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Captain EO "No. 7" (Cardiff, Wales, UK)

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Michael Jackson: The King of Pop 1958-2009 (Unseen Archives)
Michael Jackson: The King of Pop 1958-2009 (Unseen Archives)
by Tim Hill
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of many MJJ "Tribute" books, 24 Jan. 2010
As a huge fan of Michael Jackson for over 20 years, it's incredibly frustrating to now see dozens of titles popping up all over the world "cashing in" on his tragic passing. Despite Michael being such a global success for 30 years, the music sections of bookstores were annoyingly bare of anything MJJ related yet as soon as he passed away, it appears that the world is now desperate to consume anything with his name on it again.

The "Unseen Archives" is a strange title indeed for this particular book as although there are a number of relatively rare photo's amongst the many shown throughout the book, it's not a particularly accurate title as most fans would have seen the vast majority of stills here & there's not a single photo that made me think "Wow". As well as this, there are a number of extremely unusual choices as full-page photo's such as a close-up with his eyes closed whilst blinking and another with a one-time associate's elderly mother !

This is still a decent enough collection of photo's if you can pick it up for less than £10 but it's a bit hit and miss - some great early & live shots but also lots of unflattering pictures too as seems to be obligatory with MJJ.


How Does the Show Go on Update: An Introduction to the Theater
How Does the Show Go on Update: An Introduction to the Theater
by Thomas Schumacher
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Theatre Book for Young & Mature Alike, 11 Jan. 2010
How Does the Show Go On is a beautifully created "Behind the Scenes" Book that uses each of Disney's American Theatrical Releases to explain to the reader absolutely everything there is to know about what goes into a show, from the theatre itself, to the cast & crew.

Aimed at the younger reader this is a PERFECT introduction to any youngster showing an interest in the theatre but one that older readers who love musicals in particular will also lap up. Beyond being just a book, Disney have spun it's own magic & included pull-out tickets, scripts & all manner of cool memorabillia but its done in a classy way without detracting from the aim of the book which is to explain everything there is to know about theatre. Lovingly written by Disney's own award-winning Theatrical Head Thomas Schumacher with the ever-brilliant Jeff Kurti, with these two guys involved you know you're holding a great piece of work.


Indiana Jones Adventures: v. 2
Indiana Jones Adventures: v. 2
by Philip Gelatt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Indy Adventure Comics Please ..., 11 Jan. 2010
The second in the series, this is another lovely little A5 graphic adventure from Titan Books featuring a typically-Indy adventure in locales such as a museum, jungle & booby-trapped tomb. Perfect for younger readers or "mature" audiences who either enjoy this kind of book or just crave further adventures of Dr Jones


Dashing Through the Snow
Dashing Through the Snow
by Mary Higgins Clark
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read over the Holiday Season, 28 Dec. 2009
If like me, you like the idea of reading something festive over Christmas but do not want to enter the world of predictable female-fiction, then this is a nice little read. It's short (226 pages), easy-to-read & seems to have stepped straight out of a Christmas episode of Murder-She-Wrote !!! Would I usually read something of this type ? Probably not, but in the run-up to Christmas I really enjoyed it.

It's set in a picturesque little town in New Hampshire, USA as the townsfolk are preparing for their Annual Christmas Festival & a double lottery jackpot leads to trouble. As a first-time reader of the Author, I had no idea who the "sleuths" were & this was my only real criticism. The story ticks along quite nicely until a bunch of characters show-up who the authors are obviously famous for writing about but in all honesty it just appeared to me to be a way of making money for fans of their previous stories as it would have a lot more sense for the "detective" work to have been carried out by locals. Kind of like watching an Indiana Jones sequel where he only really shows up in a third of the film & you're left wondering why on earth they even bothered paying Harrison Ford !

That said, I did enjoy the book & it makes for a harmless bit of Christmas reading with plenty of festive spirit to get you in the mood.


Torres: El Niño: My Story
Torres: El Niño: My Story
by Fernando Torres
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Part Picture Book / Part Autobiography, 10 Dec. 2009
As a long-time Liverpool fan & avid reader I was keen to read Fernando Torres own story and have to say I was disappointed when I picked this book up & flicked through the pages to see that it was far from a "hefty volume". That said I bought it anyway, aware that I wasn't about to get an in-depth story about the Number 9's life so far.

