Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Refuge for Masterminds

Refuge for Masterminds (Stranje House, #3)

Refuge for Masterminds is the latest installment of the School for Unusual Girls series and the best one yet. The hallmark of this series is that each book has a different POV- there are five girls training to be spies in Regency England- and this time the focus is on Jane. Each girl has a unique skill and Jane's strength is her ability to see several steps ahead in any situation- hence the mastermind of the title. Of the five she also seems to be the one that Emma Stranje, the headmistress, is grooming to succeed her someday.

Jane has secrets from her past (what good heroine doesn't?) but her secret is terrifying because it may affect her entire future. Nevertheless she is committed to the school and the other girls, and her talent for seeing the possibilities of future action are indispensable. The story continues here shortly after the events of the second book, with Napoleon threatening England and their nemesis, Lady Daneska, pulling the strings. Daneska is a fabulous villain because she is a former student of Miss Stranje and she knows how the school operates. In the last book she came dangerously close to infiltrating the school and achieving her objective. Here the intrigue intensifies as the action shifts to London and the social scene.

All the supporting players are here, including Georgie (one of  my favorites) and Alexander Sinclair, the brash America inventor who has stolen Jane's heart. Jane is no wilting flower though, she's sharp tongued and tough and I loved reading her perspective. As much as I liked Georgie's POV in the first book, I think this one is my favorite. The series seems to have hit a rhythm now and I'm left wondering who will pick up the narrative next- Sera or Maya? Both have intriguing abilities and would be fascinating to read about- but here the focus is squarely on Jane.

I liked the relationship between Jane and Sinclair a lot. There's just a whiff of scandal to it as they tiptoe around each other and their feelings- and again Jane's secret poses a huge hurdle to their possible happiness. I liked how this was handled, there's not a love triangle but there is another nobleman who has a past with Jane, and it didn't go how I expected. I always like it when someone you think you're going to hate earns your grudging respect. And I couldn't review this book without mentioning the Patronesses- three high ladies of society who fan themselves and preen but are tough as nails and not above packing a pistol or dagger in their reticule as need arises. They steal pretty much every scene they're in.

I noted a sequence on board a ship where I could almost smell the tar and feel the rocking of the boat, where a guttering oil lamp illuminates a shadowy cargo hold. I felt right there with her as she went through the ordeals and triumphs of her mission. This series keeps getting better and better and the author continues to show a fascinating alternative history where small changes in events could lead to vastly different outcomes. I am loving this series and the only problem I had with it was when it ended.  

Top Ten Summer Freebie 2017

 

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back to The Broke and the Bookish so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week is Top Ten Summer Freebie! I decided to go with books that have a summery feel or have a summery cover. Who doesn't love summer? Weeeee!!!


Girl Out of Water

Summer in California surfing or summer in Nebraska? 

Since You've Been Gone

Looks like summer.

The Vacationers

I mean just look at this one.

Tides

Summer on an island off New Hampshire.

What I Thought Was True

I don't know too much about this one but it has a summery vibe.  

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

Need I say more?   

Panic

Not a summery cover but this one took place during the summer.   

Juniors

This looks like summer also.   

Dangerous Girls

Sand.  

Eight Hundred Grapes

I really have no idea if this is set in the summer or not, but I like the cover and the Sonoma wine country setting sure felt like summer.  

Tuesday Tagline #40

Girl Out of Water

Monday, May 22, 2017

12 Monkeys S3 Episodes 1-3

Image result for 12 monkeys syfy image

12 Monkeys is back! Season three started off with quite a bang, and SyFy did something interesting this time. They released the whole ten episode season over the weekend of May 19-21st. Kind of like binging it on Netflix almost (or Hulu, where the first two seasons are). This was actually a mixed bag, since I couldn't pause the episodes so I had to take some quick notes as I watched. But enough about that. I'm going to divide the entire season up into several posts, taking a few episodes at a time, and share my thoughts. My initial reaction though: this acclaimed but ratings- challenged show is as great as ever, and it's a shame more people aren't watching. It's fabulous TV. 

Oh, and there will be some spoilers in this post. 

So we start where we left off last time- Cassie, Ramse and Jennifer are lost in time and Cole is desperate to find them. Worse, Cassie is being held by the cult of the 12 Monkeys, and unbeknownst to Cole, Cassie is pregnant with the Witness- the future leader of the 12 Monkeys. Yes, Cole and Cassie's child will grow up to be their greatest enemy. It's enough to make your head hurt! But at any rate Cole has been trying for months to find clues as to where his friends are, and he's starting to look rough. Stress and lack of sleep are affecting him and Jones is ready to pull the plug. After all, Cassie is not the mission, stopping the virus is... but Cole won't give up on Cassie. 

But success! One of the temporal markers he has left in the timeline goes off, and they've found it- Titan! The mysterious city where the 12 Monkeys have imprisoned Cassie. Cole goes in and almost succeeds in getting to Cassie, but in true 12 Monkeys fashion something goes wrong and more mysteries are in play. But we get to see... future Cole! Yes, future Cole saves present Cole and gives him a clue leading to Jennifer. Because- they need Jennifer. She's the Primary and all that, but bottom line is- she's always been the key to everything and that hasn't changed. They need to find Jennifer. 

