Thursday, February 21, 2019

Comic of the Week #59

Tales of Suspense (2017-2018) #102

Comic of the Week has been on a long hiatus but I wanted to bring it back since I've been reading graphic novels and comics again. Every week I'm going to showcase a comic or GN cover- could be old, could be new- and share a few thoughts on why I think it's special. Do you like what I picked out? Let me know in the comments, and as always, if you have a favorite cover or piece of comic art, let me know! 

This week is Tales of Suspense #102 featuring Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier. 

This was a pretty good series detailing the search by Hawkeye and Winter Soldier for a missing Black Widow. Someone is killing her old enemies and it looks like her work- but supposedly she's dead? Hawk thinks she's still alive, Winter Soldier is not as sure, but they team up to find out. The results are pretty hilarious, as these two don't exactly get along. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Santa Klaus Murder

The Santa Klaus Murder
The Santa Klaus Murder is a fun little story from 1936 reprinted as part of the Crime Classics series from the British Library. This is the first one I've tried but it certainly won't be the last. I was enthralled with this wry tale of murder at Christmastime, and the red herrings were flying in this one! This would fit perfectly into the cozy mystery category as well with its relative lack of violence and the nostalgic country house setting.

The Melbury family are coming together for the holiday at Flaxmere, the country home. Things are a little tense, as they often are, with there being a certain amount of confusion regarding the status of Sir Melbury's will. It appears that he was mulling the possibility of making changes, and furthermore the children were rather nonplussed at the presence of Miss Portisham, the personal secretary who Sir Melbury kept on to run the house after dismissing his sister from the same duties. To make matters worse, the youngest daughter Jennifer still lived at home and Melbury wanted her to continue to do so, disapproving of her plans to elope with Philip, a frequent guest.  

It's probably not a big surprise that Ser Melbury ends up dead on Christmas Day, from a gunshot wound, and a suggestion of suicide is quickly dismissed as everyone is revealed to have a motive. Most of it relates to money, of course, and who would stand to gain from his death- the changes to his will were never enacted but nevertheless provide many clues as to who might have done it. The cast (and suspects) consist of five children, as well as the aforementioned Miss Portisham, other relatives and various servants and guests. It can be a little daunting to keep everyone straight but there is a handy list at the beginning of the book of everyone involved, and the story does a great job of providing insight into everyone's story and motivations. 

There's also a useful map of the house, which helps a lot, and the book has several POV changes- the first five chapters are each from the perspective of a family member or guest, with the rest being largely the ruminations of the chief constable who investigates the murder. As I mentioned earlier there's a wry tone to the proceedings, an almost dark humor at times, which I found delightful. And also the red herrings- there are a ton, and while I did suspect the eventual culprit early on, there were a lot of other suspects that seemed plausible to me. 

In fact I found the eventual reveal a little anti- climactic, just because there were so many possible elements that I was sure there was more of a conspiracy going on! still I enjoyed this book a great deal- it was fascinating to see a country house mystery play out in a book written in the 1930's, since I don't tend to read a lot of vintage mysteries. The house and the family and all the pieces of the puzzle just came together so well. I did think the police were a little too nice at times, almost too solicitous, but maybe that was accurate to the period and the social strata involved- nevertheless that's a minor complaint. 

The other mitigating factor is that the chief constable knows the family, and has for years, so that I'm sure plays a role. I was baffled at times when the constable would allow a non- police person to work on the case, going so far as to develop theories and interview witnesses to an extent, but again this didn't affect my enjoyment of the story. One thing that struck me was the amount of lying and misdirection that went on. I imagine in today's world the lot of them would be rounded up for obstructing the investigation if they carried on like these people! 

"I was shocked at the way these young people lied or prevaricated on the slightest excuse and then came out with another tale and confidently expected to be believed.

I loved taking the information from early in the book and seeing how it played out later as more information was gathered. Certain characters who were immediately sympathetic to me became less so, or I was unsure, as time went on, and going back to revisit their POV chapters was so fun as I neared the end and had more insight. This was a great introduction for me to the British Library Crime Classics and I will definitely be reading more.   

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Travelers 03x07 Trevor

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Travelers season 3 is here! I've been waiting for this one with bated breath ever since that crazy cliffhanger in season 2. Finally we get some answers- maybe?- about what happens now that the Travelers have been outed. Or- have they? I guess we need to watch and find out! So without further ado, here are my thoughts on episode 7 of season 3. This post will be a little spoilery- just a heads up. 

This episode is a bit of a change in that it tackles a more personal issue than usual- life, death and how we use the time we are given. Trevor discloses that he is suffering from a fatal, incurable brain disorder called temporal displacement aphasia- basically he loses time and then snaps out of it minutes, or perhaps even hours, later. It's getting steadily worse and when Trevor, who has had several Host bodies and has lived longer than anyone else on the team, decides to end it in consultation with the Director, the team finds itself at odds over what to do. 

