Plenty of Cones: Universal Utilities

cones

We come to the thrilling end of Billy Kraser’s “Earth’s Instruments” trilogy and what mind blowing climx do we have to look forward to from the groundbreaking author of Sticks:A tool in Time and Stones: The Eternal Instrument . Will there be an epic battle for the fate of the universe? Will there be betrayal, murder, or the definitive answer to a love triangle?

The answer is…cones.

Yes, the final installment of this trilogy involves cones in our everyday life; my favorite cone is definitely a waffle cone, mm. As the rest of the series goes, it’s a fun, absurd, quick read that will make you laugh because..well it’s pretty insane to say you read a series about sticks, stones, and plenty of cones.  It’s worth a read as is the rest of the series and it’s well worth a read.

As I did in my review for Stones, I’m also posting a link for Billy’s GoFundMe for his new project. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

https://www.gofundme.com/6oioxh4

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Stones: The Eternal Instrument

stones

Here we get book two of Billy Kraser’s “Earth’s Instruments” trilogy, the first being Sticks:A tool in Time . Once again, we get a brief but hilariously absurd look at stones, things we pretty much have been in contact with since we were born. There’s nothing informational here and you won’t learn any new facts but I found myself once again laughing that the book exists as the author intended. While the humor isn’t for everyone, some people will get a good laugh at a decent price and I do recommend checking it out on Amazon.

Also, I just want to take a second to put Billy’s Go Fund Me link below. Besides being a humor writer, Billy Kraser is also a friend and supporter of Saviorgaming and is raising money for his new project so some help would always be appreciated. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

https://www.gofundme.com/6oioxh4

 

This is What you Want, This is What you Get

want get

First of all, I want to give a shout out to the author of this book, Jim Scheers, who I had the pleasure of meeting in person at the Weird and Wired Bazaar in Scranton a couple of months ago. Thank you for the advice and reassurance.

It’s the 1980’s and the punk scene is alive and kicking with loud, wild shows. For  nineteen year old Nick Leblanche these shows keep him sane from a cold life in suburban hell with his boring, nagging parents and his tedious office job full of gossiping idiots and pressure to stay there and rot. The music gives him a soul. At one of these shows he meet a quiet, sad looking girl named Victoria and from the on things start changing as the scene itself; the shows begin turning out of control violent as more and more skinheads begin turning up, making mosh pits into full fledged riots. Can Nick find himself amongst the chaos of his new friends and the scene he loves?

I have to admit, I was surprised how much I found myself reflecting back to my own age 19 and relating to Nick, growing up in suburbia and loving neu-metal myself. There is a lot of great imagery in the book and was very easy to put myself in the story. The story flows really well for the most part but I found a couple times in the second act where it slowed a bit but to no damning extent. One of the only minor complaints I have is that I wished there was something more extreme to end the second act to give the story a little bit more of a impact. All in all, it’s a really cool look at the 80’s punk scene and a good book I’d recommend. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Christine

christine book

It’s been a long time since I did a dual layered book/ movie review. My earliest ones such as A Clockwork Orange , The Hellbound Heart , and Cujo were pretty popular. Since King’s adaptations are awesome once again, let’s look at a different kind of love story from the master of horror…

Arnie Cunningham is a typical nerdy teenager. He works his ass off to save money for college, is packed with extracurricular activities, and gets bossed around by his parents. His best friend Dennis is your typical good looking high school football player. One day while driving home, they stumble upon a peculiar piece of scrap- a red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury. Arnie immediately falls in love with the hunk of junk. Arnie goes out of his way to get the car from the old man who owned it and essentially he gives away most of his money for it. Dennis ,Arnie’s overbearing parents, and not even Leah, Arnie’s pretty new girlfriend seem to like his new car named Christine. Arnie puts every bit of his energy into the car, restoring her to her prime until the asshole bullies that plague him destroy Christine. Leveled, Arnie’s heart breaks because the car meant freedom, opportunity and in the weeks that lead there, Arnie grew a pair. But that was all gone, or was it? Christine rebuilds herself right before his eyes, and Christine wants to take Arnie for a bloody ride…

I love the book and the movie pretty equally but for different reasons. The book doesn’t really feel much like a horror story, more like a relate-able teen drama until the first death scene in the second act. The book goes into some way darker territory towards the end and I prefer that ending to the more “Hollywood” ending of the movie. Also the dude who sells Christine to has way more to do with the plot than the movie would have you believe as well as a pretty messed up backstory which helps Arnie feel more in danger later. The only drawback is that the book is much more of a slow burn which will turn some off but the payoff is well worth it.

The movie is one of Carpenter’s best in my opinion. Keith Gordon does an amazing job playing Arnie as a lovable but frustrated geek while the rest of the cast is solid. The effects are pretty badass, especially for the early 80’s, and Carpenter’s eerie electronic score is iconic. The scene where Christine rebuilds herself is my favorite. There are some haunting moments with the car that genuinely freaked me out and Carpenter is great at making her feel unstoppable. The only drawback I have with the movie is it feels rather short and bare bones compared to the book and I would’ve liked a grittier ending like the book had.

