Friday, June 30, 2017

Bloodline Season 3

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Bloodline season three had potential. We left off last time with John on the run, heading north to who knows where, while Kevin had just killed Marco after failing to convince him to back off his investigation. The Rayburn family was falling apart and it didn't look like there was anything that anyone could do to stop it- and with season three being the final season, this show would go out with a bang, right? Well... not so much.

The acting is superb and the locations are phenomenal but the story this time was so muddled, so out there, that I just couldn't buy in. Even though like a train wreck I kept watching.

The problem is that none of the characters are likable. Not anymore. John was always the good son and the fixer, but it doesn't take long to see that he's really not very nice in this one. You can make an argument that he lost control in season one when he killed Danny, and it's only natural that he and his siblings would try to cover it up, but in season three he frames Eric O'Bannon for Marco's murder and plants evidence on him. And then lies through his teeth about it at trial. I liked John in season one and felt for him in season two, but here I just wanted him to get busted.

Kevin is another one. Kind of a bumbling guy, he means well but can't stop drinking, he was always kind of hapless until he bashed Marco's head in last season. A crime of passion, no doubt. But even when Roy Gilbert helps him by covering it up he can't stay out of trouble. Roy draws him ever deeper into a morass of drug running and before long Kevin is being investigated, drawn into a sting meant to take down Roy. It's a little unrealistic just how dumb Kevin is in this show- I mean he has no clue when Roy is totally manipulating him- and his wife Belle seemed like a decent sort until she realizes what he did and just goes along with it. Does anyone have a conscience on this show?

Meg for some reason is missing for half the season- she, alone of the kids, says enough and leaves, to live her life free of the Rayburn mess. Can't blame her frankly, but she deserved a better story here. With John and Kevin off the rails, they could have used Meg to be a voice of reason, but she just doesn't have enough story time. And if there was ever any doubt about Sally this season solved that! Sally is revealed as a manipulator who also lies under oath, primarily to protect her daughter, but she may be the worst of the bunch.

How does Kevin go from a good guy who is flawed to someone who basically all but celebrates when Eric goes to prison, meaning he's free (until his drug exploits doom him)? I mean Kevin didn't even struggle with the aftermath of framing Eric, so it was hard to relate to him also. And speaking of Eric, we knew he was a petty criminal and kind of a bad guy, but in season three he almost looks like a saint. And what they do to him is truly awful. The guy takes a plea and goes to prison for thirty years for a crime he didn't commit. It's pretty bad when Eric O'Bannon is the most sympathetic character on the show. Same for his sister Chelsea, who gets harassed by police and loses her job partly because she stole some pills but also because everyone blacklists her due to her brother.

Ozzy the slightly crazy guy who caused trouble with all his nosing around- his story went nowhere and then the shocking end of him made it pointless. He was a waste of screen time because he did nothing. Janey is having sex and Diana wants John to do something- he says he'll talk to her and nothing further is done. Beth from Miami shows up and has a few scenes but is not very pivotal- if she had not been there it wouldn't really have mattered. I had a hard time remembering her character and they did nothing to remind the viewer. There's just so much here that didn't make sense or was a wasted opportunity. Is Bloodline worth watching? Season one is, season two you can take or leave. This season though was mostly disappointing.

Bookcover Spotlight #107

The Lake Effect

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dangerous Girls

Dangerous Girls

I had heard a lot about this book prior to reading it and it definitely lived up to the hype. It's a mystery about a group of teens who go to Aruba and what happens after one of them- Elise- ends up dead. Anna is accused of the crime and finds herself alone and abandoned while her case goes to trial. Everyone turns against her, or so it seems, other than her father and her lawyer. It's not entirely clear if all of her friends have turned against her or if they've just been shepherded away by their parents- most of the teens come from wealthy families- but Anna has a pretty tough time being stranded and accused.

