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Anchors & Anvils
Anchors & Anvils
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £11.93

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She does it all for me, 20 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Anchors & Anvils (Audio CD)
You've got to have something (a REAL X Factor) to help you stand out from all the Norah Wannabees and this Amy has it in spades. Beyond categories like country jazz, bluesy pop and the rest, this mixture of styles, within songs as well as between them, has the smell of a Louisiana swamp, the voice of a Brooklyn dreamer and the style of the BIGCITY with its feet up on a Blue Ridge Mountain backporch rocker. I saw her support Seasick Steve, too, and she stood in nobody's shadow, despite her diminutive stature - physically, not in any way musically, that is. She can poke fun at herself as much as loathsome lovers and I never get tired of this album. Go out and get it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2010 9:25 PM BST


Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Success for dummies?, 22 Jun. 2009
I found this brief - 280 double-spaced pages - and fresh look at what makes success very enjoyable. Perhaps unlike other reviewers, I'm not so widely read in science that I'd know what was left out in coming to some of the unusual conclusions Gladwell does. But... it did make me think about his lateral approaches and not assume that what we are told is true is necessarily all that is true about something. Science assumes that because something passes the "significance test" (i.e. if its 95% likely that two things are in common, then that is REAL and TRUE.) then we disbelieve it at the risk of being dismissed as a dummy, luddite or crank. But conclusions are based on what we (assume we) know at that instant and what we know changes with time and research - remember when the smallest particle was definitely the electron?
Anyway, its a fun read, it looks at some areas of life not often pored over by the non-academic majority, its easy to read and it made me reflect for a while on the nature of what we know, what we dont know and, more importantly, what we dont know we dont know.


Sandstealers
Sandstealers
by Ben Brown
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, gripping, great read, 17 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Sandstealers (Paperback)
Danny Lowenstein is a driven, award-winning journalist in Iraq on his way to the interview of his career when he is ambushed. One of a group of Journalists who call themselves "The Junkies", he is acknowledged by all as an outstanding reporter but an unlikeable if charismatic personality. Suspicion of a betrayal falls on his fellows and the possible motivations as to why this may be prompts the story to roam from Bosnia 1994 through Rwanda to Iraq, 2004.
Ben Brown was a BBC reporter and knows his terrain. A mystery and war thriller, it pulls no punches. The well known massacres of Sarajevo, Kosovo and Rwanda as well as the kidnappings and videod beheading threats in Iraq are well known from the real media, but are graphically and eruditely detailed by Brown. One scene from the Bosnian thread, involving a Serb sniper, is one of the most nauseating, horrific and gruelling I have read. Yet, Brown leaves us with a possible understanding of the beliefs and motivations of the "bad guys" that is unnerving. Almost as much as the UN standing by to witness the ethnic cleansing (of Muslims and Croats) and the Allied forces trying to secure a shambolic post-Saddam and post-invasion Iraq.
Told from the perspectives of the "Junkies", it differs from the McNab/Ryan/Clancy style of (ex) special forces thrillers. There is cynicism aplenty, but vulnerability, love/lust grasped opportunistically (see "Emergency Sex and other Measures" for a charity worker view) and death. Plenty of death and plenty of blood, too, but it leaves a bitter aftertaste.
An unusual take on the Modern War Thriller, but a work of art.


Bugs In Amber
Bugs In Amber
Price: £12.04

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting better all the time, 12 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Bugs In Amber (Audio CD)
A change of name, The Blessing added "Get" in front to avoid confusion with a punk band, but no reduction in the mind-blowing inventiveness of this Bristol foursome. The rhythm section also play in Portishead but this is as far from that as you can get. Forget categorisation, because this band does not (try to) fit into the straight-ahead-jazz fraternity's desire to peg anyone not post-bop as not worthy. Whether it can be labelled or not, this is hard driving, beat driven, melodic jazz. Different from album one, but just as good. I have Bleach cake, from that one, on hard rotation and there are a few on Bugs that may join it soon. Imagine Cream if Clapton had played horns or Jack White producing Clarence Clemons taking up with Five Peace Band. I hear Arun Ghosh; I hear Bill Bruford and Barbara Thompson; I hear Steve Reich played by The Clash. Bless The Getting!


