Half way reading wrap up




We are halfway through this crazy year so I decided to check in and see how I'm doing with my reading challenges.  Plus I'm checking out the changes Google has made to blogger to see if it is possible to post properly without entirely hating the new format.  


Here's the scoop. Ten books in ten categories and the winners so far are: 

(4) Answer me this - writing craft and other non fiction 

Girl with Seven Names - Hyeonseo Lee  ( 322e)
It's All Relative - A.J. Jacobs (352)
Reading Like a Writer - Francine Prose ( 273)
When Books Went to War - Molly Manning ( 288)

(5) Clocks and Corsets (Steampunk) 

Trace of Copper - Anne Renwick (, 202, e)
Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare (#1 Infernal Devices, 497,e)
Golden Spider - Anne Renwick (#1 Elemental Chronicle, 486, e)
Iron Fin - Anne Renwick (#3 EC, 520, e)
The Silver Skull - Anne Renwick (#2 EC, 492, e)

(7) Dragons and other fantastical Creatures 

Dragon Bones - Patricia Briggs (#1 Hurog Duology, 304)
Dragon Bound - Thea Harrison (#1 Elder Races, 338, e)
Godzilla - Greg Keyes (Audiobook)
Priory of the Orange Tree - Samatha Shannon (Fantasy, 846, e)
The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman (#3 Invisible Library, 368)
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien (288)
The House in the Cerulean Sea - TJ Klune ( 393)

 (11) Fantasy

Alpha Night - Nalini Singh (#4 Psychangeling/Trinity, 368, e)
Blood Cross - Faith Hunter (Audiobook,)
Burn - Keri Arthur (#3 KoEaA, 350, e)
Cursed - Keri Arthur (#2 KoEaA, 413, e)
Iron and Magic - Ilona Andrews (#1 Iron Covenant, 394, e)
Knife of Dreams - Robert Jordan (#11 WOT, 880)
No Less Days - Amanda Stevens (Christian Fantasy, 322, e)
Silent Blade - Illona Andrews (World of Kinsman, 64e)
Smoke Bitten - Patricia Briggs (#12 Mercy Thompson, 351, NR)
The Sinner - J.R. Ward (#18 BDB, 498, e, NR)
Unlit - Keri Arthur (#1 Kingdoms of Earth and Air, 413, e)

(5) Feed My Muse

Luke - Michael Card (NF religious commentary, 272, MS) 
Pauses for Lent - Trevor Hudson (NF, 64) 
Walking on Water - Madeliene L'Engle (NF, 224) 
Zen and the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury (Writing, NF reread, 176) 
Year of Writing Dangerously - Barbara Abercrombie (NF, 410) 

(6) Love and Mystery


Brewed Awakening - Cleo Coyle (#18 Coffee House, e)
The Bookshop of Yesterday - Amy Meyerson (384)
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness (#1 All souls, 594e)
Shadow of Night - Deborah Harkness (#2 All Souls, 594, e)
The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness (#3 All souls, 564, e)
Witchin USA - Amanda Lee (#1 Moonstone Bay, 274, e)

(6) Mood 

The Unkindest Tide - Seanan McGuire (#13 October Daye, 366e)
Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes Lackey (#1 Heralds of Valdemar, reread)
Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire (#1 October Daye, Reread, e)
Kitchen/Midnight Shadow - Banana Yoshimito (LOF, Japan, 177e)
A Share in Death - Deborah Crombie (#1 Kincaid/James, 288, LOF)
Suddenly Psychic - Elizabeth Hunter (#1 Glimmer Lake, LOF, 324, e)

(10) Science Fiction (Mind Voyage)

Son of Heaven - David Wingrove (#1 Chung Kuo, England/China, 449e)
Dark Horse - Michelle Diener (2) (#1 Class 5, 380e)
Junkyard Cats - Faith Hunter (Audio book, futuristic) Twice
Dark Deeds - Michelle Diener (#2 Class 5, 360, e)
Dark Minds - Michelle Diener #3 Class 5, 286, e)
Dark Matters - Michelle Diener (#4 Class 5, , 321, e)
Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker - Rae Carson (272)
A Closed and Common Orbit - Becky Chambers (#2 Wayfarer, 365, e)
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers (#1 Wayfarers, 423 e)
Cat O Nine Tales - Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock, audiobook)

 (9) Whodunit

Golden in Death - J.D.Robb (#50 In Death, futuristic suspense, 400)
Delayed Diagnosis - Gwen Hunter (#1 Rhea Lynch MD, 381, e,)
Thicker than Blood - C.J. Darlington (Mystery)
The Innocent - David Baldacci (Thriller)
Murder Past Due - Miranda James (Mystery, 303, e)
Hideaway - Nora Roberts (Thriller, 464)
Long Road to Mercy - David Baldacci (#1 Atlee Pine, Thriller417 e)
The Fifth Doctrine - Karen Robards (#3 Guardians, thriller, 406)
Running Blind - Lee Child (#4 Reacher, Thriller, 519)

 

(2)Step into the Past (Historical Fiction)

Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix Harrow (385, e)
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart (# 1 Arthurian Saga, 288) 


There are a few categories I want to read but don't think I'll hit ten on. So my plan is to read three books in each category which are: Eve, Silence, Agatha Christie, as well as finish the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Mary Stewart's Arthurian Saga, and the Wheel of Time series.  Will I make it?  I have no idea as I've been dipping into and out of many books as concentration on any one thing has been hard this year. Gee I wonder why? 

