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A. D. A. Davis "lodge41" (London, United Kingdom)
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Writing for the Web: Teach Yourself
Writing for the Web: Teach Yourself
by Robert Ashton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A poor addition to the Teach Yourself Series, 16 Dec 2013
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Over the years Teach Yourself has proved itself to be a series you can trust. However, this latest addition is a dud.

Written jointly by `social entrepreneur' Robert Ashton and `Internet native' Jessica Juby (who `has worked for Robert since she left sixth form' and `now handles the running of his office') its well meaning tone is surely designed to be helpful but comes over as amateurish and patronising. It offers nothing new and, though published in 2013, is stale. Early on we are warned against `rambling' but the whole book is littered with longwinded explanations, unlikely examples and a string of "Robert says..." and "Jess says..." callout boxes that add nothing.

Really, avoid.


The Dead (David Blake 3)
The Dead (David Blake 3)
by Howard Linskey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An assured and intelligent crime thriller, 16 July 2013
This is the third of the David Blake books and, in my opinion, the best. Once again, we are thrown headlong into the action from the outset with grizzly murder that succeeds in unsettling first the Northumbria police constabulary and then, by extension, the local criminal underworld. This in turn sets in motion half a dozen interconnected story lines that thread their way inexorably through the book delivering plenty of trouble (plus some thorny moral issues) for Blake along the way. A page turner in its purest sense, this is an intelligent and beautifully constructed read and another triumph for Howard Linskey.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2013 10:29 AM BST


The Damage (David Blake 2)
The Damage (David Blake 2)
by Howard Linskey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Assured crime thriller that cries out for a television adaptation, 28 Jun 2012
It's a measure of Howard Linskey's compelling writing style that I found myself setting aside the DVD of The Killing to read The Damage.

Linskey picks up where he left off in The Drop once again exposing us to the toxic, cruel, oppressive world of organised crime on the Tyne, as seen through the eyes of our ambivalent protagonist David Blake. As before, the writing style is taut, pacy and assured with a succession of interwoven plots and sub-plots that keep us guessing right to the last page. Simply put, this is a fantastic read!

It will be interesting how they adapt both books to television which they surely must.


Chickenhawk
Chickenhawk
by Robert Mason
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insightful memoir but a little disappointing, 27 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Chickenhawk (Paperback)
Perhaps my expectations were too high given the many positive reviews on Amazon but I found this book never really grabbed me. It undoubtedly takes readers to the heart of the action detailing many examples of hazardous operations and exceptional feats of skill and bravery by the author. Unfortunately though, personally, I found the writing style somewhat dispassionate and workman-like meaning that, even in the heat of battle, the book failed to deliver much heart-thumping tension or excitement.

I appreciate this is a personal memoir not a history book but I also think it would have benefited from a little more background and context to the war. An occasional paragraph reflecting on the political situation in 1965, the wider build up of troops in Vietnam, and the organisational structure of the army on the ground etc. would have aided understanding. Another memoir, Sog: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam by John L. Plaster, does this extremely well.

The copy I bought was the `First British Publication' which seems odd as there was nothing discernibly British about it. Nor did there need to be. I was also disappointed that the publisher decided not to include any photographs although these are available at the author's own website.

Despite all of the above it is a worthy account and I certainly don't regret buying and reading it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2012 1:25 PM BST


Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus Christ Superstar
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 15.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Peerless Production, 17 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Jesus Christ Superstar (Audio CD)
This has to be the ultimate recording of arguably the best musical of all time. The entire cast is outstanding, but of particular note is Steve Balsamo, who, as others have said, excels in the lead role, never more so than in his extraordinary rendition of Gethsemane. But look what he has to work with! The rousing composition by Andrew Lloyd Webber, culminating in the haunting John Nineteen: Forty One, combined with the unrivalled lyrics by Tim Rice make this truly wonderful recording, and one you can listen to again and again. Astonishing that Lloyd Webber and Rice were just twenty three and twenty six respectively when it made its debut on Broadway back in 1971.