Blackjack (Five Star Science Fiction & Fantasy)
Blackjack (Five Star Science Fiction & Fantasy)
by Shelley Singer
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Slow burner but then it flares, 11 Jun. 2009
If a book hasn't grabbed my attention by the throat by page 50 I dump it. There are too many good, nay great, books out there for time to be wasted. This book took a while, mainly because Singer takes some time to build in the back story by feeding it in at appropriate moments. So you dont get the "Big Monologue" on page 3-5, leaving you a little unclear as to whats going on and why, but the action soon takes over in 2066 in a post-holocaust USA. Singer has redrawn and renamed the state boundaries and the politics but not left characters in a neo-stone age. Survival is the motto of every character, though how far-will-you-go to feather your own nest at the expense of others helps distinguish the light grey from the dark grey guys. This is clearly the first in a series set around solo mercenary Rica Martin but I hope it wont be the last.


THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR REVEALED: The Secrets of the Cistercian Legacy
THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR REVEALED: The Secrets of the Cistercian Legacy
by Alan and Dafoe, Stephen Butler
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly empty of content, 11 Jun. 2009
There are enough books out there for this to be a much better read. In fact, this is another "Secret Society" revelation about The Cistercian monks and very little to do with the Templars. It is repetitive, scarce on new facts and provides little in the way of what most would call "evidence" and much on what is clearly speculation, intuition and just plain guesswork. If you want to find out the Templar Secrets - if there are indeed any and that remains unproven - then do not buy this book or you will have a disappointing sense of rien vu.


Bulletproof
Bulletproof
Price: £1.29

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LOvin' it, 11 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Bulletproof (MP3 Download)
Despite the plethora of elctropoprincesses out there, they are not a uniform bunch. La Roux is more than just a hairday. Bulletproof is a twist on the "I wont get hurt again" theme, sung at the departing heartbreaker with some venom. Its catchy, its different and lyrically far from embarrassment. Strike 3, La Roux, you are on a home run!!!


Secret Agent
Secret Agent
Price: £11.57

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leader of the Pack, 10 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Secret Agent (Audio CD)
For years Fela Kuti's drummer in Africa 70, Tony Allen is as original today as The Black King (Fela) was in the 70's and 80's. This is not rehashed Fela nor "in the style of", but something that takes the Sound of the Shrine - Fela's nightclub in Nigeria - and brings it bang up to date with polyrhythms, electronics and the all important feelgood factor that many imitators lack. If you liked Lafayette Afrorock or Alan Skidmore's Ubizo, you will love Tony Allen. Secret Agent is great music; go out and get it now.


A Madness Of Angels (Matthew Swift Novels)
A Madness Of Angels (Matthew Swift Novels)
by Kate Griffin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 10 Jun. 2009
Matthew Swift, one of the greatest sorcerers in London, is resurrected 2 years after his death. How and by whom are the questions he seeks to answer before he is killed, again. Swift is a well realised protagonist and likeable, given his circumstances, and there is a supporting cast of secondary characters, suitably fleshed out (?) and engaging of the reader. This book could have been more enjoyable if it were shortened by 100 pages or so and there was a less predictable ending. Overlong descriptions of places and protagonists' thinking make for a loss of concentration and passage-skipping. Still, I did read it to the denouement, which was obvious by half way, because of the inventiveness around what magic is and where its sources might be found, akin to Simon Green's Nightside in some ways but without the forced humour. Still, there is enough in Madness for me to want to try Griffin's second Adult novel - she writes young adult novels under a pseudonym, as she looks like being a work-in-progress in this genre.


The Way Of Shadows: Book 1 of the Night Angel
The Way Of Shadows: Book 1 of the Night Angel
by Brent Weeks
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, gutsy, bloody sword and sorcery, 9 Jun. 2009
WHO the hell gives their hero a name like "Durzo Blint"???? I put off buying this for months for that reason alone and what a mistake that was. This is Scott Lynch, Robert Howard and Joe Abercrombie rolled into one, perhaps with a flavouring of Van Lustbader's The Ninja. Expect the unexpected. Well painted characters die in a hailstorm of blood, slide out dead from white asp poison or ...survive. Nothing is what it seems and no-one has anything less than several layers of self protecting more secrets and lies. Scenes are well written and the plot writhes like an assassin's victim, pleading for release or understanding, but passing on into the next seedy reality. There is no heaven or hell after the one you are already in. Just ride it through to the denouement and get ready for volume two where its more and less of the same but different. Go figure.Go BUY It!


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