Professional restaurant supplies Textbook Trade In Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it $5 Albums Fire TV Stick Gifts for Mom to look and feel great Made in Italy Amazon Gift Card Offer out2 out2 out2  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors Kindle Paperwhite Shop Now SnS
Profile for A. Woodley > Reviews


A. Woodley's Profile

Customer Reviews: 770
Top Reviewer Ranking: 96,512
Helpful Votes: 9216

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
A. Woodley "Patroness, Janeites, the Austen list" RSS Feed (New Zealand)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
Explosive Eighteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel (Stephanie Plum Novels)
Explosive Eighteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel (Stephanie Plum Novels)
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.47
620 used & new from $0.01

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't think I have ever not liked a Stephanie Plum before!, November 27, 2011
Stephanie Plum is in trouble - she has just come back from Hawaii a day early wtih a tan line showing she had a ring on her finger - just what she has been up to is anyone's guess. Unfortunately coming back a day early has got her into a whole stack of trouble. She has the Somalian governemnt, the FBI, the fake FBI and a raft of the usual suspects after her now and she doesn't know why.

And even after reading this latest epic outing from Evanovich I feel like the explanation is tenuous at best. This is not one of Evanovich's best efforts - in fact - I would go so far as to say it is her worst. I was really disappointed. The career criminals seemed like they had just been written in from other books - the Fake FBI guys were a virtual match to some that kidnapped her in about novel number 8 I think. Razzle Dazzle was plain ridiculous.

Normally I like the playful idiocy of Stephanie plum's stories, and generally they hang together pretty well - this story just didn't hang right. The explanation at the end was hardly a resolution at all.

The tension between Stephanies on again off again boyfriend, Morelli cranked up a notch and spilled over with Ranger. But again, this tension is very clearly just written in to keep the novels moving along - it didn't hang right again. One minute you know that Morelli and Ranger have been fighting - the next Morelli is devolving responsibility for Stephanie's saftety back on Ranger. There is a loose explanation for that which doesn't really hang right either.

And Joyce Barnhardt turns up on the scene, but it just seems to be filler to pad out the whole novel.

On the plus side - Lula is in stunning form in here - as is Grandma - they get the best lines and come through shining so not everything is lost.....

Like I said, I don't think I have ever reviewed one of the Plum series badly - I find a lot to like in nearly all of them - and some I adore. But this one is a lemon.

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People
by Farahad Zama
Edition: Paperback
77 used & new from $0.86

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story was great, but stilted and cliched writing, November 9, 2011
A marriage bureau as only an Indian could set up. Full of the complex relationships and status that comes with living an a thriving community which is struggling to modernise while still maintaining their traditions.

Mr Ali, a muslim, sick of retirement already, sets up a marriage bureau in his house - and then waits to see what will happen. Unfortunately the author while introducing the complex way in which he goes about getting his first clients, never actually introduces us to the first ones. The process Mr Ali describes would make the first few clients problematical which is why I assume this is glossed over.

And while I enjoyed the story and think it would make a great film. There is amazing detail about cast system, relationships and so on. I felt the writing was unimaginative and read a bit like cheap romance writing. Mangoes are "Rich and Frangrant" - knives are always used "expertly".

The story comes neatly around to Mr Ali's assistant who is a lovely capable girl of high Brahim caste but without money. She does not wish to get married because her family needs her - actually really needs her income.

I see there are three other books to be written in the series. While there are very nicely tied up loose ends, there are still a nice number of threads left hanging to carry on the stories in a satisfactory way. I really hope the writing improves in them because I

Yoga & Pilates for Everyone
Yoga & Pilates for Everyone
by Francoise Barbara Freedman
Edition: Paperback
123 used & new from $0.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything in here, from Beginners and children, to pregnancy, March 18, 2011
This is a great book, easy to use, well laid out with great ideas for introducing children to yoga too. What I really enjoyed most about this as the parent of two girls under the age of 10 is that I was able to use this and able to introduce them to yoga in a really fun way.

I really liked the layout, the pictures were very useful along with the cut away showing just what was trying to be acheived in the move

It is divided into several setionc, Iyengar yoga, Pilates, yoga-pilates, ygo for pregnancy and after, Yoga for children and Meditation. The book covers each section nicely in individual sections that includes really useful ideas for instance how to make pilates part of your life. Iyengar yoga is divided into basics, standing asanas, seated Asanas, twists, inverted asanas, supine and prone asanas, routine practice and yoga therapy. I put these chapter divisions in to show that you can go through this in detail. EAch chapter has a really good introduction to practice the discipline an a variety of types are shown practicing the moves.

It is a nice book to use - the only issues I had were some of the pics were small and the book doesn't stay open easily on a page because of its size and thickness. These are petty little issues which shouldn't detract from its overall content which was excellent and highly recommended

Hidden Secrets: The Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support It
Hidden Secrets: The Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support It
by David Owen
Edition: Paperback
67 used & new from $0.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete History with case studies, good for teens and once overs, March 16, 2011
This is a complete history - definitely - it has a series of 46 case studies throughout history from the Cold war and Lockerbie to Queen Elizabeth I and the Babbington plot, as well as Osama Bin Laden.

