Book Review: When I Was You by Minka Kent

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When I Was You, by Minka Kent, begins with the story of Brienne Dougray, a woman who is recovering from a brutal attack which has left her with severe migraines, memory loss and neurological issues. She is so disabled and traumatized that she almost never leaves the Queen Anne Victorian home she inherited from her wealthy grandparents. To compound her difficulties, she’s inexplicably lost all of her friends since her attack, leaving her with only her boarder, handsome and compassionate Dr Noah Emberlin, to depend on when she needs care.

Niall is a somewhat mysterious figure himself, an oncologist at the local hospital who also seems to have few friends and sends Brienne decidedly mixed signals about what he wants from her. Is he a friend who pities her and gets carried away sometimes, so his attentions are easily mistaken for romantic? Or does he have feelings for Brienne, but thinks he should hold back because of her health status?

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Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot Recap

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There are worse things in life to wake up to than Alex Newell singing in the apartment next door. That’s what happens to Zoey Clarke (Jane Levy) when she develops a new musical superpower early on in the pilot of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, NBC’s new hour long musical series. Alex, who plays Mo, a DJ, fashion designer and artist, frequently sings and plays loud music even before Zoey develops her power. With her new talent, she can hear the songs that he only sings inside his head. Zoey is initially too much of a coding nerd to appreciate any of this.

When there’s an earthquake while she’s having an MRI of her head with a radio playing, Zoey acquires the ability to read minds, in the form of watching people sing fully choreographed musical numbers that explain their current state of being. The computer running the test does something funky as the world shakes, making portions of Zoey’s brain light up that shouldn’t be affected.

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Raising Dion Season 1 Review: How Do You Raise a Superhero?

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Netflix’s Raising Dion is about 8 year old Dion Warren (Ja’Siah Young) and his mom, Nicole Reese-Warren (Alisha Wainwright), accidental superheroes who must rise to the occasion, and the superheroes who surround them. Some of them have superpowers and some of them are normal humans who are compelled to protect the people they love when danger strikes. Some succeed and some fail. Some turn evil. At the heart of the story are parents and children who are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the people they love safe.

That sounds cheesy, but Raising Dion takes the classic superhero origin story to a new level. Dion inherits his powers from his father, Mark Warren (Michael B Jordan), but they don’t manifest until after his firefighter father has died in an accident. Season 1 shows how the supernatural event which gives Mark his powers sends ripples throughout the group of people he was with at the time, his family and their community for years to come.

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Book vs Screen Review: A Discovery of Witches Season 1 vs Book 1

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It begins with absence and desire.

It begins with blood and fear.

It begins with a discovery of witches.

Both the book and the TV series A Discovery of Witches begin with this short poem, the key to the mystery that the All Souls Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness, spends solving. A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the urban fantasy series, which has now expanded beyond the original trilogy to include a fourth book. According to Deborah Harkness, several more installments, focusing on other characters and mysteries, are on the way.

A Discovery of Witches tells the story of Diana Bishop, a witch from a family of powerful witches in a world where there are three types of humanoid magical creatures: witches, vampires and demons. The creatures live secretly among humans, blending into normal human society. Under normal circumstances, members of each species spend time only with others of their own species. Intermarriage is strictly forbidden and even interspecies friendships are severely frowned upon.

Diana Bishop has always had difficulty wielding her magic. She turned away from the magical world almost completely after her parents died tragically when she was a child. She was raised in upstate NY by her mother’s sister, Sarah, and Sarah’s partner, Em. As an adult, she’s become a historian who is on the faculty and studies alchemy in the US at Yale and in the UK at Oxford. She sees herself as a non-magical person, but it overflows out of her at times when something unexpected happens, even though she is untrained in its use.

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Hulu’s Reprisal Season 1 Review

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This is a review of the entire season. Recaps of individual episodes are posted HERE as I complete them.

