Opinion Battles Round 12 Favourite Performance in a Horror Movie

Round 12 of Opinion Battles is here! This time, we’re sharing our favorite performance in a horror movie! Mine was really a no-brainer mostly because I love this movie and I love the actress so much. Its Nicole Kidman in The Others.
There are some great choices here from everyone. Head on over and check them out. Remember to drop your vote in the poll!

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Round 12

Favourite Performance in a Horror Movie

Horror is a genre that often gets over looked when it comes to award season but it is easy to see just how good certain stars get plenty of chances to return to the genre in the future. Except for Silence of the Lambs who did clean up the Oscars we have had some brilliant performance in recent years.

If you want to take part in the next round of Opinion Battles we will be picking Which Animated Film We Would Never Like to see Turn Into a Live Action Movie, to enter send you choices to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.ukby 10th June 2017.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Essie Davis – The Babadook

Essie Davis is the star of this horror where she must deal with a potential monster lurking in the shadows of her home as she raises her…

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Dirty Little Secrets (J.J. Graves Mystery #1) by Liliana Hart

Diving back into my TBR list sitting on my Kindle, I’m not sure if I picked up this book because I was hooked on Pretty Little Liars and the cover reminded me of the series so I thought it would be cool. There really are no reasons especially when its really a shot in the dark and hoping that its a good read. I’ve never read anything from Liliana Hart before so let’s check it out!

Dirty Little Secrets (J.J. Graves Mystery #1)
By: Liliana Hart

dirty little secrets

J.J. Graves has seen a lot of dead bodies in her line of work. She’s not only in the mortuary business, but she’s also the coroner for King George County, Virginia. When a grisly murder is discovered in the small town of Bloody Mary, it’s up to J.J. and her best friend, Detective Jack Lawson, to bring the victim justice. The murders are piling up. When a popular mystery writer shows up on J.J.’s doorstep with plans of writing his new book about the Bloody Mary Serial Killer, J.J. has to decide if he might be going above and beyond the call of duty to create the spine tinglers he’s so well known for. Passions are rising. J.J and Jack discover each victim had a shocking secret, and the very foundation of J.J.’s life is in danger of crumbling when it turns out she’s harboring secrets of her own—secrets that make her a perfect target in a deadly game. – Goodreads

Mystery/thriller/suspense are so hard to do well. I can tell you that this book has nothing to do with anything like the plot of Pretty Little Liars of course, as you can see in the summary above. The star of the show is J.J. Graves who is a doctor turned mortician who also shadows in this small hometown as the person taking care of autopsies which usually are just normal everyday natural or accidental deaths and nothing like murders until one murder after the next plague the town and it becomes apparent that someone from the town itself could be responsible and that the victims lead a much darker life than they lead on. Small towns are a great setting for murder mysteries because it keeps things confined whether in terms of relationships or just the possible suspects and gives it space to be easier to follow. For that, Liliana Hart did really good at setting up that stage. The mystery itself made sense and the big reveal also was logical and twisty enough to be a surprise.

Dirty Little Secrets is a pretty quick read because it keeps its length under control. It will have your brain wondering the whodunnit question. However, the book does have its downfall. One of the biggest ones is creating a character like J.J. who isn’t exactly someone we can care for. She is very human because of her imperfections however, she does have a generic personality as a mortician or even the big hidden secret reveal. Her conversations are uninspired especially as we step into the middle when she is infatuated by the stranger in the town while her best friend, the hunk and player of the town Jack fumes over her decisions. Now, what J.J. lacks, Jack’s character makes up a little for. He is still a little generic in his background but there are more layers to his personality and in the bits where he shows up, it leaves us wanting to know more about this character.

As the debut of a series, Dirty Little Lies does well to set up our characters and a look at the town setting. While there are some uncompelling and generic elements, there are still bits to retain it and if not that, the writing style here is a pleasure to read. It does leave me curious to see where the characters will go especially after getting through showing is the basics of this character in this first book that the next one will have more intriguing layers to work with. Maybe I will give it a whirl some time, just to see if its worth continuing to read the entire series, which seems to have ended at Book #4.5.

Podcast: Renowned Explorers: International Society – Game Review

I’ve kind of been spamming you all with Game Warp stuff this week and just other randomness but I’m also gearing up for a crazy weekend so trying to rest up and get other housekeeping bits in order.

E3 is this weekend and we’re getting ready to step into gear to catch all the conference streams and the releasing timely recaps (just like we did last year), as well as get an E3 impressions recorded. However, we also don’t want to have a huge gap in the podcast so we did a mini episode to review Renowned Explorers: International Society, a strategic turn-based adventure game that takes the player into selecting a trio to trek the world and trying to be the most renowned within five expeditions.

