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Sam Woodward (UK)
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The Red Knight
The Red Knight
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars So good that I've even forgiven the awful editing!, 11 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Red Knight (Kindle Edition)
After reading all the Game Of Throes books back-to-back, it has been a real struggle to find any fantasy books which are anywhere near as satisfying. But I've certainly found one here! To be honest, the first time I read it, I only got past the first few chapters before the poor editing put me off - I'd love to meet whoever was paid to proof-read it, so I could ask them with a half-cocked eyebrow, 'look, did you actually read it? No, really, though? Really?' However, upon the second attack, I found that the further into Cameron's world I got, the less it bothered me. The action-packed story grabbed me by the scruff of the neck & held me there - right up to the superb ending, which both gave full closure to the story while leaving me itching to get hold of the sequel.

Cameron's true talent is in bringing his words to flesh. His vivid descriptions of the feeling of wearing armour, the exhaustion of non-stop fighting, so many things, made his story vivid & convincing. I particularly loved his descriptions of magical battles which were refreshingly down-to-earth while presenting a whole new dimension within which the characters could react. And the multiple viewpoints worked well, too. A couple of characters from the early chapters just disappeared, though. One came back at the end to sow seeds for the sequel but another simply vanished. But who knows, perhaps they'll be back too.

The Red Knight is a satisfying, enjoyable read which headed in directions which I wasn't expecting. This in itself makes the anticipation for the sequels all the more delicious. If, like me, you are initially put off by the poor editing, then I'd urge you to stick with it anyway - it's worth it.


Zenith: Phase One
Zenith: Phase One
Price: £5.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's finally here!!!, 29 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Zenith: Phase One (Kindle Edition)
Forget Morrison's more convoluted works - Zenith is a straightforward knockabout, written early in his career as a British twist on the American superhero paradigm. Like Moore before him, Morrison approaches the subject with greater realism, presenting a super-powered boorish popstar with no interest in foiling bank robbers. In Supergods, Morrison says that Zenith's loutish behaviour is contrived to make him seem less intelligent & unthreatening in a world where super-'heroes' number roughly half a dozen. But I don't get this sense from the writing at all - the characters are as larger-than-life & iconic as superheroes are intended, without much subtlety to begin with. Indeed, the effect of condensing the story into 5-page weekly segments mean we we only get the bare bones of the characters as events progress rather quickly. This makes Steve Yeowell the ideal artist for is series, thanks to his equally clear & uncluttered black-and-white artwork.

Zenith is a fun, lightweight series, which was different at the time but not unique - Alan Moore had already gone further down the 'cheesey superheroes in a more realistic world' with Miracleman & Watchmen. Indeed, later volumes of Zenith draw from Moore's work, particularly his revamp of Captain Britain. The format makes it feel dated but it's still good fun & worth checking out.


Driving Test Success Hazard Perception DVD New Edition (DVD)
Driving Test Success Hazard Perception DVD New Edition (DVD)
Price: £6.34

3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent clips but flag system doesn't work on my PC, 29 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This DVD contains lots more hazard perception clips than many of the apps I've seen, so it's great value for money. In addition, I find many of the clips to be more demanding than ones I've seen elsewhere. While the clips on the actual test are apparently of manufactured situations, the ones on this disc are clips of actual hazards. This makes it useful for improving your driving in real-world situations & means that the hazards can be quite subtle in their early stages. I noticed that many of the clips have been filmed in & around Swansea (as I live there) so they may well have actually been filmed by the DVLA, who are based in that area.

The only problem I have is that I use the DVD in my PC, which the Product description above says is ok. But when I click on the clips (as you would in the real test) it doesn't register my responses. So all I can do is watch the clips back, estimate roughly when I clicked & pretty much guess what my score would have been. Of course my score is always '0' when using it in this way, so I can't track my progress. This may not be a problem if using it in a conventional DVD player & perhaps it would work on a Windows-based operating system (I use Linux) but as it stands, it severely limits the usefulness of this package to me.

So while I use it sometimes for reviewing what in my opinion are the best hazard perception clips I've come across in programs & apps like this I've come across (and I used quite a few) the flag system not working on my PC means that I have to use other hazard perception resources as well.


Driving Test Success Anytime 2014/15 Edition
Driving Test Success Anytime 2014/15 Edition
Offered by Compact Compatibles
Price: £5.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive & works wherever there's Wifi!, 29 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been using the Digital Code version of this software & it's proven to be very useful. Because I can access it online, I use it on my tablet wherever there's Wifi. So it's great for looking at during my lunch break at work. Incidentally, I'm using an iPad & haven't had any problems with playing the videos or any other content - as long as you have access to the Internet, it should work. In order to register, you just need an email address in order to create and account.

