Monday, October 31, 2011

Manic Monday: October Wrap Up.

We all know that Mondays are typically pretty manic for us all.  Honestly, who in the world likes Mondays?!  So here's an attempt for me to organize my thoughts for the week.  Here you'll find what I'm reading, what I will picking up next, different posts that you can expect in the upcoming week, and a recap of the posts from last week!  And anything else I see fit, of course :]
Happy Halloween Everyone!
So, since this is the end of the month, this is just a wrap up post chronicling the month of October.  Here's a quick vlog with the books that I read for the month and what I thought of them.





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What will I be picking up next?
For the month of November, I'm going to read reading A LOT of historical fiction.  I have piles and piles and piles of it on my shelves and its been staring me down for a while now.  Not to mention the fact that it's one of my favorite genres and I haven't gotten a chance to read it in quite a while now!

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What can you expect this week?
++  Tuesday: Rather than NRT, I'll be posting a TBR vlog with the books that I hope to get read for the month.
++  Wednesday: A book review of Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie.
++  Thursday: Another Book Review of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
++  Friday: TGIF!  This week we'll be talking about gateway books.  I'll also have my writeup for weeks 3 and 4 of Anna Karenina.
++  Saturday: Maybe I review, maybe nothing.  Not really sure about this yet!
++  Sunday: Of course, The Sunday Salon!

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In case you missed it....
++  New Release Tuesday, featuring the newest from Diana Gabaldon as well as an upcoming release from artist Tegan and Sarah.
++  A book review of Baby Teeth by Joshua Grover-David Patterson.  4 out of 5 stars.
++  A book review of The Demon's Apprentice by Ben Reeder.  3.75 out of 5 stars.
++  Movie review of Inception (2010).  B rating, good movie!
++  TGIF: Spooktacular Reads, where we talk about books good to read for Halloween!
++  The Sunday Salon (26), where I talk about my upcoming graduation and ask how you plan your TBR piles for the month.

Best of the Bunch: October 2011

Best of the Bunch is a monthly feature brought to you by Lyrical Reviews.  Basically you go through all of the books you read that month and decide which one was your favorite and let us all know why!  To find more information, visit Lyircal Reviews and if you participate, be sure to link up so we can all see what books you thought were fantastic!

This month, I actually had some duds in the pile, so this made my choice for Best of the Bunch a little easier, plus, I only read 8 books this month, which isn't very many.  Those that I liked though, made it hard because horror is one of my favorite genres, but this book really stood out to me.

book cover of Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland
Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland
This came to be on my TBR pile by a request for review sent to me by Brian.  I read the synopsis and thought that this would be perfect to read for October, so I accepted it, and I am so glad that I did!
To sum the book up in as little as possible, there is something stalking the villagers at Fort Pendleton in the wilderness of Canada.  But its not an animal and its much harder to kill than one.  So, we watch the villagers succumb to the horror while a group of the villagers try to stop the carnage.
This book has it all:  Native American superstition, Christian beliefs, fantastic characters, a beautiful setting, great plot action, dialogue, gore, and a creature so fantastically scary that you will dream about them, I promise.  I can promise you that because I did.  This book made me not want to sleep with my back to the door or turn the lights off.  Very rarely does a book do that to me!  So, thank you Brian for writing an awesome book.  I couldn't recommend it more highly!
You can read my full review of the book here.

Purchase this book:  Amazon Barnes and Noble  Book Depository
Follow Brian Moreland on Twitter!
Visit Brian Moreland's Official Website!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Sunday Salon (26)

I can't believe that October is already drawing to a close!  It went by so fast!  And I now have 39 more days until I graduate college.  It feels weird to say that.  I'm so excited though and I'm so excited for the next step in my life.  I can't wait to get out of here and start my life with the man I love.  It's going to be a challenge, but I'm ready for it.
Enough about that.
My life has been fairly uninteresting.  Went and saw my dad's band play last night, they were fantastic, I saw a lot of great costumes, and then the end of the night was less than desirable.
I made it through my hell week of mid terms and various other things.  I hardly had any time to read last week, which I hated, but I got the things done that I needed to, so that's a plus.

As for reading, this month I've read 8 books.  That's a normal month for me, and I'm surprised I got that many read, considering what all I had to do this month.  I'll do a monthly wrap up post sometime this week.  Even though Monday is the last day of the month, I think I'll do it Monday.
I've also been working on what I want to read for the month of November.  I know I have 5 ebooks that were requested for review that I have to get done.  I think that most of them are short, but I'm trying to figure out just what I want to read.  I have the enormous stack of Agatha Christie that I didn't get to this month, or I could make a theme out of it and take all of the historical fiction from my shelves and get some of those read.  I've really been eyeing my copy of The Boleyn Inheritance, as well as the few Anchee Min I have on my shelves, so I think I might make it another themed reading month.

How do you pick out books for your TBR?  Do you just grab whatever looks good, or do you plan it out for the month?  If so, do you pick a theme?  Share in the comments!

Friday, October 28, 2011

TGIF: Spooktacular Reads

TGIF!  Everyone loves Friday right?  This is a feature hosted by Ginger at Greadsbooks.com.  Ginger posts a discussion question every Friday and provides a post where bloggers link their posts.  It's a fantastic way to get to know other bloggers!   Interested in participating?  Hop on over to Greads! feature page and learn more and see upcoming questions!

This Friday's Question:
Spooktacular Reads: Which books do you consider festive Halloween reads? Which stories have chilled you to the bone?


