Criminal Minds: Finishing School (Criminal Minds #3)

finishingschool

Author: Max Allan Collins

My Rating: 5/5

In case you are new to my blog, I am a true crime addict. I research serial killers in my spare time. I read case files. I love documentaries on famous murderers and villains. I even check out /r/CrimeScene on reddit. This subreddit allows redditors to submit crime stories with actual crime scene photos.  (View at your own risk, it is NSFW.) I have a fascination with the darkest of human nature. This all started when I was 12 or 13 years old when I was flipping through tv channels, I stumbled across Criminal Minds. I can confidently say this show has changed my life.

If you are unfamiliar with the television show, it centres around the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU.) They investigate and solve the most complex murder cases. They deal with terrorists, pedophiles, murderers and their specialty: serial killers. Now, I am going to admit this book review will be biased because Criminal Minds has always been my all-time favourite show. I can honestly say I have watched every single episode at least three times. (And to give you an idea of the episode count, the show has been renewed for it’s 12th season.)

Because I have been a fan of the show for so long, I was quite surprised to find out I didn’t know there is a book series based on it. I came across this book at my local thrift store and squealed. So as a die-hard Criminal Minds fan I had to get it.

Even though this is the 3rd book in the series, (and to my recent discovery, the last,) you do not need to read the first two to understand what is happening in this one. Like the television show, the book begins with the BAU team given a new case to solve.

The first thing I noticed and liked about this book is that the author gives you a quick rundown on what the BAU is and does; as well as explaining each member of the team. So, if you have never watched the television show, you will still understand the characters and what they bring to the team as individuals.

On the flip side, if you are just as a massive fan of the show as I am, you will be pleased to find out this book does NOT repeat an episode from the show, it is a brand new case! This book features my personal favourite BAU team combo. We have: David Rossi, Aaron Hotchner, Derek Morgan, Emily Prentiss, JJ Jareau, Penelope Garcia and Dr. Spencer Reid. (Who are all briefly described in the first chapter.) Whether you know about the tv show or not, you can pick up this book and understand it.

For a quick summary of the book, here is the rundown: The BAU is called into Minnesota where a horrifying graveyard is discovered in a forest. Three bodies are found, each a young girl wrapped in blankets and sheets. The BAU soon discovers that each girl disappeared ten years ago from different parts of Georgia. They also find out these bodies are not the only victims of this perpetrator.

The BAU works on building a profile of the unsub. (Unknown Subject.) Who he is, his background and why he is taking these girls and holding them for a decade before killing them. Hence, Criminal Minds‘ tagline: The way to a criminal is through his mind.

I gave this book 5/5 because of it kept my interest all through the story. There was no fluff/fillers and the author did an excellent job of portraying the characters. He clearly did his research on the show and characters, as everything was spot-on all through the story.

As I mentioned earlier, this case has not been an episode of Criminal Minds, which impressed me. The case is just as twisted, unique and complex as the ones on the show.

That being said, this story is very dark and parts are very graphic. If you do not like stories about children being abducted, murdered etc, then this is not a story for you. Trigger warnings for this book would be sexual abuse.

However, if you like dark fictional crime books, this is definitely something worth considering picking up.

The Dead House

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-9-17-16-pm

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

My Review: 5/5

I’ve never cared for YA novels. Even when I was a young teenager myself, I could never see the appeal of the same old fantasy love triangle scenarios. Those were really big in my day, maybe they still are, who knows. When you start to not recognize the Disney Stars on the J-14 or Tiger Beat magazines, you know you aren’t hip with the kids anymore. And since I don’t know who the hell Ross Lynch is, I guess I’m old now. All I know about him is he is some Teen Beach hottie who is going to be playing Jeffery Dahmer in an upcoming movie. Teen Beach hottie to now play a cannibalistic serial killer? This guy better have legit acting skills or I am going to be seriously pissed off when I see the movie.

ANYWAYS, I decided to take a break from reading my typical true crime cases to something lighter. I’m snickering at myself now for thinking that because I thought The Dead House was going to be a “light scary teen read.”

Boy, was I very wrong.

For one, I had no CLUE this story was the author’s debut novel. You would never guess considering it is an incredibly written story.

The formatting was very different, which I loved in the end. The book is compiled of diary entries, psych therapy sessions and police interrogation interviews. It kept the story fast paced and with so many twists, I had an extremely difficult time putting it down. That must have been how I finished the book in only two days.

