Shop now Shop now Shop now Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now
Profile for Tony Hill > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Tony Hill
Top Reviewer Ranking: 68,951
Helpful Votes: 51

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Tony Hill

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Wasted Morning: A Novel
Wasted Morning: A Novel
by Gabriela Adamesteanu
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth the Wait, 9 Jun. 2014
To say this was one of the best books I read last year would be an understatement; this is certainly one of the best books I've read, ever.

Wasted Morning is one of those wonderful novels that at first seem unprepossessing and yet soon has you glued into what is an immensely rich and detailed story. That it took so long to be translated into English is a crying shame - but then there are so many literary treasures awaiting translation from Romanian that it is hardly a surprise.

Gabriela Adamesteanu delivers what is, essentially, a family saga, set against the backdrop of Bucharest and Romania's troubled history. Making use of multiple narrative voices, the story is - while far from a 'feel good' or 'happy ending' - gripping and detailed.

A definite must-read and a very strong introduction to Romanian writers.


Rolling Stone's Alt Rock-a-Rama
Rolling Stone's Alt Rock-a-Rama
by Scott Schinder
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Like A Faded Time Machine, 9 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this book.

I love having it next to the couch.

It's one of those books that you can pick up, open anywhere and find something to smile at. Chocked full of random and - to be honest - usually useless bits of trivia, anecdotes and interview snippets. I particularly love the "8 Really Dumb Things The Replacements Did" as it brings home the sole purpose of owning this book now (since the Internet has rendered having such compendiums a little pointless) - Alt-Rock-a-Rama is like a faded time machine. It's a way of leaning down and picking up a battered guide to a time when the only way to read Eddie Vedder quotes on Eddie Vedder was to own such a book. A time when bands like The Replacements were still vital, when Fanzines and journos still wrote for an audience that held its material in their hands.

Putting it down again and finding you're not wearing jeans with a rip across the knees and a flannel shirt may take getting used to.


SOFT PADDED WATERPROOF BABY CHANGING MAT PATCH THE ELEPHANT
SOFT PADDED WATERPROOF BABY CHANGING MAT PATCH THE ELEPHANT
Offered by easygoodsuk
Price: £7.98

4.0 out of 5 stars No Change, 9 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not *perfect* but then, it's a changing mat; what do want?

It's a standard size - so it'll fit the changing table, the changing thing you put on the cot, wherever you intend to change, and most babies.

It's not padded like a mattress but then how long do you plan on leaving your baby lying on there? Are you planning on running down the shops while they're bum-in-the-air and waiting a new nappy? No. For the bit of time baby spends on here it's fine.

Price is good - how much do you expect to pay for what is essentially going to end up covered in......

... which reminds me; it takes a lot of punishment and the picture is still there, not faded after 6 months of all that baby can throw at it.


The Bourne Ultimatum (JASON BOURNE)
The Bourne Ultimatum (JASON BOURNE)
by Robert Ludlum
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars The Bourne Disappointment, 9 Jun. 2014
To be honest I was disappointed with this one. I felt like finishing it - and the original trilogy - was an obligation after only a few pages.

The dialogue is ridiculous - nobody (and while I'm not familiar with American government institutions and their employees I'm pretty sure this covers them too) speaks in such a manner. Every conversation is overly convoluted and then - as if for the sake of an uneducated audience - explained again as part of the same dialogue. Not only that but the way in which the characters speak to each other with regard to their feelings toward the other.. I used the word 'ridiculous' already but it applies.

The plot isn't too bad. It's actually something that could make a really good novel - revenge mixed in with international conspiracy and psychological trauma was, indeed, the stuff that made the first two novels good reads. However, when you mix in the poor dialogue and easy fixes (seriously, everything that could be a problem from CIA equipment, millions of dollars in funds, incognito international travel, is so easily sorted out and available) it just lacks anything resembling substance.

The Bourne character - really the only reason I stuck with it to see it's original conclusion - has sadly become a poor imitation of itself in this book. Predictable, trite and, frankly, a bit of a let down.

A shame, a real shame.


Mother Night
Mother Night
by Kurt Vonnegut
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, Witty, Concise, Perfect, 9 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Mother Night (Paperback)
I was shocked to find, having loved every page-turning minute of this book, that Mother Night was only Kurt Vonnegut's third novel. An amazingly compact and concise telling of a story that other authors may make 500 page + doorstops from is told nonetheless completely in just a short volume packed with all the brilliant pace and wickedly sharp wit that is to be expected from Mr Vonnegut.

The novel is a sparse yet original story line that - despite the seemingly far-fetched nature of it's plot - remains grounded in a distinct reality, making use of numerous literary devices as it romps through to its conclusion, shot through with gallows humour.

A cracking little book and one which I will wholeheartedly be recommending at every opportunity.


Dominion
Dominion
by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

2.0 out of 5 stars Plodding, meandering and not much of a point when it does get there..., 9 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Dominion (Paperback)
This book is far too long. I have nothing against a good long novel but this isn't a good long novel. It took me two attempts to get going with this book when, after 200 plus pages of nothing interesting happening and page after page of plodding, I felt the need to put it down. The only reason I persevered was the feeling that I owed it to myself to finish.

