Sunday, August 30, 2015

Readers Imbibing Peril X


I can't believe it's here already!!!! The R.I.P. Event is my favorite of the year and I look forward to this ever time. Had I not gotten the email about Carl's opening post I wouldn't have known because I thought this was just the month of October. Fall is my favorite time of year and it's just around the corner and thanks to my Father-in-Law, I already have Pumpkin Beer chilling in my fridge. I love everything about Fall, the leaves turning on the trees, that first cold breeze pushing the back drenching heat of Summer, and the horror and mystery novels I pull of the shelf for this time of year. As I anxiously await my favorite holiday Halloween and the beginning of Winter, I have the distinct pleasure to participate in the R.I.P. challenge. R.I.P. is known as Readers Imbibing Peril, and it is a challenge to read Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, and Supernatural. This challenge is put on by Stainless Steel Droppings normally but this year Carl needed some help so our gracious hosts this year are The Estella Society. If you are like me and these genres just happen to be some of your favorites, then head over to the sign up post and check it out. This challenge officially runs from September 1st to October 31st and I'm ready to get going.

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

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Peril the First means I will be reading four books, any length, that I feel fit into this challenge. This might be a little harder than usual because I am on a Dresden Files kick which is Sci-Fi. I don't really have anything lined up for this challenge in the Horror Category but you better believe I will be hitting up the library soon.

I am also going to take part in:

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How cool is it that this challenge also includes watching movies and television shows as well? 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. This will be my third year doing Halloween Week here on my blog. This was where I review popular, classic, and any other type of horror films. I'm not sure how successful it was, but I had a lot of fun so I'm doing it again. I'm not sure what movies I am going to watch this year so I a ope to suggestions. Each one of those reviews will be used for this challenge as well. 

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 event. Now go read, or watch some TV, it's up to you. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life) By Chris Hardwick

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I, am a Nerd. It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who has ever read this blog but until recent years you never would have heard me admit to it. Like most nerds my age the early years were really tough for me. I was constantly picked on and bullied until I reached college. K-12 were some of the worst years of my life because I was an outcast because I wanted to be Batman and not some sports star. 

Chris Hardwick understands this and even though he will be the first to say he is not King of the nerds, he is, in my mind, one of the pioneers that made being a nerd cool. A lover of Comics, Star Trek, and Doctor Who, Chris Hardwick has created an empire around being proud of who you are and standing up for your Nerd/Geek right. This book is a self help book for Nerds looking to take advantage of what we are and make it work for us in a world that is now run by Nerds. I don't read self help books but I am a big fan of Chris Hardwick. This man has a crazy work ethic running the web site Nerdist, the Nerdist Podcast, Hosting the Talking Dead, hosting the pseudo game show @Midnight, and doing a stand up show all over the county.


This book breaks down the many steps Chris used to pull his life out of the crapper and bring it up to what it is toady. Chris has little activities throughout the book to help the reader figure out some of the negative things we as Nerds stress about and find ways to find the positive perspective. Chris says that the overall theme of this book is:
"Go easy on yourself, external forces trying to attack you in this world can be difficult enough, do not add to them by attacking yourself. Not only will you get that never clean feeling, but you will sabotage all of the good things you are working for ans absolutely deserve".
Chris was the host of Singled out back in the 90's and stardom seemed to take a toll. It took a dig from Daily Show's John Stewart to wake him up and turn his life around. This book is all about that change he made to better himself. He really had some great advice that touched home with me on several topics. The funny part about this is that my wife has told me some of these things for years and when I was telling her about this book she said "Well maybe you will listen to him". It was funny and another reason I love my wife.

This book is exactly what I needed right now in my life and it was just pure luck that I got it. Thank you Chris Hardwick for making Nerds cool. I am so happy for my son that this time period allows for someone who loves super heroes to not be the butt of jokes and torture from bullies like it was when I was younger. I loved this book and will return to it for future re-reads as well as use his activities to better myself in those times of need.

