Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Spotlight: We've Seen Santa

Now Featuring:

We've Seen Santa by Tiffany A. Higgins:

 It's every childs dream to catch Santa leaving presents under the tree. Falling asleep on Christmas Eve is a struggle! You hear a sound. What was it? Could it be Santa?
We've Seen Santa is the story of a brother and sister who sneak out of bed and go downstairs to take a peek. Will Santa be eating the cookies they left out for him? Will he be the jolly man they imagine? Will he be happy to see them? An unforgettable Christmas is in store for the siblings!


Author Bio:
Tiffany A. Higgins is the author of We've Seen Santa. She was born in St. Charles, Illinois, grew up in Plano, Texas, and currently resides near Richmond, Michigan. She credits her family, and especially her children, for inspiring her to write. “As I read my stories to my family, I watch their faces. Even my ‘too good for parents’ teenaged son will sit and listen. He smiles and seems to really enjoy himself.”
We’ve Seen Santa is a bedtime story that was created for Higgins’ daughter when she was two. Her husband, Clark L. Higgins, illustrated the story for her. “This book project,” Higgins says, “has brought us all closer.”  Higgins’ next book tells the story of the seasons. Its working title is When Seasons Change. She has always loved writing. She has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has dabbled in poetry, short stories, children's stories and hopes to one day write a novel. She is excited to be being published for the first time in her life. This book deal is fulfilling a lifelong dream of hers.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Recap of Season Finales and Cancellations

I’m a bit late in posting this, as the official season ended on May 25th, but here it is anyway.

Our favourite shows have wound up for the season, giving us weddings, shocks and death galore.  Here’s a round-up of some of the best season finales:

Chuck:  My favourite geeky spy show ended with a nail-biter of a near-death (poor Sarah nearly bit it) and the team got fired from the CIA (it looks like next season they’re going freelance).  Happier events included the long awaited (yay!) wedding of Chuck and Sarah and, well now the gang is really, really rich thanks to the Volkoffs.  And then there was the big shocker, Morgan downloading the Intersect!
-The Best Wedding Award

Castle:  This one was a tear-jerker and an emotional roller-coaster.  Captain Montgomery turned out to be a bad guy, but heroically sacrificed his life in the end to try and protect Beckett from the assassin! And Beckett ended up getting shot anyway at his funeral, where (as she lay dying? passing out?) Castle finally admitted he loved her!
- The Best Good Guy Turned Villain Award

Hawaii Five-0:   High drama and cliff-hangers were the order of the day.  The team played cat and mouse with Wo Fat and got burned as they uncovered the fact the governor was in the pocket of the criminal.  To make matters worse the theft of the money (from earlier in the season) was discovered with Kono the prime suspect, Chin re-joined HPD and Steve got framed for the governor’s murder.  Also, Danny’s happy reconciliation with his ex-wife may be short lived as she and his daughter have seemingly left Hawaii.
-The Best “I Can’t Believe They Did That” That Award

How I Met Your Mother:  This one only needs one sentence:  It was Barney’s wedding! Oh, and Lily and Marshall are finally expecting a kid.
-The Best “I Did Not See That Coming” Award

The Mentalist:  We had bombs, the return of Hightower, betrayals, traps, twists and turns that all led to Grace’s Red John spy, rat of a fiancĂ© getting shot and the final face-to-face showdown between Patrick Jane and Red John.  And those last moments in the mall where Patrick shoots his nemesis dead (at least we hope he’s dead).
-The Best Storyline Wrap-up Award

Bones:  On this finale we got murder, bowling, a baby and one heck of a surprise announcement when Bones tells Booth she’s pregnant with his kid.
-The Best “What The****” Award

Fringe:  We saw the future and it wasn’t pretty.  One world was dead, another slowly be destroyed.  Walter was in jail and Walternate ended killing future Olivia.  But of course our Walter came up with a last minute plan to fix everything; present time Peter created a bridge between worlds and allowed the alternate world counterparts to meet.  And then Peter was promptly erased from existence!!!
-The Best Headache Inducing Paradox Award

