Dec 31, 2013

Last post of 2013!

This is it! Last post of 2013. I wanted to write something epic and moving, but then I psyched myself out and couldn't write anything. So....Here's an adorable video.


Hope your New Year's Eve makes you as happy as this leopard kitten is. See you next year.

Dec 26, 2013

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy)

Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo

From Amazon: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. Does it ruin a review if you already know at the beginning how the reviewer feels about it? Meh, too late now. I loved this book. I'm not sure why I ever thought I wouldn't. Young adult trilogy. Female main character. Kind of dystopia like, I guess? All check marks in the things I enjoy column. I think it's the magic thing. I'm really not interested in people who have magical powers, in general, I guess. But it had good reviews and sounded interesting enough. Plus the cover art is cool. So I checked it out of my local library.

And then I started reading it, and holy crap did I ever get drawn into it. Fast. Alina hasn't even discovered her powers yet, and I'm struggling to put it down to go to bed.

Lets talk characters.

Alina is kind of awkward, but also clever and sarcastic. Awesome main character. Love her. I have tons of cliche things to say about her underlying strength and whatnot, but I wont. She's just awesome.

The Darkling - there is a swoon worthy male character. Yes, it's kind of a stupid name, but it works in the book. Somehow. It adds to the mysteriousness of him, I guess. Giving him a real name like Viktor or Nicolai - it just wouldn't work. I know he does have a real name (there was an illusion to "when he gave up his name"), so I hope this isn't going to be like the Divergent Series, where when we found out Four's real name, and then Tris keeps calling him that even though it totally doesn't suit who he is now (as opposed to who he was before he became Dauntless). Anyway, The Darkling - I don't really know how to write about The Darkling without spoilers. But yeah. THE DARKLING.

Who I didn't feel super excited about was Mal. I get the concept of Alina's feelings for Mal - girl falls for best friend who doesn't see her that way. I get it. And I know Mal's supposed to be handsome and confident and all the girls love him - I know because Alina told us so. You know that old piece of writing advice, Show, don't tell? This is the opposite of that. I think it's that he didn't have enough page time at the beginning to show it, though, because the author can write an awesome character (see: Alina and The Darkling).

Lets talk story

Ok, so yeah, the story isn't super original, but it doesn't follow the exact same patterns of every other young adult trilogy I've read recently. And that's something. It never felt tired or old or boring. It never felt unbelievable or wrong.

Words I would use to describe it would include engaging, engrossing and incredible.

The worst part of this book was when it was over. The second worst part? Finding out the library doesn't have book two. And third worst is that book three isn't even released yet.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it an Incredibly Awesome. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who's a fan of young adult fiction, or magic, or just likes good books.

Dec 24, 2013

Carol of the Bells - Claymation Christmas

Claymation Christmas was my favorite Christmas movie growing up. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Dec 19, 2013

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

From Amazon: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I should have majorly loved this book. Dystopia (I guess? I'm not sure if it really fits that category, but I'm putting it there. If not, post-apocalyptic, for sure), female lead, young adult trilogy, ZOMBIES. If you were making a list of things I love, those things would be on it. Even so, I just didn't love this book. 

Don't get me wrong -  I didn't hate it or anything. I gave it three stars on Goodreads. I'm going to read book two. I'm just not as head over heals about it as expected. 

First of all, I prefer books written in first person narrative. Third person narration won't ruin a book for me, but it will lose points (that is, if I used a point system for rating books, rather than the arbitrary way I currently use). On top of that, the characters are a little flat. They were alright, but...yeah, flat. Oh, and Travis, love interest of main character Mary? Boring. When bad things happened to the main characters, I wasn't sad. I wasn't happy either. I was indifferent. 

Now, Mary...I found Mary pretty unlikable - selfish and kind of awful. Still, I wanted her to succeed and I wanted her to live. I wanted her to be happy. Actually, she was unlikable in the best kind of way - a way that made her real. Guess what? Teenagers are often selfish and awful - I know I was. In fact, I can still be selfish and awful, sometimes.  

