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Reviews Written by
P. M. Fernandez "exilefromgroggs" (London)
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The Watch (The Red Series Book 1)
The Watch (The Red Series Book 1)
Price: £2.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Complex, subtle young adult dystopia, 22 Aug. 2015
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I'm a fan of young adult dystopia - not only Collins and Roth, but also Patrick Ness and Philip Reeve - so am always happy to find a new good read. I found out about this through the author's website, and thought I'd give it a go.

I've now made my way through three of the four books in the series, and I'm impressed. A well-realised world needs a back story - something that SF authors frequently disregard, and which can mark the difference between an okay book and a good book. There is philosophical, historical and religious complexity to the world in which Red lives, even if she is only starting to become aware of it - this sort of background requires either extraordinary imagination or deep knowledge on the part of the author, but it means that as a book, it becomes far more convincing, even when you can't put your finger on what exactly is going on.

Red is on the cusp of adulthood, and living in an authoritarian, communal society which is failing. She discovers that those in charge plan to take grim actions to survive. Small indications suggest that there may be more to the world than is apparent - but can help be found? Is it possible for Red to save the people she cares about? This first volume of the story only takes the reader so far - and the story did drive forward strongly enough to encourage me to continue with the next book.

This is an enjoyable read, which would comfortably share shelf space with many of the other high quality YA dystopias that are around at the moment. It would also make a pretty gripping film....


Dawkins God: From the Selfish Gene to the God Delusion
Dawkins God: From the Selfish Gene to the God Delusion
by Alister E. McGrath
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Once a good book ..., 22 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an important book. It engages in a careful and scholarly manner with Dawkins' writing, and although it will irritate those of the school of Dawkins to say so, it is not a work of religious dogmatism. It looks at Dawkins' writings, in a fair and balanced way, and both the scientific and cultural context.

However, it feels now all a little bit irrelevant. Nobody pays much attention these days to the fact that Dawkins' worldview and epistemological foundation are flawed, and Christianity, despite the huge benefits it has introduced to the UK and the world for centuries, is understood to be an intolerant, hate-filled religion. That doesn't have to be proved, everyone KNOWS. So by definition, McGrath must be wrong and offensive as well. Enough grounds to save people the bother of actually reading the book if they would disagree with it.


HTC Desire 500 Black Leather Wallet Flip Case Cover Pouch + Touch Stylus Pen + Screen Protector & Polishing Cloth
HTC Desire 500 Black Leather Wallet Flip Case Cover Pouch + Touch Stylus Pen + Screen Protector & Polishing Cloth

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice case, but the plastic frame that holds the ..., 30 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nice case, but the plastic frame that holds the phone didn't last very long. Having said that, neither did the phone, which didn't have enough main memory to deal with normal use.


Everyday Sexism
Everyday Sexism
by Laura Bates
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important and startling book, 30 May 2015
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This review is from: Everyday Sexism (Hardcover)
A very important book. Spun off from a twitter feed of the same name, it recounts, for those who are prepared to listen, just what the experience is that many women have to take for granted.

Two quibbles. An increasing sense of the problem may be part of the solution, making it more socially unacceptable to behave in this sort of way. And maybe social change is possible. But unfortunately I'm not convinced. Which isn't to say that this is not an important project.

The other thing. With their concern for those people without a voice, I simply can't grasp why feminism fails to recognise the personhood of late term fetuses and babies, and too often favours the "empowered" one in that relationship, that is, the mother. The status of fetuses is to me an example of the sort of thing that a feminist should care about. But instead, as with much other such work, the focus is on a woman's right to control her own fertility (which in many cases she has, even without the unrestricted right to abortion). This is not about trying to control women's fertility, it is about caring about the rights of a human being who is not able to speak for him or herself.

With the exception of my frustration at this blind spot, pretty unequivocally recommended.


Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability
Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability
Price: £15.60

5.0 out of 5 stars A seminal book. Something goes wrong, what do ..., 30 May 2015
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A seminal book. Something goes wrong, what do you do? Look for someone to blame, or try and ensure it doesn't happen again? The tide is turning in various industries to try and stop future events. But are there times when somebody should be blamed?


Lens cleaning kit for cameras. Large Puffer Blower, soft brush and cloth suitable for photography lenses
Lens cleaning kit for cameras. Large Puffer Blower, soft brush and cloth suitable for photography lenses
Offered by wildlifephotographyshop
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 30 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
No problems. The instructions on the back of the packet were a treat.


