X Marks the Scot by Kaitlyn Dunnett

In Moosetookalook Maine we meet up with the owner of the Scottish Emporium, Liss MacCrimmon at an auction being held at the old Chadwick mansion. The mansion has been sold to a developer so all the items that belonged to the estate are being auctioned off. Liss is there in the hopes of purchasing a painting that will decorate her store.

Upon winning the painting, Liss soon discovers that a map has been hidden behind it. After an initial inspection, Liss realizes the map is old and may lead to a treasure once owned by the old wealthy family who lived in the Chadwick mansion.

After her discovery, Liss learns that there is a historian who knows a lot about the Chadwick family history and may have some insight regarding the map that she has found. She plans to meet him on her way to a planned business trip. When she gets to the historians location, she finds the historian murdered, and Liss suspects someone who knows about the map killed him.

X Marks the Scot by Kaitlyn Dunnett is an enjoyable book full of twist’s and turns that keep the story moving to a very enjoyable conclusion.

I have never read a cozy mystery before and decided to pick one up simply for the experience. Kaitlyn Dunnett has written several books featuring her sleuth; Liss MacCrimmon. All of them are Scottish inspired. In time I’d like to read more of Dunnetts work. If you are looking for a cozy mystery, I do suggest X Marks the Scot.

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Thanos; Titan Consumed by Barry Lyga

In a prequel to Marvels Infinity War, Barry Lyga writes a non-canon backstory of Thanos that illustrates how Thanos becomes the intergalactic warlord we know him to be in Marvel’s Avenger: Infinity War THANOS: Titan Consumed.

On Titan, Thanos is born with genetic mutations – purple skin and a series of vertical ridges on his face – that mark him as a deviant. Thanos is also born a genius. This combination causes Thanos to become an outcast. Purple is the color of death on Titan which causes citizens to fear him.

Thanos’ father A’Lars decides that what is best for Thanos is to have Thanos separated from society essentially for his own safety. A’Lars even goes and finds Thanos a friend to help him to stave off any loneliness that may occur in this imposed exile.

Through a series of events, Thanos realizes that Titan is facing an ecological disaster primarily due to over population. Thanos, using state of the art technology, presents a solution to this inevitable disaster directly to the citizens – that 50% of the population must die, if not, then the planet Titan itself will die. This presentation causes extreme fear to go through Titan – the punishment for causing this panic is to send Thanos into exile off the planet.

While in exile, Titan succumbs to the fate that Thanos had warned about. Upon learning this, Thanos goes on a mission to save planets in the universe from the same fate. He gives each planet an option; either they willingly kill off 50% of their population or Thanos would kill everyone on the planet.

This initially begins as a slow process, but Thanos soon learns of a faster way to save, essentially, the universe – or, at least every advanced civilization in the universe – and that is by collecting the infinity stones.

Overall the book is enjoyable despite several disturbing scenes that showcase how cold-hearted Thanos is. Barry Lyga’s ability to novelize comic book characters is phenomenal, (see Lyga’s recent middle grade Flash trilogy as an example). My primary critique however is in regards to the story itself. Since every advanced civilization is destined to the same catastrophic fate – doesn’t that suggest that this ‘fate’ isn’t unnatural but, rather, natural? Thanos can’t seem to discover one planet that an ecological disaster isn’t that outcome of civilization, therefore he believes the only way to save them all is to wipe out 50% of the population off of all of them.

Thanos epitomizes the type of ideology that you’d find on the Georgia Guidestones.

Thanos believes he is doing good, yet he also delights in being a destroyer of worlds. Thanos goes through a terrifying transformation through the book while on this self imposed mission. He becomes an example of the phrase, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” He believes the genocides that he is carrying out is the only viable option to an idealized universe. Thanos is never quite presented as pure villain or hero. His existence and self imposed duty lies in a moral gray area. His belief that destruction is the only way to save the universe seems contradictory – but Thanos doesn’t see it that way. He see’s it as the only way to bring balance back to universe and no one, not even his close friends can stand in his way of restoring this balance.

This book is certainly worth your time if you want to have an understanding of what made Thanos the type of being we know him today.

The Flash & Arrow Duology by Clay and Susan Griffith

We first meet up with Barry Allen (AKA the Flash) as he is going from vehicle to vehicle rescuing citizens from a horrific traffic accident. It is here in the midst of the chaos that we and the Flash first learn that something is not right with the Flash physiologically. This first reveals itself in the form of a tiny glitch that only the Flash is aware of. As we discover, along with the Flash, that there is something wrong inside the Flashes body we learn that Central City is under attack by a small group of metahumans.

As Pied Piper, Weather Wizard and Peekaboo carry out their attack on Central City, the Flash continues to experience glitches in his power that completely incapacitates him – often times in the midst of fights with various villains. These glitches that the Flash experiences are so troubling that the Flash and his team at S.T.A.R. Labs call on the help of Oliver Queen – the Arrow to defend Central City as they try to come up with a cure to save the Flash.

