January Reading Wrap Up


It's book week 5 in our 52 Books Quest as we head into February. I am so proud of myself. I'll admit it, I'm a bookaholic and made it through January without out buying any new books.   Nor did I read any ebooks. I read only physical books have had on the shelves, forever and a day it seems like, for the  month of January.  May not seem like that big of a deal, but given that last year I forsake physical books in favor of ebooks, it is.  I have absolutely no desire to read ebooks at the moment. Let's see how long that lasts. Right now I'm concentrating on reading all the wonderful physical books and enjoying myself.   


All Shall Be Well (#2 Kincaid and Duncan) - Deborah Crombie (Police Procedural, 268)

Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu (Science Fiction, 416) 

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 novelization - Richard Mueller/Ed Naha (Audiobook)

Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon (Historical Fiction, 1930's, 684)

Devlin Diary #2 Clair Duncan - Christie Phillips (HF murder mystery, 1672/2008, 427)

Wolf Hall #1 WH Trilogy - Hilary Mantel (HF, 1500's,  604)

Eternal - Lisa Scottoline (HF Italy, 1937-57, 465)

Made to Kill - Adam Christopher (Science fiction, 1965, 234)

Super Powered Year One - Drew Hayes (Science Fiction, 730)

The top two I enjoyed the most are Wolf Hall and Super Powered Year One

I completed nine books which according to Goodreads is 3847 pages. Four science fiction, four historical fiction, and one police procedural.  Six were dusty books of which two were repeat authors. One new release and one new to me author sent to me by a friend. Plus one audiobook which was James choice. And I managed to review each one as soon as I finished reading.  Not too shabby.  

Book Review: Super Powereds Year One by Drew Hayes


For Christmas I received the Super Powered Series from my brother which are by an author I never heard of before, are super chunky, about college students who were extra special, enrolled in a Hero Certification program. The books were previously a web novel so I thought, Oh boy, I hope they are good.  I knew nothing about the series but a friend had read his other series, Fred the Vampire Accountant and liked the author.  So I dove in. 

"Knowledge is power. That would be the motto of Lander University, had it not been snatched up and used to death by others long before the school was founded. For while Lander offers a full range of courses to nearly all students, it also offers a small number of specialty classes to a very select few. Lander is home to the Hero Certification Program, a curriculum designed to develop student with superhuman capabilities, commonly known as Supers, into official Heroes.

Five of this year’s freshmen are extra special. They have a secret aside from their abilities, one that they must guard from even their classmates. Because for every one person in the world with abilities they can control, there are three who lack such skill. These lesser super beings, Powereds as they are called, have always been treated as burdens and second class citizens. Though there has been ample research in the area, no one has ever succeeded in turning a Powered into a regular human, let alone a Super.

That is, until now…"


Think of Super Powereds as a light hearted Harry Potter, but don't forget HP got darker with each book.  Easy to read since it was originally published as an online book to be read chapter by chapter. There are just enough clues and mystery to intrigue you enough to keep reading. The characters, both kids and adults, are engaging, devious, distrustful, and wary enough of each other that it keeps them from forming attachments until they gain each others trust. Yet, still each one of them has something to hide. Super Powered Year One made for an interesting read and enough so to go on to the second book.  Yeah! 

James M's review of Hulk (2003)


Greetings again, true believers, we're back to review somethin' green. Its... HULK!

Released in 2003 and starring Eric Bana as the scientist Bruce Banner and his alter ego known as The Hulk, this movie made a lot of money and was kinda mixed with both fans and critics. However, this movie's legacy lives on to this very day, but plans for a sequel were scrapped and the next Hulk movie titled The Incredible Hulk released five years later as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I saw this film back in 2018 when dad got it on DVD and I watched it again a few years later. And despite what the critics say about films like this, Hulk isn't too bad. Its actually fun, just like every film we've seen that never performed well. Eric Bana was the perfect fit for Bruce/Hulk at the time, even though Mark Ruffalo does play him well nowadays in the MCU.

So, what's the story?

Scientist David Banner, after running experiments for the millitary, getting canned by General Ross and experimenting on himself, has a son named Bruce who picks up some of his father's mutating DNA. David gets into a fight with his wife and kills her when he tries to kill Bruce, who is then put into foster care. Years later, Bruce attends a college and winds up getting dosed with gamma radiation during an experiment.

After a reunion with his father, who has aged since Bruce was a boy, and learning the truth that was hidden from him, Bruce becomes angry and turns into a green monster, he wrecks the area and terrifies David before going on the run. David is then visited by Bruce's partner Betty, who questions him about his work, and later experiments on his dogs, turning them into monsters and sending them after Betty.

Bruce turns into the Hulk and saves Betty from David's dogs, but then Betty calls her father General Ross a day later and the army takes the now-captive Bruce to their base in the desert. But not long after, Bruce transforms into the Hulk again and breaks out, going to San Francisco. Once there, after a fight with the army, Bruce sees Betty and calms down. Meanwhile, David runs another gamma experiment on himself and becomes an entity similar to the Marvel villain known as the Absorbing Man.

David visits the captive Bruce and has a chat with him, revealing that he's become insane and bites down into a power cord, which triggers his transformation into an energy creature when Ross powers it up. Bruce turns into the Hulk and battles his father until he gains the upper hand and the general deploys a Gamma Charge Bomb against both Hulk and David. However, Bruce survives and goes into hiding in the Amazon as a medical doctor.

Many months later, during Bruce's exile, a group of regime soldiers arrive to harass a group of locals and Bruce confronts one of them. "You're making me angry..." He says, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." And the film ends with the roar of the Hulk.

That's pretty much the movie. And as I've said before, I think its a decent movie. It may have some issues and dated effects, but the experience isn't as bad as some people would try to make it out to be. The acting and the dialogue looks fine by today's standards and the plot is easy to understand once you know what's going on. HULK gets an 9.9 out of 10, this film is worth multiple viewings. 

As of this post, there is a rumor that the Eric Bana version of Bruce/Hulk will appear in Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange & The Multiverse of Madness. If that is true, then that would be fun to see, anything is possible with the multiverse and multiverse stories can be big (but not big as in the ambitious kind). Now, I sign off with an optimistic smile. See you later, comic book and movie nerds.

-James. M


James M's review of Mega Man Fully Charged (2018-2019)


Hey guys, its been a while, but I'm here to review the MEGA MAN FULLY CHARGED animated series from Wildbrain Studios and Man Of Action Entertainment. Been quite a while since I last covered something related to Mega Man, last Mega Man-related content that I covered was the Archie comic and the first crossover between Sonic & Mega Man. 

Don't worry, I will review the Mega Man fan film and some of the Mega Man games (including Mega Man X) in the future. But for now, we're talking FULLY CHARGED.

This is perhaps one of my favorite shows and favorite video game-inspired mediums, its fun and engaging, and it started airing on my 19th birthday the year it started. That's right, one of my favorite birthday gifts is the TV show MEGA MAN FULLY CHARGED. Its too bad this show didn't get a season two, but at least I can re-watch this and reread the Fully Charged comic eventually.

