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  • gilwilson 6:43 PM on June 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agnosticism, atheism, ,   

    Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto By Lesley Hazelton 

    25894086 (1)Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto
    By Lesley Hazelton
    Narrated by Lesley Hazleton
    Length: 4 hrs and 6 mins
    Release date: 04-05-16
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    Being a full-fledged ordained atheist, I was very intrigued by this book.  Growing up I was forced to attend either a Baptist Church or a Presbyterian Church.  I had no say in the matter and I’m not so sure that the Presbyterian church attendance served as my punishment for staying out too late on Saturdays.  So what did I learn?  Well, hard to say other than If you party to hard god will force you to sit in a creaky old building where women in their 90s will sing loudly and out of key to force you to stop sinning.

    So before I became an atheist, I had declared myself an Agnostic.  I thought there could have been an intelligence but that intelligence had yet to show his/herself in any form of organized religion in the United States.  I also felt that well, if Jesus died for my sins, then I’d better get to sinning or else he would have died in vain.    That’s what forced religion taught me.

    Later in life I determined no divine deity could ever be in control because if so he/she were some cruel deity and enjoyed watching his/her creation suffer.  Look what they did to their own son in Christianity.  Look what was allowed to happen to the Jews through the ages.  How the African brought over to serve the white man followed the white man’s god is beyond me.  How can god let little children suffer and die?  Yeah my ranting could go on, but this is about Lesley Hazleton’s book.

    Hazelton is able to explain why agnostics, and even atheists, can be proud of who they are.  So what is it to be agnostic.  Simply put,  just to be able to admit you have no idea what the answers to life’s great mysteries are, but to always be seeking those same answers.  Hazelton presents her case by bringing in science, psychology, philosophy and of course, theology.

    If you are looking for an intriguing philosophical discussion on life, the universe, and everything, you could definitely give this book a place in your time on this earth.


    Publisher’s Summary

    A widely admired writer on religion celebrates agnosticism as the most vibrant and engaging – and, ultimately, the most honest – stance toward the mysteries of existence.

    One in four Americans rejects any affiliation with organized religion, and nearly half of those under 30 describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious”. But as the airwaves resound with the haranguing of preachers and pundits, who speaks for the millions who find no joy in whittling the wonder of existence to a simple yes/no choice?

    Lesley Hazleton does. In this provocative, brilliant book, she gives voice to the case for agnosticism, breaks it free of its stereotypes as watered-down atheism or amorphous “seeking”, and celebrates it as a reasoned, revealing, and sustaining stance toward life. Stepping over the lines imposed by rigid conviction, she draws on philosophy, theology, psychology, science, and more to explore, with curiosity and passion, the vital role of mystery in a deceptively information-rich world; to ask what we mean by the search for meaning; to invoke the humbling yet elating perspective of infinity; to challenge received ideas about death; and to reconsider what “the soul” might be.

    Inspired and inspiring, Agnostic recasts the question of belief not as a problem to be solved but as an invitation to an ongoing, open-ended adventure of the mind.

    ©2016 Lesley Hazelton (P)2016 Penguin Audio
  • gilwilson 2:42 PM on June 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dan brown, davinci code, , robert langdon   

    “Origin” By Dan Brown 

    By Dan Brown
    Narrated by Paul Michael
    Series: Robert Langdon, Book 5
    Length: 18 hrs and 9 mins
    Release date: 10-03-17
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Once again Robert Langdon is out seeking clues in art and trying to solve one of life’s mysteries.  This time around the clues are not from some ancient master, but rather from one of his former students.

    Edmond Kirsch a billionaire futurist, pretty much Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson rolled into one, has found the great answers to the 2 questions that have stymied the philosophers and clerics through the centuries; “Where do we come from?” and “Where are we going?”  Kirsch has made this discovery and knows it will blow apart religion as we know it.  To give the world’s religious leaders a heads up he presents his findings to a 3 of the most powerful of religious leaders.  That may have sealed his doom.  Without religion the major religions lose their control over humanity.  Kirsch presents his findings to the public but before he can reveal the final results he is assassinated by a religious zealot.

