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Good Tidings and Great Joy by Sarah Palin – Book Review

23 Nov

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First off, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas isn’t about politics. It’s solidly and solely about keeping Christ in Christmas, protecting our rights as Christians and asserting our freedom of religion. It’s a book by a Christian, for a Christian.

Sarah Palin’s basic message is, “If you don’t want to celebrate Christmas, don’t. We respect that. But don’t try to impose your beliefs on me and my family and don’t infringe on our right to celebrate our religious holiday the way we choose.” Really. That’s pretty much it. A live and let live message. One of tolerance – that elusive concept that liberals claim to so admire.

Normally, if someone were to write a Christian book about a Christian holiday, with a little American constitutional law thrown in, non-Christians wouldn’t really give a rip – unless, of course, they were exceptionally sad and bitter with nothing better to do with their time than attack a peaceful religion during a joyous time of the year.

But this isn’t just ANY book on Christianity. It’s a book on Christianity written by SARAH PALIN. Bum bum bum BUMMMM!!

So, of course, if you plan on reading it in public, or posting on your Twitter or Facebook page that you’ve read it, expect some liberals with a hard on for hating Sarah that have never even so much as cracked open a book by Palin to come out of the woodwork and roll their eyes, scoff, or say ignorant things that they think make them sound “cool”. Yeah, cuz saying misogynistic and sexist things about a woman makes you such a strong manly man. (Or for the women, proves that you’re a real lady.)

I’ve long come to terms with the fact that nothing angers an insecure liberal man or an unconfident morally confused liberal girl more than a strong , intelligent, beautiful conservative woman.

Liberals go into a veritable frenzy when it comes to Palin. They attack her children, say grotesquely sexist things about her, embrace wacky conspiracy theories about her life, take comedians exaggerated “quotes” and ignorantly believe they came straight from her mouth, and insult every woman in America when they suggest that Palin can’t be a good mother and a politician, too. As John Hawkins of Townhall News says, it would be understandable if Sarah Palin were President and produced this type of reaction, but the former governor of Alaska? Most people couldn’t even name half a dozen governors, much less obsess over what they’re doing.

Sarah Palin represents a totally different style of woman: the conservative feminist. She’s had a successful career, raised a big family, and has done it all without aborting an “inconvenient” child or carping about men keeping her down. A true enemy to the liberal feminist ideal. But I digress!

More on this book! It is extremely short. It’s not overly profound or ground breaking in its observations and facts. For the news and current event savvy conservative it’s just old news polished and repackaged with a shiny new Christmas bow on top. So really, it’s either a good Christmas 101 for new believers or a good casual read for the Palin fans. Nothing more or less.

Not to diminish the topic at all, because the information is relevant and vital. The fact is, our environment is increasingly becoming hostile to Christians and Christmas. That’s no joke. And Palin gives some basic tips on how to keep the Christmas spirit, and how to keep it well.

Plus, it’s fun when read in Palin’s voice. She’s cute, she’s witty, she puts her opposition down in that adorably innocent way you’d expect a soccer mom to when having a dispute in front of the kids.

If not written by Palin, I’d say it’s simply a good short read for a Christian seeking to focus on the reason for the season. But because it’s written by Palin, I’d say it’s a MUST READ…. What? So, I have a crush on her, what of it?

Best part of this book? GETTING TO MEET SARAH PALIN ON HER BOOK SIGNING TOUR, WHEEEEEE!!!!!!!! *runs around in circles* Check out the photo that got posted to Sarah Palin’s Facebook wall of my handsome hubby and gorgeous baby girl getting Palin’s autograph… awwwww, yeah!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS, YA’LL!

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Product Review of the MamaRoo, aka “Robot Mom”

18 Nov

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I’ve been meaning to write about this awesome super futuristic gizmo for some time now. It’s a cutting edge, state of the art, robotic baby swing created by 4moms…. Or as we like to call it here in the Freeman household, “Robot Mom”.

At around two weeks old, Tessa had her first encounter with gas, and she was convinced a demon was attempting to escape her innards. Her pitiful wails – more from fear than from pain it seemed – would only be alleviated if she was safe in momma’s arms, being rocked and cooed at. I would pace the floor, singing to her, soothing her, and feeling like an awesome super mom. She was especially soothed by being held tight in the ring sling, pressed up against my chest.

But then I’d have to shower. Or use the restroom. Or make dinner. Or do something best accomplished whilst not holding an infant clinging to you like an adorably gassy koala. So I’d set her down…. and the wails would start up again.

