#tpt: Midnight, Texas

25 July 2017

Today’s Top Pick

Last night premiered a new supernatural television show that I think is going to do really well.  The show, Midnight, Texas, is based off a series of books written by Charlaine Harris (the author behind the novels True Blood was based off of).

Following psychic, Manfred Bernardo—played by the gorgeous François Arnaud—the show takes place in the incredibly small town of Midnight, Texas.  Chalk full of strange characters, Manfred isn’t quite sure how he feels about Midnight after arriving in town.

He meets some of the locals, including pawn shop owner Bobo, suspected witch Fiji, vampire Lemuel, fallen angel Joe, hit-woman Olivia, and ordinary human waitress Creek.  He also meets the suspicious Reverend and the town’s Sheriff.  With everyone hiding their own secrets, this town and its inhabitants are full of mystery.

After a body is discovered in the pilot, everyone becomes a suspect.  When the Sheriff asks everyone to stay put in town, Manfred realizes he may be in for more than he bargained for.

I don’t want to give too much away—and I have only seen one episode—but Midnight, Texas feels like a show that I’m really going to enjoy.  It has just the right amount of supernatural intrigue mixed with strong characters and an interesting mystery—and don’t forget, a talking cat!

The witch has a talking cat!

If you’re looking for a new show, I would definitely suggest checking this out.  If you watched the pilot, let me know what you thought of it!!

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#tpt: Vikings

11 July 2017

Today’s Top Pick

This morning, I finally got around to finishing season four: part two of History’s Vikings and let me tell you, it was everything I wanted and more.  I’m going to try and avoid giving any major spoilers…so here we go!

I’m a huge fan of Norse mythology—all kinds of mythology really—and started watching this show when it first aired.  Now, I don’t have the channel that it airs on, so I have to wait for it to come out on DVD in order to watch it, but it is so worth it.

Ragnar Lothbrok

For those of you who have not seen the show before, it follows a main group of Vikings as they pillage and plunder their way to new lands, led by the enigmatic Ragnar Lothbrok.  As the seasons progress, many years pass and we are introduced to Ragnar’s five sons, Bjorn (with first wife Lagertha), and Ubbe, Hvitserk, Sigurd, and Ivar (with second wife Aslaug).

Season four: part one ends with a major time jump, aging Ragnar’s sons to be in their late teens/early 20s.  Part two of Vikings moves forward with more invading, this time led by the sons of Ragnar.  The battle scenes in this season were pretty epic and I cannot wait for season five.  At the end of the season we are introduced to Bishop Heahmund, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and I am honestly so excited for it.  Jonathan Rhys Meyers is such an incredible actor in these kinds of roles and I can’t wait to see what he does with Bishop Heahmund, who is also a great warrior.

After finishing this season, I watched the sneak peek for season five and it looks phenomenal.  There seems to be a lot of conflict between the Vikings and their enemies, but also amongst the Vikings themselves.

If you’re a fan of Norse mythology—and not afraid of a little blood and gore—you should definitely check out Vikings.  It’s a really great show that is super entertaining.

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#tpt: Cozy murder mystery novels

4 July 2017

Today’s Top Pick

At work the other day, I had this awesome idea for a #tpt.  This week, I’m going to tell you all about why I love cozy murder mystery novels!

My sister, Michelle, is the one who got me into this genre.  Michelle works at our public library and is a very avid reader.  She was always raving about cozy murder mysteries and telling me all about the different ones she was reading.  I always enjoyed her stories, but hadn’t gotten around to reading any myself, until she bought me one.

Cozy murder mysteries are usually small, paperback novels revolving around a murder of some sort that usually takes place in a small town.  Typically, the main character in the novel is a woman living in said small town who is a bit of an amateur sleuth.  There’s usually a group of main characters that all live in the area and everybody tends to know each other.  The first body can be discovered in the first few pages, or sometimes even a few chapters in.  This is where the fun begins!  The main character starts trying to figure out who the victim is and just who murdered him/her.  She’ll end up suspecting everyone from her next door neighbour to her ex’s new girl.

What makes these novels so great is that there really is a cozy for everyone.  There are cozies about bakers, gardeners, home renovators, librarians, quilt makers, writers—the list goes on!  There are even holiday themed cozy murder mysteries.

I’m going to share with you the novels that got me started in this genre.  Now, a lot of these novels are series, but you don’t always have to read them in order.  For instance, for Christmas, my sister bought me the Christmas themed novel from one of her favourite series.  Even though it was not the first book in the series, I was able to follow along just fine.

