Ed D. (Dex1138) - Reviews

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The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia: Inhabitants, Lore, Spells, and Ancient Crypt Warnings of the Land of Ooo
Review Date: 8/1/2013


I was very excited when I first heard this book was being made. I've been a huge AT fan since the show began and was hoping the book would be more like an actual encyclopedia of the Land of Ooo. I didn't get what I wanted but it's still pretty math!

I think I would have much preferred the book be written by a scholar/historian living in Ooo. At times Abadeer's personal point of view gets boring and repetitive. This is especially evident in the A-Z mini-bio section where some characters are described simply by how useless Abadeer thinks they are and not giving any useful info about them. Also, his choice of vocabulary will have many kids frequently running to their parents to find out what his words mean. That can also be a plus for teaching new words, though.

The sections I enjoyed most were the ones not written by Abadeer or sections where he isn't talking about the characters. BMO's manual is weird, but just the right amount. Ice King's hand drawn fan fiction and character cards are spot on. Abadeer's Novelty Spells and Curses is reminiscent of the ads you'd find in old comic books. Also, having Finn, Jake and Marceline's comments in the margins is pretty funny.

The truth is, if you're an AT fan you've probably already bought this book. While I would have liked a comprehensive guide book to Ooo with more detail, I think this book would be especially great for kids (as long as you don't mind helping them with the ten cent words) and fans that came to the show later who might not know as much about the setting.


City Infernal (City Infernal, Bk 1)
City Infernal (City Infernal, Bk 1)
Author: Edward Lee
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 81
Review Date: 9/27/2007
Helpful Score: 4


This was a very enjoyable book. The author keeps things moving along at a good pace and keeps you guessing about one character's true allegiances. I wouldn't say it's 'horror' but it definately is gruesome in description of the inhabitants of Hell. Lee's Hell is a very interesting place that could use more exploration.
I'm hoping a sequel will be coming at some point.


Creature From The Black Lagoon: Time's Black Lagoon (Universal Monsters (Dh Press))
Review Date: 3/14/2007
Helpful Score: 2


Let me start by saying the Creature is my favorite of the classic Universal monsters :)
The premise of the book sounded interesting...time-travelling back to the prehistoric period to learn about the Gill Man in his natural habitat. But once you meet the monsters, so to speak, it removes the mystery of the Creature seen in the films.
The ending very much reminded me of a vintage monster film where there is an epic crisis that is wrapped up very quickly.


Darkwood
Darkwood
Author: M.E. Breen, Molly Breen
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 5/17/2011


For a 30-something male, I read a lot of YA books. I know what I like, what can I say? This particular story never really grabbed me and as a result I felt like I was trudging through it. Maybe it's because I like my fantasy a little more magical. This is a somewhat "low fantasy" setting.

Some say this is a dark fairy tale but for the most part it never feels to have a sense of wonder to it that would pull me into the world. There are fairy tale like elements to be sure: two sisters, one large and one small, an evil witch and the mysterious kinderstalk that keep the people not wanting to leave their homes at night.
I never really attached to the main character, Annie and was actually more interested in finding out about her cats, who appear to be more than they seem.


Doctor Who: The Inside Story (BBC Books)
Doctor Who: The Inside Story (BBC Books)
Author: Gary Russell
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 5/17/2011


This book is terrific for any level of fan of the Doctor's recent adventures!

The first half of the book covers behind the scenes happenings in a very general way: everything from the efforts to bring the show back to casting to costumes to effects to sound. It never gets too technical and the way it's put together it flows very nicely from one topic to the next giving you an idea of just how many people are needed to make this show work.

The second half of the book is sort of an episode guide for the first two seasons. Each episode (or pair of episodes) gets four to six pages of what was going on behind the scenes for that particular episode. There's plenty of little trivia, photos from the set and production art as well.

The last few pages take a look "forward" to season 3 and if I had any "complaints" about the book it's that it doesn't cover seasons 3 and 4 but hopefully another book will come out to cover those.

Allons-y!


Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness
Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness
Author: Edgar Allan Poe, Gris Grimly
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.9/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 7/25/2007
Helpful Score: 1


This is a must have for any Poe fan. You may already own the stories in the book, but it's worth it for the art alone. The classic stories combined with Gris Girmly's artwork are truly amazing. There was one particular image I recall from reading The Fall of the House of Usher that was such a loving tribute to Vincent Price it really moved me. In fact, I ended up writing Mr Grimly and email to tell him how much I appreciated his work. You can tell he is also a fan of the material.


The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 5/17/2011


While I enjoyed reading the story of Bod and seeing him grow up, it wasn't until the end that I realized I would need more to make this truly satisfying.
Some things are never fully explained and maybe that was the intent...to allow young readers to come up with their own ideas about things such as the Jacks of All Trades and the Honour Guard. Had I read this when I was the "intended age" I have no doubt I would've played at being a boy in the graveyard (probably in an actual graveyard), chatting with spirits and hiding from assassins.
However, I didn't like the mystery around the events that set the story in motion. We never find out why Bod's entire family was targeted other than a vague mention of an ancient prophecy.
Desire for more background aside, it managed to keep me wanting to see what was around the next bend. There are some wonderful scenes: the ghoul gate, the Danse Macabre and especially Bod's leaving the graveyard.
It seems open for a sequel and I'm curious to see what would become of Bod in the outside world.


Hallows Eve
Hallows Eve
Author: Al Sarrantonio
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 33
Review Date: 10/4/2006


Wasn't aware this was a sequel to the author's Orangefield. Only discovered after muddling through the first half of the book and feeling like I came in to a show after the intermission.
I suppose I may have liked it better had I read the first book.


Heart of the Dragon (Supernatural, Bk 4)
Heart of the Dragon (Supernatural, Bk 4)
Author: Keith R. A. DeCandido
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 5/17/2011


A quick, decent read. Only about one-third of the book takes place in "modern day" 2009 with the Winchester brothers. The remaining parts show how the last 2 generations of hunters dealt with the Heart of the Dragon.

I'm sure some people won't like that the brothers aren't in the book a whole lot. But I really liked getting to see more of Sam, Deanna and Mary hunting together as a family and seeing John in some solo action too.

It ties into the (as of the release) current Apocalypse story line on TV but otherwise there's something about it that doesn't feel right. The antagonist doesn't seem worthy of the story. Almost like it's not quite Supernatural...and that may be because Sam and Dean aren't in it very much.


Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer Bk 1)
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer Bk 1)
Author: Lish McBride
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 5/17/2011
Helpful Score: 1


I think everyone else has covered the plot summary so I'm going to skip on by that. This book is a lot of fun and is thankfully angsty vampire free!
The story is both humorous and creepy in good measure making a fun read that you don't want to put down.
Oddly enough, as much as I really enjoyed the handling of supernatural creatures and powers, my biggest praise for McBride is the description of working in a fast food joint. I spent way too many years doing that and McBride nails it just about as perfect as it could be. I could almost smell the grease again.
Another bit of fun is the chapters are titles or lyrics of songs and that really adds to the vibe of the story overall.
Although listed as YA, some of the elements and occasional language may be more for the older end of the YA spectrum. As someone well outside that range it wasn't really an issue for me and it did seem to make the story more realistic for the young twenty-somethings that the characters are.


Horror Show
Horror Show
Author: Greg Kihn
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 6/17/2008


An unexpected find from former rocker Greg Kihn, that's right the same Greg Kihn who sang "Our Love's In Jeopardy" and "The Breakup Song"!
If you dig the 50s movie monster scene, you will like this book. It's a quick read with some interesting characters and a few surprises.


Killer Pizza
Killer Pizza
Author: Greg Taylor
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/17/2011


Killer Pizza reminds me of something you find while flipping channels on a lazy Saturday afternoon. It may not be the most amazing thing ever, but good enough to keep your attention and be a fun ride.

The main kids in the book are somewhat stereotypical teenagers: the underdog kid that comes through, the jock who has secret issues and the rich, popular girl who distances herself daddy and his money. There is some time spent throughout the book developing them beyond the stereotypes and while I really enjoyed that, I don't know if the target audience will be as into reading about these kids normal lives instead of seeing them kick monster butt as promised in the summary.

