Thursday, 15 January 2015

Book Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

Author: Kristi Charish
Published by: Simon and Schuster Canada
Publish date: January 2015
Pages: 432

Series: The Adventures of Owl, book 1
Huge thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing this book for review!


Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.


Wow. WOW. You guys, this book! It totally came in out of nowhere and made me fall in love with it! 

Owl, guys. OWL. She's amazing! She's tough and flawed and hilarious, and I adore her. Her vampire-sniffing cat, Captain, is awesome, and I kept looking at my own huge-bellied cat and asking him, "WTF, dude, you can't even jump onto the damn windowsill without falling!"
Rynn is dreamy, and what little romance there is in OatJC (yeah, I shortened it. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it?) is done well and tastefully. Y'all know that I'm not a fan of a ton of romance in my books. ;)
Nadya is another really great character, and the type of best friend everyone wants to have. Smart, tech-savvy, with the ability to keep up with your drinking! 

One of the best parts about this book is the unique twists on the monsters! Vampires aren't just your run-of-the-mill vamps, and Ms. Charish also includes some lesser-used baddies like naga and ghouls and demons. 

But the best part of this book--and it was tough to pick one best part because I really loved this book. I mean, I stayed up until 5 frickin' am reading it one night--was the epilogue. Man, I wish I could say more, but I LOVED THAT ENDING. 

Seriously, if you're a fan of Indiana Jones, constant action, snipe, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural or archaeology, you're going to love Owl and the Japanese Circus.
READ IT.

Bring on book two!

POLL: How about a teen drama first watch?

So I have this idea. I'm apparently in a teen drama phase, which began with my first watch of Veronica Mars.
Now, I WISH I'd had this idea when I started VM, because holy hell, I'd love to write about this show. However, since I'm now halfway through season 2, that's not gonna happen.
But there are a bazillion other shows to choose from, which is why I've made this poll!

I propose a weekly recap/reaction post as I watch each episode for the first time. You can all join along--I figure one episode a week is doable for most people--and comment as you like. If its your first watch, your comments can also be reactions, thought, etc. If it's a rewatch for you, you can comment on my reaction, tell us about your reaction when you first saw the episode, etc.

So! You're probably wondering which shows I have in mind. Welp, here they are!







So, now I need your help! Which watch would you take part in? Which would you want to see me write about? Cast your vote in the poll below!
Halp me Obi Wan, you're my only hope!



Saturday, 10 January 2015

Book Review: The Deep by Nick Cutter

























The Deep by Nick Cutter
400 pages
Published by Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster Canada) on January 13, 2015
Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing this copy for review!


A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.


Welp, I didn't like this one nearly as much as I did The Troop
The Deep, while suspenseful and creepy, lags in the middle, and it was tough to keep reading through. 
It did have its scary bits, and if you're at all claustrophobic, or afraid of what may lurk in deep water, you'll probably find parts of this book pretty scary.

Again in The Deep, Mr. Cutter goes for the jugular when it comes to creepy, gross and disturbing. He definitely succeeds by leaps and bounds in that department. There were a few times when I had to put the book down and take a break for a few hours just to get the disturbing images out of my head! In my opinion, this is a GOOD thing. I love dark, disturbing, creepy and gross. 
But frankly, I would have preferred a full book about the 'Gets, rather than this Abyss/It mash-up wannabe. The 'Gets sounded really interesting, and the blurb on the back led me to believe that we'd learn more about that than we did.

I do recommend The Deep. If you liked The Troop, and enjoy dark, creepy thrillers, this is right up your alley. 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Doctor Who : Last Christmas



Happy Whomas, everyone! WELP, THERE WAS NO BABY AND I WAS VERY WRONG. Bah.

ANYway, I literally have no idea whether or not I liked this episode and it’s driving me nuts! Hooray!

I mean, it was LOADS better than The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe, and The Snowmen, but it definitely wasn’t my favourite. I think maybe I liked it much more until it reached a certain point, and then I felt a little let down. I’ll let you know which point that was when I get to it in this recap. ;)

One wonderful thing…one wonderful, AMAZING thing, is that we finally see the Doctor we’ve been waiting all season to see. The man we’ve come to know and love over (at least) the last eight seasons. The man full of wonder and magic, fun and joy, and who has a special innocence and child-like glee. I absolutely teared-up when he was driving the sleigh. THIS is the Doctor I miss so much, and I truly hope to see him more often in series 9.

Alright then, welcome to the Doctor Who version of Inception! On with the show!

