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Book Review: ‘Cuttin Heads #Blogtour #cuttinheads #dawatson

 

Title:
Cuttin’ Heads

Authors:
D.A. Watson

Genre:
Horror

Book procurement:
Received a copy from Rachel’s Random Resources for a fair and honest review

Rating:

A Musically-Horrifying  5 out of 5

Synopsis:

Aldo Evans is a desperate man. Fired from his job and deeply in debt, he struggles to balance a broken family life with his passion for music.

Luce Figura is a troubled woman. A rhythmic perfectionist, she is haunted by childhood trauma and scorned by her religiously devout mother.

Ross McArthur is a wiseass. Orphaned as an infant and raised by the state, his interests include game shows, home-grown weed, occasional violence and the bass guitar.

They are Public Alibi. A rock n’ roll band going nowhere fast.

When the sharp-suited, smooth talking producer Gappa Bale offers them a once in a lifetime chance to make their dreams come true, they are caught up in a maelstrom of fame, obsession, music and murder.

Soon, Aldo, Luce and Ross must ask themselves: is it really better to burn out than to fade away?

First Thoughts

I genuinely love musicals. Though thinking about it, Tenacious D and The Relentless (American Satan) wouldn’t think themselves musicals even when they technically are. This is also true, despite their deals with the Devil cliched contract that leads to epic music, drugs broken friendships and all underhanded devilish tricks. I genuinely thought of a Scottish version of American Satan while reading this book, with a very distinct difference between the two; D.A. Watson knows what he’s talking about. The musical notation, the combination of story telling and musical knowledge, the character portrayal and depth, with combination of horror and  fear that makes you resonate with the characters, their individuality, thoughts and persona, and watching the constant digression like the best movie you’ve ever seen. I even have music in my head from a written story. That is true talent.

The Story

We follow Aldo, Luce, and Ross on their musical journey from small town nobodies to musical stars of fame and wonder in a very short amount of time, and at no small price. Gappa Bale is more than he seems even when he appears after an amazing gig at a local bar. Gappa, representing Easy Going Records, approaches the trio after the stellar performance with an opportunity to bring their music dreams to life – but then, things begin to spiral out of control.

Writing

I absolutely adore the writing. It’s easy to read yet fluid and real. Each character has a unique voice and character persona which carries well throughout the book. Switching between characters does not throw you off the story.

Aldo has his own voice and thought processes that you can easily fall in to. With a music passion that hinges on obsession but a true love and care for his boy Dylan whom he cannot be a father to as much as he wants, puts him as the perfect front man for Public Alibi.

Luce’s Italian Catholic background and shake in faith from an event in her past combined with her love of music and drumming has hardened her to be an amazing drummer and hardcore band member. Her character comes out strong and infallible regardless of her collision with Gappa Bale.

Rose is strong as an ox and kind as one too, not afraid to show the horns when he has to. His shaky childhood as an orphan and his work at the hospital shape him into an amazing young man. A killer on the bass guitar and true friend, his character is clear and distinct and strong. I loved him.

D.A. Watson is able to delve into the individual characters of Aldo, Ross, Luce, and Gappa without jarring chapter breaks or unnecessary story changes. Brilliant writing.

Final Thoughts

Absolutely adored this book both from a horror perspective (Remember May wow) and from a story and music perspective. A truly inspiring musical journey, intermingled with musical folklore and music knowledge that makes you question the fame of popular rock artists. Like a conspiracy theory and fantastic book all in one. Cuttin’ Heads makes me want to pick up my guitar again, while questioning any person who comes to me with a record label deal.

Oh and that last chapter between Aldo and Gappa Bale? Absolutely epic!


 

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Dreamless – Music Lyrics

guitar-1836655_1280

Bright lights and shadows,
Of a life, broken and torn,
Words left unspoken
And these lies continue to unfold.

Continue these choices
In hope, yet falling to despair
I can’t keep on holding
To this dream, I’m drowning in doubt.


Occasionally my poetry turns into songs. This is the latest one I’ve started writing.

Wednesday Book Review: Ready Player One

ready-player-one

Title: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

Publisher:  Broadway Books

Book procurement: Bought online on Takealot.com. Also available on Amazon and major book stores! (or it should be!)

Release Date: June 5, 2012.

Synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Review:

I’m perusing all my old online gaming haunts, checking out tutorials on YouTube and playing online on my Xbox, PC and Nintendo 3DS all at the same time. Why? Because this book is just that life changing. I mean, I’d always considered myself a gamer (I write for a gaming magazine after all) and own a variety of gaming consoles as well as building a new gaming PC. But I was twenty pages into this book and I realized I’m a noob by all standards.

So when a book is able to make you reassess your life, you know it’s brilliant. It also plays on every gamer’s dream console – fully immersive virtual reality. You don’t have to watch the .Hack series, Sword Art Online, Log Horizon anime etc or see the Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft’s Hololens, Playstation VR, Facebook’s Oculus to know that we all want that OASIS experience. We don’t want to press buttons, or look ridiculous in front of the Wii, Playstation Move or Microsoft Kinect (even though to be honest that’s what we’ll probably look like in-game anyway). We want to get inside the game and feel like we’re part of the game and not just interactive spectators. And this is the world of Ready Player One. It’s a world where you can be whatever and whoever you want.

I loved Wade. Honestly do. He’s just the kind of high level gamer you find in forums and on MMOs playing solo yet willing to go on that really difficult mission/quest/dungeon with you. He’s not an egotistical jerk. And he has a great sense of humour. I feel like I could relate to him in the gaming world. And that’s a well written character. All the other characters are just as well rounded. No one is a demi-god with amazing good looks and perfect personalities, traits and gaming skills. They are flawed. They are regular folk like you and me. They are real and believable. From Art3mis to Aech (ha! I did not see that coming) to the brothers Shoto and Daito, and even Halliday, Ogden (Og) and the antagonist Sorrento. Just gamers doing what they do best.

