Friday, October 31, 2014

Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Review:

This is the type of book that you pick up and want to finish in one sitting because once you meet Nevada and Rogan it's obvious that these two are going to be great! They have such an interesting relationship, one that I'm pleased to say has substance, and is not necessarily about hopping in the sack for some snuggly fun and nothing more. How they interact feels genuine and real, in a way that enhances the storyline, making the book about both the need to stop a madman from magically destroying the city and about how these two very different individuals start to care about each other. We are treated to a woman that knows what she's worth and a man that is more than willing to work for it. 

One of my favorite scenes is towards the end of the book, one of those conversations that you can actually visualize happening, and as it plays out you find yourself reading with a silly grin on your face. Rogan is trying to figure out why Nevada doesn't think sex is a good idea:

"Do I have any redeeming qualities?" he asked. A charming, self-depreciating dragon. No, not buying it. That charm could tear in a split second, and then there would be flame and sharp teeth.
"Not running over the squirrel was in your favor."
"Mhm. Good to know." He smiled wider.
Uh-oh.
"Don't do it."
"Don't do what?"
"Every time you smile like that, someone dies. If you attack me, I will defend myself."
"Of all the many interesting things I'm thinking of doing to you, killing you or hurting you is not on the list."
He winked at me.

Rogan is a Prime, meaning his magic is off the charts, so his confidence that borders on arrogance makes sense, since he's essentially been a weapon for the government for half of his life, using his abilities to defend and protect on a larger scale than most people would understand. He's been in the military mindset for so long that it's difficult to see from a less do-or die perspective. After meeting Nevada he is introduced once again to the emotional side of humanity for the folks that are not Prime, feelings like empathy and compassion that he checked at the door once he became a military machine. She brings these feelings to life for him once again.

We also know that he is capable of deeper emotional connections based on how he treats his employees and the actions he takes for those that have served in the military, something that as a long time military spouse I feel quite strongly about. His treatment of veterans isn't about charity at all. He understands how difficult the transition from military to civilian can be, how hard it is to utilize the skillset learned in the military within the public sector, how difficult it can be to succeed once the tide of public sentiment shifts to whatever worthy cause is blasted around by the media. What he does for vets within the confines of this story is give them back a small piece of their confidence and pride by providing a genuine opportunity. This small plot point served as a measure of depth for me, reminding me a bit of Roarke from the In Death series which happens to be my all time favorite long standing series. It isn't something that's shoved in your face, it's a subtle mention that lets you see another side of the tough, alpha Prime, mega rich magic user guy that is slowly winning over the main character of a book that you are starting to love.

Speaking of other main characters, Nevada is my favorite type of female lead because she is smart, capable, dedicated, able to take care of business on her own if necessary, and her looks are not the main talking point for why she is so kickass. She loves her family, which in this case make up a fantastic set of secondary characters, and they provide her motivation for taking this seemingly impossible case of bringing a Rogue Prime back to his family. Nevada has magic of her own, her ability to know if the truth is being told is something she keeps close to the vest, because she has no intention of allowing the Houses to use her for their own gain. However, that secret comes with the price of not knowing the true depths of her talent because she lacks the formal training that's given to people with measurable magic. Rogan tries to help her with that, out of a time constrained necessity, and it's an issue I envision will be discussed more, especially once the secret is out.

The chemistry between Nevada and Rogan swirls around them like an electrical current that will leave readers begging for more (if you thought those kisses were earth shattering, can you imagine what sex would be like?), although I wouldn't necessarily say it's the primary focus of the story. The action is non-stop as they race to prevent Adam Pierce from burning metro Houston to the ground, and throughout every twist and turn we learn more about this thrilling magical world that's been created for the Hidden Legacy series. I'd easily rate this a 5 star and I dare you to finish this book without immediately jumping online to see the release date for the next one! Go on, try it!




Thursday, October 30, 2014

Graphic novel to print fiction: Vigil

I've always been a big fan of graphic novels that get the novel treatment, just think of Batman's No Man's Land by Greg Rucka, which happens to be one of my all time favorite books. In the case of Vigil, the comics have become a novella series and I'm excited to see how it turns out. I'll post a short review in the next few days. ~Anna




Life for Grace Kimble has finally settled down. She has a constant supply of blood, a secure residence, and a loving, handsome man at her side. Then, she’s handed an envelope, and finds herself thrust into the deepest depths of the entertainment industry—where vampires go to blend in with the rest of their like-minded ilk.

