Monday, January 21, 2019

Midnight Crossroad

I am one of the few who enjoyed watching Midnight, Texas when it aired on NBC, and I was disappointed when they cancelled the show, after only its second season, a few weeks ago. So, I have decided to just read the books that the show is based on. This is book one (of the trilogy).

I am just going to come out and say it. As rare as it is, in this particular situation, I feel that the show is actually better than the book - believe it or not! (Note: I did not feel this way with True Blood. In that case, I felt that the Sookie Stackhouse series was far better than the show.)

First of all, whoever cast the show basically threw the book out the window! (Not really an issue, just saying.) The first season followed this first book very closely, so there were really no surprises. My biggest issue with the book is that the character's supernatural abilities were hardly touched upon. There was only a lot of subtle foreshadowing. For instance, when a woman entered the Rev's church, she immediately ran out "as if a tiger were chasing her". Or with Joe & Chuy's angelic Halloween costumes, their wings looked so realistic. . . (fans of the show will get these subtleties without spoilers)

All in all, I still enjoyed the book. I am just hoping that the next two will expand more upon the characters.

4/5 Skulls

Monday, January 14, 2019

Siege of Stone

After reading Shroud of Eternity (Volume 2 of Goodkind's 'The Nicci Chronicles'), I was slightly concerned that Siege of Stone would seem just as repetitive. I need not have worried! Not only is this book the best of the series so far, it is right up there with some of the best of the Sword of Truth series as well.

This one is perfectly paced and an extremely exciting read. The next book cannot come soon enough!

Here is the book's synopsis:

Set in the world of the Sword of Truth saga, the ramifications of New York Times bestseller Terry Goodkind's Shroud of Eternity extend throughout all of the Old World as familiar allies, dangerous magic, and creatures created by twisted sorcery all work at cross purposes to either save or destroy Ildakar in Siege of Stone.

The Sorceress Nicci, the Wizard Nathan Rahl, and the young swordsman Bannon remain in the legendary city of Ildakar after a great internal revolt has freed the slaves and brought down the powerful wizards council. But as he fled the city, capricious Wizard Commander Maxim dissolved the petrification spell that had turned to stone the invading army of General Utros fifteen centuries earlier.

Now, hundreds of thousands of half-stone soldiers from the ancient past have awakened, led by one of the greatest enemy commanders in history.
Nicci, Nathan, and Bannon have to help Ildakar survive this unbreakable siege, using all the magical defenses of the legendary city. Even as General Utros holds Ildakar hostage and also unleashes his incredible army on the unsuspecting Old World, an equally powerful threat arises out in the sea.
Nicci knows the battle won’t remain in the city; if she can’t stop this threat, two invincible armies can sweep across the Old World and destroy D’Hara itself.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Ridealong

Is the first book that I chose to read this year the rip-roaring read that I was hoping for?

Unfortunately not. However, it is still worth mentioning as you may enjoy it more than I did . (Based on the reviews, I am in the minority on this one.)

I found the story interesting, yet it never seemed to reach it's full potential. I will say that it is worth reading for the ending alone though.

3/5 Skulls

Here is the book's synopsis in case you are interested:

It was supposed to be just one more ridealong, a night when high schooler Melissa Latham accompanies her father on his patrol. But when a serial killer targets them for a dark, disturbing game, the night turns into a high-speed chase where there is no prize for second place.

They have to find a killer before he murders the next one of their friends.

They have to find a killer before they are caught and charged for the murder of the men he's already killed.

They have to find a killer... before he finds them.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Year in Review: 2018

It's that time of year again. . .
Here are my Top Ten Favorite Books that I read this year:
(4 novels, 1 novella, and 1 short story were published this year and 4 novels were published prior to this year)

1. The Girl in the Moon by Terry Goodkind [2018]

2. The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson

3. The Harvest by John Leahy [2018]

4. Hellraiser: The Toll by Mark Alan Miller [2018 Short Story]

5. The Last Hellfighter by Thomas S. Flowers [2018]

6. The Lion's Game by Nelson DeMille (Book #2 in the John Corey series)

7. Plum Island by Nelson DeMille (Book #1 in the John Corey series)

8. Scapegoat by Adam Howe & James Newman [2018]

9. The Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell

10. Trouble's Child by Terry Goodkind [2018 Novella - the Prequel to The Girl in the Moon]

If I were to choose a #1 favorite, that honor would go to:

The Girl in the Moon (my favorite book of 2018 - for the sheer rawness of it) with The Last Hellfighter being a close second.

and The Lion's Game (my favorite non-2018 book of the year)

Here are my Top 10 Favorite Films that I watched this year:
(6 were released this year and 4 were released prior to this year)

1. Better Watch Out (if you haven't seen this one yet, now would be a great time to watch it)

2. Blindspotting [2018]

3. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (If I remember correctly, this was the first movie that I watched this year, and it has remained one of my favorites)

4. Overlord [2018]

5. A Quiet Place [2018]

6. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado [2018]
(a sequel that surpasses the first one!)

