- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
Synopsis: American Wife tells the story of Alice Blackwell, the husband of the US president - it documents her life, and what events made her who she is, including a childhood love and an adult courtship - the novel is helped tremendously by the dynamic and interesting character of Alice, a character whose actions are surprising and unpredictable. Thoughts / Opinion: It may take many elements from the life of Laura Bush, yet it explores them in such a way that you feel as if Alice is real and her full story did exist. This intricate use of history makes the novel more original and believable than ever, as it has a definitive structure upon which to base it. Also reinforcing this believability is heightened by the grounded life of Alice - a small town librarian who loves to see smiles on the children's faces for whom she creates pieces of art, this element by Sittenfeld brings the reader closer to the plot as it is revealed that the First Lady of the story is just a small town girl, with a normal upbringing. This relatable quality of Alice makes this story a worthwhile read - she is likeable, just she makes mistakes and she is not perfect. The reader feels compelled to follow her story through the highs and tragic lows because she is them. One thing that struck me most about this story was its apparent discouragement of the idealised American Dream that is prevalent in so many literary pieces - Alice seemingly pushes money aside in favour of what she feels right. It is said that money does not grow on trees and in this case neither does accomplishment. Yet, whilst there are so many opportunities in which the characters could flourish or some truly great scene could unfold, it never does. The first 2/3, maybe 3/4 of the novel is great - fresh, original, bold and a great read - it then falters. She becomes the First Lady - she loses all the greatness that made her likeable - she transforms from being so normal and free to a person that bows to pressure too easily, who toes the line because she has to. This is not the person that you are introduced to. And yes, whilst the First Lady would have protocol to follow, it lets the rest of the novel feel rather drab, as if Alice stops living in parallel with the book. It may at times be long winded and stray from the point, but it is saved by the excellent craftsmanship within some of the chapters, as it demonstrates the true nature of humanity - that we all have flaws and we have all made mistakes, no matter how great we are. The character of Charlie Blackwell, despite depicting the president, left a lot to be desired - in my opinion, Sittenfeld failed to truly develop his character, leaving you wondering the true extent of his impact on Alice's life, but also leaving him slightly worn and as if he never truly grows in character throughout the novel. American Wife may start out with a hopeful outlook, but it soon fails - the latter half is a real struggle to get through with the promise of the characters giving way to protocol and a person that takes a backseat in their own life. I would love to say I liked it, because there is something there, but it lets itself down. Author: Curtis Sittenfeld was born in 1975, an American writer, with two previously published novels; The Man of My Dreams and Prep. Recommendations: Whilst I didn't particularly enjoy it, American Wife would be ideal for someone interested in politics or who merely wants something a bit more challenging.
Synopsis: Detailed as 'As Story of Race and Inheritance', Dreams from my Father is a memoir by Barack Obama. It details his early life and the subsequent journey he goes on - an honest representation of growing up as an African-American, it shows the trials and tribulations that he faced, making him who he is today. Thoughts / Opinion: Demonstrating where the foundations are for his life and politics, this beautifully crafted memoir by Obama strikes many chords - Obama writes with such an intimate style that it is almost impossible to not see where his hopes and aspirations came from, it becomes a book that symbolises his whole life and his political style. Typically, I do not really like autobiographies - they have a distinct habit of grating on me, but I have always loved American politics and followed Obama throughout the campaign trail, so I thought I would give this one a go. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed in the slightest. Dreams from my Father is a poignant reminder of where Obama began, his struggle for an identity - I found that he portrayed this in the best possible way; rather than side-stepping because it may be uncomfortable for some readers, he faces it in a way that even me, someone who has never truly been involved in any racial tension, can understand. His writing style puts everything on the line, but it's also incredibly moving - in the back of your mind, you always think of his progression from this insecure boy that he writes about to a man who drives the hopes of a nation. Though, as with every book, there is a slight downside - the pace of the novel. At some points, it can be quite slow and drawn out, yet those moments that I felt were more important were short and abrupt - granted it may be representative of what is more prominent in his own life, what carved his life, but for me, this reason is why the book felt, at times, to be more of a chore than a pleasurable experience. However, that said, it would be wrong to criticise it completely - Obama puts so much out there in this book. His admittance of his mistakes, his inability to succeed at everything, reminds you that he is human. He's not some supersonic hero who can control everything - he is just normal. This relatable nature that he puts down in writing is this book's saving grace; granted, it doesn't need it, but it makes it so much more worthwhile to read. Author: Barack Obama is the current President of the United States, the 44th to be precise. Born in Hawaii (contrary to the beliefs of a certain Trump), he is the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father. I could go on about this man but nothing can beat reading this autobiography to truly get to understand his past. Recommendations: Definitely one of the best written pieces by a politician - giving you the opportunity to gain an understanding of the events that have carved their political ideas. Even if you do not necessarily like politics, this piece is more of the problems facing the African-American community in the US at the time, and even now.
