Friday, September 21, 2018

Lucifer

Oh, Lucifer, you devil. Or should I say, oh, Tom Ellis, you devil. Because the number one reason I first turned into Lucifer three seasons ago was because of Tom Ellis. As Gary on Miranda Hart's TV Series Miranda, he was the loveable yet romantically inept cook who won Miranda's heart and hand. Yes I enjoyed him on Merlin as well, but as for The Secret of Crickley Hall, a miniseries with so many of my favorite actors that I thought I would love it, well, it's best avoided, as I realized once again late one night recently catching part of an episode on PBS. But surely, you're thinking, that I MUST have really turned into the show because it's based on Neil Gaiman's interpretation of Lucifer Morningstar in his Sandman comics? Honestly? No. And to now shock you further, while I love Neil Gaiman, and I adored his voicing of God in the season three bonus episode set in an alternate timeline, "Once Upon a Time," I can't stand the Sandman comics. I've tried people, I've really tried. But I just couldn't take anymore after the sixth collection and now it's been six years since I read those six volumes and I'd have to re-read them before finishing the final four volumes, and I'm sorry, there are just too many other books I want to read. Some of them even by Neil! Back to the show. Lucifer is a wonderfully almost wacky reinterpretation of what a procedural show can be, what with Lucifer's brother trying to get him to go back to hell, Lucifer's therapist who after thinking for a very long time that Lucifer was delusional, now gets that this is all too real. There are demons and love interests, and an ex who really loves his pudding. I mean, seriously, Dan loves his pudding. When Netlfix saved the Satan, I don't think my heart could have been happier.      

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Lost in Space

When I was little I loved Lost in Space. The problem was it aired at the same time as my swimming lessons. Needless to say I connived to try to stay home on an almost daily basis and rarely succeeded. As for the movie with Heather Graham and Joey from Friends, the less said the better. But the failure to reboot the series in the late nineties meant that I had really no expectations going into the new series on Netflix. I mean, yes, the fact that Toby Stephens was attached as John Robinson made me hopeful, and the gender swapping of Dr. Smith and then casting the always fabulous Parker Posey just made me more interested, but still I waited to watch the series. I didn't know if this newest incarnation of The Swiss Family Robinson would try to recreate the camp of the original series or instead go all grim dark like so many reboots do nowadays. I was literally in for a huge surprise. Instead of being camp or grim dark the show is actually just a wonderful adventure series that plays well for adults and can easily be family friendly. It felt like the best of science fiction movies made in the eighties and made me feel like a kid again. I see why Netflix ordered a second series, because I personally need more of the adventures of the Robinson clan as soon as possible. The way they reinterpreted the material, having them flee Earth, get stranded with a small group of fellow travelers, but then get stranded again, setting up season two to be more in-line with the story we remember? It was perfect. But the twists and turns, the surprises you don't see coming? This was edge of your seat television and me and my new best friend The Robot will stop by and have a chat with you if you disagree.     

Monday, September 17, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
Published by: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 656 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Lethal White is the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series from the international bestselling author Robert Galbraith.

“I seen a kid killed…He strangled it, up by the horse.”

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been - Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

The most epic Robert Galbraith novel yet, Lethal White is both a gripping mystery and a page-turning next installment in the ongoing story of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott."

I wasn't fully on the whole J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith bandwagon until earlier this year, but now I'm all in and CAN NOT WAIT for this next installment. The problem will be the waiting for the next after I devour Lethal White in a matter of days... 

Black Diamond Fall by Joseph Olshan
Published by: Polis Books
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the acclaimed author of Clara's Heart and Cloudland comes a rich, literary mystery based and united by two real events that occurred at Middlebury College; the disappearance of a student during winter break; and the vandalism of the Robert Frost Homestead located on one of the outer campuses.

Luc Flanders has just finished playing a game of pond hockey with his college roommates when he realizes he has lost something precious and goes back to the ice to find it. He never returns, and the police department in Middlebury, Vermont are divided in their assessment of what may have happened to him. Some feel that Flanders left on his own accord and is deliberately out of touch. Others, including detectives Nick Jenkins and Helen Kennedy, suspect that harm may have come to him. As the search for Luc Flanders widens and intensifies, suspicions about several different people, including his Middlebury College roommates and ex-girlfriend arise. Unfortunately, Sam Solomon an older man with whom Luc has been having a secret relationship, cannot prove his whereabouts during the hours when the younger man may have disappeared and Solomon, too, comes under suspicion.