Forgoing teen romance and gothic supernaturalism, Vigil is part hard-boiled thriller and part crime procedural, mixed with a dash of stark urban horror—this is a vampire tale with a real bite. The books are based on the highly-acclaimed comic book series Vigil which ran from 1992-2000, by Loudermilk and artist Mike Iverson.

“I thought it would be fun to put a character as volitile as Grace in a situation where she has to deal with vapid, self-involved Hollywood types,”said Loudermilk. “Nothing is as entertaining as making this character deal with dummies. She has zero patience. Zero.”

“Glitterati” is available now from Amazon.com, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and the Kobo bookstore for $1.99. For those who need to catch up, the first four books are collected in a bundle available for $4.99.

The next Vigil installment will be released October 2014.

The first Vigil story, “The Blood Detail,” is still available as a free download at Amazon.com, iTunes, and the Kobo bookstore.



Publisher Site: www.theconcentrium.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wanna throw a Prophecy Party? Or win an iTunes giftcard?



About the movie:

When six girls are born on the sixth day of the sixth month to different mothers in the small, devout village of New Bethlehem an ancient prophecy is set in motion - on their 18th birthday one of the girls will become the Devil's Hand. As the day approaches and one by one the young women begin to disappear, terror overtakes the quiet community and those remaining girls band together to uncover who or what is behind these treacherous acts.

Thinking about having a creepy Halloween get-together? Download The Devil’s Hand and throw a "Prophecy Party," as well. Invite 5 friends over and follow the instructions to see who will survive!

*The Devil’s Hand is now available on iTunes, VOD and in select theaters.*



Download The Devil’s Hand on iTunes here - http://bit.ly/THD_iTunes 

Download The Prophecy Party Player’s Guide here - http://bit.ly/THDPP


Giveaway guidelines:
Leave a comment telling me about your favorite Halloween movie and you will be eligible to win an iTunes GC! 
The necessary fine print:
Each household is only eligible to win One (1) $15 iTunes Giftcard via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Welcome back, Lestat!

To say that this book is highly anticipated would be a massive understatement because most readers had given up on the idea that someday, if the planets aligned and the Gods showed favor on the world of tiny humans, there might be another book. We had to content ourselves with rereading our favorites from the Vampire Chronicles over and over, and that was okay because it was like visiting old friends. Well, today was a wonderful day for fans of the paranormal and I swear that if you listened closely you could even hear the joyous sound of angels singing as people from around the world finally were able to open that very first page to begin this new journey with our beloved Prince Lestat. 

Tell me, do you devour a new book like a delicious piece of rich chocolate cake or savor it like a decadent truffle melting in your mouth? Me, I'm not known for patience and have stayed up many a late night trying to read a really good book. I wish you all happy reading! ~Anna

The Queen of the Undead is back, with her first Vampire Chronicle in over a decade – marking the return of one of the most popular vampires of all time: Lestat de Lioncourt.


Anne Rice transformed the vampire genre, paving the way for the current vampire craze that has swept both the entertainment and publishing industries. Rice’s first book in The Vampire Chronicles series, Interview with the Vampire, was published almost 40 years ago and made into the Oscar-nominated film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise and Brat Pitt, with a screenplay by Rice.





About the book:

The vampire world is in crisis – their kind has been proliferating out of control and, thanks to technologies undreamed of in previous centuries, they can communicate as never before. Roused from their earth-bound slumber, ancient ones are in thrall to the Voice: which commands that they burn fledgling vampires in cities from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to Kyoto and San Francisco. Immolations, huge massacres, have commenced all over the world. Who – or what – is the Voice? What does it desire, and why? 

There is only one vampire, only one blood drinker, truly known to the entire world of the Undead. Will the dazzling hero-wanderer, the dangerous rebel-outlaw Lestat heed the call to unite the Children of Darkness as they face this new twilight? 

Anne Rice’s epic, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious new novel brings together all the worlds and beings of the legendary Vampire Chronicles, from present-day New York and Ancient Egypt to fourth-century Carthage and Renaissance Venice; from Louis de Pointe du Lac; Armand the eternally young; Mekare and Maharet; to Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the Secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true child of the Millennia. It also introduces many other seductive supernatural creatures, and heralds significant new blood. 


