Book Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghost and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. The twists are plausible and well thought out to fool the audience. This book has been hyped recently, and I have to say I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t reinvent the genre, just tells a good story in a way that is easy to read and picture. This is a fast read that was a breeze to consume one afternoon.

The Plot: In 1982 Vivian starts working the nightshift at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, NY. The town is quiet but it has a string of missing and murdered young women, and Vivian is the next victim. She has been missing for 37 years when Carly her niece travels to Fell to investigate. She always knew her aunt was missing, but upon her mother’s death, she finds old news clipping about the crime that her mom would never get a straight answer. Carley’s investigation cause her to live in the same apartment as her aunt and take a job working the night shift at the Sun Down Motel. Carley discovers secrets of ghosts old and new. Carley wants the truth, but she may risk her life to get it.

What I Liked: I loved the ghost and their personalities. I love how focused this novel was, I felt no scene was wasted. I like the flipping back from 1982 to present day. I liked how the personalities of Vivian and Carley complimented each other. I liked the roommate Heather, how she still powered on after her panic attacks upon investigation. I loved the investigative photographer and the role they play in everything. This novel was about female power and I loved it!

What I Disliked: After the climax the wrap up took a little too long, but It didn’t effect my review too much, since I was so entertained by 90% of the story.

Recommendations: This is a really fun thriller that delivers. The narrative is easy to follow and the pace doesn’t let up. I wanted a decent mystery and I got a ghost story that is surrounded by a mystery, which was more than I expected. I rated The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Jill and art by Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Jill and art by Gabriel Rodriguez was the best story since the the first volume, but the art was one of the weakest. This volume has guest artist Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbs do an issue, which is great at first I felt it lost the seriousness the previous books had set. I will say this has one of the most fulfilling climaxes I read in a long time, where everything goes to hell all at once and things are not the same. There’s four keys in this one the strength key, animal key, flying key, and the race change key.

Plot of Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Volume 1 – The novel starts off with two teenagers showing up at the summer home in California with bloody weapons and bodies in the bed of a truck looking for Mr. Locke and whereabouts of keys. Mr and Mrs. Locke are home, with Mrs. Locke opening the door. They have three kids Tyler the oldest, Kinsey the middle, and Bode the youngest who are all at the neighbors lake, when the hear a gun shot in the direction of the house. The book jumps around from there showing the aftermath of the shooting and what happened after at the of funeral of one member of the Locke family. The novel shifts as the family what’s left of it move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live in the old family mansion called Keyhouse. The house is filled with rooms and secret keys that will open up doors that only the kids can use. Bode, the youngest, figures out the house and it’s many secrets, he tells the family but they just laugh him off. He is the key to the truth the family doesn’t see and he has found either an enemy of a friend who lives trapped in the well. The novel bounces back and forth showing how the rest of the family survived the first murder as they find the new secrets that connect the house to the incidents. The family finds out the threat has only just begun, as more mysteries arise.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 – Bode finds a head key, that let’s you open your mind right up, so you and others can see what is inside of it. You can pick the parts out, you don’t want and even add knowledge, like books and information. The thoughts grow into living breathing manifestations that you can pick out of your Brain. Kinsey picked fear and sadness and placed them both in a bottle with a stopper, that sits on her vanity. We get to see the bad guy Dodge/Zach Wells/ The Woman in the Well’s manifestation and how dangerous it can be. the Manifestations can go into any mind as well and manipulate it. We find out that that is how the Woman in the Well got her powers back to reach the two killers in Washington. Zach kills an old teacher that remembered him from years back, and starts investigating Zach’s student file. Kinsey admits she has a crush on Tyler’s new best friend Zach, and he uses this to steal the mind key.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows Dodge only cares about two keys which he does not possess the Well key and the Black/Omega key, and creates a nightmare of shadows to torture Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode. The mom finally discovers the fix it key and figures out what it can do, which leads to disastrous results. When Sam died while going through the ghost door that he’s still a ghost, but the manipulation that dodge once had over him is gone, and he vows revenge. When the ghost form of Dodge talked and fought Sam, it revealed there is a key inside him. Kinsey is starting to fall out of Luke/Dodge/Zach’s influence, as she makes new friends who are a bit of outsiders that show her a link to her father.

Plot of Volume 4 Keys to the Kingdom: Dodge/Luke? Zach has became more vicious in his pursuit of keys, as he tortures the Locke family for the Omega key. There a key is in ghost Dodge is controlling him, we get to see the real Dodge for a second and he is very remorseful. There’s a lot more keys discovered. Dodge and Tyler get get’s recognized, sort of, Erin Voss thinks Tyler is his father and her former high school boyfriend as she is wheeled out of a mental health facility. Dodge doesn’t want her remembering anything and is determined to break into to the mental facility and erase them. Kinsey and Bode also want to talk to talk to her and see if she remembers the keys. Dodge breaks into the facility killing an orderly and open Erin’s head with the mind key, and he finds it empty except a monstrous image of Dodge. Before he can kill her or grab the memory Kinsey and Bode come in having him hide. With her head open they get a look at the almost empty head and realize this image is fresh, and then they find the body of the orderly. Looking at the monster they end up learning the features of the who the monster really is. Dodge, Kinsey’s boyfriend, gets close and she starts telling him what she knows of the Omega key. Dodge is closer than ever, then Kinsey wants to place her favorite in Dodge’s head which he can’t let her see knowing he is the real monster. This makes Kinsey get closer to Jamaal. Duncan’s boyfriend Mike wakes up from a coma and give s a description of Dodge who was in the middle of taking Duncan’s memories of him, when Mike chases him out of the house and gets hit by a car. The ghost of Sam is back, and he plots with someone in the Locke House about Dodge. Dodge’s identity starts to unravel as the Locke family starts paying attention their new friend of the family Zach/Dodge.

What I Liked: The ending, So so freaking good! One of the most shocking endings so far in the series. We get to know a lot more about what the end game of Dodge’s plotting has been about. Dodge’s upper hand finally starts slipping when he underestimates a couple of characters. Rufus can see and talk to ghost. Tyler getting upset then putting on the strength key and bust some heads playing hockey. The animal key was interesting with what it could do.

What I Disliked: is the art, it goes comical, and it didn’t need to. They have this scene where these birds put on these little pilots goggles, which makes no sense. I like that fantastical things happen in the story but they’re all grounded by rules and this breaks the rules.

Recommendations: I recommend this series to adults that crave a good story with violence and some horror elements. The narrative is so good exploring elements of tragedy and loss, in a mature way while having fun with the horror element Never have a wanted to give a story 5 stars had to deduct one for the art. I rated Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Jill and art by Gabriel Rodriguez 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Antkind by Charlie Kaufman

Antkind by Charlie Kaufman is a truly out of this world adventure about a film critic experiencing and trying to remember a film that last 30 days. It consumes him and his dreams as he figures out what was the film and what was his life. The book relies heavily on how film affects the watcher, and that the film can become a part of you. This book is deeply funny mind trip that only the writer of such films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could write. This is Charlie Kaufman’s first novel and it is a doozy. This is the kind of novel that I think could be heavily discussed in college literature classes, because there’s a lot to explore and debate about, what is part of the film and what is a dream? The book is 720 pages and should have been well over a hundred pages shorter, it has as many endings as Return of the King, I slapped my forehead once of reading more. This is a book that I see being really divided over, some loving while others put it as do not finish. Antkind is a cross between a Kurt Vonnegut novel and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Thanks to netgalley and Random House for the copy. Antkind was published on 7-7-20.

The Plot: B. Rosenburger Rosenburg is a film critic that dives deep into the avant garde film. He goes to Florida to dive deep into the a 1908 film that is the first portrayal of a transgender on screen. Upon this trip he meets his neighbor that claims he was in the film, because he is a time traveler. As B. gets to know his neighbor he learns he is a filmmaker and has an animated film featuring puppets that know one has seen before. B. indulges himself and agrees to watch the film, the film that is untitled is 30 days long, it is about the past, present, and future. The filmmaker dies midway through the first watch, but B. is so committed now thinking this the greatest film that he has ever seen continues to watch (as a film critic his rule is to watch a movie 7 times). He doesn’t make it through the second viewing as the film burns up and B. is in a coma. He makes it his life’s work to remember everything, but he soon can’t tell his life from the film as it consumes him and his dreams.

What I Liked: There’s an on going joke about the character of B. being mistaken for jewish because of his name and appearance, that I never grew tired about. There a scene about Donald Tump (or Trunk) as he becomes to enamored with his animatronic robot from Disney’s Hall of Presidents that he orders one and it becomes his best friend. There’s a couple of scenes about Vaudeville duo Mudd and Moroony where a stage accident send one into a coma and changes his outlook on life and wants to play the straight man in the comedy act instead of the foyle. The compromise is two straight men, which is funny because how bad it is. I like the common debate does life imitate art or does art imitate life? B. is a film critic that loathes the films of Charlie Kaufman, and destroys everyone of his films. I like his nicknames for favorite directors. Theirs a lot of praise for filmmakers Judd Apatow and Wes Anderson. I liked a lot of the humor, especially the self analysis humor about his idiosyncrasy.

What I Disliked: Like all first time writers the novel is long and over bloated. I could trim 150 pages easily and have almost the same book. I don’t like the title, at the end of the novel it gets to the meaning of Antkind. The ending was all over the place I saw five times where it could have ended, and kept going and going.

Recommendations: I’m going to barely recommend this, the story is all over the place, it has strong metaphors about life and dreams, with bits of laugh out loud moments. The story is overly long, but there some diamond in the rough moments that really save it. I think literature majors are going to get a lot more out of it than I did; there is a lot to debate and discuss. I rated Antkind by Charlie Kaufman 3 out of 5 stars. This review rating tore me up I kept bouncing back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, but I thought the endings and overly long put it in the barely 3 stars category.

Book Review :Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez

Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez This is a smaller story filled with a really long action piece and the rest is filled with long conversations. There are three keys discovered in this one, the giant key which makes you turn into a giant, the crown of shadows key, which has a key go into a crown which lets you control shadows, and the fix it key which can fix broken items in a cupboard, but can not fix the dead. The art has a lot of full page panels with lots of little details that are better than the story. The first two novels pieced a lot of the past together, this novel did not reflect on the past hardly at all.

Plot of Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Volume 1 – The novel starts off with two teenagers showing up at the summer home in California with bloody weapons and bodies in the bed of a truck looking for Mr. Locke and whereabouts of keys. Mr and Mrs. Locke are home, with Mrs. Locke opening the door. They have three kids Tyler the oldest, Kinsey the middle, and Bode the youngest who are all at the neighbors lake, when the hear a gun shot in the direction of the house. The book jumps around from there showing the aftermath of the shooting and what happened after at the of funeral of one member of the Locke family. The novel shifts as the family what’s left of it move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live in the old family mansion called Keyhouse. The house is filled with rooms and secret keys that will open up doors that only the kids can use. Bode, the youngest, figures out the house and it’s many secrets, he tells the family but they just laugh him off. He is the key to the truth the family doesn’t see and he has found either an enemy of a friend who lives trapped in the well. The novel bounces back and forth showing how the rest of the family survived the first murder as they find the new secrets that connect the house to the incidents. The family finds out the threat has only just begun, as more mysteries arise.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 – Bode finds a head key, that let’s you open your mind right up, so you and others can see what is inside of it. You can pick the parts out, you don’t want and even add knowledge, like books and information. The thoughts grow into living breathing manifestations that you can pick out of your Brain. Kinsey picked fear and sadness and placed them both in a bottle with a stopper, that sits on her vanity. We get to see the bad guy Dodge/Zach Wells/ The Woman in the Well’s manifestation and how dangerous it can be. the Manifestations can go into any mind as well and manipulate it. We find out that that is how the Woman in the Well got her powers back to reach the two killers in Washington. Zach kills an old teacher that remembered him from years back, and starts investigating Zach’s student file. Kinsey admits she has a crush on Tyler’s new best friend Zach, and he uses this to steal the mind key.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows Dodge only cares about two keys which he does not possess the Well key and the Black/Omega key, and creates a nightmare of shadows to torture Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode. The mom finally discovers the fix it key and figures out what it can do, which leads to disastrous results. When Sam died while going through the ghost door that he’s still a ghost, but the manipulation that dodge once had over him is gone, and he vows revenge. When the ghost form of Dodge talked and fought Sam, it revealed there is a key inside him. Kinsey is starting to fall out of Luke/Dodge/Zach’s influence, as she makes new friends who are a bit of outsiders that show her a link to her father.

What I Liked: That Sam has a backbone and stands up to dodge almost beating him and taking over his body as a ghost. The Art really shines in this novel over the others. The fix it key and the breakdown of the mom was powerful. The character of Scot Cavendish is one of my favorites, a great punk character. The heart break of the juggling scene. I liked and appreciated all the mom scenes even if they were so hard to read as she constantly makes bad choice after choice. The shadow key action was great leading to the Giant key showdown.

What I Disliked: There was no going back in the past and the writing suffered a little from it. The scenes were good but I felt the weakest story out of all the books in the series. The only thing that saves it is that the scenes matter but you don’t know that until the Volume 5.

Recommendations: This book is the weakest entry for me, in terms of story. The visuals are mind blowing in detail. This story is full of interesting conversation and some great action. I rated Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez 4 out of 5 stars. I originally rated this 3 stars but upon rereading it I rated it four stars, I felt it added little substance to the plot but it added a lot, now that I know the full story.

Book Review: Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez

Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez is a graphic novel that will open minds literally. This is my second time through the series, now that I know the ending, it fun piecing it together knowing all the character’s pasts and knowing all the keys and where they are hidden. This series is super involved, I love Joe Hill and have read almost everything that he has written, the only thing that I have not are the off shoots of the Locke and Key series. This time I’m reading the books with my girlfriend, as I want to watch the new Netflix series called Locke and Key. Head Games is bloody, with a sense of dark humor, while dealing with complex issues like homosexuality, alcoholism, regret, and grief.

Plot of Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Volume 1 – The novel starts off with two teenagers showing up at the summer home in California with bloody weapons and bodies in the bed of a truck looking for Mr. Locke and whereabouts of keys. Mr and Mrs. Locke are home, with Mrs. Locke opening the door. They have three kids Tyler the oldest, Kinsey the middle, and Bode the youngest who are all at the neighbors lake, when the hear a gun shot in the direction of the house. The book jumps around from there showing the aftermath of the shooting and what happened after at the of funeral of one member of the Locke family. The novel shifts as the family what’s left of it move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live in the old family mansion called Keyhouse. The house is filled with rooms and secret keys that will open up doors that only the kids can use. Bode, the youngest, figures out the house and it’s many secrets, he tells the family but they just laugh him off. He is the key to the truth the family doesn’t see and he has found either an enemy of a friend who lives trapped in the well. The novel bounces back and forth showing how the rest of the family survived the first murder as they find the new secrets that connect the house to the incidents. The family finds out the threat has only just begun, as more mysteries arise.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 – Bode finds a head key, that let’s you open your mind right up, so you and others can see what is inside of it. You can pick the parts out, you don’t want and even add knowledge, like books and information. The thoughts grow into living breathing manifestations that you can pick out of your Brain. Kinsey picked fear and sadness and placed them both in a bottle with a stopper, that sits on her vanity. We get to see the bad guy Dodge/Zach Wells/ The Woman in the Well’s manifestation and how dangerous it can be. the Manifestations can go into any mind as well and manipulate it. We find out that that is how the Woman in the Well got her powers back to reach the two killers in Washington. Zach kills an old teacher that remembered him from years back, and starts investigating Zach’s student file. Kinsey admits she has a crush on Tyler’s new best friend Zach, and he uses this to steal the mind key.

What I Liked: The mind key, it is such a cool idea. Where it makes a key hole that opens up to your brain, allowing the user to pull out manifestation of a complex emotion. I the manifestation, its self can cause trouble it can fight back and go into another hosts head. I loved Tyler using the head key to try to impress a girl and it totally backfiring. The clever way that Foreigner’s song “Head Game” was worked in. What happened to the Ellie’s Mom. Duncan’s boyfriend and his no intimidation for being who he is. Rufus the character you feel the most sorry for living in the house with Zach, and the grandmother from hell.

What I Disliked: The flow was a little disjointed, we get a random flashback from a teacher who’s interracial wife drowns, and then he gets murdered later with rarely a mention of the wife who died earlier.

Recommendations: Locke and Key is one heck of a series from the mind of Joe Hill who blends horror and tragedy so seamlessly. The art is beautiful, and telling, sometimes Hill will not use words and let the art give you the emotions you should feel. I didn’t love this Head Games as much as the first one, which is hard to top in my opinion, but it is still a great Chapter to an amazing series. I rated Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Star Wars X- Wing Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole

Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole takes the X-wing pilots out of the X-wing and has them go undercover on Coruscant. Wedge’s Gamble is book two in the X-wing Saga series that is a part of the Star Wars Legends series ( Star Wars Legends is a division that was considered cannon, but with The Force Awakens not following the trajectory of The established novels they were called Star Wars Legends). The last X-wing novel Rogue Squadron review, I used a Tom Cruise movie to describe it as Top Gun, this novel I would describe as Mission Impossible. Wedge’s Gamble refers to two things a plan to bring criminal’s from Black Sun to give the Imperials trouble on Coruscant and the undercover operation to take down the twin shields. This novel did bring up the topic of inter-species sex, which they don’t go to far butI thought for a Star Wars novel they went farther than I would have thought. I thought the war games are the standout in this book, does the potential for harm, outweigh the potential for peace. I have read this novel before and the set up for the next one is one of my favorites, because of what the Imperials set up for the Rebels. The Kyrtos virus is explained more in The Kyrtos Trap, which is book three in the series.

The Plot: Corran Horn the stand out pilot of Rogue Squadron, investigates why one of his pilots never returned from his trip, he ends up having a near miss and learning that Jace’s missing could be due to a spy in Rogue Squadron. Wedge the leader of the Rogue Squadron, proposes taking Coruscant, and is backed but they have a different way than he imagined, freeing prisoners from a moon that the prisoners have taken over. All the prisoners are former and current members of Black Sun and deadly gang that has no stake in the war at hand. The Rebels are banking on the fact that Black Sun will cause such a ruckus on the Imperials that they won’t notice the rebels sneaking in to take down the twin shields. In order for the rebels to take the stronghold. The Imperial’s know that they can’t hold on to Coruscant for too much longer, start developing a virus called the Kyrtos virus that can be healed but use a fare amount of Bacta (a healing medicine) to cure it.

What I Liked: The Imperial museum that rewrites history to make the rebels look like the bad guys and the Imperials as good. The end battle was really fun. I loved the Kyrtos Trap that was set up at the end, and will have lasting repercussions in the series. I liked the little bits with C3P0 not translating the Wookie leader properly, and Leia’s commander role works well. Corran Horn and Mirax’s relationship is fu to watch it grow and have Corran get tempted by the Bacta Queen who he’s undercover as a couple.

What I Disliked: The action is sometimes really hard to follow, in terms of where people are in relation to the bad guys and their own team members. I hated that we don’t see another member of Rogue Squadron other then Wedge and Corran until midway through the book. There’s is barely in X-wing scenes.

Recommendation: I enjoyed this novel more then the first one, Rogue Squadron, the stakes are a lot higher, the battles are more fierce. You will like this if you like star wars mixed with undercover work. I rated Wedge’s Game 4 out of 5 stars, it was a high 3 that I rounded up.

Wrap Up: June Book Reviews 2020

Hello dear readers, June has been quite a month. I cannot believe we have hit the mid point of the year.  Look forward to my best of books I have read so far this year, coming out soon. I managed to read 6 novels this month.  I read zero rereads  this month. I read one graphic novel, one book that has been on my TBR for years now The Shining by Stephen King. I read one new release, thanks to Netgalley. I read a couple books in a series, and was able to finish the Power of the Dog series, this year it has been my goal to finish more series, I had a bad habit of starting a series and not finishing it. So far I have finished 2 trilogies, and have made gins in on-going series.   Thank you, to all followers I just hit 2 years running this blog yesterday, and it has both inspired me and uplifted my passion for reading thanks to you.

Five Star Reviews:

The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. Alcohol and ghosts do not mix! King gets into true fear, having someone you love, a father and husband, say, “I’m going to bash your brains”, then attempt to do it. The Shining is a ghost story but the scariest monster in the book is addictions and how it changes your rational choices, to choices that jeopardize your family. This Novel has been on my TBR for 15-20 years always meaning to read it but had not, until now.  I was shocked how different the book and the movie were, liking some and loathing some choices, but all in all a scary read, with truly horrific images, that only King can deliver.

Four Star Reviews:


The Border By Don Winslow takes the epic tale of DEA agent Art Keller and his war on drugs to a worthy conclusion. The Border is book three in the Power of the Dog series. This series starts in 1975 and takes us all the way up to 2019. The Border mirrors events that happened in real life and tweek them to fit the narrative, making it feel very real and current. The previous books in the series have remained in Mexico, but this book looks at the drug war going on in America. This book reminded me of J. R. Tolkien’s Return of the King when they destroyed the ring, they go back the shire is under siege (that happens in the book not the movie). Art Keller spent so many years trying to destroy drug kingpins in Mexico, that he returns to see that drugs are all around and didn’t stop anything. I did not like The Border as much as The Power of the Dog and The Cartel which were both 5 stars, but this delivered a pretty could conclusion wrapping up the series really well.

Welcome to Camp Nightmare by R. L. Stine is book 9 in the original Goosebumps series. Welcome to Camp Nightmare is scarier than most of the Goosebumps I have read before. The ending is a good twist that is set up from the start with little hints along the way, in my last review of The Girl Who Cried Monster Goosebumps 8 this was a big complaint. The Psychological horror of being stranded and having people go missing, that no one remembers being there in the first place works really well.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment.

Three Star Reviews:

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks, is a fiction that is written like a nonfiction having a journal, expert interviews, and family interviews. The Legend of Bigfoot is something that I have always been curious about, this book does the research on past Bigfoot sitings and makes a story out of it. I like Bigfoot but I’m not a fanatic (note: though growing up I did name one of my dog’s Bigfoot), I think fanatics and believers will get a lot more out of this book than I did. I ‘m sad to say I found the first half of this book very boring, with me only connecting with two characters. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing group Ballentine Del Rey.

 Two Star Reviews:

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 2 By Brian Buccellato is all about the new Gods (Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, and the Flash) v. the old Gods (Zeus, Hera, and Hermes). Superman kills Zeus’ son Hercules, and in retaliation Zeus strips Shazam of his powers and sends him along with Harley Quinn to the underworld. We learn more about Ares, the God of War, plan for more war and who is pulling his strings. This Volume has been my least favorite so far, there was a couple of cool moments, but the dialogue remains stale and uninspired.

Book Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 2 By Brian Buccellato

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 2 By Brian Buccellato is all about the new Gods (Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, and the Flash) v. the old Gods (Zeus, Hera, and Hermes). Superman kills Zeus’ son Hercules, and in retaliation Zeus strips Shazam of his powers and sends him along with Harley Quinn to the underworld. We learn more about Ares, the God of War, plan for more war and who is pulling his strings. This Volume has been my least favorite so far, there was a couple of cool moments, the dialogue remains stale and uninspired. There is a moment where the dialogue improved in the Epilogue, but I found out that was the original writer of Injustice Tom Taylor coming back and writing a great Plastic man adventure, that will play heavily into the final year as all the bad guys are released, along with the remaining Green Lantern Corps. The finale should be action packed, one can only hope the dialogue gets better. Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 2 By Brian Buccellato collects issues 8-12 of Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four, as well as the annual of Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four.

The Plot:The Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois and his unborn child, when her heart stops a nuclear bomb destroys Metropolis. Superman distraught kills The Joker and declares martial law on the whole world, vowing that no one should die needlessly. Lex Luthor develops a pill that will make ordinary people super to start an army of supermen that Superman controls. Batman steals the super humans pills and gives them to every hero and a few villains to make them equal. Superman’s action have drawn attention to the Green Lantern Corps who’s power is all about will power. Martian Man hunter died as he was fighting Wonder Woman from the inside when Superman used his heat vision, and sent Wonder Woman into a coma. Sinestro is manipulates Superman telling his own story and the way the Green Lantern Corps will attack, he makes an alliance that brings Sinestro and his minions as added protection, both Hal Jordan and Superman put on the yellow rings of fear to win against the Green Lantern Corps. Batman list the help all of his friends with magical abilities in a plan to put Superman asleep forever. The plan worked but Wonder Woman’s mother makes a deal with Athena to wake Superman and Wonder Woman. The sleep was supposed to give Superman clarity but he wakes up madder than ever because of what he missed out on. Batman makes a deal with Ares as well that has the old Gods and Amazon’s joining his side. The Amazon’s are missing Wonder Woman’s mother who is taken prisoner by Hera and made to sit this fight out, as per her deal. Batman ends up tricking Wonder Woman to fight Superman to the death a a champion of the Amazon’s. Sinestro interferes when it looks like Superman could lose. Zeus Sees this as deal breaker and declares all out war on the New Gods. Superman kills Hercules in the conflict which makes Zeus angry and kills Shazam and Harley who spoke out. Superman retreats as the remaining Justice League are beat. Zeus declares himself God of the world, wanting to get rid of every other form of religion. Ares makes a deal with Superman to bring a jealous Poseidon to fight his brother Zeus. This brings Aquaman into the battle, as Poseidon wants to wipe out Wonder Woman’s home with a giant tidal wave. Batman knowing this has got out of control and he got played by a vengeful Ares, seeks a help and offers enough hints to Superman to figure out who Ares is doing his bidding for, Darkseid.

What I Liked: The world freaking out when Zeus rules it, declaring all other religion obsolete. That it is revealed that the US still has nukes and placed them in lead so Superman could not find them, and then they use it to stop Zeus. The Plastic Man rescue of his son, was a great emotional one off. The calling out of Sinestro’s bad guy mustache. Harley Quinn in the Underworld. Harley’s prison rules for the underworld taking the biggest guy down first. Having Batman’s team and Superman’s team coming together for a brief time to take down the bigger threat.

What I Disliked: The dialogue remains horrible, making a lot of the action not as epic. Batman takes a back burner in these issues. The Darkseid reveal had the potential to be epic, but was over super quick, with little consequence. Aquaman finally chose a side to see him, quickly fade away. I felt his story was unresolved.

Recommendations: This volume is the first true dud in the injustice series. I still recommend the Injustice series as a whole, but now understand why some of my friends discontinued the series. The epilogue was epic and kept me intrigued. I rated Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 2 By Brian Buccellato 2 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment. The thing that drives this series is Murderbot wants to be alone, but situations keep thrusting him into action. I like how he manipulates other robots that are all to ready to conspire with him, without human knowledge.

The Plot: In the first Murderbot novella All Systems Red, Muderbot hired by a team of scientist doing lad surveys on a planet, a shadow company, GrayCris, has been doing it’s own research on the planet, and found aliens have visited it and have left technology, they fear the scientists finding out and send a kill order of the scientist. Murderbot saves them as they find out about the alien visit and learn more about the GrayCris, Murderbot is bought by the scientists and granted freedom. Murderbot runs away. In the second Murderbot book Artificial Condition Murderbot investigates the place where he became a mass murderer and finds out he was hacked and taken over by GrayCris that wanted settlers dead. In Rogue Protocol Murderbot is going to a planet that GrayCris deleted from record. Murderbot wants to grab proof of a coverup and give it to the scientists who released him and still fighting GrayCris. He joined a survey team that doesn’t understand what they are walking into, he lies his way in as security, and reluctantly has to protect the humans and a naive droid he has nicknamed Puppybot.

What I Liked: Miki or Puppybot as Murderbot thinks of him, is a different side of A.I. one that is shown and only knows love. His interaction with the very cynical Murderbot are what make this book so fun. I loved seeing Mili showing the strength that rubbed off of Murderbot near the end. I liked Murderbot, who is an avid consumer of T.V. shows quoting some of the lines that applied to criminal justice, to the would be criminal were really good. Murderbot plot summary of the first two books made me laugh, because of how cynical it was to the human’s and the robot’s that helped him but still not really wanting their help to begin with. The action was really good and easier to follow in the past. The twist was pretty great because it was so plausible and made you think a character’s motivation went one way when it was the other.

What I Disliked: The plot setup is getting formulaic. Murderbot travels somewhere using lies to hide true intention, gets to destination and someone gets double crossed, he has to complete original mission by saving dumb humans. The books are different but I got a little plot Deja Vu.

Recommendation: I totally recommend this series, it’s fun, it is one heck of a character study, and it has amazing Science Fiction action. One of the cover quotes I really agreed with is, “One of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman, I’ve ever read” by Annalee Newitz. I rated Rogue Protocol 4 out of 5 stars. I will continue reading the Murderbot Diaries series that is currently 5 books comprised of 4 novella and one novel. So far every book has been 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks, is a fiction that is written like a nonfiction having a journal, expert interviews, and family interviews. The Legend of Bigfoot is something that I have always been curious about, this book does the research on past Bigfoot sitings and makes a story out of it. I like Bigfoot but I’m not a fanatic (note: though growing up I did name one of my dog’s Bigfoot), I think fanatics and believers will get a lot more out of this book than I did. I ‘m sad to say I found the first half of this book very boring, with me only connecting with two characters. At the end of this novel in the acknowledgements it was said that this was a failed movie script that got novel, the way it was written a movie would have worked better. The second half is a rip roaring action/survival that does not let up. The story turns into a man verse monster book. The action is fierce and unrelenting. In the end, the unbalance and the limited characters to truly root for, made the intense action too late to totally save this story from just more than an okay from me. Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks is Published on 6-16-20. Thanks to Netflix and Random House Publishing group Ballentine Del Rey.


The Plot: We learn early on there is a village up in the Rainer Mountains totally cut off from civilization thanks to an active volcano. The village was an experiment by tech savy artists and environmentalist, to live off nature and still be connected to tech. The village, Greenloop, is found burned down and torn to shreds with bodies of all but two members of the village who are declared missing with only a journal left behind. The journal explains that Greenloop was a attacked by Sasquatch. The journal, the journal writer’s brother, and various experts go over the tale adding insights, and analyze if it is believed to be true or not.

What I Liked: I love the man verse nature verse monster aspect. I wish this was featured through out the novel just not at the back half. The idea for Greenloop society was interesting. I loved the character of Ms. Monstar the tough older lady, artist that has seen war and knows how to survive, teaching the tech people how to go to war was interesting. I also liked the husband of Kate the journal writer that found himself as the village handy man. The brutal action, was a highlight of the book. You have never read about a Sasquatch being so vicious, it was kind of like seeing all the treats that Han gives to people about Chewbacca in Star Wars played out. The first arm rip off is a doozy. I didn’t really identify with Kate, the journal writer, but I do love the speculation of her brother, at what happened to her and the closure that he got through it.

What I Disliked: Too many chapters were dedicated to the research of other villages like Greenloop, at first it was interesting but it went on and on. It took too long for the Sasquatch to show up or even get teased. I did feel the ranger had too much information on the Sasquatch legend and mythical creatures in different countries. This book needed to have a conspiracy theorist who runs a Bigfoot watch to break up the science.

Recommendations: I think Sasquatch fans will like this more than I did, so I recommend this to them. This one is a hard one for me the beginning was hard to get through, then the second half was everything I wanted to ever see a Sasquatch do. I will barely recommend this one. I have not been this torn on a review in quite some time. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the Summer. I rated Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks 3 out of 5 stars. I have not read a Max Brooks all the way through, I have read most of the Zombie Survival guide, and love the satirical tone, World War Z has been in my TBR pile for so long. I liked the action in this and will one day read more Max Brooks.