GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ I Smell Sheep: September 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Movie Review: What's Your Number?

PLOT – Ally Darling (Anna Faris) is realizing she’s a little lost in life. Her latest romance has just fizzled out, and she’s just been fired from her marketing job. Then, she reads an eye-opening magazine article that warns that 96 percent of women who’ve been with 20 or more lovers are unlikely to find a husband. Determined to turn her life around and prove the article wrong, Ally embarks on a mission to find the perfect mate from among her numerous ex-boyfriends.

STARRING – Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Blythe Danner, Ed Begley Jr., Dave Annable, Zachary Quinto.

Director – Mark Mylod

How many men have you slept with? Such an interesting question. My number is zero. You see, the only penis I’m comfortable dealing with is my own. Not that the number of women I’ve slept with is all that higher. I’ll save all our blushes and omit the figure.

What’s Your Number introduces us to Ally (Faris), a thirty-something who works in marketing and for whom the number of sexual partners she has had becomes the basis of a quest to find her true love. When Ally reads an article in a magazine that says the average number of sexual partners a woman has in her lifetime is 10.5, she starts to list all of her former lovers and to her embarrassment she finds that she has had 19 partners and none of them have come close to being ‘the one’.

With that in mind, she makes a promise. She will not sleep with her 20th partner until she is absolutely certain that he is Mr. Right. But Ally being Ally, she gets drunk that very night and sleeps with her boss. Having hit her 20th partner, Ally now decides that the only way to fulfil her promise to herself is to reexamine her 20 ex-boyfriends to see if one of them was her true love. She’ll then reignite the flame with Mr. Right and thereby keep her number of sexual partners at 20.

For this quest she enlists the help of her deadbeat neighbour Colin (Evans), a jobbing musician and total poon-hound who relies on Ally to help him evade the myriad one night stands he ploughs his way through. But the quest is not an easy one and Ally and Colin soon come to realise that true love will rear it’s ugly head in the least likely of places.

So, where to begin (he said, as he loaded both barrels)? Words cannot describe how bad this movie is. I wanted to leave the screening after half an hour and I resented having to watch it, so I have to be careful not to sink into vitriol. I’ll try to give it as fair a shake as I can muster.

Let’s start with the story. Ally works in marketing, she hates her job, can’t hold onto a boyfriend (she’s always the dumpee, never the dumper) and is generally at a loss as to what to do with her life. She is absolutely convinced that the key to her happiness is finding a man. Now, I don’t consider myself a feminist but I certainly don’t think that this is a message that’s relevant in the 21st century. I’m losing respect for the heroine after barely 15 minutes of the movie.

It gets worse. When she comes up with her cockamamie plan to find herself a husband, any shred of respect I had for her disappears (She obviously has no self respect so why should I respect her?). And to make matters worse, she bases her big choice on an article in a glossy magazine. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who makes life changing decisions based on a Vanity Fair quiz deserves everything they get.

After the opening scenes, when Ally has begun her quest, the movie settles comfortably into a series of well worn, rom-com cliches. So familiar was most of it that I counted a half dozen instances where I was able to guess what happened next – right down to the dialogue. Throw in a cringeworthy scene at the TD Gardens in Boston and the narrative somehow becomes both predictable and nonsensical.

Now, let’s look at the script. Personally, I enjoy toilet humour, so I never thought I would find a movie that relied so heavily on it that it made me – of all people – roll my eyes. The script is just a series of (poor) gags about penises, vaginas, anal sex, smelly fingers and bestiality. Vulgarity is used best when it’s used sparingly and it takes you by surprise. After half an hour of the toilet humour in What’s Your Number? nothing surprised me. It felt like someone was farting in my face for the entire runtime.

So surely the characters can bring some redemption to this sorry excuse for a movie? Sadly, no. Not only did I have no respect for the heroine, I also found myself really disliking her. She is a shallow, vain, vacuous brat. Her number one choice of ex-boyfriends to stalk is the richest. She judges most of the men in the movie primarily on social status, then appearance, then. . . well, that’s it, actually. Did I mention she stalks 20 men? Yes, that’s how she goes about finding her husband to be. She commissions a man she barely knows to dig up personal information about 20 men she previously had relationships with. And then has the gall to lament the fact that they dumped her crazy ass.