Alright, if you read my blog, you know that I love horror.  All types of horror, its probably my favorite genre ever and I read a lot of it.  So, its safe to say that I have an immense pile of books that I could shove in your hands of books that you should read in the month of October and around Halloween.
  • Stephen King.  So many of his works are perfect for this time of year.  A few that really come to mind are 'Salem's Lot and Pet Semetary, which are two of my favorites and both are equally super creepy.
  • Of course, there are the classics that everyone associates with Halloween.  Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  I just read the latter for the first time in honor of Halloween. :] 
  • Richard Matheson.  I am Legend and Hell House.  Though I've never read either of these, these are books that I want to read and make me think of Halloween.
  • Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.  I've seen that all over the blogosphere this month and I want to read it, though I haven't had to chance yet :[
  • I read The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates not that long ago and completely loved it.  It was like reading a horror movie through subtitles.  You can read my review here, it creeped me out and is fantastic to read for Halloween!
  • Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland.  This one I also read recently and really loved it.  Combines the supernatural, demon passession and quite a bit of gore.  I dreamed about the creatures from the book for several nights.  You can read my review here, but I highly recommend it!
What about you?  What are your favorite Spooktacular reads?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Movie Review: Inception (2010)

Inception movie poster
Title: Inception
Release Date: July 16, 2010
Run Time: 2 hours and 28 minutes
Genre: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction
Rating: B

I heard that this movie was a must see for months and months and months.  Of course there were other people that said that it was terrible and never to watch it.  Oh, you naysayers.  For a while I searched for a cheap copy and came up empty, until Target answered the calling and I got it for $10.  And then I watched it.

Excuse the vulgarity, but MINDFUCK.  That's exactly what this movie is.  But, that being said, its a good movie.
Basically, Dom Cobb works trying to extract important information from people's dreams.  Then he is hired on by someone to try and plant an idea into someone's mind while making them think that they are the original creators of the idea.  And we have Inception.

First, I'll start out saying the Christopher Nolan really love certain actors because a good bit of the cast that was in Batman was in this movie.  Which was fine, the actors were fantastic, I loved Ellen Page and basically all the actors.  This was a super long movie, and they already had to cut some plot points I think, so there was a bit of a disconnect in some of the relationships between the characters, but its very easily overlooked.

This movie was pretty suspenseful.  They have this plan and immediately it starts going wrong, so they have to improvise.  So you're sitting there thinking OHMYGOSH ARE THEY GOING TO ACCOMPLISH THE MISSION?!  I CAN'T TAKE THIS!  Or, that was me anyway.
The special effects were great, I wish I had scene it in IMAX.  That would have made it even better.
However, we go through this great movie, with great acting, with great suspense and you're like of course this is going to be a great ending right?  NO.  Eff you Christopher Nolan, eff you.  It wasn't a bad ending, but it was an open ending.  One of those were you question, did it happen, or did it not happen?  And if you're like me, you just want to be told what happened and be done with it.  But, overall a good movie.

Good plot, good acting, crazy suspense, stupid open ending, SUPER FREAKING LONG, but, it was a good movie.  I give it a B, just because I'm still mad at the ending.  But really, if you were on the fence about it, I say watch it.  It is long, but it's not a waste of 3 hours, promise.

REVIEW: The Demon's Apprentice by Ben Reeder

book cover of The Demon's Apprentice by Ben Reeder
Title: The Demon's Apprentice (Chance Fortunado Book 1)
Author: Ben Reeder
Date Published: July 31, 2011
Genre: Young adult
Page Count: 282 pages
Challenge: E-Book Challenge
Rating: 3.75 out of 5

**I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review**

Chance Fortunado was sold to a demon count on his seventh birthday by his own father.  He lives out 8 years of torture and finally manages to escape.  Now suddenly Chance has the opportunity to go to a real school and live a normal life with his mother and younger sister, only he doesn't have as much of a chance as he thinks.  When his old life comes back to haunt him, Chance has to throw his friends in with him and make some other unlikely friendships if he wants to make it to graduation.

If you're tired of overly dramatic and romantic YA, then this is something that you may want to read.  This is a kickass action book, and Reeder grabs you from the very beginning and doesn't let go.
Chance has been through a hell of a lot, and it shows by the way that he acts.  He spends a lot of his time wondering about how some of the things that he has had to do will affect his soul, but he is a really good kid with a really good heart, and that is apparent.

When a teacher at his new school is murdered, Chance is determined to find the person that did it.  So, he has to call upon a lot of the skills that he learned as Dulka's slave to figure out who is responsible.  However, relying on these old ways and the way he handles certain situations makes him question what is going to happen to his soul even more.
I really liked Chance.  I really liked all of the characters in this book, or the ones that you were supposed to like, anyway.  I think that the only thing that I struggled with was the age of the characters.  These kids are supposed to be 15 years old.  I just felt like they acted way way older than they actually were.  I know that Chance has been through a lot, and that might account for why he acts a bit older, but there were a few scenes where it felt like he shouldn't even be in highschool at all.  Not that this was a problem, it just struck me as interesting.
There's also a little bit of language in this book, which doesn't bother me in the slightest, but just throwing it out there in case that is something that offends you!

I liked this book and I'd definitely read the next in the series!  A solid 3.75 stars out of 5!

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com  The Demon's Apprentice

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

REVIEW: Baby Teeth by Joshua Grover-David Patterson

book cover of Baby Teeth by Joshua Grover-David Patterson
Title: Baby Teeth: A Blood Calling Novelette
Author: Joshua Grover-David Patterson
Date Published: May 5, 2011
Genre: Horror, Vampires
Page Count: E-Book
Challenge: Frightful Fall Reviewers Challenge, E-Book Challenge
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Imagine going to the hospital with your wife, on what's supposed to be the happiest day of your life, the day your child is born.  Now imagine hearing screams from down the hall and running to see what was going on.  Imagine seeing your wife lying dead on the table, with something at her neck.

Here is a man who has lost everything.  Only he finds out that his child was not killed, but turned into the very thing that has killed his wife.  He makes the decision to hide his baby by day and feed him by night.  The story is written as a memoir and goes through certain events that leads him to where he is now.

I really liked the way that this was written.  It was an interesting story that I actually read in one setting because I was completely hooked.  This is the third work of Patterson's that I've read and I've loved every one of them, this being no exception.
I also loved that Emma, from Blood Calling was in this story.

