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11-11-2019, 20:19   #61
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Scrublands by Chris Hammer

This is a crime novel and the second one of Chris Hamner. His first was a non fiction book so its kind of a debut. Hammer is Australian and this is also set in Australia.It is set in a small country town where a priest has come out after saying Mass and then suddenly started shooting people. He kills five people and then kills himself.No one knows why he did it.

A year later, a journalist, Martin Scarsden arrives in town to do a story on it as its the 1 year anniversary of the tragedy.He begins talking to people in the town and gradually uncovers new information. Then something happens in the town leading to all media descending on it again and Scarsden is in the middle of things. Things get very dangerous as there are people with secrets to hide and will do anything to keep them hidden.

I really enjoyed this book as its full of twists and turns until the truth is revealed. Hammer is a former journalist himself so he really knows how the media side works in news stories. The story is complex and is very good. The only cliche is the troubled journalist sent to do a fluff piece that ends up a lot bigger. Even with this, its a very good read and definitely recommended if you like thrillers or crime novels.
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12-11-2019, 20:06   #62
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Powers Bureau Series by Bendis and Oeming
Powers Bureau, Vol 1:Undercover
Powers Bureau, Vol 2:Icons


This graphic novel/comic series is the sequel to the Powers series which I have not read. Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim are federal agents and after Chicago was nearly destroyed in an incident, anyone with super powers has to be registered (think Tony Stark!) And now all superpower crime is a federal crime so thats where our heroes investigate.

This is kind of a mixed genre where there are a few laughs and some action too. They are drawn in a minimalistic style as you may see from the front covers.There are a load of fun stuff in this as they battle people with powers and crime families. Women getting pregnant just by touching a hand also!

This is definitely recommended if you like some good laughs as well as a story with action.I think it was made into a recent TV series that was just cancelled. Never saw it but did anyone else watch it or read the first Powers series?!
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13-11-2019, 18:38   #63
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4 kids walk into a Bank by Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss

This graphic novel/comic is about what it says on the cover. 4 kids walk into a bank to rob it! Paige and her 3 male friends are all around 11 or 12 years old. Paige learns her Dad and 3 of his old friends are going to rob a bank. His friends seem like idiots so she thinks they all will be caught. She doesn't want to lose her dad to prison so what should she do? She enlists her friends help to rob the bank first!!!

This sounds like a kids comic but it is far from that! There are lots of swearing so its more like Quentin Tarantino style! Good action and very very funny. The kids are hopeless too as they are only kids so things go wrong from the start.

Each chapter begins with the kids playing a game like Dungeons and Dragons and arguing over who is doing what within the game. Then it switches to them swearing and trying to plot the robbery! If it sounds strange, its because it is! Somehow the whole thing works with the dark humour and F-Bombs!

One of the kids is quiet and introverted and when he talks the font is really small so its really hard to make out what he is saying so it emphasises how quiet he is! A nice touch that made me laugh!

The story is really about their friendship and growing up so its like the Goonies crossed with Reservoir Dogs.The dark hunour had me laughing out loud so if you like that kind of thing too then this is recommended.
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20-11-2019, 18:19   #64
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Brian Boru: Ireland's Warrior King by Damien Goodfellow

This is an Irish graphic novel/comic about Brian Boru and as I like history it has been on my to be read list for ages. I'm not sure what it is about this and the Cu Chulainn comic but they both have the same thing in common. Not much is explained and the story flies along too quick.

I really wanted to like this and to some extent I did but there are a lot of issues with this comic. The reader is just thrown into things without an introduction and things fly along. Then the biggest problem is that everything seems very dark. Panels are drawn with loads of brown,black and dark colours. I didn't particularly like the artwork in this one so it was a lot more difficult to read than it could have been.

The way the story flies along is a problem as it all seems too congested. We know these tales are very long but it feels like things are too condensed.It reminds me of when I was a kid and there used to be a short comic strip in the paper. Such as The story of U2. 1 panel shows them meeting. next panel singing in a small club. then a panel with them praticing. Finally a panel with them singing in a stadium. A whole story shortened to a few panels!! Loads of stuff missed out. This is the same here. Its just too short and you are only getting a brief overview.

