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S. Donaldson (UK)
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Agent Dmitri
Agent Dmitri
by Emil Draitser
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story to rival fiction, 18 Feb 2013
This review is from: Agent Dmitri (Paperback)
When I first started to read this book I wasn't totally sure what I would think of it. There are so many dry biographies out there, ones that give you the facts without an inkling of story-telling. However, this book had me gripped from start to finish, and with quite a few instances of disbelief, just enough to make me question reality. Draitser has woven the story of a man whom he met shortly before his death, with style and dignity. This book is the culmination of memories, painstaking research and family archives.

As a biography this is an intriguing, informative and an easy read. There is a well crafted index, an informative notes section, a good select bibliography and a few pictures and diagrams. I would have liked more pictures to illustrate his story, but the ones that appear do show you how one man can have disguised himself so well and taken on the numerous personas needed for his intelligence work.

As a story, it rivals any spy novel out there. Dmitri's career was an impressive one, fuelled by a need to survive, love for his country and misguided loyalty to a regime that would chew him up and spit him out.

I can't recommend this book highly enough.


StreetDance 2 [DVD]
StreetDance 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Falk Hentshel
Price: 4.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as the first, 30 Nov 2012
This review is from: StreetDance 2 [DVD] (DVD)
After the brilliant dance scenes and passable story of Streetdance, we bought this hoping for more of the same, Unfortunately StreetDance2 is more of a plod than a dance. While the dance scenes are not bad, being latin rather than ballet there was less of a flow to this one. Ok, so if you are buying this for the dance you dont necessarily need a storyline, but something that gets you from A to B without looking at your watch would be good.
Since we bought SD1 we've watched it loads of times, this one has been watched once. It's a shame as it could have been so much more...its ok, but dont expect too much from it.


The English Monster
The English Monster
by Lloyd Shepherd
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.86

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fact and fiction merge, 30 Nov 2012
This review is from: The English Monster (Paperback)
The opening pages of this book start in a way that had me scratching my head, but the story moves in such a way that this is exactly what the author intends. Weaving in and out, we have the story of the Ratcliffe Highway murders, and the seafaring life of Billy Ablass. This isn't your usual dual timeline story, and before long I was gripped by the narrative.
The story is clever and confident, it's part horror and part historical novel. The horror part is bloody and vicious; the historical brings you into the world of pirates, slave traders and London life. Shepherd has a way with words that shows he has researched his story and really understands his eras well, bringing the characters to life with ease and compassion.
By the time I'd finished this book I wanted to learn more about the real murders, and with the reference notes given thats exactly what I can do. This is a very well written first novel, I look forward to his next and would recommend this book if you love historical horror novels.


The Ghost Goes West [1935] [DVD]
The Ghost Goes West [1935] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Donat
Price: 5.70

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 7 July 2011
This is the first film I can ever remember seeing, so obviously it holds a certain amount of nostalgia for me, as Im sure it does for many others. However, when I bought the dvd I wasnt sure whether the film would be as good as I remembered, or if it would have been better to have left it alone.

I neednt have worried. This is a classic and it has lost none of its charm. Sure there are a few creaks here and there...the film quality isnt the best and at times the sound could be better, but for a film that is nearly 80 years old I think you can forgive a few wrinkles.

It's a gentle comedy, perhaps not for youngsters who are used to fast paced modern films, but I think that everyone should see this film at least once.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2012 2:18 PM GMT


Jazz
Jazz
by Jeanpaul Ferro
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest Poetry, 27 May 2011
This review is from: Jazz (Paperback)
The first poem about the displacement of the ego, lost among the resident souls on a University campus, learning to make oneself heard, sets the scene for a dark, sometimes distressing, but always thoughtful collection.

The majority of Jeanpaul Ferro's poems speak of love, life, death, war, futility and living in a disconnected state. There is a feeling of experience that few really understand but more people go through than are considered. We hear the voices of people who's homes are destroyed by war, who's eyes are tortured by their surroundings as they try to rebuild their lives, who have loved and lost and who are seeking romance still. Searching for what is lost and yearning for the past, however imperfect, is a major theme of these poems as is the irony of the American Dream and how reality is rarely that co-operative. Sometimes dark, but always inescapably human, these are musings on the past and how the future often fails to deliver.

Gritty, realistic but sometimes disconnected (yes, with a jazz-like quality), this is a collection from a new independent publisher that is well worth reading.


Fifty Dresses that Changed the World: Design Museum Fifty
Fifty Dresses that Changed the World: Design Museum Fifty
by The Design Museum
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good little read, 9 May 2011
This is not a huge glossy coffee-table tome but a lovely size that fits neatly in your hands as you sit back and dive into its pages. The matt dust jacket and pages, while not to everyone's taste, makes a welcome change from all those super glossy books that are all style and no substance...for me this book has both.

When I opened it I had in my mind a list of dresses that just HAD to be in there if the book was to be of any real authority, and I'm pleased to say they were all in there. The dresses start with the 1915 pleated dresses by Fortuny, through the New Look of Dior in 1947, the mini dress of '65, the paper dress of `68 to "that" Versace dress modelled by Liz Hurley in 1994 ending with Hussein Chalayan's LED dress in 2007.

With each dress is a page of background, giving you information on the dress and its designer. The detail isn't overwhelming, there could be more, but this is for general readership and not necessarily for design or fashion students, although I think they would also benefit from this book.