PS: I still hate Googles new format. Blech! 





 


Guest Post -James M's review of IDW Sonic Issue 28



Hey there Sonic fans, after a long wait, IDW Sonic has finally returned and we are now in Metal Virus saga endgame territory, it's too late to turn back now. So, time to summarize the issue but first we must recap what has happened so far within the last issue.

Well, there's nothing much to recap other than the fact that the heroes have the upper hand and Amy, Tails, Cream and Gemerl defeated Zomom and Zeena and got two Chaos Emeralds. Also, Zavok's getting closer to Angel Island, this means the heroes are running out of time.

Ok, no holding back, LET'S DO IT TO IT!

Summary:
Silver and Whisper are in the town of Orchardville, fighting Zor, who is a very tough opponent and is giving Silver a run for his money as he sends out shadow clones of himself. However, with Whisper and her Wisps' help, Silver manages to get the upper hand and take Zor's Chaos Emerald before leaving him at the mercy of the Zombots, all to Zor's delight since he's a depressed emo.

Meanwhile, in Riverside town, Espio is fighting Zazz and his Zombots, evading his attacks and trying to formulate a strategy. Eventually, the chameleon is able to take the Chaos Emerald, defeat Zazz and leave, with him noting that his comrades Vector and Charmy were with him in spirit.

Elsewhere, the Babylon Rogues do battle with Master Zik, who is a very formidable opponent just like the rest of the Deadly Six. Like Amy, Tails, Gemerl, Cream, Silver, Whisper and Espio's battles with the other Deadly Six members, the tide eventually swings in favor of Jet, Wave and Storm and they get the upper hand and defeat Zik, obtaining the Chaos Emerald, but at the cost of Jet and Storm's Extreme Gear getting wrecked during the fight. Resulting in Jet tossing the Chaos Emerald to Angel Island into the nearby portal they arrived in.

On the Floating Island, just as most of the others return from their successful missions, they along with Sonic and Eggman spot the incoming Faceship and are worried about what's going to happen. Amy contacts Rouge, who notifies them that she's working on stealing the Chaos Emerald that keeps the Faceship in the sky but Zavok's emerald is a whole nother story.

Rouge's efforts pay off as the Faceship crashes, which upsets Eggman, but when it looks as though the faceship crash could take out the Zombots we're reminded that they're invincible and sure enough they do survive the fall of the Faceship. Even Zavok, who transforms into a giant kaiju, survives the crash as well and begins his attack on the Floating Island. Uh oh.

The issue ends on a cliffhanger with the huge Zavok tossing his Zombots onto the island as Sonic and his remaining friends prepare for the big final battle for the fate of the world. As we all know, if they fail, the world will be ruled by Zombots and they will eventually disintegrate 200 years from now, leaving the planet lifeless and uninhabitable...

Conclusion:
This issue was amazing and it set up the big finale wonderfully, I enjoyed reading this and (as of this review) am excited for Megabeatman's review of this issue. Arc finales are amazing to see, the wait sure as heck is worth it in the end. I know the long wait was painful, but at least IDW Sonic's NOT going anywhere anytime soon. Besides, why would IDW and SEGA decide to part ways and scrap the comic just like with Archie and SEGA, things are great.

Well, 9/10, off I go now.
Buh bye!


Guest Post -James M's review of Super Mario Bros (1993)

Super Mario Bros. (film) - Wikipedia

Hallo, Mario fans and movie lovers, welcome-a back to-a CrazyGamerHistorian1999's Reviews. Its-a me, CrazyGamerHistorian1999 and-a today we're-a here to review-a the famous 1990s video game movie that people like to-a love and-a hate, THE SUPER MARIO BROTHERS MOVIE!

So, video game movies, people love 'em, a few hate 'em. Some are successful, some are-a total failures and-a some are-a just average. So, where-a to start, eh? Ho ho!

As you can-a guess-a, this film came out in 1993 when the Mario franchise was just, oh, 8 years old (technically 12 if you-a count Donkey Kong). It starred Bob Hopkins (who was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and the late Dennis Hopper. When the movie came out, it recieved some negative reviews and was a big failure. It was so bad that Nintendo basically put the kibosh on movies (and partially comics) based on their own properties.

How many times have I seen this-a movie?
Oh, 7-8 times now. I watched it multiple times in the summer of 2012 after getting it and I saw it again this year some time before watching the Sonic movie.

Enough of that, time to talk the plot.
Let's-a go!

Billions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the earth and everything for them was fine until a huge meteorite struck and wiped out the dinosaurs, paving the way for humans to come in. However, the impact of the meteor created another dimension where not all the dinosaurs were wiped out. They continued to thrive and, guess what, they evolved into humans. OH SH*T!

Centuries later, a mysterious woman leaves an egg on the doorstep of a church in Manhattan before heading off into the sewers, running into the movie's main villain King Koopa, who basically just took over the world in the other dimension and ousted the king, the woman's husband.
Meanwhile, nuns find the egg and it hatches into a baby girl named Daisy.

About twenty years later, we meet Mario and his brother Luigi, who are plumbers and want to help everybody but, here's the thing, they have issues such as the Scapelli Plumbers. While dealing with their van's heating problem, Luigi bumps into Daisy, who's older and works for a dinosaur bone excavation group. As you probably expect, Luigi falls in love with Daisy.

That night, Luigi and Daisy join Mario and his girlfriend Daniella at dinner and everything's fine... until Daniella gets home. Spike and Iggy, two minions of Koopa, come in and kidnap her, mistaking Daniella for Princess Daisy just like with several other women in Brooklyn.
In the meantime, Daisy and the Mario bros end up dealing with a broken sewer pipe at the construction site, where Daisy is working with the folks digging up dinosaur bones and Scapelli causes problems. Things really hit the fan when Spike and Iggy kidnap Daisy, Mario and Luigi follow them and they end up in the alternate universe where humans evolved from dinosaurs, ending up in Dinohatten.

Meanwhile, Iggy and Spike inform Koopa they got the princess but did not get the meteoroite piece that Daisy wears around her neck, due to the fact Mario and Luigi took it. Koopa calls a plumber alert and the Mario Bros end up getting arrested along with a street performer named Toad when they encounter the cops.
After ending up in jail, the Mario Bros demand a lawyer and end up meeting Koopa, who demands for the meteorite piece and turns Toad into a Goomba, threatening the Marios with devolution but the Marios escape, not before trying to deevolve Koopa however.

The Mario bros hijack a police car and escape to the Koopari Desert far from Dinohatten, due to Mario not listening to Luigi's directions very well. Spike and Iggy, as punishment for being dumb, are forced to evolve mentally to advanced levels, Koopa even hoping they'll manage to succeed in their mission.
Daisy, who gets her princess attire after spending time in a prison with the kidnapped girls (which includes Daniella), meets Yoshi the dinosaur and Koopa, who intends to use her and the meteorite piece to merge the two dimensions so he can take over the world and devolve the humans into monkeys.

Mario and Luigi encounter Iggy and Spike, who ask for the rock after explaining everything about why Koopa wants it, but the rock was already stolen earlier by a bouncer named Big Bertha just prior to the bros encounter with Toad and subsequent capture.
Working together, the heroes make their way back to the city where they encounter Big Bertha at the Boom Boom Bar. Mario retrieves the rock while dancing with her but unfortunately the rock gets stolen by Koopa's treasonous assistant Leena who captures a now traitorous Iggy and Spike while Mario and Luigi manage to escape with Big Bertha's help.

The Mario Bros make it to Koopa's Tower and eventually reunite with Daisy, who has now met her father, who was devolved into a fungus by Koopa during his takeover years prior. Mario heads off to save Dainella and the other girls from the Goomba barracks while Luigi and Daisy get caught by Koopa and his Goombas.
As for Leena, who intends to use the rock to dominate the universe, she's arrested and the rock is brought to Koopa, who is now ready for the invasion of the normal universe.

Mario finds and rescues Daniella and the other missing girls before he and Luigi proceed to confront Koopa, during the chaos, Leena gets her hand on the rock and inserts it into the meteor, which begins the process of merging the two universes.
Thankfully, Luigi and Daisy manage to thwart this and the Mario Bros face Koopa one last time, using some devoguns on him, which devolves Koopa into a weird looking, humanoid dinosaur. Mario and Luigi fire the guns on him, devolving Koopa into another dinosaur and then primordial ooze, destroying the dictator and ending his two decade long rule, freeing Dinohatten and restoring Daisy's father.

After returning to their world, life for Mario and Luigi go back to normal, even though Luigi is heartbroken but at least Daniella moves in with the Mario Bros. A few months later, as they watch a news broadcast talking about their heroics, Daisy bursts in with a gun in hand and requests for the Mario Bros help as the movie ends.

After the credits roll, two Japanese buisnessmen (probably Nintendo representatives) discuss with Spike and Iggy the possibility of a game based on their adventures to which they reply, "The Super Koopa Cousins."