The Diva Wraps it Up by Krista Davis

This book is a part of the “Domestic Diva” series.  Main character, Sophie Winston, is a writer for a domestic diva column.  In The Diva Wraps it Up, as Christmas draws near, strange things start happening in her hometown.  One man tumbles over a balcony at a Christmas party, while another falls off his ladder hanging Christmas lights.  However, things take an even stranger turn when the cookie swap Sophie and her friends are a part of leads to murder.  With the perfect mix of comedy and mystery, The Diva Wraps it Up is a great Christmas cozy murder mystery.  I had a lot of fun trying to figure out who the murderer was and the motive behind the crime.  Due to the subject of the book, there’s even some fun cookie recipes in the back that you can try and make yourself.

Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett

A Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mystery, Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones is the perfect cozy murder mystery to read around Halloween time.  Liss MacCrimmon owns the Scottish Emporium in Moosetookalok, Maine.  For Halloween this year, Liss is organizing the fundraiser with a haunted house at the old abandoned Chadwick mansion.  With the perfect location for her haunted attraction, Liss begins to assemble the decorations and frights to scare the townsfolk.  When a very realistic body turns up in the house with puncture marks on the neck, the questions begin.  Who is the deceased and why was the body dumped in Liss’ haunted house?  It’s up to Liss to piece together the clues and discover the truth, before it’s too late.

Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley

Avery Baker and her boyfriend, Derek Ellis, have just recently bought an old abandoned house.  Their plan is to renovate the house and resell it when it’s done.  The house, however, may end up being more of a hassle than they realized.  With a shady history, involving the deaths of the previous owners, this house is said to be haunted.  Avery and Derek don’t care.  They think with a little bit of love and a whole lot of hard work, they can sell the house.  When digging up the crawlspace under the house to add additional supports, Derek uncovers bones—and they might just be human.  After calling the police, it’s soon discovered that the bones are that of a young female who was murdered in the last ten years.  Like all cozy murder mysteries, it’s time for Avery to start piecing together who the victim was and just why they were dumped in the crawlspace of that particular house.

Cozy murder mysteries really are an incredibly fun and addicting genre of novel.  I can almost 100 percent guarantee that you’ll find one you will enjoy.  If you have any suggestions of ones you think I should check out, let me know in the comments below!

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Where in the world have I been lately?

Where in the world am I?

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been a little M.I.A. lately!  I often find that I go for months where I’m really consistent, but eventually have little spans of inactivity.  Usually, this occurs when I am super busy—or catching up on some television shows (whoops).

May and June have been pretty hectic for me.  I was working around the clock to save up some money for a trip I had planned.  From June 11-15th, I went back to Las Vegas with my sister.  We had such an amazing time last year that we knew we wanted to go back.  Keep in mind, before 2015, my sister, Michelle, and I had never traveled anywhere and Vegas was so much more than either of us was expecting.  This year, we knew we wanted to travel, but we were having a hard time making up our minds about where we wanted to go, so we decided to at least do a quick five day trip to Las Vegas until we could figure it out!

Last year we stayed at the Monte Carlo hotel, which we absolutely loved.  We really wanted to stay there again, but the hotel is under major renovations and the pools are closed, so that was a definite no.  As huge history and mythology nerds, we thought the Luxor looked pretty cool—and we were right.  This year, Michelle and I checked into the Luxor on Sunday June 11 to start our next adventure.

The Luxor!

New friends to welcome you to the hotel!

The hotel was amazing.  If you’ve never been, you should definitely check it out.  The famous pyramid shape of the hotel looks so neat from the inside.  Our room was inside the pyramid, so our wall of windows was slightly slanted.  It was pretty neat.  I really enjoyed this hotel.  Literally every little detail made you feel like you were in some place in Egypt.  The decorations at the front of the hotel and in the lobby were awesome!

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the distance from the main bit of the Strip.  Now, Michelle and I are both under 30, but even we found ourselves tired at the end of the night.  I think Monte Carlo definitely has a better location—and here’s hoping the pools are amazing when it’s done—so we will probably stay there again if we go back.

Luxor hotel lobby

Luxor had a really great pool area, however.  There were four main pools and one paid VIP access pool.  The pool area at Luxor was great for photos!  With the giant pyramid in the background, there wasn’t really a bad photo to be taken.  The pool was probably my favourite part of this hotel.

Michelle and I at the pool!

Part of pool #1

When we arrived back home, I worked a few more days before another big event in my life.

Wednesday June 21st, I had surgery to remove one of my molars and a wisdom tooth that were deeply impacted, sideways, in my jawbone.  I was out when they did the surgery, but upon waking up was in a lot of pain.  I took a week off of work to recover as there were some minor complications (one tooth was so impacted they had to cut it into pieces to remove it) and major jaw pain.  I am now back at work and going to try to get back into a regular schedule of writing again!

This weekend is Canada’s 150th birthday and I’ll be celebrating that as well!

If you have any questions about anything I’ve mentioned here, feel free to leave a comment below.  I love hearing from people!!

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Raleigh Ritchie—The Greatest

The man himself, Raleigh Ritchie!

