Profile for JoMaynard > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by JoMaynard
Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,544
Helpful Votes: 236

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
JoMaynard (UK)
(VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-19
pixel
Hild
Hild
by Nicola Griffith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.10

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars although this was useful. This all added to authenticity, 9 Oct 2014
This review is from: Hild (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is well written.
I would have marked it down because although it is well written it is quite hard to follow. I did use the family tree and map quite extensively to follow where they were and who they were. The place names used are more authentic (I presume) but tend to be unfamiliar, it was a relief to see Catterick referred to for example, and to know roughly where it was without looking it up. I had no idea how to pronounce a lot of the names, which did make things hard. And I didn't realise until the end that there was a glossary at the back, although this was useful.
This all added to authenticity, possibly, but did make it a challenging read. However I did think it was unnecessary to have two minor characters, in the same part of the country with the same name.

But my real gripes? First, if you are writing about a time when religion is central to the story, such as this when the pagan religions of the Anglo-Saxons are being replaced by Christianity; well it might be a good idea to be able to imagine that some people have genuine belief. I have read books by strong atheists who nonetheless can write about people having genuine belief. In this book no-one really seems to believe anything. The pagan priests are just worried about how they will survive now the King has converted to Christianity. The Celtic Priests just have differently shaved heads. The Roman Catholic Priests are politically motivated, and seem to have no real belief that their God could do anything. Its not even that the writer makes out that some/all are deluded in their beliefs, its more that she denies really that anyone genuinely believes anything.

The second, and the reason I considered strongly giving it an even lower rating. Is the ending! I won't give anything away of the detail, but it doesn't end with any of the known facts of Hild of Whitby's life, but in the totally unknown bit, and with an event that is distasteful and not backed by any historical record. Its a bit like inserting a sex scene into a nativity play.

Which is a pity, as even with its other faults this was an interesting and okay read up til then. I now feel cheated. It could be that a sequel is planned, but I still feel cheated. Its like starting a meal and then being told you will have to book to come back for the main course.

So it would have been okay or good, it it had finished at a point that didn't leave me feeling both voyeuristic and cheated. I can't recommend you read it.
The best thing about this book is that it has made me read other sources on this fascinating historical figure (I can recommend Wikipaedia as a starting place).


GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank
GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank
Price: £18.27

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Girls can do engineering, and have fun!, 23 Sep 2014
This review is from: GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is great to try to teach engineering concepts to young children. And construction/engineering toys that are designed for girls are rare. This one isn't excessively pink which is even better.
I do think it will more appeal to girls, than be unisex, due to the main character being "Goldie Blox" who is obviously a girl dressed as a ring master. Which is a pity, it could easily have been focused on a group of "kids" as Circus people.

The thing I disliked most was the "book" which reads like a badly written, reading scheme book. In about 100 words it really annoyed me, I wish who wrote it hadn't been trying to be clever but had told the "background" story in simple sentences. I also wish it had been a real book, not a fold out in a cover.

The construction is pretty clearly illustrated, and there are alternative things you can make with the kit. The pieces are well made and seem like they will last. It might be nice to have spares of the wheels, as these are the pieces that will probably wear out first.

A good toy, and seems to be selling for about £20 rather than the £70 some are complaining about.


Murder at the Brightwell
Murder at the Brightwell
by Ashley Weaver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1930s Murder Mystery in the classic style, 18 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Brilliant murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie.
Amory Ames is a rich beautiful bright young thing of the 1930s. She is married to Milo who is a charming playboy (and just as rich as she is), but their marriage is strained, as you can gather from the gossip columns.
When Amory's ex-fiance, Gil asks her help to persuade his little sister not to marry Rupert, a playboy. Amory agrees, so joins a group staying at the Brightwell hotel. Apart for Gil and his sister Emmeline, Amory doesn't know any of the party that well.
Then there is a murder. And just to add to things Milo turns up.
Amory turns detective, but also struggles to understand her feelings to Gil and her husband Milo.

It is wonderfully in the Agatha Christie type of detective fiction. At times I longed for a sound track, as there are subtle class divisions playing throughout the book, which would all be wonderful to listen to in the voices. Is one character too precise in their diction maybe, hiding a secret? Amory, Milo, Gil and Emmeline would all have wonderfully clipped 1930s accents; whereas the others would reveal a slightly less rarefied 1930s. I did find the 1930s setting believable, and there was nice detail but not so much that it became boring.

It is a great fun read, and I can barely wait for the next in the series (I believe there will be at least 3).
Perfect for escapism by the fireside or the beach.


KS3 Spanish Interactive Vocab Tester - DVD-ROM and Vocab Book
KS3 Spanish Interactive Vocab Tester - DVD-ROM and Vocab Book
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good way to learn Vocab!, 10 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I bought this for my daughter who is beginning Spanish in KS3. It consists of a work book, which has the vocabulary so you can test yourself, it includes a "high tech" tear off cardboard flap so you can cover the answers while you do so. The other part of the package is a DVD ROM which has the same vocabulary, so you can test your hearing and learn the pronunciation.
First; the initial DVD ROM didn't work on our MAC computer despite the packaging saying it was both MAC and Windows compatible. However I sent a quick email to CGP and they sent me a new DVD ROM free of charge in the next post. This one worked fine!
The DVD consists of a fairly large number of vocabulary list, which you can hear spoken. You can also choose whether to have the English translation present or not, and can tick whether or not you know that piece of vocabulary. You can also test yourself on the vocabulary (unfortunately only written, or from hearing the Spanish and writing the English, its not able to score your pronunciation). This does include though needing the correct accents.
Overall a good aid to learning KS3 Spanish.


