Posted in Personal Blogs

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving! I understand that the holidays can be a difficult time for some people, but no matter what you do today, I hope you have fun doing it.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Till We Become Monsters by Amanda Headlee


*No Major Spoilers*

Monsters exist and Korin Perrin knew this as truth because his grandmother told him so. Korin, raised in the shadow of his older brother Davis, is an imaginative child who believes his brother is a monster. After the death of their grandmother, seven-year-old Korin, blaming Davis for her demise, tries to kill him. Sixteen years following the attempt on Davis’ life, racked with guilt, Korin comes to terms with the fact that Davis may not be the one who is the monster after all.

Past wrongs needing to be righted, Korin agrees to a hunting trip with his brother and father. But they, along with two friends, never make it to their destination. An accident along the way separates the hunters in the dark forests of Minnesota during the threat of an oncoming blizzard. As the stranded hunters search for each other and safety, an ancient evil wakes.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am a big fan of cryptids and other mythological creatures. Since I live in Oklahoma which may not be the epicenter of Bigfoot sightings, this state does have more than a few known Bigfoot hunting grounds. However, there is no Bigfoot in this story, Till We Become Monsters is focused on the Wendigo.

For those unfamiliar with the Indigenous Peoples’ Mythologies, a Wendigo is a creature that is created from the dire straits people in the northern areas can find themselves in if they get caught in a snowstorm unprepared. They say once someone gets a taste of human blood, the never-ending hunger grows and morphs the person into a monster.

Back to the book, we meet Korin who we watch grow up feeling emotionally neglected by his parents. His big brother Davis has both of his parents’ attention and love throughout childhood and into adulthood. Seeing the events from mostly Korin’s perspective makes you feel bad for him.

“We never know how far we have fallen until we become monsters.”

Amanda Headlee; Till We Become Monsters

After about halfway into the book, we see Korin’s childhood from both parents’ and Davis’ perspectives. It doesn’t negate how his parents neglected Korin and that they spoiled Davis to the point where the whole family dynamic is toxic and borderline abusive. It just provides context for the reader that the parents fumbled the parental football to the detriment of the family.

Even though no one in the family is worth rooting for, you can’t help rooting for all of them to survive the aftermath of the car accident. I think this shows that the author took the time to give each character a slight redeeming quality. I think if everything was left in Korin’s perspective, we’d want all the family to fail.

Overall, this was a good book. I got swept up in the action, and the building of Korin’s character. I think the mythological aspect of this novel was pulled off really well. I also think if you are interested in cryptids, survival horror, and just all around spookiness, then I would say give this novel a try.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Engines of War (Doctor Who: New Series Adventures Specials #4) by George Mann


*No Major Spoilers*

The Great Time War has raged for centuries, ravaging the universe. Scores of human colony planets are now overrun by Dalek occupation forces. A weary, angry Doctor leads a flotilla of Battle TARDISes against the Dalek stronghold but in the midst of the carnage, the Doctor’s TARDIS crashes to a planet below: Moldox.

As the Doctor is trapped in an apocalyptic landscape, Dalek patrols roam amongst the wreckage, rounding up the remaining civilians. But why haven’t the Daleks simply killed the humans?

Searching for answers the Doctor meets ‘Cinder’, a young Dalek hunter. Their struggles to discover the Dalek plan take them from the ruins of Moldox to the halls of Gallifrey, and set in motion a chain of events that will change everything. And everyone.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was actually my second attempt at reading this Doctor Who novel. I don’t remember why I didn’t finish this the first time, maybe it just wasn’t the right time. So let’s jump in the TARDIS and check out this review of Engines of War.

It was interesting seeing The Doctor in a negative light in the beginning of the story. Cinder is in the middle of the Time War, and because of it Cinder sees both sides of the war as ‘the bad guys’. However, when she meets the Doctor she sees just how fruitless her attempts at beating the Daleks were.

I liked Cinder as a companion, she brought a new perspective to the mythos of The Time War. When the Doctor takes her to Gallifrey to try and alert the High Council about the Dalek’s end game, she sees that her assumptions of other Time Lords was correct.