I won’t give out too much about the story, but the jist of it is the tale is told from the perspective of Kaitlyn Johnson (for the most part,) who attends Elmbridge High. Except, many claim she isn’t real; and she might not be, because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson. They consider themselves sisters who share a body. Carly gets the daytime, Kaitlyn gets the night and considers herself “a child of darkness.” Carly is the good, shy and quiet one while Kaitlyn is stubborn, rebellious and self harms. And then one day, Kaitlyn wakes up in the morning to find Carly gone.

This was an insane read, but so amazing and I’ve NEVER read anything quite like it. The truth is, you don’t really know what is happening in the story. Is Kaitlyn real? Is she telling the truth? Is Carly real? Is Kaitlyn and Carly’s psychiatrist lying to them? Is there something paranormal creeping in the shadows?

The protagonist is sometimes so lost in her own thoughts you can’t even consider her reliable; so actually summarizing this book would be very difficult because you don’t for sure what is going on.

Bottom line, I just loved this novel. It’s a horror, but whether you consider it a psychological thriller or a paranormal story depends on what you think happens. And I think that is why this story is so deliciously addictive.

pinkhair

AliExpress is the New Crack

So I’ve never been a huge online shopper. Apart from books, I rarely considered ordering anything online mainly because everything seemed so damn expensive. (And most of it still is.) I’m sure this has something to do with me working at a thrift store AND benefiting from the 50% off employee discount. Aka, I am not spending more than seven dollars on a t-shirt, no matter how cute it is.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 8.31.37 PM

This isn’t EVEN a cute t-shirt; and damn, then there is shipping as well. I rest my case.

 

There are many websites I love to browse such as Etsy and Storenvy. But unfortunately Etsy can be quite expensive because most of the items on that website ARE handmade, so the pricing is justified (most of the time.) Although, the shipping can get quite extreme. I saw a really cool zombie girdle the other day and the shipping ALONE was over 40 dollars.

And then out of nowhere, the solution to all my online shopping problems were resolved. It was the day AliExpress entered my life.

 

shortblack

The first AliExpress wig I bought

 

Now, to be fair, if I stumbled across AliExpress with no prior knowledge, I would’ve easily assumed it was a scam website. Why? Because the website carries everything. And I mean, everything. Not only that, the prices are super low and almost everything comes with free shipping. Even though there is so much to choose from, the website offers tons of filters such as if the item is in your price range, the colour you are looking for, the material, style, if it comes with free shipping or not and more! Fortunately, one of my friends had purchased a few items from the site and was quite pleased with what they received, so I decided to give it a shot.

 

ahs

An American Horror Story t-shirt for five dollars

 

AliExpress is basically my worst nightmare at the same time. Because so much on that website is cheap and the shipping is free, I tend to spend WAY too much too fast. When you buy 9 things that are each five dollars you are still spending 45 dollars, even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time!

I’ve mostly been getting into their wigs. The selection is massive, and the wigs can run super low. (I got one for five dollars with free shipping, naturally.)

shortpink

^This is the one^

Of course, like anything when you shop online, you have to be smart. Check the ratings and reviews for the item. I never order something off the website that doesn’t a decent amount of positive ratings/reviews. I also like to check how long the “shop” has been open on the website.

pinkhair.jpg

I got this meter long wig for eleven dollars and the black lipstick for one dollar

 

The downside to this website? You pay with your time. You can be waiting up to a couple of months for your items to come, and at least none of my items have come with a tracking number. However, some of my items have come in just a couple of weeks, so the shipping time will vary. If you don’t mind waiting the extra weeks to save money, then AliExpress is for you!

purplehair.jpg

My favourtie wig so far

Girdle Review from Coco’sRetroCloset!

I’ve been pining for a girdle for a while now, and after months of image binging on gorgeous vintage lingerie I can now say I own one.

I had the initial fear that the girdle I would receive in the mail would not be the same one that I saw on the screen, but I am pleased to report that the two looked exactly the same.

 

It’s comfy, cute and gets its job done by making my butt look perky and wonderful. It can be worn as the everyday underwear garment or a whole new spin wearing it as a sexy miniskirt.

I highly recommend Coco’sRetroCloset, and will purchase again from them without a doubt. (Maybe the matching bra this time?)