As Luke Flanders disappears, the Robert Frost house near the Middlebury campus is vandalized. And there seems to be a link between the two events that the police are determined to discover. Alternating points of view between Luc Flanders Sam Solomon, Luc’s mother and detective Nick Jenkins, Black Diamond Fall races to a disturbing and astonishing conclusion in a lush, literary mystery that could only come from the mind of acclaimed author Joseph Olshan."

I was sold on the linked real events!

Wychwood - Hallowdene by George Mann
Published by: Titan Books
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside, until she's sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch's grave. Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising again. Elspeth investigates, but soon finds there is far more to the old tale than meets the eye, as the surrounding area is rocked by a series of mysterious and brutal murders, all of people somehow connected with the dig. She and her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw race to uncover the truth, but secrets lain buried for centuries are not easily discovered."

I have literally had George's new book preordered from the second I could. I can't wait to dive into this book that's so timely for this season...

Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Published by: Harper
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 816 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author returns to the magnificent universe he constructed in his bestselling novels The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, and The Prisoner of Heaven in this riveting series finale—a heart-pounding thriller and nail-biting work of suspense which introduces a sexy, seductive new heroine whose investigation shines a light on the dark history of Franco’s Spain.

In this unforgettable final volume of Ruiz Zafón’s cycle of novels set in the universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, beautiful and enigmatic Alicia Gris, with the help of the Sempere family, uncovers one of the most shocking conspiracies in all Spanish history.

Nine-year-old Alicia lost her parents during the Spanish Civil War when the Nacionales (the fascists) savagely bombed Barcelona in 1938. Twenty years later, she still carries the emotional and physical scars of that violent and terrifying time. Weary of her work as an investigator for Spain’s secret police in Madrid, a job she has held for more than a decade, the twenty-nine-year old plans to move on. At the insistence of her boss, Leandro Montalvo, she remains to solve one last case: the mysterious disappearance of Spain’s Minister of Culture, Mauricio Valls.

With her partner, the intimidating policeman Juan Manuel Vargas, Alicia discovers a possible clue—a rare book by the author Victor Mataix hidden in Valls’ office in his Madrid mansion. Valls was the director of the notorious Montjuic Prison in Barcelona during World War II where several writers were imprisoned, including David Martín and Victor Mataix. Traveling to Barcelona on the trail of these writers, Alicia and Vargas meet with several booksellers, including Juan Sempere, who knew her parents.

As Alicia and Vargas come closer to finding Valls, they uncover a tangled web of kidnappings and murders tied to the Franco regime, whose corruption is more widespread and horrifying than anyone imagined. Alicia’s courageous and uncompromising search for the truth puts her life in peril. Only with the help of a circle of devoted friends will she emerge from the dark labyrinths of Barcelona and its history into the light of the future.

In this haunting new novel, Carlos Ruiz Zafón proves yet again that he is a masterful storyteller and pays homage to the world of books, to his ingenious creation of the Cemetery of Forgotten, and to that magical bridge between literature and our lives."

While I wasn't blown away by the first book in this series, it has stuck with me enough that I really want to check out the rest of the series, this being the newest installment with, easily, the best cover.

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by: jimmy patterson
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The #1 New York Times bestselling series that started with Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula continues in this third bloody installment! A luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of madness and horror when passengers are murdered one by one...with nowhere to run from the killer.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they're delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It's up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer's horrifying finale?"

I've had Houdini on my mind lately...

Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness
Published by: Viking
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, a novel about what it takes to become a vampire.

On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus's deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor - the young employee at Sotheby's whom Marcus has fallen for - is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he'd escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both - forever.

A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time's Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries."

Let's go back to the universe of Deborah Harkness shall we?

The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas
Published by: Amulet Books
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"It wasn’t technically an exorcism, what they did to Clare. When the reverend and his son ripped her demon from her, they called it a “deliverance.” But they didn’t understand that Clare and her demon - known simply as Her - were like sisters. She comforted Clare, made her feel brave, helped to ease her loneliness. They were each other’s Only.

Now, Clare’s only comforts are the three clues that She left behind:
Be nice to him
June 20
Remember the stories

Clare will do anything to get Her back, even if it means teaming up with the reverend’s son and scouring every inch of her small, Southern town for answers. But if she sacrifices everything to bring back her demon, what will be left of Clare?"

Sounds like her demon is a bit of a daemon, and yes, I'm leading into the next book out this week...

