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Andy Boyle (Scotland)

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Acer Iconia B1 7" Tablet Case - G-HUB PropUp PURPLE Stand Case Cover (with integrated stand function) for Acer Iconia B1-A71 with BONUS: G-HUB ProPen Stylus
Acer Iconia B1 7" Tablet Case - G-HUB PropUp PURPLE Stand Case Cover (with integrated stand function) for Acer Iconia B1-A71 with BONUS: G-HUB ProPen Stylus
Offered by G-Hub

5.0 out of 5 stars Great service, 2 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have to say that, compared with other tablet covers I've looked at, this one is by far the best value for money. The construction seems strong (I haven't tested this in any extreme way, but it looks robust enough), and the stylus/pen combo that comes with it is much better than most of it's ilk I've tried.Really can't complain about it at all.
Oh, my daughter says it smells funny, but I think that might be my aftershave....

All the Little Lights
All the Little Lights
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Thank goodness for broken cd players..., 20 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
...the CD player in my truck stopped working, so i had to listen to the radio. Let Her Go was on, and on the strength of that I got the album, and I am so hooked on it. The music is actually played by a musician, on actual instruments! Good Lord, whatever next?
The song writing is excellent and full of humour and humanity, in turns it is laugh-out-loud funny, and heart-breakingly sad. I suppose if you're looking for some idea of the kind of music this is, then I would say it's a sort of folky, acoustic pop (in the best sense of the word, not "pappy pop", as Mark E. Smith would call it).
I got the MP3 download, and only the single album version. Apparently, there is an acoustic live set available, which is cheap if you get it at the same time as the main album, and I would seriously urge you to go for the extra tracks if you can.
The only downside to the album is that there is some swearing on it, which means I don't feel comfortable playing it in earshot of my 5 year old, but I guess that just means I'll have to keep it all to myself for now!

The Left Hand of God
The Left Hand of God
by Paul Hoffman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Fun, 7 Nov. 2012
This review is from: The Left Hand of God (Paperback)
The first thing to say about The Left...TLHoG for short, is that it is much more grounded than most fantasy. The plot is (at a stretch) believable insofar as that there is no magic and no fantastic beasts that require you to suspend your disbelief. Paul Hoffman has taken a leaf out of Guy Gavriel Kay's book (or perhaps even several of them)and postulated a world which is almost, but not quite, recognisable, featuring religious and political factions which are nearly, but not really, historic. It makes for a story that feels like fantasy for grown-ups.
(incidentally, one reviewer at least claims that this is a book for teens. Really??! Most teens would cope fine with it, but it IS fairly graphic in parts, and contains much more adult material than, say, Terry Goodkind's fantasy)
There is a downside to this, in that most of the place names are known to us, but in the internal geography of the book, distant from the locations we would expect. Similarly, the religion of the Redeemers is close enough to Christianity to be familiar, but has names and odd bits of theology mixed up and turned around. The net effect is that there seems little invention to the world of TLHoG, but much transposition. In short, it's a bit lazy, and rather unsubtle.
That said, this is very much a character driven novel, and in that regard, it is excellent. Thomas Cale is a complex and intriguing chap, and the supporting cast have enough weight to give you a sense of reality. They would say those words, they would do those things.
There is much here that can be developed into a really deeply convoluted, devious plot, and I hope that the author has the wuntuns to stick to his vision. I anticipate the sequel with, er... anticipation.

Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet)
Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet)
by Philip Reeve
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you sitting quietly? then we'll begin..., 10 Sept. 2012
Good grief. I read this over a period of a few weeks as a bed time story for my nine year old son, listened into by my seven year old daughter. What can I say? They loved it: absolutely lapped it up, particularly towards the climax. The basic plot has been done to death in the reviews here, but I have to repeat that although the idea is far-fetched to the point of being preposterous, Phillip Reeve pulls it off with such gritty panache (if that isn't a contradiction in terms) that you just can't help getting pulled in.
Largely, this is a result of the very well rounded characters and their complex relationships with each other, as well as the whole attention to detail that has gone into the world Reeve has created. There is, for once, a justifiable similarity to Tolkien here, in that the story develops against a background that has enough internal consistency to enable you to suspend your disbelief. The relationship between Tom and Hester has a particularly strong emotional punch.
Be warned, there are moments of fairly graphic violence in the story, which caused me to worry a little about bad dreams, (the kids, not me), but by the time we got to that point in the story, the kids and I where hooked and we couldn't have simply stopped. The violence is not gratuitous or excessive, simply rather realistically described, and is frequently leavened with subtle touches of black humour. Overall, a terrific rip-roaring adventure that will amuse, frighten, sadden and thrill. Having just finished Mortal Engines, The Boy has demanded the next book, Predators Gold, which we started tonight. I might go and sneak preview the next couple of chapters, just to check it's not too frightening, you understand...

77 Shadow Street
77 Shadow Street
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £4.72

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coming out of the shadows...., 9 Sept. 2012
Welll...ok, I'll put my neck on the line and admit it. I quite enjoyed this. I've read just about everything Mr Koontz has written, among them some of my favourite books (Watchers, Intensity), and a few that I would sooner forget (Breathless, Your Heart..), but by and large, I have enjoyed most of his output. This is by far the best thing he's written for some time now, but still sadly below the heights of his best writing.
As has been mentioned, the main problem is the lack of a good strong central character. Nobody does this kind of thing better than Koontz, so why he opted for an ensemble cast of characters, featuring some potential true heroes who he failed to utilise, I don't know. The same is true of the bad guys. The ideas where there, but Koontz seems to have been so distracted by the philosophising that he forgot that he was telling a story.
The basic idea of the story was great. Far fetched, I admit, but hey, this is a horror/sci-fi novel, so lets not get too picky! If you want realism, go read Fifty Shades of Grey (ahem...)
Overall, this novel renewed my faith in Koontz, and at the very least, I will look forward to his next book as a result of reading this one. Three stars for the novel, and one for old times sake.

