Archive | May 2013

Announcement: Upcoming Blurb Blitz Blog Tour

ANNOUNCEMENT: Goddess Fish Promotions will be sponsoring a promotional blog tour for my book, “Drasmyr,” starting on 6/17/13 and running through 7/19/13. More details will be made available as it shapes up. It is a strictly promotional tour, meaning that every visit will be limited to excerpts from my book and a book blurb. The blog tour schedule is currently under construction. As of this writing, we’ve filled fourteen slots of the twenty available. During the tour, I’ll be posting links to the blog host of the day as they occur.

Finally, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a Reaper metal miniature, specifically, a Dark Heaven Legends version of Dracula. It is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming.

Blog Tour Schedule

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Old Movie Review: Skyfall (2012)

The latest installment in the James Bond 007 series, entitled “Skyfall,” starring Daniel Craig, continues the tradition of the incorrigible secret agent we’ve all come to love. I normally react reasonably well to Bond films. There’s usually plenty of action and adventure to keep me interested. The occasional explosion, an over-active specimen of wildlife, and various clever feats involving physical dexterity or intellectual acumen. And, of course, there are oodles and oodles of gorgeous women. That certainly doesn’t hurt.

 

The movie begins with a bang … James Bond is inadvertently shot by a fellow agent when a mission they are on turns sour. The bad guy escapes with a list of all the secret agents involved with NATO who are currently embedded in terrorist organizations throughout the world. And, of course, to add character conflict it was the mysterious “M” who gave the go ahead for the nearly fatal shot. Although Bond survives his injuries, he takes a little bit of time off (I think on the order of several months, but I’m not sure), before he returns to London to save his country from the sinister mind bent on its ruin.

 

What follows is an intriguing spy-chase that takes Bond from London to Shanghai and elsewhere. There’s a lot of computer hacking going on … well, it is a modern Bond. I always find it amusing how Hollywood represents computer conflicts. Code is generally not photogenic; so, we are usually given some kind of visual metaphor as an enticing substitute. I guess I can’t complain; it works well enough. Anyway, that’s getting a little sidetracked. Back to the review.

 

The movie is typical Bond: beautiful women, a few (only a few this time) special gadgets to aid the secret agent, and lots of gunfire and chases. Great stuff. Oh, and there’s also a few Komodo Dragons to boot. And, of course, someone has to be eaten by one said dragon.

 

Overall, the acting was good; the plot was good; the special effects were good; but it just didn’t grab me for some reason. Maybe I’m outgrowing Bond movies or something. The shootout at the end seemed mundane and unsurprising even though (spoiler alert) they ultimately killed off a major character. I don’t know what it was … maybe the setting. The moor just seemed too grey and dismal. I didn’t like it. But that seems to be an odd reason to dislike a movie. Actually ‘dislike’ is too strong a term. It was okay, but I’ve seen better Bond movies.

 

Overall, I’ll give this movie three and a half out of five stars.

Book Review: The Unsuspecting Mage: The Morcyth Saga Book One

“The Unsuspecting Mage” is book one of the seven book series, The Morcyth Saga, by Brian S. Pratt. It tells the story of James, a high school student from our very own Earth who, when he answers an unusual ad in the paper, finds himself thrust into a strange and dangerous unknown world with little to help him except a short book on magic (which he quickly loses—of course).

 

The story is pretty straightforward. James needs to return home, but he has no idea how to get there. He’s given some clues on what he’s wanted for in this world by a strange little impish creature that keeps showing up to “help” him. Other than that, he’s on his own. Eventually, he finds himself on a quest for information regarding the good god Morcyth whose religion was wiped out several centuries ago. This leads him from city to city across the land with a young boy named Miko to accompany him. He makes a few enemies (and a few friends) along the way. The book reaches its climax in a besieged city called the City of the Light. I won’t spoil the ending.

 

Overall, I found this book to be … unexceptional. That is what describes it best. It wasn’t awful by any stretch of the imagination; I was able to read it without too much difficulty over the course of a week or so. However, the writing wasn’t good enough to persuade me to get the next book in the series.

