Monday, January 20, 2014

A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin-Review

Game of Thrones Season 4 is around the corner.  I am revving up by finishing the 4th installment of the saga.  A Feast for Crows continues with different parts of the world forming alliances, plotting overthrows, and killing each other in the name of The Realm.  The book excludes some of my favorites such as Tyrion, Deanerys, Bran, and Jon, while introducing dozens of new characters that are connected with the major families of the Lannisters, Tyrells, Greyjoys, Arryns, and the remaining Tulleys.  No worries.  I started the 5th book and my favorites are back, acting in the same time frame as the others.  Martin even writes at the end of Feast how the characters intersect in Feast and Dance of Dragons simultaneously instead of chronologically.  So who has the throne?

The book leaves the throne to Tommen (Cersei's youngest) throughout the book, or Cersei as Queen Regent.  The Lannister family is dwindling.  Tyrion kills his father and is on the lam.  No one knows where he is.  Jaime leads part of his divided Knight's Guard (with one hand) into The Arryn to take over, but the Tulleys and what's left of Jon Arryn's family (Lysa and Sweet Robin) refuse to surrender.  Marcella (Tommen's sister) is sent away for protection to House Martell, a set of new characters from Dorne who live at Sunspear.  Princess Arianna plots to use Marcella as a means of toppling the crown in King's Landing.  Her plan backfires.  Back at the palace, Cersei faces a great deal of dissent from the citizens of King's Landing.  She surrounds herself with a bunch of "yes" men despite pleas from Jaime to invite her uncle into the fold as her Hand.  The scepton/church gains the upper hand when Cersei tries to frame Marjorie Tyrell, her daughter-in-law, for adultery.
House Tyrell: Marjorie becomes more popular with the "sparrows" and folk of King's Landing.  She supposedly drinks some special potion to prevent pregnancy or causes abortion-not sure.  Her family is funding much of the war.  Their power makes Cersei insecure.
House Greyjoy: Balon Greyjoy, King of the Iron Islands, dies.  Many believe his brother, Crow's Eye, killed him.  The throne is up for grabs.  Asha is next line (his daughter), but both of his brothers want it.  Crow's Eye seems to have the most backing and, so far, winning the throne.  His style is pirating, stealing, raping, and looting with his band of thugs.
House of Arryn: Littlefinger/Lord Baylish is running the kingdom with his "daughter" Alayne aka Sansa Stark.  Sweet Robin, still a boy, is technically the king of this dominion.  He is very sickly and seems to only listen to Sansa.
Others....
Brianne of Tarth: She has become somewhat of a main character.  Her past comes back to haunt her as she continues to look for the late Lady Stark's daughters.  Tragedy befalls her, but she is still alive.  Speaking of Lady Stark, there is a surprise at the end.
Sam Tarley: He was told by Jon Snow (we find out through Sam's character that Jon is Chief Commander of the Wall) to take Gillian's baby and Mansrader's baby who she is nursing along with Maester Aemon and leave.  Maester Aemon is 102 years old.  He mumbles gibberish or possibly prophecy.
My Review:  Obviously a huge fan of the series.  With that being said, A Feast for Crows is the most disappointing of the series.  Some great scenes, but too many pages, lands, and characters in between.  However, I am reading the 5th book and much of the it is nicely set up from the 4th book.  I'm hoping for the best. 
I felt that this book was too overwhelming.  I was constantly flipping to the maps on first and last pages of the book, trying to picture where the new lands were compared to the cities that I had gotten used to.  I also found the names of the characters so confusing.  For instance, there was Osney, Osfried, and Os-something or another.  Then there was Alayne, Arianna, and Alase.  There were nicknames and then AKAs and pet names and great-great-great grandmother names, giving me a headache at times.  Just to put things in perspective, Martin leaves an appendix of 63 pages filled with family trees and characters' names. 
In spite of the complicated plot, there are story lines that blew me away.  Martin sucks me into this pseudo world of his, making me forget that this is fantasy.  His dialogue continues to come off as medieval yet Shakespearean at times.  Profound comments, manipulation, selfishness, inspiration, and humor flew effortlessly out of his characters' mouths.  I would have liked the story better if he cut out half of the characters, but I'm still reading.  Very curious as to how they will film this-will they take parts of Dance of Dragons (5th book) and Feast for Crows (4th book) and splice them together for two seasons?  Will they stay true to the books, leaving out the favorites?  Still hooked and still in love with the melted sword throne.  4.5/5 Stars.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Feature Writer Bella Bue Chose ME as for her feature!


