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Anne "Anne"

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The Brightest Star in the Sky
The Brightest Star in the Sky
by Marian Keyes
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, just OK, 10 Nov. 2009
I really like Marian's other books but this didn't really do it for me at all. There were a few standout moments-- I liked the story of the couple Matt and Maeve, since as usual Marian manages to write very well and with humour about topics that are depressing or very serious (rape, depression, addiction etc).
The only other character I liked was Katie-- I wish the book had been about her with all the other characters just playing supporting roles. The narrator was just weird I thought; I got it at the end and it's a cute idea just seemed a bit strange to me.

Overall this book is OK, if you're a fan you'll read it anyway and enjoy. Every book can't be amazing from an author, so if you're a fan you read and like them all but wait for the one that will be as good as you know they can be.

Twilight: Twilight, Book 1 (Twilight Saga)
Twilight: Twilight, Book 1 (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can you say, 'lame Buffy rip off'??, 26 July 2008
OK, now I am not suggesting that every vampire story is a Buffy rip off OR that they all have to live up to Buffy (which let's face it, is a pretty high standard). BUT because this book is about a vampire-human relationship, and because the target audience is teenage girls, how can we not think of BtVS? Although, the teens who love this are probably too young to have grown up with Buffy, which also kind of works with the 'rip off' theory.
Anyway, I read this because I was stuck in airport for 12 hours and it was this or an old newspaper. I'm not criticising the style of writing or the author's skill as a writer, I think she's pretty good, which is why I gave it two stars and not zero. But that's the end of the good things- the story is dated, lame and so full of cliches that I groaned in almost every chapter. It also doesn't help that Bella, the heroine, is extremely annoying, all helpless and fragile and 'breakable' (groan), constantly needing to be rescued from Angel, sorry, I mean Edward. The connection or attraction between the two is never fully explained- though frankly, they are both such idiots that they're probably better off together. The rest of the characters are one dimensional cardboard cut-outs and after endless angsty romantic yearnings for most of the book (the phrase 'he thirsts for my blood' is actually used) we finally get some action.
I'm not criticising the teen genre, and actually there is another one good thing, it does pretty realistically capture the depth of feeling experienced by teens and 18-19 year-olds. But the main plot is so over-done and has been done better so many times before that I just don't care enough to read the other 3 books. I think the author (who, again, I think is a good writer- and she likes Muse, so points for that) would have been better creating more backstory and fleshing out the mythical side of it, instead of giving us pages of two annoying people mooning over each other.
My advice: instead of reading this, go out and buy seasons 1-3 of Buffy. Which is five million times better.

The God Delusion
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important book of our time, 28 May 2008
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
I've always wanted to read 'The God Delusion' but what held me back was the fear that the science/language would go over my head (I seem to remember failing my Leaving Cert Biology exam) and also a vague 'what's the point?' kind of feeling-- like I thought nothing or no one could stand up to the all powerful Catholic Church (I choose Catholicism because I'm Irish and they control the whole country).
But about one chapter- no less- into this book and I actually, at one point, put it down, stood up, and thought: 'FINALLY!' I actually felt relieved. And excited. This isn't some angry meaningless rant against religion, born out of a lack of understanding of God and theology, as some religious people think. A strict Catholic friend of mine told me that her local priest actually told the congregation one Sunday that the book is banned- I think the word 'evil' was used. This doesn't surprise me, this is Ireland after all. I have spent my whole life miserably trying to argue with everyone around me about religion--I've never, ever believed what I was taught in school about the Bible, and I've always looked on the Church with scorn.
Now, finally, here is a book that has actually changed my life and made me proud to say 'I am an atheist'. It explains brilliantly why there is no God- and that to me is the most amazing part of the book. I want this book to be published in a simplified version for children and given out in schools. I wish people could be forced to read it. When I have kids, they'll be reading this as well as the religious teaching they get in school- for as Prof Dawkins says, there is no such thing as a 'Catholic child'.
I recommend this book to anyone who has ever been frustrated with how religion- almost like the mafia or something-- controls our society and who wants reason and logic instead of fantasy and ridiculous fables.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 28, 2008 11:07 AM BST

