Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007)

Since today is Halloween I figured this would be the perfect movie to end Halloween week.  Last night we carved our pumpkin and today my son is anxiously waiting to put on his costume and rush out to see how much candy he can get before he tires out. He is three so he tires pretty fast, but all that matters is that he has a great time.It is a lot of fun to go out with him and see how happy he is to get candy. My son is always a little shy at first but after about two houses he is running to the next house. Come back next year when I do Halloween week again and review the original versions of the movies I did here. For those of you that celebrate Halloween, I wish you a Happy Halloween and hope you have half as much fun as I hope to today. 

I'm a big fan of Rob Zombie and when he started to make movies I was excited to see what he would come up with. I really liked House of a 1000 Corpses, and Devils Rejects. When I saw he was going to be doing the remake of one of the most iconic horror movies I couldn't wait to see it. John Carpenter is a genus and I love his original, but I wanted to see what Zombie would do with today's special effects and his dark imagination.

For the most part this is a scene for scene remake of the original and that was really cool for me. Rob Zombie definitely paid homage to Carpenter and I feel, did the movie justice. However, Rob Zombie did make this movie his own by adding to the legend that is Michael Myers with a more in depth back story. In this movie we finally get a glimpse of why Michael is the way he is. The original leaves the story at a kid killed his family and now as an adult seeks to kill the remaining member of his family. Zombie takes it further and shows us the horrible home life Michael lived with as a child. His mother is a stripper, some violently abusive man lives with him and his two sisters, and his older sister only cares about herself and her boyfriend.

Zombie shows us a much darker look to Michael's childhood as well as his slow progression from killing small animals to finally snapping and offing his family. The back story was done so well in this movie that I actually felt bad for Michael Meyers. It didn't excuse what he was doing, but I felt for the poor kid and the hand he was dealt. Only Rob Zombie could make you feel sorry for a serial killer. Another aspect of the back story was Michael's time in the asylum. While there his second personality, the one where he wears the mask takes over. He began to create different paper machete masks during his free time in his room at the asylum. These were just so creepy to see, because some of them are so child like that you would think any normal child made them. Here is a picture of Rob Zombie on the set with all the different masks Michael made hanging on the walls. It is hard to see the detail of each mask, but at least this way you can see the detail they went into for the set.

The casting was perfect for this movie, Tyler Mane is a huge guy and was, I think, the best choice to remake Michael Myers. He had this menacing feel to him and that was when he wasn't hacking up people who got in his way. Of course zombie has his friends pop up in different roles but I really enjoy seeing which one of his regulars show up and in what characters. The only regular missing from this movie was Bill Mosley and he was in a scene with the sheriffs that got cut. It was in the bonus footage, but he didn't make it to the final movie.

I loved this remake, and it was possibly because I am such a fan of Rob Zombie. I am a huge fan of the original and I still felt this was a great remake unlike a lot of fans who just didn't seem to enjoy Zombie's extra back story. I have read a lot of bad reviews, and a lot of good ones so I would say if you are interested in watching this do it. Make your own decisions as to whether you like it or not. I loved it and this is high on my list of all time favorite horror movies. Obviously I give this 5 stars.

This will be my final submission for the Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge. I had a blast doing this challenge and I am really sad to see this end. Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings put this on and I can't wait to do this again next year. I love mystery, horror, and suspense novels so the book part of this challenge was easy. I also love that I can include my movie reviews. I love movies almost as much as I do books so I liked that I can include these in that challenge as part of the Peril on the Screen.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

This movie seemed to start the big horror remake craze. Before this movie we hadn't had a remake of the big contemporary horror movie monsters like there are now. There have been plenty of continuations of Freddy, Jason, and Micheal Myers but no one had tackled redoing the movie that had started the franchise yet. I may be wrong and if I am please let me know in the comments. I might need to try to expand my rental list if I have missed a good horror movie remake.

I need to be honest and admit that I hadn't seen the original Chainsaw Massacre when my wife and I went to see this at the theaters. I had heard about Leatherface and knew what he looked like but I hadn't taken the time to watch it. Back in 2003 when my wife and I were just dating we went to the movies every week. We also loved horror movies and this was a must see. The trailer looked awesome and it was one we couldn't pass up.

I knew nothing else about this movie when we saw it and I will admit that it scared the living daylights out of me.  Not because Leatherface is so terrifying, or that it messed with my head, but because this movie relies a lot on what I like to call the pop out scare. Everything is quiet and calm and then BANG!!!! a chainsaw comes ripping through the roof of the van with sparks flying. I jumped quite a bit and so did my wife when we saw this on the big screen. Since then it doesn't scare me because I know what to expect, but when we first saw this we had a lot of fun at this movie.

Like most horror movies this starts out with a group of people on a trip. In this case the five main characters have just left Mexico and are heading home to see a big concert. On the way home they come across a girl walking along the road. She has just escaped the Hewitt residence and they offer her a ride. Once she notices that they are heading right back in the direction she came from she flips out and kills herself in the van. The group stops at a gas station to call the sheriff and all hell breaks loose.

There were a lot of things I liked about this movie. The acting was pretty good for a slasher movie, Leatherface looked amazing with how much detail they put into the mask, and I liked the little bits from the original that were in this movie. The gas station for one is something that appears in both movies. Both gas stations advertised World's best Bar-B-Q, but in the first one we learn that the meat is people. This movie stays with animals, the cannibalistic family seems to be missing from the remake. Leatherface also has an updated look and it was really creepy. If you don't know about Leatherface he is an Ed Gein type an uses the flesh of his victims to make a new face. In this movie he not only uses the full face of one of the main characters, but he has a sort of Frankenstein style mask pieced together from different victims.

