Audio Review 44 // Nameless: Season One by Dean Koontz (Part One)

What! Something new, something not sci-fi...Time to rage quit.

No, seriously I felt I needed a refresher so I picked up season one of Dean Koontz Nameless. I hadn't heard of this series before so was going in completely blind. All I can tell you is this "season" is made up of six short tales and we will go through half of them today and the other half next week.

Book One: In the Heart of the Fire

A bloodthirsty sheriff is terrorizing a small Texas town where justice has been buried with his victims. Until Nameless arrives—a vigilante whose past is a mystery and whose future is written in blood.

Anyone who crosses Sheriff Russell Soakes is dead, missing, or warned. One of them is a single mother trying to protect her children but bracing herself for the worst. Nameless fears the outcome. He’s seen it in his visions. Now it’s time to teach the depraved Soakes a lesson in fear. But in turning predators into prey, will Nameless unearth a few secrets of his own?

Great intro tale. The fast pace kept the story moving and gave no chance to become bored. The main character Ben Shepherd creates flashbacks to a Jason Bourne Style character. With no name or memory, he is mysteriously guided to a crime by the Ace of Diamonds, one that the police can't solve. I did find it a bit strange to discover this character is a psychic (not really needed in my opinion). His opening mission with us the reader is to take down a psychopathic, child molester sheriff and damn does he take him down.

Very solid opener, I'm hooked already.

Book Two: Photographing the Dead

A self-styled artist is getting away with murder in Death Valley. If all goes well, so will Nameless. In part two of the Nameless series, the relentless avenger is haunted by nightmares of the past and visions of what’s to come.

Palmer Oxenwald’s hunting ground is the Mojave wasteland. His victims are random tourists and hikers. His trophies are cherished photographs of the damage he’s done. His greatest threat is Nameless. Two men with one thing in common: memories of the dead. For a psychopath like Palmer, they’re a clear rush in black and white. For Nameless, they’re visions of violence are buried and erased. But for how long?

This time Nameless is chasing down a perverted killer, who enjoys revisiting a similar spot to kill. He then takes photos of his victims to remember his kills. This story though good lacked the uniqueness of the first, and the retribution came too quickly. What this book does give us is a bit more insight into his 
special gift and answers a bit more about Nameless's background.

On to book three.

Book Three: The Praying Mantis Bride

A deadly black widow has eliminated three husbands and counting. But Nameless knows her one weakness. To bring truth and its consequences to her crimes, the vigilante must spin a web of his own in part three of the Nameless series.

Lucia—current last name, Rickenbah—has made a fortune by marrying rich men who tend to drop dead. But the superstitious blonde believes in more than money and murder. Nameless’s job is to scare a confession out of Lucia, and as the psychological warfare escalates, even he may be in for a shock.

This is properly the best in the first three tales. For the first time in the series, the "Villian" is a woman, aka a Praying Mantis. She has managed to outlive three husbands each richer than the last (also strongly hinted some lovers have disappeared). This is a really dark story as the main character Nameless keeps seeing his own death. It would seem the villain had a terrible childhood, which though her actions are unforgivable they become more understandable. It also had me questioning if Nameless is a force of good or just a vigilante working for a rich and maybe corrupt organization?


As an opening into a new series and a new to me author, I am impressed. The narrator is easy to listen to and I found myself easily hooked straight away. I am excited to post up the next three titles. Until then thank you for checking in and please use the links below to help support me.

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Book Review 141 // Aliens - Bug Hunt: Deep Background by Keith R.A. DeCandido and Empty Nest by Brian Keene


I know right! How many damn Alien-themed short stories can there be? The answer is a lot hahaha. Well, you will be glad to hear that I am pairing up the stories once again this week, so two reviews for the price of one.

Up first, Deep Background by Keith R.A. DeCandido. This is an interesting tale found the journalist Nickole Kejela as she is given an assignment with a group of Colonial Marines. The ultimate idea of the assignment is to expose Weyland-Yutani's underhanded business practices. The story then joins her on the job as she records the squad's daily training and she starts interviewing them, during this period she is accepted by the team and joins in some lighthearted gambling. As the story seems to be slowing down, we get a booster shot as the team is deployed to LV-148 to evacuate a group of Weyland-Yutani scientists.

The story given to the marines is a simple in and out job. Rescue the scientists before their base is destroyed by a sinkhole. As the marines operate the rescue mission and start pulling out scientists, a mystery cavern is discovered and you guest it Eggs are discovered. Soon shit hits the fan and the Lieutenant of the group is discovered with a Facehugger. Of course, the procedure is not properly followed and the chest buster escapes to start the classic reign of terror.

A day later we rejoin the action to discover Kejela and three marines making their last stand. We only find out their ultimate fate when Kejela's boss reads the report about LV-418. It is then revealed that Weyland-Yutani knew about Xenomorphs presence the whole time, using this info, she contacts the USCM Chief of Staff and in exchange for deleting the report, she is rewarded with a hefty bribe.

A dark tale indeed!

The second tale Empty Nest by Brian Keene, sees us joining Lance Corporal Michael Lombardo at a colony on Taurus 7. Unfortunately for the Corporal, the base is overrun by Xenomorphs. As the sole survivor, Lombardo is left facing off against a group of Xenomorphs and strangely behind a lone surviving colonist.