Angel - Season 4 [DVD]
Angel - Season 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Boreanaz
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £14.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In-depth, complex...and brilliant, 10 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Angel - Season 4 [DVD] (DVD)
It took me a few years to appreciate how good season 4 of Angel actually is. When it originally aired I wasn't sure how I felt about it--I didn't like the Jasmine storyline, or what they did to Cordelia's character, and I thought the whole thing was slightly confusing.
I know now it definitely needs a second and even third viewing to be properly appreciated. The complexity of the storyline, the descent into darkness, and the numerous changes and surprises are all brilliantly done. It shows the planning that must have gone into the whole thing-- more planning than was given to Buffy Season 7 anyway...but that's a different story...

The season begins with the show's best opening episode, ever-- Angel trapped under the sea, put there by his mentally unstable son; Cordelia mysteriously serving time as a "higher being"; Fred and Gunn manning the Hotel and searching for Angel and Cordy, with the help of a fake-innocent Connor; and Wesley continuing his affair with Lilah, the poster girl for Evil law firm Wolfram and Hart. Events move along pretty quickly, and end up at the beginning of an Apocolypse with the gang in serious trouble. They stoop so low that they decide to bring back Angelus-- who I adore because, after all, we can only take so much of Angel's goodness. I was always surprised that they didn't properly bring back Angelus before now, although it's interesting that they managed to make Angel "dark" without doing it so clear cut as using Angelus.
That's really the brilliant thing about this season; it's not all black and while/ good and evil. There are layers, and when each is stripped back we get a brilliant surprise. We learn that not just this season, but possibly the last two were not what we thought, but planned by a seemingly rogue Power that Was who wanted to come down and control the world.
The writers manage to keep character development high while unravelling the story, which involves one of the gang taken over by an evil stranger; Connor continuing his descent into possible madness; Angel desperately trying to hold everyone and thing together, and Wesley helping without actually being back in the fold. I do think the way they developed Wes's character is one of the best in any show I've ever seen. It's hard to write three and four dimensional characters on TV I think, but they've done it here very well.
I also love Connor, he's a brilliant character. Which is why I was slightly disappointed with the season's finale-I kind of wanted (maybe foolishly) for Connor to finally make peace with Angel and join the family.
The whole season is like a long film, broken down into sections. The whole thing is brilliant-- there are flaws, but I recommend repeated viewings the catch the full scale of what this season means.
Slightly disappointed with the DVD extras, but the episodes are good enough that I'm not complaining about that too much!
It's so good to sit down and watch a series that gets better and better with each season-- unlike most shows lately, that decline after the initial greatness. Which makes it even more perplexing that they cancelled Angel. Guess we'll just have to make do with the comics-- and the re-runs.

Angel - Season 3 [DVD]
Angel - Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Boreanaz
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Angel' finally realizes its potential!, 3 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Angel - Season 3 [DVD] (DVD)
Season 3 of Angel shows many things: how much the show moved away from its parent programme, the excellent Buffy; how much the show grew since its inception; how daring the writers and producers got with the whole idea of the show; and most of all, how stupid the people at Fox are for cancelling this unique, brilliant programme. I get angry every time I think of how they cancelled it.
Anyway, they did, so all we have left are the truly brilliant Seasons 3, 4, and 5, and the slightly flawed but still great Seasons 1 and 2.
The third year of Angel is all about surprises and consequences-- Darla comes back, and she's not alone. Wesley takes a big risk and ends up out in the dark after betraying Angel and the group. Angel continues to brood but finally gets a chance at unconditional love...and Cordelia nearly dies from the burden of the Visions, then has to decide whether or not to leave the group forever (or so she thinks). Gunn (my favourite character) finally gets more screen time and a better storyline, as he and Fred get together, which at first I didn't believe but as time goes on you see how cute they are. Lorne provides brilliant light relief as the demon who reads people when they sing and becomes friendlier to the whole group as he moves into the hotel.
But the best thing about Season 3 is the relationships between the characters, new and old. Unlike earlier seasons, the standalone episodes are not as good as the season's full story arc, which brilliantly links Wolfram and Hart, the prophecies about Angel, his past misdeeds, and the theme of redemption and all this leads to two of the best things about these episodes: Holtz and Connor. The idea of Angel with a baby takes a bit of getting used to, but by the end of the season it's an amazing storyline. It also ends on the best cliffhanger Angel ever got-- the Season 4 ending isn't as good at all, and though the Season 5 one is the best, it's the last one so it's too sad to appreciate :(
People are so often thrown off Buffy and Angel for some reason I don't understand, maybe it's the fantasy stuff, but anyone who likes brilliant television needs to watch both. Immediately.

