Sifu Kevin Seaman has done it again with Jun Fan Gun Fu: Seeking the path of Jeet Kune Do 2. Like the first volume, Sifu Kevin presents a cornucopia oSifu Kevin Seaman has done it again with Jun Fan Gun Fu: Seeking the path of Jeet Kune Do 2. Like the first volume, Sifu Kevin presents a cornucopia of techniques, concepts and drills, which will be useful to practitioners of all martial arts disciplines.
I purchased this book directly from the author and have an inscribed and signed copy. I’ve been fortunate to attend seminars by and with Sifu Kevin, and with some instructors teaching under him. Although I’ve been practicing martial arts nearly 30 years, I’m just beginning to walk the JKD path. I feel Sifu Kevin’s books are incredible travel guides for anyone’s journey into the art, science, and philosophy espoused by the incomparable Bruce Lee.
Although you can’t learn from a book alone, you can use this text, along with the first volume, to increase your knowledge, and guide your journey. This book can be used as a mnemonic for those who have been initiated. If you’ve had training in JKD, Sifu Kevin’s books can be used as a memory aid (I’m sure his books are much more organized than your notebook) where you can grab a technique, principle or drill, allowing you to work what you already know, getting expert coaching from the text as you do.
For those who go to seminars or have a teacher, you’ll be able to pull out things you’d like to work on and ask about the material, or to ask them to demonstrate. You can’t hunt down information that you don’t know exists.
The book can be used as an introduction to the principles of JKD, lighting a fire within you, pushing you to seek qualified instruction. And finally, for those who study fighting systems, and other styles of martial arts, you’ll be able to pull out drills and concepts that you can work into your respective martial art’s structure, enhancing your training.
This second volume not only builds on the physical foundations of the first, with topics like advanced footwork, defensive structure, and physical development, but also expounds on the principles, psychology, and philosophy of the well-rounded fighter and martial artist.
Sifu Kevin Seaman’s Jun Fan Gun Fu: Seeking the Path of Jeet Kune Do 2 is a worthy sequel to the first volume, a compressive reference guide, and highly recommended for all fighters and martial artists. You’ll find it a welcome addition to your martial arts library, and a working reference that won’t gather dust. ...more
Hank Schwaeble’s Jake Hatcher is back in his third novel, The Angel of the Abyss. As always, and just like his short fiction, Schwaeble crafts a rolliHank Schwaeble’s Jake Hatcher is back in his third novel, The Angel of the Abyss. As always, and just like his short fiction, Schwaeble crafts a rollicking good tale that will keep you turning the pages.
The beginning of this tale has Hatcher facing a demon, although it’s more complicated than that, giving Hatcher time to exercise his sarcastic wit. Fans of Supernatural and Ash vs. the Evil Dead will definitely appreciate the humor.
The mood becomes more serious and dire in the second act. The middle of the book, unlike many writers who get bogged down at this point, is where Schwaeble really shines. He does a great job writing from the perspective of Amy, Jake’s true love, who is also a former cop. I actually enjoyed Amy’s scenes even more than Hatcher’s. The two of them fight like the proverbial married couple, of which, I’m sure, many readers will be able to relate.
Schweable also does a fine job of taking on the perspective of a young boy. We meet the boy while he’s in a precarious situation, and we know from the beginning that the boy will converge with Hatcher and Amy at some point in the story. I won’t spoil it for you, but I think you’ll be racing to the end to find out what happens.
Hatcher’s past is constantly catching up with him, complicating things, and fans of the series will get some closure on events that were set up in the previous volumes. New readers can start here; Hank does a great job of bringing you into Hatcher’s world. You won’t feel left out or confused.
The last third of the book builds up to a hellish crescendo leaving this reader wanting more. There are questions left unanswered, promising a fourth book in this popular series. The Angel of the Abyss has it all: likable characters, demons, black magic, possession, secret military installations, cults, and lots of action. If you want a story to get you in the mood for Halloween and beyond, pick up The Angel of the Abyss. You won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended.
