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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sheep Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

***I'm going to split this review up into two parts. The first will be a straight review of this film. The second will be a comparison between the American version and the Swedish film.***

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher and staring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard is the film adaptation of the world wide best selling book trilogy by Stieg Larsson. If you missed the Swedish films, this movie is worth seeing, it's both sexually charged and competently acted, dark and twisted and for what it lacks in material it makes up for in visually stunning craftsmanship.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first film in Columbia Pictures' three-picture adaptation of Stieg Larsson's literary blockbuster The Millennium Trilogy. Directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the film is based on the first novel in the trilogy, which altogether have sold 50 million copies in 46 countries and become a worldwide phenomenon.

The whole draw of these films is its gritty underground feel. While Fincher's version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo does tap into the underground vibe, you're left a little short of the mark. Granted, it doesn't miss the mark by much but it never really takes it further than a nasty rape scene here and some bed play there. Would have liked to see a bit more darkness but that being said this movie is rated R and for a very good reason. It's not a movie for kids and some adults might not like it either. But aside from rape and bad hygiene the movie as a whole is definitely worth a watch. It's eye candy for those that love a cinematic experience.

Daniel Craig was tasked with the job of becoming Mikael Blomkvist, the Swedish reporter who's your average Joe when it comes to looks but has got the investigative nose which rivals a bloodhound. Sorry but average Joe he is NOT in the looks department, not his fault but those baby blue eyes kinda suck you right in. *sigh* Moving on...crafty and witty character which I felt Daniel does a decent job conveying those aspects the character. Daniel did the best he could within his bag of acting repertoire. Was he great in this movie? No, but he did well considering what he was working with. Leading lady Rooney Mara plays the gothic tech genius Lisbeth Salander, and in my opinion she may just become a new shinning star for Hollywood. On her own she carried this movie much further than I had expected.

Major product placement was prominent during the film (Apple and McDonald's being at the forefront) which only added to the corporate feel of the film. I personally could have done without those and felt like it took away from the movie's atmosphere. Overall the film taps into family secrets that would make a Borgia blush, including incest and psychopaths just to name a few. Unfortunately the movie ends up semi-flawed and turned horribly too romantic by the ending but it's strangely somewhat appealing.

The film doesn't come close to the original but it's not a complete waste of time either, you do find enough substance to walk away with.

Getting 3 and 1/2 Sheep

***Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) Swedish version. Comparison***

Directed by Niels Arden Oplev and staring Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace. Compared to the US remake this film blows the remake utterly out of the water; undeniably one of the best films I've ever seen. It's a chilling detective tale done completely right and earns the right to be called a thrilling piece of drama. Set in the beautiful Scandinavian landscape this movie not only out-acts the 2011 film but is far more visually appealing as well. Noomi really breaths life into the character of Lisbeth, making her one not to be messed with, and while our leading man Michael may not have the looks of Craig he does a far better job at breathing life into the character.

This version of the film is far more than just good guys vs. bad guys, it's a rich story told with sincerity. While I understand the need for the Hollywood giant to tap into this series, I wish it would have just been left alone. Nothing you don't already see in the original is shown in the remake and the remake doesn't tell it any better. That may be debatable with others but I'll let you be the judge.

I'll say this, if you've yet to see the Swedish version you won't be disappointed. If you have seen the Swedish ones then prepare for a mangled version of a classically told mystery-thriller. I won't goes as far as to say it was "raped by Hollywood" but it was definitely taken on a date and roughly felt up by the end.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year 2012 giveaway blog hop!

The Sheep are proud to once again take part in the I Am A Reader, Not A Writer tour with the latest New Year giveaway hop.
We're #28 on the tour so make sure to check out all the other hops and goodies going on HERE.

This contest is open to US ONLY (sorry everyone else) but fear not our global friends, because we have many giveaways going on year round that are open International.

Let's take a look at the prizes up for grabs:

Girls Guide to Witchcraft- Mindy Klasky
Sorcery and the Single girl- Mindy Klasky
Magic and the Modern girl- Mindy Klasky
Ghostlight- Marion Zimmer Bradley
(top four books have all been lovingly used by me)
Mercury Falls- Robert Kroese
Author Dani Harper trading cards
Author Larissa Ione bookmark
Author Merrie Destefano bookmark
Sheep swag!

To be entered to win make sure to list all of the following below

1. Your Email Address
2. What's something new you'll be trying for 2012?
3. Do you follow our blog? If so you get DOUBLE entries

***Of course spreading the word about our giveaway via Twitter or Facebook is always a nice thing to do but it's not required this time. :)

Contest ends January 3rd at midnight.
Good luck!