We open with a loud bang, and Clara wakes from her slumber. She finds her way to the roof, where she finds Santa has crashed his sleigh. Santa bickers with his two elves (do you recognize Dan Starkey out of his Sontaran costume?) when we hear an old familiar sound…the TARDIS lands on the rooftop. The Doctor pops out, Clara enters the blue box, Santa and the Doctor bicker, and the Doctor and Clara take off on their adventure.

They arrive on a base in the North Pole, where a scientist is trying to walk through a room full of monsters. These monsters, called “dream crabs”, grab on to your face, yes, exactly like Alien. Also, they make you dream while they kill you. As long as you’re not thinking about them, they stay asleep and you’re safe. The scientist, Shona, dances her way through the room. It’s hilariously awesome. Enter the Doctor and Clara. The monsters awake, and the Doctor tries to distract Clara from thinking about them by mentioning Danny. Clara comes clean—after slapping the Doctor (again with the slapping?), and tells him Danny is dead. The monsters attack, but PHEW! Santa and his elves save the day!

There’s some bickering, again, about Santa being real or not, Santa and the Doctor explain dream crabs, and Santa brings in a dead one. Of course, it’s not dead….but that’s a long story. Santa continues to explain his existence… he’s played wonderfully by Nick Frost, by the way. A real highlight of the episode, and the Doctor comes clean to Clara and tells her he never found Gallifrey. Camera footage shows the Doctor exactly how the dream crabs got onto the base, and he sends Clara off to get a thing. She’s attacked by a dream crab. WHAT A SURPRISE.

Suddenly, Clara wakes up. To see DANNY EFFING PINK. WHAT. WHAAAAT?! Yeah, so this is probably where I’m supposed to cry, and I usually would, wouldn’t I? I mean, I’m hugely emotional and I cry at everything…but Moffat, dude, you’re trying too hard here. See, Danny already had a wonderful, perfect send-off, and we didn’t need this. This cheapened the way he died, and, honestly, I’m a bit miffed that he was brought back for this episode. So, no. Sorry. This dream was a huge fail for me. NEXT!

The Doctor tries to communicate with Clara in her dream, but in the end he has to allow a dream crab (can I just mention that I keep typing ‘dream crab’ to ‘dream crap’, and that’s hilariously accurate?) to attach itself to him so that he can enter her dream. There’s more Danny fanwank, but eventually both the Doctor and Clara are able to safely exit the dream. NOPE. Y’see, it’s a dream in a dream in a dream in a, WELCOME TO INCEPTION YOU GUISE WHERE’S LEO DICAPRIO WHEN YOU NEED HIM?

This dream is back on the polar base. The Doctor explains that they never survived the first attack; Santa never saved them. He’s not actually real. He’s something their minds made up to try to protect them from turning into mush. Santa and his elves confirm that, and he explains how they can wake up.

They all take hands, much to the Doctor’s dismay, and try to wake up. It works!
…not. They ‘wake’ still on the polar base, and the Doctor says a quick goodbye to the polar crew as he enters the TARDIS.  He prepares to leave when Clara asks him how Santa could have been on her roof. This gives him his usual epiphany. The sleepers—the ones in the base that have been taken over by the dream crabs—are them; the people on the base. But they’re not actually on the base. (Oh my god I’m not even making sense) They’re scattered all over the world, and have been networked into the same dream. And then Professor Albert dies. Oh, he was played by Michael Troughton, by the way. Is that name familiar? If not, Google it. Go on, I’ll wait………….SEE?! HOW COOL IS THAT?!
J

The group is cornered by dozens of sleepers, when, WHO YOU GONNA CALL?! Santa saves the day! They all climb into Santa’s sleigh, and here’s the scene I just loved. The Doctor’s utter glee while driving was beautiful! “Look at me, look! I’m riding a sleigh! I’m riding a sleigh!” I missed the happy so much!

As they ride in the sleigh, each person begins to remember their actual life. Each wakes in their own time, and none remembers anything about the dream. It’s a bit sad. (But who the hell is Dave?!)
Okay, now remember at the top when I said I’d let you know which point was a let-down? We’re here. 