Last night I had an amazing time seeing Raleigh Ritchie perform live at the Velvet Underground in Toronto.  Some of you might recognize the name from this blog.  That’s because, my very first Top Pick Tuesday post on 5 April 2016 was about Raleigh Ritchie.  His debut album You’re a Man Now Boy was released 26 February 2016 and I couldn’t stop listening to it.  It’s very rare for me to find an album in which I love every song, but I found that with YAMNB.  It still remains one of my most played albums—now joined by Raleigh’s EP Mind the Gap which was released 16 December 2016.

If you haven’t checked out his music any of the times I’ve mentioned it, you really should.  You are seriously missing out.

This brings us to the concert last night.  Let me just start by saying it was incredible.  Raleigh Ritchie sounds exactly the same as he does on his tracks.  His voice is basically a gift from the gods!  His band was also really good and seemed to be having a lot of fun.  I had never been to the Velvet Underground before so I had no idea what to expect, but I really enjoyed the venue.  It was fairly small, but it just made the event seem that much more intimate.

When my sister and I first arrived, there weren’t too many people, so I managed to make my way to the very front of the stage—where I stayed for the entirety of the concert!  Raleigh just has so much energy and he really made the crowd feel involved.  He paused occasionally to share the inspirations behind some of his songs, as well as to tell the crowd when to sing, jump, or shower dance!

Being at the very front was amazing as there wasn’t any kind of barrier between the stage and the crowd.  When he was singing, Raleigh kept coming over to our side of the stage—I like to think it’s because we were singing along louder—and he was literally right in front of me!  I even got to high-five him!!  I also just want to add that he has the cutest smile ever and I adore his accent.

Raleigh Ritchie performed a whole slew of songs and even came back on stage for two encore songs.  I was incredibly happy with his set—I even snagged a set list from the stage—and really enjoyed singing along to all the songs.  The best moment for me though, had to be Raleigh’s very last song of the night, which is my all time favourite, “The Greatest”.  “Bloodsport” is a close second, but “The Greatest” just has such a great beat to sing and dance along to.  It was a wonderful way to end such an unforgettable night.  I’ll definitely see him again if he ever decides to come back!

Note: I have some more photos and some videos that I’ll post this weekend!

Let me know if you check out Raleigh Ritchie!!

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#tpt: Movies to see in 2017

2 May 2017

Today’s Top Picks

I’m going a bit of a different route again for today’s top picks!  I know we’re already well into 2017, but I’ve decided to compile a list of the movies I’m most excited to see in theatres in 2017!  I’m also going to include some honourable mentions that look like good movies and I will end up seeing eventually, just probably not in theatres.  Also, this post is a bit long, but stick with me, it’s all good, I promise!

Movies I will 100% See in Theatres

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of my most anticipated movies of the year.  I am so unbelievably excited for this film.  First of all, Baby Groot may just be the cutest thing I have ever seen.  I also really love Rocket!  Not to mention all the hilarious one liners and comedic moments in these types of films.  Also, for some unknown reason, I relate to Peter Quill, aka Star Lord.  He’s just such a funny, different type of hero—he also loves to dance and has great taste in music!  I’ve watched the first Guardians so many times and I am sure I will love this one just as much.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (May 12)

I have always been a huge fan of the story of King Arthur and this take on the original story sounds incredibly interesting to me.  Starring Charlie Hunnam as Arthur Pendragon, this movie looks like it has so much action and many epic battle scenes.  Jude Law stars as the tyrant Vortigern whom Arthur must defeat.  With a whole slew of other great actors, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword looks like it’s going to be amazing.  I’m excited that this movie was directed by Guy Ritchie as I love his style of filming.  He has such a unique way of filming fight sequences and I think that style will be perfect for this legend.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)

This one is pretty self explanatory.  Fans of the first four movies will most likely end up seeing this one and enjoying it.  With Johnny Depp back at the helm as our favourite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow, comes the fifth film in the Pirates franchise.  With some of our favourite characters returning as well as the introduction of some really cool looking new characters, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales looks awesome.

The Mummy (June 9)

Starring Tom Cruise, The Mummy is a new film and said to be a part of the Universal Monsters shared universe.  Anyone who knows me will know that I absolutely love Tom Cruise films.  He may be crazy, but he is a great actor.  I also love the subject matter for this film.  As a fan of the Brendan Fraser Mummy movies, I was super excited when I heard that they were making a new Mummy movie.  I had no idea what it was about until I watched the first trailer, but I can say that it looks awesome.  Another movie full of action and adventure, The Mummy is sure to please fans of all ages.  It looks like there might be some ‘grab your chair or the person next to you when you jump’ moments in the film as well!

