Sci-Fi

Dark in Death

Dark in Death

Dark in Death (In Death #46) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

It was a stab in the dark.

On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.

Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.

The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.

Review:

I did not like the first half of this book, at all. Because one of the side characters, that until then I’d only had positive thoughts of, said a word that Trans people find offensive, I was immediately on my guard. There were hints that the deranged serial killer was going to be Trans or non-binary and it kept me on edge in a bad way. Based on what there was I did not trust Robb to write about the subject in a well-researched and thoughtful way.

Making matters worse a female novelist was a main character in the story. I have not had good experiences with that, especially when it feels like there is some tongue in cheek things said to the reader through that character. Which was the case here.

Like I said the first half of this book was not for me in any way. The second half had us back in familiar territory, though, and I preferred that. We had a fair amount of Peabody, which I loved. Roarke was great. Sadly, the first half ruined the book for me.

2/5

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Secrets in Death

Secrets in Death

Secrets in Death (In Death #45) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…

Review:

It took me forever to finish this book, my reading habit is still borked for some reason. There was nothing wrong with this, it was a normal In Death book, so don’t take that as a sign this one isn’t any good.

Eve witnesses the death of a Gossip Columnist and upon further digging discovers the woman was a narcissistic sociopath. It was an interesting story, wrapped up fairly quickly, easy enough to figure out who done it, but still entertaining.

I liked that we got to see more of the supporting characters than we have in the last few books, though, still not as much as I feel like there used to be. Eve is definitely growing as a character and didn’t dwell on some of the darker parts of the mystery as much as she would have in the past. Her and Rourke were on point during the story and we actually got a little bit of time with just him.

It was a nice, non-world shattering mystery and I enjoyed it.

4/5

Maniac (2018-?)

Maniac

Maniac (2018-?)

Network:

Netflix

Creators:

Cary Joji Fukunaga

Patrick Somerville

Starring:

Jonah Hill

Emma Stone

Sonoya Mizuno

Sally Field

Plot:

Two strangers are drawn to a mysterious pharmaceutical trial that will, they’re assured, with no complications or side-effects whatsoever, solve all of their problems, permanently. Things do not go as planned.

Review:

This started out super weird and I wasn’t sure what was real or not. The world was not our own, they had tech we don’t, but it wasn’t magical. It was very odd. As the show progressed I no longer had that issue, even though, they were reality hopping. Things were still weird, but I knew what was happening.

I never warmed up to Jonah Hill’s character. He seemed very devoid of emotion and I had a hard time caring about him at all. Emma Stone, on the other hand, I loved. She wasn’t a very likable character, but I got her emotion and I enjoyed watching her.

I hesitate to say the show was entertaining. I don’t think I enjoyed hardly any of it, but it wasn’t bad. It just ended up not being my cup of tea.

3/5

Manifest (2018-)

Manifest

Manifest (2018-)

Network:

ABC

Creator:

Jeff Rake

Matthew Fernandez

Starring:

Melissa Roxburgh

Josh Dallas

Athena Karkanis

Plot:

After a turbulent, but routine flight, the passengers and crew discover the world has aged five years, yet no time has passed for them, and soon a deeper mystery unfolds.

Review:

The premise for this show is really interesting. I also enjoy Josh Dallas, so I decided to give this a try.

The first episode is basically the plot synopsis. It asked a lot of questions and didn’t answer anything. Everyone who was on that plane has had their lives turned upside down and they don’t know the full extent of it yet. Some of them seem to be hearing voices telling them to do things. Lives have moved on and relationships will never be the same.

It’s all interesting and dramatic, but can they deliver on all these questions? No idea. Right now it’s interesting enough to keep me watching, but I am concerned about the religious allusions. Lots of references to a Bible verse and the fact that they’re hearing voices has some wondering if it’s God. Not something I care to watch so I’m really hoping they don’t go that route. If it looks like they are I will be dropping it.

3/5

Leia: The Princess of Alderaan


Leia: The Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) By: Claudia Gray

Plot:

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY….THERE WAS A PRINCESS WHO BECAME A LEGEND.

Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the thrown of Alderaan. She’s taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren’t acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter. Determined to uncover her parents’ secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice; dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan–including the make she loves–or the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.

Review:

Leia is a tragic character. Her entire world and family are destroyed by the Empire. She’s also an amazing character because despite all that she keeps fighting. Her son turns evil, she keeps fighting. Her husband is murdered by her son, she keeps fighting. One of her oldest and best friends sacrifices herself so that the resistance can live on, and I’m going to assume she keeps fighting. At this point it’s like Leia is the favorite whipping boy of every Star Wars writer. It’s depressing.

So let’s dive back into the backstory of this tragic character. Surely, we’ll find something happy and not horrible. Right?

Well, the book starts with Leia depressed because her parents have started blocking her out of things. They are no longer the tight family unit she’s grown up as. Being part Lois Lane she discovers through snooping that her parents are part of a rebellion that is just starting out. They resist letting her join, even though they all know it’s actually worse for her if she doesn’t. The Empire will still kill her if they find out.

While trying to convince them she can help she takes part in the Junior Legislature and comes to the realization that the Senate has even less power than she thought. That the Emperor and his lackeys have set up pretty much everything to go the way they want and even when she thinks she’s succeeding, she isn’t.

During this time she meets her fellow Alderannean (?) Kier who she ends up falling in love with. She thinks she can trust him and that they are on the same page. Kier is good, but he values Alderaan’s safety over the safety of the rest of the universe. I imagine his ghost was screaming ‘Fuck You Leia’ when Alderaan blew up. Because that’s right, Leia’s first love, the boy she gave her virginity to, was freaking killed.

I am not a fan of prequels, knowing what’s ultimately going to happen takes all the joy out of it for me, but I read this because one of the hosts of the Strong Female Characters Podcast repeatably mentioned that it was an amazing book and that it was revealed that Holdo was poly. I was excited about that, so I persevered. I kept waiting for Holdo to be in a relationship or something to clue us in, until finally I came to one little line. Leia says she’s going to stick to humanoid males and Holdo says how limiting. That was it. Seriously. I was disappointed and had hoped for so much more.

I didn’t need a sex scene, I just wanted a relationship or something more than a throwaway line that could have been easily missed. Sure we learned more about Holdo, and that was nice, but she came off as a Sci-Fi Luna Lovegood. There wasn’t much there. Occasionally, we got some insights into her character, but Leia for the most part thought she was flighty and weird. By the end of the book she was a bit more fleshed out, but I would have liked more. Like maybe a book about her life instead of a princess we already know a lot about.

The last line basically took a baseball bat and beat you upside the head with dramatic irony. Leia thinks, she’s got her family, friends, and planet. At least the Empire can’t take that away from her. It was massively eye roll inducing.

Claudia Gray is a great author, and this was very well written, but much like Solo I don’t think this book needed to be made. It took a character with a tragic story and doubled down hard. We got some glimpses into what it was like to live on Alderaan, which made the loss even worse, but honestly that was about it for me.

3/5