After luring the alien group into a trap, Lombardo detonates a grenade, blasting them to pieces. With the way clear he rescues the strange survivor, and hands over his knife to offer her some form of protection. As they rush back to the hanger, we discover her name is Alice and she has had a rough life. We discover she is alone and has watched her colleagues die to the aliens, we also discover she is terminally ill from cancer and lost a child to stillbirth. This is a really dark past, that hints as to why she may have survived for so long? Do Aliens sense genetic flaws?

Well turns out this is what the author wanted me to think and I fell for it! As Lombardo reaches the escape shuttle, he is confused as to the lack of Xenomorph activity. At this point, Alice shows her true colours and mutters, "Because they sent me instead", before slitting his god damn throat!! What a plot twist. We discover she is in fact with a child, a xenomorph child, and sees this as her chance to have a family.

What an ending, loved this tale, had me hooked from start to finish. It was amazing.

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Beer Review 152 // Triple Berry Hi-Fi - Sons of Kent


Nothing like a fruity sour during a heatwave. Luck for me this Triple Berry Hi-Fi by Sons of Kent hits the mark. The description is short and to the point:

Sour Beer brewed with Blueberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry.

A fruited sour beer packed full of fruit and at a rather easy-drinking 4.8%. The pour is bright, purple, full of hazy and is topped by a beautiful foamy head. It looks like a full-on dessert in a glass. As I leaned in for a good healthy sniff, you just get full-on fruit. It is like a berry pie, extremely moreish and if I had to pick on I feel raspberry pushes into the lead-on aroma.

After the first sip, it is easy to say this is a winner. The taste is like a berries fruit smoothie but without the seeds. It is bold, tart and easy to drink. I would happily drink this one again and again. Perfect for this hot summer, so go get some if you can find it.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And if you are ever in Ottawa come to say hi!

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Comic Review 147 // Judge Dredd: Trifecta by 2000 AD


Sticking to a few collected 2000 AD stories at the moment. I am not quite ready to dive back into the complete case files just yet. So what is today's comic? Why I am jumping forward in the timeline to enjoy Trifecta, an amazing storyline at the time that three separate stories running that then to the surprise of the reader actually combines.

Here are the official details.

Fluff:
 Mega-City One, 2134 AD. Fresh from the devastating events caused by the Chaos virus, Dredd becomes aware of a potential power grab from within the Justice Department. Wally Squad gumshoe Jack Point is given a mysterious doll to safeguard. Dirty Frank wakes up on Luna-1 as a board member of Overdrive, Inc. All three Judges soon find themselves embroiled in the same case in which allegiances and grudges form in equal measure!
Page Count: 176
Writers: Al Ewing, Simon Spurrier, Rob Williams.
Artists: Simon Coleby, Henry Flint, D'Israeli, Carl Critchlow.

Review

This brings back happy memories as I remember being obvious to the story arc as it came out in 2000 AD. And as the stories combined my mind was blown. A true highlight was the fact that it combines three of my favourite characters, Dredd (of course), Dirty Frank and the comically depressed Jack Point.

This story at the time was a piece that played on thirty-five years of Dredd history and had references going all the way back to the days of Chief Judge Cal. Though it definitely helps to know your MC-1 history, it isn't needed the knowledge to enjoy the ride.

The story itself is split into three parts, each following one of the main characters in his own viewpoint of the larger story. Now of course we all know Dredd - the main lawman of MC-1. Then we Jack Point the simping detective, a member of Wally Squad, a screw-up and a clown located in Angeltown. Finally, we have Dirty Frank, also a Wally Squad Judge. One of absolute renown in the Justice Department and normally found in the low-life sector, acting like a crazy, homeless person.

In each of the stories the leads face off against their own villains - Dredd faces off against the new head of the Undercover Division. A Judge that he already has some history with, the possibly corruptable Judge Bachmann. Whilst Jack Point has to deal with Archmime Turner of Simpology and how they too have been manipulated. Whilst Dirty Frank is off on Luna facing down Enormo Overdrive, a Shark/humiod businessman. The three stories are all unquie in their own ways and as the stories start to merge the the insanity gets dialled up to extreme levels. Between the three stories we are treated to aliens, clowns, ninjas, floating cities, and man who we last say at the end of Chief Judge Cal's reign, who has been chilling out in the walls of the Hall of Justice! And these are the standout points, I'm pretty sure I missed other references throughout the story.

As with each stories writing the artwork is also unquie. And I love how it was used to keep the stories feeling separate until they needed to join up. Overall a really impressive read, that I would recommend to some you has a working knowledge of the Dreddverse. Once again for me Dirty Frank was the standout character, but I truly became enthralled by Jack Point in this series and I can't wait to read more on him soon.

Have you read this adventurous series? Let me know in the comments. If you have a moment please give me a follow over on youtube and use any link below to support my hobbying.

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Miniature Monday // Welcome to the Corp


"All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the Corps! A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade! I LOVE the Corps! "

—Apone

Welcome to another Miniature Monday, youtube treat. Today we check in with the Marine Corp aspect of the Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps by Gale Force Nine.

Made from stunning hard green plastic, these figures are kind of what you expect. In no way, as detailed as GW kits they still manage to pack a wow factor. In this opening set, you get seven playable characters. Ripley (be weird to not include her), Newt, Gorman, Hudson, Hicks, Frost and Vasquez. Each figure ranged from three to four parts to make and went together very easily. It also seems like we have a nice array of weapons, 1 flamer, 1 Smartgun, 1 Shotgun, 2 Pulse Rifles and a pistol (well done Gorman). Not sure how the game plays at the moment so not sure if they start with these weapons or not. As you will see in the following video they all go together wonderfully and I hope to start painting soon.