Evans is little better as Colin, the odious man-slut from across the hall. He fucks a different woman every night an then relies on Ally to help him weasel out of having to deal with them. When he and Ally concoct their plan to find her a mate, it’s plainly obvious that he wants to get into her knickers and he regularly says as much. For her part, she does nothing to discourage him, walking around all day with her ass hanging out. Am I really expected to like these people?

I can’t really fault the technical aspects of the movie. There is no flair, no imagination, nothing interesting about them. They’re hardly noticable and I’m thankful for that much at least. The editing was a little dodgy at times but apart from that, Mylod just lets the action play out without getting too involved.

But ultimately, poor acting, poor script, awful characters and a premise that left me shaking my head in disbelief means that What’s Your Number? should be avoided at all costs. But the worst thing about this movie is that it takes the audience for fools. Women are not as vapid as Ally’s character would suggest and men aren’t as repulsive as Colin. To ask us to believe that these two abominations could and should get together and have a healthy relationship is a bridge too far. Hollywood must do better.


Karol Murray

For more reviews like this one go to Bad Haven

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sheep Review: The Sexiest Vampire Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks

Sexiest Vampire Alive, by author Kerrelyn Sparks is the latest edition in her Love at Stake series. If you're a fan of the series this book will be a great fit to her wonderful collection of hunky Scottish vamps. :)

The secret is out . . . Vampires do exist!

When a video reveals to the world that vampires live among us, it’s up to “young” vamp Gregori Holstein, VP of Marketing, to persuade the U.S. government to declare the video a hoax. But first the president wants a favor, one that requires Gregori to spend forty-eight hours in very close contact with the First Daughter.

Abby Tucker would rather spend her nights in a lab than attend her father’s state dinners. She’s dedicated her life to finding a cure that will save her dying mother and needs only two more ingredients. To find them, she’ll have to venture into the most dangerous region of the world—with a vampire. Her Armani-clad escort may be Undead, but he still makes her heart race. And the greatest danger won’t be the predatory hordes lying in wait for them; it will be her undying desire for the Sexiest Vampire Alive.

Our main male vamp this time around is Gregori Holstein, and I for one was happy to see him finally get his day in the sun (or for vamps, moon) since he's been with the series from the beginning. Kerrelyn writes a really snappy book that glides the reader through until the end. It's definitely a nice read for a peaceful afternoon. There's also some funny banter between Phineas aka "The Love Doctor" and various characters throughout the book. You will always get a good amount of laugh out loud moments in this series. Gregori's character has never been one that I longed to read about but that may be due to his less masculine personality compared to some of the other vamps. He's the well dressed, polished, ladies man with the office job. I will say a good amount of "manliness" was added and for the better!

Abby Tucker is the curvy scientist he lusts after, any nerd man's dream come true. With lab coat and beaker who wouldn't be attracted to the hottie? The chemistry was fast and held on pretty good throughout the book with some excellent lovin' chapters to fill all your smutty desires. I tend to like female characters that are the butt kicking take no crap sorta gal, but with Abby I actually liked her matched up with Gergori. The two meshed well and I bought it. Now if you're looking for action-packed-wind-in-your-hair adventure you won't get a whole bunch this time around. Taking into account that being a warrior is not really in line with these characters you do get just enough intrigue to keep you guessing. Some very interesting build up towards books to come as well...

Is Gregori the "sexiest vamp alive"? Maybe in Abby's mind but for me it's hands down Dougal, who has yet to receive much of the spot light. *hint hint Kerrelyn* BUT here's to hoping he gets a book (I Love you Dougal *swoon*) sometime soon! A solid hit for Sparks that the fans can enjoy.

Getting 4 Team Dougal Sheep

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review: Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison

Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison

Some people will do anything to avoid it. Even trade their immortal souls for endless existence.

Secretly, inexorably, they are infiltrating our world, sucking the essence out of unsuspecting victims with their hideous parody of a kiss.

Adam Thorne founded the Institute to study and destroy his monster of a brother, but the key to its success is held in the pale, slender hand of a woman on the run. There is something hauntingly different about Talia O’Brien, her unknowing sensuality, her uncanny way of slipping into Shadow.

This is the place between life and what comes after - a dark forest of fantasy, filled with beauty, peril, mystery. And Talia is about to open the door.