Clara. Clara, who chooses to stay on the sleigh long after she should. The Doctor finds her and saves her from the dream crab, but she’s old. He’s been away for 62 years, and Clara had a long, full life without him. She looks happy, and this would have been a perfect goodbye for Clara. I cried. This is exactly as it should be. This is perfect. This is wonderful. Dying of old age after a wonderful life, some of it while traveling through time and space with a daft old mad man with a box. What could be better than that? But, nope. That’s too perfect, I guess. Moffat wasn’t ready to leave Clara behind yet, and so, with Santa’s help, the Doctor is allowed to go back to save young Clara.
And young Clara chooses to again travel with the Doctor, apparently for a whole new series, as reported by the BBC earlier today. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-30602537)

Jenna Coleman will pass Karen Gillan as the longest-running companion of the new series, with at least 3 seasons under her belt. And the episode was…good. It was good. I enjoyed most of it. It was ten minutes too long, and I definitely could have seen Shona as the new companion. As always, I have hope for the new season. I always do. I love this show, and I love Capaldi. I remember what this show once meant to me, and I long to feel those feelings again.

I have faith that one day I will.

My favourite lines:
“We’ve got ghosts! A skeleton man and a girl in a nightie!”

“Beardy-Weirdy, how do you get all the presents on the sleigh?”
“Bigger on the inside.”

“There’s a horror movie called Alien? That’s really offensive, no wonder everyone keeps invading you.”

“As the Doctor might say, ‘Ohh, it’s all about dreamy-weamy.’”

“Clara Oswald, you’ll never look any different to me.”


Merry Christmas and happy holidays, Whovians. I’ll see you back here in 2015 for The Magician’s Apprentice!


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Doctor Who: Death in Heaven



I’m…satisfied. Not blown away, not disappointed, not frustrated, not stunned….but satisfied.

The acting in this finale was superb. Michelle Gomez killed it. She IS the Master. Jenna was great, Samuel was brilliant, and Capaldi was….well, Capaldi was The Doctor. Absolute perfection. As finales go, this was okay. Better than some, not as good as others. I thought the storyline itself was a bit clunky, but the heartstring-tugs more than made up for that. I know some of you are going to absolutely HATE that they turned the Brig into a Cyberman, but I thought it was brilliant and wonderful and a really fantastic tribute to the man. Yes, I bawled. That salute? BAWLED.

One thing pissed me off—Osgood. I knew someone had to die, and I understand why it had to be Osgood, but I’m still upset about it. She kind of represented the fangirl/boy in all of us. I really, really liked her. And to kill her right after she’d been asked to travel with the Doctor? Ugh, heartbreaking.

I still don’t know why Missy said she’d, “Chosen well” when talking about Clara, and why the heck did her accent change all of a sudden for no reason at all? She just wanted to sound like the Doctor, I guess? How did Missy even know about Clara? The reasons here seemed very weak. Was it just me?

The Clara-themed opening credit scene (what? You didn’t notice that her eyes had replaced Capaldi’s there?!) was a nice tribute, IF she’s really leaving the show...which I’m not yet convinced of.

I wish we’d seen more of Seb. He was fun. A bit wasted, in my opinion, much like poor Danny. To have such a meager existence through the whole series, just to be sacrificed at the end…it seems like such a waste. I liked Danny’s character a lot, and I wish more had come of him.

The Cybermen popping out of the graves was macabre, wasn’t it? I wonder how the wee Whovians took to that. Dark Water, falling from the sky to resurrect the dead and make them Cybermen…and again, poor Danny. Poor, poor, Danny. If he had to be killed off, it really was in a wonderful way (“I will burn”), for a wonderful reason, and oh my god, what he did at the end? When he sent back to boy instead of coming home himself? I DIED. So, although a wasted character, he did do much good, and he will be remembered. I guess that’s pretty important too, right?

Missy was amazing. Hilarious (“Hey Missy you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind…” HAHAHAHA.), insane (“This is our secret girl plan.”), scary (“Bananas.”), sad (“I need my friend back.”)…ugh, I just loved her. I LOVED her, just as much as I loved Simm’s Master. Hell, maybe even MORE than I loved Simm’s Master! And I’m REALLY glad she’s not dead!
…oh, you didn’t catch that? Yeah, after Cyber-Brig (BEST MOMENT SO MUCH SOBBING) shoots her, but before she dies, Missy teleports outta there. At least that’s MY theory. ;)
I’m 100% sure she’s not dead, and 99% sure she’s going to regenerate, and that we haven’t seen the last of the Master!

 And speaking of the Brig…Saving the Doctor’s soul, saving his daughter from certain death, there in the darkest hour…Moffat, you softie. Where does Cyber-Brig go? I really hope they let it lie now. I thought Eleven’s phone call was a fine goodbye to him, but this tops that, and now it should be done. But that salute…oh, that salute. That was just really, really well done. Thanks, Moffat, for this little bit of fanwankery.