This is a great vampire story, one that will hook you and keep you until the end.  I highly recommend it and give it a 4 out of 5!

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com     Baby Teeth: A Blood Calling Novelette

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Release Tuesday (25)

New Release Tuesday is a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about in both books and music. Sometimes its release day is close, other times it can be several weeks or months in advance. I only feature one for each category, but there a LOADS of new and upcoming releases and you can find them by visiting B&N.com or FYE.com!
Title:  The Scottish Prisoner: A Lord John Novel
Author:  Diana Gabaldon
Release Date: November 29, 2011
book cover of The Scottish Prisoner by Diana GabaldonSummary:  London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war in the remote Lake District, life could be worse: He’s not cutting sugar cane in the West Indies, and he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own. But Jamie Fraser’s quiet existence is coming apart at the seams, interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of Tobias Quinn, an erstwhile comrade from the Rising. 
     Like many of the Jacobites who aren’t dead or in prison, Quinn still lives and breathes for the Cause. His latest plan involves an ancient relic that will rally the Irish. Jamie is having none of it—he’s sworn off politics, fighting, and war. Until Lord John Grey shows up with a summons that will take him away from everything he loves—again.
     Lord John Grey—aristocrat, soldier, and occasional spy—finds himself in possession of a packet of explosive documents that exposes a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Time is of the essence as the investigation leads to Ireland, with a baffling message left in “Erse,” the tongue favored by Scottish Highlanders. Lord John, who oversaw Jacobite prisoners when he was governor of Ardsmiur prison, thinks Jamie may be able to translate—but will he agree to do it?
     Soon Lord John and Jamie are unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead. A captivating return to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, The Scottish Prisoner is another masterpiece of epic history, wicked deceit, and scores that can only be settled in blood.

Why I'm Excited:  Oh gosh, I loved Outlander sososososososososo much.  I loved the character and the plot and everything about it.  It was on my list of things that I needed to read this year, and I have the next two in the series, but I don't think I'm going to get to them.  Anyway, anything that has Jamie Fraser in it is something to be excited about, and if you haven't read the Outlander series, you should.  At least the first one.  And in case you were unaware, she's writing another book in the Outlander series.  I did not know this until I looked at her website.  Get excited, folks!
Album Title:  Get Along
Artist: Tegan and Sarah
Release Date:  November 15, 2011
Tegan and Sarah Get Along album coverWhy I'm Excited:  I've really been on a kick with female vocalists lately.  Florence + the Machine, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Lights, and this is another pair of strong female vocalists.  I got into them a few years back, can't remember how many years now, but I've always loved their vocalists and their music isn't super pop radio friendly which I like as well.  If you like female vocalists with music that has an indie feel, you should check out some of their older albums and check this one out when it comes out!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Manic Monday: Week of October 24

We all know that Mondays are typically pretty manic for us all.  Honestly, who in the world likes Mondays?!  So here's an attempt for me to organize my thoughts for the week.  Here you'll find what I'm reading, what I will picking up next, different posts that you can expect in the upcoming week, and a recap of the posts from last week!  And anything else I see fit, of course :]

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
Once again, not putting my thoughts here, but pointing you in the direction of my week 2 post for the readalong!  But we warned, if you've never read the book, you probably shouldn't read that post.  Just know that I'm liking it so far :]

Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie
I kept staring at the pile of Agatha Christie at the foot of my bed and decided that I really wanted to start one.  I wasn't going to until I finished Frankenstein, but I couldn't help myself.  At 80 pages in, there's been 2 murders and we're finally getting more clues.  I have my suspicions, but Christie always throws you for a loop so we'll see how right I am at the end!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I'm really enjoying this one so far.  Yes, many people think it is a crime that I haven't read this classic before, but I think it has something to do with where I live as to why it was never required reading.  This isn't a very long read and I'm hoping to get it finished this week, but we'll see how this goes considering all the things I have going on!

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What will I be picking up next?
Like I said, I told myself that I was going to finish Frankenstein before I picked up anything else, but Christie was beckoning and I couldn't help myself.  I think I'll finish both Shelley and Christie pretty easily and then I'll move on to the rest of my pile of Christie.  I want to get at least one more of hers read before the end of the month.  I think I can accomplish that pretty easily!

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What can you expect this week?
++  Tuesday: NRT, featuring the upcoming release from Diana Gabaldon as well as the upcoming album from Tegan and Sarah.
++  Wednesday:  A review of Baby Teeth by Joshua Grover-David Patterson
++  Thursday: A book review of The Demon's Apprentice by Ben Reeder and a movie review of Inception (2010)
++  Friday: TGIF, talking about Spooktacular reads, as well as the week 3 post about Anna Karenina.
++  Saturday:  Not really sure, I'll surprise you :]
++  Sunday: The Sunday Salon, with all of the random fun that it provides.

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In case you missed it....
++  My wrap up post for The Great Gone With the Wind readalong.
++  New Release Tuesday, featuring the upcoming release from Florence and the Machine, as well as the newest in the Beautiful Creatures series.
++  Review of The Siege of Trencher's Farm.  2.75 stars out of 5.  It wasn't spectacular.
++  Review of Mile 81 by Stephen King.  A flat 2 out of 5. :[
++  Movie review of Army of Darkness.  Always an A.  Hail to the king, baby.
++  TGIF: Book Blogs that you love, where I list 5 blogs that I love and that you should, too.
++  Movie Review of The Thing (2011).  Definitely worth seeing in my opinion.
++  Anna Karenina, Week 2, where I answer some questions about how I feel about the book so far.
++  The Sunday Salon, where I talk about the asshole extraordinaire that approached me on Amazon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Sunday Salon (25)

Welcome to another edition of the Sunday Salon.  This week has been a pretty crazy one for me, in terms of a lot of things, but I'm just going to talk about reading and blogging today.