The zombies were perfectly zombie like. They were the right amount of scary and didn't try to be something new or unique - they were just zombies, and if they bit you, you'd be one too. I really liked that the word 'zombie' is never, ever used in the book. Nor are they 'walkers' or 'walking dead' or any of the other popular zombie names. They are The Unconsecrated. They aren't zombies, but they are zombies. 

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it Perfectly Alright. I'll keep reading the trilogy, but I'm not really expecting much. 

Dec 17, 2013

PHILLIPS PUMPKIN PIE LIQUEUR

Today I'm going to review something that isn't a book. I know, insanity, right? Don't worry, there is another book review coming on Thursday. Order will be restored, rest assured.

Anyway.

Booze!
So I recently bought some Phillips Pumpkin Pie Liqueur. Strangely, the product doesn't seem to exist on Phillips' website, so here is a link to the product page on the NSLC.

I'd walked by it several times. I'd considered buying it, but passed. Eventually, I could resist no longer - I had to try it.

Now, I like pumpkin pie as much as the next girl, but it's not my favorite pie ever. That would be pecan. And blueberry. But pumpkin pie is pretty awesome. And I like pumpkin flavoured things - pumpkin beer, pumpkin spice lattes....etc. So yeah, I needed to try it.

This is the product description from the bottle: Fresh from the oven pumpkin pie taste with layers of pumpkin spice, cinnamon and a hint of light pastry crust. Just the way Grandma used to make it. Add to your favorite coffee drink or enjoy over ice. 

...that's a pretty tall order. You're telling me I'm going to taste a hint of pie crust? I was pretty doubtful. My assumptions were as follows - it will be sweet and tasty, and reminiscent of pumpkin pie, but there is no way it will taste like pie.

My husband tasted it first. "Does it taste like pumpkin pie?" I asked.
"It tastes like cinnamon hearts..." he replied, but moments later says, "No, wait, I guess it taste like pumpkin pie."

I took a sip of mine, and he was right - at first it tastes like very mild cinnamon hearts, but as it sits with you, it absolutely tastes very much like pumpkin pie. It even has that hint of crust that was promised. I am not joking. Also, have you ever heard someone talk about a drink's mouthfeel? It's usually from someone who takes wine tasting a little too seriously. If that's your experience, please don't roll your eyes. Mouthfeel of drinks is a real thing. Also, wine tasting should never be too serious. Anyway, the mouthfeel of this liqueur is...custard-y. Like pumpkin pie.

...in short, it was weird.

A good weird though. Not a bad weird like Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn Jelly Beans. The jelly beans taste exactly like popcorn. Exactly. But, obviously, the texture is so wrong it makes them bad weird. This liqueur has a definite pumpkin pie like taste, but is different enough that it's not wrong that it's a liquid rather than, you know, a pie.

So yeah. Good, but pretty weird.

Would I buy it again? Probably not, unless I had a specific cocktail that required it . But I was not disappointed and would recommend you give it a try if you like pumpkin pie and weird food products. And booze.

Dec 12, 2013

Oi To The World

Lets get a little christmasy! But...not too christmasy, ok?




Dec 10, 2013

Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

From Amazon: They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Although I read a lot of different kinds of books, I definitely have a type of book I'm drawn to. And that's Young Adult fiction set in a dystopia, preferably with a female lead character, preferably part of a trilogy. I may not fit the core demographic, but I'm not concerned. A good book is a good book, no matter who it's written for.

There are two ways to tell that a first book in a series is succeeding: first, when you're reading it, and you have to stop reading it, you want nothing more than to be reading it again (also known as you finish very quickly) and second, once you're finished you want to be reading book two immediately

Delirium passed both tests. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Lena is an excellent main character and I liked how sure she was about what was going to make her happy in life at the beginning. And (main love interest) Alex - although he could have stood to be a little more flawed, he served his purpose as the catalyst for change, and was sufficiently fan girl swoon worthy. The premise of love as disease great.

