Criminal Minds: Finishing School (Criminal Minds #3)

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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.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.)

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^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.

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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!

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My favourtie wig so far

How to Answer Annoying Holiday Questions

I don’t like the holidays for the very specific reason that my extended family members seem to think that I am comfortable answering their questions that may SEEM simple small talk questions, but really annoy me to no end.

Who I am dating, my future career goals and such, really are not something I would like to talk about. Dude, lets talk about dogs, memes, what manga you are reading, etc. Lets talk about a serial killer you just learned about, but please do not ask me about big life questions that I currently don’t, and may not know the answer to, for quite a while.

Unless I bring some date with me to dinner, (which I can’t simply because dating two people at once is blasphemy to my mother, therefor they are dead to her.)

Here is the thing, at my age, I honestly don’t know what I want for a career just yet. I like my job right now, I may not plan on keeping it for the rest of my life, but shouldn’t that be fine on its own for now?

Who knows. Either way, the questions come up each year, so I’ve come up with answers that maybe you can use when your Aunt or annoying cousin asks why you are the dateless wonder this Christmas night. Most of these will shut them up.

 

Question: “How is school going? Picked a major yet?”

Possible Answers:

  • “Good. Just good. Next question?”
  • “I’m deciding between majoring in Classics or Psychology. I know the odds of being a Classics prof or a shrink are slim to none, but so is getting a job with any arts degree.”
  • “I finally learned the difference between your and you’re.”

 

Question: “So what do you think you want to do with the rest of your life?”

Possible Answers:

  • “I’m really thinking of getting into pole dancing, I never was good at the Pythagorean theorem anyways.”
  • “I am starting an exclusive religious group and I think will be life-changing. God has recently started talking to me about it is my calling to build a heaven-on-earth cult…erm…community.”
  • “I don’t fucking know man, probably smoke a lot of dope and dance with the many dogs I plan on fostering.”
  • “I’m 100% set on having as many kids  as I can so my baby daddies and I can be the new 19 Kids and Counting on TLC. Did you hear they got cancelled because Josh molested five girls, excluding his own sisters?”

 

Question: “Anybody special you have been seeing lately?”

Possible Answers:

  • “I’m volunteering at a retirement home, and I really think I’ve found the one there, I see him every second day, and I help change his diapers. We’re so much closer then ever before.”
  • “I’m still dating One Direction even though they are on hiatus and don’t know I exist. Nothing has changed over the past year, they are my gods. Want to say a prayer with me for Zayn to join 1D again? I brought a poster of him we can worship him together.”
  • “My prof is pretty special, the amount of spit he shares with students who sit in the front row is incredible.”

 

That is all for now, for I must go and get ready myself for my fancy family Christmas Eve dinner.

I hope your family holiday gatherings will be as painless as possible 🙂

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The Best Horse Computer Game Ever

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The problem with horse themed computer games is that they are always geared towards one very specific demographic; six to ten year old girls. While there is nothing wrong with this, the main issue is that the toy industry sure loves to drown “girl” toys in the world of make up, dressing up, fashion, manicures, barbie, super models and all things glittery.

I love horses, so I do like to play horse computer games and watch horse themed television shows while creepily pretending I have my own horse and that I even know what I am talking about when it comes to riding competitions.

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(The Saddle Club, the best kid riding tv show ever. I still ship Stevie and Phil so hard.)

Obviously, real horses don’t have sparkly pink manes with glitter heart tattoos on their asses, but a good percentage of horses in computer/DS games do. I can’t seriously pretend I have my own horse if my horse is hot pink and named Sparklez.

Thank god for Saddle Up with Pippa Funnell. Seriously. This is the coolest, different and entertaining computer game all centred around horses, competitions and renovating a stud farm. Did you hear that? You get to renovate a stud farm, not go off to a tacky mall to buy a new rainbow coloured saddle for your glittery artifical looking horse! (Note: all the horses in Saddle Up are all natural looking, and gives you information on each of your horses, including what breed the horse is.)

The first thing I want to talk about is the storyline of this computer game. Most horse computer games are incredibly formulaic and there is little storyline, or close to none. Usually you are given a horse and there is a shit load of grooming and training in the exact same ring. Then, at the end, you take part in a major competition, win and the game is over. Saddle Up is anything but. The game begins when the main character, Estelle, inherits her great aunt’s stud farm in the wake of her great aunt’s death. Estelle quickly learns from her solicitor that since her great aunt was a very “eccentric” woman, she has put many clauses in her will before Estelle can fully renovate the stud farm. As Estelle, you are able to choose new buildings, vehicles and training locations each time you win a competition, (which, there are several, and they are all in different locations, thank god.)

The next thing I absolutely love about Saddle Up are the characters. In the typical girly horse games, you have one dimensional, plain Jane characters that have no backstory whatsoever. In Saddle Up, you get loads of characters Estelle interacts with that have history and personalities.

The reason I just love Saddle Up is because it has everything I could ever want in a good computer game. I’m not a hard core gamer, so obviously I’m not super picky on graphics; but the plot, the characters, the entertainment level? 10/10.

