November 2018 Book Wrap-Up

Five titles this month. So what were they and what did I think of them?
Video time:

Why I read it: Knowing my youngest’s sense of humour and acute awareness of the world, I thought he might appreciate a bit of Terry Pratchett (and I fancied rereading this trilogy anyway).
Reading slot Reading to: my youngest son
What is it about?: The Maxwell household is going through ‘Trying Times,’ leaving Johnny lots of time to play computer games. The latest game Only You Can Save Mankind a space shoot-em-up suddenly stops mid-game with a message informing Johnny of the aliens’ surrender.
Thoughts: For a children’s book, there is far more in here than I remember or previously realised. This story deals with issues such as divorcing parents, fitting in, friends narrowly avoiding disaster involving joyriding, stepping up and maturity (amongst others). The car incident was particularly poignant in that up to that point this was a fun fantasy involving ‘Game Space’ and what really happened to the Space Invaders, suddenly there’s real life and death implications totally removed from the main plot. The interactions between Johnny and his friends as well as other conversations are so natural and honest and work so well to identify and personify the characters. The plot almost takes second place to the observations of society and people. The humour ranges for a subtle (to not so subtle) satire through to laugh out loud silly comments or situations. My son certainly responded well to certain lines with a gleeful shriek. The only negative I can think of is the logic of the story, which does fall down completely if you think about it for any length of time. My advice is that you don’t think about the logic.
Score: Booktastic!
I’ve also read: Almost every single book written by Terry Pratchett
What’s next? Johnny Maxwell II: Johnny And The Dead
Why I read it: Last year my wife read it and really enjoyed it and I was intrigued enough to give it a go.
Reading slot Book of the month.
What is it about?: In the year 2140 the sea levels have risen and many coastal cities have been submerged. New York has adapted to its new aquatic theme and its people still face threats such as greed, kidnapping and corporate take-overs.
Thoughts: I might have been in a ‘reading slump’ but this took me three weeks to read. My book of a month nearly took a month to read. The story follows 8 inhabitants of the Met building: Vlade, in charge of the building’s maintenance and upkeep who discovers signs of sabotage; Charlotte head of the home-owner’s association who’s in charge of the human aspect of the building and finds two members missing; Inspector Gen who looks into the disappearances; Stephan and Roberto, two orphan boys who think they discovered sunken treasure; Franklin a money spinner who, despite his callous exterior, is actually more compassionate than he lets on; Amelia, an internet sensation whose latest venture with her airship is to transport endangered polar bears to the Antarctica; Mutt and Jeff two number crunchers who want to make the world a better place, but then find themselves kidnapped and sequestered in a hidden prison. The book itself is split over about 8 sections with each section with all the characters and character pairings getting a chapter following them in each section. Interestingly Franklin’s chapters are told in the first person. Each section also has a chapter by ‘The Citizen’ which is an in-universe note from the author in which greater detail is given about the flooding of New York and other global occurrences, amongst other topics. Much of the book is dedicated to the underlying economies and other financial aspects of property and valuation. If you’re not really knowledgeable about such things, this is quite a dry read in places as these terms are fired off with great regularity. However, the language is kept relatively simple so it can be followed, if not entirely understood. That this is mixed in with a treasure hunt, a missing persons case, sabotage, natural disasters and polar bears loose on an airship with the only person locked in a maintenance cupboard does make it more readable. Most of the characters were likeable and had a good representation in the story. The story itself covers about 4 years so the title is only true for a bit of the book. The conclusion of the book is not really an end, New York is still there, but it does give each character arc a nice conclusion. In all, this felt like a very realistic view of what the world (New York in particular) would be like 122 years from now. Unfortunately, if you’re not knowledgeable about economics, this 613 page tome of dense text can be a bit of a slog in places.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Red Mars
What’s next? December’s Book of the Month
Why I read it: What I wanted to read wasn’t in the library so I picked something that had caught my eye previously.
Reading slot 1 library book a month (at least)
What is it about?: The judicial system has been disbanded and replaced by a death row eye-for-an-eye sentence where the voting public get to decide up the guilt or innocence of the accused. Charged with the murder of the nation’s heartthrob, a sixteen year-old girl is the youngest yet to suffer the 7 Cells to her death, but she has a plan.
Thoughts: As a YA book, this was quite an easy read with almost no surprises in it. Almost from the get-go I know the direction this was going to take (that there are two further books was a bit of a give away), but that would be my main complaint. There were a couple of revelations I didn’t see coming, so there was that. This also seems to be a statement on the current system of ‘trial by media’ where recent high-profile arrests have been made and the public have jumped on the guilty/innocent band wagon based solely on the information titbits handed out by the sensationalist media. Nothing wrong with that but also nothing that hasn’t been covered before. The character of Martha herself was difficult to like, she spent so much of her time being the petulant and uncooperative teenager that even by the end of the book, I still don’t know much about her. Despite all that, I did enjoy the concept of this story and the Cell system was something a bit different without being over the top. I’m not sure when or where this is supposed to be based, possibly and overpopulated future England (a Prime Minister is mentioned a few times) but this could have been a Townsvilletopiatropolis of the not-so-good future anywhere really. The story picked up a lot towards the end of the book where my predictions came to fruition but there was enough there to give me the gumption to seek out book 2.
Score: Worth reading
Why I read it: I started reading book 1 of Destiny’s Children: Coalescent but found that I needed to have read a whole bunch of Xeelee books first. So picked this alternative from my Stephen Baxter shelf.
Reading slot Active TBR Cycle: Sci-Fi by Author: Stephen Baxter
What is it about?: An isolated and possibly the last remaining family of mammoths on Earth find their usual hardships increase when humans turn up on their island.
Thoughts: This was a very insightful tale sharing the experiences, fears and trials and tribulations of the mammoth Silverhair. Although the mammoths can talk to each other, this is no way mistaken as being a Disney. There are some brutal encounters that some could find harrowing. This was an interesting and believable account of a mammoth’s life.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Manifold Series; Voyage; The Massacre Of Mankind; Reality Dust; The Long Earth Series (with Terry Pratchett); Time’s Eye (with Arthur C. Clarke); Sunstorm (with Arthur C. Clarke); The Light Of Other Days (with Arthur C. Clarke)
What’s next? Mammoth II: Longtusk
Why I read it: I’ve been rereading all my Red Dwarf and books by the same authors. This is the last one to go
Reading slot Active TBR Cycle: Red Dwarf and Related
What is it about?: Being fat is pretty much illegal. An overweight TV chef finds his career options have deteriorated due to his size and a teenage girl tries to hide her anorexia from her family.
Thoughts: This is a deeply insightful and entertaining look at the social attitudes towards weight. It looks at it issue from both extremes (morbidly obese to malnourished). The humour is never at the expense of the characters but directed at the system and circumstances that put them in the situations they find themselves in. The story is not afraid to confront these issues head on and makes some well-researched arguments and observations. I can’t recommend this book enough.
Score: Booktastic!
I’ve also read: Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers; Backwards; Better Than Life; Last Human. By Rob Grant: Colony; Incompetence
What’s next? Rereading: Colony, if I can borrow it off my dad, otherwise creating a new reading slot: Honor Harrington by David Weber starting with a reread of On Basilisk Station

Short and sweet this month.
So what’s on for December?


October 2018 Book Wrap-Up

Nine titles this month. So what were they and what did I think of them?
A video of the same:

Why I read it: Going through my graphic novel collection, gotta read ’em all.
Reading slot 3 Graphic Novels a month (at least)
What is it about?: While Darth Vader is on a Jedi-hunting assignment, a cadre of Imperial officials plot to overthrow the Emperor.
Thoughts: Despite the interesting premise (with predicable outcome) and intriguing characters, this volume is hampered by ugly artwork and a very disjointed narrative that reads like this should have been a thicker book but every other page has been removed. A disappointing start to a series.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: 173 other Star Wars titles.
What’s next? Star Wars: Empire II: Darklighter
Why I read it: It’s a fun series, why not?
Reading slot Reading to: my wife
What is it about?: While teenage mage and necromancer-in-training Valkyrie Cain and her skeletal detective friend Skulduggery Pleasant track down a criminal from the previous book, the remnants escape. This is not a good thing.
Thoughts: As Valkyrie ages and matures, so does this series. The books are thicker, the plots are heavier and the stories are darker. There are some great characters here, many with secrets and mysteries and hidden pasts which, in a lot of cases, are never answered. This gives a greater level of realism in this highly enjoyable urban fantasy.
Score: Booktastic!
I’ve also read: The Demon Road Trilogy; Skulduggery Pleasant books 1-4.
What’s next? The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding
Why I read it: It’s by Chris Wooding… need I say more?
Reading slot Book Of The Month
What is it about?: In a world where its population lives underground, there’s a war. An assassin and spy is captured and must escape to save her son from the war and learns of a conspiracy that could change everything.
Thoughts: Predominantly, this is an escape story with the captured heroine’s plight in the prison, interspersed with farther reaching flashbacks to the events leading up this this moment in her life. In that, it was fun the way the chapter numbers started in the 20s and alternatively decreased with each subsequent flashback chapter (to 0) and increased with the continuation of the story. The escape itself played second to this aspect and to the inventive characters and immersive world they are in. The underground is not a network of stony tunnels with ambiguous light sources but vast caverns rich in fauna and flora and fungi. There are many races of people, only a few of whom are encountered. Even the surface is visited, giving the reason why the inhabitants live deep underground. Excellent stuff that could well be the basis for a few more stories.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: The Ketty Jay quadrilogy; Silver
What’s next? November’s Book Of The Month

