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R. C. Harris "Eden House" (New Zealand)

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Terror's Reach
Terror's Reach
by Tom Bale
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast escapism., 8 July 2014
This review is from: Terror's Reach (Paperback)
The main character is Joe Carter, an ex British police undercover officer who was exposed and declined a witness protection programme, instead becoming a low profile drifter.

It's a sort of Britain's answer to America's Jack Reacher. Both characters by British authors and both very easy reads, fast and pure escapism. This is the sort of novel for reading on holiday or airports where there isn't too much concentration needed. having read 'Skin and Bones' which I enjoyed I was delighted to find that this book was up to the same standard.

In this story, Joe is employed as a body guard to a Russian oligarch's family but from the start all is not as it seems. The story unwinds with pace with excellent twists and turns. There is good character differentiation, with chilling 'baddies' and some believable good guys.

If you enjoy the Jack Reacher series then you'll certainly enjoy this. Well recommended, I'll be reading Bale's other novels.

Snowtown [DVD]
Snowtown [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Henshall
Offered by b68solutions
Price: 9.99

1.0 out of 5 stars If you like the simmering sullen and downbeat movies then by all ..., 7 July 2014
This review is from: Snowtown [DVD] (DVD)
A depressing arty fly-on-the-wall movie that we managed to watch for about 20 minutes before giving up.

If you like the simmering sullen and downbeat movies then by all means give it a go. The fact that my review rating was... 'I hated it', is simply that it was not my style of movie and for those who like this genre then it may have been well done.

The setting was drab and intended to enhance the sense of gloom and the more rancid perspective of life in the lower social spectrum.

The Book Thief [DVD]
The Book Thief [DVD]
Dvd ~ Geoffrey Rush
Price: 9.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Routine fare, 20 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Book Thief [DVD] (DVD)
This is the sort of film you are supposed to love. But for me it fell short of its potential and lacked both passion and drama. The storyline has been covered by other reviews so suffice to say it is set in Nazi Germany over the course of the war and is about a young girl fostered to parents in a small town.

The screenplay is full of cliché's. The fact that the young girl is illiterate to start with and when learning to read, steals books from a local dignitary is actually almost peripheral and only incidental rather than fundamental to the tale. I suspect something was lost in the interpretation from the novel!

The action lacks gritty reality. For example, in one scene a boy who is keen on the heroine, dives into a frozen February river to retrieve her diary. After some time under water he emerges successful and they stroll back to her house where he departs. Not shivering in near hypothermia, but casually as though it was a pleasant Sunday afternoon!

As entertainment goes, it's ok. The acting is good, the settings are excellent. For the sentimental it's a good tale and very watchable. But for me, did not live up to the hype.

Blue Jasmine [DVD] [2013]
Blue Jasmine [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Cate Blanchett
Price: 10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Blanchet steals the show, 19 Jun 2014
This review is from: Blue Jasmine [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
I couldn't really see how on earth this film could possibly be described as, 'brilliantly funny'? Yes, there are character quirks and ironic moments but in essence it's quite a tragedy. In less capable hands it could well be described as 'kitchen sink'.

The basic plot is somewhat similar in context to that of 'A streetcar named Desire', with Cate Blanchet playing that movie's equivalent to the pathetic and desperate Blanche Du Bois. A woman reduced by circumstance from riches to rags.

I'm not particularly a Woody Allen fan, and this film is in his typical style. But it is well written, poignantly observant and the acting all round can only be described as superb! But there is no doubt that Cate Blanchet steals the show - her performance is off the wall. It is well worth watching the film for this alone.

For it's dramatic genre it's up there amongst the best and I can see why it is so acclaimed. Overall quality it's good, but the entertainment value is less universal and will have more limited appeal.

Hidden [DVD]
Hidden [DVD]
Dvd ~ Phil Glenister
Price: 5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me on edge of seat!, 16 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hidden [DVD] (DVD)
A good fast moving thriller that kept me guessing all the way through. The flash backs tend to be a little confusing at first as with a different actor (obviously) playing Phil Glenister's youthful character you're not quite sure it is him or not?

Some of the reviews are critical of the ending but I felt it was wrapped up adequately. However, I do accept that you have to concentrate as some of the loose ends are explained away with a casual comment which is easily missed.

Well acted, good direction and great settings.

Exile BBC [DVD]
Exile BBC [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Simm
Price: 5.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid drama, 16 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Exile BBC [DVD] (DVD)
A good solid drama that kept me interested all the way through. The middle episode tended to lose some pace but it quickly picked up in the final episode.

Couldn't fault the acting, direction and setting and, as with usual British drama, the characters were very believable as real people. Tom Ronstadt returns from an absence of 18 years to his father, who is now suffering from advanced Alzheimer's and is being looked after by his sister.

