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Review: Thew40’s CiroSaga (Paperback)

Below is the review as I wrote it on Amazon.com just now:

Known on the website DeviantArt as Thew40, Kevin Woodside has been working on CiroSaga for almost a decade if not longer. To be honest, I regret not paying attention to what’s become his life’s work until very recently. I know Woodside and his family through his work on Deviant Art and consider him a good friend through our communications over the years. The publication of CiroSaga is the end result of many years of hard work, heartache and triumph. When I say CiroSaga is The Woodside Family’s life work, I mean that both literally and figuratively.

Now let’s talk about the book itself.

I was a surprised when I opened the book to find a third party did the back and front cover, mostly because Woodside’s style of artwork is very similar to the artist he commissioned to do the book’s cover. The front cover shows a closeup of the arms and torso of Ronson The Mighty, one of the story’s two protagonists. The back cover shows Layla Conner, the story’s heroine being overshadowed by Visthiss, one of the big-bads in the story. In case you’re wondering yes, Layla is pregnant.

Book One: Hunted Chronicles Ronson and Layla’s travels across the war-torn Ciro after Layla’s is brought from Earth using powerful magic. Moments before she was transported to Ciro, she discovers she’s pregnant. To complicate matters, the magic that brought her to Ciro altered the length of her pregnancy (though she and the baby are not effected, apparently), making it either longer or shorter (Woodside deliberately doesn’t say in the story). Her pregnancy reaches 24 weeks and stays there for prettymuch the whole story. If not for the frequent references to this detail, you’d either forget she was pregnant or expect things to be set for her to give birth in the untamed wild as Layla fears.

As the subtitle suggests, Ronson and Layla are being hunted by agents of The Ten Fists, the new world order that has embroiled Ciro in chaos, violence and despair. Layla and Ronson travel Ciro alone for nearly all of the first third and most of the second third of the story but they are joined by others on the mission to safeguard Layla, who may very well be Ciro’s last hope: The Troll Blorp, The Woodsman and Artis, who is hexed mid-story and transformed from a man into a woman.

The story ends with Ronson, Layla and company arriving in Circle Crossing, the last free city of the fallen kingdom of Cartarnos. The plot twist at the very end of the story was predictable for me given things were being set up for Book 2: The Wizard King early on. Almost none of the issues and mysteries revealed in Book One are resolved fully and instead point to events yet to come. For me, it gives me something to look forward to when Book Two is released sometime next year!

I do want to take a moment to say the story is riddled with grammar errros from beginning to end. I spoke to Woodside about it privately and the book will be revised. Even though this might be considered a deal breaker for those looking to buy it and even though I consider the author a good friend, I feel inclined to mention this as a fair warning. Even with the obvious grammar mistakes, the book is a solid read. If Woodside decides to write a new book in the series once or twice a year, I think Ciro Saga will finally get the fan following it deserves while at the same time become very profitable for the Woodside Family. I’m aware it had a following on its early days of Deviant Art but almost a month after being published, I’m apparently the first person who’s actually read the book.

I know this review is getting super long so I’ll wrap up by saying if you are a fan of Woodside’s work on Deviant Art, you owe it to yourself to support him and buy this book. It certainly doesn’t hurt it’s a pretty good read as well.

…The “third party” I referenced in the second paragraph is Olympic Dames. He credits her by name in the book in case you’re wondering.

 

I left this detail out of the product review but Layla’s pregnancy is the a key part of the story’s plot. At first you’re led to believe it’s the baby but after a surprising revelation, the baby itself is less relevant to Layla being on Ciro. While the story obviously wasn’t written with Meisophilliacs in mind, it appeals to that audience. Her pregnancy is prettymuch frozen going into Book 2. The main reason I decided to buy a physical copy of CiroSaga was because I wanted to read it first, I felt bad about not paying attention to the series when it was on DA second and unlike much of the shit people put on Amazon digitally, it’s definitely not erotica.

