Wednesday, 30 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Murdered: Soul Suspect - The Bell Killer - Square Enix

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Square Enix have sent the latest trailer for the forthcoming Murdered: Soul Suspect, which has been on our radar since the first trailer earlier in the year.

It's no only atmospheric but definitely brings something new to the fore for gamers.  We can't wait to get our hand on it.

In addition to this, please remember that there is a Limited Edition coming out that will include a copy of the journal used by Ronan and Joy to hunt down the killer and features written and visual clues about the murders terrorising Salem. It will also include free access to an Interactive Digital Strategy Map. With the aid of the map, you will be able to seek out hundreds of collectibles, detect side quests and find all of Salem’s haunting landmarks. The map will be accessible via computer or tablet. The Limited Edition will be available while stocks last. Please check with your local retailer to see if they're participating. 

Murdered: Soul Suspect will be released on the following formats on 6th June 2014:  
Xbox One  
Xbox 360  

We hope you'll uncover the truth as we do,  

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

FANTASY REVIEW: The Faithful and the Fallen 2: Valour - John Gwynne

Release Date: 27/03/14
Publisher:  Tor


The Banished Lands are torn by war as the army of High King Nathair sweeps the realm challenging all who oppose his holy crusade. Allied with the manipulative Queen Rhin of Cambren, there are few who can stand against him. But Rhin is playing her own games and has her eyes on a far greater prize ...Left for dead - her kin have fled and her country is overrun with enemies - Cywen fights to survive. But any chance of escape is futile once Nathair and his disquieting advisor Calidus realize who she is. They have no intention of letting such a prize slip from their grasp. For she may be their one chance at killing the biggest threat to their power. Meanwhile, the young warrior Corban flees from his conquered homeland with his exiled companions, heading for the only place that may offer them sanctuary. But to get there they must travel through Cambren, avoiding warbands, giants and the vicious wolven of the mountains. And all the while Corban struggles to become the man that everyone believes him to be - the Bright Star and saviour of the Banished Lands. Embroiled in struggles for power and survival, the mortal world is unaware of the greatest threat of all. In the Otherworld, dark forces scheme to bring a host of the Fallen into the world of flesh to end the war with the Faithful, once and for all.


I love good solid fantasy and to be honest whilst recent years seems to have been more an attack of the US, Britain hits back with author John Gwynne who shows that we can produce complex fantasy with talent to spare. The prose is sharp, the pace works wonderfully well and when added to a whole cast of complex character that bring not only the world in which they inhabit to life but bring their own thoughts and desires to the reader with space to spare.

All round, this series is building into one of favourites of the last few years and to have an author who can produce a second book of high quality in good time and schedule shows that this author has a bright future. Great stuff.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Wolfenstein: Different Gameplay Styles - Bethesda

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our Allies at Bethesda have snet us a gameplay trailer with two styles of play for gamers to view.  Whether you're like me, a guy who likes to sneak around and assassinate or Lady Eleanor who is a blow the living hell out of things until it stops moving (and then once more to check its not faking) there's something for everyone.  Wolfenstein: New Order, will be launching on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC!

And now for your enjoyment the trailer:

Currently under development at MachineGames, Wolfenstein: The New Order, the first-person action-adventure shooter, reignites the franchisewidely recognized for pioneering the first-person shooter genre. Set in the 1960s, the monstrous Nazi regime has used mysterious advanced technology to win World War II. They now rule the globe with an iron fist. Wolfenstein: The New Order sends you across Europe on a harrowing mission to bring down the Nazi war machine.  Finally remember that as an added bonus, everyone pre-ordering the game will be invited to access the DOOM beta with their copy ofWolfenstein: The New Order. For more information on the DOOM beta access pre-order bonus, as well as applicable terms and restrictions,please visit::"

We hope you're as excited as we are,      

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

FANTASY REVIEW: The Lascar's Dagger - Glenda Larke

Release Date: 18/03/14
Publisher:  Orbit


FAITH WILL NOT SAVE HIM. Saker looks like a simple priest, but in truth he's a spy for the head of his faith. It's a dangerous job, and more lives than merely his own depend on his secrecy. When Saker is wounded by a Lascar sailor's blade the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility that comes with it, Saker can only follow its lead. It will put him on a journey to strange shores, on a path that will reveal terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and likely lead to his own destruction. The Lascar's dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.


