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Mr. M. Davies "mad_michael" (Birmingham, UK)
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Cell
Cell
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Yarn but nothing special, 7 Feb 2007
This review is from: Cell (Paperback)
I am a big Stephen King fine and having read positive vibes about this book - King fans would find him back to his best said a few people - I was excited to get my hands on a copy of this book. The fact that many shops are selling this at half price at the moment did slightly put me off - if it was worth reading surely people would pay full price?

The book is typical King. There are a group of normal people struggling against an evil of some kind. This time around it's a dead phone virus sweeping through the World that turns people into zombie-esque creatures. Our heroes find themselves struggling to escape the virus and the book follows them as they travel across country.

The book is good for a quick read, but is nothing special. All of the characters seemed a bit flat and I didn't find I could really connected with them in any way. The story itself had kept me reading, wanting to know what happened - but like so many similar books it tailed off at the end for want of an ending that truly fitted the story.

All in all, it is a good read and many people will enjoy it. However, if you expect a bit more from your books then it probably isn't for you. King fans will appreciate the book, but it does not hit the highs of some of his other works.


The Interpretation of Murder
The Interpretation of Murder
by Jed Rubenfeld
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A True Psychological Thriller, 7 Feb 2007
Having read numerous reviews about this book I was intrigued. It claimed to be a mixture of a murder mystery thriller and psychological analysis set in 1909 New York. I was a bit dubious as to whether anybody could pull off such a story whilst still creating a good read, but I went for it based on the strength of the reviews. Thankfully I can say that I was not disappointed and the book was one of the most refreshing reads of the year so far.

The story manages to blend real historical events (taking a few liberties along the way) seamlessly into the plot to create a vivid vision of New York in 1909. The plot twists and turns as you'd expect with a thriller - keeping you guessing right until the end. The characters are mostly believable and come from every walk of life from the rich to the poor - again adding to the depth of the story.

What really sets the book apart from your average thriller is the psychology element. As the novel is based around Freud's only visit to America, there are a lot of references to his works and ideas. These are used to help solve some of the mysteries of the crimes and understand the way people act within the novel. The ideas may be familiar to some, but this sort of depth of analysis is rarely seen in a work of fiction.

On the downside, I felt by the end there was a bit too much going on in a short period of time and possibly a bit contrived. A few chapters became a bit overcrowded with information about what really happened. Even so I was left asking a few questions that weren't answered.

All in all, this is definitely a worthwhile read, that will be enjoyed by most. Not only is it an enthralling work of fiction, but also a good introduction to the world of psychoanalysis - something you may find yourself reading up on after completing the book.


Keeper Of Genesis: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind
Keeper Of Genesis: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind
by Robert Bauval
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Flawed, 18 Jan 2007
There seems no escape from books full of conspiracy theories and alternative histories at the moment - and this is one of those such books. From reading the blurb of this book I instantly became intriqued as to the answers to the questions raised and started reading.

The book starts off by introducing facts and anomalies about the Great Sphinx and Pyramids at Giza and some of the unsolved mysteries around them - again fuelling the reader interest to carry on reading. Many instances of uncompleted research are presented to the reader that appear to go against mainstream Egyptology - this is heightened by the constant accusation that these research projects were stopped early by Egyptian authorities trying to cover something up or suppress the truth.

Before long there are many questions waiting to be answered and evidence regarding the astronomy are given. Some of the evidence is compelling and the theories put forward regarding the links between the old Egyptian texts and astronomy are fascinating to say the least.

However, it sooon becomes clear that the evidence is at times manipulated to suit the authors - not in itself a bad point as many authors do - and to prove the untested theory. There is also a lot of conjecture that is not backed up by facts. By the end of the book you will find that the authors are going round in circles and even giving conflicting views to those put forward at the start of the book.

Upon finishing this book I did not feel enlightened. Most of the questions raised in the blurb were not answered, nor were some of the others raised in the text. I would agree that this is an interesting book, but it is flawed in many places. Those with an interest in such matters may find the book worthwhile, but those from an academic background or wanting to do serious research about the topic are best advised to go elsewhere.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2011 1:25 AM BST


Witness
Witness
Price: 9.43

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern folk genius at its most diverse and thought provoking, 23 Sep 2006
This review is from: Witness (Audio CD)
A lot of my peers tell me that folk music is boring, lacking musically and totally irrelevant these days - thankfully to save my credability Show of Hands have produced a gem of an album. It is an album which sees the band effortlessly blurring musical boundaries and taking them to higher level than their last album Cuntry Life - something which I thought they would not do.

The opening two tracks immediately set the listener up for a musical rollercoaster ride with two upbeat tracks - Witness and Roots. The production by Afro Celt is noticable with much better production value and bass levels than previous outings. Next up is the more laid back Dive before the tempo rises again for The Falmouth Packet which is one of those songs you want to get up and jig along to. The fifth track Undertow is an excellent ode to a young persons take on country life. If I Needed Someone follws before the almost perfect traditional folk blend of poetic lyrics and simple musical accompaniment.

