Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Big Little Lies (HBO) Serious Mothering

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This week shows again that Big Little Lies is off to a great start. The show delves more into the personal life of our three protagonists- Madeline, Jane and Celeste. And by doing so we see what drives these people- good and bad. We get a lot of insight into Madeline in this one, and like the Madeline of the book she's frank, loyal and thrives on challenging authority. Or what she sees as the "morally superior of this town." She's also not intimidated in the slightest by Renata, and the central conflict of the story is laid down here as both of them draw their lines in the sand.

Renata makes a point of inviting everyone in her daughters class to her birthday party, with the exception of Ziggy. The point is not just to exclude him because he supposedly choked Amabelle, but to do in a way that was unmistakable to all the kids. Madeline takes exception to that, and when her daughter Chloe tries to bring Ziggy and Amabelle together to straighten the air, it only makes a bad situation even worse. And sparks really fly when Renata and Madeline have it out at a local hotspot.

Can I just say Madeline was on fire in this one? From telling the woman behind her to "Get laid, bitch" when she honks at her, to giving her yoga instructor the double middle finger, Madeline is take no prisoners. And I love that- just like in the book. Reese Witherspoon nails Madeline to a tee. But she's also loyal AF when she sees something she doesn't like, and here Jane and Ziggy are going to take the heat now that Renata senses blood in the water. Madeline tells her husband Ed "The war is on."

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We also learn more about Celeste and it's rather disturbing. Perry is rough with her but then they have sex, and it's clear this is not unusual. She tells Madeline "Sometimes I think that he likes to fight because it leads to sex. Sometimes I think I like it too." Madeline says that sounds a little twisted but kinda great too- not realizing that Celeste is talking about actual fighting, not just arguing.

They continue to nail the feel of the show, with the scenery and music coming together to set a certain tone. I like how they cut in and out with the police interviews, giving us an opinion of someone right after we see a pivotal scene. Often the view is clearly skewed, which just adds to the drama. "Renata was sending a message," we hear at one point after the birthday fiasco erupts. We see less of Jane but we know her backstory is coming. I feel really bad for Jane- if you've read the book you know where the story is going- and you can really feel for her as she tries to hold it together for Ziggy.

Random Thoughts

"I need to swap out my family for some vodka," Madeline tells Celeste after she has a fight with Ed. 

Did Bonny seriously take Abigail to Planned Parenthood- to get the pill- and not tell Madeline? Hoo boy. 

Ed and Nathan meet- Madeline's current and ex. That doesn't go well. 

Laura Dern as Renata is almost over the top- when she freaks out I was like taken aback. That's the risk of taking a character from the novel and giving her a perspective- I'm not sure it's entirely working, but we'll see where it goes. 

Speaking of Renata, when she tells Madeline not to "fuck with" her daughters birthday party, Madeline calls her out right there and says "why don't you get fucked?" Yeah this'll get out of hand a bit. 

Tuesday Tagline #28


Monday, February 27, 2017

Cover Characteristics Generation Ships

Cover Characteristics is a meme by Sugar and Snark- every week a characteristic is selected and we post 5 books with that week's theme.  

This week's pick- Generation Ships   

This week I'm going rogue with generation ships!  

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)StarshipOrphans of the SkyAcross the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)10802210A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)Six WakesHull Zero Three

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1) 


Orphans of the Sky

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)


A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)

Six Wakes

Hull Zero Three

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sunday Post #183

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

Man when I was talking about spring fever last time I wasn't expecting it to be this nice. We had warm temps and while it might get cold I'm in full spring mode. In fact they are talking about a cooldown, but I'll take it as long as it lasts. Otherwise a pretty good week. My current read has been a bit of a disappointment. I'm hoping the next one will pick up the pace again. 

Did anyone watch Big Little Lies last weekend? Between that and Riverdale I should have my full weekly allotment of angst and drama...  


Trust Issues IV will be up this week. Probably on Wednesday. I reviewed Moon Called this week and I read Winter of the Gods. My reviews for Six Wakes and Gods will be up soon.   