Reading, I finished 2 books this week and started another.  I read Mile 81 by Stephen King and that was hugely disappointing.  Uncle Stevie failed me in an effort to push something out before his newest release.  But, I can forgive him.  I also finished a review request that I had, and the review for that is going up on Wednesday I believe.
I started Frankenstein, and no, I have never read it before.  I never had to read it in high school and I didn't read Dracula until college.  I think it has something to do with where I live.  I'm only about 30% of the way through it, but I'm enjoying it so far.  And of course, I'm still reading Anna Karenina.  If you're participating in the readalong and missed my post, here it is.

So, as far as blogging, I have this horrible habit of waking up and checking my email from my phone.  I really need to stop this, because it totally interrupted my sleep today.  I had an email saying that I had a comment on one of my reviews on Amazon.  It actually wasn't a very nice comment.
It was on a review that I wrote back in August.  A series that I accepted for free, in exchange for a completely honest review.  In fact, it clearly states that on the review.  I happened to really like the book and the series.  It was a concept that I'd never heard of, and overall I really enjoyed it.  A user commented on the review of the first in the series and said, 
"I bought this book on the strength of reviews like this. It was a badly written book,annoying to read. You should stop writing reviews for friends. Does nothing for your credibility." 
Um, excuse me, sir?  Did I not clearly state that I received this book in exchange for an honest review?  What irritated me the most is that he's (or she, I don't really know which) insulting my credibility.  I have never once written a review just for the author's gratification, I don't believe in that, and I actually have written a whole long post about Honesty in Reviewing.  Plus, the fact of the matter is, people are allowed to have different opinions.  There have been plenty of books that I happened to like and other people didn't and vice versa.  Just because you didn't like a book in no way discredits me.  I made this response. 
"I'm sorry that you didn't like the book, but I actually have never had contact with the author other than the email that was written requesting me to review the book. I've never written a review for a friend and I have never written a review that wasn't honest. As I said, sorry that you didn't like it, but everyone has their own opinions, especially with books, and I happened to like this. To each their own."
What I really wanted to do was tell him what an asshole he was for insulting my credibility, but I decided to take the high road.  I also took a peek at his other reviews, and it seems they're one of those people that only reviews if they REALLY hate the book.  So, to this stupid Amazon reviewer, I say go eff yourself.  That's the beautiful thing about the world that we live in, you don't have to like what I like, and you shouldn't attack me for it.

Has this ever happened to anyone else, or have you had a similar experience?  I'd love for you to share in the comments!

That's all I have for today.  Making the rounds to everyone else's post after I finish this coffee.  Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Anna Karenina Read-a-long Week 2

Alright, here we are at Week 2 of the Anna Karenina readalong.  I got a little bit behind this week, I had so much going on for school, but I managed to get the entire section read last night.  I'm going to try really hard to NOT get behind, but I have A LOT going on this week that includes 2 papers and 2 mid-terms as well as various other assignments and I'm working every day so I can't promise anything.  But, like I said, I'm going to try!
If you want to jump in on the readalong, visit this post!


**If you've never read this book, stop right here.  Skip on over it in your reader, or go to another post.  This will contain spoilers!**


I'm skipping the vlog this week, and we'll just go straight into the discussion questions that have been provided!


What do you think so far about the women we’ve met, especially in terms of the culture/society they are in?
All of the women that we have met so far are women of prestige and money.  They are all very gossipy, always talking about other women, other women's husbands, and what's going on in everyone else's lives.  Their time is taken up by calling on different households and balls and dinners.  A very aristocratic society.  It really reminds me of reading some British literature really, which goes to show that the upper class is almost the same in most cultures.
Are you finding clashing ideals in your reading?
Oh yes, definitely!  Anna Karenina comes to the rescue of her brother, Stiva, and tries to help his wife come to terms with his infidelity and forgive him.  This seems so noble of her and so good-hearted.  However, all of a sudden, when Vronsky comes along, she seems ready to go off the path and though she has not been unfaithful yet, it is clear that things are about to go that way.  It's funny, because in one scene at a dinner party, everyone is talking about Vronsky and Anna and various things, and it seems so completely scandalous that they are even talking.  However, when you look at the situation with Stiva and Dolly, she was just supposed to accept that her husband was straying from her and deal with it.  I guess its more accepted behind closed doors than it is in the public eye, but everyone has to keep their appearances up, right?
Do you look for Truth-with-a-Capital-T in your fiction? Does this statement resonate with the chapters you’ve read so far?
Yes, I do.  I haven't read too much classical literature, but the things that I have read have really given me an insight on what things were like at that particular time in history.  One that stands out to me is Austen, though I've only read one work of hers.  I love history, I'm fascinated with it and reading things like this really help you to understand not the events, but the culture and social mores and what not at the time, which I really love.  I think its possible to find truth in modern fiction, but I think classic literature is more reliable in that sense.
It is a generally held opinion that Levin is a stand-in for Tolstoy himself. Do you think it’s a courageous depiction? Self-deprecating?  Fill in the blank?
This is a question that I can't answer well.  I don't really know anything about Tolstoy or his life or anything like that.  I know that there are a lot of authors that have written themselves into books (Louisa May Alcott comes to mind), but I think the culture here is pretty different, so I can't really say much about the depiction. 


The first time I tried reading this, I really struggled through it and set it down after a short amount of time.  I'm glad that I'm getting into it more and continuing on, because it is definitely getting more interesting.  I will say that there are passages and chapters that I still struggle through, but that could very well be from the translation, so I don't know.  Anyway, moral of the story is, I'm enjoying it!