Union Street (Last Post) is a beautiful duet ballad of lost love which provokes many emotions, whilst The Bet is folk storytelling set to music. Ink Devil moves back to more folk rock that would not seem out of place on a Richard Thompson LP - it's moments like this that give Show of Hands a wide ranging appeal. Scratch is possibly the weakest track on the LP and doesn't quite have the same feel as the rest of the album. However closing track All I'd Ever Lost is simple and laid back but is still able to evoke feelings like the rest of the album.

For me it is difficult to see how anyone could dismis this album as 'boring, musically lacking and irrelevant'. Musically it is a fine recording taking influences from many genres and artists, yet still keeping a sense of originality about it. Yet more the styles blend together effortlessly something that is not always acheived when spanning genres. This instantly adds an excitment to the record and makes you want to keep listening.

As for being irrelevant, Show of Hands are possibly the most relevant band around. Every song is carefully written to get a message across and not just to sound good as many songs are of late. Subjects such as love and lost are tackled in such a way that are packed with emotion that can easily be related to - something many so called emo bands would love to be able to do.

But Show of Hands really coming into their own when on home territoty. Being a band from rural West Country they are able to tap into those real matters that arise from living in a rural area. On this album alone this is tackled from two different perspectives - Undertow shows a young persons view of wanting a better life away from the country as there is little there for them whereas Roots (the best track) tackles head on the destruction of traditional English values and the need to look after and cherish our traditions.

This is an album that stands up to be listened to and challenges mindsets. It is something that is relevant to us all and I would whole heartedly recommend it to everyone.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 3, 2012 2:56 PM BST


Burning Times
Burning Times
Price: 13.61

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Return To Form, 17 May 2006
This review is from: Burning Times (Audio CD)
Following medical problems and semi-retirement the 2001 release This Is The Day turned out to be a low key affair for a Christy Moore album. Thankfully he appears to have put this behind him and is looking stronger than ever.

His re-acquiantance with Declan Sinnott has proved to be a saving grace for Christy. His live performances over the past few years with Declan playing beside him have livened up and added another dimension to the music. This is evident on the latest album Burning Times.

All of the songs on this album are covers of other artists work, but that is true for a lot of Christy's work. His genius is being able to put his own twist on anybody's work and make it sound fresh. This is so well done that some of the songs are bare;y recognisable to the originals.

THroughout the album many different styles are played with, none of which produce negative results. Some of the stand out tracks for me would be Beeswing (originally written by Richard Thompson) and Magdelene Laundries (Joni Mitchell). One of the stand out tracks is America I Love You - a Morissey song that attacks the American ideals e.g. president akways being a heterosexual white male.

The best track in my opinion is The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll. This version is totally different from the original Bob Dylan version. More life and energy has been added to the song and it is sung with more feeling. As another reviewer has said it is worth buying the album just for this track.

All in all a superb return to form and well worth buying. And if you get a chance to see the man live - do not turn down the oppurtunity.


C'Mon Midffild
C'Mon Midffild

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Series, Not So Sure About The DVD, 16 Mar 2004
This review is from: C'Mon Midffild (DVD Audio)
This is the first version of C'mon Midffild to be released on DVD. In case you don't know it's a Welsh comedy series about a local football club. It has to be one of my favourite sitcoms ever.
The dvd however is not that great. The quality of the picture is below that you would expect from a DVD. There are a few extras but nothing that special.
That said, you should really get a copy of this DVD, its worth it.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Four Disc Collector's Box Set) [DVD] [2001]
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Four Disc Collector's Box Set) [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Elijah Wood

