Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Riverdale La Grande Illusion

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The Grand Illusion is such an appropriate title for this one as we spend most of the episode watching Archie be manipulated by the Blossom clan. Poor Archie, he always takes a while to get it. Cheryl asks him to accompany her to the family tree- tapping ceremony and later her parents put the full court press on- inviting him to their banquet and basically wanting to use his all- American image to temper Cheryl's "erratic" behavior, as her dad puts it. But when he finally sees the light and refuses to play anymore, he makes a dangerous enemy- Cheryl is not one to take rejection lightly. 

Spoilers for this episode. 

So the first casualty of his foray into Blossom world is his relationship with Val. Although she's initially okay with him helping Cheryl out, she soon changes her mind when he continues to not only do that, but accept gifts from them, including a recommendation to help him get into a summer music program. Wouldn't he rather earn his place, she wonders? And by the time Archie gets that, it's too late. I wondered how long Archie and Val would be together, and I guess that's been answered. This, however, like a lot of things in this episode seemed to happen rather fast- it just felt rushed. 

The other thing going on is Polly. Now living with the Blossoms, she's not talking to Betty or her mom, and they're both sick about it. Archie gets a chance to talk to Polly while he's at the Blossom shindig, and initially she tells him that Betty doesn't need to worry. Later she confides in him that she's undercover, as it were- she's convinced the Blossoms had something to do with Jason's death and she plans to find out what. Yeah, that will end well. Oh, and she's going to have twins. 

Veronica meanwhile realizes that her father's criminal activities are tearing families apart, including Ethel's. Yes Shannon Purser from Stranger Things reappears. This subplot felt rushed and phoned in, but it accomplishes the goal of getting Veronica to see what her dad has done and decide she doesn't want anything to do with it. And Hermione, wanting to go legit, tells Fred the truth about the land tug of war between Hiram and the Blossoms. So many plot elements were moved forward here, building towards what will no doubt be an explosive finale. 

Speaking of the finale, we also get a sense here of a coming together between Betty, Jughead and Alice of all people. Madchen Amick kills it as Alice Cooper, and her quest to destroy the Blossom name as revenge for Polly may be changing into a crusade for truth? At least that's where Betty and Jughead are coming at it from, since they seem to be the only ones actively investigating the Jason murder (seriously, what is the sheriff doing?). And an expose of the Blossom family seems due, since Archie overhears Clifford and Penelope talking about how Clifford had Hiram Lodge sent to prison. Wait til Veronica finds out! 

Random Thoughts

"Word has it that the Blossom board of trustees has descended upon Riverdale like a cabal of vampires," says Alice. I just love these quotes that seem to hint at the paranormal elements that are apparently coming in season two? 

"You have to come, I'm wearing viridian." Cheryl informs Arch when he's invited to escort her at the banquet. 

Archie and Cheryl? She seemed to want it, although it felt shoehorned in. I mean, we haven't seen an attraction there before, and Cheryl seemed to have a very different reason for it than her parents. Honestly, though, I was wondering if they would go there. Archie decided not to but imagine the drama we would have had! 

Veronica mentions her past as an alpha bitch to explain why she tries to help Ethel, which rang true since we got the impression from the first episode that she was maybe a borderline mean girl at one point?

"A storm of chaos named Cheryl Blossom," is how Jughead decribes the coming storm in his ending monologue. And it's pretty creepy when we end with Cheryl using lipstick to smudge out Archie's face in the photo- and then Polly's too. Watch out gang. 

Riverdale The Outsiders

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Riverdale is back after a hiatus and picks up right where it left off. Polly has taken refuge at The Pennybrooke with Veronica and her mother, while suspicion rests on Jughead's dad FP as to whether he was involved in Jason Blossom's death. The viewers of course know that Jason's varsity jacket was seen in FP's place, but the characters don't know that. By the end of the episode though FP's guilt, or at least association, looks pretty sure. Is this guy playing both sides of the street? Spoilers for this episode of Riverdale. 

Jughead is settling in at Archie's place while Betty and Veronica set up a baby shower for Polly. Alice is furious at the idea but Betty puts her foot down and defies her mom, basically telling her she can support Polly or just get out of the way. Betty is not to be messed with when she's pissed! Oh and her relationship with Jughead seems to be coming along too- I'm glad the show is taking it slow but at the same time not having misunderstandings and communication issues destroy before it's even started. They seem to be playing a longer game with the relationships here, and that's nice. Speaking of which, Archie has a date with Val this week too, so they're still going. 

