Saturday, September 30, 2017

Sunday Post #214

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

The week started out HOT and then about midweek the temp plunged 20 degrees. Welcome to fall! The leaves are really starting to turn now and I'm loving the idea of cider and doughnuts (as in, I haven't had either of those yet), and bonfires, the smell of smoke in the air- the whole fall thing. Pumpkins are turning up and there's a tinge of melancholy in the air as we enter a new season. Or, you know, if you're in the southern hemisphere, just ignore all that. :) 

I am looking forward to all the October activities in the blogosphere. I remember a few years ago there were a ton of readathons and other things- seems like those have lessened. Do you have a favorite October event? I am happy to report that Frightfall seems to still be around- and this year it's all month long. That's right, all of October. Details here. I think I may be jumping in. 

I reviewed The Breakdown this past week (good stuff) and this week will be The Pack. I read The Shark Club (loved) and There's Someone Inside Your House. On the Run brought the current plot to a head this week, and the new installment will be up on Monday. We've been gate- hopping a bit and I think it's time to head home and see what's what.   

The Breakdown

Song of the week 


Murder on the Orient.Express by Agatha Christie - another classic mystery that will keep you guessing.

Wild Bird  

Okay some of you know I LOVED the first Murderbot book by Martha Wells. I see now on GR that books two and three- BOTH coming next year- have covers. 

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

Ruins 2

This one put me in mind of an ancient lost city somewhere in a steaming jungle. And it made a good writing prompt. 

By day the hum of insects and the chattering of monkeys were ever- present, although if one were quiet she might hear the sound of dislodged pebbles, or see a shadow darting through the ruins, almost as if she were being followed. At night however the city truly came alive, with strange lights in the high towers, and the occasional sound of chanting punctuated by blood- curdling shrieks.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Bookcover Spotlight #121

Chasing Secrets (Elite Guardians, #4)

I don't know much about this series but I like the cover and they sound fun.  

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Breakdown

The Breakdown

The Breakdown is a pretty good psychological thriller that really had me wondering what was going on. Cass is a woman who becomes convinced she has early onset dementia when she starts forgetting things, and her mental stability is further threatened when a woman is killed nearby and it turns out to be someone Cass knew. To make matters worse Cass passed the murdered woman's car the night of her murder, but since it was pouring rain she didn't offer to help. She figured the woman had called for help on her mobile, and when the woman didn't seem to need assistance, she drove on. Only to find out later that the woman was murdered. 

Torn by grief, her life starts to spiral out of control when she blames himself for not assisting. And her dementia seems to get progressively worse as time goes on- it doesn't help that her mother also had early onset- and even though her husband is supportive, she can't stop blaming herself. She phones the police anonymously to let them know that she stopped briefly and that the woman, Jane, was still alive at that time- and after the news releases that info, she starts to get silent calls. Cass begins to fear that the killer knows she was there, and is now after her. And weird little things keep happening, things she knows but can't prove, which just makes things worse. 

I thought this one started a little slow, but as it went on and Cass' condition worsened, I got more and more intrigued. What exactly was going on? I started thinking Cass might be the mother of all unreliable narrators, and this was going to be one of those books where you realize at the end that half the book was imagined. That's not entirely the case, there is something going on and while I had my suspicions (especially given a crucial clue revealed early on), the how and why of it were something else again. And honestly this could have went any of several different ways. 

I also thought at times that Cass was losing it, frankly, as things got more and more bizarre. When the truth starts to come out it was a breakneck finish for me as the story ramps into high gear. I couldn't get to the resolution fast enough. 

This would be a fun book to compare theories or just commiserate over. If I have any complaints it's that the explanation for some of the events is a wee bit unrealistic perhaps, but that's a minor quibble. And there's a certain sense of satisfaction towards the end as well, as things develop and it all comes together. If you like psychological thrillers, or a good suspenseful read, this is a great choice. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

12 Monkeys S3 Episodes 7-10

Image result for 12 monkeys season 3 syfy

Episode seven is all about the Witness. Cole and Cassie (and Jennifer) are still the only ones that know that the Witness is their son- and the group is going back to 1953 to kill him. Cole still thinks he can do that, while Cassie wants to save him. How does one kill their own child? This was one of the best episodes of the entire show for me- there were secrets, revelations, and some very creative writing. The conundrum here for Cole and Cassie, even beyond killing their son to save humanity, is- will they even be together in the new future they create? It doesn't look that way. Oh, and there will be some spoilers in this post.

