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Ratrunner (UK)

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First Contact (The Last War Trilogy, Book 1) (In Her Name)
First Contact (The Last War Trilogy, Book 1) (In Her Name)
Price: £0.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly tedious - Avoid, 28 Feb. 2015
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I almost always finish books. But in this case I have abandoned this just 53% through. It should be exiting, but isn't. It should be gripping, but isn't. Based on some of the other reviews I should be desperate to read the next page, but recently I have preferred to spend my train commute surfing the internet on my phone rather than read this. I have no desire to find out what happens. I couldn't care less about the characters. I can't even be bothered to fast forward to the last page. Sorry.

I am getting utterly suspicious of Amazon book reviews because I keep finding very well reviewed books that are at best 3 star publications. Unfortunately in this case it isn't even worth three. Despite the attractive £0.00 pricing it just isn't worth the time and effort to read it.

Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A good story struggling to get out, 25 Jan. 2015
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I bought this because of the awards it had won and the Amazon reviews, however, in the end it proved disappointing. Somewhere in here is a good story struggling to get out, but I feel it is let down by the telling. I have given it three stars, but many of the comments in the one and two star reviews are relevant. I spent most of the book thinking that I had made a mistake in coming into a series of books half way through because there was a lot of information that was coming my way that I couldn't follow and appeared to assume previous knowledge. It turns out that this is the first book in the series (I did buy this some months before I started to read it and had forgotten) and in my view the author should have made a better effort in explaining all the back story.

The first half of the book switches in alternate chapters between current events and those from 20 years previously. I found this hard to follow and on the whole would have preferred a more linear timeline. Once this ceased I found it easier to read, but the dialogue throughout was poorly written and often appeared to add nothing to the story at all. Unlike some reviewers I did like the constant references to tea drinking (a nod perhaps at Arthur Dent in the Hitch-hikers Guide series?) but the use of she virtually throughout was simply confusing and ultimately pointless.

No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An efficient good quality product - as usual from Bosch, 2 Jan. 2015
We discovered many years ago that Bosch products are some of the most reliable on the market and hopefully this will maintain the trend. We bought it to replace a previous built in Bosch dishwasher that was just a few months short of 10 years old when it died. A week or two later we also had to get a new washing machine, this time replacing a 12 year old Bosch. That just shows how good these products are.

So far this dishwasher has done a good job on the cleaning front. Improvements from the old model include speed perfect and half load buttons - the former simply doing the wash in half the time, apparently without any discernible loss of cleaning. Excellent!

My only gripe is that the top stacking tray is much less compatible with the shapes and sizes of our dishes than the old one, which was in my view virtually perfect. We are struggling to find appropriate spaces for our mugs and glasses - the spaces are just the wrong size to snugly slot them home, but we are learning to work round this. One tip, however, is NOT to sit glasses over the vertical prongs on the right hand side - we have broken two this way.

The Endless River
The Endless River
Price: £9.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant coda but nothing outstanding, 2 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Endless River (Audio CD)
How do you review an album from a band with a back catalogue like Pink Floyd's? It's a tricky question, because clearly this band have reached heights that others can only dream of. Let's be clear, this album is not going to add any new fans. It is no Dark Side of the Moon. It is a nice coda of meandering instrumental tracks that make a pleasant listen but don't leap out as memorable classic Floyd. But nevertheless I keep finding myself playing the album, so it's not at all bad.

In my view the best Pink Floyd tracks have a wonderful balance of sung and instrumental elements. They ebb and flow. Where the band stray too much towards songs (like on much of The Wall) the product is diminished. Here they have gone in the opposite direction and again the material lacks something from having no singing until the final track.

I have given it three stars, although 2.5 would have been more representative. When you have guaranteed 5* material out there like DSOTM, Wish You Were Here, Animals and Meddle, this falls some way short. Interestingly, an examination of Floyd album reviews on Amazon shows this to have had by far the most ratings (1312 - twice as many as Dark Side) and yet the average rating is actually the lowest of all Floyd albums at 4 stars. (The best is 4.8 for Pulse). I do feel that this limited span of less than 1 star doesn't really represent the relative positions of the best and worst of Pink Floyd, but that probably reflects the limitations of the Amazon review system. See below for full details as of 2 Jan 2015:

Album Reviews Avg stars
Pulse 98 4.8
Animals 159 4.7
Meddle 118 4.7
Delicate sound of thunder 51 4.7
Dark side of the moon 630 4.5
The division bell 241 4.5
Echoes (best of) 119 4.5
Wish you were here 390 4.4
The Wall 160 4.4
The final cut 123 4.4
Obscured by clouds 51 4.3
Atom heart mother 88 4.2
A momentary lapse of reason 99 4.2
More 23 4.1
The Endless river 1312 4.0

