Book Review: Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

This book is the first of the Pendergast series, and it was initially published in 1995 by Tor Books. According to several sources, this book has sold over a million copies to date.

This book isn’t just about Special Agent AXL Pendergast of the FBI New Orleans Office. There’s a small cast including a Journalist for the Times, a graduate student working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and several others. I especially like Lieutenant Vincent “Vinny” D’Agosta of the NYPD and the very interesting Pendergast.

The story is about an ill fated expedition into the rain forests of the Amazon Basin where one of the researchers was looking for a tribe said not to exist. Finding signs of them, he and several of his party members followed the signs and, things didn’t go as planned.

Fast forwarding to the present, the American Museum of Natural History is preparing for a huge exhibit called “Superstition” to open in grand style. Unfortunately, two young boys are found dead in one of the many stairwells in the museum, and the place is locked down by Lt. D’Agosta. Not long after, a very singular man appears dressed in a black suit, and he eventually introduces himself as Special Agent Pendergast of the FBI.

With a distinctly Southern accent and gentlemanly manners more suited for the late 1800s than for modern New York, Pendergast is interesting, amusing and irritating in turns – both to the reader and to his fellow cast in the story.

“You see, when someone says “it’s impossible,’ I have this very bad habit, I can’t help myself, I immediately contradict that person in the most positive terms possible. A very bad habit, but one that I find hard to break.” – Special Agent Pendergast The Relic.

I won’t spoil the book for you – I have better manners than that. I do recommend this book highly, and I ask that you don’t take my word for it. Check the book out at the library or find a copy cheap at a thrift store(you can always donate it back or give it away later) and read it for yourself.

This is a well paced story with the right blend of thriller, horror and murder mystery with some history thrown in to spice things up a bit. The cast of characters have their own little side stories as well, and I think this adds to the story rather than detracting as many critics have claimed. There is a reason for all the little side trips, but I’ll leave that for you to figure out for yourself.

I give this a 5 out of a 5 rating.

Also, this book is available in all forms including audiobook so I hope you find a way to enjoy it.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!!

YouTube Tuesday: Fox and Rabbit on Flosstube!

For those of you who don’t know, Fox and Rabbit Designs is the producer of the Mystery Sampler Stitch-A-Long I did last year and am seriously considering doing again this year – it depends on what February’s part is going to be.

I found a lovely lady on YouTube’s Flosstube series which features different people showing off their cross stitch work. Many are designers while others, like myself, are happy stitchers who love finding new projects to do. I decided to see if I could find Fox and Rabbit on YouTube – they have a Facebook group so why not a channel on YouTube??

I found them, and I was happy to put proper names and faces to the pair!!

This is just one of their wonderful videos I’ve managed to have time to watch. I am planning to watch all of the ones I can find. They not only talk about themselves, their designs, their projects but also their animals and their personal lives – to a degree. I’ve gotten to #5 of their videos and so far, they’ve done giveaways in each one!

I am very happy to have found them, I even found a couple of places that sell their hand dyed linen. They’re not local, but they are in the same state as myself so I might be making a road trip to check out the fabrics in person!! The dyed linen I’ve seen so far are fabulous!!

I highly recommend checking them out and giving them a Like if nothing else!!

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!!

YouTube Tuesday – Creative on the Cheap

I just found this YouTuber, and I am interested in seeing more of her when I get a chance. I did watch the following video, and I thought it worth sharing just because it did have some interesting tools in it.

As always, if you like what you see by the creative behind this video, Courtney, please hit Like and at least leave a comment even if you do/don’t Subscribe. Feedback is the Holy Grail for all of us who do this kind of thing.

Let me know what kind of tools you like to use and/or use the most for your crafting. I mainly use sewing needles and crochet hooks. I don’t have a single brand I use mostly, but I do prefer DMC Moline floss for my cross stitching projects.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!

EBook Review: The Moonlight Hauntings: A Riveting Haunted House Mystery Boxset by Mason Dean

The Moonlight Hauntings: A Riveting Haunted House Mystery Boxset

I’ve only had a chance to read the first book in this set which is all about Gabbington Mansion in Glenmont Maine, and I can’t wait to read the rest.

I think this story is really great, but it did seem a bit pat in places. I did like the mystery and suspense of finding out who the killer was. The ghosts weren’t spooky, but I guess I’ve watched too many horror movies as well as “reality” ghost hunting shows because they weren’t all that interesting either.

It was a nice story thought, and I am eager to read the next story in the set all about Quenby Mansion in Georgia.

I do recommend this if you’re looking for a light read. Don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself on Amazon!!

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!!

Gotham Ghosts – Audio Book Review

This story was written by Craig Schaefer, and the audio book was narrated by Susannah Jones. It was originally released in April 2019.

I got the book because I thought it was going to be a really good ghost story, and I didn’t stop to read the description. It wasn’t what I thought it was, but I’m glad I didn’t read the description before I bought it. If I had, I would have missed out on a really good story.