It is lavishly illustrated with great graphics and photos well laid out for maximum effect.

Given that there are whole books published on most of these cases it is Naive to believe that one book can provide indepth information on each case. However what really sets this book apart is that each case (from my knowledge) is accurately discussed and the nature of the espionage - its concealment and its being revealed is discussed in context. This gives a really interesting historical perspective on the use of espionage techniques and their discovery over time.

I really enjoyed this book and would gladly recommend it to others. I also think it is a great book for teens - an excellent introduction to some extraodinary cases through history.

"Tolkien's Gown" and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books
"Tolkien's Gown" and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books
by R. A. Gekoski
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from $4.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amusing stroll through Modern literature and publishing, May 16, 2010
Rick Gekoski is a man who knows his stuff, a Cambridge academic who left to pursue his interest in rare books, he has been buying and selling rare inscribed first editions for the last 2 decades or more,and doing very well out of it.

This book is a journey through his time as a rare book dealer, some of the main sales and authors who have stood out for him. Each chapter is about one particular book, revealing its provenance, and his involvement with it. Including Graham Green,Vladimir Nabokov and J R R Tolkein (of whom the book takes it title) - but the encounter with Harold Pinter is one of the best - exquisitely Pinteresque in fact.

As someone who has already written a few books, Gekoski has a neat and succint style which makes this a real pleasure to read. He is able to discuss background to the works and seamlessly weave his own involvement along wtih background to the authors into an amusing narrative. A page turner in fact.

It was a good read second and third time through, and I have also been to see him talk at the recent readers and writers week in Auckland. Amusing, informed and approachable reading - for bibliophiles.

The Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
The Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
by Alexander McCall Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.95
270 used & new from $0.01

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, tragic events and the return of old enemies, April 20, 2010
Precious Ramotswe's crime solving in Botswana ably assisted by her trusty side-kick, Mma Makutsi is chronicled in another gently humourous offering from Alexander McCall Smith. the Double Comfort Safari Club has some mystery, some minor tragedy and Smith manages to invest a little cunning legal tickery in here as well.

Precious Ramotswe is on the case of a mystery guide who has been left a large legacy by a grateful American tourist who remembers their kindness. The only trouble the now 'late' tourist can not remember the name, or the name of the company they worked for. Precious and Mma Makutsi must travel to the area to discover this man. The journey is full of the small observations in life - who they will stay with, and most importantly (for Mma Makutsi) what shoes they must wear. McCall smith is at his most humourous best in these discussions. Mma Makutsi's helpful instructions while driving are just delicious.

Meanwhile tragedy has struck Mma Makutsi. Her fiance Phuti Radiphuti of the Double Comfort Furniture shop has been struck by a truck and is now in hospital having an amputation. Unfortunately for Mma Makutsi, there is an aunt. There is always an aunt in Botswana, but this aunt it a jealous aunt. Mma Makutsi and Preious Ramotswe must navigate the tricky and unpleasant world of aunts to see Rra Raduphuti and give him the proper care which only a fiancee can provide.

Meanwhile there is some legal problems, a man who thought he was in love and was tricked in to making his house over to his fiancee has been duped out of it. He comes to Mma Ramotswe in desperation, he knows she cannot do anything really - but just maybe there is something. This is a nice little case which brings back a dark shadow from the past, Violet Sephotho!

In all the interlinked stories McCall Smith manages to invest strong voices in all his characters. I like the gentle wit and humour which underlies them all, for instance the internal discussion Mma Ramotswe goes through when wondering about offering tea to a client. Now that she is using the small teapot there is only tea for one person in it and with Grace away she cannot ask a man to make extra tea - so when a client arrives to talk to her she decides, after much internal reasoning, that it is better to not offer him tea. Until her (male) assistant offers to make tea out of the blue - and solves the problem.

McCall Smith sets his characters on Safari and while it might be expected that people of Botswana are used to the bush - they are not. They are urbanites, used to city living. The canoe trip to the safari camp is spiced by the enlightening chatter of the 'taxi driver' from hell. No disaster or problem or possible fatal end to them is left unrelished by him.

Full of wonderful touches of humour, this is another chapter in the life of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency.

by Orson Scott Card
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.80
78 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling, funny and dark retelling of Sleeping beauty - from a Russian Point of view, April 7, 2010
This review is from: Enchantment (Paperback)
If you are going to get caught in a fairy tale, don't get caught in a Russian one - sometimes even the princess dies. And that is precisely what happens to Ivan in Orson Scott Card's darkly amusing tale.

Ivan is Ukranian, and just before escaping to the west as a young man with his family he visits his cousin Marek on a farm far outside collectivised Russia. There he finds a strange sight - in the middle of the glade is a ring of leaves, in the middle appears to be a sleeping woman on a plinth. Round the outside in a pit covered with leaves is something unidentifiable but frightening.

