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Evil Empire: 101 Ways England Ruined the World: 101 Ways Britain Ruined the World
Evil Empire: 101 Ways England Ruined the World: 101 Ways Britain Ruined the World
by Steve Grasse
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.50

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How on Earth?, 25 Dec. 2009
What puzzles me most about this book is not simply how it can be so terrible, but why any self respecting publisher would agree to take on such utter rubbish? The previous reviews say it all in terms of content, but I must reiterate quite how ridiculously pathetic, and also offensive, some of the things mentioned in this book truly are.

If it was in some way informative, then obviously it could be forgiven some of its numerous shortfalls, and likewise too if it was funny, it does however achieve neither of these things, and is therefore more similar in style to a teenager having a rant about something they know absolutely nothing about.

I think the average rating of one star on this review section says it all about this awful excuse of a book.

The Really, Really, Really Easy Step-by-step Guide to Building Your Own Website
The Really, Really, Really Easy Step-by-step Guide to Building Your Own Website
by Gavin Hoole
Edition: Paperback

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, 8 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I didn't really know much about building websites, and nor did I care to start the long slog of learning HTML and the rest of it, I just wanted a simple but functional wesbite. I gave this book a try because it was cheap, and to my surprise, does exactly what it says on the cover.

All the necessary software to launch the website is downloadable for free off the internet, and is pretty decent too. The book guides you through building a simple furniture sales website, and then once having learned the basics, you apply similar techniques to a site of your own. There is also a section at the end on hosting and how to upload your pages to the internet, all very straight forward.

I bought this book and read it over a period of a few hours, and, after only modest effort, I had my website running after three days, and it's already had 500 visitors and is listed in Google (I would give the link but I imagine I would be accused of having a cheap shot at advertising!)

If you want a simple website quickly, without all the hassle of HTML and Dreamweaver, then definitely buy this book.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2011 8:40 PM BST

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £12.12

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but a little disappointed, 11 Nov. 2009
I'm not sure where to start to be honest, but I'll give it a go anyhow. The graphics are excellent, much better than previous Call of Duty releases, and the introduction of some extra blood and gore was a nice touch. A host of new weapons are pretty damn exciting too, particularly liked the FAMAS and thermal optics sniper rifles.

I started playing the single player campaign, and the first few levels felt very similar to CoD4, which, I have to say, I was quite happy with. Then there was a level where you take part in a brutal massacre of hundreds of civilians at an airport, which I found especially fun, and believe it or not, as many commentators would have you believe, I didn't wake the next morning with the sudden urge to go and kill a load of innocent people. Nor did I find the massacre particularly distasteful, but I guess I can understand certain people not liking it.

From then on the campaign went steadily downhill, I found the story increasingly difficult to follow, with missions starting here there and everywhere, and the ridiculous plotline of a Russian invasion of the United States would be more at home in a Tom Clancy novel than a Call of Duty title. I found the AI much worse than CoD4, friendly soldiers not being able to hit targets at point blank range, and generally getting in the way. Some levels felt more like an arcade game, notably the snow mobile escape. Fighting outside a ruined Whitehouse and a lot of testosterone fuelled tough guy talk gave the game a bit of a cheap feel.

Online gameplay is very much similar to CoD4, though I haven't played a whole lot on it yet so I'm not in a position to write much of a comment.

The extra missions in the form of Special Ops seemed to me like a bit of a rushed extra, and I found aren't that much fun to play.

On the whole a good game, but I felt it offers very little that is new; certainly isn't the landmark release I was expecting; on occasion runs the risk of being similar to Medal of Honour (God help us) with pointless and dull levels shooting endless troops for no reason, although it's not quite as bad as that; and is generally a bit of a let down.

CoD4 brought a sense of realism to the first person shooter genre, and you could actually imagine yourself there, Modern Warfare 2 fails in that respect.

Soccer Skills and Techniques
Soccer Skills and Techniques
by Richard Bradbeer
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking book, 22 July 2009
This book covers all the basics, and gives excellent advice on skills, shooting, crossing, warming up etc. Essential for coaching and also for players. I've referred to it a lot over the years.

Blood Sport: Hunting in Britain Since 1066
Blood Sport: Hunting in Britain Since 1066
by Emma Griffin
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Laborious and unimaginative, 16 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I must say that I was pretty wary of a book called "Blood Sport" even before I bought it, but with a university project to complete I thought it would no doubt be necessary reading.

I think the title of the book is very misleading, as it would lead you to believe that it is a full work on various forms of hunting and how it was done. However details about individual aspects of the hunts are spread very thinly, and I could have told you most of what Emma Griffin describes in this book. I think she should have renamed it "A Social History of Hunting in Britain", because it goes more into depth about people and the effect of hunting on society, rather that the actual hunts themselves.

I think to write a book on something like this and pull it off you need to be passionate about the subject, and Emma Griffin clearly is not. It's an easy read but i frequently found myself losing concentration with the endless flat and dismal information. Emma Griffin probably wrote this to profiteer from the renewed interest in fox hunting since the ban.

If it's hunting with dogs and guns you want to know about I suggest you buy Hunting and Shooting by Michael Brander, it's a fantastic book and covers everything that this book does, and does so better it has to be said.

The only use I got from this book was a few dates and descriptions of political legislation, everything else can be found elsewhere to better advantage.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 15, 2011 12:05 PM BST

Observations on Fox Hunting
Observations on Fox Hunting
by Colonel John Cook
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A priceless insight, 15 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This work is truly like no other I have ever read. Colonel John Cook writes about his fox hunting experiences during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, at a time when the sport was beginning to resemble the fox hunting that we know of today. He was born in 1773, and hunted mainly in Essex, and he wrote this work during the early nineteenth century.