I'm not going to lie, I'm a fan of Chris Hardwick so it should come as no surprise that I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It's not just because I'm a fan that leads to the 5 star rating. The advice is sound and helped me realize that I needed to get a grip on my anxiety and work towards getting past it. It was also great to hear how his life hit bottom and he was able to fix things and be successful. My life is no where near bottom but there are things that could be better like in anyone's life. It is nice to know that there is hope that I can turn those things around. I loved this book. Thank you to Chris, and Nerdist who have been my source for the news I want all in one place. Everyone has probably been asked or asked " If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be?" I have a top five list but Chris is on it. I think it would be great to sit down and just talk with as it is on his podcast.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Batman and Robin Vol 3: Death of the Family by Peter J. Tomasi

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Well my Batman love fest continues. I loved the whole Death of the Family story line and I was really looking forward to reading this one. The section that involves the Death of the family story was really good and I had read this before but the best part of the whole book was the beginning section. 

The book starts out with Damien setting up a world wide scavenger hunt for Bruce to reconnect with his family history. Secretly Damien has ulterior motives but the whole story was really touching. It was nice to see this softer side of Bruce and learn little bits about his parent's history. I think that these books are hitting me so close to home is because my son just started school and he is growing up way to fast. Seeming these moments with Bruce and Damien being a father and son connect with me because I can't be prouder of the little man he is turning out to be. 

The writing is very well done and the art work is just as good. I loved this book and could go on and on about the story and the emotion that is in this. Yes, you read that right, I said there is emotion in this comic. You don't get many stories that go deep into the heart and tug on those strings. The Death of the Family section in the middle of this book is really good.

I give this book another 5 out of 5 stars. I have been so unbelievably impressed with the this series feel kind of dumb that I waited so ling to catch up with these books. I am enjoying this series so much more than when it started and Grant Morrison was writing this. New 52 did something with Batman and Robin that made this more interesting. The only other series that has consistently been rated so highly by me is Scott Snyder's run on Batman. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

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I love this series. There is so much that happened in this book it is hard to pick just one aspect that is my favorite. What I will always love is Harry Dresden and his quirky, and sarcastic one liners. Reading my old review that I had written almost 3 years ago I still agree with it. So far this is the best book in the series. 

This book has absolutely everything you could put in a book and more. We have action, intense battle scenes, betrayal, romance, as well as lost loves. To cap it all off it has the fantasy and wizardry we can expect from a Dresden files book. I can't think of any more obstacles that Jim Butcher could through at our snarky sorcerer. Following the last book the Red court of Vampires is ready to wage a war against all wizards unless they can have Harry Dresden. This causes the White counsel of Wizards to be in a difficult position. They are not big fans of Harry's and would love nothing more than to kick him out, but they can't just bend over to the Vampires and let them walk all over them. With Harry caught in the middle it is the worst possible timing to be hired for a case. Harry is manipulated by the Winter Faerie queen to find a murderer or his life will be in her hands. Then another damsel in distress asks him to find her missing friend, and somehow he has to stop the war between the Summer and Winter Faeries before they throw the season off so much it could destroy the world. 

Thank God that Harry is fictional because something like this could destroy a person, both physically and mentally. This book really tests Harry's limits and nothing will keep Harry from slinging a sarcastic comment at the drop of a hat. There really isn't a bad spot in this whole book. I liked this book so much it actually made working kind of difficult. I listen to books all day at work and I am pretty good at being able to multi task. While listening to this book there were times I would realize that I was just sitting there staring into space because I was so focused on the story. It is no wonder that I list this as one of my favorite books. 

I've gone on about how great the story is I feel I would be lacking if I didn't at least mention the characters. The characters that are introduced in this book are great. We get to learn so much about Faeries, changelings, and even Harry's own Faerie Godmother. There are some great characters in the past who surface in this book which really made the story interesting. Harry's own mentor who took him in after the death of his first teacher shows us and is just as funny as Harry is. So much can be learned about Harry in this book and there is even more that comes up that will hopefully be revealed in future books. 

I still feel like I can't say enough to really convey how wonderful I thought this book is. It should come as no surprise that this is a 5 out of 5 start read. I have been crazy lucky that I have had so many great books that I have read lately as 5 star reads. Lets hope this stretch continues and that the rest of the Dresden books are as good as this one. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bout of Books 14 Goals and Updates

Bout of Books

Welcome to another edition of Bout of Books. I really love this event and I try to do this as often as I can. It seems lately I do every other one but I at least try to advertise for them on my blog all the time. Today kicks off this week long read-a-thon and I have some decent goals.

