Music Monday: Some Tunes

I had a more interesting post lined up for today, but apparently me and advanced technology are not friends right now. So while try to figure out the intricacies (read:  headaches) of making things work the way I want them to, have some music videos of songs I’m listening to right now.

Be advised that "Thrift Shop" is NSFW, probably garnering a TV-ML rating. And "Tall Boy" is about the alcho-booze-ahols, so you probably wouldn't want to play that at work either.

Find Macklemore & Ryan Lewis online: 
| Youtube

Find Tarkan online:
Website (Turkish only, sorry, but you can still click around and find neat things)
Find Har Mar Superstar online:
Website | Youtube

I guess I’m all about party songs right now. Check out the other songs I’m listening to right now in the "Currently Listening To" widget in the sidebar. There are even some tracks for outside of the club. 

TV Talk: Season of the Serial Killers


I sense a theme to my current choice of TV shows. As the title implies, it’s serial killers. Most shows I watch seem to have some sense of the morbid (except for comedies, and even then it shows up on occasion), but never have there been so many serial killers.

The Following 
Kevin Bacon’s new drama just premiered this week. He plays a former FBI agent who is called back after the serial killer he caught escapes prison. The killer, played by James Purefoy, is a former university literature professor who idolizes Edgar Allen Poe, reenacting some of the ‘beautiful’ deaths upon his young-lady-students. Now he is forming alliances with other murderous and suicidal types, causing emotional turmoil left and right.

Death Toll
  • 8 Security Guards/Officers
  • 1 Student Post-Incarceration
  • Several Students Pre-Incarceration
  • An Uncounted Number of Dogs
  • 1 Public Suicide

Ripper Street 
Also recently premiered, Ripper Street is set in the neighborhood where Jack the Ripper went on his murdering spree, but after his disappearance. A new victim is found in an alley with all the markers of Jack’s handy work, and jump right to that conclusion. One Detective Inspector, played by Matthew Macfadyen, isn’t so sure. He thinks there is someone else.

Death Toll
  • 2 Ladies
  • 1 Suicide

mHMPrwsThis long running series stars Emily Deschanel as a forensic anthropologist, who determines an astonishing amount of information from human bones, and David Boreanaz as an FBI agent. Together, along with the smart ‘squints’ at the Jeffersonian, they solve murders. The most recent episode sees the return of their serial killer nemesis, Pelant (Andrew Leeds), who is once again targeting their team.

Death Toll
  • 1 Innocent Man
  • 1 FBI Agent
  • (Presumably) 1 Monkey

American Horror Story:  Asylum 
This season, we a privy to the horrendous things done in one 1960s American asylum. From aliens to Nazis, this show has a little bit of every horror in it. But this post is about serial killers, and it has that too.

Death Toll
  • Before or after the serial killer is a ghost?
  • Doesn’t matter. The answer is too many to count, or even show.
The Walking Dead
Yes, this is a zombie show (and a darn good ‘un, at that). But let’s be honest, it’s more about the survivors. Slowly, they’re all turning into non-zombie killers. There is one concrete serial killer, though, and that’s The Governor. He kills anyone he damn well pleases, keeps it from the majority of his little society, and collects tokens:  victim’s heads in jars (Futurama style).

Death Toll
  • Ha! You think I can remember how many deaths have occurred on this show?
  • Seriously, there was A WALL OF HEADS IN JARS from The Governor, not to mention those he kills that are not worthy of collection.
Zombies or humans? Either way their heads are coming off.

That’s a lot of serial killer action on TV this spring. AND that’s only the shows that I’m watching. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are more serial killers being broadcast right now. I can just feel the death tolls rising. 

              Music Monday: Non-English Playlist

              Some days I just don’t want to hear my native tongue, today being one of them. These are some of the songs I turn to when that happens.

              Am I missing something?
              Let me know what amazing non-English songs I need to add.

              Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Release (Protector #3)

              Title:  Release (Protector #3)

              Author:  M.R. Merrick

              Rating: 4 Stars

              Genres:  YA, Urban Fantasy

              Chase and company have survived demons, murderous Hunters, dimensional travel, demi-gods, internal power struggles and a whole slew of situations that shouldn’t besiege anyone—let alone teenagers. In the third installment of the Protector Series, they’ll go up against all that and more in their quest to stop Riley from raising Ithreal.

              Top priority? Chase controlling his emotions so his powers don’t burst out and hurt his friends. Followed shortly by finding Ithreal’s soul pieces, learning what being The Protector entails, and figuring out why his powers are on the fritz. All while navigating the delicate friendships and truces the group is nurturing—which may be the only way to save all the worlds.

              My Thoughts:  
              Reviews of Exiled (Protector #1) and Shift (Protector #2)

              Another action-filled installment to get your heart pumping. Merrick’s greatest skill is creating these intense battles that don’t fizzle out. The variety of situations and fighting skills means no two battles will end the same.

              The imagination level is phenomenal. I loved reading about the different dimensions. Each dimension has its own creatures, flora, landscape, and rules. My favorite so far is one of Ithreal’s own worlds, one that is constantly changing. Of course this is extremely frustrating for the characters, but keeps readers guessing.

              There were some events I saw coming from a mile away, though. As in the previous books, not all characters make it through alive. By the half-way mark, I knew who that would be. There were certain phrases situations that just forecasted it to me loud and clear—and then kept doing it for the remainder of the novel.

              That wasn’t the only thing on repeat. The Protector Series has a rhythm:  something bad happens, Chase overreacts, the adults plan, and then somehow the kids end up in a fight by themselves. The results of battle vary, but it seems as if most of the characters keep to their roles pretty solidly—even the conversations are similar to those of the previous books, i.e. Chase wants to jump into battle but Marcus wants to do research and plan. The conspicuous absence of the adult/guardian characters for most battles is getting a bit weird too.

              I debated between a high three star rating and the four for quite some time. The repetitive rhythm and forecasting did grate me a bit. But in the end I decided to go with the four stars for this light YA read. The imagination and action is just that good. That, and it was a loooooong week filled with exhaustion. I feel as if those wouldn’t have bothered me quite as much if my week had been less stressful. Plus, I burst into laughter in a coffee shop at this phrase:

              You give me the book and quit your rather pathetic quest to stop me, and I won’t mutilate your friends with a sharp spoon before I kill them.

              Okay, okay! That’s not hysterical on its own, BUT, it ties in with a memory of mine. A friend was wielding two spoons and struck a martial arts pose, exclaiming, “I will fight you. . . with spoooooooons!” The mixing of Riley’s threat and my friend’s silliness was just too much for me, and I definitely earned some odd looks. BTW, I texted said friend immediately, and he wholly approves of the phrase and me looking like a fool in public.


              01 - Grande Prize - Release Blog Tour
              Grande Prize Pack (3 Winners)
              3x Signed paperbacks (Exiled, Shift, Release)
              3x Signed 8x10 posters (Exiled, Shift, Release)
              5x Bookmarks
              1x Notebook (Winner’s choice of cover)
              1x Magnet

              Runner-up Prize Pack (5 Winners)
              1x Signed paperback (Winner’s choice of Exiled, Shift, or Release) with signed poster
              1x bookmark (Winner’s choice)
              1x Magnet

              Secondary Prizes A (10 Winners)
              Release eBook

              Secondary Prize B (10 Winners)
              1x bookmark (winner’s choice)
              1x The Protector magnet

              This is a HUGE giveaway! Winners will be chosen as follows: First 3 names drawn from Rafflecopter will get the grand prize. The following 5 names get the runner-up prize. The following 10 names win ebook copies of Release, and the final 10 names win the swag pack.

              a Rafflecopter giveaway

              Music Monday: A Frontman Disembarks

              Three Days Grace lead singer, Adam Grontier, has resigned. I’ve read conflicting reports about why; some say he left for health reasons, others say to pursue different projects. I’m hoping it’s the latter. While Three Days Grace has always seemed like a generic rock band, I’ve always loved their music more than that. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I think Adam Grontier’s voice is a big part of it.

