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Reviews Written by
Karura (London)
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Logitech Rechargeable Speaker S315i - Silver
Logitech Rechargeable Speaker S315i - Silver

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robust unit with good quality playback, 12 April 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
After toying with the idea of having an iPod dock for the rare occasions when I'm not listening to music via headphones or my computer, I decided to take the opportunity to try this out- and I was more than pleased with the results.

The unit is compact and well built; it feels solid without being heavy and is generally aesthetically pleasing. More importantly, it functions well- I tried it with a varied selection of music, and the sound reproduction was of a good quality in every case. The sound reproduction obviously isn't as good in power-saving mode, but this probably won't be a problem unless you want to play high quality music outside for extended periods of time.

The unit's other features are simple and straightforward; you can adjust the volume on the unit instead of fiddling with the iPod, whilst an audio jack at the back allows you to plug in headphones or a normal mp3 player. It's nothing fancy, but it does the job with a minimum of fuss.

Overall, if you're in the market for an iPod dock, you won't go far wrong with this. For all but the most high end of users, this little beauty will fit the bill.


Doctor Who: Logopolis
Doctor Who: Logopolis
by Christopher H Bidmead
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable recounting of the Fourth Doctor's final adventure, 11 April 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who: Logopolis (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Christopher Bidmead reads the novelisation of his story Logopolis, closing out the chronicles of the Fourth Doctor and his travels through time and space. With the TARDIS' chameleon circuit acting up, the Doctor and Adric prepare to head to planet Logopolis to get it fixed, but on the way they encounter companions both old and new, not to mention the Doctor's greatest adversary- the Master.

Although I'm not usually a fan of audio books, and the Fourth Doctor's time came before I was even born, I decided to give Logopolis a go on the grounds that it would expand my knowledge of the franchise, and could be listened to at work. And although I approached the four hour fifteen minute runtime with more than a little trepidation, it turned out to be an enjoyable experience.

Admittedly, it takes a while to get going, but if you have the patience to sit through the first disc, you will be rewarded as the story steps up a pace. With multiple companions, some hard core science fiction and the Doctor facing off against the Master, the story has all the elements for a successful Doctor Who tale. Bidmead is obviously familiar with his own story, and he reads it well, bringing the characters to life even for someone like me who has no prior familiarity with them.

Overall, this is a solid story that is well worth the investment for fans of Doctor Who; even if you aren't into audio books, this is as good a place as any to start. I for one will certainly be trying more Doctor Who audio books in the future.


Fallen: Book 1 of the Fallen Series
Fallen: Book 1 of the Fallen Series
by Lauren Kate
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars A poor Twilight clone, 29 Mar. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Following the mysterious death of her would-be boyfriend, teenager Lucinda Price (Luce) is sent to the bleak and forbidding Sword and Cross reform school. Separated from family and friends, Luce's future seems grim, but as she settles in and makes friends, she becomes increasingly interested in her incredibly handsome fellow student Daniel Grigori. Daniel's attitude towards Luce blows hot and cold, but she can't help being drawn to him, almost as if somehow, somewhere, they had met and loved each other before...

Although I'm far from being a Twilight fangirl, I did think the books were good for what they were- a solid dose of escapist supernatural romance. Unfortunately, whilst Lauren Kate has attempted to cash in on Stephenie Meyer's success, what she ends up producing is a poor man's version of this iconic series.

In her defence, Lauren Kate does have a keen descriptive ability, with the appearance of both characters and locales laid out clearly enough to conjure up vivid imagery in the mind's eye. Unfortunately, her storytelling talents fall somewhat short- characters are bland and inconsistent, whilst the plot does not so much involve suspension of disbelief as it does placid acceptance of the completely ridiculous. All of the more irritating aspects of teen romance seem to have been amplified: characters perform U-turns and about-faces whenever the plot demands, whilst the heroine bumbles through it all attracting unbelievably handsome boys who oscillate between acting like chivalrous gentlemen and complete jerks. Even the Gothic promise of fallen angels adds nothing to the story other than to differentiate it from being about vampires or werewolves.

Overall, Fallen was from the entertaining holiday read I was hoping for. Instead it was just a somewhat irritating piece of teenage fiction that more than outstayed its welcome- and with three more books to come, there is no hope of this story being wrapped up as concisely as it needs to be. No doubt the fangirls already have it in their collection, but more discerning readers should leave well alone.


The USA Book (Lonely Planet General Pictoria)
The USA Book (Lonely Planet General Pictoria)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great coffee table book, 22 Dec. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Since my friends and I are going to America next year, I thought this book might point out some essential sights that we should see. Unfortunately, the information isn't really specific enough for our chosen destinations, but it still has plenty to offer. Packed with beautiful photographs and interesting facts about each state, this book not makes a great coffee table piece, but would be perfect for anyone planning a more general road trip across America. Whether you're actually going to the States or just want to flick through the pages and dream, this bright, glossy book is worth investing in.


11, 002 Things to be Miserable About: The Satirical Not-so-happy Book
11, 002 Things to be Miserable About: The Satirical Not-so-happy Book
by Lia Romeo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky Stocking Filler, 13 Dec. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tired of happiness and optimism? Looking for a bleaker outlook? Want to be reassured that there are people out there who are just as pessimistic as you are? In that case, pick up this little book. It does exactly what it says on the tin, presenting a straightforward list of 11,002 things to be miserable about, from historical events to the sad facts of modern day life.

