The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

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Think, Sip, Write: ep 52 – Summer Vacation… & Unicorns?!

Roberta and I chat about summer vacation, during our stay at the Shore House in Wildwood NJ.

Where are some of your favorite places to relax and get away from the norm?

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Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb_Raider_(2018_film)The Tomb Raider movies prior to this year’s film of the same name with Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft, weren’t much to remember.  They were just fun popcorn flicks.  It’s because of those that I went into this movie with low expectations, but as a huge fan of the video games I had to give it a shot.  I’m glad that I did.

With a surprisingly long run time for this film (just under 2 hours), it felt refreshing and human.  Vikander’s Croft is much more relatable, giving the audience a character they care about.  You can see her humanity.  She’s not a super hero, and while she does perform some impossible things, she doesn’t come out of it unscathed.

This really shows the origin of a great character, and how she became wrapped up in the archaeological world.  Tomb Raider 2018 may not be as good as the Indiana Jones movies, but it separates itself as a solid stand alone piece that is highly enjoyable.

I personally look forward to a sequel, and who knows… with all these crossovers, and an inevitable Indiana Jones reboot some day, maybe we will see Indy and Lara team up.  In the mean time this will keep audiences pleased.  I rate it with 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It’s not the best movie out there, but it certainly ranks high on the fun film scale.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts.

A list of my books thus far

I figured it was time to update the banner I have on social media, so here’s my current list of books available in print and digital on Lulu.com and Amazon, (the trilogies and children’s books are on Barnes & Noble website as well.)

Feel free to inbox me for inquiries on personalized copies (rickpipito@Hotmail.com).  Topics include: Historical Fiction or Alternative History, Science Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Supernatural, Children’s books, Non-Fiction, and short storiesbanner.

 

Review: Gotham season 4

GOTHAMUnlike the other DC TV shows that I reviewed a few days ago, Gotham has potential.  Sure, it’s been eye rolling and frustrating to comic book fans at times, but season 4 makes up for a lot of that.  Warning that there are some spoilers ahead.

This season did a great job of really delving into some of the lore that makes Batman who he is.  Although there were some episodes that dragged (Barbara getting the Demon’s Head was a horrible plot point), most of them kept me wanting to watch more.

By the season’s end we get to see who will actually become the Joker.  He isn’t the Joker yet, but this take on him really shows him as the Red Hood without wearing the hood.  We’ve got multiple cliffhangers.  Butch will surely become Solomon Grundy again, Penguin will have his empire back, Riddler and Lee will be in debted to Hugo Strange and Penguin, Selina will undoubtedly have survived and used up one of her nine lives, Gotham is looking to be “No Man’s Land” straight from the comics, villains like Firefly and Mr. Freeze are on the loose and ready to make their marks, Bruce Wayne and Gordon standing on the rooftop near the spotlight is a bit of a foreshadowing, and everything is set up for a good conclusion to the prequel show.  The next season is said to be the final one with Bruce finally becoming Batman, probably resulting in Jeremiah becoming the Joker, and so much more anticipated comic book accurate points.  At least that’s what we can hope for.

For Season 4 of Gotham, I have to give it a high score of 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Perhaps it’s because the CW has left such a bad watching experience that I’m willing to accept what Gotham has given us, but I think that the writers of this show really care about what they are working with, at least to some degree.  What did you think of this season?  Do you agree or disagree?  Comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Think, Sip, Write: Ep 51 – Boom! What Was That?

Roberta and I chat about a loud boom we heard that apparently has been happening a lot.  Plus there’s some more strange things happening around the world.  Have you heard the booms?  What do you think they are?  Here’s the episode link to youtube.  Enjoy!

Review: Lethal Weapon season 2

Lethal-Weapon-season-2-poster-Fox-key-artWhile the first season was a great interpretation and reinvention of one of my favorite movie franchises, Lethal Weapon season 2 goes beyond that.

In a quick review that will have some spoilers I must say that season 2 makes a very emotional connection with the audience.  I’ve found myself invested in the characters and really enjoying the story telling.  The mixture of action, humor, and ongoing plot points continues to reel me in.

Then I heard that co-lead actor Clayne Crawford would not be returning as Martin Riggs after being fired.  Originally I was mortified that this was true.  How could you have Lethal Weapon without Riggs and Murtaugh?  Well while we don’t have definitive answers short of Seann William Scott replacing Crawford as a lead, I think the finale of season 2 gives us a hint of what we will have.  Perhaps there will be a new Riggs coming aboard, related to the main character and in a tasteful and hopefully non-forced sort of way.  We can only hope there will be chemistry between him and Wayons (who continues to be outstanding in his role).  I’m assuming Murtaugh will not take the Captain position in order to solve the murder of his former partner?