The story flows really well. The writing is personal as it is descriptive. You are Wade and experiencing his emotions, thoughts, struggles, hopes, dreams – everything. Ernest Cline really did his homework on all these 80’s titles. I’ve never heard of quite a number of games, anime, movies and music referenced in this book. And yet it all falls under my favourites: anime, gaming, rock and 80s tv shows. There were so many twists in there. Wow. I just wanted to keep reading more and more and more. Between finding the Egg hidden away in the gaming world, and all the conflicts happening both within and outside of the OASIS, I couldn’t help but go on a rollercoaster of emotions. I’m still reeling! I’ll probably read this book again 400 million times during the course of my life. It was that good.

I don’t even know what else to say. It was just… wow. I loved it. Completely. From a story telling perspective to content, characters, ending and all things geekery. If you love games, anime, rock, movies and the like, you’ll love this book.

Rating:  Look it’s a 10 out of 5 okay? My rating system, my rules.


Check out my Bookstagram account: @ascribe_bookstagram

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earnest-cline

ERNEST CLINE is a novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. His first novel, Ready Player One, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, appeared on numerous “best of the year” lists, and is set to be adapted into a motion picture by Warner Bros. and director Steven Spielberg. His second novel, ARMADA, debuted at #4 on the NYT Bestseller list and is being made into a film by Universal Pictures. Ernie lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic video games.

Lyrical Muse

You are the bruises to my fist,

The impulse steering me through oncoming traffic.

Suicidal lapses play through my speakers.

“We’re slow dancing in a burning room.”

*

Hope slips through my fingers, memories at every turn,

Melancholic alcoholic; no suture where you permeated,

Gaping wounds and drafts of pain

“You’re so one in a million”

*

Heart shaped sunglasses, hindsight in darkened lenses

Regret glints; harsh reality, piercing retrospect

Harrowing double visioned rain and bow

“I’ve been locked out of heaven.”

*

Snap back to place, misshapen and broken

promises on sweet lips spill too loosely, sinking ships,

Titanic depths, lost to the ice cold abyss.

“I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.”


Even when all else seems bleak, remember that there’s hope, guiding hearts and minds.


Words in quotation marks are lyrics from the following artists:

“We’re slow dancing in a burning room.” – John Mayer

“You’re so one in a million” – Ne yo

“I’ve been locked out of heaven.” – Bruno Mars

“I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” – Sia

Second Stage

Second stage is anger,

Palpitations send shock waves through clenched fists

Where Pride bleeds unrequited pain,

Unable to slash the severed cord.

 

Second stage is painfully hilarious,

False reconciliation mending irreparable hearts

Just to cleave through them all over again,

Dispensing the resent tenfold.

 

Second stage is foolishness

Hoping to heal through retaliation

To administer pain to other by hurting self

Ludicrous!

 

Second stage is Panic! yelling “Death of a bachelor”,

But Billy Talent whispers, ” “It’s a lonely road to absolution… and we must walk alone.”

Paramore convinces “my heart beats for you”, clamoring that “you are the only exception”,

But Fall Out Boy blatantly states that “my heart is the worst kind of weapon.”

Jer 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Fool me

Fool Me

Dashing prince meets his beautiful princess

A fairytale beginning to this biographical non-fiction,

Let this ink run out before the last chapter

Happily ever after, the final words.

I may be a writer, but I’m an actor in this tale

A sub character in this paperback,

Dancing to the pen of another

Pull my arc and let it burn.

 

My wrists don’t bleed, but my fists do

Physical pain, throbbing satisfaction

Fool me once, shame on me

My gun doesn’t have bullets, but my words do

Bleeding pain, throbbing  indignation

Fool me twice, shame on me.

 

I am like a puppet, pulled by invisible strings

Your love is a coin, pop it in and watch me dance.

A temporary love song, we revel in it’s beauty

And we never know when the curtain will fall,

When it does, don’t take another coin

I’m tired of pretending to be a real boy,

Dancing to the tune of your whims

Cut my strings and let me fall.

 

There’s no save point. No reset button.

No 1st draft to be re-written.

Can’t suture these gaping wounds

I’m letting words bleed ’til I run out of ink or blood.


Just raw un-edited words. Probably turn this into a song or something. I was going for a Panic! at the Disco / Fall Out Boy lyrical feel. Did I accomplish it? What’s your favourite band or lyrics, I would love to know.

 

 

 

Right in the Feels

__music___by_picolada

Did you know, that music is more effective in overcoming depression than counselling?

I read this on a billboard on my way to work, as music sifted through my car during early morning traffic. The thought that came to mind was “Music can also put you in a depressive mood.” which got me thinking about music in general and the power it has over us, our emotions and for me, my writing.

Read the rest of this entry

Lamentations

Rain drops keep falling on my head

Lam·en·ta·tion noun/lamənˈtāSHən/

~ The passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping.

         I think many can attest to the fact that, music can play on your emotions greatly, especially during certain periods in your life whether its a time of sorrow or joy. There is a song for each emotion and each situation we can find ourselves in. I found myself listening to the Gaither Vocal Band, which is one of my favourite A Capella groups ever. They were singing a slower version of “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” (the only other version I know is sung at a faster pace by  Chris Rice) and I was actually overwhelmed by emotion at the words which go:

O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths its flow,

May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee;

My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day

May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;

 I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain,

That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be.

Such powerful lyrics! What grace! What Mercy! Praise be to God and may His kingdom come!

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