Friday, 19 December 2014

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Far Cry 4 - Ubisoft


Release Date: 18/11/14
Publisher:  Ubisoft

SYNOPSIS:

Welcome to Kyrat!

Built from the legendary DNA of its award-winning predecessor, Far Cry 4 delivers the most expansive and immersive Far Cry experience yet in an entirely new and massive open world, with integrated drop-in/drop-out co-op play.

Hidden in the towering Himalayas lies Kyrat, a country steeped in tradition and violence. You are Ajay Ghale. Travelling to Kyrat to fulfill your mother's dying wish, you find yourself caught up in a civil war to overthrow the oppressive regime of dictator Pagan Min. Explore and navigate this vast open world, where danger and unpredictability lurk around every corner. Here, every decision counts, and every second is a story.
Explore an open world filled with possibilities

Discover the most diverse Far Cry world created yet. With terrain spanning from lush forests to the snowcapped Himalayas, the entire world is alive... and deadly!

From leopards, rhinos, black eagles, and vicious honey badgers, Kyrat is home to abundant wildlife. As you embark on your hunt for resources, know that something may be hunting you.
Scout enemy territory from above in the all-new gyrocopter and then plummet back to earth in your wing suit. Climb aboard the back of a six-ton elephant and unleash its raw power on your enemies.
Choose the right weapon for the job, no matter how insane or unpredictable that job might be. With a diverse arsenal, you'll be prepared for anything.

Pagan Min

Pagan Min is a raging narcissist with a God complex. He's always been a fan of his own image and the presentation of himself as a brand. Ambitious and ruthless, the self-proclaimed King of Kyrat was every bit the charismatic leader. He conquered Kyrat slowly, pulling people to his cause – including the Golden Path rebels. Quickly enough, idealism surrenders to reality. Pagan Min believes that Kyrat's problems lie in its connection to the past. In trying to sever those connections, Pagan Min causes a split in his own camp. He may control much of Kyrat, but in making enemies with the Golden Path a rebellion is born.
Co-op: bring a friend

Not every journey should be taken alone. Far Cry 4 allows for a second player to drop in and out at any point, re-imagining the cooperative experience in the true spirit of Far Cry for the next generation. You'll now be able to discover and explore the living open world of Kyrat together.
The arena: what will you become?

Prove your combat prowess and fight for survival and fame in the arena. Earn the respect of roaring crowds and test your will to survive, battling man and beast alike, until only one contestant remains standing.

Multiplayer

Get a taste of Kyrat's embattled history in a brand new adversarial multiplayer mode. Play as a heavily armed soldier of the Golden Path rebellion, or as a member of the ancient Kalinag warrior tribe equipped with the lethal power of nature.
Map editor: deathtrap designer

Create and share your own maps using the most powerful and intuitive map editor ever offered in the Far Cry franchise. Your creations will get the attention they deserve thanks to its enhanced tools, improved interface, and the ability to publish and share your maps with the community.



REVIEW:

Ah,. Back to the full fun of campaigning against the evil regimes of the world, this time in the fictional Himalayan region of Kyrat and for me, as a huge fan of Far Cry 3, is giving me more of the same with bigger land mass to explore as well as more animal regions to explore and get massacred in. (Damn Devil Fish and Honey Badgers.)

The gameplay is pretty similar to what has gone before and whilst the graphics are beautiful there are some new additions that will really impress those not already established to the series but also to those who are in for their first foray. Such as the addition of a single-seater gyrocopter that can be used in conjunction with a one handed weapon such as a hand gun (or my personal favourite the M-79 Grenade Launcher.)

Its fun to travel round, it has huge landscapes to explore and when the user also gets the fun of unlocking new weapons by completing tasks all round gives you a whole host of things to do. Back this up with not only villages to take over but much tougher fortresses which really challenge the gamer and for me it’s a title that has a whole lot going for it.

Skill wise, in this release the gamer has more to add with each perk doing something a little different. Whilst there’s a whole host of cracking things to add, one of the things that I’d advise to add as soon as you can is Elephant Rider, its great for hunting big creatures like the rhino’s and is a ton of fun when you not only mash the enemy but knock their vehicles all over the roads.

All round, for me, the best FC title to date and one that will have me gaming for quite some time. The only real let down is the multiplayer as I can’t really figure it out as to how to get it to work.

DVD REVIEW: Damn Sea Vampires - Sony Pictures Entertainment

Release Date: 13/10/14
Publisher:  Sony Pictures Entertainment

SYNOPSIS:

Dive into the depths of unspeakable terror as Sharknado's Cassie Scerbo comes face to fin with a swarm of bloodsucking sea monsters in this suspense-drenched chiller co-starring Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire), Brandon Beemer (TV's "The Bold and the Beautiful") and Kevin Dobson (TV's "Knots Landing"). While dredging for gold beneath the Bering Sea, siblings Donna (Scerbo) and Joe (Lipnicki) are confronted by a horde of horrific sea vampires. When their father (Dobson) falls victim to the insatiable creatures, Donna and Joe join forces with a dedicated marine biologist (Jacqueline Fleming, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and a loyal deckhand (Beemer) to kill or be killed by the beasts.


REVIEW:

OK, so you love silly films, you’ve watched both Sharknado’s and are looking for something that you don’t have to think about to watch over the holiday period, something that will make you laugh, something fun and above all else something that you can just sit back and allow to happen. So what are you going to watch?

Well how about this, Damn Sea Vampires (AKA Beasts of the Bering Sea in the US) which is set around Alaskan Gold dredgers. These weird creatures are disturbed when new land is opened up and unleash their own brand of mayhem as the crew of the ship that originally disturbed them try to put the uprising down.

Its quirky, its fun and above all else it’s a film that gave me a few chuckles a I watched it. Defintiely something that I’m going to make sure my twin gets of a copy of as I know he and his friend Les will get an absolute blast from it. OK so the acting isn’t great and the plot is a bit ludicrous but all round when you just want something to relieve some of the tension or just a break from all those damn Christmas repeats then pick this up.

