Tag Archives: Books

He-man and the Masters of the Universe: Mini Comic Collection (2015)

I grew up in the 80’s and for me that was a time that I remember fondly for two things: saturday morning cartoons, and the wonderful toys that these cartoons got their inspiration from. When I was a kid I used to get up at about 7 o’clock in the morning on saturday, turn on the tv to Sky Channel and there it was: the program that set my young eyes alight: Fun Factory. For the first two hours or so, Fun Factory was okayish. But things became really interesting when the “big three” came on: M.A.S.K., He-man and Transformers. Ahhh..to think back on those days, even though they are so many years ago (jeezzzzz I really AM getting old), just brings a smile to my face. When you look at the cartoons from this era and compare them to the golden oldies from the 80’s one can only say that they just don’t make them like they used too. I was and still am a huge Transformers fan (like many kids back in those days). But one of the biggest rivals of Transformers, a dude with a big sword called He-man, honestly failed to impress me. I never bought a He-man toy, and I really did not enjoy the cartoon as much.

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This is a pretty big book alright.

Now, thirty years later, I came into posession of the complete series of He-man and the Masters of the Universe on dvd. And…I am loving it. For some reason I have found a new appreciation of the cartoon, but that is a story for another day. As is most often the case when I all of a sudden have a new obsession, I want to find out more about it. And that brings me to this incredible tome that was released a few years back by Dark Horse comics. He-man and the Masters of the Universe Mini Comic Collection reproduces the comics that came with the toys. Well as I was never interested in the toys in the first place I did not even know of the existence of these comics until I read about this book. The first thing you will notice is how thick this book is (and for that matter how much it weighs). With a massive 1232 pages it will take you a while to get through it all. So what exactly does this book offer you?

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Gotta love that retro comic book style.

This being a comic collection it will not come as a huge surprise when I tell you this humongous book contains comics, and a lot of them. Nearly 70 comics in total are collected here, ranging from the orginal 1982 toylines of He-man and his sister She-ra to a shortlived comic run that should have served as a revival for the series but never quite took off. Besides the comics themselves it also contains a wealth of background info on the series,  which includes interviews with some of the writers and pencilers that created these works of art. And I do mean art. As you might have noticed from a couple of the shots I have included in this post, there was some major talent involved when you like at the drawings alone. I love the oldschool style of some of these comics, and for anyone who grew up with comics in the 80’s it’s hard to not smile at the nostalgic feel of it all. At the start of this run, you could hardly speak of comics as they were more stories that were accompanied by pictures. Later the series evolved and became more traditional looking comics.

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The early comics could not really be called comics in the traditional sense of the word.

The art is good, but how are the stories themselves? Well, they range from totally awesome to downright sucky, if you will pardon my French. But overall though most of the comics are pretty cool. It’s classic good vs evil type of storytelling where He-man fights against his nemesis the evil lord Skeletor and his henchmen. A fun fact to know is that one of the comics was written by Robert Kirkman. If that name doesn’t ring a bell he is the creator of a little known comicbook/tv series called The Walking Dead. This being a kid show, are these comics any fun to read when you are an adult? Well, quite frankly yes. He-man always has been a series that targeted an audience of 12 years and older (and ofcourse younger children still watched it anyway because it was cool to do so), and as such some of the stories and comics depict some pretty gruesome creatures and situations. In fact one of the covers of these comics caused quite a big disturbance at the time of it’s release because it was very brutal and had parents all over the world in uproar.

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Gee, I wonder why parents got upset by this cover?

This book is absolutely amazing. If you have a warm heart towards 80’s cartoons, or a love for oldschool type comics, this is a collection that you just have to pick up. It isn’t even a very expensive book, and for the amount of stuff it contains it is well worth the price. It gives a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of these mini-comics and the amount of work that went into creating these. Even if you have never heard of He-man it’s worth checking it out, especially if you like fantasy type storytelling combined with some of the best art possible. Even though not all of the comics are of the same quality, you will get enough of a kick out of these to make you enjoy it, and forget about some of the lesser comics. In other words go and relive your childhood if you grew up with these cartoons, and buy this book. I promise you, you will not regret it. By the power of Grayskull: I HAVE THE POWERRRRRR!!!!!!

I give He-man the Masters of the Universe mini comic collection a 9 out of 10 score.

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The Cabinet of Curiosities, a novel by Preston&Child (2002)

If there is one thing I like in a novel, it’s when it completely makes you forget your surroundings or causes you to lose track of time. That is one of the highest levels of praise a book can receive, and if it manages to do that in some way, it is usually because it was written by an author that is an expert. And is also very skilled in torture. Huh? Torture? Well yes of course. Don’t you just hate it when you decided to read one more chapter before turning to sleep and end up reading five more because you just have to find out what happened to a certain character? That you just can’t stop, because if you do you feel like your mind just can’t take it anymore? Hence the torture part. I had previously read two other novels by Preston and Childs, The Relic and Reliquary, and they both featured a character that some describe as a modern day Sherlock Holmes. I’m talking about FBI Special Agent Pendergast, but I honestly don’t really see him like that. But more on that below. This third Pendergast novel though, takes you on a relentless rollercoaster ride, that doesn’t let up until you reach the final page. Not that the previous two novels weren’t good or anything, but this one takes things to a whole other level of excitement.

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The Cabinet of Curiosities starts off on a construction site in Manhattan where a ghastly discovery is made. A tunnel is unearthed that contains the mutilated bodies of 36 young people. All of the remains had parts of their spine remove. It is not before long that agent Pendergast arrives at the grissly scene together with Dr. Nora Kelly, an archeologist who works at the Museum of Natural History. She is very relucant at first to help him, as she finds the pale man a very strange and peculiar individual. Soon though her own curiosity gets the better of her, and she begins to try and discover the truth about what really happened. It soon becomes clear that all of the people have been murdered in a horrifying way almost 130 years ago. What the exact motive was of the killer is at first unclear. But the case becomes even more terrifying when it seems that the murders are starting up again. This has to be a copycat killer though right? With the police and the mayor trying to thwart Pendergast at every turn because of ulterior motives, it becomes increasingly more difficult for him and Kelly to solve the case. In the meantime the killings continue…..

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This was a book that I would like to call a real pageturner. It’s been quite a while since I have read a novel that had me gasping for breath at almost every page. But this one managed to achieve that, and then some. The writing style of Preston & Child is terrific. They manage to describe their scenes in a very vivid way, and crank up the tension to an almost unbearable level. Which is exactly how I like my books. No matter how great your story is, if you have characters that you don’t care about in any way, you will probably lose your audience. But the writer duo has you covered there as well, as it contains quite a number of indivuals that you will grow to love (as well as hate, for a few of them are pretty despicable indeed). But it’s agent Pendergast that is the driving force of this book, more so than in the previous installments. I’d like to think of him as kind of mix between Indiana Jones and Jack Bauer. He is mysterious, resourceful, tough as nails, while at the same time he has a very big heart that people might not notice right away.

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If I were to name some negative points to this books, it’s the use of quite a number of pretty difficult medical and forensic terms. My grasp of the English language is quite good, but there were a few times where I struggled to understand the meaning of certain terms. But luckily this never managed to put me off in any way, as the story is just too good for that. This novel can be read without having knowledge of the events of the earlier two books, although you will probably enjoy it even more if you have read those. If you like tense and gripping thrillers about serial killers, with a slightly supernatural edge to it, this is one book you should check out ASAP. It’s guaranteed to cause you some sleepless nights (in fact I dare you not to complete this one in one day: it really is that good). In closing I would like to dedicate this review to the wonderful Kim. She is truly an amazing individual who is someone that has always managed to inspire me with the posts she writes. Kind, positive and always there for other people are some of the qualities that describe her best. Go and check out her wonderful blog about the world of the written word. I promise you won’t regret doing so. As always, thank you for reading.

I give The Cabinet of Curiosities a 9 out of 10 score.

The 0903: Birthday Party, Competion Results & Blog Update

Let me start this post with a small apology on my part. As you know I announced a Short Blogging Hiatus, that I thought would only last for one week. But, unfortunately I won’t be back this week either, which means it is taking a bit longer than expected. But….it is my birthday today, and you know what I promised you when I announced the competition. Today, finally after a long wait, you can find the winners in each category below. Because really what better way is there to celebrate a birthday by giving away some presents! Congratulation to each winner! If you didn’t win, please don’t despair. There will be another competion somewhere in the future, so don’t give up. For everyone that entered, thank you for participating and for all the support that you have shown my blog. It is very much appreciated.

The Winners:

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There were 16 people that entered in this category. In the end it was J (yes that really is one letter, no typo on my part) that got selected by the random numbers generator and won the coveted Mikasa Figure. Congratulations J!

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The Book Category proved to be the most popular. I guess a lot of people were eager to find out who Raistlin is. But there can only be one winner and that is Biblionyan! Congratulations to you as well!

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It was the movie category that ultimately proved to be the least popular (which is strange as I absolutely love that Back to the Future book), with only 12 people entering it. In this final category the random number generator selected Karandi to take home the prize! Congratulations!

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A note to the three winners…

Well now the only thing left is for me to sent the prizes to you. And ofcourse I have to know your address for that so please sent an email to the following email address: mvanderweide28@gmail.com (you can also use the contact form on my about page) listing your address, or where I can sent the prize too. As soon as I have received your email I will head to the post office to start shipping your prizes.

