Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Nancy Drew: The Curse by Micol Ostow


*No Major Spoilers*

A curse is just a mystery dressed up in a sharp, stern warning.
And everyone knows that I lovea mystery.

Nancy Drew isn’t one for ghost stories. So when the annual Horseshoe Bay Naming Day celebration is threatened by eerie warnings of an old curse, Nancy is sure someone—someone human—is behind them. And no way is she letting this person stand in the way of her best friend, Daisy, finally getting her day in the spotlight as the lead in the much-anticipated Naming Day reenactment.

But as Nancy begins investigating, the so-called marks of the curse become bolder…and more sinister. A vandalized locker and ominous notes are one thing, but soon enough lives—including Nancy’s own—are at stake. Though the dreams and eerie visions plaguing Nancy are certainly just products of her own mind…right?

All old towns have their traditions and histories, but as Nancy will soon discover, they don’t always tell the whole story.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have very fond memories of Nancy Drew. My school library had all the old Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books and that’s where I fell in love with mysteries and expanding my vocabulary. So let’s delve into this review of Nancy Drew: The Curse.

Modern Nancy Drew is still a culture shock I can’t quite get over. So seeing her using a computer and cell phone took a bit to get used to. However, one thing I liked was how the author didn’t let technology do all of the detective work for Nancy. A lot of the clues she had to track down herself whether that means snooping around the town hall archives, or traveling to a neighboring town to interview a former newspaper editor.

Blood. Science. Facts. These are the things I believe in. Things that I can quantify. Things that I can prove, that I can hold in my hand.

Micol Ostow; Nancy Drew: The Curse

Nancy is just as smart and clever as she always has been, however there were moments where I wanted to throw my Kindle because of the melodrama and romantic subplot. It got so bad that my eyes started glazing over and I had to go back and try and absorb what I missed.

The mystery overall was well constructed. I had a small list of suspects going as Nancy and her friends were preparing for the Naming Day Celebration as well as dodging bad omens and disgruntled students. Horseshoe Bay doesn’t take its own superstitions lightly for sure.

This is supposed to be the prequel for the CW’s version of Nancy Drew similar to the retellings of Riverdale and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I haven’t watched any of these shows, so I’m not sure what to expect from the show. Maybe if this review gets enough comments and likes I’ll review the Nancy Drew show.

Overall, this was an ok novel. It’s not the old school Nancy I grew up with, but if this gets the younger generation into reading and solving mysteries, then there’s no complaints from me. This was a fun way to get back into the world of teenagers solving mysteries and having fun.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Doctor Who: Scratchman (Adventures of the 4th Doctor #20) by Tom Baker and James Goss

*No Major Spoilers*

In his first-ever Doctor Who novel, Tom Baker’s incredible imagination is given free rein. A story so epic it was originally intended for the big screen, Scratchman is a gripping, white-knuckle thriller almost forty years in the making.

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, who are preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them.

With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, the Doctor must battle an ancient force from another dimension, one who claims to be the Devil. Scratchman wants to know what the Doctor is most afraid of. And the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play…


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who for several years. For anyone who knows me personally, I collect the Doctor Who spin-off books. I have even reviewed several of them on this blog. Even though Doctor Who isn’t as popular as it was when the reboot started, my passion for this British icon still burns strongly.

This Doctor Who Adventure features the fourth incarnation of the Doctor who is traveling with his companions Sarah Jane Smith, and Harry Sullivan. Sarah Jane is a journalist for the local paper and Harry is a surgeon-general for the secret military group U.N.I.T.

When the Doctor and crew stumbled upon some scarecrows that are infecting the local villagers with a mysterious substance that’s turning everyone into scarecrows. I thought I’d heard some version of this idea before. Interesting how the human psyche fears things that somewhat resemble ourselves.

One of the more memorable moments in this novel features Sarah Jane running back to the TARDIS to fetch a contraption for the Doctor so he can build a mechanism that’ll help defeat the scarecrows. Well, a scarecrow got in by mistake and starts chasing Sarah Jane in the many hallways and corridors of the TARDIS. Well one of the rooms had a device that shows the occupant’s life. From the day they were born up until the day they die.

Well, the scarecrow is about to corner Sarah Jane in this room and infect her with this scarecrow dust and it sees it’s life play out before it. We see the humanity in the voiceless and nameless scarecrow and it gives Sarah Jane enough time to escape the TARDIS which is coming down with this mysterious infection. I love how Doctor Who shows the humanity in the monsters/aliens when they have those characteristics.

Overall, I loved Scratchman, the atmosphere is creepy and suspenseful. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook, but either way, check this story out.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

*No Major Spoilers*

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a series I’ve been wanting to delve into, but I just wasn’t sure if all the hype I was hearing about it would live up to my expectations. I read a lot of sci-fi, and so I guess it’s time to delve into All Systems Red.

When I first started reading this, it felt disjointed in regard to the way Murderbot interacted with the humans. For a long time I couldn’t describe why I felt like the humans were just cardboard. However, I think this was a stylistic choice to show how Murderbot feels when interacting with humans. They would just rather not talk to humans.

And in their corner all they had was Murderbot, who just wanted everyone to shut up and leave it alone so it could watch the entertainment feed all day.

