Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Covert Affairs- 10/30 Episode Review

Covert Affairs: Tuesdays at 10:00 on USA Network

Episode review by Kari

Christopher Gorham who plays Auggie, also directs tonight's episode!

We were given a chance to watch tonight's (10/30) episode of Covert Affairs for an honest review

Tonight's new episode of Covert Affairs is an exciting and drama filled episode. CIA Operative Annie Walker gets some information from her ally Eyal, who is a spy for Mossad, about a potential meeting between a wanted terrorist and the son of a Saudi ally. This information leads Annie to pursue a mission to capture/kill the wanted terrorist even when Joan, her boss, tells her she shouldn't trust the information. The political implications of this mission is very serious and Annie has to bet her career on the information given to her from a competing agency.

This episode is full of suspense. Each episode seems to be heart pounding, but this one really makes you nervous. Annie is putting a lot on the line and the viewer is rooting for her to be successful. Besides Annie's risky move, the episode also shows Auggie seeing his ex-fiancé, Parker, for the first time since she left him. Auggie has to deal with seeing her again after she broke his heart. The episode also features a side story involving Joan who seems to be struggling with something. Tonight's episode will help viewers understand why she has been distracted lately.

If you are fan of Covert Affairs this is a must watch episode. If you want to find out if Eyal can be trusted, if Auggie forgives Parker, and what is happening with Joan, this thrilling episode will give you some of the answers.

Watch tonight at 10:00pm Eastern on USA Network!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ripley's Believe It or Not: Download the Weird

Ripley's Believe It or Not: Download the Weird

Review by Lauren

copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

Review: I think everyone knows what Ripley's is so I'm not going to take too much time to explain this book. Basically, it has various sections that include photos, facts, and stories about all sorts of crazy and interesting things! Some of these include World, Body, Animals, Food, and Feats. I try to avoid the animal section because it tends to creep or gross me out the most...but overall, I like these books a lot! I learn some cool facts and feel a bit smarter after browsing this book!

This particular edition, Download the Weird, has a Digital section (I don't believe any of the other Ripley books have this) and it included all sorts of cool things. The first page includes some information all about the first virtual retail store in South Korea. How crazy is that?!

There is even a list of Wacky Websites. I do wish they had included the URL for these, but I guess if we googled them, that would work! Some of the ones that seem interesting, though, are one where you can unroll toilet paper without having to roll it back up again (yeah, a site for this... I guess it could be a nice stress reliever!) and even a site where you post pictures of your Hitler-looking cat (I have heard of this one before!)

Another section I really like is Popular Culture. There is a section all about someone who replicated the movie UP by attaching balloons to a house (and it actually flew!). I love that movie, so it was cool to hear about this. The things people will try!

Finally, my other favorite section is Art. I can't believe how creative people can be! It's really awesome to read about some of these things...and I'm always wanting to go look up so much after reading these sections in the Ripley's books. One example is an artist, Natalie Irish, that creates portraits of famous people like Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix...using her lips! Yeah, you read that right. She puts on various lipstick and kisses the canvas to create these amazing portraits!

Irish's lipstick portrait of Marilyn Monroe -I do not own image

Of course, there is some art that kind of freaks me out...like the Vomit Artist. Essentially, she vomits the "paint." I'll just leave it at that. If you're curious, google Millie Brown and/or Vomit Artist.

And now, I leave you with one of the most awesome things I learned about in this book (Popular Culture section). Six-month-old baby Arthur Hammond and his mom Emily (they are from Oxford, England) recreate famous scenes from movies like The Blair Witch Project and American Beauty. Isn't this too fun?! His blog is here but there hasn't been a new photo since May. It looks like there are gaps inbetween the posts, though, so I'm sure more will be up in the near future!

Arthur for The Blair Witch Project (real movie still below)-do not own images

Overall...fun book! It would make a perfect gift for that hard to buy person!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: When I Was Joe by Keren David

When I Was Joe by Keren David

Review by Lauren

copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

Official Summary: When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he’s named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image – life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can’t cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe’s cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own.