Regardless it’s a awesome story from book a legendary author as well as a legendary director and either way I can highly recommend it. May the gaming gods bring you glory and on Christine’s good side.

christine movie

The Bell Jar

the bell jar

I’m going to start this review on a somber note. May in the US celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month. Most of the world suffers from some form of mental illness whether mild or severe and many never get treated for one reason or another. Much of it comes from guilt, shame, or denial or plenty of other reasons but the outcome remains the same: a pain others can’t see. I’ve suffered from mental illness and many of my loved ones have. The Bell Jar helped me realize I wasn’t alone…

Esther Greenwood is a young woman who ought to feel on top of the world. From college she scored herself a much sought after internship at a women’s magazine and has come a long way from her roots in Boston. Unlike the others around her, she isn’t fascinated by the big city life. She feels stuck, unsure what to do or where to go after school and what the world could have in store for her except a life as a homemaker to please her nagging mother and marry a dude she barely likes basically because she’s expected to. One night she finds herself in a dark situation and Esther unravels, leading to suicide attempts and trips to the asylum and the barbaric treatments of the day, all alone, and misunderstood inside of her own personal jar…

The Bell Jar scared me. Deeply terrified me in fact. It wasn’t the fear of a monster or the supernatural that terrified me but how much I related to the feelings Esther portrayed. The book is beautifully written and the characters feel palpable through Esther’s eyes. The feelings she has feel justified and while sympathetic, by the end I rooted for her to find hope.  The ending I found even more tragic when the real life of Sylvia Plath was taken into account. In the end, The Bell Jar is a book every reader, writer, or anyone dealing with mental illness should read. Instead of our customary farewell, I urge anyone dealing with mental illness to seek help and best wishes; it’s Ok to not be Ok.

Mr B Gone

mr b gone

Clive Barker, over the past decade I’ve been trying to better myself as a writer, has been something of a inspiration to me. While his work I find pretty varied in hits and misses, he is a master of working gruesome details and making the macabre almost beautiful and creative. Since The Hellbound Heart I haven’t read a full book by him, sticking with short stories like those found in Books of Blood (vol 1) , until I read this strange oddity called Mr. B Gone…

Jakabok Botch is a pathetic demon residing in hell with his family. Beaten, hated, and scarred by them, everything changes when he kills his father as he’s pulled to Earth circa the 1400’s. After running from his captors, he sets off on a journey of menace and bloodshed amongst the weak and corrupt disguising himself as a burned man. His only partner in mischief is Quitoon, a lover, a friend, and enemy. Quitoon, fascinated by the inventions of man, is excited by a new invention that will change the world: the printing press…

After finishing the book, I really didn’t know what to think. I like the overall narrative and thought the story itself was pretty inventive. There are some great gore moments and some good dark humor moments. I didn’t like Mr B as a main character and the meta nature of the book itself irked the hell out of me. I’ve never liked stories where the narrator talks directly to the audience so that made the story slog longer for me than it should have; I will say I had to chuckle for the reasoning behind it revealed at the end. While not my favorite by Barker, Mr B Gone should be checked out if you like horror meta fiction but avoided if you want a straight narrative. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Looking For Alaska

looking for Alaska

I’d like to dedicate this review to the only girl who ever gave me a chance and understood why I loved books. In a strange way this book reflected one of the most painful times of my life, the before, the cataclysm, and the aftermath. We always cling to the before when after falls when all we have is a billion questions and wet, crushed petals of what could have been…

Miles Halter is a smart, quiet young man who is fascinated by last words. He isn’t an outcast but just doesn’t seem the need to stand out. He is sent to Culver Creek, a prestigious boarding school in Alabama, all the way across the US from his native Florida. At Culver Creek, he finds himself amongst a host of snotty rich kids but he finds friends of his own in the prank loving group lead by his his roommate Chip ” The Colonel” Martin and Alaska Young. Alaska’s eccentric ways and mysterious past fascinate Miles, now dubbed “Pudge”, and he can’t help but be drawn to her. Maybe even love her. Hi-jinks ensue when they pull a epic prank on the rich kids and they spend a night drinking to celebrate. Life seems to be going great for Miles until Alaska storms out one night and the After begins, and Miles is left to watch the belonging and life he loved break apart…

For those who read the book, you’ll understand why I pretty much couldn’t talk about the second half of the book. I have to say I really enjoyed this book. The story is well paced and the characters are really likable. The way Green writes is very natural and I have to admit, it was pretty easy to lose a few hours inside of it’s pages which is one of the best compliments I can give a writer. I give him credit on the ambiguity of the ending and for not copping out with a forced happy ending. In the end I highly recommend this book as a good read but also to young inspiring writers too. I’d like to thank my dear friend again for sharing this story with me and I’d like to wish her a happily ever After in a new chapter of her life. May the gaming gods bring you glory.