Martha Wells; All Systems Red

There’s not much action in this first instillation, but it’s a great introduction to Murderbot and how they carry themselves and how they see the world around them. When the crew figure out that something is trying to hunt them down, that’s when Murderbot gets to shine.

This is a great place to start if you’re new to sci-fi, or wanting to get more into the genre. I know sometimes sci-fi gets carried away with all the science and tech, but All Systems Red explains the tech in ways I think newcomers to science fiction can follow.

Overall, I liked All Systems Red, I liked seeing a sci-fi mystery through the eyes of a robot. If you want a new take on the sci-fi genre or are looking for a quick read, then I’d recommend All Systems Red.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Throwback by Edward J. McFadden III

*Spoilers Marked*

A space cloud of unknown composition is on a collision course with Earth as the world holds its breath. 

The anomaly sails through the solar system and the International Space Station along with three astronauts and one cosmonaut are thrown back to the Cretaceous period where dinosaurs roam Earth hunting prey and great pterosaurs patrol the skies. 

Supplies on the station run low and desperation takes hold, but morale grows when the crew sees a bright multi-colored light blinking on the surface below. The astronauts decide to evacuate the station in the Soyuz escape capsule and investigate. As the adventurers struggle to survive in the primordial jungle, the party discovers artifacts of an ancient civilization that could help them find the light beacon. If they can stay alive long enough.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

I don’t remember how I found this audiobook, but the premise sounded interesting. I’m always game for sci-fi, time travel, and a good monster tale. So let’s rewind, and talk about Throwback.

First off, I felt like the beginning of this novel was rushed. There’s a ton of characters that are introduced and quickly killed off. It felt like the author was in a hurry to get to the dinosaur part and didn’t setup a decent introduction. On top of all of that, I felt like the characters we’re eventually left with were bland and unmemorable.

The only saving grace I have to say about this story is the dinosaur action. I loved how detailed the author got in to describing what they looked like and how they interacted with the world around them. Sadly, that is the only saving grace I have to say about this book.

The ending wasn’t satisfactory in my opinion. After their arduous journey and this mysterious light is just as much a mystery as when they first saw it in the spaceship. So as the typical humans do, they break it and just set up camp and proceed to live out the rest of their days in this prehistoric world.

No closure, no meaning for all the sacrifices they’ve made. Just ‘huh, I guess there’s nothing we can do, so let’s just live here now.’ I was shouting at my phone when the narrator was reading the end credits, ‘that’s it? That’s the end!?’. I feel like I wasted my time and energy with this one. The only reason this isn’t lower is because of the dinosaurs like I stated earlier in the review.

We get no answers for anything. What was the beacon? What was this ancient race doing? All we get is the astronomers guesses and assumptions. I would say to pass on this prehistoric waste of time.

Posted in Personal Blogs

Gaming REVIEW: Chicken Police: Paint it Red!

*This game is rated M* The language used is not suitable for children. Additionally, some scenes might be disturbing to a young audience due to the described violence, visual partial nudity, tobacco and alcohol abuse.

A wild tale of love, death, chickens, and redemption! Chicken Police is a buddy-cop noir adventure with a carefully crafted world, a gritty story, and absurd humor. The game mixes classic adventure games with visual novel-style storytelling, presented in a beak-droppingly unique art style.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I found this on Steam (a website where you can purchase PC games) when the algorithm recommended it for me. I tend to enjoy visual novels, farming simulators, and RPGs (Role Playing Game). So, I added it to my Wishlist and I intended to purchase it when it went on sale. However, my fiancé and I went to our local GameStop to get the new Pokemon game, and even though they didn’t have it in stock, they had a used copy of this game for the Nintendo Switch. So let’s peck out the clues and solve this mystery.

First off, I love Noir mysteries. I know we as a society tend to romanticize that era in history, but something about a jaded private-eye solving a case that quickly devolves into a deep mess is exciting.

A screenshot of Marty MacChicken and Lewis C. Hayworth

Our main characters are Sonny Featherland, a police officer who’s fallen on hard times and was put on sabbatical until his last 100 days of service are up. Sonny’s former partner and best friend, Marty MacChicken is still working for the police department and misses the days of when the whole world knew about the Chicken Police. Marty is the comedian of the duo, and I have some screenshots with some of his more memorable quotes.

One small hang-up I had was with the interrogations. At the beginning of each section, it would tell you ‘[character name] is [character traits] we can use that in our favor and squeeze out the truth.’. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through the game when it finally clicked what the game was conveying. I’m not sure if it was me being sleep-deprived while playing this, or just me missing the hints.

I had to look up some hints to the puzzles. Although most I figured out on my own, there was still one or two that I needed help with. I like it when games have puzzles I can easily solve on my own. Either by giving context clues or just exploring and examining everything in the room.

I loved the characters in this story, they were full of charm and humor. My favorite character was Monica. She works the front desk of the police station and is basically what is holding the place together. She doesn’t put up with anybody’s crap and is willing to help out Sonny and Marty when they needed to bend the rules. Monica ended up being my MVP by the end, I wanted to know more about her and be her friend.

Overall, I enjoyed this game. The mystery was great and even though once they hit a certain clue it was pretty predictable. Nonetheless, the characters, art style, and humor is what sells this game for me. I wish more people new about this game, but it’s okay. I guess I like my games how I like my books, hidden gems.