Until then, I would love it if you could watch the video and go give me a follow on youtube! Until then cheers.

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Audio Review 43 // The Path Forsaken by Rob Sanders


Finishing up my Black Library Xeno shorts this week with, Rob Sanders - The Path Forsaken. It looks like the series is ending with an Eldar tale. Damn this set was Eldar heavy, four out of eight followed the path! Enough of me rambling here is the fluff:

Indiscriminate in their destruction, the Tyranid host consumes all in its path, sparing nothing and brooking no parley. The exodite world of Ephraeleon will be the next to fall, its people unprepared and undefended, but for Eldar Ranger Una Belphoebe the fate of the planet means nothing compared to the love of her prince. With the chitinous horde already descending on the jungles of Ephraeleon has her desperate rescue come too late?

An Eldar audio drama. Approx. running time 36 mins. Produced by Heavy Entertainment for Black Library. Performed by Gareth Armstrong, Sean Barret, Lucy Brown, Claire Corbett, Martyn Ellis and Paul Panting.


Okay, let's get some of the excitement out of the way.
  1. It's an exodite world, so yes, there are dinosaurs.
  2. It's based around rangers, some of my favourite Eldar characters.
  3. I hadn't heard of Ephraeleon, so I eagerly added to the Eldar Encylopedia
The story follows a ranger called Ola Belphoebe, who has been tasked with leading her team on a rescue mission. Their goal is to rescue an exodite prince from being eaten by the hive mind. Seems a simple enough plot, rescue the prince and escape before being eaten along with the world. The only problem is between the web way gate and their goal is a jungle filled with dinosaurs and alien bugs!

I found the dinos and Nids very entertaining when discovered, unfortunately, I found the cast to be one-dimensional and rather dull. I found myself engaging more with the planet the fauna/flora rather than the wannabe, heroic cast.

The voice acting was solid and I enjoyed the Scottish/Welsh accents the cast was given, and the sound effects truly saved the audiobook. Overall it is fine, not great, not bad, just fine. I wouldn't rush out to buy it but if you can find it cheap, go for it!

Amazon Link: The Path Forsaken

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Book Review 140 // Bug Hunt: Zero to Hero by Weston Ochse / Dark Mother by David Farland / Episode 22 by Larry Correia


Okay, I want to start speeding up the Alien short story reviews. This seemed like a good time as the tales get a bit quicker and harder to write a full post about without giving you a blow-by-blow of the plot.

The first tale this week is Zero to Hero by Weston Ochse. Got to be honest it is a strange one, the main character Corporal Franklin Sykes, is slimy. Having bribed he is way to a remote station, far away from any real action, all he does is play computer games. That is until an issue arises at the mine! Fearing Xenomorphs we discover a true coward until he is pushed into action. Unfortunately for Skyes, the issue seems to stem from Weyland Yutani testing out some bioweapon, and accidentally turning the miners into zombies!

It was a slow-building story but ended surprisingly strongly.

The next tale is Dark Mother by David Farland and follows the company man, Carter Burke. Set in his final hours inside Hadley's Hope, we discover his fate which was not disclosed in the film. We discover Burke was captured by a xenomorph and moved into the nest area. Hear he drifts between the current setting and flashbacks of his childhood. It ultimately explains a lot about Burke and why he behaves the way he does. This story is a true origin piece. I also find the ending to be very satisfying as Burke finally gets his deserved ending.

Pretty good, lacking action but great origin piece.

The final tale this week is Episode 22 by Larry Correia. Going to be upfront and honest, this was not for me and found the story a bit dull. It is a written version of a documentary show discussing the creation of the Pulse Rifle. I get how the right fan would get a kick out of this piece but for me this was a hard miss.

Oh well, can't win them all...right?


As always, I thank you for reading. I hope you will take a moment to use one of the links, and help support the blog. Thank you.

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Beer Review 151 // Juan Almonte by Bicycle Craft Brewing

Time for a fun beer from one of my favourite Ottawa-based breweries - Bicycle Craft Brewing - Juan Almonte. Described as a Jalapeno Pale Ale, I have had a version of this beer every release and have always enjoyed it. But for me personally, it will be the first time out of a can!

Let us drink up and enjoy!

The pour is a beautiful orange, dark yellow, with a bright white clean head. It looks like a really West Coast IPA at this point. On the aroma, I get an earthy green jalapeno scent, slight spiciness but nothing scary. On the sip it is very easy drinking, the flavour profile matches the aroma. Slightly earthy, slightly malty, with a roasted pepper taste. I didn't notice the building heat until about halfway through. I was also pleasantly pleased that it never went beyond this level. No sweating after finishing this beer! The finish is pleasant and with the gentle heat, it will make you want more, which you can do as it is only 5.2%. Overall another hugely enjoyable beer by this crew.

Okay at this stage I am going to sign off and go grab another can! Have a great week everyone and check out the following links to help support me.

