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IuchiAtesoro "iuchiatesoro"

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Deff Skwadron: Graphic Novel (Warhammer 40,000 Novels)
Deff Skwadron: Graphic Novel (Warhammer 40,000 Novels)
by Gordon Rennie
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Waaaarrrrggggh!, 4 Mar. 2013
I picked up this Graphic novel at the Black Library Live 2013 event. There was something primitive and enticing about this graphic novel not being in colour.

I love Orks in the Warhammer 40k universe. There is a reality TV show called Duck Dynasty that is about a family that made a lot of money out of duck calls. They have no idea of the social conventions of how they are supposed to act now that they have money and it makes for some insane and hilarious TV. Now imagine this is taken further and somebody has given guns and war machines to a primitive race and let them go play. This is how I see the Orks. This makes them fun to play and difficult to write about. I like the way a Smart Boy was used for the purpose of explaining things to the reader. This slightly smarter Ork was able to express why Orks do things that most people wouldn't consider doing on a battle field.

Deff Skwadron are a unit of air support for their Boss. They get sent on some strange and usually suicidal missions. Surviving a mission is not expected and if a plane returns intact that is a sign that the pilot was not trying hard enough. These stories are highly entertaining and liable to cause a bout of miniatures purchasing. This is a must read for anybody who plays 40k or anybody that wants a good old violent laugh.


Sorry I may have got carried away there for a second.

Tank Spotter's Guide (General Military)
Tank Spotter's Guide (General Military)
by Marcus Cowper
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great pocket-sized tank book, 1 Mar. 2013
I showed this book to a friend of mine and his first comment was pretty much the same as mine. They just don't make them like they used to. Yes this book includes modern beasts like the M1 Abrams and the Challenger 2 but they are highly designed and functional items that somehow seem to lack the character and aesthetics of previous generations of tanks. Perhaps that is just me or perhaps in time people will say the same about future armour compared to our current offerings.

I fount it disappointing that there is no picture of Little Willie (or No. 1 Lincoln Machine as it was originally known) in this book. I love that tank and it is well worth a trip to Bovington just to see it. Looking and the Mark I and the Mark IV it is hard to imagine so many people cramped in to such a hot and cramped space. Tank crews really were a special breed.

The pictures inside are all in profile and good representations of the vehicles. The information alongside each tank is short and to the point, giving only the most important points of a given tank. This makes the Spotter's Guide a great starting point for people wanting to find out about tanks. It covers all the tanks I would expect to see it easily fits in to a cargo pants leg pocket for easy access.

What this book really needs though is to be a phone app. Not just to present the tank details from the provided pictures but it would also benefit from being linked to a camera to turn a picture in to a profile that can be compared to database of silhouettes. That would be great. For income generation at the bottom of each page could be links to other titles that give more details about each tank. I think I may have thought about this a little too much.

If you want a pocket book with easy to compare pictures and simple facts about tanks then this is the book for you.

Requiem in E Sharp
Requiem in E Sharp
Price: £4.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Thriller in more than just genre, 26 Feb. 2013
I have to start by talking about the title for this book. The use of the word requiem is quite clever but the mention of E# is what really grabbed my interest. At first I thought it was just F. Then a little searching revealed that it is usually a term used to refer to F Natural. It is really an enharmonic note. So the title of this book is almost a puzzle in itself. By my twisted logic it is equivalent to a repose for the dead. Or is it a play on words and re-pose instead? My head was hurting before I'd even started reading the book.

This story is set in Pretoria. I know very little about South Africa outside of the news so I was looking forward to the setting. It was interesting to see how the post-apartheid office politics played out. I thought the way that the author made the daily violence and corruption that hovered in the background of this story seem the norm was very interesting and effective. I don't think we'll be seeing any Pretoria tourist board leaflets by Joan De La Haye any time soon.

The story itself is relatively simple. A serial killer with mummy issues tries to get in the head of the police detective in charge. What makes this story so interesting is the interactions of the characters. The relationships and character flaws are so compelling that I just had to find out more. Once you start reading this book there is no turning back. You have to finish it. There are not any huge twists in this story but I wasn't entirely sure which characters were going to die at the end. Even the main character is at risk because it is hard to tell whether he actually cares about living anymore.

This is not just a thriller by genre, it will keep you reading in to the small hours of the night.

O'Leary's Luck: Pulp Line #4
O'Leary's Luck: Pulp Line #4

5.0 out of 5 stars Ninja detective - need I say more, 19 Feb. 2013
This is #4 in the Anachron Press Pulp line. The first thing to note is the cover. It has that old school pulp feel but at the same time manages to look modern at the same time.