I received an advanced reading copy for my review. ...more
Hank Schwaeble delivers the goods in this collection of short noir fiction. Each story is compelling and masterfully crafted. There isn’t a bad storyHank Schwaeble delivers the goods in this collection of short noir fiction. Each story is compelling and masterfully crafted. There isn’t a bad story in the bunch. Plus you get to read the amazing introduction by Jonathan Maberry.
Here are some of my favorites:
American Nocturne – A dime store detective attempts to solve the most baffling case of his life. This tale will leave you questioning reality.
Midnight Bogey Blues – How do you get rid of a boogeyman? Read this story and find out. You might not like the answer, but you’ll enjoy reading it.
Gomorrah – A story about the darker side of destiny. An initiation ritual gone wrong leads a participant down a very dark path.
Bone Daddy – This twisted tale goes into very dark territory. Made me feel a little queasy while reading it. A guilty pleasure for sure.
Phantom Hill – A weird western with a unique and compelling twist.
A Murmur of Evil – Who doesn’t like an officially sanctioned Kolchak: The Night Stalker novella?
Nurture – The argument between nature vs. nurture played out literarily and in the darkest sense. A bleak and disturbing tale with just a touch of politically incorrect humor.
There’s plenty more to enjoy. I can’t recommend this collection enough. Absolutely fantastic! If you like noir, have at it. You won’t be disappointed. ...more
In The Seeds of Nightmares, Tony Tremblay displays a deft hand and shows he can deliver the goods in short sharp bites. When creating a short story itIn The Seeds of Nightmares, Tony Tremblay displays a deft hand and shows he can deliver the goods in short sharp bites. When creating a short story it’s important for a writer to ensure the reader relates to the characters. In a horror or dark fantasy story especially, there must also be a gut punch, something to send the reader reeling to make the story memorable. Tremblay does both exceedingly well in this collection.
Standouts in this respect include:
The Old Man –In this tale Tremblay finds an ingenious way to break down the fourth wall and bring the reader literally into the story. Brilliant!
The Burial Board –Tremblay brings us into a husband and father’s worst nightmare and never lets up. The ending is as shocking as it is merciful.
Tsunami –Tremblay doesn’t couch the truth of the story in this controversial tale. I don’t want to give anything away. You’ll just have to read it.
Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song –This story begins like a traditional Korean folk story and becomes increasingly bizarre until it concludes with the most memorable ending of the collection.
Aficionados of dark fantasy and horror will find plenty to love in this collection. Trebly is a writer on the rise. ...more
Caesar’s Ghost is a well-written mystery or mhistory (mystery + history—-do you see what MacRath did there?) with a splash of the speculative. What woCaesar’s Ghost is a well-written mystery or mhistory (mystery + history—-do you see what MacRath did there?) with a splash of the speculative. What would happen if Julius Cesar returned—-could live again in our current time? A man with that type of ambition and cunning would surely set his sights on some amazing conquest, wouldn’t he?
Along the way, Caesar is reunited with Cleopatra (Cleo), and teams up with some colorful characters, including a college professor, a private investigator, and even a mob boss. Yes, as you will see, they all become very close as Caesar works out a grand scheme to the benefit of all… Well, maybe not all. But—-at least—-to some! ...more
Solo Training 3 50 And Older is chock-full of information, drills, and exercise for the aging martial artist. Don’t let the title fool you; this bookSolo Training 3 50 And Older is chock-full of information, drills, and exercise for the aging martial artist. Don’t let the title fool you; this book is great for any aging martial artist. I’m just hitting my mid-40s and I found the information in this book very helpful. I had the opportunity to borrow this book for free using my Prime Membership, and I’m glad that I did. If you find just one idea that you can put into use in your own training, then the time it took to read the book was worth it. I found plenty, and I was reminded of some drills and concepts that I had forgotten.
Christensen covers a wide range of subjects. He spends a good deal of time on resistance training—a very important aspect of solo training for any aging martial artist. He also covers proper diet, training your core, and speed training, among other topics.
This book is subtitled Karate, Kung Fu, and Taekwondo. That’s an important distinction. Christensen wrote the book with the traditional stand-up martial artist in mind. But even if you practice non-classical or reality based self-defense styles, I think you’ll get something out of it. Kata training is also covered. I’ve always felt that kata was best practiced at home anyway, leaving the time in class for drills and sparing that requires partners.
