Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Once Upon a Time

I admit, I've had some trouble getting into Once Upon a Time, but the premise is unique and I want to like it, so I've stuck with it.

Storybrooke, Maine is stuck in a curse where are all the townspeople are former fairy tale characters. A bail bonds woman comes to town by request of Henry, the son she gave up for adoption, who happens to be Snow White's son passed through a portal from the fairy tale realm before the curse set in. Got all that?

The show does a nice job weaving tales from the other realm with the current day. In the fairy tale world, Snow White is kind of a rogue, looking more like the princess from the new Snow White and the Huntsman movie coming out this year than the lily white Disney version. The evil queen - who is Storybrooke's mayor in the real world (and Henry's adoptive mother) - makes sure you know with every dramatic stare she is The Bad One.

Lots of great characters inhabit Storybrooke: 
Rumplestiltskin: resident skeeze

Clean cut prince

Am I wicked enough for you?
Why You Should Watch: It's something different; light enough to not drag you down, but edgy enough to set it apart from Disney fare. Don't think to hard or it's kind of hard to buy, but if you're into fairy tales, chances are you're already watching and enjoy the show. Also promising: the show was developed by producers from Lost and and includes a former Buffy writer.

Factoid: Speaking of Lost, there are lots of crossover nuggets including Storybrooke's clock set to 8:15, a reference to Lost's Oceanic flight 815, and the fictional Apollo candy bars exist on both shows.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blogging A to Z: New Girl

New Girl is in its first season on Fox (hooray for a good show not on cable!). It's a lighthearted comedy about a group of late 20-somethings living together. Zooey's Jess moves into a loft with three guy roommates after her long term relationship ends.
The show smartly takes the focus from Jess to equally feature the guys and their quirky escapades (along with Jess' model bestie Cece). Nick is a self-depreciating law school dropout miserable in his job as a bartender. He and Jess have a lot of romantic tension that is explored at times but thankfully not too much. Schmidt could've been a one-note metrosexual (do people even use that term anymore? seems most appropriate), but he's morphed into a delightfully strange control freak who seems like a walking issue of GQ complete with grooming advice. Winston still feels a bit underdeveloped as former basketball player returning from an overseas traveling team only to find he has no idea what to do with his life. I particularly liked the episode where he tried to cram in all the pop culture he'd missed for several years prior to a job intereview.

Why You Should Watch: As more adults delay marriage, living situations like this are increasingly common. While the show mostly remains light, a few more serious themes are explored, and each character struggles with at least one aspect of where they feel stuck in life. This says a lot about our culture actually, that we have milestones to acheive, and when those aren't met, we aren't quite sure what to do. Also, Schmidt is hilarious.

Here are some memorable Schmidt quotes to get you started:

  • "Where in the room do I look sexiest?"
  • "I'm gonna have to run all the way home and I have my slippiest loafters on!" 
  • "This is a horrible neighborhood. There are youths everywhere!" 
  • As sexy Santa: "I have a really bad case of Santa Lap. The entire marketing department is wearing wool. It's not good down there." 

Factoid: You probably all know this, but Zooey sings with indie artist M. Ward on the project She & Him.

UPDATE: New Girl has been renewed for season two -- yay!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Mad Men

Another alliteration day: Mad Men

Mad Men is worth watching for the beautiful styling and acute attention to period detail, but it's also a darn good show. I love that while the characters embody a glamorous lifestyle, the show does not flinch from realties that are far from glamorous. Women are clearly belittled, while at the same time fetishized through affairs. Great clothes or not, being a woman corporate America in the '60s must have sucked.

The man behind the suit, Don Draper, really runs the show. He's a dapper marketing genius, and also a bit of an a-hole. He does what he wants because he can, and it's a testament to the writers and actors that we still sympathize with Don at all. He's not really Don - he's Dick Whitman, man transformed who runs from his own dark secrets.

I love the supporting cast of Mad Men; while January Jones disappointed pretty heavily in last summer's X- Men: First Class as a character completely devoid of any personality, she shines as Don's wife Betty. She's fairly miserable, kind of a brat, but again, we sympathise because she's stuck in the suburbs all day while her husband stays out late with other women. This goes unspoken for a long time but the subtle revealings of Betty's knowledge about Don's life are heartbreaking.

