Friday, October 20, 2017

Riverdale S2 E2

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So a killer is loose in Riverdale- and he's not done killing. Archie's dad is out of the hospital while Archie agonizes over how to protect his home. And Veronica struggles with forgiveness towards her dad, who is clearly a bad apple as we see in this episode, but in true Riverdale fashion he manages to win her over just as we, the viewers, see him for who he truly is. Jughead meanwhile is fighting to win leniency for his dad, who's about to be sentenced and go to prison. Oh, and apparently the diner is going to close.
Spoilers for this episode.

I love Jughead's little intros for this show. This time he's talking about the town and its continuing fight against darkness- fairly melodramatic stuff except it kind of almost works, given the atmosphere they manage to capture. The vibe is maybe the best thing about this show, the sense that beneath the veneer there is definitely something not right about Riverdale. Archie's not sleeping since he took it upon himself to guard the house at night, while Jughead is trying to help FP and Betty is trying to help... everyone. She's kind of a force for nature in this one, almost willing the town to come together to save Pop's diner. And sweet, all- American Betty decides to get a little dirty with Cheryl when push comes to shove.

Cheryl, as it happens, is not interested in loaning the Vixens to help with Retro Night, the little benefit that Betty organizes to try and help Pop. No one's coming to the diner after the shooting, and he's looking at having to sell. So Betty blackmails her. Turns out she has the video of Cheryl's dad killing his son Jason- and wouldn't that be inconvenient if it got out? In exchange Cheryl lies under oath to help FP, and the Vixens are in for the Retro Night. Their exchange is my favorite part of the episode. Cheryl asks Betty if she's threatening her, and Betty says they're just having "fun girl talk." To which Cheryl replies, 

"You're a stone cold bitch, Betty Cooper."

We were told we were going to see more of an edge to Betty this season, and I'm all for it. Nice to see her and Cheryl tangle. Oh and can we talk about Archie for a minute, since we haven't really? He's basically pretty dumb. He asks sheriff Keller if he can go out with the police looking for the killer- like the sheriff's going to go for that. Then he gets a gun on the down low from Dilton Doiley so he can protect the house. Does anyone think that's a good idea? Jughead meanwhile is not much better- he actually suggests to Tall Boy (these names) that they break FP out of jail. Seriously? And then goes to see Penny Peabody, the Serpents' resident lawyer who works out of a tattoo parlor. She gives Jugs some silly advice as a favor, and no one is surprised later when FP warns him that she's bad news. 

Oh and Reggie deals drugs. He can get "jingle jangle" for Midge Klump, and apparently for Archie too, who needs it to, you know, stay up all night guarding. And when he brings some by for Archie, he wears a hood as a prank- you know, after a hooded man shot Archie's dad. Are these people classy or what? I just think the writing in this episode was bad. At least Retro Night goes well. And Pop's is saved when Hiram Lodge generously makes a contribution to keep the diner afloat (actually what happens is Hiram buys the diner, but doesn't tell Veronica, and Alice thinks the Serpents now have a place to sell drugs, or whatever they do). Even happy endings turn out bad in this town. 

To cap off a fairly sordid episode, Midge and her boyfriend are killed while making out in the woods. By the guy who shot Archie's dad. So we have a lunatic running around. Any theories yet on who the villain is? 

Random Thoughts

"The answer is a double-cherry-on-top no," says Cheryl when Betty and Veronica ask to use the Vixens for save the diner night. 

Speaking of no, why is it up to Cheryl? They're a freaking cheerleading squad, not her personal group. Why doesn't Betty just put it to the whole group? 

"Hobo. Bride of Hobo." Cheryl greets Jughead and Betty when they come over to plead their case for leniency in the matter of FP. Charming, that Cheryl. And no one is presumably surprised when that doesn't go well? 

Archie took Ms. Grundy's death hard, understandably. And she was killed with the cello bow he bought her? Ouch. 

Do high school girls really say "daddy" when talking to their fathers??? 