Six WakesWinter of the Gods (Olympus Bound, #2)

Song of the week

Next Week: 

Cover Characteristics will look at cookie jars. Cookie jars?? Nah- I'm going rogue.    


by Robert Maguire


Starfall (Starflight, #2)


Thursday, February 23, 2017

The 100 A Lie Guarded

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You've got to be frickin kidding me. This show is killing it this season. I don't even know where to start, so I'll start with... Jaha. The guy I love to hate. The guy who did what was necessary (or so he thought) to keep things together- but he also had moments of compassion. Not a very popular guy at the moment, but he taught Clarke a valuable lesson. It's not enough to be "right"- whatever that is- and logic is not enough. You have to give people hope, something to yearn for. and you have to be honest. Clarke compiled a list of 100 people- a list of last resort- to decide who would survive if it came to that. Jasper discovers the list (and I have to say the way they contrived for him to find it was so lame), and when he and Monty and Clarke can't talk it out like adults, Jasper tries to announce it over the PA- and gets shock prodded by Clarke for his trouble. 

Okay then. That's going well. Jasper gets himself thrown in the brig and Monty picks up where he left off- he starts announcing the names over the PA and everyone is understandably upset. Clarke is trying to justify her decision, citing things like weighting towards younger women who can have kids, and Jaha comes to the rescue. He's been through the wars and he says okay you don't like the list- fine- we'll have a lottery. Everyone has an equal shot. In the meantime we have repairs to make. So acting from a position of gravitas (former chancellor and all that), he defuses tension and saves Clarke's bacon. Nicely done. 

Before I get to the rest of the episode, I want to stress this- who has the right to make these decisions? Clarke is clearly a leader, she's acting with Kane's authority, the senior leadership all knew about the list, and were complicit in keeping it secret. But Clarke takes the heat. But she DID make the calls. Is it wrong? Are Monty and Jasper right? I'm conflicted myself- I mean I took Clarke's position and Jasper was seriously pissing me off- I actually kinda liked it when Clarke shocked him. Who has the right to make decisions? 

Oh and we found out who wasn't on the list! Monty didn't make the cut, Harper didn't... 

Two other things are happening in this episode. Abby and crew are heading to Becca's hideout to see if she had notes they could use to save everyone. And in Polis things are not going well. The alliance is broken after Echo captures Bellamy and another guy out hunting, and the nameless guy blabs about the work at Arkadia. Roan decides that Kane hasn't been honest with him and decides to shred the deal. Great.  A bunch of Trikru warriors are massacred and Octavia barely escapes. I'm thinking she'll make it but when she's cornered at a cliff (why is there a cliff- always a cliff) we have a pretty epic battle and Octavia is... killed?? Whaaa...? And she falls over the cliff. Did they just kill off Octavia? 

Meanwhile Abby's crew has all kinds of trouble with the drones protecting the hideout but in the end they win through and find a pretty swanky lab. Raven and Abby are happy. And we have a nice moment with Raven and Luna, where Luna decides maybe it does matter to help people. I thought Raven was great in this one. Oh and I thought Abby was a goner! Yeesh they messed with us. And... we lost Nyko. I was sorry to see him go- he was one of the best Grounders. 

So... Bellamy and Kane are prisoners, Echo tells Bellamy (or shows him) about Octavia- heartbreaking. I'm feeling Bellamy- the guy has been through so much, tried to protect her, trying to redeem himself after Pike- and now this. But wait... somehow O made it. Thank God- she's pulling herself from the river. She'll survive- although realistically, no. That fall was hundreds of feet, and she was stabbed through- I'm sorry but I'm saying no. But this is TV so- I'm good. 

Random Thoughts

I loved the beginning- Jaha gets floated. 

Where'd they get the boat?  

No mutants past the line- what exactly is on that island?? 

Moon Called

Moon Called was a lot of fun. I knew that Mercy was a shifter- she can become a coyote- and that there were werewolves involved, but that's about it. And this is a werewolf- heavy story, no doubt. It also has a lot of paranormal elements besides- vampires make an appearance and the fae are a part of the story. 

