Frankenstein: Prodigal Son (book review)

Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #1)Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a couple of decades since I read Dean Koontz’s books, I don’t even remember what the last book was (so that is closer to 30 years when I was in high school). I am glad I picked up this book.

I originally picked it up as a lark, it was on sale on Amazon and it seemed like an easy listen while I do some computer work. It was a fairly easy listen (read) but it was interesting too. It wasn’t just some weird cop out of the Frankenstein story, it was basically a reimagined sequel.

I don’t want to go into the plot to much (no spoilers) but I will say I liked that it more focused on a variety of characters including a female detective that I liked (honestly she is pretty similar to Anita Blake territory but better written).

The story is tight, lots of moving parts that come together and some interesting plot turns. I knew I had liked Koontz’s writing as a teen but now I realize why.

I highly recommend the book, and I just found out its part of a series so guess what I am going to look for, book 2.

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The Spies that Bind (book review)

The Spies That Bind (Gallagher Girls, #0.5)The Spies That Bind by Ally Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is not a bad book at all. I do like young adult books and wanted to try a new series but it didn’t just click for me. I think the age demographic is just a little lower then I am comfortable with. It is a good audio book though and I recommend it to younger listeners and I do recommend it as very positive with female empowerment. Good role models for both boys and girls to read.

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Damnation (tv show)

Damnation

DETAILS:

Created By:  Tony Tost
Stars:  Logan Marshall-GreenKillian ScottSarah Jones 
Original Network: USA Network, Netflix
First episode date: November 07, 2017
Number of Episodes: 10
Number of Seasons: 1

OVERALL: An epic saga about the secret history of the 1930s American heartland, centering on the mythic conflict and bloody struggle between big money and the downtrodden.

STORYLINE

Seth Davenport is a man masquerading as a small-town Iowa preacher in hopes of starting a full-blown insurrection against the status quo. Focused on his mission, he is unaware that an industrialist tycoon has hired a professional strikebreaker named Creeley Turner to stop the uprising by any means necessary. But unbeknownst to those around them, these two men already share a secret, bloody past. This epic saga about the secret history of the 1930s American heartland centers on the mythic conflict and bloody struggle between big money and the downtrodden, God and greed, charlatans and prophets.

BREAKDOWN

SEASON 1:

I was truly surprised by this show. I had turned it on merely to have something on in the background and by the end of the first episode I was watching it fully, my attention drawn to it.

It is of a time period that doesn’t have a lot of interest for me, in a portion of the country that is the same and by the end of the season I am waiting to hear if they ever do a second season.

The show is violent, filled with drama and not a lot of special effects. The acting is tremendous though, with lots of character actors I recognize from other shows. I am sad though to say that USA Network cancelled the idea of a second season, but you never know, Netflix saved Lucifer, maybe it will save Damnation with its release into its library.

I definitely recommend everyone watch the first 2-3 episodes at least before deciding you don’t like it.

TRAILER

Christmas Eve, 1914 (book review)

Christmas Eve, 1914Christmas Eve, 1914 by Charles Olivier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An engrossing hour of audio.

This is one of the free books provided by Audible to their members and it was the first one that I actually liked. A fictional account of the Christmas Miracle of 1914 with the Germans and Allies declaring a truce for Christmas.

The real facts behind this are just as amazing, so impactful was the troop driven truce that commanders after 1914 never again allowed their troops the latitude to do something like this, realizing that it might soften the image of the enemy and the troops would realize the sham of the war.

The narration and acting in the audiobook was good. The story concise and the fact they got people that sounded British to me to play the British parts and a German to play the German part only made it that much more interested.

It is worth the time and I highly recommend it.

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Egyptian Mythology: A concise guide to the Gods, Heroes, Sagas, Rituals and Beliefs of Egyptian Myths (book review)

Egyptian Mythology: A Concise Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Sagas, Rituals and Beliefs of Egyptian MythsEgyptian Mythology: A Concise Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Sagas, Rituals and Beliefs of Egyptian Myths by Bernard Hayes
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A waste of time.

The book felt like the author took a student’s research paper and issued the details in a point by point basis. In fact it kept jumping around, giving no reference or background on the myths. The “facts” spit out at a rapid pace, with a lot of the facts having no relation to each other, so the book isn’t organized well.

