Thursday, July 26, 2012

Warehouse 13 Season 4, Episode 1: A New Hope

Warehouse 13 is back!! Woohoo!!! I am excited to jump back into this series with all the questions season 3 left us hanging with.

SPOILER ALERT: In these episode reviews I will be discussing what happens without being careful about what I say, so don't read on unless you have seen it or don't care about spoilers.

First of all, might I jump for joy that H.G. Wells is back. She is my favourite character (right up there with Pete) and I've been hoping all summer that somehow Artie's watch would be able to bring her back. Fingers crossed that she will return as a Warehouse agent and be a regular on the series.

This episode took a dark turn, and I think is foreshadowing more darkness to come. Brrrr. I thought the writers and actors did a really good job of making these scenes full of emotion, even though we were pretty sure that Artie was going to turn back time. I mean, Pete's death--I almost cried. And is it setting things up for Claudia to become the villain of this series? That would make me sad, but the idea has potential. She could make a pretty awesome villain.

I think this episode has set the mood for exciting events to unravel. What were your thoughts?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Top 10 VG Countdown - #1: MASS EFFECT

Mass Effect is a series of sci-fi role-playing games, developed by BioWare (a Canadian company that has produced many awesome video games, including Dragon Age and Star Wars: The Old Republic). This game is top notch--hence why it is my number one. The story line, game play, voice acting, characters, galaxy, and graphics are amazing.

The first game follows Commander Shepard and his/her mission to rid the galaxy of an evil mechanical race called the Reapers. The Reapers have been hibernating in dark space, waiting to invade the Milky Way and destroy all life in the galaxy with a plan that has been in place for many years. I will not say more than that on the story or go into the plot of Mass Effect 2 or 3, because if you haven't played it, I don't want to ruin anything.

I am impressed by everything about these games, but let's start with the gameplay. Mass Effect can be a different experience for every player, because there is so much customization involved. You can choose to be a male or female Commander Shepard, customize your appearance, and select a history, psychological profile, and one of six military specializations (each class of military specialization focuses on either combat, tech, or biotic talents). These choices might affect dialogue or cut scenes throughout the game, as well as your combat experience. The third-person-shooter combat is exciting and tons of fun. You can use a variety of different weapons or skills (depending what kind of military specialization you choose) and equip armor.

The first time I played, I chose to be a Vanguard, which was super fun because it is a combination of combat and biotic abilities. I could use pistols and shotguns as well as throw, lift, and warp people with my biotic powers. Second time, I went Soldier, which was completely different and just as fun as I could use any kind of weapon and equip heavy armor, so I could take a beating. Each class has its advantages and disadvantages.

Now let's talk story line. The plot plays out like a fantastic movie, but there is also choice involved throughout the game. The dialogue options allow you to gain Paragon or Renegade points. These are not strictly "good" or "bad" moral decisions, but generally Renegade dialogue options are more brutal actions and Paragon more compassionate. When you get enough points in either the Renegade or Paragon scale, you get bonus skills and new dialogue options open up to charm or intimidate people when you need to.

I could go on a lot more about the awesomeness of this game, but I will leave it at one last point: the world and the characters. The characters are well developed, realistic, and the voice acting is fantastic. If you haven't fallen in love with most of them by the time you are done this game, there is something wrong with you. The sci-fi world BioWare has created is incredibly in depth and so well thought out. I am amazed at the amount of work put into this game series, and I am going to be replaying it for many years to come.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Goodbye Eureka!

With its last episode airing this past Monday, Eureka has ended its 5 season run, and what a run it had. Some shows lose their magic halfway through (Lost, anyone?), but Eureka was a load of fun and good storytelling all the way. You can read my review of the show here. Endings are a tricky business, but I thought they nailed the finale; it was perfect. Plot lines were resolved, old characters made reappearances (I was happy to see Taggart chasing that dog again), science went wrong. What more could I ask for?

Eureka is a funny show with great characters and wacky events. If you haven't seen it, you are in luck, because now you can buy the five seasons and watch them all the way through without having to wait impatiently for the next episode. I will miss the show, but I'm glad it went out strong and that it got a decent ending.

What did you think of the Eureka finale?

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Prog Metal Album

The news you've all been waiting for! The new progressive metal band, Audassy, has recently released their first album, Reflections, and it is free to download and listen to. There are only three songs, but they are fairly lengthy as progressive metal music tends to be. I generally don't listen to songs that are over five minutes because I get bored, but I was not bored with these at all (there is something to be said about progressive metal not being repetitive). The songs are really tight with great melodies and lyrics. Give 'em a listen. You can hear Dream Theater and Seventh Wonder influences, I think.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


It was really soon for a reboot, but I am glad they made this movie because I enjoyed it much more than the previous ones. Apparently, this one follows the comic plot line much more closely, though I wouldn't know because I have never read the comics.

I loved the actors they chose for this one. Andrew Garfield is the perfect combination of snark and awkwardness. I enjoyed his embarrassing moments with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey at the beginning. I also found it refreshing that he wasn't the "geek" in the high school being force-fed a disgusting lunch by the school hotshot. That story was used up in the first series, and I'm glad they wrote his character a little differently this time. Peter Parker wasn't the geek or the cool kid, he was somewhere in between--someone with the guts to stand up for what is right.

This movie was a perfect combination of character development, action, and back story. I liked the bits they included about Peter's past and his parents. I liked how the villain wasn't black-and-white evil. And even though you sometimes knew what was coming (certain character deaths, for example), the scenes were played out so well that they were still emotionally jarring. This is one of the best movies I've seen this year (after The Avengers, of course). Definitely worth seeing in theaters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Upcoming Posts

I apologize for my absence from the blogosphere lately. I am moving in the next month or two, and am busy trying to find a job and an apartment. I will try to post twice a week, and I do have some exciting reviews and posts upcoming.