There is far too much detail given to the incidental. Far too many adjectives and far too awkward dialogue being used to deliver the alterna-history elements of the story. Sansom has clearly not heard the phrase "show don't tell" which is a shame as under all the heavy-handed descriptions and scene setting there's a good little story to be found in Dominion, just not a 600 page one.


Pereira Maintains
Pereira Maintains
by Antonio Tabucchi
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Little Book, 9 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pereira Maintains (Paperback)
I picked this book up as part of my current interest in reading novels based in those cities / areas I've visited. The Lisbon that comes to life in Pereira Maintains is dramatically different in many ways to that which I've known on the occasions I've been fortunate enough to visit it - but then, given that it's set in the late 1930s, you'd expect that.

Tabucchi does a wonderful job of bringing the city to life yet his expertise lies not in bringing a postcard to his readers but in creating an eerily vivid impression of life in a beautiful city during not so beautiful times.

The story covers a surprising amount given its brevity yet within its couple-of-hundred pages. Pereira Maintains slowly and dramatically builds up a story of intrigue and complexity before exploding in a dramatic climax that will leave you wondering "what just happened?" and just how you'd managed to get so entrenched in the story despite so few pages.

The characters are superbly created and this book is great for those looking for a quick read with a bit of bite - though be prepared to fancy an omelet at least once. A fantastic little novel of a big story.


God Bless You, Mr Rosewater
God Bless You, Mr Rosewater
by Kurt Vonnegut
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short, precise and bloody funny, 9 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another great, satirical romp by the mighty Kurt Vonnegut. If, like me, your starting point for KV was Slaughterhouse 5 and you're on a mission to read as much of his output as possible, this is a must. If this is your starting point, it's still a must.

Its short page count is stuffed full of Vonnegut's typical quirky characters, razor-sharp wit and deft prose. A darkly humorous swipe at High Society and the wealth gap that works just as well today as it did, no doubt, at time of writing.


A Young Doctor's Notebook (Alma Classics)
A Young Doctor's Notebook (Alma Classics)
by Mikhail Bulgakov
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Too Short, 9 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A brilliant read.

Bulgakov is a writer who's name should be mentioned in the same tones as other hallowed Russian greats.

This short collection of stories are perfectly crafted, romp along with a passion and skill and plenty of humour. Not to mention the occasional satirical or even direct swipe at the then-state-of-affairs in Russia.

This translation brings life to the work in a way which others I've picked up have failed to do and is well worth seeking out - it really shouldn't be hard - as some can render the prose flat and cold, robbing it of the vitality that it was a) undoubtedly written with and b) wholeheartedly deserves.


Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite But Almost, 9 Jun. 2014
This one is a good 3 1/2 stars but not quite a 4.

Raising Steam is the Fortieth, four-zero, Discworld novel. A hugely impressive fact especially when you consider that Terry Pratchett only published the first in 1983 and didn't decide to take a full-time swing at it and follow that up until 1986 AND found time to complete a further dozen plus non-Discworld books (not to mention the numerous Science of Discworld and other such accompanying works).

As with any series of work, fans are prone to point to different entries as "the best" or "not as good as..." while reminiscing about the days when the Witches weren't resigned to the 'for young readers' books and Rincewind would make an appearance in anything other than footnotes (that being said, any fan will tell you that Pratchett's footnotes are the stuff of legend). There is a distinctive difference between the style of recent Discworld novels and those of, say, pre- Fifth Elephant. With a few notable exceptions (Last Hero, Nightwatch, Monstrous Regiment - the 'Vimes' books it seems are the last bastion of 'grit'), the books have certainly referenced previous novels and hinted at the past yet seemed less involved, lighter.

Raising Steam is just such a book. It nods toward Discworld novels past and depth (the darkness of the Grags and the friction among generations of dwarfs and Dirk Simnel is the son of Reaper Man's Ned Simnel) yet uses brush strokes far too wide to fill in too much detail and just as it appears that we may be reaching a thrilling, involving plot, it's all over but for a medal ceremony.

It's impossible to read a Terry Pratchett book these days (especially the 40th Discworld novel) without two factors clouding judgement - the legacy of brilliance of earlier Discworld novels and the impact (or looking for clues of it) of his Alzheimer's disease. This is a shame but those elements which prevent Raising Steam scoring higher reviews are likely drawn from the consequences of just such factors.

I'd love to see Pratchett approach a story across more than the one book again, to not feel the need to wrap everything up into a neat little, Patrician-knew-everything-all-along entry, really let something occur that took more than one novel to resolve. But then, it's not my Discworld it's his.

For all it's could-ofs and should-haves, any Discworld novel is full of humour and wordplay and Raising Steam is no exception. While not quite the romp of previous entries into the Discworld series, the fortieth (I do hope we get to fiftieth) is an enjoyable read that at the very least opens avenues for further novels to explore with a few chuckles along the way.


Page: 1 | 2