Blog update: I’ll be back!

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Now, finally how about that blog hiatus huh? I know I said I would only be off for one week, but sometimes things grow a bit beyond your control. It has been crazy busy at my work these past few days, but to top things off, I also had a nasty flu bug that pretty much took most of my energy. In short: I just could not find the time or the proper spirit to write/read posts when I came home and provide you with my usual comments/blog posts. If all goes well though, I will be back again on tuesday. I have a backlog of comments I will first respond to, so I will be spending most of tuesday doing that. But after that I will slowly get back to reading your posts and provide my customary comments again (lol). Of course there will also be new posts from me as well, and to start things off I will provide my first review for the Anime theme month My Hero Accademia, Season 1. (Oh, just so you know…I have become totally addicted to that anime, so by saying this I think you pretty much already know how I feel about that one).

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hmmmmm…..somehow I don’t believe you…….

So, again my apologies for being absent for a while. Next week I will be back, yes this time for real! Now I am off to celebrate me becoming 42 (hmm…is that something I should celebrate though? I wonder 🤔). Have a great weekend everyone, and see you all next week!

 

Competition reminder….

Hi everyone! This is just going to be a very short post where I remind you that the Competition that I am running for my 1000 followers celebration is just open for one more week. And then it closes…like…forever. So in case you haven’t entered yet, or might have missed the post altogether just press on that link, read the rules and if you are eligible for entry don’t hesitate to do so. I promise, I won’t bite…much. Well I could make this post longer, listing all kinds of reasons for why you should enter. But I guess this pretty much covers it. And I said in the beginning that this would be a short post, and I want to keep that promise. So, the clock is ticking. Put on your fighting gear, grab your sword or favorite submachine gun and run towards the fight…..you know you want to!

Special note to my email followers:

If you are following my blog by email and want to enter the competion, be sure to leave a name in the comment. I have seen two messages that ended up in my spamfilter (entered by “someone” as a response to the competition. Not knowing who they were from (or if it was in fact spam) they have since been deleted. So that’s why I put up this special notice. Thank you!

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Only one more week?!? Are you kidding me here???!!

 

Competition time!

Yes people, the moment that you have all been waiting for has finally arrived! As most of you know a short while ago I reached  1000 followers. I’m still pretty much completely in awe by that, but to celebrate I also promised that I would be having a competition in order for you to win some cool stuff. And now, it’s time to finally do that. Before we get into the rules for this (yes I know, horrible, there are rules again) I’m thinking you would probably like to know what you can win right? Well, you have the chance to win one of three different prizes. As I run a multi topic blog, I have decided to give away one prize in three of the categories on my blog. So without further ado, let’s go see what these goodies are!

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I have been thinking about giving away some kind of boxed set of dvds but with the regional codes that might not be such a good idea. So instead I ordered a Mikasa figure from Attack on Titan. You can see her on display down here. The one thing I am extremely disappointed in was the fact that it got delivered to me without a box. So, really my apologies in advance for that. The figure itself however is intact and looks pretty freaking awesome if you ask me.

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Pretty bad-ass isn’t she? 

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As with the Anime category I decided not to give away dvds because of regional codes, but I did order something cool that movielovers would probably enjoy as well. Last year I read a terrific making of book of one of the coolest movie franchises ever: Back to the Future. You can read my review for it right here. It was an awesome book to read, and in case you are wondering: no, this is not my own copy that I am giving away here. All of these prizes are brand spanking new items.

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Well…as you can see I now have two copies of this book: so the new one might become yours! 

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Last but not least I am delighted to present to you a prize that grants you the opportunity to read one of my most beloved fantasy epics: The Dragonlance Chronicles. Did you ever wonder where my Blogname came from? Well…Raistlin is a book character that came from the pages of these books. He is one of my all time favorite characters, and if you read the novels you will find out why. I am very happy that I was able to track down a very rare edition for you guys that collects the first 3 novels in one beautiful tome.

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Even I don’t own this copy….I might keep this myself. Kidding of course!

The rules

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Rules? Really? Do I have to write these down as well?

