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Showing posts from 2018

River Queens: Keeping good company with Huck and Hemingway

Pre-Release, publication set for 10/17/18
A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into,” is one of thousands of sayings that denies the truth which every sailor respects: a boat is conduct into a hostile environment. Water is a hostile environment. Seafarers are so afraid of it that we make jokes about running aground, catching fire, and blowing up; accidents happen. But that danger is the bond that holds together otherwise free-spirited individuals into one cohesive lot.
- River Queens
Based on a review copy of the book, I was pleased that my initial impressions were shallow. Initial thoughts (after reading the leaf notes alone) were a presented heavy handedness, calling hail to the great American novel as many small publications aspire every year. Determining what I was actually to be reading required cracking the first page and just taking it on directly. The title of the book, ‘River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America’ supported a potential hyperbolic w…

Nunet Solar Powerbank - made for cell phones but better for emergencies

So this was a seriously cool product. FYI, I received it for free to demo.
Such a simple thing. a single panel of solar cells, a plug in for fast charge, two usb out ports, and LED light bars.

I do not think this is really being marketed for emergency prep but it should be. Does it charge a cell phone? Yes.

more importantly, it takes 2.5 days of direct sunlight to charge fully.. and it can emit bright emergency light non stop for two full days..

This means that if you NEVER USED IT FOR RECHARGING, you could charge it as fast as you deplete it and have active light during the darkest hours of an emergency with no fear of low juice or batteries....

Nunet should consider making a waterproof version of this and ruggedizing it just a tad more, then really push it for 72 hour kits and emergency preparedness.

enough said.
here is a link to the product.
it is not an affiliate link, i will make no money off it.
https://nuvending.com/collections/nucharger/products/nucharger-s5600-flat-solar-pa…

The Eye Opener: A common thread binds these stories

Based on a review copy:
Indrajit Garai’s second collection of stories was a mixed bag of beautiful story telling and unique perspectives. Garai presents characters hailing from France and Mumbai. The language elements of this collection are complex and (while sometimes confusing) distinct.. I have never read characters this blatantly likable and vibrant. Through individual character voices, dialects, and internal monologue- I found myself slowly bonding with their worlds. The story Changing Turf was particularly wonderful and my favorite. I wanted an entire book with that storyline.

Both a critique and a boon, there is a common thread that binds these stories. Across them, there is an innate optimism showing human ethics being successfully represented based on personal conviction alone. This success varies in hues depending on your perspective, but is undeniable.

As a critique, this optimism at one point did feel like a masquerade, presented as a nice bow to tied an worn gift. As a gener…

Hardcore Mindgames: Finesse masked under a heavy handed title

More than a year after throwing this book down in frustration, I picked it back up. It was a review copy of an up and coming title, it is now getting ready for it’s first release anniversary

Initially, I felt this title was uninspired and heavy handed. The plot unfolds on a satellite filled with corruption and crime syndicates. They call the satellite ‘Hardcore Station’ which sounds pornographic, like a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) porno, with a cameo by Rutger Hauer to give it some SciFi credence.

Turns out it needed to be heavy handed, and aspirational (if not inspirational).

Written by comic book industry veteran and author Jim Starlin, the book is a series of chapter by chapter climaxes (pun) intended to drag a reader through some dirt. Any complaint I experienced has evaporated.

So what was the problem the first time I tried to read this? CONTEXT.

This title associates directly to a short run comic series of the same name from 1998 that I was absolutely NOT aware of. Insert crickets noise…

When the Storm Breaks: pre-release ebook review

When the storm ends: pre-release ebook review (based on a free copy)

Fyi- This book could easily be renamed ‘Trigger warning’ as these are wide swathes of text in which will make readers uncomfortable, even though the overall theme if the book is catharsisl.

Too many times, small press books are all potential and terrible follow through. I happily, moved to the top of my reading pile, I was not disappointed. Rebecca Marsh put together a wonderful novel.

Quick synopsis- Beth Christopher is a child psychologist working a social case where she sees some similarities to herself in the way a troubled teen appears closed off and broken. Beth attempts to help 15-year-old Erin as she prepares to be tried in court for the murder of her father. Beth feels a kinship in the shared pain, having been raised in an unhappy and violent home, ultimately shuffled through the social services system. 30 years later, educated and in a stable loving marriage, Beth finds herself plagued by nightmares and di…

Secret Weapons: Another ‘mutants coming of age’ tale

Secret Weapons is a pretty interesting first volume Trade Paperback. The Single issues were released early in 2017, with the TPB in January 2018.