We didn’t even take a look at their new expansion, Emperor’s Challenge so expect some streams of that (and other games like June’s featured game Seasons After Fall) over the E3 weekend as we wait in between conferences and just generally make this an all-around gaming craze. If you haven’t already and are into this, we stream over on Twitch. You can follow us HERE to get the notifications on when we do stream. We also announce on Facebook and Twitter. Both fun places to follow if you like gaming news.

Thanks for watching!
If you enjoyed, do consider subscribing and sharing with your gaming friends! 🙂
It’ll help us out a lot!

What’s Up Thursday #4

I’m WAY overdue for the post but I figured I haven’t done What’s Up Wednesday, and its Thursday now. I feel like mid-week is where my slump happens as things slip away from me. Regardless, I guess more to talk about than the last one. I’ve been doing a lot of gaming so less of everything else. However, gaming is a world of discovery and while they frequent Twitch more, a shoutout to SplatPanda who has taken up a lot of my time as I watch their fun streams on games that I doubt I could play for many reasons. However, they are a great companion to writing. Not all is lost 😉

Anyways, moving along with whats been going on behind the scenes or in the works.

Binging

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3

unbreakable kimmy schmidt

I’m a huge fan of the show and I always binge it when it releases during the first two weeks. I can’t say I qualify as binging right now but I am just wrapping up everything else so that I can watch it without worrying about anything and just having fun. Plus, I have a few TV binge posts in the works that I would like to wrap up before starting (or finishing) something new.

Reading

After reading some books sent to me for reviews, which I still have at least two, I am back to clearing up some overdue Kindle reading from books bought back in 2014/2015.

Right now its Talespins which I just started a few pages. It seems fun to read. Probably going to take some time to sit down and read it in a few days. Same issue with book reviews as for TV binges is that I never try to have too much backlog and I believe there’s still one book that needs to be reviewed to be up to date. Its a new strategy on my part to try and minimize any backlog because what becomes backlog usually stays there. A good example are books that I started this year that are just sitting in my Currently Reading on Goodreads and I just haven’t been in the mood to go back to them.

PLAYING!!!

Currently in recording phase

Trying to complete an expedition

Story mode with my husband

Achievements Run

Told you that I’m gaming a lot, right? Let’s break it down 😉

Little Nightmares was our featured game of May and also a strong contender in my game of the year. There’s some super great news about new DLC material coming out in the next few months. I love the game so much that I went back to do an achievement run, which I’m currently still doing. The goal is to unlock the secret achievements along with breaking some stuff and hugging some things. It won’t mean anything unless you’ve played it. If you haven’t watched out episode, you can check it out HERE.

Rise of Balloons however is a game that we had a fantastic chat with the devs last year when this game was first released on mobile. I have already completed and reviewed it last year but the devs told me recently when they told me about the PC release that they added new contents and expanded the game. So I’m a few levels in and its still lots of fun and I have seen some new levels and some more details. We’ll have a review discussion mini episode over on Game Warp soon.

Just to make sure that I’m covering all the genres at the same time, we recently went on fun expeditions on Renowned Explorers. While this isn’t my usual go-to game because it requires my brain too much as a turn-based strategy game. However, once I start this up, it usually pulls on my determination to win. Although I did just decide in yesterday’s session to change my team and start over because they just weren’t strong enough as a group to beat that battle and I knew that even if I swapped the strategy, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Finally, I’ve been having a crazy desire to play fighting games which is super weird, because I’m horrible at them. Apparently, I’m not all that bad and since I recently picked up Mortal Kombat XL on discount, my husband and I are working through the story mode. Its incredibly brutal but man, its a nice change in pace.

On top of that, I’ve been tracking and streaming on release date the Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, which just had the episode 2 release.
Maybe you’d like to watch it 🙂

That’s it for this What’s Up segment!
Don’t you sometimes wish that you could be split yourself up and be at different places at the same time? Haha!

What have you been up to?

Gardening Update #3: Reinforced Vegetable Garden!

And we’re back with more gardening so very soon. Since this has its own seasonal segment this year, I’m not putting it in the Weekly Adventures to give it more space for events recap and whatnot.

The rain is not stopping in Montreal and the weather can only be described as mild. We’re not exactly complaining because well, we don’t have air conditioning and when its 25C and more, its like an oven. Even worse when I have to do podcast recording because I need to shut the windows and turn off the fan so its like a mega sauna. Like I said, not complaining although, I do like sitting in the sun and waking up to clear skies and pleasant weather. I guess we can’t have everything, right?