I started reading this and took an instant dislike to O'Leary. So much so that I wondered whether I'd be able to read a whole story about him. I was actually glad when he was killed. Once Jon Shadows is introduced as the detective the story quickly picks up. I really like Shadows as a detective. Of course I do, how could I not? His mum was a ninja and his dad a famous adventurer. As if this isn't enough colour he's a mixed race almost albino ex-forces lover of life.

Shadows comes to New Orleans to spend some time with a young singer called Flora Temple. The trip starts with a bang as Luckless O'Leary runs in to Flora's car. That's when things really heat up.

This story does a good job in not giving away the plot too soon. There is a clue near the beginning but I forgot all about it until the end. This is a well polished pulp story and probably the best so far in the Anachron pulp line. It is so easy to read that I don't even remember turning the pages.

Grimm and Grimmer: Volume One: 1
Grimm and Grimmer: Volume One: 1
by William Meikle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Story time just got scary again, 16 Feb. 2013
You may well see some reviews that say this is not for children. Admittedly it is not for small children but if you have read the original Grimm tales you'll know they are by the standards of the time pretty gruesome. If you consider your children mature enough to play the adult themed or fighting games on their console then they should be fine with this.

I don't normally put lines from the books in my reviews, and certainly not the final line of a story. I can't resist it though. And they all died happily ever after. That single line sums up this book for me. It manages to convey the gruesome and the comedic in such a simple yet elegant manner. These are all stories that we all know and love. Except for the little things. Such as the three chavs, the zombie wolf and the architect. All of these add character and fun without taking anything away from the essential from the stories.

This is a fun anthology that is well worth a read.

Body Count: The Joe Hannibal Case Files, Vol. I (A Joe Hannibal Mystery Book 8)
Body Count: The Joe Hannibal Case Files, Vol. I (A Joe Hannibal Mystery Book 8)

5.0 out of 5 stars Crime Noir, 12 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have probably arrived at this book from the opposite direction of most people. I picked this book up because I enjoyed Mr Dundee's Cash Laramie stories. I think that most readers have probably enjoyed the Joe Hannibal series first and then tried Mr Dundee's other works. This anthology is a bit like a best of album. It picks out stories throughout the artist's time and puts them in to a single tome of complimentary works. The stories span over three decades of writing and really show the progression of Joe Hannibal as a character. For me the really interesting thing was to see not just how Joe Hannibal developed but how the writing style changes. It gets tighter and more hardboiled. As you make progress each story seems to have more pace than the last. The final story somehow manages to fit plot, character and world building in to a very fast paced story that grips you from start to finish.

I don't like the cover. It does nothing for me. After reading this book I looked at other Joe Hannibal stories and I didn't particularly like those covers either. That's OK though as I'll be buying them on my Kindle rather than a physical book so they will not really bother me. This book is certainly a case for not judging it by the cover. It is much better than it looks. The plots are simple and Joe Hannibal is a typical fictional PI. The descriptions of the environments are short and fairly basic. These might sound like negative points but in the context of this book they just add to the story. The things that are left unsaid let your mind fill in the blanks with just how you imagine they would be. Less is more when it comes to the writing style of this book.

I'm off to try and work out which are the earliest Hannibal books so I can start reading the series.

Osama: A Novel
Osama: A Novel
by Lavie Tidhar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Bleeding edge noir, 6 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Osama: A Novel (Paperback)
This is not your standard crime noir novel. It is not a standard anything. Lavie Tidhar manages to deliver a book that doesn't just keep you thinking about it whilst you are reading but occupies your thoughts for a while afterwards. There are so many things happening on several levels that it takes a while to digest them all. I'm still not sure I fully understand it now. As cerebral as this story is it is thoroughly enjoyable and easy to read at the same time.

There is probably a rule somewhere that says you should avoid repetition of words. The word cigarette appears more times than I care to count. Rather than being a sign of poor writing it is a clue. Not one that is ever explicitly explained but the inference is there right at the end. This is the kind of thing that you will find throughout this book. It is certainly not the kind of book that explains itself every chapter.

On a simplistic level this is just a detective story. Joe has been tasked with finding Mike Longshott the author of a series of pulp fiction stories. These pulps portray Osama Bin Laden as a vigilante and leave the reader to decide whether he was a terrorist or a freedom fighter in an on-going war.

Joe finds himself crossing the world in search of Mike Longshott at the expense of his mysterious and beautiful client. The ease in which the author transports the reader to the various locations really brings the world to life. The use of opium to tie things together is very clever. Not just in the obvious sense of bringing things back to Afghanistan but you also have to think of the other reasons that opiates are important.

Overall this is a great read but one that you need to think about to really get the most out of it. It takes some chances and does some things that might not work in many books and works them in to a story of real substance (pun intended).

George's Secret Key to the Universe
George's Secret Key to the Universe
by Lucy Hawking
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction AND Science fact for children 5-90, 4 Feb. 2013
Lucy Hawking is a great speaker. I managed to attend a talk by her that was aimed at children 8-12 but was interesting for an adult as well. It is not easy to boil the immense ideas of physics and the nature of the universe down in to chunks that children can understand. After listening to Lucy Hawking speak I went straight out and bought this book. I have spent a couple of weeks readying a couple of chapters a night to my five year old boy. The fiction part of this this book is simple enough for a five year old to understand and I'd say that a 9-10yr old could read it themselves with very little effort. The characters are interesting simple enough for a small child to understand without being so one dimensional that an adult would be instantly turned off. In terms of the story alone this is an interesting book for children.

It isn't just a science fiction story though. In the first couple of chapters there is a simple experiment to show the transfer of electrical charge. As soon as we read that bit my boy insisted we get up and try it out ourselves. He didn't understand what was going on, but he was able to replicate the experiment and see the result. From that point on he knew that science was cool and was generally enthralled by the book. Throughout the book there are fact pages where some of the numbers are just staggering and very difficult for a child to comprehend. My favourite one was the comparative size of the plants and a picture of the sun. Even my 5yr old marveled at how the sun was so big it didn't even fit on the page. There are also some really cool photos in this book. The one of Mars taken from the Rover in particular caused my boy to wonder why it was red. Thankfully it was accompanied by an easily explainable reason for that very point.

There is a big question at the heart of this book though. What happens if you get sucked in to a black hole and can you ever escape?

Any book that engages a 5yr old to think and also look out the window with a sense of wonder is a great thing in my book. I'd highly recommend this book.

The Harker Legacy: Pulp Line #3
The Harker Legacy: Pulp Line #3

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Pulp, 26 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the third in the Pulp line by Anachron Press. It has more of a pulp feel than the previous two. It starts out quite sedately but the pace quickly picks up. At one point I started to worry that glorification of fox hunting was going to be used as a trope.. Thankfully it wasn't and the pointless cruelty and waste is shown by the almost karmic results of the hunt. By that point I was hooked. It is then that things start to get a little bit weird. The Harker family has a dark secret. The matriarch of the Harker family is Mina Harker. You probably think you know what the secret is about now. You'd be wrong. It isn't that obvious. This is a different ancient evil encountered by the Harkers in Eastern Europe.

Is this a polished and perfect story? No. There are a few minor things like an English character saying he was following for a few blocks. These niggles are overshadowed by the storytelling and vivid characters and in some part make this story feel like an old pulp story. This is an interesting and engaging short story that is well worth the price of a latte and is much more enjoyable.

Heart for the Ravens
Heart for the Ravens
Price: £2.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Gothic Horror, 25 Jan. 2013
I like the writing of Colin Barnes but didn't think I'd like this book for a couple of reasons. First the cover. I've seen on Twitter and Facebook quite a few people talking about how much they like this cover. I don't. I have no idea why. If anything I should like a cover that looks like a modern take on an impressionist portrait with an added twist of darkness. The blurb also describes it as a modern take on Shelley which always worries me. Mary Shelley was one of the greatest and most under-rated authors of all time. It is hard to compare favourably to her work.

I was convinced by a lovely young lady over at Fox Spirit that I really should give this novella a try. So I did. I'm glad that I gave it a go. The main character Katerina Roeslling has an inquiring mind and does not see herself as just another investment potential for her father. Unfortunately her temerity to refuse a man in 19th century society sparked a chain of events that let to so much bad luck that she viewed herself as cursed. Her fringe science experiments result in a pair of tame Ravens named Radcliffe and Shelley. A gothic horror reference even I managed to note. I'm sure there are a few more that those more erudite than myself (not difficult) will pick out and enjoy. The word `heart' is of key importance to the success of this story and although this story has some of the obvious horror tropes that I enjoy and expect there were some parts of this story that were more subtle than I expected.

Overall this is an enjoyable read that does justice to the concepts that made Shelley's work great without being a direct re-working. It is well worth a read.

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