Review: I'd heard of this book for awhile now, but I was never able to check it out. Fortunately, I was offered the chance to check out When I Was Joe as well as the other two books in this fast-paced, exciting trilogy!

Ty is the witness to a stabbling that kills a young man. Encouraged by his Gran, Ty and his mom (who he mostly calls Nicki) go to the police. Ty and Nicki are placed into Witness Protection, which is difficult for a variety of reasons. Before, Ty's Gran was more of a mom to him than Nicki, but now they only have each other and a couple members of the police force whose job it is to keep them safe.

 Ty soon realizes, though, that getting a new chance to start all over isn't a bad idea. He doesn't have to live under the shadow of his best friend, Arron, who he is keeping a secret about through most of the story. Ty is turned into Joe, a teen that the girls love, the boys are either jealous of or want to be, and he even finds a true talent in running. Through running, Ty meets Ellie who believes he can go far if he just focuses, but keeping out of trouble is not something Ty is great at. He gets in fights, starts going out with a girl that terrorizes Ellie's little sister, Claire, and eventually begins to see Claire as a best friend...but what happens if he can't keep her secret?

I know this is mostly a long-winded summary, but I wanted to talk about the various layers in this novel for those of you who haven't read it yet. Despite the seemingly long page length, When I Was Joe actually moves really quickly and I could see both guys and girls loving this one! It's actually something I could see making a good film too because it includes a lot of action, some familial issues, a touch of romance, and the simple art of growing up and learning just what type of person you want to be. This last part is particularly relevant for Ty, since he's being forced to lie about his real life...but through that, he comes to terms with the types of things he does and does not like about himself. That doesn't mean he completely changes. He is a teen boy after all, but despite that, he's quite self-aware...and it makes this story even better! As you can see, I'm a big fan of Ty, and I hope you will be too if you check this out.

 I love contemporary novels...novels narrated by boys...and novels that take place in countries other than America. When I Was Joe has all of this! By the way, this book takes place in England, in case you were wondering, which is even better for me since I love British English.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

B is for Bowser Beer

B is for Bowser Beer

This holiday season, you can't leave out man's best friend...or even that dog lover in your life! I know a variety of people that have and love dogs, and I think almost all of them would give their pups this "beer". To be honest, my dog has had actual beer before. What can I say? My dad drinks it and she gets a few licks here and there and loves it!! I think giving her own, probably much healthier, beer would be best, though!

Unfortunately, I couldn't get ahold of the company before doing this post, so for now, I'm just highlighting what I know from their website. I wish I could say my dog has reviewed this beer for you, but alas, not yet! I still want to get her some in the future though...so we'll see!
Bowser Beer is 100 percent made AND sourced in the U.S.A.

What's in it?

  • USDA beef or chicken.
  • Malt barley (full of B-vitamins) –just like in your beer.
  • Glucosamine for joint health.

  • And of course, what is NOT in it?

  • Alcohol or carbonation.
  • Hops,which can be toxic to dogs.
  • Commercial broth,which contains loads of salt,fat,MSG,onions and meat of unknown origin.

  • I love that the site even shares a few different ways to serve your pooch their beer!

    The shop even includes custom labels for your bottles if you want a picture of your dog included! This would be an especially good idea if you're giving the beer as a gift, as the dog owner can then keep the bottles for themselves after serving the beer! And if you're dog loves food as much as mine, why not add some treats with the beer? Bowser Beer also sells:

  • Bowser Bits –a light crunchy,peanut buttery snack
  • Liver treats –dried,crunchy beef liver even the tiniest of mouths can chew!

  • Finally, Bowser Beer comes in two flavors - chicken and beef. You can get a 6 pack of the beef, a 6 pack of the chicken, or even a 6 pick with three bottles of each flavor! Each 6 pack is $19.99. If you want custom labels, then each 6 pack is $29.99!!

