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I’m cutting it close on this one too, but I’ve been really excited to do my review of this issue. It might be my favorite yet. So, without further ado, here’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue 3. Enjoy!

Issue 3 What Dreams May Come cover

Knowing they would lose, the Ghostbusters fought the Schrechgespenst. They measured everything they had against him to try and save their city and the world. They fell short, were trapped in their own worst nightmares. When he’d had enough of their fear, he let them go. They weren’t even enough of a threat to keep trapped.

Three comics in and we’ve hit the point where our heroines start building back to fight the monster. It starts at as close to rock bottom as we’ve seen the team. They lost so completely that the bad guy just turned them loose and they’re still shaken from their personal nightmares. It’s expected at this point in the arc, but there’s a brilliance to the fact that it’s Erin trying to rally the other Ghostbusters. Erin, who’s terrified of being not enough, of being judged and found wanting, of so many things, is the one trying to get the rest of the team back into the fight. Likewise it works fantastically that Holtzmann, the one who couldn’t be kept down by putting a guy in a coma or her only prototype being run over by a train, is the most flattened by this.

I’m really enjoying the character work here. It feels like a good continuation of the characters from the movie without leaving them stagnant feeling.  They also don’t just get broken down to the nervous one, the mad scientist, the everywoman, and the true believer, which I appreciate greatly. Even Kevin is entertaining here.

Things of course are quickly worked out because it is way too soon to give up and the team gets back to it. Holtzmann has a gadget to work on. Abby, Patty, and Erin go back to researching Dr. Kreuger. It makes for really good set up as the What Dreams May Come arc heads into its second half. And it does that without ditching the humor that the last two comics have had.

The art has, of course stayed fantastic. Valentina Pinto’s work on the colors is especially good. Her work boosts the feel of both the action scenes and the creepy bits. Even if I wasn’t as into the story as I am, it would be worth the cover cost for the art.

So, yeah, volume three maintains the good bits of the arc so far while also promising more to come. I’m excited and super ready for the next issue. Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue three earns a five out of five. If you haven’t read it yet, this one’s worth tracking down.

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I am cutting it so, so close here. As it turns out I might not be as over being sick as I’d thought and I’ve been more than kind of exhausted all day. It’s all good though. I really want to talk about spoiler-y bits for this one, but this isn’t the place for it. So, here’s Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones. Enjoy!

FNaF The Twisted Ones cover

It’s been a year since they went back to Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. It’s been a year since a serial killer in a rabbit suit nearly killed them all. Time has passed and Charlie’s friends have moved on with their lives. Her friends have, but recently a body has been found with disturbingly familiar injuries. Sometimes the past doesn’t want to stay buried. The restaurant has been closed for years but evil is open for business.

Starting out a year after The Silver Eyes, Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones gives us a lot of possibilities but has a tendency towards not following through on them. There’s some really cool set up for character study with Charlie taking robotics courses and working towards building what seems like a learning artificial intelligence. There were threads that could have easily taken that to showing our heroine as a mirror to both her father and also William Afton, the villain.  Or more could have been done with the connection she felt with her long lost, most likely long dead, twin Sammy. The murder plot could have done with more focus as long as the authors focused in on one thread for any length of time.

The Twisted Ones did a number of things that I had wanted from the first book. It maintains the cheesy horror movie feel of the first book while also feeling much less anchored to the games, both good things. The cast not knowing just what is causing these new animatronics to hunt people and needing to figure that out was a cool concept.  The cast is a lot smaller, so everyone gets more screen time. It’s a lot of possibilities that were improvements but could have been more.

More page time doesn’t necessarily mean more development. That might have actually taken a slide. We still focus mostly on Charlie and what’s going on with her now that she’s been back to Freddy’s and remembered her twin. She’s into robotics, which worries her friend and roommate Jessica, because she doesn’t want Charlie to fall down the same rabbit hole her father or Afton did. She might be into returning love interest John, but there’s also a missing twin and killer robots, so maybe not. John is definitely into her, but also there’s killer robots and she might be more interested in what’s going on with them than dating. Or class. Or really anything else at the moment. What I’m saying is that Charlie wound up a bit flat and, as a consequence, so did a lot of The Twisted Ones’ run time. I did appreciate the other characters’ reactions to Charlie’s actions throughout, those rang a lot more true.

