In Review: Holidays Are Hell- The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson

Released: 10/30/07                 384 pages                          
Publisher: Harper
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0061239090

The last novella is The Harvest, which features character’s from Vicki Pettersson’s Zodiac series. It focuses on Zoe, who tries to rescue her infant granddaughter from the Shadow agents during Thanksgiving.
While the story is interesting, the complexities of the world are hard to follow for new readers, I felt completely like too much of the story was missing, having never read any of the other books in the series. The villains come across as comic bookish in their extreme evil and shadow, with knowledge of world workings that may not be the case.


In Review: Holidays Are Hell- Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands

Released: 10/30/07                 384 pages                          
Publisher: Harper
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0061239090

In Run, Run Rudolph normal girl Jill gets hit by a ray and begins to go through some changes. She finds herself hunted by an evil scientist bent on performing some experimentation on her, and goes on the run through a parade and Christmas party with longtime crush, Nick, in tow.
It’s a fun romp, with Jill changing sometimes being both absurd and hilarious. It’s only about 90 pages of the 384, but it is a pretty complete story. The whole lets pause and make out seemed a little out of left field, but there was enough action to make the story still enjoyable.



Release Date: December 22, 2010
Run Time: 110 minutes

Merry Christmas! Of course, that means movie time. I decided on True Grit. Let me just say, if you hate westerns, GO SEE THIS MOVIE! The Coen brothers wrote a superb script, adapting this screenplay from the 1968 novel by Charles Portis. The story follows a drunken U.S. Marshall “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and a 14 year old girl, Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld). Mattie hires Rooster to find the man who killed her father, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Mattie hires Rooster for his “Grit”, but as the story progresses, it is clear that Mattie also possesses just as much, if not more “Grit.” A Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), also looking for Chaney, joins the posse. LaBoeuf feels a young woman has no business on this hunt and along with Rooster, tries leaving her behind.

The character of Rooster Cogburn could easily be over played, making him laughable. It could also have been under played, making him dull and unrealistic. Jeff Bridges literally just leans back and delivers lines like he doesn’t give a shit what people think. His performance shows Rooster’s experience, strength and power. A feat very few, if any, could pull off.

Speaking of pulling off difficult feats, Hailee Steinfeld holds her own opposite Bridges, Damon, and Brolin. She makes her character stand out and carry the movie equally along with Bridges. In fact, Bridges’ Rooster is more a supporting character to Steinfeld’s Mattie.

When I left the movie theater, I immediately called friends and family, stating Bridges deserves another Oscar and Steinfeld should also be nominated. The Coen brothers really put together a stellar cast. True Grit has the right balance of comedy, danger, suspense and bonding needed to make this is a great movie, with truly great acting for all involved. The script and performances are unforgettable.


In Review: My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

Released: 12/21/10 352 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0373210275

Kaylee and Nash's relationship is complicated, to say the least and while ex-girlfriends to a struggling relationship are always nightmares, Nash's is one literally. She's a Mara, a parasite that eats the nightmares she causes.

Kaylee can't seem to decide what she wants from Nash until Sabine walks into the picture and makes it clear she wants Nash back, and she's willing to fight dirty to make that happen. Kaylee doesn't trust Nash, she wants what she can't have, and is completely unfair stringing him along.

And Nash, he's all alone fighting the hardest battle he's had to face, may ever have to face, and she can't support him in that. But not only can she not stand by her man, she doesn't want the only person who can help and accept him to.

Tod shows so much intuition, and stupidity at the same time. He is the best written character in the series. Readers are drawn to him, even if he isn't center stage. After reading his short story Reaper I can't help but to wonder what happens to one's soul mate if one's life is given to another. There are clearly some feelings that are being left unsaid, and I can't help to be grateful for that.

And throughout, the school is erupting in chaos, and Kaylee is pointing fingers, which just furthers the feelings of pettiness, not her brightest moment. Overall, the story is well paced, but Rachel Vincent never does what is expected, and although that is usually a good thing, I'll have to wait to see how the decisions in the end play out. Kaylee has grown up a lot, and now its time to see if the relationships that have been formed can grow and change too.


In Review: Holidays are Hell- Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison

Released: 10/30/07                 384 pages                          
Publisher: Harper
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0061239090

In Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel, Kim Harrison takes us back to before Rachel had all her current hang-ups and heart break. Instead it finds an 18 year old Rachel determined to follow into her father’s footsteps and join Inderland Security (the preternatural FBI) as a runner even though she suffers from chronic fatigue and weakness from a childhood disease that should have killed her.
Her brother, trying to push her towards Earth magic, gives her a spell so that she can summon her late father and ask for advice, but when the ghost summoned isn’t her father, but instead the ghost of a murdered ghost, Pierce, she may have gotten much more than she bargained for.
 Pierce proves to be plenty of trouble, and Rachel is absolutely hooked. She’s always been a bit of an adrenaline junky. Rachel is full of spunk and spirit, and still very tenderhearted, willing to put others ahead of herself.
The story is very touching and moves very quickly. The story is completely capable of being a stand alone, and a great introduction for new readers without alienating readers already in love with the series.