Now, a baby swing was filed in our B list of “things to get baby”. As long as she’s content in my arms, or the ring sling, or sleeping snugly in her bassinet, we saw no need for a swing. But after a couple of days with floor pacing – often going well into the night – I finally decided we needed to get a swing.

We were browsing the aisle at our local Babies R Us, eying the various swaying chairs and buggies that were all pretty much the same thing with only slight variations in color and size and yadda yadda yadda – when we suddenly saw it.

The MamaRoo. AKA, Robot Mom.

The MamaRoo, I imagine, is what would happen if Ikea and Apple products made a baby. It is a smooth – almost creepily smooth – gliding robotic swing that offers 5 motion patterns: Kangaroo, Car Ride, Tree Swing, Rock-A-Bye and Ocean Wave. The manufacturer basically studied how parents move while holding their baby, and created the MamaRoo to move in the same ways.

If you know me, you know I am fascinated and slightly fearful of advancing robotics. Remember when I freaked out for days over those Japanese dancing robots? First it’s dancing robots grooving to da music like so many fancy geishas, next it’s robotic baby swings violating the three laws of robotics and enslaving mankind. But I digress.

We ended up buying our potential robot overlord, even though it was way out of our price range, and even though we had a broken TV, Xbox, PS3 and camera lens to fix / replace. I’m sensing the dawn of a new age of never having new toys for ourselves. All our things are belong to Tessa now.

So! This chair! It reclines to any position along the curve underneath the seat, it takes up FAR LESS space than just about every other swing on the market, and it was laughably easy to assemble. Seriously. I decided to take a couple of pictures of Jon putting it together, and by the time I snapped a few, it was already done. Oh! and it plugs into the wall, so there’s no need to worry about batteries. With how often we run this thing, that’s a win.

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While there are nature sounds built in to the base (crickets, running water, waves, white noise, etc.) they all suck so I don’t really care for those. But what is awesome is that is has an MP3 dock with speakers! So I can play all the classic Baby Einstein music to my sweetly slumbering genius, just like I did when she was in the womb!

The only, only, ONLY downside to this swing is that is would be significantly more effective if it moved just a tad faster. Tessa is a bit of a motion junkie and the MamaRoo doesn’t move fast enough to soothe her out of a full on hissy fit. Of course, I have never owned any other swing, nor tried to soothe any other babies with a moving piece of plastic, so I’m not even really sure if it works like that. Besides, when she is upset, I firmly believe she needs her MOM, not a chair. So the chairs inability to soothe her when she’s frantic is really a moot point with me.

But I can say that I can put her in it when she’s already asleep and she’ll stay that way. And if she’s drowsy she’s happy to doze off with her robot mom. And if she’s calm and awake, she’ll be happy in the chair long enough for me to get some simple chores done.

It seems the older she gets, the more she is content with her Robot Mom. For instance, when we first got the chair I thought the mobile was really lame. It doesn’t move. It’s just some oval balls with funky designs. Big whoop. But now, Tessa LOVES those things. Seriously, they’re her first genuinely loved toys. We’ve actually taken to calling them, “Her friends.”

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She’ll stare at them, coo at them, talk to them, bust up laughing in squealing giggles as if they are just the most clever, entertaining companions on the planet. Jon and I will watch her hold actual 2 month old babbling conversations with these things, and more than once I’ve found myself genuinely asking, “What are they saying to her?!” Her imagination is already so active, and I’m immensely grateful for the stimulation those static cloth balls provide her.

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Another unexpected plus? My cats love the chair. As I type out this blog post, little miss Fae Fae is curled up it. The chair is LITERALLY never empty. Ever. I’ll barely pull Tessa out, and one of the cats will jump in as it’s still moving. I’ve found that the cats are partial to “Car Ride”, but aren’t overly fond of “Kangaroo”. Hm. The more you know.

So overall, would I recommend this chair to new moms? Abso-freaking-lutely. It’s awesome. I want one for myself. And I hate to say it, but after Tessa and any future kids are done with this chair, I’ll probably keep it as a bed for the cats. Yes. Crazy cat lady just got taken to a whole new level.

Warm Bodies Movie Review

12 Nov

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Yes, yes, yes, this movie came out ages ago. February 1, 2013 to be precise. At the time Tessa was the size of a pea swimming around in my belly. (So much for me being prompt and cutting edge in my reviews…)

Everyone that knows me knows that I am a sucker for unconventional romances. Nothing tickles my fancy more than a forbidden love. Your boyfriends a vampire / ghost / werewolf / zombie / alien / your brother? AWESOME! Just let me pop some popcorn and pull up a front seat to that shiz. I’M SO THERE.

