Friday, May 7, 2021

Season 24 - The Cinder Path (1994-1995)

Ah, The Cinder Path, I think this might have been my first foray into Catherine Cookson territory. There's a chance that this other movie I was obsessed with might have been written by Catherine Cookson, but I have yet to figure out which one or even if it is by her. Let me know in the comments below if you have a detailed knowledge of films that are about farm girls who look vaguely like Kathy Ireland who get involved with their boss's son/nephew and have a magical summer together but she ends up pregnant and he goes back to his friends... You would literally be solving one of the mysteries of my life. Back to The Cinder Path. So there's one reason and one reason only I watched The Cinder Path, and that's Lloyd Owen. So I've always been obsessed with The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Like hardcore obsessed. Like I have a fan magazine actually signed by Indy himself, that would be Sean Patrick Flanery to everyone else. Well when I was rewatching the show a few years back now I was all, who is that hot actor playing Professor Henry Jones, Sr., the role iconically created by Sean Connery? The answer was Lloyd Owen. So I started looking up other things he'd been in around the time he was Indy's dad. I vaguely remembered him in Coupling, but The Cinder Path looked interesting. Also Catherine Zeta-Jones from around the time of The Darling Buds of May! Interesting fact, she was also on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles if you were interested in other facts from that show. I have lots of facts from that show. LOTS. Anyway, this is pure Catherine Cookson, slightly over the top, I mean, love saves our hero from the shrapnel that could either move towards his heart and kill him or away from his heart and save him. It's so melodramatic it's kind of ridiculous but also hits the spot just right when you're in the mood. The only real complaint I had for this miniseries is that Catherine Zeta-Jones spent way too much time on horses and "the cinder path" which was a form of punishment didn't look that punishing. I wanted more, walking on hot coals, this was kind of, could they at least look like they're in pain?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Season 25 - The Buccaneers (1995-1996)

In the days before the internet you'd be channel surfing, usually late at night, and find something you really liked and you'd watch as much of it as you could before you fell asleep because you never knew if you'd see it again let alone find out what it was called. After the successful airing of Colin Firth's Pride and Prejudice, on a cable channel no less, lots of shows that were originally shown on Masterpiece Theatre started showing up on cable channels late in the night to the delight of Anglophile insomniacs and night owls everywhere. Of course I'd catch them and wouldn't find out what they were until years later. Sometimes it was because I was able to accurately describe a scene to someone and they'd fill me in on what it was, hence the miniseries about deflating sheep turned out to be Far from the Madding Crowd with Colin Firth's younger brother Jonathan. But most often it was eventually an actor I recognized that got me to finally put a title to a favorite movie or series. This is how I learned the title of Louisa May Alcott's The Inheritance, because of Greg from Dharma and Greg. Also it's fabulous but nothing like the original story if you watch it and yes, that is Chilton from Gilmore Girls. So all I had to go on to find the title of The Buccaneers was that it stared the actress from Pauly Shore's Son in Law. To more knowledgeable people, that would be Carla Gugino, to me it was Crawl's love interest. I might have seen that movie a few too many times. So once I finally knew the name of the miniseries I obviously bought it, no questions about watching it first. This is everything an Anglophile growing up in America wishes for, that they go to England and are wooed by the most eligible of bachelors. Oh the cast, Michael Kitchen, Jenny Agutter, Connie Booth, Mira Sorvino, Greg Wise, and James Frain before he made it his lifelong ambition, or so I assume, to be in every science fiction show I've ever watched. And the houses! Yes, they DO film at Castle Howard, made immortal by Brideshead Revisited. Oh dear, I think writing this has convinced me I need to go watch this miniseries immediately, it's been too long.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Tuesday Tomorrow

The Lady Has A Past by Amanda Quick
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Beauty and glamour meet deception and revenge in this electrifying novel by New York Times bestselling author Amanda Quick.

Investigative apprentice Lyra Brazier, the newest resident of Burning Cove, is unsettled when her boss suddenly disappears. Lyra knows something has happened to Raina Kirk, and tracks down her last known appearance at an exclusive hotel and health spa. The health spa is known for its luxurious offerings and prestigious clientele, and the wealthy, socialite background Lyra desperately wanted to leave behind is perfect for this undercover job. What Lyra lacks in investigative experience she makes up for in gut instinct, and her gut isn’t happy that she’s saddled with a partner by Luther Pell, Raina’s dangerous lover, who wants to bring in someone with more experience to help.

Instead of the suave, pistol-packing private eye she expected, though, Simon Cage is a mild-mannered antiquarian book dealer with a quiet, academic air, and a cool, remote gaze. Lyra suspects that Simon is much more than what he seems, and her instincts are confirmed when they arrive at the spa and pose as a couple: Simon has a unique gift that allows him to detect secrets, a skill that is crucial in finding Raina.

The unlikely duo falls down a rabbit hole of twisted rumors and missing socialites, discovering that the health spa is a façade for something far darker than they imagined. With a murderer in their midst, Raina isn't the only one in grave danger - Lyra is next."

Bookish private investigators!?! YES!

The Glorious Guinness Girls by Emily Hourican
Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From London to Ireland during the 1920s, this glorious, gripping, and richly textured story takes us to the heart of the remarkable real-life story of the Guinness Girls - perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Julian Fellowes' Belgravia.

Descendants of the founder of the Guinness beer empire, they were the toast of 1920s high society, darlings of the press, with not a care in the world. But Felicity knows better. Sent to live with them as a child because her mother could no longer care for her, she grows up as the sisters’ companion. Both an outsider and a part of the family, she witnesses the complex lives upstairs and downstairs, sees the compromises and sacrifices beneath the glamorous surface. Then, at a party one summer’s evening, something happens that sends shock waves through the entire household.

Inspired by a remarkable true story and fascinating real events, The Glorious Guinness Girls is an unforgettable novel about the haves and have-nots, one that will make you ask if where you find yourself is where you truly belong."

Let us not forget that it was these real life girls who inspire Julian Fellowes! And, of course, Nancy Mitford! Her sister married a Guinness afterall!

The Nature of a Lady by Roseanna M. White
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"1906

Lady Elizabeth "Libby" Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn't favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage's former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne - gentleman and clergyman - is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he's happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth's summer cottage...especially when he realizes it's the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can't quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love."

Ah, an idyll escape to Italy, with pirates thrown in! 

Bronte by Manuela Santoni
Published by: Graphic Universe (Tm)
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 184 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte - faced with an ailing father and an alcoholic brother--pursue independence through art in this graphic vision of the lives of three legendary writers.

Despite their family's stormy fortunes, the Bront sisters resolved to write. To thwart the nineteenth century's double standards, they took the names of men, becoming the Bell brothers. Their works incited controversy and speculation, while at home, the sisters contended with the rages of Branwell Bronte, their self-destructive sibling. Manuela Santoni presents a time before Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were known as literary masterpieces, when winds shook the Bronte house and determination held it together."