Yes…I know why are there rules? Well, can’t have a competition without some form of rules right? So what am I going to ask of you? Do you need to sharpen your swords for gladiator combat? Do I want you to take place in a marathon? Perform in a live Karaoke show? Do some mud-wrestling? Erm….no…no worries. I’m a simple guy, so I am going to keep it very simple for you all:

  • As this is a celebration of my reaching 1000 followers, you can only participate if you were following my blog before the 23rd of January 2018 (I reached the 1000 follower mark on the 22nd).
  • You can only choose one category in which you want to participate.
  • Participating is easy: just leave a comment below this post telling me in which category you wish to win.
  • You can only leave one comment. Duplicates are not allowed.
  • You can leave a comment up until the 28th of February at which point the competition will close.
  • The winners will be determined by the random number generator (the one I also used for my current theme month).
  • I will announce the winners on the 9th of March (Which coincidentally is my birthday, and there is nothing better than giving away presents on your birthday)

And…that’s it. That’s not too hard right? For those of you that have started following me after the 1000 followers mark, rest assured there will be another competition somewhere in the future. So I hope you don’t feel too left out, because I really appreciate everyone that reads my posts, leaves a like or a comment in some form or another. I will leave you now with saying good luck if you are going to be entering this, and I hope that the prizes are to everyone’s liking. Thanks for reading and see you on the next post !

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Now…..fight! 😂😂😂

 

Thrawn, a Star Wars novel by Timothy Zahn (2017)

With the movie the Return of the Jedi that was released in 1983, the first Star Wars trilogy was finished. And many people at the time thought that would be the end of things. The popularity of the franchise started to wane, and slowly but surely people began to lose interest. But then nine years later Star Wars got noticed again, this time not because of a new movie, but by a novel written by Timothy Zahn called Heir to the Empire. It would be the first of a new trilogy of books that chronicled events that took place after Return of the Jedi. It became a huge succes. Not only was it an amazing story, but it also introduced a couple of new characters that became fan favorites, even though they had never been seen before in a movie. The most notorious of these was Grand Admiral Thrawn. The blue skinned alien Chiss, was a military genius that almost brought the New Republic to it’s knees. After this first trilogy a huge range of novels were made that took the story even further. This became known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

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The original cover to the book that introduced Thrawn.

This was all before the Dark Times…before the Empi…erm, Disney. When they took over Lucasfilm, and revealed plans to make a new trilogy of movies taking place after Episode VI, something had to be done about the Expanded Universe. And something was done to it: it was declared non-canon. In other words all the characters, worlds and events created within those books were no longer part of the official Star Wars timeline. A lot of fans, including me, were not very happy with that. But two years ago, something happened that brought a smile to the faces of many people that loved those books: Thrawn was brought back. This time he was reintroduced as a new adversary in the Star Wars cartoonseries Rebels. And just like that Thrawn was canon again. Last year the original creator of Thrawn, writer Timothy Zahn, wrote a new book about the legendary character. It was, needless to say, highly anticipated. But as with most things that you look forward to, it very rarely lives up to all the things you expect.

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Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels. 

This novel explores the origin of Thrawn and tells the tale of his quick rise to power through the ranks of the Empire. Thrawn is first found as a young man, seemingly abandoned by his people. An Imperial team is impressed by his cunning and tactical genius, and decide to give him a chance to prove himself. Thrawn takes on the young ensign Eli Vanto as a translator and together with him, begins his training. But a lot of high ranked people don’t take kindly to having an alien in their ranks and would like to see him fail. Meanwhile on the planet Lothal a ruthless administrator called Arihnda Pryce is also making plans to expand her power. Eventually the two will cross paths. Where Thrawn is skilled in military tactics, Pryce is more than his match on the battlefield of politics. But when threats against the still unstable Empire begin to appear all over the galaxy, Thrawn faces a new adversary that might become his downfall. Especially when this opponent seems to be two steps ahead of him at every turn…..

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Yup….Arihnda Pryce was also featured in Rebels. She doesn’t look very happy about it though. 

Thrawn became a very different novel than I expected it to be. I had hoped for a very tense and exciting book, with an interesting origin story of the Grand Admiral. In part it delivers this, but the other part was well, quite frankly a bit boring. We get a story that focusses a lot on internal politics. As I am not a huge fan of politics in the first place, I felt that these chapters slowed the story down to a crawl. We also get a lot of secondary characters thrown into the mix, that just get introduced but then, at least most of them, don’t really do anything. But what of Thrawn himself? The character that many loved so much in the brilliant original trilogy of books that introduced him feels…different. It’s still Thrawn, that can’t be denied, but at the same time it’s not. Of course Zahn had to reinvent the character and as such has had to make some changes. But still, this is not the same Thrawn that was such an amazing villain. And that is the part that disappointed me the most.

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Yes, he is looking at you. Are you scared yet? 

Still, it is not a bad novel. There is small cameo appearance of a major character that will have most Star Wars fans whopping with joy. I also really liked the backstory of Arihnda Pryce who was at times even more cunning then Thrawn. Whether or not you will like this novel depends on a few things. If you like your Star Wars books to be full of action, big space battles and lots of tension, then I don’t think this is a novel you would enjoy. There are a few scenes like that, but mostly we get a book that focusses more on backstabbing officials and internal politics. As mentioned Thrawn is also not quite the character you are used to, but there are still flashes of his original brilliance throughout the book. Maybe the sequel to this novel, Thrawn: Alliances, that will be published this year, more of those flashes will make an appearance. All in all, Thrawn is an okay novel if you don’t expect too much from it.

