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Mike Siggins "Mike Siggins" (Cambridge)

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Solo: A James Bond Novel
Solo: A James Bond Novel
by William Boyd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get excited, 24 Oct. 2013
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I am mainly reviewing this compared to Boyd's other books rather than other Bonds.

Firstly, I am a huge fan of Boyd. Have been since the very start when he and I were the only ones at a booksigning he did in Oxford Street. Okay, so some of his novels are a bit disappointing - they used to alternate to an extent - but only in comparison to the great ones.

But this book is... meh. Well written, but plotwise it is very tame. I am not even sure it is credible. And what really happens? A minor bush war and a bit of West African skullduggery.

Making a difficult trek through an African forest one of the highlights is not the stuff of Bond movies, but perhaps a nod to the novels.

He does drink a lot, and most of his meals and clothes are described.

As others have commented, this is not a Bond screenplay, it is a Bond novel. But if they make the film, it will be worse than Skyfall (and that is saying a lot).


Sparkle HD
Sparkle HD
Price: £1.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 16 April 2013
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This review is from: Sparkle HD (App)
I don't normally play this type of game, but this is class. Addictive, achievable and quite simply the best music you will hear this year. The only gripe is that the quest has lives and tough levels which I found tough to get through. Having to repeat sections was frustrating. Still, 20 hours of gaming cannot be bad.


Baby Don't Change Your Mind
Baby Don't Change Your Mind
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 6 Mar. 2013
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Classic disco/soul. The melody always reminds me of Borderline by Madonna. Not sure why. Now considering the whole album. Tempting...


aniPet Marine Aquarium
aniPet Marine Aquarium
Price: £1.27

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, 6 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: aniPet Marine Aquarium (App)
These aquaria stand or fall on the graphics. While good, the animation and layering is not good enough to please the eye. For those that know, this is worse than the Sachs engine that must be twenty years old now. Almost there but needs work.


Trainyard
Trainyard
Price: £1.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, engaging and attractive, 10 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Trainyard (App)
But enough about me.

In don't really do puzzles. Not very good at them. But this was a freebie and about trains. It is a superb piece of design and I really enjoyed it.


notePad for notes
notePad for notes
Price: £0.64

71 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb app, 3 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: notePad for notes (App)
I have tried a number of notepad apps before finally settling on this one. It is simple yet powerful. And I found the look and feel very helpful in a creative sense - it looks a lot more inspirational than standard text. Highly recommended.


Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape: Expanding Horizons
Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape: Expanding Horizons
by Aidan Weston-Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 15 Aug. 2012
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I was not aware of this artist until I stumbled across a single image on a blog. By coincidence the book, and related exhibition, was launching so I pre-ordered on the basis of one image. Risky. But not disappointed. The book contains several landscape fold outs and all works included (there are not too many out there) are expertly rendered. If you like Canaletto, Bellotto and related artists I am sure you will not regret the purchase.


The Mabinogion (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Mabinogion (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Lady Charlotte E. Guest
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dover version correction, 5 May 2012
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Please note that the Dover edition of this book that I just purchased does NOT have the Alan Lee paintings. In fact it has no pictures whatsoever. Not moaning, it cost £3, but thought you should know!


The Second Barons' War: Simon De Montfort and the Battles of Lewes and Evesham
The Second Barons' War: Simon De Montfort and the Battles of Lewes and Evesham
by John Sadler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid history, 14 Jan. 2012
The book follows Simon de Montfort as a character, and features the two key battles of the period: Lewes and Evesham. Each battle has its own chapter, and a most useful prelude covering the campaign and pre-battle manoeuvres. Further chapters put the wars in context and describe the aftermath. There is also a short chapter on Alt-Evesham (how the battle may really have panned out) and even notes on wargaming the period - what the casual reader will make of it I am not sure.

Sadler has a tight but friendly style and the book is a low impact read. So much so that I finished it in one sitting. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on armour, weapons and tactics while the battle chapters do a fine job of painting a picture of events. There are just a few maps, not of the highest quality, and more would have been welcome. Throughout the book we are introduced to minor characters and given a glimpse of their role and background - these were interesting but, like the maps, I could happily handle more detail.

This book covers one of my favourite periods in history, but sadly also one that has very few reference works outside the excellent books published by the Lance and Longbow Society. As such, this solid book is a welcome addition to my library, and worth it for the extensive bibliography alone - I see a trip to Lewes and its bookshops in my near future. Recommended.


War for the Throne: The Battle of Shrewsbury 1403 (Campaign Chronicles)
War for the Throne: The Battle of Shrewsbury 1403 (Campaign Chronicles)
by John Barratt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent history, 14 Jan. 2012
I am steadily warming to the Campaign Chronicles series by Pen & Sword, edited by Christopher Summerville. They tackle both familiar topics and the more obscure in some detail, and never fail to provide an interesting read, always with new perspectives.

The latest in the series covers the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, and is written by John Barratt, known to me through his work on the ECW. While focussing on the battle itself, along with two smaller engagements, there is a wealth of wider history covered. This explains the background to the war, the Welsh Revolt under Owain Glyn Dwr, the campaign, the various famous individuals (most of them called Henry), and of course the required overview of tactics and weapons, including the feared longbow.

I think I need to be honest here and say that while I obviously knew of Henry Hotspur, the stroppy Welsh, and the Percy family, apart from general histories I have not read much specifically about this period in England. To an extent I fall between two stools, having read a lot about the Hundred Years War and the previous century. As a result this was not only an entertaining read, but mostly new vistas for me. From that point of view I have no complaints and I found Barratt's style engaging, and easily digested.

War for the Throne was a very good read. I am left wanting for little information, and am keen to read more on the subject - always a good sign. In many ways this represents the ideal military publication: the physical quality is good and it is a hardback; the content is focussed, well written, relevant and interesting; it is accessible and not overlong; and the asking price is reasonable. I recommend this series highly.


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