Fred meanwhile is having trouble getting his construction project off the ground when his work crew are hired out from under him- by Clifford Blossom. Turns out the Blossoms started their business on that land, and he wants it back. Does anyone else think there's something about this land that is going to be a big deal? I mean Jughead lived at the drive-in when it was there, the Serpents hung out there, veronica's dad bought it but Blossom wants it. Anyway Archie and a few of the guys decide to help his dad out, but one of the guys- Moose- gets beat up by some thugs one night. Apparently someone does not want this project to get off the ground... 

This leads of course to a typical Archie decision. Thinking that the thugs might be Serpent members, he decides to go to the bar where they hang out with Moose to see if they can ID the assailants. About as smart as it sounds. Naturally things get rough and FP saves Archie's bacon. But now Archie knows that Jughead's dad is a gang member, and he's pissed that his friend didn't tell him. Although you can understand why Jughead wouldn't exactly announce it from the rooftops. Polly meanwhile announces that she wants both Alice and Penelope Blossom to come to her shower. No sparks there. 

The shower mostly goes well until sure enough Alice and Penelope get into it. Alice wants Polly to come home, but learns that her husband Hal offered to arrange an abortion for Polly. Furious, she confronts him and when he is unapologetic (hinting that Alice may have had an abortion as well when she was younger and "not ready") she kicks him out, telling him that he should know what she is capable of by now. Ooh what's that all about? And later Jughead and Betty go to see FP, and Jugs asks him point blank if he had anything to do with Jason's death. His dad denies it although he admits Jason came to them needing money, and they let him run drugs for the gang. 

The ending is the kicker though. FP gives the Blossom varsity jacket to Joaquin to hide, indicating that he's more involved than he's letting on, and Polly makes a decision to go to the Blossoms to live. This is devastating to Betty and her mom, and they break down together to the strains of Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey." Seems like an effective song choice as Polly enters the Blossom home and Penelope is clearly pleased- like a cat eating the canary. This show knows how to close out episodes.

Random Thoughts

"His name is Moose. He'll be fine," Jughead tells Betty and Veronica after Moose is attacked.   

Archie is not only reckless but he can be a jerk as well. When he comes up with his harebrained idea to go to the biker bar, he guilts Jughead for not going. Hello- you're all gonna get your asses kicked. Jughead's the smart one lol. 

Juggy's at the shower anyway. He and Betty are a cute couple. 

FP is turning out to be pretty sinister- he talks a good game but when we see him with Joaquin at the end, he says he has a role to play. Is he playing Fred and Jughead and everyone else? And Joaquin is showing signs of remorse over leading on Kevin, apparently at FP's behest. 

FP tells Hermione that the thugs who beat up Moose are from Montreal, hinting that Hiram might have had something in the works. Is he playing her too? 

Top Ten Things That Make Me NOT Want To Read

 

 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 Things that make me not want to read a book. Last week we looked at things we did like so this week we get to be haters. Yay! 

The Chosen One - no no no. No more of this please. Okay maybe not ever but for the most part I'm over the chosen one trope unless it's just really compelling for some other reason. 

Fairy Tale Retellings- sorry guys I know a lot of people love 'em but I'm just not into 'em.  

When Trusted Bloggers Tell Me It Sucks. Take The 100 for example- lots of people say the show is way better, and unlike most adaptations I have not read the books even though I love the show. Although Shannon might have me talked into it- just to see, you know. 

The 100 (The 100, #1)


Love Triangles- or quadrangles or any variation thereof. Generally not a fan. 

Where Are The Parents? - looking at you YA everything. Okay not everything- I think it's getting better?  but generally we all laugh about it because it's so completely widespread. 

Alt history- this one is iffy because there is some alt history I like (say The School for Unusual Girls series) but generally if we're refighting the Napoleonic War with dragons I'm usually not interested. I know a lot of people like these but they've never worked for me. 

Insta-love - not usually a fan. 

The big bad evil that must be vanquished through questing - yawn. If I want this I'll go back and read the Lord of the Rings. Okay there may be one or two other times it's done well, but if I'm reading a synopsis and I hear about the great evil stirring in the north etc I'm probably putting it back. 

