Monthly Archives: August 2014

“Blackbirds” by chuck wendig, book review

This book’s amazing book trailer is what first caught my attention. You can view it here. Blackbirds trailer

The trailer prepares you quite well for what you’ll be reading. The language is quite vulgar throughout the book. Everyone in the book is rude and unpleasant. The characters do have a lot of personality though. And they are all quite believable. For some, it might be hard to like them though, even the main character.

The story is intertwined with the past and present. And sadly, neither story is told in its entirety. Which means, one will need to read the next book in the series if they want all the answers. As of now, there are three out, with no set limit to be seen.

You can take the above comments as positives or negatives. The writing was good enough, although some of the metaphors seemed odd. And there were times where I couldn’t tell if I just didn’t understand the book or if there was a typo/mistake.

In the end it all boiled down to believability. I need to believe in the world the author has created. The supernatural aspect, although convenient, was believable enough for me. Sadly, it was the plot that the author messed up on. They tried to save face by having a character state, what we are all thinking, “this doesn’t make sense.” But it still fell short. Sometimes that trick of having a character point it out, just isn’t enough to make the audience believe it’s okay.

Basically you have a girl who, when she touches someone, she sees how they will die. This only happens the first time she touches them. After that, its whatever, hence the convenient part. Now this other kid basically stalks her down and forces her, through manipulation, to find him a rich guy who is going to die soon, so they can rob him after he croaks. Not super believable, but good enough. But then comes the plot twist. This kid has stolen a suitcase full of meth and the drug dealers are out to get him and do what evil drug dealers do best.

Ah, what? What the F*&$ is he messing around with small time stuff like pick pocketing a dead guy, if he has a suitcase full of meth? Even the girl says this to him and his reply is, “I don’t know how to sell it.” Um, yeah, so your decision was to stalk her and pretend you don’t have it? Makes no sense. There is no logical reason for him to have decided to stalk her while he has this suitcase. Its obvious the author needed some bad guys to chase his main character, so he came up with this plot in an afterthought.

The bad guys are made to be too evil, so they are practically monsters. And everything is just very convenient. The author has talent and has created some unique characters. I really do enjoy the style of writing he has. But… the story felt like it needed to be flushed out a bit more.

Would I suggest reading it? Sure. So long as you don’t mind the foul language and ignoring the above mentioned plot weaknesses, go for it. As for me, I haven’t decided if I want to read to the others in this series.

“Animal Farm” book review

I heard about this book in my sociology class and it peaked my interest. Basically the animals on the farm form a rebellion and start running the farm for themselves. You get to see all the stages of a society forming and evolving in an accelerated forum, because the animals have shorter memories and life spans.

I found the plot to be fascinating and tragically close to reality. In the end the animals end up worse off than they were before and it’s sad to see previous equals now abusing each other. But it’s a very real thing.

The style of writing was what I truly loved. It is very rare to see a book correctly written in the omniscient point of view. If anyone wants to see an example of how it’s supposed to be done, read this book.

I will definitely be adding more of George Orwell’s books to my to-read list.

The Giver, movie review

The trailer for this movie left me guessing as to what it’s about. But I took a gamble and saw it. It was a good gamble.

The movie had a very strong meaning behind it. A society has removed all emotions from its occupants in an effort to keep the peace. One person is allowed to remember the past, basically how life is for all of us, so that the current society can draw on that experience. Well, as with any society, there is a rebellion.

My only problem with this movie is… I was given several facts that I just had to accept as fact. I wasn’t given the explanation as to how it worked. Like there’s this dome force field thing, and when “the giver” walks through it, suddenly everyone inherits his memories. I think, that’s how I interpreted it at least. I really felt like I needed to go read the book in order to fully grasp the concept. Too much was left out in the adaptation. At least, I hope the book explains everything better.

So the movie is okay, but if you haven’t read the book, expect to be a bit confused at the ending. And again, I’m assuming the book will explain everything, I haven’t read it.

Deamhan book review

I’ve only read a few Vampire books. And most seem to just copy each other in one aspect or another. This book was refreshing in the fact that it wasn’t just about Vampires. The author created their own supernatural creatures called Deamhan. Background and history was given for all these races, so much so, that really, Vampires could have been excluded and then the book would have been completely original.