Smallville:  The series finale had cold feet, life (and destiny) re-evaluation, an almost wedding disrupted by Oliver trying to kill Clark (and Oliver was saved from the darkness, yay), and the near total destruction of Earth by Darkseid and Apokolips.  Oh, and A certain superhero showed his red and blue at the end.
-The Best Wedding Interruption Award

Supernatural:   Let’s see, the first hour revisited the Ben and Lisa situation with a kidnap and rescue operation and tied up that loose end with the bittersweet solution of having Castiel wipe the memories of Dean from their minds.  And all hell broke loose (literally) in Sam’s mind during the second hour and left stopping the Castiel/Crowley hunt for Purgatory up to Dean and Bobby.   A few deaths (poor Balthazar) and betrayals ensue, and Sam finally shows up, but the boys are too late.  Castiel outfoxed everybody and now wants to be the new God.  And it looks like he’s got the juice to give it a shot.
-The Best Cliffhanger Award

Honourable Mentions:
  • The Big Bang Theory:  Penny and Raj hooked up!
  • Vampire Diaries:  Stephan turned bad, two dead characters came back.
  • Nikita: Amanda staged a coup and Alex is on her side.
  • NCIS:  The Port-to-Port killer was killed and there’s a traitor in NCIS.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles:  The season finale left questions galore about Hetty and Callan’s mysterious past.
  • The Event:  Sofia was stopped in her attempt to release the virus, but she did manage to portal her entire planet (literally the planet) into Earth’s vicinity.

The end of the network TV season also means casualties as some of our favourite shows lose the renewal battle.  Some of the fallen this year are:
  • Human Target
  • Lie to Me
  • The Cape
  • The Event
  • V
  • No Ordinary Family

On a happier note, Supernatural, Chuck, and Fringe all got another season.

For a full list of renewals and cancellations see:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Spotlight: Goodbye Milky Way

The Spotlight Is On:

Goodbye Milky Way – An Earth in Jeopardy Adventure by Dan Makaon: 

Tom is a freelance project manager with a reputation for getting results for corporations and governments. But he’s never been up against a challenge like this.

The earthquake that triggered the Asian tsunami did more than kill 283,000 people. It caused a shift in the axial tilt of the Earth. But what could have caused such a powerful earthquake and its unusual tectonic activity? An eclectic group of scientists, calling themselves the Star-Slayer Team, calculates that the cause of the quake emanates from the depths of space, threatening all of mankind with extinction.
Tom leads a harrowing expedition to Antarctica and discovers an ancient secret that can help save mankind. He joins the Star-Slayer Team and leads massive and dangerous construction projects in Ecuador and on the Moon.
Assisted by Aieda, a powerful and sophisticated computer, the team has only seven years to develop the mechanism that will save the Earth and the Moon. With Einstein-like intelligence, and even adopting a female persona, Aieda believes her new theory governing gravity and space-time will save humanity. But can she be trusted?

Goodbye Milky Way is also on Kobo 

Author Bio:

Dan Makaon is a lifelong fan of science fiction and it was his fascination with science as a child that led to his pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in science. 
Having earned his B.S. in Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, he spent much of his six years in the Air Force in the Space and Missile Systems Organization where he learned, first hand, about the weapon systems development and procurement processes.
While in the Air Force, the author earned his M.S. degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. Upon resigning his commission as a Captain, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for his innovative computer information systems work. The author's interest then shifted to the specialty chemicals industry where he focused on management and manufacturing processes. Ultimately, he operated his own supply chain management consulting business.
Armed with a solid understanding of technology and scientific principles, and boyhood daydreams of imaginary worlds, Dan’s passion for science fiction has never wavered. He continues to pursue his literary interests while living with his wife in Florida.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Doctor Who: Thoughts on "The Doctor's Wife"

The Doctor's Wife was, to quote previous incarnations of the Doctor, fantastic and brilliant.  Those words could also be applied to the writer of the episode, Neil Gaiman, but I might be biased as he's one of my favourite authors anyway.