Final thoughts:
This film was very good, I give it 8 out of 10 Super Stars and 11 out of 13 mega mushrooms for its good storytelling, the acting and everything else. Too bad the film didn't get a sequel, but at least there are fanworks out there willing to continue the story of the movie.
See you next time, boys and a girls!

-James M

Guest Post -James M's review of Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) film

Sonic the Hedgehog (film) - WikipediaSonic the Hedgehog: The Official Movie Novelization: Phegley, Kiel ...

Howdy, howdy, howdy folks. Today, its time to review the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, the long awaited video game movie adaptation starring SEGA's blue mascot himself voiced by the lovable Ben Schwartz and starring alongside Jim Carrey and James Marsden.

We've already talked about the loooooooong development and behind the scenes issues surrounding production of this masterpiece, I just saw the film recently, so its time to do it to it.

"Gotta go fast!"
-Sonic

Summary/Plot:
The film kicks off in San Francisco where Sonic is being pursued by Doctor Robotnik. What, already? What the heck is happening?
During the chase, Sonic pauses to narrate as many of you possible non Sonic fans are wondering "why is this handsome hedgehog being chased by a moustached madman from the Civil War". The hedgehog says it feels like he's been running his whole life and, for the sake of simplicity, a rewind begins.

The movie REALLY starts on Sonic's world on what is presumably South Island with young Sonic running through Green Hills all while older Sonic narrates. After watching the hedgehog race through Green Hill, Sonic arrives at his house and we meet his guardian and mother-like figure Longclaw the Owl who is basically "Obi-Wan Kenobi" with a beak and can eat mice.

Um, Sonic. I don't think it's fair comparing Longclaw to Obi Wan, Obi Wan is a human Jedi and Longclaw is a non-mystic owl. Leave the comparisons out or wait until later to discuss them.

Anyways, after Longclaw warns Sonic about being seeing running around, they're attacked by a tribe of Echidnas and are forced to flee before one echidna gets a lucky shot and knocks Longclaw out of the sky. Longclaw conjures up a warp ring leading to our world and tells Sonic to stay hidden before sending him through the ring to the world on the other side of the universe.

After Sonic goes through, he is forced to watch as his motherly figure holds off the echidnas attacking and is heartbroken now that he is alone on planet Earth. Ten years later, in the town of Green Hills, Montana (not Green Hill), we're introduced to Tom Wachowski (played by James Marsden), who is a cop wanting some excitement and to be a real cop.

While at a speed trap, Tom briefly talks with his pal Wade before a semi-grown up Sonic starts playing with Tom, racing around him all without Tom seeing Sonic. However, Tom does find one of Sonic's quills lying around before Wade calls him back to town while the blue blur himself saves a turtle from being run over by a car.

If any of you almost expected Sonic struggling to survive, well, he's basically living his best life on Earth. Sonic's living in the woods, mostly in a cave just having some fun by himself, and often playing with the town hermit Crazy Carl who knows of Sonic's existance and has tried to catch him so many times but has failed. "I KNOW YOU'RE OUT THERE!" Crazy Carl shouts during one of his and Sonic's "playtimes", "I KNOW YOU'RE REAL!"

Also, Sonic's taken a liking to Tom, whom he calls the "Donut Lord" due to the fact Tom eats donuts, and his wife Maddie Wachowski, whom Sonic calls "Pretzel Lady". He's semi-bonded with them from afar and comes over for movie night without the couple noticing. But due to the fact Sonic has to heed Longclaw's warning about people, he's alone and unable to make friends at least for now.

However, things are about to change.
One night, after coming home from cop duty, Tom is amazed that he finally got a letter from the San Francisco Police Academy, accepting his application. Due to the fact Green Hills is too peaceful, Tom wants to find police work elsewhere.

Later, Sonic goes down to the local baseball field and, after the people there head home, plays a game by himself before realizing he truly is alone "forever" and runs around the field before unleashing a MASSIVE power surge that takes out ALL power across Green Hill and the west coast. Word soon reaches the Pentagon (and probably the President) in Washington, as the generals discuss what to do, Commander Walters suggests bringing in Doctor Robotnik, much to the dismay of the others due to previous encounters with the guy.

The following day, Robotnik and his lackey Agent Stone arrive at the baseball field where the millitary is already there. Upon arrival, Robotnik establishes himself as the one in charge, much to the chagrin of Major Bennington as the doctor deploys his Badnik drones who soon discover Sonic, who grabs his bag of rings and prepares to leave Earth to go to the Mushroom Planet.

As he tries to hide from the drones and army troops, Sonic goes into "Donut Lord's" garage and ends up attracting Tom's attention who goes inside just as the little blue hedgehog prepares to use his ring to head to the Mushroom Planet.

Tom: SFPD, PENDING SECURITY CHECK, PAWS IN THE AIR WHERE I CAN SEE 'EM!

(Tom spots Sonic)

Sonic: Uhhhhhh, meow!

