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Andromeda Descendent (Tarn Vedra)
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Can War be Eliminated?
Can War be Eliminated?
by Christopher Coker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little light reading, 13 May 2014
This review is from: Can War be Eliminated? (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Occasionally, when the mood takes me, I like to read books with thought provoking titles. Usually I get about halfway through what turns out to be a very long and self-indulgent book, having hoped against hope that the author might get around to the point sometime before my interest runs out.

This book was short enough to get through without my interest waning. The author – Christopher Coker – moves briskly from point to point, and doesn't stick solely to the world of academia, referencing World War Z, Ender's Game and Sin City (I think in the context he means Sim City, but never mind), alongside Homer, Darwin and Freud. The topics covered include evolution, technology and geopolitics.

As a thought-provoker, I found it a reasonably good read. Unfortunately there's far too much of the author's own opinion in there, and I did feel he was trying to persuade me to agree with his opinions – using facts and observations he had hand picked himself – about things I wasn't informed enough about to have anything other than a gut reaction. Unsurprisingly, he ends the book with a summary that tries to answer the titular question. It's one of the most depressing ends to a non-fiction book I've ever read. He quotes Larkin in saying "Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf," and you get the impression he's even depressed himself in writing this book.

Having said that, the author never claims to have written a book to encourage those who wish to bring about change, as another reviewer on this page had hoped for – he merely poses a question and examines it. Because his own opinions so strongly shape his writing, this is a book that is likely to get some people's backs up, but then again that is the nature of the beast with books such as this. To paraphrase the review snippet on the back cover of this book, in the academic world this is called "stimulating debate" and in that respect, I'm sure Mr Coker will find himself very pleased to have such mixed reviews on here (including the ones currently showing from fellow reviewers across the water).


Ravensburger Windmill 3D Puzzle (216 Pieces)
Ravensburger Windmill 3D Puzzle (216 Pieces)
Price: £16.70

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best looking 3D jigsaw puzzle I've seen, 5 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This 3D jigsaw puzzle is one of several different models manufactured by Ravensburger. In my opinion it's the best one. Inside the box you will find 216 plastic jigsaw pieces, some of which are hinged and you need to bend slightly. There are also some plastic pieces that make up the walkway, roof and sails. There are two ways to put it together; you can either follow the numbers on the back of the puzzle pieces or you can assemble it as you would a normal jigsaw, looking at the front of the pieces. It's better to treat it as a normal jigsaw of course, but the numbers could help if you get stuck.

Once assembled, the model is very sturdy. It's not going to fall apart when you pick it up, and it's also easy enough to dismantle if you want to put it back in the box. The sails spin round with a push and it makes a very good model to display on a shelf. From a distance you can barely see the joins between the jigsaw pieces.


Kingston Technology DataTraveler 101 Generation 2 32GB USB Flash Drive - Purple
Kingston Technology DataTraveler 101 Generation 2 32GB USB Flash Drive - Purple
Price: £7.81

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 32GB Kingston USB stick, 5 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a well made USB memory stick with a protective cap that is attached to the stick itself and swivels round 180 degrees from the front to the back. I've had it over a year now without a problem and its not even showing a scratch. The purple casing makes it stand out and I haven't lost it once. It has a small loop hole that allows you to clip it to a keyring, as long as the keyring isn't too wide, or thread a ribbon through it.


Thief (Xbox 360)
Thief (Xbox 360)
Offered by Turbotrance
Price: £23.70

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Custom game setting can make this a great stealth experience, 5 May 2014
This review is from: Thief (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
This was probably the last full price game I'll buy for the Xbox 360 before I buy the new console for playing Halo 5 and Destiny. I'll be straight up with you, I was going to buy the physical copy of this game and then didn't because I heard some fairly negative comments. It was only when Thief was sold at half price as a download through the Xbox dashboard that I decided at that price I was prepared to buy it and lower my expectations. I shouldn't have listened to the reviews as it happened, as it turned out this was exactly my type of game.