Here's what the critics are saying:

‘Rice’s writing is wonderfully imaginative and as creepily splendid as a hot-house orchid’ 
Sunday Times 

‘Anne Rice has a rich, dark, romantic imagination capable of glorious flights of splendid invention’ 
Mail on Sunday 

‘Nothing less than a magician’ 
New York Times Book Review 

‘Rice knows what her readers want - scene after scene of magic and conjuring, with a liberal sprinkling of horror and eroticism’ 
TLS

‘Her work has echoes of the freewheeling, fast-talking style of the eighteenth-century novel ... lush, baroque prose and fantastical plots ... Rice keeps her nerve and her triumphant sense of poise’ Observer 


About the Author 
Anne Rice is the author of more than thirty internationally bestselling books including the 'Mayfair Witches' sequence, 'The Songs of the Seraphim' and, most recently, 'The Wolf Gift Chronicles'. The phenomenon that became 'The Vampire Chronicles' started with Interview with the Vampire in 1976, later made into a film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and culminated with Blood Canticle in 2003. 

Prince Lestat is the first new Vampire Chronicle novel in over a decade. Anne Rice lives in California. 




Monday, October 27, 2014

Like mermaids? You can participate in the publishing process!

Hi! Michele Hauf here. My Kindle Scout campaign begins today so I wanted to let you in on how this works:

What I love about the publishing world is it is constantly changing. Lately, it seems to change every other week, and that's exciting. I like to try the different opportunities in publishing and see which ones work for me. I enjoy having my books published in the traditional manner through the large NY publishing houses. I also enjoy working with small presses. I like to self-publish my stuff because it gives me an amazing feeling of accomplishment working on every single aspect of the process, from writing, to creating covers, to publishing (I leave the editing to a professional).

Now I'm giving crowd-sourced publishing a try. What is that? It's where the reader gets a say in what books will be published. Amazon has begun the Kindle Scout program. For a month time period they will post authors' books and you, the reader, get to read the beginnings. You vote for the books you want to see published. Should one of the books you vote for end up ultimately getting published, you will receive a free copy of that book one week before release. (This is all digital.)



So doesn't that sound cool? You can have a hand in the publishing process!  And I'm asking you for your vote! You can click over to read the beginning of THEN HE KISSED HER right now, and vote. I love mermaids and have always wanted to publish a mermaid story, so now here's my chance. This story is set in Wales during the 19th century and features a burly, yet kind fisherman who has dreams of netting a mermaid. It's a faery tale!

Click here to read THEN HE KISSED HER

The Morganville Vamps are back!

Everyone knows that I am not a big YA reader, probably because it's been about 20 years since I've had to deal with mean girls, but my younger sister and teen niece love this series so I'm excited for it to be back. It's also very cool that the web series is a direct result of fans speaking out, via Kickstarter, about what content they want to watch. 

Here's what the publicity people had to say about the series:

If you aren’t familiar with Morganville - a brave teen (Claire Danvers) moves to the very isolated West Texas town to attend the local university, only to (a) run afoul of the local mean (very mean) girls, and (b) move to the safety of off-campus housing with three strangers. 
But the plot thickens when she discovers that her new housemates aren’t crazy: Morganville really is run by vampires. They own it, and every one in it. And now ... they own her. 

Sounds good to me! This should be up and running today and I would love to hear what everyone thinks. Leave a comment and maybe I'll send you something cool. ~Anna




 

Friday, October 24, 2014

2014 Halloween Horror Movie Marathon- Part Two


Halloween is a week away!! So, how about some more horror movie reviews?
As always, the movies are currently streaming on Netflix, and the descriptions are from IMDB.



Night Watch
"A fantasy-thriller set in present-day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle."
This is an awesome Russian horror movie that is both gruesome and comical. I was really pleasantly surprised with this one. It follows a man named Anton, who discovers that he is an "other" and must choose between the forces of light or dark. He chooses the light, and becomes an enforcer of the truce between good and evil. He has companions like Bear and Tiger Cub who are shape-shifters, and a partner named Olga who was turned into an owl before she exploded back into a human.
Exploded. Yes.
Anton soon meets a young boy who is being lured by a vampire, and a woman who is cursed and he has to stop Armageddon from coming- if he can.
This is in Russian and has subtitles, but don't let that stop you. It is a really bizarro cult film that has moments of gory action, sprinkled with the surreal and peppered with comedy. And it was a lot of fun to watch.