I’ve been a fan of Glenda’s for quite a few years, I love the way she brings amazing fantasy worlds to the fore and adds not only cultures but individual characters that make the world a wonderful place to discover as they go about their quest. Here in her latest book is a story that opens into something that is not only imaginative but will feed the soul of fantasy readers the world over. Its compelling, it has some great concepts within and with a magic system that makes organic sense all round generates something special that you can get behind.

That said however there are problems with this book, first of all it is quite slow with a pace that never really gets going apart from around the principle character and when you add to this supporting cast members feel rather flat left me feeling a little cheated. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy a lot of the elements within however if the second title doesn’t fix these errors I won’t be reading the third.

Monday, 28 April 2014

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Lego: The Hobbit - Warner Brothers Interactive

Release Date: 11/04/14
Publisher:  Warner Brothers Interactive


From the makers of the immensely popular LEGO The Lord of the Rings, comes LEGO The Hobbit, inspired by the first two films in The Hobbit Trilogy: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the upcoming The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.

The interactive game of LEGO The Hobbit allows gamers to play along their favorite scenes from the films and follows the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he is recruited by the Wizard Gandalf to aid Thorin Oakenshield and his Company of Dwarves. Bilbo leaves the comforts of the Shire on a journey through Middle-earth to help the Dwarves reclaim their lost Kingdom of Erebor within the Lonely Mountain. Along the way, he is introduced to ravenous Trolls, dangerous Orcs and, of course, Gollum and his precious Ring. Players will utilise and combine the Dwarves’ unique abilities – often with hilarious results – to solve the most diverse Quests of any LEGO videogame to date.

Explore Middle-earth and visit key locations from the films, including Bag End, and trek through the treacherous High Pass over The Misty Mountains, or discover the depths of Goblin Town, Mirkwood and Rivendell.
Partake in Treasure Quests, mine for gems, discover loot from enemies, and craft powerful magical items or build immense new LEGO structures.
Play as your favorite characters from The Hobbit films, including Bilbo, Gandalf, and the Dwarves: Thorin, Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Dwalin, Balin Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori and Ori. Each has his own special – and quite hilarious – ability. For example, Bombur can be used as a trampoline that enables his companions to “belly-bounce” out of danger!
Collect, combine and forge new items in the Blacksmith Shop using Mithril, the most precious metal in Middle-earth.
Triumph in a game of riddles and learn to wield the power of The One Ring.


I’m a huge fan of the Lego games and to be honest, whilst Marvel: Superheroes for me is the best one out there, I have to admit to having had an absolute ton of fun playing this. Whilst I did read the Hobbit back in my old school days, I have avoided watching the films as I wanted to watch them altogether. Sadly after playing the game I couldn’t resist any longer and now not only a little lighter in the pocket but now up to date eagerly awaiting the third instalment.

What the game does is follow key events in the film with the wonderful Lego humour present throughout. The Dwarves are a whole ton of fun, they each bring skills to the table and the player is going to have more than a blast earning not only each character but finding the Blacksmith blueprints. It gives the gamer a real sense of achievement when they play each level originally and then again when you go looking for either items, bricks or tokens.

It’s a huge amount of fun, I love the animation (and to be honest I want to forget the Lego: The Movie game) and this title is definitely a game that will have many hours of gameplay in it for the player. (As witnessed as I wanted to complete it before reviewing it here.) Throw into the mix solid storytelling, a whole host of vocal talent from the films and all round I was a more than happy gamer and I have a 6 year old nephew who is definitely going to be stoked when it lands. Definitely a game for all ages. Magic.


Release Date: 10/04/14
Publisher:  William Heinemann


Tory Brennan - great niece of Dr Temperance Brennan - and the Virals return for their most terrifying adventure yet. Morris Island has barely had a chance to return to normality after the high profile trial of the Gamemaster, when two local students seem to vanish into thin air. Tory Brennan and the Virals pack move quickly in their attempts to discover what has happened to their twin classmates. But the pack's canine powers are growing wilder, and it is becoming ever harder to conceal the secret which protects them. When Tory and her friends find evidence of blood in the students' basement, they realise that the disappearance is no game. But in order to save the twins, the Virals must risk the exposure of their powers, and in doing so put even their own lives in terrible danger.