The biggest complaint I have is that nothing particularly surprising happened. Except the thing with the cows. I was surprised by that, I suppose. But I was not surprised by any of the major plot points. The overall pattern of things that happened was very familiar, if you happen to read a lot of young adult trilogies. Luckily, the particulars of the story, it's good characters and beautiful writing carried it to enjoyable heights, even with it's predictable patterns.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it a Just Awesome. I'm really looking forward to book two.

Nov 27, 2013

Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong

This make a whole lot of sense. It really does. "Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities."




Nov 20, 2013

History Lesson for the History Channel

History vs Not History from CGPGrey


YES.

Nov 15, 2013

Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy, Book Three)


Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I have written reviews of the first two books in the series: Divergent and Insurgent. I would recommend skipping the link to Divergent, as the review is just plain awful. It's hardly a review at all. It's mostly just me writing that I loved the book. There, I've summed the whole review up in one sentence, so lets move on.

From Amazon: What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

I really wanted to be blown away by this book, you know? Divergent still stands as one of my favorite books ever. Insurgent was excellent, but not anywhere near as good as the first, so I hoped it would be a bridge between two phenomenal books. It didn't work out that way.

Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed Allegiant. I mean, I read it in a day. I wouldn't say that I couldn't put it down, but there were tons of things I could have done that day which didn't involve spending all day reading. It helps that YA novels are easily digestible - reading it all at once was not a strain. I at no point felt bored or like I had to force myself to keep reading. It was perfectly enjoyable. But it wasn't the magnificent third book I'd hoped for, that's all.

Tris is still an awesome character. I love, love, love that girl. In Insurgent, she was so broken, but she's managed to more or less put the pieces back together in Allegiant. She's much more sure of herself and...I don't know, leader-y now, which is a big change from Beatrice Prior from page one of Divergent. She grew as a character in a very real way. Roth did a great job on her.

The ending. No spoilers here - if you want that, just read the reviews on amazon. They are lousy with spoilers. So the main conflict part just kind of...ended. It was all action and excitement and then all of a sudden it was over even though nothing really significant happened to stop it. Also, the very very end was a little too...ThingsWorkedOutPrettyWell-TheEnd. It wasn't as if everything was perfect and happily ever after, but...yeah, I don't know. It was a little off. BUT. The big thing that happened that everyone thinks was wrong and just for shock? It wasn't wrong. It sucked and I hated but it was so right for that character. It was that character making the choice that they absolutely would have made, because of who that character is. It's ok to hate it, but that doesn't make it wrong.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it Pretty Excellent. The trilogy definitely started out on a high note and got progressively...I don't want to say worse, but...less awesome. Still, I'm glad book two and three exist. I'm a sucker for a trilogy, after all. And I'm glad I read the whole series. And I still recommend that everyone who has not read Divergent should go read it right now. That is all.

Nov 13, 2013

Canada - Keep Exploring

I love tourism videos. I don't know what it is, but I could watch these all day. Plus, you know, Canada is awesome.



Keep exploring.

Nov 6, 2013

Sloth and cat

This is a sloth named Prince and his best friend Daisy - a kitty!


My god that cat looks happy.

Oct 30, 2013

Ellen's Last-Minute Costume Ideas

Tomorrow is Halloween, guys! Ellen Degeneres plus cute kids show some last minute costume ideas. Sounds like a winning combination all around.



The little girl at 3:05 looks like she is really glad that this isn't her real costume.

Oct 23, 2013

Hey...hey you. I've got something to tell you.



You are beautiful.

Oct 16, 2013

Propeller Brewing Company

An interesting little profile of an awesome Nova Scotian microbrewery - Propeller Brewing Company. 


As it is October, I'd be remiss if I failed to inform you that Propeller makes an incredible Pumpkin Ale (Made with Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkins!) that's only around for a limited time every year. Just saying.

Propeller Pumpkin Ale


Oct 9, 2013

Breaking Normal

What exactly is normal? ZeFrank explores weird vs normal in this delightful and somewhat mentally terrifying video. Enjoy!


