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Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Boys - Amazon TV Series Review

 


Warning! Minor Spoilers!

 

THE BOYS truly is the answer to superhero fatigue. While some movies like Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War took some interest in the sheer catastrophic toll all of these larger-than-life fights would take on society, The Boys forces you to stop and feel the sheer untouchability superhumans would have over us average mortals—then asks, what if they didn’t have the best intentions?

Again, we see a take of evil Superman in Justice League, but it just doesn’t hit home nearly as hard as Antony Starr’s impeccable depiction of The Boys’ equivalent Homelander—the charismatic virtually indestructible leader of the Seven—whose menace just feels so terrifying and real. In this not-too-distant America, a pharmaceutical company called Vought manufactures and markets superheroes, the most elite of which are held in worshipful adoration as members of the Seven—America’s top protectors against crime, flashing their sponsors’ products while stringing up the bad guys just in time for the cameras. Gawky, nerdy Hughie (Jack Quaid) is just one of the Seven’s legions of fans, convinced they can do no wrong—until one of them blows through his girlfriend at superhuman speed, leaving him showered in guts and reality.

For those of us who were Supernatural fans, the show is especially a treat because of the parade of familiar faces you’ll see over the course of three seasons as Hughie’s quest for vengeance takes him deeper into the dark side of the superhero franchise dominating the country along the likes of no-rules Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and similarly disillusioned Seven member Starlight (Erin Moriarty). It’s as if creator Eric Kripke has found the platform he could take the kid gloves off and really go all-in with the gore, the WTF moments, and the unmasking of every character upheld on a pedestal (and when Jensen Ackles shows up as Solider Boy…there may have been fangirling #sorrynotsorry).

There have been some over-the-top moments that made my eyebrows disappear into my hairline (yeesh, like the twisted take on the Deep and his obsession with sea creatures), but from the beginning, the show is honest that there are very few lines it won’t cross (fair warning to the faint of heart).

With all the world-building and character back stories advancing steadily each season, I feel like the end of Season 3 has prepped Season 4 for a full-on sprint. The set up of Season 3 addresses the political scene of the USA today head-on with narratives around fake news, the lack of consequences for those in power, and the chilling polarizing rise of Us v. Them: there are those who are superior, those who are inferior, and middle ground is non-existent.

With just a few minor quibbles (some slow spots here and there; Stormfront’s initial characterization in Season 2 felt confusing with her true motivation reveal, and it seemed strange that someone as shrewd as Stan Edgar would have ever supported her joining the Seven), The Boys is a modern-day bingeworthy Game of Thrones that I’m heavily looking forward to, and can’t wait for the Season 4 release date! In the meantime, watch the teaser trailer here.


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Year of the Snake (Changeling Sisters #5) Published!



A suspenseful, twisty geopolitical journey for shapeshifter fans dropping just in time for the holidays. You won't want to miss the penultimate installment in the Changeling Sisters Series. Now available on all major online eBook retailers:
 

Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Smashwords, and more:

https://books2read.com/u/bMVjQ7

Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/Year-Snake-Changeling-Sisters-Book-ebook/dp/B0CLJFL5XM



Saturday, October 7, 2023

Another Exclusive Look Inside Year of the Snake

 


It's official - my cat refused to go out this morning, meaning it is finally getting into that autumn chill. Whether you're preparing to remember those who've passed on for Day of the Dead or visiting the pumpkin patch for Halloween, I've just released two more excerpts from Year of the Snake (Changeling Sisters V) to get into the mysterious mood of the season. Check them out below! 

https://www.wattpad.com/1388250652-year-of-the-snake-chapter-3-excerpt-celebration-of

https://www.wattpad.com/1388252487-year-of-the-snake-chapter-4-excerpt-popocat%C3%A9petl

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Exclusive Chapter Excerpt 1: Year of the Snake

 


Check out the first chapter excerpt from Year of the Snake (Changeling Sisters V), exclusively on Wattpad! 


*Year of the Snake will be available November 1, 2023 on all major online E-retailers*

Monday, September 4, 2023

Year of the Snake Cover Reveal

* Coming November 1 to all major online E-retailers*


XIBALBA IS RISING.

The Alvarez and Yong siblings have saved Seoul from a zombie apocalypse, but a murder close to home reveals the terrifying truth that the Death Gods are far from finished. Citlalli, Raina, and Miguel team up with Rafael and Khyber in a dark and convoluted investigation that will take them deep into the Central American peninsula, into the heart of the Maya underworld itself. Citlalli and Khyber’s newfound romance faces the ultimate test when Khyber is summoned to be King of the Vampyre Court, forcing him to choose once and for all his allegiance to the living or the dead.