Years later, as a linguist and scholar he returns to his cousin Marek's house - and returns to the glade. The woman is still there - as is the creature. As we see it now - Ivan's whole life has been geared towards being the right person to release the "sleeping Beauty" from her sleep. Having done so, outwitted the creature, he returns with her to a 9th century village in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains - but all is not well. While he might be able to speak the language, the culture does not respect him and his skills - and there is magic - Baba Yaga - the worst of the Russian Witches is determined to take the village - and she has the power of teh ancient God, Bear, behind her.

Having recently read Neil Gaiman's book American Gods I have been looking for similar ideas, of Gods caught in Modern times, or retelling of fairy stories. Scott Card does an excellent job retelling this story of Sleeping Beauty. It can be pretty convincing - and at times hilarious. Baba Yaga learning the power of computers at airline terminals is hilarious.

It was a page turning read for me.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2010 11:16 AM PDT

Neverwhere: A Novel
Neverwhere: A Novel
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.56
167 used & new from $1.33

5.0 out of 5 stars A darkly compelling novel, inextricably linked to mythology, April 4, 2010
This review is from: Neverwhere: A Novel (Paperback)
Neil Gaiman writes another novel inextricably linked to mythology, where everyday-man, Richard Mayhew, is sent into a the fantastical and dark underworld of London, against his will. The only way back is to accompany Door, Hunter and the Marquis of Carabas on a strange and dangerous quest.

Richard, or Dick, is an everyman. He lives his life pulled along by an ambitious and dominating girlfriend, his life simply twisting and turning on the wind of fates. And so fate delivers him Door, a girl he finds sprawled on the pavement hurt and damaged. Instead of following his girlfriend he picks her up and cares for her. And that seals his fate. She is the daughter of Lord Portico of the London Beneath, and while he helps her to return, he finds he has become one of the London Beneath himself. Someone who people never notice, or just can't see. And if they do they forget about them immediately.

Now he has to find Door again and regain his place in London above, to do that he accompanies Door on her own quest to find out who killed her family and avenge them. Door is equipped with a singular skill, that is she can make any lock or door open for her. Whoever killed her family is now apparently trying to kill her. She needs help and the Marquis of Carabas is the only man who can help her. Mysterious and strange, the Marquis can only help her so much. He trades and lives on his wits - and he arranges that she should be protected by the best of the best, Hunter. Certainly following them are the utterly terrifying figures of Mr vandemar and Mr Croup.

Throughout the book the links with fairytales (Dick Whittington and the Marquis of Carabas etc) are interspersed with mythology (the mythology of 'Hunter'), with London history and present. Londoners I think will especially appreciate the history of the Underground in here and Christianity - the crucifixion and Angels.

There is black and bleak humour throughout, Mr Vandemar, Mr Croup and the Marquis of Carabas getting the best of them all. And while at times the story seems to have gaping holes in it, everything is carefully filled in at the end making it obvious that these are essential elements in the plot.

I found this an extremely clever novel and a page-turning read. Since I read his book Coraline, I have been absolutely hooked on Gaiman as an author. My top read of his works is American Gods, but I think this book comes a close second. It is full of allusion and allegory and it makes me want to re-read it again and again to pick up those clever little points. A novel you can really sit down and discuss with someone as well. I would recommend it for reading groups.

My Little Pony Ponyville La-Ti-Da Hair & Spa with BONUS SPECIAL EDITION 3 PONIES & EXTRA ACCESSORIES
My Little Pony Ponyville La-Ti-Da Hair & Spa with BONUS SPECIAL EDITION 3 PONIES & EXTRA ACCESSORIES
2 used & new from $129.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endless good fun with this - lots of extras, March 1, 2010
This is one of the better Ponyville playsets to come out recently. It is the La Ti Da spa and salon - all the pony's have interchangeable hair styles, and it also comes with model heads so the wigs can be put on them for display inbetween

It all packs up really tidily into one piece which is great too. It comes with a few ponies as well as accessories to acutally give any child a good set to start playing with. Usually you have to buy a few bits and peices if you want to give kids a good start at playing a game. This comes with enough in it and still reasonably priced

A good set to add to your ponyville collection or give to a little girl who wants to play. Room for lots of fantasy play and ideas for them.

The only complaint I have about the new sets is that they have moved away from teh 'village' concept of ponyville and these play sets no longer come with letter boxes. That was really fun and it seems a pity to not have that now.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 14, 2011 2:53 AM PDT

My Little Pony Ponyville Ferris Wheel Playset
My Little Pony Ponyville Ferris Wheel Playset
3 used & new from $26.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice to get this on its own, but a similar ferris wheel was part of teh fun park, March 1, 2010
This is a slightly modified ferris wheel, essentially made in different colours. If you already have the fun park then this isn't a necessary addition to your Ponyville collection

It turns around, it has the brighter colours which seem to go with the whole revamped ponyville concept. It is durable and hard wearing, like all Ponyville stuff seems to be. Stick your ponys in here and they turn around to the My little Pony Music. Much better to look out for the old fun park which came with a lot more stuff (roller coaster, swing, entrance kiosk and so on)

An okay piece for your little Pony-fan otherwise.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20