Enough talk about the weather. The garden has been in need of some care. After a weekend away in Ottawa, I came back to realize that those sly rabbits (including their new little bunnies which are super adorable and sit around my strawberries a lot), have found a way into my vegetable garden and not only ate the mini carrot plants and the zucchini that Phoebe had given me but also have been eating gradually on my lettuce. Luckily, we had planned for this unfortunate event and planted some in hanging pots already. However, the fence was long overdue for its reinforcement and my husband and I headed off to get that taken care of. After two 2 feet high trellis, some chicken wire and a big roll of plastic fencing and a few bamboo poles from the dollar store, this is is what we put together.

Garden Fencing

You will notice that there isn’t a door now like our makeshift fence from before but that is because the trellis in front is only 2 feet tall. Most adults that will wander in the yard will be able to go over the trellis. Let’s look over the fence and see how its going there. Everything is now in ground and I’m debating if we have room for maybe one more thing. I might have to head out to the garden centre again to see if there’s anything worth planting.

On the top is the left side of the fenced garden, first row has lemon mint and three zucchini plants. Second row is lettuce. Third row are the three cucumbers and the asparagus which is in its second year (so no harvest yet).

On the bottom is the right side of the fenced garden, the asparagus overlaps as you see. Next to it the ‘North Blue’ Blueberry bush. It should go to about 30 inches high and wide. Next to it is the shallows which will probably have to move to the other end of the garden to make room for the blueberry bush. In front of that is the ground cherry which is in its third attempt for me to grow but I’ve learned now that it is perennial for our zone so hopefully it will be better now that it is in ground. Fingers crossed. In front of that, after much thought is the next blueberry plant, a taller variety which should grow to 30 inches across but 90 inches high. I’m not sure how high it will grow this year so we’ll see if the ground cherry will also have to migrate. I’m also hoping that the blueberries are close enough for cross pollination.

Anyone planted blueberries before and give me some suggestions and share their experience?

Remember last time, how I was so proud of making the raspberry and strawberry area tidier? Yeah, well, the rain continued and after two weeks, we are overgrowing with raspberries. The positive is that there are lot of both strawberries and raspberries growing. My bet is the strawberries will be eaten by the bunnies. We tried to reinforce it also but they have grown too much near the walkway to place anything there. Its not too bad, we still manage to have some some its all good. The raspberries will be plentiful and probably sprout more plants because of that. All very good news to be honest.

Moving to the patio. Last time, I talked about a happy balance of in-ground garden and patio garden. We have a little bit of everything both in ground and patio. The patio ones are doing great. I am only highlighting the new progress so there’s the herbs that aren’t here but also on the patio doing great. Basil and Pineapple Sage, even the Oregano are all loving the rain. Not sure the Rosemary likes it as much but its still doing great. There are the hanging basket of lettuce that have grown a lot. I’m expecting to harvest the first batch soon.

Not so new to the patio is my mosquito repellent container. This time, I used two citronellas of different varieties but both with mosquito repelling properties along with marigolds and the citronellas were much smaller than I used to get so I was worried they wouldn’t survive. But look at it, they are blooming with flowers and getting taller. I’m always happy to see the plants to do well. I’m not a great gardener and I’m super lazy when it comes to watering plants so that is the second benefit of it raining a lot. Nature takes care of what I’m sometimes lazy or forget to do.

I shifted the herbs to the side since they can deal with partial sunny locations and moved the kale, which I potted all of in containers, there. Next to it is the eggplant. My second attempt at eggplants. Last year, the weather was so hot and I kept not watering it enough so it had a miserable 2 tiny eggplants as harvest. I finally made the decision this time to do them in containers. My mom plants hers (another variety) in containers as well and they do really great.

Finally, we have one cucumber that I decided to do in container. We did that one year and it turned out fantastic. I’m hoping for the same thing this time around. And then there’s two remaining kales with it. This has nothing to do with companion gardening as they don’t benefit or harm each other. Its more that in the moment, the kale needed a home and I didn’t have one for them until the garden was reinforced. Hopefully, they will thrive together. A part of gardening to me is trial and error.

Moving to the front yard. My new flowers from the last update are doing great. Nothing new to report there. The crimson stars are starting to bloom and the bleeding hearts are out as well. However, my patch on the side does need to get cleaned up again. Good news is that the rose finally made it through and is officially back. My mom gave me some perennials last year and they are back. I can’t get those bells, which are my neighbor’s and somehow sprouted in my yard, to go away. I keep pulling them and they just keep growing.  My autumn chrysanthemums are definitely not coming back. Not sure why since they are biannual and this is just the first year coming back. Well, you win some and you lose some, right? However, now I have a big hold in the center. I’m actually thinking of planting something with some height to give the patch a little more style. I guess another trip to the gardening center will be inevitable.