I highly recommend this to anybody looking for a horse themed computer game with more content besides grooming your horse and shopping for it.

The Best Leggings Ever

Some fashion pieces are just essentials, and a pair of solid black leggings is a down right necessity. Able to dress up or dress down and being oh so damn comfy, I have no idea what I would do without leggings. Of course, there are crappy leggings that can give you wedgies, the fabric isn’t soft enough or it just isn’t built for your body type.

Alas though, I have finally found the pair of leggings, and they aren’t even from an overpriced boutique, hardly! You can buy them at your local Superstore for only $10!

I’ve always been a fan of Joe Fresh for their excellent prices. I don’t buy all my clothes there, but I have found quite some gems in this glorious clothing store located between the produce and pharmacy section. Right now, I can’t stop raving about their soft and comfortable leggings!

The leggings come in various hues and patterns, so if standard black leggings aren’t your style, there is much more to choose from.

I love how comfy the leggings are, the cut and the high waist design. I absolutely love, love them. No more Ardene’s leggings for me, these are so much better.

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I must have 6 to 10 pairs now, they are just incredible, and so much better than Urban Outfitter’s leggings that will cost you $40 for just one pair.

If you don’t feel comfortable wearing leggings out in public, or just prefer jeans, these leggings also make an excellent pair of lounge or pyjama pants, as well.

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Sooo comfy!!

https://www.joefresh.com/ca/Categories/Women/Casual-Dress-Pants/Black-Legging/p/WC14BT2208_001

Roots – Lauren Bag Tribe Review

I’m not a girly girl by any means, so I prefer to use the term bag over purse, I just roll that way. While I’m not a super fashion focused person, I am very picky on what I buy, especially on bags.

I’ve only had two other bags in my life, excluding backpacks. I have my small green leather bag that I picked up at a flea market some years ago and I came across my Guess bag when I was visiting Las Vegas.

greenbag guestbag

I liked the simplicity of the small green leather bag, but it was basically just too small, I couldn’t even fit my wallet in it. I automatically loved my Guess bag because of its unique denim fabric pattern. On the other hand, I did not like the jean flower that was unremoveable, and the lack of pockets and compartments.

It has been a tedious journey to find “the one.” Being a very specific person when it comes to what I buy, I can never just walk into a store and find something I like in fifteen minutes. I guess being a perfectionist has something to do with it.

At any rate, I received several Roots gift cards for Christmas one year. I’ve visited Roots multiple times, as I love their sweaters, scarves and cozy tops.

I was shopping with my Mom when we went into Roots when the boxing day sale craze had ended. She suggested I check out the purses and bags, since they are excellent quality and well made. I never really looked at the bag section, as I knew they were all quite pricey.

And then I saw it, and I knew…. It was the one.

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Holy shit, it’s everything I could ever want in a bag! It has three zipped up pockets apart from the main section, four pockets without zippers and it doubles as a satchel and handbag. Two of the open compartments are the perfect size to keep your iPhone, change and makeup in. My 13 inch MacBook Pro also fits in the main compartment, even though I don’t carry my laptop around with me all that much, it is nice knowing I can bring it, if I want.

The bag is genuine leather that looks fabulous even as it fades. It matches with everything I wear, it is never too laid back or too fancy, it is perfect for all occasions.

The bag itself, is perfect; there is absolutely nothing I would change. The downside? The price, of course. It came with the hefty price tag of $318.00. With my gift cards, I was able to get a decent price on it, but really, even if I didn’t have the gift cards, I still would have bought it. I really believe it’s okay to splurge on things that you will be using a lot. I’d never splurge on a pair of sandals or eyeliner for example, but a bag, that I will use every day for a long time to come.

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http://canada.roots.com/LaurenBagTribe/Women%27sLeatherShoulderBags//18019911,default,pd.html?selectedColor=Y21&cgid=leatherTribeLeatherCollection&start=16&q=#start=16

River Island London Eau De Toilette

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I’m not a makeup/beauty person, as I am rarely patient enough to paint my face perfectly or spend an hour on my hair. I generally stick to basics that work for me, so if I post anything related to makeup/perfume/hair stuff, you can guarantee these are products I am 100% satisfied with.

I grabbed this perfume while I was shopping in London, England. Granted, it was an impulse buy; perfume was not something I would normally get as a souvenir. I most likely decided to buy it because the name of it is “London,” and I really enjoyed shopping at River Island, so the two went hand in hand. Plus, the price was really decent at £10.00 for 30ml, so I figured, what the hell; the bottle was my favourite colour, and it was pretty.

And am I ever so glad I snatched it up. So far, this is my all time favourite perfume. The scent isn’t too flowery, too sweet, too strong or too light, it is just right! The perfume is described as “sweet and cheeky,” but I would describe it more as “fresh.” Regardless, It is an excellent scent for everyday use, and it lasts quite long for the price.

Some perfumes I have encountered smell really pretty at first, but then I get sick of them after a couple of hours; but I have no issues with this scent, it is just perfect!

http://www.riverisland.com/women/gifts–cosmetics/beauty–fragrance/London-eau-de-toilette-30ml-perfume-623011

(River Island delivers to over 100 countries worldwide.)