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GBarnes (Bracknell, Berkshire United Kingdom)

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The Best of Our Spies
The Best of Our Spies
by Alex Gerlis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A History Lesson, 24 Oct. 2016
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This review is from: The Best of Our Spies (Paperback)
Okay I was attracted by the cover. And the title. It began promisingly enough but the as the plot gets going the characters take a back seat. The plot is annoyingly and unnecessarily retold over and over to keep other characters up to speed. The style is somewhat childish, 'mawkish' as another reviewer points out - especially with the oft repeated mantra, 'be careful what you wish for', like some rather unsubtle warning from a traditional fairy tale. The second half of the book is fantasy, and far too predictable and so you just want everyone to be put out of their misery, including the long suffering reader. This seems to me to be the typical journalist's novel: well researched with a modicum of planning but that extra ingredient that only the professional writer can add, that magical spell that is conjured out of the air and laid over everything is sadly lacking. Normally one feels changed for the better in some way after reading a novel; as someone else pointed out, I wish I had not wasted my time! I do think people should stick to what they are good at and explore their real talents, whatever they may be.


The Hope That Kills (A DI Fenchurch Novel)
The Hope That Kills (A DI Fenchurch Novel)
by Ed James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Look elsewhere if you want suspense and originality., 9 Sept. 2016
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The book begins promisingly enough. Tough. Gritty. But then it becomes preoccupied with the main character, a pitiful soul who one minute seems to be a tough policeman and the next starts crying at the drop off a hat. As the novel wears on, and it is wearing, one becomes more and more aware of the way various beverages are gulped, glugged and slurped in a fairly repulsive manner. One doesn't need to know this!
And then there is the really annoying and clichéd phrase which keeps popping up: Same as it ever was. This is low level and truly uninspiring stuff. Hope was certainly killed off!


Santana IV
Santana IV
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Massively disappointed of Sardinia, 30 Aug. 2016
This review is from: Santana IV (Audio CD)
There we were driving through Sardinia in the rental Audi receiving only what seemed to be North African rai on the radio so we stopped at a shop which sold cds - a novelty in itself, and we said to the owner have you got any Santana and he pulled out what seemed to be his entire catalogue. And this is the new one, he said. So we bought it for 18 Euros - most expensive cd I ever bought. Excited, off we drove. Then the awful truth dawned on us as track after track bombed. This was not Santana but some cheap copy. It wasn't until about track 9 that something resembling Santana appeared. Out of 16 tracks I think we agreed on 6 that were ok. The rest is dross, let's face it. As others here have pointed out, this cd contains some of the worst vocals, and some of the most cringing lyrics I have ever heard. How did they that get through quality control?!! What were they on?? Go listen to some of the live stuff on Spotify or any of the other preceding studio cds - even including parts of Shapeshifter. He's much better than this. Come on!!


Spy Thriller: The Fourteenth Protocol: A Story of Espionage and Counter-terrorism (The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series Book 1)
Spy Thriller: The Fourteenth Protocol: A Story of Espionage and Counter-terrorism (The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series Book 1)
Price: £2.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Cliché ridden nonsense, 16 Aug. 2016
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I very rarely give up on a book but this one did it for me. Far too many clichés and it is all so predictable. The Jana and Cade episode was the last straw. Now I see why this book was free. Perhaps the worst aspect of the book is the author keeps on lecturing you; telling you things you know our have worked out. For example the terrorist leaves a piece of lint on the car door hinge and the author tells us, this shows they are dealing with a highly intelligent and meticulous criminal. Oh I did wonder! You realise what makes a good writer. Clever and original plotting. Characters with depth who are not clichéd and c don't speak in trite obvious clichés. This is a page turner, yes. You just want it to end quickly! !