Tom and Sonic scream at the sight of each other and the cop shoots Sonic with a tranquilizer gun, before the hedgehog passes out, he sees Tom's San Francisco T shirt and says "San Francisco" which leads to one of his rings opening a portal to San Francisco and Sonic's ring bag falls on to the roof of the Transamerica Pyramid.

Sonic regains consciousness in Tom's house and Tom is surprised to see that the "Blue Demon" that Crazy Carl was talking about is real. As they talk, Tom is also confused as to why Sonic calls him the Donut Lord, which the hedgehog explains is due to the fact Tom talks to donuts and then eats them "whenever they get out of line".

The speedy hedgehog realizes he's still on Earth and lost his rings before beginning to panic just as Robotnik's truck moves into the area, Sonic begs with Tom to help him and, reluctantly, Tom agrees to help the blue hedgehog by hiding him the attic before talking with Doctor Robotnik, who at first tries to trick the cop into thinking he, Robotnik, is from the power company.

Robotnik's drones enter the house and begin scanning for Sonic, who panics and semi-spin dashes downstairs, the sound of Sonic crashing into a shelf attracts Robotnik's attention and he enters the house before finding Sonic's quill that Tom acquired earlier. Afterwards, the villain proceeds to threaten the cop, which is a biiiiiiig no no as threatening an officer can get you into trouble.

However, just as Robotnik reaches "1", Sonic comes out of hiding and begs with the doctor not to hurt him. Robotnik, caught off guard by the sight of the hedgehog, lets out a scream before Tom punches him in the face and knocks out the doctor. Sonic and Tom narrowly escape the house in Tom's car just as Agent Stone arrives to see if the doctor is ok. Sure enough, just like Snively and many other Robotnik lackeys before him in previous Sonic continuities, Agent Stone is not safe from being treated like crap by Doctor Robotnik.

Sonic and Tom later stop by a biker bar and, after Tom makes a phone call to Green Hills police station which gets intercepted by Robotnik who threatens Tom, they go inside the bar where a bar fight eventually ensues when a burly biker antagonizes Sonic and Tom and the blue hedgehog attempts to hit the man in the head with a bottle.

By the end of the bar fight, the duo make a get away in the car and spend the night at a hotel before hitting the road again in the morning. Robotnik soon catches up with one of his robots and attacks Sonic and Tom, but the robot is decimated again and again as it changes until it eventually becomes a small Robotnik Drone that tears off a bit of the car and then becomes a bomb.

Sonic and Tom attempt to deal with the bomb bot which does attach to one of them for a time. The bomb eventually goes off and Sonic is hurt, thankfully the explosion wasn't enough to actually end the hedgehog's life. Tom is alright, but none too worse for wear.

Tom eventually gets Sonic to San Francisco and heads to Rachel's house where Maddie is staying, however Rachel does not like Tom and wants him and Maddie to end their relationship. Thankfully, Tom's niece Jojo is more nicer than her mother and respects the couple. Maddie examines Sonic and revives him with salt smeller shakers, leading to this line from the hedgehog.

Sonic: Where am I, what year is it, is the Rock president?
Note: Sonic was referring to Dwayne Johnson, who actually played the old Sonic games in college and is a great actor.

Anyways, Sonic, Tom and Maddie head off to the Transamerica Building where Sonic gets his rings back, but the happy moment is ruined when Doctor Robotnik arrives in his Egg Mobile and his Drones, determined to capture Sonic, discover the source of his power and (eventually) take over the world. Knowing what to do, the hedgehog sends Tom and Maddie back to Green Hills via Warp Ring to safety before facing Robotnik and tries to escape from him.

The mad doctor chases the hypersonic hedgehog through the streets of San Francisco, which we mostly did see at the start of the movie, and the chase takes them to France, China, Egypt and back to Green Hills. Sonic does get injured for a time, but he recovers and is able to defeat Robotnik, sending him through a Warp Ring to the Mushroom Planet with help from Tom.

Things in Green Hills proceed on as normal, Tom and Maddie work on fixing the house which got wrecked during the first confrontation with Robotnik and Sonic ends up moving in with them as the married couple set up their attic to be just like the hedgehog's cave, leading to a nice heartwarming ending or so it seems.

Meanwhile, on the Mushroom Planet, Robotnik has shaved his head, his moustache grown bigger to be similar to mainstream Eggman's mustache, and he's plotting his revenge against Sonic. As the doctor vows to return home by Christmas, he starts trekking across the Mushroom Planet, chucking a rock ahead of him and shouting "ROCK-CONISANCE" while laughing evilly as the film ends.

After the pixelated credits sequence, a warp ring appears near a cliff and Sonic's buddy Miles Tails Prower emerges. Tails hopes he's not too late as he takes to the air and flies off towards Green Hill as the film truely ends and we get another credits sequence.