The thing is, I didn’t dislike The Twisted Ones. It wasn’t the best book I’ve read recently and it was really easy to get tired of due to feeling really padded and monotonous. But the cheese was so real, it was like a B-movie when it’s all over. I’m left more interested in the third book in the series due to having ideas about how Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley are going to make it work. Plus, it had a really excellent final line.

So, all told, this isn’t a good book, but it was also entertaining enough that I’m interested in the next one. The characters are a little flat, particularly our heroine, but I’m invested enough to want to see what happens to them. So I’m giving Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones a three out of five.

House Keeping 2/20/18

I am behind on everything this week due to being mildly sick.Always fun that. So the comic review is going to wind up being later in the week rather than as I’d initially planned it. If I’ve got a handle on everything else though, the regular review should go up tomorrow followed by the comic review on Thursday. Nothing too terrible there.

As always, there’s something of a flip side to this, I’ve got a lot of stuff coming along that should be fun but it’s also going to take some working around to make it fit. Here’s to trying to get it all worked out ahead of time.

The Humble Bundle Sci-Fi/Fantasy bundle is still live for another week and change at this time. So, if you’re looking to add new books to you read list and help the Worldbuilders charity while you’re at it, you still have time. You can find it here.

I don’t have a lot else to go on here. I’ve got some stuff that I don’t really have a good time for posting just at the moment, but I suspect I’ll find a place for it when something unexpected happens. Still juggling ideas for articles or other non-review content, but not having a ton of success actually making it happen. That’s a thing to work out sooner rather than later.

Anyway, standard stuff. If you’re enjoying what I’m doing here leave a like or a comment or, if you want to, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a Ko-Fi. That’s it for this one. Enjoy!

This is late, but I have an excuse. I was stressed out Tuesday night because of Wednesday plans, those plans turned out well though so, I crashed afterward and was really glad that I’d already scheduled the review for the week. I’m still a little giddy shaky about it.

There’s a couple of blog tours coming up in the next couple months, that should be fun. I’m definitely looking forward to it at any rate.

Also, I am still going to post a review for Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #3, that got a little lost in the shuffle due to work stuff and life stuff and all that fun. It’ll be up some time early next week.

Also, also, this isn’t a standard thing for me but Humble Bundle has a book bundle going right now of Angry Robot fantasy/sci-fi novels. The base level nets you six books for as little as a dollar or you can get all the books  in the bundle for fifteen dollars. The bundle supports Worldbuilders, a self described geek non-profit seeking to help support humanitarian efforts world wide. You can find that bundle here. Or, if you want to check out Worldbuilders directly, that’s here too.

And, of course, if you like what I’m doing here leave a comment or a like or, if you so choose, support my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. In any case, have a great weekend and enjoy!

This one was a bit difficult for me to write for a lot of the same reasons that most of the other books aimed at a younger audience are difficult for me to review. It’s not a bad story by any means and I feel like a younger me could have benefited greatly from reading something like this. Thanks to the folks at First Second this is The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. Enjoy!The Prince and the Dressmaker cover

Lady Crystallia is the belle of the ball, the woman every girl wants to be. She’s beautiful and charming and everyone loves her. Lady Crystallia is a secret. Prince Sebastian should be trying to find a betrothed, it’s what his parents want. It’s what he should want. Mostly he just wants his secret to stay hidden so he can keep being Lady Crystallia and going out at night. Frances knows Sebastian’s secret, she makes all of Lady Crystallia’s dresses after all. She’s Sebastian’s secret weapon and Lady Crystallia’s biggest fan, but can she bear to stay secret when all of Paris loves her work and she can’t say anything about it?

Jen Wang’s The Princess and the Dressmaker is a very attractive book. The art is nicely expressive and the costuming is beautiful. It’s very much a coming of age story, a finding yourself story, and I’m not entirely sure what to do with it.

Frances is, I think, the protagonist I identify with more. She has a dream she wants to follow, but her terrible job stifles it until she takes a risk and gets a lucky break. She gets to be the person seamstress for Sebastian the Crown Prince of Belgium. More than that she’s his secret weapon in living his truest life as Lady Crystallia, making his dresses and being allowed to create what she considers beautiful. But she can’t do anything with this creativity beyond making Sebastian’s dresses; she’s a secret keeping a secret. All she can do is watch as her fashions become popular without anyone knowing that they are hers. That leaves me perhaps more frustrated with Sebastian’s side of things than his character deserves.

