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Terrahurtz (Kidlington, Oxon)

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Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors
Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors
by Chris Skidmore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of info but a bit dull., 1 Aug. 2015
There is a lot of info here, in a book which is more a history of the wars of the Roses than a history of Bosworth, which is all over in one chapter which is surprisingly light on detail.
Given the amount of detail it's obviously closer to the truth than Philippa Gregory, but it's a lot less readable, with whole pages being given over to irrelevant detail about (say) how much people were paid at particular points in the 15th century. I struggled to make it to the end.
Interesting how the Yorkists kept winning battles during the wars of the roses but as soon as they lost one the game was up forever.
Skidmore has little good to say about Richard and doesn't see fit to question the long-held (but disputed) wisdom that he murdered the Princes in the Tower. As the hero, there's nothing in here that gives any clue to the character of Henry Tudor, he's just someone to whom things happen. Seemingly if he had had a less pushy mother he would have been forgotten centuries ago.

If You Like the Beatles...: Here Are Over 200 Bands, Films, Records and Other Oddities That You Will Love
If You Like the Beatles...: Here Are Over 200 Bands, Films, Records and Other Oddities That You Will Love
by Bruce Pollock
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Lot of info, but much of it only tangentially relevant to the beatles, 1 Aug. 2015
There is a lot of info in here, but much of it has precious little to do with the Beatles.
basically it's a series of short musical histories. There's a chapter on the artists of the late 50s, on the grounds that they probably influenced the Beatles, there's a chapter on acts of the early 70s, on the grounds that they came after the beatles so must have been influenced by them. And so it goes on. In several of these chapters there is a surfeit of information about obscure US groups that I've never heard of, whilst nothing about the major players of the genre. In the section on the 60s for example there are only passing references to the Kinks, Manfred Mann and other giants of the period.
I bought this for a couple of quid in The Works and read it on holiday. It passed the time harmlessly enough but having read it I don't think I got more than a couple of quid's enjoyment out of it.

The King's Curse
The King's Curse
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Good although the first third a rerun of the Constant Princess, 17 July 2015
This review is from: The King's Curse (Paperback)
I enjoyed this but with a few caveats.
Firstly I read this immediately after the Constant Princess (the Katherine of Aragon story) and lo and behold the first third of this is pretty much a rewrite of that from a very similar (pro-Katherine) viewpoint. it's like reading a Harry Potter novel chronicling the her's thoughts and actions then reading the same thing again from Hermione's viewpoint.
Secondly I don't know why this is billed as one of the cousins' war novels as the whole thing takes place fairly and squarely in Tudor times.
Thirdly I've read three of PG's novels now and they have all been very pr-Mary/Katherine of Aragon/the ccatholic characters and anti the Protestsnt ones. Presumably this is where PG's sympathies lie but the constant bad-mouthing of Anne Boleyn, her daughter and the rest of the protestants is getting a bit tedious.
Fourthly I found the central character a sanctimonious hypocrite who was far from perfect - the way she cheated her daughter in law out of her inheritance being a a particular low point.
That said, it was very readable and passed the time quite agreeably.

Girl, Interrupted [DVD] [2000]
Girl, Interrupted [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Winona Ryder
Price: £3.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and thought provoking if ending rather weak, 4 July 2015
Not obviously crazy Susannah Kaysen is send to a mental asylum. what follows is enjoyable and thought provoking, although the ending was something of a damp squib.
Ryder proves she is more than just a (very) pretty face with an excellent performance, whilst Angelina Jolie shows that before she was famous for being very attractive, becoming Mrs Brad Pitt and adopting Africans she was a good actress too, having fun chewing up the scenery playing the more obviously mad - if charismatic - character.

Black Sheep [2007] [DVD]
Black Sheep [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nathan Meister
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.25

1.0 out of 5 stars Not funny or horrific, just rubbish, 25 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Black Sheep [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Killer sheep on the loose, rather in the vein of Monty Python's killer rabbit in Holy Grail? No doubt appealed to someone's sense of humour (including mine, when I picked it up in the shop) and indeed it's probably a good basis for a comedy. Unfortunately for a decent film you need a decent script. This film isn't a horror film, or a comedy, it's just not very good. If you can be bothered to take it seriously there's several holes in the plot too. There's not even any of that reliable standby of poor horror films, nudity (gratuitous or tenuously plot-related), despite the presence of a well-endowed young blonde lady in the leading role who I had erroneously assumed was there for that very purpose.
Don't bother.

