Profile for J. Cronin > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by J. Cronin
Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,258
Helpful Votes: 1577

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Micka
Micka
by Frances Kay
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.93

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-breaking, 12 July 2010
This review is from: Micka (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Micka has to be one of the most poignant and heart-breaking stories I have ever read.it follows the life of Micka (a poor council-flat child) and Laurie, the disturbing offspring of divorced middle-class parents.

Micka is hungry, cold and frequently physically abused by his older brothers. He finds some refuge in a gypsy camp, in his artwork and dreams of owning a pup. Despite all the nastiness and violence in his life, he is innocent, but powerless to protect himself.

This debut novel from the strong voice of Frances Kay is, at times, downright disturbing and horrific. Yet, it is clear that such events are real and happen to children on a regular basis. It shapes their lives, and drives them to do things that appear perfectly normal due to the warped dimensions of their world.

Micka is not a happy novel, it is not a pleasant read. It is very very good.


Rio  IPL Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal System
Rio IPL Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal System
Offered by BlowfishLTD
Price: 214.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hair today, gone tomorrow, 12 July 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Zapping your unwanted hairs with laser light is the way to permanently eliminate them. However, this typically costs a small fortune in a beauty salon with many visits needing to be scheduled.

The Rio Intense Pulse Light Hair Remover uses strong light technology to allows you to reap the benefits in the privacy of your own home at a schedule that suits yourself. The machine is a slightly bulky white and green box with a wand attached via cable (which I found to be slightly too short). Security features such as a key prevent little fingers, or unwanted users from gaining access.

The wand (where the bulb is located) covers a relatively large area (35mm x 14mm) and claims to treat up to 180 hairs in a few seconds. When you pass the wand over an area, you will see a slight mark indicating that the area has been treated. This allows you to position the wand on the next area. It is a very simple device to use, but be warned, there is an extensive list of user precautions and warnings. Take the time, read the leaflet, watch the enclosed DVD, do the patch test and then get started.

Regular use of the machine does definitely result in reduced hair growth but it can take up to six months of treatment treatment to achieve lasting results. In short, it is user-friendly, if a little clunky, and definitely gives you a salon feeling in your own home.


Soulless: Book 1 of The Parasol Protectorate
Soulless: Book 1 of The Parasol Protectorate
by Gail Carriger
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Comedy for the Gothic Lady, 26 Jun 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Miss Alexia Tarabotti. Gentlewoman, spinster and a supernatural (or in layman's terms, a soulless person). However, being soulless is not the cause of stigma for Alexia. It's more to do with the fact that her father was Italian and is dead. London society is a tough place.

When a vampire rather gauchely attacks Alexia one night, she ends up accidentally killing the vampire and triggers the unwanted (or wanted, depending on how you look at it) attentions of Conall Maccon, the Earl of Wolsey, and a werewolf to boot. Despite an unfortunate past incident with a hedgehog, Lord Maccon finds Miss Tarabotti most intriguing. However, it appears that dastardly schemes are afoot, threatening the safety of Queen Victoria's empire.

Gail Carriger has entered the vampire/werewolf arena with aplomb, creating a cast of characters that are truly memorable and entertaining. Gay vampires, masculine werewolves and feisty ladies feature alongside side-splitting scenes and action (some of the corset-busting variety). This is definitely a romantic comedy for the gothic lady.


Anjum's Eat Right for Your Body Type: the super-healthy diet inspired by Ayurveda
Anjum's Eat Right for Your Body Type: the super-healthy diet inspired by Ayurveda
by Anjum Anand
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Simple and tasty, 24 Jun 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like another reviewer, I found it hard to identify myself as one of the three Ayurvedic body types described in Anjum's introductory text, but I did like the message that she is trying to send. In our western world, with busy deadlines and days, it is all too easy to forget to examine the food that we use to fuel our bodies.

Anjum encourages us to eat the food that matches our Ayurvedic body type (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and provides many recipes, with alternative suggestions. By eating foods that compliment your system, it is claimed that you can reduce stress, improve your health and sleep patterns. Most recipes are light and healthy, made from fresh ingredients and I have no doubt that such food would make anyone feel healthier, fitter and slimmer if eaten regularly.

Overall, it's a nice addition to my kitchen shelf, but I don't see anything too dramatically different.


Frommer's Paris Free and Dirt Cheap (Frommer's Free & Dirt Cheap)
Frommer's Paris Free and Dirt Cheap (Frommer's Free & Dirt Cheap)
by Anna E. Brooke
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Purse-friendly suggestions that also present a different Paris, 13 Jun 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is always going to be a demand for a guide that can steer you around the City of Romance on the cheap. As we all know, romance usually comes with a hefty price tag, but this simple and easy book from Frommer's offers a wide-range of free or cheap attractions.

Attractive but purse-friendly hotels or relaxing cafes that don't charge an arm and a leg for a drink. How about a nice meal in a neighbour restaurant off the tourist-track? This guide offers them all. It's simply laid out with clear maps and it offers a different view of the city when compared to the more conventional travel guides. Some of the suggestions may be a little offbeat, but it's also got plenty for the regular tourist. It also fits in nicely with the current trend of both saving and splurging while on holidays. If you can save a few bob on one part of your trip, that means you can splurge later!


