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Terrahurtz (Kidlington, Oxon)

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The Humorist
The Humorist
by Russell Kane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Over-written, turgidly slow and painfully unfunny, 18 Sept. 2017
This review is from: The Humorist (Paperback)
I had to battle the desire to give up on this book really hard for most of the first two thirds. The last third is a bit better although I finished it with a sense of relief and achievement rather than any great pleasure. This is the story of a maladjusted, unlikeable person who improbably has a job as a reviewer of stand-up comics despite an inability to laugh, an extreme sense of pedantry and an inability to write usable copy unless his boss edits it for him. After a painfully uninteresting and unrewarding first half, he discovers a secret formula for a comic routine which will literally knock people dead and the rest of the book deals with what he decides to do with/about it.
Ben Elton, a useful point of reference here, writes darkly satirical books which also manage to be funny. I don't know whether Kane's target here is stand up comics, autistic people or journalists but he fails to either amuse or hit any of them. He does at least write decent prose, albeit with a tendency to use ten words when three would suffice, but the result is simply not worth the effort of reading. The whole set up is completely unbelievable and even if you buy into that why he would (say) choose to give his preview performance to his family and the object of his affections is completely inexplicable.


The Wrong Girl
The Wrong Girl
by Laura Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Derivatively titled poorly structured mess of a book, 24 Aug. 2017
This review is from: The Wrong Girl (Paperback)
In the wake of the overwhelming success of the Gone Girl, there has been a slew of derivatively titled thrillers, this is the third book entitled the wrong girl to be released in the last 4 years. I am still awaiting the one about someone who enters the X factor (the Song Girl), not to mention the one about the after effects of a virulently hot curry - The Pong Girl, along with its equally derivatively titled sequel, The Girl on the Toilet.
Anyway, what of the book itself? I took this on holiday for an undemanding read and even with low expectations I was pretty underwhelmed. The plot has more holes in it than a string vest, characters come and go, never to reappear or become plot relevant and those that stick around are not particularly engaging. Janice is a bit wet, while Suzie is singularly unappealing and liable to change from being rude to relatively civil for no good reason form one chapter to the next. The 'Girl on the Train' device of a principal character being drunk (or in this case, stoned) whenever something plot relevant happened under their noses that they would otherwise have seen and understood is also trotted out here. Given thats it's on the blurb at the back of the book, it's giving nothing away to say that a girl disappears half way through. Given that the previous chapter is told from the child's perspective and explains exactly why she is planning on running away, this whole plot line is completely devoid of tension for the reader. The ending was pretty weak too.
Laura Wilson has apparently won literary prizes - albeit not ones that you've heard of - for her other books. On the evidence of this book it's hard to see how and I wont be rushing to read any more of her output.


The Inquisitor
The Inquisitor
by Mark Allen Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting protagonist but book fails to fulfil early promise, 24 Aug. 2017
This review is from: The Inquisitor (Paperback)
This never quite fulfils its early promise. The protagonist is an interesting character but after a few good - if periodically disturbing - chapters we get into a pretty standard chase thriller. Well written though and was decent undemanding holiday read. Harry's mentally ill sister failed to convince me and I was waiting for her to do something which would impact on the plot - when she did it was for unconvincing reasons. An explananation of the twist on the final page would also have given it a bit more credibility.


The Sudden Departure of the Frasers
The Sudden Departure of the Frasers
Offered by Audible Ltd

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, although very similar to 'Disappearance of Emily Marr', 10 Aug. 2017
Good character-driven (for which read builds up tension steadily though character development rather than increasingly unbelievable twists every 10 pages, see Shari Lapena and others). It's a very long book and there are times when not a lot happens, but Candlish writes so well that you go with the flow.
This is structured identically to 'Disappearance of Emily Marr' in that there are two young-ish female protagonists who take it in turns to be the subject of a chapter. One is fairly dull, and a bit needy (Tabby in DoEM, Christy here) and ends up investigating the back-story of the other, whose storyline is much the more interesting. Amber Fraser, our anti-heroine, is - with her infeasibly good looks and incredible charisma - very reminiscent of Lara Channing in the same author's 'Swimming Pool'.
Anyway, some of this might sound like moaning, but actually I really enjoyed it, even if the ending was a bit weak and uneventful. Having written two very good books let down slightly by weak endings in this and DoEM, I wonder if that was at the root of the two big twists at the end of the author's most recent offering 'the swimming pool'. Anyway, if there is a formula, it's a successful one and I for one like reading the results.


