My Favorite Crime Procedurals

What is a procedural? – A procedural is a show that follows typically the procedures of an occupation (typically creme, legal, or medical). These can be watched as a series but are made so that for the most part they can be watched independently (a story arc an episode). Due to this format it can get repetitive and formulaic. Below are some of my favorites of the genre. Do you like procedurals?

Rizzoli and Isles (7 Seasons)

This Boston-based show follows a homicide detective and the chief medical examiner. The show follows the crimes they work and the relationship between the two women. The crimes do tend to cover the gambit, but even when they do start to get repetitive because about a third of each episode focuses on the family and relationships of the leads it never feels boring or predictable. In general, it is just a very heartfelt show despite the genre.

Psych (8 Seasons)

This is the funniest of the shows. It follows a two best friends, one of which uses his observational skills and eidetic memory to pretend to psychic, as they start a detective agency. Gus and Shawn often are trying to figure out if there even is a case just so they can get paid. It is a super funny and fast show. The core cast is great and the relationship between all 6 (including Lassie, Henry, Jules, and the Chief) just grows over the seasons.

LA’s Finest (2 Seasons)

This Bad Boys spinoff lived up to the franchise. It was fun, brutal, and fast. All of the procedural episodes also took part in a large umbrellas case that each season revolves around. Fair warning this is a show you are going to want to binge as each episodes ends in a cliffhanger to lead into the next. However, any thing starring Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union is a must-watch. Their performance and chemistry is worth the commitment of at least the two existing seasons.

Veronica Mars (3 seasons; 1 spin-off movie and 1 spin-off season)

The mid-aughts show follows a teen P.I and her friends. Each season has an overall crime plot that is filled throughout the season with smaller mysteries. Often these are not major or violent crimes episode to episode, but the overall themes of the season can be quite brutal. This is mystery meets teen drama and it works.

Criminal Minds (tentative) – (15 Seasons)

This is tentative because there are FIFTEEN seasons and I am only partway through season 9 so I don’t feel that I can fully say 100% yes. This follows the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) from the FBI. They work on serial crimes throughout the country. This has a larger focus on psychology and sociology which is always fascinating. I do think they try really hard to balance recognition of negative police structures, mental illness, and socio-economic factors. Part of what keeps this show fresh is that we also follow the unsub or the victim for part of the episode while the team is trying to find them.

Monsters at Work: Hit or Miss

The Premise: Monsters at work takes place after Monsters Inc (2001). The series follows Monsters Inc after it reopens to transition to use Laugh Energy instead. The whole company is trying to figure out it’s new place and how to work under new leadership. The new character we follow is Tylor Tuskman who was hired as a Scarer fresh out of Monster U. In the chaos no one thought to let him know the job no longer existed. When he shows up to Monsters Inc. he gets reassigned to the quirky facilities team, MIFT.

My Review:

I was really looking forward to this show as I am huge fan of the films and of the cast of this show. Unfortunately, it felt like the show knew that. I have this theory that you can figure out if a show is for you in three episodes. In my opinion, the show is rather forgettable. All the new characters are “weird” and intense, but they don’t have storylines of their own. Splitting the show with Mike, Sully, Celia, and Roz from the original series feels like it is splitting focus and doesn’t really know it’s own intentions. Mike and Sully even though it supposedly months later are figuring out for the first time how the new company should run and how to be in charge. The most heartfelt episode was episode three but it came it waves and for me too late. It feels like the show has yet to find it’s own heartbeat and direction.

How to Watch: Disney + (steaming service)

Presentations and Public Speaking

For my job I regularly have to talk to large groups of people, give presentations, and guide discussions. You probably couldn’t tell that public speaking is one of the things that I never want to do. I did not seek out a position that required this, but as positions grow and change more and more is expected of you. When I first started doing any kind of public speaking was not successful. My voice got really high pitched. I overcorrected and spoke so slow it wasn’t clear when a thought was ending.