It's fair to say this book was published in an attempt to attract all ages, however this is where it fails. A traditional autobiography may have been devoured by older Liverpool fans but it wouldn't appeal to the massive younger fanbase. With "el Nino - my story" Harper Sport have simply pitched it halfway & produced a relatively lightweight book chock-full of glossy photo's & could easily be read in less than a couple of hours. It's not to say it's not a decent enough read but it's very light on the ground & predictably LFC-friendly.

Even though the book has obviously been approved by LFC's Media Team, I felt I could read between the lines & determine that Fernando holds Luis Aragones in higher esteem than Rafa Benitez & that in all honesty he was more aware of Arsenal, Chelsea and dare I say it Manchester United than he was of Liverpool until he decided to make the jump to Britain & was quickly clued-up on the history of the most successful club in the country.

As above, this is a decent buy for adult Liverpool fans but I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if I was still in my early teens with posters of Torres & Co adorning my bedroom walls


In the Studio with Michael Jackson
In the Studio with Michael Jackson
by Bruce Swedien
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.16

2.0 out of 5 stars Bruce Swedien - Incredible Engineer / Frustrating Writer, 29 Nov. 2009
As a massive, long-time fan of Michael Jackson, I have waited so long to read a book that focuses on what made him the greatest entertainer ever, his music. Months before Michael's heart-breaking death, I saw that Bruce Swedien was bringing out a book entitled "In the Studio with MJJ" & I don't think I've been as excited to read a book since Moonwalk was released. Aside from the un-paralleled Quincy Jones, I don't think I've associated any other single person closer to the production of ALL of Michael Jackson's greatest work than the guy who engineers & mixes for him, Bruce Swedien. Around 200 pages written by this studio-mastermind should have been the ultimate read for me but unfortunately it fails on so many levels.

Firstly, I can't believe Hal Leonard Publishing let this book go to print in the format in which it was released. I've read several other brilliant music books from Hal Leonard yet when they've dealt with a book featuring the biggest performer that ever lived, they let this come out. It's massively self-indulgent, awfully written, dreadfully laid-out, need I go on ? It pains me to say it as because of his hugely close involvement with MJJ for 25 years I am still in awe of Bruce but this book should have been so much more.

It's plain to see that within pages of this book, Swedien is no story-teller, and with this in mind he should have had someone sit down with him (and his wife) and just get him talking. Instead, you get tiny, clipped tales of his actual time with Michael but huge huge chunks of techno-drivel about microphones, mixing desks, etc and worse still, dozens of pages of tributes from close-friends (most of whom I have never heard of) saying what a top-bloke Bruce is. I would love to read about the more technical side of Michael Jackson's music but the detail that Swedien actually goes into is just way too heavy for all but 99% of even the most passionate music fan. It's so frustrating I'm actually wincing as I write this because Bruce Swedien is one guy who could tell so many lovely, accurate tales about the real Michael Jackson & after all, the book is called "In the Studio with MJJ". When he does recall something special, such as Fleetwood Mac passing by the recording of Thriller & everyone (inc two Beatles) throw an impromptu party or when MJJ comes out to greet a full orchestra to thank them for their beautiful work & they give him a rousing standing ovation, its heavenly. I'm just sure in 25 years Bruce must have had hundreds more stories to tell & I don't accept that it's a privacy issue as in fairness, the man is so complimentary of Michael it's truly heart-warming.

In summary, this book WAS due for release prior to Michael's passing so it's NOT a money-grabbing exercise, but the fact that Michael is now gone makes this missed opportunity all the more heartbreaking.


Fragment
Fragment
by Warren Fahy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable, easy read of high-action ... it does have it's faults though, 15 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Fragment (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't think anyone could argue that any book combining an undiscovered island populated by highly aggressive prehistoric beasts & a reality tv show could be classed as original but even though the basic premise here has probably been dreamed up by a million teenagers in English lessons, it still makes for an enjoyable read.

If you're a fan of this type of book I'd be surprised if you don't take something from it and whilst it is very formulaic, it still has it's charm. I'm sure the research carried out to make this story as believable as possible was pretty thorough but it's this aspect in particular that I felt let the book down. There are two large chunks of dialogue that I guess Warren Fahy feels is the "science part" & gives the book an air of credibility but in reality it's in direct contrast to what the majority of people pick this book for which is escapism. It's just too heavy and lasts for page-after=page-after-page.