              Replacing Grontier is Matt Walst, frontman of My Darkest Days and brother of Three Days Grace’s bass guitar player Brad Walst. Currently, statements point to this being a temporary replacement just for the upcoming tour.

              Here’s Matt Walst singing Three Days Grace’s new track, Chalk Outline:

              And here’s the original with Adam Grontier on vocals:

              I don’t think Walst does a bad job covering, but his voice just doesn’t have the same tones that Grontier does. If this becomes less temporary than indicated, it will definitely take some getting used to. 

              Series Review: Supernatural, Season 1

              Title:  Supernatural

              Season:  1

              Format: DVD

              Genres:  Drama, Horror, Fantasy

              Creator:  Eric Kripke

              Stars:  Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

              Rating:  4 Stars

              Sam’s (Jared Padelecki) seemingly perfect college life is interrupted by his brother, Dean (Jensen Ackles), who cryptically states that their father hasn’t checked in for a few days while on a hunting trip. We soon find out that papa Winchester hunts the beasts that go bump in the night.

              Concerned enough, Sam joins Dean on a hunt for their father. It doesn’t take them too long to run into spooky monsters—everything from angry spirits to demons to ancient and almost forgotten gods. The Winchesters will stop any evil creature that comes between them and reuniting their dysfunctional family.

              With an arsenal like this, no one will deny your status
              as a character
              My Thoughts: 
              I’ve been a fan of Supernatural since the get-go. It’s hard to believe that it started in 2005. Even after just watching it again, it’s hard to believe that it’s over seven years old. Hardly anything is unintentionally dated. Most of the graphics and special effects hold up. The only ‘old’ bits are music and the Impala (which is pretty much its own character)—but it has the same effect as when the show first aired. These are classic standards that have already proven they can withstand the test of time.

              The story itself is an amalgam of different plot levels. There’s the surface of the brothers hunting the evil monsters, which is usually contained within an individual episode. Then there is the larger story arc of the brothers searching for their father. Even deeper is the Winchester family quest for revenge against the monster that killed mama Winchester. And deeper still is the machinations of the monsters the Winchesters hunt. While these storylines get immensely more complicated in the seasons to come, it’s impressive for the first season.

              The driving force and heart of Supernatural are Sam and Dean. Two dysfunctional brothers on an extremely long road trip across America searching for their family and futures. The chemistry between Padalecki and Ackles feels genuine. Some of my favorite moments from this season (and the entire series) are when they are being smart-asses to each other.

              Special features include: episode commentary, deleted scenes, gag reel, a day in the life, and a piece about their supernatural tales. The last disc also has exclusive link to online content, HOWEVER, I was unable to access it. It kept saying I didn’t have a decoder, then gave me an http 500 error code whenever I clicked links to try and alleviate the issue. This is the main reason I deducted from my rating.

              Hint:  On the DVD, go into the episode sub-menu to turn off the recaps—especially if you will be watching in marathons or without long gaps between episodes.

              Hint #2:  Be ready with season 2—the cliffhanger is mighty and strong. This is the case for the entire series, which is torture when you watch it on TV.

              Find Supernatural online: 
              Website | Facebook

              Music Monday: “Eden” by Faun

              Album:  Eden

              Artist:  Faun

              Format:  MP3

              Genres:  Pagan Folk, Medieval Folk, Pagan Rock, Modern Old-World

              Rating:  5 Stars

              If you took equal parts medieval instruments, multiple religious mythologies, seemingly forgotten rhythms, and beautifully harmonic vocals, then stirred them together with a spoon of modernity, you would get Faun’s Eden.

              Self-described as Pagan Folk music, Faun brings medieval music to the current century. Eden is their seventh album since forming in 2002. Faun has sold over 120,000 CDs and played more than 700 locations around the world.