Movie Review: The Thing (2011)

The Thing movie poster
Title: The Thing
Release Date: October 14, 2011
Run Time:1 hour and 43 minutes
Genre: Horror
Rating: B Rating

Usually, I say boo on remakes.  I would say that the majority of the time, the remakes are never as good as the originals.  I love John Carpenter's The Thing (1982).  Probably one of my favorite horror movies.  And who doesn't love Kurt Russle?  When I saw the ads for this, I though to myself, "Great, they've cast a female as the lead, which means they're going to change a whole bunch of things and there will be some sort of romance element added."  Despite that, I still wanted to see it, if for no other reason than to see what they could do with the actual alien.  And my assumptions were wrong.

The girl that played Kate was actually really great, and there were a few things that they changed, but for the most part, they stayed pretty true to Carpenter's version.  There were a few added elements, like I don't remember them actually going into the spaceship in Carpenter's version, but they did in this one.  And there was not a single element of romance through the entire thing.  Good job director, good job.

One of the things that I was most interested in was how they were going to do the CG and makeup for the actual alien.  One of the most famous scenes from Carpenter's version was when the decapitated head sprouts legs and walked off.
The alien was horrifying.  The makeup and special effects that they used were amazing.  I was very very impressed.  I wish that I could put into words what this alien looked like as it revealed itself from human to alien form, but I have no words.  I just sat there with my hand over my mouth watching, horrified, but loving it.
This was also a movie that was built on suspense and they did that well.  I had a mark on my knuckle from where I was biting it during the movie and it lasted all day.

Great special effects, stayed pretty close to Carpenter's version, good acting, great suspense, overall I really liked it.  For a remake, this was a pretty badass remake.  Basically, I loved it.  If this wasn't a remake, I might actually give it an A, but since the original will always be my favorite, I have to give this one a B.  Definitely worth seeing though!

Friday, October 21, 2011

TGIF: Book Blogs You Love!

TGIF!  Everyone loves Friday right?  This is a feature hosted by Ginger at Greadsbooks.com.  Ginger posts a discussion question every Friday and provides a post where bloggers link their posts.  It's a fantastic way to get to know other bloggers!   Interested in participating?  Hop on over to Greads! feature page and learn more and see upcoming questions!

This Friday's Question:
Book Blogs That Make You Smile: Pick 5 book blogs you visit often and think others should, too!


Oh man.  There are so many book blogs that I absolutely love!  But here are a few that I really love, and they are in no sort of order and there are a bunch more I'd love to include, but I'll stop at 5!

1.  Smash Attack Reads.  This is one of my favorite blogs, and Ash is pretty freakin awesome herself.  She always has great reviews on the titles that she posts and there are always a few snippets on her blog that never fail to make me laugh!

2.  Good Books and Good Wine.  Oh man.  I absolutely love this blog.  April is freaking hysterical, whether its her vlogs that she posts, or some of her reviews.  She's completely honest about anything and everything, whether its reviews, or authors, or other bloggers and that's something that I can really appreciate.

3. Dead White Guys.  Okay, so I'm not a fan of classic literature.  Or, I wasn't.  I've been trying to get into some of the classics lately, and this blog is pointing me in the right direction.  One again, here you will find brutally honest opinions that will make you WANT to read these classics, and for that, I thank her!

4. Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.  Ashley is awesomesauce.  She is funny, honest and her reviews are fantastic.  Follow her blog if you don't already, and you should follow her on Twitter, too!  She's awesome to strike up a conversation with!

5. Books are my Boyfriends.  These posts are hilariously funny and really make me want to read a lot of these books.  Plus, having someone describe, or document in pictures, taking a book on a date?  Its fantastic, that's all I can say :]

So, these are blogs that everyone should visit, because they're fantastic.  If you haven't visited these sites, you need to and you need to follow them.

What about everyone else?  What are your favorite blogs?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Movie Review: Army of Darkness (1993)

Army of Darkness movie poster
Title: Army of Darkness
Release Date: February 19, 1993
Run Time: 1 hour and 21 minutes
Genre: Horror, Action/Adventure, Comedy
Rating: A

Bruce Campbell is one of my heroes.  Why?  Because he doesn't take himself seriously, and I think that's fantastic.  This is one of my favorite movies ever, and for that reason, it gets an A rating, even though most people don't consider it an A movie.

Horror movies are great.  Cheesy horror movies that aren't trying to be serious?  Even better.  Plot is this.  Ash gets sucked into a time warp with his chainsaw hand and has to get the Nercronomicon (please say that out loud, its a fun word to say) to save the people and so they can send him back.  Sounds simple, right?  Never.

Armed with a chainsaw hand and a shotgun, which he calls his boomstick, he has to defeat the army of the dead.  And the army of the dead are these crazy skeletons that come back to life.  I'll say that the close ups of the makeup was really great, but the stop-motion skeletons...that was great.

Some of the best things about this movie are the one liners that come out of Ash's mouth.  "Yo, she-bitch!  Let's go!"
Oh, and "Hail to the king, baby" which was later used in the video game Duke Nukem.

So basically, if you're looking for a horror movie that isn't going to scare the pants off you, but one that you're going to think is PHENOMENAL-ly funny and fantastic, please go get this.  And if you haven't seen Evil Dead 1 or 2, go get those first, because those are a little different and a little more scary than this.
But, this is still an A movie.  Hail to the king, baby, Bruce Campbell.

REVIEW: Mile 81 by Stephen King

book cover of Mile 81 by Stephen King
Title: Mile 81
Author: Stephen King
Date Published: September 1, 2011
Genre: Horror, Short Story
Page Count: 80 pages
Challenge: Frightful Fall Reviewers Challenge, E-Book Challenge, Stephen King Challenge
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Oh, Uncle Stevie, you have let me down. :[

While eagerly anticipating his next release, fans were held over by his release of a short story, Mile 81.  Let's go back to the days of Christine for the concept of this one.  Not that its like Christine (which I haven't read), but it has to do with a demonic car.
At an abandoned rest stop, a station wagon of ambiguous make and model sits, with no tags, covered in mud, with the door ajar.  Several motorists feel that it is their civic duty to stop and assist this stranded motorist, but get a lot more than they bargained for.

