity and inability not to insult his intellectual opponents or (in the case of Urban VIII) his erstwhile allies, and probably by forcing the churches hand to draw a line in the sand which actually slowed their adoption of heliocentrism. Tom Paine's aphorism about time making more converts than reason is certainly somthing we should be aware of.

Koestlers last section about the divorce of science from reality and morality and humanities generally I am in two minds about but it is still somewhat thought provoking.

Anyway excellent stuff and well worth a read for anyone the least bit interested in the area.


Finn Family Moomintroll (Puffin Books)
Finn Family Moomintroll (Puffin Books)
by Tove Jansson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

2.0 out of 5 stars Just don't get why its so popular, 16 April 2013
I just don't get what people love about the books. I had this recommended but both I and the kids found this rather boring, and two thirds of the way through lost interest something I have rarely done. Obviously I am in a minority here. There was some charm in parts of it which is why its getting 2 stars, but overall I just didn't find this an interesting a story.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2013 3:26 PM BST


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