This is a story about Lionel Page, a reporter who makes a living debunking everything from faith healers to pet psychics, and he has no limits to how far he’ll go to get the story. He gets a tip from a mysterious woman named Regina Dunkle about a supposed lost manuscript written by Edgar Allen Poe. Is it real, or is it fake? Regina will pay Lionel to find out, and he gets the scoop no matter which way it goes.

Madison Hannah is also on the hunt for the manuscript, and she finds Lionel a willing partner, once she decides not to kill him.

This book is a supernatural thriller with a thread of romance woven through it. It’s done tastefully and feels almost natural. This is a welcome change from the blatant, in-your-face romance a lot of books are full of these days. Even when it doesn’t really fit the plot of the story, authors seem to think romance should be in there somewhere. In this story, the pair becoming a couple seems to be a natural thing and doesn’t interfere with the rest of the story.

I really enjoyed it, and I recommend it to anyone who likes stories with magic, mystery and a bit of romance thrown in. Warning: there are some death scenes a sensitive person might not want to hear about. I’m a horror far so, it didn’t bother me.

As always, don’t take my word for it, give the story a listen. I am on the hunt for the written book to add to my library.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!

Maximum Ride – Movie Review

Released in 2016 by Paramount Pictures and now available on Amazon. Films stars Allie Marie Evans as Max, Patrick Johnson as Fang, Lyliana Wray as Angel, Gavin Lewis as Gazzy, Tetona Jackson as Nudge, Zayne Emory as Iggy, and Luke Gregory Crosby as Ari.

This movie is supposed to be based on a series of books about a group of human/avian hybrids created in a lab who were removed from the lab when they were all very little and are now trying to make their way in the world without being captured and returned to the lab.

Right off the bat, the film differed from the book. Max has breasts. She’s not supposed to have breasts as she oviparous, and in the book she has a breast bone, not breasts. All they had to do was bind the actress or give her some to wear to cover it up. It’s not a small issue – it’s part of the Max character.

Iggy is blind, but he’s not skinny like he is in the book. He’s built. He makes for nice eye candy for the younger generation, but he doesn’t fit the character. His thinness is talked about in the series to some extent and while it’s not a health/performance issue, it does add to the fact he’s a bird person.

The rest of the cast is pretty decent though I don’t remember Gazzy being so into bombs.

A major thing is none of them have visible wings!! In the books, their wings are on the outside, part of their skeleton! They can’t pull them in, and Iggy actually wears an overcoat(missing in the movie) to cover his. This last part might be a misremembrance on my part – please correct me if I’m wrong. I am not wrong about them never pulling their wings into their bodies or having weird slits in their backs for their wings to come out of.

What made me stop watching not even a third way through the film was when Max’s wings emerged. They were tiny!!! Not only than, they weren’t even proper wings! In the book series, the wings are huge with the kids’ having around a 6 foot wingspan each! On the younger kids this is most likely smaller, but the older ones would have wings this size. The fact these wings were so ridiculous and unrealistic was a slap in the face, I think.

The fight scene that followed right after was sheer stupidity with the stop action I couldn’t watch a second more. Yes, it was 2016, but we had some kick ass movies come out that year:

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Rogue One
  3. Deadpool

That’s just three, but they all had great fight scenes! Paramount should be ashamed of themselves for turning a great series into a crap film.

I don’t recommend watching this movie. Read the books by James Patterson instead, you’ll like them a great deal more. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it, I’d never tell you what to do. I can only offer my opinion. Check out the movie, and the books, if you like and please, if you do, feel free to share. I’d love to hear what you think.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!

Shop Titans – Game Review

I actually play this on my PC on the Steam platform. I had played it on my phone, but it’s much easier to play on PC. This game is also FREE.

This is a game where you basically:

  1. Make things to sell from blueprints
  2. Decorate your shop to bring in more customers
  3. Recruit Heroes and Champions to go on quests to bring back items to create with. Things like Silver Powder and Glowshrooms
  4. Upgrade your suppliers’ buildings to get your materials faster
  5. You get a pet to help with charming your customers so you can get them to pay more for items.
  6. You level up your blueprints to make more and more expensive and powerful items
  7. You outfit your Heroes and Champions with things you make and buy from in game characters.

The game is very laid back, and you have no time limits to make things. There are guilds, I’m in one, and they give you perks like

  1. Help you level up by completing bounties
  2. Bounties give you items from Grab Bags once you get 100 guild coins
  3. Leveling up buildings in the city is done by everyone and not just you
  4. You get help with upgrading furniture in the shop
  5. You can buy/trade with other members

I’ve been a member of the guild I’m in: Bastionhold for a month now, and I enjoy it a great deal. There’s no pressure to do anything, but I do because it helps me as well as the guild.

Gameplay is super easy, and leveling doesn’t slow down until you get around level 30. I’m at level 41 myself, and I’m the highest ranked – right now.

I really like how I can play and do very well without having to spend any money. The game does offer things for money and has three special suppliers in town you can only get if you buy them. They aren’t necessary to the game however – they simply add to it. I also like how on the PC, you don’t get all the ads like you do on the Mobile App. That gets annoying after a while.