So, what is so special about this show, you are asking.

While the show is somewhat faithful to the games (just like the Ruby Spears cartoon apparently), MEGA MAN FULLY CHARGED takes place in a different universe and has its own unique style. This is due to the fact Capcom actually gave the writers at MAN OF ACTION permission to do their own thing with Mega Man but do it in a way without taking away the spirit of Mega Man.

In this universe, instead of being named Rock and having a robot sister named Roll, Mega Man is named Aki and he has a human sister named Suna. Also, Doctor Wily is not the show's antagonist, the role of which falls to an extremist named Sergeant Night, who is unmasked by the heroes at the end of the show. However, Wily has a nephew named Bert Wily and the doctor himself appears in the comics.

On a related note, Mega Man has a little robot assistant named Mega Mini, who is basically a voice in Mega Man's head. Meanwhile, the backstory of the world the characters live in revolves around a period called the Hard Age where humans and robots fought each other. Sergeant Night, the show's villain, is fighting to bring back that old feud between humanity and robotkind.

Luckily, Mega Man is on the scene to save the day, opposing Sgt. Night and the rogue Robot Masters, many of which are either derived from the video games or are completely new characters. The writers put their time and effort into this show, even the animation is well-polished. CGI cartoons are just as good as 2D cartoons, at this point, Fully Charged is my number two favorite video game cartoon next to Sonic Boom. 

From August of 2018 all the way to May of 2019, this show ran for a total of 52 episodes that were eleven minutes, just like the Sonic Boom episodes. Funny how that animation studios behind video game cartoons are almost obsessed with shows that have eleven minute episodes, hopefully, there will be video game shows in the future that will have thirty minute episodes.

Now, did I read the MEGA MAN FULLY CHARGED comic by Boom Studios?

Yes, I did. What do I think of it?

Not that bad honestly, its nice to see a Mega Man comic and that Fully Charged got a continuation in some capacity. Cancellation is just sad, it would be even greater if the show's universe received a further continuation in the future if there is enough fan demand from passionate fans. Capcom, you gotta continue Fully Charged. Don't leave it in the dust, find a way to give it a proper conclusion.

Small nitpicks aside, if there are Mega Man fans out there who want to see a good show like this, watch Fully Charged. You're not gonna find anything better than this one, Fully Charged may as well be the king of Mega Man extended media and video game TV shows if it got to be.

MEGA MAN FULLY CHARGED gets an 8.5 out of ten. Fun, action-packed, engaging and never soulless or bland, this show cannot be forgotten and its legacy will continue on for years to come.

Have a good day, Mega-fans.


ABC Stories: Decisions, Decisions!


Decisions, decisions!  Emily, a slight woman at 5 foot 2, swept the kitchen while she thought about her next steps. Forward or backward, either way would be momentous, out of her normal reality.  Given that she didn't want to change anything, she fretted and fumed, mad at the world at large. How was the responsibility hers? Instead of her sisters, even her brother.  Just the other day, Emily had told her mother to butt out, to leave her alone, and that it wasn't any of her business.   

Knocking the dust pan on top of the waste can, she wondered if she was doing the right thing. Little did Emily realize that her day was about to get worse. 

Moving on to the living room to vacuum, she discovered all her books had decided to rearrange themselves. Not again.  Ophelia mentioned yesterday a strange memo had been left on top of her desk. "Prepare to heed the word of the Iam a Lama Ding tree." along with a riddle.   Quite the conundrum and they'd talked long into the night.  Riddles! Something Emily also despised.  They took up way too much of her time, but that's how the damned books communicated.  Underneath her desk she found a piece of paper. Viewing it, she saw three sentences.  

"Well, that's dramatic," she said as she read, "Thanks a lot and suitcase in hand you head to the station." 

X's and O's lined the bottom of the sheet, symbols for hugs and kisses. 

Yet another mystery trip and she wondered why she bothered coming home.

Zapping the lights off, she zipped out the door, suitcase in hand, having  no idea what had been packed, climbed into the car and drove until she found the train station where she found a ticket waiting, no destination indicated which meant they were sending her on a wild goose chase. 

I changed the rules this time and made it into a flash fiction story rather than continue through back to D.  

James M's review of Scooby Doo (2002)

Hellooooooooooooooo, friends. Its me again and I'm back to review...

SCOOBY-DOO... The movie.

That's right, we're reviewing the first live-action Scooby Dooby Doo movie released in 2002 almost twenty years ago as of this one. What makes this film so special, you may ask?

Well, it got me back into Scooby-Doo after I spent so long away from it, even though, at the time, the only Scooby-related thing I'd done was the Spooky Swamp Mystery video game on the Wii. It may as well have fully reignited my Scooby Doo fandom as, since then, I've been watching Scooby-Doo stuff now and then and I'm soon going to watch the SCOOB movie!

So who plays the characters in this movie, the cast is very important after all. Well, right off the bat, Freddie Prinze Jr. plays the role of Fred, the leader of Mystery Inc. 

As for the roles of the other characters, well, its simple. Neil Fanning voices Scooby Doo, Mathew Lillard plays Shaggy, Sarah Michelle Gellar is Daphne Blake and Linda Cardellini plays Velma Dinkley. The famous British actor Rowin Atkinson is in it as Emile Mondavarious and the role of the main villain of the film, Scooby's nephew Scrappy, is handled by Scott Innes. 

Quite the cast, eh?

Now, lets stop wasting time and get to the story.


The film opens up with the Scooby gang tackling the Lunar Ghost haunting a shoe factory and, after some hijinks with Scooby and Shaggy's cowardly antics, they capture the ghost and unmask him as Old Man Smithers (played by the great Jim Cummings), who wanted revenge for celebrity Pamela Anderson turning him down when he wanted to go on a date with her. Poor Smithers, but crime doesn't pay in the end.

Oh, wait, there's something missing.

"I would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for your meddling kids and your dog." Smithers yells.

"Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" Scooby howls happily in response. 

However, after the case is taken care of, the gang gets into an argument outside and, when Shaggy tries to defuse the situation, Fred, Daphne and Velma go their separate ways. Feeling upset by this, Shaggy and Scooby go off on their own in the Mystery Machine. By the way, I love the acting with this scene, Mr. Lillard sold it very well when conveying Shaggy's emotions.

A couple years later, Shaggy and Scooby are still on their own and doing what they do best. One day, while they're about to have lunch in the Mystery Machine by the beach, the two are visited by a man who works for Mr. Emile Mondavarious of Spooky Island, asking them for their help while promising Shaggy and Scooby they have an "all you can eat buffet". 

The two head to the airport to go to Spooky Island and are reunited with Fred, Daphne and Velma, reluctantly bringing Mystery Inc back together. On the way to the island, Shaggy meets a girl named Mary Jane (no, not Mary Jane Watson, its just a name). The gang arrives at Spooky Island and quickly meet Mr. Mondavarious, who explains the island's tourists are being hypnotized.

