Goosebumps: Egg Monsters From Mars Review

My first encounter with a Goosebumps book, while not particularly what I would consider horror, went surprisingly well (read all about it HERE).
That left me more than ready to dive in and read another almost immediately.
So was this one able to go in a more horrific direction?
Was the good experience I had in the previous book indicative of the entire series and will it hold steady or was it a fluke that took a nose dive in the very next installment?
The time has come to find out, gang!

As I’m sure you know by now, this is your ever present ***SPOILER ALERT***, so everybody act accordingly.

When his bratty sister, Brandy, requests an egg hunt for her birthday party, aspiring scientist Dana Johnson finds one that is beyond belief.
Giving off heat, covered in pulsing veins, he takes it to his room to study it more closely.
When it hatches, he takes it to a local research lab and the shit hits every fan you can possibly imagine!

First off, R.L. Stine must have had or wanted a bratty little sister, because this is the second book in a row where one is a key character.
Second and most important and possibly interesting or inspiring, this book came out one month after Bad Hare Day.
That was completely insane to me so I looked ahead and found that all of the four I have came out in four consecutive months.
While this books aren’t the most challenging, his level of output is incredibly impressive and respectable beyond my ability to articulate.
Bravo, sir!

I’ve been trying my damnedest to find something about this book that I didn’t like and I’m coming up empty.
This one had the horror vibe I felt the last one was lacking, which is a huge plus.
It’s pretty damn disturbing what happens when he heads to the lab.
It didn’t feel like it was lacking any depth like Bad Hare Day did either, in fact I loved the economical way he told this story and how it really dives in and deals with Dana’s reaction to the horrific and traumatic situation he finds himself in.
With the way he conveys that fear and panic of being captured, I can see why kids would find this scary.
Nothing at all here felt like it was missing or went unexplored like the previous story.

It really does make me a little bit sad that I missed the boat on these books when I was a wee lad.
I think it would have been a great way to embrace another aspect of horror at such a young age.
And with that fact alone I can totally understand why this series still persists to this day.
These first two experiences I’ve had with this series have gotten progressively better with each installment and that makes me excited to read the next two books next October.
But return to this franchise I most definitely will!

Let us know what you think of this special Halloween review in the comments below or share this post on Twitter with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this year’s final themed review in the next week or so.

Special thanks, as always, to @ACFerrell1976 for her continuing editorial assistance.

And for more great Nerd Blitz content, head over to Patreon.com/NerdBlitzPod or TSDJAProductions.bandcamp.com

Goosebumps: Bad Hare Day Review

The global phenomenon known as Goosebumps is a monster of a machine that has been rolling for almost 30 years and includes hundreds of Books in multiple series, TV shows, Movies, Video Games, Comics, and amazing amounts of merch.
It truly is a juggernaut!
But for some reason, as a kid, the books never really grabbed me.

So now, as I reach almost 30 myself, I’m taking a plunge into the series for the first time.
Will it stand up to the grizzled and cynical eyes of a grumpy old Doom or will it reignite some hidden youthfulness?
Let’s creep on in and find out.

As always, this your official ***SPOILER ALERT***

Now let me very clear about a couple of things upfront.
1. Yes, I understand this is a series of children’s “horror” novels, that wouldn’t and shouldn’t give it a pass for sucking.
Thankfully though, it doesn’t.
I judged this the same way I would any other novel or short story.
2. While this is the first Goosebumps book I have ever read, this is not my first experience with the franchise.
When I was little, love it or hate it, EVERYBODY watched the Goosebumps TV Series that aired on Fox kids in the mid-to-late 90s.
I remember absolutely loving it!
So I’m not quite sure why I never checked out the books.
3. Just so you know where I’m coming from with this review, for Halloween this year, I thought it might be fun to read some short horror books to celebrate the season and get in the mood.
With all of that out of the way, let’s dive in to the belly of this beast.

A magic obsessed kid named Tim spends his days trying to work out the kinks of his burgeoning act on anybody that will sit still long enough for him to attempt a trick.
During a trip to the local magic store, he’s given tickets to see his idol Amaz-O perform for the first, and possibly only, time ever!
So he sneaks out of the house one night with his bratty karate chopping sister, Ginny, in tow for a show that will change his life forever.

The first thing I would say is that this story specifically feels a bit mislabeled as horror.
To me, it feels like more like a thriller that has a dash of morality tale thrown in for good measure.
The tension doesn’t have that typical type of tension I associate with horror, it’s more of a “damn, this kid was wronged and got in too deep. I hope he doesn’t get in too much trouble” type of tension.
That is by no means a complaint, it’s just something that stuck out.

