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The Nowhere Legion
The Nowhere Legion
by Francis Hagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable historical novel, 25 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Nowhere Legion (Paperback)
Works of historical fiction can often fail to deliver well on the fiction side of the equation, and I always open one with trepidation, hoping that I am not about to read a dry, factual history. I'm happy to say that The Nowhere Legion succeeds admirably in achieving the balance between good storytelling and historical content and is far from dry, historical fact.

The 'found document' plot device is used to good effect to bring the main story of the Legion into play, which then alternates back and forth between the content of the document and a letter from its reader to a colleague in the present day. At first, I thought that the back and forth would become a distraction, but the author is careful to limit it after the first couple of chapters and not let it get in the way of the story telling.

When the eponymous legion sets out on a mission that is seemingly very mundane, things turn out to be anything but. The author does an excellent job at bringing the details of the daily life of the Legion to the page, and the protagonists of the story are well-rounded and believable in the historical context. Metaphors are used liberally in the writing to good effect, bringing to life the landscapes and the objects and characters that populate them. The author uses a number of esoteric words that are appropriate for the work, but limits them to a small number that are then used often throughout the book: you may find yourself reaching for a dictionary at first, but after a chapter or two you will be well acquainted with the words and no new ones are introduced.

Overall I think the writing style is steeped in the traditions of the classics of English Literature, probably borrowing from a number of well-respected authors but never taking it so far to become a pastiche of any particular author. It suits the novel well, and bravo to the author for being able to meld that style with the eye to detail that he has for the historical aspects of this novel.

If I have any criticism of the book it would be a few chapters that are lacking in proofreading, but certainly not to the extent that it is distracting from the book as a whole.

Five stars for an excellent book!


7
7
Price: 9.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly underrated band, 15 Jan 2013
This review is from: 7 (Audio CD)
A band that didn't garner much attention in their years of existence other than to those lucky few who were aware that such original and infectious music existed, it's great to see that their original albums have finally had a re-release.

7 is my favorite of their releases, and has great songs like 'Funghi', 'Bird and the Elephant' on it that are the kind of songs you hear once and you're hooked. There's one bonus song but for some reason 'Gasman' is missing. This would certainly be a 5 star album if it wasn't for the fact that one of the recordings from the original album has gone AWOL.


Sound Track
Sound Track
Price: 27.44

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing in some ways, 27 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sound Track (Audio CD)
Firstly I will say that there are some great pieces of music on here - no denying that at all. There are certainly some of the most evocative pieces of music used in movies over a long period of years. And there begins the problem...

I agree with a previous reviewer that there is no thought gone into the sequencing and it feels very disjointed listening to one style of music followed by a completely different one then on to another - if you look at the track listing it's easy to see which pieces would fit better together. For example, what is Alabama 3's 'Woke up this Morning' doing sandwiched between 'Oye Como Va' and 'The Pusher'? It's just bad sequencing.

I took off a star for that, but I took off another for an inaccuracy in the track listing. A pretty big one. One of the reasons I bought this was because of the inclusion of 'Mad World', and the track listing states it's the version by "Michael Andrews Feat. Gary Jules". Well it's not - it's an instrumental version used in the movie.

Overall this isn't a bad CD, but it's got a few annoyances about it. If I'd searched around maybe I would have found something better than this.


Sad Songs - The Ultimate Collection (5CD)
Sad Songs - The Ultimate Collection (5CD)
Price: 8.73

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Between 3 and 4 stars, 8 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was in two minds while writing my view over how many stars to give this, either 3 or 4. Overall it's a pretty good compilation that is great value for money, but I think it has some serious shortcomings. 4 stars is what I went with, but be mindful that I considered 3.

Obviously there are some fantastic songs on here and with 100 songs for not much more than a fiver the value is obvious. Where I have a problem is the choice of artist for some songs. For example, the song 'You are so beautiful to me' is associated in most people's minds with Joe Cocker, so why do we get a wimpy Donny Osmond version? People automatically think of Cilla Black when they think of the song 'Anyone who had a heart' so why do we get a muzak version by Barbara Dickson? And so on - none of the versions come close to the original, so I feel like I've been cheated out of a good version. The compiler of this songlist should really remember that "If it ain't broken, don't try to fix it".

Having said that, I will compliment whoever picked the other songs on their choice - there are some great songs that aren't that well known but *should* be better known - Lorraine Ellison's 'Stay with me' is one of those great vocals that sends shivers down your spine when you hear it; the great 'Martha's Harbour' by All About Eve makes it onto here, certainly a very underplayed song.

My only other complaint that made me think about only 3 stars is that this concentrates on the 80s and 90s mostly. There are a few 70s, but I don't think any of the other songs were recorded earlier than that. There are so many great songs from the 50s and 60s (and earlier) that this compilation would have benefited from a few from those decades too.

Overall, good value, but some not so great choices of artists and limited in range of years that the songs are taken from.


Now That's What I Call Xmas! [2011]
Now That's What I Call Xmas! [2011]
Offered by westworld-
Price: 10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect but very good, 21 Dec 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I think we all dream of finding the perfect Christmas album with the songs that we all associate with Christmas, but having looked for many years I don't think that is going to exist - we all have to find the closest to that or buy 2 or 3 CDs to cover everything.

