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Mr. Chris Jarvis "holdmykidney" (Coventry, UK)
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Doctor Who: Dead of Winter
Doctor Who: Dead of Winter
Price: 3.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great atmosphere and story, but disjointed narrative, 28 Aug 2012
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This is a really entertaining Who yarn. A perfect, creepy setting in an era little explored by Who fiction with a great cast of characters. I thoroughly recommend it.

There is a downside, however. The author has chosen to narrate the story through daily journal extracts and letters penned by the various characters. This does provide an interesting multi-narrator view on the action, but it does begin to stretch credibility as the pace of action and events increases. It left me wondering when these characters were supposed to have taken a moment aside from the horror to pen their thoughts in a journal. The style of these also slips between personal commentary and standard narrative in places. These journals are a device which should probably have been used more sparingly.


Nail Your Novel - Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence
Nail Your Novel - Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence
Price: 3.12

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential practical toolkit for new and struggling writers., 12 July 2012
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I generally dislike "How to..." books unless they contain solid practical suggestions. In Nail Your Novel I found an indispensible companion for helping me through the tricky process of getting my own work moving.

A mixture of advice, workflow and exercises, this book has excellent guidance for almost every stage of a project. It avoids patronage by assuming you can be honest with yourself about how interesting your own characters and plot are and it deals frankly with the issues most writers - professional and aspiring amateurs - struggle with along the way.

It won't be for evertone I don't think, but Roz Morris has found an approach that really supports me. It's helped me to visualise my writing in a much less linear way, avoid the temptation to churn out worthless prose in sequence in an attempt to get the first draft "done" and make good use of all my work and ideas. In comparative terms, it makes the process of writing analogous to video editing. Storyboarding, character sheets and the eventual first draft all comprise the raw materials from which the polished final product can rise.

I don't have much more to say that hasn't already been covered very adequately by others, but I will go so far as to say that having read this book once I am now keeping it to hand as a day-to-day toolkit and it has left me feeling much more empowered and able to make my own projects a success.


Jingo: (Discworld Novel 21) (Discworld Novels)
Jingo: (Discworld Novel 21) (Discworld Novels)
Price: 3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not one of the best stories, but still a first-class character comedy, 12 July 2012
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Like many Discworld novels, Jingo successfully parodies our own culture and highlights our failings, gently prompting us to try to avoid repeating those mistakes in the future. Compared to some of the other Discworld novels I have read, the actual plot of Jingo is not quite as gripping as some of the other stories. Making up for this, though, is the fantastic cast of regular and new characters which Pratchett commands.

A number of times my other half was asking what I was laughing at while reading Jingo and in reading it out to her I completely failed to bring across why it was funny. Pratchett's genius is in setting up memorable characters and quirks which allow the comedy to come out in the unspoken narrative between the lines. Like a great TV sitcom, you're almost laughing at the jokes before the punchline is finished because you can guess what the characters will say or think next.

This is at some of its best in Jingo and by the end of the book I was itching to read another story with the same characters. Well worth a read.


The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy)
The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy)

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastically-paced survival adventure, 12 July 2012
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The Hunger Games surprised me. I was expected a "young-adult" style adventure with a teen heroine, especially having already seen the film which I felt pandered to a younger audience. Actually there is little evidence of this in the original book and I can see no reason why this book cannot be enjoyed by any age from teen upwards.

If you've started with it and you are struggling with the slightly terse prose of the opening couple of chapters, stick with it. The narrative is a little too quick to the point, not allowing any room for subtext or other characters to come through, which works agains the story at the beginning when Katniss is still at home surrounded by the community she has grown up in, but it pays dividends later when she is isolated and fighting for her survival.

The Hunger Games provides an exciting view into the outlook of a survivor and the pace of the adventure is almost perfect. As a story I found it harder and harder to take breaks from reading and resulted in one or two late nights! Thoroughly recommended.


Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir (Nintendo 3DS)
Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir (Nintendo 3DS)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: 19.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An admirable step up from the basic AR games, but little content, 12 July 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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What Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir does it does very well. The "prop" of the purple diary which interacts with the game successfully brings the action of the game into the real world and casting the 3DS itself as a camera through which you interact with the spirit world is very clever. Overall it's an engaging premise and one which really drew me in.

It is also a technical improvement over the default AR games which come with the 3DS. It seems to track the real world much more accurately and is more ambitious which what it attempts to do. This game really demonstrates how AR techniques can create an immersive adventure game.

Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir has two major flaws. Firstly the camera requires a great deal of light to work. It seems a bit of a misfire to create a game based around horror tension and then have to either play it with all the lights on or play during the day.

Secondly, it is extremely short. I rattled through the story mode first time in about 2.5 hours and 30 minutes of that was due to the difficulty I had beating the final boss. There are some side modes which reprise the puzzles and battles of the main game and there is also a replay of the story with some additional plot, but really those looking for a deep adventure will be disappointed. This game is best viewed as a stylish remake of the 3DS' own built-in AR games and photo modes, although I felt that the default games came with more variety.

There's not much out in the market like this so it is worth a look, but I really hope someone can pick up where this game has left off and provide a much more in-depth adventure.


Officemate Classic Bookends, Pair, Black, 160mm
Officemate Classic Bookends, Pair, Black, 160mm
Price: 6.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Form and function, 10 Nov 2011
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If you are looking for a stylish modern bookend, that supports very well and does not take up any additional space, these these are perfect. The thin design allows these to be concealed perfectly between books or DVDs if required.