Alice catches Reggie on her phone delivering drugs to Midge. 

Turns out Hiram did write the threatening letter to Hermione, and Herm covered for him. They both look pretty bad at this point (and last season Herm seemed... not so bad?) but this won't go well- just as V tries to forgive, her parents are revealed as assholes. 

Bookcover Spotlight #124

Friend Request

Thursday, October 19, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House

There's Someone Inside Your House

Stephanie Perkins isn't known for writing horror, generally speaking, but she makes a game effort here. This was a highly awaited book in YA circles, and after seeing some mixed reviews I wasn't sure what to expect. It's a YA slash-em-up book and sometimes you just want something quick and easy to read. I'm not a fan of slasher stories normally, but the description of "Scream meets YA" was enough for me to give it a shot. And while I'm not exactly a convert after reading it, it was good mindless fun for a few hours. And just creepy enough that you don't want to read it alone at home after dark. 

In a lot of ways this is about the relationship between the two main characters as much as it is a slasher story, at least for the first half of the book, Makani is a recent transplant to rural Nebraska after something happened in Hawaii, where she's from- she has a secret that is not revealed until  later in the story. Did she kill someone herself? There are hints that she did. She refers to herself as the only brown- skinned kid in the high school, and has a fling with Ollie, a similarly out-of-place kid who dyed his hair pink. Needless to say he's the only guy with pink hair at their school. 

Makani and Ollie develop a relationship after initially just having sex, and even though brutal murders are occurring, I felt like the focus was on Makani and Ollie. And that was part of my problem, as I wasn't feeling Ollie at all. Makani was okay, no complaints there really, although she didn't wow me. She just was. Her friends Alex and Darby were the best part of the book for me. Darby is a trans who has identified as male, and you can probably imagine how well that goes over in the rural Nebraska town. But there was humor to leaven the stress a bit, and Alex was kind of a riot. 

Speaking of the diversity elements, I feel like Perkins was trying to explore the different experiences one can have in modern society, depending on where you are. For example, Makani is a biracial girl raised in liberal Hawaii, who has a really hard time with the conservative ethos of Nebraska. She even muses about how not everyone lives the way people there live- she's truly a fish out of water. I just don't think it was that effective and it definitely seemed to reflect a certain viewpoint, which may work for some readers but not others. Mainly I just wanted to get on with the slashing. 

As far as tension goes, it was a little creepy. The killer is pretty twisted, I'll say that. Not sure it's very scary, but there are tense and thrilling moments. I kinda liked the end, improbable as it was- that definitely could be a movie scene. And it's set in October so feels very seasonal at that time. All in all this was solid but not spectacular, I'd say a three star read- not essential but worth a read if you like Perkins or just want a YA slasher tale. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Winds of Winter Arianne II (Sample chapter)

The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire, #6)

I'm going to do something a little different- I'm going to do a post on a book that hasn't been released! Everyone knows that The Winds of Winter is taking forever to come out, and it's easy to forget sometimes that several sample chapters have been released. So I'm going to take a look at some of those, as time allows, and share my thoughts. Bear in mind these are sample chapters and things may change, and obviously there will be spoilers for the series.  Arianne is the daughter of Doran Martell, the prince of Dorne, and has been sent north to meet with Jon Connington, who has returned from exile to put a previously- thought- dead Targaryen on the throne. 

Arianne's first chapter details her trip north to meet with the sellswords who are taking over Cape Wrath. Aboard the Peregrine they put into a place called Weeping Town where they buy horses for the next leg of their journey- at five times the usual prices. Apparently the sellswords are taking every horse they can. There are lots of rumors in town, and she sends her men to all three taverns to collect the news. From there they set off. The way runs through the rainwood, and Martin does an excellent job describing the lush greenery- mushrooms growing on trees, moisture dripping everywhere, even the sounds of little waterfalls. Everything is green and wet. 