The plot was riddled with conspiracies, lies and the like. Pretty much every character you are introduced too, likely has an ulterior motive going on. To me, I like my stories less bogged down with backstabbing and lies, all those subplots can get confusing. But this story did a good job of keeping it all straight.

I did have trouble believing in the world. Not for the reasons you would think either. I wasn’t told otherwise, so I assumed the book takes place in current time and the Deamhan /Vampires are just hidden. Most of us don’t know they exist, kind of thing.

But the problem with that logic is… one Deamham/Vampire appears to feed on… oh five people a night, on average. And they have nightclubs, and hidden places where just dozens of humans are being kept hostage and eventually tortured and murdered. There are quite of few of these creatures too, not just one or two per town. I’d say there are hundreds, if not more just in Minneapolis, the town the book takes place. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

If you do the math, whoa is that a lot of people who are going missing and or turning up murdered. Unless these creatures are smuggling their victims in from some third world country, which is unlikely since they are living in a landlocked state in the United States. I would think not only would people be aware that there is something fishy going on but eventually they’d run out of willing subjects. It’s going to get harder and harder to snag people off the street if a thousand people are going missing EVERY night in ONE CITY. The stats aren’t that bad, even in your biggest cities. (I checked Minneapolis had 39 murders in 2012.) Even if there is only one Deamhan in a big city, five people going missing/murdered EVERY night, is still a lot. (1,825 victims a yr for one Deamhan)

Maybe most people who read supernatural books accept this high number of deaths as normal, but I had trouble accepting it.

So… aside from that logistical error… the book was a good read. If you are into darker Vampire books, you should add Deamhan to your to-read list.

Transcendence movie review

This movie appears to be your typical ‘computer taking over the world movie’. The kicker is, you aren’t sure if the computer is really the bad guy or if people are just panicking because they are afraid of the unknown. The question often comes up, how do you prove you are self-aware? Although the actors in the movie never tell you the answer, the ending of the movie does give you enough information that you are able to draw your own conclusion.

The feel of this movie borders on drama rather than science fiction and they tried very hard to give it the aspects of a “real” feel. In the end, it just made for a slow-paced science fiction movie. But the acting is good and the plot will keep you emotionally conflicted. If you are looking for a cheap redbox rental, this movie would make a good pick.

Secretary (2002) movie review

This is an older movie that I wanted to see because a forum mentioned it in comparison to Fifty Shades of Grey. I thought people were saying that “Secretary” got the whole BDSM correct. And showed that you didn’t have to be all messed up in the head, to be in to that kind of thing.

So I wanted to watch this movie that, “got it right”. And I wanted to see how much was copied, I mean, the lawyer/main character was named Edward Grey. Gee, those names sound familiar.

Well, to put it bluntly, I will never be the same again. I’m pretty sure I misunderstood the forum.

I thought it was going to be a romantic comedy. It tried to be, but was too disturbing for my taste. Remember the yellow submarine movie? This was kind of like that, the plot and characters were all weird and I think they were on drugs, but it was never shown. Every character had massive mental problems. And instead of trying to get better and become normal, they embraced it. Which I guess is okay. But man, was it a weird road to get there.

You have a girl who enjoys cutting herself and a man who enjoys being abusive. Put them together and they are perfect for each other. Right? That’s the basic plot and idea. And it is not at all what “Fifty Shades of Grey” is about.

If you want to watch a romantic movie that will leave you unsettled. This is the movie to watch. But if you are wanting a “Fifty Shades of Grey” fix… run the other way. Run fast.

Guardians of the Galaxy, movie review

I didn’t realize “Guardians of the Galaxy” was tied into the other marvel movies until I was already there watching the film. This movie has a different feel to it and stands completely on its own, the links to the other movies are minuet.

It’s always nice to have characters that have flaws. It makes them feel more real. This movie succeeds at that. Everyone in the movie makes mistakes and learns from them. Yes, it’s your typical self-centered bad guy turned good story, but it’s told in an original and humorous way. There was never a moment in the film where I felt bored.