Mercy is a mechanic  who lives close to the local werewolf pack and being that she's a coyote shifter they pretty much leave her alone. The pack Alpha seems to have a thing for her though. Adam lives behind Mercy's trailer and Mercy gets involved with the pack when a lone werewolf stumbles into their territory, and she tries to help him out. Things escalate from there and when Adam is targeted Mercy has to get involved and call on some old friends for help. 

Mercy is a character with a lot of potential. She's independent and tough and more than a match for any of the alpha personalities she runs across- and there are plenty. Being a werewolf story there are a lot of dominance and pack hierarchy issues to sort through, and if there was anything I didn't like it was the constant pack dynamics. On the one hand they were interesting but it could also get to be too much at times. A minor complaint though- on balance I enjoyed everything about this. 

This is also a world where the fae have come out to the world at large, and the werewolves are considering doing the same. I wasn't really crazy about that idea, I like it more when the fae or paranormal elements stay hidden, but this is honestly the only real worldbuilding I didn't like. It did feel like there was a lot of set up here but the ground has been laid nicely for continuing adventures. 

I think there's a good balance as well between the action and the romance. Mercy and Adam have a cool relationship even as Mercy has a little romantic baggage from the past. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Riverdale S1 Ep 4 The Last Picture Show

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Is it possible for me to like this show more? I mean, every week it pulls me in. This week it's all about the Twilight drive-in closing down- where Jughead happens to work. He's got an emotional attachment to the place and apparently lives there as well -all throughout the episode he fights the good fight, trying to save the drive-in, but his cause is lost (and how appropriate that the closing night movie is Rebel Without A Cause). Jug doesn't stand a chance though, because corruption is alive and well in Riverdale- and it hits pretty close to home. 

The other thing going on here is the relationship between Archie and Ms. Grundy. And it all comes out when Betty asks Arch about it and Veronica drops into the convo. To make matters worse Alice happens to find her daughters diary with all the details- and since it's Alice all you know what breaks loose. But let's back up a sec- how does this all happen? Well investigative journalist to be Betty does some snooping and finds out that Ms. Grundy is really Jennifer Gibson, and that her entire identity only goes back one year. Archie doesn't want to hear it but when Betty and Veronica break into Grundy's car (because of course) they find her real drivers license... and a gun. 

Betty takes the gun (why did she do that??) so when Alice stumbles across it in Betty's room, she reads the diary and that's that. So the Grundy/ Archie relationship that I thought was going to last all season is out in the open, and over. Alice and Fred confront Grundy and she agrees leave town- but it's betty who saves her ass by telling her mom that she'll lie about it all and make a scene if her mom prints the story. So Betty checkmates Alice. 

Let's talk about Betty. After last week she continues to own this show. Archie may be the main character but he's also the dumbest character, and it's amazing that Betty is attracted to him at all. But she's on fire here, driving the investigation into Grundy and pretty much running things. Veronica is startled to learn that sweet Betty knows how to break into a car! 

Meanwhile it's all going down at the drive-in. It's closing night and Veronica and Kevin are there when Cheryl shows up. "Make some room, outcasts," she announces as she climbs into the truck bed with them. The three of them under blankets watching the show was one of my favorite scenes. But other stuff is going on too- Veronica sees her mom doing business with one of the local gang guys. What's that all about? Well... that's the corruption I was referring to. Turns out Hermione hired the Southside Serpents to drive down the value of the drive-in so that Hiram Lodge can buy cheap. And Fred's company is contracted to raze the place.  

In other words, Veronica's mom hired Jughead's dad to terrorize the place so Veronica's dad can buy the land. Yup the guy she's dealing with is Jug's dad.   

Random Thoughts

Who broke into Sheriff Keller's house and vandalised the Blossom investigation? 

Cheryl for the second week in a row has all the best lines. 

"Riddle me this, hair models of the damned, why is Veronica's mother having a clandestine tete-a-tete with a Southside Serpent behind a dumpster at Pop's?"

However Veronica has a zinger of her own. When she learns about Archie and Grundy...

"Well, what is Grundy to you, anyway, your girlfriend? Your booty tutor?"

Hermione does put Cheryl in her place at one juncture. 

"She didn't know the difference between having money and having class, either,"

in response to Cheryl baiting her. Ouch...  

