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Mr. N. T. Szczepaniak "bumpybabemagnet" (Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland)

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A New Day
A New Day
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut Album, 3 Dec 2013
This review is from: A New Day (MP3 Download)
This is the debut album from Berwick upon Tweed singer/songwriter Electric Penelope (otherwise known as Anna Emmins). I was lucky enough to be present at the launch concert for this album. With no idea what to expect I was quickly won over by her quirky songs, lovely voice and self-deprecating on-stage manner. She performed all of the tracks from the album at that concert, then had to sing a couple of them again as encores as she didn't have any more and the audience wasn't letting her go.

There really isn't a bad song on here, but my particular favourites are the beautiful "Carry Me Home" and "Come And Find Me". This lady deserves to be a big star and you deserve to hear her music.


5.0 out of 5 stars An undiscovered jewel, 16 Feb 2012
This review is from: SO FAR SO GOOD (Audio CD)
Mathilde Santing is a Dutch singer who should be a huge star around the world. With a beautiful voice that could melt the hardest heart, she has made a career out of interpreting other people's songs in intriguing ways, as well as co-writing a few very unusual songs of her own.
This collection draws from a number of her albums, from her eponymous debut with naive "superautomatic accompaniment" (I think this means Casio keyboard), through her brush with major label success (the WEA albums "Water Under The Bridge" and "Out of this Dream", to the beautiful piano-accompanied "Breast and Brow" and its successor "Carried Away".

Highlights include a stunning version of Roddy Frame's "We Could Send Letters" and the lovely "Too Much".

by A. W. Stewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.04

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A scary new fantasy world - not just for children!, 20 Sep 2010
This review is from: ROOKTIME (Paperback)
Imagine stepping from your own familiar world of family, friends, school and square meals into an alien environment where you are the slave of terrifying creatures who force you to work while existing on a diet of seeds and scavenged birds. Such is the fate of Mark and Laura, who push their way through a mysterious hedge and find themselves in Rookland.

There is a long tradition in fiction of ordinary children who find magical portals which transport them to other worlds. Alice travels through her looking glass. Lucy Pevensey hides in a wardrobe and wanders into Narnia. And Philip Pullman's Will finds a knife which allows him to cut doorways in the elaborate multiverse of His Dark Materials. To suggest, somewhat dismissively, that Rookland is "like Narnia" is surely missing the point. It is the nature of the world that is created, not the means by which it is discovered, that differentiates books of this kind.

Rookland is most definitely not like Narnia. There are no friendly talking animals, no God-like lion, no easy way home - once Mark and Laura are through the hedge it disappears behind them. Rookland is a strange and frightening place, inhabited by creatures with the bodies of men and the heads and talons of giant birds, ruled over by the vicious Silver Crest. It is a place where the Stolens, children snatched from our world, are forced into lives of drudgery with no apparent hope of escape.

But not all is darkness and misery in Rookland. The friendship and support the Stolens offer each other makes their lives seem not just bearable but almost enjoyable. The nurturing, encouraging syle of leadership shown by Dan, the eldest of the Stolens, contrasts effectively with Silver Crest's bullying reign of violence and terror.

The Stolens themselves are, on the whole, well-drawn, their roles in the story seeming to develop organically from their characters rather than being allocated by the author. Bronwen becomes the caring big sister, the twins Daisy and Anna are still little girls who escape into play whenever they are given the opportunity. Thomas is the difficult middle child, nose permanently out of joint, sometimes only just tolerated by his loyal friend James.
Dialogue can be a major stumbling block in modern writing for children. Away from their parents, young people's language changes, sometimes quite dramatically. The author wisely avoids the temptation to try to mimic this language but uses the occasional well-placed (and relatively mild) expletive to remind us that these are real children, not perfect little angels. Only the unfortunate Solo comes across as slightly unrealistic - it would be sufficient for him to describe his underprivileged background without sounding like a Victorian street urchin.

The birdmen, with their eyes on the backs of their hands and their strange language understood only by Dan, are genuinely frightening. There is a harshness to their nature which brings a subtle air of menace to the book, which is heightened by the casual cruelty of their ruler, Silver Crest.

The best-written character in the book, however, has to be Jack, the jackdaw befriended and taught to speak by Solo. His variation on the English language, easily understood with a little thought, has an air of reality which lifts him off the page and into life.

