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Sony NWZB163 B Series Music Clip Walkman 4GB - Black
Sony NWZB163 B Series Music Clip Walkman 4GB - Black

1.0 out of 5 stars Is pointless, 18 Nov 2012
It does not accept files from music put onto laptop via CD. Have tried two different laptops with two different sets of music, and no joy on either.

Waste of money.


The Black Echo
The Black Echo
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I echo the previous reviews, 9 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
This is the first in the Harry Bosch series and also the first one I've read. Bosch is a 40 year old detective who doesn't play by the book but is generally brilliant, attractive to women, and lives in an amazing hillside house on stilts. It sounds cheesy but is actually played very serious. It's also very very good. I was hooked in by Connelly's style from the get-go.

As a stand alone story I don't know how this matches up to the rest of Bosch's adventures, but I'm willing to bet it places high on the league table. This is one of those tales that starts off with a small-time murder only for it to slowly escalate into a complex plot with wide-reaching implications. L.A is a great setting for the whole thing, and I enjoyed learning the odd thing or two about California as I progressed through the pages. Highlight for me was the tunnelling aspect to the story, both in flashback and present.

Eleanor Wish is a great back-up character and has great depth. Bosch's relationship with her reminded me of the first James Bond novel actually - Casino Royale. There's just that similiar feel of a man on the cusp of middle age who has become great at his job but has probably long given up any expectation of falling head over heels for someone.

If I have one criticism of the book it's that the two agents who follow Bosch around felt cardboard in an otherwise brilliantly realised world. I highly recommend this though to anyone who enjoys a good detective novel. I'm definitely committed to reading the next in the series when I have time.


Angels And Demons
Angels And Demons
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that deserves a place in heaven, 24 July 2011
This review is from: Angels And Demons (Paperback)
I decided to buy this on the back of enjoying the film. It's a good read, successfully blending science fiction with religion in a desperate race against time adventure to stop a bomb going off. Although it sounds simple, the plot has several twists and turns and is never easy to predict. I certainly didn't guess the ending.

I've seen some reviews of Dan Brown's work that accuse his signature character, middle aged teacher Robert Langdon, of being boring. Just one chapter in though and I didn't understand what they were talking about. Langdon is a fine spearhead for a novel. He's charming, down-to-the-earth, and endearing on every level. He even avoids erring too much on the side of anti hero, showing plenty of enthusiasm in his role of Rome's unofficial saviour.

The amount of preparation and research that has gone into this work is staggering. I'm not talking about the in-depth exploration of Rome's religious architecture, or the cultivating of the anti-matter plot (surely the one part of the book that's wholly fictional anyway). No. I refer to the stunning collection of symbols Brown adorns the pages with. They're central to the story and they're magnificently designed. A highlight.

Another highlight is Langdon's love interest. It's not easy creating just one great main character for a book but in Angels and Demons we get two. Vittoria is excellent, as good a female co-lead in fact as I've seen in any thriller novel. Olivetti, the Vatican guard leader, is also standout.

In conclusion, this is excellent and well worth reading. It doesn't quite give me the magical wow factor that some of my all-time favourite novels do, hence the four star rating instead of five. Technically however this is still an impeccable example of how to write a story.


Patriot Games
Patriot Games
by Tom Clancy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.79

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carries the luck of the Irish, 30 Jun 2011
This review is from: Patriot Games (Paperback)
Being a fan (sort of) of the 1992 film, I was looking forward to trying this book version. I wasn't disappointed. Patriot Games is an absorbing political thriller pitting CIA newbie Jack Ryan against a fictitious Irish terrorist cell in a brutal cat and mouse tussle. The action takes place in both London and the areas in and around Maryland and Baltimore.

The word 'action' though might give you the wrong impression. There is action in this book but only a little bit here and there. Most of the page-time is devoted to characterisation and build-up. As such, the pace is very slow. Thankfully author Tom Clancy has plenty to say that's interesting. Not once during the entire book did I find myself getting bored of the writing style.

If you've seen the film but not read the book you'll still find enough minor differences here to keep you on your toes. There are some events in the film however I was disappointed not to find in the book. For instance, the big fight on the boat between Harrison Ford and Sean Bean simply doesn't happen in this version. What happens instead I found to be slightly underwhelming. Also, the conclusion to Dennis' arc was far more believable in the film. On the flipside, the book contains a very entertaining bad guy called Alex who didn't make it in onto the movie screens. Horses for courses.

Once I've finished reading the Clancy collection I might just look back on this as being one of his best. The premise of a young man desperately trying to protect his family from unpredictable forces is something we can all relate to. Patriot Games will be a satisfying read for anyone who enjoys a political thriller and has the willingness to remain patient during the steady first half.