When he talks about the gallon of milk in the car, and right afterward talks about not saying that there is a gallon of blood in your car? Do you picture, first, one of those four liter milk jugs (like this) (which is roughly a gallon, according to google), and then picture it filled with blood sitting on,say, the floor of the back seat passenger side of your car?

I'm picturing that. Is that weird?



Sep 25, 2013

KITTEN in Hamster Ball

This is literally two minutes and forty-nine seconds of a kitten in a hamster ball. You're welcome.


...Also, Stuck in the Middle With You is playing. I recommend watching the video muted, but that's just me.



Sep 18, 2013

The First 20 Hours - How to Learn Anything: Josh Kaufman

Today's video is a little long, but absolutely worth the time. If you like TED Talks then you'll love it. If you hate TED Talks...well, then you probably won't love it and might possibly hate it. BUT! But there is a really fun part at the end where the speaker demonstrates the skill he learned using his method: Playing the ukulele. You could just skip ahead to that part, I guess, if you want (12:30), but I really think this matter is interesting and worth watching, even if you aren't a fan of the format.


...Is that really how ukulele is supposed to be pronounced? Because I don't like it. And also I've been saying it wrong. Which doesn't change the fact that I don't like it.

PS: according to the first three results on YouTube when you search, "how to pronounce Ukulele", I've been saying it correctly after all. Thanks, YouTube! Just one of the many reasons that I love the internet.

Sep 11, 2013

TOP 7 FAILS OF HISTORY

Ah, vlogbrothers. It is possible I might have written about liking their videos before once. Maybe. In this video, watch Hank Green flail his arms and make us feel better about our failures. And teach us a little history. Yay, learning!


Brief flash across the screen at 2:07 - TOTALLY WORTH STOPPING FOR.

Sep 4, 2013

It's OK to Do Stuff (feat. Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go's)

Warning!!! This song is really catchy. You will probably still be singing it quietly to yourself three days from now while waiting in line at the grocery store. People will look at you funny. It'll be a little awkward. Seriously. 




Lets all go do stuff! Or not. Which ever. Your choice, really.

Aug 30, 2013

Fateful

Fateful by Claudia Gray

From Amazon: Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.
Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .
Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.
In Fateful, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers paranormal adventure, dark suspense, and alluring romance set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic’s first—and last—voyage.

I bought this book from the $10 or Less table at my local mall book store when I was out shopping for a coffee maker. I needed a non-digital book to read between calls at work (one of the few perks of call centre life), because our electronics policy prevents me from using my kindle on the call floor. I know, it's a hard life. The story seemed vaguely interesting - historical teen romance on the Titanic, mystery boy with a dark secret...Sounds ok. I did not, no mater what my husband says, buy it just because the book jacket was shiny. Although that didn't hurt.
So, this might be a spoiler, but not really because it's all over the internet in every review everywhere - this is not just a historical teen romance on the Titanic - this is historical teen romance on the Titanic with werewolves. Oh, yes. Sounds terrible, right? Like, the kind of epic terribleness that could make the book awesome or could bomb miserably.  


Also, I would like to note that I do not, regardless of appearances and reviews of Hemlock Grove, have a werewolf obsession.


It's not that it's really that great of a book. I mean, obviously I enjoyed it enough to read it in two days. It wasn't wholly original (a lot of reviews point out it's basically Titanic but with werewolves) and not particularly surprising or suspenseful. I could pretty much see where things were going, more or less, the entire time. 


So, figured I'd get a week or more worth of work reading out of this. Instead, on the day I started it, when I came home from work, I thought, I'll just finish this one chapter that I'm in the middle of. And then binge read well over half of the thing, right up until the time I had to force myself to stop and go to bed. I only stopped to cook and eat supper. I might need to work on my impulse control. I polished off the rest during my shift the next day. 

Still, I read the whole thing in two days. I mean, I'm not a slow reader, but still. Two days.

