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IuchiAtesoro "iuchiatesoro"

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Hawthorne: Tales of a Weirder West
Hawthorne: Tales of a Weirder West
by Heath Lowrance
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Westerns with a twist of the macabre, 11 Dec. 2013
Wild West fiction is not dead. Far from it. There is something about the lawless rough justice in the old west that just keeps pulling people in. It was a simple time where morals were enforced with violence. The primal side of us can relate to that. As much as we abhor killing, somehow in that environment summary justice seems right. Before long I can see Westerns as being seen as just another flavour of fantasy.

This book however isn't your standard western. The horror elements make this feel almost like a noir story but not quite. For me there is definitely something that reminds me of Roald Dahl's Talles of the Unexpected. Even the cover art has the almost surreal qualities I remember from watching that TV series. I can remember sneaking out of my bedroom at night to watch it on TV and reading this book took me back to that feeling. A guilty pleasure with some added tension and a slice of the gruesome.

I have read Spider Tribe before and enjoyed it just as much on the second reading. All of the stories in this book are about Hawthorne. Normally I'd expect a gradual drip feed of back story but in this collection details of Hawthorne's past are kept deliberately vague. That really adds to the mystery of the man and I couldn't help trying to fill in some of the blanks. I was fully invested in these stories before I was half way through the book.
Every story is interesting and has a different twist of the macabre. If you like your horror with an unusual twist or want to read a different take on westerns this is an ideal book for you.


Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above: Volume 3 (Apollo Quartet)
Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above: Volume 3 (Apollo Quartet)
by Ian Sales
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and fascinating in equal measure, 8 Dec. 2013
Ian Sales is a fascinating man. He reads a LOT and it shows. His blog posts on science fiction are well worth reading. Perhaps more importantly he helps show that there is a fantastic array of amazing books that are hiding away from the supermarket shelves and waiting for us to read. Sales as a reader is always keen to explore new writers and more importantly he is an advocate for people actually getting the chance to read some of the great female science fiction authors. So much so that as a reaction to SF Masterworks he created a blog called SF Mistressworks. It is well worth a look. This may sound like an aside but it does give you some background about why the author took this story in the direction he did. I say the story. What I really mean is one of the stories. There are two stories intertwined. One story plumbs the depths whilst the other is flying high. Both are about explorations and are weaved together in a way that is surprisingly gripping.

This book is written in such a way that it feels like you are watching a documentary on the History channel. I had to remind myself at several points that it wasn't historical fact. Everything written is feasible. More than that though there was a palpable sense of tension. If had that feel of watching a real life drama being played back after the fact.

After the story has finished this book talks you through what actually happened and how easily things really could have been as portrayed in this book. The final section contains references and links to allow the reader to go and find out more. I for one found myself clicking through several of the links to find out more.

Sales really nails it with this book. I think it is his best work yet. You should go and buy it now.


BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled 3
BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled 3
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardboiled by name and nature, 3 Dec. 2013
I am a fan of Beat To A Pulp (BTAP). I regularly visit the BTAP website and read the weekly pulp. The anthologies are what I really like though. Particularly the Hardboiled ones. There is something almost primal about some of the stories in them. A simplicity and gritty realism that heightens the emotional impact.
The first thing I noticed when I looked at this book was the cover. It has the same pulp style I'd expect from a book in this series (I'd buy the first one for Black-Eyed Susan alone) and you somehow the woman in the picture makes it seem more modern. For me it really mirrored the way that the content bridges the old pulp stories and fresh new gritty and emotive stories.

The second thing I noticed was that it contained a Patti Abbott story. That is always a good thing. I was left numb and stunned after reading `Doe In Headlights'. Somehow Abbott manages to make this story seem much worse than it actually is. There are gaps. Deliberate gaps that let the reader use their warped little minds to heighten the nastiness of this story. I found this story in particular to be a compelling read even though I really didn't want to know what happened. I really didn't but I couldn't stop reading.

Every story in this collection is different. From the writing styles to the content. There is a nasty streak that runs through this book. Some truly revolting characters and utterly disturbing situations are covered in this book. The anthology ends with `Speed Dating'. I can't really say much that won't give away the plot but it has an interesting structure and is impossible to put down before you've finished. It felt like it took about a minute to read that story I was so engrossed.

There isn't a poor story in this book and it is well worth the price of a frothy coffee.


The 'Lost' Second Book of Nicoletto Giganti(1608): A Rapier Fencing Treatise
The 'Lost' Second Book of Nicoletto Giganti(1608): A Rapier Fencing Treatise
by Nicoletto Giganti
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read for all historical fencing fans, 21 Nov. 2013
This is an unusual book for me to review. I've spent a total of about eight hours fencing in my entire life. I have however dabbled in various martial arts for the best part of two decades (reading this has made my palms start to itch). It should be clear that I know next to nothing about the specifics of European sword play. I have done a bit of Japanese sword work and one thing is clear. The body moves in certain ways and across the world different systems used similar theories to take advantage of the inherent weaknesses of various attacks. This treatise is useful regardless of the art you study as it seems very precise and practical (much more than I'd expected).

