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Tabula Rasa (London)

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The Britannia Conspiracy: Roman Resurrection
The Britannia Conspiracy: Roman Resurrection
Price: 2.48

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed but poor writing sinks it., 24 May 2014
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It's full of non stop action, and the plot keeps throwing up new threats and dangers on every page.
To start with, it seems exciting, but when every one of these threats gets neutralised seconds later, in the most simplistic way, all tension is lost.
And the writing is poor. there's no characterization, and, violence apart, it reads like it was written for small children. The writing has an astonishingly naive quality, which makes it harder to read as it goes on.
Shame, because there is some imagination here, and this throws so many genres together with a lot of energy.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2014 10:15 PM BST

The Discreet Interventions of Verdon James
The Discreet Interventions of Verdon James
by Julian Roach
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oddly wonderful, 29 Dec 2012
I really enjoyed this rather unconventional novel; it's more like a series of short stories, in each of which James deals cleverly with some dilemma requiring tact and his own "oblique way of looking at things".

Some are relatively inconsequental, others appear more critical.

Each takes place in a different time period, and most have little to do with the subject matter of most thrillers.

Nevertheless they are consistently entertaining and James emerges as a unique, if very British character.

An odd and eccentric triumph, and very much worth getting hold of.

Demon Hunter - The Resurrection [Blu-ray]
Demon Hunter - The Resurrection [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Zhou Xun

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars CGI-dominated romance, 26 Dec 2012
This is in no sense a martial arts film, but a fairly slushy romantic tale of the search for love of both humans and demons, with a bit of swordplay thrown in.

It's one of those films full of highly stylized, artificial looking and gaudy CGI effects, and the soundtrack sounds a bit like an eastern Enya.

I found it slow and boring and very wearying to look at after a while.


Strolling Through Venice: The Definitive Walking Guidebook to 'La Serenissima'
Strolling Through Venice: The Definitive Walking Guidebook to 'La Serenissima'
by John Freely
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 4 July 2012
Very poor - nothing like what was promised. It's a hard slog and just makes you tired to have to read it.

Hirokin : The Last Samurai [DVD]
Hirokin : The Last Samurai [DVD]
Dvd ~ Wes Bentley
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: 2.60

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars cheap inept movie, 28 April 2012
Despite the other reviews, which seem suspicious to as to a commentator below, this is a rubbish movie, with good actors stranded in a direct to video hell. The sword fighting would be put to shame by the Xena tv series. Avoid!

The 15 Minute Rule
The 15 Minute Rule
Price: 3.99

12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Suspicious of many of the reviews too, 16 April 2012
I agree with other reviewers and commentators who think many of the 5 star reviews are a bit iffy. So many of them are comprehensivly optimistic and overly positive endorsements that don't have any reservations at all, are similar in tone, are done as first reviews,and share a tendency to put exclamation marks in the body and/or end of the review, that you get the sense they may be written by the same person or a small number of people.

Highly respected self-help books, that are widely admired and regarded as being very effective, don't have such simple-minded reviews and real reviewers don't tend to claim their lives are changed within a couple of weeks and everything's just dandy now, because real life is not like that.

Yes, this is not a review of the book either, but there doesn't seem to be a way of voting these reviews as possible spam, It's a problem that afflicts lots of review sites such as tripadvisor, and something needs to be done about it. I'd prefer to rely more on reader reviews than critic's ones - they often give me a far better idea of whether I'm likely to enjoy a book, but it's getting harder.

Look at the reviews again and make up your own mind.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2012 6:34 AM GMT

Kamui - The Lone Ninja [DVD]
Kamui - The Lone Ninja [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ken'ichi Matsuyama
Price: 9.99

13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, dreadful movie, 15 Aug 2010
This review is from: Kamui - The Lone Ninja [DVD] (DVD)
Having been suckered in by the review quote on the front of the DVD, ("the best ninja film ever made") I was immensely disappointed to to experience this inept, poorly structured and painfully amateurish film, which wanders all over the place before ending on a dour, grim and unsatisfying note with a rubbish fight scene thrown in.

Run away!!

The Valkyrie Song
The Valkyrie Song
by Craig Russell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Police Procedural, 12 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Valkyrie Song (Paperback)
This is a riveting and complex police thriller, with multiple suspects for several different but possibly connected killings with dissimilar MO's. It's interesting that there re so many candidates for each killing - it makes everything a little more challenging.

Russell holds all the plot strands together masterfully and makes each incident suspenseful and intriguing. Despite the complexity, the expositions at intervals throughout the novel seem pretty natural and unforced and allow the reader to catch up and summarise things when there is a lot going on. Hamburg itself is a character in the story, and this novel is full of atmosphere.

There's also an interesting backstory about former Stasi assassins trying to exist in the new post-reunification world, as well as an insight into the psycholgy of female killers. And Fabel is a sympathetic character you respect and root for.

This is the first book in the Hamburg/Fabel series that I've read - I think it's the fifth, chronologically, and it's made me want to read the others as soon as I can. Best read of the year for me. Don't miss it.

Stone Virgin
Stone Virgin
by Barry Unsworth
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Beautiful Sensuous Novel, 13 July 2010
This review is from: Stone Virgin (Paperback)
Thi is a gorgeous and very sensitively rendered book in which a compelling story is told over three different time periods, each bringing a convincing version of Venice.

The idea that this book might be misogynous (as a lone reviewer states below) is just laughable - it's a very wonderful and life-enhancing book

Mulan [DVD] [2009] (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition)
Mulan [DVD] [2009] (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition)
Dvd ~ Wei Zhao
Price: 17.99

8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Medicore Epic, 23 Jun 2010
This is the the vein of many recent period Asian movies - big battle scenes, a love story, and a strong role for a female character.

Very few of these are distinctive, and this one is pretty ordinary.

The main actress is very good but let down by a film that seems boring at every level. The cinematography is dark and muddy and makes the film seem glum and depressing rather than gritty.

Some of the battle scenes are fairly well done, bu the love story is unconvincing and takes up far too much of the film.

All in all, it's not terrible but not much good either. Can't see how it could merit five stars

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