They take shelter in a cave and Elia Sand (Oberyn's daughter) decides to explore- the cave extends quite a ways back apparently. They tell her to be careful and while she's gone Arianne thinks about her brother Quentyn, off in Slavers Bay to woo Daenerys. She thinks that Dany is young and will want someone attractive and daring, that Quent is too plain for her. Also she muses on Myrcella heading north, to Kings Landing, and how the Lannisters can try to spring their trap to kill Trystane, but it won't succeed since Trystane stayed behind in Dorne. 

When Elia doesn't return they search for her, finding an immense cave with stone columns, all carved in the likeness of faces. The children of the forest were here at one time. Eventually they find Elia, fishing for blind fish in an underground pool, and Arianne chastises her pretty sternly. From there they eventually make it to Mistwood, and are greeted by two rather loutish mercenaries- Young John Mudd and Chain. They dine with the dowager lady of Mistwood, and when Arianne asks her how she's being treated, she says she hasn't been raped, but some of the serving girls have. When Mudd protests that they don't rape- Connington forbids it- Chain allows that some girls might have been persuaded

Throughout all this Arianne sends ravens back to her father with the news she collects. They leave the next day for Griffin's Roost and after eight days they arrive. Chain accompanies them during part of the trip and lets slip that Connington means to take Storm's End, one of the most secure fortresses in the realm. They are met by Lysono Maar of the Golden Company when they approach the Roost, and Arianne thinks that he makes her skin crawl. She asks him if it's true they have elephants, and why it is that they do not have dragons. He replies they do have a dragon- Aegon. 

I feel like this conversation, which gets a little sharp, may be foreshadowing the reckoning I feel is coming for Aegon. There's a lot of skepticism about whether he truly is Rhaegar's son, and when Arianne tells Maar that dragons trump elephants, that may be a sign. In any event they reach Griffin's Roost and meet with Halden Halfmaester, who is holding it for Connington while he's out in the field. There Arianne is informed that Connington has indeed taken Storm's End, and that an army is marching south from King's Landing in response. I'm assuming that these are Tyrell forces.

 Halfmaester plans to send her on to Storm's End by ship, but Daemon counsels her not to go lest she get stuck there in the fighting. Arianne insists however, and wonders privately if the mercs would even let her demur at this point. She wants to meet this Connington, and especially Aegon, to take his measure. Is he really Targaryen?  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Yummy Food Mentioned In Books


 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 Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books or some variant thereof. Perhaps a favorite food appears in a book, or the book takes place in a restaurant or some such. Skies the limit! I'm going with locations where I'd like to have a feast. No rhyme or reason.    

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Game of Thrones and food are no strangers. But my pick here is... Hot Pie! He's still out there baking pies somewhere... 

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

Lots of places in Middle- earth for a good meal. First and foremost might be Rivendell, where after a meal with the elves you could retire to the Hall of Fire for an evening. 

This is the Hall of you will hear many songs and tales- if you can keep awake. But except on high days it usually stands empty and quiet, and people come here who wish for peace, and thought. There is always a fire here, all the year round, but there is little other light.

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

The Wayfarer's chef - Dr. Chef- makes amazing food! 

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Panem- because I think they feed you pretty good if you're a Tribute right? You know, before sending you off to die. 

Love & Gelato

Italy and food.   

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Back to Middle-earth. Who doesn't want to eat in the Shire? 

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The Skywalker homestead- blue milk!!

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Jabba's palace! At least there's entertainment while you dine. 

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Yoda's hut- for yummy stew!

Tuesday Tagline #61

What Alice Knew

How far would you go to keep a secret?  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

On the Run Part 16

"Commander, I hope you understand that this information is restricted."
"Restricted to who?"
"Let's just say it's very sensitive and leave it at that. Now, as to your report. It's very thorough and has been corroborated by your subordinates' debriefing as well. You appear to have conducted yourself with your usual professionalism. In fact, you are to be commended. Given the unique nature of the threat, and the fact that the targets were acquired, at great cost, I would say your contributions here will not go unnoticed."
"Thank you, sir," said Andreas. "Might I ask...?"
"The targets, sir. My information is that they are currently under observation, but I lost eight people bringing them in. My team . Can I ask why they are running around free when I had shoot to kill orders if they resisted?"
"Commander, under the circumstances I can sympathize with your concerns. All I can say is that steps are being taken, and that your apprehension of the targets was a matter of utmost significance."
"If I may be frank..."
"Of course."
"Why was I sent after them? Surely whoever made that decision knew that I had history with Eric. History that could complicate the mission."