Chapter 14 gives you a fairly thorough look at “fight enders.” Just make sure you understand use of force laws before you employ them. But as we age, we don’t have time to mess around. If you’ve mostly focused on sports with rules, this is good information to know.
At the end of the book Christensen provides tons of drills that you can implement or modify to your liking. Inevitably a few reviewers will comment that anyone with an intermediate or advanced level of training could come up with the same or similar workouts. While that might be true, I just don’t see why anyone would want to reinvent the wheel. Christensen has done all the work for you in this volume, providing a template that you can modify to your heart’s desire. Since Christensen uses these workouts himself, you know they work. And that will save you time, and the trial and error of putting together your own workouts.
If you’re a student, you know you can’t improve enough by just training during class time. If you’re an instructor, you have to put in the time before or after class for your own improvement. This is a book that will help you to improve while reducing injury. It’s a welcome edition to any martial artist’s library. I know I’ll be adding a physical copy to mine. ...more
Absolutely fantastic! Hayder is an amazing writer. Her attention to detail, both in characterization and setting, is awe inspiring. Birdman is a veryAbsolutely fantastic! Hayder is an amazing writer. Her attention to detail, both in characterization and setting, is awe inspiring. Birdman is a very dark book, and many will find it too disturbing. She elegantly handled all the gory details, cutting away most of the time, leaving a great deal to the imagination. Highly recommended. ...more
I picked up the original edition of MonsterTime when it first came out in 1991. By that time, I was slowing wandering away from horror, so popular inI picked up the original edition of MonsterTime when it first came out in 1991. By that time, I was slowing wandering away from horror, so popular in the 1980s (for the ‘90s were upon us!), but was intrigued by Dell Publishing’s new Abyss horror line. The back cover blurb also promised something more than the usual horror fair, and small town secrets. Curious, I picked it up from the shelf of my local bookstore. I’m glad I did. The novel delivered in spades.
MonsterTime is a strong and delightfully eclectic novel of horror, time travel, dark fantasy, and historical fiction. With a pulp fiction meets literary writing style, the story is always energetic, sometimes scary, at other times funny, with enough forward momentum to keep the story moving, and enough twists to keep the reader guessing.
MacRath has tightened the prose to great affect and tamed down some of the taboo subjects, at least as I remember them, but that’s not to say that you won’t find your share of controversial scenes in this book. They’re just handled now with a little more eloquence, by the deft hand of a writer who has 25 more years of skill under his belt.
MacRath would later reexamine some of the themes and elements presented in this book in his more recent novels: trains, time travel, Alcatraz (The Rock), and martial arts, all appear and are important to the plot, along with the man on the run, and man out of time/without a country motif. His non-horror books Red Champagne and (his semi-autobiographical) The Vanishing Magic of Snow immediately come to mind. I believe MonsterTime is heavily autobiographical; no matter how far out some of the scenes might seem to be. I even noticed at least one possible revenge killing in this book. Yes—don’t anger an author. You will be killed off in his book in some horrible, horrible way!
MonsterTime was ahead of its time when it came out, and I think it will remain so even now, and for many years to come. If you haven’t read it, you’re in for a treat, and if you have, it’s well worth the effort to read again. I can safely say you will read nothing quite like it in your lifetime. It’s an underrated masterpiece that’s impossible to pigeonhole, hard to put down, and not easily forgotten. ...more
Baby’s Breath is a shocking tale of betrayal, revenge, and madness. With pitch perfect characterization, and just the right mix of real life and the mBaby’s Breath is a shocking tale of betrayal, revenge, and madness. With pitch perfect characterization, and just the right mix of real life and the macabre, Baby’s Breath delivers timeless terrors that stay with you well after the story ends. Sydney Leigh is a writer headed for the big-time! ...more
The Vanishing Magic of Snow is a beautiful book that is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Certainly a MacRathian Masterpiece. The Great American NovelThe Vanishing Magic of Snow is a beautiful book that is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Certainly a MacRathian Masterpiece. The Great American Novel as told by a narrator who was once relegated to the wilds of Canada. A great novel makes you feel something, and this book made me feel all the way through. We wonder if Jay Penny can survive his circumstances, and we care if he survives his circumstances.