Ain't No Rest for the Wicked by Bella Bue


In honor of Miley Cryus’s music video, “Wrecking Ball,” Michigan’s Grand Valley State University had no choice but to remove their wrecking ball from the weight room.
“Too many Cryus impersonations,” said Fox News.
According to Huffington Post, last year Justin Bieber was busted for smoking marijuana. The Twitter community decided to play a sick joke and talk his fans into cutting themselves as a form of protesting against Bieber’s arrest. This was the beginning to #cutsforbieber.
The media brainwashes people. This is a society where pop-stars are gods, where smoking is cool and where reliable news stations are overruled by Twitter. However, conspiracy author Dina Rae takes this to the next level with all four of her novels: The Last Degree, Halo of the Damned, Halo of the Nephilim, and Bad Juju.
The Last Degree is a conspiracy novel I wrote to show my mistrust in the government,” said Rae. “It is the foundation of all my conspiracy theories.”
The author’s mistrust in the government holds strong throughout all of her novels, creating a unique Christian-conspiracy-horror genre.
I believe big business and corporations are evil,” said Rae. “Freshmen year in college, I took a journalism class and learned the ins and outs of advertising. Although advertising has persuasive techniques,  I consider them brainwashing.”
For the sake of a brief synopsis, Halo of the Damned and its sequel, Halo of the Nephilim, are about antagionist Andel who takes the average person to the dark side, using his advertisement company. Drug addict Joanna is left to save the day. However there is a catch-Andel and Joanna are both nephilims.
Nephilims are from the book of Enoch,” Rae said. “They are fallen angels because they disobeyed God and mated with humans. This half-human-half angel breed is real.  There is plenty of evidence to support this.”
The author cleverly disguises Andel, the leader of an advertising chain, as a dark angel. As for Joanna, she represents the conspiracist who is out to get the bad guy. However, she is masked as an addict to symbolize the stereotypical view point on conspiracists.
Halo of the Damned and Halo of the Nephilim are intended to be horror books-not conspiracy,” Rae said. “However, as a conspiracist, I can’t help but throw the message out. Media is indeed brainwashing society.”
Dina Rae’s books have an even bigger message rather than mistrust of the government. For instance, they are all religious based with a thriller twist.
I’ve always been curious on how easy it would be for the devil to possess someone who wasn’t completely stable,” Rae said.
Bad Juju is about Henry, an autistic boy, on a church mission trip to Hati. Henry ends up getting voodoo-ed by the Haitians and only one thing can un-possess him.
Bad Juju is a fictional story but has a lot of truth about the way Voodoo works. I’ve heavily research the topic,” Rae said.
Dina Rae’s goal is to not convert people through her Christian horror books, but to show the world that bad is out there just as much as the good.
As a Christian I believe the devil is just as real as God,” Rae said. “My books are not meant to showcase demons as glorious, but to show that wickedness is still powerful.”
For a chance to win a free ecopy of your choice, leave Bella a comment!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goddess Fish Presents: Dangerous Waters by CM Michaels


Dangerous Waters

by C M Michaels
 
$50 Amazon/BN GC For RAFFLE WINNER!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
 

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BLURB:

 

For Emily Waters, a nature-loving, small-town girl with an overprotective father, heading off to Boston University to study conservation biology is a dream come true—until a chance encounter catapults her into a mythical world she’d do anything to escape.

 

The latest victim in a rash of abductions near campus, Emily is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend. She survives the ordeal, only to find herself held captive and presented with an impossible choice. While preparing for the unimaginable life she must now embrace clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain. Dealing with her human first love, the not-so-platonic relationship with her coven “sister,” and her new vampire sort-of-boyfriend further complicates matters, not to mention being secretly hunted by the psychopaths who attacked her. And as the only known offspring of a once all-powerful race, the climactic battle is only the beginning of her journey.


 

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EXCERPT

 

Prologue

 

 “All rise!” the bailiff bellowed out through the hall. “This court is now in session. The honorable global court inquisitor O’Callaghan presiding.”

 

An imposing figure with short, golden locks entered from behind the bailiff, motioning for people to take their seats. He gathered his floor-length white and purple robes in his left hand, made his way over to the furthest prisoner and yanked the hood from her head.

 

“So this is the all-powerful Sienna,” the inquisitor mocked, squeezing the bound woman’s cheeks with his hand. “How disappointing.”

 

Her once beautiful face was disfigured by several charred-black electrical burns. Blood and pus oozed out of the open wounds. The pungent salve packed into her broken nose made her eyes tear up and prevented her from smelling anything.

 

“Do you have anything you wish to say in your defense before I render my verdict?” the inquisitor asked, deactivating the device around her throat so she could speak.