The latest YA Thriller from Kathy Reichs to continue the story of Tory Brennan and her pack and to be honest its become a guilty pleasure for me. I love the way that the author can bring together such a young cast that will appeal to older readers as well as the younger ones as she takes them into a world that she (the author) knows too well as crime thriller meets YA in this title.

Its fast paced, works extremely well with Kathy’s strengths and when added to the fact that the “virals” powers are burgeoning keeps the reader on the edge of their seats and the situations becomes more dire alongside the threat of exposure. All round a cracking read and one that is a definite recommendation for any YA reader looking for something cracking that could lead them into the world of adult fiction. Great stuff.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

VIDEO GAME TIE IN ART BOOK REVIEW: The Art of Titanfall - Andy McVittie

Release Date: 25/02/14
Publisher:  Titan


The Art of Titanfall will take readers on a no-holds barred look at Respawn Entertainment's hugely anticipated multiplayer shooter - featuring exclusive concept and development art, showcasing the all-out warfare between the agile pilots and lethal Titans of the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation and the M-COR militia, as well as the war-torn battlefields found throughout the game.


I love the art of books published by Titan and whilst Titanfall was a game that I’d beta’d I was a little apprehensive about purchasing it until I saw this book. I loved the beautifully designed environments, loved the way that the story takes the reader from development through to the final product and when added to wonderful descriptions that help you travel the studio’s journey all round gave me something to not only smile about but something that really persuaded me that it was worth the purchase price.

Add to this some great creature developments, cracking titan design that gives the reader the inside scoop and all round I was more than pleased with the final product. Great stuff.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

FANTASY REVIEW: Moth and Spark - Anne Leonard

Release Date: 20/02/14
Publisher:  Headline


He's cursed with an impossible task. She's blessed with magical visions. Together they can save a divided Empire. Prince Corin has been given the task of freeing the dragons from their bondage to the Empire. However, it seems that that not even the dragonriders themselves know how these terrifying beasts are kept under control. When Tam, a doctor's daughter, arrives in the capital she makes an amazing discovery: she is a Seer, gifted with visions. Sparks fly when Corin and Tam meet ...but it's not all happily ever after. Not only is the prince forbidden to marry a commoner, but war is coming to Caithen. Torn between love and duty, they must work together to uncover the secret that threatens to destroy their country.


I’m a huge fan of fantasy and to be honest I’m always looking for something that break away from the conventions in their own ways. What occurs within this book is a story that not only hits the reader with a cracking story full of action and danger but also delivers a tale of emotional involvement as the principle characters develop from strangers to lovers out to face the world.

Its wonderfully inventive, the world building is solid and when the reader adds to this some good dialogue all round generates a story that will involve the reader on more than one level. All round a great read and I can’t wait to see what Anne hits back with next time.

Friday, 25 April 2014

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Age of Shiva - James Lovegrove

Release Date: 10/04/14
Publisher:  Solaris


Zachary Bramwell, better known as the comics artist Zak Zap, is pushing forty and wondering why his life isn t as exciting as the lives of the superheroes he draws. Then he s shanghaied by black-suited goons and flown to Mount Meru, a vast complex built atop an island in the Maldives. There, Zak meets a trio of billionaire businessmen who put him to work designing costumes for a team of godlike super-powered beings based on the ten avatars of Vishnu from Hindu mythology. The Ten Avatars battle demons and aliens and seem to be the saviours of a world teetering on collapse. But their presence is itself a harbinger of apocalypse. The Vedic fourth age of civilisation, Kali Yuga, is coming to an end, and Zak has a ringside seat for the final, all-out war that threatens the destruction of Earth.


The latest from James in his Age of series and whilst I’m a huge fan of whats gone before, this title left me a little flat. Don’t get me wrong I love the concepts that he brings to the fore in each of the books, but for me, this pantheon left me feeling a little flat as each of the incarnations really didn’t improve the tale to the standards to which I was expecting.

