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Blog Update – June 2021

Just really quick here, everything is completely fine in my life, but quite busy. Things have really fizzled down here on the blog, just focusing on reading ( when I can ) and doing book reviews. However, since my out of town trip last week, things aren’t looking good for me getting much reading done. Basically, the point of this post is to say that I’m still here, everything is fine all-around with me, but I’m not concentrating on posting well, because I’m not reading much at the moment but I do care about this blog and you as a reader.

Hopefully sometime soon I can pick back up on everything. I’ll let you know when by posting more reviews. I hope you are well and everything is going to your fancy.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews

Review: Devoted by Dean Koontz

A nice, solid cover that represents the book’s content well.

Blurb:

Woody Bookman hasn’t spoken a word in his eleven years of life. Not when his father died in a freak accident. Not when his mother, Megan, tells him she loves him. For Megan, keeping her boy safe and happy is what matters. But Woody believes a monstrous evil was behind his father’s death and now threatens him and his mother. And he’s not alone in his thoughts. An ally unknown to him is listening.

A uniquely gifted dog with a heart as golden as his breed, Kipp is devoted beyond reason to people. When he hears the boy who communicates like he does, without speaking, Kipp knows he needs to find him before it’s too late.

Woody’s fearful suspicions are taking shape. A man driven by a malicious evil has set a depraved plan into motion. And he’s coming after Woody and his mother. The reasons are primal. His powers are growing. And he’s not alone. Only a force greater than evil can stop what’s coming next.


Ah, it’s been a while since I have indulged in a Dean Koontz book and this title Devoted does deliver as expected with light and refreshing writing that is an ease to read and follow along with. With not-too-much goings on during the pages we are left with a solid story about Woody, a highly-functioning autistic 11 year old boy that is ( mostly ) mute, but very smart for his age and ends up getting wrapped up in the story line by means of hacking computers in order to find answers about his father’s death. He knows there is more than meets the eye and the answers are out there.

Kipp, the dog is special and communicates telepathically through the wire. Him and a group of dogs are apart of the Mysterium. Because of Woody’s condition, he also communicates through the medium. The looming dark presence in the book centers around a corporation and a an ex-CEO is preying on Woody and his mother and the book also explores some of Woody’s coping mechanisms for his condition which was like icing on the cake here.

Woody’s mother Megan will do anything to protect him including calling the local police in to help and it shows in these some odd 300 pages which were well worth the read. I give Devoted by Koontz a solid ★★★★☆ four stars out of five.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews Other Reviews

Review: Savage: The Wild Graphic Novel

Savage: The Wild

Blurb:

Teenage heartthrob. Feral social icon. Dinosaur hunter. Born and raised on an uncharted island full of prehistoric dangers, Kevin Sauvage has a taste of home when a mutant dino threat invades England! From the mad minds of international superstar Max Bemis (Moon Knight) and powerhouse artist Nathan Stockman (Spidey) comes the craziest action book of 2020. Collecting SAVAGE (2020) #1-4.


I completed this review in exchange for a free digital copy via NetGalley.com

All-out chaos and mayhem is what you get when two parallel worlds come together to bring a zany tale of Kevin Sauvage – a celebrity that grew up hunting dinosaurs and other misc. feral beasts in another dimension. Savage now exists in an Earthly dimension in England as somewhat of a star. However, as I write this I certainly do have complaints ( once again ) about pixelated images and the horrid Adobe .acsm viewer combining to make an experience that would have been much better with just a standard PDF file. I have no interest in giving it away and / or pirating anything.

Now, on with the quality of not the digital product experience, but with the quality of the story and artwork: It’s hard to take anything with much seriousness and more than a grain of salt in this story because the basis of it is basically that Savage and his counter parts are against an evil mad scientist, a technological “Project Bizarre” ( a threat to the Earthly dimension because of the creatures it holds ). We are left with not much resolution to the story but a bit of a cliffhanger at the end for the next book. The art, ( besides the fact that the images are pixelated ) I thought was better than the story itself. I had fun reading it, but that was mostly due to the art than the story. Overall, I rate this at ★★✬☆☆ 2.5 stars out of five.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews

Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Blurb:

Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider is on his doorstep—about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting . . . and a lot more dangerous.