The Making of Swallows & Amazons: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Film
The Making of Swallows & Amazons: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Film
by Sophie Neville
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and interesting, 18 Aug. 2014
Having rediscovered Sophie Neville through her blogs and recent autobiographical books, I was really pleased to learn of this latest book. It is a full account, largely from her own perspective, of the process of making the 1973 family film of "Swallows and Amazons".

I was a great fan of Ransome's books as a child, and loved the film when I discovered it. These recollections are published as a remastered version of the film is made available on DVD and Blu-Ray, and for people who are interested in the film itself, or its relationship with the book, it will provide as important a work of reference as Christina Hardyment's books. Additionally, it provides an insight into the painstaking process of making a film in the 1970s - at least from the perspective of a child actor (plus gathered reminiscences from other participants) - and this itself offers some insight into such diverse facets of 1970s life as public transport, health and safety, and diet!

As always, Sophie's writing is a pleasant, easy read. The book includes large numbers of photographs, both monochrome and colour, and she has gathered comprehensive information about just about everybody who was involved in the film-making process - it is interesting how widely people involved in this film spread out across the industry afterwards. This is much more than a book for "completists" or "obsessives" - as with her other books, Sophie has invested the factual elements of a significant moment of her life with the very human reminiscences that shaped it, to create a book that would be an enjoyable and interesting read almost regardless of a person's interest in the film itself.


Mool Deluxe Cat Scratching Tree/ Post Activity Centre with Hidey-Hole/ 2 Viewing Platforms and 2 Comfy Bed, 130 cm, Brown
Mool Deluxe Cat Scratching Tree/ Post Activity Centre with Hidey-Hole/ 2 Viewing Platforms and 2 Comfy Bed, 130 cm, Brown
Price: £49.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than previous ones, 14 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is our third attempt at a scratching tree. Our three cats are quite large, but they aren't excessively active or vigorous. However, the previous two have ended up wrecked in fairly short order.

This one seems better. I suspect it's the fact that it's not too tall, and the middle platform is well supported, so none of the individual struts have too much load placed upon them. The different cats inevitably like different parts of it (the youngest likes the "baggy" platform, the boldest, oddly, likes hiding in the box), and their interest waxes and wanes. But this has done what we wanted it to more effectively than earlier trees.


Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing
Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing
by Karen Nelson-Field
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into a new medium, 14 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We've fiddled in our house with blogs and YouTube videos for some years, and have often wondered what it is about certain videos that captures peoples attention, and makes them "share-worthy" (while being thorough participants!). This hasn't just been because we wanted to grab people's attention ourselves, but also because the internet is just the latest platform for viral marketing, a phenomenon that has helped to make brands cool for decades (I'm sure we can all think of adverts and so on from when we were growing up that captured our attention and put their brands in the front of our heads).

This short but carefully researched book offers analysis of what it is that makes viral videos effective, in terms of both capturing attention and marketing. It's of interest to anybody who would like to know what's going on with these videos, and what makes them effective. It is probably a key reference book for anybody who wishes to make this sort of video part of their marketing strategy.


The Private Blog of Joe Cowley
The Private Blog of Joe Cowley
by Ben Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay - but there is stiff competition, 11 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Joe Cowley is a modern day Adrian Mole - trying to deal with the realities of the early years of the 21st Century (texting, blogging and so on). However, whilst the book was good for a giggle, whereas Townsend's creation at least felt as though he was struggling to come to terms with a socially complex world, I was never really very convinced that Joe had an awful lot on his horizon beyond his own issues. That's not a bad thing in itself; there is a definite need for teenagers - especially perhaps boys, who frequently struggle with reading and apparently have few books directed towards them - to know that they are not "on their own", and that they can make it through. But it does feel a bit limited.

More significantly, once you look beyond the sort of fiction that simply reflects a teenager's own experiences back at them, there are some really outstanding works of children's/young adult literature, and I would really struggle to recommend this over them. Patrick Ness, Suzanne Collins, John Green, Veronica Roth .... All have more to say about the human condition, all write more gripping stories. This book will do you no harm, but I'd generally start with one of them rather than this, and having started there, would there be any point in coming back to this?


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