    This post is part of my A to Z Gift guide, where I spotlight a product (or more) starting with each letter of the alphabet. I'm linking up each individual item on the main post if you want to know what came before and what comes after!

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    From Halloween Swaps to Jane Austen Covers

    Alright, I admit it. I'm a bit addicted to swaps. What can I say? I really like getting fun surprises and buying things for other peopl at the same time. The above photo is what I got from the lovely Sara at Sara's Organized Chaos. If you recognize that name/blog, it's because YES, Sara and I did get each other for the movie swap before. Oh well, at least I'm really getting to know an awesome lady and I recommend her blog because she's not only fun to read, she does some great book reviews too! Anyway, this swap was all about Halloween. You could buy you partner pretty much anything as long as it was Halloween related, and I love the holiday, so this was fun!

    The above photo shows you a closer look at some of the fun items I recieved, like candy corn socks and a cute Magic Pumpkin kit. I actually used a couple of the items I was sent for my Halloween party, and I'll have pictures up for that on All Grown Up Parties soon.

    I wanted to make this post a collection of things that I've been meaning to write about, so moving on...Splinter Imprint of Sterling Publishing has been releasing classic books with new covers by "noted fashion illustrator Sara Singh" and the publishing company says-

    This series launched last spring and has been featured in publications like the New York Times and Elle.com. Now, Charles Dickens’Great Expectations and Jane Austen’s Emma join the set, both publishing this month.
    I was fortunate enough to be sent Great Expectations and Emma to view and these illustrations really are as beautiful in person. Singh uses light colors so it doesn't overpower the senses, and I know this has nothing to do with the artist, but the cover has such a smooth feel to it, you want to rub it against your face! Weird? Oh, just go with it!
    I took pictures of the covers front and back so you get a view of the whole thing, and hopefully it shows you a bit of what the book is like "in person." I also really like the addition of a quote on the back of each cover!

    Furthermore, I have a couple new posts at All Grown Up Parties.

    Guest Post- Candy Themed BBQ Graduation Party

    Decor- Bottling Moon Glass

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    Tune: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim

    Tune: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim

    Review by Lauren

    copy from publisher, but all opinions are my own

    Official Summary: Andy's life is going nowhere, fast. He left art school with his career all worked out ahead of time, but ...to say it didn't work out is the understatement of the century. Unemployed and living with his overbearing parents, Andy struggles to keep sight of the lofty goals that once drove him. But it's hard, even when he reconnects with his old art school crush, Yumi.

    Things look better, briefly, with Yumi back in the picture and an actual job offer on the table. But then Andy takes the job offer--to work at a zoo--and finds himself in an alternate dimension. The zoo? Is run by aliens. The exhibit? Is him.

    Review: I've reviewed a few other titles from First Second Books and I have to say, I'm quite impressed with the books they release. Tune: Vanishing Point is obviously included in that statement!

    Andy Go drops out of art school, thinking he has enough skills to reach success...he soon realizes that's not really the case. Now, he's stuck at home with his parents bugging him to go out and get a job and he's too embarrased to hang out with his old art school friends, including crush Yumi, so he just avoids them instead.

    Most of the book is leading up to the main plotline, where a father and daughter duo want to hire him for a job in another dimension, but the rest of it is still interesting. It's cool to see Andy navigate his way through life, love, and awkwardness. I also really enjoyed that Kim included a lot about Andy's family and friends...it's always nice to get a widespread view of someone's life, especially since I feel like they might not make a huge appearance in the second book. I could be wrong, though.

    I also want to mention that all the pictures  are done in black and white, but it really doesn't deter from a good story. I thought the whole book was interesting and the artwork was done really well (and I LOVE that everyone has a distinct look, since sometimes drawn characters have too many similarities).

    The first chapter is actually what will take place in the second book, I think, as the story never really goes back to that moment. However, it pulls you in and made me very curious to read and learn more, so that was a plus!

    Overall, I give this one a thumbs up! Check it out. I'm definitely getting into graphic novels. I must read more!