I give Thrawn a 7 out of 10 score.

The official making of Big Trouble in Little China, a book written by Tara Bennet & Paul Terry (2016)

Director John Carpenter will always be one of my favorite alltime horror movie directors. Best known for movies such as The Thing and Halloween he has made an impact on this genre that is felt even today. One of his lesser known, but no less fun movies is Big Trouble in Little China. While this one technically can not really be called a horror movie, it’s one of those films that has gathered a real cult status amongst fans, myself included. Two years ago, the movie celebrated it’s 30th anniversary, and as often happens during events like that some cool products were released to help celebrate it. One of the things I always enjoy reading is books that detail how a certain film was made, especially if they contain some cool facts and nice artwork. To my delight, finally John Carpenter’s classic got a book like that as well. And as Kurt Russel’s character Jack Burton from the movie would say: “Great, a six demon bag. What’s in it?”

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“Son of a bitch must pay!!” 

Within the pages of this 176 page book you will find a lot of awesome never before seen photographs, that could definitely be called the highlight of this book. Included are promotional photographs, behind the scenes pictures, stills from the movie itself, and a lot of detailed artwork. All of these are printed in very high quality resolution, and every photograph no matter how small, get’s a description of what it shows. The latter might seem very obvious, but trust me when I say that there have also been making of books that did not include this information. That always annoys me to no end, because there have truly been some occasions where I would have loved to have found out what a certain picture depicted. The entire layout of the book, breathes the atmosphere of this great film, and the designers of this did a great job on that department. The book pretty much follows along with the story of the film, and so you will find yourself taking a trip down memory lane when you flip through the book.

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The good old Pork-Chop Express.

But besides the photographs there is of course also a lot of information about what went on during the making of the movie itself. It is written in a clear and concise way, that includes insights from the cast and crew itself. Some of the text was a bit dry, especially when they went into details about which type of cameras were being used, and stuff like that. But that luckily doesn’t happen very often. There were two things I really enjoyed finding out about and had never known before, prior to reading this book. The first was that the actress that played the character of Margo Litzenberg, Kate Burton, was the daughter of the legendary actor Richard Burton. The other is the fact that this movie was really helpful in the promotion and use of Asian American actors. As we all know, there has been a lot of controversy over the “whitewashing” affairs of the American movie industry. This movie was way ahead of it’s time in the fact that it used almost primarily Asian American actors/actresses for it’s leading roles. A fact that the cast was very thankful of and that really becomes kind of a focal point throughout this book.

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Some people just don’t look their best when they just woke up. 

The book is presented in pretty thick glossy pages that really give it the look of a high quality product. To round out the book we get a foreword written by the legendary director himself, and an afterword penned by it’s leading man Kurt Russell. This is a book that is written for the fans, there’s no question about that. If you have never seen the film, there is little to no point in picking this up. Unless you really like reading books about all the details and hard work that is put into making a film like this. However if you have been a fan of this cult classic as much as I have been, this one is well worth it to add to your collection. Overall it was a very enjoyable read, that contains a wealth of good background information, great interviews with cast and crew, and of course the visual aspects of it were a delight. You can almost hear the Pork-Chop Express driving up to your home with old Jack Burton on the CB saying: “It’s all in the reflexes”.

I give the Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Happy New Year & Blogging Resolutions

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first post of the new year. I wish each and every one of you that is reading this, especially all of you that are following my blog, a very happy new year. Last year was a rough year for a lot of people, and I truly hope that 2018 is going to bring only good and warm things for all of you and your loved ones. And of course a new year brings the inevitable New Year’s Resolutions. Well, I know a lot of people make these, but I never quite believed in them. So, I thought that this year I would call them Blogging Resolutions, as I will be spending a lot of time this year on my blog and all of your blogs as well. But let’s translate this into what this post is actually about: pretty much all the things you can look forward to (or at least I hope you will be looking forward to it lol), on my blog in this year. As I mentioned in my final post last year, I want to bring a bit more structure into my blog.

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Yup….a bit more structure can definitely be good at times 😅

That doesn’t mean I am going to be focussing on only one thing. This is still a multi-topic blog and that won’t change. What I do plan on doing is at least cover every main theme of my blog (Movies, Anime, Books, TV-series and Korean Dramaseries) with at least one post each month. In that way everyone should at least get coverage of one of the things they like viewing/reading the most. That said I also plan on having theme months. Which means that each month I will be focussing on one topic of my blog more than the others. Lastly, I have a few new features that I hope to add as well, but you can find more details about that below. As with all things in life, and as most of you also know, there is always the aspect of real life hiding in the shadows. Which means that plans can always change because of events that happen in the real world that are beyond your control. But that said, where would we be without any sort of plans? So without further ado, lets get cracking and see what 2018 is going to bring!