She [Cinder] could see now that all she’d been doing was screaming into the wind. Those victories she’d notched up on the barrel of her gun had been hollow, every one of them. She hadn’t changed anything, hadn’t really made a difference. She’d wasted so much time.

George Mann; Doctor Who: Engines of War

I enjoyed getting more context for the War Doctor and the Time War. On the TV show they show bits of it, but nothing like what this novel accomplishes. We get to see what the war has not only done on a single planet, but what it has done to the people of Gallifrey.

Overall, this was an excellent Doctor Who book. There was action, exploration, and we got to see a lot of Gallifrey. I’d recommend Engines of War to all Doctor Who fans and even casual science fiction fans.

Posted in Bite-Sized Reviews, Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

COMBO REVIEW: Star Wars Edition


Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I feel like I really became a fan of Star Wars when I started watching the Clone Wars series on Netflix. I think they did an excellent job making it a good entry point for casual and hardcore fans. This story picks up shortly after that show leaves off. Ahsoka is left in the aftermath of Order 66, everyone she’s ever known is dead. So, she starts hopping from planet to planet trying to keep a low profile and hide from the Empire. However, she finds herself staying on this tiny moon and teaching farmers how to defend themselves against Stormtroopers and their battle droids.

Master Yoda had taught her that sometimes you found things you weren’t expecting, and it only made sense to use them when you did.

E.K. Johnston; Ahsoka

I enjoyed this novel. Ahsoka is one of my favorite characters from the Clone Wars era, and it was nice seeing what she gets up to after that tragic moment in Star Wars lore. I would recommend you watch the Clone Wars show before jumping into this story, although I think Ahsoka stands on its own as well.


Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Now, let’s say you like the Clone Wars, but was annoyed by Ahsoka. This is the prequel book for you. This takes place shortly after Anakin becomes a Jedi Knight and is no longer a Padawan under Obi-Wan. Shortly after the ceremony, a neutral planet has just been struck by a terrorist attack. The Jedi Council send Obi-Wan on a solo mission to secure the planetary leaders to trust the Republic/Jedi and not trust what the Separatists/Sith are saying about the attack.

“This was Skywalker and Kenobi as they should be: a team built on emotion and intellect, bravado and control, fire and ice. And despite no longer having the formal bond of Master and apprentice, they would always be connected. In fact, they were better this way.”

Mike Chen; Star Wars: Brotherhood

I also enjoyed Brotherhood. It was action-packed, filled with espionage, and a dash of soapy romance. I liked seeing the events not only from Obi-Wan and Anakin’s perspective, but their new found companions too.

Anakin forms a bond with a youngling who has Force abilities, but she feels others emotions so intensely that it causes her emotional distress. After talking with Anakin about how she feels differently than her fellow younglings regarding becoming a Jedi, she decides to learn how to use her abilities in healing and medical training. I am glad that the Jedi Council was understanding and accepting of her differences.

I would recommend Brotherhood for fans of Star Wars, and even for people not so familiar with the franchise. This novel stands on its own really well, just like Ahsoka, and I think it’s fun to read them back-to-back.


Vader by Kieron Gillen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This comic takes place shortly after the Death Star has been destroyed. Emperor Palpatine is disappointed that Vader couldn’t handle a handful of rebels. So, Vader sets off to gather intel about who the rebels are and if they’re a real threat to the Empire’s missions and goals.

Along the way he meets this renegade droid repairperson called Doctor Aphra and Vader uses her droids and tech for nefarious deeds. I liked Doctor Aphra. She is independent and she’s not afraid to do what she thinks is the right thing. Even when Vader is using her talents, she’s cracking jokes and being friendly with Vader even she knows he’ll kill her as soon as he’s finished with her.

Overall, I think this was a great start to this storyline, I hope I can continue this series in the future. I am a fan of Darth Vader, and I enjoy seeing him have depth and not just be this evil guy who kills everyone in his path.