The book comes to a satisfying conclusion while leaving open the possibility of a sequel. A minor character assumes a greater importance than the reader has hitherto been led to believe. Not everyone has a happy ending. There is unfinished business.

I am a keen reader, not a professional reviewer. Professional reviewers read critically. My aim is to provide a critique of a book I have read for pleasure and I will conclude by asking myself three questions. Did I enjoy Rooktime? Would I recommend it to a friend? Would I read a sequel?

The answer to all these questions is YES.

Eclipse (Twilight Saga)
Eclipse (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Give Bella a break, 11 April 2009
For crying out loud - she's a teenager. She has teenage angst. She's in love with two "people" who can never, ever be friends. She's on the verge of an irrevocable decision which will tear her away from her family and turn one of her two potential lovers into a sworn enemy. Wouldn't you be a bit whiny in that situation?
I don't think the books in this series are particularly well-written, but it's Bella who keeps me reading. Will she become a vampire? Every fibre of my being tells me it would be the wrong thing to do but we do strange things for love.
I think Eclipse is probably my favourite of the series so far (I haven't read Breaking Dawn yet). I think it really brings out the idea of vampires as victims - they didn't choose to be what they are and to be "vegetarian" like the Cullens seems to be almost unbearable torment. I also found it quite sobering to realise that a delightful character like Alice must have killed hundreds of people before joining the Cullens. That realisation actually kept me thinking for days, so maybe Stephanie Meyer is a better writer than I give her credit for.

Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 7.19

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't like this you can sue me!, 18 April 2001
This review is from: Storms (Audio CD)
I was already a huge Nanci Griffith fan when I bought this album, but found it seriously disappointing when I first heard it. Where was the country sound of "Lone Star State of Mind" or "One Fair Summer's Evening"? Apparently replaced by synthesizers and drum machines.
But it grew on me. First of all there was the tough humanitarian lyric of "It's a hard life wherever you go". Then the gorgeous duet with Phil Everly on "You made this love a teardrop", the Wim Wenders inspired "If wishes were changes" and the lovely opening bars of "I don't wanna talk about love" - so warm and soothing they ought to be a soup commercial!
Buy this album, listen to it a few times, and if you don't love it you can sue me. I'm not worried!

Lone Star State Of Mind
Lone Star State Of Mind
Price: 7.99

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The start of a love affair!, 13 Aug 2000
This review is from: Lone Star State Of Mind (Audio CD)
This was the first Nanci Griffith album I ever heard, and the start of an enduring love affair with the lady's music. I bought it on the strength of hearing "From a Distance" on the radio. Even though the song has become something of a cliche through terrible versions by Cliff Richard and Bette Midler, the recording on this album can still move me to tears. One or two of the tracks were a bit too country for me at the time but I've grown to love them. Apart from the aforementioned "From a Distance", I have to single out "There's a Light Beyond These Woods (Mary Margaret)" as one of the most spine-tingling pieces of music I have ever heard. Buy this album, then go out and buy her others.

Miss America
Miss America

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this album, 9 Jan 2000
This review is from: Miss America (Audio CD)
I was given this album as a present when it was first released, and my initial reaction was "what is this woman on?" It takes a few listens to get used to O'Hara's idiosyncratic style, but it gradually works its magic.
From the beautiful "You will be loved again" and "Let me lift you up" through the quirkier "When you know why you're happy" and "What my friends got" to the downright bonkers "Not be all right" every song has a magic of its own.
Standout track for me is "Body's in trouble" - I'm not sure what it's about but I could listen to it all day. Thirteen years after I first heard this album I still love it - get out there and buy it.
And Mary Margaret - if you're reading this, do me a favour and release a new album.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2008 9:03 AM BST

The Dust Bowl Symphony
The Dust Bowl Symphony
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 11.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nanci Griffith re-interprets some old favourites, 5 Nov 1999
This review is from: The Dust Bowl Symphony (Audio CD)
On her latest album, Ms Griffith is joined by the London Symphony Orchestra as she re-interprets some old favourites. When this works - on "Always Will" or "Waiting For Love" for example, the results are quite beautiful. On one or two songs, however, she seems a little over-awed by the company she is keeping, indulging in irritating little "downhome" vocal quirks. Standout tracks include the two aforementioned, along with "Nobody's Angel" and "Not My Way Home" which seem to gain some of the stature they lack on the albums which first included them. Overall this is a very enjoyable recording to delight the fans until Nanci gets around to releasing some more self-penned material.

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