Movies

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Well, it goes without saying that my movie reviews will of course return for the next year. If there would ever come a year that I don’t watch any movies, I have probably been replaced with an evil clone body. In 2018 we will get an enormous amount of different films that I am looking forward to very much. One of the biggest events will of course be Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War. With the largest superhero cast ever created for the big screen, this movie is set to take over the box office by storm. But there are more things to look forward to. The inevitable sequels such as Jurrasic World Fallen Kingdom, Pacific Rim:Uprising, The Equalizer II and a new Predator movie will hopefully bring us more of the same goodness that we loved in the originals. But three films I’m particularly looking forward to seeing are Meg (Jason Statham taking on a huge pre-historic shark), Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg’s new film, that looks like a geek’s dream come true) and Alita Battle Angel (the live action version of my favorite manga). These, and probably many others, are all going to make an appearance at some point on my blog.

Anime

imageLast year I started for the first time with watching seasonal anime (I usually only watched shows that were already completed), and it was something I enjoyed very much. The main reason for this being I could exchange thoughts on episodes right after they showed. It goes without saying that I will continue that in this year. Attack on Titan season 3, and hopefully the third season for Sword Art Online are definitely the two shows that I’m looking forward to the most. But of course, as I am pretty much behind on almost every anime in existence, there are some older shows that will get their reviews as well here. First up is the long overdue Girls und Panzer (and what a wonderful surprise that turned out to be), but you can also expect reviews for  Ganz, Psycho Pass season 2, Tokyo Ghoul and many others both old and new. I also hope to attend Animecon 2018, where I will give you a full report of that incredibly wonderful event just like I did last year.

Books

imageLike anime I have a list of books that I still need to read that will probably be enough to build a skyscraper of a 1000 floors with. But I love reading, and I definitely want to get to that part of my many hobbies a lot more this year. I own every Karin Slaughter book that has been published to date, but have yet to read her final three offerings. She is just about the only writer that I read that doesn’t write about science fiction and fantasy. The Warhammer 40000 universe has always held me interest and I plan on reading the twelve part novel series The Beast Arises in it’s entirety this year. Besides fiction I also love reading making of books on movies, and you can expect reviews for a few of those as well, including Big Trouble in Little China, Ghost in the Shell and Bladerunner 2049. And then there are of course comics and manga, which I’m sure will also get hit with my hard hitting reviews (ahum….right…moving on).

Tv series

imageThe world of television changes each year. New shows keep being added and quite honestly it’s become pretty much impossible to follow every show. But I’m pretty sure that I will in all likelyhood be able to discover some new shows this year along the way. But that’s not to say the old favorites are going anywhere. One review you can definitely expect from me is the eight season of The Walking Dead, that no matter what anybody says I still love to death. The second season of the science fiction series The Expanse is also still on my review list as well as Homeland season 6, Lethal Weapon season 2, and 24 Legacy. If all goes well, and this is a big if, I also hope to revisit one of my favorite alltime science fiction series Babylon 5. An amazing and truly highly underrated gem that some of you might never have even heard of.

Korean dramas

imageI love watching Korean dramas but one of my biggest problems with them, is that so many of the cool ones aren’t available for me to watch. Luckily Netflix is beginning to get a few of these as well now, which is awesome. Two of the dramas that I failed to complete last year are Pinocchio and Missing Nine. I hope that if all goes well, these will be featured on my blog in january. Two of the dramas that Netflix have on offer are Black and Stranger. I have already progressed about halfway with Stranger, and I’m really looking forward to Black. The story for that about a grim reaper that tries to uncover a serial murder mystery while at the same time falling in love with a mortal woman, sounds intriguing to say the least. I can’t wait to get started on that one. But I’m pretty sure that new shows will also enter my to watch list, as just with regular tv series, Korean Dramas continue being developed as well.

The New Stuff

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Can you please stop talking now?

For those of you that have made it to the end of this post, I thank you for your patience. I know this post is pretty long, but I am almost done. (What do you mean you don’t believe me?) So, as I mentioned I also have a few new features planned for my blog. Curious about what they are? Well, here they come:

  • Bloggers in the spotlight: Last year the number of new bloggers I have met were astounding. Some of them have become great friends, not to mention the ones that I already knew. As I am running a multi-topic blog I plan on doing a monthly post that will cover 3-4 bloggers that either write about anime, movies or books in order to put them in the spotlight. I have always said that the most wonderful thing about blogging is exchanging thoughts and meeting new people, and this is my way of showing my appreciation for that.
  • Competition time: My blog is starting to creep slowly towards the magical number of 1000 followers. I honestly still can’t believe this, but I really could not have done this without all your terrific support and love. That’s why I want to give back some of that love to all of you. As soon as I will hit the 1000th follower I’m going to run a competition giving you a chance to win some (hopefully) amazing prices. More on that later in the year.
  • The monthly choice: Starting in February, depending on the theme of that particular month, I want to give you all a chance to present me with a suggestion for a review I should be doing. I will choose one of these suggestions completely at random and the blogger who “wins ” will of course get an honorable mention.