Upcoming Book Reviews

White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors (White Raven #1)
Author: Irina Lopatina
Publisher: Light Messages
Pub Date: July 30, 2012
Read the synopsis for White Raven on Goodreads here.

I am part of the TLC book tour for this one. I was interested by the synopsis and the author's background. She is from Russia and says she was inspired by visiting archaeological sites of ancient settlements on mountain plateaus and reading Russian fairy tales as well as books by J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin. I have only read the first few pages just today, but the introduction has already intrigued me. We'll see if it continues to hold my interest.

Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1)
Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Knopf Books
Pub Date: September 11, 2012
Read the synopsis for Shadowfell on Goodreads here.

A land where magic is forbidden? A tyrannical king? A group of rebels fighting for freedom? These are plot devices used again and again, but if written well, I will still enjoy them every time. I've read the first few chapters of this one and the writing is captivating. I am interested in Neryn, her unique gifts, and the stranger who helped her out of a bad situation. I look forward to reading more of this first installment from Marillier's new series.

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse #1)
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pub Date: October 2, 2012
Read the synopsis for The Assassin's Curse on Goodreads here.

Ananna is the daughter of a high ranking family and escapes an arranged marriage, only to have to run from an assassin they hire to kill her. She ends up allying herself with said assassin after she saves his life. I am excited to read this one because I am a sucker for bad guy turned good, and the story sounds fascinating. It seems (and the cover looks) like it has an Arabian feel to it, and I love fantasy that focuses on another culture. It's also got some great reviews already.

Upcoming Movie Review

Yes, I saw The Amazing Spiderman this past weekend, and yes, it was awesome. I will tell you precisely why it was awesome very soon.

Upcoming TV Show

Season 4 of Warehouse 13 premieres on July 23. Who wants to watch it with me? If you have never seen the show, it is a great series that follows Secret Service Agents Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) and Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), who are assigned to work for Warehouse 13, which is located in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota. Myka and Pete's job is to find dangerous artifacts that have magical properties, bag 'em and tag 'em. The show has great characters; you gotta love them. Season 2 has been my favourite so far, and I'm hoping this next series will be a similar fun and wild adventure.

Upcoming Random Posts of Geeky Subject Matter

Stay tuned for my number one video game in my Top 10 Video Game Countdown post series.

Who's old enough to remember the Commodore 64? (You can't have to be that old, because I remember it.) I'm going to take a trip down nostalgia road and remember some of my faovurite C64 games, where my love of gaming all began.

Just can't get your kid interested in reading? I'm going to let you in on my Childhood Favourite Fantasy and Sci-Fi Books, guaranteed to get them interested in the written word. And if not, well, you will probably enjoy these books too, because they are wonderful. Who says adults can't read kid books? I certainly don't.

What's the deal with Gamer Names? Haven't thought too much about this post topic yet, but I think it might be fun to discuss.

A new and totally awesome progressive metal band has emerged, releasing their first album this past Monday. And it is free to listen to! I will let you in on who they are and the link to download their debut album.

So, any of these upcoming posts sound interesting to you? If none of them do, I'm not sure what you're doing here. Happy Wednesday to one and all!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Have you ever submitted a piece of writing somewhere that you knew was not your best, because then if it gets rejected, you can say "Well, that's okay. It wasn't my best work"? I have done this before. I don't feel so bad about those rejections, because I wasn't writing in the genre I love, or I didn't take the time to make the piece really shine. If I had sent them my best work, they would, of course, have been blown away.

And behind that reasoning is the fear that if I did ever send my best work away, it would be rejected too, and then I might really feel bad about myself because I don't have any excuses to hide behind.

How do I get over this insecurity? I'm not sure, but I send my best writing out despite that feeling because I know my polished writing is good and someone, somewhere is going to enjoy the stories that come from my crazy imagination.

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Check the link for some of the other blogs participating in this event!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book Review: CassaStar

Author: Alex J. Cavanaugh
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
Pub Date: October 2010

Byron is a talented Cosbolt pilot, and he knows it. During his pilot training on Guaard, he is determined to prove his worth to everyone, including the hard-to-please lead instructor at Guaard, Bassa. Byron is forced to spend more time with the instructor when he discovers he has a special talent that needs developing. On his journey to complete his training and find a post, Byron faces war and loss, and something that scares him even more, friendship.

CassaStar is fast-paced and character driven. Its strength is not its explanations of high-tech gadgetry or world building (though I did enjoy the mental communication and the jumping techniques of the Cosbolts), but in the characters. Byron is withdrawn and cynical, yet somehow he is enjoyable to read about--perhaps because he seems so real. Bassa is older, wiser, and I found him more likeable than Byron at first. His persistence in befriending Byron is the heart of the story.

This is a good book to read if you want an introduction to science fiction. Sometimes, reading science fiction books, I find myself dragged down by the politics and the science jargon, but that wasn't the case here. If there wasn't some exciting Cosbolt flying or other action going on, there was interesting character development happening. Either way, it kept me reading straight to the end.

The only thing I found lacking was a female presence. I am not a huge feminist so I enjoyed it regardless, but I'm just saying, I would totally be a Cosbolt pilot if that was a career option for me! Why weren't there female pilots in this story? Perhaps this will be remedied in the next installment of the series.

This is a story about friendship, relationships, and fighting for what is right, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like science fiction and are drawn into a tale by the realistic characters, I recommend giving CassaStar a read.