The music in the movie is what makes it different and incomparable to other movies. And in many ways, it keeps you grounded to reality. It’s not a movie about a bunch of aliens, it’s about a guy from earth who was abducted. Listening to the music from his home world is what keeps him and us (the audience), able to a grasp at something familiar in an otherwise alien reality.

It makes it all more believable and relatable. And that’s how you engage your audience. Make them feel like yup, I could see myself doing that.

So yes, if you haven’t already, go see “Guardians of the Galaxy”. If you haven’t seen the other Marvel movies, don’t let that deter you. You’ll get some laughs and if you were alive in the 80s, you’ll get some extra laughs and experience a few moments of nostalgia.


I’m a member on a writing forum and I heard about this GISHWHES thing. I did the research and it seems legit.

Basically, Supernatural Star Misha Collins runs this charity GISHWHES Scavenger Hunt every year. The winner gets to go sailing with him on a pirate ship or something.

This year, item 78 is: Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha, the Queen of England and an Elopus. -Annie Houston 59 POINTS

This has upset the Sci-Fi author community quite a bit. Because very famous authors are getting spammed like crazy. This article sums it up quite well. The Mary

I think there’s only a few days left in the event. But I’m willing to write up a few short stories for the cause. Of course if I get spammed by hundreds of requests… its not gonna happen. So… we’ll see.

Lucy (2014) movie review

The trailer for Lucy made it look like the action packed hit movie for the summer! With an all-star cast, Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, I had high expectations.

The beginning of the movie did not disappoint. The scene cut from current events, Lucy getting tangled up in a drug deal, to videos of a cheetah hunting, effectively showing us in a graphic manner the emotions Lucy was likely feeling. I liked the concept behind the story telling. This visual manner of displaying emotions continued throughout the movie, but to a lesser degree than in the beginning.

I liked how everything was set up. But as they kept piling the powers on, and giving Lucy more and more. Well the story writers encountered a problem. Where do we go from here? We weren’t given a clear explanation as to the limits of her gifts. So it became unbelievable that this little gang of drug lords was really a threat to her.

And once I conflicted with the logic of the movie. The writers lost my interest completely. Lucy appeared fully capable of handling any situation. Yet, she would tell her human allies to go deal with gun fights for her. Really? And what would happen, they would all die. She did this repeatedly. Maybe at that point she was so advanced that she had no regard for human life. In which case, good job writers, you made me hate the main character. I don’t think that was their point, but that’s what they did.

Want an example? In a car chase, the cop riding with her said, “I’m going to tell them to stop following us.” (It was his fellow cops chasing them.) And Lucy told him don’t bother. Why? Cause she did some fancy driving, and got a good portion of them killed in car accidents. Oh, okay, you’re right, it’s easier to just kill all my cop friends, rather than me give them a call.

The movie isn’t bad. Go see it if you like. But the ending is a mess. So, er, feel free to leave early or take a nap after the first forty minutes.

2014 Hercules, movie review

I went to the new Hercules movie, expecting a “Clash of the Titans” type of epic. All such hopes were crushed within the first three minutes of the movie, when a baby Hercules effortlessly killed two poisonous snakes, in a comical manner. Comical because it was silly, mind you. I almost turned around and left, but laziness got the better of me and I stayed.

I should have left. You know the skits they do during wrestling? Imagine that, only for ninety minutes. I cannot think of a single movie to compare it to, to give you an idea of what it was like. The budget was on par with a Sci-Fy channel movie. And the actors, over-acted. It was like watching a theatrical play… put on by a high school. Throughout the entire movie I was reminded over and over that I was watching a movie. The actors looked like role players having a fun day in the park. Yeah, it was that bad. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the CGI effects in other movies lately, but this one was again, the level you’d expect for a made for tv movie.

The plot, was a haphazard mess. It tried to throw in some twists and drama. But it was delivered sloppily, kind of like a nickelodeon cartoon. In fact, if this movie had been a cartoon, I think it would have been a smashing success.

But as it is, don’t see it. It’ll be out on tv soon, just wait until then. And even then, only watch it if your alternative is watching the home shopping network. I know some of you are tempted to go see it, just to see how bad it is. Don’t, just don’t, you’ll regret it. It’s not as bad as when I saw the Will Smith movie “After Earth”, but its close.