In this universe, Psiots (read: mutants) are unsurprisingly debased, the history of this negative viewpoint is unknown. Not all of them are powerful, in fact many are considered a bit useless- like a girl who can speak to birds, a man who can conjure artifacts, but not control what useless thing will arrive when conjured.

Part Mystery Men / Part X-men, Secret Weapons takes the trope in a different direction with an unusual cast of characters, abilities, and (most importantly) the delivery of the common plot.. The standard trope continues to apply for a while before diverging: Psiot rejects are housed in a school of sorts and after being attacked are spread thin without leadership. The attacks continue as they are hunted by a malevolent force. The Psiots must locate each other, team up, and overcome their shortcomings.

So how does this different…

Winnebago Graveyard: A mess of Satanic blood and fire

Based on an ARC copy.

What an utterly bizarre story produced through Image comics. I enjoyed this a great deal.

It is a pretty basic plot-line: Mother/Father/Son on vacation. Stop at run down theme park because they have OBVIOUSLY never watched a horror movie. Their Winnebago is stolen and they are forced to spend the night in a creepy hotel in a shitty town. Occultists in hoods surround the hotel with flaming torches (as opposed to unlit torches?). Family escapes and fights back when cornered.
Surprising plot, setting, or ending? Not at all. The way it was presented won me over regardless. The art is great, appearing gritty and closer to painted art than classic comic. Every page was visually pleasing, and the characters were very human with visual flaws and awkwardness that real people would have. As described before, the story was flat and predictable from page one, but for campy horror, this is not a derogatory point, it is a sell ;)
What pushed this over the line, converting from …

Baby Teeth: Pretty great yet pretty blah

Based on an arc copy

I have mixed feelings about Zoje Stage’s Baby Teeth. It was amazing, thrilling, kept me on the edge of my seat, and made me cringe in utter dismay. Unfortunately, it also felt engineered to purpose and lackluster in completion. I am not sure if I finished it because I wanted the ending, or if it was due to just morbidity. I would definitely suggest this to others, but would be careful as to who would receive the recommendation.

Baby Teeth tells the stories of Suzette (mother) and Hanna (daughter) in alternating chapters. Hanna is seven years old and highly intelligent, but when she tries to speak her words just refuse to emerge. Suzette is perpetually ill with intestinal troubles and terribly afraid of recurring health issues/ pleasing her seemingly volatile husband. Hanna perceives her mothers constant pain and irritation as a lack of love for her, a dismissal of daughter and a preoccupation with self. Seven year old Hanna tortures her mother through various act…

Jerome K Jerome Bloche - Aina: an okay comic with a confusing name...

Another comic produced through Europe Comics, creator Alain Dodier’s Aina is a little confusing for a new reader.. but not bad confusing... Perspective based on a review copy supplied by the publisher

Aina is one issue in an ongoing series about Jerome K. Jerome Bloche, detective. Yes he has the name Jerome twice

In this graphic novel, Bloche and friends are searching for a woman named Aina who escapes an SUV street side and is chased by a bizarre cast of characters claiming to be her employer/bodyguard/fiance. Aina speaks no English (or French as this is a translated comic). Aina is experiencing some health issues and the people searching for her are just exasperating her difficulties. Bloche must determine the real story that is driving Aina’s problems and keep her safe.

Having no prior experience with him, I felt Bloche was a bit of a white bread sandwich. He is a detective and mooches rides off his friends. He wears a goofy detective ‘costume’ (hat, trench coat, and white sneakers) …

Millard Salter’s Last Day: a sad romanticism about life and ending it

A few years back I read a collection of short stories by Jacob M Appel and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I get annoyed by short stories because they spit shine and pretty up a series of scenarios which end immediately after getting good, leaving me annoyed. So surprised enjoyment means job well done!

 Given the opportunity to read a full novel by Appel, I took the shot and accepted an ARC copy... which sat on my digital shelf.. for a couple months..

 When I finally picked  up Millard Salter’s Last Day and began reading it, I was super happy! It is an unusual story about a 75 year old man who had a wonderful life, and wants to end it on his terms while he is still strong and and respected.

 Unfortunately, this novel was very enjoyable but disjointed... Throughout Millard’s final day, he visits his work, finishes tying up loose ends, disparages his son over lunch, visits his ex-wife, and visits his burial plot next to another loved one . These normally mundane tasks are inter…

Must Read Comics- NSFW - Mission Nasaru

This video is NSFW due to some artistic nudity-
The Mission Nasaru webcomic is absolutely unique. A human colony is awoken in solar cycle zero, finding a strange symbiotic relationship with a semi-sentient pink goo called the Nasaru. The Humans have no history, they know language and skills, but a blank spot exists where explanations of how/why are expected.

