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GraemeRoberts14 (Manchester, UK)

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Bomber Boy: Rise of The Underwear Bomber
Bomber Boy: Rise of The Underwear Bomber
Price: £1.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bomber Boy by Ike Pius, 30 Aug. 2013
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Bomber Boy: The Rise of The Underwear Bomber deals with the controversial subject of terrorism in a mature and sensitive manner. The tale is a spin-off from Ike Pius' novel The Paradise That Was (which I haven't read but intend to soon) but it stands alone as an impressive short story.

In the post-9/11 world, few narratives have dared to explore the perspective of a terrorist, but Bomber Boy breaks that mould. At times it reminds of the acclaimed movie Zero Dark Thirty, but comes from a drastically different angle. Where the western view is presented, it is in the form of news reports - faceless, robotic, biased and eager to ignore the individuality of those outside its societal ideals. This is subtle satirical tactic is both clever and effective.

Particularly profound are the descriptions of Nigerian culture, which continue the project of Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie of reclaiming a culture too often misconstrued by western discourse. The direct and frank comparison of American and Nigerian food illustrates this excellently.

The writing is not always polished; the dialogue varies in quality and the descriptions - especially of actions - are often plain and repetitive. But there is potential in abundance, as evidenced by Pius' delicate approach to the intriguing subject matter and his ability to chronicle the small but telling details.


A Life
A Life
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumphant metafiction, 22 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: A Life (Kindle Edition)
This is an excellent short story - a thought-provoking and witty exploration of what it means to be an author and how we create and sustain characters. Philosophically probing without sliding into obscurity, 'A Life' is keenly observed and perfectly paced. The narrative is conveyed in a way which demands the reader's full engagement, in order to deliver an extremely rewarding reading experience.

I look forward to reading more works by Charles Hay. Thoroughly recommended.


The Bible Story
The Bible Story
Price: £0.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly-written & badly-formatted; read the Bible instead, 16 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: The Bible Story (Kindle Edition)
This book is a collection of re-tellings of Bible stories alongside poetry, hymns and prayers. In the first part the stories appear to have been articulated for children, but they are dated and patronising.

The format is difficult to navigate on Kindle as the structure of the book is quite chaotic. Worse still, the stories here are unreliable reinterpretations of Biblical tales; it's much better to simply read the Bible.


My Sister's Keeper
My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Important issues drowning in a sea of cliches, 16 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: My Sister's Keeper (Paperback)
It's hard not to applaud 'My Sister's Keeper' for attempting to address difficult and sensitive issues. Jodi Picoult imagines how a fairly typical (often stereotypical) middle-class American family deals with their daughters' medical situations: one has leukemia, the other was genetically chosen to be a donor for her older sister. The emotional exploration is vast, with the multiple perspectives of the novel weaving an intriguing fabric, but it isn't always successful. The conclusions reached are regularly cliched and corny, often making them barely believable.

The plot is well composed (apart from a cheap, get-out-of-jail ending) and Picoult's style will delight many - especially female - readers. Picoult writes realistic female characters but struggles to engineer effective males; the love interests are both contrived and idealistic (the brave yet emotionally astute fireman and the thick-skinned but warm-hearted lawyer) while the rebellious teenage son is almost a caricature.

This is an enjoyable book and it engages extensively and impressively with medical ethical issues which have no obvious right or wrong answers, but its disappointing lack of convincing characters and cringe-worthy addiction to cliches somewhat limit its appeal.


Whose Body?: Lord Peter Wimsey Book 1 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)
Whose Body?: Lord Peter Wimsey Book 1 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)
by Dorothy L Sayers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Dull, 16 Oct. 2012
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"...so long and twaddly and tedious, and nobody would have the patience to read it. Writers have to consider their readers, if any, y'see." - Whose Body? p.154.

This unintentionally ironic quote pretty much sums up this pointless crime novel. The characters are hollow, upper-class bores and the plot is totally uninspiring. If you're interested in classic crime, I'd urge you to read the Sherlock Holmes stories (by Arthur Conan Doyle) instead.


Caged
Caged
Price: £1.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Short Story, 16 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Caged (Kindle Edition)
This is an excellent story; carefully crafted and highly attentive to the sensitive, often overlooked subject matter with which it deals. Thoroughly recommended!


Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet
Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent version of a masterful story, 2 Oct. 2012
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'A Study in Scarlet' introduces the world to Sherlock Holmes, one of the all-time great fictional detectives. Arthur Conan Doyle's character - seen through the eyes of his sidekick Watson - is methodical, eccentric and highly entertaining.

The story is a classic murder mystery, with the largely self-taught Holmes setting out to outwit both police and criminal alike. There is little sense of antiquity in Conan Doyle's style; the writing is fast-paced, incisively masculine and rarely self-indulgent, amounting to a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The book is quite markedly divided into two halves and readers should not be put off by the seemingly out-of-nowhere beginning to the second part - it is all background information (establishing motive) relating to the first half, with the story neatly drawn together at the end.

My only minor gripe with this version (Kindle edition) is that the endnotes could be more easily accessible, but this is unlikely to diminish the enjoyment of those reading the book for pleasure.


Penguin Modern Poets 13
Penguin Modern Poets 13
by Charles Bukowski
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Selection of Bukowski, Lamantia and Norse, 12 Oct. 2010
Despite its abundance of abstract madness (which will doubtless delight many readers), this collection is a very good starting point for those new to the poetry of Bukowski, Lamantia and Norse.

It's not the easiest poetry for general readers to get to grips with, but there are a few moments of genius scattered throughout. Some sentiments are genuinely moving, while others are laugh-out-loud hilarious.

You can't ask much more from poetry, but it could be a bit more consistent.


Elegant Touch Toe Nail Clipper
Elegant Touch Toe Nail Clipper
Price: £1.45

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does the Job, 12 Oct. 2010
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A value-for-money nail clipper, good for fingers and toes.

There is enough leverage and sharpness to make light work of trimming tough nails.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2015 7:17 PM BST


Haralambos and Holborn - Sociology Themes and Perspectives Student Handbook: AS and A2 level
Haralambos and Holborn - Sociology Themes and Perspectives Student Handbook: AS and A2 level
by Martin Holborn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Sociology A-Level & Exam Revision, 12 Oct. 2010
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Although the complete Haralambos & Holborn is the absolute bible for sociology students, this overview is an excellent, lower-priced alternative for A-level students.

The handbook serves as a sufficient source of understanding and quotes for A-level study; where it does lack detail, it serves to direct the reader to the relevant sections in the complete version and gives suggestions for further reading throughout. In addition, the book provides a list of websites useful for sociology students.

The short, sharp, summarising style of this slimline version makes it a highly effective revision tool for exams.


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