Synopsis: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" - perhaps some of the most poignant and well-known words in English Literature history. Following the story of Elizabeth Bennet as she experiences a certain Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice is a timeless classic which still has the same impact today - the essence of the story has continuous resonance as pride and prejudice gets in the way of love. Thoughts / Opinion: Pride and Prejudice is one of the few books that I find enjoyable over and over again - a book full of quirky humour and well-written chapters that leaves you wanting more and more. It does not just focus on romance - it is not the slushy lovey-dovey stuff that can suffocate - it is elegantly crafted, I highly recommend it and I am sure that it will continue to be a great success. What stands out most explicitly about this novel is relatively straight forward; Austen uses her great skill to make the social system of this era understandable to the modern reader. Whilst in others it can be too hard-hitting and complicated, Austen's use of her characters within the story allow it to develop in a way that is relatable - most people have had that moment where you think that you're in a different league, Pride and Prejudice brings that to life within this literary setting. I think one of the aspects that prevents Austen's language from becoming too overpowering for the reader new to classics literature is her innate use of wit throughout. In the characters of Mr and Mrs Bennett, she provides some light hearted relief from the love trials of others. In fact, despite the endless number of characters, Austen manages to subtly develop them all to their appropriate degree, involving the reader at every turn. Elizabeth's character is perhaps seen away from the typical romantic female of this era - she is head strong, but sensitive, and knows what she wants. Her ability to turn away from the expectations of society enables the reader to be thoroughly sympathetic to her trials throughout the plot. However, I cannot say that this novel is perfect - what is? What must be said is that, at times, whilst the characters are executed to the highest degree, the descriptive of location and setting are lacking. It seems more to be focused upon the characters and dialogue, rather than where or when. Yet, it may be that it is this lack of description that also allows Pride and Prejudice to stay so accessible. By creating an almost ambiguous setting, Austen lets the reader put their own thoughts and views into the story - it becomes as much their own work and hers, and thus they become involved to a degree which is often hard to find within the typical classics of this era. Austen holds nothing back in her writing, she allows her wit to drive through, the characters to drive the plot and the reader to drive everything, making Pride and Prejudice THE classic romance novel. With its twists and turns making it accessible to all generations, as long as you have the patience to muddle through the contemporary language (and I strongly recommend that you do), it is a thorough joy to read and a novel that I shall continue to go back to for years to come. Author: Jane Austen is one of the most celebrated figures in English Literature; her works have travelled through the generations in one piece. From Sense and Sensibility to Emma, she is recognised by so many people and it may be said that she has helped to carve the romantic genre into what it is today. Recommendations: I actually cannot recommend it enough, if you have to read a few key books - this has to be to the top of your list. Even guys! I love it and, if you are anything like me, I am sure that you will enjoy it just as much.