Novelization/Conclusion-thoughts:
For a video game film that spent two and a half decades in the works, passing from producer to producer and studio to studio until it finally got off the ground, Sonic the Hedgehog is pretty good and, in fact, it was a box office success and there's a chance we may see a sequel very soon. The acting/actors was/were amazing, the special effects were neat, the soundtrack rocked and the plot of the movie was pretty decent.

Now, whats the novel for the film like?
Well, there are some differences. To be specific, some stuff that wasn't in the movie gets put in there (example, Sonic calling Robotnik "Robuttnik" ala SatAM, Underground, AoSTH and Archie) and some stuff that was in the movie (i.e Rachel) is omitted.

This film sure was fun and, given that there were so many easter eggs and homages to Sonic's nearly three decade long history, this could be the perfect way to kick off Sonic's 30th Anniversary.

Hope you continue to love Sonic, folks.
See you later!

-James M


Guest Post -James M's review of Star Wars The Clone Wars Season 7 + The Siege of Mandalore



Greetings Star Wars fans, the time has come... to review the seventh and final season of Star Wars The Clone Wars, which aired on Disney Plus and finally brought closure to an epic TV show after a decade long run, wrapping up twelve years worth of crazy cool stories.

Now, I hear you say, "Clone Wars season seven? I thought the show was cancelled after seasons five and six." Yes, production stopped, but the show went on a seemingly indefinite hiatus until Disney and Lucasfilm decided to continue the show and give the fans what they wanted.

So, whats in season seven. Three story arcs, of course. We have The Bad Batch arc, Ahsoka's Walkabout and The Siege of Mandalore, the latter of three happening to be the series finale. Boy they're really good, likable at best. Why don't we get started eh...

The Bad Batch Arc
What is Clone Force 99 aka the Bad Batch? They're a group of mutated clones who basically make up an elite clone squad named in honor of a deformed and mutated clone soldier named 99 who died during the Battle of Kamino in an earlier season of the Clone Wars.

The plot of the arc?
As the Battle for Annaxes goes wrong for the Republic and the Seperatists defeat them, Captain Rex and Anakin team up with the Bad Batch to go on a mission to learn how the enemy is able to come up with successful attacks and counterattacks. During the mission, they learn that Clone Trooper Echo survived the Citadel Arc and is held captive by the enemy.
They rescue Echo and they turn the tide of the battle in favor of the Republic, aftewards, Echo joins the bad batch due to the fact he's different now because of his cybernetics he recieved after seemingly being blown up during the arc he perished in.

Ahsoka's Walkabout
After leaving the Jedi Order, Ahsoka goes to level 1313 where she meets the Martez sisters and does her best to avoid revealing herself as a Jedi after the sisters express their dislike for the Jedi due to their involvement in the Clone Wars.
Ahsoka tags along with the sisters on a spice run and they end up in a troublesome situation with the Pikes but they manage to get out, however, the sisters learn that Ahsoka is a Jedi but they accept her as a good friend nonetheless.
After escaping the Pikes, Ahsoka meets with Bo Katan and a group of Mandalorians looking for help in taking down Darth Maul, who is ruling Mandalore. Side Note: After his defeat in season five, Maul was captured by Sidious but he escaped and returned to Mandalore after failing to defeat Darth Sidious who destroyed the Great Talzin of the night sisters.


The Siege of Mandalore
This is it, series finale, we're in Revenge of the Sith territory now. No turning back.
As the Outer Rim sieges take place, Anakin and Obi Wan reunite with Ahsoka, who's come to them for assistance in taking Mandalore and taking down Maul. However, just as Ahsoka gets her lightsabers back and receives a clone battalion of her own, Anakin and Obi Wan are called away to take part in the Battle of Coruscant to save the Chancellor, paving the way for Revenge of the Sith.
Ahsoka, Bo Katan and their forces attack Mandalore and engage Maul's forces. Ahsoka encounters Maul in the sewers and the former Sith is not pleased to see her.

"I was hoping for Kenobi," Maul says, "Why are you here?"

We learn throughout most of the episode/movie that Maul knows of whats to come and desires to defeat Sidious and save the galaxy, even though he, Maul, is still evil. Eventually, it call comes down to a confrontation between Ahsoka and Maul in the throne room in the Mandalorian Palace (instead of a plaza like in the Ahsoka novel) while a battle rages outside between Ahsoka's troops and Maul's loyalists, which is kinda fitting as the Clone War nears its end and the Republic begins to crumble.
In the end, Ahsoka defeats Maul and he's captured while screaming, "LET ME GO, YOU'RE GOING TO BURN, YOU'RE ALL GOING TO FALL, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!"

With the battle over and Maul in custody, things are looking up, Ahsoka and her forces begin the journey back to Coruscant while Bo Katan becomes leader of Mandalore. However, things really go south once Darth Sidious contacts the clones aboard the ship...

Sidious: Execute Order 66.
Rex: Yes Lord Sidious.