Goals:

Since I don't get a lot of time to read the actual books I have, most of my goals will be Audio related. I finally got my wife to try out the Dresden Files books and it all started because I made her watch the TV series with Paul Blackthorn. I know the die hard Dresden fans hate this which is probably why it only got one season but it's goofy and funny and I didn't have high expectations so I loved this show. Since I am trying to re-read the few books I have already read so I can talk with my wife about them, I plan on starting book 5 "Death Masks" this week and finish it with my wife. At this time I can't decide if I am going to move on to book 6, "Blood Rites" or read "Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrel". I really enjoyed the mini-series on BBC America so I kind of want to read the book to fill in the little gaps. 

I have just picked up Batman and Robin Vol 3 and Vol 5 which are the only two I need to read to be caught up with where the story is now. My hope is to have them both read by the end of this week so that I have posts to finish out this week and start next.

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As I mentioned I hardly have time to pick up a good hardback and enjoy some quiet reading time, but my hope is that on Saturday and Sunday I can get some reading in on "Finders Keepers" by Stephen King.  I am about 50 pages in right now and I am already loving this book. I hope I can get a little further in during this event. 

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Good Luck to everyone who is participating in the challenge this week. I'm going to check in on the little challenges each day I can and maybe I will participate in a few. 

Updates:

Monday:
I got some good listening in today at work. I am half way through Death Masks and still haven't decided which book I am moving on to when I finish this week. 

Tuesday:
Well today I read Batman and Robin Vol 3 and I loved it. Look for my review later this week or next. Moving right along on my goals here.

Wednesday:
Another book down, I finished Death Masks toady and went to start Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell but I had the book all messed up on my iPod so I am fixing it now. I will start it tomorrow. I wont finish by the end of the week.

Thursday:
Today I got a decent bit read in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Decided to try and get this read then go back to the Dresden Files. I won't finish this book this week because I'm only about 8% in to the book if my math is correct. I'll keep you posted. 

Friday:
Well I listened to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell most of my work day and I'm still only 23% in. I hope it gets better soon I'm bored. 

Saturday:
I didn't get much time at all to read but I'm halfway through Batman and Robin vol 5. I hope to finish it tomorrow but I also want to try to get some time reading Finders Keepers. 

Sunday:
I was such a reading bum today. I didn't read anything today so really I ended this bout of books yesterday. I didn't even look at Finders Keeper's this week and chose playing Legos with my Son over finishing Batman and Robin vol 5. I think I made the right call there. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Batman and Robin Vol 2: Pearl, by Peter J. Tomasi

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The first volume was great and got me completely hooked on the series, this one only solidified my love for these books. In this book Damien has made some bad decisions and is ready to rpve he is the definitive Robin. He calls a meeting of all the previous Robins and calls them out. He says he will defeat them and keep a token to show he is better. Throughout the book we get great scenes with each character and Damien. On top of all of this we get snippets of his origin story with his mother Talia which were great to help understand just how messed up Damien really is. 

There is a lot of other smaller plot lines in this book on top of the family battle. This book touches briefly with the Court of Owls Batman story line which I honestly expected to dominate more of this book. We also have a newly formed group of Batman "Victims" who want to show the world how terrible Batman is and they don't care who they hurt in the process. The kicker at the very end is a great section were Damien meets the Joker face to face. That's the last thing I will say on this other than I feel like this is a great intro into Volume 3 Death of the Family.

There are some creepy but detailed scene in this book and I loved it. This easily could have been a solid 5 star read but this felt more lie a collection of stories instead of a coherent plot line. I wish these melded a little more seamlessly which is why I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars, but for the purpose of review sites I will have to go with a 4 out of 5. This still was a great read and I still love this series. I can't wait to catch up on these.   

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Batman and Robin Vol 1: Born to Kill by Peter J. Tomasi

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I was fortunate enough to get Batman and Robin Vol 6 from DC Comics and Netgalley and I really liked it. I will be honest and say I really am not a fan of Damien. When this series started I wasn't overly impressed but I kept reading because Dick Grayson was Batman and Bruce was missing. I wanted to know how he would come back and become Batman but I stopped reading before I got there. I had put this series off until I got my Advanced reader copy. That was enough to make me want to go back and read what I had missed of the New 52.  

