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Amazon Customer "MjD" (Edinburgh, Scotland. { Kobe, Japan. Saipan. Alabama.})
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Berlitz Chinese & Japanese Premier Version 2 (PC/Mac)
Berlitz Chinese & Japanese Premier Version 2 (PC/Mac)
Offered by PNA247
Price: 28.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for a neophyte.., 25 Aug 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like some of the other reviewers I also experienced issues installing "Bertlitz: Chinese & Mandarin Premier" onto my PC. I don't usually have issues installing software, so found this disappointing but was able to manually load the program files.
The reason I chose this software is that my wife is Japanese and I thought that after 10 years maybe it was time for me to learn more than a few basic words & maybe understand what she & my kids are saying about me behind my back. It will probably be a while before that happens as I'm not a natural linguist; however this software is very accessible and ingenuous. The learning methodology is very straight-forward and I really like the flashcards. My wife, who is a Japanese language tutor doesn't really like this method as it's not particularly intensive but for someone like me who just wants to dip into the language to learn a few basis at their own pace - it is ideal.


Who is Mr Satoshi?
Who is Mr Satoshi?
by Jonathan Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Gallimaufry?, 23 Aug 2011
This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At first, I found this book, "Who is Mr. Satoshi?" by Jonathon Lee, a little hard to get into. The beginning was somewhat moribund but by persevering I was treated to a delectable tale. In many ways the book reminded me of reading a Murakami novel, particularly "After Dark" with a retired Sumo wrestler running a love hotel & the quirky Japanese girl, the old prostitute, etc. While the use of letters to flashback to events at the end of World War 2 was reminiscent at times to "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle". Maybe without realising it, Mr. Lee's novel has heavily relied on Murakami-style motifs.
However, I didn't feel the novel was a complete pastiche. The journey of discovery for the main Gai-jin character was absorbing, especially once the journey had moved from England to Japan. At times, the plot was a little too predictable and I felt the end was a little incondite. I would read further works from this author and hope over time he finds a unique style and voice for his writing. An accomplished first book - hinting at a talent that should be developed further. Not quite 4 or 5 stars but 3.5!


Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World (Penguin Hardback Classics)
Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World (Penguin Hardback Classics)
by Jan Karski
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fundementally Important book, 19 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Jan Kozielewski's (Karski) 'Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World' is a fundamentally important and worthy book. It was written during the Second World War and is his biographical account of the underground and résistance movements in occupied Poland.

Having been a long-time fan of George Millar's excellent memoir "Road to Resistance", I was very keen to read this account of the Polish underground as it is not a widely published topic. The fact that this was written in Wartime as a statement of witness makes this book all the more fascinating and telling. At times, looking through clouded, cynical late C20th eyes the stories at times seem a little too fantastical at times, but I imagine that when this book was first published it was much more relevant, immediate and shocking. Especially telling is his frustration at the Allies lack of belief in the realities of the Holocaust which he had himself observed first hand.

One of the preeminent aspects of the narrative, that this book highlights very well is how most of the Resistance and underground work, though vital and extremely dangerous, was dreary and mundane. Yet, amazingly thousands of Poles still had the personal belief and strength to risk their lives for their principles, ideals and patriotism. Of all the occupied states in Europe, the Poles resisted the strongest, running a parallel underground State apparatus while the Nazis persecuted them. While there may be an element of fiction in the narrative, there is also enough dry academic accounting in the book to ensure its veracity.

This is a great testament to the Polish peoples and their sufferings in WW2. A highly recommended tome.


Thomas and Friends: The Railway Stories, Branch Line Engines and Other Stories (Thomas & Friends)
Thomas and Friends: The Railway Stories, Branch Line Engines and Other Stories (Thomas & Friends)
by W. Awdry
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 2.44

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable CD for the kids, 19 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My children have been enjoying listening to the CD of Thomas and Friends: The Railway Stories, Branch Line Engines and Other Stories for a few weeks now. We often play them this as they drift off to sleep after reading time. This collection of Thomas stories is engaging and relaxing for the children to listen to. They know the books well, but this is the first time they've listened to the stories on CD and they have really taken to it. My daughter's only complaint was that she didn't think there was enough songs included.
I would recommend this CD for any parents of young children, put it on at bedtime & let them drift off to these tales - stress free.


Appsmaker Appsbooster Pro 2.0 (PC)
Appsmaker Appsbooster Pro 2.0 (PC)
Price: 3.58

5.0 out of 5 stars A real boost to your system.., 23 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
AppBooster Pro 2.0 is software designed to improve the performance of your PC, especially when Internet browsing or gaming. To do this, AppBooster installs a button on your desktop that when activated then shuts down processes and applications that the PC may be running in the background. By stopping these processes, more processing power & memory (RAM) is freed up for you to use on the task (game, downloading or browsing) you are currently performing. If you were to do this yourself, you would need to go into each task individually to stop them or alter your Program Mgt system. Either way is both time consuming and not for beginners. AppBooster does this for you at the touch of a button and when deactivated again, returns your system to its pre-boost state.

AppBooster Pro 2.0 is very easy to install and use. It was only a matter of minutes before I was able to see the benefits. Prior to activating the boost button I ran a broadband speed test, after activating the Boost I re-ran the speed test & obtained an approx 60% improvement. The software also contains a useful Defragmentation Tool for optimising your disk drives.

AppBooster Pro 2.0 - It works!


