The World Cup of Everything

Which country in the world is best at football? Argentina? Brazil? England? France? Germany? Every four years, the world’s finest footballing nations gather and we find out which country is the best at football. Other sports do the same. But what about finding the best of things outside of sport? Enter The World Cup of Everything!

Continue reading my review of The World Cup of Everything

Clovenhoof

A new system is introduced in Hell and Satan is subject to performance reviews. When his performance is judged to be sub-standard, he gets banished to live on Earth. Solihill to be precise. Something that he’s not happy about as he struggles to adapt. It would probably be fair to say that his neighbours are also not best pleased as Jeremy Clovenhoof causes chaos. But things are not quite as they seem in Heaven. And Jeremy Clovenhoof can put it right…

Continue reading my review of Clovenhoof

The Fourteenth Protocol

Cade Williams works at an email company as a technician. He gets called up to the mysterious floor 17 to solve a problem and whilst briefly up there, he hears mention of Tucson, the latest town in America to suffer a terrorist bombing. At the same time, Special Agent Jana Baker overhears a conversation between two people who are discussing the attack and future ones. This sets up a race against time to prevent an unimaginable attack on America.

Continue reading my review of The Fourteenth Protocol

Sea of Shadows

The German economy is in trouble. The German Chancellor has found a solution though – selling arms. The buyer? Siraj, an oil-rich state in the Middle East, but one under heavy UN sanctions. The German government looks to sell them clandestinely, sending four state-of-the-art submarines. There are suspicions in the American government, but an incident with two British ships end all suspicions. The American government are determined that the weapons will not get to Siraj, but can a foe who knows exactly what you will do be stopped? <!–more Continue reading my review of Sea of Shadows–>

Wow! What a book. Sea of Shadows is excellent. It’s fast-paced throughout and manages to increase a gear or two when action occurs. The action is described superbly and is generally incredibly tense as ships take on their unseen foes. I could write several more paragraphs detailing what a great read Sea of Shadows is, but that would only be taking away time from you when you could be reading it. I cannot recommend this book enough – it is the best book I have read in a long time.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle

The outbreak of war in 1914 saw large early successes for the German army on the Western Front, before counter-attacks pushed them back. When the Western Front stabilised, Germany had still made significant gains, including holding territory in France. The French were determined to remove all German soldiers from French soil and as quickly as possible. Attacks were launched in 1915, with an attack in September and October including a reluctant British Expeditionary Force at Loos. <!–more Continue reading my review of Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle–>

Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle looks at before, during and after the battle. Before the battle focuses on why the British did not want the battle, whilst after looks at the impact it had on the British army. Corrigan writes in a clear style and sets out the facts, making it clear when he is offering his opinion. Prior to reading the book, I knew very little about the battle; I now have a greater knowledge of why, and how fiercely, the battle was fought.

Rating (out of 5): ****

The Last Legs of Norman Pilbeam: The Diary of Yesterday’s Man

Norman Pilbeam has retired. He loves Shakespeare, but his quotes often fall on deaf ears as he struggles to keep up to date with the world around him. Arguably, this is not helped by the presence of his formidable wife. Continue reading the review

Reviewing 2018

Happy New Year!

It’s been an enjoyable year of blogging. But before I look back on what I consider some of my highlights, thank you to the 2,759 visitors of 2018. It’s more than double the visitors of 2017 and I look forward to welcoming visitors back as well as people visiting for the first time.

I embarked on two projects this year. The first was in June and July, where I blogged the Football Manager Mobile World Cup to go alongside the World Cup. If you missed it at the time, or want to read it again, start with the first post.

In December, I posted a twist on Elf on a Shelf, doing Die Hard on a Card instead. It’s best to provide a link to the final Die Hard on a Card, which contains links to all the other days. Again, please feel free to check it out or re-visit it.

I started a new Football Manager series with Chippenham Town, called ‘The Chips Are Town’. The new series was the result of leaving Football Manager 2012 behind and playing Football Manager 2019. Before getting into the action, I introduced the series. The introduction contains a link to the next post.

Book reviews have continued throughout the year as well as other posts. This will continue through 2019. I look forward to welcoming you back!