I liked this movie a lot and prefer it over the original. Usually I like the originals the best but this was very well done. Another favorite of mine and it always brings back fond memories of when my wife and I were dating. I give this a full 5 star rating; the casting was great, visual effects were awesome, and the story held my attention. If you like the straight slasher films that are loaded with blood and gore this is for you. Enjoy it if you are looking for a good horror movie for Halloween.

As with my other horror movies for Halloween Week, I will be including this in the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge that runs till Halloween. The R.I.P. challenge is put on by Stainless Steel Droppings who also has a great blog anyway. Check it out and the other entries for this challenge if you have some time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Frdiay the 13th (2009)

When this movie came out I was a little leery about another Friday the 13th movie. Sure the original ones were cheesy and ridiculous but that was the appeal. Later movies like Jason goes to Hell and Jason X were just bad movies. Needless to say I was afraid this was going to be another stupid movie that just capitalizes on the fact Jason Voorhees was in it.

At first I had heard this was going to be a remake of the original, and then I heard this was going to be just Friday the 13th part 11. It turns out this movie is kind of both. The movie opens with a rainy night and a camp counselor running from Jason's mother. The first movie doesn't even have Jason Voorhees in it till the very end. The first movie revolves around the mother getting revenge on camp counselors because she is crazy. Flash forward to today and the legend of Camp Chrystal Lake is known by all.

The reason I would say this is partially a remake of the originals is simply because we get to see Jason find the hockey mask for the first time. When Jason enters this movie he is still wearing the burlap sack to hide his deformities. In the originals Jason doesn't become headliner till Friday the 13th Part 2, and I think he doesn't even get the mask till the third of fourth movie. I will have to re-watch those to be sure. That is pretty much where the remake part of this movie ends and I was fine with that.

The rest of this movie is centered around a classic horror movie formula. A group of College age people go out to the wood in the middle of nowhere looking for weed. After dark, nudity and sex happen and of course they are killed. Most horror movies follow the same formula, if you get naked or have sex you are doomed to die a horrible death; the virgin usually lives. Funny but true.  One of these people is captured by Jason and taken back to his little home area. A month later we get a whole new group of college age coeds heading to a cabin out in the same area that the first group visited. Along comes Jared Padalecki looking for his missing sister. His sister is one of the original group and he is determined to find her.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the story. It was still your brutal hack and slash but I liked the story of the missing sister which tied the two groups together. As I mentioned before, this is nothing but blood, and gore with nudity and sex thrown in. It held very true to the original movies and really made it feel like a part of the original story. For not expecting much out of this movie I was impressed. Overall I am feeling generous because it is Halloween Week. I am going to give this 4 stars. Not a bad movie, great production value and the special effects are pretty good. The acting bounces from decent to really bad at times but I still enjoy this movie every year. Normally I watch a lot more horror movies during this month but with a 5 month old I have been very distracted, but in a good way. So I squeezed in my favorites and this is still one even with only a 4 star review.

I will also be including this in the Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge which is put on by Stainless Steel Droppings. This challenge will go till Halloween and this is one of my Peril on the Screen entries 

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Welcome to Elm Street where the population continues to drop. I love this movie and the original because nothing is scarier than something that can get you in your dreams. When we sleep we can feel safe and relaxed, but what happens when your dreams turn against you? The concept is really cool and I have to thank Wes Craven for coming up with it. As a child his movies had me sleeping with a flashlight under my pillow. This remake was, in my opinion, very well done. It keeps a lot of the things that made the original movie great while still allowing it to stand on it's own.

The original movie was scary when I was a kid and I was watching it on late night TV when my parents thought I was sleeping. Now it has lost it's ability to scare me. As an adult I can see all the cheesy scenes and campy dialog, and I enjoy it for a whole different set of reasons. In the new movie director Samuel Bayer takes this classic and gives it his own twist. Bayer and the screen writers didn't change much and I like that. I really like watching remakes to see what carries over.

One thing that stayed the same in this movie was the two main characters Freddy Kruger, and Nancy. The other characters have been changed a little in this remake but in most cases the scenes they are in are right from the original. Similarity is that when the movie opens the original theme is played at the title screen and I really liked that. I also like when there is iconic music with a character or movie franchise. Movies like Indiana Jones, Star Trek, and Superman have these perfect themes and Nightmare on Elm St also has one.

When I go to watch a remake of one of my favorite movies I tend to be very critical. I know the new movie wont live up to the original but there are certain things I want to see. In this movie there are a lot of scenes that I wanted to be redone with today's special effects and I wasn't let down. I wanted to see the scene where Freddy tries to push through the wall in Nacy's bedroom, and the scene where Kris meets her death. These were two that stood out to me in the original movie and I was happy to see made they made the cut.

This movie is much darker and serious when compared to the original. This is evident just in Freddy himself. Robert Englund is and always will be Freddy Krueger. He was terrifying as well as funny and he made that character what it is. Jackie Earle Haley is the new Freddy Krueger in this movie and he is intense. Gone is the campy one liners, and his make up is even more realistic to a burn victim thanks to modern special effects. Haley takes this character to the edge of evil and then pushes further. I wasn't scared, but he did creep me out the first time I saw this movie. The casting was very well done for this movie and Haley did an excellent job living up to the character Robert Englund created.

I am sure there are a lot of die hard fans out there that hated this movie, but I loved it. I would easily rate this a 5 star remake. Really enjoyed re-watching this again, and can't wait to watch more this Halloween. I will also be including this in the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge which will end on Halloween. This is my Peril on the Screen 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Week

It's that time of year again. The leaves are turning and falling to the ground. Finally we got a little frost on our pumpkin, and hordes of children are obsessing over what to wear for that one night of Trick or Treating. For those of you unaware of what Halloween is, it is a night where kids get to dress up in costumes and go house to house begging for free candy. There is a lot more history of the holiday and stuff but this is the important thing to know, FREE CANDY!!!

