Posted in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Novels

REVIEW: Beyond the Fray: Bigfoot by Shannon LeGro and G. Michael Hopf

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It’s argued that the recent search for Bigfoot officially began on September 21, 1958, when journalist, Andrew Genzoli of the Humboldt Times, featured a letter from a reader about loggers in Northern California concerning large footprints they’d found at a worksite. What began as a fun article turned into an almost instant national sensation, and since stories of the elusive creature have poured in, not just from California and the Pacific Northwest, but from around the world.

BEYOND THE FRAY: BIGFOOT features some of these personal eyewitness accounts and terrifying encounters, most taken from the transcripts of the popular podcast, “iNTO THE FRAY.”  These stories are unique and scary. They will leave you wondering what this creature is and will no doubt give you pause before you cross the wood line and enter the woods.

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This novel is an anthology of people who have had encounters with the legendary Bigfoot. I have a casual interest in Cryptozoology, and I’ve been looking for a good Bigfoot book to read for a while. I am also a bit embarrassed by my casual interest in things like Cryptozoology, UFOs, and other supernatural experiences.

This anthology is an excellent quick read. Each chapter starts with the host’s thoughts about the upcoming encounter, just like I was listening to a podcast in the same niche. I always enjoy hearing thoughts from a third party. I feel the most credible witnesses to these creatures, in my opinion, are those who aren’t going into the deep woods looking for Bigfoot.

However, this novel isn’t full of stories about Sasquash. There’s Dogmen, Dire Wolves, and other creepy crawlies that go bump in the night. I find the idea of Dogmen and other creatures to be more interesting than Bigfoot. I might go into more detail on my thoughts on Cryptozoology and other paranormal things in a later blog post.

Overall, I would highly recommend Beyond the Fray: Bigfoot if you’re itching to dip your toes into the weird world of what goes on deep in the woods in the middle of the night.

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Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

Looking Back on “The Sheep Look Up” by John Brunner During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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I know we’re only halfway through 2020, however, with everything that’s been going on in the world lately, I found it hard not to look back on When the Sheep Look Up by John Brunner. I reviewed this realistic post-apocalyptic novel last year, and such aspects that have stuck with me are how everyone in the story is wearing gas masks, the water is polluted, and there is general unrest amongst the civilians.

With the fear of COVID-19 hanging heavy in the air, most people are sheltering in their homes and leaving the house only if they have to. I know gas masks and protective face masks aren’t the same, but I don’t think that matters in the grand scheme of things.

To make a seemingly tense and stressful situation worse, we are again reminded of the gross mishandling of police officers who have a record of valid complaints. If a police officer has a complaint filed, I think it should be investigated through an unbiased third party. No police officer should have excessive allegations that have been swept under the rug. Just because he has “connections” or is a “good ole boy” makes this unfair to the people they’re sworn to protect.

People are upset. With COVID-19 being the biggest pandemic since the Spanish Flu, and witnessing our own government’s and to a certain extent, our society’s lack of trust of the scientists made this more deadly than it needed to be. The economy and unemployment rates are the worst they’ve been, and we’re still witnesses to police brutality. Everyone is on edge. It’s the perfect deadly stew for public unrest.

We need justice, we need peace, and until then, stay safe and don’t do anything stupid. If you want to read my thoughts on The Sheep Look Up Click Here to read my review!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Zodiac P.I. Vol. 1 (Zodiac P.I. #1) by Natsumi Andō

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*No Major Spoilers*

Lili is just like any other girl — except she can foretell the future! This ‘Zodiac PI’ relies on horoscopes and astrology to help her solve crimes and track down criminals. When there’s trouble brewing, she transforms herself into the magic Detective Spica and looks to the stars to guide her way. Before long, she is joined by her childhood friend, Hiromi, who dreams of becoming a detective as skilled as Detective Spica. Soon, no astral investigation is too arduous for this dynamic duo!

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I initially found this manga at a convention I attended a couple of years ago. It caught my eye because the subject matter was something I think everyone becomes interested in at some point in their lives. Combining this with the mystery genre was something I thought would be interesting. Now let’s see if the stars align for Zodiac P.I. 

I found the two mysteries featured in this manga to be intriguing, the first mystery surrounds the death of one of Lili’s classmates. The other is Lili going undercover to investigate this piano school rumored to be haunted. However, ghosts are the least of Lili’s worries once one of the teachers turns up dead in his own classroom.

Lili uses the magical power of a Zodiac ring her mother gave her before she disappeared. This ring brings forth the entities of the Zodiac to provide her with the victim’s horoscope for the day that they died, and the ominous messages help Lili solve the case as Detective Spica.

After the piano school case, Hiromi discovers Lili is actually Detective Spica. We then learn that Lili’s mom was the original Detective Spica before her disappearance. Now that her secret identity has been revealed, Hiromi promises to not reveal Lili’s secret and help her out with future cases.

As much as I want to nitpick this manga to death, I know it’s meant for a younger audience. I still had fun reading this story. The use of the Zodiac and the victim’s horoscope add a new element to old fashioned sleuthing. I would recommend this manga series for lovers of mysteries, Zodiac, and female heroines. This is a series I hope to be revisiting in the future.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Personal Blogs

Happy Memorial Day!

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I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day! I know times are insane right now, but I have hope that things will get better one day.

I hope to be spending the day reading, or trying to get my mental health under control. Looking for a job in the middle of a worldwide pandemic is making things ridiculous. The only thing I can focus on now are things that are in my control.

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Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

DISCUSSION: Are Video Games Getting Easier, or Am I Getting Better?

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With video game companies often cashing in on the nostalgia by remaking, remastering, or rebooting beloved franchises, such as Crash Bandicoot or the Spyro series, the question I find myself and my video game fans asking, are video games getting easier?.

I wasn’t a video game nerd growing up, the only games I played were Pokemon, the Mario & Luigi series, and other mismatched games. One of the spinoffs I love is the Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon series. I was so excited when they remade the first game, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team, as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX. I bought it as soon as it came out for the Nintendo Switch.

Now, I remember Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team being quite tricky growing up. As I’m playing this remake, I haven’t been having many troubles other than getting buttons confused, but that comes with the territory. I quickly noticed how easy this game is now. Unless I haven’t hit the difficulty spike, I’ve had little to no problems working my way through the game.

So this begs the question, did they make this game more accessible to the younger audience, or did I just get better at strategy games overall? Well, I think I just got better by playing more strategy games such as Octopath TravelerChocobo’s Mystery Dungeon, and all of the later entries in the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series. I think with time and experience with other video games of the same genre, I might just have a better grasp on how to play the game than when I was a kid.

However, I’d like to hear your opinion! Do you think video game companies are making video games easier, or do you think you’ve just gotten better at playing the games?

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