"We don't get to change the pat and keep the future," Cassie tells Cole. That dilemma pretty much sums up the entire show. What do you do to save others? Do you (and can you) sacrifice it all- your life, your love, your family? And as Cole and Cassie struggle with this, Deacon is beginning to suspect something. So back they go to 1953- is it always Christmas when they go back in time? - and prepare to ambush the Witness and his entourage at the safe house. However Cassie doesn't go. She can't. She does, however, talk Jones into letting her go... somewhen else.

1990. Cassie goes back to see her mom, who was a noted psychologist. She shows her the map and asks for her thoughts, and her mom's take is that the Witness is someone who is brilliant but hurting, and the key line here is he "hates what he believes to be true."

The Witness foresees a moment when Cole will have a chance to kill him. He draws pictures of it- Cole pointing a gun. And sure enough at the end of this one Cole gets that chance- even as Cassie races to 1953 to stop him. And... Cole can't do it. 

Episode 8 - Masks 

We have a masquerade ball, a fight on a train, and a huge climax that sets things up nicely. Jones goes to Olivia for help, as she is out of options- Deacon and Hannah have been hunting Cole and Cassie through time, and they always come up short. Olivia tells Jones that she's thinking linearly, and that's a mistake. Oh and she also tells Jones that Jennifer is misdirecting them. Did Jones seriously think Jennifer would just turn over Cole and Cassie?

Jennifer again warned them by the way about Olivia, but they don't listen. Couldn't they write Deacon and Jones a little smarter? But when they go for Jennifer she uses the turtles  to escape- now we see why they gave her the same turtle from two time periods- it's time for PARADOX kiddies. And the resultant chaos helps Jen escape. The escape is great too- she needs Lasky's help, and he says she'd have to have him at gunpoint *wink wink*. So she points her finger at him, he is suitably cowed, and away she goes- back in time!

The humor continues with Cole and Cassie back in 1899 and preparing for a ball, where they think they'll find the Witness. But first Cassie has to help Cole learn to dance. And since they need money, he needs to teach her how to pick pockets. Fun.

Episode 9- Thief

This episode is mostly flashbacks and shows us who the Witness really is. He meets the love of his life- Eliza- and she brings out the best in him, even as he struggles with knowing who he may become. There's some neat tidbits here, such as Athan meeting Cole (his father) in the future, and later he meets Cassie (his mother) in a well done scene. The plot twist of his bitterness after Eliza is killed feels like something we've seen before- many times- but I liked the idea that he jumps through time to stay sane, in a sense. He can go anywhere- and does- and it's neat to see them bring that to life.

Episode 10- Witness

The finale is here and it's a doozy. We get a great opening sequence where Cole and Cassie are chasing the Witness through time eras- that was well done. They eventually catch him and take him to 12/26/1959 - a date that apparently exists outside of causality? A safe haven, but Olivia knows it too and she leads Jones and her crew there. Well, she doesn't exactly lead them- she stays behind, escapes effortlessly while Jones is gone, and heads for Titan. Not surprisingly, she was playing Jones all along. Which anyone could see coming, except for Jones apparently. And hey Jennifer had predicted it too. Deacon remembers this- too late. And a shout out to Alisen Down- she was fabulous as Olivia this season.

Jones surprised me when she took the shot, risking Hannah's life. I can't get a feel for her- sometimes I get her, sometimes I don't. But everyone's a happy family again when Olivia stabs Jones and they realize their biggest threat is not the Witness, but Olivia. And Jennifer becomes the key to everything when she realizes what "save the dying man" means- and she saves Athan. He returns to Titan to save the day and his parents flee, after he tells them to- then Olivia takes him out. Although I'm not convinced he's gone...