I have been looking forward to reading this series after I read Kellison’s novella Shadow Touch. I was intrigued by the dark and original world she had created, and I found her writing voice captivating. This is an Urban Fantasy with a touch of tragic fairy tale love. Even though the character Shadowman (Death) only appears in the Prologue, Epilogue and a few pages in between, it is his story that captured my heart and it is the consequences of his love for a human woman that sets the events of this book in motion. There is a poetic feel in the way Kellison writes him, which matches the dark world of Twilight he must live in. Here is an example:

Shadowman grips the cold staff of his scythe, its blade pitiless as death and sharp as his grief. Shadows howl and roar as they surround him like great dark beasts of wind and fury.
Over the encircling snarl, a soul cries a high song of deepest terror. It is an Old sound brought up by a child’s throat in a composition of broken, dissonant notes summoning Death to a hunt.
The scream rips through the veils of Twilight and rends the bindings of his prison. Freedom. Shadow snaps at his heels, but they cannot follow him.
Through his child’s scream, he is born again into the world.

Day. Sunlight breaks on the cloak at his shoulders as he emerges onto the battlefield. Neither forest nor structure obstructs his view; Death was made for war.
A host of men train their weapons on his daughter. Deathless ones ruled by soul-gnawing hunger slink toward their human prey. And beyond the fray, over the crest of the mountain, a demon, master of this chaos.
The snake who slipped by Death and into the mortal world while he was lost to Talia’s mother.
Demon! Harm my child and you will see what hell Death can wreak on Earth.
The demon opens a human mouth to laugh back at him.

The heroine of the story is Talia; She knows she is different from other people, but has no idea why. She is scared of her ability to manipulate shadows and sense people's emotions when she touches them, and has spent most of her life hiding her talent and doing what she can to avoid forming attachments. The novel also explores the question: what do you get when Death and a mortal have a child? I was surprised when I found out what Talia was. Not going to tell you of course ;)

Adam is a man filled with rage and is focused on vengeance. He has spent the last 6 years trying to figure out where the monsters he calls Wraiths come from and how to kill them. They are soulless demons that feed on the souls of humans, and it is getting hard to hide their existence from the rest of the world. But has his personal need for revenge turned him into a different kind of monster, one that can’t love anymore?

Talia finds herself being hunted by the Wraiths and ends up being saved by Adam and taken to his laboratory called The Segue Institute, but it turns out her rescuer may be no better than the monsters hunting her. Together they discover who she is, what it means and how she fits into the mystery of the Wraiths. The story focuses on Talia and Adam’s feelings of love, loss, grief, loyalty and sacrifice. There is a lot of action and bad things happen to a lot of good people.

I like the twist Kellison puts on Faery lore, Death and demon mythology. Talia and Adam manage to defeat the Demon that produced the Wraiths, but the Wraiths are still out there and need to be hunted. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Shadow Fall, to learn more about Shadowman, his world of Twilight, and the rules that govern the boundaries between life on Earth and death.

One last thing, don't judge this book by the cover. While it is a nice cover, it screams Young Adult to me (I am sure Erin is rolling her eyes at this point <G> because many reviewers have brought up this point) and doesn't begin to convey the type of story this is. The cover for the second book Shadow Fall is better, but the publishers nailed it with the third book in the series Shadowman.

SS (edited by BAK)

4 Soul-sucking Sheep!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sheep Interview: author Dawn Chartier + giveaway!

(make sure to turn on Dawn's theme music while you read her introduction)

Today we welcome New Orleans author Dawn Chartier and her awesome choice of music. She recently self-published her novel Not An Angel (isn't that cover yummy?) and wanted a chance to let tell the flock all about it! I gotta say I like what I heard and hope you will too. Stick around till the end and get a chance to win one of 2 e-copies being given away.

Kira McCoy wants to die. Losing her husband and daughter tragically left her without hope. Now her disturbed brother-in-law will stop at nothing to have her for himself. All she wants is to find peace, but instead finds herself on top of a bridge ready to end her suffering. Protector of the Poryria, Trace Stuart is called to defend his race or embrace death. Defending humans is not part of the plan, but he cannot stop himself from saving Kira. Realizing that he shares a special bond with Kira, Trace defies his Queen and rushes into the heart of darkness in order to rescue the woman he loves. Will Kira be able to reach past her own pain to pull them both into the light?

Baton Rouge. Local Cafe. 2 Sheep and one Poyria Guardian meet

Sharon: Welcome to I Smell Sheep Dawn! Help yourself to the Kool Aid and Moon pies (I bet no other blog offered you refreshments. We are professional like that <G>)
Katie: Oh, I think Mark drank all the Kool Aid…but I’ll whip more up in a jiffy!
Dawn: Yum. You ladies rock! During Mardi Gras we throw Moon pies from the floats. Everyone loves them, including me.
Sharon: *has thoughts of a giant Mardi Gras Sheep float…*
Katie: *has thoughts of all the vamps during Mardi Gras….*

Sharon: If you could have a theme song play when ever you walked into a room, what would it be?
Dawn: Secrets by One Republic. The first line is, I need another story. Love that!

Sharon: Tell us about your book Not An Angel, and most importantly will Trace Stuart make Katie’s vampire senses tingle?
Katie: I am a BIG fan of the vamps and like Sharon stated above they do make my blood tingle, but I’m not alone in this line of thought. Why do you think women love vamps so much?
Dawn: Katie you get tingles too??? lol
Katie: Yes, daily! hehe
Let’s see, Not An Angel is about a hot Poryria Guardian, Trace, who feels guilty for a human woman taking her life because of him, so when he sees another woman jump from a bridge, he vows to save her and keep her safe. Then he screws up again.

Kira the woman who jumps from the bridge believes the man who saved her is an angel, but of course he’s not. She’s had a really rough life, but slowly opens her heart once again. I don’t want to give it all away, but it is an emotional journey for both of them.

And to answer Katie’s question. I’d say the reason we love vamps is because they are normally sexy, powerful, intelligent, and so passionate. At least those are my thoughts.
Sharon: Can you tell us a little more about Poyria without giving anything away?
Dawn: Poryria’s are what humans call vampires, unless they turn Vry. You don’t want them to turn Vry. Not good. Not good at all. Trace is a Guardian and he and his brother Mikael (Mike) hunt Vry in Baton Rouge and nearby areas in Louisiana. They take risks every day of being turned, but they vowed to their Queen to protect humans.
I know you want to know more, but I’m not telling. (lol) There is an excerpt on my website if you want to get a taste of Trace, Kira and the Queen.

Sharon: Is the guy on the cover (swoon) a good representation of Trace?
Dawn: Oh yeah. The cover is Trace.
Sharon: okay, that is all I needed to know ;)
Dawn: That’s what I said. lol

Sharon: Is this going to be a series? If so, what can you tell us about the series in general?
Dawn: Yes. The series will be based on the Poryria Guardians from all over the world. Next up is Drago’s story. Trace and Drago fought at the end of NOT AN ANGEL, and if it wasn’t for Kira stepping in, I’m not sure who would have won. They are both very strong and hardheaded Poryrias.

Katie: What’s the best thing about being a writer in your opinion?
Dawn: I love creating stories. I love giving people happy endings, and I love hearing someone say that my book touched them. That’s so important to me.
Katie: But not ALL stories have a happy ending, is that an avenue you might one day try? Or a to be continued…
Dawn: Even if it’s a To be continued story, I still want the reader satisfied. I know how it feels to get those books that tease the hell out of you. One is Karen M. Moning’s Fever series. My God, that woman tortured her readers, and I told her too. But, I love Mac and Barrons, and I couldn’t stop reading them.

Sharon: Tell us about your writing environment. Do you prefer day or night, quiet or music, desk or coffee shop…
Dawn: Day. I write if it’s quiet or not. I don’t normally write with music, but the TV is often on. Mostly, I write at home while alone, but once a month I get together with some writer friends at Starbucks and we do sprint writing. I normally reach about 2000 words at Starbucks. Not bad for a few hours.

Sharon: Why did you decide to go the self-publishing route?
Dawn: Good question, Sharon. First, Not An Angel was published with an e-publisher before I self-published. I’ve been watching lots authors going the self-publishing route, and when my contract was close to renewal, I decided not to renew it and give the self-publishing a try. The GOOD part of S-P is that I get more royalties. The BAD part is all the marketing is up to little ole’ me. But thank goodness for great book bloggers such as yourself for having me.

Katie: Is it harder going self-published?
Dawn: For me it wasn’t harder. I did have a little trouble with formatting, (some pages are cut in half) but overall it came out okay for a newbie. And another reason why I self-published was because the book had already been “edited” and a “beta-reader” went over it too. I wouldn’t have self-pubbed if that hadn’t been done. Will I do it again? I’m not sure yet. Probably. However, I just got an offer for another book from a large e-publisher, and I’m seriously thinking about it.
Sharon: Oh! Congrats on that. We will have our little hooves crossed for you (if you decide to go with them.)
Dawn: Thanks!