Anna and Elise were best friends, and along with Anna's boyfriend Tate and a few others, they went to Aruba to have fun. Things don't always go according to plan though and little chinks in the relationships start to show themselves- I wasn't always sure if what I was reading was the truth. The story is told from Anna's perspective, but we get snippets of police transcripts and some of her friends have to testify at her trial. It's probably not a surprise that some people have differing accounts of the events than Anna does. I liked Anna and felt for her, and yet constantly wondered is she telling the truth? Are her friends?

I pretty much believed Anna and it seems pretty obvious that the police have botched the investigation. Serious crimes like this are rare in Aruba and the cops did not seem prepared, nor did they handle the crime scene properly. Anna seems to be getting railroaded and other suspects were ignored or not handled properly. Why is the prosecutor out for Anna? And what really happened to Elise? The story starts off with a bang as the teens have just discovered the body and called emergency responders. I seriously had a hard time putting this one down- several bloggers had told me it was a fast read, and they were right. I sailed through this book.

I was a little surprised that the trial played such a big role in the story. I thought Anna was going to get out and then her and the others would somehow investigate, but instead Anna is in jail for most of this and the investigation plays out around her. That's not a complaint though, it's just different from what I was expecting. The tension stayed pretty constant throughout and there were times when I was mad at the police and mad at the media for the way they seemed to characterize Anna as guilty before she was even convicted. I think the author is taking the opportunity to make the reader think about how blown out of proportion little things from the past can be when suddenly one is in the media spotlight.

And I have to mention the twists. A book like this of course has a twist and this one got me pretty good. I mean of the different scenarios that were possible I had considered this one, but when it happened I was still wowed. All I can say is if you want a fast- paced YA with some twists and turns this is a great choice.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Best Books of 2017 (So Far)


 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 a look at the best reads (so far) of 2017.  

Lost Girls

Dark Matter

How Will I Know You?

A Darkness Absolute (Casey Duncan, #2)

Refuge for Masterminds (Stranje House, #3)

Radio Silence

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)

The Rains (Rains, #1)

What She Saw

One of Us Is Lying

Dangerous Girls

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

Tuesday Tagline #45

Brave New Girl (Brave New Girl, #1)

There's A Price To Pay For Standing Out. Yes I suppose there is- especially in this one. I think this is a pretty good tagline, and it reflects the story pretty well. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

On The Run Part II

This is the second part of a flash fiction story that started here.

The sun was bleeding red into the horizon when he opened his eyes. Must have dozed, he realized with a start. He had been surveying the city from up here, trying to determine if there was anything worth looting, but so far nothing. Other than the occasional trinkets and artifacts he had found, scattered here and there. These had been a mid tech level people, from what he could see, and were not like to yield up anything useful at this point.

A distant screeching caused him to start, and he peered cautiously over the lip of the tower wall. He had been able to evade the harpies (what else could he call them?) after their initial attack, and after taking a roundabout way into the city he had managed to stay unseen. His side still throbbed where they had clawed into him, but so far the anti- bacterial med had done its job. They were clearly agitated, he could see, but did not appear to be hunting him. From what he could see, they were agitated most of the time.

So... next steps. This was a dead world, from what he could see- if this city was any indication. Other than the harpies and a few skulking animals he had seen no sign of the former inhabitants, other than their bones. Could there be a thriving city just over the horizon, or across a sea? Sure, but he couldn't wander here forever. What was left to him, but to return to the only hope he had? He absently fingered the beacon, turning it over in his hands- would it work this time? There was no way to know.

All around the deserted city the grasslands extended into forever. Only to the northeast did he see something- a shimmering that was very likely a body of water, possibly even an inland sea judging from its expanse. But he could see no ships, could spy no habitation, just a shimmering that extended beyond sight. Sighing, he slid the beacon back into his pack and stood up with a groan. Time to move. He descended the crumbling tower and was soon on the streets again.

The city had been eerily quiet the last two nights, but as he made his way toward the outskirts he thought he heard a rustling somewhere, and there... a stone dislodged, perhaps? He stopped and raised his pulse rifle, scanning for movement, but saw nothing. Continuing on, he heard it again, and then he saw a flash of movement over some rocks. Shit. Quickening his pace, he could hear movement behind him now, and on the sides... were they herding him? He stumbled once as he decided he needed to get out of this city- now- and then he heard the hooting, or was it chanting?