Big Little Lies (HBO) Somebody's Dead

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Many of my readers know that Big Little Lies is one of my favorite books. So when the HBO show was announced with Reese Witherspoon involved I was optimistic but skeptical as well. It didn't help that they took the suburban Sydney setting and transplanted it to California- I'm a purist when it comes to adaptations and that didn't sit well. But I'm happy to say after watching the first installment that Big Little Lies is worth a watch. 

Is it perfect? No. At times I felt like they were trying too hard, but at the same time it was a surprisingly faithful adaptation (other than the location). Set in Monterey they captured the beauty of the area well, with pounding surf rolling in and the beautiful coastline. And it starts just like the book- we first see the aftermath of a school trivia night gone bad, with a murder victim and lots of witnesses. Funny though- lots of witnesses but there don't seem to be many answers. 

And we have a version of one of my favorite parts of the book- the scenes where the various moms and dads carry forth on what they think happened, or more importantly what they think of  Madeline and Renata- this all comes down to two power moms and their various retinues. Madeline is played by Reese Witherspoon, and while I didn't picture Madeline from the book as anything like Reese, the casting works. Reese nails it. She has that hyper energetic delivery that captures Madeline to a tee. Nicole Kidman seems perfect as the quiet Celeste- the woman with the seemingly perfect life but a nasty secret. And whereas in the book the secret takes a while to materialize, we see pretty early on here that something bad is happening in her marriage. 

Shailene Woodley is Jane, the new mom who helps Madeline out and becomes her fast friend. It's basically the three of them against the Renata entourage- Renata Klein being the woman who is the career powerhouse played by Laura Dern. The gist of the story is that it's the first day of school, and Jane's son Ziggy is accused of bullying and hurting a little girl- Renata Klein's girl. There is some doubt as to whether Ziggy did it- but no matter, Renata is having none of the denials and the battle lines are drawn. Madeline is only too happy to go to war with Renata. 

What does this have to do with a murder? Well parents take sides as the spat between Madeline and Renata gets out of hand- and it all culminates at the school trivia night where someone ends up dead. Along the way we find out a lot of secrets, and the book at least is pretty funny at times- whether that will carry over to the show remains to be seen. One quibble I had is that even though most of these parents have money, I didn't really think they all lived in oceanside mansions. Madeline has money as I recall (I read the book a couple years ago) but THAT much money? Her and Nicole and Renata all spend time in this first episode on their decks overlooking the ocean, and it seemed a bit overdone. 

As far as the murder goes, if you've read the book you know the deal. I think that we're going to build to it and I also think the show is going to go some places the book didn't- judging from the preview of future episodes we're going to get a bit lurid at times. But there's a lot to unpack here and so far this felt a lot like the book. Plot points I had forgotten- the French nanny, certain characters- this is all going to be fun watching it play out. 

Top Ten Books I Loved Less/ More Than I Thought I Would


 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 I'm going to split this up- 5 books I loved more than I thought I would, and then 5 that were disappointing. Not to say they weren't good, but they just weren't as good as I was kinda hoping. So here we go...

World of Water (Dev Harmer Mission, #2)

A phenomenal SF read set on a water planet with a very well realized merfolk race. I loved how they communicated. 

The Girls in the Garden 

I was expecting to like this one after seeing reviews but I was surprised how much I did.  

Big Little Lies

Everybody knows I love this book lol but with the HBO production starting I'm tempted to read it once more.

City of the Lost (Casey Duncan, #1)

The idea of an off-the-grid town where people can go to disappear... what's not to like? My first Kelley Armstrong. 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

I expected to like this- little did I know it would be one of my favorite reads of 2016.  

Okay- here are 5 that were a little disappointing. Again not bad books, but they didn't wow me. 

The Girl from the Sea

I hesitate to put this one here because I did like this- it has a GREAT twist- but it just wasn't quite as good as I thought. 


Lots of potential, not a bad book, but about halfway through the story changed and lost me. 

Vicarious (Vicarious, #1)

 I was pretty geeked for this but it fell flat for me. 

The Incident on the Bridge

Wanted to like this  

The Passenger

I love me a good psych thriller but this one just couldn't hold me.