For all these faults, I still liked Brian Boru as I like Irish myths and history. Its just too brief but as Its Irish I will recommend it!
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21-11-2019, 23:27   #65
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Batman: Hush Returns by Al Barrionuevo

This comic looked really good at first. It deals with a new enemy for Batman called Hush. Someone who knows Batman very well from the early days....

This volume collects Batman:Gothan Knights 50-55 +66

Yes, thats right. It goes along in a sequence and it feels like an extra bit thrown in for no reason (66)

This felt like a good idea. A new villain for Batman and he also visits Star City with the Green Arrow. Throw in the Joker too then surely it can't be bad?

Wrong. This is terrible. The Joker in this acts like a regular evil business man who is annoyed that a new villain wants to be top dog in Gotham. He doesn't act crazy at all like the regular Joker we know and love!!

Bruce Wayne is drawn terribly too. He looks weirdly evil in this. Worst thing is that there isn't a real resolution to the story so its all a mess really. I was looking forward to reading this but it ended up a bust. Avoid it!!
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07-12-2019, 16:12   #66
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Civil War by Mark Millar

Another superb graphic novel by Mark Millar. I think I love everything he does! This is about a registration act that comes in for all Superheroes. Some don't agree to it while others do. Iron Man/Tony Stark is all for it whereas Captain America is all against it.

This story was done in a Captain America movie but this is far superior.The story is great with some for and some against but others torn about what to do. People switching sides and loads of action.

This comic goes straight up there with the best I have ever read. I loved the realism of the story as it starts off with superheroes doing their job on a reality show. Which I think is what would happen if they really existed!! Then they are all blown up and killed by the bad guy. They were minor league superheroes going against a powerful villain so this leads to calls for regulation. Some of the public blame them for causing casualties so they want a register as who are these masked men that are vigilantes?!!

This means people having to give their real names and not hiding behind masks. Of course some do not agree with this! And then here we have our Civil War!!

So this is highly recommended. Full of action and the story is really good. A must read if you like Comics!!
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08-12-2019, 15:00   #67
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The Institute by Stephen King


This is Stephen Kings latest book and its not as short as Elevation thankfully! (reviewed here)

I have had problems with Kings endings of books as they are sometimes terrible (see here)

So naturally I was a bit nervous of getting burnt again with this book. This is about a 12 year old bot called Luke who is a bit of a prodigy. One night his parents get murdered and he is kidnapped. He wakes up in a place called the Institute. Its full of other kids and they are all being used and experimented with for their talents. Telepathy and Telekinesis.In charge is a woman called Mrs Sigsby. Luke finds out that they are all in whats called the Front Half of the Institute. After a period of time, kids are sent to the Back Half where they are never seen again. In the front half, every kid has his own room and lives fairly okay except when they are taken away for injections and experiments. Luke knows though that time will eventually run out and he will be sent to the back half.

Meanwhile in another part of the country a former cop ends up in a small town and takes a night security job. He decides to stay in the town for a while.

This whole story takes off and is really good. It had me literally turning the page nonstop to read more of it.I was worried about the end but that is very good too. If you like Kings books then you wont be disappointed with this.

This goes straight up there with his best books in my view. The only problem I had with it is when the kids are talking. They don't talk like kids nowadays at all. They watch Scooby Doo and Popeye. They talk like kids in the 80s. I thought this might be the twist early on but then the kids are watching videos on youtube. Kind can't write how kids talk at all!! Other than this, the book is great and is definitely recommended. I'm glad as he had a few that were a bit disappointing that I have reviewed already in this log. Go back and see if you like!!

By the way, feel; free to comment on anything that I have reviewed or just your thoughts on them!
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09-12-2019, 20:45   #68
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2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

This is a Sci Fi classic written the same time as the classic movie. It differs a little bit from the novie as Clarke could not wait until the movie was finished.

