Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Doctor Who: Bloodtide by Jonathan Morris

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*No Major Spoilers*

The prehistoric Earth is dying. Thunderclouds roll across the skies, cloaking the land in darkness. The seas crash and boil as the rain turns to acid. The remnants of the Silurian race place themselves in suspended animation, deep below the surface.

One day they will awaken and reclaim their world…

The TARDIS has landed on the Galapagos Islands, a desolate outcrop of rocks shrouded in mist and fear. In the settlement of Baquerizo Moreno, there are rumors that prisoners have been mysteriously disappearing from the gaolhouse. A fisherman has been driven insane by something he saw in the caves. And the Doctor and Evelyn are not the only new arrivals; there is also a young natural philosopher by the name of Charles Darwin.

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I have been a fan of Doctor Who for several years. I don’t remember exactly when I first started watching the show, but it was back when Doctor Who was still on Netflix. I fell in love with its quirky humor and characters you can’t help but love.

I have been reviewing the Doctor Who “expanded universe” books and audio dramas since I started writing this blog. I have been using these stories as a way to dip into something familiar. I have to restrain myself from just turning this into a Doctor Who blog sometimes. Even too much of a good thing can make it toxic and unhealthy.

Bloodtide follows traditional Doctor Who formula. Since this is a historical novel, we get to meet Charles Darwin on his historic trip to the Galapagos Islands. When the sister of one of the prisoners on the island asks the Doctor for help, they soon discover things aren’t as they seem.

Overall, I enjoyed this audio drama. The actress who played the sister of the prisoner I found to be annoying and irritating. I love how throughout the story, we see Charles Darwin’s inner battle with what he’s discovered versus what the Christian church has taught.

Even in modern times, the discussion of evolution is controversial in more conservative and religious areas. The idea that species change to fit the needs of their environment is generally acceptable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we came from primates. You can easily fall into the rabbit hole about “the missing link” and how that may or may not be related to Sasquatch or Bigfoot.

The Christian belief says that God created the Earth as it is, and nothing has changed since He created it. The fact that you have the same species of finches with different sized and shaped bills can cause deep thinkers like Darwin to question everything he’s thought up to that point to be true.

I won’t spoil the “big reveal,” but it was a shocking surprise. I think anyone listening to this will be pleased with the plot twist and how the story ends.

Overall, I think any Doctor Who fan will enjoy Bloodtide. The thing I love about the show as a whole is how comforting it is. If you are having Doctor Who withdrawals or just craving something familiar, then I would highly recommend Doctor Who: Bloodtide.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Fury From the Tomb (Institute of Singular Antiquities #1) by S.A. Sidor

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*No Major Spoilers* 

Saqqara, Egypt, 1888, and in the booby-trapped tomb of an ancient sorcerer, Rom Hardy, a young Egyptologist, makes the discovery of a lifetime: five coffins and an eerie, oversized sarcophagus. But the expedition seems cursed, for after unearthing the mummies, all but Rom die horribly. He faithfully returns to America with his disturbing cargo, continuing by train to Los Angeles, home of his reclusive sponsor. When the train is hijacked by murderous banditos in the Arizona desert, who steal the mummies and flee over the border, Rom – with his benefactor’s rebellious daughter, an orphaned Chinese busboy, and a cold-blooded gunslinger – must ride into Mexico to bring the malevolent mummies back. If only mummies were their biggest problem…

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I love historical fiction, and I was excited about Fury From the Tomb because it reminded me of the Indiana Jones series. I couldn’t wait to go on an adventure to Egypt amidst the craze of Egyptology and discover an ancient tomb that wasn’t supposed to see the light of day.

The book sold me on the first fifty or so pages. I can understand Dr. Hardy’s drive to follow the feverish whims of his wealthy benefactor. The possibilities for future trips to Egypt were in the balance. Dr. Hardy wanted to make at least one discovery before he resigned to teaching a lecture hall full of students.

“Mummies became exotic party favors rich people unraveled for their own titillation and gruesome delights, only then to be discarded like so much used gift ribbon and leftover bones. Disgraceful and unscientific plundering was commonplace.”- Fury From the Tomb by S.A. Sidor

After the excavation of the forbidden crypt, mysterious people come to smuggle the mummies out of Egypt illegally. Once the doctor and company return to the United States, the story gets interesting and starts to drag simultaneously.

Perhaps this wasn’t a good time for me to read this novel. Maybe it’s just not for me as a reader. I enjoyed what I had read I wish it wasn’t dragging along. I initially had a tough time describing why I felt the novel was dragging after the train hijacking. I think it was the dialogue that forced me to throw in the towel.

Overall, I would check it out at your local library. I thought the premise and characters were interesting, but I feel that the story drags once Dr. Hardy leaves Egypt. If you enjoy the Indiana Jones franchise or magical realism in historical fiction, then I would say this novel might be for you.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Rico Stays by Ed Duncan (Pigeon-Blood Red #3)

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*No Spoilers* 

After enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders stepped in to protect his girlfriend from a local mob boss’s hot-headed nephew, all hell broke loose.

When the smoke cleared, the nephew had vanished, but three goons who had tried to help him lay dying where they’d stood. Fighting for his life, Rico was alive but gravely wounded.