    Robert Langdon is in the audience for the live event and finds himself following Kirsch’s clues to release the presentation to the world which will reveal why religion is dead.  To do so Langdon follows clues left behind by his former student.  The action takes place through many famous landmarks in Spain.  The reality of Dan Brown’s writing lies in his use and detailed descriptions of these landmarks and their use in pushing the story line forward.

    While this book is not as thrilling as some of Brown’s previous Robert Langdon’s books, it does have a lot of fun in the solving of the clues.  The letdown in the story for me was the answers, as revealed by Kirsch, to those 2 big questions.  It was like a catch and release fishing trip; the thrill is in the hunt but the find was a let down in that you couldn’t enjoy the final product.

    Paul Michael does an excellent job of narrating and presenting the action as well as the thought processes of Robert Langdon.  I nearly Tom Hanks as Langdon (in the movies), and fully accepted Paul Michael as the puzzle solving professor.

    All in all a fun book, but the end was a bit of a let down.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Where do we come from?

    Where are we going?

    The stunningly inventive new novel from the world’s most popular thriller writer.

    Bilbao, Spain

    Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement – the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a 40-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough…one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

    As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

    Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself…and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face to face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery…and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

    Origin is Dan Brown’s most brilliant and entertaining novel to date.

    Dan Brown is the author of numerous number one international best sellers, including The Da Vinci Code, Inferno, The Lost Symbol, Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress.

    ©2017 Dan Brown (P)2017 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 2:19 PM on June 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    “Battlefield Earth” By L. Ron Hubbard 

    11687180Battlefield Earth
    By: L. Ron Hubbard
    Full Cast Production
    Length: 47 hrs and 32 mins
    Release date: 06-06-16
    Publisher: Galaxy Audio

    We all know that books have the possibility to sweep us off to other worlds. In this case that other world is Earth in the year 3000.  Humans are slaves to the invading race of the Psychlos.  To the Psychlos the Earth is poisonous, however, minerals, especially gold, makes the planet necessary.  The Psychlos are strip-mining Earth and the humans are the slave labor to get the work done.  L. Ron Hubbard wrote some great science-fiction and this epic novel is one of the best.

    Now take that same book and make it a full length audio drama and you have got the perfect escape. With great voice actors that create the characters to go along with the original music and sound effects. Listening to this already thrilling story of Earth’s conquest by an alien race and the battle to take it back, comes to full dimensional audio life. The listener will be placed in the middle of the action with this full on production.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Winner, 2017 APA Audie Awards – Excellence in Marketing

    Earphones Award Winner

    Best of 2016 Science Fiction Audiobook

    In the year AD 3000, Earth is a barren wasteland, plundered of its natural resources by the millennium-long regime of taloned, gas-breathing, nine-foot alien conquerors from the planet Psychlo. Fewer than 35,000 humans survive in a handful of communities scattered across the face of a postapocalyptic Earth.

    From a desolate village in the Rocky Mountains near what once was Denver, Colorado, a courageous young man named Jonnie Goodboy Tyler embarks on a hero’s journey to challenge the fearful myths of his people.

    Enslaved by the sadistic Terl, the Psychlo security chief of Earth, Jonnie and a small band of survivors pit their quest for freedom against Terl’s ruthless ambition for personal wealth and power in a rebellion that erupts across the continents of Earth and the cosmic sprawl of the Psychlo empire, with the fate of the world, of mankind, and of the galaxies beyond in the balance.

    Superlative quality – a new standard for all audiobooks.

    Unlike any other audiobook ever produced. A fully immersive experience, this unabridged audiobook features more than 65 actors including Grammy Award-winning audiobook producer and narrator Stefan Rudnicki.

    This state-of-the-art audio engineering has created a wholly cinematic soundtrack with:

    47½ hours of pulse-pounding drama and action professionally recorded with high-definition sound.
    A gorgeous cinematic soundtrack with full orchestral compositions and more than 150,000 sound effects.
    A cast of more than 65 actors – many of whom are celebrity voices from TV, films, and games – performing 198 characters.
    Written with a phenomenal burst of creative energy in a sustained eight-month period in 1980, and first published in October 1982, Battlefield Earth became a breakaway New York Times and international best seller, hailed as one of the classic science fiction novels.