I gave Book One 5 stars on Amazon and was the first person to leave a reviiew. Give Woodside some love and buy a legal copy ^_^

 

 

 

 

Utopia Contestant Amanda reveals she’s pregnant

During the 2-hour series premiere of the new FOX reality show tonight, she revealed she is pregnant. She said she’s due “between November and December” and even though the network is presenting this show in real-time ala Big Brother and The Truman Show, she’d be 6 months pregnant about now. By real-time I mean a live 24/7 feed for 365 days. With at least 200 cameras on the compound (the network says 130) there is no privacy so…yeah. She didn’t look pregnant in the premiere which means one of two things: Either the episodes being airedright now  are not in real time (this is most likely what it is) or they’re trying to figure out how to deal with her pregnancy.

 

I assume it’s a bit of both. By “they” I mean the network producers. FOX apparently invested $50 Million into Utopia so…yeah. Considering they kept her on knowing she’s pregnant, I’m interested in seeing how they handle the birth and that’s assuming she’s still on the show at that time. For ethical reasons there are a few routes they could take, all of which she presumably agreed to:

  1. The network manipulates fan votes to bring an obsetrician to Utopia.
  2. One of the vistors introduced is a doctor, obsetrician or midwife (what I think they’ll do personally).
  3. Amanda gets voted out of Utopia before giving birth (it’s a possability).
  4. An unexpected complication with the pregnancy/birth forces her to leave Utopia.

 

I’m not expecting much personally but the show’s premise is interesting. If you’d like to see it for yourself, the show will air Tuesdays and Fridays on FOX. You can also watch the Live Cams either on the website or by downloading the App.

 

 

 

Review: Devil’s Due

I bought the movie over the weekend. It’s a combination of Born, The Exorcist and a bit of Rosemary’s Baby sprinkled on top. The bare belly scene in the trailer is the only noteworthy one in the whole movie. The problem with this movie is it’s obvious all of the elements were taken from somewhere else. The only difference is this one kinda leaves the door open for a sequel with the way it begins and ends.

That said, the plot is basically this: A couple honeymooning in the Dominican Republic are lured in by cultists and the wife is impregnated with a the anticrist. The movie plays out what happens to her. If you’ve at least seen Born, you won’t see anything new. The mother is even possessed by her baby periodically throughout the movie only in this possessed preggo mama flick she’s easily more powerful than Mary Elizibeth was when she in Born. There is also no effort at making it a comedy. The storytelling could have been good but there was too much focus on teasing things. I also found the “documentary cam” they went with annoying as the camera is in a fixed position for the entire movie.

Overall I give the movie a 6/10 and the belly content a 3/10. It was definitely lacking there. Trailers are for teasing. The full movie should have had a lot more to show for it. Oh, well. It is what it is. In terms of rent or buy, I say buy. Why? Because of the deleted scenes they cut from the final product. They do a much better job explaining things than what was left in the movie.

Season Premeire Review: Playing House

 

I bought a season pass from iTunes to make sure I don’t miss an episode. The first two episodes–Pilot and Bird Bones–ran back to back so I prettymuch got 40 minutes (no ads WOOT!) to start with.

Before I give the recap, here’s an overview of the TV series courtesy of IMDB:

Childhood best friends Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham, “Best Friends Forever”) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair, “Best Friends Forever”) have shared countless adventures growing up together in the charming town of Pinebrook, CT. Now, Maggie and Emma are in store for one of their biggest adventures-raising a baby. When Maggie discovers that her husband is having an online affair with a muscular German woman, Emma gives up her burgeoning business career in China to stay in their hometown and help Maggie raise her baby. Meanwhile, as Maggie prepares for the birth of her first child and the fallout of her marriage ending, Emma must confront the past that she abruptly left behind thirteen years ago — her first love and local cop Mark Rodriguez (played by Keegan Michael Kay of Mad TV fame), her prim-and-proper mother and a small town that she’s never felt comfortable in. Despite their differences – Emma is brash, bold, and assertive while Maggie is grounded, rational, and safe – the women complement each other the way only best friends can.