Why I read it: It’s the next in the series and, more importantly, I’ve got it.
Reading slot 3 Graphic Novels a month (at least)
What is it about?: Luke Skywalker’s childhood friend Biggs Darklighter only gets a few minutes in the film before Darth Vader blasts him to dust. This is his story of how he got there.
Thoughts: This was an engrossing and loving look at the life of one of the Rebellion’s fallen heroes. If it weren’t for Bigg’s sacrifice, Luke never would have been able to destroy the Death Star. The artwork was done well and Bigg’s story was believable and devastatingly full when it ended. This volume has a bonus story featuring Roons Sewell, which gave a little bit of more about the origins of the Rebel Alliance. It was well illustrated if a somewhat pointless character study on a character we’ve never seen before (and as it’s a eulogy at his funeral, never see subsequently).
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: 174 other Star Wars titles.
What’s next? Star Wars: Rebellion I: My Brother, My Enemy
Why I read it: I’d heard about it on BookTube and liked the sound of it. Picked it up at the library when I spotted it.
Reading slot 1 library book a month (at least)
What is it about?: In the future death has been conquered. The downside is overpopulation. Official Scythes stalk the streets whose job it is to cull the herd a necessary evil that’s tolerated, until certain Scythes start enjoying their job far too much.
Thoughts: This was a very thought-provoking read that tastefully dances with the subject of death, immortality and, ultimately, life. The story follows to Scythe apprentices who each ultimately end up getting trained by two Scythes who take a very different approach to their job. The story reads beautifully and I ploughed my way through this story easily. I enjoyed the concepts and the discussions about why certain people get picked over others for being visited by a Scythe. Looking forward to book 2: Thunderhead.
Score: Booktastic!
Why I read it: It’s the next graphic novel to read…
Reading slot 3 Graphic Novels a month (at least)
What is it about?: Luke’s childhood friend Tank has turned out to be an Imperial officer. Can these two reconcile their differences?
Thoughts: This is a continuation of the story arc started in the Empire series of which I’ve only read books 1 & 2 (because that’s all I’ve got). As such, there are some characters and situations that I’m not fully up to speed on. Despite that, this was well told with some stunning visuals. It really dug deep into the hearts of Tank and Luke on opposing sides where both believe they are on the side of right.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: 175 other Star Wars titles
What’s next? Star Wars: A Long Time Ago…II: Dark Encounters
Why I read it: I’ve been rereading this series, this time to my oldest son. He wants me to keep at it.
Reading slot Reading to: my oldest son
What is it about?: Having just completed their adventures in the Pacific Ocean, animal collecting brothers Hal and Roger remain on the Lively Lady when she’s commissioned for a search for a sunken wreck.
Thoughts: Another colourfully descriptive adventure in the Pacific Ocean this time with more focus on finding lost treasure than animals. The villain of the story is really obvious and it’s a bit daft that the threat he poses is completely ignored until it’s too late. Good fun though very much of its time.
Score: Worth reading – to a child
I’ve also read: Adventures: Amazon Adventure; Arctic Adventure; Diving Adventure; Elephant Adventure; Lion Adventure; Safari Adventure; South Sea Adventure; Whale Adventure
What’s next? Volcano Adventure
Why I read it: My dad introduced me to this series with The Covenant Of Genesis and I’ve been hooked on it ever since.
Reading slot Active TBR Cycle: Action/Thriller: Wilde Chase
What is it about?: Archaeologist Nina Wilde goes on another madcap adventure this time to discover the pyramid of Osiris. As this usually involves coming up against evil and dangerous men, she is always accompanied by her bodyguard and husband Eddie Chase to make sure she stays alive.
Thoughts: If this were a movie, it would be a high-octane action film with lots of explosions, vehicle chases and over the top baddies. The pure enjoyment of it would forgive all the far-fetched stunts and gravity-defying leaps. Thankfully, this book reads just like it would look on screen, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Wilde Chase: The Covenant Of Genesis; The Hunt For Atlantis; The Midas Legacy; The Secret Of Excalibur
What’s next? Wilde Chase: The Tomb Of Hercules
Why I read it: Because I enjoy books by James Rollins
Reading slot Active TBR Cycle: Action/Thriller: James Rollins stand-alone books
What is it about?: Buried in the Arctic ice is a research station. A chance encounter drags a hapless fish & game ranger into a conflict to discover its secrets between the Russians and the Americans as well as some mysterious aquatic monsters.
Thoughts: Another thrilling high-octane action adventure, this time on, in and under the ice…with monsters. Great fun with some interesting choice of characters and situations. Having the deaf researcher lost in the tunnel network being hunted by creatures in the dark was particularly memorable. It was also great to see wise-cracking Kowalski’s first adventure before he joined the Sigma Force team.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Amazonia; Deep Fathom; Excavation; Sigma Force: Black Order; The Doomsday Key; The Judas Strain; Map Of Bones; Sandstorm
What’s next? Subterranean

Excellent stuff.
On to November with:


September 2018 Book Wrap-Up

Nine titles this month. So what were they and what did I think of them?
For lazy readers, here’s a video:

Why I read it: I enjoyed the first two (and everything else by Alex Scarrow) but was reluctant with this one due to the cover change. My wife bought it for me at YALC 2018
Reading slot Book of the month
What is it about?: A dread disease has decimated mankind leaving only a few bands of survivors left. Unfortunately the disease has a few more tricks…
Thoughts: Despite the horrifically bad, vomit-inducing cover that in no way matches the brilliant and shiny first two, this was a solid conclusion to the trilogy. For the most part, standard post-apocalyptic survival stuff but with a really original threat (or, at least a clever mash-up of various threats). I can’t go into much detail without giving away any spoilers to the previous books (or this one) but the ending is definitely one that’s not expected. Again, some lovely descriptions of the human body being melted by the virus, but seen in a very different light once certain facts are presented.
Score: Booktastic!
I’ve also read: The Legend Of Ellie Quin; Books 1-9 of TimeRiders; Remade; Reborn
What’s next? September’s Book Of The Month

Further thoughts in video form:

Why I read it: I saw this in the library and thought it looked fun.
Reading slot 1 library book a month (at least)
What is it about?: A series of short stories retelling the events of the Martian invasion from the points of view of various historical figures.
Thoughts: I’m not the greatest fan of the original H. G. Wells story, it’s not aged well and the story is very dry in the telling. I had hoped that these different authors could inject some life into it. Unfortunately, for the most part, they chose to stick to Wells’s narrative style without bringing any new material to the theme. This became really repetitive and I only kept going in the dwindling hope that the next story would be better. The one stand-out was told from John Carpenter’s point of view as he thwarted the Martian’s efforts on their home turf (which was why they sent such a small army). If you enjoyed the original, this may be for you, but otherwise give it a miss.
Score: Boring – just plain dull
I’ve also read: The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells; The Massacre Of Mankind by Stephen Baxter
Why I read it: StarCraft is just about my all-time favourite game. Of course I’m going to read related novels.
Reading slot Game tie-ins: StarCraft
What is it about?: Based-off the lead character of the computer game that never got released, this is the origin story of the Ghost known as Nova.
Thoughts: First up, the front cover is a lie. This is literally the end result at the conclusion of the book. November is a young girl who traumatically reaches her psionic potential. Heavily influenced by Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man this barely qualifies as a StarCraft book in that it’s played out on the streets of poverty but curiously makes the StarCraft universe stronger. There’s more to the Kropulu sector than just the three species war and this book shows how ordinary rich and poor people live as well as their views on the war. Not what I expected, but far better than I had hoped for a book based on a first-person shooter game that never happened.
Score: Booktastic!
I’ve also read: StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga Trilogy; I, Mengsk; Liberty’s Crusade; Shadow Of The Xel’Naga; Speed Of Darkness; StarCraft II: Heaven’s Devils; StarCraft II: Devil’s Due
What’s next? StarCraft: Queen Of Blades
Why I read it: My younger son really enjoyed me reading the first book to him, so on to book too!
Reading slot Reading to: my youngest son
What is it about?: Young Joe the Barbarian finds himself back in the crazy land of Muddle Earth, not with his dog this time, but with his older sister. His old friends now run a wizarding school and are now tasked with finding some missing artefacts.
Thoughts: As before this book features three daft adventures that Joe and the rest embark on. However, the plot’s not important, but the silliness and the fun characters. Each character has their own voice and they all bounce off each other very effectively. Thankfully, they subject of the parody has changed from the first book giving some fresh spoofs of Harry Potter, Narnia and The Great British Bake-Off amongst others. Plot-wise, I would say that this is a weaker book than the first. However, my son enjoyed it immensely as well as the brilliant illustrations by Chris Riddel.
Score: Worth reading – aloud
I’ve also read: Muddle Earth
What’s next? Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett
Why I read it: Because I wanna!
Reading slot 3 Graphic Novels a month (at least)
What is it about?: Three Hutts make a bet as to who can retrieve the fabled Yavin Vassilika first. Some well-known faces race to be the winner.
Thoughts: I remembered enjoying this last time I read it, and had great fun with it again. The vibrant and fun artwork complements the equally vibrant and fun story. Not quite a farce, but certainly humorous. There’s great interplay between the famous bounty hunters, rogues and scruffy-looking nerf herders. The character of Greedo is very different to the short-lived screen version, one who is much less cocky and still green, erm , about the ear, uh, things. The plot does get convoluted, but it’s supposed to and is all the more fun because of it. This is also suitable for younger readers.
Score: Booktastic!
I’ve also read: Another 172 Star Wars titles. No, I’m not listing them!
What’s next? Star Wars: Empire I: Betrayal
Why I read it: It’s in the house and I like James Rollins.
Reading slot Movie Novelisations
What is it about?: Indiana Jones is back and this time he’s older and up against the Russians in locating a mysterious crystal skull.
Thoughts: Silly though it is, I do enjoy the movie. Having said that, this book does improve on the film considerably. Admittedly, there’s not much that’s different in terms on the plot and dialogue and action but Rollins’s high-octane writing is far superior to the somewhat questionable special effects on screen. The stuns are just as ridiculous but are better rendered. This was also a nice and quick easy read.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: By James Rollins: Amazonia; Deep Fathom; Excavation; Sigma Force: Black Order; The Doomsday Key; The Judas Strain; The Last Oracle; Map Of Bones; Sandstorm
What’s next? Indiana Jones And The White Witch
Why I read it: I’ve read the first five books, kind of makes sense to read the last one
Reading slot Book Series: Gone
What is it about?: A town and its surrounding area have been blocked in by a mysterious dome, everyone over the age of 16 has vanished and some children have super powers. The great evil that shares the dome with the children is determined to kill them all.
Thoughts: Well this was quite the climatic conclusion. This final book is chock full of major character deaths, destruction, violence and more death. Everyone’s pretty much guaranteed to lose at least one of their favourite surviving characters in this book. Suspenseful right to the end, this series did well not to not burn itself out early or by overstaying its welcome. Yes there are now more books, but they are more of a spin-off (as far as I understand it). This also does a realistic portrayal of survival where resources are limited and the dangers are many.
Score: Booktastic!
I’ve also read: Gone; Hunger; Lies; Plague; Fear
What’s next? Monster
Why I read it: I grew up reading these, so why not reread them when visiting my parents?
Reading slot Dad’s book collection: Harry Harrison
What is it about?: Notorious and (partially) reformed career thief James “Slippery Jim” diGriz is pitted against an entire alien invasion.
Thoughts: This was one of my favourites and was a joy to revisit. Despite the era this was written in, Harrison was remarkably progressive for his time. Best described as an adventurous romp, this brings back one of the Stainless Steel Rat’s previous foes. A lot of fun and yet meriting some significant mulling over.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: By Harry Harrison: Captive Universe; Galactic Dreams; In Our Hands, The Stars; Invasion: Earth; The Men From P.I.G. And R.O.B.O.T.; One Step From Earth; Planet Of No Return; Planet Of The Damned; Rebel In Time; The Stainless Steel Rat series; Stainless Steel Visions; Star Smashers Of The Galaxy Rangers; To The Stars Trilogy; Two Tales And Eight Tomorrows; West Of Eden Trilogy
What’s next? The Stainless Steel Rat For President
Why I read it: Not knowing much about Harley Quinn save for the Arkham games, I thought I better educate myself.
Reading slot Spur of the moment library acquisition
What is it about?: A series of comics from her first ever appearance up to the movie Suicide Squad
Thoughts: What I liked most about this was the quick summary of the character at the beginning in a simple double-page spread chronicling her fall into crime and her questionable redemption. Each comic is a showcase set-piece of the run at the time, so each story has a very different Harley Quinn. In some cases she’s the main character and in others she’s merely there. Unfortunately, comics from story arcs did feel a little truncated because there’s already a story in progress at the beginning and the end is not the end but that’s all there is.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: DC Meets Loony Tunes