Jug Face
"Jug Face tells the story of a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods community when she discovers that she may be sacrificed to a creature in a pit."
Whew. This was almost too much for me. It's not super-gory, but this was really disturbing. Ada is a girl living in the deep woods, somewhere in Appalachia. Her family and her village are all practitioners of an unsettling religion. They have a pact with an other-worldly being that lives in a muddy pit, and when it demands a sacrifice, it causes the village potter to make a jug with the face of its intended victim. If it is fed, then it heals the villagers from their illnesses and wounds. When Ada discovers that the next jug bears her likeness, she makes the decision to hide it. Since the potter was in a trance when he created it, even he doesn't know who was on the jug. When the pit doesn't get its sacrifice, it gets angry and takes its revenge on the village, and things become more desperate to find out who the pit wants. But the movie is not just disturbing because of the human sacrifices. It also features some incest and some domestic abuse scenes. It was an interesting movie...but one that left me feeling sort of ill.



A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
 "A young family moves into a historic home in Georgia, only to learn they are not the house's only inhabitants. Soon they find themselves in the presence of a secret rising from underground and threatening to bring down anyone in its path."
It's a Haunting in Connecticut, that's not in Connecticut. Why didn't they just name it a Haunting in Georgia?? Seems silly. Anyway. This was decent. There were some good scary moments, and some particularly skin-crawling scenes. The story involves a family where the women are a somewhat psychic and they just happened to move onto a farm house where the underground railroad used to run, and where a psychopath once lived. The thing that bummed me was that this was "based on a true story" and I have seen interviews with this actual family on TV before, and this story is utterly nothing like theirs. The ghost that the little girl sees is still named Mr. Gordy. And that's about the end of that. But forget all that and just watch the movie, because it is a pretty eerie horror flick.



Thale
"Norwegian folklore turns out to be real when Leo and Elvis encounter Thale in a basement. A regular cleaning job turns into a struggle for survival, while they're trying to figure out what or who Thale is." 
This is a Norwegian film with subtitles. The opening scene is pretty cringe-worthy. The crime scene cleaners are scrubbing up what was once a woman, and one of them is repeatedly losing his lunch.  After that, though the film really is not gory or gross.
The film follows the two cleaners who discover a feral woman in a basement bathtub. She doesn't speak, and she is starving and naked. They get her a shirt and some food and while they wait for the authorities to arrive on scene they discover cassette tapes of her caretaker, documenting her growth and metabolism and so on. In one, he references removing a part of her, and sure enough, there's a tail in a mini-fridge. So what does that make Thale? And what are the mysterious creatures now closing in around the cabin?
Unfortunately, the CGI is pretty mediocre when you do see the creatures. Fortunately, it doesn't ruin the movie at all for me, and the movie also ends on a pretty positive note. I liked this. It's a weird film, and I didn't find it very scary, but it was a neat creature feature and unique in that it was based on the myth of the huldra or hulder. I don't think I've seen anything quite like it before.


 Phantoms
"150 dead and 350 missing in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, Colorado. And that's only the beginning..."
Based on a Dean Koontz book by the same name, for me, this is a clear case of the book being better than the movie. They both start off well. It is genuinely scary when the sisters arrive in the now deserted town of Snowfield. The mystery of what killed all of the people there is the best part about the movie. Once the monster is revealed, though, that's where they diverge for me. This is probably because in your head, when you read, a monster can be whatever you want in a way. On film, it is whatever the special effects team made it. And it seemed cooler in my head. On screen it is The Blob, The Thing- and I've seen all that before, and it falls flat. I just...didn't like it. I enjoy most of this movie (especially Peter O'Toole) and then the ending doesn't do it for me.


7 Below
"A group of strangers trapped in a time warp house where a terrible event transpired exactly 100 years prior."
Kids, can we say "snoozefest?" I know you can. Snooooozefest. That's the way!
 No seriously. This was not even good. A group of people are heading to a resort they never make it to, because the van that was chauffeuring them there crashed. A strange man picks them up and says he will take them to his home because there is a storm coming and no hospital for two hours drive. So they go with creepy dude to his creepy abode and then they start seeing a ghost kid murdering other members of his ghost family. And as they linger in the home, they start popping off as well. That actually sounds not half bad, except that you never see any significant storm- not one that would stop anyone from getting around, anyway. And the acting is flat, and the action takes forever to show up and when it does, it doesn't deliver. I played Candy Crush while watching this because it couldn't hold my interest. Ooh, candy bomb!


