May ’22 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 12 ⭤

Graphic Novels – 6 ⭤

Average Rating – 3.03 ⭤

Pages – 2735 ↓

Words – 817K ↓

The Bad:

The Gathering Flame – 1star read that killed the Mageworld series for me 😦

The King in Yellow Tales – 1star DNF of utter poetic insanity (and not the good kind!)

The Good:

Monster Hunter Bloodlines – 4.5stars of Cowboy Pirate Murder Ghost awesomeness!

Three – 4stars of pretty good re-read’ness

Movie:

Sherlock Season One was very enjoyable to watch but it was a good thing I did a buddy watch with SavageDave. I simply couldn’t blog very well about it. Every post was a real battle to write.

A Study in Pink, The Blind Banker and The Great Game.

The Muppet’s Wizard of Oz on the other hand, well, it was so bland and boring that it made oatmeal think it was Tabasco Man! and I was practically on cruise control for writing this. Easy-peasy.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

The month started off pretty good. Church was going along swimmingly, the weekends were filled with fun things (like the DOOM boardgame) and even work was going well.

While things overall went well, a couple of stress points hit me pretty hard. Nothing at all serious, just stupid things that I let mess with my head. Being an introspective introvert certainly has its downsides. I’m hoping that I’ve worked through them but I guess I’ll be finding out in the coming month :-/

The price of gas is starting to be a serious consideration now, as is the price of food. Trying to be much more “planned” in even our little trips (so no more 3 little trips to the grocery store because we feel like it) and list making for grocery shopping has become a “must” again.

Cover Love:

With all of the artwork that I’m putting up with the Magic the Gathering cards, I think I’ll be passing on this section for the rest of the year unless something REALLY stands out.

Plans for Next Month:

I am approaching word burn out. Many of my non-review posts this month were picture oriented and even the NOPE tag had me struggling and I left a bunch of the questions unanswered. To help combat that I’m going to be turning Mondays over to the MTG cards completely and moving the manga to another day. I will also be making my reviews very much of the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down variety instead of writing a lot of what I thought. I’m hoping a month of “I liked this book” or “I didn’t like this book” will help my word well to recharge.

Also, back to one Muppet movie/show a month; no more Sherlock tv series. I just can’t do multiple movie reviews regularly.

The Muppets Wizard of Oz (2005 Movie)

In my April ’22 Roundup & Ramblings post I mentioned that I’d heard this was a really bad Muppet’s movie, possibly the worst ever. After the struggle it was to write the Sherlock Posts I felt it would be a relief to really dig into something and eviscerate it mercilessly.

Unfortunately, this didn’t turn out to be THAT kind of bad movie. This was exactly in the same vein as Muppets from Space, ie, childish, stupid and not one whit funny. But this was even more vanilla and even more boring than From Space. From Space at least had a few laughs. Wizard of Oz? I don’t think I cracked a smile even once.

Ashanti, playing Dorothy Gale, had ZERO chemistry with the muppets. This was the first movie where every single original Muppeteer was gone (as far as I can tell), so that might have played a part, but it was evident that Ashanti was used to being the center of attention and to diminish that by allowing the Muppets to be the stars was more than she could handle.

There were things that SHOULD have been funny. Miss Piggy as the 4 Witches, each with their own costume and personality, well, it should have been funny. It wasn’t. Like I noted before though, nothing was outright bad. It was just boring as all get out. I usually watch these movies 2-3 times to make sure I’m not missing anything (I watch it the first time to just enjoy it. The second time to get ideas about reviewing and a 3rd if I need clarification on something). With this one, I watched it once and said “good enough” because any more would be interrogating myself enhancedly! and as I’m a bona fida genuina Americhino Citizen, we simply can not have that.

I would only recommend this to a Muppet Completionist. Every one else? Go watch something else, ANYTHING else. If I may make a suggestion? Go watch Tron. Broaden your lumpy modern mind with something classic and good.

The Gathering Flame ★☆☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Gathering Flame
Series: Mageworlds #4
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 371
Words: 136K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

The Mageworlds are plundering the civilized galaxy. One planet at a time. First, their scoutships appeared above the outplanets. Raiding parties followed, then whole armadas bent on loot and conquest. The Mages break the warfleets that oppose them. They take entire planets. Who can stop them?