One cord was absitavely struck while I was reading this book and that is identity. Not only is “Fat Charlie” getting married, he also doesn’t have a full sense of identity because he didn’t know that his father was a God as an incarnate of the African spider God named Anansi. How many of us share that lack of full sense of identity because we don’t know the whole truth . . . even about ourselves?

A second cord that was ringing through quite clearly during my reading was family. At one point in the book, Fat Charlie wishes his brother ( Spider ) away because of all the supposed calamity now happening in his life, which isn’t a surprise since most of us can relate to inter-family conflict. While his brother has brought new things, including super powers passed on from their father ( that Charlie doesn’t have ), Fat Charlie does finally come to grips with everything in a way that wraps the story up perfectly.

What makes this book resonate and work so well is that it is both fantasy and down to Earth. It’s easy to read and presents a complex storyline at the same time. I give Anansi Boys a solid ★★★★☆ four stars out of five.

The reason I knocked of a star is that the writing is so simple that a middle school grader could understand, so my craving for complexity in sentence form and for real-world knowledge wasn’t quite filled – other than that, it was a splendid and cuteish.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Music Resources

Friday Fun Trifecta #18

If you remember a while back, we did a segment here on SDMcKinley.com called Friday Fun Links. Fun links have evolved into Friday Fun Trifecta, where I will feature one thing of each – music, book and visual arts. Welcome to Friday Fun Trifecta #18, in appreciation for artwork.

Music:

Visual:

Dragon Valley by somatonic

Book:

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

“It is a small world. You do not have to live in it particularly long to learn that for yourself. There is a theory that, in the whole world, there are only five hundred real people (the cast, as it were; all the rest of the people in the world, the theory suggests, are extras) and what is more, they all know each other. And it’s true, or true as far as it goes. In reality the world is made of thousands upon thousands of groups of about five hundred people, all of whom will spend their lives bumping into each other, trying to avoid each other, and discovering each other in the same unlikely teashop in Vancouver. There is an unavoidability to this process. It’s not even coincidence. It’s just the way the world works, with no regard for individuals or for propriety.”

― Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

[ Quote Source: goodreads.com ]

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews

Review: Dark Days: A Memoir by D. Randall Blythe

Blurb:

Lamb of god vocalist D. Randall Blythe finally tells the whole incredible story of his arrest, incarceration, trial, and acquittal for manslaughter in the Czech Republic over the tragic and accidental death of a concertgoer in this riveting, gripping, biting, bold, and brave memoir.


One of the most exciting and also dreadful banes of our existence is the fact that our whole lives can change in an instant – for better or for worse. For the worse, it turned out one day when lamb of god touched back down in Czech Republic to play a show after two years of absence when the lead singer Randall Blythe got arrested for something similar to manslaughter for the death of a fan at the previous show and everything in his life changed including and most notably being locked up for over 30 days in a worn-down Czech prison called Pankrác in Prague.

The accusing family of the deceased, along with the prosecutor claimed that Blythe pushed their son off the stage at the concert, he fell off the stage onto his head and died soon after and that Blythe was solely responsible. If that sounds terrible to you, then consider the normal heavy metal concert where all types of calamity happens including what is know as stage diving, where a concert goer manages to make it on stage ( not where they are suppose to be and highly frowned upon by hosts ) and dives off the stage expecting to be caught by the crowd and either let down easy or onto something known as crowd surfing. Daniel ( the deceased ) didn’t make it back up that day.

Blythe continues in this memoir novel to outline his stay in the holding facility and onto Pankrác Prison where he gets doctor’s visits, psych evaluations in a foreign language and fights the prison system just to save face and manage his more than uncertain path in a foreign country. Even after posting bail, then doubling it after an appeal, nothing is certain as he still sat in jail for some time after posting bail in light of appeals to the process by the prosecuting attorney.

My most favored part of this book is when the detectives take him for an off-site doctor’s visit and they buy McDonald’s and some smokes for Blythe and he gets to listen to music. This is a perfect example of how we often mistake and take for granted some of the simplest of things and how we mustn’t forget about how those things in life are the finest.