For season 2 I give it 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of the show and where do you think they can and will go from here?

Interview about THE THIRST OF CAIN

Thirst of Cain - book coverWith every new release I get a handful of questions from readers and during promotions.  Here’s some of the ones I’ve gathered so far for “THE THIRST OF CAIN”.  Feel free to ask any that you have in the comments below or send me a message.

Q: Tell me about your new novel.

Rick: Francis Murphy wakes from a night’s sleep to discover a horror. His blood-stained hands reveal his darkest fears. With each passing minute the submerged half of his personality comes one step closer to total control. Realizing he has only days to find a cure, he must search throughout history to discover the origins of his curse. From the beginning of humanity to modern times, the mark of Cain has influenced many. What is that mark? How far will one man go in order to piece together clues to the puzzle? At what lengths will he go to save himself, and at what cost?

Q: Cain was a primary character in your earlier novels. What made you bring him back?

Rick: Reader feedback was my ultimate driving force. So many people loved the character and he slowly faded into the background as my novels progressed. I felt it was time to bring him back to the heart of the story, and see the side of him that the novels prior to this didn’t fully address.

Q: Does this go against your “I’m not going to write the same type of novel twice,” or do you feel it is a different approach?

Rick: This is a much different approach. It’s true I didn’t want to do another book involving vampires, or time travel. Both of those things sort of take a back seat in this even though they are there. It’s less a book about either of those, and more a book about discovering history in reverse. Cain is in his prime in this novel, so he’s more villain than before… he just happens to be a vampire. Murphy’s journey through time is more about solving the mystery of where his curse came from than the sci-fi element. He just uses time travel to trace the lineage back. So, this is a much different novel than BLOOD, THE SECOND HELPING or A COURSE FOR HUMANITY.

Q: There are a lot of historical refences and tie ins in this book. How much research did you have to do?

Rick: When it came to overall research it wasn’t too extensive, but I wanted each time period in the story to have actual historical significance. I didn’t really know when specifically each chapter would take place until I found some dates with events that would fit the narrative. Finding those pieces of information did consume a few weeks of my time in order to get the story right. The research actually had me rewrite my outline four or five times to better fit where I wanted the book to go.

Q: You and your family were recently featured as a cover story in your local newspaper. How does that feel and factor into what you do?

Rick: It was really a moment that made me so proud. To be called, “the Dynamic Duo” was a surprise. People have said that we are a power couple and inspiration for those who want to prove that hard work will help you reach your dreams. I’ve always been flattered by that. The interview was a lot of fun, but I didn’t expect us to be the cover story. Needless to say we framed the article and have it hanging in my office. Things like that just make me want to go above and beyond my goals even more, and it helps me to push myself harder to attain those goals.

Q: How long did it take you to write THE THIRST OF CAIN?

Rick: The concept has been in my mind for about eight years. Every few months I’d come up with ideas of where to take it, but it was shelved for my other works. Once I finally started to sit down and write it, it took about eight months from outline to draft, then to edits and final copy.

Q: Do you have a team of early reviewers? If so how did they respond to the new book?

Rick:  I had 20 beta readers for this book. Of those, a dozen gave their feedback which I value immensely. The response was all very positive with one reader claiming that they wanted another few pages in the epilogue to explain what happens next. To those readers I just have to say, it will be worth the wait to find out, but the hints are there.

Q: You do a decent job of writing each novel as a standalone, but also tying into the whole series. How hard is it to do this and keep the continuity?

Rick: It becomes tedious at times. I have to explain some things in back story, which makes me go back and reread previous plot points over and over to preserve continuity. I really like the idea of having a series that gets better with each installment since the beginning, but can also be a starting point for any new reader to my works. The balance is sometimes tricky, but not an overall difficult task.

Q: I’ve read the book, and have one question… That ending was totally unexpected. What? How? Where is this going?

Rick: You’ll find out in the next novel CONSUMED BY WAR. The reset button has technically been hit, so where THE THIRST OF CAIN finds the character going backwards in time to different periods, the next installment will be the opposite, except without the time travel element. There won’t be any more vampires, just two immortal beings “The Destroyer” and “The Redeemer.” There will also be a short story spinoff that will reference the events in THIRST called THE LOST DAY, which will also come out later this year.

Q: Tell us about the cover idea. Who did the art and design?

Rick: My brother Dan, did the art and design for it. My concept was to have Stonehenge as the center of the cover. It plays a significant role in the plot as far as what its true purpose was. Having a river of blood coming from it was an idea I pitched to my brother, and he immediately went to work with a few pictures in photo editing software. When I received his final copy for approval I was blown away. I think it’s my favorite cover to date.

