• Books

    Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

    Spoilers Alert: If you wish to know absolutely nothing about the plot of these books, please do not read the review. I usually do not reveal key plot details. I could not avoid it with this review as I critiqued a similar plot device used in this series.

    Harry Potter meant a lot to me as an adolescent and I have read most of J. K. Rowling’s books and will continue to read her books. I think she has improved as a writer. I really enjoyed reading this novel for a lot of ways, but by the end, I couldn’t give it a 4/5 stars. I have become fairly generous with four stars, but somethings bothered me too much.

    There are relationship issues in all of these novels with Strike, Robin, and their significant or ex significant others. This is focused more heavily in the first fifth of the novel, but then gives way to the actual mystery which I appreciated. I really can’t stand the dance between Strike/Robin. I do not really care for the angst that has been introduced and likely will be set up for the future. I much prefer to read them as partners in solving mysteries. While I understand all of their predicaments, I’ve had to slough through Robin’s life with the prick Matthew and Strike’s man pain and Charlotte issues. It has dragged on for four books and sadly, will likely drag on.

    As someone who has lived in London, it is a character in these novels as settings usually can be in mysteries. I have appreciated the detail Rowling goes into with the setting and the characters. The novel had many pubs, restaurants, and homes in London. I really liked the details that you can only get from a long novel like this.

    The novel had many characters for these settings. At first, I actually liked that there were so many suspects and secondary/tertiary character stories. Some of the suspicious characters were interesting and I didn’t mind the extra world building. The red herrings threw me off at first; however, after awhile, I began to see some of the foreshadowing clues. That in itself is not a big issue, but the longer the book was and the more details that were added, I wondered how the writer would resolve it. Disappointingly, the climax was a drawn out exposition between good and bad. By this time, I had predicted the mastermind but not the details so while I liked reading those details, it was contrived. More annoyingly, Robin was in peril again with the villain! That is two books in a row. She is pivotal to the plot and the villain does take an interest to her, but it is cheap it has to happen again. It makes her look stupid and naive.

    I still like Robin, Strike, and most of the supporting characters in this series. I still love the setting and most of the writing, but I did feel a bit deflated at the end. I was having a bad weekend when I finished so it did factor in, but I can’t escape my ambivalence about the ending. I will still read the next book and hope that that there are changes to the lives of the characters and the climactic moments.

    Read January 16-20, 2019.

  • Books

    Competence by Gail Carriger

    Often times when I pick up another book from this series, I forget why I like it so much. This was the first prose novel I’ve read in a few months so I felt a bit rusty getting back to reading.

    I’ve had mixed feelings about Rue, the main character of the last two books. She’s flamboyant and charming, but sometimes a bit too perfect. I didn’t find her relatable. However, these books are narrated more by her best friend Primrose and Prim’s brother Percy. Percy always seemed a bit of a wet blanket in these last two books, but his development here is a lot more easier to read.

    I like Prim because she’s very practical. She has an inner conflict all through the episode because of her feelings for Tash, but it is resolved by the end of the novel. It is romantic and so is the other love story in this novel. I think this novel was much better than the last two. I think Garriger has always been a fun writer of characters and she keeps getting better.

    Looking forward to another book in this series. I hope Percy gets a romantic interest now that he is the only officer left in this crew that is unattached.

    Read January 15, 2019.

  • Monthly Movies,  Movies,  TV

    Monthly Movies/TV – Autumn 2018

    It’s been awhile since I did these kind of posts. I haven’t really been watching as many movies or tv shows as I use to, but I’d like to mark it here on a seasonal basis.

    September

    “Bodyguard” Series 1 (BBC) – This is BBC’s most watched drama in years. I enjoyed it a lot. I like Richard Madden and I’m glad he gets to stretch some range with this role. My partner is a big fan of Jed Mercurio’s “Line of Duty” as well and I will start that soon.

    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (21 09 18) – Reviewed here.

    October

    Ocean’s 8 (22 10 18) – I had moderate expectations going into this because I knew it was not the most critically acclaimed. I really enjoyed it because it looked good and the cast is extraordinary. It’s not as stylish as Soderbergh’s films but I like Gary Ross’s work. There is not much in the way of character development, but this is a fun movie. I actually hope there is a sequel.

    “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Season 1 (Oct 2018) – A tad long side. Found the mortal/Sabrina friends storylines were dull but witch ones are fun. Good cast and styling.

    November

    Ethel & Ernest (03 11 2018) – Very lovely animated film about an English family in the early twentieth century

    December

    L Storm (12 12 2018) – I’ve developed a tradition of watching Chinese or Hong Kong movies on airplanes. Decent plotting and suspense, but not much in the way of character development.

    Gravity (25 12 2018) – Really like Curaon as a director so been meaning to watch it. Quite nice and definitely a theatre movie but we only watched on our small screen. We watched Charade earlier the same day (one of my fav movies growing up) and it was jarring to see Clooney as a second rate Cary Grant.