Profile for SJ SMART > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by SJ SMART
Top Reviewer Ranking: 10,879
Helpful Votes: 1492

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
SJ SMART "Smartie" (London)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death (Hammer)
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death (Hammer)
by Martyn Waites
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.99

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real disappointment, 1 Nov 2013
I really wanted to enjoy this book having read the original Susan Hill novel, (and her other books), seen the play twice and even liked the movie. I thought this had a lot of potential - that Eel Marsh House still stands empty, damp and almost derelict and in 1940 it is requestioned to be used for evacuees from London. So the Woman in Black would have a whole house full of children and teachers to haunt, torment, etc. A great set up.

However it didnt work for me - the suspense wasnt there, Waites just didnt capture the suspense, fear and power of the original novel or even the film. I really wanted to like it and Waites is obviously a great fan of this genre but I just couldnt and didnt.

I am not sure he has read the original book since he has missed some main points - that if you see the Woman in Black you are doomed. The new main characters do see the Woman often and somehow survive.

He also needs to do some historical research - the RAF DONT have Captains- they have Group Captains but that is quite a Senior rank, they didnt have Halfiax's in 1940. The British didnt have jeeps at this stage in the war either. The Blitz, which is referred too, was 1940-1941, but most evacuations began 1939-1940. The bad winter that is mentioned and that one of the characters has a husband and son in France suggests again that its the winter of 1939-1940. But the mention of the Blitz sounds like a year later.

This historical confusion wont bother many but it bothered me, a lack of simple research distracted me and affected the story.

This novel is basically the script of a new film coming out in 2014, I hope the film is better than this novel.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2013 5:06 PM GMT


Charley's War (Vol. 10) - The End
Charley's War (Vol. 10) - The End
by Pat Mills
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 16 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The last volume of Charley's war and one of the best covering the return of Snell, Charley's time in a POW camp, the last British offensive and the Russian civil war all brilliantly told and drawn.

This is the last volume that Pat Mills worked on but Charley continued in to World War two right up to Dunkirk. I hope Titan publish that volume too. That would be the last volume and it deserves to be reissued and shown.


Armageddon's Song: Stand - To, Vol. 1, Part 2
Armageddon's Song: Stand - To, Vol. 1, Part 2
by Andy Farman
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great series - confusing covers, 26 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a great new alternative history series - the Soviet Union has re-emerged and made an alliance with China, the west are under attack in Europe whilst wars are fought at sea, in the air, in Europe, the Pacific and SE Asia. A very good exciting read.

However the covers are very confusing and Amazon are little help, I asked them for guidance and they assured me this was the second in the series so I read it second BUT its the first.

So if you are interested in this new series, this is the FIRST book, despite the Part two label. Read this fist and then move on to the next.

By the way if you like this genre try Colin Gee's Red Gambit series which is brilliant and about the Allies going to war in 1945, Harvey Blacks' "The Red Effect" which is similar but about a war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in 1986 and SM Stirling's "The Peshawar Lancers", Guy Saville's "The Afrika Reich" set in an Africa run by the Nazis in a world where the Germans won world war 2 and Andy Johnsons - "Seelowe Nord-the Germans are coming" about the Germans invading England in 1940 but in Yorkshire.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2013 8:36 PM BST


Disaster at Stalingrad: An Alternate History
Disaster at Stalingrad: An Alternate History
by Peter Tsouras
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.99

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Germans win Stalingrad!?!, 28 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was hugely impressed with this alternative history, I had to keep reminding myself that this was actually fiction and not a real history. Very cleverly written.

I have read many alternative history novels and stories before and this really has to be one of the best ones. I have also read many of the authors previous books before and had mixed feelings about some of them but this is easily the best book he has written.

SPOILER ALERTS -

An interesting plot begins with the Heydrich surviving his Prague posting and working closely with German Intelligence, a new strategy with the German Navy completely destroying and stopping Allied Arctic Convoys supplying the USSR, Turkey coming in to the war on the German side, Manstein taking over strategy on the Stalingrad front with Paulus being transferred back to Germany all combine in to a plot where the Germans win the battle of Stalingrad and change the whole course of the war!

I wont say much more and leave you to discover the details of how the above happens and to discover the interesting conclusions but it really is a great read.