Yes the pace was just as lively as in previous titles, the principle storyteller working wonderfully well, but there felt like a massive separation between him and the deities that nothing seemed to bridge for me as a reader. Don’t get me wrong, James is definitely one of my favourite British Urban Fantasy authors but against other titles in this series this one feels like its one of the weakest for me. All round a great shame.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Dragon Age: Inquisition - Bioware

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
We were so excisted when we heard about Dragon Age: Inquisitions release that we had a hard time holding on for a couple of days just so that we could make sure that we had as much information alongside trailers for you.

After all lets face it, if like us you've played the series since its first release (multiple times) you'll be chomping at the bit to see what Bioware has in store for us in the latest incarnation.

Here's what Bioware has had to say:
"The epic role-playing series from BioWare takes a thrilling leap forward with the power of Frostbite 3. Beautiful vistas and incredible new possibilities await you. Ready yourself for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
A cataclysmic event plunges the land of Thedas into turmoil. Dragons darken the sky, casting a shadow of terror over a once-peaceful kingdom. Mages break into all-out war against the oppressive Templars. Nations rise against one another. It falls to you and your allies to restore order as you lead the Inquisition and hunt down the agents of chaos.
BioWare’s latest action-adventure delivers an unparalleled story set in a vast, changeable landscape. Explore hidden caves, defeat truly monumental creatures, and shape the world around you based on your unique play style.
Explore, lead, and battle: Tough choices define your experience, and even one decision can change the course of what's to come.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is released on 7th October 2014 in the US and 10th of October 2014 in the UK.

For more information please visit the games website.

We can't wait to get to the battlefield and hope to hear of others adventures,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Watch_Dogs 9 Minute Game Feature Trailer - Ubisoft

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Ubisoft have sent us the latest V-Blog News about the forthcoming Watch_Dogs and with the multiplayer options its going to be one hell of a game with something for everyone to do, including being able to play as a squad against others to try and grab information whilst blasting it out.

It definitely looks pretty epic and with the release date on the 27th May, we can't wait to start hacking and getting our gaming posse together (Yes Sky, Stanky Levi, we mean you, although we are looking for other Xbox One Gamers to play wtih) and start to really kick some butt.  So for your perusal, here's the latest trailer:

So remember keep a sharp eye on the world, you never know when someone may be watching you electronically,        

Don't let this warning come too late.   

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: Underground 2: Girl Seven - Hanna Jameson

Release Date: 24/04/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus


What is the price of revenge? The day her parents and sister were murdered, Seven did not cry. Instead, she tried to forget. She vowed that one day she would be free from the sight of their blood. But Seven could not forget. And now that she is part of London's criminal underworld, she knows men who can maim; men who can kill. But they all have a price. Will Seven betray her frinds to avenge her family? A breath-taking thriller laced with fierce, sparse prose, GIRL SEVEN is the new turbo-charged novel from Dagger-shortlisted Hanna Jameson.


When I originally heard about this book I was more than intrigued, I liked the idea of a young girl taking the lead in a murder revenge story but for me, the main thing that needed doing was for the author to present a lead character that not only the reader could associate with but also was carefully balanced to be emotionally damaged after her ordeal. As a reader this was going to be a tough thing to accept and if this didn’t come off just right it would leave the reader in not only a sense of disbelief but also alienated from the rest of the story.

What Hanna brought to the fore was a character that hit the spot, backed up with good dialogue and of course a sense of pace that carried the story forward. That said the plot line was fairly simplistic and whilst there weren’t any surprises all round did give me a book that I enjoyed purely for the principle characters complexity.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

FANTASY REVIEWS: The Greatcoats 1: Traitor's Blade - Sebastien De Castell

Release Date: 06/03/14
Publisher:  Jo Fletcher Books


Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King's Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King's head on a spike. Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters. All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King's dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn...


A new author from the Jo Fletcher stable and whilst I’ve been hearing good things about this book from friends (yes you Andrew Guile) it’s a title that I’ve been meaning to get round to but was waiting for a special time to sit back and savour. What occurs within is a cracking fantasy story, one that will appeal to fans of David Gemmell with cracking action, some wonderful twists and when backed with great prose alongside a wonderfully solid fantasy world all round gave me goose-bumps as I read.