I recommend this game to everyone who wants something laid back and easy to play. If you want to join my guild, I’ll be happy to have you! As always, don’t take my word for it – check out the game yourself. It’s on Steam and from the Google Play store for sure – there may be other places to find it as well, but I don’t know them myself.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver.

Site Review: Ribblr

I just found this site: Ribblr recently, and I’m hooked!

It’s a lot like Ravelry in that you can buy and sell patterns, but it’s so much more! I made a couple of free patterns, and I really love how interactive the patterns are.

  1. Journaling – each pattern allows you to keep a journal related to that pattern. You can share the journal with the public as well. I used it to keep notes on what yarn and hook I used, how long it took me to make the pattern and what I thought of the whole experience.
  2. Marking – each pattern allows you to mark off which line you’ve done in the pattern so you always know where you are and where you stopped if you take a break

The site is divided by level of experience or you could just view the entire library of patterns. It’s also searchable by free and paid patterns and by designer.

You can have a creator account as well as a designer account so you can access both if you like. I’m more of a creator, but I know a lot of people who both create and design so that feature is nice to have.

I strongly suggest everyone check them out, even if you don’t create yourself, you might know someone who does and can buy them a lovely pattern they don’t have.

If you check this site out, please let me know. I’d love to hear what others think of the site!

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!!

Book Review: The Blackstone Chronicles by John Saul

Published in 1997 by Random House Publishing Group. this is the complete six part series based on the fictional city of Blackstone as imagine by John Saul. This is a horror series so be warned.

While Stephen King is my favorite horror writer, I like John Saul as well. He slowly builds up the horror using things like dolls and handkerchiefs to scare the pants off the reader. This use of the mundane is very like King and thus, helps to sell the scare.

While I like the plots, and the stories in general, his writing style is awkward reading for me. He mixes action in with his dialogue, often burying dialogue in a short action scene. I find this makes the flow jerk a bit, but that’s just me.

So, here are the short stories in this series, all in one convenient book:

Part 1 An Eye For an Eye: The Doll

This is pretty self explanatory – it’s about a cursed doll. It’s a lot like Annabell, and it’s a girl doll. While not quite original, the way the characters react to the doll as well as the actions of the doll itself make this story unique and quite creepy.

Part 2 Twist of Fate: The Locket

This is a heart shaped locket like one used to give to daughters and girl friends. It opens, and you could put something inside like a picture or a lock of hair. The one in the story has a lock of hair in it. I won’t spoil the story for you, but it made me rethink wearing any type of jewelry for a while.

Part 3 Ashes to Ashes: The Dragon’s Flame

This one is about a lighter that was shaped like a dragon’s head. The story is a bit gruesome so fair warning!

Part 4 In the Shadow of Evil: The Handkerchief

This is another one that’s self explanatory. I can’t say much more without spoiling the story.

Part 5 Day of Reckoning: The Stereoscope

A stereoscope is like a ViewMaster but much, much older. It uses two pictures of the same scene only slightly different which, when you look at them together through the scope, makes the picture look 3D. It came to being about 1830-40,and it was made to be a toy, to amuse people – like the ViewMaster. In the story however, it’s not that amusing.

Part 6 Asylum

This is where all the things in the other stories had come from, where their evil had been born. This asylum was back in the 1940s or therebouts, and it wasn’t the nicest place in the world to be committed to. I can’t say much else, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough horror movies about asylums to know how this series is going to culminate and end.

I recommend you read this book. I enjoyed it myself, but not everyone likes the same things I do. If you do read the book, let me know. I’d like to talk to someone about it.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!

The New Mutants – Movie Review

Produced by 20th Century Studios and released in 2020. It’s directed by Josh Boone who cowrote the screenplay with Knate Lee. It’s loosely based on the Marvel comics series The New Mutants. It stars Maisie WilliamsAnya Taylor-JoyCharlie HeatonAlice BragaBlu Hunt, and Henry Zaga.

The movie is about five teenage mutants being kept in a “hospital” of sort and looked after by a “doctor” who not only tends to their physical needs but their mental states as well. All five have killed people whether by accident or on purpose. They are all quite powerful though Rahne Sinclair is the lowest on the scale with her werewolf alter ego. The most powerful is Danielle “Dani” Moonstar whose psychic abilities are on par with Jean Gray pre Phoenix.

I am a big fan of the comic book series this movie is loosely based on, and I can tell you they mucked up the backstories on ALL of the characters. Illyana is very powerful in the comics and she’s also the youngest of the group. Her dragon, Lockheed is real and not a sock puppet. Illyana, in the comics was never abused in any way, she’s actually a devilish little git with the ability to go to hell and control demons.

In short, the comics are way better than the movie as far as stories go.

Still, the show had a decent plot, and the action was good. The actors were okay too, nobody really stood out as an Oscar winner – not to me. Still, it’s better than a poke in the eye.

As always, don’t take my word for it. See the movie for yourself and then, let’s chat about it. I love discussing things with people, even if they have different opinions than mine – even more so in fact.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!!