STEAMPUNK TIE IN: Steampunk Soldiers - Philip Smith, Joseph McCullough, Mark Stacey


Release Date: 20/11/14
Publisher:  Osprey Adventures

SYNOPSIS:

Between 1887 and 1895, the British art student Miles Vandercroft travelled around the world, sketching and painting the soldiers of the countries through which he passed. In this age of dramatic technological advancement, Vandercroft was fascinated by how the rise of steam technology at the start of the American Civil War had transformed warfare and the role of the fighting man. This volume collects all of Vandercroft's surviving paintings, along with his associated commentary on the specific military units he encountered. It is a unique pictorial guide to the last great era of bright and colourful uniforms, as well as an important historical study of the variety of steam-powered weaponry and equipment that abounded in the days before the Great War of the Worlds.


REVIEW:

As an avid reader, I’m always looking for things that help expand not only established genre but also give the reader something not only novel but concepts for your own work. This book, from Osprey really does hit the spot for not only readers of Steampunk tales but also writers and even cos-players.

The book has cracking illustrations, top notch written descriptions and all round I something that can be easily accessed if you’re looking for something novel to help boost your thoughts. To have it all collected into this one cracking volume will add numerous option for all manner of readers and to be honest, as a writer give you something that is going to be ideal in helping to visualise an epic Steampunk war alongside the chance to create a hero to rival the times.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - Warner Brothers Interactive

Release Date: 14/11/14
Publisher:  Warner Brothers Interactive

SYNOPSIS:

Join Batman and a whole host of DC super heroes in the fight against Braniac in a LEGO adventure of epic proportions.
Collect the Lantern Rings from an array of different Lantern Worlds for you to explore and bring peace to the universe!
Access Batman's training modules, take part in various challenges, battles and races, and become the strongest superhero the world has ever known.
Unlock over 150 unique heroes and villains from the DC universe, including members of the justice league and LEGO big figures, to do battle with.
Control your favourite heroes and villains, each with new gadgets and abilities for you to discover and utilise.



REVIEW:

As a huge Lego fan, I’m always counting down the days until the item is released. Yet for all the games that are out, my absolute favourite in the Lego range is of course Lego Marvel. Yet as much as they’ve competed on the screens and in the fans hearts, the real Lego battle was of course going to be between Marvel and Batman 3.

So what does the new Batman title have to offer? Well for a start an absolute ton of DC Superheroes and Villains to play (for me my favourite is The Flash) and whilst it takes a while to get back into (with the various costume options to pick up) and when added to a fun storyline and of course a whole host of secrets to discover, its when you get to replay through that the extra fun kicks in especially when you get to earn characters as well as putting together the hidden builds for each level.

All round a great piece of fun and whilst overall the animation is wonderful, I wasn’t that struck with Croc as I felt his was a little cruse.

YOUNG ADULT REVIEW: Batman and Superman 2015 Annual Review - Titan Review

REVIEW:

Watch out Villains, Bats is back in his brand new annual that fans will just love and for me it was a book that was a lot of fun to sit down and read, especially with my nephew’s who are huge superhero fans. Here within this annual is a book that has great storytelling, kllustrations and for me is something that would make a great stocking filler to keep your young Batfan happy during the holiday period.










REVIEW:

So having read and reviewed Bat’s annual, it was time to sit back and get on with Smallvilles very own Clark Kent and to see what (mis)adventures occur. Its full of cracking stories, has great art and of course when added to a whole heap of fun within, is something that will more than please the young reader in your life. A great way to get them into books and for me, was a pure joy to sit down and read with my nephews. Magic.

TV SERIES TIE IN: Bart Simpsons Manual of Mischief - Matt Groening

Release Date: 06/05/14
Publisher:  Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

Between 1887 and 1895, the British art student Miles Vandercroft travelled around the world, sketching and painting the soldiers of the countries through which he passed. In this age of dramatic technological advancement, Vandercroft was fascinated by how the rise of steam technology at the start of the American Civil War had transformed warfare and the role of the fighting man. This volume collects all of Vandercroft's surviving paintings, along with his associated commentary on the specific military units he encountered. It is a unique pictorial guide to the last great era of bright and colourful uniforms, as well as an important historical study of the variety of steam-powered weaponry and equipment that abounded in the days before the Great War of the Worlds.


REVIEW:

Bart (El Barto) Simpson is the modern Roger the Dodger for the 21st Century that bring humour and mischief to the reader and something that is going to be a great gift for fans of the Simpon. It’s definitely fun, ha a great humour and when added to the likeable nature of the TV phenomenon give the reader a book that is a whole lot of fun.

All round I’d advise that this book is perhaps used as a stocking filler and for me is a book that I’ll have a whole heap of fun reading quite a few more times so I’m up to date on possible future nephew schemes. LOL


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Assassins Creed: Unity Review - Ubisoft

Release Date: 14/11/14
Publisher:  Ubisoft

SYNOPSIS:

Paris, 1789. The French Revolution turns a once magnificent city into a place of terror and chaos. Its cobblestoned streets run red with the blood of commoners who dare to rise up against an oppressive aristocracy. Yet as the nation tears itself apart, a young man named Arno will embark upon an extraordinary journey to expose the true powers behind the Revolution. His pursuit will throw him into the middle of a ruthless struggle for the fate of a nation, and transform him into a true Master Assassin.

Introducing Assassin's Creed Unity, the blockbuster franchise's new chapter powered by the all new Anvil engine, rebuilt from the ground up for next gen. From the storming of the Bastille to the execution of King Louis XVI, experience the French Revolution as never before, and help the people of France carve an entirely new destiny.

Key features
A ruthless new hero for a brutal world

Play as Arno, an entirely new breed of assassin, more lethal than his ancestors. Take down your prey with a range of new weapons such as the Phantom Blade, a Hidden Blade with crossbow capabilities.
Brand new parkour, combat, and stealth gameplay

Enjoy an unprecedented degree of freedom and control over your assassin, brought to life by the new Anvil engine.

Full motion control: new parkour mechanics for seamless free running up, across, and down city walls and buildings.
A reinvented fighting system provides a richer combat experience based on skill, timing, and flow.
Enhanced stealth gameplay including new stealth mode, cover system, and crowd manipulation techniques. Stay hidden, stalk your prey, and strike without warning.

Deep customisation mechanics to craft your own Master Assassin

Craft your own unique play style by choosing your weapons, gear, outfit, and specialised skills. Mix and match from hundreds of possible combinations and build your stealth, fighting, and navigation abilities from a new expansive skill tree. Become the ultimate Master Assassin.
Discover revolutionary Paris, brought to life as never before

Carve your way through a stunning full scale open world city, a feat only possible through the power of the new Anvil engine.