This is, after all, a coming of age story and Sebastian is at most a teenager under a ton of stress from his parents and with a ton of fears about how people, especially his parents, would react. I feel like the story did a good job showing how badly the stress bothers Sebastian and how equally badly he handles it, but only occasionally. Mostly we see Lady Crystallia being the bell of the ball and Prince Sebastian being tired and disinterested in finding a betrothed. I feel like more could have been done with showing him trying to live up to being the kind of prince his parents want him to be. More could have also been done with Lady Crystallia as Sebastian’s sort of comfort zone, the person he becomes when he needs to be confident and comfortable. This is kind of a short book though, so there isn’t a ton of room for that.

Ultimately I am not the audience for The Prince and the Dressmaker, I think I am a little old for it and I’ve mostly found my footing. Coming of age stories are good and can be really enjoyable but this one wasn’t for me. The art was really nice and I would definitely read more of Jen Wang’s work in the future, so I’m giving this one a four out of five.

 

Legend of Horian Cover

Horian reaches the peak of Mount Apocalypse in order to meet the Gods, but before he does the world is pulverized into powder as an exhibition of the sheer majesty of the Gods.

 

Fear flickered in Horian’s heart as the darkness of dusk dwindled and was reverentially rolled back into day. And there, seated on the very summit of the sky, the sun shone. It had not risen from the east, but the west.

This realization seized his breath. He could no longer hear the singing of birds. In fact he could hear nothing at all. All around a silence filled the space, a silence so sad, so strange, and so solid that Horian thought that he could touch it. It was a two-faced silence. One side like the very ‘Mercy’ of Lord Trinnigen Apocalypse. The other… sinister, suggesting something of note was about to happen.

Suddenly, the silence was smashed. Horian fell back on his knees as the sky screeched with a gruesome sound beyond description. An eerie glow framed the earth’s frontier, shadowed by a chilly wind that began to blow, paralysing his soul from head to toe.

‘Will I… Horian the Lion, the Defender of the Dycentian Dynasty rise again, or will darkness reign?’

Then, a trumpet was blown. Far off but feeling like it had ambushed them from every angle. It was no trumpet but the blare and bullet of God’s Gun. No trumpet but the poisonous pellet from the very gun of God. The pellet that pierced the sky with soul-seizing speed, roaring ‘Run!’

But Horian was too mesmerized. Instead, he tried to name the celestial body, concluding it to be a comet, a second sun, a sapphire sun streaking toward the trio.

At that moment, Horian knew that the destiny of the world was decided and done. And once Lord Trinnigen Apocalypse’s cannonball slivered the sky straight over his head, Horian was certain his spirit was stolen and sinking into the sea, for the friction from the frozen meteor melted Mount Apocalypse’s acme, and struck the Gulf of Galleria.

Diving like a dolphin it ploughed into the Panjiyan with the force of boulders, each one weighing more than a mountain. And upon touching the bowels of the ocean a monstrous wind domed visible.

Ballooning and vapourising clouds and uprooting entire woodlands, it ultimately triggered a titanic tide; that was as tall as the ocean was deep.

The Gods’ footrest, the ground, shook. Even the sky wobbled and juddered from side to side, as everything began trembling as if the earth was hungry, shaking as if the earth was angry. The shaking grew so violent, it felt as if the earth was about to obliterate Mount Apocalypse at any moment.

As this wall of water surged toward Horian, every bone in his body told him to run. But run where?

Lifting continents off the face of the earth, the wave travelled faster and faster. With it, Horian’s very veins violently vibrated as its roar grew louder and louder. The noise was enough to pulverize the lower mountains into powder. Mighty Mount Apocalypse herself was shaken to the core as she came crashing down to her knees, diminished and dwarfed.

Horian struggled to understand the scene unfolding before him, as mountains like pebbles were scattered abroad as if they never were mountains but a mirage. He could not believe what was happening was real…

If not then his own end was nearing quickly for the wave sped toward him. With impact imminent, he whispered his final words… His breath blew white out of his mouth like a Dycentian Dragon. Then at last, the tide smacked into Mount Apocalypse as though an angel had slapped another angel’s face as hard as he could. The mountain fragmented. Giving birth to a storm of stones that exploded skyward and then bombarded into dust.

And while the water had not harmed the heavens, the sky screamed. Promising to rain fire, fast with a ferocious flash she fulfilled it. Her true highness, the sky, roared to a legendary, legacy leaving level that not even twenty two trillion tigers could ever begin to match. For the roar was that of the distant blazing bodies, which speckled the sky with their rich array and selection of sparks, as the sun, and all the stars of the universe exploded in rapid succession.

