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.

Esio Trot ★★★✬☆

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: Esio Trot
Authors: Roald Dahl
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Short Story
Pages: 14
Words: 4.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Mr Hoppy is a shy elderly man who lives alone in an apartment, tending to his many plants, which have been the centre of his life since he retired from his job in a bus garage several years before. For many years, he has had a secret love whose name was Mrs Silver. She lives in the flat below his, and he frequently leans over his balcony and exchanges polite conversations with Mrs Silver, but his courage fails him whenever he prepares to hint at his true feelings for her.

Mrs Silver has a small pet tortoise, Alfie, who is the centre of her world. One morning, Mrs Silver mentions to Mr Hoppy that even though she has owned Alfie for many years, he has only grown a tiny bit and has gained only 13 ounces in weight. She confesses that she wishes she knew of some way to make her little Alfie grow into a larger, more dignified tortoise. Mr Hoppy suddenly thinks of a way to give Mrs Silver her wish and win her heart.

Mr Hoppy tells Mrs Silver that he — in fact — knows a way to make a tortoise grow bigger. He writes the following words on a slip of paper, and lowers it down to Mrs Silver:

ESIO TROT, ESIO TROT,

TEG REGGIB REGGIB,

EMOC NO, ESIO TROT,

WORG PU, FFUP PU, TOOHS PU,

GNIRPS PU, WOLB PU, LLEWS PU!

EGROG! ELZZUG! FFUTS! PLUG!

TUP NO TAF, ESIO TROT, TUP NO TAF,

OG NO, OG NO, ELBBOG DOOF.

Mr Hoppy explains that these magic words, when whispered in Alfie’s ear three times a day, will cause Alfie to grow bigger and bigger. Mrs Silver is doubtful, but agrees to try. (The words are, reversed, Tortoise, tortoise, get bigger bigger! Come on, tortoise, grow up, puff up, shoot up! Spring up, blow up, swell up! Gorge! Guzzle! Stuff! Gulp! Put on fat, tortoise, put on fat! Go on, go on, gobble food!)

Over the next few days, Mr Hoppy carries out the second part of his plan. He visits every pet shop in the city, and buys many tortoises of various sizes, but none that weigh less than 13 ounces. Mr Hoppy brings all the tortoises back to his flat and installs them in a makeshift corral in his living room. Next, Mr Hoppy builds a special tool to help him snatch the tortoise from Mrs Silver’s balcony. He fastens a handle to the end of a long metal tube, and a tiny claw at the bottom. By pulling the handle, the arms of the claw gently open and close.

The following day, when Mrs Silver left for work, Mr Hoppy selects a tortoise from his living room that weighs exactly 15 ounces. He carefully picked Alfie up from the lower balcony, and exchanged him with the new tortoise. When Mrs Silver returned home, she faithfully whispers the magic words in Alfie’s ear, but does not notice that an exchange has been made.

Over the next 8 weeks, Mr Hoppy continues to switch Mrs Silver’s current pet with a slightly larger tortoise, but she still does not perceive that her pet is growing in size. One afternoon, Mrs Silver comments to Mr Hoppy that Alfie seems a bit bigger, but can not tell for sure. Suddenly, Mrs Silver notices that Alfie can no longer fit through the door to his house, and exclaims to Mr Hoppy that his spell is sure to be working. Mrs Silver runs inside and weighs her pet, and is surprised to find that Alfie now weighs 27 ounces, more than double the weight he was before. Mr Hoppy summons his courage and asks Mrs Silver if he can come down and see the effect for himself. Mrs Silver, in raptures over her pet’s transformation, gladly grants his request.

Mr Hoppy runs down the stairs, nervous and excited to be on the brink of winning Mrs Silver’s love. Mrs Silver flings open the door, embraces Mr Hoppy, and expresses her admiration for Mr Hoppy’s magical spell. However, the tortoise cannot fit in the house now, so Mr Hoppy tells Mrs Silver to say the magic spell properly. On the next night he secretly replaces this tortoise with one slightly smaller one. His part works splendidly, and Mr Hoppy, suddenly emboldened by Mrs Silver’s warm smile, asks Mrs Silver for her hand in marriage. Mrs Silver delightedly accepts Mr Hoppy’s proposal, then adds that she thought he would never get around to asking. “All due to Alfie!” she cries.