Halloween is my favorite holiday and I look forward to it every year. Before my wife and I had our two wonderful children we used to have Halloween parties. They were always a lot of fun, and something we all looked forward to every year. We always made lots of great food and everyone would dress up. Half way through the night we would usually end up getting Guitar Hero out and we would play till our fingers hurt. This was mainly the guys of course, the ladies cheered us on or rolled their eyes. We will get back to the parties when the kids get a little older so they can have their friends over as well but for now we are happy to spend the night with our kids.

My wife and I now get to celebrate Halloween the best way possible, through the eyes of our kids. For months my son has bounced back and forth over what he wants to be for Halloween. This year he was all set on being Robin, and he wanted me to dress up as Batman with him. Then he started to see the commercials for Iron Man 3 on Disney channel and he wanted to be Iron Man. Well that lasted for a few weeks and then when we went to buy his costume he decided he would rather be Iron Patriot. He is so excited to put on his costume this Thursday and hit as many houses as his little legs will let him so he can get candy in his Iron Patriot costume.

It is so amazing to see how excited he gets to go out trick or treating. He has been practicing with us these last few days. It's cute but also really annoying when He decides this is how he is going to wake us up in the morning. Sound  asleep at 6am I hear knocking at our bedroom door and then "Trick or Treat!". The first time this happened there was a bit of panic that I didn't have any candy, but then that passed. My wife and I  laugh about this a little now. We all are looking forward to Halloween this year and my wife has finally decided to make our 5 month old a costume as well. Gabrielle will be little red riding hood, I bet it will be amazingly cute.

On by blog I am dedicating this week to my favorite holiday. I will be reviewing some of my favorite horror movies each day. I have decided that this year I will be doing the new versions or remakes of these movies. I will review Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I love the originals in all of their cheesy glory, but I think those reviews will have to wait till next year. New or old versions, I have seen these movies a ton of times but I love to re-watch them every Halloween. Evil Dead is counted among these movies every year but since I have already reviewed the new one this year I am leaving it out. 

I'd love to hear what you like to do for Halloween. Will you be attending any parties and what are you going as? Do you have a favorite horror movie you watch every year? Please feel free to leave a comment and share your Halloween traditions.

Here is a video that was too cool not to share. This person is amazing with his Halloween decorations and I hope to one day have something as cool as this when I can really decorate my house.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Follow me Friday- Funny Fav Pic

Feature Follow is the day of the week that we get to know each other and make some new friends. This is graciously put on by our hosts Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week there is one blog featured by each host and a question to help us break the ice and open discussion. Since I am new to blogging I don't currently have a preference as to how you follow me. Feel free to follow through bloglovin, email, or GFC. I'm not picky just happy to have the company.

Follow on Bloglovin 

This weeks question is: 

This week is an activity: Bookagram: Photograph your fave read in a funny place.

I have to admit that I was so lost as to what type of picture I should take. Yes, I know it was supposed to be funny but I was still at a loss. I asked my wife what I should do and she asked me if I still knew how to tie a noose. Don't judge me I was a weird teen. Anyway she said I should hang my favorite book in homage to Halloween. I decided to take this a step further. 

For this picture I wanted to make sure that I featured my two favorite books, Bone Collector and IT. I have talked about these quite a bit in previous posts so it is only fair to show them here. Here is the explanation for the pictures. Bone Collector is my favorite book and IT is a close second so I am not showing one killing the other, instead I wanted to show the Hardback hanging the Kindle. Everyone has an opinion about which is better, physical books or ebooks.  I love both physical copies and ebooks but if I had my choice I would have walls lined with hardback copies of every book I love. It is a tough decision as to which to choose and usually cost wins out. Still I figured for all of you fellow book lovers, you would get my thoughts here and maybe enjoy a chuckle or two. Both books are my favorite and if the Bone collector was going to actually kill a book it would be one of several books that I can't stand.

One last little picture, I had to include the title page of the Bone Collector. This is the prize of my collection, I have a signed first edition hard cover of this book and I still feel that I hit the jackpot with this one. Deaver has been a wonderful person and every time I write him he makes sure to answer all my questions and write back.  He has given me some wonderful tips to help my writing and I can't thank him enough. Figure I earned a little bragging rights here. 

I look forward to checking all the different Feature Follows this weekend. Hope I was able to make a few chuckle. Leave me comments if you like, I am always happy to have the visitors and talk books. 

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Zombies and Demons by Troy Brownfield

Let me put this out there first. I didn't choose this because of the cover art. This was not the cover that was on Netgalley when I requested this title. All I really wanted was a good zombie book since the Walking Dead came back on TV. I was first introduced to the Grimm Fairy Tales graphic novels with their version of Sleepy Hollow. That book was amazing, and I really liked it, so when I saw that they did a Zombies and Demons book I figured I would give it a try. I like zombies, I even like demon tales from time to time. This book for me was kind of a let down.

Since this is broken down into two separate stories I will review each section starting with the Zombies portion.  This wasn't so bad, but I wanted more than a Romeo and Juliet meet George Romero. A slave falls in love with the plantation owner's daughter, and all hell breaks loose. The plantation owner hunts them down by raising the dead to find them. I wont spoil the rest of the story, but that is about it. All three issues and that is pretty much the plot. The story was pretty good, but I wanted more depth and more Zombies.

The second part of this book is the demons part. I thought this was boring and really needed to not be so rushed. In this book one main demon, who's name I forget already, is trying to raise this mega demon by bringing together the seven deadly sins. The sword wielding heroine of this story is tasked with fighting things that go bump in the night. She is troubled through the whole story because she fell in love and wants to be with this guy but can't because he would be in harms way. This story line is as old as time and really bored me. I was expecting so much more after reading Sleepy Hollow and loving it.