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Comic Review 146 // Judge Dredd: Dead Zone

It's been a hot minute since I last read a Judge Dredd story. I wanted to jump back into a Case File book but felt I wasn't quite ready for that. Instead, I dived into the Dead Zone. Two linked stories are over 96 pages and are set after the Day of Chaos. Here is the commercial write up:

Following the death of 90% of the Mega-City One population in the Day of Chaos, Judge Dredd's latest case takes him into the Cursed Earth where illegal fortunes await those tempted to mine the vast mass graves.

Following the devastation of the Day of Chaos, Mega-City One is rebuilding itself. But criminals will always find ways to cheat and exploit the desperate even... While investigating a murder at the Chaos Day Memorial, Dredd comes across a slave ring in which people are being sent into the bowels of the earth to rob the bodies of the dead. Yodie - one of those forced into this harrowing labour, finds a technologically advanced bracelet that bestows tremendous power to whoever wears it. Meanwhile, the 'owners' will stop at nothing to get it back...

Written by: John Wagner
Artist: Henry Flint & Richard Elson

The first story is Dead Zone. This kicks us off straight into the fun as we are introduced to Yodie and his pregnant partner Belle. The pair are travelling across the Cursed Earth heading towards the bright if incredibly broken lights of Mega-City One. Unfortunately for the pair, they come across a Memorial Facility for the victims and the Chaos Plague. Here they stumble across a gang of gross grave robbers, who after kidnapping the pair force Yodie into working in a dead body mine. Which seems as gross as they sound. Running simultaneously, Judge Dredd is at the facility investigating the death/murder/suicide of their accountant McPhee.

During one of his "digs", Yodie discovers a bracelet with glowing stones. After tapping a stone Yodie goes invisible. Using this surprising turn of events, Yodie attempts to escape, during the attempt guns are fired and the sound attracts Dredd. In the chaos, Yodie and Belle flee to Mega-City One. Sadly the adventure didn't end there and with the introduction of time police, really damaged the tale. Ultimately Yodie and Belle get the happy ending, but it honestly felt touch and go at points.

The follow-up tale Breaking Bud joins a technician called Bud, who after working on the bracelet case can't resist its lure, especially as his life takes an utter nose dive. Of course, the story goes off the rail. For me, this story wasn't as interesting as the first, and the time police involvement really weakens everything.

I really enjoyed the stories and it was a great way to get back into the Dredd-style stories. The only real change I would make is to drop the damn Time Police! Way too sci-fi for a sci-fi story hahaha.

As always I hope you enjoyed and will support my blog by using the link below.

Amazon Link: Judge Dredd: Deadzone

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Miniature Monday // Durham Red by Warlord Games and 2000 AD


Welcome back Stront heads! As I am sure you may have guessed we are back with another Strontium Dog paint job. This Durham Red! Here is her back story.

As a result of radioactive fallout (strontium-90) from a nuclear war in 2150, Durham Red was born with a mutation that made her resemble a vampire in appearance and behaviour, although she had no supernatural attributes. Shunned by other mutants, she joined the Search / Destroy agency at a young age, becoming a bounty hunter, or "strontium dog." Whilst working for the agency, she met Johnny Alpha (the lead character in the Strontium Dog series) and they were briefly romantically involved, but he was unable to trust her, and this lead to their relationship ending.

At some unspecified time after Alpha's death, Red became tired of her life and entered suspended animation. She only intended to do this for a couple of years, but she was not awoken until 1,272 years later. She discovered that the human race had spread throughout the galaxy on her revival but was still divided between pure-blood humans and mutants. As a mutant who drank the blood of normal humans, she had become a mythical figure to the mutants, who revered her as a saint ("Saint Scarlet"). Her efforts to end the conflict backfired and only made things much worse, costing the lives of billions. However, she lived for another ten thousand years, and eventually witnessed a renaissance of human civilization. In the last episode of Dan Abnett's stories, it is implied that she became an empress and was responsible for a new golden age of humanity, before faking her death and withdrawing from public life. Stories published since then are set before she entered suspended animation.

As far as my scheme went I kept it simple with her classic comic strip look. Black mohawk, red hair, yellow straps, orange suit, chainmail parts and black boats. Hope you enjoy! I am working on a painting video as you read this. If finished in the time it will be here below.


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Audio Review 42 // Howl of the Banshee by Gav Thorpe


Still working my way through some Warhammer 40k short stories. Once again, I fall into the Aeldari thirst trap with Howl of the Banshee by Gav Thorpe. Pre-warning at 38 minutes, this is a really quick Black Library tale. But let us dive into the commercial fluff.

The Howling Banshees of Biel-Tan wage war in the depths of a Chaos-tainted craftworld. Blood Runs. Anger Rises. Death Wakes. War Calls. And failure is unthinkable…You wouldn’t want to get in a fight with Exarch Clyona and her deadly Banshee sisters. Their masks have sense-warping powers that can liquefy unsuspecting foes. And the setting for their battle is like no other, the depths of a dead craftworld.

As mentioned, the story follows six Howling Banshees (an elite close combat aspect warrior group of the Aeldari), as they face off against a horde of Khorne Daemons. The battle also takes place on a long-dead Aeldari Craftworld that they have now infested. 

Solid enough idea, and plot. It just did not have enough time to do it true justice. Gav Thorpe did really well to make an interesting squad of Banshees, and the fallen Craftworld itself is very intriguing. But, the overall effect is not groundbreaking, as an Aeldari fan I enjoyed it, but if I was a space marine fan or even a Khorne Daemon fan, this would be a hard miss.