To find the next stop in the tour click HERE.

Sheep Book Review: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Kiss of Snow, by author Nalini Singh, is the latest edition in her ongoing series Psy-Changeling. Kiss of Snow is a drama that would blow any daytime soap out of the water with layers upon layers of emotional goodness. This book kept me utterly engrossed in this cornucopia of paranormal all you can eat buffet!

Since her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness: Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he lost the woman who would've been his mate long ago. Now he walks alone. But Sienna stirs his primal heart, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf. Yet as they strip away each other's secrets, a deadly enemy is striking at everything the pack holds dear...but Sienna's darkest secret may savage the pack that is her home-and the alpha who is its heartbeat.

Sienna, a young super powerful psychic, has lived anything but a normal life and is off the charts regarding the scale of her abilities. Known as an "X" she's one of the only living Cardinal Psys left, and few of the previous Cardinal Psys didn't live past 25. No one has ever witnessed a power like hers, or if they have they certainly didn't live to tell about it. Sienna's a weapon, a tool that was trained from birth to kill for the powers of evil, but eventually rescued and given safe haven with her family in the wolf pack of shifters known as SnowDancer. High in the Sierra Nevada Mountains this group of tight-knit families train Sienna and her fellow kin on how to harness their powers and gain control of the turbulent madness. Little does Sienna know that her life's about to get turned upside down when the alpha of that pack, Hawke, starts to take a very intense interest in her.

Hawke's the man of the house, literally, his whole pack looks to him for leadership and love. He rules with a kind heart but a passion unmatched. He's all alpha man and hot diggity dog is he one drool-worthy piece of man candy rope! He's one NOT to be messed with but the spunky young Sienna is having none of his shenanigans as she's staking her own claim and taking no prisoners in the process. The gloves are off as these two battle it out. *ding! ding!*

The age difference of these two was my biggest concern, but Nalini works it out in the storyline in really getting the readers to understand that Sienna's dark and twisted past has shaped the young woman she is to date. Having been stripped of a childhood and forced to grow up so quickly she's wiser beyond her chronological age. I liked the slow building of the romance between these two, with stolen touches here and little kisses there. Fanning the flames of passion! It kept me flying through the pages to find out what would happen next. The action comes in small bursts and ends just as quickly but with these stories you get a wonderful sense of pack and the deep rooted bond between one another.

With storytelling that's exquisite and with such a deep sense of paranormal, all the books in this series keep the drama building with side characters coming in and out of focus. I especially liked the secondary story between Walker and Lara, a healer and an ex-Psy who've been dancing around each other finally come face to face and the drama between these two only adds to the overall book. There are so many different changelings in these stories, birds, leopards, rats you name it and then you have different levels of psychics and telekinetic folks it's an involved storyline and I love it.

I would have liked a bit more action in this book. So much of the book is spent building up of what's to come that we get to the brink of war but you don't get that much of a dose of it. This series continues and as it does I'd like to get a little more action and some of the side stories to get more due. I'm just getting tid-bits here and there and it's starting to get a tad frustrating! I'm a big fan of Singh and Kiss of Snow only reiterates why I love her work and value each and every story she comes up with. It must be a thing of beauty to be in this woman's mind as the paper she delivers it all on shines like the brightest star.

Getting 4 and 1/2 table dancing Sheep.

Lockdown: Escape From Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith

Lockdown: Escape From Furnace is the first book in the Escape From Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. I was highly interested in the book just based on the creepy factor of the cover and the reviews from James Patterson and Darren Shan.

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.

This book was already running from the first page. Where we meet Alex Sawyer running for his life, you aren't sure what it is he's running from or what it is that is chasing him, but you can feel your pulse race and you heart pound as if you are right there running with him.

When you first meet Alex in the book he is just 12 years old and he helps set up the background story as to how he ended up in The Furnace, and this part seems to ring true no matter where the story is based. Alex seems to be nothing more than your average bored 12 year old boy who fell into the wrong crowd and starts to bully and beat up other kids for their lunch money. The greed gets to him at a young age. By age 14 Alex is into breaking and entering and robbing peoples houses.

Alex and his friend Toby get a tip from another friend that this one house that is hooked up with all types of electronics will be empty and prime for the taking. Alex and Toby take the "bait" and when they enter the house, they are met with some very scary and dangerous men who are dressed in black business suits, with silver eyes and shark teeth grins. Alex has been set up for a murder that he did not commit and it sentenced to The Furnace, the entire time screaming is innocence, but no one in the courts seem to care.