And the previous two reviewers are discussing the size of the book? Its a standard sized hardback novel with some pictures, photos and maps throughout.


The Forgotten Land
The Forgotten Land
by Keith McArdle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea but poorly written, 14 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Forgotten Land (Paperback)
I liked the concept enormously, an Australian SAS team on mission in Iraq are thrown back to Viking era Denmark, and fight to survive there but I found this book poorly written overall and hard to get in to, very hard to suspend disbelief and I love this genre. I wouldnt recommend.


Stalin's Hammer: Rome
Stalin's Hammer: Rome

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a review, when is it coming out as a book?, 11 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved this Axis of Time series and was very sad to see it end but I assumed that History just reasserted its self after this alternative World War 2; that although Staling wipes out many more enemies and his Armies advanced more deeply in to Western Europe that he would still die in the 1950s and the Cold War would continue until the 1980s.

So you can imagine my delight when all my questions/ theories would be addressed as this new story came out, however I dont have a kindle and was told by the publishers that a book was coming, but where is it????
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2013 7:33 PM BST


Himmler's War
Himmler's War
by Robert Conroy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas but a missed opportunity, 22 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Himmler's War (Hardcover)
I have enjoyed many of Conroy's works and was looking forward to this one, but for those who read his last one - 1945 Red Inferno with the Western Allies going to war with Stalin's Soviet Union, you will find this one similar with the Americans holding centre stage and the British and French relegated to limited supporting roles in the war. I dont remember the others - Poles, Canadians, Dutch, Belgians, Czechs, New Zealanders, Indians, South Africans, etc being mentioned at all sadly.

SPOILER ALERT -
A great concept overall, that Hitler is killed in June 1944 and Himmler takes control and in this story makes more rational decisions about the deployment of the Army letting the actual Generals fight the war- for example abandoning Norway, Italy and the Courland peninsula so as to straighten and strengthen the main defence lines. A truce with USSR seemed feasible in this story.

However what is annoying is many mistakes like saying the British 1st Airborne dropped in to Normandy when it was the 6th, many typos but worst of all I felt was showing how the British were clamouring for peace and an end to the war just because Hitler was dead, and with the French divided again (in this story and in the last one) between De Gaulle supporters and Communists the Americans are the main backbone and advocate to continue the war against Nazi Germany! I found this very hard to accept since historically the Americans only joined the war in 1941 after they were attacked by the Japanese and then Hitlers declaration of war on them yet now they and not the British who had been fighting since 1939 want to fight on, and as I said above seem to do all the work.

The inclusion of a German Nuclear weapon team was interesting and key to the plot for a while but not based on reality. History tells us that the Germans were decades behind the Western Allies especially as they had forced/scared off many key German Jewish scientists.

I felt too that could have been more actual battle scenes and fighting. We do get some and glimpses of others but its mainly conversations and some unusual sex scenes thrown in.

Better than many of Turtledove's efforts however but not as good as the great S M Stirling's books.

I would recommend two other great similar stories - Colin Gee's Red Gambit series and Seelowe Nord by Andy Johnson. The Germans invade England in 1940 but on the Yorkshire coast flanking the main defences in south east England, both very interesting and entertaining and much better than Himmlers war.

So, a good idea with some good moments but a missed chance again from a writer who constantly returns to the theme that the Americans won World War 2 by themselves in the alternative worlds, and probably in history too. A bit disappointing overall.


The Big Switch (War That Came Early (Del Rey Hardcover))
The Big Switch (War That Came Early (Del Rey Hardcover))
by Harry Turtledove
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.02

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and a dull read, 22 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the third book in HT's new series and a series which started well with the first book - Hitler's War but has sadly quickly bogged down with HT's usual problem of lots of pointless conversations with lots of characters not really doing very much and this is true again in this latest offering - The Big Switch. For example a football match the German solider's play lasts 3-4 pages but I dont remember one battle or action scene lasting anywhere near as long.

As most of the other reviewers have pointed out that the big switch is that Britain and France make peace with Germany and then ally with her against the USSR (which I believe was one of Stalin's nightmares). Churchill is assassinated in an "traffic accident" probably by a German agent which helps make the change over possible.