I really want to like this, I really do, but I don't think I can recommend this one. Hard Miss!

Amazon Link: Howl of the Banshee

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Book Review 139 // Exterminators by Matt Forbeck - No Good Deed by Ray Garton


I'm still on these Alien shorts. This time the story is by Matt Forbeck and is titled, Exterminators. The story is a dual cast of Dietrich and Frost, and it helps to explain why they love a flamethrower.

Set on Sullivan 9, Dietrich and Frost slip away for some private R & R. Escaping the watch of their squad, they find a remote dive bar that is definitely illegal and slip in to have a drink. Inside they find a rough crowd, but are ultimately served a drink and left alone. Soon they start to hear tales of insects that are terrorizing the locals, and after some chat, discover one patron is actually inflicted by a bug. Looking at the victim, they discover a bug attached to the man's chest, that is making him sick. When asked why they haven't requested assistance, they are told due to the illegal nature of the bar/area they can't rely on company help.

As the marines are about to head off to get a doctor, it is noted that the insects are forming once more outside. We then have full-blown bug/body horror happening, which ultimately ends with a blown-up bar and a lot of dead locals. Dietrich and Frost survive (though hospitalized), and the story basically ends with Dietrich declaring next bug nest they find, she'll be bringing a flamethrower.

Overall, a bit of a silly story, but a fun quick read, so no issues there.

With that being such a straightforward tale, I am going to dive into the next story. Double feature Thursday!

No Good Deed by Rob Garton is set very early on in the Alien infestation of Hadley's Hope. We join a Bounty Hunter and synthetic, as they track down two escaped Convicts, who had hoped to hide out in Hadley's Hope.

I wasn't really a fan of this one. There was a couple of reasons. 1 - Though the base was suffering from an attack, the locals seemed very indifferent about using the bounty hunter's ship to escape. They instead lock the new arrivals outside. Very noble, and unrealistic in my opinion. 2 - One of the convicts had been genetically tested on and basically rages out into a red hulk. Never heard of this before in the stories, seems to marvel and out there for me. 3) Having seen what is happening the bounty hunter basically goes meh and flies away. Cold, real cold.

Overall unimpressed. The first bad story in the book for me.

As always, I thank you for reading. I hope you will take a moment to use one of the links, and help support the blog. Thank you.

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Beer Review 150 // Breaking Bitter by Beyond the Pale Brewing Company

Hell yeah!. Doing a beer review from the brewery I work at, called Beyond the Pale. This is in my top picks of brews we produce and it came back this week, so I had to do a review. My opinions, as always, are my own. I hope you enjoy it!

Breaking Bitter is an English Style Bitter, and brewed in the heart of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. As you can see from my picture, it pours a beautiful copper colour and has a thick, lively head of off-white foam.

As you stick your nose in you should be treated to a slightly more traditional aroma beer. This is a real ale, no hazy boi flavours this week. I get a malt-forward beer, slight biscuit notes, combining with a grassy floral hop. The first sip is refreshing and light and offers up a gentle citrus zing, that pairs with the malt sweetness. This beer has hardly any bitter finish and goes down way too easily. At 5.3% I can happily have a couple and relax with a book. This is a proper beer!

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And if you are ever in Ottawa come to say hi!

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Comic Review 145 // Wild C.A.T.S vs Aliens by DC comics and Dark Horse Comics


Reaching the end of my Aliens vs DC comic heroes series. I have to be honest and say this one worries me the most. I'm not a big DC comics reader, but I know enough about Batman and Superman to enjoy the comic strips, but Wild C.A.T.S? Let's jump in and just see what happens.

Title: Wild C.A.T.s / Aliens #1 (was there ever a #2?)
Written by: Warren Ellis
Pencilled by: Chris Sprouse
Fluff: When an escape pod crash-lands on New York with injured StormWatch agent Flint enclosed, the WildC.A.T.s decide to get involved. Void teleports the team up to SkyWatch and into the middle of a disaster zone. They discover two things; for one, the aliens aren't Daemonite and two, they are going to have one hell of a time getting the survivors, and themselves, off the space station alive. But how can even the WildC.A.T.s survive an encounter with the Aliens when StormWatch has already fallen? Get ready for a horror/sci-fi/superhero slugfest the likes that have never been seen before!

Want a Copy? Use my Amazon link: DC Comics/Dark Horse: Aliens Kindle Edition
Page Count: 49 pages
Published: 1998 by Dark Horse Comics

I'm not sure reading this and reviewing is a good idea. I have to be honest and say I know nothing about the Wild C.A.T.S, which led to me caring very little about the characters in this one. It also was seemingly the second part of an ongoing story, something not explained very well in this part of it.

From what I can tell, it is a team of Superheroes fighting against Aliens in an under siege base. For once the characters actually had no idea of what they were up against, which is nice, and seemingly the Wild C.A.T.S were a dying series as so many of the characters are killed off. Sadly because of a lack of knowledge this didn't bother me at all. One interesting twist was an alien who was born with the superpowers of its host! But sadly there was only one and seems like some more fun could have been had with this arc of the story.

Ultimately a Meh for me. But I am sure Wild C.A.T.S fans would enjoy it. Let me know if you have read the comic and if you have, drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Amazon Link: Batman/Aliens

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Miniature Monday // Xenomorphs


Well, by now, you should all know I love a Xenomorph...nothing weird about that right? Right? Anyways. I hope you have all taken a look at my last post, Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps. This will be a follow-up, with me building the xenomorph models. Which looks amazing for the most part! 

