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Cold Days: A Dresden Files Novel
Cold Days: A Dresden Files Novel
by Jim Butcher
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, 29 Nov 2012
After a seemingly endless wait (im impatient ok) we finally get the next outing of Harry Dresden, and its worth every mind aching moment that i have waited. Getting Harry back in the saddle after ghost story was one of my concerns but the transition is smoother then i dared to hope for. The gang is present and accounted for with some wonderful tweaks and moments and the return of several excellent supporting characters. The action is ,as always, fast flowing and entertaining and in true Dresden style Harry lurches from managing one disaster to another with barley time to catch his breath and readjust to the new status quo. The end is spectacular reading with to much cool stuff to mention without abusive *SPOILER* tags everywhere.

Brilliant from start to finish, if anyone had doubts after ghost story then this should squash them, Dresden is back! (of course i now have another torturous wait till book 15....)

Nocturne (Tome of Fire Trilogy)
Nocturne (Tome of Fire Trilogy)
by Nick Kyme
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It just never really come togther, 5 Jan 2012
*Warning, slight spoilers may be ahead*

Oh dear, after 2 excellent books the climax is a massive let down for me.

My gut reaction was to rate it 2 stars but that's unfair, as a stand alone novel its fast paced with plenty of 40k action and Nick Kyme maintains his excellent characterisation of the salamanders as a chapter and keeps up his entertaining battle descriptions as the salamanders dig in to weather a full scale offensive.

Where it all starts to fall down for me is with the characters. They have been so well written and have been so engaging over the series, a testament to Nick Kyme, that the constant jumping of perspective and relatively short novel length means that individual time seems very short and rushed in places.

Many of them have their plots concluded quickly with little closure or sense of achievement, the protagonist, or at least focal point, of the series Da'kir, who got relatively little show time in book 2 gets arguably less in the final outing, Tsu'gan's resolution also seems rushed out along side the other characters that have been so vividly brought to life in the previous books.

Ultimately it feels overly bloated with characters and thin on content which dilutes and tangles the plot when it needs clarity and direction most of all, it dosent evoke anything like the brilliant ork landing and fighting of 'salamander'.

Overall its an enjoyable read in its own right, but as what should be the crowning and climatic end to an excellent trilogy falls short of the mark and suffers badly for it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2013 12:58 AM BST

Samsung R1 2.7-inch 16GB MP4 Player - Black
Samsung R1 2.7-inch 16GB MP4 Player - Black

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 28 Mar 2011
Long time buyer, first time reviewer.

After my zen x-fi2 bricked itself I was in desperate need of a new mp3 player with a flight to the USA looming in a weeks time, a browse of Amazon and various other review sites brought me to a choice between the Samsung R1 and the Sony NWZA845B A series. After reading reviews about the A series EU regulated sound levels i decided to go for the Samsung as i have a phone and a monitor by them and have been impressed with their design and ease of use.

Let me state that i, until this player, have always bought creative players for the superior audio quality and my distaste for ipods.

Firstly, this player is tiny, the specs list it as such but until you have it in your hand it dosent really hit home, that dosent stop it being easy to use or its menus easy to navigate. Its use of space is almost perfect, 2 dedicated volume buttons are brilliant (creative take note) and the on/off/lock switch is easy to access. The only annoyance is that the usb lead has two release clips and the inside one is obstructed by the headphones when they are plugged into the jack, nothing massive but it does mean you may have to disconnect headphones to disconnect the usb cable. One other slight design niggle is the lack of a micro sd card expansion function so you are stuck with the 16 gb advertised, again nothing that breaks the deal or reduces function.

Product user guide is not supplied with the packaging outside a quick start guide but is available as a pdf on the Samsung website and i believe it is on the player itself, seems to be common practice theses days and dosent bother me as 90% of the functions are easy to use/figure out without needing a manual.

The touch screen is responsive (although not quite as much as an ipod touch but a massive improvement on the zen x fi 2) and is easy to use with a screen display that is nicely lit and has vibrant colours. Biggest shock was a video play back quality which was fantastic, i dont usually buy into such additions as i like my mp3 player to play music, not video, but the image quality is superb. I dont have any problems with accessing the icons or such but my brother with his fat fingers complained when he had a go, although he does this with every touch screen device so perhaps something to bear in mind.

The on screen icons and widgets on the home page can be repositioned and removed/added as you wish allowing for a custom layout that has been a feature of Samsung products for a while now, which is good as so many of them are redundant and just clutter the screen (a gingerbread man that crumbles as you tap it? Really?)

Syncing is a painless affair, i use media monkey as my player of choice and have no problems with it at all (really, who use the propriety software these days?). Only downside is that Samsung have gone the route of apple and have issued their own propriety usb cable instead of using a mini usb clip, nothing awful but it means that a replacement is harder (and that usually means more expensive) to come by.

Battery life isn't really up to the listed web site numbers but when are they ever? With the dnse (Samsung equivalent to an equalizer and music enhancer it would seem) on i got around 15-18 ours (maybe a little more as i left the player on over night) hours play back with a middle level of volume which is fine for me. Some reviews have said that the battery continues to drain quickly if the player is in sleep/turned off but i haven't noticed this (NOTE: i immediately updated my firmware to the latest version, as i almost always do when applicable, and other reviews seem to indicate that this either reduces or fixes the problem). I will update after a full days proper use. (after and hour and a half im down to around 80% battery, which seems a bit quick on the drain but it is running at high volume with the dnse functions maxed out, should be able to comment more accurately after work.) Some users have reported firmware crashes on a regular basis but i havent encountered any yet, again updating to the latest firmware (or perhaps the product being out so long that such problems have been fixed) seems to have saved me.

Now the most important part, audio quality.
To be honest i am stunned by it, its near enough to my zen x-fi2 that i can barley notice the difference, paired with a surprisingly good set of in ear headphoness supplied with the player (although the design looks a little strange). Bass is perhaps missing just a bit of punch but its not much and dosent detract to much for me.

Overall i would love to rate it 5 stars (and so far it is for me personally) but the slight niggles are making me drop a star for other users as the lack of SD card expansion and the propriety cable will be considerable turn off's for some as will the perhaps slightly short battery life. To be honest if Samsung removed most of the rather redundant widgets and just added slight additional functions to the hardware it would be perfect, as it is i have no problem recommending this player.

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