I spent a good chunk of time trying to hate all of the characters. This was set on the Titanic, so obviously everyone was going to die. This may or may not have actually come to pass by the end of the book. I figured, probably main character Tess gets to live, but everyone else is going to die so I better not get attached to anyone. Unfortunately, all of the characters that you're supposed to like are absolutely likable, and the characters you're supposed to hate are jackasses and monsters. Not overly complex, but easy enough to get into. 

I'm going to make some Divergent comparisons now. Divergent is on my list of favorite books ever, and although this book doesn't rank anywhere close to that, there are some strong parallels between the main characters and their love interests, which might explain how I got pulled into this book so completely. Parallels that start at the very coincidental fact that one is named Tess and the other is named Tris. Coincidental, but still. Also they are both so much stronger, smarter and capable than they realize. Love interests Alec and Four are both mysterious and broody, at least at first. Not sure where exactly I'm going with this paragraph. Interesting similarities, is all. 

The ending. I hated the ending. Even if it did end in Halifax. How to do this without spoilers....Ok, so sometimes you really want something to happen in a story, but you know it can't happen because it's wrong. It's just the wrong ending for the story. So no matter how much you want it to happen, it can't. Well, in this book, the thing I wanted to happen but shouldn't happen, happened. I was reading along, and this other thing happened, and I was like, Oh god. Really? Really, Claudia Gray? You are really doing this. And then it happened. The end. It didn't ruin the book, and it wasn't a bad ending, but it was wrong. Oh so very wrong. 

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give Fateful an Almost Excellent. A fun, quick, albeit unoriginal read with a not great ending. And werewolves. 

Aug 28, 2013

Bulldog tries to sit in a box that's too small for him

Ah, dogs. So silly.



"I mean, you can sit there if you want, but...You're ridiculous."

Aug 26, 2013

All Employees Are Marketers

All Employees Are Marketers by Richard Parkes Cordock

From Amazon: All Employees are Marketers: Real-life, Proven, Employee-driven Strategies to Get More Customers... Get More Referrals... Get More Revenues... and Get More Profits! 

This book has been sitting on my kindle for quite some time now. I'm pretty sure that it was free when I got it. As of this writing, it is $1.93. I wouldn't pay that much for it. 

I shouldn't say that. It's not a bad book. It's pretty well written and the author probably put a fair amount of work into it. It also had hardly any unnecessary exclamation marks (a common problem I've noticed in free/cheap ebooks) which I appreciate. Had I paid two dollars for it, I wouldn't have felt ripped off, per sey. I would have felt exactly the same way I feel about it now - Underwhelmed. 

There is nothing about it that is particularly groundbreaking. It all seems like common sense. Every employee should be concerned with customer happiness, retention and acquisition, whether or not they their job title says they should be. The customer pays their salary, directly or indirectly. Not only that, if you have a good product and happy employees, they will tell people about it, bringing in more customers. 

I know, right? Earth shattering revelations.  You also get some good examples, including personal anecdotes, of companies that get this right. 

...and that's it. There's no talk of how exactly you're supposed make this happen. That's the problem. The reason you don't see this taking place at more companies isn't because owners and managers don't know it. It's 'an easier said than done' kind of thing. 

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful I'd give All Employees Are Marketers a Meh. If you're looking for solutions, you won't find them here. 

Aug 23, 2013

On female purity, ending slut shaming and a pile of kittens: Three links and a photo

I'll wait here

Female 'Purity' is Bullshit - We teach girls that they need to be sexually desirable, but not ever have sex - lest they be thought ruined for evermore. This is dangerous and wrong on so many levels. You are worth something, regardless of how much or little sex you have or have had in the past. Period.

No 'Slut's Allowed: Why Slut-Shaming Need to Stop - This is along the same lines as the last link. Slut-shaming does more than just hurt one's self-esteem, which should be reason enough to stop it, but it also leads to a culture that allows for victim blaming in instances of sexual assault and rape.

And now, A Pile of Kittens.

Aug 21, 2013

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS - SAME LOVE feat. MARY LAMBERT

Cute video, good song, great message.


We have had marriage equality in Canada for TEN YEARS. It just seems so baffling and backwards that gay marriage isn't legal everywhere, still. Love is love, people. Get over it.