Not Perada Rosselin, Domina of Entibor. She’s the absolute ruler of a rich world and all its colonies, but Entibor’s space fleet is too small to mount a defense. And Perada herself, just back from school on distant Galcen, is almost an outworlder in her own court.

Not Jod Metadi, the most famous – or notorious – of the privateers of Innish-Kyl. Jos can fight the Mages and he can best them one on one, but his preferred targets are cargo vessels, not the dangerous and unprofitable ships of war. Metadi stays clear of the Mageworlds’ battle fleet – when he can.

Not Errec Ransome. He understands the Magelords better than anyone. But there are some things he’ll never tell – and some things he’s sworn to himself that he’ll never do again.

Now, the Mages have attacked Entibor. That was their first mistake…

My Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this prequel about the parents of the characters in the previous three books. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much and in some ways I was very disappointed.

Perada’s two sons aren’t Joss Metadi’s. They were conceived for political reasons. In fact, one of them is Eric Ransome’s and Metadi just shrugs it off. I REAAAAALLLLY disliked both parts of that.

By the end of the book Entibor is a slag heap and the mages did it by using hundreds of mage circles on Entibor to move the tectonic plates and thus destroy the surface of the planet. It was pretty cool if you think about it.

Then there were the 2 women who I thought were just friends. So that line got crossed and put the authors on my to avoid list. Honestly, I’m almost glad that happened so I didn’t have to muster up some fake enthusiasm to continue on with the rest of the series.

While this series started really strong for me, it has gone downhill with each successive book and with this one stepped right off the cliff face. Well, time to go find another series to try.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

And On the Eighth Day ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: And On the Eighth Day
Series: Ellery Queen
Authors: Ellery Queen
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 128
Words: 55.5K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

It’s April 1944 and Ellery Queen has been working for the military making films in Hollywood. Driving through Death Valley on his way home, his car breaks down. Stumbling over a rise in the desert, he encounters an odd man who seems to come from an earlier time, and is welcomed into his community as a sort of prophet. Queen must root out a growing corruption while operating within the limits of an alien world and comes to the realization that evil can invade the most guarded of people’s hearts and societies.

My Thoughts:

Really? Ellery is an idiot, gets lost in the desert, comes across a cultic commune and solves a murder mystery that would destroy the commune if the cult leader had let it and then he just leaves? And once the murder took place, even “I” knew what had really happened (the cult leader covering for his protege so as to not leave the commune without a leader in the coming years) but good ol’ (c)elery for brains couldn’t? Sure, he’s supposed to be exhausted from writing propaganda during WWII, but come on!

This was a real mix bag of Christian aphorisms mixed with actual Scripture from the Bible mixed with pagan philosophy while referencing such people as Josephus and Pliny (the Elder or the Younger not being specified).

I did not enjoy this. I’ve decided that unless the next Queen book is a 4.5star read and completely blows me out of the water, that I’ll be done with this series.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

ps,

I have NO idea what that cover is supposed to convey. I didn’t like this book and so I chose the most unappealing cover I could find for it. If you like this cover, please drop me a comment telling me why and giving me your doctor’s name and number so I can get you some emergency psychiatric care.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5 ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 42
Words: 2.5K



Synopsis:

The Boys materialize on a different planet right in the middle of a firefight between some security goons and a robot named Honeycutt. They escape with Honeycutt as he has the knowledge of creating another Transmat. Unfortunately, Honeycutt is kidnapped by the Triceratons (triceratop aliens in space suits) and there is a running battle between the Federal Troops (the security goons) and the gun wielding triceratops. The boys manage to sneak aboard the spaceship of the Triceratons and the issue ends with the ship docking at a mobile weaponized asteroid and the cargo bay they are in being depressurized (hence they’re running out of air).

My Thoughts:

Having a color cover is really nice. I hadn’t realized how much of a difference it made until I compared this one to the previous one. The insides are still Number 2 pencil in black and white though.

The story is great and while I’d normally rant or complain about the extreme ramp in the action (I mean, we’re only in the 5th issue and we’re already on another world?), it just worked. The pacing carried on from the previous issue and it felt good.