I'm a sucker for all things Bronte, especially when the mood captured by the drawings so fits their aesthetic.

The Shadow in the Glass by Jja Harwood
Published by: Voyager
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A deliciously gothic story of wishes and curses - a new dark fairy tale set against a Victorian backdrop full of lace and smoke.

Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella's only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn't permitted to enter.

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella's wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must decide whether it's one she's willing to pay...

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella - perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern."

Name check two of my favorite authors and OF COURSE I'll be checking out your book!

The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser
Published by: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 448 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A woman desperate to turn a new page heads to the Scottish coast and finds herself locked in a battle of wills with an infuriatingly aloof bookseller in this utterly heartwarming debut, perfect for readers of Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Thea Mottram is having a bad month. She’s been let go from her office job with no notice - and to make matters even worse, her husband of nearly twenty years has decided to leave her for one of her friends. Bewildered and completely lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But when she learns that a distant great uncle in Scotland has passed away, leaving her his home and a hefty antique book collection, she decides to leave Sussex for a few weeks. Escaping to a small coastal town where no one knows her seems to be exactly what she needs.

Almost instantly, Thea becomes enamored with the quaint cottage, comforted by its cozy rooms and lovely but neglected garden. The locals in nearby Baldochrie are just as warm, quirky, and inviting. The only person she can’t seem to win over is bookshop owner Edward Maltravers, to whom she hopes to sell her uncle’s book collection. His gruff attitude - fueled by an infamous, long-standing feud with his brother, a local lord - tests Thea’s patience. But bickering with Edward proves oddly refreshing and exciting, leading Thea to develop feelings she hasn’t experienced in a long time. As she follows a thrilling yet terrifying impulse to stay in Scotland indefinitely, Thea realizes that her new life may quickly become just as complicated as the one she was running from."

I'm not bitter or anything, but why can't someone die and leave me a house with an antique book collection?

I Speak Boy by Jessica Brody
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A phone-obsessed twelve-year-old girl, frustrated by the cryptic boys in her life, discovers a magic app that can read boys' thoughts in this modern-day retelling of Emma by Jane Austen.

After a matchmaking attempt for her best friend, Harper, goes wrong, Emmy is fed up. Why are boys so hard to figure out? But then something amazing happens - she wakes up with a new app on her phone: iSpeak Boy! Suddenly Emmy has the information every girl wants to know - the super-secret knowledge of how boys think...and who they like!

Now Emmy is using her magical app to make matches left and right. But can she use it to help Harper, the only person who doesn't seem to buy into Emmy's "gift"? And when her secret gets out and the app ends up in the wrong hands, can Emmy figure out how to undo the damage she's caused?"

I am ALL HERE for modern retellings of Emma! 

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the author of Fun Home, a profoundly affecting graphic memoir of Bechdel's lifelong love affair with exercise, set against a hilarious chronicle of fitness fads in our times.

Comics and cultural superstar Alison Bechdel delivers a deeply layered story of her fascination, from childhood to adulthood, with every fitness craze to come down the pike: from Jack LaLanne in the 60s ("Outlandish jumpsuit! Cantaloupe-sized guns!") to the existential oddness of present-day spin class. Readers will see their athletic or semi-active pasts flash before their eyes through an ever-evolving panoply of running shoes, bicycles, skis, and sundry other gear. But the more Bechdel tries to improve herself, the more her self appears to be the thing in her way. She turns for enlightenment to Eastern philosophers and literary figures, including Beat writer Jack Kerouac, whose search for self-transcendence in the great outdoors appears in moving conversation with the author’s own. This gifted artist and not-getting-any-younger exerciser comes to a soulful conclusion. The secret to superhuman strength lies not in six-pack abs, but in something much less clearly defined: facing her own non-transcendent but all-important interdependence with others.

A heartrendingly comic chronicle for our times."

Alison Bechdel has done it again!

Rogue Untouched by Alisa Kwitney
Published by: Aconyte
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Rogue’s frightening new mutant powers keep her at arms-length from the world, but two strangers offer a chance to change her life forever, in this exhilarating Marvel Super Hero adventure.

Young Rogue’s life is a mess: she’s on her own, working a terrible diner job and hiding from everyone. The powers she has started to develop are terrifying: when your first kiss almost kills the guy, it’s hard to trust anyone - even yourself. Then two people arrive in town who could change her life, and she finally gets a choice: try her luck with the big-haired billionaire who claims to be scouting for gifted interns, or trust the rakish Cajun gambler with the eerie red eyes. But these two aren’t the only ones interested in a mutant just coming into her powers. Rogue will have to master her abilities and decide her own fate - before someone else does."

I will always have a soft spot for Rogue. 

Bottle Demon by Stephen Blackmoore
Published by: DAW
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The sixth book of this dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful gods and goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts.

The Necromancer is dead. Long live the Necromancer.

After being attacked by a demon in the one place he thought he was safe, Eric Carter has been killed, his soul sent to take its place as a stand-in for the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli. But somebody on Earth isn't done with him, yet. Somebody with the power to bring him back from the dead. He doesn't know who, and worse he doesn't know why.

Between an angry death goddess, family secrets steeped in blood, a Djinn who's biding his time, and a killer mage who can create copy after copy of himself, Eric's new life looks to be just as violent as his last one. But if he doesn't get to the bottom of why he's back, it's going to be a hell of a lot shorter."

I have an obsession with necromancers later. And the TV series Dynasty, which brings me to point number two, does our hero on the front cover look like Alexis's forth husband Sean Rowan to anyone else? With a better haircut of course.

Shadowed Steel by Chloe Neill
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the third installment in the USA Today bestselling Heirs of Chicagoland series, the vampires in Elisa Sullivan's world are out for blood.

Elisa Sullivan is the only vampire ever born, and she bears a heavy legacy. After a sojourn with the North American Central Pack of shifters in the wilderness - where she turned a young woman into a vampire to save her life - Elisa returns to Chicago.

But no good deed goes unpunished. The ruling body of vampires, the Assembly of American Masters, is furious that Elisa turned someone without their permission, and they want her punished. When an AAM vampire is found dead, Elisa is the prime suspect. Someone else is stalking Chicago - and Elisa. She'll need to keep a clear head, and a sharp blade, to survive all the supernatural strife."

Seeing as I can't go to Chicago right now despite being only three hours away because of Covid, time for some armchair travelling I think! 

Hail Mary by Andy Weir 
Published by: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 496 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this incredible new science-based thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian.

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission - and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery - and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could deliver, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian - while taking us to places it never dreamed of going."

I've been feeling a need to re-read The Martian lately, yet at the same time I want to read new books... so thank you Andy Weir for solving my dilemma!

Thief of Souls by Brian Klingborg
Published by: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In Brian Klingborg's Thief of Souls, the brutal murder of a young woman in a rural village in Northern China sends shockwaves all the way to Beijing - but seemingly only Inspector Lu Fei, living in exile in the small town, is interested in justice for the victim.