Daemon Voices by Philip Pullman
Published by: Knopf
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the internationally best-selling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, a spellbinding journey into the secrets of his art--the narratives that have shaped his vision, his experience of writing, and the keys to mastering the art of storytelling.

One of the most highly acclaimed and best-selling authors of our time now gives us a book that charts the history of his own enchantment with story--from his own books to those of Blake, Milton, Dickens, and the Brothers Grimm, among others--and delves into the role of story in education, religion, and science. At once personal and wide-ranging, Daemon Voices is both a revelation of the writing mind and the methods of a great contemporary master, and a fascinating exploration of storytelling itself."

While yes, I'd prefer a new fiction book by Pullman, one can't look a gift horse in the mouth that in under a year we're getting a new Pullman book...

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Published by: Orbit
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A delightful illustrated edition of Soulless, the first novel in the New York Times bestselling Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking. Featuring illustrations by Jensine Eckwall.

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?"

While one might ask, how many copies of Soulless are too many, I'd point out the illustrated aspect of this one... though by the cover I'm not sure I'll like the style at all.

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
Published by: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 364 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens - dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.

Cora’s specialty is not only profitable, it’s a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She’s the girl born with two hearts—a legend among grave robbers and anatomists - sought after as an endangered prize.

Now, as a series of murders unfolds closer and closer to Cora, she can no longer trust those she holds dear, including the young medical student she’s fallen for. Because someone has no intention of waiting for Cora to die a natural death."

This book had me sold at resurrectionist add in the Whovian vibe of two hearts, and it's a must read.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Hap and Leonard

I'm still scratching my head as to why I forgot to include Hap and Leonard last year because their second season which aired in 2017, based on Joe R. Lansdale's book Mucho Mojo, was one of the most suspenseful and riveting seasons of ANY television show I've ever watched. Words can not do justice to the investigation of a sinister serial killer in their midst whilst also somehow complimenting that with dark humor that is spot on. As I've said before when talking about Altered Carbon, I will watch anything with James Purefoy in it, but there are only a few Purefoy shows that achieve a level of near perfection, The Following and Injustice being the only two which came to mind before I found Hap and Leonard. But add to Purefoy the charismatic relationship he has onscreen with the always wonderful Michael Kenneth Williams and they're the best dynamic duo to be seen in a long time on our screens. And as an aside, Michael Kenneth Williams is, in my mind, the only thing that could have improved Solo: A Star Wars Story which is easily my favorite Star Wars film since the original trilogy, and yes, I know that might be a controversial opinion, but there you have it. What's interesting about the show, besides wonderful casting from Andrew Dice Clay to Jimmi ('My father was named Mary. His father before him was named Mary. And his father before him was named Craig.') Simpson is that for a period show, set in the late eighties, it is so timely and relevant. This past season, and sadly it's last as Hap and Leonard was cancelled, dealt with racism and the KKK, a sight that is not unfamiliar in today's America. Perhaps it was too real for some people. For me it was perfect.       

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Strike

Strike, because I refuse to call it by it's stupid and really pointless US title C.B. Strike, is based on the popular Cormoran Strike series by J.K. Rowling. I mean C.B. Strike!?! Really!?! Call it Cormoran Strike or even Cormoran Blue Strike or even just Cormoran, why his initials which he NEVER uses in the books or on the series!?! OK, rant over. I promise. Or at least I promise the "initial" rant is over. Strike is a show that has a lot going for it but all the elements have yet to fall into place to make it what it could become, one of the best mystery shows out there. The most important aspect is the casting, and they NAILED it with Tom Burke of The Musketeers and The Hour as Cormoran and Holliday Grainger of The Borgias and the recent adaptation of My Cousin Rachel as Robin. The casting is literally so perfect that when reading the books I now see them as the leads. The problem is in how they've been adapting the books, the first book, The Cuckoo's Calling, which is my least favorite in the series was the best adaptation. And I know what you're thinking, but it's not because it was my least liked book, it's because it was the only three part adaptation of the series, the further two books being adapted as two parters. These books are so dense that a three parter is necessary and thankfully Lethal White, out later this month, will be getting a three part adaptation. Now they just have to stop doing stupid things like changing Robin's motivation from selfless to selfish and I'll be content.     

Monday, September 10, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit by Amy Stewart
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 11th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Trailblazing Constance’s hard-won job as deputy sheriff is on the line in Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit, the fourth installment of Amy Stewart’s Kopp Sisters series.