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

    Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

    Edited by Rhoda Belleza

    Review by Lauren

    copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

    It does not necessarily take a fist to create a punch in the gut. This fourteen-story YA fiction anthology delves into the experience of being bullied—socially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and sexually. The school hallways, walks home, and house walls are no longer the boundaries for intimidation and harassment. With the rapid-fire response time of social media and smartphones, bullying has lost all limits, and the lines among truth, lies, and real accountability have become blurred.
    Featuring some of the hottest voices in YA literature, both bestselling and on the rise, Cornered includes works from Kirsten Miller (New York Times bestseller The Eternal Ones), Jennifer Brown (Hate List), Elizabeth Miles (Fury), Jaime Adoff (The Death of Jayson Porter), Lish McBride (Morris Award finalist Hold Me Closer, Necromancer), Matthue Roth (Losers), Sheba Karim (Skunk Girl), Kate Ellison (Butterfly Clues), Zeta Elliot (A Wish After Midnight), Josh Berk (The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin), and James Lecesne (Absolute Brightness and founder of the Trevor Project).
    Review: My mistake in reading these short stories was forgetting the full title: Bullying AND Defiance. I got a bit confused when I reached a story that had nothing to do with bullying. It threw me off for a moment, but not in any way that changed my opinion of the book overall. As for that, I really enjoyed this book, and it's kind of one of those books that it's hard to imagine enjoying, since so many of the stories are upsetting in some way. That doesn't mean it ever felt hopeless though.

    I also really enjoyed having short stories. You get to jump into a world for a bit and then go on to the next. It's nice to get a variety of styles in one book too, and I found some authors that I'm curious to read more by, which is also really good. The one complaint about this book (and short stories in general sometimes) is that I wanted more from some of these. I really would have liked a few of these concepts to go beyond and fill up an entire book all on their own.

    Since there are 14 stories in all, there is no way I can talk about all of them so I'm going to simply go through a few of the ones that I really enjoyed. Hopefully this will give you a broader look into this great collection of stories! Also, I think it's important to know that there all sorts of stories in this book...meaning, they aren't all realistic. You get some fantasy, paranormal, etc. thrown in here and there too!

    Nemesis by Kirsten Miller was the first story in the book and it was also one that I wanted to be an entire novel, because the concept is just so interesting. The narrator seeks to find justice for bullied kids because they know what it's like to not fit in. I don't want to give too much away, but it really is an emotional story that gives you new perspectives on the bullied and the bullies.

    The Shift Sticks by Josh Berk is great because it's all about a guy that wasn't the biggest bully, but he did go along with the crowd...and it shows what happens when he runs into the girl he used to help torment years later.

    Sweet Sixteen by Zetta Elliott was one surprising story. The main girl sells sex for money, and the girl she meets in custody was just taken away from a cult. Both of them are young and yet have warped views on their own power and sexuality. It's a sad story, and the ending wasn't the most hopeful of the bunch...yet it was still realistic.

    How Auto-Tune Saved My Life by Brendan Halpin was kind of an amusing story. It was one about bullying, and the bully is actually a teacher which makes it very unique, yet it still showed the lighter and better side of life.

    But Not Forgotten by Jennifer Brown and Still Not Dead by James Lecesne both deal with committing and wanting to commit suicide and how getting to that point affects a person. They were very good stories; emotional, powerful, and highly recommended.

    And finally (yeah, I kind of talked about a lot of stories, so I apologize) we have We Should Get Jerseys 'Cause We Make a Good Team by Lish McBride which was actually the last story in the entire book and funnily enough, this book ends like it began for me...with a story that I wished was longer and I'm definitely curious to check out more by this author!

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    A is for Ama Gurumi (+ Coupon Code)

    Loki plush from the shop

    A is for Ama Gurumi

    Check out her site on etsy

    Coupon Code for the site: ShootingStars
    This will provide readers with a 20% discount. Good until 11/15

    Interview with the owner, Amanda Gomes

    by Lauren

    1. How did you start creating plushes, and what made you decide to sell them on Etsy?

    I have been attending anime conventions as an artist since 2006. You get to see some really amazing art and crafts. I noticed a few people tried their hand at making felt plushies. After a few attempts of my own, I realized I wanted to put a new spin on the idea: a craft that relies on my ability to draw/design. They have been really well received and I am grateful for it. I put the plushes on Etsy because I wanted to reach a larger audience while providing my previous customers with a way to stay updated on my stock.