The sprue and instructions are very straightforward. Each sprue consists of four body types, with a matching base and these can't be modified. Meaning over the sixteen models, you have a starting point of four of each type of body. Each body is set a letter A, B, C & D and has two options of head per body (total of eight heads per sprue). It seems you have a choice between, open or closed mouths. Then finally on the sprue, you have the interchangeable parts. Starting with four left arms, four right arms, two pointing up tails and finally two pointing down tails. I personally used Superglue for these as I found parts tricky and wanted a fast bond.

But enough talking, check out this youtube video.


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Audio Review 41 // The Kauyon by Andy Smillie


Guess it was too much to do a Xenomorph audiobook this week. But I did complete a Black Library Xeno audiobook (see what I did there). The Kauyon by Andy Smillie is a first for me as it is a Tau story, a faction I know little about and one that I have rarely cared for. But let us dive in and hope this will change my ways. 

Title: The Kauyon

Author: Andy Smillie

Narrator: Toby Longworth

Fluff: Kal'va is a broken warrior, the lone survivor of a pathfinder team. Engaged with human forces, he is consumed with thoughts of revenge. But as he lures the humans into a trap that will lead to their destruction, can he remain true to the principles of his warrior code?

The story is pretty quick which is fine with me, to be honest. It follows the tale of a pathfinder (aka sniper) who is seeking revenge for this fallen squad. We jump between the current story arc and flashbacks, for me, the flashbacks were more interesting. In the flashbacks, we learn about the technology and how they attempted to take down some space marines, which lead to most of the squad's deaths. Whilst in the current timeline the Tau is acting solo attempting to lure an imperial column into an ambush.

Overall a solid listen. It didn't set me a light and I still feel meh about Tau, but for entertainment it was good.

In a similar way to the last one, I would say if you can get it cheap, buy it. But don't go out of your way for this one.

Amazon Link: The Kauyon (audible) or The Kauyon (Kindle)

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Book Review 138 // Blowback by Christopher Golden

Can't stop a good xenomorph week, this week I am continuing the run of Aliens with a short story titled: Blowback. Blowback is a 2017 short story written by Christopher Golden and was published by Titan Books as part of the anthology Aliens: Bug Hunt. 

This is basically a prequel to Aliens film. Showcasing a lot of the colonial marines who would later go on to LV-426. The full squad lineup is, Apone, Stenbeck, Hicks, Hudson, Vasquez, Frost, Wierzbowski, Crowe, Zeller, Lieutenant Emma Paulson and new recruit Private Malinka. They are given a "Bug Hunt" mission, meaning they are to descend to a moon and kill some hostile fauna that has been killing off Weyland-Yutani scientists. As you read the start of the story, you can't help but think this is going to involve xenomorphs (even though in the film they hadn't heard of them). If you felt this way you are wrong. No xenomorphs in this story! But plenty of Xenos...

The setting is grim as the world is hostile to humans, and the marines are forced to wear environmental suits. It soon gets grimmer as they discover the lost scientists and the creatures responsible! They are strange, super fragile, kite-shaped creatures, that attack from the skies by riding the poisonous gas winds that sweep across the moon. Unfortunately for the team, they discover another problem, the damn creatures are explosive! Forced to use combat knives to escape the team regroup and get told by the Company that a living sample is needed for experimentation. Leaving the mangled team no option but to go back out.

Damn this is a dark story. We see a few characters killed off, before discovering the truth and once again, how the company doesn't care about the lives of those aiding them. A great prequel, explaining why the term, Bug Hunt is used in the film. I really enjoy these stories that are xenomorph light, as it really builds out the universe.

As always, I thank you for reading. I hope you will take a moment to use one of the links, and help support the blog. Thank you.

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Beer Review 149 // Recumbent Raspberry Wheat by Bicycle Craft Brewery


Been Enjoying a lot of Bicycle Craft Beers of late. It will come as no surprise that the reason for this is the fact that they are now at my local farmers market in Beechwood near Ottawa. This week's brew is their Recumbent Raspberry wheat.

On the pour, this beer is bright red, and the head is lively and pink in tint. Sadly the head fades away quickly. After sticking my nose and getting a good sniff I get plenty of raspberry notes, and a slight digestive biscuit aroma, it smells great. The beer itself is easy drinking and light, with a tart finish from the berries making this stupidly easy to drink at 4.6%. Truly a tasty beer that actually tastes of real raspberries.

Great work Bicycle Craft!

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Comic Review 144 // Superman/Batman vs. Alien & Predator - DC/Dark Horse


We seem to have a theme this week Aliens! Yep with the arrival of the Gale Force Nine boxed game, I have had the booster shot needed to get back into the Xenomorph verse. This is the third in a line of DC comics I have been reading, which has so far seen Batman go toe to toe with Xenos. This time we branch out and get Superman and Predators joining the fray.

Title:
Superman/Batman vs. Aliens/Predator
Author: Mark Schultz
Illustrator: Ariel Olivetti
Style: Paperback
Page Count:112 pages
Commercial Fluff: DC's greatest icons, Superman and Batman, clash with the stars of the blockbuster Aliens and Predator movies from Twentieth Century Fox in a no-holds-barred slugfest the likes of which the universe has never seen. In this graphic novel, Batman discovers that the relentless killing machines known as Aliens and the unstoppable race of hunters called Predators have formed a colony that's been hidden away on Earth for centuries. They're now poised to overtake the world--unless the Dark Knight and Superman can stop them and get them off the planet! This volume is co-published with Dark Horse Comics.