After a year on the job, New Jersey’s first female deputy sheriff has collared criminals, demanded justice for wronged women, and gained notoriety nationwide for her exploits. But on one stormy night, everything falls apart.

While transporting a woman to an insane asylum, Deputy Kopp discovers something deeply troubling about her story. Before she can investigate, another inmate bound for the asylum breaks free and tries to escape.

In both cases, Constance runs instinctively toward justice. But the fall of 1916 is a high-stakes election year, and any move she makes could jeopardize Sheriff Heath’s future—and her own. Although Constance is not on the ballot, her controversial career makes her the target of political attacks.

With wit and verve, book-club favorite Amy Stewart brilliantly conjures the life and times of the real Constance Kopp to give us this “unforgettable, not-to-be messed-with heroine” (Marie Claire) under fire in Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit."

If you watched the "Siblings" episode of Drunk History and thought those Kopp sisters sure seemed interesting, you're in luck, Amy Stewart has just released the forth book in her series about them!

Malice Aforethought by Frances Iles
Published by: Dover Publications
Publication Date: September 11th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Dr. Edmund Bickleigh married above his station. Although popular and well respected in his little Devonshire community, he seethes with resentment at the superior social status of his domineering wife, Julia. Bickleigh soothes his inferiority complex by seducing as many of the local women as he possibly can — but with the collapse of his latest fling and a fresh dose of sneering contempt from Julia, the doctor resolves to silence his wife forever and begins plotting the perfect murder.

With Malice Aforethought, Francis Iles produced not just a darkly comic narrative of psychological suspense but also a landmark in crime fiction: for the first time, the murderer's identity was revealed at the start of the tale. Hailed as a tour de force by the British press of its day, the book retains its shock value and stands at #16 in the Crime Writers' Association ranking of the Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time."

Years ago I watched the two part series this book is based on and just loved it. Now you can have the book on your shelves with this wonderfully period cover! 

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Terror

There needs to be a special prize for The Terror because it was able to include every single British male actor of a certain age. Is that Tobias Menzies and Ciarán Hinds having a Rome reunion? Yes it is! Is that Fisher Bloom from Lark Rise to Candleford I see, aka Matthew McNulty? Yes in one! Could that be Victor Colleano from Mr Selfridge? But of course! On and on you will name check every actor in this series, yes that IS George Warleggan's dogsbody, but there are literally SO MANY characters you will have no idea who's who so you will literally be calling Victor Victor instead of Henry Collins and Fisher is Fisher, not Lt. Edward Little. And yes, I had to look up their names because I literally had no idea what their names were even though I devoured every episode of this show that merges the history of a doomed expedition to find the Northwest Passage with supernatural elements from Native folklore. So you're probably wondering why watch this show that leaves you scratching your head half the time wondering who everyone is referring to? The answer is twofold and it's two characters that are polar opposites (see what I did with the polar joke?) Henry Goodsir played by Paul Ready and Cornelius Hickey played by Adam Nagaitis are just riveting. You will never love a character as much as Henry Goodsir and you will never hate a character as much as Cornelius Hickey. Henry Goodsir is a creature of pure light and goodness and you will want to protect him from all the ills of the world while every time Cornelius Hickey is on screen you will be calling for his head on a pike. These two made the series. These two deserved Emmy nominations. But the problem there is you'd have to remember their names...

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon was one of the shows I was most looking forward to this past year. This had nothing to do with the desire to see an ambitious cyberpunk book series brought to life and everything to do with my love of James Purefoy and Joel Kinnaman. I watched that horrid adaptation of Mansfield Park for you James Purefoy, I will watch anything you are in! And the truth is, at times, this show was brilliant. The problem was the moments of brilliance made you realize they were capable of achieving perfection so when the show lagged you really felt it. Set in the future where human consciousness can be downloaded into new bodies, AKA sleeves, this allows death to no longer be an obstacle and the rich can literally live forever. Enter Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs hired by the wealthy James Purefoy to find out who murdered his previous sleeve. Takeshi is downloaded into Joel's beautiful body and has to deal with this new body's history, his own history, and his job. If the show had stuck to a linear storyline of who killed James Purefoy instead of going off on long expository rants mainly dealing with Takeshi's fucked up personal life this show could have really worked. But going forward I don't know if I will be interested in watching. The show hinges on the interesting conceit of different actors playing the same role. Now this conceit isn't that original, even Woody Allen has done it, but where this conceit fails is I have this connection to the characters played by these specific actors, do I want to see Joel replaced by Anthony Mackie? Eh, I'm not sure.

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