Lu Fei is a graduate of China’s top police college but he’s been assigned to a sleepy backwater town in northern China, where almost nothing happens and the theft of a few chickens represents a major crime wave. That is until a young woman is found dead, her organs removed, and joss paper stuffed in her mouth. The CID in Beijing - headed by a rising political star - is on the case but in an increasingly authoritarian China, prosperity and political stability are far more important than solving the murder of an insignificant village girl. As such, the CID head is interested in pinning the crime on the first available suspect rather than wading into uncomfortable truths, leaving Lu Fei on his own.

As Lu digs deeper into the gruesome murder, he finds himself facing old enemies and creating new ones in the form of local Communist Party bosses and corrupt business interests. Despite these rising obstacles, Lu remains determined to find the real killer, especially after he links the murder to other unsolved homicides. But the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he puts himself and his loved ones in danger."

A new take on classic mystery tropes. Also a cover to die for. 

Friend of the Devil by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Published by: Image Comics
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 104 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The next book in the red-hot Reckless series is here.

Bestselling crime noir masters Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are back with another new original graphic novel featuring troublemaker-for-hire Ethan Reckless.

It's 1985 and things in Ethan's life are going pretty well...until a missing woman shows up in the background of an old B-movie, and Ethan is drawn into Hollywood's secret occult underbelly as he hunts for her among the wreckage of the wild days of the '70s.

Another hit graphic novel from the award-winning creators of Pulp, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, Criminal, and Kill or Be Killed - a must-have for all Brubaker and Phillips fans

And look for the next standalone book in the Reckless series in October."

I don't know if I'd quite say a "must-have" given how meh the first volume was... 

21st Birthday by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Published by: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Detective Lindsay Boxer vows to protect a young woman from a serial killer long enough to see her twenty-first birthday.

When young wife and mother Tara Burke goes missing with her baby girl, all eyes are on her husband, Lucas. He paints her not as a missing person but a wayward wife - until a gruesome piece of evidence turns the investigation criminal.

While Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas pursues the story and M.E. Claire Washburn harbors theories that run counter to the SFPD’s, ADA Yuki Castellano sizes Lucas up as a textbook domestic offender...who suddenly puts forward an unexpected suspect. If what Lucas tells law enforcement has even a grain of truth, there isn't a woman in the state of California who's safe from the reach of an unspeakable threat."

New Women's Murder Club yeah! 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Season 26 - A Royal Scandal (1996-1997)

I am delighted that this gem of a show is available on DVD, albeit as an extra on the DVD release of the far inferior The Queen's Sister, which ironically aired on a rival station to PBS, BBC America. This production in just an hour gives an insightful and oftentimes hilarious look into the marriage of George IV, AKA Prinny, and Caroline of Brunswick. To say theirs was not a love match would be understating it. But what is amazing about this little glimpse into royal life during the Regency Era is that all the vitriol spewed back and forth showing them as nothing more than children was taken from what they actually said. They seriously said this!?! I'm horrified to think of what Prinny on Twitter would be like. Note to self, I want to see the Prince Regent on Twitter as a parody account. Seriously, why isn't this a thing!?! All I had remembered of A Royal Scandal was the interesting framing device of a narrator and the brilliance of Richard E. Grant as Prinny and Susan Lynch as Caroline evilly glaring at each other while on a very nice black and white tiled floor. Obviously hinting at the combative chess-like nature of their marriage. So for your edification and mine I rewatched it. I was blown away by who they got as the supporting cast! And I didn't even remember there was a supporting cast! Michael Kitchen, Frances Barber, Denis Lawson, Oliver Ford Davies, and Ian Freakin' Richardson as the pitch perfect narrator! This cast was more than one could hope for, how did I forget them!?! The subtlety of Michael Kitchen facing the opprobrium of Prinny's rage and just replying that he was sent to set up a marriage not weigh in on the suitability of the match. Perfection! Oh, and my favorite scene by far is when Caroline arrives in England and is greeted by her husband's mistress, Lady Jersey! There's a real repressed British cat fight about Caroline's dress and in particular her hat. Caroline wins on the point of her hat! She LOVES that hat! It has been said of Lady Jersey that she possessed "a heady mix of charm, beauty, and sarcasm" and I really can't think of a better way to describe this little glimpse at royal life, come for the charming sarcasm!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Season 27 - The Moonstone (1997-1998)

Sometimes there is an adaptation so perfect that you don't know which came first for you, reading the book or watching the adaptation. This is how it is for me with The Moonstone, the two are forever intertwined and my story is a mystery even to myself. On the shelves of our library cum television room we had the complete set of the Franklin Library's Masterpieces of Mystery, The Moonstone being one of the volumes, with it's faux red leather binding and colorfully garish illustration on the cover. As an aside, seeing as The Moonstone laid the groundwork for the entire detective genre if the Franklin Library hadn't included it it would have been a major oversight. Now the mystery becomes did I pick up that volume prior to one Sunday night when I was ensconced in my corner of the couch and watched a few minutes of The Moonstone with my mother or not? I remember sitting there so clearly, the warm light, the copy of The Moonstone on the shelf near my right shoulder. I'm pretty sure I didn't watch more than a few minutes of the movie because I was all about reading the book before watching the adaptation. At that time it was a strict rule in my life. But did I bend the rules? Later events might indicate I did... Maybe I'll claim that I was sleepwalking like Franklin Blake? Eventually I did pick up The Moonstone to read and the entire time I kept thinking, damn, have I read this before? I swear I've read this before... Or had I just watched the movie? This is compounded by the fact that when reading the book the character of the old house steward Gabriel Betteredge came into my mind as the incomparable Peter Vaughn. He was just there, in my head, and I accepted it as fact. Fast forward to me watching or perhaps re-watching the film and Peter Vaughn IS in it as Betteredge. Thinking of this which came first the chicken or the egg mystery just does my head it. But one thing is confirmed no matter what order events happened in, this is the best adaptation of The Moonstone you could hope to find. It's literally my headcanon.       

Monday, April 26, 2021

Tuesday Tomorrow

Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy by Timothy Zahn
Published by: Del Rey
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Thrawn and his allies race to save the Chiss Ascendancy from an unseen enemy in the second book in the epic Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

Thrawn’s latest triumph still rests newly on his shoulders. He has led the Chiss to victory and brought glory to the House of Mitth, but the true threat to the Ascendancy has not yet been extinguished. Their foes do not send threats or ultimatums, do not mass ships on the edge of the Chaos. Their weapons come cloaked in smiles and generosity: Gifts offered freely. Services granted unconditionally.

Across the Ascendancy, seemingly inconsequential events could herald the doom of the Chiss. As Thrawn and the Expansionary Defense Fleet rally to uncover the plot, they discover a chilling truth: Rather than invade Chiss capitals or pillage resources, their enemy strikes at the very foundation of the Ascendancy, seeking to widen the rifts between the Nine Ruling Families and the Forty Great Houses below. As rivalry and suspicion sow discord among allies, each warrior must decide what matters most to them: the security of their family or the survival of the Ascendancy itself."