The art work is pretty decent in this book and thankfully helped where the story fell short. It seems like this was drawn by different artists because the style did vary from issue to issue. I was planning on giving this three stars but the more I think about it, and the further I get in this review the more I feel it is just a 2, maybe 2.5 star kind of book. I didn't hate it, but then again it was just an ok read. This hasn't put me off the Grimm Fairy Tales presents titles, and I will continue to seek out new ones that might interest me. I must thank the publisher for allowing me to read this for an honest review. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday- Man of Steel

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This day allows us to share news on upcoming releases that have us on the edge of our seats in anticipation.

This week my Waiting on Wednesday is for the Blu-Ray release of Man of steel. I have already reviewed this movie so I wont bore you with how awesome it is. However, if you would like to read my review just click the second link and it will take you there.

This is the best movie I have seen this year and I can't wait to watch it again. My wife and I don'tget to see movies in the theater very often so when we do it has to be a one we both really want to see. This one we saw in 3D and it was worth the extra cost. The 3D effects on this movie were really good and I am going to get this in the 3D Blu-Ray so when I finally get my 3D TV this will be one of the first I watch on it.

This release has some cool special features listed and I really enjoy watching all the behind the scenes stuff as well as the movie. Some of the special features that are listed are:

Journey of Discovery: Creating the Man of Steel -Watch this movie with Zach Snyder as he shares the incredible as he shares his journey to reimagine Superman. 
All Out Action- Taking superhero action to spectacular heights of realism.
Planet Krypton- The world's first exploration of Krypton and it's lost society.

I really like the "in movie" special features. Zach Snyder did this in Watchmen and Robert Downy Jr did it with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It is fun to hear their thoughts on different scenes as the movie progresses. It can get annoying if you are not a fan of commentary but occasionally it is worth it to hear all the different stories they have about making the movie.

If you haven't seen this movie get ready to rent it. It is definitely worth the rent and I would encourage you to pre-order it. This was an amazing take on Superman that hasn't been done in the past. Man of Steel completely makes up for how bad Superman Returns was.

This movie will also be offered in a Collectors edition. There isn't any extra features to this other than the really cool collectors tin. The tin is the storage for the movie and comes with a stand that holds this for display. I have to ask myself if the Collectors tin is really worth the extra 10$ but the inner geek in me is having a hard time not ordering it now, and the adult is thinking my baby needs diapers constantly. Here is a look at the collectors edition so you can decide for yourself.

Man of Steel will be released November 12th and I can't wait. I still have a little time to decide if I want to get the collectors tin, but right now I am on the fence. Amazing movie though so check it out when it is released.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Green Lantern Vol 3: The End by Geoff Johns

All good things must come to an end and all questions I had have been answered. When I started on the Green lantern books after the New 52 started I was hooked. I just read Green Lantern: Rise of the Third Army. That book compiled all of the Green Lantern books into one story, but it ended in the midst of a huge battle. This doesn’t pick up during that battle so I’m anxious to see how that ends, but this book does bring an end to a lot of question I had. Who was the first Lantern, why are the Guardians out to destroy all they have built, and where is Hal Jordan?

The story line does come to an end, but it made me wish I knew what all happened in the background. This book revolves around Hal Jordan, Simon Baz, and Sinestro. I do hope they make a volume 2 to The Rise of the Third Army. If not I will wait anxiously for the graphic novel release of Green Lantern Corps and other books to fill in the gaps.

Simon Baz is new to being a Green Lantern. He has one task and that is to find Hal Jordan and bring him back. Forgive me if there is stuff I have said before, but this book and several others all revolve around the same story. The Guardians have cut themselves off completely from all emotions, and even purged Ganthet from his small remaining ties to his emotions. It is this complete lack of feeling that brings them to create the Third Army and make the universe into what they want.

The writing is outstanding in this book and I would expect no less from Geoff Johns. He is by far my favorite comic book writer with Scott Snyder a close second. Geoff Johns is such an amazing writer when it comes to the Green Lantern books that I never worry about a story line when he is at the helm. The artwork is also amazing with scenes that fill both pages. It makes for one amazing picture that tells a story all its own without any words.

I can’t really say all the amazing things I liked about this book because I don’t want to spoil a single panel for any potential readers. If you have been a fan of the Green Lantern series this is absolutely a must read. We get to see characters that I have loved for years and how they struggle with the current events. There is a lot of emotion in this story for long time fans and I found myself switching from goose bumps to almost tears at times.  With all of that being said, this wasn’t as enjoyable as other graphic novels but a solid 4.5 of 5 stars. This book started off a bit on the slow side but once it hit the midway point the story just took off and didn’t let up till the end. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Aquaman Vol 2: The Others

 I have been very impressed with the reboot of Aquaman. Geoff Johns has made him less of a joke and more of a hero that can hold his own with the Justice League. That being said, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in this particular book. The gripes I have are just minor, but I was hoping to get more in depth with the Atlantean artifacts.

In Auquaman Vol 1: The Trench, Aquaman finds a relic from Atlantis, and we know very little about it. I was hoping to get more info on these relics and continue the story that I loved in book one. There is some story about the relics, but for the most part this is about Aquaman Vs Black Manta. Not that this was a bad story at all, but I expected something else with how Volume 1 ended.

This story is about the Others. This team is kind of like a third string Justice League. They have been looking for relics from Atlantis to protect them. Aquaman joined with them early on in his career when he was brought into the public eye. We get to see a side of Aquaman that is dark and edgy in this book. He is so driven by hate and revenge that all he cares about is killing Black Manta. Aside from the killing part, Aquaman is kind of portrayed like the Batman of the ocean.