Explore detailed building interiors and discover secret underground catacombs and sewers.
Embark on ancestral missions, treasure hunts, murder mysteries, contracts, and more. The city is packed full of activities that will captivate you for hours.
Witness the chaos of the French Revolution first hand by immersing yourself in realistic, systemic crowds of up to 5,000 AI-driven characters.

A unique co-op experience you must play to believe

In addition to an epic singe-player campaign, join up to three friends and experience the online open world of 18th century Paris. Pull off ambitious heists and take part in unique narrative-driven missions designed exclusively for cooperative play. Sabotage an execution. Protect an emperor. Assassinate a Templar agent. But victory won't be easy; you and your lethal band must rely on communication, coordination, and diverse skills to accomplish your missions, then vanish into the shadows.

Free Dead Kings DLC

Every copy of Assassin's Creed Unity will also include the Dead Kings DLC, released on 17 December 2014, for free.

Saint Denis, 1794. Following the events of Assassin's Creed Unity, journey with Arno to the ominous rural city of Saint Denis. Follow him as he explores the troubling open-world city of Saint Denis and its extensive underground universe – an ancient necropolis with an intricate network of catacombs and deep caves that hide the best-kept secrets of the French kings.

Use Arno's lantern to advance in the dark, fend off the animals creeping around the catacombs, and solve ancestral puzzles. Alternatively, put out the lantern and become one with the shadows. Unlock the powerful Guillotine Gun to unleash both explosive destruction and close-combat havoc.



REVIEW:

A game that I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced and to be honest it’s a title that with all the publicity that accompanied it looked like a new direction for the whole franchise pushing the limits of the amazing new consoles with over 5000 independent characters on screen at once.

It looked impressive, had great plotlines and when added to a massive world with a lot of houses to enter (1 in 4) all round promised a title that was going to be a baseline for all others in the field. What occurred however, upon release, was a game that was full of flaws, had a lot of crash errors with some parts unaccessable to the gamer.

Yes Ubisoft apologised for releasing a game that was glitched and have offered gamers the first DLC free as an apology but the question that I wanted answering more than anything else was whether Ubisoft had overextended themselves with the three major releases within four days.

OK, so I’ve mentioned the problems and glitches but what about the gameplay? Well, it’s a title that I love the sheer variety in, there’s a ton of things to do, events, murder mysteries to solve, a whole host of items to buy (and believe me, getting the cash is the hard part due to the escalating costs of the better gear) and when you get the chance to team up with other Assassin’s (either friends or random gamers) you’re in for a treat all round.

For me, it’s a game that whilst flawed has huge possibilities, it has 100s of hours of gameplay within and with the beautiful scenery, multiple points from which to view Paris all round gives you a title that will become an industry setter. Magic.

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Assassins Creed 1-3: The Ankh of Isis and Assassins Creed 4: Hawk - Eric Corbeyran and Djilalli Defaux

Release Date: 05/11/13
Publisher:  Titan

SYNOPSIS:

This first ever collection of the three-volume graphic novel from Ubisoft collects together the exhilarating story of Desmond Miles’ abduction by Abstergo. His subsequent flight from their grasp leads to Desmond joining the Assassins in their fight against the Templars. Betrayal leads to Desmond “recovering” the memories of his ancestor, Aquilus as he searches for the power of the mystical Ankh and savage Barbarian tribes, led by the deadly Assassin Accipiter, prepare to attack.


REVIEW:

Ah, the chance to spend time with new AC stories and to be honest was something that whilst I missed out on originally, gave me a whole heap of fun to see what other events unfurl as the Animus reveal’s more about mankinds interaction with the those that came before.

Its well written, the artwork is beautiful and when added to the franchise also gives fans something a little different. All round a great book to buy for the AC fan in your life and of course is something that they may not have seen before. A great product all round.



 
Release Date: 05/11/13
Publisher:  Titan

SYNOPSIS:

When Desmond Miles is called away on an urgent mission, he entrusts fellow Assassin Jonathan Hawk with File 24. Hawk sets out to search for the Scepter of Isis – a powerful ancient artifact, lost in time. Through his Assassin ancestor, El Cakr, Hawk travels to Egypt in 1257, where the Scepter lies in the hands of the new Sultan. Pursued in the present by the formidable Templar agent Vernon Hest, Hawk finds himself in a race against time…throughout time.


REVIEW:

Carrying on from the Ankh of Isis trilogy, this one adds to what has gone before. As before, the artwork is beautiful the storyline gripping and for me, this series is a great thing to have . Add to this a whole heap of new AC items to own and all round I’m going to be a more than happy reader. All round a great piece of fiction and when added to the market of Graphic Novel fans and Video Gamers this item should be a big seller. Magic.


MYTHS AND LEGENDS REVIEW: Theseus and the Minotaur - Graeme David and Jose Daniel Cabrera

Release Date: 20/10/14
Publisher:  Osprey Publishing

SYNOPSIS:

Even before Theseus descended into the labyrinth to face the Minotaur, he was already a famous hero and a veteran of many battles. The son of a man, a woman, and the god Poseidon, he'd journey far across Ancient Greece, fighting numerous monsters including the Periphetes 'the clubber', the Crymmyon Sow, and the insane demigod, Procrustes 'the stretcher'. He also survived several assassination attempts, including one by Medea, the famous witch-wife of Jason. Despite these adventures, it was on Crete that Theseus faced his greatest challenge. Taking the place of a sacrificial tribute to the king of Crete, Theseus used his wits and charm to convince the princess Ariadne and the famous inventor Daedalus to help him defeat the dreaded Minotaur, a hideous combination of man and bull that lived in a labrythine dungeon. In this book, Graeme Davis draws upon the classic sources to retell the great myths and legends of Theseus, the founder-king of Athens, and backs this narrative with a factual examination of the myth, its variations, and its development over time. Replete with both classical and modern illustrations, this book is a concise exploration of one of the most enduring myths of Ancient Greece.


