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Hotel Tycoon Board Game
Hotel Tycoon Board Game
Price: £18.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simpler but snazzier version of monopoly, 2 Dec. 2013
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Hotel Tycoon Board Game (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This game is an update of the 1974 MB game Hotels. Which is basically a simpler but snazzier version of monopoly.

The game contains a number of cardboard and plastic hotels (which can take a while to build and don't 100% fit nicely in the box) and when all these are added to the board the game certainly is spectacular. Build quality is quite high though the tokens are just cheaper plastic planes.

The aim of the game is to build hotels, get people to land on their entrances and make them bankrupt, last person standing the winner. The board is a loop with 3 different squares, buy land squares (where you can buy the hotel land), planning permission squares(where you opt to build build on your land) and build for free squares. What is interesting is that when you buy land people can buy it off you (and you can't stop them) when they land land on an adjacent buy square unless you have built on it. To build on the land there is a special planning permission dice that could allow you build for free but could also cost you double.

To compare to monopoly it definitely is quicker but feels some what less fun. The different rules add some interest but our games didn't feel nearly as cutthroat as a game of monopoly. Probably one for younger children rather than those versed in Settlers of Catan or Ticket To Ride. It does look impressive though; if I had this back in the 80s I probably would have loved it for the buildings alone.


CSS3 Pushing the Limits
CSS3 Pushing the Limits
by Stephen Greig
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Catch up on the bleeding edge, 2 Dec. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As an inexperienced web developer, this book is a great resource to get up to speed with the bleeding edge of CSS3. I can't necessarily plug most of the examples in to my code (something like a third the book can't even be used in the latest browsers never mind IE7) but it's a great read to see what is coming. Well written it does feel short and leaves you wanting more but that's what the internet is there for. At under 400 pages of comfortable sized font it does feel a little expensive at RRP.

Contents are what you would expect if you've looked at any of CSS3 - the new selectors, the improved text effects, flexbox, animations, 3d, columns, responsive queries, grids etc. There is some talk of preprocessors and the future. The section I found most interesting was the chapter of creating solutions for standard problems with just css; one day soon maybe it will be time to put Jquery out to pasture.

This is a book of its time, in 2013 much of the contents is still the future and this is inspiration and a great jumping off point, If this 2015 I imagine there is a better book out there for you.


Fast Cooking: Really Exciting Recipes in 20 Minutes
Fast Cooking: Really Exciting Recipes in 20 Minutes
by James Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, 2 Dec. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The cover says "Really Exciting" but this mostly translates to recipes with near pretentious middle class ingredients; most likely not to be found in your cupboards or your regular shop, and this when coupled with the 20 min time frame leads to unsatisfying recipes that aren't what you would expect - weekday recipes but also not effort enough to be special occasions.

Saying that photography is good and there are some good ideas here but the book is more inspiration rather than a collection of recipes that you can draw from and regularly make. Its a shame James Martin seems to have more accessible good ideas on TV but this book missed its mark with me, possibly I'm not the target audience.

In conclusion it's okay.


The Giver (Essential Modern Classics)
The Giver (Essential Modern Classics)
by Lois Lowry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars The giver, 12 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was surprised by this book having bought it on a whim. I was disappointed by the end but the journey was surprising gripping. The problems with the world are revealed slowly showing the benefits of the choices the civilization has made before revealing through a character that stores memories of the past what this world has given up. Definitely worth a read and its not too heavy for younger children although they will probably miss some of the depth. Recommended.


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4.0 out of 5 stars Thundercracker and skywarp, 12 Oct. 2012
= Durability:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent releases of the 80s toys. Definitely a collectors items and not one to give to kids today. The transformation of these two is simple and does involve some disembly and reconsruction, making them less of an artistic transformation than say the autobot cars. These are iconic characters and worth picking up if your transformer fan. My only disappointment is with the stickiness of the stickers however a spot of glue solves this.


Atmospheric Disturbances
Atmospheric Disturbances
by Rivka Galchen
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars AD - its okay, 29 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a bizare account of a descent into psychoticness and out of reality. This is all about a man who's wife is not his wife (she has a dog and his wife would never have a dog) and his journey to find his real wife from New York to Buenos Aires via emailing dead metrologists and his strange patient who believes himself to be a secret agent of the Royal Academy for meteorlogy (again).

The writing is strange going from almost poetic into absolute tedium, and I found the book difficult to dedicate time too (especially with a back log of books building up). Rivka Galchen can definately write, my largest problem was I didn't really connect to Leo, especially his interactions with others.

I would say give it ago if you like randomness but not not so much if you want characterisation and plot.


Inside the Whale
Inside the Whale
by Jennie Rooney
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Whale, 29 July 2011
This review is from: Inside the Whale (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a story of two people separated by World War 2. This is the debut of the author Jeenie Rooney and as such is surpisingly good. Its not really the story that I was looking for but the pace was good, the alternative chapter viewpoints interesting and the language used good. I won't be reading her next book but I would recommend it to others.


