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Glasgow Dreamer (Glasgow Scotland)
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Hippopotamus
Hippopotamus
Price: £8.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yay! Sparks are back on form!, 8 Sept. 2017
This review is from: Hippopotamus (MP3 Download)
Sparks' recent collaboration with Franz Ferdinand suggested that they were back on form after a couple of rather sub-standard albums, by their high standards, and, having seen them perform a number of tracks from this album at their Glasgow show earlier this year, I was really looking forward to hearing the full album.

I've now listened to it all the way through three times, and it is excellent! There isn't a weak track on it (and Sparks are usually guilty of slipping in a couple of stinkers on every album). These songs don't sound like anyone else - the album is recognisably Sparks within the first fifteen seconds. It's far less one-paced than the last couple of Sparks albums (maybe a consequence of their FFS experiences), and some of the more uptempo tracks are among the very best they have recorded in many many years. And I have a soft spot for the ridiculous title-track. Possibly the simplest sounding track on the album, yet a real treasure. This is the best Sparks album since "Lil Beethoven".

If you're a fan, I would presume you've already bought this - if not, buy it now. For anyone new to the band, this is an excellent starting point.


InterDesign Fog-Free Bathroom Shower Shaving Mirror with Flexible Arm - Silver
InterDesign Fog-Free Bathroom Shower Shaving Mirror with Flexible Arm - Silver
Price: £11.24

2.0 out of 5 stars Good concept, poor execution., 4 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The idea is good, but the product itself is not.

It is made of cheap, nasty-looking grey plastic. The idea is that it can be attached to your shower so that some of the flow is diverted to the mirror, which is kept clear by the temperature of the water flowing over it.

However, when I connected it together, the weight of the product unbalanced my shower-head, so that it continually turned towards the wall when in use, instead of facing straight down, or at a slight angle, as it should.

As I said at the beginning of the review, I like the concept, but the ugliness of the product, and its poor performance mean I really sould not recommend it.


Return of the Plumed Serpent: War God: Book Two
Return of the Plumed Serpent: War God: Book Two
by Graham Hancock
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A good story, but not very well written., 2 Sept. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Obsidian, obsidian, obsidian, obsidian, obsidian.

The above could easily be a line from this book. The author has an almost unnatural obsession with the word. I commented on this in my review of the first part of this trilogy, and, if anything, he uses the word even more often in this second part. Whenever asnything is made of obsidian, we are informed; objects made of other materials rarely accord such description. He also uses the phrase "the colour of obsidian" on a number of occasions, and this turns out to be totally meaningless, as obsidian can have a number of colours (although admittedly, it is most often black). Anyway, in which universe is it normal to use the clumsy phrase "the colour of obsidian", over the more easily understood, and elegant word, "black"?

Another problem with the first part was the enormous number of Spanish words which Hancock just dropped into the narrative willy nilly. Many of these referred to weapons or vegetation, and it was often difficult to understand what he was describing, until something happened later on to clarify your thinking. This has been abandoned in the second book. There are hardly any Spanish words used in this part, and those which are, are well explained.

The writing is exceptionally long-winded and dense. I had hoped that this might be a two-book series, as it really is a bit of a slog. However, it turns out that it's a trilogy. The story is quite gripping, although we all probably know most of the basics already, and I will read the third part, but I do hope Hancock has learned to write a little more economically. More is not always better.

Apart from the use of the word "obsidian", which is the one constant, the first two parts of the trilogy could have been written by different people. I'm rather dreading the third part, but I do want to see how he develops the story.


The Bricks that Built the Houses: The Sunday Times Bestseller
The Bricks that Built the Houses: The Sunday Times Bestseller
by Kate Tempest
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as fulfilling as her recorded work., 2 Sept. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I throughly enjoyed Kate Tempest's recent album "Let Them Eat Chaos", so I was interested in reading the book.

However, her delivery does not translate well into the written word. Much of this book is written in a similar style to her album. It seems written to be read aloud, rhythmically. There are many lengthy passages made up almost entirely of short, sharp, one-clause sentences, and while this might sound great on a recording, it quickly becomes wearing when being read. She also uses some of the concepts of ther recorded work in this novel; there is one point where she details the location and activities of a number of characters at a precise moment in time, which was the driving force of her recent album.

Not very much happens in the book; there is a great deal of descriptive text, and I would suggest Tempest is attempting to create a work of "quality", rather than something which would actually entertain. It's difficult to argue with the standard of the writing, but some more attention should be paid to the story, even if that means we know a little less of the characters, and their environment. The other slight quibble I would have is the mass of coincidences required to pull the story together. Although it is quite believable that the two main characters would have met, there are too many coincidences used to tie them together as the story develops. It just wouldn't happen.

Overall, quite well written, but ultimately a disappointment.


Razor Girl
Razor Girl
by Carl Hiaasen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Silly, unbelievable, but quite enjoyable., 2 Sept. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Razor Girl (Paperback)
I picked this up after the author was recommended to me by a friend who usually has pretty good taste in books.

I had expected it to be more of a "thriller" type of book, but really, this is high farce, albeit entertaining high farce. Almost from the beginning, the story is totally unbelievable, but there are enough laughs to keep you hooked, and I ended up finishing the book in one sitting of around three hours.