Not on.y is is very useful but it's also incredibly good value. The price includes 6 months subscription to the site, which is more than enough time to prepare for the Theory & Hazard Perception tests. I've seen some Hazard Perception apps which cost £3-£5 & don't contain anywhere near as many clips. In addition to clips which you can test yourself on, there's also the official DVSA revision clips & new Official CGI sample clips. Focus' own clips are better than some others I've tried, being actual hazards can't on film rather than staged situations. You need to be very quick to get full marks on some of them, which is a good thing.

There's numerous video clips of driving lessons, which cover everything you need to know. The instructor is clear & concise they are well presented. Occasionally they don't pick the best camera angles but usually this isn't a problem. For reversing around corners, for example, the screen splits to show the rear window & close-ups of the instructor & students' faces. A shot taken from there are side window would have been handy & while seeing the students' face is useful for seeing which way she's looking, seeing the instructors' face isn't much use at all. But for most of the clips this isn't really a problem.

Overall, this is excellent driving software & being able to use it wherever you have an internet connection (which is most places these days) is incredibly useful. It's great value & very well presented.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 5, 2015 10:09 AM GMT


Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Fallout
Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Fallout
by John Wagner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting change of direction. Sadly, the writing is inconsistent, 11 Nov. 2014
PLEASE NOTE - Amazon seem to have messed up the reviews, bless them, & many of the reviews on this page seem to be for the previous volume (Endgame) & not Fallout. This review is of Fallout.

Fallout is an interesting volume which deals with the aftermath of the Chaos Bug. Mega City One is in ruins. The Judges have been decimated & have a huge clean-up job to contend with, so the Space Corps are drafted in to help maintain order. All in all, it reminds me of the stories which followed The Apocalypse War, as the landscape of the city changed to one dotted with radioactive areas. But this is far more drastic. So it's a fascinating change of direction for the series.

When it comes to Dredd, that which isn't written by Wagner himself usually falls way short of his level. And most of the short stories which make up this volume aren't written by Wagner. Nevertheless, I was very impressed by newcomer Michael Carroll, who seems to 'get' Dredd's world & its humour better than most writers. However, he introduced a supporting character in his first story who he went on to over-use. It's as if he was intimidated by writing about Dredd himself & felt more comfortable writing about this person. But there's great potential there for the future - although at this rate, Dredd may soon find himself single-handedly policing a population of 5!

There's some interesting, new ideas in here. Sadly, the writing isn't always up to par as Wagner deservedly seems to be taking more of a back seat. I was torn between giving it 3 stars or 4.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2014 5:20 PM GMT


Anker® Astro Mini 3200mAh Ultra-Compact Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger  External Battery Power Bank with PowerIQ™ Technology for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5 4S, iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 Note, Nexus, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, PS Vita, Gopro, more Phones and Tablets (Black)
Anker® Astro Mini 3200mAh Ultra-Compact Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank with PowerIQ™ Technology for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5 4S, iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 Note, Nexus, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, PS Vita, Gopro, more Phones and Tablets (Black)
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: £39.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top quality!, 11 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This external battery is reassuringly solid. When Anker say it’s made from quality materials, they clearly mean it!

Please note that when I first plugged a device into it, I thought it wasn’t working. Then I realised that the LED doubles up as an on-off switch which has to be pressed before the green light heralds that your device is charging. I suspect that a good number of the reviews which say they received a faulty item have failed to spot this.

Having USB & MicroUSB sockets is a great feature, as I can top up both my Samsung SmartPhone as well as my iPad. Incidentally, the specs only state that it can charge Samsung mobiles from the S3 onwards but I tried it with an S2 & it charges fine.

This is an affordable, quality product which is great for keeping my SmartPhone topped up. I’m very happy with mine.


Anker® 40W 5-Port High Speed Desktop USB Charger with PowerIQ™ Technology for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5, iPad Air 2 Mini 3, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 Note Tab, Nexus, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, PS Vita, Gopro, more Phones and Tablets (Black)
Anker® 40W 5-Port High Speed Desktop USB Charger with PowerIQ™ Technology for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5, iPad Air 2 Mini 3, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 Note Tab, Nexus, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, PS Vita, Gopro, more Phones and Tablets (Black)
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: £49.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very handy!, 11 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having used this item daily for about 3 months, I wouldn’t be without it now. I’m impressed with every aspect of this genuinely useful device. Resembling a USB hub with a small form factor, it feels sturdy & has a quality build. The USB sockets are perfectly spaced-out, too. Being able to charge up to 5 devices from one wall socket is incredibly useful – particularly since my room has only 2 mains sockets. It’s also much neater & more compact than a 3-pin multi-socket extension hub would be.