Then you have Triceratops in spacesuits that are some kind of commando warriors. Reminded me of the Judoon from the tv series Dr Who. I’ve included a page here because I think they just look cool.

I feel like I’ve made that “connection” to this comic that is needed for a long term commitment to it. I’m happy about that as without it this series would have gone down the same path as Silver Sable or even Spawn. No need to do that to myself again! I’m looking forward to the next issue already 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The King in Yellow Tales ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@50%

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The King in Yellow Tales
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #3
Editor: Joseph Pulver
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 249 DNF/125
Words: 77.5K DNF/39K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

Collected within this substantial volume of madness, murder, and spectral tragedy are tales of Carcosa, the characters that inhabit the KIY “Play”, and Chambers’ cosmic horror. Pulver’s tales adhere to Chambers’ core ideas and themes, and they retain all the mystery of Chambers originals. Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. has been acclaimed by many notable editors, writers, and reviewers, as the contemporary heir to Robert W. Chambers’ “King in Yellow”. Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

“‘The King In Yellow’ reigns over the labyrinthine crossroads between the grand indifference of the cosmic Outside, and the inner wasteland of the tormented mind, so it’s no surprise to find Joe Pulver’s saturnine face so frequently behind the Pallid Mask. Joe plies the fathomless depths of existential nightmare breathing music and poetry, and brings back strangely beautiful salvage. That he has so lovingly and deeply explored Chambers’ bizarre pocket universe without destroying the merest scintilla of its mystery is ample testament to his painfully sharp craftsmanship and terrible wisdom.

My Thoughts:

It turns out this was a collection of madness in the form of frenetic poetry and fragments of prose. I thought I could make it through, surviving on the prose but at the 50% mark I simply couldn’t take any more.

I was bored, confused and feeling like someone was grinding broken glass into my earlobes. Not the feeling I want when reading a book. Heck, not the feeling I want, ever.

After the previous book, this was doubly disappointing.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Blandings Castle and Elsewhere ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Blandings Castle and Elsewhere
Series: Blandings Castle #5
Authors: PG Wodehouse
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 229
Words: 82.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The first six stories all take place at the book’s namesake Blandings Castle; they are set some time between the events of Leave it to Psmith (1923) and those of Summer Lightning (1929). Lord Emsworth of Blandings Castle is depicted as a gentleman farmer, growing prize pumpkins and especially concerned with his prize pig, Empress of Blandings; he is also concerned with his nieces and nephews as well as the love life of his younger son Freddie Threepwood. The seventh story concerns Bobbie Wickham, an acquaintance and sometime fiancée of Bertie Wooster, who also appears in three of the stories in Mr Mulliner Speaking. The last five are narrated by Mr Mulliner and are set in Hollywood among the movie studios that Wodehouse knew from his time as a screenwriter in 1930–31.

For more detailed synopses, please visit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blandings_Castle_and_Elsewhere

My Thoughts:

A nice light collection of short stories. The Blandings Castle short stories were everything I could have wanted and were close to a 4.5star rating. Sadly, the rest of the short stories about others aren’t as good. In fact, the one with Bobbie Wickham annoyed me to no end. Wickham is the most annoying girl ever and I didn’t like her in the Jeeves & Wooster stories and I certainly didn’t like her here. The hollywood movie stories simply reinforced my views on Hollywood as a den of iniquity that makes Mos Eisley look like a convent by comparison.

I had dipped my toes back into the Gulag Archipelago this past weekend as I was feeling pretty good after reading MHI Bloodlines and I was only able to get through 5 percent on my kindle before I had to stop. Even One Piece yesterday didn’t really get me out of the funk it put me in. Thankfully, this did the trick. Not that I’m recommending that course of action to any of you, but if you do ever decide to read Gulag, then have some lighter material on hand, you’ll sorely need it.

And I’m done. I’m getting worded out here folks. It is a good thing it is almost the end of the month. I’ll have to come up with some sort of plan to change things for June. That gives me just over a week to think of something and talk about it in the monthly roundup & ramblings.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hope!! ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Hope!!
Series: One Piece #22
Arc: Baroque Works #11
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 188
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“1”

“The Leaders”

“4:15 p.m.”

“Hope!!”