In case you have no idea about this, then what rock have you been under?!! No, this came out when Stanley Kubrick, the movie director approached Clarke about writing the seminal sci Fi movie. Clake was a great sci fi writer so he offered his short story called The Sentinel. They expanded on its themes for the movie and this book. Clarke wrote this while the movie was being made.

Its about an object being found on the moon called a Monolith in the book. Scientists are sent to investigate it and find it laying dormant. Its like a black Rectangle that is solid. No one knows what it means or why it is there. As it is fully uncovered, sunlight falls on it for the first time and there is a piercing sound.They realise that is is some kind of transmission that was sent to one of Saturns moons.

A mission is put together to go to Saturn to investigate further. The spaceship Discovery One, is sent there and on it there are 2 crew members and 3 in suspended animation. They are to be wakened when the spaceship is at Saturn. In control of the ship, is an artificially intelligent computer called HAL 9000. The 2 crew members called David Bowman and Frank Poole settle into their routine of tasks with HALs help. HAL can speak to them as they go about their business. Then they begin to notice HAL acting strangely.........

I read this when I was younger many years ago so it was great to go back to it again. The movie is a classic also and you should see that too if you have not.There are a few small differences from the book and the movie. One of the main ones is that the planet they are going to is Jupiter in the movie. The rings of Saturn were too hard to do at the time to make them realistic on screen so it was switched to Jupiter in the movie!

Its crazy to think that this was written when man had not got to the moon yet and a lot of Clarkes thoughts on how things would be done were proven to be true.There are a load of themes in this book. It covers a lot of them. Themes like Technology and its evolution as well as the human races evolution. Space exploration and Artificial Intelligence are 2 more. Lots packed into this.

If you like Sci Fi then this is a must read. You will probably have read it already but it deserves a load of rereads.The copy I had, included the short story The Sentinel too as well as a foreword from Clarke himself giving the backstory of how this came into existence A true classic novel as well as the movie.This fleshes out some things that were in the movie so its very helpful if you like the movie too.
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12-12-2019, 16:30   #69
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2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke

This is the follow up to the First Odyssey reviewed just above and continues on the story.What happened on Discovery One? No one knows but the ship is seen in orbit around Jupiter seemingly abandoned. Its 9 years later and a joint American and Soviet Union crew are sent aboard a Soviet spaceship to find out what happened. Where is David Bowman? And why is there another black Monolith in orbit around Jupiter too? They are eager to investigate everything. As they are leaving Earth, a Chinese space station seems to leave the orbit of Earth. Whats happening? It is in fact a Chinese spaceship that they secretly built, and its going to Jupiter too. The only thing is that the Chinese look like they will get there first.......

The interesting thing about this book is that it follows the events of the actual first movie and not the book.As Clarke was writing the first at the same time as the movie there were a few differences. One of the main ones was that the planet was switched to Jupiter as I have said in the first review.

I wasn't sure where this book could go but it turns out to be amazing and I loved the direction Clarke took the story.This book is every bit as good as the first and its not often you can say that about a sequel.This was also made into a movie. 2010:The Year we make Contact.

Bear in mind also that there are a few inconsistencies that Clarke addressed later in the next books foreword. He said that the books are not direct sequels and should be thought of taking place in the same universe. Obviously the USSR is gone now and things have been different in real life since he wrote the first book.

All these few things here and there didn't bother me at all and I don't think they will bother you. It's just a great Sci Fi story that had me hooked until the very end.Just like the first book, this comes highly recommended by me (should that mean anything to you!!)

As always feel free to comment on anything I say!!
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13-12-2019, 18:41   #70
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2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke

This is the third Odyssey in the series and is set in 2061. If you have read the previous 2 novels then you know that the Aliens who built the Monolith have turned Jupiter into a mini sun and issued instructions for the moon of Jupiter called Europa. Do not land there and we can do what we want with the other worlds. Why can't we land there? Because new creatures are evolving on it and the Aliens do not want us interfering in it.

Dr Heywood Floyd from 2010 is back again. He is now 103 and living in a space hospital so he has lived longer.Travelling in space is now easier and happens often. Halleys Comet is coming back now and Floyd is chosen as he is a celebrity to go on a spaceship called Universe that lands on the comet to see what it is like.