REVIEW:

I love to spend time reading the old myths and legends and one thing that Osprey Adventure do extremely well, bringing together a dream team of storytelling alongside cracking artwork. Easy to access, crackingly written for readers of all ages this book is something of a gem and being part of an ongoing series really will give that young reader (and old alike) a great way to pass the tales on to the next generation.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

ARTS AND CRAFTS: Making Craft Beer at Home - Gretchen Schmidhausler


Release Date: 10/10/14
Publisher:  Osprey Publishing

SYNOPSIS:

Craft beer has in recent years seen an unprecedented surge in popularity across the United States and Canada. Tired of mass-produced beers, drinkers have gravitated toward handcrafted, small-batch and often local beers and many devotees have even begun to brew their own. This comprehensive book, written by an experienced craft brewer, provides background, discusses the ingredients employed, explains what equipment is required and details the step-by-step "how-to" of the brewing process. A perfect introduction to the world of craft beer, Making Craft Beer at Home demystifies the art of home brewing while providing an historical perspective on America's love affair with the drink, and shows why this often exquisite refreshment has taken its place at the table alongside fine wines and liquors.


REVIEW:

OK, I have to admit to being a bit of a dabbler in the art of Homebrewing, bot because I’m cheap but because I have particular tastes in Ales that a lot of the ones on the mass market don’t hit what I enjoy (usually its Microbreweries.) What this book does is walk you through the various stages, helping you work out your flavours for your mash and above all else helps you work towards what you enjoy alongside how to introduce your hard work to other drinkers.

Its eye opening and whilst it not a cheap brew at the end of the day (if you want that buy complete home brew kits) its one that when you’ve perfected your ingredients is something that you will be able to replicate time and again alongside introducing to other brewers.

All round a cracking book and one that for me will become a much thumbed guide to getting it right.

Monday, 15 December 2014

AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: The Frood - Jen Roberts and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Nearly Definitive Edition) - Douglas Adams

Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Preface Publishing

SYNOPSIS:

As a wise ape once observed, space is big - vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly so. However, if you look too closely at space, it becomes nothing but lumps of rock and sundry gases. Sometimes it's necessary to take a step back, and let a few billion years go by, before any of the true wonder and scope of the cosmos becomes apparent. Similarly, the late 20th century author, humorist and thinker Douglas Adams was big - vastly, hugely and thoroughly mind-bogglingly so, both in physical terms, and as a writer who has touched millions of readers, firing up millions of cerebellums all over planet Earth, for over 35 years - and for nearly half of that time, he hasn't even been alive. It would be ridiculous to pretend that Douglas Adams' life and work has gone unexamined since his dismayingly early death at 49 but throughout the decade since the last book to tackle the subject, the universes Adams created have continued to develop, to beguile and expand minds, and will undoubtedly do so for generations to come. An all-new approach to the most celebrated creation of Douglas Adams is therefore most welcome, and The Frood tells the story of Adams' explosive but agonizingly constructed fictional universe, from his initial inspirations to the posthumous sequel(s) and adaptations, bringing together a thousand tales of life as part of the British Comedy movements of the late 70s and 80s along the way. With the benefit of hindsight and much time passed, friends and colleagues have been interviewed for a fresh take on the man and his works.


REVIEW:

As a huge fan of the Douglas Adam’s Hitch-Hiker books, I was more than interested in getting to know the man/mind behind the warped humour. What this biography brings is a frank and honest look at this cracking author. Its easy to read, doesn’t feel like just an infodump and when added to a writing style that really helps you get to the heart of the matter all round makes this a great book to pick up for Douglas fans.



Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  William Heinemann

SYNOPSIS:

This is introduced by Richard Dawkins and Nick Harkaway. First a legendary radio series, then a sequence of bestselling books, and most recently a blockbuster movie, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the greatest fictional enterprises of the twentieth century. Reissued in time for the first novel's thirty-fifth anniversary, this hardback omnibus edition includes all five parts of the trilogy, along with a wealth of extra material prefaced and contextualised by Jem Roberts, the official biographer of Douglas Adams, to complete the canon. This unique hardback edition is indispensable for any would-be galactic traveller, and a must-read for all Douglas Adams fans.


REVIEW:

Ah, the almost complete guide to the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy titles and one that is put together in a cracking value compendium in a top notch cloth bound singular volume. It a great find (almost as good as an Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster) and is something that will definitely add that special item to fans collections.

As most people reading this will already know (as probably like me they own multiple copies of the books) the writing it snappy, has cracking humour and is presented in such as a way that readers will believe that the bizarre universe could actually exist as there is a sense of logic within. Add to thi the fact that it’s a true British classic and what else can you ask for to keep the Sci-Fi Reader happy during the busy holiday season. Cracking.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Winter Siege - Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman

Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Bantam

SYNOPSIS:

Run, run, girl. In the name of God, run. 1141. A mercenary watches from the icy reeds as a little girl with red hair is attacked by his own men. He is powerless to stop them. But a strange twist of fate brings them together again. Sheltering in a church, he finds the girl freezing cold, close to death, clutching a sliver of parchment. And now he is certain of what he must do. He will bring her back to life. He will train her to fight. And he will protect her from the man who calls himself a monk, who lost a piece of parchment he will do anything to get back ...An epic account of the brutal winter when Stephen and Matilda tore England apart in their battle for its crown - when atrocities were inflicted on the innocent, but bravery found a home in an old solider and a young girl.


REVIEW:

The final book by Arianna Franklin and one completed by her daughter Samantha to help bring the fans of her writing a final story that they’ve been clamouring for. Yet when you know that a book ha been completed by a family member you are left wondering if the ingredients that made you love the author originally would not only still be there but also left to peak for themselves.

Firstly I have to say a huge congratulation to Samantha for finishing her mother book. It not only works wonderfully well but also is pretty seamless from where she picked up. Add tot hi the cracking continuation of characters that we not only fell in love with but loved and all round it’s a resounding success.

At the end of the day, this book for me was definitely a triumph, I loved the way that the tale came across, I liked the way that he dialogue worked and with the solid prose I think that we could well see future instalments from Samantha. Thank you for that final experience with Ariana Bantam.



Saturday, 13 December 2014

THRILLER REVIEW: Spark - John Twelve Hawks


Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

Jacob Underwood is not like other people. He has Cotard's Syndrome. He believes he is dead. Which makes his job as a hired assassin neutralising 'problems' for DBG, a massive multinational corporation, very simple. He carries out the task - and feels nothing. Now DBG has such a problem. A key employee, Emily Buchanan, has disappeared, taking with her a fortune and priceless information which could destroy the company. Jacob must track her down. In previous assignments, he had worked with cold logical precision, but this time he has to confront a threat that he first must understand before it destroys him.