31 Bond Street
31 Bond Street
by Ellen Horan
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good historical whodunnit, 13 Jun 2010
This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
31 Bond Street recreates the events around the 1857 murder of Dr. Blundell. Set in New York, just 4 years before the Civil War, the novel offers a fascinating view of society at this time. Dr. Blundell's murder was a sensation, causing a media frenzy and resulting in his housekeeper, Mrs. Emma Cunningham, being charged with his murder.

The young, but prominent lawyer, Henry Clinton, takes on her case, which pits him against the well known public defender Oakley Hall. In the courtroom, both men argue their cases with passion and belief. All the while, the media storm around the enigmatic Emma Cunningham continues.

This is Horan's debut novel, and for the most part, she has written an intriguing and captivating tale. She cleverly mixes timelines to produce a clever whodunnit. However, it does fall apart a little towards the end as the greater plot and story is revealed.

This is definitely one of the better efforts at a historical mystery and is deserving of a read. However, it also has a slight feel of storytelling by rote - resulting in what is overall a good read, but not a great read.


Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques
Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques
by Harold Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.55

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uninspiring, 24 May 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm a pretty keen amateur photographer and I'm always on the lookout for great photos and descriptions of how those shots were acheived. I hope that by studying and thinking about great shots, I can improve my own style and become more original and creative. Therefore I was really looking forward to receiving this book as part of the Amazon Vine programme.

This book breaks down into 2 parts - the first part deals with the basics of modern photography such as aperture, focus and ISO, while the second part deals more with composition. The book features many photos taken by the author, but the print quality of the book removed the impact from a lot of the photos. Print quality aside, I found myself looking at many of the shots and feeling uninspired - I simply didn't consider some of them to be good photos. However, that's a matter of subjectivity, so let's leave that aside for now.

I'm also unsure as to the proposed audience for this book - it's published by John Wiley & Sons, a famous textbook publisher, but it's not detailed enough to be a textbook for the serious photographer. On the other hand, the material is a little too advanced to be suitable for the beginning photographer.

There's no doubt that the author, Harold Davis, is an enthusiastic photographer, that much is evident from the text. However, I really think that this book could have benefited from a bit more focus (no pun intended) when in the development stage.


No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller
by Harry Markopolos
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.43

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A staggering tale of ineptitude, 12 May 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bernie Madoff has gone down in the history as the man behind the world's largest known Ponzi scheme. When his scheme collapsed following the market crisis of 2008, hundreds of investors lost their savings with the total loss estimated at being in excess of $50 billion.

The truly shocking part of this story is that this terrible loss could have been mitigated - if the Securities Exchange Commission had heeded the warnings of Harry Markopolos. In the years preceding the collapse, Markopolos had filed no fewer than 5 complaints against Madoff, all of which had been lost or ignored by the SEC watchdog. It is tragic to read of Markopolos' repeated efforts to bring this to the attention of the authorities and the mind boggles at how all these red flags could have been ignored.

Markopolos does tell an intriguing and well-written story. However, I must admit that it is rare to read a book where I've actively disliked the author. Markopolos has a strong character (stubbornness is especially obvious) and I can see how individuals in authority might have taken a dislike to this man. But when fraud on such a massive scale is being alleged, personal likes and dislikes should not come into the picture.

Markopolos' revelations led to him testifying in front of government and has triggered a review of staffing and procedures at the SEC. His work has led to significant change and it cannot be underestimated.Read this story and marvel at a tale of ineptitude and dedication.


The Apothecary's House
The Apothecary's House
by Adrian Mathews
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Caught in Amsterdam, 2 May 2010
This review is from: The Apothecary's House (Paperback)
The Apothecary's House is a story set in wintery Amsterdam, with a story which stretches back over 250 years. Ruth Braams is a solitary art-historian working on processing claims on artwork stolen by the Nazis during their occupation of the Netherlands. One day while working at the Rijksmuseum, she meets the elderly, and possibly dotty Lydia who has registered a claim on an odd little painting. However, an opposing claim has also been registered and soon Ruth finds herself being drawn into a dark and dangerous adventure.

Matthews has really captured the essence of the city of Amsterdam in this novel - from the foggy mornings to the frozen canals. He has also done an impressive amount of research, stretching from 18th century Amsterdam right through to the goings-on in Nazi-occupied Holland.

However, the novel is lengthy (700 pages) and this does detract from what could be a decent and interesting art history mystery. The twist and revelation is good, but is overwhelmed by overuse of arcane writing.


The Mao Case
The Mao Case
by Qiu Xiaolong
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Literate crime novel, 26 April 2010
This review is from: The Mao Case (Paperback)
Although labelled as a murder mystery, The Mao Case and other works from Qiu Xiaolong, are deeper stories concerning with the rapidly changing and mutating society in millenium China. The shadow of Mao and the Cultural Revolution looms over a society which is looking towards the future.

Inspector Chen is both a poet and detective. Cultured and educated, he is entrusted with investigating the suddenly affluent lifestyle of Jiao, granddaughter of a disgraced movie star. But as he begins his investigation, the body of Jiao's friend is found in the garden of a gently decaying Shanghai mansion.

The case is politically sensitive, due to the connection between Jiao's grandmother and Chairman Mao. In fact, Internal police are convinced that Jiao holds some secret material from Mao, which cannot be allowed to resurface and tarnish his beloved and treasured image.

This is a crime novel of a different ilk. Originating as it does from a different culture, Xiaolong's story offers a different type of crime novel - intellectual and educated. It is wistful, literate and utterly unique.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20