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THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (Children Of The Mountain Book 2)
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (Children Of The Mountain Book 2)
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hurry Up With Part 3 Mr. Hakok..., 1 Aug. 2016
I received an advance copy of this after signing up for the authors newsletter. I never do things like that, but I enjoyed the first book so much that I couldn't wait for the next installment, so I was delighted when this arrived and I wasn't disappointed by what I found.

The characters are well developed and the relationships between them are sincere and believable. The story is gripping, tense and unrelenting. The only criticism - It's over too soon and I have to wait for the next book.

An excellent sequel in what is becoming a fantastic series. Definitely recommended for all fans of Post Apocalyptic literature.


AMONG WOLVES (Children Of The Mountain Book 1)
AMONG WOLVES (Children Of The Mountain Book 1)
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT - Can't Wait for Part 2, 27 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm a big fan of PA/SHTF books, and read a good many. This has gone straight into my personal top 10, and might even sneak into top 5. I got this because I needed some new books for my kindle, it was free and I thought "why not?", but I wasn't expecting anything special. It's from an author that I know nothing about and had no preconceived ideas about his work, but I have to say I was really impressed. The characters are believable, well developed and you actually care about them. I'm not going to write anything about the plot - read the synopsis for an idea of what it's about.

As others have said, this is quite a slow burner at the start, but well worth your patience, as the story gradually draws you further in and doesn't let go. The biggest compliment I can give it is that I will make sure that I get the next part as soon as it's available - you know how it is with these books that are Part 1 of a series, you read it, think it's ok, but don't always go hunting for the next installment. Well, I will - and I can't wait.


Dark Titan Journey: Sanctioned Catastrophe
Dark Titan Journey: Sanctioned Catastrophe
Price: £3.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The S from SHTF, 15 April 2016
EOTWAWKI fiction can be brilliant. I loved stuff like Cyberstorm, Dog Stars, Lucifers Hammer and, of course, The Stand. This isn't. I only read to the end because I kept thinking, "It HAS to get better", but no, if anything, it kept getting worse. So what's wrong? Well:
(SPOILERS)
1 - Do we HAVE to have the list of guns all the time? My eyes start to glaze over after a while. I get it. He was prepared for this.
2 - A male nurse/SWAT team member. Really?
3 - Why does he spend all that time at the truck stop he gets stuck out, helping random strangers, handing them all his supplies? And then tell them not to help anyone, like he just did?
4 - What is with the situation between him and "the beautiful family"? She offers herself as some kind of Thank-you gift, which our moral hero has NO problem unwrapping and the husband just says "I'm still in your debt" And then she gives him a load of photos for him to remember her by? Just WTAF??!
5 - The hero's moralistic preaching about all the bad people who just want to kill and steal, who he deals with (because he can tell just by looking at them...) by killing them and stealing from them.
6 - Deliberately killing people in a way that will cause agony for days. Just cos he decided they deserved it.
7 - "Amanda, don't give away any of our food". <sees woman and kids> "Here take some of our food. Oh and let me incapacitate the men you are travelling with and I'll get you a gun to kill them with, because I can tell just by looking that they are bad and you say they are so they must be"
8 - His dog has more personality than he does
9 - It's called Dark Titan - Journey. He doesn't set out until nearly the end of the book! It should be called Dark Titan - Hanging Around a Truck Stop After The Lights Go Out
10 - You can only have so many characters described as "big". It was like "this man was big, the next was bigger, another was the biggest. The came someone who made them all look tiny" (Cue stupid jokes from side of mouth by central character)

Don't buy it. There are better books out there


Escape From The Shadow Garden
Escape From The Shadow Garden
Price: £14.20

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When's the next one out?, 4 April 2014
If you are looking at this album because Amazon or someone has suggested it to you, but you don’t know much about the band, then let’s get what will quickly become obvious to you, if you buy this album, out of the way first. Magnum are the most underrated band in the history of rock music. Ever. These guys should be (still) selling out arenas and stadia. But they’re not. And I don’t know why. What I do know is that since reforming. Magnum have consistently, and regularly, put out stronger and stronger albums, and each time they do I worry they won’t be able to top it. They’ve reached their pinnacle. And then along come “Escape From The Shadow Garden” Let’s start with the cover. Another Rodney Matthews original, a nod to the past, with some likening it to “Chase The Dragon” cover. For me , it puts me more in mind of “The Eleventh Hour”, but whatever, it’s a cracking design and gives us a clue that Magnum are indeed getting back to there roots with this new album.