REVIEW:

Having read John’s work before I pretty much knew what I was getting into with him, a book that had not only a kickas plot but one that once grabbed wouldn’t let you go until the final page and to be honest that’s what I got.

Here within this brand new series we have a set of futuristic circumstances that when added to John’s unique writing style, really works wonderfully well as the high octane action rarely lets up and when it does, the plot throws another spanner into the works that many readers won’t see coming.

All round an absolutely cracking read and one that will appeal to quite a few Thriller reader alongside Sci-Fi fans looking for something a little different. Back this up with great pose and dialogue and I was a more than happy reader.

Friday, 12 December 2014

COMIC COMPANIONS: The World According to Spiderman - Daniel Wallace, The World According to Wolverine - Matthew K Manning

Release Date: 19/06/14
Publisher:  Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

It's not easy being a Super Hero when you've got a steady job to hold down and girlfriend problems to deal with. Somehow, Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) manages to do it while regularly saving New York City from a rogues' gallery of super villains. In The World According to Spider-Man, the wisecracking hero spills the beans on how he balances his two lives and manages to keep his trademark sense of humour, even while he's tangling with Doc Ock or the Green Goblin. The book comes with a wealth of incredible inserts, including clippings from the Daily Bugle, snapshots taken by Spidey on his adventures, a letter from Oscorp, a note from Mary Jane Watson, a page from Uncle Ben's diary, schematics showing how the web-shooters work, and much, much more.


REVIEW:

Ah, the chance to spend time with Spidey is always time well spent and as a huge fan of the Marvel world anything that gives me chance to delve in there is an opportunity grabbed with both hands.

Here in this title, we get a fun book that is really aimed more at the young reader market with cracking pullouts and additional cards within that will give the reader a whole host of items to keep them glued. Its fun, it has some cracking asides and when it pokes a little bit of fun into the world of the superhero all round makes this a book that is a pure joy to read. In fact, with another couple of these titles coming out shortly, I’d definitely advise you to stash these to one side for stocking fillers. I know that I have and that I have nephews who will be really excited when they find them on Christmas morning.




Release Date: 19/06/14
Publisher:  Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

In The World According to Wolverine, Marvel Comics' favourite stoic loner finally opens up on a range of topics that are close to his mutant heart. With helpful tips on everything from clawed combat to outdoor survival and dealing with the agony of adamantium implantation, this book will delight fans who want to learn how to be just like the grizzled hero. Also featuring Logan's ruminations on an extremely long and chequered life, his global travels, and the art of picking the perfect dive bar, The World According to Wolverine will offer unparalleled insight into one of the most fascinating and mysterious characters in the Marvel Comics universe. The book will also come with a number of removable items, including classified Weapon X paperwork, a report on Wolverine from Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Mutants, war memorabilia, beer mats from Wolverine's favourite bars, travel mementos, James Howlett's birth certificate, and much, much more.


REVIEW:

Excelsior my superhero reading readers, here is the second World According to book and one that not only grabbed my attention but brought my favourite Marvel hero to the fore. Here within this book, you get to hang out with Logan and have a whole host of fun as he brings his point of view to the readers.

Its definitely quirky, has some great pullouts and when added to the gruff bub attitude all round gives you something special. A great book for stocking fillers or even just for that Marvel fan of your life. Great stuff.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

FANTASY REVIEW: Dragon Wine 1 and 2: Shatterwing and Skywatcher - Donna Maree Hanson

Release Date: 11/09/14
Publisher:  Momentum

SYNOPSIS:

Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison's best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.


REVIEW:

The first title in the series and whilst its only out in Australia, I was lucky enough to be contacted about it by the publisher as they thought that I’d love the story. Whilst I’m generally a little apprehensive, I do love to try books that are popular in other countries as for me I always feel that they have something to add that I may not come across.

What unfurls within is a tale of daring, of courage and of course with a kickass plot alongside dragons. I mean come on, Dragons, who doesn’t love them? Yet what Donna brings to the table with this is a scientific understanding of the creatures and generates enough believable plausibility to leave the reader looking at the sky’s wondering why they aren’t up there gliding around.

The characters are solid, the pace wonderful and when added to some good dialogue all round leaves this as an opener that will more than please the reader. Magic.




Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Momentum

SYNOPSIS:

There is more to fear from the sky than dragons.

Violence and devastation spreads through Magra as the Inspector’s influence grows throughout the once peaceful lands. But Salinda, one of the Inspector’s most important weapons, has escaped. After being rescued by Nils, the last of his race, she is brought to the wondrous subterranean city of Barrahiem. With Nils’ vast store of knowledge and access to pre-Shatterwing technology, Salinda sees a way to defeat the Inspector, but only if she can convince him that humankind is worth saving.

Above ground, Brill and rebel leader, Danton, march for the observatory of Trithorn Peak, the only city yet to fall to the Inspector’s forces. With them are one of Trithorn’s Skywatchers, and a mysterious young woman whose eyes reflect a power not unlike Salinda’s. This misfit crew must work with Trithorn’s remaining Skywatchers to prepare for a desperate battle, not only for the observatory but for the future of Margra. For it is not only the Inspector that threatens their precious lands, and the Skywatchers are the only ones that can save them from the final moonfall.


REVIEW:

OK, the second book from the DragonWine series by Aussie author Donna Maree Hanson and to be honest having loved the first I had high hopes for this one. What occurs within is a tale of cracking heroism, top notch action which when backed with some solid characters all round gave me a reading experience that I had a lot of fun with.

Whilst some of the characters felt a little flat, it is the principle characters that come across wonderfully well and with a lot of the hardwork in their placement done in the original novel, this one is opened up just for their emotional aspects as well as to further the plot. For many readers the first book is the key title that announces them to the reader yet for me, it’s the second book that’s the teller about the author as with this one they have to work with deadlines, extend plots and of course make sure that enough happens within the book so that it doesn’t allow the series to either stall until the third part or just act as a filler for a project that was really only intended for two. Whilst that hasn’t occurred with this book, I did feel that a lot of the magic of the explanations of the original were lost within this one which tended to gloss over the facts that had been presented before rather than reinforce them.

All round a solid second title and one that will keep me reading for the third.