Right, let's go! First up it a little silly, but a hugely enjoyable quick read. Predators and Aliens have landed on Earth and attracted the attention of Batman and Superman. At this point, you really need to feel sorry for the Xeno stars, how on earth can they defeat Superman? It does seem a little overkill to send out Superman.

But even though I know full well they will lose, I still found myself rooting for the Xenomorphs. This is truly written for the DC fans and lacks any real draw for the Dark Horse side. I found the predators a bit dull and lacking depth, whilst the Xenomorphs were pure cannon fodder and like ants before the powerhouse super combo.

At 112 pages I felt satisfied by the end. The artwork is stunning and the story for what it is worth makes sense. I just feel Alien and Predator fans will be left hollowed and disappointed. Overall a solid 3 out of 5. To make it better I feel you would need to drop Superman completely, swapping him out for a character that can die, to help increase the threat level.

I would say if you can get it cheap buy it, otherwise, just enjoy it as part of the omnibus.

Miniature Monday // Unboxing: Aliens - Another Glorious Day in the Corps


Something a little different today. No finished figures this time. Instead, I  am gracing you with an unboxing video, for weeks, I have sat on the fence about getting this game. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased it. The game in question, Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps by Gale Force Nine. Here is my Youtube unboxing (if you have a chance please do give me a follow).



So far I am in love with the contents I wish the box was in better condition but I am moving past that. I plan on making more videos in the series so expect more in-depth content to follow on here soon.

Until then enjoy some pictures of the miniatures included in the box.




As always I thank you for stopping by and reading and if you wish to purchase this game, please consider using this link: Amazon

Audio Review 40 // The Iron Devil by C L Werner


You tell when it is summertime as my book reading and even my audio dramas, change dramatically. Gone are the 400+ pages, gone are 10+ hour stories. It is all short, quick and fun instead. This week's audio is no different, so let us jump in. 

Title: Iron Devil (Warhammer 40,000)

Author: C.L. Werner

Voice Actors: Joe Absolom, Gareth Armstrong, Michael Fenner & Luke Thompson.

Official Background: The last survivors of their company, the battered remnants of the Cadian 267th trek across the deadly toxic deserts of Sanzu in search of salvation. Taking shelter in a damaged Adeptus Mechanicus facility, they think they have found a place to await reinforcements – but something lurks in the darkness, something large and dangerous and determined to kill every last Imperial Guardsman. The Morkanaut awaits…

Running Time: 62 mins

Review

It was a solid adventure story, the stand-out part of the audio drama has to be the setting. This planet sounds terrible, it's where Earth is heading in my opinion. The pollution from Mankind's touch has caused the planet to become a massive desert, with toxic waste sandstorms that can kill an average human. The story itself follows a platoon of soldiers seeking shelter, food and water before they continue their battles against the works. In their search, they discover a factorium and begin searching the base. Inside they discover a techpriest who has been alone for way too long and is a few cogs, short of a working clock. As they talk, they discover they are not alone and that the tech-priest believes they have come to save him from an Iron Devil.

It was at this point that I thought it was going to become some sort of horror story. But I was wrong. It is actually just a full-on adventure story and the Iron Devil is a Morkanaut! Overall a solid enough listen, but nothing stands out. The narration feels a little slow, which was great at the beginning, but as the story ramps up the action doesn't come across. I also feel a lack of characters, we are talking about a whole platoon being involved, but it reads/listens like there is only the captain, a sergeant and the tech-priest.

I would say if you can get it cheap buy it, but don't go out of your way.

Amazon Link: The Iron Devil

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Book Review 137 // Reclamation by Yvonne Navarro


Continuing my run of Alien short stories. I've been enjoying these a lot, so I am going to keep going. Reclamation, a short tale following Corporal Hicks and his career before the film Aliens.

The story begins as one of happiness, with Hicks getting married to Private Rachel Miller. As with most Marine marriages, their time together is cut short, with her unit being sent off-world on a search mission. Through recorded messages, he watches as his wife and her unit deals with the discovery of an alien spaceship. Her final message declares the unit is under attack by "some kind of alien" and then there are no more transmissions.

The mission is sealed away from further mention, and Hick is forced to give up chasing for answers under the fear of court-martial. But he has a plan. It takes five years, but Hick ends up joining a recovery team searching the wreckage of his late wife's ship. Unable to continue the lie, he comes clean to the squad about the ship and his dead wife. Unfortunately for all involved, the aliens on board the ship aren't dead, and soon only Hick's is left alive (plot armour). Sealing the doomed ship, Hick leaves the planet and vows to have his revenge on the strange aliens.

Overall a solid read that gave some real depth to the character Hicks. As a fan of the novel series that followed Aliens, I was always disappointed how they just killed him and Newt off in the third film. I feel this short story justifies my feelings, and how Hick's could have easily been a joint lead in a third film.

As always, I thank you for reading. I hope you will take a moment to use one of the links, and help support the blog. Thank you.

