June 2018

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June has seen some amazing weather here in the UK, and I’ve been trying to take plenty of advantage of it. Walking has increased (which means my Pokemon Go playing time has too), and I’ve read more than I’d planned, which is always nice. After getting back to exercising properly in May I’m starting to feel the benefits, though my weight still needs to drop a fair amount…

Books Read
10 books in June, though this is mainly due to the nice weather – it makes me want to sit and relax with a good book! I’ve also been walking much more, so getting through more audiobooks:

  1. Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone – a good finish to the spiderpocalypse trilogy here, though perhaps not as good as I was hoping. The focus on the political implications of actions and other stuff away from ‘Spiders Attacking! Was good, but made up the bulk of the novel. I was expecting a big finish with a massive spider attack, but it just didn’t seem to come.
  2. Widow’s Point by Richard Chizmar & Billy Chizmar – a little horror novella about a haunted lighthouse with a dark past, and an acclaimed author of supernatural books wanting to spend the weekend there to discover the truth. It’s told through the use of video and audio recordings made by the author in question, Thomas Livingstone, beginning as he’s driving to the lighthouse, and continuing at points throughout the weekend. Have to say, couldn’t put it down and finished it in one sitting. I had real chills and goosebumps reading it, and thought it was a tired format done very well. Apparently it’s being adapted for film, and I’ll be straight to watch it.
  3. Head On by John Scalzi – a sequel (but can be read stand-alone) to Lock In, and looking at the investigation of a suspicious death of a Haden’s Syndrome sufferer who is involved with the new sports game taking America by storm, Hilketa, violent game played virtually through threeps. Better than Scalzi’s last novel, The Collapsing Empire, and on par with Lock In, I enjoyed this one for what it was: a quick, light read.
  4. A Call to Arms by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, & Thomas Pope – the second Manticore Ascendant novel, and I enjoyed it as much as I remembered from the first read. I’m quite keen to get to the third novel now to see where the story, and action, goes.
  5. Outpost by W Michael Gear – I’ll be honest, it was the cover that drew me to this one, but once I started reading I got completely sucked in. Focusing on the colony world of Donovan, a planet whose native wildlife is as dangerous as they come, it’s a story about the latest corporation starship to come to the world after years without any sign. With the colony barely surviving, and having overthrown the last corporation dictator, it’s an interesting look at a company coming to take back control, and what happens when things don’t go to plan. The flora and fauna of Donovan is very reminiscent of James Cameron’s Avatar, yet the characters are varied and interesting. A surprise hit for me, and likely to be in my top reads of the year.
  6. Brief Cases by Jim Butcher – the latest Dresden Files collection. Loved it. I think that it’s mostly one for fans because of obvious spoilers due to when most of the stories are set, but all nailed it for me. I particularly liked the Molly POV stories, and Zoo Day with three POV’s – Harry, Maggie, and Mouse. A must for any Dresden fan, I think. Full review coming soon.
  7. Against All Enemies by John G Hemry – the last JAG in Space novel from Hemry, and another interesting one that kept my attention throughout. I’ve said it before, but I do hope we see more of Paul Sinclair at some point in the future.
  8. The Outsider by Stephen King – this started off good with the focus on an investigation after the assault and murder of a child, and then just got better and weirder from there. Typical King in some respects, but also closer to his Bill Hodges books in tone and style (plus guest appearance form one of those characters). I thought it was great, and it just reaffirms why I enjoy King’s novels so much.
  9. The Soldier by Neal Asher – I’m really not sure about this one. I usually love Asher’s Polity novels, but this one felt disconnected despite appearing to tick all my boxes. The two main issues I had with it were lots of POV’s that chopped and changed too often, and the fact that almost none of the cast were ‘regular’ humans, as far as they go in the Polity. Instead we got a collection of high-end powers with almost unending resources. There really didn’t feel like a threat going on here, and the threat we did have was so potentially over-powered that it starts getting a little much. The terminology also started to grate by the halfway point – The Client, The Species, The Soldier, The Librarian… it felt like I was reading a story about The Characters on The Quest to stop The Baddie. It’s so frustrating because I wanted to enjoy so much more than I did.
  10. Origins by Jamie Sawyer – the final volume in Sawyer’s Lazarus War trilogy, and a satisfying conclusion that wraps up the story, yet leaves enough behind to revisit (which he has with the first book of The Eternity War series). I like the action, character development, setting and alien species here. It ticks many of my boxes, and it’s been a pleasure reading these over the past few months.

Reviews Posted
Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White – the one thing I keep on saying about this novel is that it’s probably the best Alien novel I’ve read. A must for fans of the films, in my humble opinion.

Movies Watched
I managed to finally catch Pacific Rim: Uprising, and was not particularly impressed. I liked the first film, though I found this to be severely lacking on the story, and not particularly credible when compared to the first.

TV Shows Watched
Jessica Jones (season 2) – I liked the first season of Jessica Jones, but this one started very slowly. After a few episodes I was completely indifferent to it, but it did pick up after the halfway point. Interesting decisions going on here, and wrapped up nicely by the end. Not my favourite of the Netflix Marvel shows, but still decent.

Games Played
Rage – After seeing the news coming out of E3 about Rage 2 I decided it was high time to have a look at the first game. I’ve owned it for a long time, but never got around to playing it. Initial impressions were good, but after a few missions where I forgot to save and had to re-start them I put it to one side. I definitely want to revisit it, but maybe when I have a bit more patience and time!
World of Tanks – I haven’t played this for months, but decided to have a little play around to see what the big update did to the game. It’s certainly pretty, but essentially the same game. I’ll likely be dipping in and out of this one for the foreseeable future.

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