Finally, at trial time, Blythe is acquitted and set free. Dark Days is beautifully written and highly cohesive and gets ★★★★★ five stars out of five, teaching us that life is stunning and it can take us down one of many paths.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Resources

What I’m Reading: Dark Days: A Memoir by D. Randall Blythe

You’ll hear more about this book, which I am around half-way through with at the time I publish this post. I am a bit of a lamb of god fan with their music growing on me more of late than earlier. Go heavy metal!

This book is about Mr. Blythe getting locked up in a Czeck prison in Prague called Pankrác Prison. His band landed there after not playing a Czech show in two years, after which he was arrested in customs for something similar to manslaughter for the death of a fan ( at the last concert they played two years earlier ). It’s a lengthy book @ 496 pages. Seems like forever in a day since I read a decent non-fiction book and this one is moving right along for me and so far a very entertaining read. More details soon.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews

Review: Graveyard by Robert David Chase

With all these dirty textures and this being in the non-fiction horror category, this cover works well.

Blurb:

“Ghosts are always hungry,” someone once said—and no one knows how ravenous they really are more than Ed & Lorraine Warren, the world’s most renowned paranormal investigators. For decades, Ed and Lorraine Warren hunted down the truth behind the most terrifying supernatural occurrences across the nation… and brought back astonishing evidence of their encounters with the unquiet dead. From the notorious house immortalized in The Amityville Horror to the bone-chilling events that inspired the hit film The Conjuring, the Warrens fearlessly probed the darkness of the world beyond our own, and documented the all-too-real experiences of the haunted and the possessed, the lingering deceased and the vengeful damned.
Graveyard chronicles a host of their most harrowing, fact-based cases of ghostly visitations, demonic stalking, heart-wrenching otherworldly encounters, and horrifying comeuppance from the spirit world. If you don’t believe, you will. And whether you read it alone in the dead of night or in the middle of a sunny day, you’ll be forever haunted by its gallery of specters eager to feed on your darkest dread. Don’t miss the Warrens’ latest film, Annabelle, in theaters now.


If you could picture a book in the middle of a see-saw while ump-teen kids rock back and forth having a blast at recess, in-between classes, this book would be it. Chase features 18 different scary stories with the first eight stories centering around a place call Union Cemetery, in Easton Connecticut.

With all these ghost stories – the main question is . . . Is it scary? Yes it is. For me, the necromancer story was the most scary story out of all of them and had me putting the book down out of fear. Keep in mind: I don’t scare easily.

This book didn’t work well because it’s written in a eight grade reading level and you can’t quite recommend it as children’s reading because it dives into adult themes. Actually, I DNF’d this book @ 67% because I feel like there are better candidates for my time than this. I chose not to list this as a DNF because it’s a distraction thing, not a quality thing even though this book barely made ★★★☆☆ three stars out of five for me. That’s because 9/10 paragraphs were two sentences long and when I wasn’t scared I was just . . . well kind of bored with the whole thing. And, on to the next . . .

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

Categories
Music Resources

Friday Fun Trifecta #17

If you remember a while back, we did a segment here on SDMcKinley.com called Friday Fun Links. Fun links have evolved into Friday Fun Trifecta, where I will feature one thing of each – music, book and visual arts. Welcome to Friday Fun Trifecta #17, in appreciation for artwork.

Visual:

THE STREETS – Chapter 4 – THE GIGGLERS by  DanLuVisiArt

Book:

Sojourn by R.A. Salvatore – this is the first book I ever read on my own free will.

“There is a wide world out there, full of pain, but filled with joy as well. The former keeps you on the path of growth and the latter makes the journey tolerable.”

― R.A. Salvatore, Sojourn

[ Quote Source: goodreads.com ]

Music:

Bedlamite by Puscifer – lyrics @ Genius.com

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

Categories
Book Reviews

Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

This digital painting cover works well and represents the source material. 👍

Blurb:

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.


Wells paints a face-paced adventure tale into a novella-in-size book that packs a punch in your jaw of science fiction. If the sound of things like beacons, androids, sentience, dystopian futures, etc. fancy your flavor then you can get a load of it packed in these . . . ~150 pages. Although I didn’t experience much poetic nature in the book, the writing was quick and detailed just enough still to not only keep my attention and it did entertain at the same time which is what I look for in a book. Number one thing = entertainment. Someone might ask a question:

Q: Well, how well did it entertain you S.D.?

A: Excellent question. It entertained me on a ★★★★☆ four out of five star scale level.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.