I use it to charge my mobile, tablet, Kindle, camcorder & external battery – sometimes individually, sometimes some or all of them at the same time. If plugging in multiple devices at once affects the charging time, then I haven’t noticed. Nor is it noticeably slower than charging them all with their supplied mains chargers. Anker claim this is down to their PowerIQ system, which enables each port to identify popular devices & adapt to their specific recharge rates. All I know is that I don’t know how it works – but it does!

This handy item performs well & has freed up my wall sockets. It does the job & it does it well!


Cannibal [DVD]
Cannibal [DVD]
Dvd ~ Antonio de la Torre
Price: £9.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, leisurely paced film, 11 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Cannibal [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
While the leisurely pace will no doubt bore many viewers, I found Cannibal to be a truly captivating film. This charismatic & subtle portrayal of a psychopath took me on an unpredictable & beautifully shot journey which will stay with me for some time to come. There's echoes of George A Romero's 'Martin' but Cannibal is a more modern & much less heavy-handed film, with superior psychological insight. Everything about it is understated, which works fantastically.

In terms of DVD features, there are none. In a way, that's a good thing for Cannibal, as certain aspects of it will strike different viewers in different ways, so it's nice not to have the director offer an implicitly definitive opinion. The subtitles on my review copy are English only & transposed onto the film so that they cannot be switched on or off. This may not be the case on the retail version but I wanted to make buyers who care about such things aware that it's a distinct possibility.

Cannibal is one of those films which I want to lend to my friends so I can discuss it with them!


Forgotten Men [DVD]
Forgotten Men [DVD]
Price: £12.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Dated, yet surprisingly poignant in places, 10 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Forgotten Men [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The film started with a pro-establishment disclaimer which made it immediately obvious that this was not going to be anything like objective. And tone this remained throughout - unlike more modern documentaries, there's no hint of any wrongdoing by the British & they can't resist the occasional dig against the Germans, such as "[they] value dignity more than humour." Then General Sir Ian Hamilton appeared on the screen in his outdated uniform. I must admit that his old-fashioned style & delivery immediately put me off - but then I listened to what he said & my prejudices were nudged aside. This man had fought in other wars prior to WW1 & strongly emphasised the more impersonal nature of this more modern war.

The presentation style continued to make it difficult to get into - the way of speaking, of dressing, all reminded me of the Harry Enfield sketches which parodied black & white films. But the content of the interviews & the documentary footage of actual conflict kept me interested. Ironically, the reserved nature of the soldiers made their testimonies all the more moving - that they had seen true horror & despite wanting to put their message across, also wanted to spare the more unseemly details. They clearly were not lacking in backbone. The documentary footage was even more striking, demonstrating the callousness & suffering of war, including footage of soldiers being killed (always from a distance & not in gory detail) & German film of a British bomb attack, which ends abruptly, we are informed, because the cameraman was killed.

The reserved nature of the participants means that this documentary perhaps says more about the societal values of the time than it does about the war itself - but it still has plenty to say about that. Modern documentaries may contain more facts & analyses but by showing the participants & documentary footage of the front lines themselves, this one has a more human element to it. It's very different from what most modern viewers will be used to but it's still worth watching - even if it is rather repetitive.


Mindfulness at Work For Dummies
Mindfulness at Work For Dummies
by Shamash Alidina
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly useful resource, 10 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an excellent resource of Mindfulness. Indeed, it's introduction sums up Mindfulness very well, so it's even a good read for anyone not previously familiar with the concept.

Firstly, in regards to Mindfulness in general - for me, it's been an incredibly effective tool for combating low self-esteem, depression & negative self-image. I attended a Mindfulness course earlier this year & the difference it made to my life in just a few weeks has been incredible. I'm much more confident & self-loving now - which enables me to open up & show my love for others more. However, I must emphasise that as excellent as this book & others like it are, they are no substitute for going on a course & being taught the skills properly while interacting with like-minded people. Nevertheless, the authors of this book go into more detail than would be possible on a course & has the space to include many more exercises & suggestions.

Mindfulness is essentially a collection of positive mental habits to get into, & like all habits, the more you do them the stronger they get. At first, it's difficult at times to remember to incorporate them into our lives, so I have taken to reading this book at work during my lunch break & fitting the exercises in over the course of the day. It's been incredibly helpful in this regard.

Personally, I have found it even more helpful than 'Mindfulness For Dummies' & 'MBCT For Dummies', as excellent as these titles are. It has just the right amount of theory & lots of practical tips & exercises to choose from.


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