Songs Of Innocence
Songs Of Innocence
Offered by Fine Drop
Price: £4.29

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One of their poorest albums, 2 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Songs Of Innocence (Audio CD)
I have been a U2 fan for decades and I simply can't understand the number of 5* reviews here. In simple terms this album is poor - nothing stands out in any respect apart from irritating elements that make me want to skip tracks. It is U2 going through the motions I am sorry to say. In my opinion it is well behind their last album and has nothing to grab the attention like Get On Your Boots. I struggle to summon up any enthusiasm to play it at all.

It is noticeable that it has obtained far more reviews than any other U2 album on Amazon (264 to date) and with an average score of 4.4 sits mid table in the Amazon U2 ranking. However, the best reviewed albums (Achtung Baby, Unforgettable Fire and Under a Blood Red Sky) get 4.7 and the worst 3.8 (No Line on the horizon). In my view this just shows that you can't rely on these reviews as an objective view as I suspect few people would suggest that there is less than a 1 point difference between U2's best and worst.

I would suggest that while Achtung Baby and Joshua Tree are genuine 5* albums (along with the various compilations), Songs of Innocence relatively sits at the bottom of the list alongside Pop and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb at 2*.

Personally I rate War, Rattle and Hum and All That You Can't Leave Behind at 4*, and the remainder at 3*.

Clearly this is my opinion and from reading the reviews there are others who rate Pop as a great album. However, if you broadly agree with my ratings above I suggest that you leave Songs of Innocence alone!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 29, 2015 3:31 PM BST

I Am Pilgrim
I Am Pilgrim
Price: £3.66

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but too long, 10 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Kindle Edition)
Too much of this book is spent relating the back story, which I fell could have been omitted or shortened considerably. Once the main plot kicks off at about 50% through the ebook things improved considerably, although the use of first person narration throughout produces a few oddities when the narrator is describing in detail events that they never witnessed. Nevertheless I did enjoy the story which has quite a few echoes of current events.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as most people think, 10 Aug. 2014
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Clearly I am in a minority here, but this book is not as good as the reviews suggest. It is effectively two stories in one, and while I quite enjoyed the present day escapades of 100 year old Allan, I found his back story utterly contrived and in the end tedious. Allan is such a bland character I struggled to maintain any interest in his adventures. I was hoping that in the end his ridiculous back story (where he manages to meet/befriend/save the life of half the political leaders/dictators of the 20th century) would connect cleverly with the present day plot, but this never happened. The book is billed as comedy, and while there are some quirky elements that raise a smile, on the whole the humour doesn't travel well.

I see that the story has now been made into a film, and while the trailer looks fun, if it is anything like the book I won't be bothering to go and see it.

An Officer and a Spy
An Officer and a Spy
Price: £2.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Harris, 3 July 2014
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Robert Harris gripped my attention when I first came across Fatherland and I have read all his books since. In my opinion this is up there with his best novels, although in this case the story is essentially a re-telling of real events rather than a work of fiction woven into history. I can't understand the small number of poor reviews (although it appears that at least two of them must have pressed the one star in error given the comments!) but it just shows that you can't please everyone.

Harris managed to grip me right from the start and held my attention throughout. I read a lot of fiction, but I have to say that this is the first for a while that has made me so keen to keep reading - it just shows Harris' skill in developing the plot. Even with so many characters (and I must say the list at the start appears a bit daunting) I never lost track of who was who.

Unlike some reviewers I had no knowledge of the Dreyfus affair and so the twists and turns were a great revelation to me. It seems incredible that the military establishment should go to such lengths to try and cover up their original errors, (you expect this in Holywood films but not in real historical fact) but also clearly demonstrates the level of anti-Semitism prevalent in Europe at that time. The Nazis didn't have a monopoly here.

I would highly recommend this.

The Road (Tourmake Mix)
The Road (Tourmake Mix)
Price: £0.79

5.0 out of 5 stars I really good catchy song, 3 July 2014
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I really good catchy song, and I have to say I prefer the Tourmake Mix to the Kimberley Walsh version .

A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction
A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction
Price: £5.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting visit to some obscure rarities, 30 May 2014
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As a long standing Pratchett fan from the days when he'd only got 4 books out I found this an enjoyable rummage in a trunk of unfamiliar short stories. They weren't all to my taste, and to be honest I found the first story -The Hades Business, written when he was just a lad - one of the most interesting, but there are some nice pieces here and it is well worth the cover price.

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