Hard SF - you know the kind that has to make sense, or takes what we think is possible and extrapolates it a bit. So we're in space worrying about gravitational effects and overshooting Mars or it takes 2 years to get to Venus or something. No. I'll take my space opera with wormholes and stargates and a zillion worlds thank you very much. Realism need not apply. 

Tuesday Tagline #36

Revolution 19 (Revolution 19, #1)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gemina

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)

Gemina was an amazing sequel. I was totally blown away by this, and I was quite surprised because as some of my readers know I liked Illuminae but didn't love it. And that caused me to delay reading this as it just wasn't high on my priority list. But once I started it I was sucked in and didn't want to stop until I was done. I can't say enough good things about it... but I'll try. As you probably know the format of this book is unique- just like Illuminae the story is told through chat logs, surveillance video, and IM's so the book reads exactly the same as its predecessor. This time the action takes place on space station Heimdall which orbits a wormhole- the wormhole being the only way for the survivors from Illuminae to reach safety. 

As the Hypatia from the first book limps towards Heimdall we pick up on the space station, where Hanna Donnelly (the commander's daughter) is meeting Nik Malikov to buy some drugs. Hanna was instantly likable to me and so was Nik. They're so different and even though Hanna is involved with someone else, her and Nik have a little playful flirting- although it's mostly Nik doing the flirting. But BeiTech, the company responsible for the atrocities in Illuminae, have sent a kill squad to Heimdall to take over and prevent the survivors on the Hypatia from reaching safety. So just as Kady and Ezra had to beat the odds in the first book, Hanna and Nik have to do the same here. 

I've seen a lot of reviews say that this book is a lot like Illuminae in terms of structure, and I agree with that. However maybe because some time has passed for me since reading the first book but that didn't really pose a problem for me. Sure there are similarities but I thought this story was different enough that it was its own thing. Unlike Illuminae which took place primarily aboard several starships, this one takes place entirely on the station. And let me say once the kill squad arrives, all bets are off. They are good at what they do and nasty- BeiTech is not playing around- and the situation aboard the station gets bad quickly

Hanna though is tough, having trained in martial arts and between her abilities and Nik's criminal background they make a pretty good team. And they have Ella, a computer prodigy who is also Nik's cousin, to help them with hacking and all that. Ella is kind of the Kady (hacker extraordinaire) of this one, but with a twist. The three of them are awesome together, and one of my favorite parts of the book are their snarky chat exchanges. This book was a lot funnier for me than Illuminae was, and the humor was so on point it relieved the almost unrelenting tension of the story. There are betrayals and surprises galore, some awesome fights, and a pretty horrifying x factor in the form of some strange lifeforms aboard the station. Lifeforms that are being cultivated, but when chaos descends on the Heimdall there's no one to manage them... and when they get loose, watch out. 

 This is simply one of the best science fiction books I've read. I liked it so much more than Illuminae- I liked the characters better, the situation was more compelling, it was just head and shoulders above the first book for me. I wanted this to keep going and although Kady and Ezra were alright, I liked Hanna and the characters in this one so much more. The wormhole was fascinating, the interactions with the kill squad were great, and again the dynamic between Hanna and Malikov were excellent. This book has a ton of action, good characterization, some chills and some twisty surprises too. One of my favorites of the year. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sunday Post #191

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

It was a nice week weather- wise - finally! Lots of sun and even some nice temperatures. We hit 70's a few times. Nice to have the windows open at night and a breeze coming in. I'm still on a roll with my reading- I've been lucky that most of my reads have been pretty good. Is it me or is there a ton of good psychological thrillers out right now? I've been reading a lot of these. I read Blood Tide this week and Gone Without A Trace as well. I also reviewed Radio Silence this past week. 

I re- posted a review of Planet of Exile, which is one of my favorite books, and my review for Gemina will be up on Monday. Oh and killer mermaid news. As I've only mentioned a zillion times on this blog, I like merfolk stories and this week I got two very happy surprises. One is a show and one is a book. The book I saw over at Books, Bones and Buffy. Thanks Tammy!

  

Into the Drowning Deep


Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)Radio Silence

Song of the week


PULP COVER OF THE WEEK: 

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NEW ARRIVAL/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:

I Found YouMissing

BOOKISH LINKS



And this just for fun.

 

This looks like a citadel built right into the mountain.