Being Jewish And Accepting Christmas Goodie Bags

For four years now, I have been attending a semi-Catholic college. I say ‘technically’ because it accepts students regardless of religion. Aside from the visual cues, such as statues and crosses, and the one religious-based course requirement, it seems mostly secular.

Even though the aforementioned religious objects are noticeable across the campus, I generally don’t feel awkward about being one of only two Jewish students  on campus. Oddly enough, I did have a brief moment of consternation today, in potentially the most innocuous of situations.

After today’s work shift in the campus library, I received a goodie bag with cute Christmas stickers on it. However, to be more clear, I should say that my minor concern was exacerbated by the existence of a second goodie bag that was shaped like a stocking and part of a mock fireplace setup.  (The rest of the tech services student workers and I chose to leave the stockings there until the winner of the decorating contest had been decided.)

In any case, a small part of me wondered if I was any less Jewish by accepting a present based on a Christian holiday. Of course, that’s silly. It’s not like I was accepting a baptism or participating in a religious service. It was a generous gift meant to symbolize well-wishes for the holiday season and show appreciation for a job well done. I realize that there wasn’t much of a point to this story, but I felt like sharing it for fun.

Musings On Constantine: The Hellblazer #6 (And A Plug For Critical Writ)

I’m going to be completely honest. John Constantine has never been one of my favorite characters in the DC Comics universe. He’s never been one of my least favorite characters, either. Constantine has always just been there, sometimes popping up in comic trades that I get at the library. Some appearances are clever and interesting, others are boring and annoying.

In my ongoing quest to get caught up with the DC Comics universe, post New 52 and beyond, I included Justice League Dark on my list because I heard that it had Zatanna, who happened to be a really cool character. I saw that Constantine happened to be in it, along with an advertisement in the back of the trade for some of his collected editions. JLD was pretty good, disregarding some of the crossovers that it tied into. I found those issues to be confusing. After it reintroduced the House Of Secrets and the House Of Mystery into the mix, that was when it became positively delightful.

As for Constantine’s first New 52 series, I am sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy the majority of it. Some of the spells and monsters captured my interest, but I just wasn’t enjoying it. I know that Constantine isn’t meant to be the best of people, but he kept annoying me. A lot of his actions led to really depressing stories, I had no idea who the villains were, and, although this one is petty, it inexplicably annoyed me when Constantine constantly ended various sentences with ‘yeah.’ After I finished that trade, I soldiered on in my quest to get caught up and began reading the series that took place after that, Constantine: The Hellblazer.

Right from the start, I knew that it would be a very different experience. For one, James Tynion IV is one of the co-writers of the series. I love Mr. Tynion’s writing. To me, his work on any of the Batman-related books is superb. From Batman Eternal to the DC Rebirth incarnation of Detective Comics, his writing has never failed to engage me. Secondly, the series takes particular care in humanizing John. I slowly began to feel sorry for him as it shed more light on his past. I realize that the previous series also did this, but it just never emotionally clicked with me. Finally, the tone had a sprinkling of humor to it. Constantine is a jerk, albeit a sympathetic one, and a decent amount of humor can be mined from that.

The supporting characters also help make the comic fun. We have Walter, a demon who wears a suit and tie. In Constantine’s opinion, he is one of the world’s most boring demons, if not the most boring one ever. Next, we have a possible love interest in the form of Oliver, the owner of a cafe. Not only is it cool to see LGBT representation in a comic with Constantine being bisexual, it’s also very refreshing to have a well-written love interest in a comic, despite Oliver having very sparse appearances in the issues I’ve read.

If the previous five issues did not completely convince that the follow-up series would be more enjoyable, then number six absolutely cemented it. The plot revolves around Constantine going around the world to help innocent people with their various magical problems. Basically, he’s an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, cigarette-smoking Doctor Strange and that amuses me. At one point, he’s contacted by a family who needs an exorcist to get a demon out of their child’s body. As soon as John hears the demon, he recognizes him and offers to go get some drinks. The demon instantly obliges, and Constantine walks out, whistling and giving out his bill for services rendered.

Adding to the fun tone, I simply really enjoyed seeing the different kinds of creatures, magic, and mystical ailments. It brings a disturbing sense of whimsy to the comic. Constantine deals with gargoyles, doppelgangers, and dragons. Again, James Tynion IV and Ming Doyle bring some humor to the issue, with Constantine chewing out a family for immediately assuming that their house was haunted instead of calling animal control. With a cigarette in one hand and a furious raccoon in the other, he (hopefully jokingly) threatens to curse it and put it back in the walls. There’s even a shout-out to the popular horror-comedy podcast Welcome To Night Vale, with Constantine having to deal with hooded figures in the dog park. (In this particular instance, he tells them to stop attacking the dogs and just go buy some raw meat at the grocery store.)

So far, the series is an absolutely fabulous mixture of the magical and the mundane. I am pleasantly surprised by how delightful it really is. I’m actually disappointed that I’m almost halfway done with the series. I hope that the DC Rebirth comic will be just as pleasing.

Now that the review is done, I just have one more thing to say. How did you like my comic review? Was it fun to read? Do you want to read more of my reviews? If so, just head on over to Critical Writ! Critical Writ is a feminist, all-inclusive, geeky website run by my friends and I. I’ve been writing various reviews on comic books and Saturday Night Live for the site. Soon enough, I will be doing recaps of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to catch everyone up before the second season arrives on October 21st. What are you waiting for? Go, go, go! As always, have an excellent day.