Because this is a short story, there isn't too much that I can say about it without giving some things away, so I will only say that this left a huge something to be desired.  I was not satiated by this in the slightest.  Okay, so the premise is interesting, a demonic car, and it sucks that these good Samaritans are really walking to their deaths, all while a little boy sleeps in the abandoned rest stop after he's tried vodka for the first time.  Fantastic.

I was okay with the story, even if it wasn't stellar, but COME ON.  The ending was really a WTF moment.  Of all ways to end the story Stevie, really.  But then, a lot of times, Uncle Stevie isn't known for his spectacular endings.
If you're looking for something new to hold you over until the release of 11/22/63, don't bother with this.  You're only going to get pissed off.  I suggest going to a tried a true classic.  Read Carrie or something.  This gets a 2 out of 5.  I was sorely disappointed, and I think any King fan would be.

Think you might want to give this book a try?  Check out Amazon for additional ratings and reviews!  Mile 81

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

REVIEW: The Siege of Trencher's Farm (Straw Dogs) by Gordon Williams

book cover of The Siege of Trencher's Farm by Gordon Williams
Title: The Siege of Trencher's Farm (Straw Dogs)
Author: Gordon Williams
Date Published: First published in 1969
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Page Count: 192 pages
Challenge: Frightful Fall Reviewer's Challenge, E-Book Challenge
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

American professor George Macgruder has traveled to England with his British wife and daughter in hopes of finding a quiet place to finish his book.  They rent an old house known as Trencher's Farm in a small village.  It's the holiday season and in the middle of a snow storm on their way home, they accidentally hit a child killer who's escaped from a mental institution.  Being the nice people that they are, they bring the man home and await the arrival of the police and a doctor.  But a group of locals learns that they're holding the killer and a chain of events begins to unfold that will leave George fighting for his life as well as that of his family.

This chronicles a man who is in the fight of his life, for both his own life and his wife and daughters.  And it was just...okay.  It was fantastic and it wasn't horrible either.  You spend the first half of the book leading up to the accident, then everything after that goes downhill.
Louise, George's wife, is pretty much a giant bitch.  This book is as much about their relationship as it is about these crazy things that are happening.  Louise feels like she's been taking care of George for years and now she has all sorts of resentment towards him and even their daughter.
There were some transitions in this that I really hated.  One minute you're in the Macgruder home and you're with Lousie and Karen, and the next paragraph you're in the local pub.  Normally, there will be an elongated space or a little marker, showing a change is perspective and there wasn't anything like that, so there were moments of super confusion.

But, it was pretty suspenseful.  There were moments where you really wondered if George would do anything to defend his family or if he would let them all get killed.  Then you are wondering what the hell the crazy people are going to do next, so that made the suspense worth it.

Like I said, this book was okay.  If you like suspense, then you should give this book a shot.  I can't compare it  to the book, so if that's what you were hoping for, sorry. 2.75 out of 5 stars.  If I had a hard copy of this book, I'd swap it, or sell it to a used bookstore.


Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com  The Siege of Trencher's Farm (Straw Dogs)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Release Tuesday (24)

New Release Tuesday is a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about in both books and music. Sometimes its release day is close, other times it can be several weeks or months in advance. I only feature one for each category, but there a LOADS of new and upcoming releases and you can find them by visiting B&N.com or FYE.com!
Title:  Beautiful Chaos
Author:  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date:  October 18, 2011
book cover of Beautiful Chaos by Kami GarciaSummary:  Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

Why I'm Excited:  While I've actually never read any of this series, I have been seeing this cover and the covers from the two previous books in the series all over the blogosphere.  There are so many people who are eagerly anticipating the release of this book and the reviews that I've read from the first two really make me want to give these books a shot!
Album Title:  Ceremonials
Artist:  Florence + the Machine.
Release Date:  November 1, 2011
Florence + the Machine Ceremonials album coverWhy I'm Excited: Oh myyyy.  I heard "Cosmic Love" once and I was hooked.  I got the debut album Lungs and I was in love.  Florence has one of the most amazing voices that I have ever heard and she sings with such passion that its incredible.  Her music is amazing and I have been eagerly anticipating a new release for some time.  Shows how much I pay attention though, I didn't know that this was coming out until I was checking some things out to make this post!  Her debut album was phenomenal and I can't wait to see what this album has in store for us.  If you're a fan of female vocalists and haven't listened to Florence yet, I need you to get on it and get her album!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Great Gone With the Wind Readalong - Part 5

Look at me, I'm actually on time to post this!  Shocking.  Honestly, I think the only reason that's the case is because I couldn't put it down and finished it the day after I finished part 4!  It was fantastic.  Anyway, on to the point.

**As always, this is full of spoilers!  If you haven't read this, stop reading, NOW!**
I'm going to skip the discussion prompts for this post and just talk about part 5 and my overall feeling towards the book.

My Overall Thoughts on Part 5
Like I said, I finished the book way early because I just couldn't put it down.  This section was intense, but then, every other section has been pretty tense as well.
There was even more death in this section and I was moved to tears a few times, actually.  Once again, Scarlett's world fall apart in more ways than one.  She finally has a home, children, a husband and she never has to worry about being hungry again, but she looses it all.
First, I just have to talk about that night.  When I read that part it, I just though, oh okay, wow, this is something that I didn't really expect to see.  It was a night of pretty intense passion for the two of them, that they're both ashamed of the next morning.  I saw on several write ups that some people equate it to rape.  I disagree.  it was very obvious that Scarlett enjoyed it.  She blushed the next morning, thinking about how a proper lady would never enjoy that.  She would have been scarred I think if it had been rape.  I think it was supposed to be a connection between the two of them, that could have turned into communication, but we know that obviously didn't happen.