Episode 2 - Guardians


So where is Jennifer? Well funny you should ask. Turns out she's in France, circa 1921. She finds herself in a trench as the Germans are defeating the French, and when German troops are shooting everyone she has to think fast. So she's like do I know any German? And we get... this. 



That's... Jennifer. The secret weapon of this show. 

So... Jennifer cools her heels in Paris for a few years until Cole and Jones find her, and come back in time to get her. Nice to see Jones getting in on the period action. It was a riot too to see Jennifer trying to plant clues in history books, including performing at a theater with plays that looked rather like popular movies of the late 20th century! This show is so fun. And when they show up to get her, all she can say  is "Finally". It's gotta be tough to be her. 

Cole is so fixated on saving Cassie he doesn't realize just how alone Jennifer has felt for the last few years, stuck in the '20's, and after a run-in with the cult ends up resetting the timeline, he gets another chance to get it right. And she forgives him. Jennifer is back on the team!

Episode 3 - Enemy 

This episode was dark. Olivia and Ramse hook up with Cole and the rest at the facility, but is there a deeper game happening? Jones is suspicious and so is Jennifer- they take no chances and confine both of them, but eventually Olivia convinces them that she's telling the truth. There was a really cool moment when Cole takes Olivia back in time three months and throws her in the dungeon, figuring that three months in solitary in a half- flooded room with rats will break her. And by all appearances it does- she looks so shaken when they go down to get her- but by the end she is clearly playing the long game, and even though Cole may have indeed been on to something when he said he knew how to break her, the joke may end up being on him. 

Also we get a good look at Jones' obsessions, and Olivia even asks her if the mission trumped her feelings for her daughter, which galvanizes Jones into essentially torturing Olivia by putting her in the time machine and splintering her at a slower pace, causing great pain. It's hard for everyone else to watch but Jones shows no emotion. But later, when Hannah tells her that's not the way, and relates how they all feared the mad doctor in the smokestack building, Jones realizes what she's become, and that tear in her eye shows she's not too far gone. She then goes to Olivia and cleans her up, and it's nice to see that Jones is still human- although as I note below if Olivia is playing the long game, then she's fooled everybody. 

Or has she? Jennifer warns them at the beginning, and again at the end, that they shouldn't trust Olivia. Cole ignores her and goes anyway- and I'm thinking after everything, WHY aren't you listening to Jennifer? 

Random Thoughts

Magdalena tells Cassie that she was raised to raise the Witness- that he selected her. 

When the Four Horsemen show up in Paris Jennifer tells them they're not supposed to be there. Wonder what that means? 

The Witness is the paradox in a box? Sent back in time to be raised in the past. 

Hannah's security team are pretty badass. 

"You'll upend the tables of history to save the ones you love. But me, you left behind" Olivia tells Cole. She clearly hates him for leaving her behind? She was the Kirschner girl in 1961...

Can I just say that Olivia is awesome? Alisen Down kills it and she is one of my favorite characters now. Also Deacon is becoming a favorite as well. Will he be the x factor? 

Olivia has the Kalavirus (love that title) in her blood and is immune to the plague. Also we're told she was engineered to ruin the world. What exactly is she?  

One of the fascinating things about episode three is that Olivia may truly be on the side of the good guys- she says she knows how and when to kill the Witness- but doing so means killing Cole's child (since that's who the Witness is apparently). And she tells Ramse about the Witness being Cole's child and he doesn't tell Cole he knows. So even as he tells Cole that the two of them are family, no matter what time they're in, he's actually playing his friend. It's kind of cold and Ramse has always been someone you never know if you can trust. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sunday Post #195


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

This week was pretty awesome- we got temps in the 80's. In fact the high tomorrow (I'm writing this on Tuesday) is 87! Woot! Bring it- summertime. Why am I writing this on Tuesday? Well not the whole post but you know, I gotta get it started. :) So yeah a good week. Reading took a back seat though, I didn't read a lot mainly because I'm waiting for some new releases. I did read Refuge for Masterminds though and it was excellent- my thoughts will be up on Tuesday. Thanks to Kathleen Baldwin for the ARC!  

Last week I posted a flash fiction and thanks to everyone who stopped by. Flash fiction is fun and challenging too because it's so short, you don't have a lot of room to work with. The 100 is winding down (and getting very intense in the process) and Riverdale is done- I thought the finale just a bit underwhelming, but all in all a fun show. And 12 Monkeys started up again. One of the best shows on TV  is back.  

I reviewed Girl Out Of Water this week. Next week will be Refuge for Masterminds, as I mentioned above, and something else... not sure what yet!   

Girl Out of WaterRefuge for Masterminds (Stranje House, #3)

Song of the week


PULP COVER OF THE WEEK: 

Acapulco Rampage (The Executioner, #26)

NEW ARRIVAL/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:

Image resultWhat She SawOne Of Us Is Lying