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R. Varoujian (London, United Kingdom)
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A Good American
A Good American
Price: 4.31

4.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read, 10 Nov 2012
This review is from: A Good American (Kindle Edition)
A very enjoyable read. The novel is ambitious - it follows an immigrant family over the course of a century or so as they make a new life in America. Having read the author's previous work, it is something of a departure, but the common thread between his novels is nicely summed up in the first line of "A Good American" - "always there was music". My only real criticism is that, for a novel spanning a significant period of time, I thought perhaps some of the characters deserved a little bit more time to develop. Just as you are getting to know them and enjoy their company, you have to leave them behind, and often find yourself wishing you didn't have to say goodbye quite so soon. There are a couple of jarring episodes in the book that you suspect may be coming, but are camouflaged well enough to ensure that an element of surprise is still maintained. Some have commented on the chapter ends telegraphing future developments, but I think that's a matter of taste - I quite liked the storytelling style of the narrative and felt, by the end, I had been taken on a very satisfying and engaging journey. Looking forward to more.


Hori Officially Licensed 3DS Game Card Case 24 (Blue) (Nintendo 3DS/DSi/DSL)
Hori Officially Licensed 3DS Game Card Case 24 (Blue) (Nintendo 3DS/DSi/DSL)
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great storage solution for 3DS games, 30 Jan 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Having bought three of Hori's similar products for the DS Lite, I purchased this with confidence and wasn't disappointed. A great storage solution for 3DS games, but it holds the normal carts as well. The clip in/out system works a treat and beats iffy wallet-style storage systems with ease.


Time Of My Life (Deluxe Edition)
Time Of My Life (Deluxe Edition)

3.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic but enough to keep a fan's interest, 30 Jan 2012
As a relatively recent fan, I have been catching up on 3DD's back catalogue, so it was good to see some new material from the band last year. Was it worth the wait? A qualified yes. It's a solid album with two or three stand-out tracks that's sacrificed a bit of creativity on the altar of commercialism. However, there isn't a single "duff" track on the album, and it does have two or three stand-out tracks - in particular, the anthemic ballad "What's Left", the nostalgia tinged "When You're Young" with its trademark 3DD hooks, and the title track, "Time of My Life". The Deluxe edition is worth getting for the acoustic versions, and the re-worked classic "Train" from the eponymous 2008 3DD album. Worth a listen, but the casual fan may be better off cherry-picking some of the tracks.


Traveling Music: The Soundtrack to My Life and Times
Traveling Music: The Soundtrack to My Life and Times
by Neil Peart
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Travelling with Neil and his Music, 27 Oct 2011
I was given a copy of this book by a fellow fan after going to see Rush live on their Time Machine tour in London. I have been a casual fan of Rush for the past thirty years, but have never really taken the music at anything more than face value. Travelling Music changed all that. It's a thoroughly engaging and absorbing read that gave me a fascinating insight into the man behind the drums. It's an unconventional book that takes its time to get going, but is well worth persevering with, and, like its author on one of his motorcycle road trips, it takes the scenic route through his life, thoughts and musical influences. Well worth a read.


Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Tidmouth Sheds Playset
Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Tidmouth Sheds Playset
Price: 29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Tidmouth's Fiddly Sheds, 7 Jun 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
I bought this to expand on my son's Thomas Take Along range, mainly to serve as a storage area for his trains, and also to let him take it to Grandma's to play with. The sale price of around 23 is probably about the right value for money. The build quality is pretty good, and it is clearly constructed to withstand the rigours of pre-schooler play. It works equally well as part of a bigger layout as well as a self-sufficient, portable toy.

It does have a couple of niggles though. Firstly, the shed doors are easily removed (and therefore easily lost) and also too close together, making it difficult to have five engines poking their faces out at any given time. Secondly, although the track folds under the building quite neatly, the clips that are used to hold it in place are a little loose (especially the catch at the back) and often give way.