There is a bit of magic, and time travel, as well as the presence of stone cold reality in this novel. They all mix to create a book that is so much more than just the sum of its parts. Real life celebrities pop in for a visit along with some fully realized supporting characters that are so real it’s easy to forge they’re fictional.
If you’ve read MacRath’s blog you’ll know that this book is in many ways semi-autobiographical and because the author is writing from experience, even the most fantastical scene is grounded in its own reality. There is magic and miracles in the world and a shockeroo now and again. And sometimes there’s an Almighty Shockeroo, like there is in this book. What is The Almighty Shockeroo? You’ll just have to read and find out. ...more
In Doug Rinaldi’s A Different Kind of Slumber, a homicide detective and a young boy form an unlikely alliance, as they become the targets of a serialIn Doug Rinaldi’s A Different Kind of Slumber, a homicide detective and a young boy form an unlikely alliance, as they become the targets of a serial killer who doesn’t use normal means to dispatch his victims. Together they must defeat the killer or die trying.
Rinaldi’s prose is never boring, and his pacing through the novelette is spot on. The ending feels a little rushed, but it’s easy to forgive. The dialogue draws directly from the pulp tradition, and will have some readers waxing sentimental. Rinaldi writes confidently from the perspective of a child, something not easily accomplished by even the most experienced of novelists.
A Different Kind of Slumber is a fast paced thriller that, despite it’s small size, packs a powerful punch. Rinaldi is a writer to watch! ...more
Red Champagne is a unique, highly nuanced, fast paced thriller of a novel.
Former safe cracker Jimmy Fields, stuck in a time loop, is forced to reliveRed Champagne is a unique, highly nuanced, fast paced thriller of a novel.
Former safe cracker Jimmy Fields, stuck in a time loop, is forced to relive the fateful night of Christmas Eve, 1938, over and over again, on board the 20th Century Limited passenger train, losing an hour each time, as he attempts to set right the events on the train, save his future, and the future of the woman he loves.
Reb MacRath doesn’t get bogged down in Groundhog Day plot conventions. Instead of playing the same scene over and over, he throws in plenty of twisting tracks, changing the scenes, the locations, delaying the introduction of characters only hinted at. Revealing them slowly, like peeling an onion in the galley kitchen of the train, so that each time we board we are never bored. Each character, each situation, is a little mystery to be teased out, keeping the story sharply focused, and allowing the narrative to gather momentum.
Another great thing about Red Champagne is that, like fine literature, it can be read on multi levels, a reader can go back and find nuances that they may have missed, and delve deep into certain sections to understand allusions they couldn’t fully appreciate during a first read, this gives the book shelf life. But this novel can also be read as a great fast paced mystery thriller, chugging along, increasing in speed, and never slowing down. Either way, this novel begs to be read again and again. Perhaps once a year…on Christmas Eve. Highly recommended! ...more
When you read Reb MacRath, I suggest you strap in and hold on for a wild ride! MacRath gives us a fast ascent on this roller coaster (sleigh ride) ofWhen you read Reb MacRath, I suggest you strap in and hold on for a wild ride! MacRath gives us a fast ascent on this roller coaster (sleigh ride) of a novel, and then plunges us at breakneck speeds, twisting, turning, and screaming with glee, all the way to the end of the book.
Penny and R.J. White have clawed their way to the top of their fields without a care to who they’ve stepped on. With Christmas fast approaching, they find that someone has turned their dream house into a nightmare. Trapped, they must play a high stakes game with their very lives as collateral. Racing against the clock to solve the riddle of the house, will either of them survive?
I appreciated the references to success literature, and the tongue-in-cheek nod to his previous Kelley Wilde pseudonym.
We’ve come to expect a fun, fast paced, and stylish thriller from Reb MacRath, and he doesn’t disappoint. Highly recommended! ...more