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R. M. Lindley
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The Dusk Watchman: Book Five of The Twilight Reign
The Dusk Watchman: Book Five of The Twilight Reign
by Tom Lloyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nooooooooo - it was going so well... (very mild spoilers), 16 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So far I have given mixed reviews to Tom Lloyd's Twilight Reign series, but I really felt at the end of the last book that it was building to a great ending.

I'm sorry to say that it doesn't. There are are course some great battles, and we get to spend more time with the characters we have grown to love, but this feels like a book where the author has compressed 2 novels into one - or even worse, ran out of ideas.

There is a fairly pointless trek to pick up another magic sword, although this does culminate in a tragic but well placed death of a major character. There are a series of betrayals that really don't make any sense, especially in the epilogue. As things culminate in the final battle the plot has been so rushed forward that there is a clumsy piece of exposition where a lowly soldier (and the hapless reader) are subjected to a recap of the whole shadow war against Ruhen.

At the end armies appear seemingly from nowhere and the number of superhuman warrior demigods proliferates beyond even Malazan proportions - seriously, why would a regular soldier bother to sign up?

And so everything builds to the grand finale, which felt very Mass Effect 3 - emotionally satisfying until you gave it a moment's thought. I cannot see how this happens without time travel. Really? And then the epilogue resurrects someone with scant regard to continuity or explanation.

If you have read the Twilight Reign series so far, you're going to have read this book. Just do it quickly, enjoy the ride and don't overthink it - you will probably enjoy it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2012 3:17 PM BST


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent bag, good quality and very cheap, 16 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
i bought this bag primarily for the gym. Good service/delivery and I was pleased with the build quality. There is even a padlock and key included!

The size is perfect for my gym locker and it easily fits a pair of shoes, clothes, towel and wash bag. I haven't used it on a plane but would imagine it would also be very useful for travelling too.

I cannot see a problem with this bag at this price!


The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Bobby Dollar 1
The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Bobby Dollar 1
by Tad Williams
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite divine, but a good read all the same, 30 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Personally, I think Tad Williams has had a patchy career. His Memory, Thorn and Sorrow trilogy had some clever ideas but never seemed to coalesce into a coherent whole, much like the semantically mismatched title. The Otherworld sequence however blew me away - the first book was truly stunning, introducing likeable characters in a SF setting with enough overarching mysteries to drive a brilliant trilogy. (Tragically, it was drawn out over four books, but was it was good all the same). And then he returned with the very poor Shadowmarch series, which I gave up after book 2.

So, what about the Bobby Dollar books? Firstly, ignore the - erm - adult entertainment-esque name - this is much better than that. I hate to give away plot points in Amazon reviews, but can safely reveal that Bobby Dollar is an angel, who acts an advocate for the dead when they face judgement. And then one of his souls goes missing...

Written in the first person , noir-ish style, we are firmly in Dresden Files (and the very recent Sandman Slim - you wait years for a book about a hard bitten angel PI...) territory. So, expect magic, guns, wisecracks and a femme fatale. What makes it better than a lot of wannabe Harry Dresden novels is the writing. Williams has a rare way with apposite description - "I awoke to the sun stabbing through the dusty blinds of the Royal Highway Motor Hotel like Norman Bate's favorite steak knife..." is a nice take on that morning after the night before feeling. But if you look at that sentence, it characterises the whole book - a clever idea, but somewhat flabby and in need of a good editing to make it truly sing.

There is a lot that goes unanswered in this book, some of deliberately so. Many themes have been covered before - Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality (at the end) had similar metaphysical debates but in a more lighthearted fashion, and I was also reminded of Kathleen O'Neal's Powers of Light trilogy, although this is (a) obscure (b) not as well written and (c) very overtly SF.

So, although The Dirty Streets of Heaven did not grip quite as much as it should have done, because the plotting could have been tighter, it is still an enjoyable read and I'll look forward to part 2. Tad Williams is back on form.


Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, Book 1) (Sandman Slim 1)
Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, Book 1) (Sandman Slim 1)
by Richard Kadrey
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Harry Dresden's younger, poorer brother...., 11 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
James Stark is the first living person to go to hell and come back, and he's out for revenge, He's a wizard, he has guns and a black jacket, and a TRAGIC PAST. A cool concept. But if you are going to write a noir urban fantasy about a smart-mouthed hardbitten wizard, at some point someone is going to mention the D-word. And unfortunately Sandman Slim comes off second when compared to the Dresden Files.

To make it worse, early on in the book our hero even acquires a talking head sidekick - I really couldn't tell if this was a clever hommage or because of a lack of ideas, and that tells you a lot about the book. There are of course some good points, such as the fast paced action sequences and some of the concepts work well, but overall the book feels thrown together.

The finest example of this is the "Sandman Slim" nickname given to Stark, the hero. This comes out of nowhere, to the extent that Stark even asks who has been calling him this. The answer is not convincing, and I am sure that this Sandman Slim concept was added by an editor trying to come up with a "sexy" title for the series.

If you are going to read one gritty urban fantasy this year - read the Dresden Files. Once you have finished them, you could do worse than Sandman Slim, and perhaps the series will grow with time and establish a unique voice.