Phew…..this was one heck of a long post, and to think that the year has only just started! Hopefully, despite it’s length, you still enjoyed reading this one. Let me know what you think of all these plans and what you are excited about the most in the comments section (or if you don’t like anything that was mentioned here, feel free to let me know as well lol). As always, thank you for reading, and let’s make 2018 a wonderful year!

Special Features Presents: And now…the end is near!

Don’t worry, I am not going to be closing down my blog. This is just the final post that I am going to be writing. For this year that is. Everyone has been saying it: “Wow, has this year flown by”. And it certainly has. For me this year has had it’s ups and downs. More downs than ups if I am going to be honest, but I don’t want to write my final post of the year as a depressive one. In short I want to make this a cool and fun post to celebrate the end of this year. And what better way to do that, than in showing you all my favorite things that I read, watched and played in 2017. But before I start on that I also want to say that this first full year of blogging has been amazing. I have seen my blog grow in ways that I really did not expect. I have met an awful lot of new bloggers along the way, and some of them have turned into a couple of really amazing friends. Combined with the people I already knew I can really say that I could not live without my blog anymore. It’s become a part of me, and I want to thank each and every one of you that has ever read a post, left a comment or a like. You really are all amazing, and I hope the new year is going to bring you all only fun and good things. And now, let’s kick off this end of year post shall we?

Favorite movie of the year: Bladerunner 2049

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If someone would have told me a few years ago that Blade Runner 2049 would end up as my favorite movie of the year I would have flat out laughed out loud. As I really thought that this sequel to such a classic science fiction masterpiece would be doomed to fail. But I was proven wrong. This beautiful movie had everything in it. It expanded the story of the original film, and combined with breathtaking visual effects, some solid acting and a brilliant score this one is simply the reason why I love movies so much. I can’t wait to own this one on dvd, to watch it over and over again. My absolute number one film for this year.

Favorite anime of the year: Your Lie in April

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One of absolute highlights of 2017 was the watch-a-long with Weekend Otaku for the breathtaking animeseries Your lie in April. I know this one was released in 2014,  but for me it was the first time I saw it this year. What can I say about this beautiful show that has not already been said? It’s an emotional roller coaster that this show takes you on, but it’s one well worth taking. You would be wise to stock up on numerous boxes of tissues because I guarantee that you are going to cry multiple times. But this is a show that is simply put: perfect. I had never thought I would like a slice of life show as much as I ended up enjoying this one. It’s still my number one alltime anime series to date.

Favorite Korean Drama of the year: Goblin

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On the front of Korean dramas I have had a very disappointing year. As in: I saw way too few of them (Sorry about that Kay). I plan to really watch more of these next year, as there are quite a number of them that I still want to see. My favorite pick for this year was really easy though. Goblin was an amazing drama with high production values, a beautiful and heartwarming story but best of all were the characters. They really made this series into an incredible fun watch. I’m not one that usually likes comedies, but the humor in this drama was just hilarious. I really had to laugh at so many scenes. But this certainly wasn’t a comedy as there were also many exciting, tearful but also quite horrifying scenes. If you have never seen a K-drama before this might be a very good place to start.

Favorite Tv Series of the Year: Stranger Things 2

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When a first season for a series is highly succesful and a second season gets announced, fans look forward to it, but obviously are very anxious for it at the same time. What if it sucks? Stranger Things is a show that proves that a second season can be just as good, if not at times even better than the first one. While overall I did think the first season was just a tiny bit better, this second season was just a blast from start to finish. The entire 80’s vibe, the wonderful characters (both old and new), and the storyline combine to make this a show that you can’t stop watching until you have finished it. It was an absolutely amazing watch, and I am already looking forward to next year where season 3 will hopefully give us that same experience again. Stranger Things is simply put: awesome!