The scene in the TARDIS, when the Doctor doesn’t find Gallifrey at the coordinates that Missy gave him…that was heartbreaking. Empty space, nothing but stars, and Capaldi nails the Doctor’s pain and anger and sorrow. Damn you, Missy!

In the end, both Clara and the Doctor lie to one another, and part ways. Although I’m certain that we haven’t seen the last of Clara. I’m 1000% certain she’s back in the Christmas special, and I’m 990% certain that she’ll have a small child in tow—the one I *still* think she’s pregnant with at the end of this episode; Danny’s child. The Christmas special will be Clara’s final farewell, and she’ll get a proper send-off, like she deserves. This one was too…small. Companions ALWAYS get a big send off, right?

A few things I noticed:

Clara’s fingers are tapping on the table when the Doctor enters the restaurant at the end. Now, I rewound it and listened a bunch of times, and I SWEAR that she’s drumming the Master’s theme on that damn tabletop!
…but I’m sure I’m overthinking this, and probably a bit crazy myself. ;)

Those coordinates that Missy gave the Doctor—do they mean anything? Is Gallifrey at those coordinates, but in a different dimension? Or did Missy just say the one thing she knew would hurt the Doctor?

Let’s talk a bit about season 9—finding Gallifery? Perhaps we’ll see a new, regenerated Master, ruling Gallifery? Or will it be about the Doctor’s journey to find his home, and the finale will be him finally finding it? Hmm.

And lastly, let’s talk about that mid-credit scene, with the brilliant Nick Frost as old Saint Nick himself!
“It can’t end like that. She’s not all right.”
Does he mean Clara? Or Missy? Or neither? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS TO FIND OUT?!

Before I go, here’s the trailer for the Christmas episode. 



I see Clara (thanks, George, for pointing her out), Dan Starkey, who usually plays Strax, is one of Santa’s elves near the end there, is that possible Madame Vastra exiting the TARDIS, or another alien? Or those Silurians under those sheets, or, again, another alien? I HAVE NO IDEA.



What did you guys think of the finale? Any thoughts on the Christmas special? Post ‘em if you got ‘em!


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Doctor Who: Dark Water



Well then. I'm still stunned. I truly have no idea how to feel about what I just watched. I mean, as episodes go, this one was average. Why does it take Danny's death for the Doctor to visit the afterlife? Of all the people he's lost--Adric, The Brig, Amy and Rory--why is Danny's death the one that makes him decide to have a gander? Ugh, nope. NOPE.

But that reveal, you guys. THAT F**KING MISSY REVEAL. WITH THE DRUMS AND EVERYTHING.

I honestly thought it was too obvious. I honestly thought that all of you that thought Missy = Master were crazy because it's just *too* obvious. But for once, Moffat went obvious, and I'm not sure whether I'm okay with that.

Michelle Gomez, who plays Missy, is a great Master. Holy crap, do I call her Missy or the Master now? I DON'T KNOW. Regardless, Missy, the character, is great. I have no issues with her actress, although I truly hope we get to see a John Simm regeneration ("Whoa, new vagina. Weird.").
IF this is an incarnation of the Master that's after Simm. Of course, if could be from BEFORE Professor Yana. He's had a long life, and we haven't seen anywhere near all of it yet. How effing brilliant would it be if the events of the next few episodes lead to Missy regenerating into Yana and fob-watching himself?! OH MY GOD WHY AM I NOT WRITING FOR THIS SHOW I'M DAMN BRILLIANT.

Regardless, I'm still pretty confused, so I guess everything will be wrapped up in the finale? Was Missy the woman in the shop? What did she mean by, "My Clara" and "I chose well" and "I like his accent, I think I'll keep it"?
Did Missy somehow choose Clara as a companion for the Doctor? How, and why?
How did she escape Gallifrey? How is she back on earth? Who's Seb? Does the Master now have a companion?

Lets move onto Danny--by the way TOTALLY CALLED HIS DEATH LAST WEEK. Will Danny stay dead? Will Danny be turned into a Cyberman? Seeing the reflection of the boy Danny killed in the iPad just as Danny was about to push "delete"; what effect will that have on Danny? Will he keep his feelings, and become a Cyberman who feels and remembers? I'ma go with that theory. CyberDanny with feels. Man, it was sad to find out that he'd unknowingly killed a kid...and then that kid came back and wanted to see him in death...so, so dark. So, so sad.