To be clear, I still do not like public speaking. Often my face gets more red than I want to. I say “uh” or “umm” or “so…” throughout. . It is not my main skill though I have learned a couple things along the way. What is your biggest tip for speaking to a crowd?

  1. Don’t practice too much. If you practice ’til word perfect and then get mixed up during, it is incredibly hard to recover naturally.
  2. Keep 1-2 examples for what you are presenting in your back pocket (memorized) and out of your formal presentation. You can either use them as examples if you get questions or if not throw them out as extra examples at the end of the section. This will make you look like a content expert and like you can think on your feet.
  3. Look above eyeline. For virtual presentations for me this is the top edge of my computer. For in person, it may be a back door, the clock on the wall or a window.
  4. Talk at a speed where you can hear what you are stay. Use punctuation to take pauses and breathes. After each major ideas take a break, either to ask for questions or move on.
  5. This is the one I struggle most with: Stop talking once your point is made. Say what you mean to say and nothing more. Answer just the question that was asked. Give a chance for questions or requests for clarifications, but over-explaining can lead to rambling and more confusion than just letting the audience receive the initial point.

Halloween Watch Plans

Spooky Season is upon us and that means time to pull out all the movies that imbody the season. Honestly, these are some of my favorite vibes throughout the year. There is such a wide spectrum of Halloween content from trick-or-treating to the paranormal to pure gore. Here is what I am watching to celebrate the season! What is your favorite Halloween viewing?

Netflix

  • ParaNorman (2012) dir. Sam Fell and Chris Butler
  • A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (2020) dir. Rachel Talalay
  • Labyrinth (1986) dir. Jim Henson

Hulu

  • Scream Queen Season 2
  • Over the Garden Wall (2014) – miniseries also available on HBO Max
  • The Final Girls (2015) dir.  Todd Strauss-Schulson
  • Black Swan (2010) dir, Darren Aronofsky

HBO Max

  • Scooby-Doo (2002) dir. Raja Gosnell/Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) dir. Raja Gosnell
  • The Witches (1990) dir. Nicolas Roeg/ The Witches (2020) dir. Robert Zemeckis
  • Corpse Bride (2005) dir. Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
  • Freaky (2020) dir. Christopher Landon

Owned

  • Halloweentown (1998) dir. Duwayne Dunham
    • Rest of the series available on Disney Plus dir. Mary Lambert/Mark A.Z. Dippé/David Jackson
  • Twitches (2005) dir. Stuart Gillard /Twitches Too (2007) dir. Stuart Gillard
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) dir. Charles Barton

Finally Fall Book Tag

The season has finally started to change. The weather is getting cooler during the day and not just at night. The candy corn is back in the aisles. I found this awesome book tag that celebrates some of my favorite things about the season, plus I missed doing tags. Enjoy!

In fall, the air is crisp and clear: Name a book with a vivid setting!

For this one I am going with a historical fiction book: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah . This book made the dustbowl, migrant camps, and work fields come alive. The writing is so vivid and beautiful, even in this book that is largely heartbreak.

Nature is beautiful…but also dying: Name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

Unfortunately for this question and perhaps myself I have read quite a few books that fit in this category. I would pick Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi and The Deep by Rivers Solomon but for very different reasons. Yolk is a contemporary that focuses on health, growing up, and food. The Deep is a fantasy that surrounds generational trauma, identity, and mermaids.

Fall is back to school season: Share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

I have been reading a lot more non-fiction lately. One that really stuck with me was Pushout by Monique Morris. This focused on the criminalization of Black girls and the structures that work against them in the school systems, especially in the US.

In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: Name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

Even though i wasn’t a huge fan of the last book I would love to be a member of the Penderwick clan from the Penderwick series by Jeanne Birdsall. This passionate, loving, wild family is so endearing and cares for each other so deeply that I would just love to be another member of this ever growing family.

The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: Show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: Share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

Definitely going with the classic The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss for this one. This fantasy epic is Kvothe telling his own story to a biographer after years in hiding from his past.