Trannsylvania 6-5000
"Two reporters travel to a strange castle in Transylvania to investigate the apparent reappearance of Frankenstein, and encounter such kooky creatures as the sensitive Wolfman, the horny Vampiress Odette, as well as a whole cast of other weirdos."
Speaking of boring, there's this. Oh, I wanted this to be good! It has Jeff Goldblum, Carol Kane, Michael Richards and Geena Davis in it. And its a goofy horror comedy from the 1980s. It couldn't sound more well-suited to my tastes. And it just stinks. Carol Kane was the one bright spot for me here, and even her performance is not as good as many of her other movies. Goldblum seems like he's chuckling to himself through half of it. Look elsewhere for a silly movie for your Halloween bash.



Carrie (2013)
"A re-imagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom."
I was hesitant to watch this, because I am often disappointed with remakes. Not so with this one. It is mostly the same movie, to be sure, but it does manage to add a bit more horror to the mix. Firstly, bringing the story into the modern age makes the abuse Carrie suffered so much more awful. In addition to being tormented, she is filmed and the abuse is uploaded for all the world to see. It also adds a disturbing realism to the movie, since these issues have actually happened in recent times. Then, they add a longer prom destruction scene, and a more special-effects driven final death scene and the result is that this movie is everything the original was, and then some.



Maniac
"As he helps a young artist with her upcoming exhibition, the owner of a mannequin shop's deadly, suppressed desires come to the surface."
This is actually a remake of the 1980 movie by the same name, but I have never seen the original, so I have no thoughts on whether or not it is better or worse than the other. But this was a horrorfest for sure. Elijah Wood is perfect as a psycho. It is a dark, psychological film that is gory and intense, so it is not for everyone. Definitely not for the squeamish. The murders are disturbing enough, but the scalping is almost unbearable. I had to look away many times and watched much of it while grimacing, and/or flinching. (Especially the ending.) Still, though, as a portrait of a serial killer this is top notch- the camerawork, the soundtrack, acting all come together flawlessly and it makes for a complete movie that is as beautiful as it is repugnant.



The Ward
"A thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost."
A girl named Kristen gets sent to an insane asylum for burning down a house.The asylum is weird- it's a large building, but there only ever seem to be the same six girls there. And there's a ghost named Alice inhabiting the place, who doesn't want any of the girls to get out. If they are about to be released, she shows up and kills them. Soon there's only a couple left. And the hospital seems to be covering things up, not investigating why easily half of their almost no patients have all kicked the bucket. In fact, throughout a lot of the movie, there are more staff than patients. All of that seems weird, but stick with it, it makes sense in the end. So, it was a decent movie. Plot, acting and special effects are ok, and it is moderately scary.



The Legend of Hell House 
"A team consisting of a physicist, his wife, a young female psychic and the only survivor of the previous visit are sent to the notorious Hell House to prove/disprove survival after death. Previous visitors have either been killed or gone mad, and it is up to the team to survive a full week in isolation, and solve the mystery of the Hell House."
This is one of those great classic horror movies. It is from 1973, and so the special effects are dated. However, this manages to still be quite frightening, even by today's standards. It's the typical haunted house story with a team of investigators trying to solve the mystery of just what exactly causes the spiritual effects at Hell House. Is it psychic energy from a powerful personality, long dead, is it multiple spirits bound to a house by a night of trauma, or is it simply a location that channels the energy from the psychics themselves who show up to investigate? Whatever the answer, Hell House is evil and it has claimed many lives already. The four researchers who are trying to connect with the house now are in for a disastrous week. This is up there with some of my favorite oldies but goodies, like The Omen, Rosemary's Baby and The Shining.

Well VampChix, I hope you have a fantastically spooky Halloween!
I know I will! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha!





































Wednesday, October 22, 2014

All The Things!

We are entering the final week before Halloween and this is always a fun and busy time for me. It's my favorite holiday, so I try and cram in as much spooky fun as I can. And since I seem to be filling every spare minute with something, I am struggling to keep up with writing about all of it. So let me do a brief run-down of awesomeness for you.