    2. Are you the only one that makes the plushes for the shop? Do you have help for any other aspect of your business?

    The plushes are designed, assembled, and shipped by me! I’ve also been financing everything myself. Okay, I will admit that during convention season I do get assistance with stuffing and sewing. My friends are really supportive.

    3. What types of custom plushes have you made? Are you open to almost anything or do you have a particular specialty?

    I’ve taken a lot of commissions for fandom plushes but I love getting OCs(original characters). I was just recently asked to make a merman plush. The design was tricky but I am looking forward to getting the fabric and assembling him. So, I am always open to a challenge.

    9th Doctor plush

    4. I'm a personal fan of your Sherlock plush, but you also have a lot of Doctor Who options. Do you have a favorite? What other types of plushes do you hope to add to the shop?

    I am an avid Whovian! I made it a personal goal to have a 12 doctor set by this past Otakon. They came out fantastically. Sherlock and John were commissions and, while the show is still on my Netflix queue, I am always excited when a Sherlock cosplayer picks one up. It’s difficult to choose a favorite although I have a special edition 10th doctor that John Barrowman (Cpt. Harkness) signed at Fan Expo. He’s a keeper! Looking at the future, I just finished up Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness, and Moriarty designs but I am working on some original plushes as well. Somewhere down the road I’d like to play with patterns as well.

    5. From your shop, it sounds like you're big into fandoms. What else are you a big fan of and think people should check out?

    You definitely hit the nail on the head! This is going to be hard to keep brief. The Doctor Who Universe was really daunting at first but I have to say I am really glad I gave it a chance. I am still a HUGE fan of Fullmetal Alchemist. In my opinion, it’s one of the best manga ever. So, if you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should. Recently, I’ve been consuming a lot of webcomics as I just started one of my own with my partner. There is a lot of talent out there and you can read the stories for free.

    All the Links You Need to Know-

    Etsy- www.etsy.com/shop/amagurumi
    Studio Store- www.etsy.com/shop/LesserKeyShop
    Tumblr- amagurumi.tumblr.com/
    DA- amasugiru.deviantart.com/

    Remember, you can get 20% off if you use the coupon code by November 15...that is plenty of time to do some shopping for Christmas or other gift-giving events coming up. Don't delay!

    Most plushes are $15- shipping for the U.S. is $5 and $10 everywhere else. Not too bad!

    this post is part of my A to Z Gift Guide-

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Full Count: Top 10 Lists of Everything in Baseball

    Full Count: Top 10 Lists of Everything in Baseball from Sports Illustrated Kids

    Review by Lauren

    copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

    Official Summary: Get everything you ever wanted to know about America's pastime in FULL COUNT: TOP 10 LISTS OF EVERYTHING IN BASEBALL . Presented in the format of Top 10 lists, this book is a comprehensive yet fun look at the greatest aspects of the game. From the top World Series moments to the most colorful characters, SI Kids ranks a variety of topics from the baseball diamond. Readers are guaranteed to love the big, exciting action photos from the Sports Illustrated collection and the insider knowledge of SI Kids. Filled with trivia and information, this dynamic book will be the definitive kids book on baseball.

    Top 10 Rankings include:
    Hardest throwers
    Slickest infielders
    Powerful sluggers
    Loveable losers
    Fastest base stealers
    Best ballparks

    Review: As I write this review, my family is in the other room watching baseball (specifically the Cincinnati Reds, as that's our team), so when I was offered the chance to check out this book, I knew I had to take it. The premise is really fun, especially for someone like me who is a bit addicted to lists of any kind!