This book was awesome and I am hooked. I'm on a mad dash to catch up on all the books i have missed. This book has everything. Betrayal, secrets, lies, and some amazing action scenes. Bruce is doing the best he can to be the type of father Damien needs but because of the brain washing the League of Assassins out him through it is proving difficult. If trying to raise a child killer wasn't hard enough a figure from Bruce's past comes to Gotham to destroy him. This costumed killer calls himself Nobody and brings up a part of Bruce's past that could bring him closer to Damien. 

Bruce relives his early days of training before he became the Batman. He had to make some very hard choices back then and this is what began his crusade without killing. I could go into more details but I don't want to ruin any of the great story that is in this book. Not only is it great to get a little more history of Bruce but Peter Tomasi builds depth to Damien's character. Feeling like he isn't trusted by his father and just doesn't understand the strict rules Bruce enforces Damien decides to rebel.

This story was really great and I was impressed. The art work was amazing and I loved every page in this book. Sadly I read this in hardback so I don't have pictures of how great these pages were but you will have to take my word and know that I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. If you haven't been reading this series this book is definitely worth your time. I would highly recommend this to all Batman fans. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bout of Books 14

Bout of Books
Bout of Books 14

It's that time again and I am excited to be able to participate in this round of Bout of Books. I have had a really good year so far with my reading. Thanks to being able to listen to audio books at work I am quickly getting through my to-read pile. I usually use this event to try and catch up on my Graphic novel challenge but I only need one more graphic novel to meet my goal. In case you don’t know what Bout of Books is all about here is a little blurb:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a weeklong read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Bout of Books was the very first blogging event I participated in and I had so much fun. I try to participate in this when ever I can. Thinking about my goals I think they are going to be a little light. Since I am almost finished with my Graphic novel challenge I want to catch up on some of the series I jumped into late. This year I have been trying to re-read the Dresden Files books so I can move on with what I haven't read in the series so expect to see one or two of those in my goals. I will try to update it daily so check back on that post to see how I am doing.

I missed out on the last round because I just forgot. I was a little less involved in my blog and it totally slipped my mind. As always I want to wish all my blogging friends who will be participating in this luck and I look forward to seeing what you have as your goals. If you are thinking about participating in this for the first time I would encourage you to do it. It is a lot of fun even if you only participate a little bit.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

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This was a great book. This is one of those books that as soon as I started to read it I knew I was going to like it. Even on a re-read I was pulled back into Dresden's world and couldn't wait for the ride I knew would come next. In this installment we have a firmly established character that needs no introduction so the action jumps right in. Ghosts and Ghouls are running rampant in Chicago and Harry and his friend Michael, a Knight of the cross, are the only ones who can stop them. 

Something has been stirring up the Nevernever making the plane between the dimensions weak. Things are flooding into our world with power and evil we humans have never seen. On top of all that the Red court of Vampires is looking expand their numbers and somehow Harry plays into their plans. To make matters worse it seems like those closest to Harry are the ones who are being targeted.

I really liked this book and since I listened to this in audio form I really enjoyed the little intro by Jim Butcher. I love when an author gives their own introduction because they are the ones who know these characters best. Jim Butcher mentions that most people who have read this feel this is the book that Harry really comes into his own and this is a turning point for the character. I agree with this completely. This is a different character than what we have had in the first 2 books and I seem even more invested int he series after reading this one. Even reading this for the 2nd time I can say I feel the same way now as I did when I read this for the first time.

There is just so much that happens in this book I can't wait to re-read the 4th book because I have forgotten it to be honest. I am ready to catch up and continue on with this series. I still agree with my original review and I give this 4 out of 5 stars. There are quite a few ways this book could go and I'm anxious to see what happens. I'm hooked on this series and even though I am not a big Sci-Fi fan this is a lot of fun. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Batman and Robin Vol 6: The Hunt for Robin by Peter Tomasi

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I'm going to be honest up front and say I haven't read a single book in this series since before Bruce took the cowl back from Dick Grayson. I was never a huge fan of Damien Wayne as Robin because I hated the idea of Bruce having a son that wasn't Dick or Tim Drake. New 52 rolled around and I never bothered to pick these up but I have kept up with the bigger details of these books. The cover and title was the whole reason I decided to request this book. Net Galley and DC Comics were gracious enough to allow me to read this for an honest review and I am so glad they did.