Mightier than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles)
Mightier than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles)
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Present for Mum, 4 Aug. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not read it personally, but my Mum says it's very good


Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Taylor Swift impression, 2 Aug. 2017
Catchy song but sounds exactly like Taylor Swift vocally. I know lots of relative nonentities impersonate better known singers in the hope of picking up some momentum before anyone realises their mistake but why does Katy Perry need to do it?


Jumbo Stroopwafels 1 x 36
Jumbo Stroopwafels 1 x 36
Offered by A1 Coffee
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good but had better, 28 July 2017
This review is from: Jumbo Stroopwafels 1 x 36 (Misc.)
I got these for my daughter as a reminder of an exchange trip she went on to Holland, where she was fed a large number of these and loved them. These were pronounced good, but not quite as nice as the ones she got in Leidersdorp, which were a bit more moist.
Seems to be eating them happily enough though.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2017 1:08 AM BST


Vivaldi; L'Olimpiade
Vivaldi; L'Olimpiade
Price: £19.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, 25 July 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vivaldi; L'Olimpiade (Audio CD)
This is an excellent opera, Vivaldi's best that I have heard to date. In the 1970s there was a good recording of an edition of this opera on Hungaroton, with a few extra musical goodies thrown in for good measure (the spring from the four seasons chorus Dell'aura sussurrar from Dorilla in Tempe replacing the customary but rather dull 'Cara Selve' and the quintet from La Verita in Cimento being interpolated, for example) but this is the real thing as intended. Hungaroton also had some different vocal colours, they had a baritone Licida and a tenor Aminta (both counter tenors here) and a tenor Megacle, here replaced by the very female Mieke van der Sluis. I am not 100% sure whether she is officially a soprano or a high mezzo (the part isn't that stratospheric) but she has a lovely voice and is very pleasant to listen to. I confess to not being a great fan of counter tenors, however authentic it might be to have them. Both sing well here without being particularly easy on the ear (in my humble opinion). The two lower voiced men both have good voices, although Alcandro is shorn of 'se tu sprezzar pretendi' in this audition and so only gets the one aria. The Aristea is pretty good and sounds much more characterful than the rather wet lettuce she is portraying. The Argene also has a pleasant voice but is hampered slightly by having two of the dullest arias in the opera.
Personal highlights are the duet 'Ne toi giorno se felice' for Megacle and Aristea, the hero's Se Cerca se dice, Aristea's entrance aria and Licida's second and third arias, 'mentre dormi' with its horn accompaniment and the rage aria which closes act 2.
Buy and enjoy.


Can-Can: Music From The Original Broadway Cast
Can-Can: Music From The Original Broadway Cast
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Cole Porter's third best show, 25 July 2017
All music theatre fans know 'Anything Goes' and 'Kiss me Kate', which still hold the professional and amateur stage on a fairly regular basis. It is less well known that Cole Porter wrote several other shows, few of which ever get performed these days. Can Can is probably the pick of the remainder. It has a pretty good libretto and a number of good songs, most notably 'I love Paris', 'C'est magnifique' and 'I am in love'.
From an amateur performance perspective, Anything Goes (particularly) and Kiss me Kate both have some big dance numbers to keep the chorus entertained. Can Can has very little to keep the make chorus in particular out of mischief and female choristers unwilling to be showgirls are likely to find themselves similarly underutilised. This probably at least partly explains the lack of an amateur performance tradition. That's no reason not to buy this CD though, which contains several gems.
Don't bother with the Frank Sinatra film of this show btw, several songs are missing and the plot and dialogue are different. Its pretty dull on the whole.


Greatest Hits : Shining Like A National Guitar
Greatest Hits : Shining Like A National Guitar
Offered by the_record_factory
Price: £9.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly pretty good, 23 July 2017
Pretty good on te whole, taking in as it does nearly 30 years of post Simon & Garfunkel solo work. Standout tracks are the Graceland ones (but why no 'Under African skies'), 'Late in the evening', 'Mother and child reunion' and 'Me & Julio'. That said, they still struggled to find 19 outright winners and quite a few on here - ' Bernadette', 'The obvious child', 'Rene & Georgette Magritte and their dog' and four of the last 5 tracks (excluding 'Me & Julio') - are pretty average.


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