From there, everything is downhill as the clones turn on Ahsoka, Rex does too for a while before Ahsoka manages to remove the inhibitor chip inside Rex, allowing him to continue being her ally. However, Ahsoka frees Maul to use him as a diversion while she was trying to find a way to save Rex. Maul wrecks havoc and takes down many clones aboard the Star Destroyer, even devestating the engine room and the hyperdrive.

As a result of Maul's rampage, the ship drops out of Hyperspace and heads towards a moon, fated to crash. Ahsoka and Rex fight their way through the ship, trying to get off. During an encounter with Clone Trooper Jessie, who is under the spell of Order 66, Rex is demoted from commander back to the rank of captain while Maul steals a shuttle he (Rex) and Ahsoka were trying to get to.
After fighting through more clones, the two heroes manage to steal a Y-Wing and escape just as the cruiser crashes. Later, Ahsoka buries the clones, who perished in the crash,  while leaving behind her lightsabers, the star destroyer crash and the clone graves all symbolize the end of the Republic, the Jedi Order and the Clone Wars itself.

Some time later, probably a couple months or maybe a year, Darth Vader visits the site and finds one of Ahsoka's lightsabers, covered in snow, before looking up to see an owl flying overhead. Side note: thats a convor, probably Moraii, the Daughter's spirit guide form.
Afterwards, the episodes and the series ends with Vader aka Anakin walking away and his reflection being seen in a fallen Clone Trooper helmet.

Final thoughts
This season was incredible, Dave Filoni did an amazing job rounding off 12 years worth of Clone Wars stories and The Siege of Mandalore arc was phenomenal, very phenomenal. I enjoyed it all and many people sure did as well, we deserved this ending and should have gotten it back in either 2014 or 2015. But ah well, we've waited a long time and it was worth it.
See you all next time, reviewer out.
-JMM

Guest Post -James M's review of Sonic And The Tales of Deception & Sonic And The Tales of Terror

Amazon.com: Sonic and the Tales of Deception (Sonic the Hedgehog ...Amazon.com: Sonic and the Tales of Terror (Sonic the Hedgehog ...

Salutations once more, dear Sonic fans and bloggers, today we will be looking at some Sonic-related literature. But we're not looking at fanfiction or comics, we're looking at books featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends, these are Sonic books: Sonic And The Tales Of Deception and Sonic And The Tales Of Terror, all of which feature some interesting stories, so lets talk about them.

If you've been dreaming of reading Sonic books that aren't comics and wanted to get your hands on some Sonic books capable of telling fun stories featuring the blue blur himself, then you're in luck. In 2018, Penguin Young Readers and SEGA came together and delivered two books within the same year. The books are what we're talking about.

Sonic And The Tales of Deception along with Sonic And The Tales of Terror are three chapters long separately and tell their own stories, from Sonic fighting nanobots inside Knuckles' body to dealing with a fake future version of the blue blur created by Eggman to the return of the Werehog as well as an alien zombie apocalypse, these fun and entertaining stories are perfect for any Sonic fans, be it kids or teens or adults alike.

My thoughts on these books? They're quite good.

Also, if you think the Zombot arc in IDW Sonic is the first time Sonic and his friends have dealt with zombies, then you've missed out on these books because Sonic & The Tales of Terror did a Sonic vs Zombies story just months before the Zombot Metal Virus saga started in the pages of IDW Sonic.
But, if these books technically don't count, you could say the Zombot Arc being the first time Sonic and friends have dealt with Zombies is true from a certain point of view.

As for the story where Sonic seemingly meets a future version of himself only for Future Sonic to be revealed to be an Eggman creation, a similar storyline actually happened in the pages of Fleetway's Sonic the Comic where Sonic met an old version of him who turned out to be a clone created by Doctor Robotnik.

Oh, and if you think the story where Sonic goes inside somebody's body to fight robogerms is a bit familiar, the Archie series did that. While most of the stories found in these books are original and fun to read, they are similar to other Sonic stories from the franchise's past as I've already stated.
However, the similarities between a certain Sonic story and another Sonic story can fly over the heads of new fans while longtime fans might some how recognize them. As long as you get some enjoyment out of these stories, good for you, I hope you go back to read them again and again.

 My score for Tales of Deception is a 9.5/10 and Tales of Terror gets a 10/10, all for being incredibly written, the writers of these books and stories need to be hired by SEGA to write for a future Sonic game, along with Ian Flynn and who knows how many other good writers out there.

As you can guess, I actually read these books and had fun reading them. Did they get a smile out of me? Maybe, maybe not, but they were fun. SEGA and whatever American book publishing program is out there should work together more in the future to do more Sonic books, that would be freaking awesome. Imagine if we got a big multi-chaptered Sonic book written by an author we know or never even heard of, that would be incredible, just fantastic on the same level as the Sonic comics.

See you later, people...