So naturally the concept of this movie had a little foothold on me before I’d even illegally downloaded legally, lawfully and obediently purchased the film.

So my review! (Warning: Spoilers!)

Overall, I liked it! It was far more morbid than I’d anticipated what with the eating of her boyfriends brains and all. I’d expected gore from a zombie movie, but the stashing away brain chunks to nom on later was just creepy to me. Then again I’m a notorious wuss.

While the story has the classic zombie flick flaws – (Really? She disguises herself with just a smear of blood? REALLY?!) – every time you start to take it too seriously, the quirky humor makes you go, “Oh yeah. Zombie comedy. Just go with it…”

It’s one of those “don’t think too hard” movies, but even so it’s got it’s well thought out moments. Like the lead guy and gals names: R and Julia. Subtle tip of the hat to Romeo and Juliet, maybe?… Star crossed lovers. Families hate each other. Yeah? Yeah?! Or am I thinking too hard? (I’m probably just thinking too hard.)

I wasn’t super thrilled with the soundtrack. It was too prominent and in-your-face. I likes me my subtle movie soundtracks. But I did love the dry humor. “Say something human, say something human… how are you? Nailed it!” And it was Twilight cheesy (every sci-fi, fantasy, horror comedy romance MUST be tempered with a healthy amount of cheese), but without being Twilight painful… and thankfully without the horrid Twilight acting.

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In fact, the acting in this film is pretty dang stellar. The lead guy whats-his-face (*quick Google search*) Nicholas Hoult, pretty much carried the whole movie with his voice over acting and bumbling zombieness. Oh. Looks like he’s gonna be playing Beast in the upcoming X-Men Days of Future Past movie? Iiiiiiiinteresting….

Anyway, I figured this movie would be a win, when this film had everyone successfully cheering on necrophilia (finally, I’m not the only one!), with the audience internally screaming, “Now kiss the dead guy! KISS HIM!” during the closing scenes. That’s my idea of a good film. *wink wink nudge nudge*

Overall this movie was just FUN. While it’s not a new favorite, it’s certainly worth watching.. and forcing friends who haven’t seen it yet to watch. ^_^

World War Z Movie Review

18 Oct

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Another zombie flick! First it was the pirate craze, now vampires, now zombies. I really hope our cultural obsessions with mythological and fantasy realms cycles back around to ghost flicks. I love me my ghost on human romances. (Shut up, it’s not necrophilia if they don’t have a tangible body.)

So this film came out in June of this year, and I’m only now getting around to reviewing it in October. Why? Because I am cheap and waited for it to come out on DVD so I could illegally download lawfully obtain a copy.

So! As far as your typical run-of-the-mill zombie movie goes, this movie was pretty awesome! I only half watched it, because I am a scaredy cat and can’t watch movies that make me feel cornered. I’ll seriously punch someone in the face if a movie makes me feel trapped. I kid you not, I had to freaking leave the movie theater whilst watching Shaun of the Dead. SHAUN OF THE DEAD. I am that much of a chicken.

So the majority of this movie was me watching slow, boring dialogue scenes, then feverishly playing on Facebook when sh*t hits the fan. Then when things slowed down I talked over dialogue to ask my hubby what happened when I was too busy being a wimp. But from what I saw, it was pretty hard core.

A couple of things about this movie. First, apparently I’m the only one who thinks that Brad Pitt looks like Chris Hemsworth in this movie. I was like, “Yay, civilian Thor is battling zombies, wheee!”

Second, I found no overt flaws with the pacing of the movie, the acting, the special effects or the storyline. It was a pretty solid film in my opinion.

THE ONLY ISSUE I have is with the ending. And it’s a pretty big issue.(Spoilers ahead!)

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Okay, so through this whole flipping film, the zombies are FAST. And manic. They bite on a rampage, convert their hapless victims to zombiehood in roughly 12 seconds, and then they’re off on a zombie chomping spree. They get so frenzied when they detect fresh blood that they will literally SMASH THEIR FACES against walls, jump off of buildings, climb over one another and build freaking zombie body walls to get to warm blood. Okay, cool. That’s what makes this movie so unique. They’ve got their own super breed of signature zombies. Awesome.

BUT! When Brad Pitt Thor discovers the “cure” to being zombie immune, he locks himself in a glass box to play with the disease vials / zombie cure. Great. Good story so far – finding a War of the Worlds-esque chink in the zombie armor. Then movie climax time happens. A zombie finds him and he’s trapped. Things would certainly be dire at this point what with the story so far. He’s in a glass box. You’d expect said zombie to flip the f*ck out like every other other zombie. The ruckus would alert other zombies which would then proceed to bash their heads into the glass box and climb over one another to get to him. Which would alert more zombies until every zombie in the building is crushing it’s skull against the glass box.