His passion for the sport is apparent on every page, and his depth of knowledge would no doubt be advice to some of the most seasoned fox hunters. And what's more John Cook wasn't one of the richest of the landed class, he was a true gentlemen with a genuine love of the hunt.

This book is more than just a fox hunting manual however, it is a rare and fantastic insight into the English country world of the late eighteenth century. While reading I often found myself laughing out loud at some of Cook's anecdotes, and it really does shed some light on a forgotten walk of life. I often find that this period is short of such works, which gives added value to the book.

Whether you have an interest in fox hunting or not I cannot recommend this book enough, it is fascinating, informative, and quite often, very funny indeed.

Celestron Moon Filter
Celestron Moon Filter
Price: £13.50

69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable addition, 7 April 2009
This review is from: Celestron Moon Filter (Camera)
I never look at the moon without using a moon filter, it's just too bright otherwise and I find it hurts your eyes, especially when there's a full moon and it is exceptionally bright. More detail can be seen using this filter as it takes away that dazzling brightness that hinders observation.

If you haven't got a moon filter already you should look at investing in one as they aren't particularly expensive (in comparison to most other astronomy accessories!).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2013 12:27 AM GMT

Celestron NexStar 6 SE Computerised Telescope
Celestron NexStar 6 SE Computerised Telescope
Price: £799.00

124 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny, 24 Mar. 2009
I've owned this scope since christmas and it has surpassed my expectations completely. After reading advice about buying telescopes fro several different magazines and books I was sceptical about how much quality I could get for under a thousand pounds.

The scope came with a single 25mm eyepiece, and although it gave me my first views of the sky through a telescope, I had to buy some new eyepieces and filters to get the most of the night sky, so expect to make another investment shortly after purhcasing.

Other accessories that I think are essential are a power adapter, batteries can be used but these are meant to be used in tandem with a mains supply incase the power cord temporarily comes free, meaning you would lose your alignment if there were no batteries providing backup. Some sort of dew shield is also crucial as most SCTs provide no protection, and dew collects on the main lense literally all the time meaning you won't see anything. A battery pack is also a necessary piece of kit if you're planning on taking your telescope to rural locations for dark sky viewing, a power tank is available for purchase from Celestron, however any battery pack for jump starting cars is more than sufficient.

In terms of what you can see through it, spectacular views of the lunar surface, Saturn's rings and moons, Jupiter and its moons, and also Mars are available. I would say don't expect to be seeing colourful gas clouds and nebulae through it as many people often do.

It's computerised mount enables you to align it to the stars, so that you can punch in which object you want to look at, the Andromeda Galaxy for example, and the telescope will automatically point itself at the object. Alignment is relatively easy and can be done in a few moments. Astrophotography is probably a main aspect influencing most of the telescope's design, and stunning images can be produced with a little bit of practice. There is also a Nexstar book that is written specifically for use with these telescopes that is most useful.

The tripod, often not mentioned in descriptions, is extremely sturdy and ensures that few wobbles disrupt observation.

On the whole an excellent telescope for the price, and well worth the investment. If you're stuck for choice with telescopes and quite like the look of this one then it's probably the one for you.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2011 4:35 PM BST

Celestron Night Vision Flashlight - Black
Celestron Night Vision Flashlight - Black
Price: £12.15

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 23 Mar. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Keeping your eyes adjusted to the dark while observing the skies is always a challenge, but investing in a night vision torch certainly helps things.

It comes with a switch to alternate between red light and normal torch light, and also has switch to vary the brightness. The batteries are long life too so that's an added bonus. I've used this torch to set up my telescope and also to read through my star charts.

Quite important for night-sky observation.

Birdsong (Vintage War)
Birdsong (Vintage War)
by Sebastian Faulks
Edition: Paperback

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe worth a read, but decidely dull, 21 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Birdsong (Vintage War) (Paperback)
I had high hopes for this novel, given the heaps of praise it received in the press and other associated reviews, but for me it didn't live up to the expectation even slightly.

I frequently heard the word "emotive" used when describing this novel, but it didn't invoke in me any feelings when I read it, if anything the book is too swamped with emotional reference for it to be taken seriously. Everybody knows the First World War was a terrible slaughter, so is it really necessary to remind the reader every other sentence?

The love scenes don't cut it for me either. In some places they are ludicrously graphic and if I had wanted to read such filth I would have chosen some cheap American love story. The main character, Stephen Wraysford, falls in love with a French girl after having an affair with her and she has his child, I must say that this fling lasted only months before the girl leaves him, and yet the man is still in pieces over a decade later. Likely? Perhaps. But in my opinion a frivilously structured plot. Another scene where Stephen is seeing a French prostitute, he draws a knife and starts caressing her neck with it, while uttering something about how easily he could kill her, which was for me, just one pathetic scene among many.

Perhaps the points I have mentioned above might be more something to do with my personal tastes, and I'll hold my hands up to that, but I'd say the book's biggest downfall is the lack of pace, and the endless paragraphs of nothing description and empty words that need not have been written at all. For example, a scene toward the end of the book, where some of the characters are stuck underground in a mine, drags on for so long I think it accounts for a third of the book's 528 pages, and that's without mentioning the painful boringness of its design.

A First World War love story wrought with disaster, scandal, mystery and intrigue? More of a dull tale of emotionally crippled individuals and the milked to death tragedy of WW1, written from a sterilised 21st Century point of view.

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