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Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars one for king diehards, 29 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Revival (Kindle Edition)
The book starts well and I found the central story interesting. I liked the central antagonist and would have liked to see more of hum. However, like some other Stephen King works, the story is overlong and some sections feel unnecessary. The drug addiction part of the story feels too similar to the booze addiction of the protagonist in Dr sleep. this could have been a really good novella or short story, instead it's an ok novel.

Others have made reference to the Lovecraftian overtones and King makes it clear this is something of an homage to Lovecraft. However I also felt there was a nod to the excellent American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Doctor Sleep: Shining Book 2 (The Shining)
Doctor Sleep: Shining Book 2 (The Shining)
Price: £3.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Not The Shining...but a good page-turner, 14 Oct. 2014
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Anyone expecting a book of the incredibly high quality and creepiness of The Shining will be disappointed. As a horror novel, this is actually one of King's least scary. However, I really enjoyed the book on its own merits. The main characters, Danny and Abra, are both likeable and the villains, the True Knot, are an amusingly fallible group!

One slight criticism - if the True Knot are the type of folks who just blend into the background wherever they go, wouldn't they be more effective if their leader wasn't wearing a top hat? :-)

Mr Mercedes
Mr Mercedes
by Stephen King
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of King's best, 14 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Mr Mercedes (Hardcover)
I'm not a fan of crime novels but I am a fan of Stephen King so I thought I'd try this.

The first third of the book was interesting and I liked the overall premise but the middle section of the book lagged very badly - there seemed to be page after page focusing on how people use/lose their car keys. The romance story was entertaining but seemed somewhat implausible.

In terms of characterisation, I thought Hodges and Brady were both interesting and enjoyed reading about Brady's past but the supporting cast such as Jerome and Holly were less impressive. Holly's transformation felt a little ridiculous and I cringed every time Jerome started the "Tyrone Feelgood" stuff.

The final section of the book, with Hodges teaming up to investigate matters with his kooky sidekicks, all felt a bit "Scooby Doo" to me.

Not one of Stephen King's best to say the least.

Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics)
Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics)
by John Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Small story told beautifully, 19 July 2013
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I really enjoyed this novel. I won't regurgitate the plot here as other reviews have done so better than I could.

As other reviews may suggest, this is not a book full of startling plot developments, twists or shocks. The hero does not change the world - he's a fairly nondescript university lecturer. However, the humdrum life of William Stoner is absolutely compelling due to the simple, beautiful writing and believable characters.

Stoner is an awkward man and some of his decisions are very flawed but at heart he is also a good, principled human being. His flaws simply make him feel real and allow the reader to empathise with an imperfect but decent person.

The other characters in the book are believable and interesting - there are no shortage of irritating or damaged people who will provoke strong feelings (much like real life!)

I've seen some refer to this book as depressing. This is not the case. However, it is often a sad story, partly because the tragedies and challenges Stoner confronts are easy to relate to. Most of us are fortunate enough not to have to deal with Shakespearean-level tragedy in our every day life but most can relate to relationship problems, troubles at work, missed opportunities, regret and, to some degree, feeling disassociated from the world. In the same way, the triumphs and happiness Stoner experiences in his life, though rare, produced

If you're after action or adventure this is not the book for you. However, if you are interested in a beautifully written reflection on a "normal" life, I highly recommend Stoner.

Magician (Riftwar Saga)
Magician (Riftwar Saga)
by Raymond E. Feist
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, 11 July 2013
Magician is not a terrible book. However, I'm perplexed at the acclaim it has received elsewhere. It's a plodding tale which aims to be an epic in the style of Lord of the Rings.

The stories of the two main characters, Pug and Tomas, were fairly interesting but I found the supporting characters very dull. If I came to a chapter focussing on Arutha, Martin or Roland I groaned internally.

I think I would personally have preferred the book to have been a simpler, old-fashioned fantasy romp with the focus on Pug and Tomas. The depth of the characters, and world, simply couldn't sustain an epic-style fantasy for me.

As with many fantasy novels, the influence of Tolkien is not difficult to spot. At times, Magician goes a little too far in paying respect to the master. In one sequence, a band of travellers are unable to use the preferred route on their journey and instead are forced to travel through the mysterious and feared Dwarven tunnels known as the "Mines of Moria". Well, they aren't actually called "Moria" but they may as well be! Books which have a similar style or tone to LOTR will certainly draw the interest of many fantasy fans but to blatantly reuse plot points from Tolkien is a real turn-off for me (maybe I'm harsh in this regard as I stopped reading the "Wheel of time" one third through due to copy and paste "Tolkienism")

As I said initially, Magician is not an awful book. Credit goes to the author for the idea of the "rift" which introduces the novel idea ( novel at least in a traditional fantasy tale) of multiple worlds and, as noted, the essence of the Pug/Tomas stories are fun. However, there wasn't enough here to sustain my interest across a very long, and pretty average, fantasy novel.

The Twelve (Passage Trilogy 2)
The Twelve (Passage Trilogy 2)
by Justin Cronin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine continuation, 24 Jun. 2013
I loved the Passage. The Twelve is a worthy sequel, not quite matching its predecessor but coming pretty close.

