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Mr. S. Galloway

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World Youth Day: Inspiring Generations
World Youth Day: Inspiring Generations
Price: £2.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful and personal collection, 12 July 2013
Something fascinating is happening among the youth of this world - they are flocking to the Church in ways that young people never have before. In August 2011, 2 million young Catholics converged on Madrid to celebrate and share their faith with Pope Benedict XVI. This volume of essays and articles commemorates that event.

The project stems from the English Diocese's young communications officer team, but contributions come in from a number of pilgrims, including ITV News's Julie Etchingham, herself a former WYD communications officer. The topics discussed include everything about WYD - from Masses and catechesis, to music, travelling, and accommodation - and not forgetting the temperamental weather! Two particular points will live long in the memory - first, the truly international nature of these events, with pilgrims overcoming nationality and language barriers to share in something important. And second, the solid refusal of the Pope and the pilgrims to be cowered and scattered by the torrential rain storm on the Saturday evening.

What is so important about this collection is the highly personal nature of the articles. This gives the book an added depth. The subtitle 'Inspiring Generations' is well chosen, for one would struggle to find a Catholic who would not be inspired by the enthusiasm, dedication, and wisdom of these young writers.

But this book has appeal for non-Catholics too. In a world that is increasingly associating youth with cynicism, negativity, and disconnection, this book offers a counter-example of love, hope, and faith. Regardless of one's opinion of the Catholic faith, one could not accuse these writers of apathy and disenchantment.

Flint and Silver (John Silver 1)
Flint and Silver (John Silver 1)
by John Drake
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor first paragraph - doesn't get any better., 5 April 2011
I don't really understand this book. The criticisms seem too simple, and it makes me wonder if I'm missing something.
- nothing happens - it's just plain boring
- the characters are incredibly one-dimensional
- the narrator tells too much - about characters' feelings, histories, motivations, etc. It leaves nothing to the imagination
- the jumping around in time is incredibly annoying, and doesn't seem to serve any purpose - it seems to be there for effect
- the writing is often tedious (see example below)

It also makes me wonder who proofed this to begin with. This is the second sentence:

"They differed from ships of the various royal navies only in the relatively small degree of their armament, as compared with the exclusive concentration upon artillery that marked out the man-o'-war."

Now maybe I'm expecting too much, but I like my action-adventure books to start with a bang - an immediate hook. I thought it might have been published by a smaller house, but, no - it's Harper Collins. Harper Collins! I guess they're going with the "prequel to Treasure Island" hook, but that doesn't give an excuse for such a sloppy beginning.

I normally hate giving up on books, but, after 100 pages, I couldn't justify going on. Not even the pirate-ness kept me interested

The Gathering Storm (William Rennie 5)
The Gathering Storm (William Rennie 5)
by Peter Smalley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.16

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A warning concerning style, 20 April 2010
I do not mean for this to be such a negative review - more of a warning to those considering buying it.

The plot is good and very intriguing - any fan of Forester or O'Brien is sure to love the historical setting and accuracy - but Mr Smalley's style completely lets this down. The characters are unfortunately very one-dimensional and there is little exploration into them. Furthermore, there is far too much exposition - for example, he directly reveals the cause of the main character's internal daemons, almost as an aside, in the first chapter, rather than perhaps hinting at it and letting the suspense build up around what could possibly be troubling him so.

I accept that not every book has to be a character study and that there is a place for an action-adventure romp, but even these books have to be readable, perhaps even more so. It is the writing that truly lets this story down. Here is an example from chapter 1 (no real spoliers):

"He is going to die." Flatly.
"Nay, I have not said so."
"But that is what you mean, ain't it, Doctor?"
"While ever there is life there is hope." Sincerely.
"Damnation to pieties! Tell me the truth." His voice cracking.

And this is how it continues throughout the book, particularly, but not exclusively, around the dialogue - it appears as though Mr Smalley is giving stage directions rather than giving the reader something about the characters' intonation. I am well aware that this may be an attempt to write in a new, stylistic way - and there is nothing wrong with trying something new - but it still has to be readable. This work jumps around from line to line in small, snappy sentences that just aren't easy to read. I am no fan of overly-long drawn-out sentences, but this just gets silly. It just stutters along and the reader is never able to build up a flow of breath. It feels a little like watching a jumpy DVD.

I take umbrage with the Daily Express calling this "storytelling at its best". Story crafting, perhaps, but certainly not storytelling. But if you care not for the short, snappy style and enjoy naval fiction then this might be for you. But you might want to see if you can find this book in a bookshop and have a glance at a few pages before buying it.

Anyway, I'm now off to read some Sabatini and recommend that you do as well!

A Larum
A Larum
Price: £6.73

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why change your best songs?, 28 May 2008
This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
I don't understand why artists do this - they write such beautiful songs like 'The Box', 'Eyeless in Holloway' and 'Tickle Me Pink' and then go and ruin them when they put them on the album. He sings them differently, and made them complex. I don't know, maybe he's trying to make them more appealing and mainstream? If so, shame on your Mr Flynn.

Please note - The versions of 'The Box', 'Tickle Me Pink', 'Eyeless in Holloway' and 'Cold Bread' are different to the single versions and versions on the earlier released EP.

No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great product but a word of warning!, 7 Mar 2007
This is a great package. The silicone case fits snuggly and protects the player well. The plastic window protecting the screen is particularly good. However I feel I must warn people who are thinking of buying it. This thing is obviously not air-tight or dust-tight. Bits of dust and other small particles have got inbetween the skin and the player and have since scratched the plastic covering the buttons on the front - once the dust gets in it is in constant contact with the plastic. I'm not so bothered with this personally because I leave the skin on all the time and so do not see it. But I felt I should warn people who might want to take their Zen out again. It does ruin the smoothness and sleekness of the product.