Mr Hoppy secretly returns all the tortoises in his living room back to their respective pet shops, telling all the owners that they didn’t need to pay. Mr Hoppy and Mrs Silver are happily married a few weeks later. The “original” Alfie is bought by a girl called Roberta Squibb after he is returned to a pet shop; moreover, after many years, he does indeed grow to double his size before.

My Thoughts:

You know, I ended up thinking the EXACT SAME THING as I did when I read this in ’12. An overly complicated solution to something that could have been sorted out in 5minutes. That’s not necessarily bad, but I was hoping for a new revelation (as it were).

Of course, being a short story of just 14 pages (with pictures mind you), it’s hard to get to the bones of the story, as it doesn’t have any 😀

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Three ★★★★☆

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: Three
Series: Legends of the Duskwalker #1
Authors: Jay Posey
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 329
Words: 121K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

The world has collapsed, and there are no more heroes.

But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantle of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise.

My Thoughts:

When I read this back in ’14 I wasn’t even using half stars yet, officially anyway. I gave Three a “strong” 4 and waxed fulsome about it. So I went into this re-read with a bit of hesitation, as I am realizing that my first impressions that are outstandingly positive don’t always hold up that well.

Thankfully, this still got a 4star rating. However, it wasn’t a “strong” 4 like last time. With this re-read it was more evident to me that this was Posey’s debut (I believe). Descriptions felt a little rough and simplistic, like a charcoal drawing as opposed to a number 2 pencil drawing. What really did bug me this time was just how unexplained the world was. I realize that was deliberate but I did want more and I didn’t get it. So I’m going to complain.

In that regards, I had a lot more questions. The “well, what about X” kind of questions. By not knowing how things worked, or didn’t, I couldn’t figure stuff out on my own. My biggest question is why humanity hadn’t gone after the Weir. If they are reanimated humans but something different, where do they come from, how do corpses get Weir’ized and what are their weaknesses? I could understand if the Weir were a new thing or something, but apparently they’ve been around for the whole of Three’s life? If I were to hand you a machete and told you to cut down that 14inch oak tree, or we were going to die, you’d whack away for all you are worth. If you didn’t know any better. The correct response would be to hand the machete back to me and tell me to give you the flipping full size axe I was hiding behind my back. If you know the problem, you can figure out the right answer.

I must also admit that this read has been colored by the more recent books put out by Posey. He abandoned a second series and the third one he has started did not work for me at all. I’m carrying all of that baggage this time around whereas I didn’t have to on the first go-around.

Overall, I enjoyed this but it wasn’t as awesome as last time. Whether that is because it really wasn’t or because I’ve changed, etc, I can’t tell. I’m going to hold off on recommending this or not until I’ve re-read the whole trilogy and see how the whole stands up.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Utopia ★★★✬☆

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: Utopia
Series: One Piece #21
Arc: Baroque Works #10
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 188
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

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

“Stalemate”

“Oh Come My Way Karate”

“2”

“Climate Baton”

“She Who Controls the Weather”

“Tornado Warning”

“Utopia”

“Cutting Steel”

“Mr. Bushido”

Sanji and Mr. 2 Bon Clay exchange blows, until Bon Clay discovers the sea cook’s weakness and he transforms to resemble Nami to distract him. Bon Clay dominates the fight, but Sanji is able to defeat him after exploiting Bon Clay’s vulnerability when he transforms. Nami fights Miss Doublefinger, partner of Mr. 1, and a Devil Fruit user who can create spikes anywhere on her body, during which she struggles with how to use her new Climate Baton weapon. Unfortunately, most of that weapon’s abilities are nothing more than magic tricks. One street further, Zoro battles Mr. 1, who possesses the ability to create blades anywhere on his body. Meanwhile, Vivi reaches Chaka, the acting captain of the royal guard, but before they can stop the fighting, Crocodile and “Ms. All-Sunday” Nico Robin arrive.

My Thoughts:

The fight between Sanji and Mr 2 had me laughing. Mr 2 can make himself look like anybody else and so he chooses Nami’s face to distract Sanji. While it was funny, the actual fight itself dragged on with Sanji and Mr 2 simply kicking at each other. I’m not a huge fan of drawn out fights with limbs and body parts whizzing all over the place with devil-fruit enhanced whizziness.