 

“This will never work—she knows her life is far more important than mine.”

 

“It’s possible she’d let you die,” he acknowledged. “But both of her parents, her mate and her best friend? No, I think that’s far too much to expect her to endure. Sooner or later she’ll come, and the world will celebrate her execution.”

 

Sienna snapped to attention, her green eyes widening in horror at the news of who else had been captured. “You have no idea what you’ve done—everyone in this building’s going to die.”

 

The crowd erupted at her outburst, and the inquisitor held up his hand to silence them. “And how exactly is your precious queen going to manage that? She’ll be welcomed to our fair city by twenty thousand volts from the first alarm she trips. Not enough to kill your kind, but plenty to leave her unconscious until—”

 

“Sir, a perimeter alarm’s been triggered just outside the north gate,” a soldier interrupted from the gallery.

 

He wheeled on the man in a fit of anger. “Interrupt me again, and I’ll disembowel you! People have been jumping the fence all day—contact the guards at the gate and have them check it out.”

 

“We tried sir. Calls have been placed to the guard desk, the three closest perimeter sweep teams and the north tactical unit—they’re not responding.”

 

“Who’s not responding, you imbecile!”

 

“Any of them.”

 

“It’s too late,” Sienna said, gazing at his panic-stricken face. “She’s here.”

.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

C.M Michaels grew up in a small town in northern Michigan as the youngest child of a close-knit family of seven. He met his wife, Teresa, while attending Saginaw Valley State University. Together they’ve provided a loving home for several four-legged “kids”, including Sophie, their eternally young at heart, hopelessly spoiled Spaniel.

 

He has always enjoyed writing, and still has fond memories of reading his first book, a children’s novella, to local grade schools when he was 14. Dangerous Waters, the first book in the Sisters in Blood series, is being published by Freya’s Bower on September 5th, 2013. C.M. is currently working on the second book in the Sisters in Blood series along with a Fantasy romance.

 

When he’s not writing, C.M. can be found curled up with a good book, watching movies or hitting the hiking trails with his wife. An avid reader since discovering Jim Kjelgaard novels in early childhood, his favorite authors include Kelley Armstrong, Peter V. Brett, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Claire, J.R. Ward, Laini Taylor and Tessa Dawn.

 

C.M. currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Social Media links:

 

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/UFAuthorCMMichaels

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/UFAuthor

 

Blog - http://cmmichaels.blogspot.com/

 

Website - http://cmmichaels.com/

 

YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/authorcmmichaels

 

Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7Q7m0MrwlQ

 

Buy links:

 

Buy links:


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/dangerous-waters-14

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Movie Review: Wolf of Wall Street




Last night my husband and I went to see Martin Scorcese's new flick, Wolf of Wall Street.  The story is about Jordan, an unscrupulous stockbroker who sells penny-stocks played by Leonardo DiCaprio.  He is mentored early in his career by another scumbag (Matthew McCaugnohay) who advises him to push stocks on the customers, never allowing them to cash out with their money.  Because of the 1987 Black Monday stock crash, Jordan finds himself out of a job.  He is very young and newly married  (his first wife is played by Game of Thrones' wife of Rob Stark).  He quickly gets a job selling penny stocks and shows the entire office how to sell.  It's not as prestigious as the blue-chips, but the money is astronomical.  Donny (Jonah Hill) sees his flashy Jaguar and hits him up for a job.  The two embark on their own business with Jordan taking the brokers from the penny-stock brokerage with him.  They sharpen up their act and then move on to rich investors, pushing garbage stocks all the while.  Steve Madden soon joins them as they take his shoe stock public, of course buying more than half the shares first, which is insider trading and illegal.  Early on in the business Jordan comes off as more of a beloved general or fraternity brother than boss.  He rewards his men with prostitutes all of the time.  He also supplies them with drugs.  Qualudes and cocaine are the favorite.
Jordan's personal life crumbles.  His wife divorces him after finding out that he is in love with another woman, Naomi or wife number #2.  His new marriage to a much more stylish and good-looking woman is accessorized with a yaught and a mansion in Long Island.  The fairytale soon ends as he drifts back to drugs and whores and making money.  The FBI become alerted and begin tailing him.  The SEC is also on his butt.  He turns into a typical money launderer and smuggles millions of dollars into Switzerland.  Things come to a head.  NO SPOILER ALERT!
 