Oh, Rhett.  I do love Rhett.  I hated how he was tortured by Scarlett.  It was obvious that he cared for her so deeply and she was so obsessed with Ashley, who really wasn't half the man that Rhett was.  When Scarlett miscarries and Melanie has to comfort Rhett, my heart just broke for him.  He was devastated about what he had done and was really coming to terms with the fact that Scarlett didn't love him like he loved her.  And the fact that he still had the presence of mind to not tell Melanie how Scarlett loved Ashley was pretty great on him.
Oh, and then when Bonnie died.  I had a feeling that something like that was going to happen.  I also thought it was not really fitting, but interesting how she died like Gerald did.  Scarlett was so terrible after Bonnie died, saying all those things to Rhett.  I felt so much worse for Rhett than I did Scarlett.  She never really liked her children much, even if Bonnie was her favorite.  I also think that she was jealous of Bonnie because of the amount of time that Rhett spent with her and how he gave into her.

Melanie's death hit me hard as well.  Scarlett couldn't stand Melanie through so much of the book but in her death, she could really appreciate her, especially after the scandal that almost broke out, but Melanie stood by her.  Of course Melanie's death brought on so many revelations for Scarlett, about her love for Melanie, about how Ashley wasn't what she had ever wanted, about how Rhett was everything and how she loved him, which by then all of this is too late.

The end got me.  The conversation between Rhett and Scarlett was interesting and his line "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn," is probably one of the best in the entire book.  I wanted Rhett to take her into his arms and for them to cry together and get over it and ride into the sunset, but it was too late.  Basically, the moral of the story was, the bigger bitch you are and the more selfish you are, you can forget about happiness.  Karma, really, because in the end, that's what happened to Scarlett.

Overall Thoughts on the Book
I couldn't believe that I waited so long to read this!  This book was so fantastic!  I was really intimidated by its size, but I'm glad that I read it and I'm glad that I participated in the readalong.
I really loved everything about this book.  Margaret Mitchell really wrote a masterpiece.  I would recount all of my favorite parts, but I think that I did that throughout all the posts for the readalong.
I think I can safely count this book as one of my favorites of all time, and that's pretty impressive!

Manic Monday: Week of October 17

We all know that Mondays are typically pretty manic for us all.  Honestly, who in the world likes Mondays?!  So here's an attempt for me to organize my thoughts for the week.  Here you'll find what I'm reading, what I will picking up next, different posts that you can expect in the upcoming week, and a recap of the posts from last week!  And anything else I see fit, of course :]


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I'm reading it, but rather than posting my thoughts here, I'll redirect you to the first post about my progress in the read-a-long.  Remember, if you're interested, there's still time to sign up and participate!

The Demon's Apprentice by Ben Reeder.
As I sit typing this, I haven't gotten very far in this book.  Not because its not interesting, but from lack of time.  It seems like its going to be interesting though.  There's all kinds of talk about magic and stealing bits of people's souls and the like.  So far, we've been immediately drawn into the action, so i'm interested to see where Reeder is going to take me.

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What will I be picking up next?
Not a whole lot has changed since last week for the things I'll be picking up next.  I finished Baby Teeth last week.  I want to read Mile 81 by Stephen King and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley this month, so after I finish The Demon's Apprentice, I'm going to get those two done.  Then I want to at least get one or 2 Agatha Christie read before I start on the last 2 Patterson books I have.

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What can you expect this week?
++   Tuesday: NRT this week will be featuring the newest in the Beautiful Creatures series and the upcoming release from Florence + the Machine.
++   Wednesday: A review of The Siege of Trencher's Farm by Gordon Williams
++   Thursday: Movie review! Army of Darkness (1993). "Ash, Housewares."
++   Friday: TGIF this week is talking about the book bloggers that we love :]  There will also be the write up of Part 2 of The Anna Karenina Read-a-long.
++   Saturday: Another movie review!  The Thing (2011).
++   Sunday: Of course, the Sunday Salon, as normal.

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In case you missed it....
++   New Release Tuesday: Horror Edition, featuring the author of Let The Right One In and the upcoming release from Alesana.
++   Guest Post from Kelly of The Bookscape Report where she talks about why she loves horror.
++   Book Review of Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland.  I enjoyed it!  4 out of 5 stars!
++   TGIF: Show & Tell where we talk about our favorite places to read.
++   First post of the Anna Karenina Read-a-long!  Featuring a vlog talking about first impressions of characters.
++   Movie Review of Hellraiser: Inferno (2000).  It was...okay.
++   The Sunday Salon (24), where I talk about how much I love the covers of certain Agatha Christie books and ask for prayers.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Sunday Salon (24)

Welcome to another edition of the salon.  This week is going to be more of a post about personal things than anything.

Last night, we had a party at the house with my family and a bunch of family friends.  I enjoyed, had a fantastic time and had a little too much to drink, but I was at home, so it was fine.  I didn't feel too hot this morning, but i'm slowly recovering.  I have a book club meeting tonight, so I hope that I feel good enough to go.
On to a more serious matter.  Last week, my grandmother was at home and suddenly realized that she couldn't see and one side of her face was tingling.  She couldn't call 911.  A neighbor came to visit her, and they got her to a hospital and ran some tests.  We've been waiting to see what the results were.  This morning, we found out.  She has an artery in the beck of her neck that is 80% blocked.  Because of where it is, it is inoperable.  They're going to try different medications to see if they can get the blockage to deteriorate, but its like a time bomb just waiting to happen.  We're devastated.  She was supposed to be flying down in December to come to my graduation and we don't know if that will be possible or what will happen between now and then.  Keep my family in your prayers.  The more the better.  This is going to be pretty rough.

Enough talk about the depressing things.
Here's something from Friday that made me super happy.  I've been getting some hardcover Agatha Christie books from my local BAM for about $5 each.  They have the prettiest covers and I can't wait to get them on my shelf.  If you watch my October TBR vlog you can see some of them there.  Anyway, I've been on a book buying ban.  I went into BAM to just look, but I saw 3 of the books that I didn't have and they were the last ones, so I HAD to get them.  So I did.  I broke my ban, but the end result was this beautiful pile of books that you see here.  I got to thinking about it, and I started to wonder how many total were in the set, and I looked.  I'm still missing 13 of them :[  If my BAM has them in stock, I can get them for $5 a piece, but anywhere else online, then run between $9-$12.  I think I might see if I can find any used ones at 2nd and Charles next time I get to go.  But I REALLY want to get them all.  That picture is pretty, but imagine how gorgeous it will be when I have all of them?!

That's about all I have for today.  Going to be making the rounds to everyone else soon.  I hope you all have had a good weekend!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Movie Review: Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

Hellraiser: Inferno movie poster
Title: Hellraiser: Inferno
Release Date: October 3, 2000 (USA)
Run Time: 1 hour and 39 minutes
Genre: Horror
Rating: C

I would have to say that the Hellraiser franchise is one of my favorites of all time.  The first one was great, the second one was even good, the third was okay and past the third it gets a little iffy.  This Hellraiser, Hellraiser V was...interesting.

If you've ever seen a Hellraiser movie, then you know that they center around the puzzle box.  In this one, Detective Joseph Thorne, asshole extraordinaire, goes to a murder scene and discovers the puzzle box.  At the scene, they discover a child's severed finger in a candle, which makes Thorn determined to find the man torturing this child.  After a night with a hooker, (even though he's married with a daughter) he pulls out the puzzle box, and solves it.  Big mistake.  This puts Thorne on a chase to find the killer, known as the Engineer.  And all sort of insanity ensues.

As far as scary goes, this was....not really.  It was really more of a 'blow your mind' type movie.  I was almost glad that Thorne had all these crazy things happen to him, because he was a character that you could really hate from the very beginning.  Which, of course, was the point.  In true Hellraiser fashion, we end the film with some sort of philosophical nonsense about how Thorne has created his own hell.
There was the normal gore, and the sound effects they used were pretty disgusting.  There were scenes that they wouldn't show the gore, but you could hear things and it was pretty gross.  The makeup effects were pretty good, for the most part.
My favorite part of the Hellraiser franchise is the cenobites.  Of course there was Pinhead, but there were only 2 other cenobites.  There was The Twins and then The Torso.  But I guess since this one was fairly simple, there wasn't a need for some of the other ones.

Overall, if you're going to watch the trilogy, I say stick to the first 3.  This is by far not the worst horror movie I've seen, but its not super fantastic either.  So, for that reason, I give it a C.  Not a plus or a minus, just a C.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Anna Karenina Read-a-long Week 1

**Just a suggestion, if you've never read this, you may want to skip future posts that I make.  This particular post contains no plot spoilers, but future ones might.**

I decided to vlog this week's reaction to the first part.  The vlog is just me discussing the major players that we have met so far.  And like and idiot, I mentioned Anna Karenina, but I didn't really discuss her or my first impression at all.  So, watch the vlog, then you can read below it how I felt about her and some other points that interested me throughout this first part.




Anna Karenina
She was introduced in the last few chapters of this part so I haven't really gotten a chance to know her yet.  I know that she is visiting on behalf of her brother to see if she can help them reconcile, which is admirable.  She's also terrified about leaving her son for the first time, which is sweet.  She seems to be close to her brother and gets along very well with Dolly and she knows how to talk to people.  I think I'm definitely going to like her.

Kitty and Levin
I already know how this goes down, because the bookmark I printed gave it away, but I don't think its an essential plot point.  I like Kitty and I feel bad that she's torn between these two men, but I can already tell that her father is right in his assumptions about Vronsky.  Kitty is going to get her heart broken, like Levin got his broken.  But she's young.  Only 18.

Marriage
The discussion of marriage was an interesting one to me.  We have Kitty's mother who is so fearful of who her daughter is going to marry and wants to be able to plan it out for her, like her parents did.  She even had a hand in planning her other 2 daughter's marriages (and we see how Dolly's turned out).  Anyway, its a huge point between The Princess and her husband.  And she continually wants to ask her women about it, but no one seems to want to discuss it with her.  Anyway, I just think its funny how marriage is portrayed here.

So that's about all I have this week.  How do you feel about the vlogging?  Should I continue to do so throughout the read-a-long or should I stick with text only?  

And, if you're interested in joining in, visit Unputdownables for this week's discussion post!

TGIF: Show & Tell

TGIF!  Everyone loves Friday right?  This is a feature hosted by Ginger at Greadsbooks.com.  Ginger posts a discussion question every Friday and provides a post where bloggers link their posts.  It's a fantastic way to get to know other bloggers!   Interested in participating?  Hop on over to Greads! feature page and learn more and see upcoming questions!

This Friday's Question:
Show & Tell: Where do you grab a book and get lost in it? Show us your favorite spot you like to read at.

I will read just about anywhere.  I've actually gotten so wrapped up in a book at work before that I clocked in late from my lunch break!  But of course, my favorite places to read are at my home.  There are 2 places that I love to read.
Living with my parents still, I of course share the house with them and my younger brother.  We have a super comfortable couch, but seeing as there is ALWAYS someone in the living room, I don't get to partake in reading on the comfy couch.  I can't read and have the television on at the same time.


My first place is of course my bed.  On the weekend that I don't close at work, there is nothing better to me than snuggling up in my super comfy bed, especially now that its getting colder.  I light some candles, turn on my bedside lamp and get a good glass of wine, and I'm in it for the long haul.  One of my favorite parts of snuggling in my bed with a book is when my sweet cat, Autumn, comes and snuggles with me.  Its rare that you find me in my room without her.  I love it.


My second favorite place is most definitely our deck.  My mom has a green thumb and grows all sorts of herbs, so it always smells delicious out there.  In the summer, if its not too hot of course, you'll find me out there tanning with a book in my hand.  Autumn has to be my favorite time, because its not too hot and I love the smell of autumn air!


Show us, where's your favorite place to read?
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