I think the subject of this particular episode has been a long time coming, as it finally addressed the issue of the love affair between the Doctor and the TARDIS.  The fact that the TARDIS is the Doctor's one true love has been sitting underneath the surface for some time and it popped out in a big way.


In a nutshell, the plot thickens as the Doctor, companions and TARDIS are lured through nefarious means outside the universe (Yes, outside, and I'm with Rory on this one.  How can you be outside the universe?) to a junkyard of all places.  They land, and the TARDIS matrix is promptly sucked out of her little blue box.and into a woman.  An evil entity/asteroid then steals the remains of the TARDIS, plus Rory and Amy.  The Doctor and the TARDIS matrix then have to save everyone, including themselves, and that's when the real fun begins.

The interplay between the Doctor and the human TARDIS played perfectly, from her confession that she stole him, and not the other way around, to when they argue like an old married couple building a new ship.  It was a serious of joyful and intimate scenes, where all (or at least some of) the truths came out.
And the other subplot of the episode reversed the dynamic between Rory and Amy as they try to survive in the TARDIS shell.  Rory is the one in control and it's Amy's insecurities that make her vunerable.  Rory (mostly) gets to to save the day.  My favourite part was when the human TARDIS calls Rory "the pretty one".

Of course the Doctor and his TARDIS save the day, and sadly everything goes back to the way it was, with the matrix back inside the TARDIS.  But you can't cork the bottle entirely, because after all, Doctor Who is essentially about a boy and his box who ran away to the stars.  The rest of us just tag along for the ride.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Book Spotlight: The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip

The Spotlight Is On:

The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip by Carrie King:

Joni-Pip lived a pampered life with her family in Bath, England until the bombings of World War II forced them to escape to Knotty Knook, their cottage in Windy Woods on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest. On their journey there, Joni-Pip meets three young strangers who suddenly appear, briefly speak to her and then disappear. Unaware they will play an important part in her life, Joni-Pip soon forgets about them. At Knotty Knook, Joni-Pip and her teddy bear Ethelred-Ted (who is much, much more than an ordinary teddy bear), play in the woods and visit her grandfather at his nearby cottage but strange things happen in Sherwood Forest and through what appears to be a tragic event, Joni-Pip begins a magical journey through time.

Note:  There are several different editions of this children's book, as listed here on Goodreads: 

Author Bio:

Writer Carrie King’s idyllic English life came to an abrupt end in April 2000, when her husband and childhood sweetheart was killed in a horrific accident at work. She felt she would never write another creative word or paint another creative stroke again.  Gradually, encouraged by the help and support of her family, friends and the NHS (Carrie had three years intensive Therapy through Psychologist, Nadine Field and her Doctor, Melanie Munro), she decided to try and resume her work on her Children’s Adventure, The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip, a book she had started writing before her husband’s death.  Sadly, she still couldn’t find the solace she needed and felt restless.
From 2003, she spent time in Paris and La Fouasse, West France and she took out her writing and wrote for a month; stopping once she returned to her home in Buckinghamshire, England. She didn’t think she would ever write again in England. She went on to write in New York, Memphis, Portland (Oregon) and Vancouver, Canada but whenever she returned home, she fell once more into the dark shadows of grief over her beloved husband and could write nothing.   In 2005, she stayed at Sherwood Forest, and found the area both comforting and inspiring, so at last Carrie resumed her writing of Joni-Pip in England!
It has been a long, hazardous and painful journey and many times Carrie thought that she would never make it but she has and she is so happy that she has triumphed over her tragedy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Spotlight: The Manus System

The Spotlight Is On:

The Manus System by Guy Betar:

Find out what happens when mankind invents a spaceship so advanced, so complex, that it can enter and interact with the human brain.

