Top Ten Tuesday: Trick or Treat!


This week’s edition of Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) is all about Halloween.  Last year, I chronicled by ten favorite stories by Stephen King.  This year, I thought I’d look at ten of my favorite, spooky, Halloween-related stories from all varieties of media. Continue reading


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Review: Food For Thought by J.L. Baumann

Food for Thought“It was after listening to Maurice tells his stories that I had become a firm believer that if anyone who wanted to know anything at all about humanity, all they needed to do was work a while in a restaurant.”

An intriguing short-story collection, J.L. Baumann’s Food for Thought offers up seven different regulars at Bo’s restaurant from The Deacon who works in construction, hails from Louisiana and thinks that everything is better back home to Pete the car salesman who comes in daily to break up the “droll monotony” of his existence. Bo’s interactions with his clients, staff and other members of the community drive each of these stories. Baumann expertly creates a world of unique, recognizable characters, all of whom are driven not only by their need to feed their physical hunger but find sustenance of another kind in Bo’s booths, tables and counter.

In many ways, Bo’s will remind you of the television show Cheers with a cast of quirky, endearing characters. Baumann finds motivations for each of person we encounter and we, along with Bo, learn a few interesting things about humanity. Whether it’s the determination of Didi to cook for Bo or the health inspector who used world class white gloves to ensure everything is up to code, Baumann has crafted a restaurant that makes you feel at home. There are even a few interesting surprises along the way to help keep things interesting and the characters and stories authentic.

I feel like after spending these seven stories in this world that I’d had a full, complete meal. I wouldn’t be averse to having another meal at Bo’s, though.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Names

Top 10 Tuesday with B-day Cake

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us to ponder characters names we’d give to children.   When we were pondering names for Shortcake, we debated a lot of names from our favorite fictional universes.  Here are a couple of our favorites (that we didn’t use).   Continue reading


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Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly GuiltyThree couples got together for a barbecue one sunny afternoon. But instead of a delightful, fun social event, the barbecue ended up a turning point for all six people involved and the fallout still ripples through each person and their various relationships.

I’d read several of Liane Moriarity’s previous novels before diving into Truly Madly Guilty and found them all to be page-turning stories of “small scale” crimes. Like many of her other contemporary mystery writers, Moriarity’s work dwell less on the actual crime itself and more on the impact it has on the characters involved.

And while circling around the crucial event, jumping between before and after the pivotal moment, worked in the other novels I’ve read by Moriarity, the pieces never quite came together here. Instead of being riveted by the hints being dropped about something monumental happening that fateful afternoon, I was left feeling like the story and the characters are all treading water as we wait for some of the revelations to start coming out.

Once we finally get to what happened that afternoon, I had pretty much checked out of the novel and only really staying around to see if my assumptions about what happened were correct. After really enjoying several other novels by Moriarty, I have to admit I came away from this one feeling a bit disappointed. It’s not enough to keep me from reading more of her works or trying her next novel. But it is enough for me to chalk this one up as one of the more disappointing books I’ve read this year.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Spider-Man Villains


Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us to look at the dark side with our favorite villains.  I’ve decided to narrow the focus a bit to my favorite adversaries faced by Spider-Man.

  1.  The Scorpion.  Marvel Tales reprinted much of the Stan Lee/Lee Ditko run of early Spider-Man comics when I was actively reading and I loved them.  And while the Scorpion isn’t considered in the upper pantheon of Spidey villains by many, I loved his first appearance and the fact that he could go toe-to-toe with Spidey and almost best him.
  2. Doc Ock.  He unmasked Spidey, he married Aunt May….what didn’t Doc Ock do to torment Spider-Man?!?  Added bonus:  He’s the villain in my favorite superhero movie of all-time Spider-Man 2.
  3. The Lizard.  Spidey is easily one of the most angst ridden of any superheroes and his conflicted emotions about having to battle the Lizard (he was a scientist who was trying to help himself and the Lizard was an unwanted side effect) always put an extra layer on their battles.
  4. The Green Goblin.  Considered by many to be the quintessential adversary for Spidey, the Goblin is fun, interesting and exciting.   Like the Lizard, there’s a personal connection to the identity of the Goblin that causes all kinds of angst for Spidey.
  5. The Hobgoblin.  The identity of the Hobgoblin drove much of the on-going back story during the time I read Spidey comics.  His unmasking was a pivotal issue and one I remember well.
  6. The Vulture.  Another classic from Lee/Ditko and one I am intrigued to see come to life on the screen in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.
  7. Man-Wolf.  A lot of this has to do with the Power Records recording version of this story that I listened to about a billion times growing up.  J. Jonah Jameson’s astronaut son picks up a rock on the moon, has it made into a pendant and turns into a werewolf.  Typing that I realize it sounds cheesy as all get out, but with the read-along record and sound effects, it made a huge impression on me at the age of six.
  8. The Spider Slayers.
  9. Electro
  10. The Kingpin


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Top Ten Tuesday: Fall Reading

autumn leaves.jpgThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us what books are on our fall to-be-read list/pile.  Here are the books I’d like/hope to read this fall.

  1.  Razor Girl by Carl Hiassen
  2. The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Carl Hiassen
  3. Star Trek: Legacies: Best Defense by David Mack
  4. Star Trek: Legacies: Purgatory’s Key by Kevin Dilmore & Dayton Ward
  5. The Fifty Year Mission, Volume 2 by Mark Altman and Edward Edward Gross
  6. Annie Russo: Tenacity Born by J.L. Baumann
  7. The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
  8. Night School by Lee Child
  9. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  10. Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks (audio book) by Terrance Dicks


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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten “Doctor Who” Audiobooks


Time again for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).

This week, we celebrate audio.  I love a good audiobook and have listened to a fair number of them while commuting, working out and doing things around the house.

Right now, some of my favorite are the audiobooks of the Target Doctor Who adaptations.  The Target book range adapted just about all of the classic Doctor Who serials to the printed page in the days before VHS, DVD or streaming.   I read a lot of these multiple times growing up and fondly remember some of them.  The audiobooks have allowed me to enjoy them again as a “big kid.”  Here are a few of my favorites. Continue reading

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