No one will ever understand the joy I have that Thrawn was brought back from the expunged EU! 

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
Published by: Tordotcom
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 176 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The New York Times bestselling security droid with a heart (though it wouldn't admit it!) is back in Fugitive Telemetry!

Having captured the hearts of readers across the globe (Annalee Newitz says it's "one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I've ever read") Murderbot has also established Martha Wells as one of the great SF writers of today.

No, I didn't kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn't dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people - who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

Again!

A new standalone adventure in the New York Times-bestselling, Hugo and Nebula Award winning series!"

I am SO here for more Murderbot!

Alias Space and Other Stories by Kelly Robson
Published by: Subterranean Press
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 420 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Alias Space and Other Stories is the first fiction collection from Nebula Award-winning writer Kelly Robson, who vaulted onto the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror stage in 2015, earning spots in multiple Year’s Best anthologies. This volume collects Robson’s best stories to date, along with exciting new work, and notes to accompany each piece.

Robson’s stories are noted for their compassion, humanity, humor, rigor, and joy. This volume includes the chilling gothic horror “A Human Stain,” winner of the 2018 Nebula Award; the madcap historical fantasy “Waters of Versailles,” which was a finalist for both the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards; and science fiction stories such as the touching “Intervention,” chilling “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill,” obscene “What Gentle Women Dare,” heartbreaking “Two-Year Man,” and many others.

These fourteen stories showcase Robson’s whip-smart richness of invention, brilliant storytelling, deep worldbuilding, and devilish sense of humor."

There's nothing I love more than a beautiful new book from Subterranean Press!

Smithy by Amanda Desiree
Published by: Inkshares
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 500 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the tumultuous summer of 1974, in the shadowy rooms of a rundown mansion in Rhode Island, renowned psychologist Dr. Piers Preis-Herald brings together a group of seven collegiate researchers to study the inner lives of man's closest relative - the primate. They set out to teach their subject, who would eventually be known to the world as Smithy, American Sign Language. But as the summer deepens and the history of the mansion manifests, the messages signed by their research subject become increasing spectral.

Nearly twenty-five years after the Smithy Project ended in tragedy at Trevor Hall, questions remain: Was Smithy a hoax? A clever mimic? A Rorschach projection of humanity's greatest hopes and fears? Or was he indeed what devotees of metaphysics have claimed for so long: a link between our world and the next?"

This is like my dream, a Gothic Michael Crichton-esque book!

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published by: Del Rey
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 432 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis - neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse - and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina - and himself - that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins.

The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon."

A re-issue not to be missed from one of the hottest writers on the scene!

An Earl, The Girl, and A Toddler by Vanessa Riley
Published by: Zebra
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Masterminded by the ton's most clever countess, the secret society The Widow’s Grace helps ill-treated widows regain their reputations, their families, and even find true love again - or perhaps for the very first time...

Surviving a shipwreck en route to London from Jamaica was just the start of Jemina St. Maur's nightmare. Suffering from amnesia, she was separated from anyone who might know her, and imprisoned in Bedlam. She was freed only because barrister Daniel Thackery, Lord Ashbrook, was convinced to betray the one thing he holds dear: the law. Desperate to unearth her true identity, Jemina’s only chance is to purloin dangerous secrets with help from The Widow’s Grace - which means staying steps ahead of the formidable Daniel, no matter how strongly she is drawn to him...

Married only by proxy, now widowed by shipwreck, Daniel is determined to protect his little stepdaughter, Hope, from his family’s scandalous reputation. That’s why he has dedicated himself not just to the law, but to remaining as proper, upstanding - and boring - as can be. But the closer he becomes to the mysterious, alluring Jemina, the more Daniel is tempted to break the very rule of law to which he's devoted his life. And as ruthless adversaries close in, will the truth require him, and Jemina, to sacrifice their one chance at happiness?"

Because every remarkable woman wants a rogue right?

The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin
Published by: Dutton
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A heartwarming debut novel for readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, following three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town, each working through grief and life's curveballs, who are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm where they find surprising friendship, healing - and maybe even a second chance - just when they least expect it.

Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman is stuck in a dead-end job, bereft of family, and now reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Alice has begun having panic attacks whenever she thinks about how her life hasn't turned out the way she dreamed. Even the beloved honeybees she raises in her spare time aren't helping her feel better these days.

In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake - a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County - while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck. Charmed by Jake's sincere interest in her bees and seeking to rescue him from his toxic home life, Alice surprises herself by inviting Jake to her farm.

And then there's Harry, a twenty-four-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. When he applies to Alice's ad for part-time farm help, he's shocked to find himself hired. As an unexpected friendship blossoms among Alice, Jake, and Harry, a nefarious pesticide company moves to town, threatening the local honeybee population and illuminating deep-seated corruption in the community. The unlikely trio must unite for the sake of the bees - and in the process, they just might forge a new future for themselves.

Beautifully moving, warm, and uplifting, The Music of Bees is about the power of friendship, compassion in the face of loss, and finding the courage to start over (at any age) when things don't turn out the way you expect."

Read it for the bees! 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Season 28 - Frenchman's Creek (1998-1999)

If you go into this thinking you're getting an adaptation of the book by Daphne Du Maurier, yeah, just don't go into this thinking that. Look at the tagline; "A swashbuckling pirate adventure." That in no way represents anything to do with the book. This adaptation gives the distinct impression that one day someone was watching The Last of the Mohicans and went, "YES! That's what we want! Guys with long hair jumping off things and two forces at war and a love story!" Then someone else went "Well, how about adapting Daphne Du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek? It's set almost a hundred years earlier but we can make it work!" Conveniently forgetting everything that Frenchman's Creek stands for and making it the swashbuckling adventure they fantasized it to be. Gone is the journey of one woman's discovery of herself, a period piece that is relatable to this day, and in it's place is a rather silly movie that probably has more in common with the oft maligned Cutthroat Island than with it's source material. I mean, the title "Frenchman's Creek" doesn't even make sense anymore! Because in the book the creek is the Frenchman's hideout, here it's the house he is using and the ship is just moored wherever. But long before we had Starz, which strives to make programming for women, we women would have men badly adapting our stories. To change everything to make the male more important? Just no. Du Maurier would be furious. I'm furious! Less inner struggle, more violence? Um, no thank you. But this being a Masterpiece Theatre production there is the saving grace of good casting. Tara Fitzgerald and Danny Webb brought their A game. But my heart belonged with James Fleet as Dona's husband. He has this awesome James Fleetness that makes you just always love him. I don't know if it's because of The Vicar of Dibley, but I truly think there's something great in his soul that makes this likability always shine through even when he's an ass. Of course Dona went back to her husband! There really wasn't a choice to jilt James! He made the boorish role of Harry his own and in doing so made this his movie.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Season 29 - The Turn of the Screw (1999-2000)