2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas
2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas
by Marie-Helene Bertino
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Not what you expect, 4 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is not a children's book - even though one of the main characters is just 2 days from her tenth birthday.

This is not Chick Lit -even though one character has returned to her home town after a divorce, and meets an ex.

This is magical realism, but with much more realisim than magic. (There is only one kind of magical aspect of the whole book.) The rest is pretty gritty, including that the ten year old isn't cute or even always especially likable.

Bad stuff happens. Other bad stuff is hinted at, or happens off stage. However I found it an enjoyable and ultimately uplifting book. You just have to hope that "things work out" eventually.

It is interestingly and intriguingly written, describing 24 hours from lots of different people's points of view. It doesn't feel rushed, or over detailed or crammed. People (and dogs) drift in and out of the story, which gives it depth.

If you like books that are a bit different - but highly readable - then try this one! You won't regret it.


The Age of Ecology
The Age of Ecology
by Joachim Radkau
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £26.70

4.0 out of 5 stars It is a useful background the development of Ecology and the environmental movement, 24 July 2014
This review is from: The Age of Ecology (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a translation of a book previously published in German, if anything has been added I can't tell having not read the original. But that does explain why the discussion only goes up to the 1990s.

It is a useful background the development of Ecology and the environmental movement. It is certainly thick enough to be pretty complete, although it does seem predominantly Western biased. Although it does discuss Japan at one point.
It warns against over simplification by looking at the past and comparing to the present.

This might form a useful book for a course or for academic libraries. However despite the attractive cover it is not really suitable for general reading. I also found the division of chapters really weird. Each time period considered is given its own chapter, and then each chapter is sub-divided into sections. This is a bit unwieldy, and I would rather have had the main sections for their own chapters, and these grouped into parts or sections. The first chapter as it is now is 73 pages long!

There is a lot of information here, and as such it needs in depth study. I haven't yet come across any helpful summaries, which is a pity.

This is a very thorough academic book, and a useful resource. But unless you are a specialist in this area or a student it may well not be the book for you.


The Storms of War
The Storms of War
by Kate Williams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely read., 17 July 2014
This review is from: The Storms of War (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is described as Downton meet Atonement, but as I haven't watched the first or read the second, I wouldn't know. It was also compared to the Cazalet saga, and it is similar.
It follows a privileged family leading up to and through World War I. So is a very timely publication for this year.

The difference is the father is a German industrialist.

The book is both gripping and evocative, and at times horrific.

I would really like to read more and find out what happens next, to those who remain at the end of the book. How will the peace treat them (and just what has one character been *doing* for the whole book).

It is a good read because it asks questions, and then slowly reveals them, Why did Verena marry Rudolf? Why does Rudolf take such interest in Tom the stable boy?

And just how is this family going to survive the Great War?

I is a gripping timely read, with some interesting twists and surprises (not everything followed my first guess). I was left with some questions, so really hope there will be a sequel.


The Reckoning (Inspector Madden Series)
The Reckoning (Inspector Madden Series)
by Rennie Airth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.19

4.0 out of 5 stars but also hints that maybe socialism will not be a wonderful answer. A really good read, 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is the fourth in a series, and I haven't read the preceding three. But I may well go back and get them now.

It is the 1950s and Inspector John Madden is retired and now living the country with his GP wife. He's turned from a copper into a farmer. Nearby his ex-boss is busy raising roses.

Then the yard come calling, they seem to have a couple of very similar recent murders. One in Scotland and one in Lewes in Sussex. Are they connected? Are the victims connected? Who could be doing it? There is a description of the probable murderer in Sussex, but they seemed to have disappeared into thin air.

Why was the latest victim writing to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police? And why did he mention Madden's name?

In this way Inspector Madden is pulled into a police investigation of a case that seems to have its roots in the past, but is it the last war or the one before?

It a gorgeous whodunnit reminiscent of Agatha Christie. The period is evoked with depth, and made me nostalgic for the pre-Beeching railways. There is the optimism of the reforms brought in by the new Labour Government, but also hints that maybe socialism will not be a wonderful answer.

A really good read. Ideal for holidays.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2014 2:18 PM BST


Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us
Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us
by Leonard Mlodinow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

5.0 out of 5 stars For everyone... yes everyone., 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really interesting book on psychology. You don't need to be an expert (in fact an expert might get less out of this than an interested amateur) to read and understand this book.
An intelligent victim, who observed the criminal carefully is the best person to say who committed the crime, surely? You might be surprised when you read this book, how much we mis-remember.
Then there is the Coke paradox, which do you prefer the taste of Coke or Pepsi? Would it change if you didn't know which one you were drinking?

Can we trust our eyes? Our senses? Our memories?

What is really going on?

This book should be interesting for anyone who wants to learn a little more about themselves.
I'm going to get my daughter who wants to study psychology to read it next.


The Truth about Sparrows
The Truth about Sparrows
by Marian Hale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Sadie has to move from Missouri to Texas with her family after years of bad crops. Her best friend Wilma is going too ..., 11 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Its quite and interesting book, and gives a child's eye view of the Depression in the US.
Sadie has to move from Missouri to Texas with her family after years of bad crops. Her best friend Wilma is going too but as her family has no money left, they are going to relatives in California.
In Texas Sadie meets new people, but can she really be friends after her promises to Wilma? Does she have anything in common with the other people squatting in very basic huts on the sea wall?

Its suitable for pre-teens, as it has danger but nothing too bad happens really.
My 11 year old enjoyed it I think, she certainly raced ahead to find out what happened.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-19