Add to this good dialogue, a story that likes to keep moving as well as a superb support cast and all round I was a more than happy reader. I just can’t wait to see what the world will throw at the Greatcoats next.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

LADY ELEANOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY REVIEW: Life Sentence: A True Story about Life, Lunacy and Fame - Robert LaSardo

Release Date: 01/03/14
Publisher:  Create Space Independent Publishing


After a long, and deeply philosophical, conversation with Robert LaSardo, I eagerly awaited this book that you are about to read. I was not disappointed. Left deep in thought, I sat in a long contemplative silence. While I always enjoyed Mr. LaSardo as an actor, I discovered I like him even better as who he is, behind the face he shows the public. Often, if you are in the public eye, you develop a persona (ego) and become someone that society, fans and publicists want you to be. You can sometimes lose aspects of yourself. The truly courageous ones overcome this through strength of character and merge the two halves of themselves to be whole. In the end, people will either love you for who you are, imperfections and all, or they will pull back, fading away because you spoiled the 'image' they had of you. It is sad that the creative person loses a part of themselves so that they can be known and make a good living. Yet, it is the love of art, writing and acting - the real, inner person we are is what made us do it in the first place - that can often become extinguished by the machine of ratings, demands of talent agents, advisers or by the shine of fame and glamour. Throughout his career, Robert LaSardo has found his niche in Hollywood, playing the devious criminal. Often evil personified in his roles, he has played the villain we love, on the award-winning series Nip/Tuck and on both CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami. We also see his more recent performances in Ghost Whisperer and his own independent film Never Down, he continues to win the hearts of his audience. In Life Sentence: a true story about love, lunacy and fame, you will encounter the man behind the villain he plays, and come to understand the depth of his heart, his will and desire to accomplish despite the hardships that will make you cry. This book will make you feel the triumph of his success, as you are drawn into his life. ~ From the introduction.


I’ve been a fan of Robert LaSardo since I originally saw him in Nip/Tuck, so when he released his poetry books I was pretty stunned, not because he released them but purely for the fact that I’d stereotyped him based on not only his looks (with his tattoo’s) but on the character he’d portrayed. Those books were emotionally raw, real and quite frankly awesome so much so that I felt that I had to write reviews on them.

It was a sheer pleasure and when Robert wrote in December to wish us Merry Christmas I was not only surprised but it went to show that he was a down to earth in touch with the real world human being, so when I heard about his autobiography coming out, it was something I wanted immediately and couldn’t wait to get my hands upon.

So when it arrived, it was devoured in quite a short time and whilst I could have written the review much earlier, it’s a review that has taken me time to sit back and digest as well as how to phrase as the emotional aspects detailed within the title are open, frankly brutal in places and has gone on to show how the real Hollywood works.

Starting out in Robert’s early life, the reader is given the cold hard facts about him having to deal with a split family with his mother suffering from mental illness, it was difficult to read and whilst many would have bypassed this to concentrate on their story from later on ie their arrival in Hollywood, his openness about it brought tears to my eyes. I felt special being allowed into his life, as his words portrayed a truth that many others wouldn’t have the courage to face let alone talk about.

Yet as the book carried on he continued to talk about his life from child into adult hood alongside his time in the Navy and how upon de mobbing his return to his love of acting from his humble beginnings through to Hollywood, but not the Tinseltown that many think of as glitz and glamour, the downright real world version where money is scarce and home is a motel as you struggle making rent each week. A pretentious town where people you looked up to and met years before have been chewed up and spat out wandering round crazed and almost forgotten.

The book is harrowing, the tales about auditions frightening and to have an account from an actor who most would think lived in a big house (including myself) with a huge bank balance (he doesn’t) really has a less stable life than most “average people” do. Yet throughout it all, despite being stomped and downtrodden so many times its his clear passion for acting that comes through with each of his characters such as Nip/Tuck’s Escobar whose portrayal pushed not only the audience to the max but the character himself.

If you want real peak beneath Hollywood’s skirt, that contains amazing writing and a truth that rings out then you really have to read Robert’s work (poetry included.) He really is an inspirational guy. Thank you Robert.

Monday, 21 April 2014

TV TIE IN REVIEW: Grimm: Below the Surface: The Insider's Guide to the Show - Titan Comics

Release Date: 11/03/14
Publisher:  Titan


Acclaimed show runners David Greenwalt (X-Files, Buffy, Angel) and Jim Kouf (Ghost Whisperer, Angel) reveal all about the development and ongoing creation of the show. A full behind-the-scenes guide to the show, from costumes to special effects to make up and more, with exclusive production designs and images direct from the ABC studios. It includes cast interviews.


