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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Double Sheep Movie Review: The Hunger Games: MockingJay - Part 1

The Hunger Games: MockingJay - Part 1
Directed by: Francis Lawrence, Francis Lawrence II
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2hr 5min
Staring: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Elizabeth Banks, 

The worldwide phenomenon of The Hunger Games continues to set the world on fire with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, which finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a nation moved by her courage. The novel on which the film is based is the third in a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins that has over 65 million copies in print in the U.S. alone. 

*Katie's review, who did not read the books* 

Maybe I should have watched the previous Hunger Games movie right before heading to the theater to see this one. I say this, because I could not remember who certain characters were. Or why and how they got out of the main city to district 13. Like who was Sara again? And how did Finnick play into all this? Plus, Effie is now magically in district 13…but why? It's not really explained. So maybe she got out and went there, but her of all people I could not believe would abandon the luxury of the main city. Just to live underground and on the run. 

Anyway, all that being said I did enjoy this film overall. But I say that with reservations. I mean, how much can you "enjoy" a film that's about millions of oppressed people who are hunted and killed like animals. Where kids have to fight each other to the death no less, it's hard to be all "hell yeah that was a good film!" then fist pump the air. Just seems kinda out of place for the occasion. 

But I digress. As we get into the latest ongoings of Katniss and crew, we find that a major rebellion has now started. The working people don't want to be held down any longer. They are fighting. Most are making the ultimate sacrifice, but better to die fighting for something righteous then die for nothing. 

The film felt very dark for most of the story, but that's pretty much Hunger Games edict. Tedious is a word that comes to mind. Long spots of lulling, then some action and then back to more lull. This is one of those cases where the trailer shows you pretty much all the most exciting parts. The epic "If we burn, you burn with us!" (see video below) That's a big moment in the film. But I saw the trailer 10 times already! 

There's a ton of uneventful moments. I can't even say there was great dialog to fill those voids. No, most was self reflection moments. Looking out into the distance. Waiting. Picking over cafeteria food. Playing a game of chase the light across the floor you silly cat. You get the idea. More action! More development in the plot! More something! 

Sure, the end gets epic. But that's the end of the film! This was a 2 hour movie that wasted time and delivered little. See it if you like this world and want to keep up with what's doing. But really, you can wait around for the DVD. 

Getting 3 1/2 Sheep

*Sharon's review, who read the books* 

I'll make this quick. I was disappointed. It was nothing but Katniss looking horrified and then distraught. Mockingjay is the last book, and some pretty big things happen, but it seems they are saving it all for the fourth movie. There is one important event reveal in part one, the Peta story line. The rest is filler. Skipping this movie and reading some spoilers online instead will do you. Save your money for part two.

2 Sheep (one star because I like Jennifer Lawrence and another because Thor's brother is nice to look at.)


Happy Thanksgiving from I Smell Sheep

Happy Thanksgiving from I Smell Sheep!
photo credit
Now get off the computer and help your family cook, eat and clean up!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Movie Review: Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar (2014)
Rating:PG-13 (for some intense perilous action and brief strong language)
Genre:Action & Adventure , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:Christopher Nolan
Written By:Christopher Nolan , Jonathan Nolan
In Theaters:Nov 7, 2014 
Runtime:2 hr. 49 min.
Paramount Pictures - Official Site
With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history; traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars. (C) Paramount

It's a rare movie that will drag me out of the comfort of my own home and into a theater where I must contend with people talking, candy bags rustling, and sound levels that leave me cringing and sticking my fingers into my ears. But on the recommendation of a friend, Interstellar recently became one of those movies...and I'm glad of it.

My friend's very science-oriented son described it as being rather like 2001: A Space Odyssey, only with more action and better science. "The most accurate depiction of a black hole ever in a movie," he called it. I'll have to take his word on the latter part (but American theoretical physicist Kip Thorne did advise on the film, so I'm betting my friend is right). As to the comparison to 2001? Yup. I can see that, too...but with waaay more action.

In case you haven't heard of the film (!), here's the synopsis from the official site

In the future, governments and economies across the globe have collapsed, food is scarce, NASA is no more, and the 20th Century is to blame. A mysterious rip in spacetime opens and it's up to whatever is left of NASA to explore and offer up hope for mankind.

Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

That, in my opinion, is about the most boring description (*yawn*) anyone could give, because you’ll notice that nowhere are the words epic, breathtaking, visual feast, or WOW used. And the movie is deserving of all those words and least cinematically speaking.

As for the other stuff, I thought the story held together okay, the acting was adequate (and given that I'm not a particular fan of either Matthew McConaughey or Anne Hathaway, that's actually saying rather a lot), and the plot was easy to follow. But seriously, those space scenes? Epic. Breathtaking. A visual feast. Wow. They alone made it worthwhile going to the theatre for the big-screen experience--and make it easy for me to recommend that others do as well.

Oh, yes, and the science stuff? Mind-bending. You've been warned. ;)
Guest review: Linda Poitevin
Author of the Grigori Legacy series from Ace/Roc Books

Exclusive Excerpt: VACANT (Mindspace Investigations, #4) by Alex Hughes Book Tour + giveaway

VACANT (Mindspace Investigations, #4)
by Alex Hughes
Publisher: Roc 
Publication date: 12/2/2014 
Series: Mindspace Investigations Series, #4 
Pages: 352
Nothing ruins a romantic evening like a brawl with lowlifes—especially when one of them later turns up dead and my date, Detective Isabella Cherabino, is the #1 suspect. My history with the Atlanta PD on both sides of the law makes me an unreliable witness, so while Cherabino is suspended, I’m paying my bills by taking an FBI gig.