Next Exit, Three Miles

Alina Maschik was a resident of New Jersey before leaving to join the forces. Following a murder, she returns and meets up with old friends. Although they work out she’s back because of the murder, they don’t know the full reason. Alina is an assassin and two years ago, missed killing Johann, a notorious terrorist. She’s returned to New Jersey to finish the job. But hadn’t counted on The Engineer also being present. A difficult job just got more difficult. <!–more Continue reading my review of Next Exit, Three Miles–>

Next Exit, Three Miles is a thriller with believable characters. The plot is deliberate throughout, quickening as the end approaches. The end isn’t surprising, but is well written. A good, solid thriller.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Last Breath

Three days. Three shootings. By a sniper. And if the pattern continues, Washington DC is next. A Washington DC that is engulfed by riots and has a school shooting just hours after Sam Archer arrives in the city. He’s there to visit his niece on her birthday, but that’s only his cover. He’s there to stop the sniper and quickly tracks him down. The sniper was an old colleague. But things aren’t what they seem and Archer is soon confronted by something much bigger than a sniper. And much more dangerous. <!–more Continue reading my review of Last Breath–>

Last Breath is the eighth book in the Sam Archer series. The scene is quickly set and the relentless action gets underway. If fast-paced action thrillers are your thing, this book is an essential and enjoyable read. It’s been the best action thriller I’ve read this year.

Rating (out of 5): *****

The Last Witness

Jack Cullan, a lawyer and fixer in Kansas City, is murdered. Wilson ‘Blues’ Bluestone is arrested for murder, but Lou Mason doesn’t believe it was him and defends his friend, regardless of the danger. Which soon becomes very real to him…

<!–more Continue reading my review of The Last Witness–>

The Last Witness is a mystery thriller. It maintains a good pace throughout, quickening towards the end as all the facts become apparent. There is also a good twist to the story, which I won’t reveal here, recommending that you read a good book instead!

The characters and situation are believable, which I find always helps the plot and story progression. Mason doesn’t instantly solve everything and pieces things together to help the story progress.

Rating (out of 5): ****

The Jersey

Some teams are able to dominate a sport, but it’s only for a brief period of time. But not in Rugby Union. Rugby Union is dominated by the All Blacks, who have a winning record against every other nation. Few get close and they have transcended the sport. But what is their secret? That’s what The Jersey looks to find out.

<!–more Continue reading my review of The Jersey–>

Peter Bills has gained access to past and present players and coaches as he looks to establish why New Zealand are the dominant force in Rugby Union. The All Blacks is the pinnacle in New Zealand, but they have have a strong school system that feeds into the franchises. They also look to establish continuity in the coaching staff and anticipate where the game is going as opposed to reacting to where it is.

But Bills’ study contains words of warnings, especially over whether people will watch if the result is a foregone conclusion. This isn’t just an excellent Rugby or sport book, it’s an excellent book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

To Be Or Not To Be

When I was younger, it was the books of Roald Dahl that got me hooked on reading. After joining the library, I enjoyed a series of books about a Swedish detective, Agaton Sax, and Choose Your Own Adventures. As I got older, I discovered the joys of Shakespeare and Louis de Bernieres. So imagine my delight with a birthday present that combined an old delight with a new one.

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To Be Or Not To Be

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Continue reading my review of ‘To Be Or Not To Be’

Disintegration

Jacob Wells’ house is engulfed by fire and he can’t rescue his child. His twin brother, Joshua, also returns and the brothers return to their childhood roles, with Joshua having control over his brother. It pushes Jacob further away from his wife as they struggle to recover from the fire that has destroyed their home. As Joshua’s influence increases, the stakes become higher and it seems as though there is only one possible ending. Continue reading my review of Disintegration

Watch Me Die

Harvey Mapes is a security guard for a gated community. He works the night shift, which sees little happening. Mapes passes his time reading PI stories. So when Mapes gets the offer from one of the residents to carry out some PI work, he jumps at the opportunity. It seems a simple enough job and the PI’s in the books have made it seem so. But that’s fiction. Will Mapes find it as simple as the fictional detectives he follows? Continue reading my review of ‘Watch Me Die’

Hello World

Algorithms. Not the most exciting of topics. What would be far better would be having an interesting chat over a coffee or a pint. But how about combining the two? An interesting chat about algorithms over a coffee or a pint. Surely not, I hear you cry. Enter Hello World by Dr. Hannah Fry.