You’d expect the glass box to break and Brad Pitt Thor would have to quickly inject himself with a random vial to hopefully save himself. Which wouldn’t be a bad ending at all. BUT. That’s not what happens. Doctor zombie that finds him just STANDS at the door, staring at him, barking a little, and chattering his teeth. It’s creepy as hell, don’t get me wrong. Very dramatic and scary and blah blah blah. But it’s SO UNLIKE the entire zombie persona that this whole film is based upon. In the entire film, this is the ONLY ZOMBIE that acts this way.

When Brad Pitt injects himself, the dramatic moment happens when he opens the glass door and has a face to face showdown with teeth chattering doctor zombie man. Which is cool. But still not in keeping with the entire previous two hours of movie.

And those storyline flaws just bug me. So. For that epic flaw, it’s not a favorite film. But it was a GOOD film. And definitely worth watching if you haven’t already.

Amnesia Anime Series Review

10 Oct

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Amnesia is a Japanese anime that released January through March of 2013. I feel awesome for finally – FINALLY – watching an anime as it releases and not waiting till it’s a decade old, like every other anime I watch. I am chronically behind the times in my anime viewing. *hangs head in shame*

Anyhoo, the basic premise of this story: On the morning of August 1st, a girl wakes up to find she has lost all her memories before that day. Suddenly a boy appears in front of her and tells her that he is a fairy named Orion, whose spirit collided with hers and caused her amnesia, and he wants to help her collect her lost memories. The catch is, she can’t let anyone know she has amnesia.

So! The amnesia girl is surrounded by a cast of really hot guys, all of whom have some connection with her, and she has to figure out who she’s dating and what her relationship is with each guy without letting on that she’s got amnesia.

This is another typical harem anime, with a single strong female character surrounded by a kaleidoscope of male characters to suit just about any twisted Japanese schoolgirl fetish. There’s the shy, androgynous type that is a veritable wilting flower. Then there’s the domineering abusive type that likes to lock his girlfriend in a cage. And so on and so on.

Right when she figures out who she is dating, she ends up dying, just to wake up on August 1st again, all Groundhogs Day style. Only this time the world is slightly different. She still has to hide her amnesia, and she still has to find out who she is dating.. and each episode she’s dating a different guy in the cast of characters.

I thought I’d eat this pre-teen drama up, since I loooooove me my harem animes. I’m always rooting for the girl to get with ALL OF DA GUYS! But the guys were all too freaky Japanese fetish-y for my tastes. I didn’t find myself rooting for any one guy, since each episode they all had major personality shifts, and almost every single guy was creepy and / or downright abusive. And the girl just takes it! Seriously, what this anime needed was a sassy gay friend telling this chick to grow a spine and garner some modicum of self-respect. (And no, the fairy-boy Orion was neither sassy, nor gay.) And while the mystery of her amnesia was supposed to be the central story theme, I just found it confusing and irritating.

It wasn’t until the last two episodes, when they actually EXPLAIN her amnesia, that I found myself really liking the series. Basically, (SPOILERS!) in one of the many worlds she’s flitting between, she died in a fire, and her boyfriend tried to save her. He made a deal with a fairy to be able to travel between worlds to find a world where his girlfriend doesn’t die. But each world he finds her, she never remembers him, and she always end up dying. It’s not till the last episode that she manages to live, (he sacrifices his life for hers) and he can pass on, and only then can she have her memories restored and move beyond August 1st. Or something like that.

At the end, she gets to pick which world to go back to and who to end up with. While I normally have an unhealthy attachment to hot anime guys, I was left kind of blinking at the screen, doing a mental recap of the guys in the series and thinking, “Wow. Sucky choices there.”

The series moves at a REALLY slow pace, and when it’s not confusing it’s just eye candy. And the main character – the nameless girl – is just so BLAND. Kristen Stewart bland. And boring. And compliant. Ugh! Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend it, but I’m not ruing the time spent watching it either. I just really, really, really, REALLY wish I had another Fruits Basket-esque anime to dive into. *le sigh*

The Dresden Files: Cold Days Book Review

8 Oct

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Anyone that knows me, knows that I consume books like I eat food – quickly, mercilessly and without any restraint. I am a glutton for mind candy. As a result, I breeze through novels in a matter of days. I forego sleep if a book really strikes my fancy. I tune out all distractions and go into a book bubble, where it’s only me, my coffee, and my imagination.