YOUNG ADULT REVIEW: Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories - Terry Pratchett


Release Date: 11/09/14
Publisher:  Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

A beautifully illustrated collection of short stories by master storyteller Sir Terry Pratchett, featuring dragons, dinosaurs, cavemen and car races! Dragons have invaded Crumbling Castle, and all of King Arthur's knights are either on holiday or visiting their grannies. It's a disaster! Luckily, there's a spare suit of armour and a very small boy called Ralph who's willing to fill it. Together with Fortnight the Friday knight and Fossfiddle the wizard, Ralph sets out to defeat the fearsome fire-breathers. But there's a teeny weeny surprise in store... Fourteen fantastically funny stories from master storyteller Sir Terry Pratchett, full of time travel and tortoises, monsters and mayhem!


REVIEW:

Ah as a fan of Terry, I have found that some of his more recent books have lacked the sparkle that I’ve come to expect, yet this title for younger readers is one that enchanted me right from the beginning. It’s a quirky book full of wonderfully inventive stories tha when added to the Pratchett magic give the reader a novel that can be dipped into with a feeling of accomplishment at the conclusion of each of the books offerings.

As you’d expect the book has cracking wit, some wonderful twists and when added to pace that just keeps you moving on, makes this a title that I really will be adding to my nephew’s Christmas present as I know it’ll help generate some much appreciated quite whilst they devour the tales. Thank you Terry for this magical title.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

FACTUAL REVIEW: SPQR: A Roman Miscellany - Anthony Everitt


Release Date: 01/10/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus

SYNOPSIS:

SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus. A moreishly entertaining and richly informative miscellany of facts about Rome and the Roman world. Do you know to what use the Romans put the excrement of the kingfisher? Or why a dinner party invitation from the emperor Domitian was such a terrifying prospect? Or why Roman women smelt so odd? The answers to these questions can be found in SPQR, a compendium of extraordinary facts and anecdotes about ancient Rome and its Empire. Its 500-odd entries range across every area of Roman life and society, from the Empress Livia's cure for tonsillitis to the most reliable Roman methods of contraception.


REVIEW:

OK, I am aware of the books that this series is based on and whilst I haven’t read them, I jumped into this having seen the adverts for series two being advertised (Ed note: the TV series has been cancelled after the conclusion of the second season with multiple threads lest open.)

Whilst I wasn’t sure what to expect the first episode took me back to watching the original series of Charmed and whilst it was only the witchcraft that was the same theme throughout the two the supernatural characters in this one felt more than a little out of sink with the others sharing their screen time.

Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely something that after a few more episodes that I got into however if I’d just watched the first and left it at that I may well have thought not much to it. It does get more interesting and gripping the further into it that you get. All round something a little different and whilst it has a familiarity that supernatural fans can get into.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

YOUNG ADULT URBAN FANTASY: Magisterium 1: The Iron Trial - Holly Black and Cassandra Clare


Release Date: 11/09/14
Publisher:  Doubleday

SYNOPSIS:

From the imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping plunge into the magical unknown. Think you know magic? Think again. The Magisterium awaits...Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst - but fails at failing. Now he must enter the Magisterium. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning. Call's biggest test is still to come...


REVIEW:

There are times as a reader you want something comforting, something a little simpler and of course something magical and for me, Holly Black is an author that manages to do everything that I like in a Young Adult book. OK, so I’m a lot older than the target audience, however the way that she brings the characters across, alongside a kickass plot, cracking action carefully balanced with emotional context all round makes it something that makes you not only smile but genuinely care about the characters involved. The fact that she’s double teamed with another top quality author really adds the icing to the cake

Here in the first book of the Magisterium series is a tale that gives the readers a whole host of surprises alongside solid prose and of course wonderment as to the extraordinary differences in an Urban Fantasy world. It’s a real gem .

Monday, 8 December 2014

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: WIllful Child - Steven Erikson


Release Date: 06/11/14
Publisher:  Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

These are the voyages of the starship, A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life life-forms, to boldly blow the...And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback - think James T Kirk crossed with 'American Dad' - and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through 'the infinite vastness of interstellar space'...The bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence has taken a life-long passion for 'Star Trek' and transformed it into a hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-hi-tech-kit-along-the-way type over-blown science fiction adventure. The result is smart. inventive, occasionally OTT and often very funny - a novel that both deftly parodies the genre and pays fond homage to it.


REVIEW:

Ah space, the not so final frontier as Steven Erikson brings his own take on the whole space opera as he brings the reader an absurd and bizarre reimaging to the froe in this comical tale that will not only delight space fans but will more than cement him into many readers TBR lists.

As expected its definitely something weird and when added to cracking prose alongside an author who knows how to create a tile that readers will just love to get behind all round gives you something that will have you chuckling along as it unfurls. Back this up with what feels like mini-episodes (almost as if written as short stories) and I was a more than happy reader.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

URBAN FANTASY HORROR REVIEW: No One Gets Out Alive - Adam Nevill

Release Date: 23/10/14
Publisher:  Pan

SYNOPSIS:

Darkness lives within ...Cash-strapped, working for agencies and living in shared accommodation, Stephanie Booth feels she can fall no further. So when she takes a new room at the right price, she believes her luck has finally turned. But 82 Edgware Road is not what it appears to be. It's not only the eerie atmosphere of the vast, neglected house, or the disturbing attitude of her new landlord, Knacker McGuire, that makes her uneasy - it's the whispers behind the fireplace, the scratching beneath floors, the footsteps in the dark, and the young women weeping in neighbouring rooms. And when Knacker's cousin Fergal arrives, the danger goes vertical. But this is merely a beginning, a gateway to horrors beyond Stephanie's worst nightmares. And in a house where no one listens to the screams, will she ever get out alive?


REVIEW:

The latest dark outing with Adam Nevill that delves into the dark heart of the human spirit as well as presenting a tale of the supernatural that will chill readers to the core. It’s definitely well written and whilst I’m more in love with his older poetic style that featured within his earlier titles (Apartment 16 and The Ritual), I have to admit that I enjoyed the way that this tale weaved its magic spell.

The prose was solid, the overall arc more than intriguing, however the major let down for me, was that the principle character within seemed to make some choices more for author convenience rather than through choice. All round a book that I did have a sleepless night reading and one that upon finishing left me happily fulfilled.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

THRILLER REVIEW: Darkest Fear - Ethan Cross

Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Arrow Books

SYNOPSIS:

This is the third gripping novel in the Shepherd series from America's most exciting new thriller writer. A father returns home to find that his family has been kidnapped and the only way to save their lives is for him to kill another innocent person. So begins a journey that will force Special Agent Marcus Williams of the Shepherd Organization to question all that he believes, unearth his family's dark legacy, and sacrifice everything to save those he loves. In order to stop this brutal and deadly game, Williams must enlist the help of one of the world's most infamous and wanted men ...the serial killer Francis Ackerman Jr.