We get a little bit of origin story in this book which I did like. We get to see Aquaman as a boy with his father and what sparked the hatred between Black Manta and Aquaman. I do like a good origin story, and it seems like Johns is adding depth to this character, and I like where he is headed.

This was a pretty good book. I was just expecting something else. As always, the writing from Johns was very well done, and Ivan Reis is an amazing artist. I really like the art work he did for this book. Overall I would give this four out of five stars. It was not my favorite but a good read anyway. I am looking forward to the third volume because I am hopeful we get into the mystery of Atlantis more.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feature Follow- Favorite Magazines

Feature Follow is the day of the week that we get to know each other and make some new friends. This is graciously put on by our hosts Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week there is one blog featured by each host and a question to help us break the ice and open discussion. Since I am new to blogging I don't currently have a preference as to how you follow me. Feel free to follow through bloglovin, email, or GFC. I'm not picky just happy to have the company.

Follow on Bloglovin 

This weeks question is: 

What are some of your favorite magazines???

There really is only one magazine that I subscribe to and that is:

I have been a fan of mysteries since I became a young adult. Sherlock Holmes is just one of my favorites. This magazine showcases different mystery authors and their short stories. Along with these short pieces there are book reviews and all kinds of interesting articles.I have been interested in this magazine for years but never subscribed. Last year when Apple rolled out their new iOS for the iPad and it included Newsstand I decided it was time to subscribe. You can't get rid of Newsstand on your device so I figured I might as well put it to use. I love having all the new issues download automatically when they are published. It's such a nice surprise when I get that little notification saying I have a new issue. I have really enjoyed this magazine and will be renewing my subscription at the end of my year.


My Library just added digital copies of magazines to their offerings and I have really gotten a kick out of checking these out. The one magazine I check out fairly regularly from the library is:

I don't read it all that often but I used to. When I bought my first Jeep Wrangler back in 2001 I read this every month. I loved seeing what other owners have done to their jeep in the ways of customization, what lift kits were the best, and what I would need to go off roading. I took my old Jeep off roading every summer and loved driving over nature. I love "More Power."
(Insert manly grunt here!!!)

Other than that I don't really read many magazines. I am finding it harder and harder to find time to read, so I would rather read my books instead of magazines. I thought about adding Engadget's Distro magazine, but even though I have it on my iPad, I find I read their blog a lot more than the magazine. Their blog is awesome if you are a tech nerd like me so check it out here Engadget.

So what magazines do you enjoy? Also if you know of a good magazine that has mystery stories or even horror stories in them let me know. I would love to check them out. I do read Fangoria from time to time because I love horror movies, and this magazine has all the good info on what's coming from mainstream to B movies. 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

 I am a little late to the party with this one. I must be honest and say that I had not heard about this book until well after the movie had come out. I loved the trailer, and the idea of this mechanical man drawing a secret note once fixed seemed intriguing. I still haven't seen the movie yet, but it has been on my to watch list for along time. Here is the trailer that captured my attention so well:

It wasn't until a year or two ago that I found out Hugo was based off of this book. I had to put this on my to-read list but it sadly rested at the bottom. There were a lot of other grown up reads I wanted to get to first. The last time we all went to the library as a family my lovely wife had the idea that we should just get The Invention of Hugo Cabret and read it as a family. My son is almost 4 and my wife and I have both read books to him individually but this was the first time we read as a family. I was very excited for this to be our first family read. My wife and I traded off nights that one of us would read while the other just listened.

Don't let the page count fool you. There is actually very little to read. Most of the book is pictures drawn by Brain Selznick. The art work is pretty good, and it really does help move the story along. In some parts the story only moves forward by the pictures. My son really liked the pictures, and it was so hard for him to not spoil parts for me on the nights I wasn't home when they read it.

Since I have talked about every other aspect of this book it is time I mention the story. The story was very engaging. Even as an adult I couldn't wait to see what happened next in Hugo's life. There were times I just wanted to read ahead after we put my son to bed just so I didn't have to wait. Poor Hugo has lost so much in his life. His father goes to work one night and a fire claims him. Then Hugo is forced to live with his drunk uncle in the train station who just disappears. Left alone in the train station apartment, Hugo is left to fix the clocks in the station and fend for himself so he isn't thrown into an orphanage. The only thing that keeps Hugo going is the automaton his father was working to fix.

Hugo recovered the robot from the wreckage of the museum his father worked at and took it back with him to the train station. The mystery of what the automaton will write was a lot of fun.  I do recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story. It is a very quick read and very entertaining. I give this four out of five stars. We all enjoyed this book and now I am anxious to read the other books by Selznick.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday- Aquaman Vol 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This day allows us to share news on upcoming releases that have us on the edge of our seats in anticipation.

I never thought I would see the day where I would be excited about an Aquaman book. Aquaman has always been the joke of the DC Universe. He has been ridiculed in tons of television shows such as Saturday Night Live and Big Bang Theory. Even when Smallville introduced Aquaman, the guy was kind of lame. Geoff Johns has changed that.

When the New 52 launched, DC looked at it as a way to redo their beloved heroes. Some of the reboots were not what I wanted to see, but others were amazing stories. Aquaman is one of those stories that has done well with a fresh relaunch. Here is the Goodreads description for this book.
  Aquaman, who long ago lost contact with his people, must watch as armies emerge from the sea to attack the surface world. The Justice League answers the call to defend the shores from the invading Atlantean horde. But whose side is Aquaman on? With his brother Orm at the head of the undersea army, will Aquaman stand with his Earth-bound superteam? Or his own people? Find out in this exciting hardcover collecting AQUAMAN #0 and 14-16 and JUSTICE LEAGUE #15-17.
I have always been fascinated with the story of Atlantis as a child. A city so technologically advanced it vanished into the sea never to be found. This book is going to (I hope) add to that classic story. I am really looking forward to the release of this book, and I already have my name on the wait list at the library.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family By Scott Snyder

 Absolutely Amazing!!!! Scott Snyder has done an amazing job with the Batman comics since the New 52 began. Several of the reboots have not lived up to my expectations, but the Batman series has been the best I have seen. DC Comics was kind enough to let me read this collection early for an honest review care of Net Galley. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this.