Anything that tries to land on Europa such as probes are destroyed so we don't land on it but we observe what is going on from afar. A spaceship called Galaxy is doing a flyby of it and has Heywoods Grandson Chris on it. The ship ends up crash landing on Europa and the survivors are stranded. Galaxy is sent over to Europa but will it be allowed to land? Heywood Floyd decides to call David Bowman over the radio to be allowed to land.......

If you have not read the other previous books then this might not make sense but if you have, then everything makes perfect sense so don't worry! The start of the book recaps events anyway so you could jump in here if you wanted to but I suggest just reading the first 2 books first.

What happens on Europa will have profound effects for humanity's survival so this is a great read. What's interesting is that 2 real scientific articles are cited by a character in the book. They concern how it is theorised that we could use diamonds for building a Space Elevator and an Orbital ring which would make travelling much faster. The only thing is that we need a lot of diamonds and in the book they are found when Jupiter is changed into a mini sun. So as always Clarke writes about things that he thinks we could do in the near future.

Hal and David Bowman from the first book come back into the story but you will have to read to find out how and why!! I loved this book too as progressing the story was great and it really does feel like an Odyssey! It really felt like these things could happen in the future and this is a great read. This Odyssey series is fantastic. Gripping Sci Fi at its best.
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18-12-2019, 23:08   #71
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3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Here we are, with the final Odyssey book in the series. It starts off with a prologue about the creatures that made the Monoliths. They were beings that go around the Universe trying to help other intelligent species survive which is why they created the Monoliths. The beings have now ascended into a higher state of energy and all that's left are the Monoliths which are basically massive computers.

Now in 3001, humans have really developed technology and space travel and one ship finds something deep in space. What is it? Its the body of Frank Poole from the first book. He was killed in the first book and now with the latest technology he is brought back to life! He then gets integrated back into society and shown all the latest tech that 3001 has. The life on Europa has been evolving away and humans have still stayed away. Its thought Frank Poole might be allowed to land there so he goes there and meets what amazingly seems to be both HAL 9000 and David Bowman talking to him. Is it really them? They warn him that humanity is in extreme danger and we must take action..........

I really enjoyed this book and it is a fitting end to the series.Humanity in peril and everything is tied back to the first book too. It all makes sense and Clarke goes all out in describing what new technology we might have come up with in 3001.A brain interface like having internet wired into your brain. I'd say that's not far off! Genetic engineering and dinosaurs brought back. Could happen! Other stuff too.

This whole series has been great and is a must read if you like Sci Fi. The way everything gets tied in at the end was great and this was written in 1997. The first book was in 1968. The series was so good, I was wishing there was another installment to look forward to reading!!
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22-12-2019, 15:13   #72
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Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

After all that Sci Fi, I am back again to Stephen King. This time he co-authors with Richard Chizmar. This is only a novella but the premise seems very interesting.It is set in Kings usual place of Castle Rock. The amount of things that happen in this little town........

It is set in 1974 and Gwendy is a 12 year old girl who likes to go up to her favourite place near cliffs called Castle View. To get there, she climbs up stairs called the Suicide Stairs as there have been suicides from there. No wonder health and safety became a thing!

One day she meets a man who gives her a box with buttons and levers on it.She has to promise to keep it safe and when buttons are pressed or levers pulled, they give out chocolate and silver coins. But they can come at a cost......

Like all these kind of books, the man speaks in riddles and doesn't tell her everything but what follows is a story that ends up going nowhere. King has a big problem with endings and here we are again.

To get out of a situation, a woman flashes her chest which seems so silly.At the end, I was left wondering what was the point of the novella. It literally goes nowhere and just ends. This like Elevation, is very short and they are meant to have written this back and forth within a month.If these stories were all together then I would understand but they shouldn't be sold as a standalone book.

After the high of the reading The Institute this is really poor. I would avoid this as you are not missing anything.Go read The Institute instead!
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28-12-2019, 21:19   #73
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Fighter by Andy Lee

This is Irish boxer Andy Lees autobiography and I was really looking forward to reading this.I followed his career and always thought he was a great talent in the ring.