Bruce has had a tough go of things since Damien was killed. I get it, I can't imagine what it would be like to be in his position. I would do anything I could if it meant I might be able to bring one of my kids back from the dead. In this book Ra's Al Ghul has dug up and taken both Damien and Talia's body from their graves on the Wayne Estate. Bruce will chase Ra's all over the workd and back to get his son's body back so he can rest in piece. He has dealt with Ra's plenty of times in the past but he will Bruce will need some help this time. There are a lot of great team ups in this book and I loved them. 


We have a team up with Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and even the Frankenstein Monster who finally is just called Frankenstein instead of the monster. The story was great and I loved every bit of it. The art work was great for the most part but there was an issue that had some work that wasn't as detailed and felt a little washed out. This was a great read and the ending rolls right into the net volume and I can't wait. I will be requesting it if it comes available and if I don't get lucky enough to read it for a review you better believe I will be putting my name on the reserve list at my library.

This is the last cover I want to share because it is a great cover. Bruce will do anything to get the body of his son back even if it means a suicide mission for himself. This shows that even the Justice League can't stop a determined Father when it comes to his child. This sits strongly with me because the picture can be taken several ways. I see this as representing the strength of a father's love, but it can also show that Bruce has lost his mind and needs to be put in his place. Funny how things can be seen differently based on the personality. I like my way better.

So as to the rating I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I was really impressed with the story and now I will be getting all the volumes I missed since New 52 began. I will get caught up.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

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Jeffery Deaver is one of the best writers out there. As anyone who reads my blog regularly would know he is my favorite author and I look forward to every book he writes. This book is a classic Deaver book with twists and turns around every page and plenty of suspense, but for me there was something more in this one. 

The villain in this one doesn't care how many people he kills or who dies he just wants chaos. He causes things in crowded places causing a stampede and a riot. In the opening of the book we are at a concert for some boy band and and all of a sudden there is the smell of fire. People panic and try to head towards the exits but they are blocked. What happens next is terrifying. I am not claustrophobic but the thoughts of being trapped in a crowd of people or being trampled by fearful people trying to get out is one of the worst things I could think of. That and seeing someone I love trapped in that same mass panic and being dragged further and further away from me. This isn't like a Stephen King Novel with Psychotic clowns or haunted hotels, but this at times was just as scary because something like this could be real. Not only do we get one hell of a story with one of my favorite characters, Kathryn Dance, but this really had an affect on me while I read it.

Deaver always has a way of writing villains. They are smart and cunning with every detailed planned out so meticulously. They are the kind of character you almost think they are going to getaway with whatever they have done. This book is no different, there has to be a strong villain to stand up to Kathryn Dance. In this book she has quite a few struggles to overcome on top of trying to stop this killer. She miss-read a suspect and let the leader of a powerful gang go and was demoted because if it. Her kids are distant and hiding things from her and she has to try to put the agent side of her on the back burner and be a mom first. All of this is pulling her attention in several directions helped to maintain the suspense level and distract the reader from all of the other things going on.

I will be honest and say this isn't one of the stronger stories by Deaver, but that doesn't mean this book wasn't good. Quite the opposite actually. Even though he has written much stronger works this book did something I haven't run into before. As I mentioned earlier I am not claustrophobic but while I read this book I became claustrophobic in a large room with lost of space. The vivid images and intense situations was enough to make me feel completely immersed in the book like I was being pressed in masses of panicked people. Deaver has always been a master of suspense but this was the first time I felt real terror reading this book at times. I loved it, Kathryn Dance is a great character and I love every novel in this series. The ending is very character heavy which I liked. Of course the conflict is resolved but then there is a good bit left for us to just visit with Kathryn and see what all is going on in her life away from the law enforcement side. This is just as good as the main plot. I will give this the highest honor I can and give this and Solitude Creek gets 5 out of 5 stars. I might be a little bias because Deaver is my favorite author and a really great guy, but this really is a great book and I recommend it to everyone looking for a great suspenseful read. Even though this book is part of a series it can be read on its own.