Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SCANDALOUS!

I've been binge-watching SCANDAL.

I know a lot of people are so crazy about this show, and I have to admit I found some of it fairly enjoyable myself.
However, there are some things I'm having trouble getting past.

1. At first I thought I was watching a re-run of West Wing, only with Meredith Grey's mommy AND daddy added to the cast. By season two, it was like a mashup of West Wing, Grey's Anatomy, and Gilmore Girls. Are there no other actors out there? (actually I'm not complaining, because I do love Josh Malina and Scott Foley and OMG GEORGE NEWBERN with whom I fell deeply in love when I first saw Adventures In Babysitting SHUT UP I KNOW I AM OLD)

2. Dear Kerry Washington fans: I'm sorry, but...seriously? EPISODE ONE. She has her game face on. She's taking no shit and no prisoners and makes a point of saying that her "gut is never wrong"...and then the next howevermany episodes consistently prove that her gut is ALWAYS WRONG. And the other characters make a Thing about "there is no crying here," and yet Kerry is teary-eyed in about half the episodes. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, SHONDA.

3. After the first two episodes, Olivia (Kerry W) seems to only have two expressions: scared/sad (which look exactly the same) or, whenever she's within sniffing distance of The Prez, she gets the lovestruck cow eyes. Totes unbelievable besides. OMG STOP IT. Most times when they're in the same room, it's like a live-action scene from a poorly written Silhouette or Harlequin romance book (perhaps they hired E.L. James of 50 Shades of Crap fame to write those scenes?).  Luckily there are a handful of (all too) brief moments in which Olivia shows some spunk and fire in a few other episodes. Dear Director: Please make her wipe those ridiculous gape-mouthed looks off her face in future seasons because it really makes me want to punch her and I surely canNOT be the only one.

4. Olivia sometimes does these weird twitchy mouth movements with her upper lip. It is not attractive, it looks unnatural and it distracts me. I have to use that 10 second rewind thingy a LOT to see what I missed while she was snarling her mouth around.

5. This is the only show I've ever seen that largely features the POTUS in which he is RARELY WORKING. Dude has lots of "just sitting around feeling sorry for myself" time and drinking time and "pouting because my mistress won't do me in the Oval Office" time and "My wife is such a bitch" time and "I hate everyone" time and there are never five people walking in one door of the Oval Office while three more walk out the door on the other side of the room. He hardly even meets with any Congress(wo)men or Senators and clearly he has plenty of time to make out with women other than his wife. Is all I'm saying.
#Trivia: The president is the bad guy who had Patrick Swayze killed in Ghost. (Whoops! Spoiler alert too late, if you're one of the five people who haven't seen that movie)

6.  #Trivia: FLOTUS was a shady-ass shark of an attorney on CSI Miami. As conniving and viciously ambitious as she is in the White House, if I were in her First Lady stilettos I would have totally punched Olivia and the President in the neck about 73 times by now for continually rubbing their affair in her face. I'm on her side on that issue. She took one for the team more than once.

7. By the end of season 2 I was totally bored of watching Olivia guzzle a huge glass (or three) of wine at the beginning and/or end of at least 1/3 of all the scenes. #SoCliche

8. Olivia's co-workers on the show AND the fans of the show talk about how strong and tough and whatever she is...but really? I think she's kind of weak. She makes increasingly poor choices and not only THAT, she makes the SAME poor choices again and again!  She and the President both are like petulant, tantrummy, self-pitying assholes half the time.

9. I tried playing a drinking game - I drank every time Olivia said "I'M DONE!" to one of the men in her life or clients or co-workers...but I almost died of alcohol poisoning.

10. The background music, especially the stuff they play during closing scenes, is mostly very excellent.

After 4 seasons, I have concluded:
I really only like the First Lady, especially when she went a little cray cray.
Oh, and the assassins. I really really like the assassins.
The music = awesome.

I will never be a big fan of this show and have no plans to watch the next season. I only finished out the series on Netflix because I kept hoping for something more. I feel it's a Shonda Rhimes Fail, at least for me.
Give me House of Cards ANY day.



P.S. I still love you, George.




Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Mask

Hooray for me!
That's right, I got an advance (SIGNED!) copy of The Mask from one of my favorite authors, Taylor Stevens.  You may remember that I got an ARC to review her last novel, The Catch (because I am Just. That. Cool.) Go ahead and take a peep - we'll wait.