About the author: Although born in Bangladesh, Shah Jalal has lived most of his life with his family in England.When not writing he helps his father run the family retail business in Leytonstone, London.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/legendofhorian

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Legend-of-Horian-816708528497769/

Website: http://www.legendofhorian.com/

Purchase Linkhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Legend-Horian-Dycentian-Blade-Book/dp/1973257262/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516877698&sr=1-1&keywords=the+legend+of+horian

Brimstone

I am sorry to be late with this one, I had a tremendous headache yesterday and was just completely out for most of the day. Today was better, but busy. This one actually came out last year, it’s provided by the awesome folks at Ace. This is Cherie Priest’s Brimstone. Enjoy!

Brimstone cover

Tomas Cordero’s life is burning down. From his time in the trenches operating the truly devastating flame projector, to the fever that took his wife while he was gone, to the fires cropping up around him everything seems to be going up in flames. If this continues, no one around him will be safe. Meanwhile, Alice Dartle dreams of a man who sprays flames like some kind of reverse fireman, a sad man weighed down by his past and personal tragedies. A man haunted by something hungry and hateful.

Cherie Priest’s Brimstone is somewhat different than what I usually read. It’s sort of a historical urban fantasy novel, which is an interesting concept and makes for some fantastic flavor to the background of the story. That same somewhat different is probably part of why I’ve had so much trouble with this one.

There was a lot of build up here, lots of character building and setting development, and it was well written but it served to slow the book to a crawl. There are all these bits of character work for both Tomas and Alice but they don’t feel terribly like they’re building to anything. It takes until past the half way point for our protagonists to meet and then it just sort of hovers until the climax happens. It made the book very easy to put down and very hard to care about.

That difficulty is unfortunate, because the writing is solid enough and I’m interested in the town of Cassadaga and its inhabitants. I want to know more about the villain and Tomas’ time during the war and about the various seminars offered in Cassadaga. But that’s not where the story went and it wasn’t really paced to allow for any of that. The world could feel solid and like someplace that could be visited. The background characters were solidly written and could have been so much more.

It feels like a lot of my problem here could have been solved by starting the book later in its story and casting all the bits leading up to Tomas leaving for Cassadaga into background details or things he has to share with Alice on their way to figuring out what the cause of all the fires is and how to stop it. Doing more with the side characters, particularly from Alice’s side of things, sooner would have also been a solid thing. There were a lot more characters in Cassadaga itself so spending more time seeing those folks would have helped build up the community and informed more about Alice’s habits with her classes and seminars rather than having her tell us about it.

This one has been somewhat difficult to write about. This mostly comes from a balance of the Brimstone being technically well written but also very slow. It isn’t something that’s going to stop me from reading Priest again, not by a long shot. But it does make me if her other novels balance closer to this or to The Family Plot. I’m giving this one a three out of five. It was slow but it also looks like there might be more story to this world and that has me curious.

Housekeeping 2/6/18

I don’t have a ton to talk about this week. I’ve finally gotten a planner for this year, so hopefully that’ll help me keep an handle on things here. Either way, I’m gonna keep things written down better this year. Probably.

Still trying to find words for those articles I wanted to write. At some point I’m either going to have to just sit down on my day off and do it or stop talking about them.  It’s one or the other and neither has happened yet.

The third Ghostbusters: Answer the Call comic comes out this week, I’m excited for that. We should be hitting the part of the story where the team over comes their fears and starts building a way to take out the bad guy. Really looking forward to seeing how that’s handled.

Standard stuff, if you enjoy what I’m doing leave a comment or, if you want to feed my caffeine adiction, you can buy me a Ko-Fi. That’s all for now, enjoy!

Guest Post: Aja James

Hey all, I’ve got a guest post for you from Aja James, author of the Pure/Dark Ones romance novel series. This was a pretty fantastic read and I hope you all enjoy it.

World Building – Pure/ Dark Ones series by Aja James

What I love most about writing fiction novels is the organic development of the characters, their interactions, and the story.

Each story is always inspired by something specific in my life or imagination. The scene forms in my head and I start writing. And then it just flows naturally from there as if the story has a life of its own. I have a general sense of where things are headed, what the characters are like, their personalities, etc., but I’m always surprised along the way by how the story unfolds as I write it. I love the unpredictability of the process. I feel like I’m just a narrator in a movie who tells a story that’s burning to be told by characters who are worth knowing. At the same time, I’m also like an invested movie watcher who’s rooting for her favorite characters and who just wants to find out how things end.