There are no dresses missing that I thought should be there, although there are a couple that I personally thought were not really worthy of mention as changing the world. And as this foray into fashion finishes in 2007 there are some obvious omissions that could perhaps be added in future editions - I'm sure Lady Gaga will appear at some point.

Overall I'd say that this is a good book for those interested in seeing how fashion has progressed, and is informative for those wanting to know a little about the designs and their designers. It may even inspire some readers to look for further information and look more closely at fashion and how it changes the world .


Let Me In [DVD]
Let Me In [DVD]
Dvd ~ Chloe Moretz
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 3.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Not the usual Vampire film, 1 April 2011
This review is from: Let Me In [DVD] (DVD)
When I settled down to watch this I was expecting a Vampire flick (with a capital V). I haven't seen many horrors lately as I've become fairly jaded by the whole horror genre...most these days seem to rely too heavily on special effects and have very little in the way of storyline. (The last one I watched was Legion...even Paul Bettany couldn't save THAT one). What I found in this film was surprising. It's actually good, and is not the usual slasher flick...you know the type...teenagers/misfits, spooky woods, crowded fairgrounds, isolated location and a serial killer/vampire on the loose.

Let Me In is unusual in that the "horror" is not what you would expect and the blood n guts, although on the whole well done, is not the actual focus of the film. I would say actually that in the scheme of things it's secondary and is intrinsic to the story, not just there for the Hell of it.

This is the story of a friendship between a 12 year old boy and the girl next door. It just so happens that he's being beaten up by the school bullies and she's a vampire.

The film is, very much for me, in the film noir type of category. The lighting is atmospheric, while washed out colours, mood enhancing background music and excellent camera direction mix with a story subtly told.

This is not an "I'm going to make you jump, your heart will be in your mouth and you're not going to sleep for a week" type of film. It's one that will get under your skin, slowly, and make you think hard about who the actual monster is.

Its no, Near Dark, and it definitely isn't the Lost Boys, but I think this one may stand the test of time as these two have. The nearest comparison I have is Justin Cronin's book "The Passage", which has had its film rights secured. Chloe Moretz who plays the lead in this film would fit in as the leading lady for "The Passage" too. You have to have read the book to understand where I'm coming from there.

I'm not going to tell you any more about the film though....you have to watch it. If you like a film that makes you go "Hmmmm" at the end, and gets the brain matter going, then this is for you


Sanctus
Sanctus
by Simon Toyne
Edition: Paperback

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced thriller, 30 Mar 2011
This review is from: Sanctus (Paperback)
Set in the fictional Turkish city of Ruin this is a book that slowly gets under your skin. A man is running, but what from, and why does he throw himself to his death as the book begins?

The book is a murder mystery, conspiracy theory thriller. Simon's choppy style is fast paced as we follow the lives of those caught up in the mystery. Throughout the book we move quickly from one scene to the other, building up the story in layers until the final climax is reached.

His writing style does hint at Simon's background in television, you can see the director in him cutting from one scene to another, however, this does not detract from the story, indeed I feel that this would make a wonderful film. The only criticism I can make is that I would perhaps have liked the pace to slow down slightly to give us more character development. I would love to know more of the backgrounds and thought processes of many of the characters; the coroner Reis fascinated me, as did the policeman Arkadian...in fact all the characters are fascinating. Perhaps if there is a second book based around the characters we may find out more.

Overall I would say that this is an enjoyable book with an unexpected ending. Toyne has created an intriguing city with a mysterious citadel, mad monks and rival communities. If you like your books fast, intriguing and thought provoking, this one's for you.


The Night Post: A New Selection (Salt Modern Poets)
The Night Post: A New Selection (Salt Modern Poets)
by Matthew Sweeney
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetry with a dark twist, 1 Nov 2010
If you "don't like poetry" I would suggest you pick up this volume of Sweeney's poems and dive straight in. With a dry wit and an eye for detail, these poems will make you ponder on life's little details. The wind and rain pervade as liquid pools of moonlight glint through the pages, while insomnia grabs you and death stalks the streets. Sweeney gets to the heart of life, but rather than spoon-feeding narratives to the reader his style fills in small chunks of a larger story. Dreams hints at premonition and Hitchhiking paints a vivid picture, while Whatever is just plain dark. Throughout the volume we meet death and sex in their many guises, the infirmities of old age and the sharp eyes of youth. These poems aren't flowery sonnets from a make-believe world, they are dark, surreal and full of humour - albeit a very dark kind of humour.
In these days of instant gratification and "no time to read", I would suggest that this volume is slim enough to fit in your jacket pocket, or your bag, ready to be taken out and dipped into in those spare few moments. This isn't the poetry of the classroom, but poetry for now, poetry that makes you think.


The Stepmothers' Support Group
The Stepmothers' Support Group
by Sam Baker
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book, 14 July 2010
To be honest I wasnt sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I'm not one for chick-lit and have had my nose buried in a couple of heavy books recently so I thought I'd read something different for a change. And I'm really glad I did!

This is not a mindless read that romps from one implausible scenario to the next, this is a considered well-written piece of fiction that actually makes you look at yourself and those around you in a new light, but without being a heavy or preachy. I'm not a step-parent, but I am a mother, and the characters in this book strike you as people you could easily know, and probably have known had you only looked closer into their lives.

It's an extremely enjoyable read that I'd honestly recommend.


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