    The lists that are more about the game of baseball kind of went over my head. These would be things like Toughest Pitchers, Speedsters, and Southpaws. However, it's nicely mixed in with lists that anybody can enjoy like Baseball films (no surprise, Field of Dreams is the top pick), Ballparks, and even Ugly Uniforms.

    Going through the book, I was always looking out for the Cincinnati Reds and I was excited to see that they got some due attention. One of the awesome lists they made it on was Top 10 Lineups with the 1975 Reds which included Pete Rose and Ken Griffey, among others.

    I was bummed to see that the Reds did not make the Top 10 Caps...and my sister and mom agree too. So many people wear Cincy Reds baseball caps, even if they aren't from this area...it just feels like an iconic cap, so it was a bit surprising not to find it among the others.

    One of the more amusing lists was the Top 10 Oddest Deliveries and this is essentially players that pitch in a really weird fashion...you're sure to enjoy the photos! I know I got a big kick out of that section.

    A few other sections I really liked were Families (baseball players that are siblings, father/son, etc.), Nicknames (who is The Wizard of Oz? What about Kung Fu Panda?), and Scandals (because who doesn't like a good story?)

    Overall, this is a fun book. My mom commented that if she had a table in her living room, this would definitely be put out as a coffee table book. It might be from Sports Illustrated Kids, but it's not just for younger readers...veteran baseball fans will find a lot to enjoy, and perhaps even reflect on.

    Sunday, October 7, 2012

    A to Z Gift Guide

    Now that it is October, I think it's officially time to start planning your holiday gifts. Alright, I'll admit it...I plan Christmas early and I already have a lot of gifts figured out/bought. I just really like giving things to other people. It's a lot of fun to pick something out you think they will really love and then see or hear their reaction. I'm a bit of a sucker for it.

    Anyway, I thought it would be fun to do an A to Z Gift Guide. That means there will be a product, or even a whole site, that I will spotlight for every letter of the alphabet. You know, like H is for Harry Potter (except that probably won't be an actual post). I plan to start this week and keep it going until early December, so if you have any favorite products/sites (or make your own products) please get in touch and I'll see if there is a letter open for you- and I might do two or so options for the same letter too.

    These are all items that I think sound great and would like to spread the word about, and hopefully some of you will find the perfect gift to give that special someone this holiday season or for future gift-giving opportunities.

    If the company doesn't get back to me, I'll just do a spotlight post with my own thoughts...but I'd love to get some actual reviews (and giveaways of course) included too so it's a bit more exciting and mixes up the posts, since there will be a lot!

    I made the fun button above with My Memories Suite. Please post it on your own site, linking up to this post or even the blog as a whole.

    As a special for all of my awesome readers, My Memories give me my very own Share the Memories code that provides a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - $20 value!)

     To get this deal, visit the My Memories site here and use the following code:


    Remember, this is only good for the My Memories Suite V3

    In full disclosure, any time one of you uses this code to purchase the My Memories scrapbook software, I earn $20...which I will probably use for my own Christmas gifts. :)

    A is for Ama Gurumi

    B is for Bowser Beer

    C is for Coton Colors

    D is for Diamond Candles

    E is for Etching Expressions

    F is for Flavorlopes

    G is for Geek-A-Bye-Baby

    H is for Happy Toy Machine

    I is for Ilmostro

    J is for Just Bath and Body Stuff

    K is for Kaori Glass

    L is for Laughing Vixen Lounge

    M is for Man Crates

    N is for Nostalgic Candy

    O is for Out of Print Clothing

    P is for P.S. I Love You Letters

    Q is for Quirky Sews

    R is for Recycled Album Art

    S is for Stoic Design

    T is for TSCookies

    U is for Unicorn Empire

    V is for Vosswinkel Cookies

    W is for Wear Your Music

    X is for Xanadu Charms

    Y is for YogaToes

    Z is for Zephyr Designs

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

    The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

    A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    Review by Lauren

    Copy from - I bought this

    Official Summary:

    Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose.

    But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death.