The Constant Princess: 4 (Tudor series)
The Constant Princess: 4 (Tudor series)
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Catherine of Arrogant, 16 Jun. 2015
This book is very enjoyable, but the problem with a historical fiction when you know the period is that it's a bit like watching Titanic - you know the iceberg is just around the corner. Inevitably you're therefore waiting for Arthur to appear in the story, for the wedding to happen and then for him to start feeling a bit unwell (which , having done, he wastes no time at all, barely 3 pages, in turning his toes up). That apart, it's well written and draws you in as you go along even if you know where the icebergs are hiding.
One device I didn't like is that every few chapters you get one of interior dialogue, in which Catherine voices her thoughts, which usually involve banging on incessantly about how she is destined to be Queen of England and looking fondly back to how wonderful it was at the Moorish palace where she had grown up. (This wonderfulness was of course down to the Moors who built it, not Catherine's parents who laid siege to and captured it and promptly threw out both the Moors and the jews). These themes become so repetitive that at times you wish she would just shut up going on about them and go back to Granada if it was so wonderful. Catherine - as depicted here - comes over as arrogant and scheming such that the reader is not necessarily rooting for her throughout. Even the great victory she won over the Scots was achieved by The Earl of Surrey while she waited 30 miles down the road with reinforcements in case the battle further north went badly.
The end is a bit of anti-climax too, after the build up to the battle with the Scots the battle itself is covered very briefly and after that it limps on to a non-existent conclusion before we have a coda 17 years down the road by which time Anne Boleyn is in the ascendancy and Catherine is preparing to tell her big lie one more time in the hope of retaining her marriage and position. This battle with her usurper is what most people know her for and it would have been good to extend the book to cover this episode, but presumably her publisher felt the book was long enough already.
Anyway, caveats notwithstanding, I quite enjoyed it, although not perhaps as much as the Queen's Fool, or indeed quite as much as I had hoped to.

Marvel Iron Man 3 Iron Man Hero Mask
Marvel Iron Man 3 Iron Man Hero Mask
Offered by a1 Toys
Price: £8.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 22 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
perfectly adequate (for an iron-man themed scout weekend away!) with an adjustable velcro strap, though find it hard to imagine anyone paying the RRP the item is allegedly reduced from.

Some Sunny Day
Some Sunny Day
by Dame Vera Lynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but a bit dull, 21 May 2015
This review is from: Some Sunny Day (Paperback)
Whilst Vera Lynn deservedly holds her place in our hearts as a national treasure, it has to be said this book is rather bland and a bit dull.
The current national sweetheart for example, achieved her fame through winning a reality show, beating up a cloakroom attendant and getting into bed with an international footballer and then (metaphorically speaking) the evil empire presided over by Simon Cowell. None of which displays any great talent but it makes for a more interesting read.
Vera is essentially nice, always behaved nicely to people and - in return - generally nice things happened to her. When someone does act badly towards her, you really want to know more about what and why and how the problem was resolved but it is invariably glossed over in a few lines. American fellow solo singer Evelyn Dall allegedly treated her poorly in her pre-war big band days and some fellow expat entertainers allegedly behaved so badly towards her while she was on her far eastern wartime tour that she left the area immediately. Presumably having spent years slogging around Burma entertaining the troops they were jealous of the famous woman off the radio who swanned in for a couple of weeks and got instant adoration but this is never made clear. Finally, in 1944 there were apparently people doing unflattering impressions of her to such a degree that she went to court to stop them, which seems somewhat drastic, esecially given there was a war on. Again, however, we are never told exactly what they were doing and how she went about stopping them doing it.
Anyway, despite these caveats about the book itself, Vera comes over as a good person and you generally root for her throughout. It has to be said that the book is somewhat dull though, particularly the last couple of chapters, which are just rambling and full of bland platitudes that no one would disagree with.
Anyway, all power to her elbow. At the time of writing (May 2015) she is 98, it is to be hoped that she reaches her century in good health and the nation recognizes her with some appropriate ceremonial/honour

Jazz Masters Vol.22
Jazz Masters Vol.22
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.45

2.0 out of 5 stars Lovely voice, shame about some of the material., 16 May 2015
This review is from: Jazz Masters Vol.22 (Audio CD)
Eckstine has a lovely voice but most of the songs on here don't linger in the memory. Passing Strangers apart..
All a bit muzak-ky I'm afraid.

Falling Leaves Return to Their Roots: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Falling Leaves Return to Their Roots: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
by Adeline Yen Mah
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated Cinderella story full of ugly, unprepossessing characters, 28 April 2015
This is a cinderella story with a very wicked stepmother and a very unprepossessing set of siblings. However, while the protagonist was certainly poorly treated by her father and stepmother relative to her siblings, she had a far better life than millions of other Chinese girls growing up, none of who m were ever sent abroad at great cost to get a decent foreign education, for example.
The story is full of unsympathetic characters - the downright nasty brother, the sister who only wanted her in later life when she had some money and spent most of the rest of the time intriguing against her, the elder brother who was ostensibly her ally but in practice rarely stood up for her and always looked after his own interests first, often to the detriment of Adeline, the weak father who allowed himself to be dominated by his second wife, and the apparently completely obnoxious stepmother, who nobody at all ever seems to have thought to instruct to take a long walk off a short pier, apart from - ironically - her own daughter. The 5 step children - or at least the elder four - hung around in her orbit, forever hoping for a windfall one day.
As the book progresses I found myself increasingly alienated by this unprepossessing bunch, to the point that I didn't really care who was being obnoxious to who, or why. Even the author, whilst whining on about her own mistreatment, makes life worse for herself with a series of stupid decisions, amongst them starting a relationship with a clearly maladjusted lecturer twice her age while at college, giving up a good job offer for a much worse one because she thought it would please her father and - most stupidly - marrying someone having spent less than ten hours in his company and then being surprised when he turned out to be violent and abusive. Even then, it only occurs to her to divorce him when her parents tell her to. And why did she completely desert Aunt Baba, who was one of the few people to show her kindness throughout her growing up? I stopped caring about the lot of them some time before the (somewhat inconclusive) end..

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