Caligula (Roman Trilogy Book 1)
Caligula (Roman Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £4.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Jumping on the bandwagon., 17 April 2016
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The cover is extremely misleading as another reviewer has pointed out. The characterization is not strong enough to really grip the reader. I felt the prolonged passages about the elephant belonged in a children's book. Disappointing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 17, 2016 10:02 AM BST


Wounds of Honour: Empire I
Wounds of Honour: Empire I
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Men Only, 11 April 2016
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Having just watched HBO's Rome and then all of Spartacus, I was ready for similar depth in a novel. This began well enough but was ultimately a let down. One female character and she was a stereotype. In fact many of the characters are stereotypes and failed to interest me sufficiently. The book rapidly dwindles in perspective to a one dimensional comic style speed read just to get through it. The so called graphic depictions become samey and predictable. Having walked all over that part of England I didn't feel the landscape was magically evoked. Won't be reading any more in the series.


Hozier
Hozier
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £4.90

5.0 out of 5 stars The new Van Morrison, 17 Dec. 2015
This review is from: Hozier (Audio CD)
Hozier is the new Van Morrison. Only better.


The Museum of Innocence
The Museum of Innocence
by Orhan Pamuk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.44

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Tedium, 26 May 2014
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I like long books: Dickens, John Cowper Powys. Something you can really get your teeth into. A book that lasts, that becomes something of a bible. This one really tried my patience. In the second half I found myself doing what I had to do in college to so many chunky Victorian novels because of the pressure of time, speed reading. I have read many of Pamuk’s novels because I find Istanbul, its politics and history intriguing. This book reminds me of the music of the seventies, prog rock solos which were over indulgent and went on far too long. As other reviewers have commented, the first half of the book is interesting and draws you in as the main strands of the plot unfold but then it becomes too predictable and the tragic ending is sign posted and inevitable. The main problem is one cannot sympathise with the characters and if you don’t care about them then there is not much point in reading any book. Kemal is childish in his obsessions and Fusin seems flighty and superficial. I welcomed the ending! I would like to compare Pamuk with Carlos Luis Zafon, another writer who sets his novels in an important capital city, Barcelona. But the characters, plot lines and sense of humour put The Angel’s Games and Shadow of the Wind amongst others on a completely superior level; books which I will keep and reread because of the myriad layers and intricate plotting. For a book to be as long as this one there simply has to be more going on, more development of character. Kemal is one of the least attractive main characters in any book I have read. And for this reason the The Museum of Innocence is doomed to failure.


High Hopes CD+DVD [Region 0]
High Hopes CD+DVD [Region 0]
Price: £11.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the best, 15 Mar. 2014
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You see, the thing is, if music is worth anything you have to give it time. And if you play this album over a few times you start to realise its true value and that there is nothing really to match it nowadays. This is Bruce at his best. He is probably a genius in his field. He is still at the top of his game and there is no one who comes close. At last they seem to have given his music the production values it demands. And the introduction of Tom Morello is a stroke of er... genius. I saw Bruce twice last year at Wembley and in Cardiff and although the sound was a little ropey at times I think we have to have treasure the guy while he is around because once he's gone there will be no one to take his place in the same way.


Imaginaerum
Imaginaerum
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed genius, 19 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
When I realised that the new Nightwish album was going to accompany a film I had a sinking sensation and the new cd does feel like a Hans Zimmer pastiche at times. Having said that, there is some extraordinary music here in its clash of genres - heavy metal and bombastic orchestra dissolving into ethereal choir with Anette's angelic voice soaring over the top. Much of this work is breathtaking in its dynamic range and scope.

But there is one aspect which I think really ruins it and that is the male vocals. For example, the screaming [not singing] on track three is inexcusable. I wish the bass player would just play his bass which he does well enough. I wish I could buy not only an instrumental version of the cd but also a version with all the other vocals left on except his. I have tried but it is just a horrendous noise with no musicality and totally at odds with the rest of the music. I have to turn it down doing these sections and then up again when the choir or Anette come in. They could have hired someone with a singing voice which would have complemented Anette's remarkable sound.

Also, I think the spoken part about the lonely man in the attic with a doll is beyond the realms of good taste - rather like the spoken lines in Poet and the Pendulum. Is it supposed to shock or what? It doesn't stand up to repeated listenings.

Nightwish make amazing music thanks to their virtuoso keyboard man but I suppose it is the nature of genius to be flawed.

**********************

Having spent the last 10 days with it playing on the hi fi and in the car and running through my head, it seems there are some superb unforgettable melodies here. This is probably as good as rock music gets I suppose!!


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