On our first date, as Jonathan and I both started the traditional nerd mating ritual of preening and parading the fantasy novels and geek literature we enjoy and have in common, Jonathan insisted that I read the Dresden Files books. I’d never even heard of them, New York Times best seller though they be.

But read it I did, and have found that I really do enjoy the series. Jonathan and I have been following the books as they release, and breathlessly awaiting the follow up novels. The Dresden Files was actually the third cosplay we ever did together. We love this series. It’s become one of “our” things.

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So I really don’t know why it took me four whole freaking months to finish this book. (It could be because I was busy growing a peoples, packing up for my cross country move, moving into my new home, being put on bed rest, and then shoving a human out my nether regions, followed by 24/7 care of and attention to said human. Maybe.)

Anyway, this is the 14th book in the Dresden Files series. I’m not going to even BEGIN to touch on the story intricacies. I’m just going to assume everyone is up to speed on the plot and story development. So to be honest, this book didn’t do anything for me. It was an enjoyable read but it just kind of… meandered. I guess I’m still just reeling from Butcher destroying every iconic and recognizable icon in the Dresden-verse with the book Changes.

After unraveling everything that had been built up over the course of 10 novels, this book just felt like reading a giant filler episode. Yes, things happened. Things were explained. Some major characters got killed, and recruited to new roles and la la la. But the way it all unfolded just felt so… flat. Maybe it’s because I read the whole book in tiny snatches over a course of four months. But I didn’t experience the breathless page turning, edge-of-my-seat excitement that I normally get while reading a Jim Butcher novel.

And the whole struggling to maintain his identity and quell his darker nature and internal power struggle thing just doesn’t float my boat. It’s like reading the memoirs of an angsty teen with raging hormones. It was more a one man show of Dresden off on his lonesome, and less personal interaction between characters. And it’s the character interaction and snarky dialogue that I really enjoy in the Dresden books.

Plus, Harry and Karrin STILL haven’t bow-chicka-bow-wowed. That’s just unacceptable.

For the first time since starting the book series, I’m not overly excited for the next release. I don’t NOT want to read it, I’m just okay with waiting. And for the life of me, I can’t see how this series is going to continue for another six to nine novels. It’s already reaching a serious “winding down” quality to me.

Anyway, Jonathan thinks I’m crazy for not being in love with this book. He was apparently enthralled. Which means the whole machismo, internal struggle theme must be bigger with the guys. I, personally, need more cheesy romance and nonsensical fantasy to keep me captivated for 14+ books. ^_^

The Freeman Family in the Month of September

4 Oct

Life in abundance comes only through great love. – Elbert Hubbard

I honestly don’t even know how to adequately sum up our family in the month of September, except to say that we are changed forever with the addition of this tiny little creature named Tessa. I knew I would love my daughter. I already loved her so much when she was just a thump and a wiggle in my belly, and I knew that love would amplify and magnify when I held her in my arms and locked eyes with her for the first time. But I had NO IDEA. I don’t think anyone ever really could know. The love flooding my soul is so infinitely better than I ever could have fathomed.

This little tiny girl is a part of me, and a part of my husband, and she contains both of our hearts. Our love is now combined in this angel and somehow multiplied a thousand-fold. I am changed forever as a person. As I spend each day praying for her, going to great lengths to keep her exclusively on breast milk, surrounding her in a healthy environment, using only natural products on her to keep her safe in any and every conceivable way that I can – mind, body and soul – I find that I am taking better care of myself. I am striving to be the woman that I need to be to help her become the woman that God intends for her to become.

She is the best thing that has ever happened to me and Jonathan. And we are still in awe. How can this be? How can she belong to us? How can she be ours? She’s precious. Priceless. The most worthy thing on this planet. And having her here has made the world a better place.

We will love her forever. We can’t NOT love her forever. This tiny frail creature, so helpless and trusting and innocent, is a mighty force exerting a power stronger than any I’ve known. Every ounce of her being demands to be loved, to be held as a sacred creation of God Almighty. She’s covered in the fingerprints of the Being that spoke the stars into existence, and she outshines them all. Her little baby feet, her tiny little toes, her petite fingers that struggle to grasp my pinky… if this baby princess demands worship, how much more so the God that created her?

Tessa is a miraculous and sweet little piece of heaven. Jonathan and I are so blessed. I cannot wait to see our family grow month by month… I have no idea what life has in store for us, but I am excited for this miraculous journey. Life has certainly gotten sweet.

Happy October my friends!