Two words: LOVED. IT.

It was subtly different than the others - each book we get a little glimpse closer to the heart of Vanessa Michael Munroe. The Mask let us see a bit of a softer side, at least for awhile. I always hope she's able to find some inner peace if not outright happiness...
Then the action ramps up again.

She's ruthless and deadly, and if you're a fan of Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D, you'll know what I mean when I say she's even more badass than Melinda May. She's feral and sometimes conscienceless when it comes to the bad guys, but she does her best to aid those who really need help, even though it's often begrudgingly.
Her heart and soul may often be in jeopardy of being completely consumed by the Dark, but it's a testament to her sheer strength of will that she can (mostly) control the primal urge to kill when attacked.
She endures.

Munroe is a person of intensity and extremes - extreme reactions, extreme control, extreme response. However, although there was still plenty of excitement and fighting, I liked the fact that The Mask had a more cerebral/mind game center...and the author managed to create a continuous thread of anxiety that made me keep turning pages well into the wee hours, because I had to know what was coming, what was happening next.

Where there IS action and fighting and, let's say it, KILLIN', it is well described so that the images form easily in my imagination. That's one of my favorite things about Taylor's writing style, because some authors just don't have that knack and I hate having to struggle to visualize the scene, or actually stop reading in order to try to picture it in my mind. That spoils the flow for me.

Without any spoilers, I just want to say that I'd hoped for a little different ending...but that's not the author's fault. I know that the author has to go where the characters take her. I wasn't disappointed in the ending at all...just hoped for something else. BUT THAT IS OKAY BECAUSE ANOTHER BOOK SOON, YES, TAYLOR STEVENS???? :)

I know, I know, I didn't tell you what the book was about. I don't like to write book reports - you can read the blurbs and excerpts on amazon and goodreads and other review sites. I'm telling you what I liked about The Mask. It should be obvious that I liked the plot.
So let me say this: if you are not familiar with Taylor Stevens and her Vanessa Michael Munroe (and if that's the case, why not? were you not paying attention the last time I reviewed on of her books??), then the beginning of The Mask might be a little confusing because you won't know any of the backstory of Vanessa and Miles.
SO HERE IS WHAT YOU DO: Pre-order The Mask, and while you wait for its release date on June 30th, go ahead and buy (or check out at the library) book #1 in the series, The Informationist. Then book #2, and so on.
And as I mentioned in the last review (still true): Sometimes the good guys wear the black hats, not the halos.

YOU DO WHAT I SAY.
That is all.
Have a day.





**oh right, I forgot the Crap I Have To Say: Yes, I was given an advance copy of this book - as a prize in a giveaway drawing by the author. There was no agreement to review, but had there been such an agreement, AS ALWAYS MY OPINIONS ARE MY OWN and nobody is the boss of me or tells me what to write.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Flashback Friday: FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE, the lost episodes...

So I had completely forgotten I still had podomatic accounts - remember when I used to upload the shows in case you missed the live version? #Nostalgia

Let's Friday Night together.

From 2009 and 2010: FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE with Monty!






Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mea Culpa

For the record: No, I did not unfriend or FaceBLOCK you.

I just wanted to quietly take some time away from The FB because my work productivity was suffering - I AM WEAK. I admit it. I tried to just log out and leave it alone, but sometimes I accidentally clicked the FB icon instead of the eBay icon and then it would automatically log me in and then YOU PEOPLE WOULD SUCK ME IN WITH YOUR STUFF AND THINGS.

I didn't want to make a big Thing out of it with one of those dramatic "Goodbye cruel Facebook world, I must away to sweeter climes and find myself!" posts that people do (and annoy the EVERLASTING SHIT out of me with their pretentiousness, by the way)...so I just did a temporary deactivation is all.

I am sorry to all my friends texted or emailed to ask what they'd done to piss me off/offend me/make me block them -- I truly had no idea that the "temporary deactivation" button would make it seem like you were blocked.

Anyway, I've (re)located my motivation and I'm getting my work groove on. Please only do and say really irritating and uninteresting and stupid things until I get back. Save the good stuff for me.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

What Happens Next Will Give You Chills! #FakeUpworthyTitle

I read with two sets of eyes.
Doesn't everyone?

