Monday, December 30, 2013
Last year brought us the somewhat insane Ack-Ack Macaque, the foul-mouthed, cigar-chomping, artificial intelligence monkey that crossed over into our world to shoot things with its pistol and fly fighter jets. Of the things I didn't expect from the decent read was a sequel, but Hive Monkey is exactly that. While fun at times, it's overall not the most essential read of the moment.
In this news-free Christmas week, Jacinta and Luke discuss Matt Smith's departure in the Doctor Who Christmas special, plus our favourite gifts, and then Courtney and Luke have a spoiler filled discussion about The Desolation of Smaug! Put our voices in your ears!
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Friday, December 27, 2013
Okay, let’s start with disclaimer one: Steven Moffat is not a very strong show-runner for Doctor Who. Many people have had trouble with his over complicated plots that don’t really pay off, his relegation of companions to damsels in distress and his frankly messy characterisation. Disclaimer number two then, is the fact that none of the Doctor Who Christmas Specials have really been any good. There have been a couple that have been pretty good but overall, the Christmas Special is usually a bit of a let down. Disclaimer three is that this is a regeneration episode and those can be a little hit and miss. I personally loved Christopher Eccleston’s episode but was completely underwhelmed by David Tennant’s. Matt Smith’s could have gone either way.
With all that in mind, the short version of this review is that The Time of the Doctor was a big mess of long drawn out plots that needed wrapping up, sometimes rather precariously. It included, some might say as an afterthought, the regeneration of the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. His performance, as has been the case throughout his tenure, was fantastic despite the messy plot and the questionable character moments. He saw his Doctor out with class and with what felt a little like a big warm hug.
Follow me for a little more about The Time of the Doctor under the cut.
Angry Robot Books continues to print some of the more interesting fantasy/sci-fi out there, and Chuck Wendig's Miriam Black series is right there with some of the better ones I've read of late the last few years. The story of a woman who can see how you die, the third book in the series comes out tomorrow, and it continues being one of the better urban fantasy series available right now.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
My personal best of 2013 is terrible image manipulation.
While I've counted down my favorite unheard songs of 2013, there was a lot more to the things I enjoyed this year than just music. Follow me in for some other bests of the year.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
I figured I'd end this little year end project with a real rocker from King Khan and the Shrines. A band I've struggled with getting into a lot in the past, their newest album, Idle No More, ended up really impressing me. It's got an old feel to it while still feeling fresh, and they're quite the showmen to boot. Really enjoyed this song, "So Wild," a lot. Horns always do it for me.
King Khan has a website here.
Deck the halls! It's the final day of the Star Wars Lego advent calendar which means sweet, sweet freedom for me! And I think we all know what we're going to get, so let's not waste any more time!
Let's blast open Door Number 24!
Joy to the world! It's the final day of the Jurassic Park Playmobil advent calendar and I am about to be free of the arduous task of documenting the sordid goings on of the island! When we last left our hero Dr. Ian Goldblum, he had made love to an enchanted raptor which then laid two big eggs. Is he ready to become a father?
Let's open Door Number 24 and see what happens!
Monday, December 23, 2013
This week our topics range from: our favourite Christmas movies, the Desolation of Smaug, our catch up on some of the 2013 films we originally missed (including the crazy Sharknado!), we play the Playstation 4, collect super-deformed Doctor Who vinyl toys, and Courtney and Luke have a detailed discussion about the various film versions of Frankenstein from the 1931 classic to... The Room!?
Download here! (Click to stream, right click to save).
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Aoife O'Donovan is the lead singer of one of my favorite bluegrass groups, Crooked Still. Her first solo album, Fossils, came out this year, and while much of it is an understated affair, there are a few numbers in here that really caught my ear. My favorite of the batch was this rollicking piece, "Fire Engine."
Aoife O'Donovan has a website here.
And it's the penultimate day of our long battle with the Lego Star Wars advent calendar! We've had s sprinkling of OK gifts but how about something that is really going to wow us!? Come on, Lego! Now's your big chance!
Let's crack open Door Number 23 and see what we have...
It's the penultimate day of the Jurassic Park Playmobil advent calendar and what a journey it has been! When we last left our hairy-chested protagonist Dr. Ian Goldblum he was being raped by a raptor in a pile of hay. Merry Christmas!
Let's open Door Number 23 and see if he survived...
And I'm playing catch up as I missed day 22 of the Lego Star Wars advent calendar - a calendar that has but three more doors to prove its worth and justify its price tag! Will today thrill or buzz kill?
Let's open Door Number 22 and find out for ourselves!
I'm playing catch up as I missed day 22, so here it is in all its steamy, better-late-than-never Jurassic Park Playmobil advent calendar glory! When we last left our swarthy protagonist Dr. Ian Goldblum, estranged love interest, Laura Derp, had given him a magnifying glass with which to take a long hard look at himself! Did he take her advice?
Let's open Door Number 22 and see...
Saturday, December 21, 2013
It's day 20 of our trudging slog through the brown plains of the Lego Star War Advent calendar where confused parents and their crying children carefully examine each bewildering gift with a growing sense of dread. Too dramatic? I don't even care any more!
I guess we have to open Door Number 21...
It's day 21 of our insane descent into the heady world of the Playmobil Jurassic Park advent calendar, where our lustsick hero, Dr. Ian Goldblum has been trying to patch things up with obsessive neat freak Laura Derp. She was about to leave but today's gift might just be the intervention that Goldblum needs!