The world around the characters evolves organically as well. I am influenced by many things. First, my personal interests in history, myths, religion, science, science fiction, paranormal and fantasy factor into what I write. Second, I like to draw from my own experiences given my multi-cultural upbringing, interracial family unit, and “citizen of the world” mentality, having lived, studied or worked on all seven continents except Antarctica. These influences include the Chinese ethos for romance and legendary sagas and heroes, inspiration from Japanese manga and anime, contemporary Korean dramas, British and American blockbusters, Indian, Greek, Roman, Scandinavian, Celtic, Medieval, etc. legends, lore, myths and religions. The point is, I’m not just interested in one, I’m fascinated by all. I want to write about it all.

So in the back of my mind, all of these thoughts and ideas and influences are working together, using me as a conduit to give them expression. Thus, in the Pure/ Dark series, the reader will experience modern and ancient worlds, many different cultures, elements of both paranormal and fantasy, a complex world in which nothing is strictly black or white, right or wrong, good or evil. Nor is it a static world where good is always good and bad is always bad. Because real life isn’t like that; history is all a matter of perspective.

In this sense, the Pure/ Dark series creates a world that is very unique, very different.

OK, so why specifically the Pure and Dark Ones? Where did they come from?

The inspiration actually originated from an unlikely source: one of my pet peeves. In the Romance genre (and I read everything romance, from historical to fantasy to contemporary to paranormal), if you want to be a successful novelist who gets picked up by publishing houses, you have to stick to a pretty strict formula so that you fit your work for their target audience. This formula requires a faithful, virginal or equivalent (definitely no more than a few lovers) heroine, while the hero can sleep around as much as he likes. The “more experience” the better.

Why is that? So he can have more practice and be an expert lover before he meets The One? So he can demonstrate his virility and sexual prowess? Because everyone loves a bad boy or alpha male and having lots of sex is a prerequisite? I find it annoying and overdone. Let’s at least remove the double standard if we’re going to create such an alpha. Plus, I don’t think a man has to be a sex addict and hump anything that moves to be macho.

So I created the Pure Ones to even the playing field. Everyone is hyper sexually aware and many of the characters adventurously toe the line. But they have to exert good judgment and self-control. Whereas the Dark Ones, the vampires, are the opposite. They can indulge in all things carnal and sinful as much as they want; their challenge is finding meaning, something real and true, amongst all the excess. In addition, I created matriarchal races in both the Pure and Dark Ones, because, come on, women are more suited to rule than men anyway. J

I’m on book 5 now in the Pure/Dark series, tentatively titled Pure Rapture. For the readers who will follow me through the journey, they will finally get a very good look at some of the events that started it all—this epic struggle between Pure and Dark Ones. As a bonus, the Prologue and Epilogue, which is always narrated by one of the key characters in the series (though never the main character in the story being told), will be narrated by (one of) the bad guys!

I think the Pure/Dark series has a very long runway, as long as there are readers out there who enjoy it. Just when you think something is solved or resolved, two other loose ends or questions appear. I can go many different directions with this series—it combines multicultural, historical and contemporary, fantasy and paranormal, maybe even a little science fiction…there is no limit. So, I expect to be building this world out and telling tales of True Love for many years to come!

Thought you all might be interested in this. I’m taking part in a blog tour for Jalal Ahmed’s novel The Legend of Horian and the Dycentian Blade, I’ll be hosting an excerpt on the 12th and here’s where you can find the other bloggers participating. Enjoy!

Legend of Horian Cover

‘Long ago in the distant Kingdom of Dycentia, storytellers sang the legend of one of their own; a hero the likes of which were only born in forgotten lands, in forgotten times. This Dycentian’s name was Horian and although his life was cloaked in shadows, the secrets the storytellers sang have been passed down through the ages, known to only a select few and now preserved in these pages so that they may never be forgotten. The residents of today’s world can benefit from the lessons of bravery and duty in Horian’s quest. Few could have survived the soul-seething journey he undertook to access the most awesome weapon on the face of the earth. Few could be entrusted with the responsibility of wielding such a sovereignty seizing sword. However, it was only with the Dycentian Blade that Horian would literally govern the godly powers required to massacre the Mightiest and Most Malignant Monarch of Demons and Everything Foul, and to right the many wrongs that had been done.’

Monika Cover 2