The comparisons with Dishonored are many, and I won't go into them, but what really frustrated me about Dishonored was that I wanted to play it pacifist but each chapter I'd go through it doing nothing wrong that I could see and at the end it would tell me I had killed 1 person, when at the most I had knocked someone out. Thief allows you to set up a custom difficulty setting that removes the all supernatural "focus" abilities if you want to (and I did), and/or immediately brings up a chapter fail notice if you kill, knockout or even get noticed by an enemy. Because you have a manual save (plus a separate autosave that you can backtrack to if you place yourself in an impossible situation before manually saving), this instant fail is just what the true stealth approach player wants and needs. You can also make resources (rope arrows, water arrows, etc) extremely expensive to buy and almost non existent to find. Why would you want to do that? For the challenge and to keep things tense. After finishing the game on custom I went back and tried the game on the default setting, with the focus abilities enabled. I didn't like it that way. If I had been forced to play it that way from the start, I wouldn't have enjoyed the game anywhere near as much as I did with the constant tension and extreme resource management of the custom setting I chose to play in.

The story I found quite interesting, although I wasn't taken with the ending, and the environments offered a lot of nice close quarters sneaky gameplay. Between chapters you can explore and steal your way around an open world city area, with more areas becoming accessible the more chapters you play. It's not a huge area, some of the chapters themselves being bigger in area than any or maybe all the city districts, but there are so many hidden areas to find. You keep discovering windows, ledges or doorways you walked past many times before, and the key is that you need to keep looking up and also for hidden switches. Rope arrows allow you to access high ledges and rooftops, and there are plenty of repayable side quests to test your sneaking skills. Chapters are re-playable too, and although you can go fast through the levels if you want to, there is a lot of satisfaction in managing to track down every last loot item or collectible, especially doing it undetected.

There are some problems that get in the way of the enjoyment at times. Guards can often (at least once a chapter in my experience) get stuck in doorways and go into a strange strobe-like state where they flip between facing backwards and forwards several times a second. They also start the same annoying conversations again and again each time you pass them in the city, and often this conversation doubles up so that about two seconds in it starts up a second time, running alongside the original sound clip. The custom setting also fails you if you try and distract a guard using the environment anywhere near a caged dog, even if you're hidden inside a building well away from it. There's also surprisingly little in the way of distraction options. It makes guards seem like – well, computer game guards – when they need to seem as much like real people as possible.

But problems aside, if you want to play as stealthily as possible, then this is a game worthy of your attention. If you want to play it as an action game and kill guards up close and personal – or even switch from stealth to action when you get spotted – it's not as good at that.

One final note: there is an extra mission you can buy as DLC called The Bank Heist. It is completely worth the money being asked for it, so you should also download that if you buy this game.


Let Me Go
Let Me Go
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good memories of this song, 5 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Let Me Go (MP3 Download)
I always find it difficult reviewing songs, as the best way to find out if you like it is to just listen, but sometimes I just want to add my voice to say "I like this" and share a little bit with others about why I like it.

I have two memories associated with this song. The first is that great advert that Gary did with the (Compare The) Meerkats and the other is listening to him sing it on New Year's Day. I can’t listen to it without thinking of both of those things. Who cares if other people don't think he's the coolest person to listen to. It's a great feel good song.


AmazonBasics CD / DVD Wallet 64 Disc Capacity Nylon Black
AmazonBasics CD / DVD Wallet 64 Disc Capacity Nylon Black
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice useful storage case, 5 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've got a lot of CDs and DVDs which are either uncased or stored in plain jewel cases and just taking up room, so this storage case – which holds 64 CDs – is a perfect solution. It's well made, and that's not always a given with this type of case, for I had a smaller one a few years back that was prone to the plastic envelopes coming away at the sides, but this one has no such problem. The case is closed with a zip, which means the CDs are not going to tumble out of it, and it has a looped carry handle at one side which I can't see I'd use, but it's a nice addition. The material inside the pouches is soft and unlikely to cause scratches.

There aren't any compartments inside to store CD or DVD index cards, but then again there wouldn't be enough room anyway once it's full. I would have liked a small windowed compartment on the outside though, where I could put a label to say what is in it. I wouldn't take any stars off for the lack of one through. Like the name implies, it's a "basic" range case, but it's useful, robust and I don't see any quality problems.