The horror here (going back to my Saturday afternoon) is along the lines of a 50s creature feature, where the scary part at first is not seeing the creature directly, chasing around clues and building to a final showdown.

I really liked the idea of the Killer Pizza restaurant itself! If there were a real monster-themed pizza place in my area like this, they'd have my business.

Killer Pizza is a decent enough time, if it were a movie I'd say it was good for a rental. I'll likely be back for a second slice.


Larklight
Larklight
Author: Philip Reeve
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 6/19/2008
Helpful Score: 1


An amazing Victorian era sci-fi adventure hearkening back to the likes of Jules Verne and HG Wells. Ships (like sailing ships) that travel between planets using wings and alchemical engines, automatons, aliens and a pirate with a heart of gold, what more could you want?
Although intended for Grades 6-10 I very much enjoyed it.


Lio's Astonishing Tales: From the Haunted Crypt of Unknown Horrors
Review Date: 2/5/2010


Lio is a weird kid. He hangs out with a giant octopus (and that's the most 'normal' of his usual gang!), he builds robots (sometimes giant ones) and likes to make sure that bullies get their due. In short, he's the kid I still want to be.

Being new to Lio's world, this book is a great jumping in point as it collects two other books: Happiness Is a Squishy Cephalopod and Silent But Deadly in one volume with some extra content, including commentary on some of the strips. It's funny to see how many of the strips managed to offend someone in one way or another.

The truly amazing thing about this strip is the lack of dialog. I have to commend Mr Tatulli for crafting such an enjoyable comic without spoken dialog, it can't be easy to do and he occasionally says as much in some of the commentary.

Any fan of Charles Addams or anyone that enjoys a touch of the macabre in their humor should pick up this book.


Lucky at Cards
Lucky at Cards
Author: Lawrence Block
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 23
Review Date: 3/16/2013


I've been a long time fan of pulp but haven't really dipped into the realm of "real world" crime pulp. Usually in the crime pulps I read there is a buff bronze-skinned super-genius, a mystery man that can cloud the minds of men or some other fantastical element.

Even though it's a modern reprint, it has classic pulp art from the 60s which immediately caught my eye and made me give it the once over. The brief summary on the back tells of an on the run cardsharp who falls for the wife of his latest mark and their hatching a scheme to get rid of her husband. Gambling, infidelity and possibly murder? That pretty much sold me on it.

Block describes how the main character cheats at cards with the same skill Ian Fleming would talk about any card game Bond ever played. Even if it's not something you'd normally be interested in, he makes it interesting. The lingo is dealt out in such a way to make you feel like you're part of the scene instead of just reading a book.

The rest of the text is exactly what I'd expect in a hard-boiled crime novel: plenty of smoking, drinking, the occasional roll in the sheets and of course, the best laid plans falling apart. There was also the laugh out loud use of the phrase "genital gymnastics."

Here's another sample:

"Joyce walked toward me. Gears locked within me. I didn't move toward or away from her. I stood very still and she came closer. Her breasts jutted out like mortar shells. I could smell her perfume mingling with the hot animal scent of her body. She came closer, and I felt her body heat, and her lips were inches from mine. If I raised her face or lowered mine I could have kissed her. I didn't."

They don't write em like that anymore! Of course I enjoy the usual larger than life heroes and crazy things that tend to happen in other pulps but they all share a unique language which is something that keeps me coming back for more.

Prior to this, I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this type of story firmly rooted in our mundane day-to-day world but now I know better. I'll definitely be checking out more in this genre. You can read a sample chapter on the Hard Case Crime site.


Midnight Riot (aka Rivers of London) (Peter Grant, Bk 1)
Midnight Riot (aka Rivers of London) (Peter Grant, Bk 1)
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 50
Review Date: 5/17/2011


Part murder mystery and urban fantasy with humor all over, Midnight Riot is a fresh debut novel. I enjoyed the way the police procedural was woven in with magic and mythology of London. I'm always happy to see an author's take on how magic works and the spins they put on things.
And I'm sure anyone that's been to, or lives in, London will appreciate the details of the city. However, if you're not somewhat familiar with the Queen's English, you may find yourself not knowing a few terms here and there. You can generally get the feeling of it in context, so don't worry!
The book keeps a good pace going with a couple of twists which kept me reading much past bedtime to see what happened next.