My Opinion:
I love Scorcese.  His movies always seem to be about entitlement and indulgence.  It's always a fun ride to watch flawed characters fall.  There were so many things that I liked about this movie-the acting, dialogue, and clever direction.  Sometimes DiCaprio would talk to the camera and sometimes we would hear the characters' thoughts and sometimes we would see what the character saw when stoned.  The movie made me want to NEVER invest with a stock broker.  These kind of people make used-car salesmen look like patron saints of honesty.  I couldn't help but see parts of Casino and Goodfellas in the movie.  One part of the movie DiCaprio had an easy out of his mess, but pride prevented him from saving himself.  I also saw a glimmer of Pulp Fiction during one of the drugged out scenes between DiCaprio and Hill-very funny by the way. 
Things that I didn't like were the three hours.  Too long for any movie.  I also didn't like the heightened level of vulgarity brought into this movie.  The R-rating is inappropriate.  Orgy scenes between skanky women and paunchy men were uncomfortable.  A gay orgy scene with the butler was even thrown into the mix.  Another odd scene showed Jonah Hill about to masterbate in public to a pretty girl.  There was also the disturbing scene when DiCaprio dry-humped a stewardess on a plane.  Maybe that was the point-to show what true-blue pigs these people were.  Drugs were also glamorized.  Everyone rich, good-looking, and cool were stoned out of their minds.  Regardless, I was somewhat taken aback and hope this is not the direction that R-rated movies will be taking.
Overall, I cannot give it less than a solid 4/1/2 stars.  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Movie Review: American Hustle



I spent my New Year's Eve with my daughters and good friends who really wanted to go to the movies.  We chose American Hustle over Wolf of Wall Street. My husband unfortunately had to work and he thought this movie looked boring anyway.  I, on the otherhand, was especially excited because of all the positive movie reviews, some going as far as Oscar nods.  I loved Christian Bale since Batman Begins and also love Jennifer Lawrence.
The story is an odd combination of simple and complicated. A married conman, Irving,(Christian Bale) strikes up an affair and a shady business arrangement with Edith (Amy Adams). Jennifer Lawrence is Irving's controlling wife who doesn't care if he cheats just as long as he doesn't leave. Irving and Edith are conning away on this scheme that promises a huge line of credit in return for $5,000 fee. Of course there is no line of credit. Irving and Edith just pocket the fee.
The con made little sense to me as to why someone would actually trust a stranger to give them 50,000 in exchange for paying the stranger 5,000, but I'm there to be entertained and supposedly parts of this movie are true. I'd also like to throw in how their office was complete dump. My laundry room is a more conducive place of business.
Eventually the two main characters get busted by Bradly Cooper, the FBI agent. He "turns" them to get bigger fish and learn the game. Their prime mark is the mayor of some city in New Jersey (Jeremy Renner). They use an Arabic-looking Mexican to act as the billionaire who is interested in revamping the boardwalk. Irving develops a friendship and goes "soft" in the end when the poor mayor schmuck finds out he's being used. The plot gets more whacked out when the mob (Robert DeNiro) is brought into the mix. Spoiler Alert: The conman and his lady outsmart the FBI and live happily ever after.
My Opinion: The plot had many holes. The scams were either inadequately explained or just poorly written. As an avid watcher of American Greed I hoped for more details and credibility.  The ending was ridiculous-the conman felt "bad" after getting his mayor friend in trouble and returned 2,000,000 that he scammed from the FBI to help out his "friend". If Bernie Madoff gets to see this flick, he'll be rolling on the floor of his jail cell.
The things that I liked were the dialogue and '70s clothes. Amy Adams looked smoking hot throughout the whole movie, wearing low-cut shirts that showed off her boobs. Jennifer Lawrence also looked great and had many funny lines. Christian Bale was transformed from the best looking guy in Hollywood to a middle-aged, balding man with a paunch. Bradly Cooper looked hysterical with a perm. Once you get passed the flashy setting and costumes there wasn't too much substance. The movie reminded me of Ocean's 11 and 12-you want so desperately to like the movie, but in the end the dots just don't connect and you are left with a picture doesn't make any sense. I give it 3/5 stars and I am being generous. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Target: Conspiracy Theory Part IV

Less than two weeks ago my dear friend James Martin called Target out for what they really were-a bunch of identity thieves. The story just keeps on going and going just like the Energizer Bunny. James told me today that the latest Target development shows how Target "forgot" to activate their giftcards. As of right now, 40,000 giftcards (that we know of) have no value. Supposedly Target will honor the cards. Questions: Can people lie and say their cards are worth much more than they were supposed to be worth? Can people pocket blank cards and go back inside to Target and pawn them off as gifts? How can Target monitor what they sold versus what people say they actually have? Leave a comment and Happy New Year!