In Review: Claimed By Shadows by Karen Chance

Released: 4/3/07                     374 pages                           
Publisher: ROC
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0451461520

With Cassandra, it seems to be much of the same, which is both good and bad. Cassie has some new and unwanted power, a very sexy love interest whose off limits and she’s on the run. Alliances have shifted, and who the bad guys are is a little up in the air at the moment. Everyone’s motivations put them at odds with Cassandra in any given situation.
War mage Pritkin is perfectly acerbic, and I’m sure as the series continues he’s gonna be the guy to watch. He’s not nearly as smooth and sexy as vamp Mircea, but he is a whole new ball of trouble. Cassie’s character development seems to have taken a little back slide.
At the end of Touch the Dark she seemed a little more in control, a little more assertive, but as Claimed by Shadows starts, she’s back to being unsure of herself. This may be in large part to her powers being uncontrollable and stronger than before, so I’ll wait for the next before making an decisions. Even still, Cassie is one of the most likeable heroines who leaps from one disaster to another.
The pacing and action are still incredible fast, and the world is expanding greatly with the bad guys now in Faerie. The Geis puts a damper on things, but if its plot point is done right, it’ll be worth the drag it causes to the story. And the comedy is so pitch perfect, it makes this already great story even better. Warning, do not pick up this series if you’re not prepared to lose hours to it. Once I picked up the book I could not put it down. Another excellent head rush from Karen Chance.


In Review: Reaper by Rachel Vincent

Released: 12/1/10
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: E Book

Just as the title indicates this is all about everyone's favorite Reaper, Tod. The Soul Screamers series is has thus far been completely from Kaylee's point of view, but Kaylee isn't in this one at all, and until this point we know little about Tod. He's Nash's brother, he died, he became a Reaper, but the how's and why, not so much.

This takes place before we ever meet Kaylee, before Nash's betrayal, when Tod was still alive. It's short, but fast paced, and makes you question all the chemistry from the previous novel.

Tod acts like he's the bad guy, especially now, like he doesn't care, but his actions scream louder than anything Kaylee can manage that the exact opposite is true. He has all the makings of a hero if he lets himself take that spot, and bravo for the masterful writing. His death is equal parts heartbreaking and delightful.


Supernatural Recap: Appointment in Samarra

To resoul or not to resoul, that is the question. And both boys are working extra hard this time, to get their way.
The distance turned out to not last so long, as Dean tells Bobby and Sam his plan to resoul his brother.
With the help of his father’s old friend, Dr. Robert aka Freddy Krueger, Dean dies so he can have a little chat with Death. Before he dies, he gives him a note for Ben, just in case he doesn’t come back, but has nothing for his brother Sam.
Death offers Dean the option of bringing back Adam, who is also his brother, and Dean asks for both. But when Death tell him to choose one, its clear who he’s going to choose. He only has eyes for one brother, which I’m sure Death already knew, cause he was prepared with a deal. He’ll retrieve Sam’s soul and even put up a wall to block of the hell Lucifer and Michael have inflicted upon it, and in exchange Dean must don the ring, and be Death for a day.
Dean agrees, and Tessa returns to be his death dealing guide. The first death he has to deal is to a guy who robs a convenient store. That death was simple. The guy was scum and deserved to die.
Next up was the fat guy scarffing down pizza. Dean comments that he’s a heart attack waiting to happen, and well he was. Dean takes him just as easily as the first.
The next is a 12-year-old girl in the hospital. She’s been sick for a long time, but the doctors are optimistic, too bad Death has come calling.  Dean cannot bring himself to take her life. Tessa urges him, but still he refuses.
And his actions have consequences. The girl’s nurse goes home early and gets into a car accident, and Dean is forced to take her when she should have lived a very long life. The woman’s husband, distraught over her death tries to kill himself, and Dean takes the ring off early so that he can save him.
Even though he’s broken the deal, he’s learned a valuable lesson about not messing with the natural order, and so he goes back to the hospital to complete his last act as Death, taking the 12-year-old girl.
Meanwhile, Sam is ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that he remains soulless, so he contacts Balthazar to see how to make sure that his soul will reject his body. The sexy rogue tells him about a spell, but he’ll need to resort to patricide. Bad news, since John’s been dead for a few seasons now, but it need not be his actual father, just a father figure, poor Bobby.
There are some great Shinning-esque moments of Sam chasing Bobby around, trying to hunt him down, and when its all done Bobby ends up tied to a chair. Dean shows up just in the nick of time, and knocks Sam out, taking care to tie him up.
Death comes for his ring, and he and Dean have a little heart to heart. Death wanted to teach him a lesson, and Dean picked up what he was putting down. Death agrees to restore Sam’s soul, because the boys are onto something big. He’s cryptic, but just as Balthazar did, he refers to the high value of souls, which can only mean that there is something major going with Purgatory.
It ends with Sam getting his soul back, and death erecting the wall to protect him, that’ll sure fall before the season is out, as Death tells Dean not to him scratch at it, like that’s gonna happen. And so begins the hiatus…


Walking Dead Recap S1E6: TS-19

The CDC looked like salvation. After some testing to make sure none was affected, the group got to forget for a time everything they’d lost. Little things taken forgranted for so long, like a hot shower or a glass of wine became the ultimate luxuries.
This storyline, greatly departed from the comics, but it really did a great job of stripping down every character’s emotions to the core, and created a greater bond within the group.