 

The pilot opens with Emma returning to her hometown from China for Maggie’s baby shower. During Emma’s presentation at the baby shower Maggie finds out her husband has been having an online affair with a woman in Germany. The same night, a lapse in judgement forces Emma to chose between being there for Maggie or her career. Obviously she choses Maggie it this wouldn’t have had an Episode 2. Emma declares she will move in with Maggie and help her take care of the baby.

Speaking of Episode 2 (Bird Bones), you get a glimpse into the ladies’ shared past with the introduction Mark’s wife Tina. Tina, who suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta (more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease) was the subject of the ladies’ teasing when they were in high school. Emma and Maggie end up spending the day with Tina while Mark deals with a wierd case involving garden gnomes. Know that scene in the trailer where Maggie randomly kicks in a door? It happens in this episode after Emma accidently spills the beans about how mean they were to her in high school. Tina locks herself in the master bedroom. While Emma is on the phone with Mark, Maggie is trying to get the door open. Tired of waiting around, she kicks the door in. As for the bath robes, the ladies were messing around in the bathroom and accidently tripped the shower.

 

So far I give the show a 7/10, which is respectible. It’s prettymuch hit or miss with the jokes. Luckily this wasn’t taped in front of a studio audience (“Applause”, “AWW!”, “Laugh”, etc.) or it would’ve gotten real annoying real quick. The hilarious misunderstanding at the end of the Pilot episode will likely be explored to death in fanfiction as FemSlash just like another fandom I know wih two female leads.

Keegan is a treat to watch on the small screen though I’m sure many of you know him from the horror movie spoofs he’s co-starred in. I think I said this in my other blog post but the belly on Maggie is fake. Lennon actually had children and though they made her look younger for the show, I think her body was a good fit for the role. It’s said you can tell if a woman’s had kids just by looking at her breasts. Not that I’d know but in her case, they fit well with the fake belly she wears. It looks natural even though I know she isn’t actually pregnant. Unless the fake belly is a prosthetic (which costs a bit more than wbat’s usually used for women playing pregnant characters) they’ll probably use a body double for bare belly scenes (though it looks like it is a prosthetic to me).

According to IMDB the first season will have 10 Episodes. That can mean anything from their wanting to see how Season 1 does before filming Season 2 to filming Season 2 while Season 1 is airing. My guess is Maggie will give birth by the end of Season 1 and if not, early Season 2. The track record for a pregnant character with live actors being pregnant for too long (unless the actress is really pregnant) isn’t that long. There’s also the possability Emma or Tina might get pregnant at some point and if the writers know what they’re doing, they could make it work.

Another pregnant meteorologist on Boston’s Fox 25

 

This time it’s Sarah Wroblewski, who looks to be 7-8 months along right now. Like her predecessor Cindi Fitzgibbon (who works for another Boston network as a Meteorologist now) you’d have to really try to find pics of her pregnant. I did an image search and could only find the before pics. For video, you’ll have to go here since I can’t embed the vids from that site in my blog.

It looks like she’ll keep working until she pops so there’s that. You can watch a live stream for free through the website as well. Of course, I live in Boston so I can watch on TV. She used to only work weekends but she’s worked weekdays for two weeks now, presumably to both fill in for someone taking time off and/or because of the Boston Marathon coverage.

Once I can find a pics of her pregnant I will edit this post and add them in. When she worked for Fox 25, Chief Meteorologist Cindi Fitzgibbon (now working for another Boston network) was pregnant twice and was on the air every day until she gave birth both times, went away for a few weeks and then came back. I assume the same will happen with this one ^_^

New Show Playing House Premires April 29 on the USA Network

 

Here is one of the Trailers:

Before you get your hopes up, the belly’s fake and her character will likely be pregnant for just the first season but I like the premise.  The pregnant lady catches her husband cheating and decides leaves him and move in with her best friend. She’s 8 months pregnant at the start so unless they really stretch it out she’ll likely give birth by the end of the first season.

I will watch the premiere next week and will post a recap here. Playing House premeires April 29 at 10:00PM (EST) on USA Network.

 

Review: Legion and Children of Men

Two movies with an End of Mankind as We know it plot. Two movies with the lead male playing the role of protector and guide of the lead female. Two pregnant women whose babies have the potential to save the world simply by being born.

Yeah, I know. Even before these movies the concept’s not exactly old. Let’s go over the movies one at a time.

Legion’s entire plot was revealed in the trailer. Don’t believe it? Here it is:

I rented the movie so I could watch it in full. The pregnancy aspect aside, the concept was intriguing: Fed up with mankind’s sins, God decides to unleash his angels on the unsuspecting world. The only one who doesn’t join the others is the archangel Michael, who instead sides with the humans and rushes to the defense of Charlie, a pregnant waitress working at a diner conveniently located in the middle of nowhere. I say conveniently because this is where the almost the entire movie takes place. As I said above the entire plot is predictable.

Everything you need to know about the movie is given to you in the trailer: Angels possess people and come after the Charlie and the others holed up in the diner. The reason: They want to kill the baby in Charlie’s belly that’s conveniently about to be born.

This was the only clear belly picture I can find doing an image search.

I also found this:

For some reason only the bad shots made it into Google.

There are a couple close up shots near the beginninng of the movie but they’re blink and miss. As is the norm with Hollywood movies they played hide the pregnancy. Despite the fact she was the main character more time was spent on the support cast than her. And in case you’re wondering no she never fired a gun in the movie. Just posed with one, which I admit in itself was pretty cool. Too bad what the people were fighting were more or less zombies, taking away the cool factor.

Overall I gave the movie a 4/10 and the pregnancy content a 7/10.

It’s worth seeing the pregnancy content for and not much else. I liked the concept but they did a poor job executing it on film. They spent way too much time trying to give you a reason to care about the support cast before they were killed off one by one. God wants to wipe out humanity and he decides to dispatch angels to do the job. Really? He spoke the universe into existence. It would’ve been far simpler to just speak us out of existence. As one character said in the movie the plot itself is something Lucifer would be more interested doing and if God beat him to it, he’d actually want to join up with Michael and the other survivors to stick it to God. THAT would have been a much more interesting plot twist had it been used.  This is of course ignoring the whole “Jesus’ death redeemed mankind” thing but whatever.

If you want to see it now I’d say rent it. It’s only worth seeing once. As I said the pregnancy content is meager despite the pregnant woman being the lead female. Most of the time the camera is above her belly. Again: Great idea poorly executed.

Now let’s talk about Children of Men. Like many other folks the trailer was what got me interested:

Unfortunately, that bare belly shot is the only one in the entire movie.

Based on the book of the same name as I understand it, the movie takes place in the year 2027. That’s 14 years from now or 21 years from the movie’s original 2006 release. For somee unknown reason, women are unable to give birth and at the start of the movie, the world’s youngest person is killed. Civilization as we know it is ending as experts predict humanity will be extinct within 50 years.

Enter Kee:

…And yes the belly is fake.

Still looks good though. In a world where women are unable to conceive Kee is nearly full-term. The problem: Society has collapsed into anarchy and chaos so it’s not exactly safe to go out and say “Look, everyone! I’m pregnant!”

In stark contrast, the most powerful moment in the movie for me was near the end when her baby quiets a war zone:

The clip speaks for itself but…yeah. Try to imagine being in a world where as far as you know, you’re in mankind’s last generation. As far as you know, once all of the humans currently alive die that’s it. Humanity is extinct. Then you hear a sound you’ve never heard in your lifetime: The cries of a baby.

While yes the movie’s propaganda is obvious it’s tolerable. And The Human Project is a real organization. This movie is based on the scenario of what if mankind lost the ability to procreate. The Human Project is working to hopefully make sure we never have to find out.

Overall I gave the movie an 8/10 and the belly content a 7/10.

The ending felt abrupt personally and although there’s just the one bare belly scene I loved how it was set up. They could easily do a sequel with the ending but given the propaganda embedded into the film I know it probably wouldn’t happen. Maybe have the sequel take place five years later with scientists and doctors successfully helping several couples get pregnant. I don’t know.

At current Children of Men is relatively easy to find in bargain bins for $8 or less. It’s also on iTunes and Xbox Live.

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