I’m a huge fan of Grimm and whilst I didn’t get on with the books, the show is something that I love to snuggle up in bed and enjoy. I love the idea and whilst its simplistic to a certain point of view its one that really gives the reader something special to sit down with as the modern world meets the land of fairytales in a cop show format.

This book takes you behind the scenes, helps you understand the characters and gives the reader a unique experience that really is a joy to sit back with, especially when you can put some of the information to the relevant episode. All round a cracking little book and one that I really have found a whole lot of fun.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

URBAN FANASY REVIEW: Once Upon a Time in Hell - Guy Adams

Release Date: 02/01/14
Publisher:  Solaris


Heaven? Hell? There's no difference. Angels, demons, we're all a bit of both. This could be the most wondrous place you ever experience or so terrifying it makes you pray for death. Not that death would help you, of course; there's no escape from here...Wormwood has appeared, and for twenty-four hours the gateway to the afterlife is wide open. But just because a door is open doesn't mean you should step through it...Those who have travelled to reach the town are realising that the challenges they've already faced were nothing compared to what lies ahead. The afterlife has an agenda of its own, and with scheming on both sides of reality, the revelations to come may change the world forever.


I’m always a huge fan of something a little different so when this book from Guy Adams landed I was more than a little intruged at the concept within. As usual, Guy’s characters have a rounded feel that fit well into the timeline which he has created. They have a homely feel almost as if, as a reader, you’ve known them for quite a few years. Add tot his a real kickass storyline, a huge supporting cast that helps take the story forward and all round I was a more than happy reader.

Throw into the mix, a pace that really does keep the reader glued alongside dialogue that works wonderfully well and all round I was a more than happy reader.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Bone Angel Trilogy 1: Nameless - Mercedes M Yardley

Release Date: 20/01/14
Publisher:  Ragnorak Publications


Luna Masterson sees demons. She has been dealing with the demonic all her life, so when her brother gets tangled up with a demon named Sparkles, ‘Luna the Lunatic’ rolls in on her motorcycle to save the day.

Armed with the ability to harm demons, her scathing sarcasm, and a hefty chip on her shoulder, Luna gathers the most unusual of allies, teaming up with a green-eyed heroin addict and a snarky demon ‘of some import.’

After all, outcasts of a feather should stick together...even until the end.


OK, this is a new book from a new publisher and whilst the book blurb didn’t sell it a hundred percent to me, I was more than interested. So with a quiet day on hand, I sat back and got started. What unfurls within is a story that works incredibly well, the lead character is not only chaotic in her own way but a person that’s struggling against her own inner turmoil as she seeks to not only make sense of what’s happening to her but also to her family.

Its definitely something different and when you add a solid supporting cast to the mix, works very well all round. However my major gripe is to do with one of her flaws, the character kept calling the love interest by his full name whenever mentioned. That really took a huge part out of the enjoyment and whilst I could see what the author was doing in trying to help the principle character keep her distance for me it was a major distraction and kept breaking the momentum that I felt was building up wonderfully.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next in this fresh new world.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Mordheim: City of the Damned Questions Answered: Rogue Factor

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Rogue Factor have kindly taken the time to respond to some of our game queries to do with the forthcoming Mordheim: City of the Damned.  We can't wait to get our hands on the title and with the sheer volume of warbands to play, we're going to have a hard time picking our favs.  (Although to be honest I think that I'm going to go a little Ratty for the first time.  LOL)

So, without further ado, Vincent Gallopain, Rogue Factor's PR Manager answers our questions:
Falcata Times:  With the board game of Mordheim stopping officially a decade ago (it’s been up to the fans to develop since) what makes now the right time for it to step onto the VG Platform?

Vincent Gallopain:  Good question! I think that we literally “created” that timing. When brainstorming ideas for our first project there were a lot of tabletop game license ideas that emerged. Out of the lot, Mordheim was the one game that the whole team really enjoyed playing in the past, so we decided to pitch our vision of a videogame adaptation to Games Workshop… and it quite stirred their interest.

FT:  What is the biggest challenge of bringing what was essentially a board game to the VG platform?

