Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

 

I love the zombie genre. All of it. From Romero to Kirkman, it’s all great. So, I was very excited to receive the assignment to review an early draft of Zombified: Book 1: The Head Hunter by author Kindra Sowder with (“The Walking Dead” alumni) Santiago Cirilo.

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Before we dive in, let me start by breaking down the key elements that make a good narrative: Characters, Plot, and Story.

But, Todd?
Yes, Other Todd?
Aren’t Plot and Story the same thing?
No, Other Todd. And that’s why I never invite you anywhere. ‘Cause you’re a big dum-dum.
Aww.

The difference between plot and story is simply this…
Plot is what happens, Story is why it happens OR what it all means.

Do you have any examples?
I sure do, Other Todd. Please stop hijacking my article!

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This is not a drill! It’s 2016 and there’s a new Harry Potter book!
For those of you fellow Potter-ites waiting hopefully for the next installment in the Potterverse, wait and hope no longer. This book, based on a play, which was based on an original story by none other than J.K. Rowling, herself, is the next step forward in the series.

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Yes, I know she said she was done with Harry Potter, and, for the most part, this book isn’t really about him. Don’t worry, though, the beloved survivors of the seventh and final book do make appearances in this new story. Mostly, though, this newest tale revolves around Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus Potter and his unexpected friend, Scorpius Malfoy. That’s right, Malfoy’s only son.

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EPIC-award winner for Best Horror Novel John G. Hartness returns with the second installment in his Quincy Harker: Demon Hunter series of novellas, Straight to Hell. His protagonist, Quincy Harker, is the son of Mina Murray and Johnathan Harker of Dracula fame.

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Harker is a half-vampire wizard with a quick wit and a quicker draw. His supernatural genes give him super-human senses, reflexes, magic powers, and a hysterically negative outlook on life. Armed with these abilities and a slew of weapons Quincy hunts every monster imaginable from demons to werewolves, occasionally receiving aid from his polite but capable servant, Renfield, his guardian angel Q, and his Uncle Luke…who’s actually Count Dracula.

Straight to Hell has Quincy teaming up with Detective Rebecca Flynn to guard a college student who has the ability to open the Seven Seals of the Apocalypse.

 

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Self-published author Chris Kennedy kicks off his “Theogony” trilogy with “Janissaries”, the story of how aliens who almost conquered Earth and eventually became the Titans of Greek myth return for a second attempt and are thwarted by another race of aliens who don’t believe in killing and therefore get humans to do it for them.

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There’s an old saying in the literary world, “Show, don’t tell”, meaning rather than directly explain a situation or backstory, it’s more effective when an author conveys information through character behavior, hints via dialogue, secrets unraveled throughout the course of the plot, etc. This technique, while time consuming for any writer, is far more rewarding for the reader as it results in something to look forward to, reasons to continue investing time and emotion in the people and circumstances that make up a story. This process of unearthing knowledge alongside the main characters makes for a more fulfilling and enriching experience.

It’s also something Chris Kennedy has yet to discover.

 

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Although many don’t often consider it, blending the vastly different worlds of novels and comic books is no easy task. Doing it well is indeed even more difficult. “3 Guns Grace” by Kansas-based author Joseph Bowers attempts to take on that very tall order. But how does it measure up? Read on to find out for yourself!

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British-American author Michael Davies‘ first novel in his new “World of Pangea” trilogy: “Path of the Warrior” – out now via Inspire Fiction (ISBN# 1508638675)- blends elements of classic high fantasy with historical fiction in an exciting new presentation.

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But how does World of Pangea: Path of the Warrior actually stack up?? Read on to find out!
(WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS – YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!)

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So, just to do something a little different here, let’s start this particular review with a question.
What do you get when you take some “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and toss in a little of the early 90s “Beauty and the Beast” TV show? Why, “The Life and Death of Lily Drake”, of course! While reading this review, keep in mind that I may or may not know (or okay, be) someone who happens to have all the episodes of both series practically memorized…

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You know, this may not have been the best book to read during a fit of insomnia. Yeah, that was me… awake at 4:00am reading about giant killer mutant bed bugs… in bed. Yup. Soooo not easy to fall back asleep after that!

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Allen Dusk‘s “Shady Palms” follows the sordid and (for lack of a better term) shady characters that frequent the Shady Palms Motel, a sleazy, decaying, no-tell motel in the worst part of town. This is what I call a mash-up book because it tries to tie in a bit of everything. It’s about the foul criminal underbelly in a major city gone awry. Add a terrorist plot, toss in a couple government acronyms, grow some mutated bugs, throw in a little public servant corruption, and have some drama from the “woe is me” bad girls and boys trying to do better. This one had it all… and did we mention giant killer mutant bed bugs??
Author Allen Dusk walks us through Shady Palms a character at a time, starting with the terrorist. He’s a very important, albeit minor, character. Aside from some amazingly unrealistic character flaws, the psyche seemed disturbingly accurate. While there were quite a few starts to interesting character development that seemingly went nowhere, making the first half of the novel feel a smidgen choppy, and the writing really starts to flow and find its stride about halfway through.

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For every superhero that comes crashing into your multiplex, living room or Broadway musical there are dozens, if not more, that have failed or been forgotten. Since 1997 cartoonist Jon Morris has run a blog “dedicated to the bottom of the comic book barrel” Gone & Forgotten (http://gone-and-forgotten.blogspot.com/). Now he has produced a list of 100 comic book characters from the Golden Age to today will often leaving the reader thinking “whiskey tango foxtrot!?” in his new book: “The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes From Comic Book History!” (2015 Quirk Books, Philadelphia. – 255 pages. – ISBN 978-1-59474-763-2  – $24.95 suggested retail.)

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Among the more bizarre creations are:

  • Bozo the Iron Man— No relation to the legendary clown or Tony Stark’s alter-ego
  • The Clown— A circus version of Batman, perhaps even creepier
  • The Eye— A giant disembodied floating eye that fought crime
  • Thunderbunny— An anthropomorphic, 6 foot tall, pink super-powered bunny rabbit who shares his body with a human teenager

And this reviewer’s personal favorite:

  • Dr. Hormone (his real name, not an alias)– An 80-something grandfather is rejuvenated to a 25-year -old young man thanks to, you guessed it, hormones! He uses his new and improved body and his scientific mind to fight crime with his granddaughter. In his spare time he continues his research on hormones, creating animal-human hybrids and experimenting on dying babies!

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As I’ve stated before in similar reviews, everyone loves a good meal, or at least in my humble opinion, everyone should. For as long, or perhaps even longer than history has been recorded people have been coming up with recipes and trying out new ways to prepare food in order to make it all the more enjoyable, and with all the recipes (not to mention less-then-stellar memories) out there, there’s a definite need to write them down, hence the advent of the cookbook… and now in 2015, boy are there a lot of them out there! But out of the massive pile of ordinary and often mundane cookbooks out there has come a really cool new trend perfect for geeks of all walks of life… fandom inspired cookbooks!

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North Carolina based actress, author, artist, and all-around geeky Renaissance Woman: Angela Pritchett has released one such cookbook entitled “Shut Up and Eat! The Unofficial Doctor Who Series Ate Cookbook” and it’s exactly what the title suggests… a Doctor Who: Series 8 inspired cookbook! The cookbook features over 50 original and 100% edible appetizer, entrée, dessert, and even drink recipes all inspired by, and even titled after various characters/events in the widely popular Doctor Who series/fandom!

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