7. Summer of '84 [2018]

8. Thelma

9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

10. Upgrade [2018]

If I were to choose a #1 favorite, that honor would go to:

Blindspotting (my favorite film of 2018) with Sicario 2 being a close second.

and Brawl in Cell Block 99 (my favorite non-2018 film of the year)

May you all have a very Merry Christmas and have a Blessed, Happy, and Healthy 2019!

Jason

P. S. All of the book covers and movie posters have been posted on my Google+ and MeWe Profiles.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Spy Who Came for Christmas

If you are having a difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, then consider this my gift to you. (Seriously, if I could purchase a physical copy for everyone, I totally would - it's that good!)

This book is a spy thriller/siege story, chock full of action, that jumps back and forth with an interwoven "espionage" tale of the Three Wise Men. This book will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

War for the Planet of the Dead [Book Review]

Planet of the Dead continues. . .

Genre - Apocalyptic Horror/Zombie
Year Published - 2018
Length - 170 (digital) pages
Written by +Thomas S Flowers

Plot Summary:
Following the events of Planet of the Dead, survivors of the expanding outbreak take shelter in homes, and bunkers, and apartment complexes. Across the world, armed police and military struggle to maintain safety. Tensions mount as the worst imaginable comes to pass when nuclear weapons are used on civilian populations overrun with the living dead. Soon afterward, a coup mounts between warring factions of Generals, ruining the best-laid plans of two AWOL soldiers, a cybernetically enhanced veteran, and a scientist, forcing them to fight both humans and flesh-eating hordes of undead as they seek refuge from a planet plagued by war.

Review:
The bar has been set pretty high this year, and unfortunately, this one did not really live up to my expectations. It didn't help that just a couple of months ago Flowers released The Last Hellfighter, one of my favorite books of the year. That one was superior in every way!

I really enjoyed Planet of the Dead, however I just wasn't feeling this one. With that said, there are still some enjoyable moments in this one. Particularly, Polk's new prosthetic arm, Amy Horrigan's news coverage on the Siege of Washington, and the disturbing new religious cult that is forming.

There are going to be several more books in this series, so if you enjoyed the first one as much as I did, you are going to still want to read this one, as I am hoping for greater things to come!

Rating: 3/5 Skulls

Monday, October 29, 2018

Scapegoat [Book Review]

Scapegoat - yet another phenomenal book! (I am going to have a tough time narrowing down a "best of" list, at the end of the year.)

Genre - Horror
Year Published - 2018
Published by Honey Badger Press
Length - 224 (digital) pages
Written by Adam Howe & James Newman

Plot Summary:
March 29, 1987. . . For metalheads Mike Rawson, Lonnie Deveroux, and Pork Chop, an RV road trip to Wrestlemania III becomes a one-way ticket to hell. While delivering an illegal shipment of counterfeit wrestling merchandise, an ill-fated shortcut through the Kentucky backwoods leads them to a teenaged girl carved head to toe in arcane symbols. Soon our unlikely heroes are being hunted through the boonies by a cult of religious crazies who make the Westboro Baptists look like choirboys. . . a cult that will stop at nothing to get the girl back and complete a ritual that has held an ancient evil at bay for centuries. . . Until now.

Review:
I am a huge fan of Adam Howe's work. (He has never written a bad book!) If you have read his stories before, then you know how difficult it is to peg him into one genre. This is not a problem with this book. This one is straight-up horror! (No need to worry though, as there are still plenty of Howe's signature twisted moments of humor.)

As for Newman, I had not yet read anything by him, though his name has been on my radar (I own Odd Man Out, I just haven't read it yet - that's going to change.)

The collaboration of these two authors is near perfect, and you will understand why once you have read the Story Notes (another Howe staple).

On with my review. . .

First, I just have to say that any book that starts off with a Stryper quote from To Hell with the Devil is a win in my book.

After a completely harrowing Prologue, we are introduced to the main characters of the story - three best friends, since highschool (who formed the Metal Band Wrathbone), who are reuniting years later (the year is 1987) for an RV roadtrip to WrestleMania III (to watch the epic battle between Hulk Hogan and Andre the  Giant). Along the way, they of course end up getting lost and end up taking a shortcut through the woods, and we all know that nothing good ever comes from doing that!

Being a fellow metal-head, I immediately connected with these characters, each of whom are fleshed out enough where you truly care what happens to them. As for the story itself - it is written at a break-neck pace and ultimately hits you like a locomotive! There is an ominous, terrifying portent given half-way through the book and from there on out it becomes a rising crescendo of horrific insanity. (Chapter 47 is extremely difficult to get through!) And the end. . . I just thought to myself that Clive Barker would be proud!

Rating: 5/5 Skulls