The Monstrumologist
The Monstrumologist
Author: Rick Yancey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 5/17/2011


Like Lovecraft for today's YA crowd.

very much enjoyed this book! The author's writing style and the words he uses very much reminded me of some of H.P Lovecraft's writings. In other places the gruesome descriptions made me think of someone like Clive Barker or Stephen King.
I have to say at reading the description of the book I was figuring it was another attempt to jump on the Hogwart's Train but I couldn't have been more gladly wrong! There's not much lightheartedness to be found here. This isn't a fantasy world with magical beasts, think more along the lines of cryptozoology and legends. You don't realize it much while reading but the monsters aren't seen much. This, in my opinion, is the best way to build suspense and horror by not over exposing the beasties.
While a lot of YA offerings could be read by an eager, younger child I would not recommend it here unless they really enjoy monsters and a bit of gore here and there. Some sections were definitely getting an "ew!" or "ow!" from me while reading them.
The tale seems to drift from the main story once or twice but everything has it's place and the slow burn that builds is well worth the payoff. I'm looking forward to learning more about the characters.


Night of the Living Trekkies
Night of the Living Trekkies
Author: Kevin David Anderson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 23
Review Date: 5/17/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Zombie outbreak at a sci-fi convention? Yes please!
My sci-fi fandom belongs to that other Star saga but I know enough about this universe to get by. I think if you're a devoted fan of anything, you can appreciate a lot of the geekiness here even if you don't get the actual Trek references. In other words if you obsess about trivial things in any fiction universe, you're good to go.
The story itself is a lot of fun to read and moves right along. As far as the overall story, it's a fairly standard zombie breakout (aren't they usually though?) but they do add an original twist on the zombies themselves which is good to see.
Even if you're only a passing Trek fan like me, if you like zombie comedy, I'd recommend this to you!


Play Dead
Play Dead
Author: Ryan Brown
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 5/17/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Everything is pretty much revealed to you up front with this book. On one hand, you have to know what it's about, otherwise, why would you want to read it? On the other, you can probably guess what's going to happen along the way from reading the jacket summary.

While reading this, it kept playing out in my head as a movie from the 80s as a low budget cousin of Return of the Living Dead. If it were a movie, I'd rank it as something you find while flipping channels that keeps you interested enough to want to watch it. Coming from me, that's not a bad thing at all as I love b-movies!

The story moves along well and the pages go pretty quickly. I got sucked into the story and thought it was a fun read. I don't know if I'd recommend it for hardcore zombie fans (whatever that may be) as there isn't a lot of zombie action in most of the story. It's definitely a different kind of zombie story that's more about the fans and players of football than the zombies actually playing football.


The Reapers are the Angels (Reapers, Bk 1)
The Reapers are the Angels (Reapers, Bk 1)
Author: Alden Bell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 26
Review Date: 5/17/2011
Helpful Score: 2


I think this book is going to have people either loving it or hating it. It's not quite like any other book I've read, zombie or not. There isn't a lot of action yet there is a lot going on. Like my favorite zombie tales, this one is about the characters making their way in an altered world and not about the gore. The fact that the outbreak took place many years before the story is interesting but not much about the origin is discussed.
Another reviewer mentioned Huck Finn and I think that's a great comparison. The story is about a teen making her way through some exciting and unsual challenges while having to be more mature and matter of fact about life than she should be at her age.
I was somewhat surprised when I looked at the back cover again after finishing the book to see that's it's aimed at a YA audience. I know my YA self would've liked this book and probably picked it up again later in life as I'm sure there were things I just wouldn't get about the story in my youth. And what I'm saying here is that for a YA book it deals with some slightly more mature themes and relationships between the characters.
The ending was a bit disappointing after going on this journey and it's not necessarily what happens at the end but how it happens. I felt a little cheated, but on the other hand it does allow other things to occur that otherwise could not.


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