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In the Orchard, the Swallows
9 New from
I found this tale quite captivating, if rather short. After spending 15 years in prison and being subjected to regular brutality, a man reflects on his life as a teenager. Hobbs writes with an incredibly visual style, and convincingly portrays a life that has experienced both the beautiful side of existence as well as the ugly side, drawing some great parallels using both the surroundings and characters. The passing of time is captured quite well, using the 9/11 event as a device to show how the world he knew before prison has changed.
After the Snow
15 New from
Though the book's marketing has clearly been aimed at the 'young adult' demographic, I felt it had wider appeal. The story is set in a not too distant future where the world has been plunged into an eternal winter and follows Willo, a teenage 'straggler' living on the fringe of society with his family. One day whilst he is out trapping his family are taken, and his quest to find them is set in motion.
Told in first person and intertwined with willo's internal dialogue, this is a fairly easy but very entertaining read. Despite it's initial post-apocalyptic outlook, After the Snow is less misery and doom but more a sense of what life could be like where society hasn't quite collapsed but daily life has become harder.
Kobo Wi-Fi / Book Style Case / Black
I bought one of these from a high street retailer, and I can confirm they are great value for money, when compared to the Kindle cases. The case is soft but durable, looks great and it has a hole cut for the usb connector. My only gripe is that the right hand elastic fastener is in the way of the power slider, but this is a minor thing.
Kobo eReader Touch Edition (Black)
2 New from
I bought this just before Xmas. The look and feel is very slick, the 'quilted' back is comfortable (it's rubber, just to avoid any confusion). Set up and configuration is very straight forward. The touch screen feature response time is pretty good, I experienced a little delay when searching the online store, but nonetheless I was quite impressed with it. In terms of page turns, response time/page refresh is very good. It has a slot to accept Micro SD cards, but for me the onboard storage should be enough. Battery life is great, I have charged it once in the last 30 days (it was half charged out of the box). There are some nice little features with Kobo as well, such as reading stats and awards, which all make for a pleasant device experience. The only reason I'm not giving this product 5 stars is due to the lack of a mains charger (these can be bought separately). Otherwise, I'm very pleased.
How to be a Woman
I must admit, I was a little put off this by the title, but when I found out it was written by Caitlin Moran, who I was familiar with due to her stint in the music press, I was brought around. Moran's book is an analysis of feminism and how far it has come in the last 30 or so years, partly based on her own life experiences. She discusses subjects such as burgeoning sexuality, chirdbirth, clothing and more taboo subjects such as abortion. Her writing is frank, honest and rife with razor sharp wit, and I honestly struggled to put this book down. I also think it has universal appeal, though readers not familiar with this subject should approach with an open mind (it will likely make you even more open minded!). An excellent read.
Crooked Little Vein
1 New from
I've been a fan of Warren Ellis in the graphic novel world for some time now, and have been meaning to check out this book for a while. I read this in two sittings, finding it hard to put down. The story concerns itself with McGill, a private investigator on the trail of the secret book of the U.S constitution. His search takes him deep into the dark underbelly of the U.S, where he encounters a number of oddball characters. It's a bit like a darker version of the film National Treasure, if you can imagine it being written and directed by either Lynch or Cronenberg. Compelling stuff, but not for the faint hearted!
The Octopus (2CD)
Amplifier - CD
3 New from
It's been a strange couple of years for Amplifier, having been dogged with label troubles and keeping things relatively low profile. There was a gap of 5 years between The Insider and this album, but thankfully they've lost none of their musical flair and have scored a winning mix of space/prog/psychadelic heavy rock. The fact that it is a double album is also great, clocking in at around 2 hours total listening time. Stand out tracks for me are Intergalacial Spell, The Wave and Interstellar, but as one of the other reviewers mentioned the album in its entirety is very strong. Definitely worthy of any rock fan's collection.
The Hunter (CD & DVD Special Edition)
Mastodon - CD
5 New from
For me, this is undoubtedly the album of the year. It is a slight step away from the epic Crack The Skye almost back in the direction of Blood Mountain, but every track has something unique to offer. The opening Black Tongue couldn't be more perfect, and, as other reviewers have stated, Curl of the Burl is what QOTSA would sound like if Brent Hinds was involved. Other highlights are Dry Bone valley, SpectreLight, the synth driven Creature Lives, and melancholic The Sparrow. The DVD contains an all too short 'making of' documentary, and some music videos for Black Tongue and Deathbound (for some reason omitted from this verson of the album, but available on Deluxe as a bonus track). The keyring is also quite smart. Altogether a great package!
Miracle on Regent Street
13 New from
This isn't my normal type of book, but fans of this genre probably know what to expect. Evie, (our protagonist) has characteristics we can all identify with on some level, which makes her instantly likeable. The other characters are all generic enough to resemble someone you know. The story itself is fairly predictable, but then I don't think the author set out to write anything original and stays true to the genre. It is well written and amusing in places, and it managed to hold my attention to the end. To be honest, I don't think I'd recommend this to anyone other than chick-lit fans.
Birdy (Deluxe Edition)
Birdy - CD
17 New from
I listened to this album today, and it was a refreshing change from the rest of the dirge that has been released recently. Birdy's vocals are truly amazing, given her young age. This is an album of cover versions, which are arranged around her vocals. Musically they are very stripped back and as a whole the album is a very chilled out experience. My favourite tracks are the District Sleeps alone tonight and People Help the People. Highly recommended if you want a break from the tedious amount of pop music out there today.