But the happiness could not last. Shane tries to reconnect with Lori, who wants nothing to do with him. He really did think Rick was dead. As the zombies closed in, and the military began to kill the patients, Shane protected Rick, but when he put his ear to his chest he heard nothing. Between the fear and the chaos, it was an honest mistake, but he did truly believe he’d lost Rick, and he truly felt that loss.
They soon learn that the doors are locked, and they cannot be reopened. In fact, Jenner had activated the CDC fail safes, and when he let them in, he knew the doors would never reopen once they closed. He was saving them, in his own way, because he hadn’t been able to save his wife.
She had been far more brilliant than he, and she’d run the CDC until she became infected. The group saw video of the electrical impulses of the brain as it changes over to zombie mode. She became Test Subject 19, and as he revealed that Andrea felt the loss of her sister all over. As the count down to the destruction of the entire facility continued, the others looked for a way to escape.
Andrea and Jacqui had no desire to make it out as the group looked for any way out. Luckily Carol had a grenade that Rick had on him when he first joined the camp. They used it to blow a hole out of the side of the CDC, but Dale refused to leave Andrea’s side, and ultimately his loyalty saved her. And as the CDC blew up only Jacqui and Jenner remained inside, thus ending the first season.
I’ve been pretty blown away by the level of acting and the high caliber of writing throughout the season. I expected action, but never the raw emotion that has been so beautifully done. And the fact that next season is so wide open is a definite plus. The writers have gone so far off the comics that they really open the story to a plethora of paths they can go down from here, and maybe even rebuild some of the lost hope.


Supernatural Recap: Caged Heat

Meg is back, and I’m loving her just a little bit. Sam gets kidnapped by Meg and her demon goons, and he convinces Dean to work with her, She’s a Lucifer sympathizer and Crowley wants her dead. Bottom line, they all hate Crowley, and she’s willing to torture him to get Sammy his soul back. So the boys reluctantly agree to team up, and even take back the demon killing knife. 
 The boys need a little help locating Crowley, so they call upon Castiel, whose been a little MIA. When he doesn’t come upon first call, Sam lies about finding the Ark of the Covenant, but when Cas comes and he can’t deliver he goes to leave, Sam promises that he will hunt and kill the angel if he doesn't help out. Can we say worse idea ever? But he’s suddenly seeming like he actually wants his soul back even if Castiel and Crowley agree it’s kind of a bad thing.
His soul’s been trapped in hell with Michael and Lucifer all this time, and they’ve been taking their frustrations out on it the entire time. His soul is in shreds, and it’s a good likelihood that if Sammy does get his soul back he’ll be drooling in the corner. But onward he pushes.
As the boys research, Castiel watches porn, curious to see why the pizza boy was repeatedly slapping the babysitter’s bottom. Hilarious, and awkward.
Once learning the location of Crowley’s prison, the boys, Cas and Meg make it inside, but Crowley’s got hellhounds guarding the place. Meg’s gonna cause a diversion while the guys get away. She plants a wet one on Cas, stealing his angel blade, and he kisses her back harder, the way he learned from the pizza boy.
Samuel Campbell betrays the boy, giving Crowley a heads up that they’re coming his way. And he finally reveals why he’s been Crowley’s bitch all season, Crowley plans to bring back Mary if Samuel cooperates. As the boys are locked up Dean promises to hunt him down and kill him.
Having no feelings finally comes in handy when Sam takes a bite out of himself. But its for a good cause, he uses the blood to draw a devil’s trap on the ceiling of his cell. Not only getting himself free, but he manages to free Dean as well.
Demon Christian tortures Meg for some information, which does him no good, and Dean kills him for his trouble. Turns out Meg is much better at whole torturing thing, when she turns her charms on Crowley, he ends up spills the beans on ole Sammy’s soul.
And when it became apparent that Crowley could do no more for Sam, Cas arrives bones in hands, ready for a little bonfire, and its bye bye King of Hell. I’m more than a little sad about that one.
Sam decides he doesn’t want his soul back, he’s fine without it, and it’s too damaged, whereas Dean wants nothing more than to have his brother back, soul and all.  Instead of getting into the Impala in the end, Sam walks away. I don’t blame him for not wanting it, but at the same time, he can’t keep down the path he’s on.


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