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Beer Review 148 // Farmageddon: Saskatoon Berry & Blackberry


Time for a beautiful beer from one of Ontario's finest. Farmageddon by Bellwoods is an ongoing series of beers all based on the same wild farmhouse ale base. As the different batches are blended, the unique flavours from the Brett are imparted into the beer. To this, they added Saskatoon Berries and BlackBerries. The final brew is a 6.3% treat.

On the pour, it is a rich, beautiful red pour with a gentle pink foam head, that is fluff and bountiful. The aromas are intense, and fresh berries mixing with a slight funk make the mouth water. On the first sip you know it is a winner. Big, bold, jammie flavours that are tart, lip-puckering good. It finishes dry and makes you want more. This beer drank so smooth and wonderfully, I really wish I could drink this every day of the week.


Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Comic Review 143 // DC Batman vs Dark Horse Aliens Volume 2


Last week we delved into the joyous adventures of Batman vs Aliens, well we are back again this time with volume 2. Clocking in at 160 pages it was a quick read, but before the review here is the official comic book write up:

Featuring the deadly creatures from the Alien movie franchise, BATMAN/ALIENS TWO is an intense science fiction thriller that pits the universe's deadliest creatures against the world's greatest hero. When an unwitting construction crew accidentally uncovers an ancient sealed vault, Batman must defend Gotham City against a savage Alien killing spree. But as the Darknight Detective pursues his relentless quarry, he soon discovers a shocking government conspiracy and finds himself on a suicide mission up against Alien-hybrid versions of the Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Two-Face, and the Joker.

I don't know what to say, so I will begin at the start. This time we have left the jungles of South America and we have headed back to Gotham. As work crews dig up land for renovation, they discover a crash Alien ship, when inside they awaken a sleeping xenomorph, that soon starts to rack up an impressive kill tally. It is up to Bats to save the day, but whilst this is happening a secretive Black Ops group has moved in and captures Batman and a Xenomorph!

As Batman mounts an escape attempt, he discovers his captors had been combining xenomorph DNA with harden criminals to produce super-soldiers! What could possibly so wrong?

The comic really is a story of two halves. The first was a quirky and interesting piece, making for a good starting point for an adventure. The second half sadly destroyed all that work. The idea that Gotham Scientists can blend xenomorph DNA with some of the most horrific villains to create a suicide squad is just too far-fetched and ruined the entire story for me.

Let me know if you have read the comic and if you have, drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Amazon Link: Batman/Aliens

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Miniature Monday // Craftworld Aringhe


Time for a long-overdue Craftworld model. If you wish to see the models I've completed so far use this link! For this model, I had reached Craftworld Aringhe, and when I googled it without the word Craftworld, I discovered it was a type of fish! What on earth? So I tried again and found what I was looking for.

Turns out there wasn't much information. It declares it is a craftworld and has a single image that appeared in an old article titled Colours of the Craftworld. But beyond that, there is zero information. So using the image I found I went to work. It was a pretty easy paint job, with the main colour being a dark red, with silver plates and some spots of orange. As I started painting I knew I had to swap out the silver, I personally dislike metallic and can't imagine aeldari using them, especially as most of their gear is grown. So I swapped it out for a grey colour instead. In all using contrasting paints, I slapped some colours down in 45 minutes and was pretty happy with the results. Is this not a scheme I particularly enjoyed, meaning I will not be delving any deeper into this paint scheme but it was a nice change of pace.

As always I thank you for your support of the project and please feel free to use the links to help out.

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Audio Review 39 // Klaw of Mork by Guy Haley


I'm sure for you regular readers, you would have noticed that I am on a short listen spree at the moment. I've been struggling to settle into a long-form story. Lucky enough for me, Black Library is full of short tales and adventures. Today's read is no different, clocking in at an epically long thirty-six minutes. Just the right amount of time to walk to and from work. Let's get the details:

Title: Klaw of Mork.
Author: Guy Haley.
Running Time: Thirty-six Minutes.
Performed by: Ben Allen, Jonathan Keeble, Kris Milnes and Peter Noble.
Fluff: Sanctus Reach

The Red Waaagh! has fallen on Alaric Prime and the mekboys are working on Big Mek Mogrok’s cunning and brutal plan – to pull a comet from space with the massive and dangerous ‘Klaw of Mork’ and bring it down on the heads of the world’s human defenders. But when the humans fight back, Uggrim and Snikgob, two mekboys of the Red Suns tribe, see a chance to finish a conflict with an old rival and take advantage of the human attack to exact revenge... even at the cost of the Klaw of Mork.

Review

First up let's embrace the fact that this was written to coincide with the release of the Sanctus Reach box set that included Evil Sun Orks fighting Space Wolves. Meaning it is a tie-in to a game and as such will have its faults. This book focuses on a trio of Mekboys, who all have a similar accent, making it tough to work out who is who. But it would seem two are allies and one an outsider who must not learn the secrets of the Klaw of Mork. Then to this mix, they are attacked by dirty humans giving them the chance to attack each other.

There was plenty to like especially the humour aspect of the Orks themselves, but the cons won out sadly for me. As mentioned I lost track of who was talking way too much, the voices were just too similar, and the story as a whole was too clean and tidy, it lacked something but I'm not sure what. For me, this was the middle of the road. Not bad, but not great either.

Amazon Link: Klaw of Mork

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Audio Review 44 // Nameless: Season One by Dean Koontz (Part One)

What! Something new, something not sci-fi...Time to rage quit. No, seriously I felt I needed a refresher so I picked up season one of Dean K...