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WD Elements 1TB External Desktop Hard Drive USB 2.0 - Black
WD Elements 1TB External Desktop Hard Drive USB 2.0 - Black
Offered by AOT (UK VAT registered)
Price: £128.99

1.0 out of 5 stars DONT BUY Two failed drives and all data LOST, 17 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought 2 of these because I understood it to be a reliable brand. I was using one as my primary storage and another as my backup. First the backup failed and after a £30 review was told it was shot and the data unrecoverable. Now the primary has failed as well, and I have lost major amounts of data. Offer of a replacement hardly cuts it. Maybe it was good once but this is absolute rubbish.
DONT BUY THEM!!!


The Crystal Skull
The Crystal Skull
by Manda Scott
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - especially as author could have done better, 29 Aug. 2012
I picked this up because it mentioned Gaping Ghyll and because the author also has a Boudicca set, both of which are interests, and general reviews suggested a good thriller. The author's writing style is ok, good at times, but for all the claims for research - the results are patchy at best.

If you're a caver, know the Dales and/or Gaping Ghyll - it will either be annoying or pretty amusing. Limestone and chalk cave? Don't think so. A handful of caving/equipment words thrown around without much understanding? Cave rescue (or others who cave) not ever having been to the base of the pitch/cavern(sounded a bit like Mud Hall)? Dry suits?! Man falls 400 feet and survives...same man then lies in water for hours and survives...maybe if he was floated down by the power of the skull and then protected from hypothermia. And why do some authors insist on featuring main characters with skills they themselves know nothing about? But hey, I was willing to ignore some of it, though the repeated bits of 1/2 knowledge and rubbish don't inspire confidence in the research areas I don't know anything about. And just human nature - you hear someone else in a cave with you - you automatically assume they have evil intent? I think most people would wait and see who it was rather than sending the guy who's only been in a cave once running off.

The characters were only so-so and motivations vague. The major danger of shared time/character stories happened and I started skipping bits to read one story more, than going back. Then I made the mistake of reading the author's notes and lost all interest. I gave it up.

Have to agree with other criticisms in the reviews - if it was Dan-Browning - the basic writing is probably better, but he gets away with it, presumably, because he throws so many ideas, mysteries,etc at you. And given this, I'm not sure I'll bother checking out the Boudicca. Disappointing.


Owls Caves & Fossils
Owls Caves & Fossils
by Andrews
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Caves, Animals and Taphonomy - Excellent Ref!, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Owls Caves & Fossils (Hardcover)
If you are interested in caves, animals in caves, cave/bone environments, taphonomy or anything else mentioned in the title you should read this book. One of THE BEST works on bones in caves out there. Recommended as a must for anyone writing or researching regarding bones in cave environments.


Wild Indigo (Jamaica Wild Mysteries)
Wild Indigo (Jamaica Wild Mysteries)
by Sandi Ault
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting bits but ultimately disappointing, 28 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book based on a site recommendation linked with Tony Hillerman. There's not really much of a link except they both involve native americans in the southwest and Ault's books are mysteries of a sort - more afternoon tv movie than Hillerman. There's a Don Juan/Carlos Casteneda feel to the main character's interaction with the native culture. There is some interesting material along that vein, though the author disclaims any real information given, but an amalgam of practices and groups.

The characters are not particularly well formed. The main's boyfriend is just a perfect little caring/understanding cutout who puts in an appearance here and there to apparently show that the main character can attract such a character. However, her main relationship is with her dog/wolf. Seriously, I like wolves and dogs and am quite fond of stories of people-wolf or people-dog bonds, but this just started to seem a bit peculiar.

If you're looking for something to help replace the huge hole left by Hillerman's death, this isn't it. The detective/mystery aspect is so so. There's no real romance. The cultural interaction is probably the best part, but flawed. If the author works on her male-female human relationships the book(s)would improve, or at least not obssess quite so much on the dog. I bought the first three of these books, because the first couple of chapters seemed quite good -- haven't bothered to read the other two yet.

Overall, ok, but disappointing. Lots of room for improvement and potential to do so -- might just try the next one to see if there is improvement.


Dogs and Goddesses
Dogs and Goddesses
by Jennifer Crusie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Summer Read - a bit of good fun, 28 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Dogs and Goddesses (Paperback)
I don't actually read much romantic fiction at all and picked this up at the library on a whim. Unlike one of the reviewers, it was the pseudo-mesopatamian gods bit that caught my attention really. This is no deep read, just a bit of light fun. The characters, including the dogs, are the same, not deep but fun. It all comes to a nice satisfying conclusion. It's also great to have the nearly 50 year old get the best guy. And only a fictional god could be so perfect: body, sex, sensitive, responsible and fun too -- anyone like that who also likes Big Trouble in Little China certainly gets my vote. Sometimes a bit of happy fluff is good for you.