New Trent iDual 5000mAh 1A/0.5A Dual USB Ports External Battery Pack for the new iPad, iPad2, iPhone 5 4S 4 3Gs 3G, , iPod Touch all versions; Samsung Galaxy Note/Nexus/S3/S2/S; HTC Titan, Sensation, ONE S/V/X, EVO Thunderbolt, Desire; LG Optimus series; Blackberry Bold, Curve, Torch; Motorola Razr HD/MAXX & Bionic, Atrix/2; Nokia Lumia 700/800/900 and GoPro
New Trent iDual 5000mAh 1A/0.5A Dual USB Ports External Battery Pack for the new iPad, iPad2, iPhone 5 4S 4 3Gs 3G, , iPod Touch all versions; Samsung Galaxy Note/Nexus/S3/S2/S; HTC Titan, Sensation, ONE S/V/X, EVO Thunderbolt, Desire; LG Optimus series; Blackberry Bold, Curve, Torch; Motorola Razr HD/MAXX & Bionic, Atrix/2; Nokia Lumia 700/800/900 and GoPro

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy gadget numbs the pain of dreadful smartphone battery life, 13 July 2011
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I had recently started using the HTC Desire HD smartphone and was honestly shocked as to the battery life. I bought this battery pack as I was planning a work trip to the USA and as I would be out and about all day using my phone for pictures, notes and interviews I didn't want to be left short for power.

The battery works extremely well. It is capable of providing roughly 2.5 full charges of my smartphone and the handy (and powerful) 1A output charges the same very quickly. The two ports are very useful, as I also take a Nintendo 3DS travelling with me and it was handy to be able to charge them both at the same time. The unit does not seem to struggle with the drain of using both ports simultaneously. I needed an additional lead to be able to charge the 3DS, as this package does not come with the appropriate adapter, but I managed to pick one up pretty cheaply.

Also, the ability to charge the battery from mains while also connecting the unit to consumers is really handy. A word of warning though: I attempted this on my first use of the battery pack and my phone initially complained that the voltage of the charger was too low. I then removed the phone and charged the battery on its own. Since this first charge I have not seen this problem re-occur.

In terms of the product supplied I found it to be excellent. It is worth pointing out that this unit does NOT come with a mains charger. In my case my phone came with a re-usable mains-usb adapter, so I am able to charge the battery with that, but otherwise I would have had to resort to charging via a computer's USB or buying a separate USB mains adapter.

Overall I'm very satisfied with this product and it's really helped me keep my phone going when I am travelling for extended periods being mains power availability.


LEGO Batman: The Videogame (Nintendo DS)
LEGO Batman: The Videogame (Nintendo DS)
Offered by Game Dealz
Price: 7.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, but maybe spread a bit thin, 22 Mar 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
More brilliant block-smashing action from Travellers' Tales this time with the dark knight.

What works well about this game is that in avoiding a movie tie-in and sticking to the source material they have created varied, colourful, imaginative levels and stories. They've also made an excellent technical job with the 3d graphics on the DS.

With three stories split into 5 chapters each, hero and villain sides of the plot and the elements opened up by character freeplay there is a huge amount of content.

What doesn't work so well is the pairing of Batman and Robin for this game. In spite of additional gadgets the duo's abilities remain fairly static. This means that the majority of the action revolves around: Batman goes somewhere Robin can't, flicks a switch or constructs an object that allows Robin to catch up. Then the same happens with Robin taking the lead. The "Rooftops" level lays very bare how formulaic the level construction truly is.

What also doesn't work is that the game appears to be a victim of inflation. For the amount of studs collected the unlockables in the shop are remarkably expensive. There is a workaround in the hub which allows for large amounts of money to be generated, but this quickly becomes repetitive. In short, for those who like to unlock everything you are going to find yourself replaying levels a great deal.

In addition to this the levels can be quite long (30+ mins) and with no in-game save this can be a tricky pick up and play.

The vehicle levels are also very bad with almost no redeeming features.

All that said, though this is still a great fun game to play and a real treasure trove for Batman fans.


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm [DVD] [2005]
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Shirley Walker
Price: 3.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great artwork, good story, classic Batman, 6 Feb 2010
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It's a shame that this film hasn't received a digital cleanup as it really is an excellent Batman movie and the artwork is top class.

In keeping with the visual style and casting of the excellent animated series this is a stylish and energetic animated action film.

The plot is a little thin in places and the outcome presents no surprises, but the finale in the dilapidated art-deco Gotham Worlds Fair is a fantastic ending.

For fans of the Bat, this movie is an absolute must.


Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits - Game Only (Wii)
Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits - Game Only (Wii)
Offered by TIP TOP SELLER
Price: 19.23

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly average update fails to impress, 18 Aug 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
In short, I would describe this game as a missed opportunity.

The SingStar games recognised from an early edition that, being a social game, players wanted to be able to play different songlists without having to reload the game. This lesson has not been passed to Guitar Hero and, despite the fact that little work has been done to update the clunky interface and the World Tour game engine, there is no way to play songs from different games without a reboot and reload. Indeed, if you have paid for downloadable content for World Tour, you will find that even these tracks cannot be accessed from Greatest Hits.

Secondly, while this game promises much with the moniker of "Greatest Hits" I would question whether this truly represents the best of the songs from previous editions. Even taking personal taste into account there seem to be a number of songs on here which feel like filler, whereas there are truly excellent songs from previous Guitar Heros which have not made the cut.

I would say that if there are tracks on here you particularly want in your GH repertoire, then you may well get enjoyment out of this title. Anyone expecting improvements over World Tour, or expecting a complete social gaming package would do well to stick with World Tour and download the additional content.
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