Author Bio:

Guy has always had an interest in writing and being creative. His profession is that of a lawyer, but his passion is creativity in literature and music. He has always had a fascination with fantasy and sc-fi literature, since having read the Lord of the Rings when he was quite young, and that fascination has grown to encompass many of today’s prominent fantasy authors.
Guy is keen to write a variety of short stories in the fantasy, sci fi and related genres, and at the same time pursue his ultimate goal of writing fantasy books. His love of music, especially composing music and songs and playing guitar, add another element to his creative side.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Book Spotlight: Tales of Aradia the Last Witch: Volume 1

The Spotlight Is On:

Tales of Aradia the Last Witch: Volume 1 by  L.A. Jones:

The Salem Witch Trials were as we all know a horrific turning point in history. It showed people how far their paranoia could lead them to; murder, persecution, and betrayal. Unknown to the humans, however, there were actually real witches located not just in Salem but all over the world including other magical beings like fairies, vampire, werewolves etc. However, once the events of the Salem Witch trials came to be the other races began to fear exposure to the humans and without so much as a second thought all the witches of the world were hunted down and killed. There was not one witch whom survived the genocide or at least that's what all the vampires, werewolves, and other races thought. But one day a girl named Aradia moves to Salem, MA and all that changes.

Tales of Aradia the Last Witch: Volume 1 is also available on Smashwords.

Author Bio:
L.A. Jones is a twenty-four old college student from Bethesda, MD. She has a mother, father, and a sister who is also in college. Her greatest passion is her writing, and hopes it will give as much joy to her readers as it does for herself. Tales of Aradia the Last Witch is her first book series. You can contact her on the Tales of Aradia's Facebook Page.

You can find the author and her books on Smashwords and Goodreads.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Blockbuster Summer Flicks

Upcoming Summer Films

The wafting warm weather is nearly here and it is time for the thoughts of all to turn to... movies. Yes, the summer movie season is about to descend upon the film-going public in force over the next few months, with the release of the box-office blockbusters. The opening of the Vin Diesel/Paul Walker sequel, Fast Five, last week and the much anticipated Thor this week has the cycle already off to a good start, but there is much more to come.

Here is a sample of some of the more interesting flicks to watch out for.

Sequels or Prequels:

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:
Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow. This time Jack tangles with Blackbeard (Ian McShane) as he hunts for the Fountain of Youth. Add in some zombies and mermaids for some whacked out adventures. Opens in theatres May 20th.

The Hangover Part 2:
The boys are back to tear up a new town, and this time they’re going international. They are off to Bangkok for more escapades, memory loss and laughter. Opens in theatres May 26th.

Kung Fu Panda 2:
Po and the Furious Five face another crisis. They must save kung fu from being wiped out of existence by an evil peacock. Opens in theatres May 26th.

X-Men: First Class:
A prequel to the X-Men films, the movie explores the early years of Professor X (James McAvoy) and the beginnings of the X-men. Opens in theatres June 3rd.

Cars 2:
Lightning McQueen races in the World Grand Prix, while his pal Mater plays spy a la James Bond in this animated sequel to Cars. Opens in theatres June 24th.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2:
The last Harry Potter movie. It all ends with this one and we bid adieu to Harry, Hogwarts and all his friends. Opens in theatres July 15th.

Original Films and Remakes:

Green Lantern:
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) comes to life, with the origin story of the Green Lantern. If the trailers are anything to go by, this comic book flick is going to be fun. Opens in theatres June 17th.

Captain America: The First Avenger:
Another superhero origin story, this time of Steve Rogers, Captain America, as he goes head to head with the Red Skull. Opens in theatres July 22nd.

Cowboys and Aliens:
Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde, it is an intriguing mix of the sci-fi and western genres. In 1875 Arizona, the town of Absolution gets a close encounter when aliens start abducting people. It is up to a gunslinger, a lady prospector and a military Colonel to save the day. Opens in theatres July 29th.

Fright Night:
A remake (in 3D no less) of the 1985 cult hit of the same name. This one stars Colin Farrell as a vampire who becomes the new neighbour of a nosy teenager who discovers his secret. Opens in theatres Aug 19th.

So there are just a few highlights in the mix of films coming soon to a theatre near you.

 Article first published as Upcoming Summer Films on Blogcritics.

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