Now, something that I would consider a bit of a mild complaint (and actually something we just talked about in regard to Ash Vs Evil Dead) would be that it leaves you wanting more.
The “Just the facts, ma’am” style and break neck pace Stine seems to employ here does just that.
While it may be a limitation of the format/target audience (short attention spans), I want to see this dude unchained and able to tell a story with depth and some breathing room cause he’s definitely got the skill to weave a compelling and interesting story.
I get the feeling this may end up being the big “problem” I’ll have with any of these that I read, I just want more.
I want the chance to get to know this world where magic can transfigure you into other critters better.

As for the morality angle I mentioned earlier, it’s a pretty good Monkey’s Paw situation of “be careful what you wish for”.
Tim, due to his sister’s brattiness, keeps threatening to turn her into a rabbit.
When it eventually does happen, it comes back to bite him in the ass in a big way.
While that does change, the point lands hard.

Overall, this is pretty damn fun and well written, kid’s book or not.
Though it feels like a short story that could easily be turned into a full length novel, it’s pretty satisfying as is.
The characters each have a distinct voice of their own, which can sometimes be an issue with books aimed at younger audiences.
I’m definitely interested in reading more!

Let us know what you think of this review in the comments below or share this post on Twitter with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview, and keep an eye out for my other Halloween themed reviews in the coming weeks.

Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her continued editorial assistance.

And for more great Nerd Blitz content, head over to Patreon.com/NerdBlitzPod or TSDJAProductions.bandcamp.com

Iron Man: The Gauntlet Review

The armored avenger is headed to Ireland, gang, in the hands of one of the most well known children’s authors of the last two decades.
I missed the boat on the Artemis Fowl series when I was a kid so now it seems the time is right to find out if Eoin Colfer’s take on Iron Man will live up to the hype of his other works.
Let’s rock!

As always around here, this is your official ***SPOILER ALERT***

So the first thing I have to say is that it’s clear that this version of Tony is influenced by Robert Downey Jr and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is no where near a bad thing.
But it’s a stark *wink wink* and notable contrast to my previous Iron Man Novel Review.
The love of (what is now sadly considered) classic rock is there.
The smarmy attitude, got it.
And Colfer even manages to slip in a couple of small MCU references for those eagle eyed readers wanting more of that Tony.
If not for the comic booky version of The Mandarin, this could feel like a lost adventure of RDJ.
But make no mistake, despite all of the more widely known movie elements and such, this is still the comic book Iron Man we all know and tolerate…kidding!

Tony Stark is riding high as Iron Man, his new A.I. FRIDAY is developing faster than he hoped, and he’s finally making a change for good in the world.
Things are going well.
But Tony, through a long line of lies & hacking he wasn’t privy to, is suddenly thrown into a fight, along side a tech savvy Irish lass, against his worst enemy.

I have talked in many of these reviews about authors and their styles, which is always a nebulous concept to try and convey.
Colfer though has a less abstract style, his voice has an incredibly distinct feel.
An example of that would be a storytelling method he used that at first rubbed me kind of wrong until I figured out why.
In this book he repeatedly sets the stage for action and uses some version of the phrase “This is what happened” before omnisciently describing what went down.
It almost feels like somebody doing an overly descriptive narration of a documentary, and it works.
It bugged me until I figured out why it felt so familiar, and my biggest take away in that regard is that I think this dude could really nail a mystery series, especially the Monk-like summation of “He’s the guy, here’s what happened”.

Like most YA I’ve read recently, there’s not much wheel spinning, this story gets to the point.
And the point is that while he is still deeply flawed, Tony is trying his best to leave the world looking a little less shitty than it was when he strolled into it.
The only real complaint I can come away with is that we don’t really see Tony’s well known supporting cast.
No Pepper, no Happy, and no Jarvis, real or robot, this is Stark alone and relying on his own tech and smarts.

To wrap up, this is really the best of both worlds when it comes to Iron Man.
Colfer clearly knows what he’s doing, not just as a steward of the Iron Man character but as a writer.
Like I’ve said in so many of these reviews, this book makes me want to keep my eyes peeled for more from him.
And I definitely wouldn’t mind if that more was Marvel specifically, some day.

Let us know what you think of this review in the comments below or share this post on the Twitter times with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview.

Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her continued editorial assistance.

