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Mr. J. L. Burns "~Jeremiah Burns" (Northwest England)
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Ronin: Book Two of The Long Game (Grapple Gun Universe 3)
Ronin: Book Two of The Long Game (Grapple Gun Universe 3)
Price: £3.56

5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the bunch so far., 12 April 2015
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I would agree with other reviewers: This book is the best of the Grapplegun Universe I've read thus far. Additionally, it can stand certainly alone much better than the previous installments, though it's true one or two references will go over your head if you're not yet up-to-speed. Fortunately, these references are generally minor, and will likely only serve to spark your interest in the backstory of the previous novels. The references do not, I think, inhibit one's enjoyment of "Ronin".

There is a shift in narrative here, as the primary protagonists of this particular arc are not the Archers. At least, they are not primarily at the forefront. Instead we are introduced to Benjamin Lower, Vietnam vet, and Jo Northcutt, punk kid extraordinaire. He's grizzled, he's jaded, and he just wants to forget, sitting quietly on the beach with a beer to-hand. But that wouldn't make a very interesting story. She's got a past she's not quite willing to delve into too deeply, and wants to put the world to rights in her own way ... even if that means taking the most extreme of measures.

Together these two get roped into the world of the Archers, assisting them on missions with a single purpose: The Long Game. Roger Fitzooth's personal war. And despite seeing relatively little of Roger in this book, what we do see is formidable. No longer the greenhorn, Roger is an impressive force. He is intimidating, capable, and thorough. A force to be reckoned with.

Rohlin has improved with each installment of the series (including the one-off "The Berlin Incident) and this installment is no exception, proving to to be the best of the bunch.


Hive Pocket [German Version]
Hive Pocket [German Version]
Offered by Funagain Games USA
Price: £19.66

5.0 out of 5 stars A review from a 6 year-old player., 12 April 2015
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This review is from: Hive Pocket [German Version] (Toy)
Lucy (6 years old) says: I love Hive because I like how all the pieces move in different ways. And I think that it's a bit fun that the Queen Bee has to be played by the 4th turn. Sometimes I can beat Daddy at the game. And my favourite piece of the game is the ladybug/ladybird because it's fun that she moves on top of the hive and then down. I would tell my friends they should try this game too.


Archers: The Berlin Incident (Grapple Gun Universe Book 2)
Archers: The Berlin Incident (Grapple Gun Universe Book 2)
Price: £2.22

5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend picking that up first, 12 April 2015
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If you haven't already read "Archer: Book One of The Long Game", I recommend picking that up first. Within the narrative of that book is a 1-year gap during which the events of "The Berlin Incident" take place.

One recommendation is reading up to the 1-year gap of "Archer", then reading the entirety of "The Berlin Incident", and then switching back to "Archer" to finish off. There is certainly merit for using this reading order, since TBI is referenced a few times in the latter half of the "Archer" narrative. But doing so certainly isn't required. You may just find yourself asking questions until you fill in the gaps by reading TBI.

As for the narrative, I think it was an improvement on the already excellent "Archer". Taking place in Berlin (obviously), the team find themselves up against a new nemesis: the enigmatic Rasputin. Who is he? What is his motive? Who is he working for?

These questions lead the Archers on a covert operation in a grand ballroom at a high-profile auction. For my money, it read very much like a Mission: Impossible or James Bond adventure for much of the operation ... and this is certainly meant as a compliment.

Highlights include the further development of Irene, who is clearly no 2-dimensional female, Roger coming to grips with this new life he's chosen (or which has chosen him), and of course Rasputin himself.


Tsuro - The Game of the Path
Tsuro - The Game of the Path
Offered by Gamesters Orb
Price: £15.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality materials match a high quality gameplay experience., 9 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Tsuro - The Game of the Path (Toy)
Designed by Tom McMurchie, this version was published by Calliope Games. Each element is of the highest quality, which is something that is starting to stand out to me more and more as I expose myself to more tabletop gaming. Historically, my boardgame experience extended only to the likes of Monopoly or Risk. Fine games in their own right but when you only expose yourself to those mass-produced games you don't necessarily realise that games can be better ... not only from the perspective of actual game-play, but the very product itself.

In the case of Tsuro, there is substantial weight to the box. This is surprising since, at a glance, there isn't much to the game itself, physically speaking: a game board, three dozen tiles, and some plastic markers/pieces. But once you get inside the box (which itself is fairly sturdy cardboard), you find that the game board and tiles are made of sturdy, thick card stock, giving them a robustness and a feeling of longevity.

Then there's the art, illustrated by Cathy Briggs. If the game box itself doesn't grab your attention, the game board absolutely will with its stunning phoenix.

And then there was the insert from Calliope. It was on high-gloss, thick card-stock, and had stunning artwork showing Calliope herself, along with Pegasus and her dragon companion. The insert told a story about Calliope and her difficulties with Ares, and along the way inserted information about other games in Calliope's library of titles. It's probably the most unoffensive advertisement I've ever seen, as the story and art made it a pleasure to read. I'd be very interested to see how previous publishers of Tsuro handled the product. It's difficult to imagine it being any better.

As for the game itself, it plays wonderfully well. Combining elements of luck and strategy, the rules are very simple. My daughter is 6 years, 10 moths old, and has no trouble with this game. Recommended for pairs or several players. Games do not take long to complete, so several plays in quick succession are generally welcome...allowing for opportunities of revenge! Great replay value.
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A Christmas Carol (Enriched Classics (Pocket))
A Christmas Carol (Enriched Classics (Pocket))
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic worthy of its praise., 18 Dec. 2014
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Wonderfully emotive, despite being so well-known. A classic for good reason. I will be re-reading this next year.