He could see them now, in the shadows... and worse, they were above him, flitting from story to story in the upper levels. They were humanoid, roughly, and there were many. He pushed down a rising sense of panic and thought of Anna- he was not going to check out here, in some nowhere place in the back ass of creation. And if they did take him, it was going to be expensive.

They were closing in now, and as he rounded a pile of rubble something hit him and he was down. There was a horrid cry and it was on him, all sinewy strength and musky smell, dark eyes and bloodstained teeth. He grabbed the thing's throat to keep it at bay as its claws bore into him, and with his left hand he managed to keep the rifle up. Squeezing off a burst, he blew the thing's head nearly off and was momentarily blinded by the close flash. Regaining his feet, he ran now, ignoring the pain in his ankle as he nearly twisted it on a pile of scree. The howls of the creatures were all around him now, and he knew there were too many. He stopped for a moment as he felt the noose tightening, took aim, and squeezed off a few more rounds, taking out two more. He was hoping the superior technology would give them pause. They did seem to slacken a bit, and he was starting to feel hope, and then realized there was a new factor. A rustling of winds, a screeching cry, and the harpies were there, though whether they were onto him or wanted to scrap with some howling marauders he had no idea. Nor did he care, if he could slip out.

He was almost to the grass when he heard something behind him. Turning, he could see two of the lopers closing on him, teeth bared, and he shivered. He took the first one with a pulse and as the second one reached him he reversed his grip, swinging it like a club. He connected just as the thing took him down, and then they were thrashing on the ground. It was stronger than him, and crazy, but he  had a knife and he was able to reach it even as the thing tore at his throat and chest. He swung the knife, taking it in the neck. It howled so loud his blood froze, but he stabbed it again, and then again, and suddenly he was stabbing it ferociously- it was dead but he kept on- and soon he was covered in its blood. He suddenly felt nauseous, and as he looked around he could see the battle still raging, two of the howling creatures bringing down a harpy even as another winged creature took one and carried it into the sky. Fuck this.

He was running now and in the grass, and after a time the sounds of slaughter receded, to be replaced by the sloughing of the wind and the night sounds of insects. The moon shone high overhead, and ahead he could see a dim glow. The Gate.

Cover Characteristics Portholes

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- Portholes

Rogue topic!     

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)The Complete Land that Time Forgot (Caspak, #1-3)Image result for books with porthole coversImage result for charlie chan carries on cover

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)

The Complete Land that Time Forgot (Caspak, #1-3)

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sunday Post #200

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

My 200th Sunday Post. Wow. I've been doing this one for a while now and I love how it's a community within the community, you know? I've made a lot of friends because of this meme and would like to give a big shout out to Kimba who makes this happen every week. My version of this has morphed a lot over the last couple years and sometimes I get a bit carried away with the extras, but I love sharing 'em and if people are clicking over to Artstation or a website and discovering some cool art... well, that's the point.   

So this week it's been milder, mostly 70's- no 90's thankfully- and I did a ton of reading. I'm on such a roll with good books- other than the occasional dud everything's been pretty good. I've been steering back towards fantasy/ SF since reading so many psychological thrillers lately- and my upcoming books are a nice mix. I've been watching The White Princess (kinda bored) and Shetland (awesome) and I watched S4 of Black Sails also. 

I reviewed Brave New Girl and talked about Jon Snow this past week in my discussion post. I'll have a review up this week for Dangerous Girls and Ivory and Bone is coming up too.  And... on Monday I'll have another flash fiction. On The Run part II - you can find the first one right here

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)Brave New Girl (Brave New Girl, #1)Dangerous GirlsIvory and Bone (Ivory and Bone, #1)

Song of the week


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Awesome drum cover of Whitesnake by an 18 yr old 


This is awesome- the good stuff starts around 1:05 or so.