Another great month.

So what’s next?


August 2018 Book Wrap-Up

Eleven titles this month. So what were they and what did I think of them?
A video if you can’t be doing with the reading thing:

Why I read it: Being a fan of this writing partnership (The Relic) I saw this in the library and thought this looked fun for a beach read.
Reading slot 1 library book a month (at least)/Summer reading
What is it about?: After a failed recovery mission leaves a mysterious meteorite at the bottom of the Arctic ocean, a second mission is sent to destroy it, because it’s hatched.
Thoughts: Firstly, I hadn’t realised this was a sequel to The Ice Limit which I hadn’t read. However, this was written in such a way as to make that not an issue at all. I’ve also not ready any of the other Gideon Crew books. This ended up with quite a few themes, which made it more episodal than cluttered. There was one scene of extreme violence that was a little unexpected and has certainly stuck with me. Most of the characters were likeable or, at least, interesting, which made certain character deaths more impactful (not just due to the manner of their death…). I’m now eager to read The Ice Limit and more of Gideon Crew.
Score: Worth buying
I’ve also read: Pendergast: The Relic
Why I read it: I liked the Scooby Doo vibe when I spotted this in a bookshop. Picked it up then and there.
Reading slot Book of the month
What is it about?: As children, five friends and a dog meddled and solved crimes. Now they’re all grown up and gone their own ways but their last case together needs them to reunite. Even though one of them’s dead.
Thoughts: Scooby Doo this isn’t, but it’s a clear inspiration for this story as it’s does have the Scooby Gang vibe. As with most mystery stories, there’s not much I can divulge without giving away spoilers, but basically the not Scoobie-gang reconvene to re investigate their last case together as it turns out that not everything was as it appeared to be. This book was a lot of good fun, funny in places, impactful in others.The mystery itself kept me guessing until it went down a particular route, which made me smile. All of the group carry some baggage with them which made their interactions meaningful. Fingers cross that this becomes the first in a series because I need more of this.
Score: Booktastic!
What’s next? September’s Book Of The Month

My VLOG of the same:

Why I read it: It’s been a while since I last read through my X-Files books. So doing just that.
Reading slot TV tie-ins: X-Files
What is it about?: A mild-mannered skin graft patient suddenly goes berserk and destroys a hospital room. FBI Special Agents Mulder and Scully must track down the source of the skin to discover its unusual properties.
Thoughts: A solid and gritty X-Files story that could have been a TV episode.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: X-Files: Antibodies; Darkness Falls; Goblins; Ground Zero; The Host; Humbug; Ruins; Shapes; Squeeze; Tiger, Tiger; Voltage; Whirlwind
What’s next? X-Files: I Want To Believe
Why I read it: I’ve already read Droids, so it kind of makes sense to continue here.
Reading slot 3 Grapic Novels a month (at least)
What is it about?: The droids have followed their nemesis so that he can answer for his crimes. C-3PO gets infected with virus that changes his personality and sees him leading a droid revolution.
Thoughts: This volume had a more linear story-line than the previous one and was full of twists and double-crosses making it a much richer read also. The artwork was about the same, if a bit tired by now. Still not all that impactful on the Star Wars universe but not all that bad either.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: A bit of the Star wars stuff.
What’s next? Star Wars: Jabba The Hutt
Why I read it: Something fun to read to the kids while staying at their grandparents’.
Reading slot Reading to: both my boys
What is it about?: Legionnaire Beau Peep has to try and survive his posting at the Sahara Desert despite the insanity of the colonel, the ineptitude of the chef and the stupidity of his friends and enemies.
Thoughts: Another fun collection of the comic strip. With nothing that really differentiates this from the other collections, all I can say is that it’s just as good and funny as before – provided you like this sort of thing.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Almost all of Beau Peep.
What’s next? Beau Peep book 7
Why I read it: It’s the next one on my to do list.
Reading slot 3 Graphic Novels a month (at least)
What is it about?: Three tales showing just how formidable Jabba the Hutt is.
Thoughts: where the previous Droids books were gentle and childish, this volume is gruesome and brutal. Jabba proves to be a deadly being even when caught alone and without his aides. He’s always three moves ahead of his opponents and can make things go his way either by using his wits or his superior bulk. The stories were, perhaps, a little simple but were very satisfying.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Many, many, many, many Star Wars books
What’s next? The Force Unleashed
Why I read it: Because it was lying about the house
Reading slot Wife’s book collection: Redwall
What is it about?: Anthropomorphic animal fantasy adventures where a mouse seeks to rescue her father and searats attempt to invade Redwall Abbey.
Thoughts: This is the fourth Redwall I have read and they do fall into the trap of being a bit samey. That being said, the immersive world is rich and vibrant with many delightful or menacing characters. There is a purity in a story where the heroes and the villains are clear and obvious and every species have their own speech patterns and mannerisms. This had a little more going on than the ones before it and still managed to remain unmuddled and linear.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Redwall; Mossflower; Mattimeo
What’s next? Salamandastrom
Why I read it: My wife and I enjoyed book one of this series, so it only makes sense that we have a go at the next entry.
Reading slot Reading to: my wife
What is it about?: Failed and exiled mage Kellen is learning that life outside a community is a lot harder than he expected but forgets his own problems when he encounters someone else seemingly afflicted with the Shadowblack.
Thoughts: What won this series over to us in the first book was the sassy nature of the characters as well as the brilliant interactions between them. Thankfully, this engaging aspect has continued into this book. The story does fall into the trope of the wandering hero stumbling across a conspiracy and saving the day for a bunch of strangers before going off once again into the sunset, but it’s known to work and it does that here. Bring on book 3.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Spellslinger
What’s next? Skullduggery Pleasant V: Mortal Coil
Why I read it: I was never a fan of the show, but after my wife watched a few seasons, I have gradually warmed to it and now enjoy it. She’s also got some related books.
Reading slot Wife’s book collection: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
What is it about?: A collection of 3 episode novelisations that heavily feature the brooding bad boy Angel.
Thoughts: This is a thin book that is barely more than the the 3 episode scripts padded out to make into something readable. Aimed for the younger readers, which is interesting due to the moderately mature nature of the show. Not sure who this is aimed at then… Anyway, these are three standard tellings of the episodes Angel, Reptile Boy and Lie To Me. Reading them back-to-back can be a little jarring as the first one features the Master, the second one the Master’s long dead and the third one has Spike and Dru doing their thing. A good replacement if you can’t get to see the episodes, but if you can, you might was well watch them.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Coyote Moon; Halloween Rain; Harvest; Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All In A Row; Tales Of The Slayer Volumes 1-3
What’s next? Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Angel Chronicles Vol. II
Why I read it: Because they’re fun to read and worth sharing with the kids.
Reading slot Reading to: both my boys
What is it about?: More madcap shenanigans featuring legionnaire Beau Peep and the loonies around him in this collected comic strip.
Thoughts: Seven books in and the characters are now better defined with their mannerisms and looks. Another fun collection for those who like this type of humour.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: At least 95% of all Beau Peep books.
What’s next? Beau Peep Book VIII
Why I read it: It’s on my shelf, and it’s next in line.
Reading slot 3 Graphic Novels a month (at least)
What is it about?: Darth Vader has a secret apprentice who has a special mission regarding the burgeoning rebellion.
Thoughts: This is the graphic novel of the game (I’ve not played it) which, presumably, has the streamlined version of the story (without all the running about looking for Easter eggs, getting stuck in rooms and dying a lot). Beautifully illustrated, this volume paves an interesting story as Starkiller finds himself double-crossed at almost every turn. The twist at the end is particularly good.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Quite a bit of Star Wars, actually.
What’s next? Star Wars: Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika

So great stuff this month.
What’s in store for September?