The Drop (David Blake 1)
The Drop (David Blake 1)
by Howard Linskey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strap yourself in..., 18 May 2011
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Difficult to believe this is a debut novel. From the first few pages you're hooked! I've been to Newcastle a number of times and it's a highly refreshing and original to have it set somewhere other than London. More than that though, the electrifying plotline combines with the skilfully crafted character development to deliver a toxic mix of cold hearted aggression and bloody mob intrigue. Nice! If you've ever wondered what it might be like to fraternise with the criminal underbelly of our great country then this book will give you a good insight. I strongly recommend it!


Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery
Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery
by Richard Hollingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bloody good read, 22 Nov 2009
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This is a fantastic book. Like other reviewers my attention was drawn to it by the superb BBC4 series of the same name upon which the book is based (still not available on DVD incidentally - why is that?). Written in a drama-documentary style it is packed with numerous fascinating and bizarre case histories of pioneering surgery that reveal just how precarious operations were - still are - and the enormous obstacles that had to be overcome in the name of progress. It is wonderfully written with just the right level of gruesome detail to delight (and occasionally repulse) readers of all ages. Highly recommended!


Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Ivana Baquero
Offered by Jasuli
Price: 5.10

6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Schindler's List with fairies, 9 Nov 2009
This review is from: Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
How this film was ever conceived is beyond me. To blend the brutality of the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War with a CGI fantasy world of a 12 year old girl populated by fairies simply does not work. One or the other but, please, not both! And who is it for? Not children surely. The depiction of the villainous Captain Vidal is far too graphic for minors rivalling that of Amon Goeth (Schindler's List) in terms of sadistic cruelty faithfully portrayed on screen. And yet it surely isn't for adults either since there's no tension, no pace, only a meandering and confused storyline that itself appears to have difficulty making it to the closing credits (I know I did).

Given the resounding number of five star reviews it has received I reluctantly accept that for a lot of people this is a masterpiece. To my mind though, it is just a muddle. Sorry.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 14, 2010 11:19 PM BST


The Circuit: AN EX-SAS SOLDIER / A SECRETIVE INDUSTRY / THE WAR ON TERROR / A TRUE STORY
The Circuit: AN EX-SAS SOLDIER / A SECRETIVE INDUSTRY / THE WAR ON TERROR / A TRUE STORY
by Bob Shepherd
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat short on incident, 9 Nov 2009
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In the final chapter of the book, the author states that if you are looking for a `gun totting madman shooting up terrorists from Baghdad to Kabul' you will have been disappointed. Although that's not exactly what I had expected I did nevertheless feel slightly short changed. Why? Because, strictly speaking, although the description on the back cover is accurate when it says `Bob found himself back in war zones on assignments far more perilous than he had encountered in the SAS' what it fails to tell you is that action is virtually non-existent. Nothing much happens. This is in large part testament to the author's undoubted professionalism and experience meaning he pre-empts potential dangers and addresses them before they occur. But unfortunately it does mean that the book reads a little bit like an account of Titanic's maiden voyage where she arrives safely in New York without incident.

That said there is a lot to commend this book. It is very well written with clear explanations of work on `the Circuit'. It also lifts the lid on symbiotic yet disreputable relationship between commercial security companies and governments.


Eight Lives Down
Eight Lives Down
by Chris Hunter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trouble and Strife, 23 Sep 2009
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This review is from: Eight Lives Down (Paperback)
As somebody who has never been to war I cannot comment on the accuracy or realism of this book. However, it is undoubtedly well written, engaging, and takes you to the heart of the action.

It does have a flaw though, and it is this.

In common with other such autobiographical accounts the author is clearly aware that persons named in the book will pore over anything he may write about them. This is very apparent with colleagues (meaning each and every one is a `top bloke' or `first class soldier') but even more so with his wife. The author peppers the book with remorse and anguish about the strain his work places on their relationship so much so that that at times you wonder if this isn't a book about defusing IEDs at all - rather a pitch to save their marriage.

Having said all that, there is much to recommend this book, and whilst it doesn't have the Alamo-esque suspense of Sniper One: The Blistering True Story of a British Battle Group Under Siege, it is nevertheless a highly entertaining read and testament to the unquestionably courageous work of the IEDD teams.


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