Of course, as the book is simply a list, it provides nothing in the way of exposition, but as you read through it, you'll no doubt find yourself nodding and smiling at the situations you identify- I was actually tempted to go through the book with a highlighter and pick out the ones most relevant to me! That being said, the book is really no more than a stocking filler to have a one-off laugh at and then bring out to show your friends from time to time- it doesn't really have any longevity beyond that. Still, if you know someone with a black sense of humour, this will be the perfect gift for them this Christmas.


Makers
Makers
by Cory Doctorow
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a slog, 12 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Makers (Hardcover)
In the not-too-distant future, conventional economics is no longer enough to keep big companies afloat. With that in mind, the newly formed Kodacell (Kodak+Duracell) decides that its best bet is to invest in individuals with vision- quirky inventors like Perry and Lester, who use the technology in discarded junk to come up with weird and wonderful creations. But can such a bold new model really turn a profit?

Although it lost steam towards the end, overall I was left with a good impression from Doctorow's earlier novel Little Brother, and so I decided to give him a chance to up his game in this second work. Unfortunately, this book proved to be a slog from start to finish, leaving me quite relieved when it was all over and I didn't have to read it anymore.

Lacking the flair of his previous novel, Makers proves to be something of a drag. The characters aren't particularly memorable or likable, and a lot of the time it seems as if their efforts amount to nothing- either they fail miserably, or they succeed and move onto the next thing. Doctorow's writing seems to be aimed at impressing the reader with technobabble, but it gives it a dry, clinical edge that lacks true depth and heart. A lot of time is spent on technical details at the expense of larger potholes, whilst incongruous sections such as a surprisingly detailed sex scene only add the jarring, disorientating feel of reading this novel.

Overall, I really can't remember this book- it drags on for far too long without really giving the reader any reason to continue other than the relief of being able to put it aside once and for all. Doctorow showed promise with Little Brother, but this has put me off reading any of his future novels.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 6, 2011 11:02 AM BST


Max Factor Second Skin Foundation - Ivory
Max Factor Second Skin Foundation - Ivory
Offered by Xtras Online
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good product, but make sure you select the right colour, 24 Nov. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Packaged in an easy to use pump bottle, Max Factor Second Skin is a refreshing change from trying to dig around at the bottom of the pot. A small amount of the product provides good coverage, is easy to apply and lasts a while- everything you want from a foundation. Unfortunately, although I was going for a paler look, this particular shade was still too light for my natural skin tone- certainly most people will want to go for something less extreme.


Radiopaq Custom Tuned Classical Earphones
Radiopaq Custom Tuned Classical Earphones
Offered by Swanky_Gadgets
Price: £7.79

2.0 out of 5 stars I prefer my cheap ASDA earphones!, 3 Nov. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Given the relatively high price point, one would expect these earphones to be head and shoulders above the competition, but unfortunately, I didn't get on with them at all. Whilst the basic construction is certainly superior to cheaper brands, I didn't find them particularly comfortable to wear, and certainly wouldn't want to use them for extended periods of time. Meanwhile, the much vaunted intelligent audio only served to make me feel as if I was listening to my music through a thin wall.

Overall, I actually get on better with the cheap earphones I bought from ASDA for the princely sum of £1.15. Even if you're well-off enough to be able to spend £40 on earphones, do yourself a favour and pick another brand.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 28, 2011 2:46 PM BST


Easy Tasty Italian
Easy Tasty Italian
by Laura Santtini
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A vibrant book, but one for the coffee table rather than the kitchen, 31 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Easy Tasty Italian (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At first glance, this looks like a great book; the photos are bright and tempting, the writing rich and suggestive- and who can resist an introduction headed `Hug Me, I'm Half Italian'? Unfortunately, in this case, first impressions prove to be misleading.

As a half-decent cook and lover of Italian food, this book seemed like the perfect addition to my collection- especially as the emphasis seemed to be on ease. On closer inspection, however, it doesn't seem possible to make more than a handful of these recipes without access to the resources of a full Italian restaurant. I certainly plan to have a go at perfecting my risotto and experimenting with a few of these dishes, but there's no way I'm ever going to have the time and resources to use this book to its full potential.

If you're a collector of cookbooks, or a master of Italian cooking, then this book will no doubt be of benefit to you. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, this one is more likely to spend time looking pretty on the shelf than it is being used.


Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2)
Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as the first book, 15 Oct. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark may have triumphed in the vicious arena of the Hunger Games, but the enjoyment of their victory is all-too short-lived. With rumours of rebellion in the Districts troubling the Capitol, Katniss' decision to save Peeta's life as well her own could be the spark that fuels an unquenchable fire- and it's for sure that the President will do anything to prevent that.

When I started reading The Hunger Games, I had assumed it would be a standalone book, but fortunately I enjoyed it so much that I was more than happy to read a sequel. As with the first novel, there are times when the story feels a bit contrived, but again the strength of the writing carries you along with the story as Katniss and her allies are thrust into a whole new set of troubles. The story is engaging, the characters well fleshed out, and overall you'll be wanting to read just one more chapter every time you pick it up. If you enjoyed the first book, rest assured that you won't be disappointed with this one- and you'll most certainly be impatient to get your hands on the final instalment in the trilogy.


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