However! We DO find out why Sir Crocodile has been after the kingdom all along. Drum Roll Please! PLUTON. No idea what that is beyond it is supposed to be a super weapon. And King Cobra doesn’t know where it is. So Sir Crocodiles goal is to get this super weapon and forge a government that not even the world government can stop and thus become tyrant of the world. Pretty ballsy!

There’s more long drawn out fights that I skimmed through and finally got to the end of the volume. Can’t say I cared particularly one way or the other.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Mystery Cow ★★★✬☆

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 Mystery Cow
Series: Bone #9
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

Everybody now seems to be betting on the Mystery Cow instead of Gran’ma Ben, but Lucius talks to Wendell, Euclid, Johnathon Oaks, and Rory. They tell him about how that they are betting on the Mystery Cow instead of Gran’ma Ben, however Lucius tells them that Phoney Bone is playing them for a bunch of saps. They then demand that Phoney shows them the cow or they’ll take back their livestock and destroy his booth. When they go to see they hear a great deal of noise and racket, and are convinced they there is a monstrous cow inside. They head to the race, sure it will beat Gran’ma Ben. Meanwhile, Fone Bone meets Ted the Bug, who gives him advice on his romance with Thorn. Ted convinces Fone Bone to write love poems for Thorn. While he is making poems, the Two Rat Creatures attack him again, and he runs for his life.

My Thoughts:

Thorn gets jilted by Farmer Tom (Mr Muscles from the previous issue) as he explores the Fair with another dusky eyed woman. Thorn doesn’t seem too broken up about it though, so we’ll see if it has any lasting impact on the story.

Phoney. My goodness, I know I talk about him every issue but how has that guy survived this long? Of course, the group of people he’s shown to be scamming are a bunch of dimwits (Smith is such an urbanite and puts his ignorance about the country on display for all to see) and I can see them falling for Phoney’s line of bull. But some of these guys are BIIIIIG and I wonder that Phoney isn’t worried about one of them trying to take his head off with their fists after they realize they’ve been scammed.

Fone starts writing poetry out in the woods and it was as cliched as you could expect. Him getting kidnapped by the Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures amusing though. The issue ends with a picture of the area Fone had been writing in abandoned and his letter lying on the ground.

I have to admit, I’m in NO rush to get to the next issue. Part of that may be because I’ve read the whole series already and kind of know where things are going, but really, since I read this back in ’07 I’ve forgotten whole swathes of the plot and reading it this way (issue by issue instead of in one giant gulp) is like reading it for the first time all over again. Knowing that it is ended also helps curb any impatience I might have otherwise felt. This is not an action oriented series (unlike the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and so the slow pace I’m reading it at fits perfectly. I am on a slow boat to Boneville and am enjoying the scenery on the shore while drifting lazily down the river.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Showdown at Alubarna ★★★☆☆

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: Showdown at Alubarna
Series: One Piece #20
Arc: Baroque Works #9
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 207
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

“30 Million vs. 81 Million”

“Grand Line Level”

“Showdown at Alubarna”

“Alabasta Animal Land”

“Supersonic Duck Quiz”

“Roar”

“Squadron Leader Karoo”

“Moletown Block Four”

“Oh… Is That So?”

“4”

Luffy fights Crocodile; despite many hits, his opponent is unfazed. Crocodile, using his devil-fruit ability to dissolve and reintegrate whatever part of his body Luffy attacks, toys with him until he impales him through the chest with his prosthetic hook and buries him in the sand. The rest of the Straw Hats hurry to intercept the rebel army. They cross the desert on a giant crab, cross the river Sandora and are picked up on the other side by Karoo and his squad of spot-billed ducks. In front of the capital, the high-ranking Baroque Works agents try to intercept Vivi and are lured into the city by disguised Straw Hats. Vivi tries to stop the rebels, but the enraged army storms past her. She flees from Mr. 2, who chases her into the city (where Sanji comes to her rescue). On the other side of the city, Usopp and Chopper battle the agents Mr. 4 and Miss Merry Christmas.