 

Strengths: there are a couple: most notably the positive moral character of the main character James. He comes across as a decent enough guy who makes morally decent decisions. That can be a plus or a minus depending upon the reader. Sometimes, he seemed almost too much of a goodie-two-shoes (or is it goodie-too-shoes?), in an unrealistic way—he always had sage advice and a willingness to go out of his way to help people to whom he owed nothing.

 

Weaknesses: there were a few. Most notable, the work (at least the version I got) was riddled with typos. And some of them were quite serious—entire missing words and whatnot. It got kind of annoying after a while. Also, and this may even be more significant, there was very little tension. Most of the people he encounters in his travels are normal everyday-types who aren’t out to hurt anybody, or deceive anybody; there are one or two exceptions, but they are mostly on the periphery. It doesn’t make for an exciting story. There was a lot of useless dialogue consisting of “Hi. How are you?” “Oh, I’m fine. And you?” and similar type stuff.

 

On a side note, the book is written in present tense. That can work, sometimes, if it’s done correctly. In this case, I think it averages out to be a neutral, adding nothing special to the work, nor taking too much away.

 

Overall, I’ll give this work two and half, or maybe three stars, out of five, if I’m feeling generous.

 

This review was originally posted on Smashwords on 3/31/13.

Announcement: Upcoming Blurb Blitz Blog Tour

ANNOUNCEMENT: Goddess Fish Promotions will be sponsoring a promotional blog tour for my book, “Drasmyr,” starting on 6/17/13 and running through 7/19/13. More details will be made available as it shapes up. It is a strictly promotional tour, meaning that every visit will be limited to excerpts from my book and a book blurb. The blog tour schedule is currently under construction. As of this writing, we’ve filled thirteen slots of the twenty available. During the tour, I’ll be posting links to the blog host of the day as they occur.

Finally, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a Reaper metal miniature, specifically, a Dark Heaven Legends version of Dracula. It is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming.

Blog Tour Schedule

Movie Review: Iron Man 3

I saw Iron Man 3 last week. It continues (or perhaps completes) the saga of Tony Stark, billionaire industrialist, and super-hero crime-fighter, a.k.a Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr.). And, of course, no super-hero is complete without a super-villain to oppose him. In this installment of the series, the villain in question is the Mandarin, a slippery and insidious terrorist of unknown origin who has the entire country on alert. He is widely-known for hacking national broadcasts and issuing threats and ultimatums to the country and the President of the United States. However, no one can seem to find him. He is an enigma, a ghost, lurking about every corner waiting to strike.

 

Then, one of Tony’s friends is injured in what is believed to be a strike by the Mandarin. Tony Stark, in a brash fit of anger challenges the Mandarin in the press, and even gives out his home address. The Mandarin promptly rises to the challenge and blows up Tony’s house, nearly killing him in the process. But that is just the beginning. Now the gloves are off and it is Iron Man versus the Mandarin. But first, Tony must find his foe. He tracks him across the country searching for the elusive villain’s lair. Slowly, he begins to unravel the clever web of deceptions the Mandarin has built to protect his identity. It all culminates in an enormous climactic battle between the two men … and a lot of iron man suits. Pepper Potts is placed in danger, as is the President. Will Tony emerge triumphant? Or will Iron Man finally go down in flames. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

 

Strengths: well, it was a solid action movie. The special effects were excellent, the explosions were numerous (perhaps, too numerous at times), and the story-line was clear and relatively easy to follow. I liked the twist it had. The villain was portrayed as truly formidable, yet his origin was explained in a plausible way (insofar as super-hero movies can be plausible). Weaknesses: as noted above, there may have been a few too many explosions. Although the movie was decent, I wouldn’t call it great. I opted not to join friends for a second viewing, and the only reason I might purchase it in the future is to complete my collection. I’m not quite sure what it was, but the movie was lacking something. Perhaps, I have just outgrown the super-hero type movie (I am forty-one, after all). Explosions and fist fights are only so entertaining for so long.

 

Ultimately, I’ll give this movie three and a half stars out of five.

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