This one is pretty close for me though, as it covers the older classics that we all know well, the classics from a time when Christmas songs were well crafted rather than rushed releases to sell as many copies as possible, and a few from recent years.

I'm glad to see a few less typical Christmas songs like 'Fairytale of New York', and '2000 Miles', but there are some glaring omissions, particularly where a more recent version has been substituted for the best known version. We have Kylie Minogue singing Eartha Kitt's classic and Winter Wonderland by someone I've never heard of when there are some great versions out there (far too many to list).

Not bad overall and great value with the majority of the best known Christmas songs on it. Definitely a 4 star product, but a few bloopers prevent it from being a 5.


Christmas Hits
Christmas Hits
Price: 8.93

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing some classics and original versions, 16 Dec 2010
This review is from: Christmas Hits (Audio CD)
Although this CD has some good Christmas songs on it, it does suffer some problems. First and foremost, where are the original classics? Sure there are inferior re-recordings of classic Christmas songs, but I fail to see why the original well-known versions didn't make the cut. Second, there are some unforgivable gaps - Slade? Wizzard? Where are they? Huge hits and played for years after their original release - surely they should make it on to this CD?

I think this CD fails because it tries to be everything at once. New versions to appeal to a younger audience (who will be put off by the cheesy covers by the like of Michael Ball and Michael Bolton), and cheesy covers for the older audience (who will be put off by the newer recordings). It never works when someone tries to put this sort of compilation together, so unfortunately it's a thumbs down from me.


Now That's What I Call A Christmas Album [2009]
Now That's What I Call A Christmas Album [2009]
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 14.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but better than most, 18 Aug 2010
It's always hard to find a good compilation of Christmas songs and this one does better than most. It ranges from older well established Christmas songs to some more recent ones - there I have a problem. I'd give it 4 stars for getting it mostly right, dropping one for missing a few Christmas songs that have become perennial favourites (Last Christmas by Wham should have been here ahead of quite a few).

I'm dropping another star because of the inclusion of dreadful bands like Girls Aloud, and bland artists like Michael Ball. Christmas brings out the best and worst in music and there is a little of the worst here. Fortunately it's mostly the best, and this is a good compilation, but you might want to skip a track here and there.


Queen On Fire - Live At The Bowl
Queen On Fire - Live At The Bowl
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most 'Live' sounding of all their live albums, 7 Aug 2006
I've had 'Live Killers' for years, and was at one of the 2 gigs recorded for 'Live at Wembley', and loved them both, so I wasn't sure what I was going to make of this one.

'Live Killers' is raucous rock music, and maybe a little dijointed here and there; 'Live at Wembley' really captured the stadium feel well, but has a really odd sound in places that doesn't quite give it the feel of a live gig. This one though - it feels much more live, warts and all! They were truly on fire this night, and all 4 of them put in sterling performances.

The thing that might put people off just looking at the track list is the fact that some of it is from the 'Hot Space' period, but the songs from that album are very different here, and so much better live.

'Live Killers' and 'Live at Wembley' are great representations of what Queen were like live at those two times in their history, and this one sits perfectly between those two.

All we need now is for their record label to release some earlier 70s material for completeness. For now though, I'm very happy with this release!


The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good old fashioned thriller/conspiracy theory mix, 3 Aug 2005
OK, so it won't be nominated for any highbrow writing awards, and the basic plot has been used plenty of times before, but this is a ripping good yarn!
If you have ever read the book "Holy Blood Holy Grail", you might find much of this familiar. Both books bask in sensationalism and selling themselves on unsubtle twists and turns, but they seem to follow exactly the same plot; one being a rather sensationalist piece of incomplete research, and the other a novel based around the same subject. The difference between this and Holy Blood Holy Grail is that it is far more entertaining. It is entertaining on the level of not requiring too much thought and the characters and situations can seem very unrealistic, but hey - isn't that what most of Shakespeare and Dickens is all about?
I'm not comparing this to either of the aforementioned great authors, but if you want to just relax with a book that keeps your attention yet doesn't require intense concentration, this is the book for you. It takes you on a rather dumbed-down tour of Europe, conspiracy theories, obscure religious cults and GCE history, but it does it in a very entertaining package!


No Thanks: 70s Punk...
No Thanks: 70s Punk...

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good attempt, 29 Jun 2005
This review is from: No Thanks: 70s Punk... (Audio CD)
It's always difficult to be truly representative of a whole genre of music when creating a compilation, but this box set does a pretty good job. It's not really punk, but a mix of pre-punk, punk and post-punk, but who really cares about putting the right label on it? It's a collection of some of the finest music of the late 70s.
I disagree with 'A music fan from Sydney' that this is collection focuses on the obvious and that it is not interesting. I really don't think this compilation concentrates on the obvious at all - there are tracks by Subway Sect, The Mekons, The Soft Boys, The Pop Group - none of whom had any impact on the charts and are unknown by most people.
There are of course obvious exceptions, such as the Sex Pistols (due to John Lydon keeping a tight rein on the archives), and oi bands are chronically underrepresented. You can't please everyone, but this is certainly a great collection for anyone who wants some of the great songs of the period but does not want to go out and collect CDs by all the bands.


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