First up we have the obligatory intro, a nice piece of strings and xylophone which opens up with a crash of guitar and drums into the opening of “Live ‘Til You Die”. This is a fine rocker with strong guitar riff and keyboard melodies dancing around it. Bob’s voice enters the fray, and it’s immediately clear that Mr. Catley’s vocal chords are in fine health, thank you very much.

Next is “Unwritten Sacrifice”, with a piano and synth setting the atmosphere for a power ballad. As the first verse ends and goes into the second, however, he comes the guitar and suddenly we’re not in ballad country anymore. With it’s pounding rhythm and sing-a-long chorus that Magnum do so well, it’s one that will be hooked into your brain.

“Falling For The Big Plan” follows on and it’s another slow start with just piano and vocals, before the a touch of percussion picks up the beat and we’re off again. Just over the half way through, and the beat changes and we get a cracking middle eight before Tony decides it’s time people remembered he can play lead as well as rhythm…

Now we’re up to “Crying In The Rain”. An off-beat with-a-punch drum and there’s no sign of a let up from they band. A slow and powerful song.

Now anyone who bought the last album may have done a double-take when they first heard the song “Dance Of The Black Tattoo”, one of the heaviest Magnum songs I have ever heard. Well they’re at it again with “Too Many Clowns”. It’s the first single taken from the album, and one that you suspect will quickly become a crowd favourite live.

My favourite song on the album keeps changing, but currently it this next one – “Midnight Angel”. One tiny, tiny criticism. Why THAT synth sound for Bob to sing over before the guitar kick in? It’s sort of like an electronic bagpipe, and I can’t help wondering if an actual bagpipe might not have been better? Hard to imagine, I know, actually suggesting that bagpipes should be used, but it never hurt “It’s A Long Way To The Top” for AC/DC… That sound may grow on me, or I may think of something better they could have used, and it’s REALLY no biggie. Because this song is not only one of the highlights from the album, it’s one of the Mr Clarkin’s finest compositions for many a year, which in itself, is no mean feat. Seven and a half minutes of genius.

Whatever followed was always going to struggle, but no, “The Art Of Compromise” starts with Bob accompanied by piano once again before opening into another classic Magnum pomp rocker, full of bounce, fist pumping and “Whoa-oh”s.

Eighth track in and we get to the first real ballad. Let’s face it, these guys are old (very old…) hands at these and they ain’t about to drop the ball with a classic power ballad. And who else could write lyrics like “Just let your magic lantern burn” and get away with it…?

Now it feels like I’ve written this before, but “Wisdom’s Had It’s Day” starts with…? Yes just Bob’s vocals over a piano, and your thinking “Again..?” Honestly though, the songs all work so well with the slow build up to and this one is no different. Bob is really starting to push his voice on this and his vocals really start to soar.

Next is “Burning River” and it starts with… Crunching guitars. No delicacy or build up, straight into the heart of a galloping riff that we’ve all come to love

Lastly is “The Valley Of Tears”. Starting like a traditional ballad, it starts to build from around the two minute mark into this MONSTER! Bob’s singing his heart out. His vocals may have developed a slightly cracked edge to them, particularly in these type of songs, but it just makes him sound more powerful and emotional than ever! Everything about this song just makes you feel so uplifted and it’s a fabulous way to end the album. I can see the cigarette lighters already during the live version. Set closer?

In conclusion, over an hour, 63 minutes, of GENIUS. Wonderful stuff and not a dud among them.

6*’s
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2014 9:37 PM BST


Cujo
Cujo
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shaggy Dog Story (Of Sorts...), 21 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Cujo (Paperback)
There are many commonly held misconceptions in the world, and one of these is that Stephen King is a "Horror" writer. But he's not. He simply writes some bloody good stories that, occasionally, have horrible things happen in them. Cujo is like this. I have been reading this at tea breaks and on the bus over the last few days, occasionally breathless, caught up in the suspense. Forget the film. It's not in the same league as the book. I almost didn't read this because I saw the film a number of years ago and remembered it as ok...ish. But the book was a different story. Different ending too. VERY sad ending and one that had me cursing that SK could DO such a thing! I loved the fact that we could "hear" Cujo's "thoughts". It's how I've always imagined my dog "thinks". Not WHAT i think he thinks (I hope...) but in terms of THE MAN, THE BOY etc.

This book made me remember why I love Stephen King's writing. 1 small criticism which is why 4 instead of 5*'s - There are too many loose ends at the end. Another few pages of an epilogue so I could have closure on the the characters who died, what happened to the bloke who vandalised the house and how everything else settled down. There is one of sorts, but it's too sparse.

Overall, one of Mr. King's best. And you know that his best are very special indeed.