VG:  In order to deliver the unique feeling of the board game to a videogame adaptation, we started by breaking down what makes Mordheim so appealing. From the chaotic doomed city to the hardcore rules, we isolated each and every layer of uniqueness. That being said, you should not expect the videogame to be an exact replica of the board game though, we are making something new with the intellectual property. So keep in mind that Mordheim: City of the Damned will be an adaptation of the board game, not a digital version of the board game per se.

FT:  How different are the various warbands that you can play and how do you stop one being more powerful than another? (For example in the board game the Shadow Warrior band was considered too powerful and banned in a tournaments.)

VG:  Just like in the board game, every warband has its specialties. We can't discuss about every detail at the moment, but we can already tell you about the four first warbands present in the game at launch: The Human mercenaries from the Empire, The Skaven Clan Eshin, The Sisters of Sigmar and The Cult of the Possessed. So far we have no plan to add any warband that wasn't part of the original game or its official expansion by Games Workshop. Therefore, you don't have to worry about the warband you mention as it was a player's creation.

FT:  What are some of the design options will the gamer have? IE can they choose the paint scheme of their troops, insignia etc.

VG:  The customization details are still in discussion but we can already tell you that the players will be able to play around with colors to give their warbands a unique look.

We hope tha this has more than piqued other gamers queries and we can't wait to see how the title develops,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

CRIME FICTION REVIEW: The Detectives Daughter 2: Ghost Girl - Lesley Thomson

Release Date: 10/04/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus


It is a year since her father's death, but Stella Darnell has not moved on. She still cleans his house every day, leaving it spotless as if he might return. Terry Darnell was Detective Chief Superintendent at Hammersmith police station, and now Stella has discovered an unsolved case in his darkroom: a folder of unlabelled photographs of deserted streets. The oldest photograph dates back to 1966. To a day when Mary Thornton, just ten years old, is taking her little brother home from school in time for tea. That afternoon, as the Moors Murderers are sent to prison for life, Mary witnesses something that will haunt her forever. As Stella inches closer to the truth, the events of that day begin to haunt her too...


To be honest I read Lesley’s debut last year, the Detectives Daughter and whilst I wasn’t fully enamoured with the principle character as I couldn’t really get a handle upon her, I thought that there was enough there for me to give the second book a go.

Unfortunately for me, the problems that I had with the original remained in this the second book in short the principle character again. That’s not to say that the story wasn’t carefully constructed, it was and the tale did generate some solid leads alongside twists but at the end of the day, when I can’t stand a lead character I have a hell of a job keeping going. All round, I’ll probably give Lesley’s next book a miss however if the character does become more amenable to the reader I’ll definitely pick it up.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Prepare for Space Battles with Entropy - Artplant

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Artplant have let us know about a new MMO that we think a lot of our readers will have  good bit of fun with, Entropy.

Here's what they had to say:

Artplant, the award-winning studio behind Battlestar Galactica Online, has launched the first major feature update for Entropy, its ambitious interstellar space MMO. ‘Hostile Takeover’ introduces an innovative faction conflict system that allows players to fight for control of the star systems across Entropy's frontier. 

Players contracted with one of the game's three mega-corporations can now work together to destabilise star systems controlled by their rivals and create opportunities for attack, or protect their own star systems from the actions of opposing players. This ongoing conflict culminates in battles fought in and around heavily defended space stations to decide the fate of entire star systems.

“I love the way that the feature is making every action meaningful,” says Jack Wulff, Entropy's producer and chief executive officer of Artplant. “Your journey shapes the universe around you. Our players have been requesting more focused and meaningful PvP events, and with support for up to a hundred players in the same match, we expect some truly epic battles."

Early access can be obtained here:

Hopefully we'll see you in the epic battles to come,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

VIDEO GAME NEWS: The Evil Within Gameplay Trailer - Bethesda

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our contact at Bethesda has managed to obtain the latest trailer from the forthcoming "The Evil Within."

Here's what they had to say:
"We’ve just released a new gameplay trailer for The Evil Within, the new survival horror game from legendary game director, Shinji Mikami. The Evil Within is in development for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC and will be available in North America on August 26, 2014, and throughout Europe on August 29, 2014.