Alex is then bussed off to The Furnace with a few other boys who also claim innocence, at this point of the story the background of the Furnace is explained and why it came to be, and how the government gave the OK for this "Hell Hole" to be built. Based on the description of this place I was just picturing Crematoria from The Chronicles of Riddick, with the location being under ground.

From this point on the story is about the daily in's and out's of life in the Furnace. Alex tries to make a few friends while there, his cell mate Carl Donvan tried to give Alex two good pieces of advice to make his life a little better “Don't make the mistake of bringing your heart down here with you, there is no place for it in Furnace.” The second being, “You don't have friends in here, you'll soon come to understand that. You get attached to someone, then you'll just lose them. They'll get shanked or they'll jump or they'll be taken one night.” I really felt sorry for Alex and a few of the other boys that were here under false charges, and I did grow to like Alex almost like a younger brother that I know I can never see.

Carl is a great older brother figure for Alex and a few of the other boys that are there, Carl does tend to look out for some of the others even though he puts up a tough guy act just to keep from getting his ass kicked. There are quite a few scary aspect of this story that I don't want to give away or possibly ruin for anyone out there. I did like this one, and it's a great read if you don't mind visual descriptions of some of the things that are in the Furnace.

If you get a bit squeamish or don't like the horror/thriller genre I would advise you to not read this one. I am already looking forward to reading Solitary the next book in this series. I can't wait to see what happens to Alex and a few of the other inmates.

I'm giving this a 3 1/2 sheep

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sheep Book Review: Bound by Darkness by Alexandra Ivy

Bound by Darkness, by author Alexandra Ivy is the eighth book in her Guardians of Eternity series. I'm going to start my review by saying this: Ivy is one of my top favorite authors, in addition to her sexy vampires she's also taken time out of her busy schedule to interview with us here at Sheep so I'm not "dissing" her or her works in any way shape or form. I'm giving my honest review of her latest book based on how I felt. That being said, Bound by Darkness didn't quite do it for me. I've enjoyed her series thus far, and will continue to read it, but the latest story was a far cry from what I know she's capable of.

The Sylvermyst have a reputation as sinister cousins to the fey, and none are more mysterious than Ariyal and his tribe. To save his people from banishment, he sold himself to the evil Morgana. Finally free, he faces a new challenge: Jaelyn, an elite vampire warrior sent to capture him. By rights, he should kill her on sight. Yet he cannot bring himself to hurt her - or to resist her. Jaelyn is stunningly beautiful, utterly lethal - and always alone. Until Ariyal. From their first encounter, she knows that what's between them is more dangerous than simple lust. And as they unite to thwart a terrifying prophecy that will mean the end of his clan and of the world they know, she will risk everything to fulfill her destiny by his side.

My first bone to pick is with our lead female Jaelyn. She was so strong in the last book, even as a side character but with a build up for this story I was looking forward to reading more of her butt kicking abilities. Unfortunately she came across as weak and dull most of the time, which is far from the Hunter-trained assassin I know her to be. She's incredibly lethal and super-sexy, a combo most never see coming, at least not until their bleeding death. But she came across as far too dependent on her man; what happened to the gal who kicked butts and took names to the shredder?! Ariyal is the fairy Sylvermyst out to take down the Dark Lord but while I know he has power and strength to back up his ego he too seemed a bit off.

I wanted to buy into the characters more, but with a major lack of both power and strength I was left feeling unfulfilled. The Morganna la Fey parts involving Ariyal could have elaborated a ton more than it did. I know Ariyal came from an awful past but with more pages dedicated to those struggles I would have gotten more of what I was missing. Things of importance seemed to be glossed over while others took a little too long to get to the point.

We also have a small lovable gargoyle, Levet, who seems to be hated by every man no matter the story but always loved to death by the ladies, which is starting to get a little old. We're also now eight stories deep and no one can seem to get rid of the Dark Lord or his minions and at this point with just about every faction of the Lore teamed up to take the demon down what is the hold up? It's time for some new bad guys/gals perhaps and some fresh stories that the characters can take on. The continued use of the same caves in Chicago and the same farmhouses coming into play again and again makes me feel like things are being recycled. I'm all for saving the planet (and yeah everyone please recycle) but I'd like some fresh scenes brought into the mix. Spice things up and let's get back to some major butt-kicking adrenaline vampires!