SHORT STORY: Futuristic Execution

Futuristic Execution

by Zachary Krishef


You enter the control room, filled with flashing lights, whirring fans, and blaring buzzers. Above the panel, there is a cloudy glass wall, smeared with stains. Inside, your subject slumbers in a completely white room, perfectly empty except for a wooden chair. Stretching your hands, you settle down in the thick easy chair, making sure to get comfortable before you begin your work.


A small green button near the right corner of the panel sends three low blasts into the room. They are unearthly, like the sounds of the undead, roasting in the lowest pits of Hell itself, groaning and grunting. BRING…BRING…BRING. With a start, your prisoner awakes, looking around the room in confusion. Shrieking, he leaps off the chair and runs at the panel, bashing it once, twice, three times! Each time, he slides off, leaving rivulets of blood oozing down.


You smile and deliberately turn a crank in the center of the panel, savoring the way it immediately responds to the gentlest of motions. At first, nothing appears to be happening. The man simply continues to whimper and moan, scanning the area for some means of escape. Suddenly, he began to sweat. A flash of mortal terror flashes across his face as he realizes what is going on.


You continue looping the crank, beaming as the temperature soars. Before long, the man is no longer running. Weak from the torridity, he is curled up, gasping for air. Sweat soaks his entire frame, collecting on the ground in a fetid pool. Showing no pity, you continue.


After two agonizing minutes, the edges of his ill-fitting orange jumpsuit begin to spark. The boiling air burns away the pool of perspiration in enormous clouds. His skin begins to melt away, leaving only a charred skeleton. Soon enough, even that becomes ashes. A maroon button near the upper portion of your panel sends a miniature robot out, vacuuming up the dusty remains.


With an air of relief, you bounce out of your chair and leave the room, briskly making your way through the hallway. As you exit the building and head into the outside world, you toss your stolen key away. Freedom is yours, once again.

A/N: Don’t read scary stories before bedtime, kids. You’ll wake up and write stuff like this.

Book Musings- Joyride by Anna Banks

It has been an incredibly long time ever since my last post and my last book review in general. This is due in part to simple laziness, school work, ending high school, beginning college, forgetting ideas for posts, and simply getting distracted by other things. However, one book that I recently finished has given me some food for thought. I do not know if I will continue to make book review posts in the future, but it is a possibility. As long as a book gives me plenty of things to write about, I would like to discuss it.

Joyride by Anna Banks:

Goodread’s description:

“A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.” 

Joyride first came out in July. It is the fourth book by Anna Banks, and her first standalone novel. At the time of this writing, I do not believe that a sequel has been announced. You may recognize the author’s name from the crew of the How To Train Your Dragon film series.

I was pleasantly surprised by Joyride. Initially, the description made me leery, as it sounded like a typical story where two teenagers from different backgrounds fall in love, despite clashing cultures and personalities. I admit, I am growing very tired of those types of realistic fiction books, as they tend to be, for lack of a better term, boring. Joyride is anything but boring. Right from the second sentence, Mrs. Banks demonstrates a knack for writing humorous dialogue and thought processes, as well as a compelling protagonist. In addition, several important topics for teenagers are addressed throughout the book, such as illegal immigration, racism, white privilege, and low-income families. Additionally, it is nice to read a YA book that features a female protagonist who is a person of color.

On the negative side, the book is told from a dual perspective. Alternating chapters will feature Carly’s point of view in the first person, and then Arden’s point of view in the third person. The difference in literary angles is mostly likely meant to avoid confusing Arden and Carly’s speaking styles, but that problem could be solved by having their names above the chapter, as commonly shown in other books. This difference in outlook also makes Arden’s chapters seem more stilted in comparison, although that could be attributed to his character.

Secondly, I am not entirely convinced that the pair would fall in love, based on several of Arden’s actions. To name a fraction of his exploits, he holds up a convenience store at gunpoint, stalks several characters, forcibly grabs Arden, and insults Carly in front of multiple people, albeit accidentally. He seems like a more likable and kindhearted character after they inevitably get together, but this could stem from Carly’s chapters now being written from the altered point of view of being attracted to him.

Lastly, some of the stereotypical gender roles in the novel irk me. At one point, Carly observes that Arden’s coffeemaker is mostly likely owned by his mother, as it’s not appropriate for someone as “manly” as him. Granted, given an earlier comment about the alleged manliness of drinking only black coffee, that may have been intended as humorous, but it still annoyed me.

Overally, I would recommend Joyride. The good points just barely outweigh the flaws, owing to the relevant social issues, humor, and diversity.

Sources: “Joyride.” Goodreads. Goodreads Inc, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2015. <;.

Banks, Anna. Joyride. New York: Feiwel & Friends, 2015. Print.

“Heat The School”: A Song Parody

“Let It Snow” Song Parody

By A Very Frozen Zachary Krishef


Oh, the weather inside is frightful

It makes me so very spiteful

I see frost on my book-stool

Heat the school, heat the school, heat the school!


It doesn’t show signs of repair

All those who attend, beware!

I would rather be eating gruel

Heat the school, heat the school, heat the school!


Going home would be a delight

I really want to be warm

I want to set a desk alite

Curse this snow storm!