The Hunt for Red October
The Hunt for Red October
by Tom Clancy
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The hunt for the English language, 30 Jun 2011
Having committed myself to reading this series in chronological order, my reactions have been somewhat mixed so far. Although I really enjoyed Without Remorse and Patriot Games, I found Red Rabbit to be awful. This fourth entry in the 'Ryan timeline' slots somewhere in-between. I didn't enjoy most of it in truth.

Sadly there's a language barrier to get through in order to enjoy The Hunt For Red October. The entire book is so drenched from head to toe in naval-speak that it's often difficult to figure out precisely what's going on. Realism is nice, but at some point you have to crack on with telling a story. Clancy gets so wrapped up in making his novels ultra realistic that often he forgets he's in the fiction business. A shame.

Also, there are far too many characters! It just so happens I'm an experienced reader who's very used to keeping track of many different characters. In this novel though even I got to a point two thirds of the way through when I was literally screaming at the pages - "No more new characters! Just concentrate on the existing ones!" As a reader, I didn't need to know the perspective of every single ship/submarine in the Atlantic ocean.

There are some strong points, most of them towards the end. The GRU agent aboard Red October makes for an exciting turn of fate. Even better is the submarine battle, which I found to be very exciting. Given all the tedious chapters that had gone before, I was actually shocked to suddenly find myself so glued to the final few pages! The submarine face-off definitely redeemed the book a little bit.

Not the worst I've ever read but I doubt I'll keep it. I'd only recommend it if you're in the armed forces (you'll understand the terminologies better than I did) or you're simply hell-bent on reading all the Clancy novels.


The Bourne Ultimatum (Bourne 3)
The Bourne Ultimatum (Bourne 3)
by Robert Ludlum
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too bloated but isn't a total travesty, 28 Jun 2011
The final Bourne novel in the Ludlum trilogy is a disappointing effort considering how great the first two were. If, like me, you're a die hard fan, then Ultimatum is still readable. Anyone else though will likely get bored before the end.

It starts off okay. In fact the entire first half is probably as good as anything that's gone before. The scenes in Montserrat are excellent; I particularly enjoyed the Angel of Death character. There are several layers of intriguing plot elements brewing all over the world in these early stages, from Carlos' resurfacing to the new Treadstone branch. All is flowing well. Then, just as the bulk of the action moves away from the Carribbean, the wheels come off.

Ludlum just seems to run out of ideas. The absurd length of the book doesn't help matters. What should have been a 500 page story is dragged out to almost 750 and it's too long. I didn't see any real need for the Russian segment either. Or the whole Morris Panov subplot. All unnecessary.

The treatment of Marie St Jacques is another sore point. What was once an spunky, adorable character in The Bourne Identity has by The Bourne Ultimatum become a whiny, whinging nuisance. It wouldn't have bothered me if she'd gone the same away as the movie Marie, to be frank. Her brother isn't much better.

So to sum up then, not a great novel. I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't previously read a Bourne. If you have read Identity and Supremacy, you might as well read this just to see how the trilogy ends. I'll warn you now though - it's not up to previous standards by quite a distance. Eric Lustbader would take over the writing reigns after this and in hindsight it was probably a good time for a change.


The Bourne Supremacy (Bourne 2)
The Bourne Supremacy (Bourne 2)
by Robert Ludlum
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply supreme, 28 Jun 2011
An exquisite follow-up to The Bourne Identity, this sequal takes David Webb to Hong Kong and China in a bid to find his missing wife. The full plot couldn't possibly be summed up in one paragraph though. It's even an more complicated story than the first one (but still ultimately very satisfying).

The oriental setting makes a great change from the European imagery of the original. Ludlum also makes a very bold decision in regards to the continued use of Carlos, which I won't spoil here.

Throughout the book there are several very memorable passages. These include a game of cat and mouse in a museum, an infiltration of a guard-strewn fish market, and my personal favourite, Bourne's utterly ingenius tactics inside a bird sanctuary. And yet, as bizaare as these sequences may sound, the action is always kept realistic. Nothing ever seems 'hollywood' or over-the-top.

The character of Marie definitely isn't as effective as she was in the first book, mainly due to her being constantly separated from Bourne. The upside to this however is that Bourne gets to do plenty of sleuthing on his own, a hark back to the first few chapters of The Bourne Identity before he even met Marie.

For my money this is the last truly great Bourne novel before the standards started to slip a little.