Later, during a spooky party hosted by an actor named N'Goo Tuana and his luchador Zarkos, Velma discovers the island was once home to ancient demons, who now plot revenge on those who have taken over the place. The gang heads to a haunted castle attraction to look for clues and, after braving some dangerous areas, they find a hypnosis chamber while discovering and taking an artifact known as the Daemon Ritus before making their escape. 

Back at the hotel, trouble ensues when Daemons attack and kidnap almost everyone in the area along with Fred, Mr. Mondavarious and Velma except for Scooby, Shaggy, Mary Jane and Daphne, who narrowly escape the attack. The next day, they notice something wrong when they see everyone acting normally and the hotel's windows restored. 

However, when Shaggy and Scooby interact with Fred at a pool party, its clear that the Daemons have possessed the tourists including Fred. While on the run from the villains however, Mary Jane ends up getting possessed by a demon herself and Shaggy gets separated from Scooby before coming across a chamber with a vat of protoplasm that contains the souls of the possessed.

Shaggy frees Fred and Velma's souls along with Daphne's and they return to their bodies. However, a mix-up happens when Fred travels to Daphne's body while Daphne travels to Fred's body even though Velma is able to get her body back. While that is happening, its revealed that the Daemons are sensitive to sunlight when Velma opens a window when Fred takes Daphne's Demon-possessed body.

The gang meets up and try to fix everything and, after a lot of soul swapping, Fred is restored to his body and Daphne gets hers back. When investigating an explosion that came from the beach, they meet a voodoo man, whom Daphne met the night before.

The voodoo man explains that he's preparing for when the Darkopocalypse ritual happens as the Daemons are getting ready to take over the world for ten thousand years. After he leaves to figure out the right voodoo spell that can protect himself, the gang takes in what they learned and they realize the Daemons need Scooby for the ritual. Right at that moment, we learn that Scooby is meeting with Mr. Mondavarious who tells him that he would like him to be a sacrifice.

Mystery Inc formulates a plan to prevent the Daemons' plot from succeeding and head to the ceremonial chamber right to start their plan. But as they're getting into action, the ritual begins. Shaggy manages to free Scooby and make amends with him after a fight they had earlier while Fred and Velma tackle Mr. Mondavarious, who is revealed to be a man in a mask.

However, when they remove the mask, its revealed Mondavarious is a robot operated by *spoiler warning* former Mystery Inc member and Scooby's nephew Scrappy Doo himself. That's right, after Mystery Inc dumped him at some point in the past, Scrappy made his way to Spooky Island and took over before formulating his plan to conquer the world with the Darkopocolypse.

Shortly after his unmasking, Scrappy Doo, having absorbed enough souls, transforms into a giant monster and attacks Mystery Inc. At that very second, Daphne is battling the luchador Zarkos and knocks him into the chamber into the protoplasm vat, freeing the spirits and ensuring the Daemons defeat. Scrappy loses his power and gets knocked out by Scooby, his plan finally ruined.

The police arrived and arrest Scrappy along with his henchmen while everybody celebrates as the movie comes to an end. In a mid-credits sequence, with all said and done, Shaggy and Scooby finally hit that "all you can eat buffet" and eat some hot food to comical effects.

Final thoughts:

SCOOBY-DOO is a fun movie that's worth any Scooby-Doo fan's time, it is faithful to what inspired it and the story is an absolute blast to watch. Even the actors are very familiar with the characters they're playing, the effects seem to have aged very well, especially the CGI portraying Scooby. The film was so well-received and successful when it first came out, a sequel was released a few years later. This is a part of Scooby Doo history worth revisiting again and again.

Fun fact, James Gunn was involved with the project and it was originally gonna be R-rated. Thankfully, the studio made this film family-friendly. Who wants an R-rated Scooby Doo movie anyway? Scooby is family-friendly, not a raunchy comedy. 

I am so thankful this movie reignited my love for Scooby, I give this film a ten out of ten. I see no flaws with this, the effects and the acting and the score are all well-crafted. Scooby Doo the movie is a product of its time and deserves the respect it got years ago. Live-action adaptations of animated properties are very fun to watch, just as animation is fun to see.

Now, I must go. SCOOBY-DOOBY-DOO!!!

-James. M

Giving up and moving on to something else!


I gave up on The Great Passage as well as Wayfarers.  Decided this year that if I’m not enjoying, I can give up, and move on to something else.  Placing it in my life is to short, not for me category.  Read several chapters of ebook Great Passage and it felt like an eternity and when checked how much had finished, expecting to see 75% and only saw 35%, decided enough was enough.

Wayfarers is a continuation of Passage and it’s been a couple years since read Passage, so was completely lost as Wayfarers didn’t give much explanation, expecting one to know what had happened. I have no intention of reading Passages again. So gave up.

On to Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum and YA Fantasy Super Powereds Year 1 by Drew Hayes.  This is book one out of four and my brother sent me the whole book series which are super chunky.

“Knowledge is power. That would be the motto of Lander University, had it not been snatched up and used to death by others long before the school was founded. For while Lander offers a full range of courses to nearly all students, it also offers a small number of specialty classes to a very select few. Lander is home to the Hero Certification Program, a curriculum designed to develop student with superhuman capabilities, commonly known as Supers, into official Heroes.

Five of this year’s freshmen are extra special. They have a secret aside from their abilities, one that they must guard from even their classmates. Because for every one person in the world with abilities they can control, there are three who lack such skill. These lesser super beings, Powereds as they are called, have always been treated as burdens and second class citizens. Though there has been ample research in the area, no one has ever succeeded in turning a Powered into a regular human, let alone a Super.

That is, until now…”

Book Review: Made to Kill by Adam Christopher


Adam Christopher's Made to Kill is billed as Robotic Noir. Sign me up, please. 

"Raymond Electromatic is good at his job, as good as he ever was at being a true Private Investigator, the lone employee of the Electromatic Detective Agency--except for Ada, office gal and super-computer, the constant voice in Ray's inner ear. Ray might have taken up a new line of work, but money is money, after all, and he was programmed to make a profit. Besides, with his twenty-four-hour memory-tape limits, he sure can keep a secret.

When a familiar-looking woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to find a missing movie star, he's inclined to tell her to take a hike. But she had the cold hard cash, a demand for total anonymity, and tendency to vanish on her own.

Plunged into a glittering world of fame, fortune, and secrecy, Ray uncovers a sinister plot that goes much deeper than the silver screen--and this robot is at the wrong place, at the wrong time."

A robotic gum shoe, a private eye, who stands out like a sore thumb, which makes you wonder how he managed to get anything done. However much people gave him the side eye when he was out and about, he was largely ignored. Perhaps because Ray couldn't remember anything for more than 24 hours, there was probably a good bit of history we didn't know about since it was entirely from his point of view. The attempt to make it seem like a good old fashioned detective story, think Sam Spade or Mike Hammer, with the small office, creaky chairs, and smoking secretary and all the aesthetics that go with a private eye, all courtesy of ADA the computer's sound affects was more a distraction than anything else. Good concept and once I made it past the first chapter which had issues with punctuation and made it difficult to read, the story smoothed out. Even with the many implausibility's within the story, it was an interesting story.