Synopsis: It is fair to say that Sookie Stackhouse hasn't had the best life to date - living with her grandmother, Adele, after losing her parents, and having a distinct gift - telepathy. With 19 deaths in this first book alone, you would be forgiven for saying that it is a very dark novel, full of vampires and danger and many many murders - but who is the culprit? Thoughts / Opinions: After True Blood was made into a TV series, I thought I would see what the books were like - I was severely disappointed. Whilst the characters are loveable and the plot is gripping, the writing style was not particularly amazing, but it was partially saved by the dark and exhilarating nature of the story. It combines humour with a serious undertone - it combines love with hatred - it combines reality with fantasy. Though, what most irritated me about the book is Sookie herself - the telepathic narrator. Whilst it may be that many people like her, I found that I just couldn't connect with her, maybe it was due to her inability to truly excuse anything other than by blaming her psychic skills! She may be the genre's typical female in that she doesn't see danger until it's right in front of her, but she is a character that truly grates on me. However, at the end of the day, it addresses an issue that is often cast aside - prejudice and discrimination. It explores the sensitive side of social prejudices in a light way; it is said that any gothic like text distances the reader from their own world, enabling them to analyse it without being involved, and this is particularly true for this novel. Harris uses the supernatural to force the reader to recognise the upset within our own society - it still has the sensitive touch needed to address this, but does so in a way that is shocking to the reader. Though, there is one last thing that must be addressed with regards to this novel - the sex scenes. Yes, it explores love and yes, it seems to be an older Twilight, (and I'm not the sort of person to squirm away) but Harris' portrayal within this book is just dreary. She may be acclaimed for being good at writing the subtle sex scene, but when the rest of the novel holds nothing back, it becomes a bit bland, to be honest. Whilst you are involved in the novel, I was left pondering and wanting more - to actually feel as if I was part of the novel, if that makes sense. In short, to me, it was just a grown up version of Twilight, with darker elements, but still simple and left more questions than were answered. Author: Charlaine Harris is a key writer in American mystery fiction and a NY Times bestseller. She has written a wide range of series, which is perhaps why this book is so strong in that department, gaining her international acclaim throughout the Western world. Sequel: Dead Until Dark is the first of the 'Sookie Stackhouse Novels' series, the series behind the TV programme True Blood. The questions that are left open at the end of the novel are significant bait to read the rest of the series to understand the full extent of this supernatural world, from vampires to witches, to werewolves - this is a series that I will continue to read at some point. Recommendations: Whilst I did have some problems with this book, I have to say that it is what it says. It would be ideal for the older teenager who wants to get away from the tame Twilight series, or anyone who is interested in this genre.
Synopsis: The first in the series, Bran Hambric follows the story of a young boy of six who is found within the walls of a locked bank vault with no memory of how he got there, or in fact of anything in his past. Living in a city where the art of magic is illegal, he discovers that his mother (whom he cannot remember) created a deadly curse and a curse that revolves around him. Thoughts / Opinions: Bran Hambric has a well-crafted plot, with excitement and action present throughout, giving a positive vibe to a novel with its basis grounded within fantasy - Nation writes with a talent that is hard to find, bringing together humour and creativity at just the right degree, creating a novel that is truly a pleasure to read. There are so many twists and turns that give the book a real energy that, as the reader, you can't help but take on yourself. This novel is PERFECT for younger teenagers and children - the good vs evil premise, not only engages but also serves as an education. Yet, I think what most makes this novel stand out in the children's genre is the care that Nation goes to. The invention of a mystical language gives it a challenging quality, trying to decipher the meaning can be especially fun for children. It may be said that the book's similarities to the Harry Potter series do bring readers to it, however, it MUST be said that Bran Hambric has the strength to stand by itself. The characters, are strong and each have their own individual quirks that allow them to make their own mark, however, the relatively shortness and sheer quantity prevent them from truly being developed to the degree they deserve. Bran himself is a key asset to this novel - his defiance and strength allow him to be seen as a hero, yet he has an air of modesty that allows the reader to connect with him and it is this that drives the narrative through the chapters, whilst his dry wit (derived from the author) gives it moments of hilarity and comical value that prevent it from becoming too serious. The novel's cover itself draws the reader in, providing an air of mystery that is exciting, a definite evaluation of the text itself. However, that said, towards the middle of the novel, the pace, that was previously so fast, slows to be almost snail-like. Though this does allow a better development, one cannot help but feel that it also divulges the reader's attention slightly - it is only when it speeds up later that it is truly given justice. Author: Kaleb Nation began writing Bran Hambric at the age of 14, taking him many years to write. He is a key member of the Twilight and Youtube communities, which lead to him having an actively large part in the publication of the series, including the writing of a score. Sequel: I think the series can only get better with the characters being continuously developed and enhanced in meaningful and interesting way - a novel that leaves you wanting more and eagerly awaiting the next edition - 'The Specter Key'. Recommendations: This book is a pleasure to read, comfortable for both adults and kids.