Hulu’s new retro noir series Reprisal is a unique show filled with unique characters. As such, it deserves a spot in their pantheon of shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Runaways which highlight complicated characters in fictional worlds that just keep improving the more involved the viewer gets. Altered Carbon is on Netflix, not Hulu, but it’s another show with a similar viewing experience, where it takes several episodes for the characters and the world to click into place and the plot to really take off. Then the viewing experience just gets better and better, as we’re plunged into an immersive world, where everyone has an agenda and anything can happen.

Reprisal takes place in an alternate universe that’s not set in a particular time period, but isn’t the future. It’s set in a neon swingers’ punk gangster scene that combines the look of the late 1940s- early 60s Rat Pack with a few more modern conveniences like 2000s flip phones and 70s muscle cars. It’s gorgeous and lives by its own rules, as this show does in every way.

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Katie Hill, Bodily Autonomy and the Need for Feminist Mama Bears

I put up a new post on my other site, WitchyRamblings.com today. Take a look!

Witchy Ramblings

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The Katie Hill revenge porn saga highlights much that’s wrong with our culture today, especially when juxtaposed against the Trump non-impeachment saga. I’ve watched both unfold with horror, reminded of how truly powerless we average citizens are. Of how powerless women ultimately are.

I don’t have the answers for how to stop revenge porn or Donald Trump and the Republicans. I mean, I do- enforcing the constitution and laws that are already in place would be a good start. So would treating women like the equal, dignified human beings we are. But more energetic, smarter people than me are working very hard on those crises. Sometimes the problems of the patriarchy seem intractable and like they’re only getting worse, no matter how hard we fight.

So today, I’m going to focus on the issue in a more individual way. I was struck by how victimized…

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Evil Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot Recap/Review

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Evil’s Mike Colter, star of Netflix’s recently canceled Luke Cage, and his costar Katja Herbers, from Divorce, have a lovely working and romantic chemistry together. However, I had a little trouble moving on from his romance with Rosario Dawson/Claire Temple. After everything they went through to be together, it’s still just a little too soon.

Such are the perils of watching too much TV.

Not that Colter’s new character, David Acosta, will be getting up to anything overtly romantic with Herbers’ character, Dr Kristin Bouchard, anytime soon, since he is a Catholic priest in training and she is the married mother of four young daughters who is also the sole financial support of her family. Even though a seminary student like David, who’s only 2 years into his 5 year training program, can still walk away, especially if he entered the program out of grief and guilt over a lost loved one, as is strongly implied in the pilot. And even though a lapsed Catholic such as Kristen can break her marriage vows, especially to an absentee husband who barely contributes to the support of his family while he’s pursuing his own selfish goals.

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Spoilery Discussion

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My non spoilery review of The Testaments is HERE. This post will comment on the book in detail and assumes readers have already finished reading it.

This is going to be a series of observations and analysis, in no particular order, rather than a straight review. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks and if you agree or disagree with me. There are minor spoilers for the TV series The Handmaid’s Tale.

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Prime Video’s Undone Season 1 Review/Episode 1: The Crash Recap

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Prime Video’s new animated series for adults, Undone, is a unique show that explores mind-bending themes, mental health and family drama in 8 short, 22-24 minute long episodes, making the most of its stellar cast and experienced animation team in each episode. Creators Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy (BoJack Horseman) used the animation technique of rotoscoping to give the series a surreal quality that takes it a step beyond magical realism.

Rotoscoping involves filming the actors in live action, then tracing over the filmed images to create a polished animated product. Undone is the first serialized TV series to be fully animated using rotoscoping. Probably its most famous previous use was in the film A Scanner Darkly. The same team, Minnow Mountain, did the rotoscoping on both that film and Undone.

Undone is the story of Alma Winograd-Diaz (Rosa Salazar), a young woman who is struggling with her goals and identity, in addition to the lingering trauma from her father Jacob’s (Bob Odenkirk) death when she was a child. Outwardly, her life seems Happy and Fine. She lives with her nice boyfriend, Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay), and has a decent job at a daycare center, working with her good friend and boss, Tunde (Daveed Diggs). (Who wouldn’t want to work with the voice of Daveed Diggs?)

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