What about Clara? Holy hell, I hated her in this episode. HATED. HATED SO MUCH. Okay, she and Danny have been dating for a few months, right? Poor Danny dies. SO CLARA EFFING BLACKMAILS HER BEST FRIEND AND A MAN SHE'S KNOWN FOR YEARS AND THREATENS TO TAKE HIM AWAY FROM HIS HOME (the TARDIS) AND TRAP HIM ON EARTH FOREVER BECAUSE HE WON'T CROSS THE TIMESTREAM AND SAVE A BOY?!?! WHAT?!?!?!??!?!
Yeah, I HATED that. A LOT. I don't care if it was all a dream--wtf was that all about anyway, a dream sequence?! Yeah, THAT'S not overused at all.
Also, why does the Doctor need the TARDIS keys, exactly? He can open the door with a snap of his fingers. Or a kick to the door, as we've seen this season.
If Missy was the woman in the shop, wouldn't Clara recognize her now? Unless she used a disguise, I suppose...

This was a very dark episode. Like, incredibly dark. In Britain, Doctor Who is still very much considered a show for kids. This episode was NOT for kids. Most of this season wasn't for kids, but most especially this episode. The 3 words--Don't cremate me.
My god. So disturbing. So dark. It almost hurt to watch some of this episode, and I worry for those viewers that have suffered a recent loss.

How did the Doctor not know Missy was a Timelord? I thought Timelords could detect each other? Did he know when Missy had the Doctor feel her, er...hearts?
How will he cope with the return of the Master? Will this lead them back to Gallifrey? OH MY GOD PLEASE LET SERIES 9 BE GETTING BACK TO AND FINDING GALLIFREY.

What's going to happen with the Cybermen? Are all dead and buried people going to rise up? "All the graves of the planet earth are about to give birth." Can you imagine if the Doctor encountered a Cyberman that called him "Raggedy Man"? OH MY GOD I SHOULD TOTALLY WRITE FOR THIS SHOW, CYBER-AMY WOULD BE AMAZING.
How will the Cyber army be defeated? I bet Danny will have something to do with it.
Will Danny then be allowed to come back to life somehow? Will he and Clara get their happily ever after? I still think Clara is pregnant...Is that the reason for the odd phone call that got Danny killed in the first place? Or will CyberDanny kill Clara? Would that make the Doctor change things, and bring Clara back? Make it so that CyberDanny never existed, and Danny never died? Will that be Danny's "bad day"? The day he killed Clara? I HAVE ENTIRELY TOO MANY THEORIES. MY BRAIN IS MUSH RIGHT NOW.

...or is Missy lying? Is she really the Master? Moffat lies...Maybe it's Seb. Maybe it's Missy. Maybe its neither.
And what the hell does the Master have to do with Cybermen? What is the Nethersphere?! Why are they using the dead to make Cybermen?!

And who the hell is Dr. Skarosa? SKAROsa. SKARO....sa. I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA. I NEED TO GO LIE DOWN NOW. MY BRAIN HURTS. OKAY, BYE.




Saturday, 25 October 2014

Doctor Who: Season 8

I'm mad, you guys. Really, really mad. Many of you have noticed that I'm not recapping Doctor Who lately. A lot of that is because life got in my way for awhile, but a lot of it is also because, frankly, I just don't give a crap. Me, one of the biggest Doctor Who fans around, doesn't. Give. A crap. About Doctor Who. WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

I'm tried of mediocre, I'm tired of silly, I'm tired of poor writing and plot holes and ignoring and/or rewriting Doctor Who canon and lore. This is so far from the Doctor Who that I fell in love with, that it might as well be a whole different show. Capaldi is being wasted, and it pisses me off.


Murder on the Orient Express? Mediocre. Slightly scary, neat monster. The rest was forgettable.


Flatline? Tripe. Hated it. The story was stupid. Clara was great.


In the Forest of the Night? An episode of Sarah Jane Adventures without Sarah Jane (RIP, Lis). Again, mediocre, silly. WTF was with the end? Where the hell did the sister even come from? Most of it made zero sense. It was pointless.


I'm afraid of what the 2-part finale will bring. Will we get a Listen, or a Kill the Moon? I don't know, but I really, really want it to be good.


So, sorry, you guys. Thanks for understanding.


Oh, and for the record? I think Danny dies which makes Clara turn against the Doctor in the finale. I also still say she might be Missy. Miss C, y'know? Missy. Clara from the future, or from another timeline or something.

But Missy could also be a personification of the Doctor himself. She does call Clara, "My Clara", like he does, along with all the other hints about the accent, how she chose Clara, etc.
So, I dunno. But Danny's gonna die, I guarantee it. ;)