    ©2016 Galaxy Audio (P)2016 Galaxy Audio

  • gilwilson 5:22 PM on June 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: action figures, photography,   

    Figure Fantasy: The Pop Culture Photography of Daniel Picard 

    23360085Figure Fantasy: The Pop Culture Photography of Daniel Picard
    by Daniel Picard
    Hardcover: 120 pages
    Publisher: Insight Comics;  (June 2, 2015)

    When I was a kid and playing with my action figures it was not unusual for Spider-Man to team up with Kiss and R2-D2 to fight off the Joker and Darth Vader.  Daniel Picard’s photography not only makes scenes like this seem real but will also launch you back to your childhood.

    There are even some photos that seem as though he had folks in costume acting out the scenes.  The photography is fun and a great conversation starter.  Make this your next coffee table book.

    Publisher’s Summary

    See your favorite pop culture icons like never before in this collection of humorous photographs featuring Sideshow figures.

    Join celebrated photographer Daniel Picard as he explores what his favorite pop culture heroes and villains are up to when they’re not caught up in the battle between good and evil. This unique collection of meticulously composed images showcases a variety of comic book and movie icons in realistic and often hilarious everyday settings. Using fan-favorite figures from Sideshow Collectibles, Picard gives these classic characters a fresh twist, presenting them in perfectly arranged, to-scale environments that create believable scenes and tongue-in-cheek parodies. Among the gallery of memorable images are photographs of a Stormtrooper with a desk job, the Joker shopping for a Batman Halloween costume, and Harley Quinn taking a selfie. Featuring a foreword by Simon Pegg, an afterword by Kevin Smith, and an introduction from Daniel Picard detailing his one-of-a-kind take on pop culture parody, Figure Fantasy is a true treasure for fans, collectors, and photographers alike.

  • gilwilson 6:21 PM on June 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bela lugosi, , , watchers   

    “The Heaven Makers” By Frank Herbert 

    51iOh84hYML._SL500_The Heaven Makers
    By: Frank Herbert
    Narrated by: Scott Brick
    Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
    Release date: 01-29-14
    Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

    Frank Herbert had me hooked with the Dune series, so what else can he deliver? The Heaven Makers, read by Scott Brick, is definitely an intriguing story.

    Aliens are watching us.  But not for any reason other than as an entertainment source.    The thing is though, they are to watch but not interfere.  Our wars, our tragedies, our growth and pretty much all of our lives are recorded as full sensory movies the be enjoyed by these aliens.  I love how the watchers look like “short Bela Lugosis.”

    The story goes that we on Earth are being manipulated and recorded for the entertainment of a species of immortal beings. Not cool, man.  Before anyone can check in on the watchers (yeah, no one is watching the watchers) mankind has been seriously manipulated to the extent that our destiny is no longer our own.

    Scott Brick delivers yet another audiobook performance with the perfection I expect from him each and every time.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Immortal aliens have observed Earth forcenturies, making full sensory movies of wars, natural disasters, and horrifichuman activities – all to relieve their endless boredom. When they finally becomejaded by ordinary, run-of-the-mill tragedies, they find ways to create theirown disasters, just to amuse themselves.

    But interfering with human activities isforbidden, and the authorities have been known to check on these matters fromtime to time. However, by the time Investigator Kelexel arrives to investigate,the trouble has been going on for a long, long time – and things are reallygetting out of hand.

    ©2011 Frank Hebert (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

  • gilwilson 5:34 PM on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , creepy, eerie, , scripts,   

    “The Haunting Scripts of Bachelors Grove: If Only Death Meant the End” by Brian K Morris 

    61UO0J1znhL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Haunting Scripts of Bachelors Grove: If Only Death Meant the End
    by Brian K Morris (Author)
    Paperback: 324 pages
    Publisher: Freelance Words (January 25, 2018)
    Charles D. Moisant (Introduction)
    Trevor Erick Hawkins (Cover Design)

    Another author I’m a fan of,  Brian K. Morris, seems to dabble in just about everything.  He’s got superhero books, he’s done some comic books (including the series “The Haunting Tales of Bachelors Grove” which created the need for this book,  He’s got some mashup humor/horror stories and a whole lot more.  The diversity alone should get you to read his stuff.

    I had first met him when he set up a booth at a comic/gaming convention I helped create.  The first thing I read from Mr. Morris was a story about Bloodshot, a Valient comics mercenary/superhero, from there I knew I needed more.  I have since purchased many other of his books and will soon have them all reviewed here, at least if he slows down on the writing so I can catch up.  But I don’t see that happening.