I have been a Batman fan all my life and he is by far my favorite superhero. My love for Batman has rubbed of on my 3 year old son and he loves running around in his mask and homemade cap shouting “I’m Batman”. It will be many years before I let him read my comics, but I still get a kick out of seeing what I must have been like as a child. It is also nice to have an excuse to watch my Batman Animated series DVDs because he loves those.

This book starts off after the Court of Owls story line, the Joker has been missing for a year and now he is back. A year ago his face was cut off by the Dollmaker, and he left it for the Gotham PD to hang in evidence as a message, “I will be back”. The book opens with Gordon and his officers caught in a black out, as the back up power returns the joker is standing in the doorway. I got chills at this whole scene. You don’t see his face because he has come to collect it, but it’s how Gordon reacts that you just know. The Joker has always been this horrifying character who kills with no remorse because to him, it is funny. But seeing the Joker wearing his cut off face, held on with a belt and staples was gruesome, horrifying, and at the same time really cool.

Batman has been waiting for this day since the Joker took off and went completely off the grid. Joker’s return was so amazing to read. Joker begins to reenact his first run-ins with Batman. Each one has a slight twist that made it harder for Batman to predict just what was coming even though he knew when and where. Through the whole book Joker is praising Batman and calling him King Bat. There always was this admiration that the Joke had for Batman, but this was over the top. Joker was even more obsessed with Batman this go round and he’s out to destroy the family. Joker feels that having help from Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin, Batgirl, and even the Red Hood make him weak. He isn’t the Batman he once was and Joker is desperately trying to get that Batman back.

I can’t stress enough how much I loved this book. I thought Court of Owls was the best thing I had read this year, but this Death of the Family surpassed that. I love the Joker and his return was thrilling, action packed, and so much fun to read. I don’t usually tell people to rush out and buy a book very often, but if you are a Batman fan you need this book! Pre-order it now because it is worth the read and re-read. I loved this so much I have made it easy for you get.  The link under the cover picture will take you to to pre-order this. There are pages of stuff I could say about this book but I don’t want to ruin even one panel for anyone looking to read this.   

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Follow Me Friday- Feature a Blogger

Feature Follow is the day of the week that we get to know each other and make some new friends. This is graciously put on by our hosts Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week there is one blog featured by each host and a question to help us break the ice and open discussion. Since I am new to blogging I don't currently have a preference as to how you follow me. Feel free to follow through bloglovin, email, or GFC. I'm not picky just happy to have the company.

Follow on Bloglovin 

This weeks question is:  

This week is an activity where we feature our favorite blogger.

My featured blogger is...

Angela's Anxious Life 

Angie has been a big help in getting my blog up and running. I have a few friends who have helped answer questions when I have them, but Angie has been my main go to. Since she has helped me so much by introducing me to this feature and others I feel I should thank her by featuring her blog here. I am also featuring this blog because we have a lot of the same tastes in books and video games. She is a moderator for the Stephen King group I am in on Goodreads, and she reviews a lot of the graphic novels I have reviewed or currently have on my to-read list. Angie also reviews video games on her blog as well.


Why do you blog, and when did you start?
Well technically I started my blog in September 2010. Originally it was going to be a personal blog. Then I decided to go ahead and give book blogging a chance. I kept the same blog and in April 2011 started talking about books! That is the reason my blog is named Angela’s Anxious Life. The blog was supposed to be about my life, and then I changed it but decided to just keep the name. I sometimes wonder if the blog name confuses people! I started blogging about books because I love to read, and unfortunately people in my real life don’t. So I found other people who love books through blogging, and I find a lot of suggestions on books as well.
What advice would you give a new blogger such as myself?
Advice I give bloggers is don't be afraid to ask the community for help. We all started with zero followers. We all started with a simple blog and learned from there. Honestly those of us who love to blog won't hide how to do things. We want others to know how to do it also. 
Since I met you in the Stephen King group on Goodreads, what is your favorite/least favorite King novel?
Oh wow! Well... my personal favorite is the Dark Tower novels. They are so unlike any of King's other books! They really do take you on a journey and are a mixture of horror, fantasy, mystery, romance, and any other genre you can think of. I met King recently (well I watched him speak that is...) and it was amazing! 
 I know you read a lot of different graphic novels, but when it comes down to it... DC or Marvel?
Oh man... well I think I am a DC girl. I have loved Wonder Woman since I was a little, little girl. I have a picture my mom took of me in my Wonder Woman pjs from the 80s, so I just love her. Plus I think Superman and Batman are cool too.. just sayin!
Thank you Angie for taking the time to answer my questions. If you haven't checked out her blog I would highly recommend it. So what is your favorite blog? 

Iron Man 3

I finally got around to seeing this movie. I was blown away and want to watch it over again already. This really is the best of the three in my opinion. This movie shows so much more depth to all of the characters than in previous movies, and the action is just crazy.

This picks up right where Avengers left off. Tony Stark is back from New York and having a little problem coping with life as a superhero all of a sudden. Emotions and anxiety are getting the best of him, and he is not used to having to deal with this or think about the safety of anyone other than himself. A terrorist has been plaguing the world, and Iron Man is not able to stop all of it. Calling out this terrorist he paints a target on himself and Pepper, his better half.