That said, our kids thoroughly enjoy playing with it. It is a well detailed building with a turntable that is manually controlled to let the engines out of the shed, and is easy enough for little fingers to manipulate. A quality toy providing hours of fun. Recommended.


Thomas and Friends Take-n-Play James
Thomas and Friends Take-n-Play James
Price: 7.47

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Built to last, 7 Jun 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
We have a number of these engines for my son's Thomas Take and Play (or Take Along) set. James comes with his coal tender, which attaches magnetically to the back of James (as do the other engines and rolling stock in the set). The die cast engine is well built, with toddlers and pre-schoolers in mind, and will withstand a fair bit of abuse with minimal chipping. As such, they have excellent second hand value. The name of the character is imprinted on the bottom, and the magnets are integral to the toy, making them very safe for little ones. The face is well detailed and the toy gives an accurate representation of the character overall. Great build quality and good detail make this a winner.


Revell 1:72 Scale P-47D-30 Thunderbolt
Revell 1:72 Scale P-47D-30 Thunderbolt
Price: 6.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definition of value for money, 28 May 2007
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I finally got round to building this kit last week and "kit-bashed" it over the bank holiday weekend. First impressions were very good. It comes in a sideways opening box chock full of parts moulded in grey plastic. There is a little flash to tidy up, but nothing serious. Attention to detail is impressive, especially in the wheel wells and cockpit. Finely etched panel lines and very good fit throughout. The kit gives you the option to model a USAAF version (the P-47M) and an Armee de l'Air version. I opted for the latter and was rewarded with a wealth of decals that settled down very well. I am very much pleased with the final product. An excellent value for money model considering the Tamigawa's of this world cost twice as much. Highly recommended.


Love You Madly
Love You Madly
by Alex George
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it madly!, 25 Oct 2002
This review is from: Love You Madly (Paperback)
Having read the two previous excellent books by Mr George, I was pleasantly surprised at this welcome departure from light-hearted comedy. Love You Madly is a much darker effort than "Before Your Very Eyes" or "Working it Out", but still retains the humour that George does so well - and it is all the more impressive for it.
It is a compulsive read as you follow the protagonist from one heart breaking catastrophe to the next all the while screaming to yourself "No Matthew! Please no!".
You just have to keep turning the pages, absolutely transfixed by the possibility of another shamelessly enjoyable (to the reader that is) but cringeworthy moment on the next page, almost in the same way that some people watch car and motorcycle races just in case there is a spectacular (but not life-threatening obviously) accident.
It is a well woven story and is an object lesson in allowing paranoia, spurred on by having too much time on your hands and an overactive imagination, get the better of you.
The mad dash to disaster is punctuated throughout by George's brilliant observational humour, which, as a device, not only serves to lighten the mood, but strikes a legitimate chord with the reader on its own merits. Suffice it to say, I have taken to using adjectives and adverbs far more liberally than I used to - and if that confuses you, just buy the book - all will become abundantly and brilliantly clear.
A masterful effort, and one which fully deserves the cluster of five stellar bodies adorning this review. Bravo.


Working It Out
Working It Out
by Alex George
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.47

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I hope he's working on another one..., 18 Oct 1999
This review is from: Working It Out (Paperback)
Looking at the cover, you'd think animals figure heavily in Mr. George's book. Having quickly read through the first chapter, given the fate that befalls an unfortunate cat, I must admit I felt some trepidation about the immediate futures of the cute looking dog and hamster featured on the front cover. I needn't have worried too much. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't want to give the game away in what is an excellent, witty and free-flowing book that was hard to put down. The book is very more-ish and the fact that it didn't take long to finish was a testament to its infectious page turning addictiveness. Tolstoy it isn't - but it is a perfect outside-in-a-street-cafe-on-a-glorious-autumm-sunny-day type book. Come to think of it, we don't get many days like that do we? But then again, we don't get many gems like this one either... Brilliant.


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