AmazonBasics Composite AV Cable for Apple iPhone iPad and iPod 2 m / 6.5 Feet Black
AmazonBasics Composite AV Cable for Apple iPhone iPad and iPod 2 m / 6.5 Feet Black
Price: £11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works and it's cheap - but won't put iplayer on your TV, 27 Jun. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As others have said, this cable does the job, but a lot of apps will not let you project onto a big screen using this kind of cable, so think about why you want it before purchasing!


30 Pin iPhone 4S Male to Female Dock Extender Extension Adaptor
30 Pin iPhone 4S Male to Female Dock Extender Extension Adaptor
Offered by Buybits Addons
Price: £5.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and it works, 6 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What can I say - this is a cheap dock connector extension that works perfectly with my iphone 4S. Saves having to remove my case every time I plug it into our Philips Fidelio speakers. I would not buy a more expensive version.


Ballistic SG Shell Gel Case for iPhone 4 / 4S - Black
Ballistic SG Shell Gel Case for iPhone 4 / 4S - Black

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good but fluffy protective case, 18 Feb. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Previously I had been using a Casemate Barely There for my iPhone4S but I have seen friends drop phones and crack screens etc - not a pleasant site and painful to use! I was therefore very interested in the Ballistic SG case.

Fitting was very easy and although the extra padding and reinforced plastic is very reassuring it is still a nice and fairly discrete case. The phone remains very "pocketable" and all buttons, camera and headphone ports are still easily accessible.

I haven't had the gust to deliberately drop the phone, but he padded corner bumpers look like they would do a good job. Combine this with a good screen protector and you should be covered (I use the PhoneDevil Magic Screen Protector: Crystal Clear (Invisible) edition - For Apple iPhone 4 / 4G & iPhone 4S / 4GS (2 x FRONT Screen Protectors) which is tricky to apply but does come with good support and instructions).

The case loses a star because the impact rubber collects fluff and lint from pockets with a near magnetic quality, but this a minor flaw and I won't be changing back to my old case.

It should also be stated that the bumper is quite thick and you would have to remove the case to use a docking station. I could get away with the Barely There case on quite a few docks but not the Ballistic. If this is important then a dock extender or (shock) removing the phone from its case would be necessary.


Home Accountz 2012 (PC/Mac/Linux)
Home Accountz 2012 (PC/Mac/Linux)
Offered by Kryonet Ltd
Price: £29.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good substitute for Microsoft Money - use the website trial download before buying, 22 Jan. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For years I have used Microsoft Money to track our home finances, including shares. Of course, it is no longer available or supported by Microsoft, so when I moved from PC to Mac a while ago I looked long and hard for a suitable replacement.

I didn't find one and ended up buying a copy of Parallels to continue using Money, and using a neat little program called QIFMaster to convert and import my bank statements. I was therefore interested to see how the new version for Home Accountz would compare to some of the other product (IBank, Jumsoft's Money).

Firstly, although the program came in a box with a CD, this turned out only to be an installer that went to the Accountz server and downloaded a copy! I therefore cannot see any point in buying this as a physical product - you have no back up CD and may as well go to the website yourself and download the free 30 day trial before deciding to part with your cash.

First impressions after that were good, as I was taken through an easy process to import my Money data and map categories.

After that though, I quickly became disenchanted and deleted the program, going back to good old Microsoft Money.

Pet hates were the unsophisticated layout that made it hard to tell how much money I had in my current account and the poor predictive cashflow graphs. The "Eazy" button worked well and I appreciate that is a more "proper" accounting program, but which home user really needs an accurate dual entry system?

Home Accountz also does not keep track of investment data like shares and ISAs.

My personal advice would be to go on ebay and pick up an old copy of Money and save yourself about £20 whilst getting more features, but if you are taken with the idea of a more legitimate home accounting package and can live without the investment tracking, then I strongly suggest trying the free download version before purchasing this product.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2012 10:41 PM GMT


Belkin Wireless N150 Modem ADSL Router (BT Line) - Black
Belkin Wireless N150 Modem ADSL Router (BT Line) - Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Gets the job done, 18 Dec. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Belkin Wireless Modem Router N150 ADSL has been a real dream. The manufactures say that the SURF N150 is designed for fast, easy setup and that's exactly what we got. After removing my old BT router, I just followed the instructions and we were up and running within minutes.

Since the installation, the unit has been working away without any drop outs or connectivity issues. We often have several devices connected at once with no problems.
Signal strength is better that my old router, with very good signal coverage around the house.

In summary a great device, which is reasonably priced, that gets the job done.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2011 5:21 PM GMT


The Phoenix Conspiracy (The Phoenix Conspiracy Series Book 1)
The Phoenix Conspiracy (The Phoenix Conspiracy Series Book 1)
Price: £0.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More pith than pulp, 24 Nov. 2011
The only reason this book gets 2 stars is because it is free. I would strongly advise all readers never to pay for the Pheonix Conspiracy.

Books like this show why is is difficult to become a published author, because editors will insist on things like characterisation and realistic dialogue. In essence the characters are 1 dimensional, the dialogue stilted and even the bits you think would be good in a pulp novel - the space battles and fights - lack any degree of tension.

The plot reads like a substandard Traveller adventure of 20 years ago and I would strongly advise all SF space opera fans to read some Peter Hamilton or David Brin instead.


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