Out of the hospital but not fully recovered, he needed a place to crash – a place where he wouldn’t be found by men who surely would be looking. A place like a cabin owned by lawyer Paul Elliott, whose life Rico had saved more than once. Trouble was, Paul’s girlfriend hadn’t forgotten Rico’s dark history. Or Paul’s fascination with him.

Using Rico’s girlfriend as bait, vengeful killers soon would be coming for him. The only question was whether he would face them alone or with help from Paul.

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Last year, I reviewed Ed Duncan‘s book The Last Straw. The second installation of the Pidgeon-Blood Red series. Since I enjoyed the previous installment, I couldn’t wait to dive into Rico Stays

I was concerned about if I should go back and reread The Last Straw. I have a vague memory of the overall plot, and I don’t remember which character appeared more. Each novel in the series you can read as a stand-alone novel. I looked at my last review; I talked about how Rico was my favorite character. Rico still is my favorite character, but I feel like I got to know Paul Elliot more in Rico Stays.

This novel is full of suspense, action, as well as character development. I feel like I got to know each of the major players in this story by the time I got to the last page. No one is one-dimensional in this story.

If you enjoyed the first two books, then Rico Stays should be added to your “To Be Read” list. I would recommend this for those who enjoy modern crime noir, mobster stories, and stories full of suspense and action.

Click Here to buy Rico Stays by Ed Duncan!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction

REVIEW: The Last Book on the Left: Stories of Murder and Mayhem from History’s Most Notorious Serial Killers by Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel, and Henry Zebrowski

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Since its first show in 2010, The Last Podcast on the Left has barreled headlong into all things horror, as hosts Henry Zebrowski, Ben Kissel, and Marcus Parks cover subjects spanning Jeffrey Dahmer, werewolves, Jonestown, and supernatural phenomena. Deeply researched but with a morbidly humorous bent, the podcast has earned a dedicated and aptly cult-like following for its unique take on all things macabre.

In their first book, the guys take a deep dive into history’s most infamous serial killers, from Ted Bundy to John Wayne Gacy, exploring their origin stories, haunting habits, and perverse predilections. Featuring newly developed content alongside updated fan favorites, each profile is an exhaustive examination of the darker side of human existence. With appropriately creepy four-color illustrations throughout and a gift-worthy paper overboard format, The Last Book on the Left will satisfy the bloodlust of readers everywhere.

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I have been listening to The Last Podcast on the Left for a couple of years now. I love how they talk about these serial killers and rips the curtain mainstream media has placed around them and expose them for who they indeed are.

Years of researching serial killers has revealed that most of these criminals are not the monsters of nightmares they are so often portrayed to be by “true crime entertainment” but are more often huge dorks who couldn’t get anything right in their lives so they turned to murder and mayhem. -Henry Zebrowski of Last Podcast on the Left

However, on their podcast, they talk about more than just serial killers and true crime. They also discuss various paranormal and occult topics. They recently finished up a series about the history of lobotomy, and I found the subject to be fascinating as well as a bit gross.

This collection of serial killer histories is worth the read for any true crime fan, and I feel it’s a great introduction to the podcast itself. Marcus tells the story, and Henry and Ben interject with jokes and humorous comments. Although, when the subject revolves around UFOs and aliens, Henry tends to take over the story and adds pieces of his research.

Overall, if you are looking for a true-crime read that’s not afraid to have a sense of humor, then I would recommend Last Book on the Left. This collection is perfect for fans of the podcast or looking for an introduction to true crime. This story will leave you laughing while double-checking the locks on your doors and windows.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Marvel Comics

REVIEW: She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Deconstructed by Mariko Tamaki

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*No Spoilers*

Jennifer Walters has survived the second Civil War…barely. But, having risen from the rubble, she re-enters the world a very different kind of hero. Fueled by a quiet rage, Jennifer is determined to move forward, to go on with her life, but the pain of the past and all that she’s lost is always there. An undercurrent, a pulse waiting to quicken and trigger Jen’s transformation into the one thing she doesn’t have control over…

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I have read some of the She-Hulk comics in the past. I admire how she can be an awesome superhero and be a successful lawyer for the other superheroes. I think it would be awesome to have someone like Jennifer or Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil) in your corner when you need it most.

We meet Jennifer with an internal struggle. She wants to leave her superhero past behind her and focus on her return to lawyering. However, the past is more difficult to run away from than Jennifer can handle.

When Jennifer returns to her job, her first client is a woman about to be evicted from her apartment. Jennifer investigates the matter, and comes back to inform the client there’s nothing she can do. Things get out of hand fast, and soon Jennifer is forced to make a tough decision.

Overall I enjoyed this story. There are small appearances by Captain Marvel and Hellcat (aka Patsy Walker to fans of the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones and The Defenders). And I want to be the friend Hellcat is to all of her friends. She cares about Jennifer in this story, but when Jennifer rejects her help, Patsy gives Jennifer her space. That is a good friend.

In conclusion, I enjoyed She-Hulk: Deconstructed. Even though the overall plot was not overly complicated, this is a great introduction to She-Hulk. I would recommend this graphic novel for Marvel fans or people who love female-driven stories. 

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