Sharon: You are from the New Orleans area which is known to have many different supernatural creatures living there. Have you run into any and would you be willing to give any single vamps Katie’s number?
Katie: Oh please say yes!!!!!
Dawn: lol. Sure. Katie, send me your phone # off the loop. Well, so far I’ve run into Acheron and Nick -- you may have heard of them. They were at the Dungeon in the French Qtr, and I’ve also run into a few ghosts and witches too.
Sharon: *looks at Katie* ROAD TRIP!!!!! Where exactly did you say you lived?
Katie: I'm just heading straight to the French Quarter! I'll give you my number to pass along as well. Winning!
Dawn: Come on down! Vampires love new blood, I mean, tourist.

Sharon: We are always looking to improve our blog. Is there something you like or dislike about review blogs in general?
Dawn: Actually, I find your blog refreshing. You don’t ask the same questions as most bloggers do. Good job!
Sharon: Awww! Flattery will get you Sheep Swag! After the interview give me your mailing address and we will send you some exclusive Sheep Swag.
Dawn: Kewl!

Katie: Where can folks find you in the coming months?
Dawn: In October I’ll be taking a class from Mary Buckham in Kenner, LA.
November 5th, I’ll be at Heartla’s Readers Luncheon as a guest.
March 2-3 – FF&P (Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal) Conference in New Orleans.
And I’m not sure from then on.
Sharon: I would love to go to FF&P! I went to my first con this year (in NC) and it was a blast.
Dawn: FF&P is going to be awesome! Karen M. Moning will be there as will a lot of other authors. (they are working on details now) I’ll send you a link when it’s up. Anyone reading this is invited too.

Sharon: I noticed we like the same type of books! Who is your favorite BDB brother? And would you say Barron’s name?
Dawn: That is so tough. I’d say Butch. For some reason he grabbed me from book one.
Yes. I love Barron! Yum. Yum. Yum. I can’t wait to read his version. At least I hope there is a his version.
Sharon: She did post a sex scene from his POV on her site. OMG, Squee! Pretty much sums it up ;)
Dawn: She did? I’m going over there right now.

Time for our Rapid Fire Round! (don’t worry, we don’t use ammunition…often ;) Answer with the first thing that pops up. Ready? Set……GO!

Sharon: pancakes or waffles?
Dawn: Pancakes

Katie: gum or hard candy?
Dawn: Gum
Sharon: what flavor?
Dawn: I’m not too picky, but I’ll say spearmint.

Sharon: crawdad’s or shrimp?
Dawn: Crawfish
Sharon: going on record here…Eww!
Dawn: Sharon, have you tried one?
Sharon: um, er…next question!!! <G>

Katie: Sexy Nerd or Sexy Cop?
Dawn: Sexy cop (love uniforms)
Katie: Could have some fun with good cop/bad cop role play…..just saying!

Sharon: Coke or Pepsi?
Dawn: Coke
Sharon: damn! And I was really starting to like you…
Katie: HAHA She loves Coke! And now I love her even more!

Katie: Blade or Angel?
Dawn: Angel

Sharon: DC or Marvel?
Dawn: DC
Katie: ewww ok taking some love back. lol Just kidding. Sort of. *sticks tongue out*
Dawn: You know I wanted to say both, because I do like them both. *sticks tongue out too*

Katie: Cowgirl hat or Fedora?
Dawn: Fedora

Sharon: Nickelodeon or Disney?
Dawn: Disney

Katie: Take me now or Take me later?
Dawn: Now! lol
Sharon: well, duh!

Sharon: Sunlight or Moonlight?
Dawn: Sunlight (really depends on my mood)

Sharon: Is there anything you would like our readers to know before you go?
Dawn: Yes. Thank you so much for having me today! I would love to give *two* readers who comment and share this post on twitter and facebook an ebook of Not An Angel.

2 e-copies of Not An Angel
Sheep Swag!
*which will include a moon pie and Cherry Kool Aid
 (I kid you not!)
To Enter:
1. Share this most awesome interview on FB or Twitter (there is a button at the bottom of this post for doing just that!)
2. Leave a comment telling us where you shared (counting on Sheep honor guys) and what have you done or would you do for Mardi Gras beads (or a moonpie) <G>?

Contest ends: Oct 4 at midnight!