I’ve Moved!

You may or may not have noticed that it’s been very quiet around here. Here’s why:

What I wanted to do and what WordPress would let me do for free did not match.

Some of the things I wanted to do required a small upgrade, while others required the full shebang.

I understand, folks need to make money somehow. I, on the other hand, don’t have and spare money to feed into this little side project of mine.

Thus, leading me to a move. I have hopped on over to Blogger. Scanning the web, it seems most people do the opposite. And while it is less intuitive in a couple areas, I am able to do everything I want in a post.

For now, I will leave this site as is. I may come back to use it down the road. But who knows?

I want to thank everyone for following along so far, and I hope to see you all at the new digs. Since WP is mad scary about some of their linking rules, I am extremely hesitant to link the new site. If you wish to continue following me, please check my sidebar Twitter. It can guide you without the anything scary happening to either of us. Or type Katie’s Media Menagerie into a search engine.

Game Review: Girls Like Robots

Title:  Girls Like Robots

Type:  iPhone

Genre:  Puzzle

Creators:  Adult Swim and Popcannibal

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Girls like robots. Robots like girls. Nerds like girls and robots. Robots are nerd neutral. Girls hate robots. It’s simple, right?

In Girls Like Robots, players must use the simple list of relationship preferences while arranging characters in order to fill a happiness meter. Or an un-happiness meter, depending on the level.

The gameplay starts simple with the aforementioned girls, robots, and nerds being placed on grids. The game is kept interesting with various goals, including deflecting giant bugs. Things get tricky when cows, pie, fish, and fire are added. A couple levels kept me scratching my head for a while, and I had to revisit the final stage a few times.

As the player progresses through the three acts, a cute story of love and an epic showdown to save the world are revealed—all to an upbeat folk soundtrack by Peacemeal String Band, complete with banjo action!

Even when players cannot find the best puzzle answer to make each and every little square character happy, they can still beat it., since happiness has never been black and white. But the happier the characters are, the more bonuses the player receives—which unlock bonus games.

I loved this charming game and give it high recommendations for all ages. My biggest complaint was the inability to undo the final move in a stage, BUT Popcannibal listened to its players and fixed it! I am overjoyed when developers implement good player suggestions. Just another reason to like the game and creators.

Don’t forget to check out Adult Swim’s website for more games and their TV schedule. And Popcannibal’s website for more Girls Like Robots information and screenshots.

What do you think about Girls Like Robots? Tell me in the comments below.

Book Review: Exiled by M.R. Merrick

ExiledTitle:  Exiled, Protector Series #1

Author:  M.R. Merrick

Rating:  3.75 Stars

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Synopsis:  Chase Williams was raised as part of the Circle, a group of supernaturally gifted demon hunters. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase entered the ceremony to claim his elemental power and join his father in protecting the innocent from demons, but his power never came.

Disgracing the Circle and his father, Chase is exiled to live among the mortals, where demons continually attack him and his hunter affiliation. After a run-in with an ex-hunter working with a witch and a terrified demon being ruthlessly attacked by hunters, Chase begins to question his former home and their intentions.

Once Chase learns about a plan to unlock a portal and bring stronger demons to the human world, he must put aside his prejudices and work with the demons he was raised to hate in order to save the innocent people of Earth.

My Thoughts:  This is one of those books I didn’t want to put down. On the first page we find Chase in mid-battle with a demon. And our protagonist finds himself in fight after fight. The action is definitely the strength of Exiled.

I highly enjoyed the different creatures as well. Merrick gives us some traditional monsters, ones that feel almost forgotten from old lore, those with a slight twist, and completely new creatures (at least, ones I’ve never heard of).

Exiled does have its rough spots though. Much of the early dialogue feels forced and a little awkward. Description is also a little on the sparse side in the early pages. But as the novel progresses, the descriptions get better and the dialogue seems to flow a bit more naturally—though, not completely yet. With the improvement visible in the novel, I have no doubt that the sequel, Shift,  will show even more improvements in these areas.

I was also able to figure out what the Circle was after fairly early in the novel, and couldn’t figure out why the other characters couldn’t see it—especially since much of the clues were done in dialogue. One character has suspicions, but again, why not act on them in some way?

MRMerrickOverall, I had a blast reading Exiled. It was an action-filled fantasy that I devoured in about a day. If action and demon fighting sounds interesting to, go check it out!

Find M.R. Merrick online:
Website| Twitter | Facebook

What are your thoughts on Exiled? Tell me in the comments below!

In My Mailbox (IMM) #2

It’s been a looooooong couple of weeks for me filled with a never ending sickness. I seriously slept more than 70 hours one week. As someone who doesn’t sleep much, or particularly enjoy a long sleep, it has been disturbing.

Luckily I received some goodies in the mail to cheer me up!

First, the brand new P.O.S. album titled We Don’t Even Live Here.

P.O.S. is one of my favorite rappers and part of my favorite rap/hip-hop collective, Doomtree. I highly recommend all of these extremely talented artists.

Originally P.O.S. had been scheduled for a national tour, but because of health issues he’s had to cancel. You can learn more about the situation and how to help over on Doomtree’s website.

Even though you might not be able to see him in concert soon, you can still enjoy the video for “Get Down” (NSFW with all the cursing, but you should probably blast it when you get home).

My second package was a result of Neil Gaiman’s All Hallow’s Read. Back in 2010, Gaiman proposed that each person give/lend/share a scary book on Halloween. This book could go to a friend, family member, or stranger. It doesn’t matter! As long as you share.

I happened to be the winner of an All Hallow’s Read giveaway. The Girl Who Loved Zombies sent me I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. I enjoyed the film, so I have high hopes for the novel. The rumors (they’ll stay that way until I read the book) that they are massively different just makes it all the more exciting.

What did you get this week? Have you also fallen victim to illness as the temperatures slip toward winter?

Movie Review: Detention

Detention

Title:  Detention
Rated:  R
Genres:  Comedy, Horror, Sci-fi
Director:  Joseph Kahn
Writers:  Joseph Kahn, Mark Palermo
Stars:  Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke, Dane Cook
Rating:  4 Stars

Synopsis from Redbox:

17-year-old Riley Jones must survive her final year of high school. The problem is that she has been sentenced to detention on the night of her prom, her friends are apparently being murdered by the fictional villain of a horror film series, and worst of all, the boy with whom she’s in love is infatuated with her biggest rival. It becomes a race against time to save the world as she knows it.

My Thoughts:

Based on this description, I was expecting a B-horror movie. Detention turned out to be so much better than that expectation.

Detention is a meta-tribute to teen comedy and horror films, as well as the 90s. There are clear references to The Breakfast Club, Scream, The Fly, Freaky Friday and so many more. I love when films (or any media) lovingly, and jokingly, reference other things. It gives the film another layer, and a game I can play during a second (or third, or fourth) viewing.

Detention texting

Not only does Detention make tribute to previous films, it also captures the quick, ADHD nature of today’s youth. Characters spew rapid-fire references and quips as the story careens at texting speeds. While I enjoyed this for the most part, sometimes things moved a little too fast to catch everything.

Overall I found Detention to be hilarious and not scary at all. I will definitely be purchasing this film and watching it several more times. However, I find it difficult to recommend to a general audience. Detention is destined to become a cult film. I know many people will tire of the references. Others will despise the overall attitude and ridiculousness. And some people are looking for another Josh Hutcherson movie—which is much different from his previous work. If you enjoy comedy-horror benders, or cult films, I give a tentative recommendation.

What were your thoughts on Detention? What do you think of cross-genre films? Let me know in the comments below.

Event: Maggie Stiefvater Signing

Even though I haven’t read any of Maggie Stiefvater’s books (yet), I would definitely see her in person again. Here’s why:

Maggie Stiefvater telling stories

A slightly blurry photo of Stiefvater in animated storyteller mode

The first part of her signing at Red Balloon Bookshop was like a one woman show. Stiefvater began with stories, not surprising for someone who writes for a living. But her stories didn’t come from behind a table or droned out because it’s the nth time repeated. She was animated. Using the entire space, Stiefvater played the roles of herself, her agent, her sister, a flight attendant, and others as they appeared throughout the stories. I was chuckling along with the other audience members as ‘killer goats’ and other completely logical yet ridiculous things surfaced.

After she told her stories and answered audience questions, there was a raffle for a Stiefvater original colored pencil drawing that was featured in the book trailer for The Raven Boys. As someone who only recognized Stiefvater’s name and a couple of book titles, it was neat to find out that she was also an accomplished artist (as well as bagpipe player). It was even better to find out that her drawing was the prize of the raffle and not the typical ‘this is a copy of what I’m currently promoting.’ And can you guess who won?

Stiefvater colored pencil drawing

My pretty raffle swag

Stiefvater kept her humor throughout the signing as well. She chatted and took pictures with her fans. She was unperturbed by the few of us who hadn’t read her books yet, chatting with us as much as her diehard fans. Seeing her in person and interacting with her has made me excited to read The Raven Boys and Lament.

Maggie Stiefvater

Photo by Robert Severi

If you have the opportunity to attend a Maggie Stiefvater signing, do it. Even if you haven’t read her books, she’s highly entertaining. This was a great way to spend an evening.

Find Maggie Stiefvater online: 
Website
| Blog | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

Have you been to a signing? What was your experience? Tell me in the comments below!

Book Review: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

Title:  The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

Author:  Tim Burton

Rating:  4 Stars

Genre:  Illustrated poetry

Synopsis:
From Amazon:

From breathtaking stop-action animation to bittersweet modern fairy tales, filmmaker Tim Burton has become known for his unique visual brilliance — witty and macabre at once. Now he gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children — misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds. His lovingly lurid illustrations evoke both the sweetness and the tragedy of these dark yet simple beings — hopeful, hapless heroes who appeal to the ugly outsider in all of us, and let us laugh at a world we have long left behind (mostly anyway).

My Thoughts:  I love Tim Burton’s distinctive style. And this has been the case for . . . always. I grew up with The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands. He was definitely one of my introductions to the odd. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories (MDOB+) sits squarely in the odd and stylized world of his creation. One look at an illustration and you know it’s by Tim Burton. There are very few modern artists I can pick out that easily.

The illustrated stories (Or poems? They’re kind of both.) are very reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas–not in content, but in the simplistic rhyming and unique turn of phrase. The cast of children in MDOB+ often suffer because of a small twist. For example, Staring Girl needs to rest her eyes. That’s not done by napping, but by them jumping out of her skull and lounging by a pool. In these instances I kept returning to the “Town Meeting Song,” where sleigh becomes slay, and Santa Claus becomes Sandy Claws, a “big red lobster man. “ These ‘misunderstandings’ are fun and interesting, especially since they seem like such logical mistakes. It makes me wonder what similar misunderstandings I made as a child not yet fully versed in the language.

Character Toys

Tragic characters in all their plastic glory

The images are what make this book so great. Without them, the poems lose a lot of their charm. If the poems were as wonderful as the drawings, MDOB+ could have easily captured all 5 stars in a review. But with some feeling too short, or a little incomplete, I must give it 4 stars.

Tim Burton

Photograph: Patrick Rideaux/Rex Features

 

Find Tim Burton online:
Website | IMDB

 

 

 

Do you like Tim Burton’s visual perspective? What’s your favorite Tim Burton work? Let me know in the comments below!