Favorite Book of the Year: Sisters of Battle

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Ugh, as with Korean Dramaseries, reading books this year has really been underwhelming. I have such a huge pile of books that I still need to read, and because of the wonderful Dani ,Kim and Didi my Good Reads to read list has completely exploded. (Thanks for that girls 😢 Just kidding, you know I love you 😊). And now there are the wonderful Lashaan and Trang that also keep adding books to this seemingly never ending list. But I did read some books this year, and my favorite was also one that I finished quite recently the Sisters of Battle Omnibus. This one was just a blast to read from start to finish. Great characters, explosive battlescenes and just a terrific science fiction setting are just a couple of the things that made this novel so much fun. But the girlpower is what gave this book it’s real edge. This was a pageturner and a book that I could hardly put down.

Favorite Boardgame of the Year: Eldritch Horror

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When it comes to boardgames it simply doesn’t get any better than this. Eldritch Horror is a fantastic horror/fantasy boardgame that I gave a well deserved perfect score. It’s a joy to play, even when playing it solo, because of the great narrative components it contains. You will find yourself racing across the world trying to prevent an ancient evil from awakening. In the meantime you will experience all sorts of adventures that are always different whenever you play this game. If you love reading books or watching adventure movies, this is a game you should definitely consider adding to your collection. Trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed by this in any way.

Final thoughts

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Well people: that’s it. Time for me to call it a day. At least for this year that is. I hope you will all enjoy the upcoming final day of the year. If you are going to be using fireworks please make sure you aren’t going to blow any of your hands off. I do want to see each and everyone of you back safely next year. Speaking of next year, I will continue to write about the things I love the most, but I do want to bring a little bit more structure into my blog, as it has sometimes been going all over the place. I have also been thinking of a few new features I want to add, but that is a story for later. As always thank you for reading this and for your amazing support the past few months. See you all next year! 😀😀

Sisters of Battle, a Warhammer 40000 novel by James Swallow (2017)

Imagine a grim and dark universe that only has one thing on it’s mind: war. Not a very bright thing to look forward to is it? But it has been the setting for decades for a tabletop game called Warhammer 40.000. In that game players battle each other with fictional armies of painted miniatures. Taking place in the 41st Millenium (talk about a time jump), it is one of the most detailed science fiction universes ever created. With literally thousands of novels and sourcebooks that tell the tales of the men, women and aliens that are living in there, it can be very overwhelming for people that are not familiar with it. In this far future, mankind has taken to the stars and have created an Imperium that consists of thousands of planets. Humanity is led by The Emperor that was mortally wounded in a great war called the Horus Heresy. He now permanently resides on Terra where he is kept alive on The Golden Throne. In his name vast armies of Space Marines take the fight to enemies ranking from aliens to horrifying demons.

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Yup…..we get girlpower now!

I myself have never played the game, but I really love the stories that are written for this universe. I have a pretty big collection of books in this range, and most of these tell the accounts of the soldiers of the Imperium, the superhuman Space Marines. That’s why it was very refreshing to find a novel that does something entirely different. It brings girlpower to this male dominated universe! The Sisters of Battle Omnibus features four stories that focus on the women soldiers also known as the Adepta Sororitas. Fanatically loyal to the Emperor, these women are not supersoldiers or enhanced in any way. But what they may lack in strength, they more than make up for with their courage and faith. In this omnibus we get introduced to Sister Miriya, who has become one of my favorite Warhammer 40.000 characters. Raven haired, headstrong but courageous to a fault she is an absolute delight and a true heroine.

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One of the more horrifying enemies that lurk in this book: The Necron.

The second main character of this book is Sister Verity, who is not a soldier but a medic and almost the complete opposite of Miriya. Where the former is of the type to shoot first and ask questions later, Verity always tries to reason through everything and is an incredibly kind soul that always sees the best in people. This unlikely pair soon become vast friends, and are going to have to face some true challenges. The four stories that make up this omnibus are all good, but my two favorites have got to be the two novella length ones. In Faith and Fire the two Sisters are going after a rogue psyker that has killed Verity’s real sister, and is responsible for the death of countless other humans. But soon it becomes clear that there is something far more sinister going on. In Hammer and Anvil Miriya and Verity land on a planet that contains an outpost from the Adepta Sororitas that has been silent for years. No one really knows what transpired there, but the truth is more horrifying than both could ever have imagined.

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Who would argue with a woman like this?

James Swallow, the author of all four stories, has really outdone himself. This collection comes running out of the gates, and never once becomes boring in any way. There are some great battlescenes, terrific characters (both heroes and enemies) but there is also enough time amidst all the carnage to tell some great tales. If you have never before experienced the Warhammer 40.000 universe this omnibus certainly is a great way to enter it. As it features a branch of The Imperium that hasn’t been featured in many other novels yet, you need no real other knowledge to enjoy this book. If you love military science fiction, that has fast paced action and interesting characters I highly recommend checking this one out. It really was a great read from start to finish, and one of the best novels that I have read all year. And really, who can resist an awesome cover like that!

I give Sisters of Battle a 9 out of 10 score.