My Thoughts:

This was just ok. Vivi is front and center as somehow she is the only one who can stop the rebels and get the country back on track. Her father, the king, appears to be a puling idiot and the advisors to the king are as dumb as him. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why everyone does what they do. Imagine Luffy without the charisma and twice as stupid.

We do get to see Team Luffy coming into their own. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the various fights presented (half the time I couldn’t tell what I was looking at), it was obvious that they had gelled as a team and had begun their own climb up the power ladder.

Even Usopp impressed me. I didn’t think that was possible.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A Study in Scarlet ★★★✬☆

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: A Study in Scarlet
Series: Sherlock Holmes #1
Author: Arthur Doyle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 150
Words: 43K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Part I: The Reminiscences of Watson

In 1881, Doctor John Watson has returned to London after serving in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. He is looking for a place to live, and an old friend tells him that Sherlock Holmes is looking for someone to split the rent at a flat at 221B Baker Street but cautions Watson about Holmes’s eccentricities. Holmes and Watson meet, and after assessing each other and the rooms, they move in. Holmes reveals that he is a “consulting detective” and that his frequent guests are clients. After a demonstration of Holmes’s deductive skills, Watson’s disbelief turns into astonishment.

A telegram requests a consultation in a murder case. Watson accompanies Holmes to the crime scene, an abandoned house on Brixton Road. Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade are already on the scene. The victim is identified as Enoch Drebber, and documents found on his person reveal that he has a secretary, Joseph Stangerson. On one wall, written in red, is “RACHE” (German for “revenge”), which Holmes dismisses as a ploy to fool the police. He deduces that the victim died from poison and supplies a description of the murderer. Upon moving Drebber’s body, they discover a woman’s gold wedding ring.

Holmes places notices in several newspapers about the ring and buys a facsimile of it, hoping to draw the murderer – who has apparently already tried to retrieve the ring – out of hiding. An old woman answers the advertisement, claiming that the ring belongs to her daughter. Holmes gives her the duplicate and follows her, but she evades him. This leads Holmes to believe that she was an accomplice, or perhaps the actual murderer in disguise.

A day later, Gregson visits Holmes and Watson, telling them that he has arrested a suspect. He had gone to Madame Charpentier’s Boarding House where Drebber and Stangerson had stayed before the murder. He learned from her that Drebber, a drunk, had attempted to kiss Mrs. Charpentier’s daughter, Alice, which caused their immediate eviction. Drebber, however, came back later that night and attempted to grab Alice, prompting her older brother to attack him. He attempted to chase Drebber with a cudgel but claimed to have lost sight of him. Gregson has him in custody on this circumstantial evidence.

Lestrade then arrives and reveals that Stangerson has been murdered. His body was found near his hotel window, stabbed through the heart; above it was written “RACHE”. The only things Stangerson had with him were a novel, a pipe, a telegram saying “J.H. is in Europe”, and a small box containing two pills. Holmes tests the pills on an old and sickly Scottish terrier in residence at Baker Street. The first pill produces no evident effect, but the second kills the terrier. Holmes deduces that one was harmless and the other poison.

Just at that moment, a very young street urchin named Wiggins arrives. He is the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars, a group of street children Holmes employs to help him occasionally. Wiggins states that he’s summoned the cab Holmes wanted. Holmes sends him down to fetch the cabby, claiming to need help with his luggage. When the cabby comes upstairs and bends for the trunk, Holmes handcuffs and restrains him. He then announces the captive cabby as Jefferson Hope, the murderer of Drebber and Stangerson.

Part II: “The Country of the Saints”

The story flashes back to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah in 1847, where John Ferrier and a little girl named Lucy, the only survivors of a small party of pioneers, are rescued from death by a large party of Latter-day Saints led by Brigham Young, but only on the condition that they adopt and live under the Mormon faith. Years later, a now-grown Lucy befriends and falls in love with a man named Jefferson Hope. However, Young forbids her from marrying outside the faith, and demands that she marry either Joseph Stangerson or Enoch Drebber, both sons of members of the church’s Council of Four. Ferrier, who has adopted Lucy and sworn to never marry his daughter to a Mormon, immediately sends word to Hope.