Alphabet by Author, Dusty book, Science Fiction, 1965 California, 234

James M's Review of Scooby-Doo & Batman: The Brave And The Bold (2018)


Greetings, fellow nerds. I'm back... with another crossover movie.

Its SCOOBY DOO AND BATMAN... The Brave & The Bold.

So, what's this film about?

First, this is NOT the first time the Scooby gang and Batman have crossed paths. They met for the first time in an episode of the 1970s New Scooby Doo Movies where they teamed up to take on The Joker and Penguin together. Since then, they've occasionally met and its made a lot easier thanks to Warner Bros owning both the rights to Scooby Doo and the DC material.

Second, you're in for a wacky Dark Knight ride.

Now lets do a summary, shall we?

When an entity known as the Crimson Cloak starts causing trouble, Mystery Inc must team up with Batman and his own band of mystery solvers to take on this mysterious villain. 

Along the way, they find themselves dealing with the likes of The Riddler, who's involved with the plot, and many other villains. In the end, they defeat the Crimson Cloak, thwart Riddler's plan and rescue a scientist named Leo from another dimension. 

Pure and simple...

My thoughts on this movie, its mildly good, nothing but fun and irresistible action with wacky hijinks that you can expect if you see something like this. The voice actors behind Batman, his friends and the gang appear to be having a lot of fun doing this, even the voices for the villains were enjoying themselves. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of this movie aside from the ending is the Arkham Asylum scene where Shaggy and Scooby find themselves facing Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

I've been into Scooby-Doo for years and I basically grew up a Scooby fan despite moving on from it for a time until I saw the live-action movie in 2015. As for my relationship with Batman, again, I only played the LEGO games and saw a few LEGO films involving Batman. It wouldn't be until years later that I began to fully understand everything about both superhero genres of DC and Marvel.

Now, seeing this. The people at Warner care about the fans so much, they basically made this just for them. Its almost like a dream come true for Bat fans and Scooby fans. 

There's almost nothing else to say, the quality doesn't cease to amaze and this film is so unforgettable. It is my honor to give this a 9.5 out of ten, let us hope this movie ages well...

Well, goodbye for now, my friends.

-James. M

Book Review: Eternal by Lisa Scottoline


I've read many books about WWII but never one concentrating on Italy, Mussolini, fascism and how he treated the Jewish Italians.  Lisa Scottoline's Eternal, left me wanting to know more, a deeper dive into the historical aspects.

"Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta's heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy's Fascists with Hitler's Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear--their families, their homes, and their connection to one another--is tested in ways they never could have imagined."

 The story revolved around three young high school students who were best friends and seemed way more mature than their years. Understandably they had to grow up fast, take responsibility due to the circumstances of the war. Despite the length it was a quick read, alternating between Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro, interspersed by other points of view when needed. I have a few nitpicks with actions and ideas that went unexplained or seemed left undone, ignored, or took place too quickly. Overall it is an engaging story which I think was geared more towards a young adult audience.

Alphabet, New Release, Historical Fiction, 1937 - 1957, Italy,  465

BW4: Mixing science fiction with historical fiction


Happy Sunday! It is book week 4 in our 52 books quest and I finished Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall which was an awesome read.  Reviewed it down below.  I probably should have taken a breath from historical fiction because my last two shorter historical fiction reads have been less than stellar and I think it's because Wolf Hall was so well written, complex and dense, they couldn't live up to her standard. I'll have to remember that in the future.

Still reading alphabetically from my own shelves and it’s so much fun. Like shopping without spending any money.  Hee hee! Takes all the guess work out of it, makes decision easy and helping me read all those dusty books.  Started to include alphabet by author.  Averaging two books a week and avoiding reading ebooks on my ipad for now, until I clear a few books from the shelves.   I'm beginning to see a pattern - Science Fiction and Historical Fiction. 

So far for ABC by Title:

A - All Shall Be Well (#2 Kincaid and Duncan) by Deborah Crombie (Police Procedural)

B - Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu (Science Fiction) 

C - Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon (Historical Fiction)

D - Devlin Diary #2 Clair Duncan - Christie Phillips (HF murder mystery)

E - Eternal - Lisa Scottoline (HF Italy)

Read my first ABC by Author:

A - Adam ChristopherMade to Kill (Science Fiction, Robot noir)

Dipping into another science fiction time traveling book. The 2nd book in the Young Adult Passenger series - Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (B by author) 

Coming up next are Umberto Eco's Faucault's Pendulum, Shion Miura Great Passages, and non fiction sip read is George Saunders A Swim in a Pond in the Rain which is a version of his MFA Master Class in Russian short stories. 

Have reviewed every book I've read so far and hope to keep that up throughout the year. Trying to read more slowly and still averaging two books a week. 

Writing wise, I've been doing morning pages pretty consistently and currently up to the letter K in my ABC Stories and having fun doing so.  Also posting two to three times a week. James is a prolific writer and has reviews already written and schedule to post throughout the month of February.  I've made minor progress with Red Thief and realized I have to figure out a way to balance my time between blogging and story writing. Fine tuning will take a while. 

James started his first English class with the local community college and it's 100 percent online. It's kind of like our homeschool days, only college level and we're  reading all the material together, discussing, and providing whatever assistance he needs. So far, so good, and he's enjoying it. 

Have a grand week! 

Book Review: Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips


Hmm... The Devlin Diary was a little bit of a disappointment. It wasn't as good as The Rosetti Letter which was excellent. Liked the past and present story line, but had slight difficultly keeping all the different characters introduced during the past straight and couldn't see how they were going to coalesce for at least two thirds of the book, then boom. Could have eliminated the modern day story line which seemed superfluous and would have had a complete historical fiction story.

Dusty, Alphabetical, Historical Fiction, 1672/2008 England, 427)

James M's review of DC's Flashpoint

Hi, nerds. James M here and we're back to review a big DC story, FLASHPOINT!

While I was visiting the local comic book store many suns and moons ago, I had the time to purchase the DC graphic novel containing all the issues in the storyline known as Flashpoint by DC Comics. After that, I read the entire comic and it was a treasure to read. The comic was nicely constructed and the storyline was well written and is respectable, the folks at DC gave us quite the deep story.

Then, just recently (as of this), I had the time to watch the Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox movie and it is incredible. So, what's Flashpoint about? 

Its story's simple really: The Flash aka Barry Allen travels through time via the Speed Force and tries to stop his mother's death, but his actions cause history to change, leading to an alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne dies as a boy and his father Thomas becomes Batman, Kal El/Superman's Kryptonian ship crashes in Metropolis and destroys the city and the world is torn apart by a war between Atlantis and the Amazons of Themyscira led by Aquaman and Wonder Woman respectively.

Once The Flash realizes what's going on, he teams up with Bat Thomas/Thomas Wayne as Batman to defeat his nemesis Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom, stop the war and fix the timeline. After Professor Zoom is killed by Batman while battling Flash, The Flash breaks the time barrier and manages to stop himself from saving his mother, restoring the timeline but creating the new 52 Universe in the process.

Now that you know the story, what is the consensus around it?

