Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels, Short Story Collections

REVIEW: X-Files: The Truth is Out There by Various Authors

*No Spoilers*

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are back in a chilling collection of all-new tales of dark secrets, alien agendas, terrifying monsters and murderous madmen.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As I always do when it comes to anthologies or short story collections, I take my favorites or most memorable stories and talk about them. For example with other short story collections I’ve reviewed, I usually talk about my favorites and least favorites. However, with this collection, I just did a top five of my favorites. I actually wanted to talk about seven of the stories, but my perfectionism won out, so I narrowed it down to my top five.

There isn’t a bad story in this collection, I enjoyed all of them, but I’m going to be discussing my favorites today. So, in order in which they appeared in the collection, here we go!

We Should Listen to Some Shostakovich by Hank Phillipi Ryan

No X-Files story is complete without some Mulder loves Scully action. In this story, Mulder and Scully have left their jobs at the FBI to get married and decided to start a family. As a wedding present, they receive a mysterious painting from one of Scully’s long lost uncles. As they delve deeper into the painting’s history things get dangerous. 3.5/5 Stars

Mummiya by Greg Cox

When a mummy is shot near a college, it’s up to Scully and Mulder to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction. This story is a good one for fans of Egyptology. There’s a lot about the history and religious beliefs to dive into. I don’t want to go into this story too much because it is a good one and worth the read. 4/5 Stars.

Male Privilege by Hank Schwaeble

The CDC is called to a small Arkansas town where a majority of the male population has developed breasts overnight after the town’s Sadie Hawkins Dance. Scully asks to tag along because she wishes to study this outbreak and maybe provide some insight due to her medical degrees. Mulder asks her if he could come along as well and she hesitantly agrees as long as he doesn’t pester the locals about aliens. However, things quickly derail as Mulder goes to the local library to look into the town’s history and things more mythological may be taking place here. This one made it to my list based solely of all the sarcastic jabbing Mulder gives the local sheriff regarding his newfound breasts, and how the sheriff wasn’t offended by the jabs. Pure dry humor in my book. 3.5/5 Stars.

Snowman by Sarah Stegall

A couple of military men are climbing up Mt. Rainier tracking a lost group of military soldiers that went missing. Soon they come across not only the remains of the missing soldiers’ camp, but their corpses as well. As they continue the trek they come across Mulder on the hunt for the missing expedition as well. However, something on the mountain is tracking the group and the myth of Sasquatch may not seem so far fetched. I love stories about Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti. This one is worth checking out! 3.5/5 Stars.

When the Cows Come Home by David Farland

Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate some crop circles and cattle mutilations. Soon things become stranger as they found out that the rancher’s neighbor is a Skinwalker and controls his cattle by whistling. This story was alright, but I wish it could’ve gotten more fleshed out. Scoring this one mainly for the Skinwalker, crop circles, and cattle mutilations. It’s the last short story of the collection so read it if that’s your kind of jam. 2.5/5 Stars.

So there’s my five favorite stories of The Truth is Out There. Like I said earlier, all of these stories are good in their own right. So I would definitely check out this collection if your a fellow X-Files fan or into the weird and supernatural.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: Doctor Who: Flip-Flop by Jonathan Morris

*Spoilers Ahead*

Christmas Eve in the year 3060, and the planet Puxatornee is home to a prosperous human colony. 

A space craft has arrived in orbit carrying the Slithergees, a race of obsequious alien slugs. Their home world has been destroyed and they are humbly requesting permission to settle on the first moon. 

And if they don’t get permission, then they are humbly threatening to declare all-out war. 

The future hangs in the balance. The decision rests with Bailey, the colony’s president – but she has other things on her mind. 

Christmas Eve in the year 3090, and the planet Puxatornee has changed beyond all recognition. 

The Doctor and Mel arrive, on a completely unrelated mission to defeat a race of terrible monsters, and soon discover that something rather confusing has been happening to history. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have been quiet on the blog recently due to my mental health and feeling burnt out. However, I recently felt like listening to a Doctor Who audio drama so I first listened through Doctor Who: Phantoms of the Deep by Jonathan Morris. I don’t feel like I have enough of an opinion on this audio drama for a full review since it wasn’t very long. However, I will say that I enjoyed it and it was just the thing to get me back to the reading world.

I started Flip-Flop almost immediately after finishing Phantoms of the Deep and I have thoughts about this wacky and weird adventure. There will be spoilers ahead, so be warned. Without spoiling this story, I liked it. Thought it was a good story and unique plot. The ending is up to the listener’s interpretation in a sense. Definitely would recommend this for fans of Doctor Who, time travel stories, and science fiction fans in general.

This entire story is about how The Doctor and Mel get stuck in a time loop. They go back in time against their will to “fix” the past so that the apocalyptic “future” won’t come true. Thus creating a paradox and time loop.

I am somewhat unsatisfied with the ending since there really is no “ending” because it’s a never-ending loop. It’s a time travel story where no matter what happens at the critical point of the president’s assassination, their world is going to be post-apocalyptic. To each version of The Doctor and Mel coming into the story for the first time, they are somewhat aware of the time loop they’re stuck in. The Doctor refers to this as ‘tripping over one’s own footprints’.

One of the possible futures is where the president is saved from assassination and ends up giving their world to the Slithergees or face the threat of an all out war. Since the Slithergees are blind, slug-like creature they end up enslaving the remaining humans as seeing eye dogs.