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One DVD to rule them all!, 2 July 2003
There’s only one way to start this review – if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan then buy the extended edition of Fellowship of the Ring. What you get is an extended version of the film, which is 30 minutes longer than the theatrical version, with 4 additional audio commentaries by cast and crew members. Then there’s the small matter of 2 discs full of extras including lots of different documentaries.
Is the extended version of the film an improvement? Yes! The extra footage varies from a split second shot to extra lines in a scene and even to complete scenes. The extra footage does add a lot to the film, which is a relief because I was a bit afraid that pointless scenes would be added in. This thankfully is not the case.
Of the added shots and scenes, it is apparent why they had been edited out of the theatrical version of the film. They are maybe slow the story down too much or simply don’t fit in too well. But there are some scenes that should definitely have been included in the original version. Two scenes immediately spring to mind.
The first is the extended council of Elrond scene. Boromir voices his opinion more, which cause more tension within the council. Then there’s the best moment to be added in, Gandalf speaking in the Black Tongue. It simply comes out of nowhere basically; suddenly he’s speaking in this language, which sounds so dark and almost scary.
The second scene is the gift giving at Lothlorien. It’s a well-known fact that Peter Jackson really wanted this scene included in the theatrical version of the film and now we get to see it. It follows very closely to the book, but changes are included. The scene is beautifully shot and perfectly shows the atmosphere of Lothlorien.
Other new scenes include Aragorn visiting his mother’s grave, the departure of the fellowship from Rivendell, Frodo and Sam seeing Wood Elves heading for the Grey Havens, the Midgewater Marshes and a scene from the Green Dragon Inn. Extended scenes include extended Hobbiton scenes (including Concerning Hobbits from the book), extended scenes in Rivendell and Moria, and an extended prologue.
I don’t think that this version is let down by any of the added footage. However there are quite a few quirky little comments added into this version. For example, at the door to the Mines of Moria. When Gandalf tries to open the doors and they don’t open Pippin comes out with the obvious statement of “nothing’s happening”. To some this may seem a bit childish and distract from the seriousness of the quest, but on the whole I feel that it doesn’t matter and actually adds a new dimension to the film.
As for the extras, this is the DVD set to end all others. With 2 discs full of extras this set is the benchmark for all other DVDs from now on. What you’ve got is a good six hours of documentaries about every aspect of Lord of the Rings, from JRR Tolkien to shooting the Trilogy. Also, there are literally hundreds of still frames to go with the documentaries. Not forgetting such things as such things as videos of storyboards and special effects.
It will honestly take to hours to digest everything on the DVDs, there’s almost too much information. For Tolkien fans, the information about Middle Earth and Tolkien will be nothing new, but is still worth watching. However, the documentaries about the filming give a great insight into film production (watch out for the Bag End set test with Peter Jackson as Bilbo).
So how would I rate this DVD set? It has to be 10 out of 10. IT has everything you could ever want on a LOTR DVD. Next question is can the Two Towers DVD beat it?


The Stephen King Universe
The Stephen King Universe
by Christopher Golden
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good reference for Stephen King fans, 2 July 2003
Being a huge Stephen King fan and having read almost all of his work I bought this book just to add to my collection of Stephen King related things. Since receiving it this books has become an essential part of me understanding King's work.
The book is sectioned into books of similar themes and styles, and each of King's work has it's own small section where it is analysed. Even short stories are analysed. It helps you understand the plots and characters, passes judgement on TV/film adaptations and many more elements of the books. But most interesting in my view is the fact that the links between different books and stories are outlined.
Essential for any Stephen King fan!!


Pet Sematary 2 [VHS]
Pet Sematary 2 [VHS]
VHS
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: 9.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't fall into the same trap as me, 2 July 2003
This review is from: Pet Sematary 2 [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I bought this film for two main reasons, because I'm a huge fan of the original Stephen King book and because the first film was a good film (nothing special but fairly enjoyable). I was very disappointed when I watched this film. It has nothing to do with the original apart from one minor reference. The place doesn't even look the same!!
All this could have been forgiven to an extent if the story was better. This is your typical slasher horror - bad story, bad acting and just totally stupid. There are of course exceptions to this rule (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) but Pet Semetary 2 is if anything worse than your average slasher movie.
Don't fall into the same trap as me you will not enjoy this film even if you are the biggest fan of the book, original film, director or actors. Avoid this at all costs.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) [Adult Edition]
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) [Adult Edition]
by J.K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.59

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kids will love it, but adults may not (no spoilers), 23 Jun 2003
To start with I'm not going to say what happens, so don't worry. I read the book in a day more or less and do not intend to spoil it for everyone else who is going to read it.
Kids are going to love this book as they have all the other HArry Potter books. It's full of the things we've come to expect from JK Rowling's books. Also, it stil follows the same basic pattern of the others - Harry is at home during holidays, goes back to Hogwarts, rebels etc. It will entertain children for sure. The writing style, as mentioned before, is typical of JK Rowling. I still, however, couldn't help noticing more and more influence from other authors (e.g. Roald Dahl, Penelope Lively to name only two). There is nothing wrong with this and it has worked in the other books. It does make for a very good story, but there seems to me to be a very heavy influence from Tolkien in this book.
An older reader I found that there is a lot missing from this book. This books starts off a lot better than the other Potter books. When I started reading I was gripped from the beginning, but as I progressed into the 766 page long story I found the story began to lack. At places it seemed like JK Rowling was trying to drag the story out into a longer book. To me the ending was a let down. The ending didn't do justice to the rest of the story and left a lot unexplained. As for the much hyped death and revealing to Harry about his scar I was not impressed. The death came and went very quickly. I see that this will work for some people but for me I thought it was too vague. When Dumbledor tells Harry about his past, it seems like a bit of a kop-out in some ways, but maybe I was expecting too much.
A few other minor quibbles I have are to do with the sub-plots in the book and the element of time. I kept coming to sub-plots that I thought would develop well and blend into the story, but most failed to do so. The timing seemed out to me as well. A few things didn't quite fit into the time scale they should have. I realise that the things I've mentioned arn't really needed in a children's book, but with many adults reading this book I can't help but think that there will be quite a few disappointed fans out there.
On the whole I really enjoyed this book and will recommend it to everyone I know with children.


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