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James Munro "pcgoblin" (Bristol, UK)

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The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Series Book 43)
The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Series Book 43)
Price: £4.99

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a hit, 14 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I read the review of this book at the airport on my way to France last week and downloaded it to read on the beach. I could not disagree more with the reviewer. I did not find the style to be similar to Christie - it was overcomplicated and a little labored. The dialogue sounded forced in parts and the plot was totally unbelievable - I accept Christie sometimes used plots that were a little far fetched, but her talent was evident in her ability to make them sound quite rational. The reviewer thought the book seemed set well in its historical period, but I did not find that to be the case. All in all I think the estate of Agatha Christie could have found a better successor and I hope that if they consider another Poirot book they look again.

Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 Irresistible Homemade Presents for Every Occasion
Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 Irresistible Homemade Presents for Every Occasion
by Annie Rigg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book but sack the proof reader, 1 Nov. 2012
I do like this book. it has some interesting recipes and the photography is great but I refer you to the Macaron recipe on page 20 - see if you spot the disastrous mistake. I am a professional cook - I can sort out what is wrong but for someone who has never made macarons it would be beyond repair.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 7, 2013 2:36 PM BST

Peggy's Favourite Cakes & Cookies
Peggy's Favourite Cakes & Cookies
by Peggy Porschen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars another repeat, 7 Jun. 2011
It is very disappointing when popular cookery authors publish a book which is re hash of previous material. Whilst the cakes are lovely there is nothing new. The write up does not make this obvious so I would not recommend any Peggy Porschen fan to buy this as you already have it!

Page After Page: Making Individual Books and Journals
Page After Page: Making Individual Books and Journals
by Frances Pickering
Edition: Paperback

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Inspiration, 12 Nov. 2009
I will confess to being a student of Frances' so I was already aware of her wonderful work. This book gives a wonderful insight into her own work and plenty of inspiration for everyone interested in mixed media and textile art. Buy it and get bitten by the book bug

Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle)
Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle)
by Christopher Paolini
Edition: Hardcover

21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The tale that seems to go on and on...and on....and on?, 24 Nov. 2008
My initial impressions upon hearing that the previously named Inheritance trilogy had been repackaged as a cycle [collection of 4] was that of cautious optimism. Somewhat optimistically, I was pleased with the extension of what has shown to be a relatively promising fantasy series thus far. Yet I was also wary of, that which a previous reviewer has alluded too, 'cash cow' syndrome.

To put the case bluntly, Paolini stretches the limits of my good graces when it comes to putting up with inane musings in fantasy literature. It is a given that all books based on fictional events and make-believe worlds will have have a certain amount of story setting in order to bring the reader properly into the 'right of things'. You cannot, or at least if you intend for it to read well, simply pop the characters from point A to point B without suitable explanation. This rings a note of particular importance in epic fantasy. Veterans will understand the importance of quests and journeys in character building, yet there is very little of this in Brisingr. A symbolic tree to Paolini is never a tree, instead he produces endless preachy diatribe about how important it is that in *his* book *he* regards it as a tall perennial woody plant; this of course means that everything he writes is remarkably deep and meaningfully...right.

Characters seem remarkably 2-D throughout, Nasuada is a particular dislike of mine - considerably more authoritative and demanding towards and of the protagonist - yet to no particular end. Common sense dictates that what she is doing is idiotic, yet he still rolls over and takes it anyway. Gone is the outspoken and individual character of the first two books, enter generic drone with the morality of a bishop. You may deem this as insignificant, yet it makes the story remarkably hard to read - Arya, written in as the fey elf, now becomes the somewhat pathetically detached and damaged recluse.

The same applies to almost all of the existing and new characters within this chapter of Paolini's work; a complete and rather catastrophic failure to keep the 'readability' element going strong. Some will try to excuse this as 'a filler - holding out until the brilliantly crafted conclusion that nobody will ever expect', yet there is no excuse for this [even if everybody didn't already know that his work is about as unpredictable as a stick]. There should never be a reason for something like this - it is an affront to what could have been a gripping third installment, rather than the rather unreadable thing in front of me. To cap it all off, we see what I can only assume is a new trend [I would hope - I can't seem to find it in the first two, and I don't think I'm going mad] of Paolini's to attempt to write in a style similar to that of a badly produced BBC television series on the medieval period; lots of 'thous' and 'smites'. It is all most disconcerting.