Standout episodes in Season 3: Well, all of it, but here are my faves: Offspring (Angel/Holtz flashback), Quickening (Darla approaches labour), Lullaby (a brilliant ending for Darla), Waiting in the Wings (a creepy and funny Joss Whedon episode), Loyalty (talking burger!), Sleep Tight (betrayal), Forgiving (Wesley misery), A New World (Connor/Angel interaction is brilliant and poignant), Benediction, and the finale, Tomorrow.

by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unbelievable, heart-wrenching, and stomach-clenching journey..., 1 Sept. 2007
This review is from: It (Paperback)
Often people start Stephen King reviews by saying "Well people say he's not a good writer but..." I find this highly annoying, mainly because it's not true and the only people who would say it are those who haven't read his books, but also because it's like trying to defend reading King's novels somehow. Who cares what some critics think, they are people getting paid to look down on authors because they never made it themselves.
Anyway, I will start my review by saying that It is one of the best books I have ever read- and yes, I have read a lot. I first read it when I was 14, drawn in (despite my fear) simply by the evil looking clown on the front cover, glaring at me from my mother's book-case. This clown, I would think (even at 14), will surely leap off the cover when I'm asleep and eat me. But I read it anyway and despite some parts of the book going right over my head at that age, I patiently read every page, and fell in love with the characters so completely that I cried at the end.
I've read it twice since the first time and love it even more. There's no point in writing a plot summary or outline, all you need to know is it's about magic, love and bravery and anyone who thinks the point of the book is about needless gore and fear has really missed the point. When I was a kid clowns were scary and weird, and I never liked them- so I wasn't one bit surprised that the evil here is represented as a clown. Of course it is.
The characters, as usual for Mr. King, are brilliantly written and I always feel like I know all his characters, and get to love them.
I don't think the length of the book is something to criticise, I always look at the length of a book and think well, this is the story. In this case, this is the length of the story Stephen King had in his head and so this is what we get, I wouldn't want any less.
I would recommend this book to anyone and if you are considering reading it, do so. You'll love it. Let yourself and your imagination go and follow Mr King as he shows us how magic does not necessarily mean wands and spells, but courage and love.

by Sarah Bradford
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and fascinating, 10 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Diana (Hardcover)
As someone who knew a bit about Diana but not a whole lot, I found this book thorough, in-depth, interesting and well written. Ms. Bradford obviously spent a long time researching and writing the book and it shows. It is not biased and varies between being sympathetic towards Diana and also mentioning her faults and areas in her life she may have made mistakes (such as the Panorama interview in 1995). It is quite critical of Charles during his affair with Camilla but also critical of Diana's dealings with James Hewitt, among others.

I especially like the way the book outlines the last few hours of Diana's life using the known facts rather than focusing on conspiracy theories or speculation. The book celebrates the life of one of the most famous women of our lifetime and, in my opinion, ticks all the boxes for someone wanting every detail of Diana's life, from her birth to her tragic death in 1997. Highly recommended.

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