Aug 19, 2013

Hemlock Grove: A Netflix Original Series

Hemlock Grove is a Netflix original series about murder, werewolves, gypsies, rich people who have mind control powers, weird genetic experiments and high school. Well, I guess it's not really about high school, but the bulk of the main characters are in high school. Also, angels impregnating teenage girls.

Sounds...confusing? Yeah.

Here's the synopsis from Netflix: The mangled body of a teenage girl is discovered outside a rusted Pennsylvania steel town, where every resident harbors a dark secret. Suspicions and accusations mount as a manhunt for the killer intensifies, even as evidence mounts that the suspect is not a man at all. Famke Janssen and Dougray Scott star in this terrifying series from horror director Eli Roth ("Hostel") and novelist Brian McGreevy, nominated for two 2013 Emmy Awards.

After binge watching Orange is the New Black (loved it, by the way), Netflix was all, Hey, you liked that? Maybe you'll like this other original series we have: Hemlock Grove. And I was like, Netflix, that show looks kind of terrible, but I'll give it a try if you say so. I'm pretty trusting when computer algorithms tell me what to do, I guess. 

Oh god, this show. It's just...so...yeah. I want to say it's awful. I really do. But I loved it. I really, really did. And when season 2 comes out, I'll be watching. Probably non-stop until all of the episodes are gone, just as I did this season. I watched two or three episodes a night, every night for a week-ish. I guess the fact that I loved it doesn't mean it wasn't also awful. Awful, but also captivating and awesome.

...this is exactly why I should not review things. 

There is a lot going on in the show. There is a werewolf that is killing people and the police are more or less clueless (or possibly in denial). A werewolf that is definitely not main character Peter (seriously, did his name have to be Peter?), even though he's also a werewolf and the killing started right after he and his mom moved into his dead uncle's rundown trailer for some reason. I guess because they're gypsies and that's what gypsies do? I don't really know anything about gypsies. There are also a few appearances of Peter's cousin who is a psychic, a prostitute and does magic. Gypsies are magic, I guess.

Peter teams up with new friend Roman to hunt this other werewolf. Roman is a rich kid with no real friends, so it only makes sense that he befriended Peter - a poor gypsy with no friends. Roman is from a very influential and hated family, and has an unhealthy obsession with his cousin. A quote from this spoiler filled link: "you can't tell who Roman loves more: his friend Peter or his cousin Letha." So epicly true. There are also some gifs that illustrate this point perfectly. There is crazy sexual tension between Peter and Roman. Roman is a vampire (or, sorry, Upir - Russian Vampire) but doesn't know it. Peter and his family know, though, because gypsies are magic. This vampirism give Roman mind control powers. More on his family: His sister died when she was a baby, but was somehow brought back to life, now horribly deformed, with skin that glows when touched and when she's upset the lights flicker. His mother, who is kind of a drug addict and an all around asshole, is sleeping with his uncle.  His cousin thinks she was impregnated by an angel. Yeah.

Also hunting the wolf are the police (who think it's a regular wolf), and they've teamed up with (fake?) Fish and Wildlife agent - Dr. Clementine Chasseur. Who actually is a monster hunter for the church. Main police guy - Sheriff Tom - seems to know they're after a werewolf, but doesn't want to admit it. He has twin daughters who's best friend goes crazy after finding one of the corpses.

There is also some kind of super secret...something...going on at Godfrey Institute - Roman's family's company which I guess is some kind of medical research biotech lab? None of this is really explained.

I think that's everything, but I'm sure I'm missing something.

So you've got this plot, which RedEye's review accurately described as "a rambling, nonsensical mess". Even with all of that going on, it often seems like nothing is happening. It is not a fast paced show. On top of that, a lot of the writing is really bad. Some of the acting is really bad. And sometimes both the acting and writing are so bad you can't tell which is worse. All of which is why I want to say that it's awful. But I still can't bring myself to say that. Because I loved it too much.