Well, its a very good story. It may be dark, but it is nothing that anybody can't handle. If you're a fan of sci-fi and superheroes, this is for you. If you're familiar with Flash, Batman and the rest of the DC universe, you're in for a big ride.

The Flashpoint storyline took place in 2011 and has gone on to become an iconic story since then. Two years later, the people at Warner Bros put together an animated movie adaptation known as Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. The movie follows the storyline of the comic but also takes creative liberties with how the story is presented, even the way Thomas Wayne Batman kills Professor Zoom is different from how it was originally presented.

In the comic, Batman stabs Professor Zoom with a spear (I think) and, in the movie, he straight up shoots him in the head while he's taunting Flash. Either way, this version of Batman did help save the world (and the universe) since The Flash had trouble battling Professor Zoom due to him siphoning off Flash's Speed Force.

I saw the movie very recently and its quite good, I suggest that you watch it. But just a heads up, the movie is rated PG-13. By that, I mean HARD PG-13. The movie pushes the rating with the action, especially when blood is shown. 

That's right, the movie has blood in it. 

But thankfully, its not too bad and its not like super R rated gore with guts and brains spilling everywhere. However, it doesn't change the fact that the way Thomas kills Reverse Flash is, of course, brutal. We hear the gunshot and see Reverse Flash standing with shock, his eyes wide as blood trickles down his face and we see Batman with the gun through the hole in Zoom's head before the Anti-Flash drops dead.

Ignoring all that, Flashpoint and Flashpoint Paradox are fun stories worth reading and seeing for any DC fan or any Superhero fan in general. I give the comic an 8 and the movie gets a 9.5.

Assuming you all have time, find a copy of the Flashpoint graphic novel and, if you have an HBO subscription and you find the Flashpoint movie on there, watch it. You will be in for a fun ride and you will not be left feeling bitter disappointment or grief. That is all I have to say today, so be safe out there.


Book Review: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel


I finished Wolf Hall which was not a book to speed through. I read it in small sips during breakfast, often times staying a little bit longer at the table to stay with the story for just a few minutes more. I was reminded today why I should have taken the time to annotate.  James is taking an online English composition class and we were watching videos on annotation which made so much sense I was kicking myself.  The story was so complex and while reading there were phrases and images that struck me or quotes I wanted to save of Cromwell’s wit, reactions of his family, his thoughts pebbled throughout from childhood to adulthood and I only copied a couple at the beginning. Things like:

‘quick as a needle, she darts at him.’

“He will never tell the cardinal about Mary Boleyn, though the impulse will arise. Wolsey might laugh, he might be scandalized. He has to muggle him the content, without the context.”

Lesson learned. I enjoyed my front row seat into the life and times of Thomas Cromwell, his interactions with both friend and foe, and all the machinations with the court. I’m sure I’ll reread it again in the years to come.

Dusty, Historical Fiction,  1500's, England, 604


I'm back and we're reviewing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-related movie, this is TURTLES FOREVER, made back in 2009 to rejoice the TMNT franchise's 25th anniversary at the time and also created as the proper finale to the 2003 TMNT series.

The story is simple and I can give you the rundown of it.

When the Turtles of the 2003 universe come face to face with their 1980s counterparts from their universe, they team up to defeat both 1980s Shredder and the 2003 Shredder to stop them from terrorizing and destroying the TMNT multiverse. In the end, after a long struggle, the Turtles overcome the odds and defeat 2003 Shredder, saving the multiverse with help from their 1984 comic counterparts in their universe which serves as Turtle Prime.

Running at an hour and ten minutes, this film is just perfection and nothing could possibly top this one, not even the 2007 TMNT film or any of the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. I recently watched this after getting it a couple years back on DVD and not fully seeing it due to being distracted, I will tell you, it is really good when it is good.

I might not have seen the 1988 show or the full 2003 show, but I do love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I've been into this franchise since I saw the first 90s movie in 2010 and what really cemented me as a TMNT guy was when I finally saw RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, one of the latest TMNT shows to have ever come out.

Everyone put a lot of effort into making it and it shows, the voice actors had a real blast and the writers seemed to be having fun when they mixed together the serious elements of the 2003 show with the goofiness of the 1980s show. Multiverse stories can be very fun when done right, the fact they put a lot of effort into making this shows they took their time to plan this TMNT event out very well.

And so, with a smile on my face, I give Turtles Forever a 9.5 out of 10. This is a film that can't be left in the dark and ignored, so go watch it if you're able to get it and have the time to do so. With that, have a very good day out there in the real world and be safe.


ABC Stories: Caution Ahead


Caution Ahead, the sign said, via a handwritten note tacked to a folding billboard, and placed in the center of the road to prevent passage. Dorothy peered into the distance and couldn't see any cars, any police or ambulances, nor were the roads wet or muddy.  Earlier in the day, streams of cars had passed her on the Western highway, all rushing to get to their destinations. Funny how all the vehicles, the people, even towns seemed to have disappeared into the ether, the farther she went and gave her the feeling she'd entered the twilight zone.   

Get a grip, she told herself, and grasped the wheel tight, trying not to hyperventilate and give in to her weird imagination.  How did she get here, she wondered, the trip a blur in her mind, the sign filling her with dread, and the unknown danger made her want to turn around and flee the other direction. Indecision plagued her at the strangest times, a weird fugue blurring her thoughts.  Just yesterday she hadn't been able to make the decision whether to put on the red or blue socks, and it had plagued her for the rest of the day.  

Kneading her knuckles against the steering wheel, she deliberated.  Leave, turn around and go home despite the fact it would take several more hours. Meander forth and follow the lonely road that now looked spooky, unfriendly, and foreboding all because of one small sign. No, she couldn't do it.  Obsessing about it wouldn't help either. Pretending she wasn't scared because she had no idea where the hell she was going in the first place, would only stress her out more. Quickly, before she changed her mind again, she turned the car around which wasn't an easy task on the narrow lane.  Run away from danger, her mother always said, whilst Kiki would say go towards it and enjoy the adventure. 

Since yesterday she'd had the desire to go some where, but she couldn't remember where she'd been going, so she bolted back towards the onramp which should have only taken her minutes, but seemed like hours. Turning left, she did the inexplicable and took the service road beside the highway, zipping past fields of corn and wheat with stalks higher than the car and turned the road into a shadowy tunnel.

Until she came to a bridge and drove underneath it, coming out of the shadows into the bright sunlight, and wondered where she was since she no longer could see the freeway or hear the cars passing by. Visions of getting t-boned made her stomp down on the gas and she speed through the intersection, up and down hilly roads and through the forest until she came upon a quaint little shopping center full of cars in the middle of nowhere. 

What is this, where is this? Xylophone music greeted her when she opened her car door. Yearning for a fat, greasy, crunchy taco, she climbed out of the car and ran into a little country store. Zoned out by the drive and hunger, it took her a few minutes to realize no one was in the store, including a cashier.

Yesterday's weirdness had faded to today's bizarre adventures, and she felt like she was out of time, out of place, out of touch with the world.  X's stamped in place of prices for all the products on the shelves confused her even more.  What was she supposed to do, negotiate, which she couldn't do because no one was there.

