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Joaozinho2 (Devon, UK)

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Gardening at Longmeadow
Gardening at Longmeadow
by Monty Don
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.00

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting snippets but a lot of repetition, 8 Jun 2012
I was given this book as a birthday present because it is a family joke that most of my gardening 'wisdom' is prefaced by "Monty says..." so, yes, I'm a fan and maybe that's why I was disappointed by this book, a lot of it felt eerily familiar. In short there is very little in this book that isn't covered in more depth in 'The Complete Gardener' or 'The Ivington Diaries'. Even between chapters there is a lot of repetition, the passages on peas are a good example.
I realise that this is partly due to the format, in which each chapter is based around a month so that you can dip in and out but it still seems a case of poor editing and/or a way to pad out the book.
The writing is full of Monty's usual infectious enthusiasm as he waxes lyrical about the joys (and frustrations) of gardening and is full of useful bits of advice. I find his books a useful counterpoint to the more formal advice laid down in RHS manuals and reading his books always gives me new ideas (albeit scaled down - we don't all have the luxury of a couple of acres and ample funds).
However, if you want tips on how to garden buy 'The Complete Gardener' it's an excellent reference book. If you want to read about the development of Longmeadow, buy 'The Ivington Diaries' - an inspiring account of how the Dons created and maintain their garden. This book just feels like a chance to cash in on the recent Gardeners' World series and offers nothing new, bar a few references to the poor weather of 2011.


LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (Wii)
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (Wii)
Price: 10.77

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Lego movie game, 18 May 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
It seems a long time now since the first Lego Star Wars game heralded a new wave of amusing and very playable titles that appeal to a wide mix of gamers. The subsequent Lego releases and tweaks to the gameplay have been a mixed bag but this one is up there with the best.

The basic mechanics are unchanged and as the blurb - rather pointlessly - points out, there are a host of new characters to unlock. The two-player co-op mode is as before and you can easily switch between players directly using a pop-up dial rather than having to be close enough to tag them. The puzzles have become more detailed though, often requiring several steps for completion using a wide variety of items including the novelty of Captain Jack's compass. As with the other Lego games although you can get stuck and/or keep dying you essentially have infinite lives and there is always a way to solve the puzzle. Like all good puzzles once the solution hits you, you usually wonder why you hadn't seen it before.

The graphics are pretty good by Wii standards with the chunky Lego characters set against a detailed background. The music is taken from the films and little touches like Jack Sparrow's staggering walk and surprised grunts do a good job of capturing the feel of the films.

The levels are much harder to reach 'True Pirate' on the first play through and the minikits also require a lot more use of unlocked characters in free play. Overall the game manages a good balance of difficulty whilst still maintaining playability, enjoyment and interest.
It's true that there is nothing groundbreaking here but if you want a fun game that mixes humour and thought with smashing up loads of props then this will provide many hours of enjoyment.


Solar
Solar
by Ian McEwan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars wasted hours reading this, 28 Mar 2011
This review is from: Solar (Paperback)
I can't find a single redeeming feature about this book. Apparently it's supposed to be funny or at least satirical but I didn't crack a smile at any of the laboured attempts at slapstick. None of the characters are remotely engaging, not least the main protagonist - clearly he's meant to be unpleasant but this becomes irrelevant when there are no 'good' characters to root for against him. He's not even consistently or convincingly bad, good or redeemable, just slovenly and selfish.
The scientific content detracts from the flow, large chunks seem to be there just to show how erudite the author is and isn't he clever researching all those complicated subjects. The storylines are fragmented, it's a collage of themes that could make up a novel without really considering any of them in depth.
Reading is a subjective pleasure; there are books I dislike that friends loved and I can see why they did, it's a matter of taste in styles etc. but in the case of this book I really cannot see what there is to like about it. I can't imagine that a less famous author would have even got this published, never mind received such acclaim.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 30, 2011 12:47 PM GMT


The Voice of the Violin (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries)
The Voice of the Violin (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries)
by Andrea Camilleri
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars promising story spoilt by translation, 24 Aug 2010
This is the first book I've read in this series and following all the rave reviews found it bit of a disappointment. The biggest problem is the translation, it reads as if it has been translated word for word from the Italian with no thought as to how it should be expressed in idiomatic English. Dialogue becomes awkward and unnatural and descriptions are ungainly. This is a shame as the central plot isn't bad, it builds well and and draws you in but so much of the narrative flow and characterisation are lost that it is hard work to read.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2011 4:38 PM BST


The Gargoyle
The Gargoyle
by Andrew Davidson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly engrossing, 10 Mar 2009
This review is from: The Gargoyle (Paperback)
Wasn't sure what to expect from the reviews of this book and would still have trouble classifying it. It certainly wouldn't be to everyone's taste, the mix of romance, history and thriller without sitting squarely in one category but I thought it worked really well. The intertwined narratives reminded me of David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas' and Umberto Eco came to mind too. The characters are brought to life wonderfully and the reader is sucked into their lives and individual developments. The plot maybe wobbles a bit towards the end but it's difficult to go into this too much without spoiling the ending. This would tempt me to give it 4.5 stars and round them down to 4 but I enjoyed the book as a whole so much - which is what really counts - that I would rather round it up to 5.


The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House
by Kate Summerscale
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't see what all the fuss was about, 10 Mar 2009
I chose this book because it seemed to be getting glowing reviews from such a variety of sources but was disappointed with it.
It's not a bad book, it's intelligently written and meticulously researched but it's not clear what it's aiming to be. It tries to be a whodunnit, a history of detectives, a commentary on Victorian social values but in the end fails to satisfy on any of these counts. The factual account gets bogged down in lengthy descriptions of details. The mystery fails to engage because (a) it's not that mysterious and (b) none of the characters can actually speak for themselves or inspire the reader's sympathy.


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