Developed by Shinji Mikami and the talented team at Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within embodies the meaning of pure survival horror.Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story are combined to create an immersive world that will bring you to the height of tension. With limited resources at your disposal, you’ll fight for survival and experience profound fear in this perfect blend of horror and action.

While investigating the scene of a gruesome mass murder, Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners encounter a mysterious and powerful force. After seeing the slaughter of fellow officers, Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead. Facing unimaginable terror, and fighting for survival, Sebastian embarks on a frightening journey to unravel what’s behind this evil force.
For more information on The Evil Within, visit or recently updated site at"

We hope you're getting as excited about this as we are.

All the best,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Wolfenstein: New Order, new trailer - Bethesda

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our Allies at Bethesda have managed to get the latest trailer for Wolfenstein: New Order, our from occupied territory.  The game will be launching simultaneously in North America, Europe and Australia on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC!

And now for your enjoyment the trailer:

Currently under development at MachineGames, Wolfenstein: The New Order, the first-person action-adventure shooter, reignites the franchisewidely recognized for pioneering the first-person shooter genre. Set in the 1960s, the monstrous Nazi regime has used mysterious advanced technology to win World War II. They now rule the globe with an iron fist. Wolfenstein: The New Order sends you across Europe on a harrowing mission to bring down the Nazi war machine. 

Finally remember that as an added bonus, everyone pre-ordering the game will be invited to access the DOOM beta with their copy ofWolfenstein: The New Order. For more information on the DOOM beta access pre-order bonus, as well as applicable terms and restrictions,please visit::"

We hope you're as excited as we are,    

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

Monday, 7 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor News and Release Date - Warner Brothers Interactive

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers Interactive have let us know about the latest updates for the forthcoming Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Firstly we have the release date which is currently set for the 7th October 2014 for the following formats:
Xbox 360
Xbox One

So far its looking like a game that we're both (Lady Eleanor and I) are going to be vying for play time with and comparing our experiences and skills against each other.  (She's more a charge in and smack the hell out of things, whereas I like to snipe where possible.)

In addition to  this we also have the latest trailer:

And we've been told about a pre-order bonus:
Fans who pre-order  Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will get access at the game’s launch to  The Dark Ranger exclusive bonus pack. Available at all participating retailers, the pack will provide exclusive content and challenges for players including:  
  • Dark Ranger Character Skin
    • Begin your own quest for vengeance with a new Dark Ranger character skin that embodies Talion's darker side
  • "Test of Power" Challenge Mode
  • Face Sauron's Captains and defeat them to earn powerful Runes and gain a head start in the game
  • Test your speed, skill and strategy and measure yourself against your friends on the leaderboards 
  • Access to Exclusive Leaderboards for "Test of Power" Challenge Mode
    • Test your speed, skill and strategy and measure yourself against your friends on the leaderboards in this challenge mode

    Hopefully this will have whetted your appetite so remember to keep your blades sharp and your wits sharper.

    Gareth and Lady Eleanor

VIDEO GAME NEWS: New Bot and Gameplay Trailer Revealed for Transformers: Universe - Jagex

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,

Our friends at Jagex Game Studio have managed to let us know about some of the latest news in thier forthcoming Massive Online Tactical Action game (MOTA) Transformers Universe.  

Here we have a brand new trailer as well as a couple of Bot Reveals:  

Here's the first bot reveal, Autobot, Catapult:
She moves in the shadows with the strut of a notorious gunslinger and reads cross-winds like a circling hawk. Place Catapult at long range with her Phase Chamber primed, sniper rifle cocked and license-to-terminate activated; she'll drop her mark grill-down in the dirt for keeps. A mysterious loner, the only trace this Autobot exists is a tag scratched into every 'Con she dispatches to the scrapyard.

And if you play with the Decepticons you get, Shellshock:
Retirement was never one of Shellshock's plans: he's been holed up in his armory feverishly waiting for the call. Faceplate-deep in munitions and customising his beloved miniguns, he ensured burst rates, muzzle velocities, calibers and cartridges all got a little love. A career killer, you won't have to ask him twice to rejoin the fight. Put this slayer in mid-range with a directive for destruction and Shellshock will have a blast every time.

Beta Testing is still open (which you can sign up for it here.)
For more information visit their website and remember Transformers Universe launches in June.

Let the Oil and Energon flow,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor