Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

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I can see why some people may not have liked this book. It is very long and strays away from the path of the beam. This book picks up right where the Cliffhanger of The Waste Lands leaves off with the resolution of the whole Blaine the Monorail story. After this stressful event our Gunslingers take some time to rest and reflect. It is finally time for Roland to come clean about his past. Eddie and Susannah have asked a few times in previous books and Roland just answers with, it's not the time. 

Flashing back to the days of Roland's teen years we get to find out exactly how Roland became a gunslinger and how he was the youngest to reach this honor. There is trouble in Roland's family and shortly after reaching Gunslinger status he walks in on his mother with another man. Torn with rage he goes to his father who just tells him that he knows. Roland is sent out to check a small town to keep him out of harms way. Little did his father know that there was more danger waiting for Roland and his Ka-Tet in this quiet little town that if he'd have stayed in Gilead. 

I loved this book because I loved the history of Roland and the glimpse into what his world was like before it moved on. I will admit that this is a slow build once the Blaine story is over but I was hooked from the very beginning to the last word. I loved watching Roland come into his own and meet his friends. However, the best part of this book was watching Roland fall in love. This book may show up on every Horror list I have dug through looking for Halloween reads, but this is more of a romance than anything else. Roland falls in love with Susan Delgado, a young woman with problems of her own to contend with. Roland and Susan may have some hurdles to get over with her being promised to another, but with a witch, and a dishonored gunslinger plotting against them even Shakespeare would have said give the kids a break. 

The reviews I have read either love this book or hate this book. So many of them are negative because of the 6 year wait before this was published, to end up with a flash back novel. I didn't read these till after the final book was published so I didn't have to deal with this frustration. I also love an origin story so I wasn't to upset to take this little detour. I fit in with those that loved this book. I had my issues but even on a second read I still hung on every word no matter what. I don't have this one in illustrated edition so no pictures to share for you but I will give this a 5 out of 5 rating and recommend if you haven't read this series you should. Also, when you get to this book, keep an open mind and just enjoy the ride. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Waste Lands by Stephen King


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I love this book. This is my favorite of the series even on a re-read. I will admit that I hate how this one ends and I'm so glad I read the Dark Tower series after it had finished so I didn't have to wait for book 4. I wont give away the ending but it just stops in the middle of the action. I bet King fans were furious when they read this book when it first came out. I remember I was buying the paperback copies and I only had the first 3. The day I finished this book I immediately spent money I didn't have and ordered the 4th book so I could start it. Thank you Amazon prime for 2 day shipping. Now that was years ago and here I am enjoying this for the second time of many I'm sure. 

So the ending was the only bad thing about this book and it wasn't enough to change my review from my very first read. Speaking of my first read, I decided to check out my original review on Goodreads and like so many of my early reviews it is vague and not very good. If you are reading this review and haven't read the first two books then stop here and skip to the last paragraph for my rating. If you have read the first 2 but not this one I promise to not give anything major away. 

This book finds our three Gunslingers Roland, Eddie and Susannah stumbling through Roland's harsh version of our world. Roland is slowly going insane and Eddie and Susannah are trying to learn to be Gunslingers while hoping they don't have to fear for their lives from Roland. As we learned in The Drawing of the Three, The third door was the Pusher and is the man responsible for not only Susannah's dual personality and loss of her legs, but was the man who pushed Jake into traffic bringing him to Roland's world. Since Roland stopped him from killing Jake he now has to realities clashing in his mind. The one where he and Jake travel through the mountain and he dies again, and the current reality where Jake never died which means he never made it to Roland's world. Ont he flip side Jake also has this same issue. This book bounces from Roland's point of view to Jake's. I loved this because Jake was a character I loved and was crushed when he died in the first book. Something told me I would see him again and I'm so glad. 

The world's around Jake and Roland are crumbling the longer they stay apart. Jake remembers both of his deaths and wonders how and why he is still alive. As he fights his own mind he starts to find things that pull him back to Roland's world. He finds a bookstore where the owner a Calvin Tower gives him a kids book called Charlie the Choo Choo and a book of Jokes and Riddles. A construction site calls to Jake and shows him a single rose that holds the universe in it. This was a cool scene to imagine in my head but, since this is one of the illustrated editions I was able to get there is a beautiful picture of this. I had to take the picture with my camera so there is a bit of a glare on the glossy picture so it doesn't do it justice but you can see a little of what I mean.

Jake isn't the only one having weird things happen to him. Eddie is having visions while he sleeps. Are these visions of the future? Eddie has no idea what is causing these and if he should even tell Roland and Susannah but one vision takes him to a field of roses where the beams meet at the Dark Tower itself.

I love this series and I'm so glad I decided to re-read these before the movie comes out in February. Which I'm super excited for. Knowing the rumors around the movie I can say I'm completely ok with the plot of the movie and the changes that have been made. I am curious how they are going to fit aspects of all the books into one move without Eddie and Susannah, but this isn't a movie review this is for the book.

There is so much jammed into this book and this isn't even one of the longest ones. My favorite part of the whole book begins in Lud where our group finds Blaine the Monorail. I'll let you read to find out why Blaine is a pain and that is the truth.

I love this book and since I've already said this is my favorite of the series I will skip the fluff and tell you I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Since this book is found in every horror list I have searched looking for books, I'm going to use this as part of my RIP Challenge. This will be my second entry in this event and I have many more planned out between now and Halloween.





Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Outcast Vol 3: This Little Light by Robert Kirkman

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These books are very much like the Walking Dead in the sense that they cover one big story. There are events that take place that make this an interesting read but if you haven't read the previous books you are going to be lost. So I will treat this like on off the Walking Dead books reviews. If you haven't read the previous book there will be spoilers but if you have read the other two and not this one, I will not spoil anything. 

Ok, so this book picks up right after the second one leaves off. Kyle's sister has become possessed by a demon and her husband packs up their daughter and goes to ask Kyle for help. This is a huge step for him because he has hated Kyle from the very beginning, so to swallow his pride and ask for help is huge character wise. Kyle grabs Reverend Anderson and they head over to try to save his sister before it's to late. This is really only the beginning of the book but probably the biggest part of the story. At least it was for me. The rest of the book delves into Kyle's hunt for answers which we get a little bit more but not much. 

That is the one thing that irritates me a bit about these books. We still have no idea what the Outcast is other than Kyle is one of many. After 3 books I had really hoped for a better understanding of what the Outcast is already. Still I have to create my own meanings and wait to see if I'm right in future books. For the rest of the book I do love this series. It is all thanks to the show on Cinemax. I was on the fence after reading book one but the show renewed my interest and I flew through this book. 

If you are a fan of the supernatural and good character development I would highly recommend this book. I really liked this and it only makes me wish I had the next volume right now. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I am also going to include this in my R.I.P. challenge. This is my first review in the peril in the first and what a way to kick this challenge off.


Monday, September 12, 2016

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI

R.I.P.

This year I'm a little behind the curve considering this challenge started September 1st. Where did the year go? The R.I.P. Event is my favorite blogging event of the year and I look forward to this from the moment it ends till the moment I can write my sign up post for the next one. I just love Fall for so many reasons, one of which being the return of cooler weather. I love everything about Fall, the leaves turning on the trees, that first cold breeze pushing the back drenching heat of Summer away, and the horror and mystery novels I pull off the shelf for this time of year. There is nothing better to help not only get my hyped up for Haloween, but also help me pass the time than the R.I.P Challenge. The Readers Imbibing Peril challenge is a whole event dedicated to reading Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, and Supernatural. This challenge is put on by Stainless Steel Droppings and I am so happy that Carl is running it again this year. Last year was a ton of fun and it was masterfully put on by The Estella Society since Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings took the year off. If you read my blog you know that the genres featured in this challenge are my favorite to read. If you are feeling up to the challenge then click on the link above and get your sign up post ready. The Challenge runs from September 1st to October 31st and I'm almost ready to get going. I need to finish my current read before I can officially begin but I will start posting soon. .

This is such a cool challenge, and since this is a category I mainly read anyway I am sticking with the highest amount. I am going to pledge to be part of:


Peril the First means I will be reading four books, any length, that I feel fit into this challenge. I was able to get an audio book or two last year that I have been saving for this challenge so I hope to have some decent reviews this year. I am also in the middle of the American Vampire Graphic Novel series so I hope to get some of those read to try and get back on track for my graphic novel challenge too. 

I am also going to take part in:


It is no secret that I'am a big fan of Horror movies, and the cheesier the better. October is the month of horror for me. All month long I watch as many of the Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween movies I can. My blog is for both books and movies so I really look forward to reviewing some of my favorite horror movies in October, and better yet to include them in this challenge. I'm proud to announce that this will be the fourth year for my Halloween Week here on my blog. This was where I review popular, classic, and any other type of horror films. I'm not sure if anyone other than myself looks forward to my own little event, but every year I have such a blast putting this together. Like every year around this time, I haven't settled on a set group of movies but I'm kicking around a few themes. You will just have to come back and check out my list when I get that post up.  Each one of those reviews will be used for this challenge so don't worry if you miss them. I will have it linked to the R.I.P. review site. 

One final thing I want to mention which I have neglected to do the last few years is mention the incredibly talented Artist who does the banners and pictures for the event.,. I don't think I ever paid much attention to this but now that I know Abigail Larson is the one who does the art I want to make sure you click on her name and check out her blog. It's really cool. Now good luck and I hope those who decide to try this out for the first time have a great time and come back next year. Now go read, or watch some TV, it's up to you. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Suicide Squad

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I have been waiting for a very long time for this movie. DC Comics has done, I think, a great job with their new DC Extended Universe or DCEU. The movies are great no matter what those bloated Marvel loving critics think. One thing that remains constant in every review I have read for every DC Comics movie is they are always compared to Marvel movies and that isn't fair since they are different universes. DC is not as cheery and bright as Marvel is. For Chrristmas my wife and I got a gift card and ticket vouchers to go to the movies and I knew when this was going to come out Iwasn't going to have the excess funds to see it so I horded this and saved it. A few weeks ago my wife and I finally got to see this. I just haven't had the drive to write anything let alone a review for one of the best movies of the summer. Big claim I know, but I liked it. 

So for those of you who don't know what the Suicide Squad is here is a basic explanation. The Government has these jobs that they don't want to waste on soldiers beause they know it is more than likely going to end in a large loss of life. So they don't have to use soldiers they implant these explosives in the necks of criminals so they ddo exactly what Amanda Waller wants. Otherwise, she activates the explosive and kills them. A very dark premise yes but the criminals they choose are the worst of the worse so you kind of go along with it because the world would be better without them. At the same time the more you get to know these misfits the more you want them to win. To find a way to disable their explosives and get away to freedom. The writing on these comics is great so I was very excited for the movie. 

Image result for suicide squad movie posterIn this movie we get some of the best villains and cameos. Batman plays a bog part in the capture of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and Killer Croc. We get to see The Flash take down Captain Boomerang also. We also get Diablo, and Rick Flag who isn't a criminal by the way. All of them are are fighting against a supernatural villain who wants to destroy all of mankind. Katana is also in this team up but she isn't really a villain but she is no stranger to killing.

The story was great despite the little plot holes that popped up occasionally. I enjoyed learning the "origin" stories of some of these characters as well as the origin of the team. Also, seeing these characters in live action was the first for most of them and a huge thrill for this life time comic book nerd. I also loved Margot Robbie, Will Smith, and Viola Davis. I read a lot of reviews about this movie before I saw this and not many of them were good but the one commonality was that most of them raved about these actors performances. Will Smith brought a soft human quality to this character who is a stone cold contract killer which made his story a little more interesting. Viola Davis was absolutely perfect for the role of Amanda Waller. She brought the evil this character hides behind a tough exterior. I can't believe how perfect she was at this character that you love to hate. The real star of this movie though is Margot Robbie. She was over to top amazing at Harley Quinn. I was really impressed with her performance and it was like the character lept off the pages of the comics I love and was standing before me.

I will admit that I had a few issues with this movie so it wasn't the perfect blockbuster I make it out to be. Before I get into my grevences I have to say that DC Comics and Warner Brothers knocked it out of the park with casting their female characters so far. Gal Gadot, Margot Robbie, and Viol,a Davis were amazing choices for these characters. On the flip side they have done a terrible job with the villains. Jesse Eisenberg is the worst Lex Luthor I have ever seen and he is the worst possible choice for this character. Well I feel the same way about Jared Leto as the Joker. First of all the look was entirely wrong for the character.  The Joker isn't tatted up with a gold teeth grill. He is crazy and calculating in a way that makes no sense. Not this characture of the worlds worst criminal. He was over the top cartoonish and just terrible. I would have been so much happier had he not been in this movie. Jared Leto is a great actor and I can't fault his skill entirely. This could have been due to bad writing or costuming or I don't know what else, but I felt this just crapped on what the character of the joker really is. Heath Ledger was the quintessential Joker and it makes sense that it drove him insane and to take his own life. The joker is the darkest character I have ever read. Aside from the Joker in this movie I was kind of bummed they stuck with a PG-13 rating. Deadpool was a huge success as the first R rated comic book movie and I feel this move warranted that R rating so this movie could really be what it should be. I felt this was restrained like the movie wanted to be more but was censored. I also felt that they maybe shouldn't have tried so hard to be funny.

Batman Vs Superman was a dark movie as it should have been but this got so much negative press. Because of that DC decided to lighten up all of there upcoming movies and it showed in this. The one liners were great but there were times it felt like they were trying to hard to get a laugh. With all of this being said I still loved it and can't wait for it to be released on iTunes. I give this movie a 4 out of 5 star rating. I can't wait for the rumored Harley Quin movie as well as the next chapter in the DCEU. Check out the trailer yourself if you haven't seen the movie already. The trailers were amazingly done to fit the soundtrack background. Some of the best trailers I have seen were the ones for this movie.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weber Grilling Academy and the iGrill2


I'm going to step away from my usual topic because I have to talk about one of the most fun events I have done in awhile. Occasionally I will post personal things and I feel this is a great one to share. My birthday was August 11th and for my present from my Dad, he and I attended a Smoking 101 class at the Weber Grill Academy here in St Louis.  I am an avid reader but one of my other passions is cooking. I love to cook and grill when I'm not working, playing with the kids, or reading. 

I thought I knew everything there is to know about grilling and smoking meats so I went into this as a fun activity for my Dad and I to bond over. You see, I was born on my Dad's birthday so we have always celebrated our birthday together. This year we didn't on the day because he hit the big 60 and had a big party Last Sunday We still found a way to have our Father/Son birthday time on Saturday last week. Anyway, I thought I knew everything and after this class I realized I knew nothing. Matt and Keith were amazing teachers and taught me the proper way to turn my Weber Kettle into a smoker. I learned how to set up my grill to smoke different meats and the right way to do it based on the situation

I'm  a man who loves to cook, and I love to stand over a hot grill and cook for my family just as much as cooking on the stove. I love sitting outside with a beer and the smell of cooking meat no matter what the weather. I have grilled in blazing heat, rain, and snow. My Weber grill gets use all year round. Give me a good cut of meat and a good beer and I will deal with anything for a great meal. Getting back to the class I took, we made Teriyaki Chicken wings, St Louis Pork Steaks, Meat Loaf, and Corn bread. All of this being smoked to perfection. I had so much fun with this class that I begged my wife to let me make meat loaf smoked on a ceder plank. I begged because she just doesn't like meat loaf, and instead of being the cliche and saying, "You haven't had meat loaf till you have had my meat loaf", I just never made it. I took Weber's recipe and combined it with my burger recipe and made my own version of meat loaf just cooked Weber's way. 

One thing I loved about Weber's Grill Academy was that it wasn't just a sales pitch. Matt and Keith were only concerned about making sure we had the best techniques and skills possible to make the best meal possible. Not once did they try to force Weber products down our throats. Just amazing dishes. Oh yeah, not only did we prepare our own food per their recipes but we got to eat it after is cooked. With that and the steady flowing of Bloody Marys, which were amazing as well, this was one of the best presents I have had. Let me order a drink and eat while learning how to grill and you have my full attention.