One night back in undergrad two of my friends and I decided to go rent a movie. Remember video stores? Full of all those wonderful films yet somehow kind of grubby. We were walking from Rivendell (no really, my friend Matt lived in a big purple housing co-op named Rivendell) to the local video store a few blocks away. On the way there we found over $20 in cash on the ground that some drunk college student had obviously dropped. So dinner and a movie was on said drunk college student who was probably pissed in more ways than one when they found out. Four Star Video was known for it's rather indie pics. You could find basically anything there that was offbeat. After much toing and froing we decided on the Ethan Hawke/Kyle MacLachlan version of Hamlet and The Turn of the Screw, because Colin Firth. I'm not sure how far we got into Hamlet before it was ejected, but could have been twenty minutes could have been a thousand years. And that, my friends, is why you always rent two movies when you go out in case one is an absolute stinking pile of shit. Well, we didn't fair that well with The Turn of the Screw either. None of us had actually read the story, so we were all unprepared for the whole evil wins ending. What's more, and in fact more to the point of why it failed to meet our expectations is that Colin Firth was in the first five minutes and then never seen again. That's false advertising that is putting his name first! And yes, after this debacle my friends said I should pay them for having to sit through videos dubbed my choices... but they were free! And more importantly we did put it to a vote! But looking back, while The Turn of the Screw isn't my favorite ghost story out there this is the best direct adaptation there is, because at least they didn't throw in a weird insane asylum/murder conviction plotline like the 2009 version with Michelle Dockery did. So if you're looking for a faithful adaptation of The Turn of the Screw you can't go wrong with Jodhi May and Pam Ferris who are superb actors, but if you're looking for the best adaptation out there check out The Haunting of Bly Manor instead.       

Monday, April 19, 2021

Tuesday Tomorrow

Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding
Published by: Lion Fiction
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 192 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds - for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?"

It's Jane Austen meets Nancy Drew and I am HERE FOR IT!

The Social Graces by Renee Rosen
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The author of Park Avenue Summer throws back the curtain on one of the most remarkable feuds in history: Alva Vanderbilt and the Mrs. Astor's notorious battle for control of New York society during the Gilded Age.

1876. In the glittering world of Manhattan's upper crust, women are valued by their pedigree, dowry, and, most importantly, connections. They have few rights and even less independence - what they do have is society. The more celebrated the hostess, the more powerful the woman. And none is more powerful than Caroline Astor - the Mrs. Astor.

But times are changing.

Alva Vanderbilt has recently married into one of America's richest families. But what good is dizzying wealth when society refuses to acknowledge you? Alva, who knows what it is to have nothing, will do whatever it takes to have everything.

Sweeping three decades and based on true events, this is the mesmerizing story of two fascinating, complicated women going head to head, behaving badly, and discovering what’s truly at stake."

I sometimes dream I am in New York during the Gilded Age. Seeing as time travel is impossible this is the next best thing.

The Unfit Heiress by Audrey Clare Farley
Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Phantom of Fifth Avenue, a page-turning drama of fortunes, eugenics and women's reproductive rights framed by the sordid court battle between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her socialite mother.

At the turn of the twentieth century, American women began to reject Victorian propriety in favor of passion and livelihood outside the home. This alarmed authorities, who feared certain "over-sexed" women could destroy civilization if allowed to reproduce and pass on their defects. Set against this backdrop, The Unfit Heiress chronicles the fight for inheritance, both genetic and monetary, between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her mother Maryon.

In 1934, aided by a California eugenics law, the socialite Maryon Cooper Hewitt had her "promiscuous" daughter declared feebleminded and sterilized without her knowledge. She did this to deprive Ann of millions of dollars from her father's estate, which contained a child-bearing stipulation. When a sensational court case ensued, the American public was captivated. So were eugenicists, who saw an opportunity to restrict reproductive rights in America for decades to come.

This riveting story unfolds through the brilliant research of Audrey Clare Farley, who captures the interior lives of these women on the pages and poses questions that remain relevant today: What does it mean to be "unfit" for motherhood? In the battle for reproductive rights, can we forgive the women who side against us? And can we forgive our mothers if they are the ones who inflict the deepest wounds?"

FFS! What is it with the wealthy and their messing up their children royally? Just look to the Kennedys for another example!

World Travel by Anthony Bourdain
Published by: Ecco
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A guide to some of the world’s most fascinating places, as seen and experienced by writer, television host, and relentlessly curious traveler Anthony Bourdain.

Anthony Bourdain saw more of the world than nearly anyone. His travels took him from the hidden pockets of his hometown of New York to a tribal longhouse in Borneo, from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Paris, and Shanghai to Tanzania’s utter beauty and the stunning desert solitude of Oman’s Empty Quarter - and many places beyond.

In World Travel, a life of experience is collected into an entertaining, practical, fun and frank travel guide that gives readers an introduction to some of his favorite places - in his own words. Featuring essential advice on how to get there, what to eat, where to stay and, in some cases, what to avoid, World Travel provides essential context that will help readers further appreciate the reasons why Bourdain found a place enchanting and memorable.

Supplementing Bourdain’s words are a handful of essays by friends, colleagues, and family that tell even deeper stories about a place, including sardonic accounts of traveling with Bourdain by his brother, Christopher; a guide to Chicago’s best cheap eats by legendary music producer Steve Albini, and more. Additionally, each chapter includes illustrations by Wesley Allsbrook.

For veteran travelers, armchair enthusiasts, and those in between, World Travel offers a chance to experience the world like Anthony Bourdain."

He may be gone but his writing lives on.

Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson
Published by: Ecco
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Cook, Eat, Repeat is a delicious and delightful combination of recipes intertwined with narrative essays about food, all written in Nigella Lawson’s engaging and insightful prose. Whether asking 'what is a recipe?” or declaring death to the “guilty pleasure," Nigella brings her wisdom about food and life to the fore while sharing new recipes that readers will want to return to again and again.

Within these chapters are more than a hundred new recipes for all seasons and tastes from Burnt Onion and Eggplant Dip to Chicken with Garlic Cream Sauce; from Beef Cheeks with Port and Chestnuts to Ginger and Beetroot Yogurt Sauce. Those with a sweet tooth will delight in desserts including Rhubarb and Custard Trifle; Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake; and Cherry and Almond Crumble.

"The recipes I write come from my life, my home," says Nigella, and in Cook, Eat, Repeat she reveals the rhythms and rituals of her kitchen through recipes that make the most of her favorite ingredients, with inspiration for family dinners, vegan feasts, and solo suppers, as well as new ideas for cooking during the holidays."