Meanwhile, dragon shapeshifter princess Sun Bin is welcomed into the high-powered tech world of Saja Corp with promises of finding her missing brother and saving Nyssa from her divine captor. However, while the research into the viruses that created the Were Nation glitters brightly, underneath lurks a deadly secret, one that could spell ruin for life itself.

As Changeling Sisters across the globe unite to stop the catastrophic rise of Xibalba, the spirit world of Eve can no longer bury the sins of the past—and the world may well drown in them.

Year of the Snake is the penultimate book in the Changeling Sisters Series.

 


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Wednesday - Netflix TV Series Review

 WEDNESDAY

Season 1 Streaming on Netflix

~TV Series Review~


*Warning! Moderate Spoilers!*

 

AS AN ALL-AROUND NEWBIE to the Addams family (originally created by Charles Addams), I came into Netflix’s mega-hit with vague recollections of pale people, dark hair, and yes, I did remember the severed hand—who is this series’ MVP. Even being a casual Tim Burton viewer, I was still familiar with the iconic characters of Morticia, Wednesday (played by Jenna Ortega), and Gomez, but boy, is this take ever like Veronica Mars goes to magic school—and I am here for it.

After teenager Wednesday (named after a line from her mother’s favorite poem “Wednesday’s child is full of woe”) sets piranhas on her younger brother’s bullies, she is whisked away to her parents’ old boarding school called Nevermore, where she discovers an entire class of outcasts and odd-ducks—you know, sirens, gorgons, werewolves. Headmistress Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie) protects the school from increasing scrutiny by the hostile neighboring town of Jericho, which was founded by a diabolical pilgrim. Wednesday’s magical abilities range from strange visions to deadpan humor to sleuthing, which she immediately puts to use when someone starts attacking students. Like I said, Veronica Mars with magic.

Ortega is hysterical. It does suspend belief that someone could be quite this witty and have the perfect comeback to every authority, but it’s entertaining, and I love that she fully embraces herself and dances like no one is watching (the dance scene had me in stitches). I loved Wednesday's thorny relationship with her mother and the softer side with her father and brother, but the best partnership of course goes out to Thing (the aforementioned severed hand that likes manicures), her closest confidante in cracking the murder mystery of Nevermore. Thing’s origin did make me curious to look up, since in Wednesday’s family, having an animated hand keep tabs on your daughter at boarding school is, ya know, tots normal.

You may guess that Wednesday has a problem with trust, considering the Hand-best-friend-thing, but her intrepid classmates don’t give up on her—including a beekeeper and Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers), her bubblegum-pink late blooming werewolf roommate. I could have sworn Enid would turn out to be a cat instead (give the werewolf trope a break), but I still liked how she finally came into her own. Thankfully no vampires—but will be very interested to see more of the sirens and gorgons in future episodes. I think they jumped the shark a bit on humanizing Bianca Barclay (Joy Sunday), the siren queen bee of the school—her relationship with her mother and the influence that had on her upbringing was too rushed, introduced at a moment where there was too much going on to get the focus it deserved. I also found Wednesday and Xavier’s relationship to be a bit unbelievable, not really seeing what the attraction was when she continued to treat him like gum on the bottom of her shoe.

Despite some moments when there is so much going on, the characterization suffers for it, this is overall another bingeworthy Netflix series that will entrap you for the long haul. We’ve got former Wednesday alum Christine Ricci back in a new role, and gosh does Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones, Lucifer in The Sandman) continue to demonstrate her acting versatility in the sweet-but-lethal headmistress character. Plus you’ve got Catherine Zeta Jones as Morticia, Wednesday’s darkly ethereal mother, and Luis Guzmán as her doting father. Here’s to eagerly awaiting Season 2!

 

*The above is depicted as fiction, not fact


Sunday, June 25, 2023

Washington Travel Series: Methow Valley, Washington



THINK IT'S TOO EARLY to be planning your next cross-country ski trip? If you’ve ever wanted to experience that quintessential winter wonderland small-town getaway where it’s just you in a log cabin surrounded by endless white powder, you’ll want to start planning now to visit the Methow Valley.

Heading out into the heart of Central Washington is a journey in of itself. The big city slowly slips away and the land opens up to endless freedom. Check conditions at the passes: Snoqualmie and Blewitt Pass are two big ones if coming from around the Seattle area, and Blewitt can be notorious to sending your car spinning out if not ready for winter driving. You’ll eventually leave the congestion of the city behind and wind further north, past Cashmere and Chelan, until it’s just you in the wide open country. Once you hit Twisp, you’re nearly there, and there’s a good grocery store just outside the rustic sign welcoming you to Winthrop.