Synopsis: A Walk to Remember follows the character of Landon Carter at a North Carolina high school - Landon is the jock, the typical popular male portrayed within many American novels, then there's Jamie Sullivan. The daughter of a church minister, she carries a Bible with her wherever she goes. The traditional turbulent friendship between two polar opposites ensues with a killer plot twist to bring everything together and make you go 'OHHHH!' Thoughts and Opinions: Nicholas Sparks is one of my favourite authors and this book managed to exceed my expectations. Whilst expecting a normal, run of the mill romance, I was instead left with a book that is full to the brim with sheer and pure emotion, highlighting the innocence of young love. The twist in the story's plot is heart-breaking and tear-jerking, whilst the narrative has the power to knock you off your feet - even if you dislike emotional books, I sincerely and definitively suggest with all my heart that this is the one that you NEED to read - the clarity with which Sparks writes and the effect that it has on everything, even the way you look at life, is enough to make this one of the best books that I have read. Seen through the eyes of Landon Carter, the teenage rebel, it is easily accessible to guys who have truly and utterly found their true love. After all, 'A Walk to Remember' makes you believe that, no matter your age, or your appearance, or your aspirations, true love exists, it is just a matter of finding that someone. Author: Nicholas Sparks is an American author who seems to specialise in romantic fiction through the generations, from the young (as in this novel) to the older in (Nights in Rodanthe). At current, he has 16 published novels, with many international bestsellers and many adapted films being generated. Recommendations: I would sincerely recommend this novel to ANYONE who likes romantic novels, or even if you are merely looking to explore the genre - it is truly exquisite.
Synopsis: A book full of fantasy, in this case zombies - an area where teenagers are no longer staying dead, instead coming back as zombies - a strange concept that brought me to read this book, but something was missing. Thoughts / Opinions: Granted there are the problems about love and such, it is just that there are no true solid foundations, no concrete events, so much so that it seems as it is missing a key ingredient in making the story work - passion. Not the love passion, the passion that I feel you need to drive the characters, a passion for the characters themselves. The dialogue is somewhat limp and the story drags on just that bit too long. I cannot say that there were no moments that made me want to carry on reading - some aspects of it were highly entertaining and also provide an insight into the intricacies of social misconduct and expectations. Waters seems to use the premise of zombies to bring a key truth to the younger generations - social prejudices have a tendency to rule throughout our life - and perhaps this is the message that saves this novel, a message that is becoming increasingly relevant today. For me, it did not inspire me or in fact generate that much reaction - it was a read that filled time when I was bored, but nothing more - I don't feel like I need to read the next one (Kiss of Life). Disappointing considering how much I normally love this genre - the plot was fine and had slight structure yet even this was let down by the narrative. Recommendations: Generation Dead is said to be aimed at teenagers who like the supernatural genre and this is true, however, it may also be useful for the younger readers, allowing an understanding of social discrepancies in status.