The best piece of advice I can give you for this book is to start at the back. The glossary is an essential first read. You may well know what a mandritti is but it never hurts to step back and start from the basics. Make sure you understand the terms as they apply to this work. For instance the word measure. You have probably heard the phrase getting the measure of somebody. That is an old fencing term. The distance or spacing between combatants is an essential part of determining what your opponent's level of knowledge and style of fighting is likely to be. Pay attention to it. Giganti shows has practical side several times by urging people to fight people of different styles as well as those with none. You can defend what you know a lot better than that which you can't. Bloody sensible advice if you ask me. This is the kind of usable advice that is often missing from even modern writing on fighting arts.

I assumed at first that the concise nature of this book was due to the excellent translation work but I'm assured by Piermarco Terminiello that Giganti was an unusually concise and accurate writer for that time which made the job of translation a lot easier than most. It is good to see the translators did not try and flower the language up to be more like the works of his contemporaries. This book really works and I'll be getting the Nerf swords out with my 6yr old later.

There is a section in this book about the Targa shield. I was unaware that it was a Greek weapon. I knew about the Norse and Scottish Targe which is similar so it was interesting to see the parallels. There is also an interesting section near the end about fighting with a dagger and how every gentleman should know how to fight with just a knife for when that is all they are allowed to carry. As somebody who's had a knife pulled on them several times (stabbed twice) I can vouch the the benefits of knowing how to control the distance and the weapon against a knife wielder. An old instructor of mine used to tell us that in a knife fight everybody gets cut. Again this section illustrates the practical use of this treatise.
If you have any interest in historical swordplay or European martial arts this book really is a must have. It looks good and all the descriptions are concise and usable. I know I'll be reading this book again and thinking about it even longer. Damn I'm going to have to try that HEMA class after all.


Raus Untoten
Raus Untoten
Price: £2.26

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning undead horror stories set in WW2, 11 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Raus Untoten (Kindle Edition)
My teenage son loves killing Nazi zombies in a certain game serious. Who wouldn't? I may have done so once or twice myself (maybe more). There is very little as horrific as the atrocities carried out in the Second World War. By adding mindless zombies it only gets that much more creepy. This collection is unusual in many ways and there are not only zombies in this book but vampires and other types of undead too. I thought it was going to be a light-hearted and almost comical portrayal of undead war stories. It wasn't.

The first story is by Graham McNeill. That was always going to make for a good start but I was totally unprepared for Links Oder Rechts. I have read a few short stories that have given me goosebumps or made me well up with tears but this is possibly the first time a story has done both. It really got to me emotionally. Setting a story in Auschwitz is a difficult thing. Anything said could easily be viewed as disrespectful of something that was more horrid than just about any horror story. McNeill nails it. This story just blew me away. I had to stop reading it and go for a walk to try and process it and get my head back. If you read only one short story this year make sure it is this one. I went back and read it again after I finished the book and I still got goosebumps.

The rest of the stories continued providing tension and enjoyment in equal measure. My Granddad apparently worked at Portland Down so ZA-43 by John Hobkinson felt almost personal for me (except as far as I know none of my family members have every been virus infected undead) and Crowley's War by David Thomas Moore was a really interesting take on whether the Thelemites actually battled the Thule Society in the war (this story needs to be a novel).
I enjoyed every story in this anthology and would recommend missing a frothy coffee one day this week to purchase the ebook. You will not regret it.


How to Keep Writing with a Full-Time Job
How to Keep Writing with a Full-Time Job
Price: £3.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Yet Effective Advice, 18 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book came on to my radar with almost perfect timing. I decided to give NaNoWriMo a proper go this year. I even had a couple of pages of outlining done. That's when I realized that it couldn't possibly work without massive cliches or sexual violence. Neither of which appeals to me. Oh bother. I'll just go and cry in the corner.

I grabbed a copy of this book and settled down for a read. What I like about this book is the easy-going informal and relaxing style. I could feel myself calming down as I read. There is no cajoling or castigation just simple and easy to follow advice on how to improve your productivity as a writer. Not just as an author but any kind of writing. Students in particular will find this useful.

I made a few notes as I was reading and I plan to use them to help remind me what I should be doing. Some are self-explanatory and some may not make much sense unless you read the book. Here's my list:

What is this?
where did it come from?
who did it belong to?
what did it mean to them?
What if? What if? What if? What if? What if?
Do not put away those childish things.
Shut up and write!
Narrative, narrative, narrative. Sell the freaking story and sod everything else in a first draft.
Finish it, send it out, start another. Ad infinitum.
Create or wither away.

This book will not turn me or anybody else in to a prolific writer. Only hard work and effort will do that. Hopefully though I now have a few more tools that I can practically use to achieve something.