What I did like was characters from previous stories coming back into the scene. And when the action does come it is pretty enjoyable, plus no matter what you get some nice smut for those looking to enjoy characters getting down to it! Things don't get wrapped up per se by the end, which keeps me hopeful for the series as a whole coming back around by book nine.

On a side note, Ivy has a new series called The Immortal Rogues, with book one My Lord Vampire hitting shelves February 28th, 2012. I'm eagerly awaiting this and I'll be reviewing it here. I'm sticking with Ivy and hoping for more as we go forward!

Getting 2 and 1/2 Hunter Sheep

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Kevin Eastman Art Studio auction!

Never before in the history of comics (and likely never again) you can win the ENTIRE contents of an iconic true-blue pop-culture phenomenon's ART STUDIO with only one bid!

you can win everything in this room!!!

The KEVIN EASTMAN ART STUDIO auction will run for 10 days beginning on Dec 25th - Christmas Day - at 9:00 PM (PST). It will wrap the evening of January 4th at 9:00 PM, which will be the final night of the 35 DAYS OF KEVIN EASTMAN event at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood. It will be a HUGE blowout, and we'll follow the final hours of the auction live at the closing night party!!

*A portion of the proceeds from this auction will go to benefit THE HERO INITIATIVE, a non-profit organization that raises money to assist comic book creators in need.

Here's a link to the eBay account that will be hosting the auction:
It will be running Kevin Eastman related auctions throughout the special event.

Here are some of the highlights you'll find contained within this treasure trove!

* Kevin's Drawing Table and Chair (table is as it was when Kevin decided to do this auction). Includes Pens, Shotglasses, Empty Redbull Cans, etc.
* Original Illustrated Storyboards for HEAVY METAL 2000
* Highlander Animated Series: press pack, Early Cut of the Movie, Copies of entire Movie as Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
* Over 600 DVDs - most of them partially watched while working on art in the studio. Includes DVD deck and monitor.
* Double-Sized Production Prototype of OZZY OSBOURNE "Bark At The Moon" Action Figure sculpted by Digger T. Mesch
* Photocopy of Simon Bisley's Lobo/Authority Pencils & Layout for the entire story
* 2 Pgs of Original Art from TNMT Movie Adaptation - 1 Featuring Twin Towers - 1 Featuring Statue of Liberty - Framed with US Flag from Kevin's Home
* Richard Corben Original Art (at least two pieces - there may be more!)
* Signed Elizabeth Hurly Photo from Austin Powers.
* Kevin's personal San Diego Comic Con Badges going back about 10 years
* Various Movie Posters - Comic Prints - and More . . . used to "wallpaper" the studio!
* Toy Guns, Knives and a Hand-Grenade (non-functional) used as reference for comics
* Original art portrait of Kevin by Simon "BIZ" Bisley (there's actually quite a bit of BIZ art in here!)
* Trigun, Lain, and other favorite Anime Animation Cells
* A Fishtank (formerly held Kevin's gecko) filled with various odds and ends tossed in over a six year period - ???
* TMNT Comic 5-Color Press Proof Overlays (from back in the days before digital press proofs)
* Box of Original Photos of Playmates & Models (mostly nude) - Photography by Julie Strain
* Turtles Car Windshield Sunblock - Still in Original Shrinkwrap
* Turtles Cereal Box (cardboard mock up - never assembled)
* TONS of random Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles goodies . . . prototypes . . . and oddities
* Original Comic Art by Various Creators
* Statues & Action Figures - - Pin-Up, Fantasy, Superhero, Turtles (natch) and more!
* Various Billiken Models From Japan (Frankenstein, Dracula, Creature, Mummy and MORE)
* and so much more . . . some of these boxes have not even been opened. Who knows what lurks inside?!


Auction starts December 25th at 9:00 PM (PST). Search KEVIN EASTMAN ART STUDIO or go to

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Kindle Krack Attack Vol. 6

kindle krack attack!
Now that you have unwrapped those new kindles, what can you buy? Well let me help you out...

*please remember to check the price before you click, they could have changed over the past few days

These beauties are only $.99! I've read the Petterson, Drake and Kadrey books and you can't go wrong with those, the rest just looked good to me <G>

Great Deals: I've read Lowe's book and it is a fabulous fantasy. Book two will be coming out next year. And you can never go wrong with Scott Nicholson...

This is a special anthology to help raise money for Rocky Wood, author and President of the Horror Writers Association, who is battling motor neurone disease.
Rage Against the Night features the megastars of dark fantasy and horror—including Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Scott Nicholson, Nancy Holder, Sarah Langan, and 
many, many more!

I haven't read any of these, but they looked!