I suppose that telling you to not to buy this would be a waste of time, after all - perhaps we can all hope that the fourth installment will be better - it is difficult to believe dismissive reviews on a book that attempts to follow on from the much better written prequels or indeed on a book that is midway through a rather extensive story. Fans of the series will inevitably buy it, as did I, and draw their own conclusions about it. Yet this is one fan that felt he just had to laugh at the whole thing, whether it is out of indulgent amusement for one who managed to mess up on his latest work, or instead a sense of frustrated disbelief at an author that has let his own reputation instill him with an undeserved confidence in his writing, I do not know.

What I will tell you though is that no matter how many times he attempts to connect the words 'Paolini' and 'As good as the Dragon Series of Pern' in a paragraph, it is all one rather laughable, distressing and strangely disappointing lie.


Priestess Of The White: Book 1 of the Age of the Five
Priestess Of The White: Book 1 of the Age of the Five
by Trudi Canavan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another notch on the belt, 25 Feb. 2006
Having enjoyed the books written by Trudi Canavan previous [mainly the Black Magicians Trilogy] I was pleased to find out that she had released the first in a new series called the Age of the Five. I purchased the book from Amazon with high hopes [for a very good price if I say so myself!] and was not let down.
Once again she has managed to create not just a selection of characters, but an entirely different world - something that is not only difficult but so badly handled by many other writers. Often when people try to create something as different as another world, they find themselves lapsing back into actual reality or taking the possibility of this new universe far too far. Trudi Canavan joins a short list [on the fingers of one hand] of fantasy writers that I believe has pipped this down to a tee, and I have read a great deal of fantasy. The many layered Hanian Society not only includes the presence of politcal strife, but that of relgious introduction - something which can be a risky subject to try and write about.
The main character of our book, Auraya, is complex and interesting, often causing scandle in her wake [if not always on purpose]. Focusing on the Circlian relgion, worship of the five surviving Gods from the "Age of Many" leads to the five "chosen" white, each being given the gifts of terrible magic and immortality. The plot jackknifes from point to point, taking in a volume of plot points and using the threat of dark cults as a realistic comparision to the peace loving Hanians.
We experience a wealth of culture and mystery as we follow the text, with moments were we had to go back and read it again just to take it all in. This does not make it a bad book, just one that slakes the thirst of true fantasy fans to dabblers alike. This book is not for the faint hearted however, it requires a love of fictional writing, and the ability to follow many different plots and prospectives at once, also I read a few online reviews, and have [with others] come to the conclusion that it needs a strong understanding of the ups and downs of english language as it doesn't always follow usual gramatical rules. If you meet the requirements, then you will find this book a real eye opener, an original fantasy plot in a world of books that just seem to be carbon copies of the last. Don't miss your chance to have a read, it isn't every day that something this good pops up!
For a vastly enjoyable book, and the prospect of an even better trilogy culmination, buy this book and read it. I have. 4 times!
Looking forward to the 2nd release:)

Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle)
Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle)
by Christopher Paolini
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvel of fantasy, 18 Jan. 2006
CP, although often slandered as an amateur writer is usually an under-rated one. Eragon was not so much a work of fiction that caused one to drop everything in pleasure, but rather one that was the resultant work of one man's [or boy if you view it objectively] ambition to write something that mattered to him.
Eldest follows in this trend, and is a defined improvement on the writing style of the first book. It spoke less of dungeons and dragons style paperbacks and more of a Garth Nixx style story - not as mature, but not without its moments that really drew the reader into the plot.
One thing I would view as a 'grey' area in this book is that it is, as often the case in fantasy, very predictable. I admit that I was suitable impressed by the result of the first book to follow a few fan websites, and more importantly their 'predictions', admittedly everything they assumed within reason became reality when Eldest was released. This does not however, as suggested by many, make it any less of an enjoyable read and certainly does not take anything from the pleasure of drenching yourself in something beyond human comprehension.
We visit again some of the characters that were so enjoyable the first time around. Ayara again makes a powerful mark on the readers impression and because of that it opens possible questions as to the progression of Eragons love life. Something we understand more during this book is the impact of maturity [and puberity] on the central figure. The struggle against his urges makes for an interesting read.
We see more action in this story, and whereas some felt that the plot was moving on too slowly towards the end of Eragon, they can expect something different in Eldest. The story moves rapidly, and interweaves the presence of both Eragons Cousin and the young daughter of the Varden's leader.
I would advise this to a prospectual reader; if you are going to enjoy a well written, well planned out peice of writing that is captivating to people of five and fifty then I suggest you don't hesitate in buying this book [eragon first of course!]. A bad read? No. An author in progress? Yes.

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