I’ve been hired to play telepathic bodyguard for Tommy, the ten-year-old son of a superior court judge in Savannah presiding over the murder trial of a mob-connected mogul. After an attempt on the kid’s life, the Feds believe he’s been targeted by the businessman’s “associates.”

Turns out, Tommy’s a nascent telepath, so I’m trying to help him get a handle on his Ability. But it doesn’t take a mind reader to see that there’s something going on with this kid’s parents that’s stressing him out more than a death threat…

I Consult 

An excerpt from Vacant by Alex Hughes 

It was a sad and unfortunate truth that the person to report the crime was often the first suspect. In this case, that meant that Cherabino and I, out of our jurisdiction, were suspects. I wasn't entirely surprised when they bundled us up and took us into the station. I was surprised when they kept us for hours.

I found myself on the opposite side of the interview table, in a strange room, with yet another stranger asking me questions. She was a forty-something woman with strong features and a hard personality, what my father would have called a battle-ax when I was growing up--and he would have meant it as a compliment. Unfortunately, after three interviewers, I was less than pleased with her on principle.

“You lost your job with the DeKalb County Police Department recently,” she began, after the usual softening-up questions. “Tell me about that.”

“My job at the DeKalb County Police Department changed focus and hours,” I replied, as precisely as possible. “I’m a consultant. I consult. Unfortunately, one of the consulting jobs I took outside the department last year made Paulsen--my supervisor--uncomfortable. It was decided to move me more directly to the Homicide and Robbery squads to work with Branen and his team, who do not have the same concerns about other consulting.” I’d had a few hours to figure out how to phrase that by now. Plus Swartz and I had discussed the best way to say it for job interviews anyway.

“What was the consulting job that made your superior uncomfortable?” the interrogator asked.

“I’m sorry, what was your name?” I asked, tired of being played like a civilian. After the second interviewer, they’d already left me alone for an hour and a half with bad coffee and no bathroom; I’d spurned the one because I’d planned for the other, but it had to be two a.m. and I wanted a nap. Another nap, I should say. She’d woken me up once already. Or her predecessor had. I was losing track.

“Officer Malone,” the woman said, after a moment of consideration. “I’ll repeat, what was the consulting job that made your superior uncomfortable?”

“Officer Malone. Thank you.” I made myself relax my body language a little more, more ‘open,’ less defensive. “The consulting job that made my superiors uncomfortable was one with the Telepath’s Guild. I can’t go into details.”

Her whole demeanor changed then, her body drawing back, her lip curling under. “The Guild? You worked for the Guild?”

I nodded.

Any professional courtesy she’d given me up until that point vanished like a mirage. She peppered me with question after question, hostility mixing with her fear at being alone with a “traitor telepath” until finally she brought in another, stubborn-minded male interrogator.

I held onto my temper with both hands and answered the questions as honestly as possible, going over what I’d seen outside of the concert over and over again. Finally, after two hours, I said, “Are we done?”

“For now,” she said, anger in every line. Then they left me alone.

Great. It was going to be one of those nights, wasn't it?

Reading Order:
Rabbit Trick (.5) 
Clean (1) 
Payoff (1.5) 
Sharp (2) 
Marked (3) 

About the Author:
Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! For all the latest news and free short stories, join Alex’s email list at

Play Vacant Clue
A “Clue-like” checklist is available to download from the author’s blog, to be marked off as readers visit stops along the tour schedule. Somewhere on participating blog posts will be clues (clearly marked) that will eliminate specific “Location”, “Weapon”, or “Suspect” options.

Link to the "Clue" check list:

At the end of the tour, a rafflecopter entry form will help Alex choose a grand prize winner amongst all who correctly guess “who dunnit?” based on the remaining options.

Blog Tour Schedule:
Nov 25th - SF Signal
Nov 26th - I Smell Sheep
Nov 27th – Thanksgiving (US)
Nov 28th - Ashley’s Random Blog
Dec 1st - What The Cat ReadBookHounds
Dec 2nd - NicholasKaufmann.comBooks Make Me Happy
Dec 3rd - Vampire Book Club
Dec 4th - Little Read Riding Hood
Dec 5th - Insane About Books
Dec 8th - BiblioFiendBetween The Lines
Dec 9th - Smart Girls Love Sci/Fi & Paranormal Romance
Dec 10th - Reading Reality
Dec 11th - Short & Sweet Reviews
Dec 12th - That’s What I’m Talking AboutAnna’s Book Blog
Dec 15th - Tynga’s Reviews
Dec 16th - Janice Hardy – Fiction University
Dec 17th - PreturnaturaAmberkatze’s Book Blog
Dec 18th - Fantasy LiteratureThat’s What I’m Talking About
Dec 19th - Books That HookLiteral Addiction
Dec 21st - Literary Escapism
Dec 22nd - Open Book Society
Dec 23rd - My Bookish Ways

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

45 New Releases in Speculative Fiction for the Week of November 25

Lots of goodies releasing this week! Have fun and think about getting some as gifts for your book loving lambs...

Click on the covers to be taken to the amazon page. I Smell Sheep is an affiliate of amazon and we will get a tiny percentage of each sale for advertising.

This is our WTF-ery of the week: