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The River at Night: A Gripping Summer Thriller
The River at Night: A Gripping Summer Thriller
Price: £2.84

3.0 out of 5 stars They accidentally checked the "Deliverance" box when they ordered the holiday, 30 Aug. 2017
This book starts well. The narrator, Win, is quirky. The tough year she has just had, loss and divorce, must be unbearable to experience. But she makes sure it is not unbearable to read about. It draws you in. The characters of the four friends and their interactions, loves and lives are good to read about too.

Getting to the river, there is a rising sense of unease - again, all very well done.

Next, some arguments and tensions follow. In part, the arguments are about the raft guide. Who is very easy on the eye and may be getting involved with one of the women.

I have to say, one paragraph that totally made the raft guide the good guy in my eyes, whether or not he is such in the story (can't give spoilers ;-) ), was when he and Pia "endlessly pack and unpack the equipment, while chatting away like old friends", while the three other friends sulk about a situation and do not lift a finger.

The first river sequences are great. Later, everything is too crammed in, and everything that could possibly happen - together with plenty that couldn't - is stuffed into each river section.

Then everything really goes downhill. I don't know what the particular trope is called, where baddies have seemingly superhuman powers and resources and powers of surveillance in a wilderness environment. But this book has that trope. Oops, that was a spoiler I guess.

Skipped through the second half fast, and considered not reading it. The final tie-up is comparatively ok.


The Summit [DVD]
The Summit [DVD]
Dvd ~ Christine Barnes
Offered by Home Entertainment Online
Price: £6.24

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of original footage and interviews - real footage and reconstruction almost too seamless, 22 July 2016
This review is from: The Summit [DVD] (DVD)
I am writing here about the BBC version on "Storyville" that was titled "K2: The Killer Summit" - directed by Nick Ryan, 80 minutes long. This is maybe an edited version of "The Summit" as listed here in this amazon listing, I am not sure.

I enjoyed the film a lot. As others have said, it is a little disjointed, without always having a clear narrative. But I think this is inevitable given the facts, the gaps, and the pressures from altitude effects and living through traumatic experiences - there is surely no "one truth" and we should not expect one. And in fact, it is mainly possible to follow the thread - it is well organised, especially considering what a large number of interviews there are with people from many of the teams, as well as some family members.

The format is good. The opening credits state that "40%" of the footage is from the various groups of mountaineers' own videos, taken at the time. This is amazing. The remainder is interviews and, presumably, reconstruction. It is not made completely explicit which parts are reconstruction. In some ways, I would have appreciated some visual cue as to which parts are reconstruction, but I appreciate that there is an artistic compromise that has to be made somewhere. Indicating what is reconstruction would help us to avoid mistaking those parts of the story as "absolute." But would also further break up the coherence of the whole. I suppose to a real mountaineer it would be very obvious which parts are reconstruction, but to us armchair inhabitants, it is less so, and maybe does need more cues to avoid us getting the impression we "know what happened" - no one really does.


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The Psychopath Test
The Psychopath Test
by Jon Ronson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars witnessing a moment of self-realisation? really?, 17 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Psychopath Test (Paperback)
There is a very sweet moment in this book when jon ronson supposedly comes to realise that his job, political journalism, is, shock horror, basically about finding and interviewing slightly nutty people. It is at the same part of the book that I learned the phrase "political journalisn" - until that moment I'd only known that jon ronson is a very good writer who finds and interviews slightly nutty people.

I have read a few books about sociopathy - phsycopath next door, mask of sanity etc, which mainly ask: have you noticed that some people, who seem like you, are actually devoid of a concience?!. This book does talk about sociopathy and the history of its classification, but also about several other conditions, all with example interviewees, and very engagingly done. Ìt then goes on to ask an interesting and more media-centric question: how nutty, no more and no less, do we seem to want our news/celebrites/car crash tv? And what are the ethical questions involved for those who provide our just-nutty-enough nut loaf?

A very enjoyable read.


Salvation of a Saint
Salvation of a Saint
Price: £5.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars death by a thousand hot (or lukewarm) beverages, 18 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I read this after the excellent "devotion of suspect X" by the same author. "Salvation" is not as good. Maybe because, to me anyway, the suspect and victim were initially hard to like, and mostly remained so, so it was hard to care whether the detectives catch the killer or not. The book revolves around finding how someone introduced poison into a cup of coffee. Each new theory or piece of information is discussed at length by the detectives and their pet scientist, galileo. The slightly larger cast of detectives - K now has two underlings, K2 and Y, as well as a boss M who is more involved -probably makes the Japanese tv series based on these books more sparky, as there are plenty of contrasting characters among the police to rub up against each other. However, in this book it just increases the number of permutations of two detectives having a very similar conversation about poison and coffee. After each conversation, in a total disregard for police procedure, a detective will leak any new info to one of the people under investigation. Their reaction to the piece of information will then be the subject of discussion between galileo-and-K, K-and-K2, Y-and-galileo, etc etc for another 20 pages. All the while, everyone drinks coffee. Or sometimes tea. Or sometimes instant coffee from a dirty cup. Noone develops a rational or irrational fear of coffee, except me.

After a dull middle of the book, there are some quickfire twists and reveals at the end, which do tie things together.

I loved "X" and may persevere and try another by this author.


Phantom: Harry Hole 9
Phantom: Harry Hole 9
by Jo Nesbo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tried once. now I'm addicted, 23 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Phantom: Harry Hole 9 (Paperback)
This is the first Harry Hole book I've read. It works well as a standalone novel, but now I will go back to the beginning and start with The Bat. Nesbo revisits enough background for the new reader to get what they need - hopefully without irritating the loyal fans who have read every last book.
The novel focuses a lot on father (figure)-son relationships, and the effects of father absense - Harry is back to look out for his ex's son, to make up for not being there. The strange, kooky priest figure/nutcase/tramp mentions Abraham and Isaac, although he mainy just rambles on. Q. How much danger will a dad risk for his boy, even though he shares no DNA A. Everything, because he is harry hole, ace detective, intuit, reformed alkie and street fighter extraordinaire!
Another Dad-link is that the junkie/dealer murder victim addresses all his part of the story to his unknown dad.
In fact, this back story coming from the last thoughts of a victim is a device which usually puts me off, but I enjoyed those sections as much as the main novel, because they pushed the story along with some nice reveals, without any of the metaphysical pondering that would have bogged it down.
There are various "Phantoms", from Russian ghost stories, phantom one legged beggars, to the shady identities of those running the city's several drug pushing networks. All very neat.
I loved the style and complexity of the writing, and it goes without saying that it was certainly exciting enough.
I will try to read the other harry hole novels, though I know I won't manage all of them - I started on Leopard long ago and found the opening scene too distressing - the randomness of being picked to be an innocent victim, and the gruesome method haunted me for always and I gave up. Phantom is more bearable because the murder is not random, but a fairly inevitable result of the junkie's own actions. And he is far from innocent, although sometimes I found myself rooting for him against the more powerful or despicable characters, just until he surpassed himself by doing the next truly awful thing, and the next, and the next.
A great tale with believable characters, unbelievable action and survival, and interconnections galore


Bloodline (Francis Thriller)
Bloodline (Francis Thriller)
by Felix Francis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars nothing unenjoyable but some flaws, 20 Dec. 2013
The info about broadcasting and commentating seemed well researched and was engaging. The story was fine, interesting enough, exciting enough and an enjoyable page tuner.

On the downside, the romantic interest was superficial and odd and the baddie's motives and opportunities were not explained at all, and there were plotlines where the ground was prepared but not followed through eg fingerptints in one of the cars. Also the police were an an unbelievably trusting and unthorough lot.

I would have prefered to give 3.5 stars because despite the flaws there is nothing unenjoyable.


Iron Mum's Little Book of Practical Inspiration
Iron Mum's Little Book of Practical Inspiration
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Ditch the ironing, do "iron mum", 3 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A good, quick read.

Like all books of this genre, it claims not to be like any book in this genre.... but of course, it is.

And like all books of this genre, it hopes to be read by women who have never worn a pair of running shoes, inspiring them to take up running. But I suspect is read more by women like me, who _had_ never worn a pair of running shoes, and are an unlikely seeming runner, but actually _do_ do it now, and already find it as life changing as the women in the book. I.e. people looking for validation of their existing lifestyle, not to change it. For example, I expect this book has been bought by a lot of the "iron mums" themselves.

Having said that, it succeeds in presenting running in a demystified, encouraging, OK-for-anyone way. All to the good.

The book has two main parts:
1. Examples/inspirational stories from particular mums
2. Hints and advice.

The style is good. The women who write about their experiences are articulate. Nothing lyrical or amazing, but down-to-earth good. In this, it is certainly considerably better than, for example, "Run fat bitch run". The hints are also good - and I found that the best bit of the book really.

My only caveat would be: "Iron mums" relies for part of its strength on the power of "do things together!" This is very powerful, and if that works for you, and suits your lifestyle, great. For me, I prefer to run mostly alone, for a lot of reasons, and there are pluses and minuses to that. I would have liked a section on that. And also a section of hints for strategies that different women have found to include running in their impossibly busy lives.

Having said that, I would recommend this book to any mum. Any woman. Anyone.


Octonauts: The Amazing Octopod: A Pop-up and Play Adventure
Octonauts: The Amazing Octopod: A Pop-up and Play Adventure
by Simon and Schuster
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not utterly amazing, more like OK, 22 April 2013
As previous reviewer says, the lower wall, which has to be slotted into place for the HQ deck to be flat, does not easily slot in. And it is a poor design that this extra wall is there at all. This product is for small children so should not include something so hard to do.
The push-out figures are hard to stand up. I bought this in a shop and paid full price. For the same money could have got 13 sticker books from a pound shop and amused little one for much much longer.

On the plus side, the diagrams of the octopod on other pages are good. Just about enough info about each pod, while preserving the mystery of "where does shellington sleep"


Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Fiendish Puzzles and Impossible Interview Questions from the World's Top Companies
Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Fiendish Puzzles and Impossible Interview Questions from the World's Top Companies
by William Poundstone
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some of his solutions are off the mark, 17 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am enjoying this book, if you like puzzles then its a bit of a laugh.

I'm disappointed though that some of his solutions are a little off the mark:

Q. Horse race: Given 25 horses, and you have a racecourse where you can race 5 horses at a time, how many races do you need to find the top 3 horses.
In his answer to this, the author shows it can be done in 7 races, but does not explicitly explain why it can't be done in 6, so doesn't quite answer the question.

Q. two men meeting after 20 years, one has 3 daughters whose ages have product 72 etc etc
In his solution, the author gives the prime factors of 72 as: 2, 3, 3 and 4???? 4 is not prime, so this is sloppy.
He then lists the possible combinations, but misses at least one combination - this could matter, but luckily he still gets to the right answer.

Q. If all families in a country plan their families as follows: "carry on til we get a boy, then stop", what will the male:female ratio be in the resulting population?
The author goes into long, complicated detail by splitting up into the various cases of family: B, GB, GGB, etc etc when this is not necessary at all: The answer is that, as long as no one aborts fetuses on the basis of sex, then the ratio will be just as it would if families did not have that strategy. He also makes a slightly incorrect assumption: Namely that the proportion of M:F is exactly 50:50. In reality, the ratio for live births tends to be very slightly more girls than boys (the ratio at conception is likely to be 50 50, but live birth ratios are very slightly different to that). 50 50 is pretty close.

Q. Desert island football, the only available coin for the toss is biased.
A better answer than the "google" and "microsoft" ones? Captain A hides the coin in one hand and asks captain B to guess left or right.


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