Much of the heart of Mad Men comes from Peggy's storyline. She's a plain girl trying to angle her way to success, and she's one of the most relateable characters. She's not beautiful or sexy, and she's naive, but not for long. As she grows thicker skin, so do we, and we see her less as a victim and more as someone who can take control, in small bites, of her fate. This mirrors what women were actually going through at that time, and it's a reminder to us that it wasn't so long ago that the workplace was that sexually discriminatory.

Why You Should Watch: It wins Emmy awards for a reason. Every actor pulls their weight, and it's a fascinating look at culture, specifically the marketing/media empire that shaped where we are today.

Factoid: Producer Matthew Weiner removed a song because it would not have been released until a few months later than timeline in the episode. His attention to detail is that aware.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Lost

Today's letter is "L." How could I not feature Lost?

Believe it or not, I was a casual viewer of Lost for awhile. Let me tell you, it's not possible to enjoy the show catching episodes here and there because I could never figure out what was happening (Imagine how confused I was when half the island time traveled). It's serialized drama at its best, but that's also it's one setback: so much mythology and lore fill Lost it can make your brain fog.

The show is best viewed in a DVD/Netflix style binge, which I finally did for seasons 1-5 just prior to the final season airing on TV. Beginning with the epic plane crash, through the countless iterations of mythology and treks across the island, Lost is a masterpiece television ensemble full of memorable characters. Some of them even die. I will not spoiler (a show that is off the air, mind you) but I was a bit peeved when one of my favorites bit the dust early on. And another a season later. While I have to say I knew Jack and Kate would make it to the end, the constant threat of death felt pretty real for a lot of the characters. Toying with that concept by sucking some of the castaways to a different timeline was an interesting twist I hadn't anticipated.

Why You Should Watch: It's already a television classic with it's unique spin on sci-fi, drama and adventure. While the ending didn't satisfy as much as I'd hoped, the journey to get there was certainly worth it. Also, Sawyer is pretty awesome.

Factoid: Lost is all about factoids. The show brilliantly fed clues to the mystery of the island throughout the series, and used this in their marketing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blogging A to Z: The Killing

OK, so I can't manage to watch EVERYTHING, so The Killing is a show still on my To Watch list. But since it fits the type of shows I'm featuring for this month's series, I wanted to include it.

The Killing takes a real-time approach to the investigation of a murdered teenager in Seattle, with three intertwining storylines. The show has been compared to as varied shows as 24 and Twin Peaks - even if you never watched it, the tagline mimics Twin Peaks' "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" That's inriguing enough for me. After enraging fans with a cliffhanger season ender that refused to tie up loose ends (Lost anyone?), the series returned April 1 with even more twists. So maybe catching up after the fact will provide a more satisfying experience. Season 1 is available now on Netflix streaming.

Why You Should Watch: Well, I want to watch because it's been critically acclaimed, and given that AMC's other dramas - Mad Men and Breaking Bad - are two of my favorite shows, I know the quality is there.

Factoid: The Danish did it first: this series is based on a series that first aired in Denmark.

Since I don't have a lot to share about this show, I'll leave you with a letter "K" throwback from the early '90s sketch comedy show The Kids in the Hall:

Lastly, if you've enjoyed my A to Z TV theme so far, please check out some of my TV feature articles at slackerheroes.com.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Blogging A to Z: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

To post on Tuesday 4/10/12

I initially confused It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia with Sonny With a Chance which is a Disney kids show and not at all like the very not-kids It's Always Sunny. OK, I can't believe I just admitted that. It's pretty embarrassing. The only similarity is the word sunny and even that's spelled different. I mean, look:

Moving on, It's Sunny is a little difficult to explain since the premise is so basic. A group of friends in Philadelphia run an Irish bar, hilarity ensues. You could say it's Cheers for the slacker generation, since none of these guys have their lives together and are overall a hot mess of immaturity and ineptitude. Often hilarious, sometimes irritatingly so, this show is pretty wacky, but later episodes solidify into a groove. You can catch this as new episodes air on FX, or reruns on Comedy Central and I hear WGN is running them now, too.

Why You Should Watch: I got my first glimpse of the show from a clip that went viral online with a cat in wearing "kitten mittens" to keep it from being so loud (cats + internet = success!) If your humor trends that way, you will like this show.

Factoid: The pilot episode is rumored to have cost only a few hundred bucks - or less - because it was filmed by handheld camera with all the actors working for free. Danny Devito was added to the cast in season 2 - and there's your Cheers connection!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Hart of Dixie

Not every show can provide gripping drama and intricately weaved plot lines. But sometimes we need a break from shows that make us think to watch something lighthearted and full of pretty people.

I bring you: Hart of Dixie.

I've blogged about the show before and its confounding appeal: Rachel Bilson as a doctor isn't entirely believable, but I like her. She's a little neurotic but has heart (hart?) when it counts. She relocates to po-dunk Bluebell, Alabama after her real father, unknown to her at the time, leaves her his medical practice in his will. Given she lost out on the surgical position in NYC she'd been working toward, she took the opportunity and moved to Bluebell, a town similar in concept to Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow with its chatty neighbors and no secrets approach to small town life.

A supporting cast with former Friday Night Lights actors doesn't hurt. Plenty of love triangles and town secrets weave through each episode, but it's mostly kept light, and at times is legitimately funny. I  kind of heart Wade (in the leather jacket above), but I could take Zoe Hart with any of the guys pictured above.

Delightfully goofy Lemon is just the right combination of southern belle and hardened debutante all whilst looking like a walking Easter egg. The show at least tries to be complex with some added story lines about Zoe's estranged father (her perceived father who remains in NYC, not the deceased one) and Lemon's mother who abandoned her, which provide common ground to the two who are usually at odds.

Why You Should Watch: Pretty people, pretty setting, lighthearted fun that's manages to entertain despite its predictability.

Factoid: Scott Porter (second from right in the cast photo) played the other half of the fake 80s duo in the film Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant - the band called Pop! That movie wasn't so great, but all the stuff about Pop! was hilarious.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blogging A to Z: The Guild

I wanted to write up Game of Thrones, which I had at the top of my Netflix queue for weeks, but suddenly it's "a very long wait," and I was sent the Puss in Boots disc instead. I admit, I love the Antoino Banderes-voiced Shrek character, but it doesn't fit for "G."

Codex and Zaboo
So, instead of the HBO epic fantasy, we have the more easily accessible web series The Guild! You can watch this online here or instantly on Netflix.

The Guild is about a group of online gamers who play a World of Warcraft-like game and their various adventures meeting in person. I don't play WoW, but the series' humor is accessible if you're a fan of video games in general, or if you've ever maintained relationships online with people you've never met in real life. This guild, called the Knights of Good, is comprised of misfit characters that range in age from high schooler up to mid-life adult, from sarcastic slacker to a horrifyingly negligent mother.

Codex (Felicia Day) is the Every Girl Gamer who holds the group together. She's debilitatingly shy, which is part of the overall story arc of the series. Each episode begins with her narration into her webcam (see pic above). The guild has banded together at a Gamestop for an expansion pack release (where they are accosted by line-jumper guild The Axis of Anarchy, which includes Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton), and has supported each other through failed social interactions at parties and an ill-fated wedding between the balding Vork and Zaboo's mother.
The guild members as their game avatars

Why You Should Watch:. Each episode is only minutes long, and you can watch the whole first season in about an hour - how's that for time efficiency!

Factoid:  Felicia Day stars, writes and produces The Guild, which is pretty impressive. The first season was financed by fans and her own fundraising supports until a sponsor was picked up for the series. Very DIY!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Fringe

Fringe is one of the coolest shows on right now. I was hooked from the start, but the first glimpse of the parallel universe with airships and a still-copper Statue of Liberty gave me chills.

Agent Olivia Dunham works for the Fringe Division of the FBI, researching strange cases with genius scientist Dr. Bishop, his brilliant but street-smart son Peter, and Dr. Bishop's plucky assistant Astrid.

I was a huge X-Files fan, and Fringe feels like a second generation spin on similar monsters, anomalies and phenomena. But I tend to think Fringe delves deeper into weird, and its Big Bad isn't shady government conspiracy, but a corporate technology dynasty who take great liberties with human experimentation. Also, there's a parallel universe with an alter-ego of every person in the Fringe universe. Cool.

Why You Should Watch: If I didn't hook you with X-Files and airships, you can make a drinking game out of how many times Olivia is sent to the tank in season 1, or you can just enjoy the romantic tension of two leads whose relationship actually progresses. Sort of. Keep in mind that whole parallel universe part. Also, Walter Bishop is one of television's great characters. His mad scientist role is the perfect dynamic of arrogant brilliance with a dash of sensitivity.

Factoid: John Noble (Walter Bishop) has serious geek cred: he played Denethor in Lord of the Rings.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Eureka

Eureka is a lighthearted sci-fi show on the Syfy channel. I confess: I had not seen it prior to the blogging challenge but I needed an "E" show that fit with my taste and qualifications (sorry, no Everybody Loves Raymond!) . The first three seasons are conveniently available on Netflix streaming.

Eureka takes place in the quirky fictional town of Eureka, Oregon, the headquarters of research facility Global Dynamics (think Fringe's Massive Dynamic but more wacky than creepy). A U.S. Marshal happens upon the town with his teen daughter (appropriately angsty wearing a choker and a nose ring). They end up sticking around to solve various oddities, mostly fallout from Global Dynamic's experiments, with the help of the Eureka's scientist and inventor townsfolk.

Why You Should Watch: It's a mystery-of-the-week format with subtle humor that doesn't stray too dark if you need a break from CSI-like true crime.  Lots of familiar actors you've seen on other shows end up in Eureka. The final season airs on Syfy this month (April 16), so you still have time to catch a few early episodes on Netflix. Also, Buffy alumn and The Guild creator Felicia Day has a story arc in season 4!

Factoid: After a little poking around, I found seasons two and three were composed by Bear McCreary of Battlestar Galactica fame. Yes, I watch enough TV to recognize composer names. Who can forget a guy named Bear?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Dexter

Like Breaking Bad, Dexter is a show not for the faint of heart. But the payoff is worth it if you invest in this series, which remains rather unpredictable, and a bit troubling considering the main character is a serial killer you want to root for.

Not all TV can be The Brady Bunch. (Thank goodness).

Dexter is a serial killer with a specific set of criteria for his kills: they need to be criminals. In one of the story arcs, his kills gain attention and the community applauds the unknown vigilante taking crime into his own hands. Again like Breaking Bad, it isn't enough that he's a killer eschewing the law, he works for the Miami Police Department. So does his sister Deb. In fact, she investigates cases Dexter is intimately involved with. What's truly screwy is when someone on the force in season 1 catches on to Dexter. I'll leave out spoilers, but see who it is you want to get away with it: Dexter or the one person who sees through Dexter's facade.

What I appreciate about the show is the backstory which details why Dexter is the way he is. It's quite a charge to make a serial killer a sympathetic character. Dexter agonizes at times over his need to kill, it's a topic exhausted throughout the series, reminding viewers that murder is never an easy or "right" option. Dexter even has a girlfriend who embodies the sunny, mothering, angelic side of life that Dexter fears/wants most. His sister Deb is a fantastic character: she's foul mouthed, emotional and she will do anything to protect her brother. The stakes are high - Dexter can't let anyone know he's a killer or he'll end up with nothing. 
Not all of these characters will make it alive to season 5
Why You Should Watch: A great supporting cast rounds out the show. If you're tired of predictable telelvision, Dexter puts a spin on the typical police procedural and at times even manages to be funny. 

Factoid: During the writer's strike of 2008, CBS aired an edited version of Dexter's first season, which originally plays on premium cable network Showtime. Seriously, CBS! Yes, the Parent's TV Council was all over it. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Castle

The premise is implausible. But we love it anyway:

Best-selling true crime fiction author Richard Castle shadows the NYPD and becomes one of the team, to the point he questions witnesses and plays an active part in the investigation. Sounds like a work of fiction in itself, but Castle is a fun guilty pleasure that spins the usual procedural with a little humor and a lot of romantic tension. I chalk most of its success to:

But it's not fair to leave out the cast as a whole, including Castle's smarty pants daughter (who I love), his theatre actress mother, and of course Detective Beckett. Oh, Beckett, how your stylist from season 2 must have been blind to current trends; thankfully your hair looks less like a feathered 1990s monstrosity. You are too pretty for a head half full of bangs!
Mariska Hargitay 10 years ago?!
Why You Should Watch: It's a classic butting-heads romance in the workplace set-up with a few unique twists. Also, Nathan Fillion is awesome.

Factoid: In the Halloween episode of season two, Castle dresses as his character Mal Reynolds from the cult-fave Firefly.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Breaking Bad

Double B: alliteration!

Breaking Bad is not a show for everyone. Having said that, you should absolutely watch it.

Bryan Cranston plays Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher stricken with cancer who joins up with Jessie, a flunkie former student, to make crystal meth in order leave his family with financial security. If you thought meth was bad before, after watching this you'll want to avoid all drugs including Advil. The series progresses from small time meth cooking in a camper to affiliations with a big time drug lords. To throw a wrench in it all, Walter's brother-in-law works for the Drug Enforcement Agency of the government, who are quite aware a new meth maker's in town.

Why You Should Watch: The relationship between Walter and Jessie deepens, and strains and complicates throughout the series. Jessie refers to Walter as Mr. White, a strange sort of politeness he affords no one else in his life. The overall casting, acting and writing are superb. In one episode of season 4, a scene plays out entirely in Spanish (subtitled) with no musical score, no cut-away shots, no action. It's just solid dialogue that unfolds deliberately for a good five or ten minutes. You barely notice you're holding your breath.

Beyond all that, if you're feeling down about your life, watch this and I guarantee you'll feel better.

Factoid: Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have both won Emmy awards for the series. You might remember Bryan Cranston as the dad who can't win from Malcolm in the Middle.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blogging A to Z: TV Theme- Angel

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! My intention with the TV theme is to feature as many current shows as possible. But I also want to share shows that I like and that lean toward scripted television rather than reality shows. So, although my "A" pick no longer airs new episodes, you can see reruns weekdays on TNT (or DVD, Netflix, etc.)

Angel: the vampire with a soul. Oh, how he broke young Buffy's heart, loving her despite being her immortal enemy. I felt skeptical on whether he could hold his own show, but I'm glad I invested in the series, which I watched after a DVD binge of all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (back before it could be streamed on Netflix so I had to wait for the discs!)

As Buffy heads to college, Angel takes off to L.A. where he opens a paranormal investigation agency of sorts with Buffy alumn Cordelia, who truly redeems herself from Mean Girl to helpful sidekick. The rest of the cast crops up organically: Wesley, a former watcher (trainer to the vampire slayers), who undergoes the most character progression during the show, enters late in season 1, along with Gunn, an everyman who dusts vampires to keep the neighborhood safe. Fred (the girl) is probably the most fun edition as she's rescued from another realm and brought back to L.A. with Angel. In the last season, former Big Bad vamp Spike shows up (after having saved the world and all on Buffy). Many a fan have lamented this stunt casting, but I like Spike and didn't mind it.

Angel as a series is a bit uneven; I can appreciate the risks it took, taking beloved characters and making them evil/disturbed/taken over by something, not just for an episode, but for a season. While the last two seasons aren't as strong as the first few, the final episode is one of my favorite series finales ever. As with any Joss Whedon show, somebody important dies, and while plotlines are tied up, the threat of evil isn't. The parting shot shows the cast in the pouring rain facing a cluster of mystical baddies. Angel says, "Personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon."

Angel in felt
Why You Should Watch: See a pre-Bones David Boreanaz with fangs and a bumpy face when he vamps out! Plus, how can you go wrong with a puppet themed episode? The answer is, you can't.

Factoid: See the kid far left in the first picture? He played Angel's son Connor in a rather strange loop on the show, where Angel had a child with his vamp maker Darla, but the baby was timewarped somewhere else, only to reappear as a teenager (take that daytime TV!). Now Connor can be seen schmoozing on Madison Avenue in Mad Men.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Starts Sunday April 1st!

As a reminder, for April I'm joining the Blogging From A to Z Challenge which means a post almost every day for the month of April on a topic related to that day's letter of the alphabet. My theme is TV shows - specifically scripted TV (sorry, no reality!) mostly featuring shows that are currently on, or can easily be seen in reruns. I have a few exceptions - those darned letters Q and Z! - but so far it's been fun to plan all the posts.

I'm looking forward to checking out new blogs during the month - over 1,400 signed up for the challenge! Obviously, I can't visit everybody, but especially if you're already on my reading list, I'll be stopping by a few times to comment. This will be the only time I post the actual linky since it's so long, but here goes after the jump:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Stephanie Perkins
Young Adult Contemporary
Published 2011

High schooler Lola is happy with her older (age 22) musician boyfriend Max and her constantly evolving wardrobe, until the rental house next door changes over again and her former childhood friends return: Calliope, a figure skater-turned-Mean Girl, and her twin brother Cricket, Lola's first crush who ultimately rejected her.

Lola has rather extreme reactions to everything; she can hardly bear the twins are back, but what's most difficult is that Cricket wants to be friends again. He's even better looking and more charming than ever. Lola is confused whether to forgive him for breaking her heart and then moving away several years ago, a fact her friend Lindsay frequently reminds her of. But when she and Max start butting heads, and when Lola's birth mother - the sister of one of her adopted dads - comes back into her life, Cricket is the one who supports her. He always seems to be around instead of on campus at nearby Berkeley, and ready to talk through his window just feet away from hers between their San Francisco row homes.

Lola captures all the emotions of changing circumstances with a mix of maturity and age-appropriate reactions. She does dumb things, but she's trying her best. The supporting characters are great - no one feels wasted. This is mostly a story of friendship blossoming into something more, and it's filled with a lot of fun and genuine moments.

This is the author's second novel, which is somewhat of a companion to Anna and the French Kiss, since Lola is friends with Anna and her boyfriend who now attend college in San Fran. It's not a sequel, but it provides some payoff if you've read her other book. I listened to the audio book which was excellent as far as narration and pacing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games: an Old Idea with a Fresh Voice

The Hunger Games movie released today, and already I'm seeing backlash.

"This concept has been done before, it was called _______."
(fill in the blank with The Running Man, Battle Royale, Lord of the Flies, etc.)

Everything has been done before. Every story idea you have, someone else had it first. Before you feel too depressed, the silver lining is any story idea depends on what we do with it.

Suzanne Collins took her concept of a dystopian society (again, not a new idea) and featured teens who are forced to fight for their lives. With that generic description, I can mention half a dozen other books with the same concept in the current YA market. The difference is how the story is told.

I have respect for the author's ability show the horrors of war through her characters. Some scenes are violent, but they aren't gory. Much of the violence is implied. It's the perfect type of book for a discussion group, for a parent to read along with their kid, or an adult like me to get a fresh take on a concept that yes, I have heard before.

Some of the snippy comments I'm sure are a result of hype; no question this is the most heavily marketed film of the year so far, and will probably remain one of the top highest marketing budgets, including The Avengers and Christopher Nolan's last Batman installment, and Breaking Dawn part Deux: the Cash Cow. Yes, the media has been saturated with Hunger Games. It doesn't mean it's not a credible story, even if the story has been told before.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blogging A to Z

I'm joining the Blogging from A to Z challenge this year. There's still time to sign up if you're interested!
The challenge involves creating a post for every letter of the alphabet in April. It can be about anything you want, starting Sunday April 1 with "A", all the way through Saturday April 28 with "Z" (all Sundays except the first Sunday are skipped).

You don't have to choose a theme - the posts can be about anything. But I think my theme will be TV shows since I write about TV for http://www.slackerheroes.com/ It's a fun topic that most people have an opinion on (even if it's that they never watch TV - usually those people are even more opinionated!).

So look for a TV-themed month of April and probably a break in book reviews.

If you're participating in the challenge, do you have a theme?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Book Review: Making Waves by Tawna Fenske

Making Waves
Tawna Fenske
Contemporary Romance, Humor
Published 2011

Making Waves is a fun little caper involving Juli, the conventional woman trying to find herself, who's thrown on a boat with disenfranchised corporate worker bees turned pirates. Yup, pirates! Alex and three of his coworkers decide to take control of their future after a lay-off  which drained their pensions after years of service to a company who couldn't care less. They charter a boat and plan to exploit their employer, a shipping merchant, by stealing valuable material in a heist to make up for their lost wages. Juli ends up on their boat after mistakenly boarding what she thought was a day tour while heavily doped up on seasickness medicine. Juli is thrilled to play the part of castaway, she sees it all as an adventure, while the crew thinks she must be some sort of spy.
Juli and Alex meet prior to the pirate mission at the resort that both are (supposedly) vacationing. Juli was asked to spread the ashes of her late uncle in the ocean, but the story hints that Juli is hiding something. Alex is distracted from the heist because of sexual tension with Juli. The two spend a lot of time almost getting together, but there are definitely some steamy scenes - FYI!

The characters frequently crack jokes, and the playful tone detracts from some of the implausibility of the plot. Although maybe it's not a stretch in this economy to believe scorned employees would commit seaside crime in an act of revenge.

I've followed Tawna Fenske's blog (Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing) for awhile -- she's hilarious so I recommend checking it out. From the blog, I learned the e-book version of Making Waves had lowered in price for a limited time. It's still a good price at $6.99.