Ender's Game (Ender Saga)
Ender's Game (Ender Saga)
by Orson Scott Card
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ender's Game, 15 May 2008
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is quite simply a science fiction classic. Orson Scott Card's background in humanities rather than science provides an interesting take on the genre and coupled with some strong underlying themes, this leads to a surprisingly accessible novel even for those with no interest in science fiction.

Earth has survived two attacks by an alien insectal race called "Buggers". In order to ensure Earth's survival all the brightest and most gifted children are taken into service of the International Fleet and are trained to be officers and commanders in space, the youngest based at the Battle School - home of a war game where teams of children compete against each trying to disable the other team's "gate", all in zero gravity with laser quest like weapons. The story follows Ender Wiggin - an extraordinary talented 6 year old - from Earth to Battle School and his career in the game and his grooming to become command of Earth's fleets against the Buggers.

The plot is simple but the underlying themes complex, alienation and loneliness, the nature of games and rules; the capabilities of youth and their relationship with adults; compassion and ruthlessness; power and ethics; what it is to be human and of course war. In the sequels and later writing Card often falls for the common mistake of telling us rather than showing us these themes and lecturing at points however in Ender's Game he makes none of these mistakes leading to a surprisingly tight novel. In its brevity we see Card's writing at its best, well paced, well described - Ender's game is an emotional moral ride which never loses its sense of fun and wonder.


About Grace
About Grace
by Anthony Doerr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but Flawed, 9 Jun. 2005
This review is from: About Grace (Paperback)
Anthony Doerr's About Grace, is a difficult book to describe and to review. It is the story of David Winkler, an eccentric, Alaskan hydrologist who is gifted and cursed with premonitory dreams. The books shows us the impact of such a power and the life and choices that David is forced, and chooses, to take.
The book is divided into six sections, each telling the story of a period of time in David's life. The major theme of which is a series of dreams concerning the death of his daughter Grace, the choices he makes because of these premonitions and the consequences of those decisions. The dreams are that Grace will die in his arms in a flood, so when the flood waters begin to rise he escapes to the Caribbean, hoping to save her by breaking the vision but risking the fact that she may die in the flood anyway. After 25 years of living in the Caribbean he returns to America to search for his daughter, assuming, that is, she even survived.
Anthony Doerr is a talented writer, his descriptions are vivid, his character strange. There is no doubt that this is a beautiful book, however there is something somewhat disappointing about About Grace. Doerr's turn of phrase and descriptive style, although charming and awe inspiring in small doses, soon becomes distracting and draws the book out, making it overly long. Plot and characterisation are sacrificed for description of the vivid and the beautiful, which is no bad thing but leaves a book that the reader will either love or grow tired with rather rapidly.
Anthony Doerr obviously has a great talent for writing, his style suits the short story perfectly, however for a novel of this length I would prefer he show an equal talent for story telling, with more character development and emotion. That said this is a beautiful written book and even if it will leave some readers disappointed, it will leave others amazed. Despite being one of the disappointed, I look forward to the next book by Anthony Doerr and hope that he has learnt from some of the flaws of this one.


The Namesake
The Namesake
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Namesake, 12 May 2005
This review is from: The Namesake (Paperback)
The Namesake is Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel although it is her second book. Her first was the Interpreter of Maladies, a well received short story collection that won several awards. The Namesake follows the Ganguli family, the Bengali immigrants Ashima and Ashoke and their American-born children, over a period of 30 years. The main focus of the book is on their son, Gogol, born in 1968. Instead of being named by an elderly relative in India, a series of events unfold leading to him being named after his father's favourite author, the Russian Nikolai Gogol. This is the namesake of the title.
We follow Gogol throughout the first three decades of his life through his ups and downs, his childhood, his education, his relationships, his career and, most of all, his various identity crises. From an early age he belives that he doesn't really fit in, he feels that he alone in the entire world has Gogol as a first name. Also he embraces the American way of life, unlike his parents who try to keep to their traditional Indian way and this too causes him strife. Before going to college he invents a new identity for himself and changes his name to Nikhil, which is both suitably Indian but can be shortened to the more American Nick. Over time both he and his parents adjust their ways of thinking. His parents grow to enjoy American customs such as Christmas and the benefits of American life, while Nikhil embraces his Indian heritage.
The structure of the book seems to hark back to Interpreter of Maladies, it is written in almost a short story style, with different chapters being told from several different character perspectives. Fortunately this is tied together with consistent themes and a mainly constant cast of characters. However, frustratingly, a lot of potential action is lost in between different chapters; relationships end in a blink of an eye and characters disappear never to be mentioned again. Despite this the book draws you along with the depth of its characterisation of both the major and peripheral characters. Jhumpa Lahiri has a passion for her subject and this shows in her writing. She makes you care and feel for Gogol and his family. The book is at once, warm and profound, comforting and deep. Her insight into both cultures, American and Indian coupled with well written prose makes this book both an education as well as a pleasure to read.


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