I really don’t mean to be prying

But how long have you been trying

To keep the warmth a flow

Please, heat the school, heat the school, heat the school!


I think I’m going numb

Everyone’s feeling glum

I hate to sound like a ghoul,

but can you heat the school, heat the school, heat the school?!

Zach Recommends: The Looney Teen Writer!

I have an odd habit of occasionally remembering small tidbits from books that I have perused in the past. However, I can’t remember the title or the author in most of these cases. I then go about searching through the Internet to find that book and read it again.

Recently, it took me one and a half days to find The Kingdom Of Strange, a book from my middle school years. (I recommend it, incidentally.) While searching, I came across a WordPress blog called The Looney Teen Writer. It is comprised of reviews, humorous fake summaries for books, lists pertaining to books, and literature-related posts. I love it.

It makes me laugh, it introduces me to new books, and the author responds to commenters. I highly recommend this blog. It earns my stamp of approval. Have an excellent day!

Next Time: “Miscellaneous Soup” fails to get the stamp of approval because the author keeps forgetting to update it.

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW: The Simpsons S26 E6 “Simpsorama”

I am not the biggest fan of The Simpsons. I hardly like the main characters and my only main reason for continuing to watch it revolves around the satire and the recurring characters. Futurama is my favorite out of the two. I love the science jokes, the main characters, and most of the recurring characters. I’m happy to see Futurama return, even if it is only in a crossover.

The Good:

At least every main character from Futurama had a line,  I actually liked the main characters from The Simpsons, and it did what only two prior episodes of The Simpsons could do. Make me feel emotionally attached to the main characters. It was hilarious, the background jokes were funny, and the minor references to past events in Futurama were enough to make me squeal like the goofy fan I am. (Darn you, writers! Don’t remind me of “Jurassic Bark” again! It’s so sad.)

The Bad:

Like every episode of The Simpsons, if you’ve read the main synopsis of the episode, then you know what’s going to happen for the first and partially second acts of the episode. To be fair, it may have been my fault for watching the clips that were made available pre-premiere.

Secondly, it was too short. I know, I know, everyone might say that, but I still wish that I could see more of Futurama. At least we got to see it one last time.

Final  Thoughts:

Sad, hilarious, and nostalgic. I tip my hat to Matt Groening for making this happen! A+

The Book Bag- Book Review #8: The Savages

Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! Come, have a bite to eat. We’re serving up something very tasty. Oh, yes, it is delicious. That odd taste? Simply some oregano. That sharp part? That’s not a bone! I think that’s just undercooked broccoli. Also, surprise! You’ve been eating…my famous mashed potatoes! Unlike the protagonists of this book, I do not practice “evolved eating.”


To imagine the family in this book, just think of the Addams family and modernize them slightly. Also, take out the weird house, odd servants, and kooky inventions. Just add in some expensive silverware and shady business dealings. Got it? Good! Today, we’re going over The Savages! They are a family who practices cannibalism, but they despite that word. The Savages prefer to think of it as “evolved eating.” Unfortunately, their daughter is dating a vegetarian and might become one. To add to their familial woes, Ivan has accidentally killed someone with a “harmless” prank meant for his sister. A private investigator has been tailing them, so they really don’t need that at the moment.


I must admit, this book actually made me feel sympathy for the main characters, despite them killing and eating other people.The grandfather had a relatively good reason for doing so, he just couldn’t stop. When he revealed his secret to his (child) son and when his (now adult) son revealed the secret to his wife, they were hooked. The situations are clever and well-written. Bt the time the book ended, despite the ending being revealed at the beginning, I felt disappointed. I missed the Savages. My only complaint would be to my library for placing in the children’s section. There’s some adult references, specifically, some words that I do not want to repeat.


Thankfully, as I was doing some research, I found out that there was a sequel. Strangely enough, that happened the last time I reviewed a current book that I read. (Suck It Up by Brian Meehls. You should read the book and my review. Or, just the book.) This morbidly hilarious tale is definitely worth a read!


I’m Zachary Krishef, and have an excellent day!


The Savages by Matt Whyman


Reviewed by Zachary Krishef


Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.


Find out more about the series on!


Next Time: Another horror book, this time recommended to me by someone!


The Book Bag- Book Review #7: Lorien Legacies Overview

Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! I love it when authors deliberately try to make it seem as though their stories could be entirely real. My first encounter with this was the Harry Potter series, all the way back in first grade. In the books, Muggles (or “non-magical beings”) encounter magic, their minds are wiped. So, the books could be real and we’ve just been mind-wiped! For all I know, I met Harry Potter at the library yesterday! The point is, I know that the books are not real but it’s fun to imagine that they are. The Lorien Legacies series takes it one step further by naming the author as Pittacus Lore, an ancient Lorien who is hiding out on Earth…possibly. In reality, Jobie Hughes and James Fray collaborated to create the series. Now, what is it?


The Lorics are an ancient alien race. However, an evil race of aliens known as the Mogadorians attack their planet. Only nine Loric babies and their Cepans (captains/mentors) are sent with them. The Cepans will train them to use their powers (also known as Legacies) to defeat the Mogadorians, who are hunting them. If they succeed in slaying them all, they will conquer the Earth. The various titles of the books (I Am Number Four, The Power Of Six, The Rise Of Nine, etc.) come from the Loric teenagers themselves. They were referred to only as their number. On Earth, they move from town to town when potential Mogadorians arrive, changing their identities. Finally, the Lorics can only be killed in numerical order. Once one of them dies, the others have a horrific scar burned onto their ankle as an involuntary warning signal. Three have already died. Number Four is the protagonist.