He left due to his father beating him badly after discovering him sifting through his private papers. This didn't quite sit comfortably with me as it was so out of character with the picture later portrayed of his father. But that aside, the remaining storyline was sound and I didn't guess the plot as it unfolded.

One thing that made me smile, was the changing weather! One minute the locations were knee deep in snow, then in the next scene it had disappeared, only for it to reappear again!

But would recommend it as good viewing.

I Am Pilgrim
I Am Pilgrim
by Terry Hayes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The stuff of super-hero's, 13 Jun 2014
This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Paperback)
If you enjoy super-hero books such as the Bourne series or, in a TV equivilant - Jack Bauer’s in ‘24’ then this is the book for you. The author has the talent for going into some depth with the plot, whilst retaining readability. I found myself only skipping the odd pages here and there.

However, the (predominantly Americanism) concept of the flawless hero isn’t one I particularly go for. For example, in this novel, the hero spends three years in medical school after which transfers into psychology in which he graduates in his doctorate in the higher tier. Headhunted by US intelligence he rises quickly through the ranks becoming ‘their most brilliant’ officer. He is fluently trilingual in English, French and German. When he prematurely resigns he writes a (so called obscure) ‘ground breaking’ book (which most people in that field seem to have read), on investigation techniques. Oh and he is also a natural sailor of renowned expertise. Then we meet Ben Bradley. A taciturn NYPD cop who has rescued a cripple from the 9/11 tower, descending 67 stories with him on his back, before being badly injured himself. Our hero befriends him and is invited to dinner at his house and meets his ‘stunning’ wife, who is also a wonderful cook…. And so it goes on. Sometimes, dare I say it, it’s the stuff of fingers down the throat! But if you can take that in your stride, then you’ll love this novel. And of course, for every super-hero there has to be a super-villain.

A little drawn out in parts, and somewhat predictable but a good dual storyline. Though for me, the goodies were so cheesy good, that I found by the closing chapters my sympathies began to slide towards the villain succeeding! Not what the author intended methinks?

But nevertheless, if you enjoy this genre of book then it’s up there with the best. But don’t expect a literary masterpiece.

The Call [DVD] [2013]
The Call [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Halle Berry
Price: 5.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great until the closing scene, 27 May 2014
This review is from: The Call [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
This movie certainly lived up to it's description as gripping. The typical US casting of the beautiful heroine and nice good looking good guy is still there, and the director could have given the characters a little more depth. The screenplay is full of the usual clichés. However, the action and pace is fast, edge of seat material and keeps you glued to the set.

In the final scene the movie drops a gear. The heroine comes to the forefront in a scene more reminiscent of a poor B movie! It is unbelievable and simply doesn't do justice to the quality of the rest of the film. Such a pity!

Prisoners [DVD]
Prisoners [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: 7.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Drawn out, 15 May 2014
This review is from: Prisoners [DVD] (DVD)
A movie which could have done with some editing down. It succeeds in holding ones attention but could hardly call it compulsive viewing!

I have to say that I failed to follow a few threads of the plot with at least one character being simply bizarre.

The first suspect is a young man with the mental age of ten, who is supposed to have been driving around in a fairly large camper van. He is then abducted off the street by Hugh Jackman's character. No one seems remotely bothered that he has apparently 'run away'.

As the credits rolled I was left wondering about a few other aspects of the plot had me puzzled. The movie is 'ok' but certainly not 'The thriller of the year' as the hype indicates. Oh, and watch out for the instant change of seasons! In one scene it is green and pleasant, and two minutes later it's snowbound and icy!!! Then back to dry and clear...

Waiting for Wednesday (Frieda Klein, Book 3) (Frieda Klein 3)
Waiting for Wednesday (Frieda Klein, Book 3) (Frieda Klein 3)
by Nicci French
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A good solid read, 6 May 2014
A good steady read with plenty of twists and super characterisation. The story jogs along rather than races and there is some fine embroidering of all the characters. In some novels this becomes wordy and tedious but Klein’s authors succeed in splendidly retaining the reader’s interest. I personally feel a good novel is one in which it's simply not possible to skip a few pages and, with this you certain want to read every word.

It's rather clever in that Klein is probably in reality a person I would not particularly want to befriend and yet she gains my empathy. She’s a tortured personality with self doubts and a determination that is obsessive to the point of irritation. Many authors airbrush their main characters, becoming caricatures of morality with few flaws or mistakes. Frieda Klein is no such individual.

I enjoyed the development that the main story line gradually becomes peripheral to the key role involving Klein. She flits in and out of the main story line whilst sneakily diverging onto a different path and quest.

Overall, a great plot and yes, rather fanciful. But to carry it off is great fiction! I look forward to Thursday...

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