July 2018 Book Wrap-Up

Eleven titles this month. So what were they and what did I think of them?

If you can’t be doing with the reading thing, here’s my blog of the same:

Why I read it: I had previously borrowed books 1 and 2 from the library and had enjoyed them, so now have books 3 and 4 also from the library.
Reading slot Spur of the moment library acquisition
What is it about?: San Diego is going to be destroyed, can our hapless heroes get out in time?
Thoughts: Despite the original premise, this series has quickly devolved into another zombie apocalypse survival story. There are some interesting new ideas for the zombies themselves and the artwork is still fun, but I;m not sure there’s enough here to make it stand out. I have enjoyed the cover art galleries and the back of all the books however,
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Wrecking Crew 4 Lyfe; Appetite For Destruction
What’s next? Apollo Z
Why I read it: I’ve ready the first three volumes to my boys, so why not this one? Well..maybe there is a reason this time…
Reading slot Reading to both my boys.
What is it about?: The zany humans and animals of the animal sanctuary Liberty Meadows get up to mischief.
Thoughts: Another brilliant volume from Frank Cho that feels unfinished. This is a comic strip collection so there is no plot or story arc, but with the introduction of a new character and a development in the Frank and Brandy will-they-won’t-they saga, the book abruptly finished. The new character literally (a raccoon with OCD) literally has two appearances. As for reading this to my boys, the previous books have gotten progressively bolder with their risque scenes and this one is even more so. The hilarious revenge of Jen on Frank had to be rapidly skipped over. Please give us a book five Mr. Cho?!
Score: Worth buying
I’ve also read: Eden, Creature Comforts, Summer Of Love
Why I read it: This is one of my favourite series, so I wanted to reread it. The title came out of the reading jar.
Reading slot Book of the month
What is it about?: In a world where the major form of transport are specialised airships, a crew of unsuccessful pirates are given a job that seems too good to be true.
Thoughts: Fans of the TV show Firefly may find something familiar about the feeling this crew give them as they read. The characters here are superbly realised and go one their exploits in a rich and diverse world that almost feels real. I can’t praise this book – or this series – enough.
Score: Booktastic!
I’ve also read: The Black Lung Captain; The Iron Jackal; The Ace Of Skulls; Silver
What’s next? July’s book of the month…

A video on the book.

Why I read it: It’ next on my graphic novel pile.
Reading slot 3 Grapic Novels a month (at least)
What is it about?: R2-D2 go on a series of adventures before they get caught up in the rebellion.
Thoughts: This is episode in nature, much like the cartoon series of the same name. There is a progression from one to the next with the same villain cropping up time and again. The story and plot are aimed at younger readers with an artwork to match. All non-threatening and not all that impactful.
Score: Worth reading – to a child
I’ve also read: Many, many Star Wars books
What’s next? Droids: Rebellion
Why I read it: I’ve already read the rest of the series, it kind of makes sense.
Reading slot Spur of the moment library acquisition
What is it about?: The survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse aim for space, to see if they can find answers, and a cure.
Thoughts: Thankfully this different take on the zombie genre does once again deviate from the standard zombie survival fare by heading off to a space station. This is great fun and it’s got zombies in space.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Wrecking Crew 4 Lyfe; Appetite For Destruction; Escape From San Diego
Why I read it: My wife got this author annotated copy in a pagehabit box. It interested me so I offered to read it to her.
Reading slot Reading to my wife
What is it about?: In a land still reeling from a recently thwarted invasion a shape-changing bard tells the story of the events of that invasion.
Thoughts: This was a magnificent beginning to a series. Any hesitation about the manor of in-book story-telling to relate the events of the invasion are quickly quashed by the rich world that’s told. Each culture is beautifully realised with mannerisms, hierarchies and values unique to each one. With multiple first person PoVs the story does jump about a bit, but with it all tied together by the bard, the jumps are smooth and easy to follow. There is also a well though-out magic system that is quickly demonstrated and does make a logical sense. Also, because it was the bard providing a character’s PoV, there was a freshness to the uncertain fate of the characters in question. Usually, when a story is told from the view of a character, there’s a good chance they’ve survived their ordeals to tell the story.
In this book there is no such certainty. What was also appreciated was that, although this is the first book in the series, the story within is a complete story. So we’re not forced to read the next book for closure.
Score: Booktastic
What’s next? Spellslinger II: Shadowblack
Why I read it: I spotted this themed short-story collection in the library and picked it up.
Reading slot 1 library book a month (at least)
What is it about?: A series of short stories by different authors based in and around a futuristic Galactic Games.
Thoughts: What I liked most about this collection is that they explored all aspects of a event like this. From the event organisation, to the diplomatic or cultural fallout of game participation and outcomes. A good mirror held up to our own Earthly events enhancing the myriad issues and scandals that frequent them. With each story being different, this collection didn’t get tired by the end. I would say that George R. R. Martin’s story (the longest one here) was the weakest in that it got bogged down by describing the minutiae of a play in American Football. I’m not sporting and care little for football, American or otherwise and had no idea what half of the terms meant. The story resolution also didn’t make the drudgery of going through all that worthwhile. Otherwise a good collection.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read:
Why I read it: I enjoy the TV series and finally decided to give the source material a go. I still prefer the TV series.
Reading slot Killing time
What is it about?: During the Zombie Apocalypse, Rick and the other survivors are trying to make a life in the prison they’ve salvaged. Not everyone is happy, however.
Thoughts: For fans of the show, this book ends with a certain tank rolling up to the perimeter. After the hard reading of the previous two volumes, this book was a lot less stressful for the characters and the reader. It’s not that nothing happens in it, but it does give everyone a breather before it all kicks off again. Here we also lose another major character, further widening the gap between the books and the show. I’m beginning to get used to the black and white artwork so it doesn’t bother me as much.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Books 1-6
What’s next? Book 8, when I get hold of a copy.
Why I read it: My wife has most of the books and they were just sitting there minding their own business. So I decided to read them.
Reading slot TV tie-ins: Quantum Leap
What is it about?: Time-travelling body-swapper Sam Beckett leaps into a native American and a situation that means his friend Al Calavicci is now happily married.
Thoughts: This was quite a good character piece on Al, who doesn’t often get the spotlight in the series. I really felt his indecision in helping Sam knowing that by doing so, the beautiful woman he’s suddenly currently married to, will most likely revert to being a complete stranger to him. This leaves Sam to fend for himself as he has to completely wing it an alcoholic barman/handyman. The premise itself was pretty straightforward and cemented the series’ focus on even the tiniest of acts can have huge implications (however tenuous).
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Quantum Leap: Carny Knowledge; Knights Of The Morningstar; Prelude; Search And Rescue; Too Close For Comfort; The Wall
What’s next? Quantum Leap: Pulitzer
Why I read it: I’d read the First Fifteen Live of Harry August also by Claire North and Mort by Terry Pratchett which had a similar premise, so I picked this up from the library.
Reading slot Summer reading
What is it about?: Charlie is the harbinger of Death. He visits people all over the world, bringing them a specific gift and acts as a courtesy, or a warning, for who may follow after him.
Thoughts: This was more of a “thought piece” on Life and Death. It should have been a few pages long and have been a simple discussion of thoughts and ideas. This extremely boring and uninteresting book was 403 pages long, which was about 400 too many. Nothing really happens, then continues to go on happening. Charlie himself was rather unassuming (which made a fun subversion of expectations for the harbinger of Death…for about half a page), whose most interesting facet was that he liked collecting the football shirts of the local club teams. Woo. We do occasionally encounter the harbingers of Famine, War and Pestilence but not enough to bring the story into enjoyment. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett as well as Pratchett’s DEATH series of Discworld books handled this subject matter in a far more approachable and enjoyable way, with even more food for thought. Give this one a miss.
Score: Boring – just plain dull
I’ve also read: The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August
Why I read it: I’m reading through my entire Star Wars collection and recently picked this up.
Reading slot Star Wars Novels: Either filling gaps or rereads – Filling Gaps
What is it about?: The collection of e-short stories with the concluding novella chronicling the saga of a Sith force that crash lands on a populated planet with no technological materials.
Thoughts: I’d previously read the short stories online, so was eager to reread them and then finish off the story with the novella. When read in one go, the time jumps between stories can be a little jarring, particularly since the first three stories follow straight on from one another. Then there’s a generational jump and also a jump of 100 years. Some of the characters obviously get bumped off during the stories, but with the bigger jumps the subsequent story features all-new characters, being the descendants of the previous. In all there’s about 1,000 years spanned. This was not a problem, per say, but it’s worth noting. Unlike other Sith-focused stories where the main characters are particularly unlikable to horrendous, the characters in this book were much more relatable and even likeable. I could understand the plight of the Sith as they struggle to survive with little to know hope of reaching space again. The family dynamics weren’t just hate-filled scheming nests of distrust, but also had cohesion.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Many many many many many Star Wars books.
What’s next? The Clone Wars: Wild Space

There ya go, how did you go?
Here’s my TBR for August.