Blindness
Blindness
by José Saramago
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Not for someone looking for a little light reading..., 18 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Blindness (Paperback)
This one was hard work. And I don't like reading being hard work. I read in order to take a break from work/kids. To rest my mind. To be effortlessly (on my part!) transported away. Maybe that says more about me than it does about this book. Maybe you will judge ME on that, rather than this book. Don't say you weren't warned!

I'm sure other readers who dislike this book will recognise the reasons for my 2* review.

* The lack of punctuation makes it virtually impossible to follow conversations. You have no idea who is speaking and when the narrator cuts back in to move the story along. Sections need to be read and re-read to work out what is happening.

* The author decides that his characters need no names. Everyone is referred to throughout the book as "the doctor", "the doctor's wife", "the girl with dark glasses" etc., and, again, this becomes very irritating the longer the book goes on.

* The degradation of the characters, the toilet issues, the degeneration of characters morals and the appalling state of the asylum and outside world are told in graphic and nauseating detail.

* The ending. I won't spoil it for you. It'll do that itself. I can't even write my reason for disliking the ending, as it'll give it away. Just dreadful.

All-in-all, this wasn't a book that I enjoyed, I won't be returning to it, and I won't be buying any other books by the author.

In summary, if you enjoy to read and read to enjoy - AVOID


CyberStorm
CyberStorm
by Matthew Mather
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!, 11 Nov. 2013
This review is from: CyberStorm (Paperback)
Let me say here, at the start, I'm a massive fan of post-apocalyptic books, and it was that that drew me to this book. I've read the some of the best and been enthralled by most - The Stand, One Second After, Swan Song, Alas Babylon, Lucifer's Hammer to name just a few - and this books can stand alongside each and every one of those with it's head held and look each squarely in the eye. One of the biggest shocks came at the end, where the author professed that writing was not his full-time career. I sincerely hope he is now!

The story is about "What would happen if..." America came under a cyber attack, by means of a computer virus planted into a few well chosen systems, bringing down power, transport, banking, food and fuel production/distribution etc. The gradual decline of society, in the main, helping each other at the beginning, to the inevitable of only being able to look after one's own was superbly drawn out. As the temperature outside drops, the food runs out, and the authorities reassurances that everything will return to normal soon begin to pall, the interaction between the characters was brilliant. There are some wonderful scenes, some very shocking that had me staring open-mouthed at the page, and some very funny that had me chuckling as I read. In Stephen King's "Misery", he describes Annie Wilkes as having the "Gotta", when she's reading. Well thats how I felt reading CyberStorm. "I gotta find out how they deal with this", "I gotta see if he's ok"...

I don't want to spoil it for you so I'm not going to describe anymore. If you're reading this and debating whether or not to take the plunge and click on "Buy It", stop dithering and do it! You won't regret it. To use (another) cliche - A page turner! Absolutely brilliant stuff and I'm off to hunt down some more of Mr. Mather's work....


The Blue Nowhere
The Blue Nowhere
Price: £4.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Showing it's age..., 7 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Blue Nowhere (Kindle Edition)
Picked this up recently, as it had been recommended to me as a good thriller about computers/tech/internet/stuff. It's as good a subject as any, and one that I know a bit about as I work with computers every day.

The 12 years between the book being published, and me reading/reviewing it, have not been kind to it. It is so hopelessly and irrevocably set in it's time period, that it makes it ludicrous to read at times. How excited do characters get about modern advances like "modems" and "floppy discs"..? Now some of my favourite books are set in the past (e.g. Sherlock Holmes), but the nods towards the technology of the day don't grate on me the way that it does in this book. It's as if the author had read up on the latest advances and was desperate to cram them in and show off his knowledge. This comes across in the way that the hacker character, Wyatt Gillette, endlessly explains everything. With the aid of diagrams. Oh and while were on about Wyatt, he's got such big muscles in his fingers that he breaks two keyboards from hitting the keys too hard. Really..?!

Anyway, THE PLOT: The book centres around a hacker, Phate, who uses a computer program to identify victims for him to murder. He wants to murder difficult targets so as to earn more points in a macabre real-life version of an online game he used to play. The police decide to use another hacker to help them track him down and stop him. Again I have to say the basic premise is good and there are lots of twists to keep you reading. But it all gets a bit TOO OTT at the end. The final showdowns stretch incredulity to almost-but-not-quite breaking point, and frequently had me looking at the book askance, muttering "Whaat??!!!", to the bewilderment of the other bus passengers...

The only characters I ended up caring about were Gillette and the detective, Frank Bishop. Of these two, I would only be interested in reading more stories about Bishop.

NB - Just noticed after posting. This review is of the BOOK AND NOT THE KINDLE EDITION. (But they're almost certainly identical...)


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