“Water Luffy”

“Nico Robin”

“The Royal Mausoleum”

“Crocodile-ish”

“Red”

“The Sand-Sand Band’s Secret Fort”

Despite his agents’ defeats, Crocodile is still confident that his plans to take over the kingdom are nearing fruition. With Alabasta embroiled in a civil war of his own design, Crocodile needs only to destroy both warring parties in one fell swoop to take control of the country. Knowing that a cannon is the most practical way of fulfilling this purpose, Nefertari Vivi and the Straw Hat Pirates try to find its hiding place before it is too late. Meanwhile, Crocodile searches for Pluton, forcing King Cobra to lead him and Nico Robin to an ancient stone called a Ponegliff underneath the castle. But when Nico Robin says the Ponegliff has no information on the Pluton, Crocodile tries to kill her and escape before his cannon is fired. Monkey D. Luffy, having recovered and learned from their previous encounter, engages Crocodile in battle.

My Thoughts:

Now, with LESS Vivi. Oh thank goodness. She and Sir Crocodile have a little dialogue back and forth and I actually found myself agreeing with him simply because I disliked Vivi so much. Ughh, I don’t like being in that position.

Everybody is pretty much kung-fu fighting everybody else and the Navy gets involved helping the Straw Hats pirates and the Loyalists and the Rebels try to reconcile all the while the forces of Baroque Works are causing chaos and destruction AND there is supposed to be a bomb that goes off at 4:30pm which will leave a crater 3miles wide.

Luffy ends up fighting Sir Crocodile AGAIN while everybody else looks for the bomb or the mechanism to set it off. We get a smidgeon of back story on Nico Robin, the infamous Ms All Sunday who while being Sir Crocodiles #1 helper has also helped the Straw Hats in previous volumes. The following picture pretty much sums up the kerfluffle between Crocodile and Luffy.

The volume ends with Luffy and Crocodile having their final showdown and about 30seconds before the big bomb goes off. Oh no, the suspense is KILLING me. Hohohoho….

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Great Game (Sherlock TV 2010)

This was a fantastic episode. This is where Moriarty is officially introduced and my goodness, does he make an entrance. He finally confronts Sherlock by forcing Sherlock to solve one mystery after another without a letup and the hook is that if Sherlock fails, an innocent will be blown to smithereens by a bomb vest. It is tense, fast and non-stop.

Unfortunately, the gay innuendo is non-stop as well. From Moriarty’s little “love” letters to Sherlock, to Moriarty pretending to BE gay to the continued two guys can’t be friends schtick. I had not remembered it being so blatant or so non-stop. It just felt unrelenting.

Dave asked me some questions, so without further ado:

  • What do you think of Moriarty’s portrayal during this episode? Does he come of as clever as he thinks he is? Do you consider him a threat with all that pomp and show and tell tactics?

He’s definitely a show-off but his little game makes me feel that he IS as clever as he thinks he is. He’s just a crazy psycho too.

That being said, Moriarty was the absolutely PERFECT villain. When that light hearted charming facade switches off and you see the evil monstrous man, oh boy, watch out. His little tantrum while talking to Sherlock while Watson is wearing a bomb vest was like a light turning off and darkness just spreading through the whole room. The cliffhanger ending would have been annoying back in the day but with the series finished, anyone now can simply pop in the next disc (or stream it if they’re extravagantly and filthy rich) and voila, the journey continues.

  • What did you feel about the overall episode.

While I enjoyed watching this, as a nice little break from the Muppet related stuff, overall it was not worth the energy to review. Movies are a whole different beast from books and it takes a different mentality to review them. I haven’t had a lot of practice and so the strain on my moral fibre is incredible. If I watch any more of the series I won’t be blogging about it.

  • Do you think the cat and mouse game between good and bad was well done? If so what stood out, if not, what did you find annoying?

The rivalry between Moriarty and Sherlock was definitely changed for a tv show. Like I mentioned above, it was almost too frenetic for me. And Sherlock thriving on it and losing sight of the goal of bringing a criminal to justice wasn’t very likeable or heroic in my opinion.

  • Do you also keep severed heads in your kitchen fridge?😆

Hahahahahaa! That was just so ridiculous that I actually laughed at it.

Dave has his own review up HERE.