I remember being frustrated when the author jumped forward in time during The Passage, leaving behind interesting characters I wanted to know more about. Of course, it turned out the new characters taking the main stage where actually even more interesting, so I forgave this transgression quickly! The Twelve satisfyingly takes time to revisit some of those characters I thought had been left behind, as well as move forward the stories of Peter et al. However, it should be noted that Cronin also switches the action to a whole new set of characters once again, this time going backwards chronologically to show us other places just after the virus outbreak. This diversion isn't totally successful - some parts (Last stand in Denver) work well and others work less well but ultimately a lot of the new stories set just after virus outbreak feel like they weren't entirely necessary to move the overall story forward.

However, once we switch back to the more familiar characters, the book picks up pace and the closing chapters are thrilling.

I'm really looking forward to the final book and I'm confident this will be a trilogy where quality is maintained.

Wool (Wool Trilogy 1)
Wool (Wool Trilogy 1)
by Hugh Howey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea but..., 21 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
I picked up Wool after hearing many good things about it.

I really like the basic idea of the Silo (an underground bunker which the remnants of humanity live in hundreds of years in the future) and the possible world beyond it. The mystery of this world is what kept me turning pages - I was intrigued by the overall concept and eager to find out more about the silo and how it came about.

However, in many ways the book was disappointing. The characters were very thin, with the exception of Juliette, who was the one character I cared about. Aside from her we have a pantomime villain and, in my opinion, a very unlikeable love interest.

The central love story seemed utterly unbelievable to me. The male character at first seems to be some sort of cool, enigmatic stranger but pretty soon seems to have turned into an annoying, angst-ridden, easily-led dimwit. Why on earth would a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman fall for this guy?

The other main issue was that the book had very long passages which were intended to be tense situations but which in fact were incredibly boring. These usually involved a character having to work out some intricate combination of electronics to make something work or go through a painstaking number of steps to remove protective clothing (imagine a very slow moving Houdini with a toolkit). One scene in particular, set in water, seemed to go on forever, with absolutely no tension because the character was obviously going to be fine.

Finally, I don't often see twists/surprises coming in books but there is one "reveal" very near the end which had me cringing due to its obviousness.

Overall, the thin characters and love story makes me think this would have been a good young adult title... but for the fact that it is far too long and slow. Unfortunately, the sometimes clunky writing prevents a nice scenario from becoming interesting.

The Night Circus (Vintage Magic)
The Night Circus (Vintage Magic)
Price: £4.97

2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't care about the characters, 8 Jun. 2013
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This is one of those books I feel a bit regretful about not liking, as the other reviews are so positive and it sounded like the kind of take I would relish. However, ultimately I think it's a pale shadow of both "Jonathan Strange..." and "Something wicked this way comes", both of which appear to be influences.

The author does manage to create some really nice ideas for the circus attractions and describes them vividly. But while other readers found themselves happily lost in the descriptions of these wonders, I found them a touch repetitive and longed for a little more plot.

I was also unable to invest in any of the main characters - I neither liked or disliked Marco, Celia, Isobel, Chandresh, etc. Unusually for me, I simply didn't care about them. I gave up on the book (I've only ever done this about 5 times in my life) at around the 60% mark - by that point I could describe in detail many of Marco and Celia's magical achievements but I couldn't describe what type of people they were at all.

This is vital for me - the quality of the author's descriptive skills mean very little to me if there is no compelling plot or characterisation.

Gears of War: Judgement (Xbox 360)
Gears of War: Judgement (Xbox 360)
Offered by rockaway-records
Price: £7.38

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars multiplayer = rip-off, 7 Jun. 2013
As a long term Gears fan, it pains me to say that this product seems to be something of a cash-in.

The campaign is completely by-the-numbers and seems to have been a rush-job. However, I'm not too bothered about the campaign mode, so that I could forgive.

It's the multiplayer mode that infuriates. Traditional multiplayer only launched with 4 maps. Compare that to 10 provided on Gears of War. Overpriced DLC will add another 5/6 maps, 2 of which are remakes from Gears 3. Gears 3 DLC usually had around 5 maps each, including 1 map pack which was FREE.

Epic's excuse is that there are other maps on a new game type called "Overrun". I've tried this game and have no interest in it at all. Like most Gears fans, I want to play the classic gears game. By all means develop it, tweak it, improve it but don't just bin it and try to force your users to play something else!

Finally, the multiplayer playlist situation is a disaster. Lots of unnecessary playlists, means the community is thinly spread and it's hard to even find a game against human players.

I bought this game blindly, due to how much i liked the older games. If there is another gears game to come, I will certainly not be buying that blind. If there are less than 10 MP maps, count me out.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2013 10:35 AM BST

Profoot Soft Gel Polymer Range Toe Protector
Profoot Soft Gel Polymer Range Toe Protector
Offered by Greens Pharmacy
Price: £2.93

1.0 out of 5 stars Broke on day 1, 25 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this to protect a broken big toe nail.

On the first day I wore it to work, on returning home I took my sock off and found that my big toe had come through the top of the gel.

Maybe it works well for smaller toes but the product does say "stretches to fit any toe size" and my big toe isn't particularly big (!) so I have to give the product a thumbs-down i'm afraid.

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