"Commander, you're well regarded. Professional, efficient. We know that when you're assigned to a task, it gets done. However, there are lines that are not to be crossed. Information that you are not privy too. I need your discretion on this one. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes," Andreas said. "You most certainly do. May I inquire about my next assignment?"
"Enjoy your down time, Commander. Given the political situation I feel that you've earned a bit of a respite from the field. You are not being sidelined. Just letting things die down a bit, you understand."
"Is there anything else?"
"Yes, sir. Corporal Gillian, sir. I would like to request her inclusion on any team..."
"Noted. She has requested the same. We don't penalize success. Is that all?"
"Yes, sir." Andreas rose. "Thank you, sir."

Andreas could feel the man's eyes on him as he was leaving.
He turned. "Yes, sir?"
"Why did you go into the PreCursor ruins when you had already acquired the targets?"
"I felt it was important to assess the threat, given that I was losing men and it didn't appear to be a biological agent."
"Did you suspect it was psi- related?"
"Yes, sir. Corporal Gillian mentioned it as a possibility."
"I see. You do realize, don't you, that you were not authorized to make a judgment call? Your remit was to bring the targets home, full stop. You disobeyed orders."
"Yes, sir. That is correct. To be honest, I'm surprised this wasn't raised during my initial reports. I expected disciplinary action, sir."
"Yes, well under the circumstances, your foray was swept under the rug. The targets had everyone's attention, and no one wants to publicize what else happened on Eridanus 4. Be thankful for that, Commander."
Andreas nodded.
"Commander, I have your back on this. If you continue to ask questions, my ability to protect you will be substantially curtailed. You understand this?"
"I understand."
"Very well. Dismissed. And Andreas... be careful."

He'd been nursing his drink for a half hour before she arrived. She took the seat next to him, ordered a beer.
"Gill." They clinked glasses and sat in silence for a while.
"Anything?" she finally asked.
"No," he sighed, sliding his glass over for a refill. "No one's talking."
"Not surprised," she replied. "It was a mess from the get-go."
"They just want it to go away."
"So let it. Be a good soldier. Move on."

"I'm sorry about Riggs," Gillian said after a while.
"Yeah. Me too." He looked at her finally. "You know, the only reason we got out of there was you."
"No,"she said. "You're the reason- you kept us cool and functioning. Well, okay it was both of us," she laughed. "Hard to break up a good team." The silence got a little uncomfortable then, until Gillian broke it again.
"How are you feeling? Did they do a psi-scan?"
"I'm clear. They ran a full battery. No trace of lingering influence. But who knows? We don't even know what that thing was."
"Some kind of telempath, from what I can tell. It could influence our emotions, not just invade our thoughts. That was what was so insidious about it." She shuddered. "I even felt its influence a little bit. It's amazing really that Riggs held on as long as he did."
He shrugged. "It didn't matter at the end."
"It mattered." She put her hand on his arm. "He got us out too."
He looked at her then. "To Riggs, then." Raised his glass.
She raised her beer. "To Riggs."

They left soon thereafter, but not before discussing next steps.
"Andreas, I know this feels unresolved, but you need to let this go. Whatever Eric's involvement is, it's his issue, not yours."
"It cost my team."
"I know. It could cost more."
He looked at her. "So just let it go?"
"For now- yes. That doesn't mean we forget. It means we bide our time and down the line- who knows?"
"Yeah, well maybe so- normally I'd agree. Not this time."
"Someone's been playing a game with us. Maybe I'll join the game."