Wake Me Up (Acoustic)
Wake Me Up (Acoustic)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good version, 3 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love the main version of this song Aloe Blacc did with Avicii, and I didn't originally think I’d like this acoustic version, but it's such a great song, sung by such a great singer, that I've now come to love this version too, and I can't stop listening to it. Like the dance version, this is a little bit country, but not all the way. The use of strings on the musical hook to this song is very well done. If this hadn't been a free track, I'd definitely have paid for it.


Silhouette (Allen & Envy Remix)
Silhouette (Allen & Envy Remix)
Price: £0.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Obscure song worth a listen, 3 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't think this trance EDM song has made any big showing in the charts. It's probably very obscure and unknown outside of the compilation albums it features on, but it's getting a lot of play from me at the moment. The effect used on the vocals reminds me of Blue Stone. Allen & Envy do a good job on the remix. I haven't heard the original song, but suspect this is a case where the remix is the version most people would want.

It's not the most original track, and whilst I like it, I can see that others may say "so what" after listening. I'd recommend it if you're building up a new play list and want a nice, inoffensive bit of filler.


Fool's Complaint
Fool's Complaint
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Best song of the year, that most people have never heard, 3 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fool's Complaint (MP3 Download)
"How I hate the Queen of Pentacles". It's not a line I think I'd ever hear anywhere in my life if it weren't for Suzanne Vega, but it's really gone and stuck itself in my head now. There are so many great songs on Suzanne Vega's albums, but this is already one of my all time favourites. It's lyrically bouncy and clever and the emphasis Suzanne gives to the words, especially those on the end of certain sentences, lifts it up above so many other songs that those who would aspire to equal her might write. It's almost as if there's a formula to making a classic Suzanne Vega song, but she's the only person on Earth who can mix the ingredients right.


A Town Called Eureka - Season 1-5 [DVD]
A Town Called Eureka - Season 1-5 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Colin Ferguson
Price: £34.72

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feel-good family show with a first class degree in strange, 3 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I became aware that this series was out there sometime around the third season, but the strange way that Playback chose to sell the box sets – "Season 3" and "Season 3.5" (something they also repeated for the fourth season) – put me off and I decided I would wait for a complete series boxset, buy that and then watch the whole of it from start to finish.

I really wanted to see this show, as I'd been intrigued by the premise without even seeing a single episode, and then I saw the crossover episode that they did with Warehouse 13 (actually not the best introduction they could have done to the series, but it was enough to confirm that this was a show I would like) – and it seemed to me like a long wait for it. But now I have watched every episode and I really enjoyed it. It's something I'd definitely watch from the start again in a couple of years time.

A divorced Sheriff tracking down his wayward daughter arrives in a town populated almost exclusively by scientists and immediately gets caught up in a bizarre and slightly comical mystery of the kind that subsequently goes on to happen every episode for 5 seasons – if you're a fan of Warehouse 13 you can basically swap the concept of "artefacts" for new and untested scientific discoveries. It's not realistic, sometimes its not even remotely realistic, despite the attention the writers have to including genuine scientific concepts and terminology, but it's always a lot of fun. The best thing about the show is its characters. The relationships between them and the DOD-funded company that runs the town change over the series so as to keep it fresh.

The town's new Sheriff – Jack Carter – finds himself living in a smart house that has its own personality, has his car destroyed nearly every week by experiments gone awry, and has to police a town where everyone is smarter than him and he understands very little of what is going on. But he does understand people and he always manages to work out the puzzle of whatever mystery is happening that episode with what the others call his "everyman logic". Sometimes he has to deal with obvious threats to the town such as biohazard outbreaks and doomsday devices, and sometimes it's a bit stranger – such as shared dreaming, exploding robot dogs or floating buildings. At the start of the fourth series there's a time travelling episode that, instead of ending with everything going back to normal, has far reaching and permanent repercussions, changing the relationships between the main characters and the town itself. It could not have come at a better time, as the show was getting to the point where it needed to be switched up or risk the audience losing interest. Thankfully it works, and is enough to keep the series going strong right through the fifth series as well. The show ends on a high note, and even manages to pull off a final episode that pays homage to the first episode and the series as a whole.

It's a lot of fun, has a positive message and is a genuine feel-good family show.


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