Finding a place to stay near Winthrop is ideal for easy access to all the major cross-country ski areas. Not to mention it’s a chic frontier-style town straight out of the Wild, Wild West with wooden boardwalks, saloons, gift shops, breweries, and inns that are a ton of fun to explore, while deer and horses meander along the chilly Methow River. If you’re taking a break from skiing, there’s an outdoor ice skating rink, ice fishing further outside of town, and so many neat coffee nooks and eateries that it will be tough not to eat out every night.

Airbnb, VRBO, and Expedia all offer easy ways to search for accommodation, but be aware that this place books up fast. We’re talking world-class cross-country skiing. I’ve always been a downhill fan myself, but lately downhill skiing’s prices have been going sky-high. Cross-country skiing is a great workout, and try skate skiing to recapture the thrill of flying across miles of groomed trails with nothing but the mountains and the sun overhead.

Methow Valley Trails passes (available to be bought on the Methow Valley Trails website or at a local sporting store in town) run you around $78 for 3 days, or $30 for 1 day, and that covers four amazing areas—plus, kids under 17 and seniors over 75 are free! I’d like to highlight Methow Cycle & Sport which had pulks for rent if you’re here with toddlers.


Ski Areas

All four major Ski Areas around Winthrop are connected by the Methow Valley Community Trail. We stayed at WolfridgeResort, a bundle of log cabins with an outdoor hot tub, and you could wake up and walk out your door to start skiing the community trail.

This time was a different experience for us with a toddler on board. We
planned skiing outings around our little one’s naptime, and sure enough, the pulk lulled her to sleep and was relatively light to pull for long distances. If you have little kids or for beginners, I recommend Mazama and Jack’s River Run:

Mazama




This place is going to be a big hit for the little ones. It’s mainly a flat groomed trail system past an old farmstead with easy loops and picturesque landscape that could have inspired the lyric, “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!” Plus you may get to see biathlon training in action. Check out the Goat Creek trail through the woods for a bit more intermediate excitement that will take you all the way to a suspension bridge.

Mazama Public House, operated by Old Schoolhouse Brewery



We could not have asked for a better lunch spot after skiing the trails at Mazama. Neighborhood vibes abound in this new pub house, which sports garage doors that overlook pristine mountains. It's family-friendly with savory food that was so good we came back again. I’m not usually a fan of nachos, but this take included a fresh, unique salsa and succulent pork that made me want to revisit the dish all over, along with quinoa bowls and great takes on hearty sandwiches and fries that was distinctly memorable. You can’t ask for much better to get off the track and grab an IPA or cider ice-cold from the tap, with a ton of local favorites to choose from. Mazama Public House was launched by a long-time resident and offers a fantastic experience with reasonable prices.

Jack’s River Run



Honestly, this was our first time at Jack’s River Run. Go until the highway ends (or Mazama has a trail that connects to this ski area) and you’ll find relatively flat trails with cliffs looming above you. It’s mainly forested until you break out to one of those gorgeous meadows with a warming hut. For a challenge, check out Doe Canyon.

Sun Mountain: Chickadee Trailhead

Once the kiddos (or you) have gotten the hang of things, the Chickadee Trailhead at Sun Mountain to the south is the “it” place for intermediate and advanced skiers. I have many fond memories exploring the diverse trails here, and yes, there are steep descents that will excite the downhiller’s heart. Take Thompson Road up to the top and enjoy the Upper and Inner Passage down (black diamond rating)—just be careful if it’s icy! There’s tons of fun loops through the forest like Criss-Cross and Rodeo, and even the easy routes take you by beautiful lakes and offer a trek back up to the famous Sun Mountain Lodge at the mountain top. Not a fan of steep ascents? Sun Mountain Lodge is worth a drive just to visit and see the view.

Rendezvous: Cub Creek Trailhead

If the weather’s decent and your heart is really set on a challenge, it may be time to embark on the drive over to Cub Creek Trailhead at Rendezvous Trailhead, easily the most difficult ski area with grueling uphill and in my opinion, not quite as much of the fun that you get at Sun Mountain. The shade and heavy forest adds an extra layer of chill to the remote experience. However, if you’re an advanced skier with thunder thighs, this is the place to go.

 

Overall, there are so many ways to build your trip to the Methow Valley—and that’s just in winter! This truly is a storybook gem we’ve fallen in love with and can’t say enough good things about. As for our toddler? It checked all her boxes, too.



*Disclaimer: This post is depicted as fiction, not fact