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Darkness on the Edge of Town

There’s a murder in a small town and the local police require help. Enter Laura Cardinal from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Cardinal is an excellent investigator, but not necessarily the most popular. She soon begins to make inroads into the case. But not even Cardinal could predict where the investigation will lead her. Continue reading the review

July Crisis

28th June 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is assassinated in Sarajevo by Gustavo Princip. One month later, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Within days, Europe is at war. The bloodiest war to date, with an estimated nine million soldiers killed over the course of the four year conflict. But what happened in the month between the assassination and the outbreak of war? Read the rest of the review

Desert Places

Andrew Thomas is an author of crime thrillers. A successful author, with an enviable lifestyle. But one day, things abruptly change when he receives a note advising there is a body on his property. The instructions in the note need to be followed or else the police will be notified. With little choice, Thomas follows the instructions. But he could never imagine where following the instructions would take him or what he would discover as a result. Continue reading my review

WOS Wrestling 8th September

THe show opened with Nathan Cruz making his way to the ring with a microphone following his attack on Adam Maxted after their loss in the tag team final. He challenged Maxted to a ladder match, with the winner gaining a contract and the loser leaving WOS. Stu Bennett announced he had sanctioned the match and Maxted made his way to the ring. Maxted started in control and was the first to go for the ladder, but Cruz stopped him. Cruz brought the ladder to the ring and looked to use it as a weapon, but a drop toe hold gave Maxted the first chance to climb the ladder. The ladder was used as a weapon and Maxted used the ropes as a springboard to knock Cruz off the ladder a couple of times. Finally, the contract was retrieved by… Adam Maxted.

The second match was between Gabriel Kidd, Robbie X, Liam Slater and Crater. It was billed as a four-way match, but Slater, X and Kidd were in the ring with Crater outside. The three challenged Crater to get into the ring and when he did, they ganged up on him, but he pushed them all away and took control of the match. Offence from the others didn’t take him down, but a triple dropkick knocked him out the ring, but on his feet. The three jumped through the ropes and Crater got knocked down onto one knee. THe three then started wrestling one another. Control was exchanged between the three until Crater came back into the ring. The three finally managed to get Crater down and he was pinned by all three. Whilst the referee was trying to decide who won, Crater attacked all three and tried to unmask Robbie X.

Grado took on Martin Kirby in the third match of the evening. Kirby made his way towards Grado’s bumbag and as Grado protected it, Kirby used it as an opportunity to attack him. Grado recovered and took control of the match. The pace quickened when Kirby took control. Kirby picked up Grado’s bumbag, opened it and pulled out a toothbrush. Kirby wiped his armpit with the toothbrush and there was then a duel over who would have the toothbrush in their mouth. Grado kicked Kirby, wiped the toothbrush under his armpit and brushed Kirby’s teeth with it. Kirby ended up securing the win though, courtesy of hooking his feet on the ropes when pinning Grado.

The show concluded with a tag team match, which pitted Rampage and Sha Samuels (accompanied by CJ Banks) against Justin Sysum and Joe Hendry. Rampage started the match off against Hendry; when Sysum tagged in, Rampage tagged out. Rampage re-entered with a blind tag and took advantage of Sysum not being aware, giving him control of the match. When Sysum was finally able to tag out, Hendry briefly had control; this was soon taken back by Samuels and Rampage. When Rampage got thrown out of the ring, Sysum followed up with a dive over the ropes, taking out Rampage and Banks. Samuels was pinned, giving Sysum and Hendry the win.

A good show, with different types of match throughout. The Grado/Kirby match with the toothbrush was bizarre, but worked in the context of the match. Crater trying to unmask Robbie X could set up a ‘loser is unmasked’ match, but it’s difficult to see beyond a Crater win. One change I would have made would have been the main event, which Stu Bennett announced prior to the second match in a pre-recorded segment in his office. After announcing it would be a tag team match with Rampage and Sha Samuels teaming up, I would have made Justin Sysum’s tag team partner for the match CJ Banks. It would have fixed the odds against Sysum and boosted Bennett’s heel role.

Leave a comment with your thoughts about the show and how I would have booked the main event.

Origin

During the construction of the Panama Canal, something is discovered. It’s taken back to America and kept top secret in an underground facility. The reason? It might be the Devil. So when it awakes, there are questions. But the team inside the facility all want something, which the creature is happy to give them for a price. Which ultimately results in it escaping it’s captivity. The President actions the contingency plan of a nuclear weapon. But can the team escape? And will the creature?

Origin is a horror thriller and the pace increases after the creature escapes. The book was a little different to what I normally read and was ok. I can’t say it was impossible to put down, but it was an easy enough read.

Rating (out of 5): ***