Grace feels she can save him- always supremely confident in her programming abilities- and the team goes full in on a cure, including recruiting Ilsa's computational power to assist. Imagine their surprise then when the Director uses Ilsa to communicate with Grace and Mac, telling them there's nothing that can be done, and not budging on its arrangement with Trevor. The team are forced to go against the Director's wishes, and it's interesting here to see Grace- who programmed the Director after all- not take no for an answer. It's easy to forget that the Director, as designed, is supposed to assist humanity through the Grand Plan, at least from what has been revealed. 

The other thing going on is that David's first client, a guy named Jim who he was quite close to, dies and David is torn up about it. His eulogy at the end, interspersed with the aftermath of Trevor's experience, where the team manages to save him, or at least buy him some time, is powerful and focuses on how we should savor the time we have, and the people we spend that time with. 

At the end of an affecting and consequential episode we have a powerful moment where Kat takes Mac to the place where they met, on the waterfront, and her suspicions are seemingly confirmed when he fails to remember things- like how they met. This has been building and her words are haunting when she tells him that she knew she was going to spend the rest of her life with him the night they met- but then she says:

"You're not that man." 

Short Takes

Trevor has dinner w/ Grace, to say goodbye, and she makes clear she doesn't want him to go. When she arrives she has a pretty funny line about how surprised she is by their "date"- mentioning that her face is flushed and she won't go into the "other physiological responses" she is having. 

I really feel for Kat. She is realizing that her husband is someone else, and truly doesn't remember some crucial things. I've been waiting for them to run with this all season and it looks like it's going to hit the fan now.

Can't Wait Wednesday #60

 So here's a midweek round up of what I'm reading watching, etc. Plus Can't Wait Wednesday, hosted by Wishful endings. So sit back, raise a cuppa, and see what's new! And share what you're up to. 

This week my Can't Wait pick is   

Blake & Mortimer 25 - The Valley of the Immortals

What I'm Reading

Blood on the Tracks: Railway Mysteries

What I'm Watching 

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Top Ten Awesome Books With Less Than 2,000 Ratings


 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by 
That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 books I loved with fewer than 2000 ratings on GR.          

The Extinction Trials (The Extinction Trials, #1)

This has less than a 1,000 as I write this which astonishes me. 

Exile (The Extinction Trials #2) 

The Window

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces

I cannot believe this bad boy (er, bad girl) has only 1,959 ratings. 

What She Saw

The Wanderers

The Pack (The Wanderers, #2)

12! Wow I knew this one sorta flew under the radar but this is ridic. 

Lost Girls

Deadfall (Blackbird, #2)

Obsidian and Stars (Ivory and Bone, #2)

Tuesday Tagline #130

Image result for high heel homicide cover

She buried the hatchet

Sunday, February 17, 2019


So here's an indulgent kind of post- I just wanted to share a dream I had recently. It kinda freaked me out because I woke up moving- that's how intense it was. Something I don't normally experience. Anyway we'll get to that shortly. So here's the scene. I'm attending a play or something and a bunch of us are abducted and taken... somewhere. In an airborne vehicle. The next thing I remember is being in a forest with other prisoners- why are we being held? No idea. It's not good though. 

Flash forward a bit and I'm in a field with three other prisoners and two captors. For some reason (gotta love dreams) the captors are asleep? And somehow I know that I have to bash them with a rock to escape. Yeah that's a little gruesome, I agree. In my defense I don't actually bash them? Well, I do, but it's like off camera. Like, one minute it needs to be done, and the next it's, um, done. Yeah. So then we book it into the woods and have to climb this hill to where a fence is- and beyond it is this great field, surrounded entirely by houses. Big, nice houses. They all seem to have huge back windows and so the light from the houses partially illuminates the field.  

We're in the field now and there are scattered trees around. Here and there. The goal, I guess, is to make it to the houses and jump the fence. Once we get into the neighborhood we have more of a chance? You know how dreams are, they don't always make sense and your subconscious just goes with it? Oh and somehow we know that every house in the neighborhood is in on it- there's a reason they ring the field. They're like employees of whoever kidnapped us or whatever. Anyway  we're in the field now and it's nighttime, but helicopters are coming and their search lights are crisscrossing the field. 

We start to panic a little but I tell everyone to stay low. The area off to the left is darkest and we make for that. Unfortunately the search lights find some of us and suddenly there are people behind us, on foot. Closing fast. I think two of us are taken at that point. It's super tense and I am breaking for it now- full speed. I'm coming up on the houses and the fence is right there- just a few more steps. Someone is right behind me- my fellow prisoner, or have they been taken and it's the bad guys? I do not know but I literally am feeling these last few steps, the fence is there and I leap without stopping- I grab the top of the fence and haul myself over. 

I hurl myself forward, clearing the fence... and I wake up. Moving. I am actually moving forward. Which is, in hindsight, kinda funny. But man was that intense. I have weird dreams at times but nothing in a long time has felt that real. 

Do you ever have dreams like that?