The other main weak point is quite how "alien" the undiscovered species are yet toward the end of book the "hero" species is portrayed as Sulley the Monster from Monsters Inc. All very cute but just plain silly & it's a shame as large portions of this book make for a rip-roaring ride across hostile jungles and on the high seas.

Overall this is will appeal to fans of the genre yet borrows from too much to be considered a must-buy


Just When You Thought It Was Safe: A JAWS Companion
Just When You Thought It Was Safe: A JAWS Companion
by Patrick Jankiewicz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an official release but still a great read, 10 Nov. 2009
Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, etc, etc, etc ... Each of these vastly successful saga's have a wonderful array of books in which fans can drink-up every last detail of information from behind-the-scenes stories & production photo's to previously unavailable sketches & tie-in products. Up until now however, Spielberg's first big blockbuster has had VERY little recent coverage other than a video game & new DVD release. The Jaws Log is often regarded as one of the greatest behind-the-scenes books of any film but Patrick Jankiewicz decided that one Jaws book isn't enough & I for one am glad he's added this highly enjoyable companion for us fans of Jaws to chew over !

The Author has carried out extensive research & interviewed just about everyone who set foot on Martha's Vineyard in the 70's !!! The ONLY way this book could have been improved would be if Universal had got behind it & made available colour photo's & other official details & also if Jankiewicz had included more information on the Jaws rides at the Universal Theme Parks. Sure, they get a mention but I'm aware that the ride in Florida in particular had huge opening problems & I would have loved to have heard more in this book.

All in all this is a great, fun book for any fan of the classic movies (and it's panned but still enjoyable seqeuels). Duuuuu du, duuuuuu du, du du du du ....


Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Member
Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Member
by Kevin Yee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.23

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Onlt for the Die-Hard Disney Theme Park Fans, 8 Nov. 2009
As a British fan of theme parks & in particular those created by Disney, I was interested to read about how it actually feels to be a long-term Cast Member in the original Anaheim Disneyland Park. Whilst the book wasn't a total disappointment, it fell far short of what I would have liked it to have been & to be honest that's not so much the fault of the Author, more like work is far less enjoyable than play.

In all honesty, I applaud Kevin Yee's idea to let the rest of the world know what it's like to work at Disneyland, but I think what lets the book down is that his role in the company was perhaps one of the most mundane & whilst he seems a genuinely nice guy, he doesn't particularly sound too charismatic. I know that probably comes off sounding harsh, but tell me a great autobiography by someone who doesn't have a big personality ?

There are big chunks of this book that make for hard-work - highly detailed walk throughs of the whole backstage area down to how you check in and out each day. The trouble is, I was actually interested in this kind of thing but I think the fact that there's not a massive amount of genuinely fascinating stuff aside from Kevin's own idea of fun or scandal which to an average reader, isn't really all that interesting.

It should be said however that the book has a far nicer feel to it than the far better-known releases by David Koenig which on the whole come across as just plain nasty & scandal-mongering.

If you are a big fan of the parks I wouldn't avoid Yee's effort at all costs but just be warned what kind of product it is you're getting


Bob the Builder: Festival of Fun (Wii)
Bob the Builder: Festival of Fun (Wii)
Offered by Tracymuk
Price: £11.82

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just too difficult, 28 Sept. 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
I've now seen two children (boy aged 5 & girl aged 7) both try to enjoy this game & both found it awkward & frustrating & after 20 minutes wanted to play wii sports or Carnival & never return to Bob again.

It's incredible that the makers have failed here because the only demographic is toddlers (generally boys) & whilst the animations, chracters, etc are all here the gameplay totally lets it down which is crazy as even a very basic handful of games would have kept the kids happy. This is probably one of the instances where the makers could get away with being "lazy" due to it's tie-in popularity but they managed to produce something that just dosesn't work. When I was a kid I would have happily been glued to anything Star Wars no matter how simple or boring it was but instead of Bob the Builder fans getting a nice little wii game to while away an hour they've instead got a game which will frustrate them & leave parents wishing they'd never bought it.


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