Lucy is given one month to choose between her suitors. Hope finally arrives on the eve of the last day and they all escape under cover of darkness. The Mormons intercept the escapees while Hope is away hunting, as their food had run out. Ferrier is killed while Lucy is forcibly married to Drebber and dies a month later from a broken heart. Hope breaks into Drebber’s house the night before Lucy’s funeral to kiss her body and remove her wedding ring. He swears vengeance on Drebber and Stangerson, but he begins to suffer from an aortic aneurysm, causing him to leave the mountains to earn money and recuperate. When he returns several years later, he learns that Drebber and Stangerson have fled Salt Lake City after a schism between the Mormons. Hope pursues them, eventually tracking them to Cleveland, then to Europe.

In London, Hope becomes a cabby and eventually finds Drebber and Stangerson. After the altercation with Madame Charpentier’s son, Drebber gets into Hope’s cab and spends several hours drinking. Eventually, Hope takes him to the house on Brixton Road, where Hope forces Drebber to recognize him and to choose between two pills, one of which is harmless and the other poison. Drebber takes the poisoned pill, and as he dies, Hope shows him Lucy’s wedding ring. The excitement coupled with his aneurysm causes his nose to bleed; he uses the blood to write “RACHE” on the wall above Drebber to confound the investigators. Stangerson, on learning of Drebber’s murder, refuses to leave his hotel room. Hope climbs in through the window and gives Stangerson the same choice of pills, but he is attacked and nearly strangled by Stangerson and forced to stab him in the heart.

Hope dies from his aneurysm the night before he is to appear in court. Holmes reveals to Watson how he had deduced the identity of the murderer, then shows Watson the newspaper; Lestrade and Gregson are given full credit. Outraged, Watson states that Holmes should record the adventure and publish it. Upon Holmes’s refusal, Watson decides to do it himself.

My Thoughts:

Back in the 90’s I’m 99% (see what I did there? Clever eh?) sure I read the entire Sherlock Holmes canon by Doyle. Fast forward a decade and I realized I didn’t have them reviewed and so began a desultory read through that lasted for all of 5 years and 4 books. I hadn’t begun my Reading Rotation yet and so everything was hit and miss. Well, fast forward to now and the Iron Fist of Bookstooge has set its sights on Sherlock.

Of course, I can’t really take all the credit. Dave started a Sundays with Sherlock series of posts back in late ’19 and that’s what actually got me thinking about Sherlock again. It’s just taken me this long to actually DO something about it 😀

This was written with the intention of introducing Holmes and Watson and as such, it does a very creditable job at it. The first part of the story is all from Watson’s view and sets the tone for the series as Watson as sidekick and observer. Holmes is actually pretty “normal” and while not playing a small part, plays a smaller part than I was expecting.

The shift of tone and narration in the second part was a bit jarring. There is no reason given for the abrupt change or lead in to help us know why we’re suddenly changing venues. It is not until part way through that we (ie, I) realize this is the backstory of the murderer and is setting up all of the reasons for him doing what has been chronicled so far. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the Mormons but if you know your history you’ll also know they don’t HAVE a pretty picture for a past. My personal experience with Mormons has been almost exclusively limited to those who have gotten out of that cult and their stories about the fear and coercion used to try to get them back are pretty scary. The only good thing I can say about them is that they have produced a pretty good crop of SFF writers like Timothy Zahn, Larry Correia and Orson Card. There might be more authors I enjoy who are also mormons that I don’t know about.

Once it is made evident why this backstory is being shown and why the murderer is doing what he’s doing, he moves out of the Monster in the Shadows territory to Sympathetic Character Taking Justice Into His Own Hands.