The Bourne Identity  (Bourne 1)
The Bourne Identity (Bourne 1)
by Robert Ludlum
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest ever thriller novels., 24 Jun 2011
The original and best Jason Bourne novel, although if you're expecting it to follow the events of the film you'll be disappointed. The only similarity between this and the film is the plot device of Bourne waking up in the sea with amnesia. After that it's a nigh on a completely differently tale. Not that this is a bad thing. Ludlum's version is hands down the best of the two.

In such places as Marseille, Zurich, and Paris, Bourne races around trying to find out if he was a bad guy in previous life or a good one. Along the way he's hounded mercilessly by terrorists and also people from his own government, and he has to juggle all this with his blossoming `friendship' with economist Marie St Jacques (a character who gets much better treatment here than in the movie).

The book is simplistic at first but gradually becomes very complex. It's brilliantly woven together by the author though. You can read the book several times over and still find yourself unable to remember which part of the plot comes next. Dud chapters are non-existent. It's gripping all the way through.

It also has a terrific bad guy in the guise of the mysterious `Carlos', not to mention a whole bunch of other intriguing characters who pop up throughout the story. I refer to the likes of the unnamed `man with the gold spectacles', Johann, and my personal favourite, Rene the fashion designer.

Although set in the early eighties - near enough - this never detracts from the enjoyment. If anything, the lack of modern technology available to the principal characters only adds to the suspense. It's brilliantly refreshing to read something like this where mobile phones and the like don't yet exist.

Of all the books I've ever read, and I've read a LOT, this is my second favourite of all time. It's just a fantastic example of how to write a suspenseful thriller. Even if the film versions weren't to your liking, you might want to give this a try.


Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Sanction (Bourne 6)
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Sanction (Bourne 6)
by Eric Van Lustbader
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I sanction my recommendation you buy it., 22 Jun 2011
This is the sixth Bourne novel in the series (the third since Lustbader took the reins). In this one, Bourne has to stop a potential terrorist attack on an American port. It's more complicated than that but to go into too much detail would be to give the plot away. It's a very complex read on the whole though, dealing with several different interweaving plot strands over the course of its not-too-shabby length. In this regard it's similar to the previous book then; The Bourne Betrayal.

For the first time ever, Bourne has romantic liaisons with someone other than Marie. It's handled tastefully and done so using a very well conceived character. Moira, as she's called, isn't as interesting as Marie was in The Bourne Identity, but she is more interesting than the more whiny Marie from Supremacy and Ultimatum.

Highlight for me is the chase through the snake house at the zoo. It doesn't quite feel realistic but it's sure as hell entertaining. The final confrontation on the tanker ship is also well done.

On the downside, this is the third straight novel where Lustbader has had a government assassin go after Bourne only to die at the exact second attempt. Always the second attempt. I'd like to see that tradition broken when I get around to reading the next one.

Still, that little quibble aside, this is another fine adventure. The second half isn't quite as good as the first, however on the whole the plot is well constructed, the action well written, the characters believable, and the twists unpredictable. Also good to see some of the more minor players from previous books get some additional development (Deron, Soraya, etc).


Blood on the Tongue
Blood on the Tongue
by Stephen Booth
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic wintery chills, 19 Jun 2011
This review is from: Blood on the Tongue (Paperback)
The previous book was a tough act to follow but 'Blood on the Tongue' is a damn fine attempt. Stephen Booth has written another wonderfully unpredictable (yet perfectly logical, once you look back on it) murder mystery here set on the Derbyshire Moors. He's even created a charismatic new area for a murder to take place in; the mysterious Irontonge Hill, famous in local lore for bearing the brunt of a World War Two airplane crash. The narrative cleverly re-explores the more unexplained aspects of that crash as well as the murders in the present.

Because this tale takes place at the height of winter, snow is prevelent from the first page to the last. It's a nice touch to have freezing weather conditions hinder the investigation. From memory, I think Booth tried to produce a similar background effect in 'Black Dog', only with summer heat. Here though the intention works much better, partly because snow is a far more troublesome foe in middle England than a mild heatwave, and partly because the author is simply on much better form now than when he penned his debut. He's just doing everything so much better. Irontongue Hill, by the way, is extremely well suited to a wintertime murder mystery.

Cooper and Fry go through their usual routine of awkward co-operation, although Fry is slightly less hard-ass this time. The scene where she puts Cooper's picture above the mantelpiece is a very nice touch. In fact, the whole subplot which has Cooper moving out of home can only be a good thing for the series. I've never thought the scenes at the farmhouse with his brother add much.

To sum up, if you've got the patience for an expertly crafted 600 page whodunnit set in rural England, this is the book for you. It can also be enjoyed if you haven't previously touched the first two, as each book is a separate story.


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