Can I just say the number one thing I love about this book is that we don't have the horrid British cover stateside? I mean seriously, as a graphic designer and type enthusiast it drove me insane. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Season 30 - Take a Girl Like You (2000-2001)

There are some miniseries that aired on Masterpiece that have never been on DVD or streaming stateside and this royally pisses me off. There are so many great shows that once you see them all you're left with is your memory. And I know, I know, this is how things used to be. You'd see a movie in the theatre or watch a show and until the advent of home recording devices in the eighties this was just how you lived, off your memories. The two shows I most wish to see again are oddly both based on Kingsley Amis novels, Lucky Jim and Take a Girl Like You. Take a Girl Like You aired during a headlong rush of chaos in my life that resulted in me eventually take some time off from school. This is a roundabout way of saying I caught a little bit of it when it first aired, really liked what I saw, but was unable to watch the whole thing until it aired again a few years later. But at least that time I was prepared with a shiny new VHS tape to record it on! I really should bust out those tapes. I think I even have the Colin Firth miniseries of Nostromo... And yes, I'm weird in that I have a VHS actually hooked up to a TV so watching it wouldn't be a problem... Now this is all I'm going to be thinking about for days! Oh, I think I have Lucky Jim too! The real reason Take a Girl Like You appealed to me was the period setting and Emma Chambers was in it. Emma Chambers, who is sadly no longer with us, is an international treasure for her portrayal of Alice Tinker on The Vicar of Dibley. Emma only had twelve credits to her name, but the effervescent if slightly dim Alice and her lovely turn as Hugh Grant's sister in Notting Hill made her an actress never to be forgotten. Of course these were very up characters, very verging on hyper, so the depressing drunk who is more than a little bit of a Nosey Parker she plays in Take a Girl Like You is a surprising and delightful change. My mom and dad would say a depressing change, but I liked seeing her range. I also happened to notice that Rupert Graves was in this, but this was still during the time I hadn't warmed up to him. It was the one two punch of V for Vendetta and Sherlock that did that for me. But anyway, once I saw the whole thing, Take a Girl Like You is an interesting look at a very specific time in England and the sexual politics of dating. I just wish I didn't feel like it dated me to say how much I liked it when it aired over a decade ago!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Season 31 - The Way We Live Now (2001-2002)

Every once in awhile you stumble on a miniseries that gives you a new perspective on an actor you love, like Hugh Bonneville's villainous turn in Daniel Deronda which I talked about last week. And every once in awhile you stumble on a miniseries where you fall in love with an actor previously unknown to you. But the rarest of the rare is when both these events happen within the same miniseries, and that's what happened when I first watched The Way We Live Now. Let's tackle a returning favorite first, David Suchet. David Suchet plays the indomitable Augustus Melmotte, a wealthy foreigner taking in interest in British Rail. Everybody knows Suchet as Poirot. I mean it's not just a role, he IS Poirot and I will fight anyone who disagrees. If you've watched any of the interviews or documentaries with him that often air on PBS it's amazing how unlike Poirot he is. He becomes the character created by Agatha Christie. Which is why his completely submerging himself into the roll of Melmotte shouldn't be a surprise, but it is. I mean I even saw him in The Importance of Being Earnest as Lady Bracknell and he was her! But I'd never searched out films or shows with him starring other than Poirot so The Way We Live Now opened my eyes to his range, his professionalism, and how I definitely need more of him in my life, hence my going to see The Importance of Being Earnest. And speaking of someone welcome in my life at ANY time, let's talk Matthew Macfadyen. Matthew Macfadyen plays Sir Felix Carbury, who is wooing Augustus Melmotte's daughter in a vain attempt to right his family's financial problems. Nowadays everyone knows Matthew as Mr. Darcy opposite Keira Knightly. Keep in mind that film was four years away from happening when I first watched The Way We Live Now. So I hunted up everything I could that Matthew starred in, which wasn't much at the time! Even Spooks was a year away! But thankfully there was Enigma, Murder Rooms, Wuthering Heights, the one with him having no lines, and maybe it's best to skip Maybe Baby. I was enamored of this English John Cusack as my friend Jess dubbed him. To this day I will watch him in anything! Though there are a few that I wish I could forget. Looking at you Any Human Heart!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Tuesday Tomorrow

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
Published by: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife comes an atmospheric novel of intertwined destinies and heart-wrenching suspense: A detective hiding away from the world. A series of disappearances that reach into her past. Can solving them help her heal?

Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.

The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives - and our faith in one another."

I'm all about the tragedy of the past coming back in the present and hidden mysteries coming to light!

Bitterroot Lake by Alicia Beckman
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman's suspense debut.

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend - and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know."

Prescient nightmares, YAS!

The House of Hidden Secrets by C.E. Rose
Published by: Hera
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Format: Kindle
To Buy

The official patter:
"The imposing gates of Ramsay Hall yawned open. As Serena and 4-year-old Lana walked up the long driveway, little did they know the dark secrets that lay within.

When Serena Green accepted the role of housekeeper for wealthy widower Hayden Ramsay, she never imagined her new home would be Ramsay Hall, an ancient, sprawling mansion in Northern England.

Serena quickly becomes an integral part of the household, making friends with Hayden’s younger son Hugh, despite Jack, his older brother’s, coldness towards her and Lana.

But the hall’s beautiful exterior hides many ugly secrets. Though Serena and Jack begin to grow closer, she’s confused by his behaviour around Lana. What is he guilty of? And is there more to their mother’s death than the Ramsay men will admit, even to themselves?

As the harrowing past of Ramsay Hall unravels, Serena fresh start becomes a fresh horror. She fears for her and Lana’s safety, but what are the bleak secrets in Serena’s own past?

This house is built on a lifetime of lies...and the truth might just bring the walls crashing down.

A twisty, gripping and utterly unputdownable new thriller that fans of Lisa Jewell, C.L. Taylor and Mark Edwards will love."

What fresh horror is this? 

The Unkindness of Ravens by M.E. Hilliard
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Librarian Greer Hogan matches wits with a deviously clever killer in M.E. Hilliard's chilling series debut, ideal for fans of Louise Penny and Dorothy L. Sayers.

Greer Hogan is a librarian and an avid reader of murder mysteries. She also has a habit of stumbling upon murdered bodies. The first was her husband's, and the tragic loss led Greer to leave New York behind for a new start in the Village of Raven Hill. But her new home becomes less idyllic when she discovers her best friend sprawled dead on the floor of the library.

Was her friend's demise related to two other deaths that the police deemed accidental? Do the residents of this insular village hold dark secrets about another murder, decades ago? Does a serial killer haunt Raven Hill?

As the body count rises, Greer's anxious musings take a darker turn when she uncovers unexpected and distressing information about her own husband's death...and the man who went to prison for his murder. She is racked with guilt at the possibility that her testimony may have helped to convict an innocent man.

Though Greer admires the masters of deduction she reads about in books, she never expected to have to solve a mystery herself. Fortunately, she possesses a quick wit and a librarian's natural resourcefulness. But will that be enough to protect her from a brilliant, diabolical murderer?

And even if Greer manages to catch the Raven Hill killer, will living with her conscience prove a fate worse than death?"

Like a more Gothic Murder, She Wrote!