Sadly though the book is put together very badly and I think this is probably down to whoever he had working with him on it. I think it was someone from a sports website. Either way, there are no paragraph breaks in this book. Just loads and loads of writing which is hard on the reader. I could forgive this (even though its very annoying!) but there are too many time jumps in it. It goes forwards in time then back again too much.

Then I felt there was a lot of stuff skipped over either too quickly or not addressed at all.His title fights are zoomed over and that would have been interesting. Nothing at all about how he trains than just going running. I know its not a manual but it would have been nice to read a little bit.

What is there though, is fairly good. He goes into a lot of detail about the mindset of a fighter so that was good. You can see he is a very intelligent fella! The book then seems to just come to a quick end so all in all I was left frustrated reading this book. Some very good parts but a lot of niggles as I have described. If you like boxing then this is a must read but if you have only a passing interest I wouldn't bother with this one.
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29-12-2019, 23:05   #74
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Alone by Christophe Chaboute

Another graphic novel/comic and this one I remember first picking it up and almost not getting it. It seemed to be just full of pictures and hardly any words. I thought it was too arty and almost put it back. Then I said I would try it and got it anyway.It was first published in France in 2008 and only translated into English in 2017.It isn't a superhero story but a very unique tale.

On a tiny little island that really is just a rock in the ocean is a lighthouse. Every week, a supply boat arrives and just leaves a box of food. They don't get out and never see who lives there on the lighthouse. Its part of a deal done with the previous lighthouse keeper. He left all his money to the boatman and all he is told is bring food every week to the lighthouse.

This has been going on for years and the captain doesn't ask questions.Then the captain gets a new helper on his boat who starts asking questions.The captain says never mind and just leave the box of supplies on the pier. When they leave the helper sees the silhouette of the figure living there. He wonders about this mysterious man who lives there........

The story is told in black and white with very few words at all. That's part of the uniqueness of this comic. We see how the hermit lives and why he is left there. He is disfigured so presumably his family were ashamed and kept him there. All he has is a dictionary and things he finds from the ocean. He uses these and imagines what they are like as he doesn't know the real world because he has never left the lighthouse.

This is truly a haunting and captivating tale. You might think it sounds weird but this is excellent. It really is a must read for everyone. The ending was amazing and it is very emotional. This will stay with me for a long time, maybe forever. It was that good and thats the great thing about reading. When something created can effect you after reading it then it really is powerful. This is why I love reading and this shows the power of graphic novels/ comics also.

Needless to say, this is highly recommended for everyone.It is a masterpiece.
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31-12-2019, 15:38   #75
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Username:Evie by Joe Sugg

As I was on a Comic buying spree, I had this got before I realised what it is. It meant to be for kids at least I think so! So as I read it, it goes in the reading log! I think Sugg is a youtuber so I groaned when I realised what I was reading but I finished it anyway.

Evie is a schoolgirl who is bullied at school. She is very sad. Her father who was ill, before he dies he creates an App on a computer where she can enter it and everything is a paradise.She can be happy there. But then her devious cousin finds the app and can cause trouble there....

There are so many issues with this. I don't mean issues of the comic but more like problems. Teaching kids to withdraw into your own world if things are not going your way is awful in my view. Rather than stand up for herself, Evie heads off into lala land and oh no, someone else wants to go into it too.This whole comic is the worst ever. Wrong things to be teaching kids and just awful all around. It is done by a youtuber after all.

Whats wrong with that you ask? Well he did this comic. Although he didn't illustrate it. Somebody else wrote it. Another person did the speech bubbles. Another the lettering. Another the colouring. But he came up with the "idea" and he gets the credit. A big page of spiel at the end about how hard he "worked" and thanking everyone who made it happen.

The story is really bad anyway. One panel she is bullied. Next she is crying at home. Next panel is "look there's a computer with a strange app"Then next panel is she is the dreamworld or whatever it is. No real story at all. Then Sugg had the cheek to do 2 more of these comics!

Complete drivel and the whole thing made me angry. No one should read this, least of all kids!!
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