I have to be honest. The series has some issues, primarily in the first three books. The exposition can be very clunky at times, especially when referring to the various Legacies. Additionally, I don’t mind love triangles, but I get annoyed when they seem shoehorned in or forced. The early ones seem forced. Fortunately, it gets better by the fourth book.


And now, the positives. I love this series. I was getting slightly bored by the third book, but it really picked up by the fourth. I enjoy the plot twists and the characters. I don’t have a lot to say that wouldn’t ruin the series, unfortunately. You see, some of the subplots and side characters have their plots explained or announced in ebooks. This made it very confusing for me when I randomly saw a new villain appearing, seemingly with no introduction. Fortunately, they are being released as companion books. If that doesn’t work, I recommend reading the descriptions on Wikipedia or a different website. It’s not the same, but it might be convenient for those who do not possess Kindles, Nooks, or other inventions of that nature.


I’m Zachary Krishef. Have an excellent day!


The Lorien Legacies by “Pittacus Lore”


Reviewed by Zachary Krishef


Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Next Time: I’ll review a children’s book with suicide, murder, swearing, and cannibalism. This should be delightful! (Spoilers: It is.)

The Book Bag- Book Review #6: Suck It Up

Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! Hey, kids, do you like vampires? You do? Great! Do you like clever authors? You do? Great! Do you like funny stories that have suspense and action? You do? Great! This book has all of that!


Suck It Up is a YA book created by Brian Meehl. You may recognize his name from Between The Lions, The Magic School Bus, and several Jim Henson productions. I am not afraid to admit that while reading this book, I was so happy, that I checked to see who wrote it and squealed in delight upon seeing what he worked on.


Anyway, the book stars Morning McCobb. Our alliterative protagonist has just graduated from a school for vampires. He gets picked by the headmaster for a very special purpose. You see, the school trains vampires to fit in with human society. The only stereotypically evil vampire are called The Others. The headmaster wants Morning to be the first vampire to actually come out as a vampire instead of masquerading as a human.


The cast of characters includes Morning, a vegan who wants to be a firefighter/superhero, Penny, who is his publicist, Portia, Penny’s daughter who wants to film something great enough to earn her a scholarship to a film college, Birnam, who is the headmaster and leader of the project, and DeThanatos, our aptly-named villain of the story. He sees Morning revealing his powers and wants to kill him for violating the “old ways.”


Suck It Up is hilarious. I love the writing style, I love the characters, I love the humor- I just love this book! It made me feel happy to read it. I can’t think of an accurate way to describe it. I really wish that it had a sequel, and it does! During my research for this review, I found out that he made one. Yes! I can’t say it enough times: I love this book. Please, please, please check it out from your local library or buy it. It’s worth buying. I can’t think of anything that I disliked about it.


I’m Zachary Krishef, and I hope that you have an excellent day. I have a book to put on hold.


Suck It Up by Brian Meehl

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Next Time: I’m going to go over the Lorien Legacies series and deliver my thoughts. NO spoilers will be revealed!

The Book Bag- Book Review #5: Hank The Cowdog

Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! During my research for this review, I found out that Hank The Cowdog is more popular than I thought. The author, John R. Erickson actually lives on a ranch and presumably draws from his own experiences for the stories. He wanted the stories to be read aloud to children. Additionally, some Hank The Cowdog books are specifically made just for an audiobook. Also, some of Hank’s adventures have been turned into stage plays! The series officially started in the nineteen-eighties. Some of the books were animated for CBS. Did this newfound knowledge make me biased in reading three of the books? No, because I did my research after reading the books!


To begin, even if you don’t count the exclusive audio books, musical CDs, or plays, there’s still sixty-nine books in the series. Normally, I would read every book in the series in order to do a proper retrospective, but that may be challenging in this case. Despite that, this isn’t necessarily a retrospective. I consider it to be similar to my first review, Ungifted, where I go over a series that I liked as a child to see if it still holds up now. That being said, I went to my local library, found the books, and selected three of them: The Case Of The Missing Bird Dog, The Case Of The Mysterious Voice, and The Case Of The Perfect Dog.


The series follows the adventure of Hank, a cowdog. He believes that he is the Head of Ranch Security. Oftentimes, his missions and adventures can translate to accidentally ruining a flower bed or eating a cake left out for a guest. He’s goofy but means well. Pete the Cat is one of his many enemies. Recurring character Beulah is his love interest…sort of. She always rejects him.


I loved them. The series is just as imaginative and clever now as it was in my elementary school years. Every character has unique actions and voices. Drover is the cowardly sidekick, Hank believes that he’s some kind of spy/cowboy (cowdog?), Pete the Cat is a jerk, Sally May yells at Hank for messing things up, and Slim and Loper are mildly incompetent.


The humor is superb. In almost every book, Hank comes up with some kind of song or poem based on a recent event. Typically, they’re bad. Also, he tends to fall asleep in random situations, almost like he snork pork chop gravy wink snx zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Yeah, basically like that.


If I could name anything negatives, it would be that some parts can feel slightly repetitive. Additionally, this might be because I want to read more, but the books are too short. Oh, well, I can’t wait to go back to the library and find more of the books. Better yet, I could dig up my old copies of them! To the bookshelves!