Winter Study (Anna Pigeon Mysteries)
Winter Study (Anna Pigeon Mysteries)
by Nevada Barr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.20

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best of Barr, 13 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love Nevada Barr's books. I've been living in England for many years now and I sorely miss the American wilderness, so I look forward to the occasional fix from Barr and now again, after an eight year hiatus, Dana Stabenow. Stabenow and I fell out severly when she killed off the main character's boyfriend, a second main character really, in what I still feel was a pointess bit of 'exploit the readers emotions' and use the "Cartwright disease" plot device. A phrase invented by my friend and I as teenagers after the old Bonanza series which, featuring 4? 5? unattached males, regularly used romantic plots which all ended badly. They habitually killed off, damaged, whatever, the poor women to make the characters re-available for new romantic episodes.

But back to Winter Study. Setting good, descriptions good, main character... all pleasing. The plot, however is a bit hokey, tired, been there...ehhh. There have been better. Maybe Barr needs a new character (eeeeoooww -- heresy), but still, maybe...

Maybe it was just an off-novel. Still good setting, etc., as I said, but not the best of the series. I did like the bits with the windigo, etc. The end explanation however, was right out of scooby doo. Yes, I realise now, that was the main problem here -- that scooby doo element -- disappointing. Still the book is worth the read for the rest of what you expect from Barr.


The Concubine's Tattoo (Sano Ichiro Mysteries)
The Concubine's Tattoo (Sano Ichiro Mysteries)
by Laura Roland
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Medieval Japan romance, 13 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The reviews for this book are glowing and I'm interested in Medieval Japan, so I bought it, hoping for something akin to Shogun or Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori) by Lian Hearn or something like Boris Akun's Russian novels. Alas, no such luck. The first chapter was good, but after that the book is a fairly standard romantic novel, with not particularly well drawn characters -- the fairly standard fiesty female and good man misunderstanding each other (but I'm sure they get together fine in the end -- didn't read past the first 60 pages)-- the devious empress/mother and spineless king/shogun...yada yada. Standard fare belying the promise of the cover and the reviews. If you're after a nice predictable romance with a bit of murder mystery you'll be happy with this. If you expecting a bit more cultural detail and depth forget it.


Last Rituals: Thora Gudmundsdottir Book 1
Last Rituals: Thora Gudmundsdottir Book 1
by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dan Brown meets Lightweight Rom Lit, 15 May 2010
I have to agree with the disappointed readers, this book sounded quite interesting but certainly doesn't merit the rave reviews. The main character, Thora, is immature and strangely naive for a lawyer and mother of a 16 year old. And the fact that as a mother she never considered that her 16 might be interested in having in sex and apparently had no idea about birth control...so getting his 15 year old girlfriend pregnant was just unfortunate... That a spoiled child could harm it's sibling partially through ignorance and partially through resentment seemed very unusual to Thora, but is, unfortunately, quite a common occurrence -- even to seriously harm or even kill is not unusual, if hopefully not common. That this would lead to the parents shunning the child is certainly possible, that that leads to the offending child coming to hate their mother (but not the father, who acted the same?) to the extent that he would make a pack to have his eyes and a curse sent to his mother on his death so he could haunt her...there was nothing in the story to suggest such an extreme reaction. And no mention of guilt by the offending child either, for seriously injuring his baby sister (which lead to severe handicap and early death).

Overall it's rather like a Mills & Boone / Harlequin light weight story with aspects of Dan Brown suspense. The writing is competent/average and no one was particularly engaging. I ended up skipping about 1/3 in the middle. The witchcraft research seems interesting but wasn't used to it's best advantage. Mediocre.


Wolf Cry
Wolf Cry
by Julia Golding
Edition: Paperback

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good writing but very very poor research, 4 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Wolf Cry (Paperback)
Julia Golding is a competent, even good writer, but that does not compensate for her obvious ignorance about the culture and places she writes about in this book. I cannot recommend this book to anyone.

It starts out with a historical note stating that Ohthere's tale (written in Alfred's court) is "the only Viking voice to have come down to us from the Dark Ages," then three pages later she begins quoting from another Viking age source (Egil's saga). And there are many other similar sources. I'm also not sure that the 9th century is part of the "Dark Ages," a useless, outdated and silly phrase in any regard. This is a minor detail in comparison to all the errors and misconceptions this book seems so full of that I gave up after less than 50 pages. Here are a few examples:

It's Spring, but the 'bull' reindeer has antlers...nope. Also the Norse are not known for reindeer herding -- cattle and sheep is what they had and ate. You can't manage reindeer herds on a small island with a set residence, herders like the Sami move around. Domestic reindeer are trained to stay around camp with food, but the scenario of a 'bull' (so breeding) reindeer coming back on its own to play nicey with the heroine? Again very unlikely. The Norse in the story live on a small island off the coast of Norway, but have a wolf problem? I really doubt it. They would have killed/controlled such a problem rather easily, even if the sea ice froze in the winter between the mainland and the island and so allowed access by mainland packs. The raiders killed young women and took old ones...again, seems highly unlikely. If they were raiding for slaves, a common past-time, it would have been the reverse. They certainly wouldn't have taken old slave women with them. The African slave in the story is apparently from North Africa, but the description 'blue-black' suggests someone from the equatorial regions. Libyan, Moroccans, etc. don't tend to be that dark or that colour. And neither his treatment nor his character really makes any sense. House slaves (high status) with his behaviour would not be tolerated. The guy would have been in the fields or the galleys. Nor would he ever have been allowed access to weapons. As for Freydis and her father, she wouldn't have been there, especially if he didn't like her. She would have been married out. Whether he likes her or not, the daughter of a Jarl is worth something and he would have used her to cement alliances. Her brother Toki, is just as bad. He's 18 and never been off the island? So unlikely it boggles the mind. More likely he would have been sailing with his father since he was about 10. Households were run mostly by the women with slaves and maybe some free farmers or 'retired' high status men. He certainly wouldn't be considered a 'boy' at that age and his character seems better suited to someone closer to 13. Summer (not spring) is usually the raiding season for various good reasons, not to mention the weather, especially so far north. Ohthere is a rich man with one son and no wife? Again seriously unlikely, especially if he so concerned about having sons to carry on his name. He'd have a wife (high status) and a number of mistresses probably, and more kids, unless he had some problem. The portrayal of the Sami, 'gentle tribesmen,' is just silly, the author seems to know nothing about pastoralists or human nature. And that the pirate group found them so easily is... The pirate ship is also apparently a tardis with a never-ending food supply... I don't know, maybe they sorted that out some way, but I gave up reading it.

Instead, try Rosemary Sutcliff's novels which are great, or for older readers, try Tim Severn's Viking trilogy.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2010 2:31 PM BST


Deconstructing the Hero: Literary Theory and Children's Literature
Deconstructing the Hero: Literary Theory and Children's Literature
by Margery Hourihan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £130.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Biased View Of the Hero Story, 14 Dec. 2009
This book has some interest in it, particularly in highlighting some excellent novelists that you may not be aware of, such as the marvellous Patricia Wrightson, but its bias is at best irritating and at worse alarming. I am all for pointing out that literature perpetuates cultural prejudices and that many stories written in Europe/America/Australia are derogatory towards non-European ethnic groups and some devalue women. But to put this as if 'Western' (e.g. W. European)cultures are the only group guilty of prejudice, or that the hero or adventure story is inherently so, is patently ridiculous and simply illustrates the author's apparent lack of breadth and understanding. The Hero's journey is not an invention of Western Civilisation (whatever, exactly that is -- the borrowing of Sumerian culture as Western, e.g. European, is quite a stretch and really an example of borrowing cool ancestors as suits us -- and by 'us' I do mean all humans). The hero story is not inherently Western European, or even that culture expanded to include parts of the Middle East. The Hero myth is a HUMAN story and found pretty much in all cultures. It is one of the oldest stories, its basis in the shaman's soul journey, the hunter's story. That particular authors or even cultures shape it to reflect their own beliefs or reality (and prejudices), is again a Human (not simply European) trait. Prejudices can have 'bad' repercussions (hate, abuse etc), but they are a part of humanity and have their positive side (they are cultural discriminations, built on learned choices -- i.e. if you don't know much about snakes prejudge it dangerous) and group discrimination (and defamation), while often evolving or including seriously negative aspects also serve to build cohesion and a shared identity in groups.

I would be all for this book if Hourihan simply pointed out that literature is a powerful tool for shaping human beliefs, both negative and positive, but I cannot recommend one that acts so narrowly, painting all Hero stories as a "series of banal thrills [which] reinforce the standard perceptions and prejudices of our culture, assuring the young Western male reader of his innate superiority." The examples she gives, can be made to fit her viewpoint, but many have aspects which contradict her analysis and there are many other stories which refute her allegations. There are many hero stories, true ones, as well, that feature females as the hero. There are many stories written in Europe, American and Australia which have non-white heroes. There are many non-European stories (Mayan, Chinese, African...) which use the hero story and exhibit cultural bias, non-whatever-they-are prejudice and include females in periphery roles or roles as 'rewards'. Her interpretation of 'Where the Wild Things Are' lies more in her own obsessions than in what is inherent in the story. To master your fears, to be brave, are all good traits -- to interpret these acts as the first steps towards white Western European male domination is perhaps excessive (and interesting given the author is Jewish, a group not always traditionally included... but, then again, it is a patriarch culture with well-known aspects of subjugation of women, and, of course, all Jewish females are completely passive, powerless individuals...please, please don't make me have to explain this is meant ironically).

Even with one of her primary examples, Odysseus, Hourihan picks and chooses bits to support her theme and ignores the rest. She mentions Penelope (who is quite a strong character), but glosses over her. She mentions the powerful female sorceresses (and the so obviously shy and powerless Athena), but apparently their power is not convenient to her theme. Penny's only there apparently to express Odysseus rewards of his home/kingdom and his little wifey. These interpretations are frankly insulting.

Again, there are some interesting things in this book, but I can't read more than a few pages at a time without wanting to chuck it across the room. Yes, stories are powerful shapers of the psyche, chose what you read to your children, steer or discuss their own reading tastes, but don't condemn one of the best and most powerful story types out of hand.

Lastly, what's with the ridiculous price for this book?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2010 10:31 AM BST


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