The Ghost Of Tom Joad
The Ghost Of Tom Joad
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer poetry, 29 May 2012
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)
I bought this as a result of hearing the title track on "The best of ", and because it had some of the same sound of "Devils and Dust", which I already had and love dearly. This blew me away. Like D and D, the songs are narrative in nature, the stories downbeat, the delivery emotional but restrained. There is so much beauty in these little stories that they can move me to tears. Manly tears, obviously.
I refer you to "Straight Time", "Mary's smiling but she's watchin' me / Out of the corner of her eye"
Youngstown, "When I die I want no part of heaven / I would not do heaven's work well / I pray the devil comes and takes me to stand / In the fiery furnaces of hell."
Just stunningly good lyrics, beautiful understated music, and more heart than you can shake a stick at.

Devils & Dust
Devils & Dust
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £8.61

5.0 out of 5 stars devils in the details, 28 May 2012
This review is from: Devils & Dust (Audio CD)
This was the first Springsteen album I ever bought, and as a result, I now have all of his studio albums bar one or two, and a few compilations and live albums.

Which kind of speaks for itself, really.

There are no duff tracks an this one, although there are a couple that dip in quality below the rest, but that still makes them head and shoulders above almost anything else out there.

A few other reviewers have given track by track breakdowns of the album, so I won't go into all that, but please, just listen to "The Hitter", with the lights out, with your imagination supplying the images. It is one of the most powerful songs I have EVER heard, and I've heard LOTS ;). Likewise, "Long Time Coming", what a story, what passion and hope!

These are more than just songs; they are tales of loss and redemption and a search for meaning and a place in a hostile, unsympathetic world. In some ways, this is like a book of short stories, set to music. There is not a great deal to whistle along to here, perhaps, but if you aren't caught up in the sheer emotion of the narrative, then there is no poetry in your soul, and I pity you.

The Last Airbender [DVD]
The Last Airbender [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dev Patel
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £3.90

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh, did I just play a movie? I didn't notice..., 21 May 2012
This review is from: The Last Airbender [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this film the other week. A few years ago, I had a motorbike accident. Guess which I'd prefer to experience again, that's right, give me the motorbike.
I thought that the plot made little sense to me because I haven't read the comics and don't know the back story, but I've since been informed that the movie itself bears little resemblance to the comic, so it's just a poorly plotted film. The acting is enthusiastic, and the actors seemed to try, but really, they where fighting an uphill battle all the way with a stilted, lazy script. I feel sorry for them, 'cause I wouldn't want this film in my CV if I was a young actor trying to make it big. The action scenes had reasonable energy, but lacked involvement and impact.
Best avoid this one. It isn't that it's effects or production or acting are particularly bad. It's worse than that: it's boring!

Working On a Dream
Working On a Dream
Offered by Entertainment Direct
Price: £5.29

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bruce's Marmite album, 13 May 2012
This review is from: Working On a Dream (Audio CD)
I only got into Springsteen about four years ago, and have now managed to accumulate most of his studio albums, as well as a couple of compilations and live albums. So, I've come to this album with relatively few pre-conceptions. Bruce does what Bruce does and really, he doesn't owe me anything, and if I don't like it, well, I can walk away.
But I DO like it. What Love Can Do is an absolute corker of a song, and most of the rest are pretty damn good too. The big exception here being (as has been mentioned), Surprise Surprise, which could have been recorded by Rick Astley (remember him?) and would have been cheesy even by HIS cheddar standards. Outlaw Pete is another track which has been mocked endlessly, but in this case, that's a bit unfair. It's got a great tune, and the lyrics wouldn't have been too out of place on Dylan's "Desire", "Good Eye" is a great dirty blues number. Queen of the Supermarket is just plain bizzare, and I'm sure that there's some dark, sinister story beneath the surface, but I just haven't found it yet.
I suppose, if you want endless re-runs of Darkness on the Edge of Town, or The River, this might disappoint, but that would say more about a persons expectations than it would about the music. On it's own merits, WOAD is a greatly enjoyable album, but not perfect.
And I HATE Marmite, so you can trust my opinion;)

The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1)
The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £5.37

42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just a bit too short..., 8 April 2012
I usually think I'm missing something when I read a book and really enjoy it, and then see that it got rubbish reviews. This time I'm quite sure that I'm right and those who don't like this book are wrong!
As almost every one on either side of The Passage debate has pointed out, the sudden change of plot a third of the way through the book does indeed jar, and it feels like someone's put two different books inside the same cover, but to say that the second part of the story is boring, or lacks any engaging characters, well, that's just plain silly. I was dismayed at the sudden end of the first part of the book. I had become really involved in the characters and the situation. The end was abrupt. Well, maybe it was meant to be, maybe the world is supposed to end unexpectedly. I found myself thinking in exclamation marks and question marks.
UH? !!!
And then you start again, new characters, new (and alien) situation, new world. So, it made sense to me that the second part of the book was different to the first, because it IS a different story. A less creative writer might have gone for the easy option of the expected course of plot development, but I think Mr Cronin tried something a little more daring and different, and I think to a large degree, if not totally, he succeeded.
I will be buying The Twelve when it comes out, and I don't care if I AM a bit thick, I will enjoy it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2012 9:01 PM BST

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