Q: Where can one purchase a copy of THE THIRST OF CAIN?

Rick: It’s available at Lulu.com in print for $7.99 and on Amazon.com in digital format for $3.99.

Review: DC CW TV shows 2018

arrowThis review will cover the current “Arrowverse” seasons including: Arrow (season 6), The Flash (season 4), Supergirl (season 3), Legends of Tomorrow (season 3), & Black Lightning (season 1).  This excludes the crossover episode that I reviewed a few months back, but focuses on the main series’ separate story arcs.

Arrow this season had quite a few high points, and very little low.  High points are Ricardo Diaz (Richard Dragon), the breakup of team Arrow, Ollie’s solo crusade, Detective Lance’s goal to turn Black Siren into someone more like his Laurel, Black Siren’s story arc, Oliver as a father, Diggle becoming an Argus agent, Rene being more like a father and his emotional side, Christopher Chance as the Human Target, and the pace of the season leading up to an explosive and shocking finale with some really great decisions albeit heartbreaking ones.  The parts of this season that didn’t work… Everyone complaining about Oliver as the Green Arrow.  His decisions might not all have been perfect, but the man’s crusade has definitely been for the greater good.  Oliver and Felicity getting married.  Just stop already.  It’s annoying, and she works better as a separate entity not with him.  Also are we just supposed to believe she will jump in and play mommy role to Oliver’s son?  I guess so.  Two Black Canary type figures.  They need to decide who to get rid of because it’s too much.  Make the new Laurel what the old was supposed to be, and it’ll work better.  And finally, Mister the-flash-season-4-poster-amunet-1106525Terrific.  He’s so clichéd at this point its not even enjoyable to watch him.  He barely has a role other than to fill in the gay guy part, and that is over played in bad taste.  All in all, I give the season 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

The Flash like arrow this season was overall enjoyable.  The good parts of the show were the mystery girl who turned out to be Iris and Barry’s daughter from the future.  It was short but kept me wondering.  Ralph Dibney (Elongated Man) as an addition to the team is far more enjoyable than some of the other members.  He adds a new personality that differs from the rest of the cast making him a breath of fresh air.  The Mad Thinker as the villain worked in so many ways and finally gave us someone who wasn’t a speedster.  Here’s what didn’t work… The whole Killer Frost thing.  It felt very forced as if they just didn’t know whether to choose to keep her as a hero and piss everyone off or have her stone cold villain and lose their precious Kaitlyn.  Get over it already and do the thing actual comic fans want.  Iris as team leader is just stupid and takes away from that character.  H.R. was great as usual, but there were times where I felt he just didn’t fit into the story.  I give this season 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings for the fact that they finally did something different, and didn’t get too involved in controversial things.

legendsLegends of Tomorrow was better than its previous seasons but I still wonder why it’s on.  It began strong with me thinking they were going to address how they have no concept of time travel and how it logically would work, but they scrapped that right after the first episode and went back to pure garbage.  If anything at this point they shouldn’t even exist in the same reality as the other shows because they’ve screwed things up from their actions… but that is all ignored by lazy story telling.  The writers only care to push their agendas from anti-Trump nonsense to shoving lesbian plots into places where a relationship doesn’t work no matter what the character’s orientation.  As a man who is very middle ground, open minded to all, and offended at any extreme left or right political push, this bothers me a lot.  It’s to the point where a guy who has loved comics from when he was a kid can’t even get away from this real life problem by watching a show that’s supposed to be enjoyable.  One good thing they did was to bring Constantine in for a few episodes, and give Wally West a role that is much better suited than on The Flash.  I give Legends 1 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

supergirlSupergirl is slightly better now that they’ve focused less on relationships and more on story.  My problem with this season is that it fell flat with the rip off Smallville Doomsday plot.  They just keep reusing Superman’s villains or doing a new take.  It’s not even creative at this point.  What saved the show this year was the introduction of the Legion, and having Martian Manhunter’s father losing his memory.  That is something that connects with all viewers and not just a certain crowd.  Supergirl was overly hard to watch though because it focuses less on the main character and more on her supporting ones.  I give it 1 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Black Lightning is the new addition to the universe, but he’s not much more than a wannabe Luke Cage.  Sure, the characters are different, but the theme of the show goes for that feel.  Here’s where it shines… The actors are all very excellent in their roles and Tobias Whale is a great villain.  Where it falls is everywhere else.  The political things that I’ve mentioned earlier go even more here to the point of making it seem like every cop is bad, most people are racist, and in order to stand up for what we believe we should condone violent protests.  It’s just downright appalling to me that the writers Black-Lightning-Season-1-Poster-Key-Artreally think this is okay.  Touching on a subject is fine, but making it something for you to spread your message is not entertaining by any means.  Black Lightning is a little bit better than the other two shows, but not by much.  I give it 2 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