I guess the big question is, should you watch? That's the whole point of reviews, right? And the answer is...I don't know. There are certainly worse things to watch on television. No. I'm going to take a stand and say yes: check it out. Enjoy it's convoluted terribleness, and love it for what it is: Entertainingly awful.

Note: the following trailer is rated for mature audiences only.

Aug 14, 2013

5 Historical Misconceptions Rundown


I love CGPGrey. His video are not only entertaining and well made, but also incredibly informative. Meaning watching them will make you smarter. Knowledge!




Aug 12, 2013

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

From AmazonThis beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.

When I came into possession of this book, I was not going to read it. I wasn't interested in the least. I'm neither religious or spiritual. I don't believe in astrology, I roll my eyes at most new agey-ness and I don't believe in god. There was nothing about this book that appealed to me.

So why did I read it? I really don't know. I probably felt like being annoyed that day. Do you do that? Read things that you know are going to make you angry, just for the sake of being angry? I do. Obviously.

I had every intention on hating it. I was going to be good and annoyed. Afterwards, I would write a review on how stupid and awful it was. I had a plan.

And then I started reading. Imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying it. Right from the beginning. Despite the talk about praying and god. The writing style was charmingly conversational. And not preachy. That's something, right there. It's hard to talk religion and spirituality without being preachy. Or at least I assume it must be, because most people can't keep the preach out of those conversations. 

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give Eat, Pray, Love a Pretty Enjoyable. It wasn't the best thing I've ever read. I didn't find it life changing. Most of the part that took place in Bali was a bit tedious. But the author was likable, it felt honest and was an interesting, easy read.

May 4, 2013

Three Links and a Photo


The bombing at the Boston Marathon...I don't have enough negative descriptive words in my arsenal to accurately describe how truly awful and heart breaking the whole thing is. I know we're all exhausted from all the coverage of this horrible day. Still, if you haven't read this article, you should - The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On - If you allow terrorists to take away your freedom, you're letting them win. Even if they're dead or in jail, they've still won. You're allowed to be scared, angry, devastated - but don't allow yourself to be terrorized.

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls... SO I WILL. If you're feeling bad about your body today, you should read this. Hell, even if you're feeling good about your body today, you should read this.

 And now for something lighter and more perplexing: 1.4 thousand people liked this site on Google plus (plused it? What is the right terminology here?) and 14 thousand people have liked it on facebook (myself included. I love this site!). Bienvenue sur le site de la République des Mangues

Apr 23, 2013

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If this book did nothing else, it made me want to garden. Out in the sun, getting my hands dirty...however, as I was reading it in December, alas, it wasn't to be.

...anyway...

I really enjoyed this book. It had good flow and the writing style was really enjoyable. And if you're interested in farming, gardening or local food (for me - checks on the last two), this book is for you.

...I will admit, the tone could lead a little toward preachy - it's a little hard to write a book about eating only local food without being at least a little preachy, I suppose - and sometimes their family life does seem a little too perfect and squabble free. I really didn't find that it detracted from the book much, though.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful I'd give it a Quite Awesome. Check it out if you need a push towards putting in a few tomato plants this summer, or just like reading about other people growing food.

View all my reviews  Buy Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life on Amazon

Mar 12, 2013

Happier Bride: A Guide to Happiness and Planning Your Wedding

Happier Bride: A Guide to Happiness and Planning Your Wedding by Minna Sithep
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of the book to review for free from the author.

If I had been inclined to get a wedding planning book when I was planning my own wedding, I think this is the type of book I would have been drawn to. It's has a very laid back tone. The happiness advice is on par with the other happiness tips I've read, and the planning advice is simple and to the point. It reads very much like a blog, without feeling like you could get all of the information online for free. Of course, you could, but not in such a well organized package, and not all in one place.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful I'd give it a Pretty Good. Definitely worth checking out if you're about to plan a wedding.

View all my reviews

Buy on Amazon

Jan 1, 2013

Looking Back: 2012 Told Through Twitter

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

                                                                          ― Neil Gaiman