Now they never once tryed to push product but knowing I am an avid griller I was asked if I would be willing to take some picture of myself using a product they recently partnered with. The iGrill2 is a grilling thermometer that is really cool and I was more than happy to help out. 

I've used meat thermometers in the past so I knew what do do for the best read. I have an old school one that is analog and I have a digital meat fork that has that built in but they never worked all that well. I still relied on the cut and check method where you cut the meat in the middle to make sure it was cooked all the way through. You loose a lot of juiciness this way which is always a bummer so I was anxious to try out my new toy.

So let's talk about my most recent meal. As a parting gift the Weber Academy did give us a parting gift. They gave us starter cubes which I have never used before. I always use newspaper in my chimney which leaves ash and sometimes I need to put in more paper to get the coals going. These were great. I used two, lighted them like you see here and they started my coals really fast. Where have you been all my life.

I made my loaves of meat and brushed BBQ sauce over them and let them warm to room temp before placing them on the grill. While I waited for that I had my coals going great and needed to prep my cedar planks. Like I learned in class I put them on my hot grill and cooked it until they were popping like popcorn. I then placed my loaves on the planks and placed them over direct hear. I put my thermometer probes in the meat, plugged them in and went inside to spend time with my wife and kiddos. What is really cool about this iGrill2 is it links to my iPhone. I was able to check on the meat from the comfort of my couch.



Now this screen shot is from when I first started cooking. I was so excited I didn't think to screen shot the finished product or take a picture of the finished product. All you need to know was it looked, smelled, and tasted so good!!! My wife doesn't like meat loaf as I mentioned earlier and she said she liked this and would like to have it again. I call this a win. I loved the iGrill2 and can't wait for this coming weekend to get things going again. I'm going to slow smoke chicken with some of Weber's Beer Can Chicken seasoning. It should be good. Thank you for reading this one. I know it was lengthy but I really could have gone on and on. If you are a big griller or know someone close to you who is, please check out the iGrill2, it was a lot of fun to use and I love it. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

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This is the third book series I decided to read after watching the Television version first. It is also the only one I liked. I watched Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and liked the show but the book was a struggle to get through. It was so boring. The other series I watched before I read was Dexter. Again, I liked the show so much better than the books. This book was pretty good. There were quite a few differences from the show but I really enjoyed listening to this and looked forward to being able to read this even time I put it down. 

This book is kind of a cross between Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia. Our main character Quentin is someone who is really hard on himself, suffers from depression and feels he doesn't fit anywhere. Instead he looses himself in children's books about a family of children who go to a magical place called Fillory which is the Narnia parallel. Quentin wants so much for this place to be real because the real world is not for him. On his way to an interview for college his life changes forever. Arriving at the appointment he finds his interviewer dead and a paramedic hands him a packet with what turns out to be the 6th book in the Fillory series that has never been published.

Walking around trying to make sens out of the gift that just landed in his Quentin wonders through a portal and ends up staring up at a large school known as Brakebills. This is a school of magic that has chosen Quentin to learn how to use his gifts. This is a dark book and at times the plot can make little sense. Overall I liked it and where I will admit I enjoyed the show more than the book I still really enjoyed this book. My only complaint is the plot tease. Let me explain, towards the beginning of the book we get this man who finds his way past the school defenses and kills a professor and frightens a class. Here I thought the story was really going to get started but then we don't hear anything about this person again until the very end and even that is rather brief. Quentin goes about his schooling over the next 5 years. Yes you read that correctly, this one book covers 5 years of schooling up past graduation. I was kind of shocked that so much would have been crammed into this instead of capitalizing on multiple years of school like in the Harry Potter books.

The lack of follow through with what could have been a pretty decent plot aside I did enjoy this book. Reviews for this book are very mixed and it seems like people either loved or hated this book. I liked it and felt kind of middle of the road but it was slightly better than just ok. With that in mind I will round up from 3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars. There are two other books and a second season coming so I will continue on with both.