The Thin Place by C.D. Major
Published by: BThomas and Mercers
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"She has to know the truth about Overtoun Estate, but there is a reason it has stayed buried for so long.

When journalist Ava Brent decides to investigate the dark mystery of Overtoun Estate - a 'thin place', steeped in myth - she has no idea how dangerous this story will be for her.

Overtoun looms over the town, watching, waiting: the locals fearful of the strange building and the secrets it keeps. When Ava starts to ask questions, the warm welcome she first receives turns to a cold shoulder. And before she knows it, Ava is caught in the house's grasp too.

After she discovers the history of a sick young girl who lived there, she starts to understand the sadness that shrouds it. But when she finds an ominous old message etched into a windowsill, she is forced to wonder - what horrors is the house protecting? And what will it cost her to find out?

With her own first child on the way, Ava knows she should stay away. But even as her life starts to unravel, and she receives chilling threats, the house and the bridge keep pulling her back..."

I've always been obsessed with the concept of 'thin places' and this ups it by adding an estate!

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"New York Times-bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that's Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror.

When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:

x Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times.
x Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out.”
x If there’s a murderer on the loose, do not make out with anyone.

If only surviving in real life were this easy...

New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring stabby serial killers and homicidal dolls to the bored rich kids of Manhattan Prep...and to certain memories she’d preferred to keep buried.

Then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious society of students who orchestrate Fear Tests, elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and movie tropes. At first, Rachel embraces the power that comes with reckless pranking. But as the Fear Tests escalate, the competition turns deadly, and it’s clear Rachel is playing a game she can’t afford to lose.

It's like an even more meta/slasher version of Scream! 

Malice by Heather Walter
Published by: Del Rey
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily ever after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she...cares for me. Even though a power like mine was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating - and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps together we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I-

I am the villain.

Book One of the Malice Duology."

I might be a tad Sleeping Beauty obsessed and I just love that we're getting such a unique new spin on it!

Friday, April 9, 2021

Season 32 - Daniel Deronda (2002-2003)

On one level Daniel Deronda is all about the love triangle where there girl I was rooting for gets the guy despite not having the killer wardrobe the other girl does. I mean it, the clothes are top notch! On another level it's about making fun of Jamie Bamber's facial hair. I mean seriously, I can NOT look at him as Hans and not burst out laughing. I just wonder what would have become of Battlestar Galactica had he taken this look with him to that show later the same year. OK, now I can't stop laughing again. I should also stop googling images of him as Hans because this isn't helping things. At all. OK, it's making me happy, so perhaps I should continue. If you want to have a good laugh google "Daniel Deronda Jamie Bamber" and have yourself a gander and a giggle. Curtailing my mirth, most importantly this miniseries is about the acting range of Hugh Bonneville. His turn as Henleigh Grandcourt is nothing short of pure villainy. The first time I watched it I was enraptured by Hugh Bonneville, and yes, I feel obliged to use his full name in this review to not confuse him with the other Hugh in this adaptation, Hugh Dancy, who is also perfectly cast if you were wondering. Hugh Bonneville in recent years has cemented his teddy bear persona with his portrayal of Robert Crawley on Downton Abbey. He's a bit befuddled, but he gets there in the end and is the best dad a girl could hope for. He doubled down on this by helming the Paddington Bear franchise. Prior to Daniel Deronda he was also the teddy bear, the devoted husband in The Cazalets, the oblivious Mr. Rushworth in the version of Mansfield Park I fail to acknowledge, and of course most notably, Bernie, the bumbling friend of Hugh Grant, dammit another HUGH has snuck into this review, in Notting Hill. So Hugh Bonneville is almost always playing to his strengths here, which makes Daniel Deronda so amazing. He is an out and out brute and you don't for one second deny that this is who he is! He became the character and he is the driving force of this miniseries. This isn't Hugh Bonneville anymore, this is Grandcourt! A villain to watch out for and an actor to admire.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Season 33 - The Forsyte Saga Series 2 (2003-2004)

The original adaptation of The Forsyte Saga is what birthed Masterpiece Theatre. Without that series we wouldn't be celebrating fifty years of British television right now. Though aside from Michael York and Susan Hampshire the original series lacks name recognition. That's where this version really knocked it out of the park; Damian Lewis, Gina McKee, Rupert Graves, Ioan Gruffudd, Corin Redgrave, Barbara Flynn, Amanda Root, and Ben Miles! You have freakin' Horatio Hornblower in it! Plus so many up and coming actors like Julian Ovenden who should have SO married Sam on Foyle's War. I mean seriously, her husband is a loser and she deserved to officially be Foyle's daughter! I will forever be pissed by this until Anthony Horowitz rewrites the last few seasons. He can take time out from being a big time author to do this! He can multitask I'm sure of it. This miniseries set up to be lush while the original was the last series to be fully filmed in black and white. It's like they had something to prove and prove it they did. One of my favorite touches is the dress that Irene Forsyte is wearing on the cover of the DVD set (see above.) This dress is an exact replica of the dress from John Singer Sargent's painting Madame X, except in red. Little touches like this are seen throughout the series. Especially in the house Robin Hill. A fictional house my dad loves so much he's willing to move into it immediately. But what this series is most known for is how gut-wrenching it is. You will be non-stop crying through the entire series. Therefore it takes fortitude to watch it. Being prepared doesn't help. But I think this emotional release is why I love it so much, and in particular the second series. When Young Jolyon Forsyte played by Rupert Graves lies dying and his daughter June played by Gillian Kearney is copiously weeping that she cannot live without him, I felt it so deep in my bones that I think I might have had a little nervous breakdown that only giving my dad a big hug could fix. That night I couldn't stop crying this series forever took up a little corner of my soul and I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Tuesday Tomorrow

The Best Thing You Can Steal by Simon R. Green 
Published by: Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 192 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Welcome to London, but not as you know it. A place where magics and horror run free, wonders and miracles are everyday things, and the dark streets are full of very shadowy people...

Gideon Sable is a thief and a con man. He specializes in stealing the kind of things that can't normally be stolen. Like a ghost's clothes, or a photo from a country that never existed. He even stole his current identity. Who was he originally? Now, that would be telling. One thing's for sure though, he's not the bad guy. The people he steals from always have it coming.

Gideon's planning a heist, to steal the only thing that matters from the worst man in the world. To get past his security, he's going to need a crew who can do the impossible...but luckily, he has the right people in mind. The Damned, the Ghost, the Wild Card...and his ex-girlfriend, Annie Anybody. A woman who can be anyone, with the power to make technology fall in love with her.

If things go well, they'll all get what they want. And if they're lucky, they might not even die trying..."

A delicious black black market world!

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
Published by: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In this remarkable debut based on actual events, as a team of male scholars compiles the first Oxford English Dictionary, one of their daughters decides to collect the “objectionable” words they omit.

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Young Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word bondmaid flutters beneath the table. She rescues the slip, and when she learns that the word means “slave girl,” she begins to collect other words that have been discarded or neglected by the dictionary men.