    Review: If you've been reading my most recent reviews, you know I've been on a bit of a mystery fiction kick. I've also mentioned being in a detective fiction class at school... so I figured why not review the books I read in class? I've been meaning to do this for awhile now, actually, but this seems like a great time to start.

    Back in school, I read Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None (both of which I loved, especially the latter since I've read it twice now) by Agatha Christie...yet never anything else. I'm pretty sure that needs to change now, though, since I highly enjoyed Roger Ackroyd and I'm becoming quite interested in various detective novels. Why not read more by the Queen of Mystery herself?

    As for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, I highly enjoyed the large cast of characters (this particular book is narrated by Dr. Sheppard, a good friend of Ackroyd), though with not too many as to become confusing. The deceased, Roger Ackroyd, was murdered in his study, so naturally all the inhabitants of the house are suspects and they all have something to hide. The mystery surrounding all these characters is what makes it even more interesting, since you know various facts will come to light that somehow shed new evidence on the case at large.

    The detective in this novel- and other Christie stories- is Hercule Poirot, who genuinely wants to learn the truth, yet seems quite fond of his own intelligence, very much like Sherlock Holmes. I will admit I find Holmes a bit more agreeable, but maybe that's because the stories I've read feature him to be pretty level-headed and Poirot likes to use emotion in getting particular reactions out of people. For example, he has all the suspects in a room and he's angrily telling them he will learn the truth, so they better come forward. It's an effective method in many ways, to be sure, but it's not always my favorite.

    However, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd has one incredible ending! I love mystery novels because it's fun to wonder who the "bad guy" is and why they did what they did...but I don't usually guess the right person. For this book, I did. That didn't ruin anything at all, though, because I still got to see why and learn about some of the various clues throughout the book that I never even picked up on. The big reveal might be a bit of a detective fiction gimmick, but it's still one of my favorite parts! I'm definitely planning on having a friend of mine read this book soon because she loves mystery novels as well and yet, unlike me, she tends to figure out who the culprit is, so I'm curious if she can crack this one too!

    If you've read the book, please don't give away the ending in the comments, but feel free to email me if you want to discuss the book!

    Also, what other Agatha Christie books should I read?

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Movie Review: Pitch Perfect

    Pitch Perfect Movie Review

    By Lauren

    IMDB Summary: Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.

    Review: Pitch Perfect comes out in all theaters this Friday, and I totally recommend seeing it! I was able to watch it this past Saturday as it's limited release somehow made it to one of my local theaters. That never happens, but I'm glad it did with something I really wanted to see! I've been a fan of Anna Kendrick's (Beca) since Rocket Science and I've seen a lot of the movies she's been in since, so it was exciting to see something a bit different...her singing! And she's good!

    I loved the eclectic group of girls that make up the new year of Bellas, especially Fat Amy (played by the hilarious and super wonderful Rebel Wilson). Rebel really did make the movie in terms of comedy. If you've seen the previews, you know that most of the quotable lines are from her, but that doesn't mean you've seen it all.

    Just one of Rebel Wilson's funny moments
    There are still hilarious moments to be viewed, as well as a great story concerning Beca growing as a person and learning to let people in...all mixed in with a big dose of music- especially the mash-up variety. It really is a Glee-esque film, so if you hate the show for any of the above reasons, you might not like the movie. But if you love Glee, see the film! If you don't really care for Glee, but it's not a hatred of it, you might still enjoy the movie!

    The love interest, Jesse, was adorable and I really want my own. He sings, he loves music, he loves movies, and he has a particular love for The Breakfast Club and the song "Don't You Forget About Me." Again. I repeat. I want my own Jesse.

    Jesse (Skylar Astin) and Beca (Anna Kendrick) getting cozy
    Obviously, I loved this movie. I'm a big fan of musicals, so any movie that is one or uses music a lot is already a plus in my book...and I went in already a fan of Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson, and they were fabulous. Interested? See the movie. Not interested? Well, I'd say see it anyway...but hey, maybe just wait for Redbox then!