Synopsis: Looking for Alaska takes you on a journey through the unknown life of college, through Miles (a guy obsessed with learning the last words of people), as he meets one Alaska Young (a girl trying to escape her own labyrinth). Thoughts / Opinions: Whilst this book may be labelled as a children's novel, I think it would suit almost any age - the plot is relatable to most teenagers. The prospect of growing up, experiencing first loves, alcohol mixed with drugs, mystery, pranking - yet it is much more than that. Along with a wider range of characters that combine the excitement of college life with the unpredictability of young lives, Green's narrative talent takes you to a new world, full of the tension and heartache that some people experience growing up. This was the first time I had read anything by John Green, so after having read this, I was surprised to know that this was only his début novel. Words cannot describe the amazing writing technique that he possesses - you can transported right into the heart of the action, feeling the intense emotions of the characters with a resonance that is hard to come by in the literary world today. It is a novel that you want to read over and over again, despite the roller-coaster of emotions it pulls you through. Recommendations: This heart-breaking and tear-jerking novel is definitely worth a read, whether you end up loving it or not, it is truly (in my opinion) a true literary masterpiece. It is available to all generations - from the teenager experiencing it at the same time, to adults who want to remember their past, but for both it helps to realise the true potential in life.
Synopsis: 'Great Expectations' follows the story of an orphan named Pip, as he transitions from a boy who is full of 'great expectations' to a man - entwining fate, mystery and unrequited love, it is a novel that is emotional at times, yet still has resonance in today's society, whilst giving an insight into nineteenth century life as an orphan. Thoughts / Opinions: Despite this interesting and inventive plot, it felt as though Dickens was trying too hard with descriptions (although reminiscent of Victorian writing and the origins of the novel in different publications) making some areas pass too slowly. Whilst I do not condemn the novel for this, for younger readers who wish to read Dickens, this may not be the best one to start with. The tension that builds up throughout makes this novel a great read for someone who is a fan of Dickens, however, it may be too much for some who tend to enjoy an easier read. The characters are mainly loveable with your views on them changing all the while to keep your mind always on the go. The characters, ultimately, make the story the success it is today. Author: Dickens is an English novelist from the 19th century, providing literature with many significant pieces of great work. Focusing on social status, Dickens' novels have the distinct power to move and translate to new decades. Recommendations: Great Expectations is an intricate book, full of twists and turns, which would make it quite heavy reading for those new to Victorian literature. As a result of this, I would recommend this to anyone who wants an insight into social status at the time, or who want to delve deeper into the classics that have withstood the test of time.
With 14 megapixels, you would be forgiven for expecting great things from this compact device, and it does not disappoint. Design: The JX530 is a relatively compact model, enabling you to carry it in almost any situation. But, what it lacks in size, it definitely makes up for in the features and general action. Ease of Use: It must be said that this camera is not perhaps the best for those new to digital cameras - the manual itself is pretty poor in explaining anything, whilst the many buttons may prove to be a large hurdle if not familiar. However, what does let it down is the Li-lon battery - it seems to have a relatively short battery life if being used alot, and the screen does not always give you sufficient warning as to when it is going to put you in the dark. Features: This model boasts an extraordinarily wide array of different settings (up to 17), a novelty for a camera with such as modest price tag, yet it must be said that some work a lot better than others. The 'portrait' option is said to 'identify up to ten faces in the frame' - whilst this is great for the family snapshot to ensure everyone has their eyes open and that the red-eye removal prevents them from looking like monsters, it is a feature which can get irritating when it believes a button is a face. It works in principle, in action not so much. The panoramic mode is perhaps what allows this camera to be quite advanced in the line-up of which one to purchase - allowing up to three subsequent snapshots to be lined it, without compromising on the quality of the image. The merging tool on the camera works to provide a perfect image which looks amazing when printed. However, what could be said about these features is simple - the rotating mode wheel which controls them is quite limp, it can be moved with the simplest of touches. Whilst this may be a positive in some aspects, when trying to work it in a busy setting, it can be knocked easily so your family snapshot is taken as a landscape. One MAJOR drawback to this model is the lack of image stabilisation. Many failed attempts have been made because the image has become blurry after a sheer moment of wobble. Though it may be that those needing crisp images would opt for a better camera, it is a shame as it has so much to offer with the acutely brilliant resolution. Quality: At 14 megapixels, the JX530 is one of the best resolutions in compact digital cameras. It allows stunning images to be taken, using the range of features to give the best photograph possible for the situation. Whilst in many instances, cameras lose this during zoom, the 28mm wide angle 5x lens on this camera still enables exquisite images to be taken from a distance. Though, whilst it may not be one of the best zooms in this sector, the high quality stands miles above the rest. It also boasts a stunning 720p HD video recorder enabling the quality to surpass expectations away from stills.