The plot is very engaging, and I was not able to look away for a moment while watching this. Usually when I am at home watching a movie I play on my iPad or do something else while I watch. I couldn't while watching this. My wife was even half watching while working on her sewing in the same room wand had to stop and sit down on the couch with me. We both were so enthralled by this movie that it took our entire focus and attention.

The special effects in this movie are just amazing. One of the things I like best about these movies is the new way in which Tony Stark jumps in and out of the Iron Man suit. In the first movie it was a bunch of robotic arms assembling the suit. Iron Man 2 we saw a briefcase that became the suit around him, and in the Avengers he had two bracelets that called the suit to him.  This movie blew those away. There were two main ways we see Tony Stark suit up. The first is that the suit just opens and allows him to walk in and out of it. The second is he puts some kind of tracker in his body that allows him to call parts of the suit to him with the movement of his wrist. This also allows for some other really cool applications. I won't spoil anything if you haven't seen it, but it is cool.

If you are a fan of any of the Marvel movies I would say give this a shot. Tony Stark is not as much of a self centered arrogant character in this one. The special effects are definitely something to enjoy as well. I loved this movie and can't wait to watch this again. This movie lived up to all of the things I had heard about it and so much more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday- Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This day allows us to share news on upcoming releases that have us on the edge of our seats in anticipation.

This is book two in the Miss Peregrine series. The first book was a mixture of really weird pictures that were found at garage sales, flee markets, and estate sales. Ransom Riggs did a great job incorporating these weird photos in his story. Hollow City is the continuation of that story. Here is the Goodreads description:
In 1940 after the first book ends, Jacob and his new Welsh island friends flee to London, the Peculiar capital of the world. Caul, a dangerous madman, is Miss Peregrine’s brother, and can steal Peculiar abilities for himself. The Peculiars must fight for survival, again.
 Not  much to go on, but having read the first book I have been anxious for this to come out. My wife and I read the first book right as it came out so we have been waiting for two and a half years. This book is set to be released January 14th, 2014. As far as I can tell there hasn't been cover art released because this is all I could find. I'm looking forward to getting this book so my wife and I can fight over who gets to read it first (I always let her read the books we like first). I am also very curious to see what the cover will look like. If you know more about the story or cover art please feel free to comment and update me. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The October List by Jeffery Deaver

 I had no idea what to expect when I got this book. Of course I expected nothing less than classic Deaver twists and turns. I got all that and way more. Since I first heard about this book I had read a few descriptions, and it never registered that it was described as a novel in reverse. I was thrown off when I opened the book and instead of a title page or copyright page I just saw Chapter 36. The book nerd in me was really excited when I flipped to the back of the book and there was all the copyright pages and titles pages as well as a table of contents with titles for each picture before each chapter.

That's right I said pictures before each chapter. Jeffery Deaver took his camera and did some photo journalism to go along with the story. I would highly recommend not reading the titles for the pictures becasue it does give away what each chapter is about. Since the table of contents is in the back I don't think that will be a problem unless you cheat. The pictures do reveal their own clues if you can figure them out. Some of the pictures I think only Deaver knew what they meant, because I couldn't figure it out even after reading the chapter.

When you are reading a book in reverse the story can be a bit disjointed. You read a chapter and events move forward, but then the next chapter takes you back an hour or so before what you just read. Then as you read further you catch up to what you just read. It was an adjustment, but after a few chapters I definitely got the hang of it.

Here's what makes reading this book in reverse so interesting. You know what happens but not how or why it happened. Here's an example, and I'm not giving anything away. The main character Gabriela is said to keep wiping blood from the corners of her mouth, and she is holding her side. That's all you know when you start reading this. I kept trying to figure out what kind of injury could possibly cause her to cough up blood, and why she would be holding her side. I kept reading just so I could fill in those types of gaps. This fact alone made this a book I really couldn't put down. Deaver's level of suspense was so intense that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened before what I just read. I know this doesn't make any sense but know that Deaver makes this work.

I want to say so much more about how amazing this book is, but I am afraid I will give something away, and I can't ruin the fun for any future readers out there. Even if I did include spoiler alerts in this post it would go on and on for pages. All you really need to know is that this book is absolutely amazing. I am giving this a full 5 out of 5 stars and would even give this a 6th if possible. This is one of my favorite books, and I am suffering a massive book hangover. I never wanted this one to end. To anyone who likes to read you need to check this book out.

I also want to mention that this is my fourth book of four in the Peril in the First for the RIP challenge.  I have completed this challenge with the perfect book. Check out the challenge at Stainless Steel Droppings, there is still time to enter. The challenge goes until October 31, 2013.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti

One of my passions other than my family, books and movies is cooking. I love to cook, and the more difficult the recipe the more I want to challenge myself to make it.  I also have learned how to fix a recipe if it is not as tasty as I think it should be. Enough with tooting my own horn. Cooking is relaxing for me. No matter how stressful a day at work might be I  like coming home and putting together a nice meal for my family.

I have been a member of Netgalley for awhile now and gotten some amazing books to review. It never occured to me to look through the cookbook section. When I saw this I thought "Who doesn't love Mac and Cheese?" I was very excited when I was approved for this title. There are a ton of recipes in this collection, but for the most part they are not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting twists on a classic favorite, there are a few recipes, but for the most part this is more of a pasta cook book. Pasta salads and soup are just a few recipes that I was not expecting.

As much as I love to cook I am a very picky eater, and there are some cheeses that make my stomach turn just at the mention of them. This being said I didn't find a recipe that I was willing to rush out and cook. I really wanted to have pictures of the finished product so I could show off my cooking skills.

What I did really like about this book was all the great information at the beginning. Before you get to all the recipes there are sections on cheeses, pastas, and even the best cooking tools to use in certain situations. I'm a little weird and I always like to know how things are made. The beginning of this is all about cheese and how it is made even on the microscopic level. I enjoyed reading the science that went into cheese making. There is a lot of information on cheese in this book which can be very helpful. How to buy cheeses, and the proper way to store cheese to maximize flavor was one I will keep with me.