I have now read two Hiaasen books, and I'm not sure I'll read any more. I prefer to read something a little more challenging, although this was an enjoyable diversion.


Close Quarters
Close Quarters
by Angus McAllister
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent local background, very slight story., 2 Sept. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Close Quarters (Paperback)
Pretty unbelievable, with an outcome which you will probably surmise by about halfway through the book.

A murder happens near the beginning of the book - an officious little man, who is loathed by all of his neighbours, and many others with whom he comes into contact. The middle 75% of the book concerns itself with the backgrounds of each of the most likely suspects, while the small final part contains the "reveal" and not a lot else.

You will probably figure it out quite early in the book, and it becomes more obvious the longer you read. If the story's not up to much (and it's not), the local interest kept me reading. Being from Glasgow myself, I am familiar with many of the places mentioned in the book. It's quite simple to work out what the "fictitious" places are as well - they are not very well disguised, which is a good thing, as it lends cedibility to them.

Overall, the local interest kept me going, more than the story did.


Chomp
Chomp
by Carl Hiaasen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, fun story. Not very taxing for an adult., 2 Sept. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Chomp (Paperback)
As with some other reviewers, I didn't realise this was a children's book until I had read a couple of chapters.

However, it was a fun read, even if it didn't occupy me for any longer than about two hours. It was simple to follow, with some moments of suspense. It would make a good movie or tv show, as the descriptions were quite vivid, and made it easy to envision the scenes and the action.

I wouldn't have read this if I had realised it was a children's book, but I quite enjoyed it, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it just as much if I was still twelve years old.


Before the Fall: Selected by The Sunday Times as one of the top page-turners of Summer 2017
Before the Fall: Selected by The Sunday Times as one of the top page-turners of Summer 2017
by Noah Hawley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I had expected so much more., 2 Sept. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Noah Hawley is the creator of the TV series "Fargo", and this attracted me to he book. I had hoped for something a little off the wall, something to make me think.

Instead, I got a rather thin plot, a lot of inconsequential background, and an ending which simply would not have been allowed to happen.

It's an easy read - it'll only take a couple of hours. Unfortunately I can't honestly say that would be time well spent.


To Kill the President: The most explosive thriller of the year
To Kill the President: The most explosive thriller of the year
by Sam Bourne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satirical? Certainly rather simplistic., 2 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The President, the main character in this novel, is never referred to by name, but it's not difficult to work out who the author intends the reader to think of. I think the auther has intended this to be a little satirical, magnifying some of the most negative traits of this particular president. However, reading it in August 2017, it doesn't read as a satire, but more as an alternative history, which may yet come to pass.

The book won't take long to read; it took me less than three hours. It's easy to follow, probably as it's so close to reality, and it is quite fast-paced. Much of the plot is rather weak, with the common theme of the underdog triumphing against superior force and intellect being well to the fore. The conclusion, in particular, is rather hackneyed, and all too convenient.

Overall, with a little suspension of belief, it was quite entertaining, and filled in a quiet afternoon during my holiday.


Remixes
Remixes
Price: £9.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, not bad., 2 Sept. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Remixes (Audio CD)
This is not nearly as bad as the najority of reviews I have read, both here on Amazon, and elsewhere. While T.Rex fans would have preferred some genuine new material to clebrate the 40th anniversary of Marc;s passing, and his 70th birthday later this month, it was not to be. This is probably preferable to yet another "Best Of.." compilation (the most recent was only a little over two years ago). However, I would dispute the label's claim that they "specially commissioned" these renixes, for two reasons. 1) many of the remixes have been around for at least two years, widely shared on T.Rex Facebook groups etc; and 2) if they were going to "specially commission" remixes, I am sure the remixers approached would be of higher profile and calibre than those represented here. I would suggest the label became aware of the remixes, and decided to gather them together, as a cheap way of releasing some "new" material.

The first CD contains re-mixed versions by a number of pretty minor remixers (OK, I'm old, but my kids, 18 & 25, hadn't heard of them either). These are not, as some have claimed, "dance" remixes. Most retain so much of the original track that they are more akin to (but better than) the "Alternate Takes" on the German 2001 album. Several tracks are duplicated, with treatments by different re-mixers. One version of "Light of Love", "Children of the Revolution", and "20th Century Boy", plus "Solid Gold Easy Action" are actually pretty good, and none of the others are so bad that you need to turn them off.

The second CD is ,however, pretty pointless, containing twelve instrumental mixes of some of Marc's most iconic tracks. Thes appear to be almost entirely without merit. These were SONGS. Why remove the most important element, the voice? (The instrumental version of "Children of the Revolution" owes quite a lot to the orchestral version in the "Born to Boogie" movie) I probably won't listen to it again. I've given the package three stars, but am effectively ignoring the second CD in coming to that decision, as I think the first CD deserves three.

Overall, it's not as good as getting new material, but it's quite entertaining, and inoffensive. I do think most of the one-star reviews have been submitted by individuals who have not heard the album, and who are merely reacting to the concept. I would urge them to give it a chance (the first CD at least).
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 5, 2017 11:30 PM BST


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