I’m Zachary Krishef and I hope that you have an excellent day.


Hank The Cowdog by John R. Erickson



Reviewed by Zachary Krishef


Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Next Time: I’m going to review a story about vampires. Hooray!

The Book Bag- Book Review #4: “Something Real” and “Reality Boy”

Hello and welcome to The Book Bag, where we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! Last time, I reported that I found two oddly similar books at the library. Here’s the backstory. I was searching through the section for new teen books and I found a fictional book about a teen who was scarred by being on a reality show as a child. Some time later, I found a different book about a teen who was scarred by being on a reality show as a child. The authors were different, the main characters were different, the plots just happened to be similar. Instantly, I knew that I had to compare these books in a review. It’s time for “Book Vs. Book!” I’m focusing on Reality Boy and Something Real.


Firstly, Reality Boy. This book was incredibly hard to read. I can’t empathize that enough. Our protagonist’s home life is horrible. His parents are neglectful, his sister is a sociopath, and he has anger issues. I am not sure how realistic the portrayal was, never having had anger issues. I can say that he feels angry for most of the book, he has fantasies about killing people who anger him, and certain other things that might spoil the ending.


This book is incredibly hard to read. The fragile state of the main character’s mind, the disturbing family, and the way that the universe’s show was created horrified me. I needed to go to Gersday several times during the reading of this book. You’ll get the reference when you read the book.


Secondly, we have Something Real. Our protagonist, Chloe (formerly Bonnie™) Baker has had four years of relaxation. No cameras in her face, no manufactured drama, and no manipulating directors. She’s going by Chloe to avoid getting recognized and Baker’s Dozen is off the air. Freedom for all? NOPE! She goes home to see that the cameras are back. Baker’s Dozen: A Fresh Batch has come for her. Chloe goes on a mission to either avoid being seen by the cameras for as long as possible or to finally be free of the reality show, all while trying to maintain a normal life. This includes keeping her friends and her new crush.


Both of these novels are outstanding. However, does the fact that Reality Boy is more dramatic than the more comedy-focused Something Real make it a better book? Absolutely not! They are both entertaining, heartfelt, and sad. I highly recommend that you turn off your computer, go to the library, and get these books. If you can’t get them, put them on hold. These books have actually managed to sway my opinions. I never really liked reality television in the first place but now I hate it. I want to see if the tactics mentioned in both books really are used in actual reality tv.


To wrap things up, a small warning guide, just in case. Reality Boy has graphic violence, disturbing thoughts, sexual content (in the case of one character), and, to be frank, abuse. Something Real has suicide references and possible abuse.


I’m Zachary Krishef, and I hope that you have an excellent day.


Reality Boy by A.S. King


Something Real by Heather Demetrios


Reviewed by Zachary Krishef


Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Next Time: Once again, I’m going over one of my favorite childhood book series. Get some rope, a few cattle, and watch out for Hank The Cowdog!

The Book Bag- Book Review #3: Eat, Brains, Love

Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! A zombie love story is preposterous, you say? My sister scoffed at the idea. I wasn’t shocked because I like unconventional ideas. It’s time to enter the world of Eat, Brains, Love! Here’s the backstory. It will clear some items up.


Firstly, there’s a secret government organization dedicated to hunting down zombies, eliminating them, and using various methods to make people think that something else happened. For instance, let’s say that a zombie attacks your Chihuahua at a dog park. You see that it’s a zombie. After the agents arrive, they might use a telepath to make you see the memory as a large dog or erase it as a whole. Cass, one of our protagonists, is one of the only teenage recruits. She is one of the said telepaths.


After that, you get Jake and Amanda. Amanda appears to be the stereotypical popular girl at school while Jake is, essentially, a stoner. I’m not entirely clear as to the definition of the term, but from what I’ve heard, it seems to be accurate. They suddenly turn into zombies and eat their classmates in the school cafeteria. My copy of the book had a version of the cover with the title created out of a scattered lunch plate. I like to think that during that gruesome attack, someone randomly threw their food into the air and it magically turned into the image on the cover. They must go on the run to avoid being caught and killed, while slowly falling in love.  Who’s tracking them? Cass!


Eat, Brains, Love is a surprisingly good book. Not having read many zombie-themed books, I was expecting a typical plot with some unusual elements. I received an atypical plot with, well, some unusual elements. The zombies in this are very different from the standard zombies that you can find in the media. Of course, seeing as my only knowledge of zombies comes from a different teen book series and Scooby-Doo, you most likely know more than me. I highly recommend this book. The characters are appealing, especially the antagonist, and the plot is astoundingly good. On the negative side, it does end on a slightly abrupt note, but it should be noted that I did not know that a sequel was being made. Perhaps the ending is still a mite sudden even with that, but that’s a matter of opinion. Lastly, the book is very gory. If you, like myself, do not have a high tolerance for gore, then be careful when reading this book. Surprisingly, I was hardly grossed out. Additionally, there’s some foul language and mature references. Definitely a book for adults, teens, or little kids! (Well, maybe not little kids.) In my mind, Eat, Brains, Love gets nine zombie attacks out of ten! I am eagerly anticipating the sequel, Undead With Benefits. Jeff Hart is an excellent author.


I’m Zachary Krishef. Have an excellent day and don’t get bitten by any zombies.


Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

Visit me at! My reviews are also posted there!

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Follow Jeff Hart on Twitter at! He’s a really nice person!

Next Time: I went to the library and picked up a host of new reading material. As I was browsing, I found two books that I knew I had to review. Next time, a new segment will be introduced! “Book Vs. Book”, wherein I compare two books with similar premises. The other reviewing options will have to wait! Also, I am going to post my reviews once a week, instead of every day. Posting them almost every day was a trial run.

The Book Bag- Book Review #2: The Fault In Our Stars

Welcome to The Book Bag, and, today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! See the title? It’s shameless click bait! Well, not really. I couldn’t decide what to do for my second review. There’s so many books that I love to read! Still, the movie came out recently, so this seems appropriate.

I have a story. When I first read The Fault In Our Stars, I had no idea who John Green was. I randomly picked it up during the summer or early fall, if I’m remembering it correctly. Now, I had been watching the Vlogbrothers’ videos for some time. I didn’t connect the John Green in the videos with the author until I saw one where he explicitly mentioned being an author. I frantically scrambled to find all of his books. A couple of weeks ago, my sister graciously lent me her friend’s copy of the book and I finally reread it.


For those of you who don’t know, The Fault In Our Stars is, essentially, a teen romance novel. The twist comes from the two main characters having cancer. I highly enjoyed the book. It is very sad, and very well-written. I could see the main characters being real people. None of the events seemed contrived or unrealistic, as far as I could tell. Well, besides the artistic license with the medicine, that is.


It is an amusing book, like a lot of John Green books. It made me laugh at some jokes that, in any other show or book, might have made me cringe. I can’t think of a lot of things to say about The Fault In Our Stars. I would give it an eight out of ten, perhaps. It’s not my favorite book but it’s pretty darn good. I am planning on seeing the film. I’m Zachary Krishef, and I hope that you have an excellent day!

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Visit me at! My reviews are also posted there!

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Next Time: Grr, agh! A zombie love story is next on the metaphorical chopping block! You say it can’t be done? Maybe you’re right and maybe you’re wrong. Prepare for Jeff Hart’s Eat, Brains, Love!

The Book Bag- Book Review #1: Ungifted

Welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! Gordon Korman is a very distinguished author and has published over eighty books. You might recognize his work from theSwindle series, certain 39 Clues novels, Macdonald HallEverestDiveOn The RunKidnapped (Incidentally, that is a sequel to the On The Run series), Nose PickersIslands, and many more. Fun Fact: The first book in the Swindle series, Swindle, was turned into a Nickelodeon movie. My thoughts are…mixed. I will be reviewing one of his standalone books, Ungifted.

Ungifted is about a boy named Donovan who can best be described as a trickster. He is not very good at school, likes to play pranks, and appears to have poor impulse control. According to a paraphrased section, when he has an idea, he has to do it. After a very destructive accident, the superintendent mistakenly sends him to a special school for gifted students. Obviously, he isn’t gifted with the near-genius level intellects of the students who go there, hence the title, Ungifted. Once there, Donovan must hide out and not attract the attention of the superintendent. If he does get noticed, he’ll (rightfully) get in trouble for the trick.

First, the good parts. The characters are very interesting. I want to learn more about them, especially some of his new classmates. Secondly, I am engaged in the plot. Despite certain misgivings that will be described later, I really wanted to find out what was going to happen. I never wanted to stop reading the book.

Now for the bad parts. Donovan isn’t the nicest of protagonists. Some of his actions are downright mean and made me feel less sympathy for him. For example, he pretends to have A.D.D., dyslexia, and the like in order to get better grades. Speaking as someone who has A.D.D., I feel very offended by that. I know that he’s trying to stay in the school, but the reasoning behind that does not make it any better. Just take your punishment! Secondly, all of the students at the gifted school are described as being socially awkward. I don’t know if that would be true but it seems very stereotypical. As this may be either a nitpick or an error on my part, please feel free to correct me down below. Finally, the very nature of the main conflict is contrived. Many more coincidences or unrealistic actions happen constantly. Personally, it took me out of the universe. To name one, how could the teachers not realize that Dononvan isn’t actually gifted? Wouldn’t they have records of the supposed testing?

Despite my complaints, Ungifted is a fun book to read. I highly recommend it. Mr. Korman is a very popular author, so you will most likely be able to find a copy at your local library or bookstore. And remember, even if I dislike a certain book, you can still like it. I’ve disliked many books that are considered popular. I’m Zachary Krishef, and I hope that everyone has an excellent day.

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

Visit me at! My reviews are also posted there!

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Next Time: Seeing as it just came out, I think my next subject will be The Fault In Our Stars. Let’s hear it for shamelessly trying to get reviews and comments!

The Book Bag #0: Introductions



I love to read. It is one of my favorite hobbies, along with analyzing media and writing various stories. Now, if you were to appear in my room, you would see a lot of books. A lot of books.

Piles. Stacks. Bookshelves crammed with well-loved books. Overflowing bags of library books, straps worn from being constantly carried. Any other person would say that I have too many books. Personally, I think that I have just the right amount. (In all seriousness, though, I do try to lessen my book-buying spurts. If I can get it at the library, then I don’t have to buy it.) Additionally, I consider myself a fast reader. Over Shavuot, I read ten books in one very long day.