REVIEW:

The third outing for Ethan’s Marcus Shepard who faces difficult choices in this title as his ethics are waged against his family Its definitely a book that is definitely hardcore action, backed up with hard hitting prose and of course a plot that doesn’t let up from start to finish.

Add to this a principle character that doesn’t take it easy on those he encounters and all round I suspect he may well inspire a film or two.



Friday, 5 December 2014

FANTASY REVIEW: The Free - Brian Ruckley


Release Date: 14/10/14
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

They are the most feared mercenary company the kingdom has ever known. Led by Yulan, their charismatic captain, the Free have spent years selling their martial and magical skills to the highest bidder - winning countless victories that shook the foundations of the world. Now they finally plan to lay down their swords. Yet when Yulan is offered a final contract, he cannot refuse - for the mission offers him the chance to erase the memories of the Free's darkest hour, which have haunted him for years. As The Free embark on their last mission, a potent mix of loyalty and vengeance is building to a storm. Freedom, it seems, carries a deadly price.


REVIEW:

I’ve been a fan of Brian’s for quite some time as I like the way that he brings not only his characters across but also the way the wove a plotline, so settling down with some supplies I really couldn’t wait to turn the first page and begin reading. What occurs within, sadly left me feeling that something was missing,. Don’t take this the wrong way the prose was there, the action was there but for me, a fair number of the characters felt pretty flat and under developed almost as if they were a secondary thought to support the one that the author cared most about, Yulan.

All round a book that is an OK read and with themes that develop such as vengeance, honour and of course high octane action should have made it so much more. Sadly when I don’t care too much for characters fate really doesn’t have much to dangle to keep me going.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: A Witch Hunt Novel: Circle of Blood - Debbie Viguie

Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Arrow Books

SYNOPSIS:

Samantha Ryan-cop by choice, witch hunter by necessity-is about to confront the witch who has been secretly manipulating her life. But her search for the truth about her past may end in her death. All her life, Samantha Ryan has been haunted by a circle of blood, which she has tried to keep at bay-ever since she escaped a vicious Salem coven of witches as a child. But now her carefully constructed life has given way to the darkness she might have embraced, had she not run away. Angry, focused, and more than willing to use her powers on anyone who gets in her way, Samantha travels to New Orleans to confront Lilith Black, the witch who has been mercilessly shaping events around her for months. But little does Samantha know that her own nightmarish past and Lilith's are inescapably intertwined - and that what Lilith wants most of all is for Samantha to suffer until her final breath.


REVIEW:

Having been a fan of the first two books in the series I really was looking forward to the third, especially with the cliffhanger that the author left us with at the ned of the second. As readers are coming to expect from Debbie, this third (and conclusive title to the Witch Hunter series) is a title that not only gets to the heart of the matter but explores the characters point of view from a younger self. Its definitely something unusual and with some cracking supernatural writing, I really couldn’t wait to see how the tale would develop, after all in the conclusive part all bets are off as to the survivability of the principle character.

What Debbie does is weave a wonderfully delicious dark tale that has stunning prose and cracking dialogue which when added to an overall arc that will more than sate the reader, all round goes to show that she not only knows her market well but delivers satisfaction in spades. Great stuff.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: The HIve Construct - Alexander Maskill


Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Doubleday

SYNOPSIS:

Situated deep in the Sahara Desert, New Cairo is a city built on technology - from the huge, life-giving solar panels that keep it functioning in a radically changed, resource-scarce world to the artificial implants that have become the answer to all and any of mankind's medical problems. But it is also a divided city, dominated by a handful of omnipotent corporate dynasties. And when a devastating new computer virus begins to spread through the poorest districts, shutting down the life-giving implants that enable so many to survive, the city begins to slide into the anarchy of violent class struggle. Hiding amidst the chaos is Zala Ulora. A gifted hacker and fugitive from justice, she believes she might be able to earn her life back by tracing the virus to its source and destroying it before it destroys the city. Or before the city destroys itself...With its vivid characters, bold ideas and explosive action, The Hive is science fiction at its most exciting, inventive and accessible.


REVIEW:

This book really sold itself to me from the synopsis on the reverse especially as one of the themes explored is in the news so much at the moment. The concept was thought provoking which when added a key concept that spans the life of three principle characters as events throw them together.

Whilst I loved the concept for me the author sadly made quite a few errors for me as a reader. Firstly the title was over populated with secondary cast members which took attention away from the principle players. Secondly the plot is quite slow and when added to prose that doesn’t’ leap off the page all round left me feeling a bit cheated.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: The Abyss Beyond Dreams - Peter F Hamilton


Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Tor

SYNOPSIS:

TO SAVE THEIR CIVILISATION HE MUST DESTROY IT ...When images of a lost civilization are 'dreamed' by a self-proclaimed prophet of the age, Nigel Sheldon, inventor of wormhole technology and creator of the Commonwealth society, is asked to investigate. Especially as the dreams seem to be coming from the Void - a mysterious area of living space monitored and controlled because of its hugely destructive capabilities. With it being the greatest threat to the known universe, Nigel is committed to finding out what really lies within the Void and if there's any truth to the visions they've received. Does human life really exist inside its boundary? But when Nigel crash lands inside the Void, on a planet he didn't even know existed, he finds so much more than he expected. Bienvenido: a world populated by the ancestors of survivors from Commonwealth colony ships that disappeared centuries ago. Since then they've been fighting an increasingly desperate battle against the Fallers, a space-born predator artificially evolved to conquer worlds. Their sole purpose is to commit genocide against every species they encounter. With their powerful telepathic lure - that tempts any who stray across their path to a slow and painful death - they are by far the greatest threat to humanity's continued existence on this planet. But Nigel soon realizes that the Fallers also hold the key to something he'd never hoped to find - the destruction of the Void itself. If only he can survive long enough to work out how to use it ...


REVIEW:

As a huge fan of Peter’s writing, I couldn’t wait to see what the next instalment had in store for me and to be honest its been a title I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. As usual with Peter’s writing, if you want cracking Space Opera, then you are guaranteed a book that will entertain and whilst it helps to have read the Void Trilogy, its not essential as this is the start of a whole new series.