For now, I am quite positive that retro lingerie is going to be adding onto my never-ending lingerie collection :p

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/CocosRetroCloset?ref=l2-shopheader-name

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/256075602/black-or-white-obg-pull-on-light-control?ref=shop_home_active_4

The Forest

the-forest-2016-horror-movie-trailer-title-directed-by-jason-zada-starring-natalie-dormer-taylor-kinney-eoin-macken

Going into this movie, I kind of expected it to be a piece of shit.

Of course, I still stand by believing that basing a horror/supernatural thriller on an actual forest where real people do go to end their lives is not only disrespectful but quite trashy.

In case you haven’t seen the trailer of The Forest, it’s about a young American woman named Sarah who has a nightmare about her identical twin sister, Jess. Sarah finds out Jess was last seen going into the Aokigahara forest; where people go to commit suicide. Still convinced her twin is alive, Sarah flies over to Japan in search of her sister. (Because twin telepathy hasn’t been overdone or anything.)

Okay, number one, how many people can realistically drop all their shit after a single nightmare and hop on a plane and travel across the world. Maybe Hollywood writers are so loaded nowadays they assume that every day people can just fly across the country with ease, or this is just a poor plot hole, who knows.

Honestly, this movie wasn’t THAT bad. There were some good pop up scenes, the actors are decent yadada.

I just feel this movie could be SO much better had this movie not been white-washed. I mean, there really is no good reason why the main characters had to be white. The plot would’ve made way more sense had the main characters been Japanese, but that couldn’t happen because y’know, Hollywood.

It was creepy, was it really essential that the movie had to be set in the Aokigahara forest? Probably not, but maybe the controversy was needed to get people to go see it in the first place.

Meh. It could’ve been better, but at the same time, it wasn’t the worst of thrillers I have seen.

2.5/5

No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine

columbine

Authors: Brooks Brown and Rob Merritt

My Rating: 5/5

 

Columbine. One of the worst and well known school shootings in North America. Years later, the same question still lingers: Why?

Brooks Brown and Rob Merritt attempt to explain some of the reasons what could have led the two high school seniors (Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold,) to plan and take out a massacre at their very own high school before turning the guns on themselves.

Like the title states, there are “no easy answers,” as to what caused the boys to commit such a crime, but I found this book to be very informative and compelling.

If you’ve seen any Columbine documentaries, chances are you have seen Brooks Brown being interviewed. He was not only just a student at Columbine at the time of the massacre, but also a childhood best friend to one the shooters, Dylan Klebold. Brooks also had a long history with Eric Harris.

I honestly feel this is one of the best true crime novels I have ever read. Some of it does have to due with the fact that the authors knew the shooters personally; but most of it was because of Brooks being able to recount the warning signs the boys displayed before the shooting  as well as explaining the truth about the bullying in Columbine and what it was like to be an outcast (like Eric and Dylan.)

There are so many theories as to “why” Eric and Dylan did what they did. Some claim it’s the graphic and grotesque video games that kids are playing these days. Some say it’s the obscene musical lyrics that blast on the radio now. Others say it’s the easy access to guns.

In my opinion, something so complex as teenagers being motivated to shoot up their school and committing suicide afterwards would never be driven be a single factor. We may never know what exactly was going through the minds of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as they planned out their killing spree. Then again, maybe that is just why this case has been talked about for so long. Almost two decades later and people are still trying to look for answers. There may be answers, but they certainly will not be “easy.” In the end, all we can do now is speculate and wonder.

adore_delano

Stage Kitten-ing and Meeting Adore Delano?!!

I have a very brief but very exciting blog post to share with you guys!

Who can say their first time ever being a stage kitten happened to be in the same show as the freaking fabulous and fierce Adore Delano? (You know, the one who tied second place on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

delanoyay

Excuse me…I need a moment.

fangirl

Alright, I believe I am okay. For those unfamiliar with the term “stage kitten,” it is simply the person who picks up the costume pieces and props when burlesque performers have finished their routines. While ‘stage kitten’ sounds like a fancy term for a stage hand, kittens are actually part of the performance. You have to be sexy, flirty and play up with the audience while on stage..

Despite it being my first time, I did not screw up or fall flat on my face while walking on stage in 4 inch heels. It was also nice to have such a close view of the stage.

And to top off my wonderful kitten-ing debut, I got to meet the star of the show. (I actually made her laugh!! Eeek!!!) She was an awesome, flawless queen.

index

!!!!

Needless today, it was an awesome night.