In Conclusion I must admit that I don’t know if I’ll be watching the last three shows mentioned next season.  I’ve almost given up on Arrow a few times, but it reels me back in.  The Flash is stale at times, but has interesting rogues.  These others though are just a platform for close minded liberal attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  I mean who are they gearing this toward?  I honestly think that they believe everyone needs to think like they do or F%#$ off.  From a man who is open to all beliefs and people, who is also a comic book nerd from youth, people like me should be one of the target audiences.  Sadly we are not.  In fact I’m sure most people can’t even stomach watching it even when we agree (and yes there were times when I agreed).  It just shouldn’t be what it is and they’ve taken a great idea and universe and made it painful to watch.  Even worse is that I just don’t care about it any more.  I have seen how many people have just stopped watching these things, and now I know why.  For what might be my last review of these shows with writers who have no concept of how entertainment works, I give the whole DCTVCWverse this season a 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What did you think?  Feel free to comment below whether you agree or disagree.

Review: Deadpool 2

Deadpool-2-International-PosterThe Merc With A Mouth is back, but did the sequel keep up with expectations?  The answer could go either way.  If you have knowledge of the other comic book movies out there, or are just a comic fan, then yes yes yes… this was as good if not better than the first.  For those who might not be up to speed on all the spandex wearing superhero films, some of the jokes may go over your head… but it would still be a fun and enjoyable movie to see.

There are a few spoilers I’ll mention, so if you just want the rating, then scroll down to the bottom, otherwise… be warned.

Loaded with shocking moments, and cameos by actors and other comic book characters, Deadpool 2 literally had me laughing so hard I was in tears.  This time though, it isn’t just Wade Wilson who is the highlight of the film.  Cable, Domino, and Colossus equally dominate with their own unique personalities.  This works well with Deadpool, and I especially can’t wait for this to come out for home release.

I know a lot of people complained about Juggernaut’s CGI effects, but I barely noticed because I was thrilled to see him portrayed properly, and it’s still way better than some of the other CG I’ve seen in recent films.  I do have one complaint however, and this is the common themed problem throughout all of the X-Men films.  The continuity.

When does this take place and in which time line?  For example… Deadpool’s music box in the beginning directly references the Logan movie.  Is this just him breaking the 4th wall (which was done expertly a dozen times or so)? The answer is no… it’s not after Logan, but before.  How do I know?  Because all of the X-Men are still alive, and it’s very evident that they are.  Then we just assume that it is running along side a modern day theme, but then again, the X-Men aren’t portrayed by their older actors, but by the younger ones.  hmmm.  Oh, and then the time travel thing during the credits adds to the confusion because in the current timeline X-Men origins Wolverine never happens.  So, that being the case, does time travel let them go to different pasts?

The continuity thing can be forgiven and overlooked.  It doesn’t bother me that much because of Wade and his 4th wall breaching.  It sort of makes things better in some ways.  The other issue is that they killed of Black Tom Cassidy before he even got to be a threat.  That was a huge disappointment for me.  Other than that I’ve no complaints.

From here I guess they’d do an X-Force movie over a Deadpool 3 because it would just make more sense.  The name “Essex” has been in 3 movies so far, so having the X-Force up against a villain like Mister Sinister would probably end up being the best film in this universe yet.

Deadpool 2 gets 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.  I loved it and will definitely own it at some point.  What were your thoughts?  Comment below and let’s discuss.

Review: Once Upon a Time Ssn 7

170914-onceuponatimeseason7posterOnce Upon a Time there was a show that caught a lot of attention from episode 1.  It was hugely successful with its take on fairy tales and other books of legend by incorporating those characters in the real world.  Flash backs to their lives in the enchanted forest captivated young and old.  It was strong for 4 seasons but hit a lull in story telling that became repetitive.

Season 7 returned to its roots by hitting a reboot by aging some of the characters, and bringing in different versions of ones that already existed.  It was confusing to say the least, but for the long time fan, it was a breath of fresh air.

The format was roughly similar, but with a little tweaking made it less predictable and with new likeable characters.  The main complaint I have about this final season is that it didn’t utilize non-fairy tale characters as they had done in the past.  Centering mostly around Rapunzel, Mother Gothel, Cinderella, and Princess Tiana, the show could have used something else.

That being said, as far as series finales go, Once Upon A Time ended in one of the best ways.  There was closure to everything.  There were flashbacks to many characters stories that I’d forgotten, and there was even a little hint that maybe… just maybe… there might be a reunion miniseries or made for TV movie at some point.

Season 7 stood out as a little above average, but that’s far from bad.  I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of the show’s farewell season?  Comment below.