History of a Pleasure Seeker
History of a Pleasure Seeker
by Richard Mason
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real pleasure, worth seeking out.., 18 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Richard Mason's "History of a Pleasure Seeker" is a sincerely pleasurable read. I don't usually read `historical' novels but had been intrigued by the title of this book and the tag line that it was set during the belle époque, a fascinating period early during the last century.

The story details the life of Piet Barol as he takes on a job as a tutor in Amsterdam. It tells of his adventures both amorous and otherwise, of his encounters and relationships with the Vermeulen-Sickerts family for whom he works & their servants. The story is humorous, enjoyable, descriptive (full of the tensions & mores of the period) and erotic. The author is skilled at building up the erotic tension throughout the book until they are satisfactory concluded with fine prose that sets this book apart from the usual erotic tales. The writing at no time becomes smutty or titillating for the sake of it - but is overall a very pleasurable and fulfilling interlude.

I would highly recommend this book and I look forward to more stories from Richard Mason.


Munchkin Travel Booster Seat
Munchkin Travel Booster Seat
Offered by BOBBIESONLINE
Price: 28.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars useful papoose for the wee one.., 27 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A great idea that works well. This travel booster seat can also double-up as a nappy bag, so is ideal for being out and about with baby.

Even in this day & age it's not uncommon to find restaurants and cafes (especially smaller establishments) that don't provide high-chairs and it's really no fun to try & drink your coffee with a squirming baby on your knee. This is when this bag comes into its own - it can quickly be turned it to a stable baby seat that will attach to most dining chairs. I expect it could also be useful for those rare emergency taxi rides when it could be substituted for a car seat (though probably not recommended!).
The only drawback is that the storage space in the bag is quite tight, at the most you'll get a couple of nappies, wipes & maybe a small bottle in but not all usual accoutrements most mothers seem to carry around - just about right then for the Dads!


Ten Stories About Smoking (Boxed Edition)
Ten Stories About Smoking (Boxed Edition)
by Stuart Evers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.10

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Menthol light.., 27 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a fan of short story collections I was looking forward to reading this book. However, while hoping to experience the satisfaction of a rich cigar I was left with the unsatisfying bitter aftertaste of a menthol light.
While the stories aren't bad, they are just not particularly interesting. The prose and style are fine but they just lack substance. It's like going to a party expecting a filling buffet but ending up with a few canapés, while they may excite the taste buds they ultimately leave you disappointingly hungry.
Some of the stories especially leave you feeling like you've just wasted 15 mins of you time. "The Best Place in Town" was very dull & who really cares about Paul Daniels? "What's in Swindon" is a lacklustre tale of a re-visited romance doomed to fail, it's a story been done before and better by other writers. "Underground" was dreary, but I did quite enjoy "Lou Lou in the Blue Bottle". The smoking motif's that supposedly link these stories are pretty tenuous and doesn't really work.
While I generally did not enjoy this collection of stories, I would acknowledge that the writer does show some flair and I will be hoping that his next book will be much better and more enjoyable.


Project Management For Dummies (UK Edition)
Project Management For Dummies (UK Edition)
by Nick Graham
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.89

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Intro to Project Mgt, 20 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I currently work as a Project Manager for a leading global Investment Bank, so was interested to find this book available through Amazon Vine. Project Management for Dummies provides a good introduction to an overview of the fundamentals of Project Management. Alone, this book will not make you a successful Project Manager but it will introduce you to the disciplines you need to build on to enable you to strive towards being a good PM. I doubt any book alone could teach you all the skills required, successful Project Management comes through application, improvement and experience.
The book is logically organised into the key sections and covers all the fundamentals that a PM requires, such as identifying stakeholders, planning, documenting, tracking, delivery and closure. Each section contains useful examples, tips, warnings, etc, that help to illustrate what the chapter is discussing. Much of what is written in Project Management for Dummies is fairly unembroidered and simple and most PMs would follow the traits discussed unconsciously. However, if you are new to Project Mgt or looking to learn the basics ahead of blagging through an interview - then this book will give you the basics. It's not going to be your bible if you are a Project Manager and doesn't go into any detail on the high level Project Management methodology such as Prince, etc, but is a good taster to the field and for Project Managers a useful text to refer to occasionally for direction.


A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided
A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided
by Amanda Foreman
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vade mecum for understanding the American Civil War., 21 Mar 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided is a sizeable opus that tells the history of the American Civil War from a British perspective.

Growing up In England, I was educated to believe that the American Civil War was fought solely over the issue of slavery and as slavery is (undeniably) inhumane, the North justifiably went to war and won a righteous war. I then attended college in the Deep South. In the South, the Civil War is seen as a war about States' rights and slavery is a secondary issue, a fact that the majority of those who fought for the south were not slave owners gives some credence to this folklore. So having been "indoctrinated" into the view of the poor south trying to stand up to the rich, belligerent North and hearing the stories of southern folk heroes such as Jeb Stuart, "Gallant" John Pelham, etc - it was refreshing to read a definitive, unbiased history of this conflict.

What makes this book all the more interesting is that it is set against a background of the diplomatic relations between Great Britain & the USA. Fascinating characters such as William Seward, who pushed for a war against England under the belief that this would cause the Southern States to lay down their arms to fight a common cause, add colour. Also intriguing is that though Britain is feverently against the Slave trade, there is much support for the South - somewhat driven by our insatiable desire for cotton and from sympathy with the underdog. On both sides, many British subjects joined the war (either voluntarily or not) and fought in many of the battles - the author brings these characters to life in this impressive missive.

This tome is one of the most enlightening & enjoyable history books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This will be my vade mecum for understanding the American Civil War.


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