As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women’s and common folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. And so she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words. To do so she must leave the sheltered world of the university and venture out to meet the people whose words will fill those pages.

Set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement and with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. Inspired by actual events, author Pip Williams has delved into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary to tell this highly original story. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world."

Because of course men would omit women's words and voices!

Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson
Published by: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened comes a deeply relatable book filled with humor and honesty about depression and anxiety.

As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.

With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor - the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball - is present throughout.

A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.

Includes Photographs and Illustrations."

I really had to think of which books Jenny would like to be between on this post. Yes, this was very important to me!

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A dark, twisty modern fairytale where three sisters discover they are not exactly all that they seem and evil things really do go bump in the night.

Iris Hollow and her two older sisters are unquestionably strange. Ever since they disappeared on a suburban street in Scotland as children only to return a month a later with no memory of what happened to them, odd, eerie occurrences seem to follow in their wake. And they're changing. First, their dark hair turned white. Then, their blue eyes slowly turned black. They have insatiable appetites yet never gain weight. People find them disturbingly intoxicating, unbearably beautiful, and inexplicably dangerous.

But now, ten years later, seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow is doing all she can to fit in and graduate high school on time - something her two famously glamourous globe-trotting older sisters, Grey and Vivi, never managed to do. But when Grey goes missing without a trace, leaving behind bizarre clues as to what might have happened, Iris and Vivi are left to trace her last few days. They aren't the only ones looking for her though. As they brush against the supernatural they realize that the story they've been told about their past is unraveling and the world that returned them seemingly unharmed ten years ago, might just be calling them home."

Sold at the suburban disappearance!

Litany of Dreams by Ari Marmell
Published by: Aconyte
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Dark incantations expose the minds of Miskatonic University students to supernatural horrors, in this chilling mystery novel of Arkham Horror.

The mysterious disappearance of a gifted student at Miskatonic University spurs his troubled roommate, Elliot Raslo, into an investigation of his own. But Elliot already struggles against the maddening allure of a ceaseless chant that only he can hear...When Elliot’s search converges with that of a Greenland Inuk’s hunt for a stolen relic, they are left with yet more questions. Could there be a connection between Elliot’s litany and the broken stone stele covered in antediluvian writings that had obsessed his friend? Learning the answers will draw them into the heart of a devilish plot to rebirth an ancient horror."

If like me you always thought that Miskatonic University was always the best part of Lovecraft, this book is for you!

Titan Song by Dan Stout 
Published by: DAW
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The third book in the acclaimed Carter Archives noir fantasy series returns to the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Forbidden magic, murder...and disco. Carter's day keeps getting worse.

With the return of spring, new life floods into Titanshade. The sun climbs higher and stays longer, the economy is ascendant, and ever more newcomers arrive to be part of the city's rebirth. Even pop culture has taken notice, with a high-profile concert only days away. When a band member's murder threatens to delay the show, the diva star performer demands that the famous Detective Carter work the case. But Carter has secrets of his own, and his investigation unearths more victims and dark secrets, triggering a spiral of deceit, paranoia, and nightmarish magical transformations.

As conspiracies are exposed, Carter is sucked even deeper into the machinations of the rich, the powerful, and the venerated. Soon the very foundations of the city threaten to collapse and Carter's own freedom is on the line as he navigates between old enemies and fragile new alliances while racing to learn the true cause of this horrific series of deaths."

Yaroo, a new Carter Archives book!

The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon
Published by: Gallery/Scout Press
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the New York Times bestselling author of The Invited and The Winter People comes a chilling new novel about a woman who returns to the old family home after her sister mysteriously drowns in its swimming pool…but she’s not the pool’s only victim.

Be careful what you wish for.

When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.

In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.

A haunting, twisty, and compulsively readable thrill ride from the author who Chris Bohjalian has dubbed the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson,” The Drowning Kind is a modern-day ghost story that illuminates how the past, though sometimes forgotten, is never really far behind us."

Ghost story from the "literary descendant of Shirley Jackson!?!" Well, whomever wrote that you knew how to hook me!

Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeaon Chapman
Published by: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Inspired by the McMartin preschool trials and the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s, the critically acclaimed author of The Remaking delivers another pulse pounding, true-crime-based horror novel.

Richard doesn’t have a past. For him, there is only the present: a new marriage to Tamara, a first chance at fatherhood to her son Elijah, and a quiet but pleasant life as an art teacher at Elijah’s elementary school in Danvers, Virginia. Then the body of a rabbit, ritualistically murdered, appears on the school grounds with a birthday card for Richard tucked beneath it. Richard doesn’t have a birthday - but Sean does...

Sean is a five-year-old boy who has just moved to Greenfield, Virginia, with his mother. Like most mothers of the 1980s, she’s worried about bills, childcare, putting food on the table...and an encroaching threat to American life that can take the face of anyone: a politician, a friendly neighbor, or even a teacher. When Sean’s school sends a letter to the parents revealing that Sean’s favorite teacher is under investigation, a white lie from Sean lights a fire that engulfs the entire nation - and Sean and his mother are left holding the match.

Now, thirty years later, someone is here to remind Richard that they remember what Sean did. And though Sean doesn’t exist anymore, someone needs to pay the price for his lies."

Based on a true crime? Um, yes please!

Pride an Premeditation by Tirzah Price
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit.

When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case - and her feelings for Darcy - become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed."

Austen and murder seem to go together so well, and the title is pure Midsomer Murders. 

Doctor Aphra by Sarah Kuhn
Published by: Del Rey
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Dr. Aphra teams up with Darth Vader himself in the original script to the audiobook production - an expanded adaptation of the critically acclaimed Marvel comics series.

Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra, rogue archaeologist, is in trouble again.

A pioneer in the field of criminal xenoarchaeology, Aphra recognizes no law, has no fear, and possesses no impulse control. To her, the true worth of the galactic relics she discovers isn’t found in a museum but in an arsenal. This viewpoint has led to a lot of misunderstandings. After her latest plan goes horribly wrong, her roguish ways are on the verge of catching up to her. That’s when suddenly Darth Vader, terror of the galaxy, swoops in with his lightsaber and...saves her life?

Don’t get her wrong - it’s not like she’s ungrateful. Sure, her new boss is a lord of the Sith. And okay, she may have just become a pawn in a deadly game being played by him and his boss, who happens to be the Galactic Emperor. And yes, the life expectancy of anyone who disappoints Vader can be measured in seconds.

But she’s back doing what she does best. She’s got a ship to fly, a heist to pull, and two unorthodox but effective metal buddies: Triple-Zero, a protocol droid specializing in etiquette, customs, translation, and torture, and BT-1, an astromech loaded with enough firepower to take down a battlecruiser. Together, they might just find a way to get the job done and avoid the deadly performance review that waits at its conclusion.

Just kidding. She’s doomed."

If you're like me and hate audiobooks, look, they made the audiobook I really wanted to read into a book book! 

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