Let's open Door Number 21 and answer all these stupid questions!
Friday, December 20, 2013
I wasn't a big fan of Haim's album at all. I got the retro style thing they were doing, but it didn't appeal to me. St. Lucia's album, though, really spoke to me. I wasn't really much of a Peter Gabriel/Paul Simon fan, but this album is right in that wheelhouse, offering a really unique-sounding album unlike anything else I'd heard this year. I nearly put the album in my top 10 this year, but I couldn't justify putting other things below, so here's one of my favorite offerings from the album instead, "Call Me Up."
St. Lucia has a website here.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
It's day 20 of our vaguely disappointing trek through the Lego Star Wars advent calendar. You know what's difficult? Writing 20 introductions for what usually turns out to be a blocky obscure vehicle or a weapon rack. What the hell do you people want from me? What am I going to say? OH MAYBE IT WILL BE AN EXCITING EWOK ELF TODAY WIELDING A LIGHTSABER CANDY CANE! We all know that's a lie! How much longer are we going to keep kidding ourselves? GODDAMMIT LET'S JUST OPEN THE FRIGGING DOOR!
It's day 20 of our overwrought adventure within the Jurassic Park Playmobil adventure calendar and yesterday - despite an obviously crappy gift - things started to explode. Our hornbag hero, Dr. Ian Goldblum confronted estranged love interest, Laura Derp, about her obsessive compulsive habit of tidying the island by putting its smallest critters in Tupperware containers. Derp naturally took offense, and immediately packed her suitcase and was about to leave (somehow). Did she go through with her threat?
Caitlin Rose is an alt-country artist I picked up an album from very cheaply a few years ago and really enjoyed it. She put out a new album, The Stand-In, and it was even better than her first. There are a few songs I considered picking from this album, but I decided to go along with the poppiest of them all, "Only a Clown," that sounds a lot like a classic Kathleen Edwards track in many regards.
Interesting tidbit: a song from the new album was apparently performed on Nashville this past season, which is just...weird.
Caitlin Rose's website is here.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I've read well over 300 books this year. A few, most notably Night Film and 2012's The Mirage, really impressed me beyond being simply enjoyable reads, but nothing I've read for quite some time has really stuck with me in a while.
Then came S. The product of a collaboration between media mastermind JJ Abrams and author Doug Dorst, it's a love letter to research, to conspiracy theories, to actual physical books. It's pretty brilliant.
The band Dead Confederate had a modest hit a few years ago with "The Rat," and I can't say I remember much else that they did past that. The lead singer, however, put out a solo album this year and I decided to give it a whirl. It's got a nice indie rock attitude about it, it was a surprisingly excellent experience. The best song on the album, for sure, is "Disaster Proof," a rocking number that doesn't waste any time getting going.
His website is available here.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I have been a fan of Laura Veirs for some time. She does a lot of interesting indie folk music, and she put out a new album this year that...I didn't love. I don't know what it was that didn't grab me, but it didn't hit me the same way a lot of her music does. It did, however, have one significant standout track, a biographical tale of Alice Coltrane, wife of John Coltrane, entitled "That Alice." The song is a pretty straightforward narrative, and it's a rocking, rollicking adventure as opposed to the atmospheric folky sounds that Veirs typically does.
Laura Veirs's website is here.
The Book Was Better Episode 72: Santa With Muscles Novelization Challenge! (with Jessica, Lizzy and Courtney!)
This is the final episode of BWB for the year, until we return in mid to late January - and it's also our biggest episode yet! Have a safe and fun break and thank you for all your support!
You can download it right now from the official site!
Or why not subscribe to us on iTunes and join the conversation in our friendly Facebook group!
Monday, December 16, 2013
My friend and co-blogger over at my music blog If It's Too Loud got me absolutely addicted to Tristen a few years ago. She did a sort of indie alt-country thing and it worked so well. She Kickstarted a new album late last year, and the new album is a strong departure from what we're used to. Lots of synthesizers and keyboards, and more poppy melodies to go along with them. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is different, and sometimes different can be good.
Tristen's website can be found here.
This week we pull apart the new Godzilla, Terminator 5, The Legend of Hercules, Edge of Tomorrow, Disney's Descendants and a weird book where you get to colour in Channing Tatum. Plus bonus Storytime where Courtney tells us all about the multi-eyed hierarchy of angels! Shove it in your face!
Download here! (Click to save, right-click to stream).
Or subscribe to us on iTunes!
Sunday, December 15, 2013
It's Day 15 of our descent into the inconsistent madness of the Lego Star Wars advent calendar whose quality swings wilder than a blind man playing baseball. Sometimes it's smiles. Sometimes it's frowns. Mostly in baffling blocky renditions of obscure vehicles from Attack of the Clones. Although today my ADVENTure sense is tingling. Yesterday we received the Geonosian Starfighter (which looked like a chocolate crocodile) and I think that was a big clue to what we might be getting today.
Let's open Door Number 15 and see if I am right...
It's day 15 of our sexy romp into the teeming Playmobil Jurassic Park advent calendar, which took a tense break yesterday as our indecisive hero, Dr. Ian Goldblum, stood staring into the eyes of a lusty raptor for many months, trying to figure out whether to kill it or kiss it. Will he finally reach a decision today or is our adventure already over?
Let's crack open Door Number 15 and see for ourselves!