June 2018 Book Wrap-Up

Fourteen titles completed this month. So what were they and what did I think of them?
If you can’t be bothered doing that reading this, then here’s my vlog of the same:

Why I read it: Reading these to the kids while staying with the grandparents. And why now?
What is it about?: More collected comic strips chronicling the exploits of Legionnaire Beau Peep and the loonies surrounding him.
Thoughts: As usual with these collected comic strips, there’s no overarching plot or story. Just a series of jokes that resort to the daft end of humour to elicit a laugh. Something that I did a fair bit in this brilliant book.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Most of Beau Peep books 1-20
What’s next? Beau Peep Book VI
Why I read it: I liked the cover.
What is it about?: An interrogated woman gives her life story to explain how she became a killer for the Bad Monkeys secret organisation and why she came to kill a man not on the list.
Thoughts: This was certainly a little different to what I normally read. I can’t say much without giving up the plot but this read really easily, the main character, though not entirely likeable, kept my attention throughout. The humour was dark and reserved and the suspense was well delivered. The ending was a bit unexpected but did explain much of the later events in the book.
Score: Worth reading

And my Vlog review of Bad Monkeys:

Why I read it: I picked this us from the library at the same time I did book 1. I enjoyed the first one, so why not continue…?
What is it about?: It’s a few months since the events of the first volume and the group have lost a few members, but picked up some others.
Thoughts: Not quite as fun as volume one, this does fall into the standard zombie survival adventure. The compelling characters and innovative new zombie ideas still keeps the story fresh however. The artwork remains vibrant and enjoyable.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Wrecking Crew 4 Lyfe
What’s next? Fanboys Vs Zombies III: Escape From San Diego
Why I read it: I’d previously read The Humans also by Matt Haig and fancied trying another of his books.
What is it about?: An urban family try to live normal lives in a normal society. This is not so easy given that they are vampires and their teenage children are now struggling with more than just raging hormones.
Thoughts: This was an interesting take on the vampire genre. It takes the nature versus nurture aspect to the extreme. The characters were compelling, each with their own hang-ups and quirks. It was funny when it needed to be, unexpectedly bloody in places and a satisfying dig at family conformity.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: The Humans
Why I read it: Rereading these to my boys. We’re all loving every minute of it.
What is it about?: A collected comic strip chronicling the daft humans and animals living in the animal sanctuary: Liberty Meadows.
Thoughts: More great artwork and hilarious gags that can be appreciated by young and old alike (though some of the more risque gags were quickly glossed over). Highly recommended for anyone who likes to laugh.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: All 4 Liberty Meadows books
What’s next? Liberty Meadows IV: Cold, Cold Heart
Why I read it: Started reading this series from the library and really enjoying them.
What is it about?: Ghostbusters, they fight ghosts. This time they have a rival group who use a different and ultimately more problematic method.
Thoughts: Great fun, good one-liners and a stylised artwork that’s really grown on me. Actually, it’s quite surprising that the Ghostbusters don’t have more competitors out there. Full of all the great ghost busting stuff we wanna see. Shame I’m not reading these in the right order. This one did have lots of foreshadowing that features in the next volume, which I read first.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: The New Ghostbusters; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters
Why I read it: My son wanted me to read it to him…so I did.
What is it about?: Brothers Hal and Roger travel to the South Pacific to collect more specimens for their father’s zoo contacts as well as embark on a side-expedition to check up on a pearl growing experiment.
Thoughts: I have the fondest memories of being read this book when I was little and much of my love (and knowledge) of the sea has come from this book (and Blue Planet – obviously). The descriptions of the animals and locations have stayed with me all these years and paint such a vibrant picture of the story being told. It’s important to remember the era this was written, however, when reading this as there are certain attitudes and expressions which don’t go down well in today’s mindset.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Adventures: Amazon; Arctic; Diving; Elephant; Lion; Safari; Underwater; Whale
What’s next? Underwater Adventure
Why I read it: Currently working my way through some classic sci-fo
What is it about?: A crew who survay uninhabited planets within the human sphere have a series of adventures.
Thoughts: This reads more like a short story collection as the crew run through an episodic sequence of situations. This was an enjoyable romp that perhaps suffered from no discernible character development. Some fun ideas here.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Killer Planet; Medusa’s Children; Night Walk; The Two-Timers; Warren Peace: Who Goes Here?
What’s next? Orbitsville
Why I read it: I’ve been reading through my Michael Crichton collection and this reread is the last one to go.
What is it about?: An expedition to the Congo is mysteriously attacked by something resembling a gorilla, so a second team is sent in accompanied by a sign-language speaking gorilla.
Thoughts: It’s been at least 20 years since I last read this and remembered it so vividly. Some wonderfully thought out concepts and technologies – all written before 1980. In that some of it has dated a little, but not nearly as much as the awful film.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Jurassic Park; Jurassic Park: The Lost World; Next; Prey; The Sphere; State Of Fear; The Terminal Man; Timeline
What’s next? Riftwar I: Magician
Why I read it: Marvin the Martian meets Martian Manhunter, that’s why.
What is it about?: In a bizarre crossover the heroes of DC find themselves matching up with the zany characters from Looney Tunes.
Thoughts: This was a lot of fun. This features a series of tales featuring two accounts of particular pairing. In each case, one is told in the DC Superhero style of artwork and story and then there’s a second story told in the Looney Tunes style and artwork. Buggs Bunny meeting the future super quad was entertaining, particularly the editor’s commentary but it was unfortunate that the Loony Tunes story was just a retelling of the original. Both stories for Marvin the Marian meeting Martian Manhunter were great. Wonder Woman meeting the Tasmanian Devil was an interesting idea that perhaps went on a bit too long. Wil E Coyote swapping places with Lobo was by far the funniest and my favourite pairing in this book. Batman and Elma Fudd took a brilliant Film Noir style approach with a bar full of humanised Looney Tunes. Then followed the ever brilliant Duck Season sketch, but this time it’s Bat Season!
Score: Buy it
Why I read it: I’d recently read the first three and found this matching 4th book in a charity shop.
What is it about?: The animals on the river bank are getting older and finding they have new responsibilities, particularly when a developer sets his sights on the Wild Woods.
Thoughts: This is without a doubt the end of the series. It’s a very bittersweet tale of life and the passage of years and the end of things. I must confess I was a mess by the end of this one. Full of the delicate charm of the rest of the series, this one also packs one hell of a punch.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: The Wind In The Willows; The Willows In Winter; Toad Triumphant
What’s next? Inkworld III: Inkdeath
Why I read it: It’s one of the dwindling Terry Pratchett books I’ve not read yet.
What is it about?: A series of Terry’s earlier short stories, largely set in his fictional town of Blueberry.
Thoughts: This is more your younger readers but fans of the Discworld series may enjoy spotting the origins of some of the ideas that were started here. Most notably was The Computer who believed in Santa who has more than a passing resemblance to Hex (built by Ponder Stibbons of the Unseen University). These are fun if otherwise forgettable stories written by a young man yet to find his niche. The text is literally spruced up by being differing fonts and sizes and are accompanied by Quentin Wilson’s illustrations.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: All of Discworld; Johnny Maxwell trilogy; Bromeliad trilogy; Dodger; Nation; The Dark Side Of The Sun; The Long Earth series (with Stephen Baxter); Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman) The Carpet People; The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner; The Dragons At Crumbling Castle
What’s next? Nation
Why I read it: As my all-time favourite series, I am constantly rereading them. This one’s next.
What is it about?: In a parody of the story Faust, a young necromancer attempts to summon a demon to grant him three wishes. What he gets is the failed wizard Rincewind and more than he bargained for.
Thoughts: I don’t know the story which this is parodying but really enjoy this nonetheless. This time round I read the fully illustrated version which is stuffed full of spectacular pieces of art. Terry’s unique view on the world and his wonderful wit shines through marvellously.
Score: Booktastic
I’ve also read: See above
What’s next? Discworld: Moving Pictures
Why I read it: I’ve been enjoying this series even though I’ve been getting them out of order from the library.
What is it about?: Ghosts get busted by a bunch of ‘professionals’, this time a mysterious benefactor sends them to do a job abroad.
Thoughts: Still filled with a good dose of fun and adventure, even if it’s filled with foreshadowing for a later volume. Not as strong as the other ones I’ve read, but still good.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: The New Ghostbusters; Who Ya Gonna Call?; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters

My July TBR Vlog:


May 2018 Book Wrap-Up

Fifteen titles completed this month. What were they and what did I think of them?
If you can’t be bothered with the reading malarkey, here’s my vlog of the same:

Why I read it: I’ve already read the first two of the trilogy, might as well finish it off.
What is it about?: Someone has weaponised the Xenomorphs and are using them to conquer the human sphere. Humans and Yauja must team up to stop the mutual threat.
Thoughts: After two pretty solid books on the developing Rage War, this final entry was a little bit of a letdown. Despite the losses in the previous books, this did suffer a bit from having too many characters, many of which were just hanging around not doing very much. The Xenomorph attacks were just there to be violent, with the motivation behind the attacks as whimsical as ‘just because’. Again the team ups between human and predator made for some awesome scenes, but I can’t help feeling this trilogy would have been better as a duology. The ending was a bold move, and has certainly left things open for some potentially really interesting stories.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: The Rage War: Predator: Incursion; Alien: Invasion
Aliens: Bug Hunt; Cauldron; Earth Hive; The Female War; Genocide; The Labyrinth; The Music Of The Spears; Nightmare Asylum
Predator: Big Game; Cold War; Concrete Jungle; Flesh And Blood; If It Bleeds
Aliens Vs. Predator: Hunter’s Planet; Prey; War
What’s next? June’s book of the month of course (don’t know yet)

My vlog review of AVP:

Why I read it: After 2 books and a prequel, I need answers damnit!
What is it about?: A bunch of kids are put through torturous and deadly trials for an increasingly unlikely reason. Hopefully everything is justified here.
Thoughts: Don’t waste your time with this series. The first book had the charm at least of its setting and questions to be answered later. Unfortunately, by the time I got to this book, I’d stopped caring about the characters, the questions were circumvented or just pointless and the ending was a moist guff of air. A story that really suffered from having a great concept, but no good follow through.
Score: Worth reading – for completeness sake
I’ve also read: Kill Order; The Maze Runner; The Scorch Trials
Why I read it: My wife had picked this up in the library and I finished reading Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams to her whilst we were staying with my parents. I started reading this to her…then read her the whole thing.
What is it about?: Kellen is on the cusp of becoming a mage, but a set of circumstances threatens everything he has worked so hard to accomplish.
Thoughts: This was quite the surprise. Not having picked the book myself, I had no idea what I was getting myself in for. I was immediately enamoured by the lead character in his self-depreciating manner. All the main characters were very enjoyable to read even if the bad guys were perhaps a little generic.
It was great seeing how this story was able to deconstruct the civilisation that Kellen took so much for granted.
There was a good magic system that made sense and followed its own set of well thought-out rules.
We enjoyed this so much we promised ourselves to keep an eye out for book two.
Score: Buy it
What’s next? The Seventh Kenning I: A Plague Of Giants by Kevin Hearne
Why I read it: Spotted this in the library and thought I’d give it a go. Particularly as they rarely stock book 1 of anything.
What is it about?: While dropping a notorious pirate from her past into space prison, Blue finds herself having to join forces with him to survive an unexpected betrayal.
Thoughts: I appreciated the complex world that has been created here, even though none of the aspects were particularly fleshed out. The story itself ploughed along easily enough with some nice unexpected turns. The main issue I had with this story was the relationship between Blue and the pirate, which felt forced and unnecessary and really bogged the story down in places.
I’m glad I read it, but I’m also glad I borrowed it. Will look out for book 2 as there was enough here to keep me interested.
Score: Worth reading
What’s next? The Radleys by Matt Haig
Why I read it: I’d already read book I: Eden to my kids, so why not press on?
What is it about?: A collected comic strip chronicling the exploits of the humans and animals inhabiting the animal sanctuary Liberty Meadows.
Thoughts: Separate volumes of collected comic strips are never that distinctive but I can say that the quality of the artwork and humour has remained just as high as it was with book one. Admittedly, this can get a little risque for children, so I’ve had to edit or quickly pass over certain panels. We all enjoyed this one.
Score: Buy it
I’ve also read: Liberty Meadows: Eden; Summer Of Love; Cold, Cold Heart
What’s next? Liberty Meadows III: Summer Of Love
Why I read it: Because it’s the next one chronologically I’ve got but haven’t read yet, that’s why.
What is it about?: Han, Chewbacca and Leia and investigating a mystery on a planet. Meanwhile, a badly injured Luke, aided by C-3P0 fights to survive on an automated installation set to destroy the planet Han and Leia are on
Thoughts: This really is a book of two halves. Luke’s chapters are gripping and really move the story along. The chapters on the planet are so slow and uninteresting I couldn’t even remember what the mystery was while reading the book. I was wanting to get on and see what Luke was getting up to. The action-packed conclusion just sort of fizzled out with a …to be continued, which was a bit annoying.
Score: Worth reading – for completeness sake
I’ve also read: A lot of Star Wars.
What’s next? More Star Wars
Why I read it: I’d previously borrowed it from the library and had read the main story, but not the penny dreadful at the back. Thought I’d give it another go.
What is it about?: Quaitermass, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jeckyll, Captain Nemo and WHF??? are recruited by a mysterious character to recover a special artefact.
Thoughts: Despite the really interesting premise and the superhero-style match-up, this was a real failure of execution. None of the characters were likable or relatable, the story was unnecesarily long-winded and the artwork is not nice to say the least. The penny dreadful at the end really was dreadful, again despite the great ideas that went into it. The film was so much better than this.
Score: Main story: Worth reading. Penny dreadful: Boring – just plain dull.
I’ve also read: The League Of Extraordinay Gentlement Vol. 2
Why I read it: I enjjoyed the TV series and was curious about the origional storyline. Put it off for ages due do the black and white artwork.
What is it about?: In the zombie apocalypse surviving isn’t just food, water, shelter and keeping the undead away. In this volume Michonne has a change to get her revenge on the Governor.
Thoughts: Wow, I though the previous issue was hard reading. Michonne doesn’t pull any punches here. Let’s just say the live-action version of the Governor gets off very lightly. Other stuff also happened, but they sort of paled in comparison to the main and very graphic event.
Score: Worth reading.
I’ve also read: The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye; Miles Behind Us; Safety Behind Bars; The Best Defence; The Heart’s Desire
What’s next? The Walking Dead VII; The Calm Before
Why I read it: Determined to read all the Goosebumps in the house. Beginning to wonder if it’s worth it.
What is it about?: A boy and a friend get the chance to be the first to try out his dad’s brand new horror theme park, but not all is at it appears.
Thoughts: I started of genuinely thinking this one had promise. No, it wasn’t scary at all but it did have that increasing sense of unease. That is, until the final twist is revealed and the whole thing turned to pure garbage.
Score: Boring – just plain dull
I’ve also read: Quite a few Goosebumps now.
What’s next? Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask II
Why I read it: Gotta read five of these…
What is it about?: Despite the chaos it cause last year, a complete nitwit bullies the previous victim of the haunted mask as to where she got it from. He then deserves everything coming to him.
Thoughts: This guy was probably the bully in the previous story and comes across as a complete knob. Everything he does is stupid and annoying and the whole story just didn’t do anything.
Score: Boring – just plain dull
I’ve also read: Lots of Goosebumps, not many good ones.
What’s next? Goosebumps: Bad Hare Day
Why I read it: Because…that’s why! This is also a reread.
What is it about?: A fan of stage magic sneaks out one evening to see his hero perform, then steals his bag of tricks.
Thoughts: This is one of the better Goosebumps I’ve read lately, with a likeable lead who makes, if not the best choices, at least justifiable ones. Once he started playing with the magic tricks (which, of course, turned out to be real magic) I thought we’d really get to see something…but no. Opportunity massively missed there. The twist at the end was a good one, if you don’t think about it too much.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read:
What’s next? Goosebumps: Egg Monsters From Mars
Why I read it: I’d previous borrowed this from the library and now that I’m adding graphic novels to my goodreads, I thought I’d reread it so I could write this ‘review’.
What is it about?: Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade want to get married. Many are happy with this arrangement. Others…not so much.
Thoughts: For the most part, this is a gentle wedding preamble as the happy couple got through their preparations and talk about their worries. Nothing terribly exciting but all very non-threatening too. Interspersed in all this are a group of Empire sympathisers who want to cause an upheaval. Obviously, they fail and the final resolution is a little meh, but does send the message the New Republic desperately needs. My main criticism is the artwork which is cited on the back as being ‘illustrated with photographic realism’. That Luke looks like Christopher Walken in one panel and Tommy Lee-Jones in another does make me question the validity of this statement.
Score: Boring – just plain dull
I’ve also read: More Star Wars books to list than I’ve got room for.
Why I read it: Some reason I’ve forgotten now.
What is it about?: During an egg hunt, one lad finds an egg that’s not come from a chicken…or anything from this planet.
Thoughts: I remember reading this one before but had forgotten most of it because Buffy The Vampire Slayer did a similar story line so much better. Anyway, this was okay and followed a reasonably logical sequence of events without any real panache. I did like the twist at the end though.
Score: Worth reading
I’ve also read: Quite a few Goosebumps now.
What’s next? Goosebumps: Night Of The Living Dummy III
Why I read it: ‘Cos I said so.
What is it about?: Kids get lost in the woods. End up playing a game with some monsters.
Thoughts: I have no memory of reading this one before and I know I did. Nothing in here was scary, only irritating or annoying. Even the twist at the end.
Score: Worth reading – for completeness sake
I’ve also read: Too many of these now.
What’s next? Goosebumps: Night Of The Living Dummy III
Why I read it: A fun-looking read I spotted in the library
What is it about?: A group of friends with history go to the Comic Con in San Diego. Then the zombies start doing their thing.
Thoughts: This was even more fun than I’d thought. A true zombie apocalypse story taken in some interesting new directions. The artwork was fun and vibrant and the characters really bounced off of each other. It was also fun seeing all the zombies wearing various cosplay outfits.
Score: Buy it
What’s next? Fanboys Vs. Zombies II: Appetite For Destruction

Here’s my TBR for the month of June:


April 2018 Book Wrap-Up

I managed 13 books this month.
What were they and what did I think of them?
If you don’t fancy doing that reading thing, here’s my video of the same sort of thing:

Why I read it: We enjoyed the Channel 4 TV series of the same name, and saw this as a great opportunity to read the original stories the episodes were based upon to my wife.
What is it about?: This is a short story collection by Philip K. Dick.
Thoughts: Having not read much from Philip K. Dick (The Cosmic Puppets being the only title so far), it was interesting to be exposed to some more of his work. Certainly, compared to other science fiction authors, his stories have not dated brilliantly, hence the TV series that updated them. Having said that, he had some very intriguing observations to make about the human species and the human condition that is as true today as it was when there were written.
The stories themselves were not too long, so made for an easy consumption over a fortnight of one story a night (with the final story being a little longer). Each one sucked us in very quickly and left us with a fair bit to discuss afterwards. This is the hallmark of a great science fiction story: the ability to bring out discussion about them afterwards.
Score: Worth reading
What’s next? Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
Why I read it: I was contacted by the author, David Meredith on Twitter asking if I would like to try his self-published book. As he was good enough to post me a free copy of course I was going to read it. It turned up right at the beginning of the month so I made it April’s book of the month.
What is it about?: A dying girl is given the opportunity to cheat death whilst her sister finds herself thrust into the limelight as she becomes the face of the company with this new technology.
Thoughts: I honestly had no idea what this was about so had no preconceptions about it. The story typically bounced between the two sisters and with only the occasional focus on another character. There was enough going on with both girls that it didn’t matter which one the story turned to, I was interested to know what happens with them next. With some stories that do this, there’s that one character that you don’t care about at all and you just want to get that chapter over with so you can get back to the stuff you want to read. I found Aaru didn’t suffer from this, perhaps excepting the Miracle Man chapters – but there weren’t that many of them.
I found the realm of Aaru – the virtual place where the dying sister finds herself to be nicely imaginative, though perhaps lacking a level of detail that I personally would have preferred. However, it is left suitably vague to allow readers to fill the blanks themselves. There are some interesting choices regarding the interaction with the outside world which are flummoxing, but it goes to show just how a manufactured utopia/heaven can only ever be flawed.
Meanwhile, the sister experiences first-hand the meaning of being a celebrity with the big question over whether the benefits really do outweigh the downfalls.
If nothing else, this story certainly does a good job being a science fiction story by giving the reader plenty to think about and talk about if they know others who have read it. With big subjects such as the afterlife, the morality of cheating dead, being famous and how it can only take one or two individuals to completely ruin something for everyone else. It is a book that I still think about nearly a month after reading it and one that will stay with me for a good while still.
The writing flowed in a way that allowed a very easy read with the science and neurology explanations being not at all condescending.
Also check out my video review:
Score: Buy it
What’s next? The Rage War 3: Aliens Vs. Predator: Armageddon
Why I read it: I’ve already read the first two of the series and enjoyed them immensely. Thankfully spotted this in the local library.
What is it about?: The Pirate Stream, a magical sea that connects worlds, is under threat of being erased from existence, leaving the crew of the Enterprising Kraken to race against the clock to try to avert disaster.
Thoughts: Where the first two books were more of an exploratory adventure, this really kept the pulse going with its intense overhanging threat. Some new characters added to the mix kept things interesting between the existing characters and the final revelation, though seen coming, was quite the kick in the teeth. As before, this book contains some wonderful illustrations that really do help immerse the reader in the world on the Pirate Streem.
Score: Buy it
Why I read it: Spotted this lying about my parents’ house, thought I’d give it a go.
What is it about?: This chronicles the highs and lows of James Herriot’s first year as a practising country vet in rural Yorkshire in the early to mid 1900s.
Thoughts: No so much a story as a series of anecdotal tales. Each chapter focuses on one of Herriot’s experiences either with the animals, the farmers, the locals or with the vet in charge. They are informative and for the most part humorous. This was quite the eye opener on just how different life is now compared with seventy years ago.
Score: Worth reading

Why I read it: Finished going through all the Calvin and Hobbs books with the boys (co-read by my father so I can’t count them on my books read list). Not read these for a while and thought the boys might like them.
What is it about?: A collected cartoon strip (featured in The Star) following Legionnaire Bert “Beau” Peep who has joined the French Foreign Legion to get away from his horrific girlfriend.
Thoughts: These comics strips are chock-full of hilarious and silly gags as it seems as if everyone in the desert is either stark raving bonkers, or just plain stupid. From Beau trying to communicate effectively with his terminally stupid best friend Denis Pratt to trying to face something the disgustingly unhygienic and inept cook Ego has prepared, the humour is always silly and mostly very funny. I’ve listed books 1, 2 and 4 together here, as they’re simply different volumes of the same comic strip meaning that there’s nothing really in one book that isn’t in the others, just a continual enjoyment..
Score: Buy it
What’s next? Beau Peep book 5, of course.
Why I read it: I bought this for my younger son, and in retaliation, he’s made me read it to him.
What is it about?: Four young people discover that they have been destined to become dragonriders and be paired up with a dragon of their own and go on adventures. It’s a shame that one of them is deathly afraid of dragons, and heights.
Thoughts: My son enjoyed this story very much and is eagerly waiting for me to get him the next one. I found it reasonably harmless, if a bit dull. The concept of the dragonrider who’s so terrified of their matched dragon that they throw up was interesting but did have the obvious trope of overcoming her fears. There was a villain, of sorts who wanted to hunt the dragons but with only a minor altercation, there wasn’t much more to that side story (there was one thing, but it was a little subtle and my son missed it).
Score: Worth reading: to a child
What’s next? Muddle Earth Too
Why I read it: I’m still working my way through my Star Wars graphic novels.
What is it about?: A cabal of masterless Jedi leave the order in an attempt to assassinate the maniacal mechanical menace.
Thoughts: I have read this one before and had very little memory of it. Having just read it again, I still don’t really remember it. The story is so simple it’s instantly forgettable and the poor artwork lacked any dynamic action. It read simply enough, if a little too simple.
Score: Worth reading: for completeness sake.
What’s next? Star Wars: Droids
Why I read it: I spotted this in the local library and thought I’d try it.
What is it about?: Mysterious medical deaths are occurring and it’s left to a team of specialists to discover who’s been dabbling with what dodgy substances.
Thoughts: This had a distinct X-Files feel to it, with the main characters being very reminiscent of Mulder and Scully (excepting that the Mulder character talks to the memory of a woman he killed and who is a continued presence to him). This volume deals with two cases: invisibility and werewolves. I very much enjoyed the stories and the directions in which they took. It was particularly refreshing when they bumped off a major character in the second of the two stories, a particularly grisly scene.
Some very interesting characters couple with a gritty plot and artwork made this a very enjoyable read.
Bring on volume 2 please.
Score: Booktastic
Why I read it: I’ve finally gotten round to reading the rest of this series.
What is it about?: After solving the titular Maze, the group of survivors find themselves facing an even bigger challenge: to cross the burned wasteland known as the Scorch.
Thoughts: Like with the last book, this one still is quite reserved regarding any answers or explanations as to why, as a reader, I should care. Thomas seems to be an okay character, but one who is so clueless as to what is going on around him. Coupled with his half remembered previous life, it just makes him less of a protagonist, but more of a reactionist.
Again there are some impossible leaps of believability that, as a reader, I was made to make in regards to certain scenes and situations. And what’s was with the metal balls that decapitated people? No explanation nor any reasoning.
I only hope that the next book gives me some answers.
Score: Worth reading: provided book three makes the journey worthwhile.
What’s next? The Maze Runner III: The Death Cure
Why I read it: Another library spot I fancied giving a go.
What is it about?: A superstar footballer, his wife and infant son crash land on a mysterious island. The cost of survival is the loss of humanity.
Thoughts: This is very much Lost meets Tarzan on steroids. The story is wonderfully split between Then and Now. Then shows the events of the crash and the family’s attempts to survive in a strange land. Now has a different of visceral artwork showing events a few years later as what’s survived tries to make its way home.
There are quite a few unexplained things that I would like to see made relevant in later issues, particularly the bouncing water. The final scene was very satisfying with a whole new take on the whole Tarzan in the city theme.
Score: Booktastic
Why I read it: With the boys enjoying Beau Peep and Calvin and Hobbs, I thought they might enjoy this crazy and hilarious series.
What is it about?: Liberty Meadows is an animal sanctuary where anthropomorphic animals live under the care of psychiatric Brandy and vet Frank.
Thoughts: As a reread, this is still very funny. The boys also very much enjoyed it. The crazy antics of Ralph and Leslie to the lovestruck Frank’s pathetic attempts to win Brandy’s heart, this zany comic strip regularly brought out the laughs. Truman the duck is the boys particular favourite.
Score: Booktastic
What’s next? Liberty Meadows II: Creature Comforts.

Here’s my TBR for May:


March 2018 Book Wrap Up

Yes, I know this is exactly one month late, but here’s my March wrap up.
I managed 10 books.
This is what there were and what I thought of them.
If you don’t fancy reading, here’s my VLOG of the same:

Why I read it: I’m wanting to read the Aliens and Predator books on my shelf I’ve not yet read. Working my way through this enjoyable trilogy.
What is it about?: With the Yaujta coming further into the human sphere, a full-blown invasion soon follows with armies of Xenomorphs.
Thoughts: This was an exciting and gripping tale on an epic scale. Thankfully many of the questions arising from book 1 are answered in this one, particularly pertaining to who is leaning the invasion. There’s some brilliant character development with only one exception. I can’t give away more without revealing spoilers, so I won’t.
I enjoyed this one very much and it has certainly built upon the first book. I can’t wait for the final book of the trilogy.
Score: Booktastic
What’s next? The Rage War III: Aliens Vs. Predator: Armageddon
Why I read it: I had enjoyed Iron Eclipse so thought I’d try the second volume from the library. Turned out I had read it before
What is it about?: Jahan Cross, agent of the Empire, is on a new case: to mediate an interfamily dispute. With murder, kidnapping and conspiracy, Cross has to decide which side is the right one.
Thoughts: Another fantastic James Bondesque adventure that truly shows the vagaries of right and wrong regarding blind allegiance to a power. Despite his aloof character, Cross is a very likable hero of the Empire. With stunning artwork and clever politicking, this made for a truly enjoyable Star Wars story. If ever Disney run out of Star Wars ideas, they would do well to consider a Jahan Cross TV series.
Score: Buy it
Why I read it: I had planned to read the whole series on the flights to and from Florida in February. Failed miserably so making do with one a month.
What is it about?: Thomas wakes up in the middle of a giant maze. Apart from his name he has no idea who he is, why he’s in a giant maze, nor how he can help the other children he finds there.
Thoughts: I enjoyed rereading this one which I last read before the film came out (still not seen it). It’s a slightly irritating tale that is very slow giving any answer at all, mostly because none of the featured characters have any answers. I shared Thomas’s frustration in not know just what was going on. My other slight issue is with the implausible scale of the maze itself. The whole thing does seem to be a bit much to do what I think they’re trying to do.
However, if you just go with it, the ride is enjoyable enough.
Score: Worth reading
What’s next? The Maze Runner 2: The Scorch Trials.
Why I read it: I had enjoyed the New Ghostbusters and was interested to read other books from the series. Spotted this one in the local library.
What is it about?: A transportation malfunction sees the turtles cross dimensions into the Ghostbusters world. The two teams of heroes join forces to thwart a significant threat.
Thoughts: Despite the fact that I’m not really a TMNT fan, I must confess to really enjoying this. The humour was well used, the action scenes worked well and the personal stakes were thoughtfully set. The story flowed well, despite all the extra characters.
My only issues were the ending, which seemed to be an unnecessary TBC… and the art style, which is throughout the series, is not to my personal taste.
Score: Buy it
Why I read it: Spotted this in my local library and thought I’d give it a go.
What is it about?: Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca use Rebellion contacts to acquire a vital piece of information and work with some new recruits to do it.
Thoughts: This was a bit different to other Star Wars graphic novels I’ve read. It is told through the eyes of new Rebellion fighters as they meet and work with the heroes and have to make an adjustment between the legend and the flesh and blood beings before them. The story itself is a little basic, but as it’s more of an exploration of altering perceptions, that’s only a minor thing. Due to the three-pronged approach, sequentially introducing all the characters, this story is a bit laboured getting going, but once I understood what it was trying to go for, I was happy to go with. The ending was particularly rewarding.
The artwork was also reasonably good..
Score: Worth reading
Why I read it: I’ve wanted to read this one for a while, it’s the only one of the 4 books of the series I haven’t gotten my hands on.
What is it about?: During a time of peace negotiations between the Sith Empire and the Jedi Order, the Sith destroy the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. A now masterless Jedi seeks revenge on her master’s murderer and travels to Coruscant with a smuggler with issues of his own.
Thoughts: Despite being so keen to read this, it did take me a long time to get into it. However, once the characters start heading to Coruscant, the story really picked up and I was gripped right to the very satisfactory conclusion. I found the characters here very well fleshed-out with an equal focus on their flaws and failings as on their strengths and successes. I particularly liked the relationships between Darth Malgus and his Twi’lek slave/lover as well as with the Jedi and the smuggler.
Score: Buy it
Why I read it: I’ve already read the first three of the series to my wife, so why stop there? Exactly!
What is it about?: While Valkyrie Caine seeks to retrieve Skulduggery Pleasant from the Faceless Ones’ domain, their enemies have made an unseemly alliance and plan to move against the Sancturary itself.
Thoughts: I’d say this is definitely on par with the previous three books, with the stakes that little higher and the cost to our heroes a little steeper. There’s some interesting new characters and some welcome returns. What I love about this series is that which almost every character, I’m left guessing as to their true intentions.
Score: Buy it
What’s next? Philip K. Dicks Electric Dreams
Why I read it: Because I want to reread all my graphic novels and also happen to seriously enjoy this series.
What is it about?: As the Clone Wars comes to an end, Order 66 is triggered. This is the story of some of the Jedi who survive.
Thoughts: This is a brilliant volume covering one of the most pivotous times of the Jedi Order. This is told in three parts:
Into the Unknown: This introduces the Jedi Dass Jennir as he is finds himself joining forces with the very people he was leading his former clone troopers against. It’s a gentle beginning to the fantastic Dark Times series. This tale is also interspersed with following other Jedi and the different decisions they make in order to survive.
Hidden Enemy : This features the excellent Quinlan Vos who narrowly survives the attack upon himself by his clone troopers. A haunting struggle for life while mourning the death of Aayla Secura coupled with the comic relief of the Devaronian Villie. Edge of the seat story-telling with a real payoff at the end. Wondrously drawn too.
Purge: I have previously read this earlier in the year in the graphic novel on the same name. A bunch of Jedi lure Darth Vader into a trap in order to destroy him. It doesn’t go well for them. A good, action-filled story, well illustrated and with the untimely ending of numerous characters that had featured throughout the series.
Score: Booktastic!
What’s next? Star Wars: General Grevious
Why I read it: Going chronologically though my Star Wars books, this one’s next.
What is it about?: Rogue Squadron pilot Corran Horn ‘s wife Mirax goes missing and so Corran must discover his Jedi heritage in order to track her down and rescue her.
Thoughts: This was a big book at nearly 600 pages and probably the biggest Star Wars book I’ve read to date. Also, this had a slightly different feel in that it was told from the first person, Corran’s I did enjoy this book, but did find that it did meander for a bit and took a long time to get going. It didn’t help that a goodly chunk of the story followed Corran at the Jedi temple on Yavin 4 and was just a rehash of the events chronicled in the Jedi Apprentice trilogy but told from Corran’s point of view.
Apart from that, it was quite enjoyable.
Score: Worth buying
What’s next? Star Wars: Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson
Why I read it: I wanted to reread Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series while staying with my parents, so that’s what I’m doing.
What is it about?: Super thief, Jim DeGriz finds himself fighting a time war against an entity who wants to own everything.
Thoughts: I love these easy-going books that take a poignant look at humanity and war. This is a fun time-travel yarn that sees Slippery Jim in Earth’s past and far future. Just as fun and enjoyable as the rest of the series.
Score: Buy it.
What’s next? The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You

As for what I had planned for April, there’s a vlog for that:


February 2018 Book Wrap-Up

Only 6 books this month.
What were they and what did I think of them?

I’ve also done a vlog for this on booktube:

Why I reread it: I’m currently reading book 7 to my wife and have watched the first two seasons and fancied going back to the beginning.
What is it about?: Even though humans have colonised the planets and moons of the solar system, they still find themselves embroiled in conspiracies. Ice Hauler EO James Holden finds himself in a system-wide conspiracy and Detective Miller, on a missing person’s case, soon crosses paths with Holden.
Thoughts: This was utterly amazing the first time I read it and is probably even better with the reread. I always find it interesting how much or little the actors’ faces replace my preconceived interpretations if I’ve seen the tv show or movie in between reads. It’s a testimony of the casting that has seen most of the characters being replaced by the actors.
As for the book, I had so much fun with it and am very impressed with how the series has maintained this high level of quality.
Score: Booktastic
Why I read it: I’ve been reading this series to my wife, as and when they become available. This is the latest in the series.
What is it about?: After a 30-year gap following book 6, both the Rocinante and her crew are feeling older and are preparing to move into a new chapter of their lives. Until something happens that once again threatens all of humanity.
Thoughts: Not wanting to mention too much here due to spoilers, I can say that this book is on par with the rest of the series. The stakes are as high as ever and the characters as so well developed they feel like family by this point. Need the next book!
Score: Booktastic
What’s next? Skulduggery Pleasant IV: Dark Days by Derek Landy
Why I read it: I’ve decided to tackle my unread Aliens and Predator books by making them my books foof the months. Kicking off this trilogy.
What is it about?: Set in the Alien universe after known contact with both the Xenomorph and Yaujta species has occurred, the sphere of humanity are suddenly experienced a greater number of Yaujta-related attacks.
Thoughts: After a slowish and uneven start, this book really picks up the pace and became very thrilling and exciting. The story follows three main characters (with the occasional view of another one or two) as they simultaneously find out the truth behind the increased Yaujta incursions. By the end of the book I was hooked and am eagerly waiting for March to read the next one.
Score: Worth buying.
What’s next? Alien Vs. Predator: The Rage War II: Alien: Invasion by Tim Lebbon
Why I read it: Went on a family trip to Disney World in Florida meaning an accumulated 16 hours of flight-time. Figured I could read the Maze Runner series in that time.
What is it about?: Set before the events of the original trilogy, this chronicles the events directly following the catastrophic solar flares.
Thoughts: To date, I’ve only read the original Maze Runner so cannot say how, if at all, it links to the main series. There are a couple of nods in the prologue and epilogue, but they’re so removed from the main story that I’m not sure if they were worth it.
The story itself follows a group of survivors after they are randomly attacked by a flare-dispensing group. It’s a mix of adventure and survival as they go on a trek for answers.
There’s a lot of intensive action that was exhausting enough to read, leading to the unlikelihood of the heroes being able to keep on going. It’s amazing they were able to even stand unaided, let alone get involved in yet another altercation.
It became quite apparent the direction the story was going and did indeed end along the lines that I feared it would leaving a somewhat bleak conclusion.
Score: Worth reading
What’s next? The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Why I reread it: It’s the next book in my graphic novel rereads.
What is it about?: As the Clone Wars nears the end, trouble Jedi Quinlan Vos needs to make a final decision regarding his loyalties.
Thoughts: This is told over two stories that link to each other so smoothly that they’re better described as two chapters. This story very much felt like the beginning of the end in that certain character arcs come to their conclusions as well as Quinlan finally realised just who he’s going to be.
I won’t say more than that, to avoid revealing spoilers. The artwork is first-rate again and I very much enjoyed the story. It was also fantastic to see one Jedi who done little more than sit about, show just what he can do.
Score: Booktastic!
What’s next? Star Wars: Clone Wars IX: Endgame
Why I read it: My wife got this out of the library and I wanted to give it a go, so I did.
What is it about?: The ghostbusting team get kidnapped by a force and sent to another dimension leaving their positions to be filled by convenient stand-ins.
Thoughts: Released before the recent Ghostbusters remake/reboot, this story features the female-dominant ghostbusting team that the film should have perhaps gone for. I’d not read any of the other stories in this series, but the character introduction page at the beginning brilliantly and effectively brought me up to speed with who’s who and how they fit into the backstory.
The adventure itself was split between the original team’s attempt to return home and the new team’s attempt to function despite the sexist corporate management of them. This was funny, insightful and with a decent ghost to bust. My only gripe is more of a personal one in that I did find the artwork to all that to my liking.
Score: Buy it