              My Thoughts: 
              This is my favorite Faun album to date. Part of this is due to how cohesive it is. Each song flows into the next; there are no jarring transitions. The songs are also tied together by the titular theme, Eden. The beauteous garden emanates from every aspect. Not only do we hear the Christian version of Eden, but also from the perspective of older, Pagan religions and in a few different languages.

              I love how the medieval instruments are modernized. On earlier albums, some songs sound purely medieval—a wonderful experience in its own right, but I enjoy the addition of light modern touches more. The barely perceptible electronics smooth out the overall sound, which in turn seems to energize each track. I’ve taken to calling this mixture as Modern Old-World, since I seem to find a new genre name every time I browse new music or reviews.

              This album evokes two very different reactions from me. When played loudly, I was energized. The driving beats made it difficult to sit still. But when played softly, I became very relaxed. Eden easily transitioned to something I could sit and work to. In my experiences, very few albums hold this versatility.

              Favorite tracks:
              “Hymn to Pan”
              “Oyneng yar”
              “Ynis avalach”

              Find Faun online: 
              Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Myspace | Amazon | iTunes

              If you enjoy Faun, you may also enjoy:
              Omnia | Niyaz | Qntal | Corvus Corax | Beats Antique

              Book Review: The Child Thief

              Title:  The Child Thief

              Author:  Brom

              Rating:  5 Stars

              Genres:  Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling

              Nick runs away. But he doesn’t get very far before his neighborhood drug dealers catch up to him, fully intended on murder. Peter is watching this carefully and steps in to save the boy. As they run off, Peter tells Nick of his refuge—a place where kids are safe, they can do what they want, go on adventures, and experience magic.

              Reluctant, Nick follows him away from his unsafe life in New York City to an expected safe haven, only to find a wild, grey land bursting with danger. Creatures roam the night eating anything living, witches capture young boys for dinner, pirates kill the “Devils” in the woods, and the elves have orders to kill Peter.

              Peter’s lost and stolen children have been hardened by an endless war. They happily kill the pirates and creatures they come across, both for defense and dinner. Nick sees the madness. These aren’t games; it isn’t fun. And as the forest slowly dies, Peter’s Devils are running out of food and options.
              Desperate to save Avalon and its magic, Peter is doing everything he can think of, and won’t let anyone get in his way—even his own Devils.

              My Thoughts:
              This is not the Disney Peter Pan that so many people grew up with. This is a dark retelling, filled with realistic motives, violent and bloody deaths, twisted magic, and Celtic mythology.

              Even though it is dark, The Child Thief is immensely lyric and beautiful. Brom brings magic to life. He also poses serious thoughts and questions about violence, war, familial relationships, friendships, survival, and cultural conflicts. This depth made The Child Thief much more than I could’ve expected.

              I felt a level of sympathy to almost every character, even those that were ‘bad guys.’ The Captain isn’t just out to ruin Peter’s day. He fights for a reason, same as the other characters. The couple characters I felt little sympathy for, still had a reason to be ‘evil’—it isn’t really their choice. This overall sympathy caught me off guard. Fairy tale characters are supposed to be good or bad, not in between. It felt all the more real and engaging because of this.

              The level of depth brought to Peter’s character was also unexpected. My Disney upbringing left him as always part of Neverland—for eternity, never a before or after. The movie Hook gives us a glimpse of a possible before and after, but it just never stuck for me. The Child Thief's version of Peter’s life has completely uprooted that 20 year belief. Peter is fae. His sometimes sociopathic tendencies stem from a ridiculously rough upbringing in old-world Ireland and among the dangerous magic of Avallach. I loved reading about Peter’s early years, learning why he only wants play and never grow up.

              This hefty tome also comes with an illustrated section. Brom, who has lent his artistic vision to RPGs, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, has beautifully drawn his characters. They fully embody the darkness, magic, and brutality of Avallach and the mortal world.

              I highly recommend The Child Thief to fans of fantasy, Peter Pan, fairy tale retellings, and adventure. Even if you don’t particularly fall into those camps, I urge everyone to give this novel a chance; you may be surprised!

              Find Brom online:
              Website | Facebook