Random Thoughts

 Nice that Cass gets to see her mom in episode seven. She had mentioned previously that she never went with her the last time she had asked, and here she gets to redo that.  

Overall I think this was a compelling season with lots of twists and turns and some great character work. Emily Hampshire continues to be the heart of this show, and she just kills it as Jennifer. And the show is not afraid to occasionally lighten it up, which is nice since most of the time the show is pretty dark. But again Jennifer is the secret weapon of this show, and judging from the finale she is going to have more to do in season four. Which is a good thing.

One issue I have with this show, and it was alive and well in season three, is the fact that allegiances turn and I can't help but think- talk people! Talk it out. Communicate. Late in the season Jones and Deacon are SO determined to kill the Witness, and by extension Cole and Cassie, that it just doesn't ring true- they've been allies now through everything, and now they disagree on a course of action so they're bitter enemies. Amidst all the shooting and fighting, couldn't they just have a parley and work something out? 

When did Hannah assume control of the guards? When they first discovered "future" Jennifer she was their leader and prophet, and Hannah was just one of them. Now that Jennifer is helping Cole and Cassie, she has like no control of them and they do whatever Jones/ Hannah tells them to. Wouldn't their first allegiance be to Jen? 

Did Athan really die there at the end? Or will Olivia have competition for the title of Witness? And it certainly looks like season four will start with a bang, as Titan warps into view right behind the factory. 

Athan tells Jennifer she's better than he is, and that the mission is now hers. This just reinforces that Jennifer truly is the wild card, the x factor of the show- and perhaps the timestream- and that's it her (along with Cole and Cassie) against Olivia. 

Nice to see them make the Witness sympathetic, after three seasons of him being the faceless, looming evil. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Top Ten Books Or Characters With a Secret


 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 That Feature Characters That Are X. So in other words kind of a freebie. I'm going with characters who have lost something- or have secrets- I guess this includes characters who are unreliable narrators. So here's my list.   

What She Saw

This one is a woman who sees something she shouldn't after not taking her meds for a manic/ bipolar type of illness.  

The Secret History of Us 

Memory loss. Everyone is telling her who she was, but who is she now? 

The Girl from the Sea

Another memory loss tale, and one of the better twist endings I've read. 

Emma in the Night

Narcissistic personality disorder plays a role here, and both the main characters- victim and forensic psychologist- are missing answers from previous events. 

One of Us Is Lying

Lots of secrets. 

Lost Girls

MC wakes up in a ditch, has lost several years of memories, but can fight. Like really fight.  

Radio Silence

Facing fears, and secrets. 

How Will I Know You?

A town full of secrets and a murder.  

Gone Without a Trace

How well do you really know someone? 

The Girls in the Garden

Tuesday Tagline #58

The Dream Walker

The weight of a secret can drag you under. Hmm... love this cover, and the Australian setting. 

On The Run Part 13

Looking back on it later Anna was not sure how she survived. She could remember bits and pieces of their flight from the specimen room, but it was all hazy and indistinct at first. There was a lot of shouting - why is there always shouting - and lots of running. Punctuated by Riggs firing at whatever was behind them. Her clothes were torn and she was being pulled along more than she was running on her own. Eric was still with them, although there were times when he doubled over and Andreas had to drag him, which slowed them down even more. And then, from one moment to the next, it was as if a fog had lifted. She was free.

It was like a blast of sound and feeling hit her all at once. She was back to herself, and she heard pulse fire behind them and Andreas shouting and a horrible screeching that sounded like nothing she'd ever heard. Gillian was pulling her along and looking over her shoulder, and when Anna shook herself loose the trooper said "About fucking time. Move!" She shoved Anna ahead and then turned to support Riggs, firing her pulse rifle and screaming "Come on, you fuck! I'm right here!"

Anna ran.