Various scenes passed through her head of an apocalypse, a disaster, even zombies. Up on the wall, the hands of the clock clicked off the seconds, but she realized she couldn't hear the ticking, nor the music anymore. Troubled, she walked the entire store, calling out hello but received no answers. Suspicious and more than a little scared, she took a breath and looked in the backroom, but didn't see anybody.  

Right or wrong, she was hungry and returned to the main part of the store, filled a small basket with snacks and taco ingredients because she was starving, and dropped some cash at the front counter.  Quick and quiet, spooked by the lack of life, she exited the store.  Perhaps they were next door and she wondered down the sidewalk looking in all the empty stores.  

Oh boy, I'm living in the twilight zone or the resurrection or what was the thing from the comic movies, the snap.  No one left, except for her. Marching to her car, she locked herself inside and pulled out her cell phone.  Looked through the contacts list and called her mom, her heart thumping painfully in her chest as she waiting through several rings. 

Kiki answered and said, "Hope my dear, I hear you are hopelessly lost." 

Jealousy rocked her at the sound of the woman who'd taken her place in her mom's life and it took a moment for her words to sink in and she wondered who told Kiki she was lost unless she was tracking her phone.  

"I need to talk to mom," Hope demanded and wondered again for the millionth time why her mom had allowed Kiki, heck why had she allowed it, and let the woman hold sway over all mom's decisions, her calls, her life. 

"Have you come to your senses yet or shall I delay you even more?" 

Gasping, Hope realized Kiki had somehow cursed her because she'd lost track of the days and had no idea how she'd managed it and spoke the counter spelled her mother had taught her when she was a little girl.  

"Fiddle dee dee, five makes three, and ten makes two, may caution be your guide," she murmured.  

Energy sparked through her body, flashing from her head to her toes, and her eyes fuzzed out for a second, then cleared.   Dumbfounded she stared as the people everywhere, bustling to and from their cars, the stores. Cautious now, she knew she had to play along with Kiki, if she was going to save her mother and lied through her teeth when she said, "Blessing on you, Miss Kiki," and hung up on the woman, ready to end the witch as soon as possible.

Rules for the road: Alphabet stories start and end with the letter chosen and each sentence has to begin with the next letter of the alphabet. 



Welcome back, Sonic squad. Its time for us to review the very first Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon that ever aired, the one that was wacky and memorable next to many others. We're looking at... ADVENTURES OF SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!

The year was 1993 and it hadn't been that long since the first Sonic game had released for the SEGA Genesis with Sonic 2 releasing over a year later. Sonic was popular and merch was flying off the shelf, even a comic book by Archie was about to happen while other comics and manga were happening. And in the midst of all that, two animated shows were about to air and one of them was none other than Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Starring many talented voice actors, Adventures took place in a cartoonish take on Sonic's world and focused on Sonic and Tails as they engaged in many wacky adventures and fought the evil Doctor Robotnik and his lackeys Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts to stop the villainous scientist from taking over the planet Mobius.

Assembled by the crew at DiC Productions (now known as Wildbrain, which still owns the rights to this show) and supervised by SEGA of America, Adventures ran for a total of 65 episodes from September to December of 1993 before it was given one more episode three years later with 1996's Sonic Christmas Blast.

In the years since it aired, the show, known as AoSTH, has earned itself a memorable legacy in the fandom and spawned a couple memes such as the well-known Robotnik "Pingas" meme, which was derived from a line in the episode Boogey Mania said by the doctor himself; 'Snoo-ping as usual, I see.' Yeah, I know, its almost hilarious on so many dang levels.

I, myself, watched this show and spent two years watching the whole show from 2011 to 2013. Having seen Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog, I can see why so many fans love it (even though SatAM almost appears to be the most talked about Sonic show thanks to Archie). AoSTH was popular for its time and was perhaps how some fans got into Sonic in the first place.

The show has countless memorable characters adding to the universe of AoSTH, ranging from (of course) Robotnik's S6 Squad consisting of Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts, Breezie the Hedgehog, Wes Weasely and Sergeant Doberman with countless voice actors providing their best talent. Even SatAM/Archie's Sally Acorn makes an appearance in the show's final episode.

So, what are my thoughts? 

AoSTH is pretty good for a Sonic show despite not being very faithful to the source material and Sonic Team's lack of involvement in it. It has so much charm, providing a fun and goofy Sonic experience that nobody, not even young kids, will ever forget. Even Robotnik himself can have his funny moments too, Long John Baldry sold it well as the doctor's voice and may he be long remembered as the man who gave the evil Doctor Eggman a voice before the games did.

Plus, as almost everyone knows, this show next to SatAM and the first two games served as the basis for Archie Sonic and the comic included many familiar faces from the cartoon such as the Super Special Sonic Search And Smash Squad and eventually included Breezie in the comic before the plug was pulled.

However, out of every AoSTH character that made it into the comic, AoSTH Robotnik's mother Mama Robotnik was left out due to very specific reasons with SEGA themselves. That's right, this show was one of the first pieces of Sonic media to give Robotnik a family and we got to see an interpretation of Eggman's mother. And boy, Mama Robotnik is quite terrifying if you let her be terrifying.

Most importantly, this show did get a game tie-in at one point in the form of Doctor Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, a re-skin of Puyo-Puyo featuring the AoSTH version of Robotnik and some of his Badniks from the cartoon. Despite AoSTH's lasting legacy, it is almost rarely referenced by current Sonic media due to policies at SEGA, but it was referenced in 2021's Sonic Encyclospeedia.

My score for this show, which was so good to see, gets a fine 8.5/10 for cartoon-y cheese and hilarity. Now, I will see you later for another review...


W3: Hanging out in the past


It's week three in my 52 Books reading quest and I'm hanging out in the past with my dusty books. 

I finished my C book - Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay which was an amazingly complex character study of two young Jewish men from the 1930’s to 1950’s dealing with war, life, love, family, loss, plus the comic book industry and bosses who took advantage of them. A more in depth review is posted below. 

I'm at the 75% mark with Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel:  Henry has married Anne and she’s been crowned queen, given him a baby girl, and still Katherine refuses to accept the dissolution of the marriage. Enjoying all the machinations of Cromwell and the court.

Already dove into my fourth dusty book, a historical fiction novel The Devlin Diary, which is set in two time frames – London in 1672 and Cambridge in 2008. It is the 2nd book in the Claire Donovan duo by Christi Phillips, author of Rossetti Letter which was excellent. Devlin Diary is almost as good.  

So far, I've avoided reading any ebooks, preferring to stick with physical books for the time being. 

 We watched The Eternals which was good, but not great. The acting seemed a bit off, emotions were wooden and I expected better.  It also opened the door to more Marvel movies. 

The only writing I've done is morning pages or blog posts. Time to get back to revising Red Thief.   

Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay


I finished Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay which left me with a book hangover and the feeling of having read and excuse the pun, an amazing, yet exhausting adventure. 

"Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America - the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men."

