Friday, November 26, 2010

The TV season so far- part 2

Today I’ll be recapping the progress of some my favourite shows.

Attention the post contains “spoilers”.

Supernatural:  The speculation about whether season six would make the cut was the buzz with the fans when the show started this fall and so far the show has managed to maintain the quality.  I love the resurrection of the grandfather, Samuel and the bump in status of Crowley the demon, plus the “Sam has no soul” plotline has the makings of brilliance.  I do miss the whole “Sam and Dean” interplay, but this new dynamic is intriguing.

Dexter: Coming off the infamous “Trinity” storyline, the show has again altered direction with a marvellous new plotline.  In the midst of a narrative chock full of themes of grief, redemption and revenge, Dexter has found a new bloody playmate and protégé.  Completing the dark delight are new targets and enemies lurking around the corner.

Vampire Diaries:  This show keeps getting better; it is a multi-layered drama that goes beyond the “teenage vampire” craze.   So far this season there has been the return of vampire Katherine, Caroline unwilling joining the vampire ranks, werewolves, uber-vamps and an ancient curse that put a target on the backs of our stalwart vamp heroes Stefan and Damon and their love-interest Elena.

Smallville:  This, the tenth and last, season has actually risen above the mediocrity of recent years and shown some quality.  They have shifted the focus off all the complicated storylines and put it back where in belonged: on the characters.  We have actually seen some introspection and character growth and the new Darkseid story arc has actually been intriguing.

Fringe:  This show is what every sci-fi program should aspire to:  a well-acted, tense, compelling drama.  The parallel, two universe storyline has expanded the dynamic of the show and let Anna Torv (Olivia) stretch her acting chops.  I can’t wait to see what happens when the storylines finally collide.

Some more favourites worth watching.

Chuck:  Occasionally an episode misfires here and there, but it is still the most entertaining geek spy show on TV.

Castle:  Just another fabulous season of high jinks, fun and murder with Beckett, Castle and company.

Bones:  Murders, science and gruesome forensics.  What more could you ask?

The Mentalist:  More metal trickery to catch murderers, with some intriguing teasers in the Red John sub-plot.

Human Target:  The new season started with a bang and looks to be a solid run of engaging action.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The TV season so far- part 1

I’ve been featuring books here lately and it’s time for a switch in topics with a little rundown on this year’s television season as I see it.
Today, I’m talking about some of the new shows that debuted this fall.  In my opinion, there have been a few standouts, a couple of watchable shows and some disappointments.

  • Hawaii Five-O- This cop show is gorgeous (in both cast and setting), action-packed and just plain fun.  It is fast becoming one of my favourites.
  • The Event- I didn’t know what to expect when this show debuted, but it is a gripping show.  It has a solid sci-fi/conspiracy plotline that doles out just enough information to tease and intrigue, but not frustrate you.
  • $#*! My Dad Says- The best thing I can say about this sitcom is it makes me laugh out loud.
  • Nikita- I was surprised by this one, but it is a great show.  It’s intriguing, dramatic with some fabulous spy action.  
  • The Defenders- A bit goofy and at times earnest, but the two leads, Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell, charm and so does the show.
  • Law and Order: Los Angeles- A sturdy addition to the Law and Order family, with good acting and engaging plots. 
  • No Ordinary Family- I wanted to like this show, but it was too humdrum with way too much family angst.  I did not think you could make superheroes boring until I watched this show.
  • Undercovers- The previews for this show looked cool, but it sucks.  The two romantic leads have no chemistry, the spy plots are ridiculous and overall the show is tedious.
  • Chase- This isn’t exactly a bad show, but I found it lacklustre.  I felt it tried too hard to be serious and it never connected.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2:1 Sales? Holy Ebook, Amazon!

Today I'm spotlighting the new publishing trend of ebooks with guest blogger, Andrew Hall, and his thoughts on rising sales of these books:

2:1 Sales? Holy Ebook, Amazon!

Fun fact: Amazon is now selling two ebooks for every print book it sells. This is a major shift in how readers are choosing to consume literature and one with long-term consequences for the publishing industry, as the world's largest bookseller is now pushing digital product far more effectively than physical (and that's what its users want).

A number of factors can account for this, and the first is the Kindle. Amazon's ebook reader has become a wildly popular device and a touchstone for the concept of ebook readers, much as the iPod completely changed how people thought of MP3 players. The convenience of the Kindle has done away with the stigmas of inconvenience and tedium (and unreadable screens) attached to ebook readers of old, and Amazon selling both a reader and material for that reader, much like Apple's iPod and iTunes Music Store tie-ins, have proven hugely effective in pushing the product.

Another potential explanation is simple: instant gratification. As opposed to paying for shipping and handling waiting for a product to arrive, or risking losing it in the mail, purchasing an ebook means that the book arrives within a few seconds (or perhaps a few minutes, depending on the quality of your internet connection) and can be read as soon as it's downloaded. Actual books have a waiting period, and our culture does not like waiting for things.

Furthermore, ebooks are considerably less wasteful than printed pages. While there's much to be said about the printed page - it's more likely to be preserved, you can show people what you're reading when you're in public and maybe impress someone in the process, it doesn't suffer from glare - the ebook doesn't require trees to be chopped down or inks to be used, and it can be distributed immediately, rather than in several weeks after the book is printed and bound. Given that many users are conscious about their carbon footprints, an ebook reader seems like an easy solution to the problems of producing paper books, which require machinery and sophisticated manufacturing processes. While the Kindle also requires manufacturing, it only needs to be made once, not every time someone wants to purchase a book, perhaps making it appear to be a more environmentally friendly way to get reading material.

Within the next few years, Amazon's print to digital sales ratio is only going to slide more and more in favor of digital, much like CDs were phased out in favor of downloads. This is definitely indicative of a larger trend.

Andrew Hall is a guest blogger and a writer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Spotlight: Refracted

The Spotlight Is On:

Refracted by Sheila Deeth

Rivers are drying and crops are dying, but children run and play in the fields, and think they might even enjoy setting monsters free. Of course, the parents won’t approve, but that’s the least of their problems, come the flood.

Next time he wakes, the young man remembers running in different fields. But he still can’t catch the girl, or find how to stay in one place. Loves proves as elusive as gold at rainbow’s end, and time slips through his fingers once again.

Maybe it’s fate. Maybe fame and fortune have something in mind. Or maybe when the seconds finally runs out someone else might help him find what he’s looking for.

Refracted is available from

It is also available from Smashwords, or directly from the publisher:

Author Bio:

Sheila Deeth describes herself as an English American, a Catholic Protestant, a mathematician who can’t add up and a writer who can’t spell. She grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States with her husband and sons, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.

Her website
You can also find her childrens' Bible books at, or visit to find out more of her refracted dreams.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Spotlight: Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...

The Spotlight Is On: 

Once Upon a Dark and Eerie... by A. F. Stewart

Snippets, sonnets and stories to make you shiver.

A morbid and morose collection of tales designed to scare, dismay and leave you wondering.  Open the pages into worlds of horror, dark fantasy, and satire, where things creep in shadowy corners, where they like to hear you scream.

Once Upon a Dark and Eerie... will show you it isn’t safe in space, why fairy tales, clowns and rubber duckies are more than what they seem and why you should lock your doors in the dark.

Available at Smashwords:

To receive a dollar off the price, use the coupon code, WZ73F, at the checkout.  This discount lasts until Christmas.

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