And for more great Nerd Blitz content, head over to Patreon.com/NerdBlitzPod or TSDJAProductions.bandcamp.com

The Nerd Blitz Question Of The Week #114

The evil heat of summer is dying it’s beautiful death and the sweet embrace of cooler weather is beginning to take hold.
And as always, The Nerd Blitz Question Of The Week is here to curl up and keep you cozy through the months ahead.
Let’s dive in and see what questions and answers we can uncover together, gang.

This week we are gettin’ in that cozy reading mood by asking: What Was Your Favorite Book When You Were A Kid, And Have You Reread It Since You’ve Grown Older?

Leave your answer down in the comments below or tweet it and maybe even a picture of the cover to us over on the Tweety times @NerdBlitzPod by using the incredibly well thought out hashtag #TNBQotW.

Special thanks goes out to the good sir @SteBoost for creating our eye catchingly sexified logo for this much beloved and celebrated segment known as The Nerd Blitz Question Of The Week.

Daphne & Velma: The Dark Deception Review

The first novel was an interesting new take on one of the most well known groupings of characters ever produced.
But was it a legitimately fun and fresh new take on the world’s most famous mystery solvers or was it the start of a calamitous fluke?
I think you know where this is headed, so let’s dive in with both feet, gang!

You know the drill, consider this your obligatory and official ***SPOILER ALERT***
Also, I highly suggest you read my review of the first book in this series (Find it HERE) to understand where things are.

We rejoin Daph & Velma, now back to being the bestest friends ever, a few weeks after the events of The Vanishing Girl, they’re still pondering what Shaggy’s secret could be.
Soon, a near panic grips Crystal Cove as mysterious jewels wash up on the beach and the entire town gives in to the hysteria of a vampire, the haunted history of the original settlers, and any other shadows they can think to give their imaginations up to.

Again, Velma seems to be the most well rounded character.
Though you don’t see her parents, the story of their struggle to get back the home that was stolen from them and how they’re preparing it makes for the most relatable and interesting of the personal life aspects of the story.
I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but I love this universe’s version of Velma.
The only issue I have on this front is that, sadly, the other members of the gang aren’t handled with nearly as much care or written as interesting.
But I can’t blame Morgan Baden for that, she’s just playing with the cards she was dealt…or is she?
We still don’t know who Josephine Ruby is.

On that topic, I like Baden’s style.
If she isn’t Ruby, she does a damn good job of mimicking her voice and style.
In a situation like this, with shifting authors, that can be a killer for the flow between books.
Baden continues most of the story threads set up in book 1, as well as kicking off a few of her own to keep things fresh.
Daphne’s instant crush on a fellow intern at the local gossip rag provides her with a good conflict for this outing, and it’s handled believably.

The mystery is suspenseful and twists enough to keep you from solving it instantly, and the cliffhanger again leaves you wanting more now!
Which is, possibly, the best thing you can say about such an earnest tale of teenage mystery solvers.
My only complaint here would be the repeating of the “men are evil and stupid” type stuff that’s kind of annoying.
As for the the men of Mystery Inc, Fred & Shaggy play a slightly larger role this time, which is definitely a plus.
And they are set up to have bigger roles in future installments.

These novels are like being in your 50s and hanging out with your best friend since childhood who also just so happens to have been your neighbor for the entirety of both your lives and hearing him say some weird shit like “Did I ever tell you about the time the wife and I liberated a small village from a central American warlord and captained an aircraft carrier back home?”
All of the words, in theory, make perfect sense, but you’re confused as to how these people you have known LITERALLY all of your damn life are revealing this wildly different and unknown side to you for the first time ever in the most random and nonchalant way possible.
That is truly how these books feel to me.
In these last 21 years, I have spent more time in the company of Mystery Inc, be it through Movies, TV Shows, Comics, or Books, than I have almost every family member or the revolving door of people I thought were my friends.
And that’s not to say I don’t appreciate or enjoy this series, I absolutely do!
But they throw me so off kilter with the rearranging of personality traits and social hierarchical changes.
It’s weird to be so off balance when I’m with my friends, but I love hearing that they have interesting new stories and I am hungry for many more.

The bottomline is that this series, if kept on course, has the potential to be so incredibly satisfying.
I wish it was more in line with the Scooby I know and love, but I suppose some of the fun is found in learning the new dynamics.
I’ll always hold out hope for a serious series of Scooby novels, but until that happens I am more than happy to devour the books in this universe.

Let us what you think of this review in the comments below or share this post on Twitter with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview.

Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her continued editorial assistance.

Also, get ready, Knights Of Nerd Blitz-Dom, the 100th episode (200th ep between the 3 shows) of the main show drops this weekend!
Your ears are not prepared for this monstrous onslaught of hard core nerdery.
We hope you enjoy it, gang.