The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen and Arrow: A Generation of Vipers by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith makes an incredible duology. The first book is depicted from the Flashes perspective while the second is from Arrows perspective. The books share an over-arching story line – finding a cure for the Flashes near fatal glitches, yet independently carry within themselves self contained stories that pertain to the Flash and Arrow respectively. The books also explore the complexities of the two heroes friendship as they come to terms with their respective histories.

The Flash and Arrow have different philosophies when it comes to how they do their jobs in protecting their cities, and these differences play a strong role on how the story plays out. Arrows story centers around getting a device that will save The Flash from the glitches he is experiencing. Arrow also helps The Flash to cope with the glitches as they occur.

Each book in this duology clocks in at over 400 pages making this over all story quite the tome. Although I enjoyed the concept of these two books, I did find it difficult to find the same type of connection with Arrow in the second book that I did with the Flash in the first book. I always felt that there was some distance between myself and Arrow as I followed him around in the second book. Perhaps, due to the nature of Arrow, this was deliberate, but I felt it seriously slowed down the pacing of the story especially in the second book. I was thoroughly engaged with Barry Allen in the first book but I always felt like I was being kept at arms length with Oliver Queen in the second book.

I strongly recommend this duology especially if, like me, you enjoy stories involving The Flash. These books are based on the Warner Bros. series created by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns. If you enjoy the television series, I would also recommend these books.

 

I’m Back!

After a very long and very unplanned hiatus, I’m back! And I hope to be able to return to doing semi-regular reviews and updates once again. The reason for my extended absence was due to a combination of both my health and dealings with a terrible roommate. Although I’m still dealing with health issues, the terrible roommate who bears responsibility of sending me into an unyielding depression is gone. All I have to do now is pick up the mess he left me with and move forward.

While I was gone I read a lot of books – many of which I do plan on doing reviews of while I’m reading other books. For example I read what has become my new favorite book of all time that I really need to share. I also read plenty of books that I’d like to, at a minimum, have a discussion about since their subject matter was so thought provoking.

Assuming I am not faced with some unforeseen catastrophe, I have many plans for this blog and I want to direct as much energy towards it as I possibly can. I feel that there is potential with it and I should not let it go. I am currently in the midst of a 70 hour work week which has my free time severely limited, however I will do what I can to establish some sort of blogging schedule.

I hope you all are ready, because I feel that I am!

A NEW COMPUTER!

This morning I paid off the lay-a-way I had on a new computer and I’ve just completed setting it up! The computer is a HP All-in-One with a 19.5″ screen. It is the first desktop computer that I’ve ever owned and I am really liking it. The massive size difference between the small laptops that I was using and the new computer aren’t easy to adjust to – but I’ll manage.

all in oneI immediately downloaded three free open-source software programs for the computer so that I can start doing what I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. I have OpenOffice, Audacity and OpenShot so that I can start writing, putting together and podcast and editing videos for YouTube.

I am very excited about all of this. I just believe now that I need a larger desk which is a problem for another day!

So stay tuned – big things are coming!

An Update

Since October 8, I have had only two days off. I will have Thanksgiving and Friday off  from work, but then my next day off won’t be until Christmas. This is what my busy season at work looks like. I’ll work nearly 30 days in a row with out a day off. This type of work schedule is quite draining. Due to this I have a difficult time finding time to read – and when I do read, I just generally lack the energy to write up a review for the books.

Long story short – my blog will be a bit slow in regards to posts during the busy season at my work. Since October 8, I’ve only managed to read a book and a half – but this isn’t due to a lack of interest in reading as it is a lack of energy to read. My body tends to opt for sleep.

But my busy work schedule isn’t the only reason that posts are a lacking. My health has also tanked over the past several weeks. This is due to multiple reasons, but primarily because I’ve been under an extraordinary amount of stress. I have been feeling considerably better over the past several days which is great, but for a short while I was wondering if I should take myself to the ER.

More reviews will appear on this blog soon. I haven’t given up on my blog, life however is pulling me in a multitude of directions.

In other news I’m going to be getting myself a nice computer that offers me more opportunities than what I currently use (which is a Samsung Chromebook). My new computer will be a desktop all-in-one computer with a touch screen. Today I went out and got myself an ergonomic keyboard with the hope that it will help facilitate more writing.

We’ll see I suppose.

#Thursday @Quotables

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“I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’m gone which would not have happened if I had not come.”

— Salman Rushdie (Midnight’s Children)

#Thursday #Quotables

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“I just can’t help thinking what a real shake up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems…”

And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?” I demanded.

They’d die more like mad dogs, I think–snarling & snapping at each other & biting their own tails.”

I turned to Castle the elder. “Sir, how does a man die when he’s deprived of the consolation of literature?”

In one of two ways,” he said, “putrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system.”

Neither one very pleasant, I expect,” I suggested.

No,” said Castle the elder. “For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!”

― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Cat’s Cradle