Doctor Who-
Last weekend's episode was pretty funny, what with the shrinking TARDIS and the Doctor trapped in Clara's purse, handing out items for her to use while fighting a bunch of two-dimensional baddies that want to reduce us all to no more than street art. You got to see Clara save the day with only a little help from the Time Lord, and yet...he still seems to down play her role after the fact. What IS up with him lately?



 American Horror Story-
 We met Dell Toledo and Desiree Dupree, the power couple of freaks. Desiree seems pretty cool, but Dell has some control and anger issues and it looks like he has a history with Ethel Darling that we don't quite know about yet. We also saw Dandy Mott meet Twitchy the Clown, and they seemed to hit it off fairly well by Twisty standards. Dandy didn't get murdered, for starters and now it looks like he's joining forces with the sadistic clown. Maybe it's just me, but Dandy's psycho eyes scare me more than Twisty's dead stare.
-shivers-
And we lost poor little Meep, who paid for Jimmy's crimes with his life. Maybe it was the ghosts of all the chickens who lost their heads to him getting their revenge. Poor chickens. Poor Meep.



Grimm and Constantine-
 October 24th. Yes! I can't wait for more Grimm and I have been anxiously anticipating Constantine's debut. Head to NBC, Friday 10/9 central for the back to back shows.



Halloween Movies-
So many things to watch right now! Annabelle is still out, as is Dracula Untold. The Book of Life is a Day of the Dead -themed kids movie that looks cute. Ouija comes out Friday and looks like it might be good. Horns comes out on Halloween night and it looks awesome!
And that's just the stuff in theaters right now. I am also still watching movies on Netflix and hoping to get another marathon review post up soon.



Books-
I have so much reading to catch up on. I am currently enjoying Michelle Hauf's Beyond the Moon, and I have Sweetness #9 lined up and then Night Watch- a Russian fantasy/horror book that is also a cool movie. Reviews to come!



Nightfall-
I got to go out and attend Nightfall this past weekend. For those that don't know, this is a whole "town" full of spooky delights, held at Old Tucson Studios. It features multiple haunted houses, stage shows, hayrides and train rides, and even a sideshow. In fact, that was my favorite part of the evening- seeing the Strange Family Circus. I got pulled on stage and had to stand on the glass-walker's head while he laid his face in the glass. I could feel it crunching under his forehead. Yikes!! But we had a blast. It was a very nice way to get in the mood for Halloween.



Halloween Crafts-
Every year I am trying to add something new to my spooky abode. This year, I decided to create window silhouettes out of shower curtains. This was a fun craft, and I think it turned out pretty epic. I painted the critters by hand onto a fabric shower curtain and hung them in the windows with green spotlights shining on them. It makes a cool effect at night for my house!


 
 So, that's some of what I have been up to and what I hope to have coming soon. It's been a crazy month and it isn't over yet!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The story so far...


After months of anticipation, built up over the summer by re-watching previous seasons with my son and remembering why this show is so incredibly cool, I went on vacation and had to DVR the premiere  episode to watch when I returned. Yes, I could have watched in my hotel room, but vacations aren't for watching grainy TV when the beach beckons just a few feet away, so I waited.

After laughing at the Super Special episode from the night before I couldn't help but feel like I'm missing the monster of the week format more than I thought. My own teen monster agrees with me. 

Anyhoo, with my popcorn popped and a cold Pepsi happily fizzing away well within reach I pushed play on season 10 to see what trouble Deanmon and Crowley were up to while we were away. Without really recapping, because I'm terrible at it, I can briefly touch on the highlights and what I think will be the overall story arc for the season. 


*A drunk and disorderly Dean romping with waitresses and singing horrible karaoke while killing time with his new bestie Crowley was an absolutely perfect way to kick off his stint as a demon. It's like he took every douchey thing he could think of an incorporated that into his new attitude, but the great part is that you still get these momentary glimpses of his humanity.

*Crowley. I just love his repartee with both Winchesters. His little nicknames for Sam and the no nonsense King of Hell attitude...classic Crowley. Love him!



*Oh, Sam. Please never change from the loyal and angsty brother willing to do anything and sacrifice all for family. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? I am very excited to see how Sam handles this new and not so improved Dean because he has that wonderful balance of forming a solid plan to flying off the handle. He has the tech savvy smarts, but can still kick your ass with one arm tied behind his back. Literally.