The fact that they kept using examples from Greek or Chinese writers also seemed at odds with a text on Egyptian Mythology. For me that didn’t fit in at all and distracted.

If you want a very good education on Egypt, there is a full lecture series in the Great Courses (30 hours audible I believe). The mythology there covers everything here plus the historical and cultural contexts.

My other issue is that this book contradicts that lecture series (performed by an actual Egyptologist) and several other sources I read.

It isn’t even worth a free copy, go read Wikipedia you will get a better in depth look on Egyptian myths then this book.

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Lullaby (book review)

LullabyLullaby by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A ghostly camp fire story at its finest.

I have seen a lot of reviews talk about how they were disappointed it was so short, or that it was incomplete. This isn’t a trilogy novel, this is at its core, a ghost story to be told around the campfire, or after the lights have gone out.

The short story builds in tension, never quiet explaining everything and leaving you at a point in terror.

In other words perfect for a longer camp fire story and definitely worth the time.

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All Quiet on the Western Front (book review)

All Quiet on the Western FrontAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I should have read this a long time ago.

There isn’t a lot more I can say that isn’t already covered by better and more prolific reviewers. I can say the story is intense and makes you feel like you are with the young German soldier as hell falls around him.

It is a very dark story though, one that I don’t recommend if you have PTSD, triggers or any fragility. It is one of those books I very much appreciate (much like the book I read last year ‘The Things They Carried’, a book with a lot of similarities, just this is about World War I, where last year’s book was about the Vietnam War.

I recommend you do it, but only once and only when you are feeling you are up for a challenge emotionally.

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1066: The Year That Changed Everything (book review)

1066: The Year That Changed Everything1066: The Year That Changed Everything by Jennifer Paxton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An excellent starter guide to 1066.

1066, a year that changed England and by default changed Europe and on top America. It doesn’t get covered much in classes here in the United States, all I ever really knew was about the battle itself and that it changed things.

These short lectures go in detail on the cultures of the different sides, the leaders and the politics of the time. It also was the first time that I heard of the Queen of England who was queen twice, once for the Nordic side, then for the Normans.

It will leaving you wanting to know more, whether you interpret that as a good place or are annoyed that it wasn’t more detailed will be up to the individual.

All I can say is I liked it, it is a little studied historical event that isn’t covered in America much. I recommend if you like it, get it.

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30 Days of Night, Vol. 1 (book review)

30 Days of Night, Vol. 130 Days of Night, Vol. 1 by Steve Niles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think it would have been better if it stayed just a graphic novel.

I never have read the comic/graphic novel version of this. I listened to the audiobook and I thought it couldn’t make a difference, but I think in the end it does. It seems like this story relies on visual imagery that can’t really be placed in audio.

The story itself is very short, easy to listen to and at the time was a bit ahead of other things like this in the genre. However now decades later it gets lost to stories that are better and more refined. This isn’t on the author though, he did great.

The story itself is a simple thirty days in Barrow Alaska, vampires and a few survivors trying to make it out. I am curious with the sequels how they pan out, but this story itself is a good, self-contained vampire urban fantasy story that would fit in with White Wolf’s gaming system.

Like I said, not a bad story, but you probably get further and enjoy it more if you read the comic/graphic novel.

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History of Ancient Egypt (book review)

The History of Ancient EgyptThe History of Ancient Egypt by Bob Brier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The absolute best resource on ancient Egypt I have seen.

Bob Brier is probably the best presenting college professor I have had the pleasure of listening or watching. His absolute knowledge of the subject, the fact he is an Egyptologist himself and the only person to recreate creating a mummy I have heard of just underlines his knowledge.

He reviews 3,000 years of history in 30 hours or so, packing each 30 minute lesson full of interesting details. He clarifies many myths we are told about and underscores how they weren’t quite so primitive as we think.

The breadth of the entire course is massive. He brushes just about everything niche subject you would want to know about Egypt. Do you like medicine, he covers it some. Do you like magical and religious beliefs, there you go. Do you like drama and romance… even some of that is there.

You cannot go wrong listening to Bob if you like Egpyt. He has everything and I just can’t recommend his courses more.

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