The other possible future is one where the president is assassinated and all out war is declared on the Slithergees and sends the planet into a nuclear wasteland where the survivors are on death’s doorstep when The Doctor and Mel arrive.

Overall, I liked the story and I think you should check it out. It’s a unique story for Doctor Who fans and I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The X-Files: Goblins (The X-Files #1) by Charles L. Grant

Meet Mulder and Scully, FBI. The agency maverick and the female agent assigned to keep him in line.

Their job: investigate the eeriest unsolved mysteries in modern America, from pyro-psychics to death row demonics, from rampaging Sasquatches to alien invasions. The cases the Bureau wants handled quietly, but quickly, before the public finds out what’s really out there. And panics. The cases filed under “X.”

Something out there is killing people, remaining invisible and unseen by human eyes until it strikes with deadly force.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The X-Files is a show I’ve been admiring for several years now. I binged season 1 and waiting for the right mood to start on season 2. Now, the thing I think has made this show such a big hit was the dynamic between Mulder and Scully. Aliens and UFOs aside, most people love chemistry between two characters. There’s that sexual tension of “will they/won’t they?” and the fact that Scully admires Mulder’s deduction skills. She just feels it’s being wasted on these kinds of cases.

This case opens like any other X-File does. Murders happen, FBI/government in high and unknown places get a whiff of it and send Mulder and Scully out to investigate. Most of the time the unreachable government is trying to run interference by cleaning up the mess that was made or trying to scare Mulder and Scully off of the case.

In this story, Scully and Mulder were joined by two more FBI agents who were secretly moles for the head of the FBI to keep tabs on whether Mulder and Scully were likely to blow to the lid on any government ops that were either “off the record” or “still in development”.

One of the witnesses to these murders was an older lady who carried around a can of neon orange spray paint to “tag the goblins”. Since this case takes place in small town USA, the sheriff thinks she’s a crazy drunk. I liked how the author not only made her a likable character, but also had the town doctor defend her honor by explaining why she spent so much time in the local tavern.

Overall, I liked this story. It read like an episode, but in book form. The characters were relatable and memorable, so if you’re already an X-Files fan this story is a great place to start with the novelizations. Even for new fans, Goblins is a great place to start on your X-Files adventure.

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Marvel Comics

REVIEW: Guardian of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon and Groot Steal the Galaxy! by Dan Abnett

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*No Spoilers*

These are not the Avengers or the Fantastic Four – in fact, they’re barely even famous – but Rocket Raccoon and the faithful Groot are the baddest heroes in the cosmos, and they’re on the run across the Marvel Universe! During a spaceport brawl, the infamous pair rescues an android Recorder from a pack of alien Badoons. Everyone in the galaxy, however, including the ruthless Kree Empire and the stalwart Nova Corps, seems to want that Recorder, who’s about as sane as a sandwich with no mustard. Join Rocket and Groot on a free-for-all across the stars while they try to save all of existence-again!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ever since the MCU introduced The Guardians of the Galaxy to old and new fans alike, I have been reading their comics every chance I can get. Like most fans, I fell in love with Groot and his best friend Rocket. Seeing how this story features the dynamic duo, I was excited to listen to this audio adventure.

The Recorder that is rescued by Rocket and Groot is the main narrator of the story. He is a likable character overall, except when he feels the need to stop the story to explain why he used an “Human-like expression” or when “additional exposition” is needed. It becomes a bit jarring at times.

Over the course of the story, the Recorder keeps commenting on Rocket’s “disconcerting human-like hands” and if I never hear that phrase again, it’ll be too soon. There are other ways to describe Rocket’s hands/paws without repeating yourself.

The overall plot is convoluted and gets a little complicated at points, but Rocket Raccoon and Groot Steal the Universe is an enjoyable ride full of action, adventure, and space battles. If you are looking for a fun sci-fi adventure then I would recommend this story.

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

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*No Major Spoilers*

The Thin Man introduces Nick and Nora Charles, New York’s coolest crime-solving couple. Nick retired from detecting after his wife inherited a tidy sum, but six years later a pretty blonde spies him at a speakeasy and asks for his help finding her father, an eccentric inventor who was once Nick’s client. Nick can no more resist the case than a morning cocktail or a good fight, and soon he and Nora are caught in a complicated web of confused identities and cold-blooded murder.

I am a huge fan of crime noir, and this story takes place on the tail end of Prohibition. So if you love your mysteries with lots of illicit booze and over-dramatic women, then I would recommend The Thin Man for your reading list.

I enjoyed the first half of this mystery novel. The mystery was intriguing and I was trying to solve the puzzle along with Nick and Nora. There’s quite the cast of characters that would make any Agatha Christie fan enjoy this novel.

However, the drama with the suspect’s family got to be too much for me and I just stopped caring. Nick had already reached the conclusion that the ex-wife’s new husband had something to do with the murder and once the police were on the look for him and the ex-husband the family drama kept going and I mentally checked out until the end of the story.

The ending would’ve been a nice twist and a surprising ending. To see Nick explain in full detail to Nora about how the bad guy(s) committed the crime and almost got away with multiple cold-blooded murders was interesting. However, I feel like I was over this novel once the initial hunch was made clear and the family drama kept dragging on.

This is a quick read or listen depending on your preferred medium. I got through about half of the audiobook in one night, so if you’re looking for a crime noir to whet your appetite then check out The Thin Man.

Rating: 3 out of 5.