Of course the same care has been taken with pasta. There is plenty information as to how to buy and store different types of pastas, and even why to choose premium dried pastas. Along with the pasta info there is a small section as to what tools you might need to make these recipes. The other big thing that I really liked about this book was that each recipe had alternate cheeses that you could use that would make the dish just as good. There are also wine and food pairings at the end of each recipe. I haven't found a recipe that I have been willing to try yet, but I like that I have options as to how to make it and what is recommended to serve with this dish.

Well for not making any of the recipes I really did have a lot to say about this book. I will give this a solid 3 out of 5 stars just for the useful info this book contains. I can easily use this as a cooking reference for future recipes. I also have not given up on thumbing through these recipes. I do like to change things to make them more appealing to me and my family so maybe I will make a few changes to some of these and find a new cheese/pasta favorite. I hope to feel adventurous one day and pull this back out and boldly go where no cheese has gone before. (I couldn't end this without at least one cheesy one liner) :-)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Follow Me Friday- Not Part of the Hype

Feature Follow is the day of the week that we get to know each other and make some new friends. This is graciously put on by our hosts Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week there is one blog featured by each host and a question to help us break the ice and open discussion. Since I am new to blogging I don't currently have a preference as to how you follow me. Feel free to follow through bloglovin, email, or GFC. I'm not picky just happy to have the company.

Follow on Bloglovin 

This weeks question is:  

What book (or TV show or movie) have you not read that seemingly everyone else has? 

Well there is not much I don't read these days. I tend to shy away from YA books, but I have read the popular ones. I caved to peer pressure and read Harry Potter even though I was so against it till the 5th book came out. I read the Hunger Games series last year, and I have read a few of the Mortal Instruments series. 

One series I haven't read yet is the Divergent books. I am going to listen to the audio book next. I probably wouldn't have if it wasn't for my wife's love of YA. She said it sounds like something I would really like, so we are going to read it together so we can discuss it. I love reading books with my wife because we have the best detailed discussions.  

Now at great risk to opening myself up for ridicule I must admit that the only series I refuse to read is the Twilight saga. I know a ton of people love it, and my wife is one, but I was bored with the movies. Since seeing the movies I have no interest in reading the books. I will not bash the series or complain because I haven't read it, but I am not a fan of how the vampires are portrayed. To me vampires should be blood thirsty and evil, not emo with teen angst dripping from their fangs instead of blood. Again, my only exposure to this was the movies so my opinion is based off of that. Nothing against the books but they are just not for me. 

So, what books have you not read that it seems everyone else has? I love comments and the chance to talk. Happy Friday.

Justice League Vol 2: The Villians Journey by Geoff Johns

 I have been really impressed with the way the Justice League books are going. The first volume of the New 52 showed us how the team came to be with a new twist to it. This volume jumps ahead several years showing a more unified team, watchtower and all. This really allows for a pure plot driven story. There is no need to waste time with setting things up.

This story, written by the talented Geoff Johns, begins with a character we met in volume 1. His life was changed after the forming of the Justice League and not for the better. Now he asks for help from these superheroes but doesn't get any. The problems of the many out way the needs of the few (Yes I just used a quote from Star Trek). Having been "rejected," he sets out to end the Justice League for good.

There is a lot of emotion in this comic that you don't usually see in a series like this. Geoff Johns does an amazing job conveying the struggle and turmoil of each character while still writing a story that takes off with action and doesn't stop.

As to the art work in this book, most of it is done by Jim Lee who is one of my favorite artists. However, for some of the book the art work is done by a different artist, and it really shows just how good Jim Lee is. I was disappointed in those sections not done by Lee.

Overall I would say this was well worth the story. I would give this four out of five stars. Because Jim Lee didn't do all the artwork for it, I can't say this was worthy of all five stars. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday- Trouble in Mind by Jeffery Deaver

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This day allows us to share news on upcoming releases that have us on the edge of our seats in anticipation.

I am really excited about 'Trouble in Mind' for many different reasons, one of which might be considered a little odd. This book would mean that in less than a year Jeffery Deaver has had three books out. I got Kill Room in June, The October List which was released yesterday and now this one which is coming out March 4, 2014. Here is the Goodreads Description: 
The "grand master of the plot twist" (Booklist) is back with his third story collection. The stories include: "A Textbook Case," a Lincoln Rhyme story:
When a young woman is found brutally murdered in a parking garage, with a veritable mountain of potential evidence to sift through, it may be the most challenging case former NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme has ever taken on. "Fast," a Kathryn Dance story:
Kathryn Dance is in a race against the clock to track down the members of a domestic terrorist cell-and the lives of 200 people hang in the balance. "Game":
After Sarah Lieberman's new tenants murder her in an attempt to steal her money, Sarah's housekeeper Carmel is determined to find Sarah's body so she can lay her soul to rest. But Carmel may discover that the truth is uncomfortably close to home ... "Paradice," a John Pellam story:
When a brake failure leaves him temporarily stranded in a Colorado mountain town, John Pellam finds himself suddenly accused of murder. Among others.
I have already read the short stories mentioned above, because they are currently kindle singles. They were really great. I can't wait to read the others in this collection. Deaver is a master of twists and turns. I have tried for years to figure out how his books were going to end, and every time I'm shocked.

His short stories are just as good as the full length novels. Writing short stories is a difficult task in my opinion. You have very little time to set up characters and get to the point. Deaver can not only create strong memorable characters, but he can still shock readers with his classic twists. Even though I have read a few of these stories already, I can't wait to see what he has in store for this collection.