Magician: 1 (Riftwar Saga)
Magician: 1 (Riftwar Saga)
by Raymond E. Feist
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

8 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK - but too long., 10 Sep 2006
I was just about to go into the cinema to watch Black Hawk Down a few years ago and a mate told me about the 2 hour long battle scene. GREAT!! I thought. However, halfway through I wanted some respite. This book left me with a similar feeling. The reviews mention 'Epic scope' and 'fast-moving action' - like Black Hawk Down I thought GREAT!!. However I feel that this book has far too many characters in it - we never get to know any of them properly. Also, with Pug learning about magic and Tomas learning about the ancient powers, there is too much going on at once, let alone if you include the actual war between the Kingdom and the Tsuranis.

The action is also strangely presented. The siege of Crydee, for example, took up around 3 chapters, and we just hear over and over again about repelled attacks against one wall. Coverage of the war gets VERY repetitive. And yet the final battle at the end (in 2 parts, with the first part brushed over totally) is lacking. If, like me, you like stories about a small, tight-knit band going on a long journey, then this book isn't for you.

There also doesn't seem to be a moral to this story. With this in mind, and with the multitude of stories and characters, it feels more like an historical textbook at times. It also reads more like an historical war novel than a fantasy book. Yes there's magic - but very little, and the other races read like humans. This book would be little different if the Tsurani, elves and dwarves were just replaced with humans.

Something else that has been mentioned by others, is the passage of time. This book, the first in a trilogy remember, takes place over something like 8 years. These include the formative years of nearly all the major characters.

Maybe this last point is a bit cynical, but me and some mates have found recently that many authors seek an emotional cop-out by putting in a few love interests (none more guilty that in Dragonlance). Whilst the romance in this book is less corny and trashy than Dragonlance, it still seems hollow, coming from the lack of character depth I suppose. OK I'm not expecting, or even wanting, Wuthering Heights or Pride and Prejudice, but I don't see why they need to be included. The benchmark for me is the Dark Elf set of books by R.A. Salvatore, which concentrate on the strong friendships that Drizzt (main character) builds up with those he meets. These seem far more emotionally filled, and Salvatore does not need to resort to cheap infatuations. The first quarter of Magician is dotted with references to the love triangle between Pug, Carline and Roland, which Mr. Feist spends a long time getting the reader emotionally involved in, only for it to peter out to nothing.

In conclusion, it seems to me that Mr. Feist thought up a lot of good ideas, and, maybe worried that he would not be able to get further books published, decided to cram them all in to this one book. It is a mistake often made by writers, particularly in fantasy (see the Dragonlance Chronicles). I am not particularly fond of heavy literature, complex character studies and the like, and yet this book left me wanting. Some books are content with being fast-paced and action-packed, but, as with Black Hawk Down, this can only last so long. Maybe I'm being too harsh on Mr. Feist. I can already hear calls of "it isn't supposed to be 'Crime and Punishment'", but I feel that if it wants to be a fun, action-packed read, it needs to be a lot shorter. It seems as though Mr. Feist didn't know whether to make it a proper epic, or to make it more of a romp, and ended up getting neither.

It's a shame these Amazon reviews aren't on a forum basis, because I'd love to discuss this book with someone who really loved it. Nevermind.

Signs Of Life
Signs Of Life

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 31 May 2006
This review is from: Signs Of Life (Audio CD)
This album is a godsend. The three greatest pieces of music ever written are on here - Dirt, Rosasolis and Perpetuum Mobile. I still struggle to believe how great they are. It's hard to describe the style of music - modern orchestral maybe, though it's not avant garde. Penguin Café's music is amazingly relaxing, and always de-stresses me instantly. People always go on about certain artists deaths being a waste of talent - none more so than Simon Jeffes. I am just thankful he managed to do so much great work before he passed away. God rest his soul.

Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 (PS2)
Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 (PS2)
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £10.29

3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not even worth one star., 25 July 2005
BLIC arrived this morning. Just played it. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Everything I said bad about Cricket 2005 I take it back. C2005 is far far far better. In BLIC the batting is very unrealistic and inhuman, the timing is weird, the bowling action is awful and the variation in pace is incredibly strange, the camera angles and quick changes of camera left me feeling nauseous, the players don't look like human beings, and the general feel of the game is wrong. All this, added to the fact that BLIC hardly has any licences, real players or real kits, makes BLIC a terrible game. If you are a cricket fan, or even just someone who has a mild like of cricket, don't get BLIC!

Cricket 2005 (PS2)
Cricket 2005 (PS2)
Offered by media-4-u
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much much better than BLIC, 25 July 2005
This review is from: Cricket 2005 (PS2) (Video Game)
Cricket 2005 is not a perfect game - hence only 4 stars. However it is better than Cricket 2004 (far too easy) and to compare it to Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 would be like comparing Shakespeare (great but can get boring for non-die-hard fans) to J.K.Rowling (heavily praised but actually complete trollope). Cricket 2005 is not the perfect cricket game, but it is the best cricket game ever created. It's not as easy as the previous EA titles so if you get bored easily don't bother buying it. However if you are a true cricket fan and can put up with the superman fielding then it is a great game. It takes a while to build an innings in this game, but hey, it's cricket. In conclusion - don't get this if you aren't a cricket fan and just want a slog, but for patient cricket fans with an accurate sense of timing will enjoy this game. Whatever you do don't get Brian Lara International Cricket.

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