Despite this major plot twist its a very dull book and despite some references to British and French troops being on the Eastern Front with the Germans we learn very little about anything that is going on there. Now in this story the USSR is facing Nazi Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Britain and France. I would have thought that this coalition would make a difference, be forcing back the Soviets at least a bit and create some really alternative history but all the characters are doing is complain about the cold, very stereotypical. Apparently the British dont have any cold weather gear is one remark I remember being made by a supposedly better equipped German soldier, the historical inaccuracy is horrendous sometimes. Perhaps its irony?

I do wonder why Turtledove bothers with these wartime scenarios since the wars, battles, etc play such a small and insignificant (and often badly told part) of his stories. He may as well just have a British person, French person, German person, Japanese person, etc. in peace time talk and talk and you would have exactly the same affect just a different date!

I really regret buying this book, very disappointed, have donated it to my local charity shop. I cant see this series improving now. I cannot recommend it.

For a REALLY good alternative history set in World War two I would recommend either Seelowe Nord: the Germans are coming. A completely fresh fictional new take on Operation Sealion - the German invasion of England in 1940, but the Germans land in the North east of England instead of the south. Very well written, full of action and very convincing or Guy Saviles -The Afrika Reich - really great reads unlike the above.Seelöwe Nord: The Germans Are Coming and The Afrika Reich


Thermawrap Foil Roll General Purpose Insulation Wrap for loft, wall or floor application,
Thermawrap Foil Roll General Purpose Insulation Wrap for loft, wall or floor application,

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very easy flexible insulation, 30 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought about 12-13 rolls of Thermawrap insulation for my parents loft to get it full insulated for the winter (and to help keep the house cooler in the summer.)

I found the rolls very light but strong, easy to use and of a good quality. Working with it for 3 days gave me a good understanding of its quality, it feels well made, a quality product and not just tin-foil type sheets which you sometimes come across. At the end of this project the loft looked better, was better insulated and protected. With spare sheets I worked on one of the walls and the space under the stairs too.

A great product, great for insulation and DIY. Would recommend.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2013 7:39 PM GMT


The Big Switch (War That Came Early (Del Rey Hardcover))
The Big Switch (War That Came Early (Del Rey Hardcover))
by Harry Turtledove
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.02

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and a dull read, 29 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
SPOILER ALERTS

This is the third book in HT's new series and a series which started well with the first book - Hitler's War but has sadly quickly bogged down with HT's usual problem of lots of pointless conversations with lots of characters not really doing very much and this is true again in this latest offering - The Big Switch. For example a football match the German solider's play lasts 3-4 pages but I dont remember one battle or action scene lasting anywhere near as long.

As most of the other reviewers have pointed out that the big switch is that Britain and France make peace with Germany and then ally with her against the USSR (which I believe was one of Stalin's nightmares). Churchill is assassinated in an "traffic accident" probably by a German agent which helps make the change over possible.

Despite this major plot twist its a very dull book and despite some references to British and French troops being on the Eastern Front with the Germans we learn very little about anything that is going on there. Now in this story the USSR is facing Nazi Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Britain and France. I would have thought that this coalition would make a difference, be forcing back the Soviets at least a bit and create some really alternative history but all the characters are doing is complain about the cold, very stereotypical. Apparently the British dont have any cold weather gear is one remark I remember being made by a supposedly better equipped German soldier, the historical inaccuracy is horrendous sometimes. Perhaps its irony?

I do wonder why Turtledove bothers with these wartime scenarios since the wars, battles, etc play such a small and insignificant (and often badly told part) of his stories. He may as well just have a British person, French person, German person, Japanese person, etc. in peace time talk and talk and you would have exactly the same affect just a different date!

I really regret buying this book, very disappointed, have donated it to my local charity shop. I cant see this series improving now. I cannot recommend it.

For a REALLY good alternative history set in World War two I would recommend either Seelowe Nord: the Germans are coming. A completely fresh fictional new take on Operation Sealion - the German invasion of England in 1940, but the Germans land in the North east of England instead of the south. Very well written, full of action and very convincing or Guy Saviles -The Afrika Reich - really great reads unlike the above.Seelöwe Nord: The Germans Are Coming and The Afrika Reich


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20