    The Bachelors Grove Cemetery comic book series is a project I feel I’m a part of, well because I am.  When I heard that he and Charles D. Moisant (the craziest man in comic books) had a Kickstarter campaign to launch the project, I jumped in.  As a result they have released issue #1 and are working on many more.  To top it off, since I contributed, I will be the subject of one of the stories in an upcoming issue.  The series is very reminiscent of the old horror comics like, “Eerie,” “Creepy” and others from back in the day.  I can’t wait to read my story.

    This book is about the creation of that series with a couple of extra stories that fit in the same style.  That may be one of the reasons I picked this up, hoping my story would get the pre published treatment.  But, alas, no, I still have to wait.

    One of the recommendations I can make for this book is for any future writer and especially a comic book writer.  Brian discusses the writing process and even publishes some of the stories from the first comic in their script form.  This is nice to see how an artist would receive the script and turn it into a comic.

    The last part of the book contains some stories along the same vein of the comics but may be a bit long to include in the comic book.  The stories all center around one of America’s most haunted places, Bachelors Grove Cemetery. One of the stories felt a bit too real and I think the next time I see Mr. Morris, I may have to frisk him for daggers.

    If you are a writer, a comic book reader, or just love good horror stories then make sure you pick up this book, it has a bit of everything.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Based on the real-life haunted cemetery, the book features comic scripts from The Haunting Tales of Bachelors Grove comic book, as well as advice on how to write comic horror and break into the independent comics market. The book also contains three brand new prose stories of mature horror, based on the Bachelors Grove legends


  • gilwilson 7:51 PM on June 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: disney,   

    “Dark Disciple: Star Wars” By Christie Golden 

    25615034Dark Disciple: Star Wars
    By: Christie Golden, Katie Lucas (Foreword)
    Narrated by: Marc Thompson
    Series: Star Wars, Book 4
    Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
    Release date: 07-07-15
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Any fan of the Star Wars Clone Wars series will enjoy finding out what happens to Quinlan Vos and Assaj Ventriss.

    In this audiobook performance of the novel, Marc Thompson delivers the goods with great vocalizations bringing all the characters to life. His vocal impersonations of Count Dooku and Yoda make the audiobook worth hearing. The music and sound effects mixed in create an ambiance that plunges the listener into the Star Wars universe.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Based on unproduced episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this new novel features Asajj Ventress, former Sith apprentice turned bounty hunter and one of the great antiheroines in Star Wars history.

    The only way to bring down the Sith’s most dangerous warrior may be to join forces with the dark side.

    In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.

    But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear – pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’ hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter – and assassin – to Vos’ quest.

    Together Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku – as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts – a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy… and her own doubt.

    ©2015 Christie Golden (P)2015 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 7:34 PM on June 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: daredevil, , , joe quesada, , , ,   

    “Daredevil, Vol. 1: Guardian Devil” by Kevin Smith & Joe Quesada 

    32035223“Daredevil, Vol. 1: Guardian Devil”
    by Kevin Smith & Joe Quesada
    Published October 26th 2015 by Graphic Audio
    (first published January 3rd 1998)
    SeriesDaredevil (1998) (Collected Editions) #1, Daredevil (1998) (Single Issues) #1-8, Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novels Collection #17, Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novels

    Wow, what can I say about this book? I think I can tackle this review in 3 aspects.

    First the GraphicAudio promise of “A Movie in your Mind” is definitely kept. You can hear through Matt Murdoch’s heightened senses. Dr. Strange opening a portal and Spider-Man’s web slinging are all brought to life in this outstanding production.

    The second aspect of the audiobook is the writers, Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada, bring to life an adventure in the Marvel Universe, involving the Daredevil that not only stays within the continuity of the Marvel heroes, but also throws in the humor that is Kevin Smith, including Star Wars references and all.

    The third and final aspect in this summary is that this is a story that contains more adult situations, from murder to unfaithful spouses, than a normal comic book so be prepared.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Winner of AudioFile Best Audio Drama & Earphones Award in 2016!