The writing is crisp, action packed and fast paced which when added to cracking prose alongside an overall arc that will keep you glued as it winds its way through the pages all round makes this a corking read as well as an ideal Christmas gift.

Monday, 1 December 2014

YOUNG ADULT GOTHIC REVIEW: The Fall - Bethany Griffin


Release Date: 02/10/14
Publisher:  Indigo

SYNOPSIS:

Madeline and her twin brother Roderick have the Usher name, the Usher house - and the Usher disease. Something is wrong with the family's blood - and it seems to have spread to the house itself. Sometimes Madeline even thinks that the house is alive...When Roderick is sent away to school, the house seems to want revenge on the one member of the Usher family left behind: Madeline herself. A gorgeous, eerie, darkly Gothic tale, THE FALL is guaranteed to intrigue and enthrall its readers, winning legions of new fans for the talented Bethany Griffin. Perfect for fans of Laini Taylor, Becca Fitzpatrick and Cassandra Clare.


REVIEW:

I love the original Poe tale, The Fall of the House of Usher so as a reader, when I found out that it was being reimagined for a new generation I was more than happy to order a copy to sit back and devour.

What occurs within is a tale that is dark, harrowing and all round gives the reader a delicious outing with a principle character that you can’t wait to spend time with. Add to this solid storytelling, great prose and of course dialogue that just kept me turning the pages and all round I was a more than happy reader.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Firefall - Peter Watts

Release Date: 02/10/14
Publisher: Head of Zeus

SYNOPSIS:

February 13, 2082, First Contact. Sixty-two thousand objects of unknown origin plunge into Earth's atmosphere - a perfect grid of falling stars screaming across the radio spectrum as they burn. Not even ashes reach the ground. Three hundred and sixty degrees of global surveillance: something just took a snapshot. And then...nothing. But from deep space, whispers. Something out there talks - but not to us. Two ships, Theseus and the Crown of Thorns, are launched to discover the origin of Earth's visitation, one bound for the outer dark of the Kuiper Belt, the other for the heart of the Solar System. Their crews can barely be called human, what they will face certainly can't. 'A tour de force, redefining the First Contact story for good.' Charles Stross. 'If you only read one science fiction novel this year, make it this one!...it puts the whole of the rest of the genre in the shade...It deserves to walk away with the Clarke, the Hugo, the Nebula, the BSFA, and pretty much any other genre award for which it's eligible. It's off the scale...F**king awesome!' Richard Morgan. 'State-of-the-art science fiction: smart, dark and it grabs you by the throat from page one' Neal Ascher.


REVIEW:

OK, lets be straight from the start this is not a new book from Peter but a compendium, of two of his others (Blindsight and Echopraxia) and whilst there’s a lot of people who enjoy the authors work, I have to say that I found it pretty hard going. It was a real struggle for me to make my way through it as all in I didn’t quite get what was really happening in this Alien Communication title.

Add to this characters that I didn’t want to spend time with and a plot that felt like it dragged out for me and all round this was a book that didn’t work too well for me. Whilst I’m pleased I finished it, its not a series I’ll be returning to any time soon.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: To Kill For - Phillip Hunter

Release Date: 01/10/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus

SYNOPSIS:

Ex-boxer, ex-paratrooper, Joe once had meaning in his life. People who cared for him, people who needed him. Then he lost everything, and now he is a hitman for London's most vicious criminals. Brenda was the only woman who ever loved him. The only woman who believed he could escape the underworld. She died protecting others: now Joe wants revenge on her killers. With nothing left to lose, Joe prepares for the fight of his life...This is a poignant thriller about love, revenge and redemption from a superb new voice in British crime.


REVIEW:

I love a crime thriller, fast paced action blended with hard core characters who seek to do the right thing in a wrong world and that’s exactly what you get from Phillip Hunter’s debut. Whilst it’s a tale that is hard hitting, the principle character is one that is nearly impossible to warm to. He’s detestable and when you don’t care about the lead, the danger isn’t so bothersome and it will result in a number of readers putting the title down without finishing.

All round it’s a solid enough debut but with a lead character fail, its not a book that will make me pick up more by the author any time soon.


Friday, 28 November 2014

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Darkest London 1: Firelight - Kristen Callihan

Release Date: 29/09/14
Publisher:  Piatkus

SYNOPSIS:

London, 1881 Once the flames are ignited ...Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman. They will burn for eternity ...Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.


REVIEW:

I love to try a debut and when its blended with Urban Fantasy I like the way that so many possibilities are offered. What occurs within this title is a tale that feels partly like a cross between Beauty and the Beast alongside a murder mystery. Its definitely quirky and the prose is fairly solid, however for me, the book did have quite a few problems.

Firstly it felt a little too predictable, the characters one stereotype after another and when added overall to pace that felt flat at times makes this an OK book for me. As a debut its pretty solid and I’m definitely going to keep an eye on Kristen from now on.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

YOUNG ADULT URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Edge of the Water - Elizabeth George


Release Date: 25/09/14
Publisher:  Hodder

SYNOPSIS:

On Whidbey Island, secrets never stay buried. A mysterious girl who won't speak; a coal-black seal named Nera that returns to the same place every year; a bitter feud of unknown origin - strange things are happening on Whidbey Island and Becca King is drawn into the maelstrom of events. But Becca, first met in The Edge of Nowhere, has her own secrets to hide. Still on the run from her criminal stepfather, Becca is living in a secret location. Even Derric, the Ugandan orphan with whom Becca shares a close, romantic relationship, can't be allowed to know her whereabouts. As secrets of past and present are revealed, Becca becomes aware of her growing paranormal powers and events build to a shocking climax anticipated by no one. Acclaimed author Elizabeth George brings her extraordinary talents to this intriguing story that blends mystery and myth.


REVIEW:

Dark Urban Fantasy for the Young Reader takes them on a twisted ride of an adventure that follows on from the authors previous release The Edge of Nowhere. It wonderfully written and is a book that with the concepts to be explored within take the reader on one hell of a journey keeping you wonderfully immersed throughout, until that is the last few pages where something that has been carefully crafted and delightfully explored leave you feeling like its been wrapped up and ruined due to time constraints.

Its definitely a book that I was more than pleased I spent the time with, however with a disappointing conclusion and one that left me feeling cheated, I won’t be reading another book in the series for quite some time.