Synopsis: A letter written to "my dearest Catherine" washes up on a beach where Theresa Osborne is on holiday; Sparks takes you on her journey as she sets about uncovering who wrote this mysterious letter and the funny and emotional events that follows upon the discovery. Thoughts / Opinions: Once more, Sparks writes with a level of eloquence that is rare to find - taking you through a range of emotions that some novels fail to do, but doing so in a way that makes the plot both original and utterly believable. Throughout Sparks' novels, he is known to develop the characters in a way that is absent in many other works and in Message in a Bottle, he once more exceeds expectations. The novel's intricate development from grieving lost loves to finding innocent loves makes for a splendid read, however, it was slightly predictable and at times the actions of the characters strayed from how they had been developed, then again, we all do stupid things with regards to love. However, it did not wow me to the extent of some of Sparks' other books - perhaps due to the rather promiscuous circumstances or something else. Recommendations: The good thing about Sparks is his ability to allow the books to navigate a range of generations - this is suitable for both teenagers and adults alike, as long as they do not mind reading about love!
Synopsis: Before I Die follows the story of Tessa as she sets out to fulfil her own bucket listafter being told she has terminal cancer. Thoughts / Opinions: A deeply moving novel, but reduced slightly by an inability to truly connect with Tessa, despite the first person narrative - it had a distinct opportunity to be something great but something let it down. The items on her list are quite stereotypical, with sex, drugs and law breaking, which although are reasonable when taking into account her age and what she may miss out on, yet it takes away from the originality that would have made this book so much better. Having said this, Downham finds a way to highlight the true nature of a disease that has taken over Tessa, in such a way that it approaches a horribly realistic subject to teenagers, enabling them to understand what it must be like. Recommendations: To me, I did not enjoy this novel as much as I thought I would - HOWEVER, that said, it would be an ideal book for younger teenagers who want to understand some of the intricacies in life. Its simplistic nature enables an understanding of not only the motions of cancer, but also of relationships between parents, friends and love.
Synopsis: Written by Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights is set in the Yorkshire moors and details the love between Catherine Earnshaw (the lady of Wuthering Heights) and Heathcliff (the 'gypsy brat' brought home by her father). Through the narrator, the reader can witness their most turbulent relationship through its highs and lows that destroys them in many ways. Thoughts / Opinions: Wuthering Heights - the classic novel depicting true love, lost love and every love in between - the intelligence and power with which Emily Bronte writes makes this novel, allows the reader to feel the emotions and experience the love between Cathy and Heathcliff, after all as is said within the novel, "I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!'" The use of the dark and foreboding hero along with the stubborn heroine makes for a fiery mix of action and passion, with their similarly flawed characters making amazing fiction - unnatural perhaps for this era of writing. It may be because of these characters that it has become so successful; Bronte does not correct or empower them, she merely lets the reader make of them what they will, leaving the pair at the mercy of the reader. It moves away from the traditional romance stories, dragging the reader deeper and deeper into the story, yet instead of ruining it like has happened before, it merely intensifies the success and impact it has had on many generations gone and many generations still to come. Of course, Wuthering Heights would not be Wuthering Heights without Joseph - the stubborn and cruel servant, who adds a slight humour to the novel through Bronte's use of a strong Yorkshire accent, making him virtually impossible to understand unless read out loud. The wilderness of the Yorkshire Moors and the wilderness of the two main characters makes for a ageless classic that people will always love, even when they cannot see why they like Cathy and Heathcliff's dark personas and why they truly make the story. Author: Emily Bronte is an English novelist, born in the 1800s, who published under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell - Wuthering Heights is her only novel, but her sisters (the well known Charlotte and Anne) published many more. Recommendations: Wuthering Heights is a piece of classic literature - I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in romance, but also to those who wish to explore the darker side of human nature and the consequences of a passionate love.