This web comic is super interesting, and visually reminds me of Logan's Run. Users should not try to read the comics by release date, instead, head to the ‘Archive’ as your frustration will increase due to the release cycles. Driven by artist desire and Patreon votes, no part of this story line is complete, though some sections have more ‘chapters’ than others.

Keep an eye on this comic. If it can get more completion and less randomness, it could really become a stunning long term scifi comic. Right now it seems to have a bit of a conflict in presentation.

La Casati, The Selfish Muse- How do people like this fade to obscurity rather than remain forever relevant?

I gained access to an amazing Graphic Novel recently. Europe Comics and Vanna Vinci released a biography about Marchesa Casati. Casati was not a person I was familiar with before reading this work. I was mainly drawn to the artwork seen on the cover and the general premise. As the pages unfolded, I was astounded by how fascinating her story was.

This graphic novel is perfect for those as clueless as me on the subject- Marchesa Luisa Casati was an Italian heiress who squandered her fortune in a whirlwind lifetime of debauchery, extravagance, and artistry that set the stage for modern show women like Madonna and Lady Gaga. Casati was a muse for 100+ painters and artists with a desire to live opulently and without reserve. Live exotic animals, crazy technological and electrified  dresses plugged into the main power grid, expensive and vast housing.
It should be noted that this is probably not the best choice for children as it is filled with lots of nudity.

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Unboxing: Globenfeld - Automatic self-winding watch... mostly ;)

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Based on a free product delivered for review purposes, this review highlights a Globenfeld self-winding Automatic watch. Watch is Rose Gold which is surprisingly manly when worn with office attire. The color grew on me quickly. Is the same basic size and shape as the men’s Fossil watch I have worn for years.
Video was recorded the day the watch was received with a 30ish day later voice over.
This watch is self winding, but can be manually wound with a simple turn of the crown knob. Internal ‘skeleton’ view of the interior through rear panel. Watch dials- 24 hour clock, day by quarter.
Watch keeps time very well but may require periodic time checks if you do not walk enough to retain strong wind. I found it is just easier to give it a manual winding bump nightly when I remove the watch for the night.
After a solid review time frame, this device proves to be very high quality for the price point it is sold at.

Interested in supporting this site? Consider buying this product via the …

Europe Comic’s Clara: A beautiful but sad story

This is a beautiful book.I was lucky to be allowed a digital review copy of Europe Comics’ Clara. . Have you read Clara? What was your take?
From my POV It is hard to say which was more impacting, the story by Christophe Lemoine or the beautiful art by Cécile. As described openly on the back of the book, Clara has a bitter/sweet story. Clara’s best friend is her mother, but her mother forgot her birthday. It wasn’t on purpose, their house was stressed because Clara’s mother has been diagnosed with a horrible illness and is dying.
The story of Clara follows her on a confused journey of pain and loss, shallow understanding of the universe and meddling emotional gymnastics.

Coming in at just about 56 pages, there is not a lot of room for spoilers, so we will refrain from full disclosure details. I would absolutely suggest hunting a copy of this down and reading it.

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Support this page - buying a copy of this book via the below link will cost you no extra money.
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Disclosure: This Graphic Novel…

Weaponized: I would say it is heavy handed, but that hand is a penis

Let’s pretend Zac Thompson’s book ‘Weaponized’ = cookies. Based on the synopsis, I thought ‘these are going to be some pretty good cookies!’ But something went horribly wrong! What? Too many ingredients.

Flour, eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, water, oil, chocolate chips, raw beef, ketchup, chopped prunes, used contraception, snake venom, baby aspirin, cat vomit, and viagra. Under-baked on a open half dictionary covered in lard and spritzed lovingly with a potpourri essence of airbourne phallic juices..
These are not cookies I enjoyed.
Weaponized tried too hard. Here are it’s actual ingredients: Dysptopian universe, with the 1970’s recent enough to be mentioned; The Sexwars which caused trouble but are never explained; Outlawed fornication (but page 3 tells you it is a fraud); Skeleton warriors who fail to be interesting; Bone gun and their references always mentioning ‘bone bullets’; Biomechanical buildings which didn’t exist until after people go into veiny/anus/vagina subtunnels; Muta…