This was a good read and I am looking forward to the rest of the Sherlock Canon over the coming months and years. Whether he is or not, I consider Sherlock to be the foundation of the Mystery Genre and as such want to get it under my belt (much like my Shakespeare reads). These stories have stood the test of time and I think I am richer for reading them.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rebellion ★★★✬☆

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: Rebellion
Series: One Piece #19
Arc: Baroque Works #8
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 216
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

“Battlefront”

“Rainbase, the City of Dreams”

“The Kingdom’s Strongest Warrior”

“Beginning”

“Koza, Leader of the Rebels”

“Rebellion”

“Bananagator”

“Mr. Prince”

“Release”

“Rush

Karoo brings news of Crocodile’s treachery to the king, who decides to attack Rainbase and sends Pell (the country’s strongest soldier) to scout ahead. Smoker awaits the Straw Hats in Rainbase and chases several of them into Crocodile’s casino, where they fall through a trapdoor into a cage. After defeating Pell, Crocodile’s partner Miss All-Sunday captures Vivi and brings her to the casino; Baroque Works’ final plan is set in motion. The king is abducted, and the rebellion supplied with weapons. Mr. 2, impersonating the king, admits stealing the country’s rain. In response, the rebels attack the capital. Crocodile leaves the cage surrounded by his oversized crocodiles, while the room floods with water. Chopper lures Crocodile away from the casino, while Sanji enters it and fights the crocodiles. One of them spits out Mr. 3, and Sanji forces him to open the cage by creating a key. Smoker, aware of Crocodile’s plan, calls for reinforcements while the Straw Hats head for Alubarna. Luffy, however, stays behind to take on the warlord.

My Thoughts:

Vivi didn’t talk as much in this volume so I enjoyed that aspect a LOT more.

Baroque Works finally begin their big plan of destroying Alabastra (I’ll admit, I’m still not clear on the “why” or what Sir Crocodile hopes to accomplish by this) and that gives the Straw Hats a concrete enemy. Luffy is as brash and loudmouthed as he’s ever been and ends up leading the Straw Hats into a trap. Sanji rescues them and everyone but Luffy heads off to the capital to hopefully prevent a fight between citizens of the country. Luffy stays behind to fight Sir Crocodile.

While I had a decent time with this, circumstances going on around me definitely affected my enjoyment. I was doing my federal taxes and it didn’t go well. So maybe this would have been a 4star read at a different time? I don’t know. Life is too full to wait for “the perfect time” to read and sometimes a decent book gets overshadowed. That’s life.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Cave ★★★✬☆

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 Cave
Series: Bone #8
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

At the betting booth (which Phoney made himself), Phoney Bone convinces Euclid to bet one goat on the Mystery Cow (which is actually Smiley in a costume) instead of three shovels. Fone Bone arrives and questions Phoney about the rat creatures attacking Gran’ma Ben’s Farm. Phoney claims he has no idea why they did so but Fone Bone refuses to believe him. Smiley Bone has also arrived and has a unconvincing cow suit. Later at night, Thorn has a dream about her as a young child in the dragon’s cave. Right after she wakes up Fone Bone and tells him not to wake the others. She tells Fone Bone that she used to have this dream as a little girl, but it eventually stopped. After Fone Bone showed her the map she started having the dreams again, and she also claims that she drew the map. They decide to tell Gran’ma Ben about all this after this after the race, so she isn’t stressed out before the race.

My Thoughts:

The mystery thickens! Much like a gravy sauce in fact. We find out Thorn has been having dreams about the map that led the Bones into the forest and she thinks she is the one who drew it. We get hints that not only does Gran’ma Ben know the red dragon but that there is a whole slew of dragons that Thorn met as a little girl. Whom she was dropped off into by a mysterious robed stranger. I’m getting serious lost princess vibes here.

Phoney starts up a betting booth and is pushing everyone he can towards the Mystery Cow, which is just going to be Smiley in a homemade cow costume. Why Phoney thinks he is going to get away with this is beyond me. Considering how his antics got the Bones run out of Boneville, it’s very evident he hasn’t learned his lesson, not even one bit. The problem is that Fone and Smiley keep enabling him. What they need to do is leave him alone and let some villagers kill Phoney when he tries one of his scams on them. They won’t do that though so the scams keep on happening.

The issue ends with Fone advising Thorn to wake up Gran’ma Ben and talk about the map and her dreams. Thorn wants to defer it until after the cow race tomorrow. So you know something BAAAAD is going to happen because of that delay. It’s just like those horror movies where the kids hide in a shed filled with farm implements. Worst idea ever that never turns out well.