The nights are getting darker: Share a dark, creepy read.

I am not a huge horror or gore fan but I do like a good mystery or suspense novel. The best creepy novel I have read recently is A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell. This is the story of massacre, class, and coverup. This was brutal but not gorey or gross and definitely a great stay-up-all-night nervous book.

The days are getting colder: Name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

Eva Evergreen: Semi-Magical Witch by Julia Abe is an incredibly heartwarming book that also deals with an impending storm. I absolutely adore this book about a young witch going to find her talents and her place in the community (both magical and non).

Fall returns every year: Name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.

This is not a book but a world favorite. I absolutely love Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legends of Korra. I am super excited to return to the world with the Kyoshi duology by F.C. Yee and Suki, Alone by Faith Erin Hicks this fall.

Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: Share your favourite cozy reading “accessories”!

I got a large mug with a hot beverage and cozy cat. I am all set to settle in for a long reading night.

The post Finally Fall Book Tag appeared first on Kristin Kraves Books.

Summer Wrap Up

This summer was incredibly long personally. I did get a lot of reading done though despite work, memorials, and finally taking a break. This season I got through 36 books, which felt really good for me. I also was a little more liberal with myself and not finishing books after I had started them. I had a pretty solid reading month. I enjoyed most of what I read, but there were very few stand outs. Over the month, I averaged 4.04 stars in the books that I finished. This felt pretty solid. I enjoyed most of the books I read. They were solid, but there were very few standouts for me personally, even in the ones where the books themselves were excellent.

Genre Breakdown:

Rating Breakdown:

RatingNumber of Books
2.0 – 2.5 Stars 2
2.51 – 3.0 Stars1
3.01 – 3.5 Stars7
3.51 – 4.0 Stars8
4.01 – 4.5 Stars7
4.51 – 5 Stars11

Standouts of the Season

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Ash by Malinda Lo

Monstress Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takenda

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

Things I learned from my first concert back

This past weekend I went to my first concert since the pandemic first hit, and one of my first major concerts ever. It was outdoors in the city where my partner and I went to college. It was a progressive rock/metal concert. Due to the conditions of the world it was a dual headlining tour so that as many bands as possible could get back on tour, with limited outdoor venues around the country.

It was an incredibly fun experience. I did feel safe, but also I got to see one of my best friends and meet some other cool people. I will say that it could be incredibly overwhelming. Here are some things I will know to move into for the second.

  1. Your feet and legs will hurt. You will be standing. jumping, walking for a long time. This maybe in line, at the concert, or dealing with parking. Wear shoes that don’t kill you.
  2. Bring cash. You will want at least a beverage of some kind and the cards take long and hold up a line.
  3. You will feel gross at some point. Whether, god forbid, you have to go to the bathroom or it’s just the beer cans at your feet. My friend did get a drink dropped down the back of their legs while people were walking (it was not not funny).
  4. There is always a more hard-core fan. People are there for a good time and because they love the entertainment, and boy do they. Fan watching is so fun and you can always find someone more into it.
  5. There is space for you! Whether you are there for a hard-core most experience, to have a date night in the back, to listen to music bopping a long in the crowd, or something any where in the middle. There is space for you to enjoy the concert however you want to and people really seem to respect that because they are doing their own thing.

Books that focus on Education

Happy back to school season! School and education has always been such a major part of my life. For me there are a lot of aspects to an education, not just learning algebra and going to class. There is building a strong foundation to move forward, finding passion and deciding what you are excited about, and taking new opportunities through extra curriculars and chances provided to you. All the books below take place at a school, but focus in a different space of the education process.

Changing Your Life (Core Classes)

Princess Academy (series) by Shannon Hale – Middle Grade/Fantasy

We are Okay by Nina LaCour – Young Adult/Contemporary

Educated by Tara Westover – Adult/Autobiography

Following Passion (Field of Study)

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells – Adult/Autobiography

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson – Young Adult/Contemporary

Truly Devious (series) by Maureen Johnson – Young Adult/Mystery

Taking Chances (Extracurriculars)

Again, but Better – New Adult/Contemporary

Check, Please! – Young Adult/Contemporary/Graphic Novel

Smash it! by Francina Simone – Young Adult/Contemporary

Only Murders in the Building: Hit or Miss

The Premise:

Welcome to the Arconia! This an apartment building with a stoic façade in New York where all our characters find themselves living. As three neighbors begin to connect over a love of true crime, specifically the same favorite podcast. After a suspicious death in the building they unite to investigate and live out their true crime fantasies. The jobless director (Short), the actor whose star is fading (Martin), and young renovator (Gomez) all have their own relationship to the crime and to the building.

Title Card of Only Murders in the Building

This is such a comedic take on true crime culture. It is a quirky character study that is shows itself through a dark comedy. I really enjoy Steve Martin and Martin Short’s chemistry they have such an ease together. I was really impressed by Selena Gomez’s ability to keep up with that duo. As far as the mystery it self goes, we don’t know that there is one. The story could go so many ways, including pure paranoia especially given each individual’s motivations for solving the “case”. I would definitely recommend checking out. Three episodes of the season’s ten are out now. The rest to be released weekly.

How to Watch: Hulu (streaming service)

Quarter of a Century

Today, I turn 25. I will have been through a quarter of a century on this planet and what a time to be alive. It has been a long and full couple of years. I have lived in 4 states, visited 22, been to 4 other countries across three continents. I have had roughly 13 places of residence, while going to 9 schools through my bachelors. This has led to meeting hundreds of people and being able to explore places my whole life.

However, it has been rough sometimes. I was in a severe car crash, 3 severe illness, and your run of the mill trauma of life. One time a toothpick went through my foot. My brother has been imprisoned in come capacity for the past four years. Family and friends have died. I have cried in public more than I want to count. I have been stranded in an airport lobby by myself overnight, lost on a mountain in Alaska for hours, and bullied throughout my school years.

Not to complain because I have also had quite a magical life. I have travelled, been on safari, and been safe and happy. I fell madly in love with my partner of the last 5 years. My friends are incredibly smart, funny, and the kindest humans you will ever meet. My family is full of some of the world’s best humans, even if some of them have left us too soon. I learned instruments and built sets. There were flash mobs, movie marathons, and all-nighters. My home growing up was full of movies, books, and dance parties.

I am hopeful that I get to keep going for another 25 years. My only goal is less weird injuries and Urgent Care visits. Overall, I will take it all in whole to keep the rest. Happy birthday to me!

College Visits and Vibes

So I recently finished a week of college visits with my younger sister (who is a rising senior). It was wild. One going anywhere that has started to open up in the past year is nuts. Second, driving in Boston is the worst. Third, on paper and going in-person are such different experiences that it can be jarring. We visited 3 major universities and drove through another. Personally there were three major things I noticed that changed my feelings about the schools.

One, how welcoming the school is when you arrive. Are they excited for you to start your journey with them? Are they selling the school to you? Are they being upfront about any inclusion or access policies they have, this may look like informing when buildings with ramps and elevators are, financial aid, housing policies, dietary support, etc.

Two, the other prospective students. Are they excited to be there? Do they seem anxious and nervous? Do they seem like feel they are entitled to a spot at the school (smug, legacy status, etc.)? These are the people you could potentially be spending your time with, living with, stuck in classes with, etc.

Three, all colleges of stated values and ideals, but what are they selling it as. We had one school sell it as a stepping stone to success, that it’s graduates were the most hireable. One school focus on the college experience and community. Another about the love of learning and all the ways they promote curiousity. Another, talked about the next step in education and figuring out yourself. There are no wrong answers but there are better fits and it’s important to pay intention to what they think you will get out of their institution.

Good luck visiting!