My new revised goal is to write every day in November without worrying about what it is or whether it is any good. I've said it so now I have to do it.

This book although short and simple has enthused and inspired me. That is worth more than money.


Snapshots
Snapshots

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More gritty than grit, 17 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Snapshots (Kindle Edition)
This collection of stories is not a happy one. In fact it is about as far away from happy as it is possible to get. Even for a collection of noir stories this is pretty grim. The is no glamour in crime or life in general. Everybody has problems and most of them end up being terminal or at best highly self-destructive. Even alcoholism that usual stalwart of good cheer in noir stories brings more pain than joy for the characters in these stories.

The one thing that isn't gloomy is the quality of the writing. I first heard of this author in some American anthologies. There was something different about his stories. They were noir like the other stories but somehow felt more personal to me. It wasn't until I read the stories again I realised that there was a definite British twinge to the style. I was hooked. There are certain phrases like `saying hello to the one-eyed milkman' that you just don't hear outside of dodgy pubs in the city centre. There are also a lot of references to Seatown which took me back to my teenage years sitting in dodgy pubs playing pool and drinking beer.

This book contains nearly everything I have spent my life trying to escape. The gritty realism hits you in the face and makes you say rude words. This book is like meth. You know it is bad for you but you have to keep reading. Mr Brazill nails this one.


Code Breakers: Beta
Code Breakers: Beta
Price: £3.44

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern gritty cyberpunk, 14 Oct. 2013
This is the second book in the Techxorcist series. I recently read the first book Artificial Evil again. The author has re-worked the second half of the book so if you were an early reader you might want to download it again. For instance if you have a Kindle head to the `Manage Your Kindle' page and find the book and choose on the download option in the actions list. The new ending makes much more sense moving on to the second book.

This is a Cyberpunk series but it is less about fancy avatars and showy battles and more about traversing networks and overloading nodes with data. In short it is more realistic but without being too obviously rooted in modern technology. There are lots of different kinds of post-humans in this book. From those with a simple interface system to advanced artificial intelligences.

Poor Gerry and Petal don't get a break in this book. Everything I thought could go wrong ended up being a much worse situation. Despite all the pain and suffering in this dystopian setting it somehow manages to exude a desperate hope that thins can and will get better for all. Not just the haves but everyone, well most people anyway.

The story starts with a bang and then is quite slow with a lot to take in during the first half of this book. The second half just flies by those. The final quarter was so punchy and gripping that I had to read it all in one sitting. I cried at the end. I don't normally do that but the fate of Petal and Gerry hit me quite hard. This is a really good read and is one of a clutch of modern cyberpunk books to revive what I thought was becoming a tired and clichéd genre. Not so.


Blade of Dishonor Part 1: The War Comes Home
Blade of Dishonor Part 1: The War Comes Home

5.0 out of 5 stars MMA gritty action, 19 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have read several of Thomas Pluck's short stories and I've loved all of them. He has such a real and gritty that I find his work irresistible. In Black-Eyed Susan I could feel myself winding up for a punch as I read it. I have been waiting for this book to be released for a while as I was pretty sure I'd enjoy it. I wasn't wrong.

I grew up watching action films about evil ninjas and heroes that follow a warriors code. In a lot of ways it feels like an 80s action movie too and I don't mean that in a bad way . The interesting and modern twist is that rather than Kung Fu or Karate Rage Cage Reeves (I love the name) is a mixed martial artist. After some mistakes in his youth that led to a stint in the Marines to avoid jail Reeves finds that his home town and his life are still not great. If anything they get worse. The fight scenes flowed really well and it was really easy to picture the movements in the space. I could probably read fight scenes by this author all day long and not get bored.

The only negative about this book is that I got to the end and the second part was not available to read. I wanted more and straight away. This is a fun and action-packed book that will leave you smiling and wanting more. The ebook costs less than a frothy coffee so there isn't really any excuse not to go out and buy it now.


Celebrations in the Ossuary
Celebrations in the Ossuary
Price: £2.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and emotion filled poetry, 18 Sept. 2013
I think everybody should read poetry once in a while. I always try to read poetry out loud or at worst mouth and mutter the words. I didn't get these poems at first but as soon as I started reading them aloud the passion and emotion really came through. There were points in this book where I found myself sneering with contempt or growling with rage borne of frustration. There was also a feeling that he always felt alone in the world, especially in a group. This I could really relate to.

This book is not for everyone. The metre is not easy to grasp at first and a good vocabulary is required for some of the poems. More than anything though this is a dark and angst ridden work. This book made me think back to my own dark times as a youth and how I came through them. I couldn't express my emotions and so I scribbled in little notepads. I could feel every word of this collection like a physical connection. It hurt to read this at times. It is a shame that Kyle J. Knapp was not lucky enough to navigate his way through those times.

Life is fragile but art like this will live on.

R.I.P


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