    A scared teenager on the run. An infant child some say is humanity’s savior. A former lover whose life is now hobbled by a terrible secret. A law partner accused of a horrible crime. A city being overcome by an inscrutable menace. They need a guardian. Someone to protect them. Someone with faith in them. They need Daredevil. Guardian Devil found Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) confidently transitioning from writing acclaimed screenplays to comics that hit the top of the sales charts and critics’ lists.

    ADVISORY: Due to subject matter, Guardian Devil contains scenes that may not be suitable for listeners aged seventeen or under.


  • gilwilson 2:07 PM on June 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Popology: The Music of the Era in the Lives of Four Icons of the 1960s  by Timothy English  

    18229324Popology: The Music of the Era in the Lives of Four Icons of the 1960s
    by Timothy English
    Paperback: 304 pages
    Publisher: New Prism Books (January 13, 2015)

    3 out of the 4 “Icons” in this book I knew the history and was fascinated to learn of the music that was in their lives and may have influenced their lives. John F. and Robert F. Kennedy were influenced by pop culture of their days. Where as Martin Luther King Jr. was influenced heavily by gospel and spirituals. Thomas Merton was an “icon” I had never heard of but knowing he was a fan of the Beatles and Dylan was all it took for me to be interested.

    Not only do you get to find their musical influences but a nice short history reminder is given in the reading of this book. If you are a music fan or a fan of history this book has some great information for everyone.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Popology: The Music of the Era in the Lives of Four Icons of the 1960s is the first book to examine how the music of those days impacted the lives of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy and Thomas Merton. While their have been numerous biographies of all of the subjects and countless books on the music of the 1960s, Popology brings the era to life by letting the readers share in the precise listening experiences of the subjects. In addition Popology explores the favorite songs of each of the subjects, and gives readers new insights into their characters by explaining how these songs resonated in the way they lived their lives. No reader will finish Popology without learning new and often surprising facts about four of the most inspirational figures of the 1960s.

  • gilwilson 2:02 PM on June 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    “The Forgotten Room” By Lincoln Child 

    23211078“The Forgotten Room”
    By Lincoln Child
    Narrated by: Johnathan McClain
    Series: Dr. Jeremy Logan, Book 4
    Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
    Unabridged Audiobook
    Release date: 05-12-15
    Language: English
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Jeremy Logan is an enigmaologist, which is basically a scholarly term for a combination myth-buster and paranormal investigator. He is called back to Lux (a think tank) to investigate a strange suicide. What he discovers is a hidden room on the grounds of Lux where some experimentation into the paranormal has been hidden away for decades.

    The dangerous experimentation could lead to one of the most vile weapons ever created but someone has rediscovered the research and wants it for themselves. Logan has to not only solve the riddle of the research and the forgotten room but also prevent the weapon from getting into the wrong hands.

    This book will keep you guessing until the very end.

    Publisher’s Summary
    New York Times best seller Lincoln Child returns with a riveting new thriller featuring the charismatic and quirky Professor Jeremy Logan, renowned investigator of the strange and the inexplicable, as he uncovers a long-lost secret experiment only rumored to have existed.

    Jeremy Logan (The Third Gate, Deep Storm) is an “enigmalogist” – an investigator who specializes in analyzing phenomena that have no obvious explanation. In this newest novel, Logan finds himself on the storied coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, where he has been retained by Lux, one of the oldest and most respected think tanks in America. Just days earlier, a series of frightening events took place in the sprawling seaside mansion that houses the organization. One of its most distinguished doctors began acting erratically – violently attacking an assistant in the mansion’s opulent library and, moments later, killing himself in a truly shocking fashion. Terrified by the incident and the bizarre evidence left behind, the group hires Logan to investigate – discreetly – what drove this erudite man to madness.

    His work leads him to an unexpected find. In a long-dormant wing of the estate, Logan uncovers an ingeniously hidden secret room, concealed and apparently untouched for decades. The room is a time capsule, filled with eerie and obscure scientific equipment that points to a top-secret project long thought destroyed, known only as “Project S.” Ultimately the truth of what Project S was…and what has happened in that room…will put Logan in the path of a completely unexpected danger.

    One of his most thrilling novels to date, The Forgotten Room is replete with veiled, fascinating history and all the exhilarating action and science that are the hallmarks of a Lincoln Child blockbuster.

    ©2015 Lincoln Child (P)2015 Random House Audio

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