Years ago I would probably have disliked this book because of Chabon's writing style. Today I appreciate and understand it, and especially like how he emulated Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried with the vivid writing and lists of thoughts, things, people, ideas. The details drew me into the story and planted me right there with each one of the characters.  Each character, affected by their heritage, their families, the people around them, the war with Germany.   

The timeline, from the 1930's through 1950's, told a story of survival, revenge, acceptance, humor, obsession, grief, and love, and hard work. Now that I think about it, all the stages of grief. Since  my son is into comic books, enjoyed the artistry and thought that went into making them.  I cheered for their victories and booed their losses, and the people who took advantage of them.  And I'll be pondering the mysticism and symbolism of the Golem from beginning to end for a while.  Would you believe that through out the whole dang second half of the book, I held on to hope Kavilier's brother was still alive out there someplace and would make an appearance at some point.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and look forward to reading Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union.

Alphabet, Dusty, Jewish historical fiction, Prague, Antarctic, New York, 684

James M's review of Doctor Who: Revolution Of The Daleks (2021)

Welcome back, Doctor Who fans, its time for another review...

After the universe-shattering revelations and events of "THE TIMELESS CHILDREN" at the end of 2020's Season 12 of New Who, there was the question of what awaited in the next episode of the sci-fi phenomenon. After months of waiting, we got our answer in the New Year's 2021 special known as REVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS.

That's right, the Daleks were back and this episode seemed to follow up from 2019's Resolution which dealt with a Recon Scout Dalek. So, what's the story with this one?


Well, the episode takes place ten months (from the perspective of The Doctor's friends Ryan, Graham and Yaz) after the events of THE TIMELESS CHILDREN and the trio discover that businessman Jack Robertson, whom they met in the series 11 episode ARACHNIDS IN THE UK, is working with the Daleks after seeing footage of a Dalek drone in action.

The companions try to confront Robertson about the Dalek, but the are dismissed. Not long after, Robertson meets with his scientist Leo, who informs him that he discovered traces of organic cells inside the "drone" that inspired their drones and used them to create a clone of the creature inside i.e the Dalek Scout mutant. 

Robertson is disgusted by this and tells Leo to destroy the creature, the scientist tries to dispose of the Dalek, only for the mutant to take control of his mind and they head to a secret lab in Osaka where Daleks are being created.

Meanwhile, The Doctor is still in prison after being arrested at the end of the previous episode and reunites with old friend Captain Jack Harkness (with John Barrowman reprising the role), who breaks her out and they head back to Earth where the fam informs The Doctor of the situation. 

Following this, Team TARDIS splits up in two groups with Captain Jack and Yaz looking into the lab in Osaka while The Doctor, Ryan and Graham confront Robertson, who shows them the Dalek factories before he's informed of a secret facility in Osaka. They head there and come face to face with the Scout Dalek controlling Leo, who reveals what it has been up to along with its plan to conquer the Earth.

And following this, its all downhill for everyone as The Daleks take over the Dalek drones and begin attacking everyone. Thinking up a solution to the problem, The Doctor sends out a message through time and space to a Dalek Death Squad, which arrives on Earth and takes care of the "impure" Daleks before wiping out the Recon Scout despite its claim that it is still a Dalek.

Robertson betrays The Doctor and joins the Daleks, offering an alliance with them. But this doesn't last long as The Doctor formulates a way to defeat The Daleks and tricks them into entering a spare TARDIS, thinking that its hers. Robertson lies to The Doctor, saying he was offering himself up as a decoy and is then celebrated as a hero by the world.

Captain Jack says goodbye to The Doctor and leaves with Ryan and Graham deciding to leave her too so they can continue with their normal lives while Yaz stays with The Doctor. The episode ends with Graham teaching Ryan to ride a bike, just like in their debut episode.

Final Thoughts:

I give this story a 9/10, Doctor Who never ceases to boggle the minds of Whovians and knows how to tell a fantastic story in every way. When the Daleks show up, you know there's bound to be fun storytelling in whatever episode of Doctor Who they appear in. I'll never forget this episode, it is so memorable just like many of the recent Doctor Who episodes that have come out over the last couple years despite some road bumps in this journey. Now, I bid you farewell. Next time, we're covering FLUX and EVE OF THE DALEKS!



ABC Stories: Bandit

Bandits surprised Corey and Michelle Biannaib when they walked through the dark parking lot behind the theatre, empty now, except for them.  Caught off guard, Corey hesitated, then dropped Michelle’s hand and stepped in front of her.  Defense, he thought, her safety is more important than his. Even though it’d been years since his old karate days, muscle memory kicked in. 

“For what it’s worth, I have a black belt," Corey said, his voice rising, making the statement sound more like a question and gave them the appearance of an ineffectual dork.

“Good for you," the taller one with a diamond studded eye patch said, “but I have a gun so if you want to play rock, paper, scissors.  How about you turn over your wallet, purse, the diamonds, and you can go your way.”

“I’d do what he says honey, this stuff isn’t worth fighting over,” Michelle said as she swept her hand down his back and stuck a small sheathed knife inside his belt.

“Jack, I’d listened to your lady,” the shorter man said with a smirk as he waved what looked like a kid’s toy pistol at Corey who knew looks could be deceiving however and he he felt Michelle’s hand grip his arm for balance. Kicked her shoes off, he thought, the stiletto high heels she'd been tottering on, sharper than the little knife she'd passed him. 

Lights, bright as hell, lit up the night and they took advantage of the distraction. Michelle blasted an ear-piercing whistle and simultaneously threw her steel toed heels at the pirate bandit while Corey pulled the little knife and sent it whistling in the direction of the little guy, before they dashed into the little alley running between the buildings. 

“Nice move, dear,” Corey whispered, scuttling through the dark passageway, weaving past dumpsters and boxes, pulling Michelle in his wake as they tried to keep to the shadows and listen at the same time for the voices or footsteps of the bandits. Only thing he could hear was laughter bouncing off the bricks and traffic swooshing past the end of the alley in the distance. 

"Pooh, those were my favorite pair of Jimmy Choo's; do you think we can get them back""

"Queen," Corey looked behind them, more concerned about their lives than a pair of high heel shoes, and said,  "If you're quick and quiet, but you have a choice between getting your head shot off or climbing that fence." 

"Right and how do you expect me to do that barefoot?" 

"Stand on that box and I'll boost you up."

Tempted still to go back and see if the men were gone, Michelle squeaked as Corey gripped her around the waist and lifted her as high as he could.

"Up you go," he said, adrenaline giving him strength enough to heft her halfway and when she grasped the fence, he planted his hands under her bottom and pushed.   Victory he thought when she reached the top, steadied herself and reached down a hand to help him up. 

"Wait, and watch," Corey said with one last glance behind and confident his wife had his back, and they wouldn't be able to see him in the dark of the alley, he stepped on the box, and climbed, Xanth crossed his mind for some odd reason, an obscure fantasy novel he'd read.  Years and years ago when he was a teenager in fact, so why would it pop into his head now?  Zig zagging up the fence, expecting to be shot in the back at any moment, he made it to the top in one piece.  