Rough Night (June 16)

Now, this film is on my list of definitely seeing in theatres for one main reason: it comes out on my birthday weekend!  I have plans to see this movie on a girls’ night downtown.  Starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoe Kravitz, this movie looks hilarious.  When I first saw the trailer, I thought it looked like a funny, girls’ night out movie.  Then the hilarious twist, the girls accidentally kill a male stripper.  From here the events in the movie just spiral downhill.  With this great cast of hilarious ladies, I think this movie will be a very fun one to see with a bunch of your girls.

[it was difficult to find a suitable trailer for this film, so check it out for yourself if you want]

Dunkirk (July 21)

Now this movie is very different from all the others on my lists.  I am a huge history buff and have a deep love for war movies.  They break my heart and always make me cry, but I just love them.  Dunkirk looks amazing and has such an incredible cast.  Starring Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy just to name a few, this film is based on true events from World War II.  During the war, Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium, Canada, and France were surrounded by the German Army on the beaches in Dunkirk.  This film is about the evacuation of these troops.  I know for a fact that this movie is going to make me cry, but I am still looking forward to seeing it.  Directed by Christopher Nolan, you just know that this film is going to be well done.

Thor: Ragnorok (November 3)

If it wasn’t obvious by some of the other movies I’ve listed here, I absolutely love a good action/superhero movie.  Who doesn’t love a Marvel superhero?  So far, I’ve loved every movie in the Marvel Universe that I have seen and I know without a doubt I will love this one too.  These films always have such great casts and music.  I’m very excited to see what Thor has been up to all this time since not appearing in Captain America: Civil War.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15)

This film being on my list also shouldn’t surprise anyone.  I’m not sure what to say other than the fact that I am a huge Star Wars fan and have loved all the previous movies, old and new.  I’m most excited for the return of Rey and Finn as I loved their characters in The Force Awakens and to see some more Jedi in training.  I’m a little sad about the prospect of the end of Jedi, but look forward to seeing where this movie goes.

Movies I Might See in Theatres

Wonder Woman (June 2)

I truly do want to see this movie in theatres, but with so many others coming out this year, this is one I have to think about.  Not to mention, I’m not sure if I have anyone to see this film with.  Plus, as I’ve seen so far, Marvel films are typically better than DC in my opinion.  I’ll probably decide a bit closer to June if I want to see this in theatres or not.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)

I was super excited for this film when I first heard about it (not going to lie, I’ve loved every Spiderman movie so far), but after seeing the trailer, I’m not sure now.  I mean, it does look good, but is it theatre-good?  We’ll have to wait and see.

IT (September 8)

Okay, so this one is self-explanatory.  I really want to see this film as I love the storyline—not to mention Bill Skarsgard as It—but I honestly don’t know if I can sit in a dark theatre and see this.  I’m honestly a little creeped out sitting in my basement by myself watching the trailer.  This might be a ‘see at home snuggled up with blankets and my feet up’ kind of movie.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (September 29)

I loved the first Kingsman movie and am looking forward to this one, but again, with so many movies in theatres this year, I’m not sure if this will make the cut.

Justice League (November 17)

With Wonder Woman also on this list, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m not sure about Justice League.  Don’t get me wrong, it looks awesome, but I don’t know if I’ll get around to seeing it in theatres or not.

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#tpt: Jack Taylor

18 April 2017

Today’s Top Pick

For this week, I only have one top pick, but it’s a great one.  I chose the Irish television show Jack Taylor.  The show is based off of a series of novels by author Ken Bruen.

Set in Galway, Jack Taylor stars Iain Glen as the titular character, a former Garda officer turned unofficial private-eye.  With an eye for clues that others miss—the Garda in particular—Jack has a long list of clients that seek him out for help solving crimes.  He often takes on unusual cases or ones that the Garda failed to solve.  As a result, the people of Galway seem to trust him and are more willing to talk to him than the Garda.

With his incredible knowledge of his city, as well as the people living in it, Jack manages to piece together obscure clues and bits of evidence.  Jack, however, often finding himself in spots of trouble.  This is where some of his old Garda acquaintances—mostly Kate Noonan—step in and sometimes lend a hand.  As the show continues, Jack and Kate form a closer bond, often working together to solve cases.

Each of the three seasons of Jack Taylor has three feature-length episodes for you to enjoy.  When investigating these cases, Jack continuously uncovers secrets and truths that he never knew about his past, his city, and the lives of those around him.  The cases are often very dark and have so many twists and turns throughout.  Just when you think you’ve figured out who the murderer is, another twist comes along and throws you off the trail.

I’m honestly so in love with this show.  It’s brilliantly filmed and put together.  Fans of Game of Thrones should recognize Ser Jorah Mormont as Jack Taylor!  Iain Glen really is amazing as Jack.  He’s just such a believable character.  He has so many layers and such depth to him, that sometimes you really do forget that he’s just a character in a show.

If you’re a fan of crime shows and murder mysteries, I would definitely check out Jack Taylor.  Let me know in the comments what you think!

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