*Poor Castiel. The fading of his grace seems like the main arc for the season but I am really hoping they break it up with some monster hunting because the angels can be so frustrating. Besides that, I was totally hoping we were done with the evil M, but alas, there he sits in his sad little prison trying his damnedest to twist the minds of everyone he sees.

So there you have it. All is right with the world because we get our weekly dose of vitamin W. Now I just need to catch the hell up! ~Anna










Friday, October 17, 2014

Dracula Untold Review and Discussion

Well, I was really excited to see Dracula Untold, and I got to this week. It was mostly what I expected.


There were plenty of action and battle scenes, some romance, and Luke Evans looked hot in armor. As far as plot goes, it is sufficient but not anything that left me wowed. Mostly, it was just a fun vampire flick that focuses on the transformation of the character from a damaged man who had a dark past because he was a soldier who was warped by his training under the Ottomans, to a strong man who chooses darkness for the right reasons- to protect his family and kingdom. And for a fictional movie that's all fine and it works.

The problem I had with the movie, though, was that it actually isn't just straight fiction. it is based on a real person who actually lived, and was the inspiration for the original Dracula novel. Even the book loosely based the story on the actual person, and so it's no stretch for the movie to do the same. But where the traditional Dracula story paints Vlad as a true monster, this movie romanticizes a person who in reality was about as sick as they come. And that felt...weird.



The real Vlad the Impaler:
  • Was the on-again, off-again ruler of Wallachia.
  • Impaled his political enemies
  • When he wasn't impaling enemies, ordered anyone who defied him to be burned, skinned, nailed, buried alive, strangled, or to have their limbs, genitals or facial features cut off.
  • Sentenced others to work off their transgressions by building a fort for him. The work was so grueling and the conditions so harsh, that most of them died from this sentence as well.
  • Took steps to make impalement an even slower, more gruesome death than it had been already. (Used rounded stakes instead of pointed ones, oiled the stakes, used horses to pull the person down on to the stake, etc.)
  • Impaled women and children- sometimes mothers and infants shared a stake.
  • Did spend time as an Ottoman hostage, and did likely witness impalements while under their care. However, did not start his bloody career while under Ottoman supervision. His tortures and murders began with the people in his own country who were political rivals and other noblemen who opposed his rule. Then he took what he had learned by terrorizing his own people and used it to wage a psychological (and physical) war against the Turks.
  • To effect that goal, staked the enemies he conquered in battle and created a field of corpses for his enemies to witness.
  • Is rumored to have rounded up the poor of Wallachia and offered them a feast to show how generous he was. Then locked all the doors and burned the building down, effectively "fixing" the poverty and homeless issues in his kingdom.
  • Is rumored to have nailed hats to the heads of emissaries that refused to remove their head ware in his presence. Cause, I mean, how dare they.
  • Is rumored to have impaled a high ranking member of his own government for complaining about the smell of all those staked corpses rotting all over the place.
  • Poisoned wells in his own kingdom to kill off invading Turks. 
  • Burned his own villages when retreating his army, so that the Turks that pursued them would have nowhere to rest.
All in all, this doesn't paint a picture of a man who actually cared much for the people he ruled. He wasn't just cruel to his enemies, he ruled his own people with terror and an iron fist. And that makes it hard to watch a movie where a real person like that has their despicable history glossed over to make him more appealing and sympathetic. In Dracula Untold, Vlad is made into a man who just wants to protect his own from an evil that he is familiar with from his childhood, and his failing in the movie is that he tries to do so by making a deal with the devil. He means well, and he does save his people, but he ultimately fails because you can't bargain with evil and win.

Hey girl...I heard you like tormented heroes, so I impaled a village for you.

 So, I guess as a complete fiction, the movie would just be really cool for me. As something partly based on truth, though, it feels sketchy. Do I want Vlad the Impaler to be sexy? Do I want to in any way idolize a psychotic individual who went down in history as a butcher? Its weird. It's like someone in the far, far future making a fictional movie in which Hitler is portrayed as a man who only killed Jews for some noble reason. Would we want someone to make that movie? I doubt it.

So that was my take on it. I liked the movie, but it also made me feel creeped out. Not because the vampire scenes were so scary, but because the idea of finding a torturer, murderer, and despot sexy is just a wee bit unsettling.

Thoughts?