She rounded a corner and there was Andreas. He had one arm on Eric, holding him upright, and his datapad was in the other. He looked up as she appraoched.
"Where's Gillian?"
"Right behind us. Helping Riggs. What the fuck is that thing?" Her chest was heaving, she was gulping air.
"I don't know, some motherfucking piece of shit- we can't see it. Riggs says it uses the shadows. He swears he's hit it multiple times- it won't fucking die . We have to get out of here right now. "
"How close are we?"
"Almost there. We make for the ramp, and I might have a surprise for it. We gotta get there. Take him and go."
"Don't worry, I'll be right behind you. Move!"
She moved, grabbing Eric - shit he was heavy- and  took off down the corridor.
"Which way?" she called back.
"Left, then straight til the three-way- right. I think. Fuck it, go!"
Swearing under her breath, she went.

Andreas had never been prouder. He had two left- Gillian and Riggs- and they were holding the line, shoulder to shoulder, firing in short, controlled bursts to conserve energy. Once they lost the pulse rifles they were really screwed, and the troopers were well aware of it. Riggs was bleeding from a cut on his forehead and Gillian's hair had come loose in the flight, her shoulder- length tresses framing her face in that way he liked. Nice look, Gillian. It wasn't the first time he had thought it. She looked up as he approached and nodded. Riggs was checking his weapon charge so she turned and fired down the corridor, shouting something obscene. He smiled.

"Let's go. Time to bug out," he tapped Riggs on the shoulder, and didn't like what he saw when the man looked up. He had a sinking feeling in his gut, but Riggs shook his head.
"I'm alright, boss. For now. I think it's fucking with me though. Like it did those two," he nodded in the direction Eric and Anna had gone. "I'm holding it together."
"Alright, move. We're almost there. Gill, rear."
She nodded and off they went. Andreas kept an eye on Riggs as they hastened, checking his datapad periodically to make sure they were going the right way. Fucking Precursors. We should have just gated the fuck out. And it couldn't be a coincidence that someone had sent him of all people after Eric.  Someone is playing a game. Well that's alright because when we get back I can play too.

She heard them coming before she saw them. Hard not to miss it- pulse fire, some unearthly screeching and Gillian's shouted suggestions about how best to fuck oneself. She was at a junction and could see the ramp- Eric was bent over but looked better- and then Andreas came barreling around the corner, with his two remaining troopers right behind him. "Go, go, go," he was screaming, and the screeching was so loud she thought her ears would bleed. It was absolutely terrifying, and not least because it was partly in her head that she heard it. She turned and ran, Eric beside her, and they pounded up the ramp, turning to wait for the other ones to catch up. Andreas was there first.
"You two, out. We're going to finish this."
"Andreas, no," she grabbed him. "We have to get out!"
"We are getting out. That thing isn't."
He turned back to Riggs. "Quickly. Charges."
He was rewarded with a rifle butt to the face. He stumbled and went down, and Anna recoiled. Riggs raised his weapon to strike again, and his eyes... they were black. Like two orbs of darkness. And she knew Riggs was gone.

Andreas was cursing and reaching for his sidearm, but he wouldn't make it. Riggs was about to bash his head in when a pulse cut through him and as it spun him around another, and then another, took him down. He fell to the ramp without a sound, but the screeching reached a crescendo and Anna knew it was there. Looking down the ramp she could see something, like a person but not, half shrouded in shadow. She somehow knew it wasn't there, not entirely, and if it had been they would have been dead long ago.

Andreas was back on his feet, pulling thermal charges out of Riggs' pack. Gillian was staring down the ramp, silent now, waiting. The thing below waited too, and then began to advance.
"Let's dance then," Gillian whispered, and Anna could hear the whine of her pulse rifle as she brought it up. Her bolts seemed to pass right through it- she was a crack shot- but they did have an effect, she could see that. It slowed when it was hit, wavered, and somehow she knew they were hurting it.
She looked and Andreas tossed a charge to her.
"On the wall. Hurry up!"
She complied, and as she did Eric picked up Riggs' rifle and began firing, giving Gillian a break. The two of them were slowing it down, and then it was time to go.
"Everyone out!" Andreas roared, and they scrambled for the exit. All except Gillian. She continued firing, and she was laughing now. Andreas turned and screamed at her. "Gill, let's go. That's an order!"
"Be right there! Get out!"
"Dammit, Gill!" He turned to Anna, shoved Eric towards the door. "Get him out!"
She looked at him, then went.