I always read for pleasure, but when I read a book specifically for review, I use my Critical Eyes.
I pay more attention to the flow and language of the story. I am on the lookout for excessive hyperbole and jacked-up timelines. If it's a mystery or thriller, I do my best not to think about whodunit or the final outcome - and Stephen King has trained me not to assume or even expect a happy ending.



Not your typical heroine.
Just an ordinary woman doing her best to overcome extraordinary events in her life.
**No spoilers here, because I believe that you should pre-order/buy the book and read it yourself. The ride is worth the cost of admission. If you want to know more of what the book was "about", go read the blurbs.

Swerve by Vicki Pettersson has definitely earned the category of psychological thriller.  Not to compare authors or books, but reading Swerve gave me the same anxiety I felt when I read Dean Koontz's Intensity (many many many years ago).  A lot of ...well, intense events happening in a short period of time.

I was lucky enough to get an ARC to read, so I realize it's not the FINAL final product all prettied up and tied with a bow -- there was one part regarding a water park that was a little jumbly for me because I couldn't actually picture it (and the fault may lie with *me* there), and there were a lot of adjectives and similes that *I* feel could go away and not hurt the story -- but those were just my Critical Eyes issues and personal preference.

What I can tell you is this: From the very first page, this book was engaging. The transitions from past to present mostly flowed really well. I was drawn along the heroine's (Kristine's) journey, I winced at her pain, I talked out loud to the book (SHUT IT, this is just something I do. I give advice to the characters. I also do this with TV shows. Usually I'm just shouting WHY DON'T YOU JUST SHOOT HIM?!)(OH PLEASE, don't act like you don't do this).  I cheered for her, I applauded her decisions, I felt sick at heart for her. I loved the little teasers of Kristine's backstory and could hardly wait to find out the whole truth of it.
I was Involved, which to me means the book was very good.

Vicki Pettersson is a new author to me, but I hear that she's written a couple of dark fantasy series, which I know will definitely appeal to some of you. That style is not my usual gig, but I can tell you that I'm going to read them because if Swerve was this good, then the others must be good readin' as well.

This is definitely a recommendation for you - Put SWERVE on your to-read list.
YOU DO WHAT I SAY.

Thanks for reading! Now go away. #GetOffMyLawn #GoReadABook
Crazy Eyes, Critical Eyes...potayto potahto



**CRAP I HAVE TO SAY: Yes, I was given an Advance Review Copy with the understanding that I would write an HONEST REVIEW. No, I was not given any advice or direction or some other person's words to copy or use because MY OWN DAMN OPINION is all I care about. I have not received any compensation (or even the promise of such) for this review other than the awesome FREE ARC. 
Seriously, like I would recommend a book that I hated. Pffft. I DO NOT PLAY.




Friday, May 22, 2015

What happens next will BLOW YOUR MIND! #FakeUpworthyTitle

(*off topic: I typed "booger.com" instead of "blogger.com" to get to here, heeheehee)

As a follow-up to the previous Spartan Race post, a most precious gift has been bestowed 'pon me...
A FREE RACE CODE!
Yes, I'm not even joking. A code good for ONE FREE SPARTAN RACE for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in the continental US of A.

Being the totes unselfish, super generous lazy person that I am, I have decided to once again GIVE THIS AWAY to a lucky reader!
Want it?
Leave a comment here, or on facebook, or twitter responding to this post.
I will draw a name from the hat or some such other scientifical thing.

GO SPARTAN!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

ONLY ONE WEEK!

Just a quick word for my Spartan Racers - HURRY!
(hahaha, see what I did there? "Quick" word? Oh never mind.)

Reebok/Spartan Racing is offering a Memorial Discount on your next race - $20-$40 OFF!! So now you have one less excuse to not sign up. **Offer expires 5/27 so go register today!

Just CLICK HERE and go register, and use the discount code MEMORIAL.
That's it.
Cake and pie. (Piece of and Easy as -- not "go stuff your face with cake and pie. Although that is not a bad idea)

While you're there, be sure to check out all the features to help you along in your training - Food Of The Day recipes, Workout Of The Day exercises for your body AND your mind! They'll help keep you fresh and motivated!

HEY, did you know you can raise money for charity and RACE FOR A REASON?



Okay, my good deed for the day is done.
Now go away.