Fashy Children's Swimming Hat Silicone - Pink, one size
Fashy Children's Swimming Hat Silicone - Pink, one size
Price: £5.65

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as pictured., 15 Oct. 2014
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The quality seems great for the price. Delivery was prompt. Packaging great.

However, item pictured was a pink cat, received a pink fish; the item title is simply "Children's Swimming Hat Silicone - Pink, one size"; there is no item description disclaimer to state that actual item may differ from that shown.

I don't really care about the style. But I didn't buy this for myself. I bought it for my daughter, who is six years old. I let her select the style and there were several options from several vendors. I could've bought from anyone, but she was most excited about the pink kitty.

I asked seller a question using the Amazon forms to verify whether this was a simple mistake, or whether it is merely a generic pink hat of varying styles. I received no response.


Princeless Volume 1 TP
Princeless Volume 1 TP
by M Goodwin
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A review from a 6-year-old girl., 19 July 2014
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This review is from: Princeless Volume 1 TP (Paperback)
The following review is given by my 6-year-old daughter, Lucy:

"I liked how it wasn't a boy saving a princess it, it was a princess saving herself. And I like how she's saving not just herself, her sisters as well. And I liked the pink dragon. I liked her costume and I liked the bit when the dragon found some treasure. I LOVED the bit when she dressed up as Wonder Woman [Daddy note: there's a scene with some armour which does have a resemblance to Wonder Woman's]. It was very good armour that she wore. And I liked the cape. I liked that she wasn't riding a horse like other knights do. She was riding a dragon. I liked the way it started. It was very funny at first. It was very funny because it looked like this [Daddy note: she's now showing me the artwork. She also points to a scene where the heroine finds some armour. One of the gauntlets still contains a hand...prompting an "Eeewwww" from the heroine. This is NOT a gruesome scene. It's very tame and child-friendly.]. I liked the colour of Bedilia's [Daddy's note: our heroine's friend] hair and her name. At the end, Princess Adrienne's [Daddy's note: our heroine] sister meets a big, scary monster. [Daddy's note: a Minotaur]. So I want to read the next book to see what happens to her sister.


Archer: Book One of The Long Game (Grapple Gun Universe 1)
Archer: Book One of The Long Game (Grapple Gun Universe 1)
Price: £2.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, Fast-Paced Action and a Solid Plot, 12 July 2014
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The book takes place during the latter-half of the 1970s, and starts by introducing us to Colossal City...a city on the Chicago river that, once upon a time was home to numerous masked, costumed heroes, each fighting the good fight against all manner of criminality. But Colossal City has taken a turn for the worse. Most of the heroes have dispersed, seemingly to deal with larger, global matters, and the criminal element is making itself known again.

One man who feels very strongly that this can no longer be tolerated is Roger Fitzooth. Trouble is, Roger's father is head of Fitzooth Industries, a corporation which seems to essentially "run" Colossal City whilst hiding far more sinister motives behind closed doors...and they are directly responsible for a lot of what is going wrong in the city. In order to clean things up, Roger will need to choose sides.

I love the gritty descriptions and the exceptionally colourful names; Roger Fitzooth, Evelyn Force, Ann Throckmorton ... these combined with the writing would feel just as at home (to this novice reader) in a hard-boiled detective story filled with speak-easies and agents-for hire. Instead, Rohlin's story jumps forward several decades and focus on superheroes/-heroines and villains, MI5 & MI6, assassins, scientific experimentation gone wrong.

It has been said by others that this "reads like a comic book", and this is absolutely true. It has the larger-than-life feel of a comic. The writing is tight. The characters are interesting. The plot is quick, the tongues are sharp and the action does not pull punches. I can easily imagine this unfolding panel-by-panel in my minds eye...or even on-screen.

I look forward to reading the follow-up.


The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien
Price: £4.89

4.0 out of 5 stars (Kindle Edition) Good...but not as easy as the paper version., 14 May 2014
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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien are an absolute must for anyone wishing to know more about the man, his writing process, and especially about the writing and publication process of his works. The letters offer an excellent in-sight into these, and most valuably, Tolkien himself answers questions of actual readers of the books...questions which many of us would love to be able to ask him ourselves. This is the next best thing to being able to sit down with the Professor himself for a pint and a chat.

However...! The printed paper version is much easier to flip through. Most letters contain several added notes, which come at the rear of the book. So you are constantly keeping a finger bookmark at the rear whilst reading at the front and flipping back and forth between the two. This is not so easy in electronic format, but can be achieved by adding multiple electronic bookmarks.

It would be nicer if the notes in the letters acted as hyperlinks to the notes in the back of the book.


The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion
Price: £5.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars KINDLE EDITION REVIEW!, 14 May 2014
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This review is from: The Silmarillion (Kindle Edition)
The Silmarillion is truly indispensable for any Tolkien fan. I need not spend vast amounts of time praising it here when so many others have done so.

If you are not new to Tolkien's legendarium ... if you've at least read "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings", then "The Silmarillion" seems like a next logical step (or possibly "Unfinished Tales").

It would do well to have the maps included at the front and possibly included in the Table of Contents as well for the Kindle edition. Maps are indispensable with Tolkien's works...so should be given their due importance in any edition. As it is, there is at least one map, but it's tucked away in the chapter concerning the Noldor in Beleriand. If you bookmark this map from the offset, it will make the read easier.

Better maps would increase this star-rating for the Kindle edition.


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