Reading this so slowly feels like I am getting a drip feed. At the same time, it is helping me to slow down and not gulp the whole story. While I might not remember a lot of details in 10 years, I am paying attention now, which wouldn’t happen if I was reading the Complete One Volume Bone like I did before. I’d liken it to sitting in a garden and watching Bob Ross paint his little broccoli trees.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator ★★★★☆

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: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Series: Charlie Bucket #2
Authors: Roald Dahl
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Pages: 117
Words: 32K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The story picks up where the previous book left off, with Charlie and family aboard the flying Great Glass Elevator after Willy Wonka has rewarded him with the ownership of his chocolate factory. The Elevator accidentally goes into orbit, and Mr. Wonka docks them at the Space Hotel USA. Their interception of the hotel is mistaken by approaching astronauts and hotel staff in a Commuter Capsule and listeners on Earth (including the President of the United States) as an act of space piracy and they are variously accused of being enemy agents, spies and aliens. Shortly after their arrival, they discover that the hotel has been overrun by dangerous, shape-changing alien monsters known as The Vermicious Knids. The Knids cannot resist showing off and reveal themselves by using the five hotel elevators (with one Knid in each of them) and spell out the word “SCRAM”, giving the group time to evacuate. As the group leaves, a Knid follows the Great Glass Elevator and tries to break it open, but to no avail, which results in the Knid receiving a bruise on its backside and hungering for payback.

Meanwhile, with the Great Glass Elevator’s passengers gone, the President allows the Commuter Capsule to dock with the Space Hotel. Upon entry by the astronauts and the Space Hotel staff, the Knids attack by eating fourteen of the staff, prompting an immediate evacuation by the rest of the group. The Great Glass Elevator comes back just in time to see the entire Knid infestation coming in on the attack, bashing the Commuter Capsule to the point where the retrorockets cannot be fired to initiate immediate reentry and the communication antenna cannot keep the astronauts in communication with the President. Charlie suggests towing the Commuter Capsule back to Earth, and, despite a last attempt by the Knids to tow the two craft away to their home planet Vermes, in the process the Knids are incinerated in Earth’s atmosphere. Mr. Wonka releases the Commuter Capsule, while the Elevator crashes down through the roof of the chocolate factory.

Back in the chocolate factory, three of Charlie’s grandparents refuse to leave their bed. Mr. Wonka gives them a rejuvenation formula called “Wonka-Vite”. They take much more than they need (4 pills instead of 1 or 2), subtracting 80 years (which reduces their age by 20 years per pill). Two become babies, but 78-year-old Grandma Georgina vanishes, having become “−2”. Charlie and Mr. Wonka journey to “Minusland”, where they track down Grandma Georgina’s spirit. As she has no physical presence, Mr. Wonka sprays her with the opposite of “Wonka-Vite” – “Vita-Wonk” – in order to age her again. Mr. Wonka admits that it is not an accurate way to age a person, but the spray is the only way to dose “minuses”. Upon leaving Minusland, they discover that Grandma Georgina is now 358 years old. Using cautious doses of Wonka-Vite and Vita-Wonk, the three grandparents are restored to their original ages.

Finally, the President of the United States invites the family and Mr. Wonka to the White House to thank them for their space rescue. The family and Wonka accept the invitation (including the grandparents who finally agree to get out of their beds) and prepare to leave.

My Thoughts:

When I read the Charlie Bucket books back in elementary, middle and high school, I always enjoyed The Great Glass Elevator more than Chocolate Factory. Back then I think it was because of the SF elements (space, spaceships, aliens, negative land, etc) in Elevator that simply weren’t in Factory. So when I read the duology this year (Chocolate Factory was read in January) I was expecting to like Elevator more once again. Imagine my surprise when I got done this book and realized that Chocolate Factory is not only the better book but also more enjoyable.

Part of that is that the premise to this book is beyond even ridiculous. It’s hilarious and I still love it, but it just hit me that it WAS ridiculous this time around and so my enjoyment was lessened. I wasn’t able to enter into the silliness like Dahl intended. The other thing that lessened my enjoyment was that the other 3 grandparents played a part in the story this time and they were stinkers. Made me shake my head and wonder how Charlie turned out so well.

Other than that, I enjoyed the ever living daylights out of this. Willy Wonka is a genius who is always in control no matter the circumstances and Charlie is a smart boy who THINKS before he reacts. More kids need examples like that in their entertainment.

Rating: 4 out of 5.