I’m sorry if I come off as rude or pretentious. This is my first time attempting to create a TGWTG blog, so I’m trying to be as formal as possible. That was the backstory, anyway. Here’s the real point to this.

A Tribute To Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

-Maya Angelou, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”


R.I.P. Maya Angelou. You will be in our hearts forever.

Jim Henson Tribute

A Tribute To The Master

by MiscellaneousSoup


You entertained us with your creations. They were lifelike, interesting, and unique.


You made us laugh, cry, and cheer for things that we never thought we could feel any sort of emotion for.


You revolutionized the art of puppetry, filmmaking, and children’s education.


Fraggle Rock.


Sam And Friends.


The Storyteller.


The Labryinth.


The Dark Crystal.


Sesame Street.


The Muppet Show.


The Jim Henson Hour.


The Creature Shop.


The Jimmy Dean Show.


Time Piece.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie.


Wilkins Coffee.


The Ed Sullivan Show.


Tales From Muppetland.


The Muppet Movie.


The Great Muppet Caper.


The Muppets Take Manhattan.


Saturday Night Live.


Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas.


The Muppets Valentine Show.


The Muppet Show: S*x And Violence


Christmas Eve On Sesame Street.


Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird


Big Bird In China


Little Muppet Monsters


Muppet Babies


The Tale Of The Bunny Picnic.


The Muppet: A Celebration of 30 Years.


The Christmas Toy


A Muppet Family Christmas


Sesame Street: 20 And Still Counting


The Muppets At Walt Disney World


Muppet*Vision 3D


The Star Wars franchise, specifically, The Emperor Strikes Back.


The Jim Henson Foundation.


Little Mermaid’s Island.

The Natural History Project.


The Jim Henson Company.


Your employees.


Your friends.


Your family.


You either created, affected, or worked on all of these projects, and potential ones that I have forgotten. You put your all into every single thing you ever did, whether it was a great success or a minor disappointment. You made us believe, even to this day, that those Muppets and puppets, creatures and features, are living beings. Creative genius, gentle soul, wonderful person. All of these terms and more can describe you. Your actions changed the world. We will miss you. We have been missing you. We will forever miss you.


Wherever you are, I hope that you are doing what you do best: Create.


Farewell, Jim Henson. I have nothing but the utmost respect for you.


R.I.P. Jim Henson: (1936-1990)


“The lovers, the dreamers, and me…” Kermit The Frog.


My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.” Jim Henson.


Book Review: Wise Acres (Heck: Where The Bad Kids Go #7)

Dale E. Basye is a literary genius. No, I’m not exaggerating. After a certain point in the book, I believe that he truly is a genius.

Plot: This is a much lighter book than Precocia. It almost feels as if Mr. Basye was trying to write something slightly different than the normal format, just to experiment for future literary endeavors. That being said, it is not a bad book. It takes the concept of the word ‘meta’ and brings it up to a level that even Phelous, creator of a film reviewing web series, wouldn’t dare to traverse. Unfortunately, to explain further would be to ruin portions of the book and it is too good to ruin.  Wise Acres feels like a gigantic love letter to the art of creating a novel. An art that I wish I could master, incidentally. If I didn’t officially proclaim it before, then this installment officially convinces me that Heck should be on a list of books to go over in a school’s curriculum. Children, teenagers, and adults of any age will most likely love to devour this in a classroom.

Characters: Once again, the deceased real-life teachers are remarkably well-chosen. In all of his books, Mr. Basye crams in intriguing references to life, including one such reference to a pigeon driving a bus in Precocia. Because the main theme seems to be linguistics, it expands his opportunities to tease young readers with the works of classic authors and remind adult readers of the nostalgic experiences in their high school English course. I can not speak for all teen readers, but it inspires me, at any rate, to look up every single reference. It is what TV Tropes calls a “Genius Bonus.” A delightful scavenger hunt of literary goodness! This version of Lewis Carroll especially interests me. I would read a book just about the staff interacting or the daily minutia of life. In fact, if any television executives are reading this, and I doubt they are, then contact Mr. Basye! Create a Seinfeld-esque comedic program about the daily life of the employees! Alternately, a web series. I don’t know what to say, I just want to find out more information about the life of the normal employees!

This is becoming an unfortunate trend, as with the previous review. I have no idea of what else to say. Future plot events are quite nicely foreshadowed, and Milton and Marlo continue to be wonderful. I do feel disappointed by a certain character, who seems to be out of the series permanently. Even so, it was a good run for the character who I will not name, due to spoilers. Unlike the last book, however, I do have two complaints. Firstly, certain portions of the novel were slightly hard to read, but that is a nitpick. I have never been very good at cursive, despite practicing it many times. (Side Note: We aren’t learning cursive in high school, and I think that is a shame. I want to relearn it.) Secondly, I couldn’t find the usual message at the end of the book, stating the title and date of the next book’s release. However, it appears as though some kind of poem was encrypted into the afterword. My sister and I should work on translating that. Wise Acres thoroughly deserves an A+. I can’t wait for the remaining two books. Wait…A possibility of only two books left in the series? To my disappointment, yet another quality book series will end, leaving me to go on the hunt for a new one. Harry PotterPendragonAlex Rider, countless other series…Why did you go? Why?? Have an excellent day, everyone! Keep reading, and pick up the Heck series! It’s a heck of a good time, pun gleefully intended.