That’s it for this update!
We’re having these two quite close together.
Good news is everything going well and first garden project (aka the reinforced fence) is done!
Now, onto the next one. Might be a little bit till the next one unless we get some great harvests. 😉

How are your gardening adventures going?
Any blueberry growing tips to share?

Blog Tour: Dead Over Heels (Short Story) by Theresa Braun

Dead Over Heels

Dead Over Heels
By: Theresa Braun

Dead Over Heels

Veronica’s first date with Sebastian not only stirs up a powerful attraction, but also a series of supernatural events that will tear them apart. – Goodreads

Dead Over Heels is a quick short paranormal story. It does take a little while to set up the stage and possibly the beginning gave me some odd vibes of generic dialogue and a hint of possibly the story turning into some contemporary romance, a genre that I’ve been struggling to find something appealing. However, Dead Over Heels is more than that. It proved that the beginning few pages takes just a little more patience and it picks up from there. Short stories are tricky, because it needs to carry character development and story building in a shorter time frame. This paranormal story manages to do it pretty well. Veronica is our main character here and she gets a lot of care into her past and with the events that go by, it allows for mystery and surprises to come up, giving it a fun little journey to the big finale.

Dead Over Heels might not start off great in the first few pages but it finds its pacing quick enough to still let us learn about our characters and build a story that not only has paranormal elements but also some mystery and surprises. A very welcome surprise to say the least and turning things around as it stepped into the finale.

Goodreads score: 4/5
(I’m somewhere in the 3.5/5 leaning towards 4)

About the Author

Theresa Braun

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. She blogs about writing, television shows, movies, and books, and all things dark. Her short stories are published in Under the Bed Magazine, in Hindered Souls, in The Horror Zine, in Schlock! Webzine, and by Frith Books. Upcoming stories to appear in Monsters Exist and Hardened Hearts.

Recap: Miss Fresh #10

And we are back with another recap for Miss Fresh! Can you believe its been ten boxes?  Thinking about it. I guess we’re pretty casual meal subscribers, right? Either way, these things do average more than how I’d do groceries but the convenient and hassle-free  feeling sometimes is well worth it. Miss Fresh hasn’t let me down a lot. Only a few disappointing recipes and some issues in the earlier recaps but so far, they’ve been pretty solid.

The recipes lately haven’t quite been to our taste so it was hard to really settle on one. This one seemed to be the answer but it turned out that two of them were just suitable for my husband. That’s okay as well. As long as they are tasty. 🙂

Moving right along!

Polish Sausage Penne with Kale and White Beans

Miss Fresh

Possibly one of the meals that peaked my interest and was hopefully a win and it definitely was. We’ve never had polish sausage before and they tasted great. Penne was good along with the kale added in along with the white beans for added texture. It tasted very good. I did have a minor issue with the original cook time they gave for the sausages not working out too well but I ended up cooking them through in the pan in the final bit so everything worked out in the end. 🙂

One Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl with Black Beans and Cheddar Cheese

Miss Fresh

We’re fairly unfamiliar with the whole Mexican scene of foods (or what I suppose a Burrito bowl originated from). The husband had both of these servings  because of the whole  raw foods thing but it was a breeze to put together and the chicken was marinated with mexican spices and that tasted really good. My only comment on this, which my husband confirmed was that there was way too much onions in this recipe.

Crispy Stir Fry Pork, Rice Noodles and Red Cabbage

Miss Fresh

I’m a little on the fence with this one. On one hand, I do like the taste of the dish except it never got the crispy part for myself. I did end up making two versions. This is the intended version and my version is with cooked red cabbage. I do have to say that I’d marinate the pork like they did here because it tastes pretty good. Not exactly my favorite but it was good enough.

Mini Spinach Quiches with Swiss and Sumac

Miss Fresh

My husband was the one who had both portions of this one because there is cheese in the egg mixture for the quiche and also cheese as the topping. Quiches are usually a fallback when things are hard to put together in the kitchen. Enough to say that this one was super easy to put together. This one did have an additional step of making spinach in the pan before putting it in the oven with the egg mixture. He did enjoy this a lot. There was a good balance and he liked the spice which I assume is sumac. I’ve never used sumac before and not exactly sure what it tastes like.

Overall, this box was a bit of a gamble but I think we ended up winning since while it was pretty experimental for some dishes, we did try out some new simple recipes and flavors and it all worked out pretty good. My favorite dish personally had to be the Polish Sausage Penne.

What do you think of these meals?