Zeal made him grab Michelle, fold her into his arms and she squeaked as they tumbled over the side together, thankfully landing on something soft, which exploded with a horrible stench of something he couldn't identify and really didn't want to know. Yellow blinking lights stippled the walls, making it look like the bars of a jail cell. 

Xylophone music tinkled from one of the windows nearby as they both struggled to their feet.  

"What are you going out there," a high pitched little voice said from above and they looked up to see a red headed girl, probably about 4, frowning at them through a security screen. 

"Vacating the premises as quickly as we can," Corey said, brushing off his clothes, wondering how they'd gotten into this mess.

"Uh oh, are you in trouble," the little girl asked.

"Totally," Corey murmured to himself as Michelle smiled with a parent's patience and said, "Ignore him dear, and shut your window and lock it.  Stranger danger, remember.  Run along, and do what you're told," she said with a whoosh of her hands, expecting the child to do whatever she said. 

"Quickly now." 

"Please," the little girl mumbled and when Michelle planted her hands on her hips and let out a soft growl, the youngster disappeared from sight, screaming mommy, mommy, stranger danger, stranger danger."

"Okay, let's get out of here before we're arrested for peeping toms or something worse," Corey said and marched down the alley, past reeking garbage bins until they reached the end and peaked left, then right at the street. Not a soul was about at this time, except for a vagrant huddled and fast asleep in the doorway to a shoe store, and Corey remembered why George had cautioned them about this area on Sundays.

Memories surged, reminding of his past life and all the dangers in the streets of Dalton. Life on the streets hadn't been pleasant. Kids, too young to be out on their own, some his age, had taught him how to survive.  Justice on the streets quick and mean. Independence fought and paid for. 

He shoved the memories back, packed them away again in the hidden box in his mind, not in the mood to dwell on the past when he'd worked so hard to make something of himself. 

"Go," Corey said when he saw the coast was clear. Fortune followed when they found a wayward cab parked a couple blocks away across the street from a bar.  Ethan's, a blues joint, with lights, music, and people spilling out of the doorway, fostered a safe haven for them to relax.  Diving into the back seat of the cab, he ordered the driver to take them home. Corey and Michelle rested shoulder to shoulder, holding hands as adrenaline faded, leaving him spent. 

"Baby," Michelle said, learning her head against Corey's shoulder, aching all over, "Next time, let's listen to George so we don't have to do that again, at least anytime soon."

Rules for the road: Alphabet stories start and end with the letter chosen and each sentence begins with the next letter of the alphabet. 

James M's review of Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019)


How do you do, people? 

We're back... with a review of BATMAN... VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES!

That's right, Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a crossover movie. Plus, this was basically my first true animated Batman movie I ever saw and I'd already seen the first TMNT movie several years prior.

I watched this back in 2019 and saw it again in 2021 after getting it on DVD, this film is unbelievably good and has some fine quality animation and storytelling. The voice actors really had a ball with this one, even the writers seemed to have quite a lot of fun too.

Fun fact, this is not the first time Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had a crossover. They had some crossovers in the comics beforehand, this movie is a bit of a loose adaptation of one of their first crossovers.

So, what's the story?

I'll give you a short rundown. Shredder teams up with Ra's Al Ghul to take over Gotham City and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team up with Batman, Robin and Batgirl to stop them before the two villains succeed in their heinous plan.

This movie is a love letter to Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, even playing with all of the elements of both franchises, mixing the elements together to create one good experience. Seeing Joker get mutated into a snake by mutant mutagen is quite creepy and watching Scarecrow torment Leonardo with the fear of losing his brothers sure can give you the chills.

If you are a TMNT fan who wants to get into Batman or if you're a Batman fan who wants to see him interact with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this movie is for you to see. But heads up, this film is very action-packed and it is PG-13, medium PG-13 as it nearly pushes the rating with the action as there are moments where you see blood. 

My score for the film is a solid 9.5 out of ten, BATMAN VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is one of the greatest TMNT and DC experiences out there next to so many films like the 2007 TMNT film, the 1989 BATMAN movie and the LEGO BATMAN DC SUPERHEROES UNITE movie as well as the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.

Until next time, farewell, good friends.


James M's Review of IDW Sonic Imposter Syndrome issue 2


Welcome back, its here, the second issue of Imposter Syndrome is out.

What did I think of it? I can only say... Pure comic fun non-stop.

Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that Starline's characterization never ceases to amaze and Ian Flynn's ever-so masterful writing has delivered some quality character moments. Meanwhile, Surge and Kit are fantastic, they are compelling IDW characters and have been entertaining on the same level as Starline and other characters such as Tangle and Whisper.

So far, Sonic 2022 has gotten off to a great start, especially with this issue of IDW Sonic.

Let us hope that the IDW comics continue to evolve and advance as time goes on until they eventually come to an end before IDW Sonic becomes a "bizarre anomaly" just like Archie Sonic before it with its origins linking it to the infamous Meta Era of the 2010s taking place after Forces just as Archie Sonic was linked to the 90s with the first two games and AoSTH/SatAM.

Going off topic, sorry, but the art is phenomenal and there's nothing that ceases to amaze.

Anyways, I will see you later. Thank you for joining us today.

-James. M

Bookish Notes and Links

Did you know this week is National Letter Writing week which means it's time to grab some paper and a pen or pencil, not the keyboard, and write a letter to a  significant other, family member, friend, long lost relative or even an author to thank them. 

I was eating my dinner at work yesterday, browsing the internet and fell into this article on Dame - Have We Forgotten How to Read CriticallyI was reminded of a conversation I had with my son recently about authors, video games writers, comic book writers and how once something is published, that isn't the time to argue with them about how it's written and how you think it should be changed.  Lot of conversations online these days from Authors I follow who have people emailing them, questioning their choices, their writing. Then you have the ones who don't understand or want to cancel all the dead authors because the language may be discomforting.  Okay, getting off my soap box. All this to say it is an interesting, thoughtful article. 

Another one I enjoyed:  A Year in Reading the Backlist

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are Reading Ebooks.  As one of those who has discovered I've been reading more ebooks (because they are so easy to get) over the wonderful chunky and dusty physical books on my shelves,  I have yet to start an ebook this year.  I know we're only a week in, but I find myself wanting that tactical experience, relaxing with a real book and absorbing the story. I'm enjoying not having the urge to flip over to the news or email or anything else.  Even though our 52 Books Books about Books Bookology author of the month is Shion Miura and the highlighted read is The Great Passage, which have on my virtual nightstand, along with many other books, I think I'll stick with my dusty books for a while. 

I started another dusty book Sunday night --- Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.  At this point, I've read enough history as well as historical fiction novels, that I'm familiar with the subject matter and enjoying all the more because of it.  Timing, I guess, is everything. 

James and I finished listening to the audible book Ghostbusters one and two they were quite entertaining. 

I'm still enjoying my sip read of Wolf Hall.  

We watched Gemini Man with Will Smith which was very exciting. 

This week is all about finishing quarterly taxes for the shop and annual income taxes so we can refinance our SBA Loan on the business property. So many numbers, so much fun.....