Introduction: The size of this nano may be the same as its predecessor but the simple changes make all the difference. Quality: The slightly larger screen size allows a crisp look with the strength and clarity of colour that was often lacking before. Whilst this compact nature is ideal for taking movies away on holiday, I did find that after watching two hours, it easily gave you a headache! Ease of Use: This nano is simple to use - almost identical to the previous generation, the wheel allows an easy use with the lock preventing any unintended change of track. Though a drawback of the nano is this - when unlocked and placed horizontal, the screen changes to allow a skim of the tunes with the given images. This is a good idea which would make it easier in the long run, however it can be irritating if you accidentally lean it to the side whilst choosing tracks in a traditional manner. Features: The addition of the camera is good in terms of resolution, but it is rather awkwardly positioned on the nano itself - plus with lack of clear instructions, it can be hard to work out on first use. The indication of battery life is a good idea in concept - however, it gives little warning of when it will actually die, whilst it changes colour as expected, these can be altered by merely turning it off and back on, giving no concrete idea of its battery life. Sound Quality: With the radio giving out the same crisp sound as the headphones, it is fair to say that this version of the nano is a lot better than the others. However, one slight drawback is that of the speaker - whilst it seems to be a good advance and competition for the ipod touch, it is hard to get away from the metal-like sound that it emits. For the best quality, it is better to stay with the headphones.
Introduction: I brought this laptop about six months ago now - was a bit wary of it as have had bad experiences with HP laptops in the past, but it was certainly paid for itself. Quality: Whilst it may be that the G62 has a broader screen than some other laptops, it continues to allow the resolution to give a high quality that lets HD video look spectacular. The processing speed enables fast responses, however it can get bogged down if you have too many windows open at once. Reliability: At the minute, I have few problems with the reliability of this laptop - it tells you well in advance when your battery will run out. Though the windows update software upon closing can become a pain if you have 20 updates when you want to go to sleep. Ease of Use: It's a good portable model, with the size of your normal laptop, but the compact nature that makes it ideal for those who want to transport it around. One problem, though, the touch pad - personally, I use a wireless mouse - because the pad can be a bit temperamental causing the onscreen mouse to dart around the screen if something else is touching it. However, that said, it is also very sensitive so you can use it with the lightest touch. The lack of the number pad on the keys, as in other laptop models, can take a while to get used to, but that is the same with any new model. Installation: For me, installation was a tricky business. It prompted a backup disc to be produced of the core processing - suggesting DVD-R discs to be used, I willingly brought a pack of about 25, only to later find that some people have found that most brands do not work with it. Battery Life: It charges quickly, and unlike other batteries, it actually lasts. It gives you sufficient warning of when it is going to cut out - with a premature warning, followed by the more immediate one coming up right in the middle of the screen. Features: The sound can come across quite 'tinny' if at full volume, which is a shame as the majority of this model is faultless. It has a range of different connection portals for HDMI, projectors, internet, USB, microphone, headphones, memory cards - allowing an easy connection on the move. The CD tray is well hidden in the side of the laptop which I have found can be a slight problem when you're in the dark trying to find out where it is. The CyberLink YouCam that accompanies the built-in webcam is a fun little problems with nice quirks and gadgets to entertain any little children - the webcam itself is relatively good quality, with different settings such as a hat that actually stays in line with your head!