-James M

Guest Post -James M's review of Archie Sonic Universe Online issue 51

No photo description available.

Another Archie Sonic Online issue has been released and its Sonic Universe Online issue 51, Rabbot Rebound, starring Bunnie Rabbot as she joins the Dark Legion out of desperation. Why hasn't issue 50 come out, don't worry, it will soon.

Having read this issue, it was something, I actually like it. I know that joining the bad guys is a bad thing, but it makes a compelling story if done right. Look at Bunnie for instance, she's had it rough, first she loses her cyborg limbs and then her husband Antoine falls into a coma. Combine that with Ixis Naugus becoming king and Sally getting roboticized, well, this is where she is now.

Am I interested in this arc? Yes.
Is it weird 51 comes before 50? Maybe.

Its nothing to worry about, Sonic comics are awesome regardless of who is making them, I've read so many of them since 2010-2011 and nothing is gonna stop me from reading them.
With the comic industry closed down temporarily due to the coronavirus, Sonic fan comics are how we're gonna get our dosage of Sonic comic awesomeness. We can chat with Ian Flynn and other Sonic comic creatives who work(ed) at Archie, Fleetway or IDW you know.

My score for this issue.
9/10, pretty good, interested to see where this goes soon.

See you later.
I know this review was short, but I like to make things short sometimes...

-James M aka CrazyGamerHistorian1999

A Bookish Quest



Good Morning! 

Since I seem to be more in a sipping mood lately rather than feasting on one book, I came up with a bookish quest. Find the oldest or an older book, meaning purchased more than a couple years or so ago, whether it be physical or e form and read it or at least start reading it this week. For Kindle, the oldest books in my virtual stacks are Tent Life in Siberia, a nonfiction book of essays about Siberian travel adventures and survival and David Baldacci’s The Innocent. On my nook, is K.M. Weiland’s A Man Called Outlaw. 

I already started sipping Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay last week which has been lounging on my physical shelves for quite a while.  Think I’ll look through my bookshelves and pull another oldie but goodie out as a secondary.   I checked Audible and discovered a few started but unfinished books, so going with the oldest which is James Rollin’s Devil Colony to listen to while meandering about this week.

I finished Amanda Lee's  Witchin USA in which the lead character just seemed so very young and immature and I couldn't figure out what the romantic lead saw in her but it was a fluffy, lighthearted read nonetheless.   I also finished the latest book in J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, The Sinner.  I think I may have to read it again because the climax, the end of the war between the vampires and the lessors was very anticlimactic and maybe I missed something, but Goodreads reviews seem to agree with me.   

Besides sipping from the books above, I'm sipping from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird which is both amusing and giving me inspiration to write. 

When she gets all angsty about writing, "I finally notice the one-inch picture frame that I put on my to remind me of short assignments.  It reminds me that all I have to do is write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame....   

E.L. Doctorow once said the 'writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.' You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.  This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard."

Yes it does sound like good advice. I've been a bit angsty about rewriting WIP-RT so going to imagine parts in a one inch picture frame and take it scene by scene.  The universe hit me over the head the other day when I was mulling over the story and suggested I write the story in third person omniscient.  Hmm! 


Pauses for Pentecost by Trevor Hudson









I found my next read since I finished Trevor Hudson's Pauses for Lent: 40 words for 40 days.  It should have been a no brainer but it took me a while to come back round to it.  Pauses for Pentecost:50 words for 50 days.

"Pentecost is a holy day when Christians commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus Christ. Originating from a Greek word meaning "50th day," Pentecost occurred 50 days after Christ's resurrection. Before the events of Pentecost, Jesus had followers, but there was no movement that could really be called the church. Pentecost is considered the birthday of the church.

In Pauses for Pentecost, Trevor Hudson leads readers to focus on one word and scripture verse each day. He invites us to pause for just a few minutes to read the brief daily reflection and do a simple practice. The beauty of this book is its simplicity, and the thoughtful meditations guide us to a deeper understanding of the meaning of Pentecost."

The prayer at the beginning of the book really hit me:

"Lord Jesus Christ, breathe the freshness of your spirit into us that we may come alive again to the possibilities and potential of our own lives, to the uniqueness and wonder of each person around us, to the beauty and brutality of our world, and most especially the wondrous glory of God that fills our universe. May be truly become Easter people filled with your spirit!"

A big Amen to that!

A to Z Poetry - I learned



Josephine Wall





I learned

I learned to fly 
sitting on a swing, 
pumping my legs 
until I touched the sky.


I learned to read 
books filled with 
rhyme and reason,
sitting on my daddy’s knee

I learned to sigh 
reading romantic novels 
full of tragic heroines and muscular gentlemen 
who filled their lives.

I learned to laugh 
in a house full of love, 
and dance and sing
along with the phonograph

I learned to live
as life is quite fragile
and you never know
 when it is going to end.