Book Review: Precocia (Heck: Where The Bad Kids Go #6)

Dale E. Basye is a remarkably good author. His books are well-written, the characters are interesting, and the puns are hilarious. This book, while not too different from the usual Heck-ish fare, takes a slightly darker turn. Join me, will you, for my journey into the  second newest installment of the Heck series.

Plot: You should know that this is much darker than the first books. An alternate universe is shown for a good portion of the novel and it travels into the realms of the genuinely scary. Not that the earlier volumes aren’t creepy, but this almost delves into “Nightmare Fuel” territory. I believe that if Mr. Basye ever chose to write horror novels, he could rival the great Stephen King. Additionally, the puns partially disappear at the story gets darker. I don’t mean that there is a flaw in the writing, I just mean that they populate less of the book in order to focus on the action and universe. When they do appear, they are spot on and almost calculatingly created. Much like Stephan Pastis, author of the newspaper strip Pearls Before Swine, I believe that Mr. Basye plans out certain puns and in-jokes beforehand, making sure to have them be important to the plot, not just throw-away jokes that add nothing to the book.

As for the other portion of the plot, it continues to be engaging. I truly enjoy seeing the new villains of each book, but that can wait for my opinion on the characters. The plot that they come up with is hard to spot and the climax is masterfully done. Similar to,  although this may be a strange comparison, Seinfeld, he manages to combine two partially unrelated plots into one without it seeming contrived.

Characters: Milton and Marlo are as well-characterized as ever. I particularly enjoy seeing the moments where it shows that they do have affection for each other, despite the occasional taunt or threat of bodily harm. In a way, it reminds me of Gravity Falls, though a cartoon is very different from a book, Dipper and Mabel are less argumentative, and they are not dead. (As far as we know. Alex Hirsch, the creator of the show, is also an excellent writer.) As for the teachers, I am amazed at the amount of work that Mr. Basye has put into his characters. I would wager that he spends most of his time researching various historical figures to use for the next book. The characterization in them is so astounding, I find myself wondering if that is what they would actually act like in real life. When they were alive, of course. An interesting thing to note is that I didn’t recognize Yung or B. F.  Skinner when I first perused this book. After the first semester of A. P. Psychology, I can definitely recognize those names. Thankfully, a certain Sigmund Freud didn’t appear, but I do suspect that Mr. Basye may have toned down certain…aspects of his studies for the book. On the other hand, maybe not.

I really don’t know what else to say. The writing is truly engaging. I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about Precocia. It earns an A+. I hope that the next installment will be just as good! (It is as good, but I wanted to end my review in a good way. Of course, I have ruined that with this sentence, but we will disregard that. Just go to your local bookstore/library and pick up this series. Make fan art and fan videos. Make fanfiction if you want, I don’t know about Mr. Basye’s opinion on that. You will have to ask him.) Have an excellent day, readers!

BOOK REVIEW: Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver

I like to read. I really don’t like to insult books that I don’t like, but I really want to talk about this one. The concept is okay. A girl dies in an alcohol-fueled heart attack, and wakes up the next morning, on the day of her death. She must find out why she has to relive her final day. The main problem is that I dislike her and her friends. This is going to sound brutal, but I think they they are just really bad people. I hesitate to use the word ‘horrible’, but I think that it may apply. They do cruel things every day and are incredibly obnoxious. The behavior doesn’t even change as the protagonist tries to find out why she is reliving the last day of her life.

Additionally, certain issues are covered in this book. I hesitate to say the names, because they are spoilers for the plot. One is only mentioned twice, and seemingly glossed over in the second appearance. The second issue takes up a good chunk of the book. The problem is that the main character does the same thing right at the end of the book!!! Hardly a spoiler!

Finally, the romantic plot is unnecessary, to me. The second portion of it does imply some character development for the main character, but it seems contrived and shoehorned. I just don’t like this book. I recommend it to you, just in case. According to a certain book, Before I Fall was well-received. Fine. They like it, I didn’t. Have an excellent day, I’m going to go read a better book.

Song Parody: It’s Pi Day



(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-yum)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

8 pm, getting up from the kitchen table

Gotta be good, must get to the fridge

Gotta get everyone’s bowl, and some silverware

Seein’ everything, my mouth is salivating

Waiting on for dessert, everybody’s rushin’

Gotta get to the table

gotta grab a napkin, everyone’s droolin’ (everyone’s droolin’)


Sittin’ in my seat

anticipatin’ in my mouth

Gotta make up my mind

Which piece can I take?


It’s Pi Day, it’s pi day!

Gotta eat pie on Pie Day!

Everyone’s lookin’ forward to the slicing, the slicing

Pi Day, Pi Day,

Eating pie on Pi Day

Everyone’s looking forward to dessert


Munchin’, Munchin'(Yeah)

Munchin’, munchin'(Yeah)

Yum, yum, yum, yum

Looking forward to the next helping


12:05, midnight, need a little snack

Salivating so fast, I want a napkin

Pie, pie, pie, think about pie

You know how delicious it is

I have a slice, you have a slice

Everyone is suddenly by my pie

I have a slice, we all have a slice

Now we eat it


Sittin’ in my seat

anticipatin’ in my mouth

Gotta make up my mind

Which piece should I bite?


It’s Pi Day, it’s Pi day

Gotta eat pie on Pi day

Everyone’s looking forward to dessert time, dessert time

It’s Pi Day!



Zarion out.