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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Book Review: The Names of the Dead by Kevin Wignall

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The Names of the Dead, by Kevin Wignall, is a road trip spy thriller in which everyone is hunting everyone else, everyone is a soldier or a spy, and the goals are revenge and silence. The point of view character, James Wesley, an ex-CIA agent known as Wes, begins the book in a French prison, where his government abandoned him after he took the fall for a deadly mission gone wrong several years earlier.

Wes has 2 years left on his sentence when he gets word that his ex-wife, Rachel, who was also a CIA agent, has died in a suicide bombing at a small cafe in Spain. This saddens him, but the shocking part of the message is that their son, Ethan, is missing. Rachel didn’t tell Wes that she was pregnant when he went to prison and has never contacted him since. Now he learns that he’ll be released early because of his bereavement, since he is his son’s next of kin.

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Book vs Screen Review: True Blood Season 1 vs Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

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But First, A Brief, Non-Exhaustive Tour Through My Favorite Romantic Vampire Media

Though I have been writing reviews on this blog for more than three years, I have been keeping a dark secret from you, dear readers. I haven’t really been keeping the secret on purpose, but a lie of omission is still a lie, so please, try to forgive me. I don’t think this reveal will come as much of a shock to my regular readers.

The truth is, I have a deep, lifelong love of vampire romance. I’m open minded, and can consider other supernatural romances as well, but werewolves are so packminded that I question their devotion to their beloved. Ghosts seem so thin and superficial. Zombies are interested in brains, but I want more than just a relationship of the mind. Angels and demons both have to leave their beloveds in the lurch when they get called into service by the higher- and lower- powers they serve. A shapeshifter is an inconstant lover in so many ways, how could we ever develop trust?

There are exceptions: Oz from Buffy. The medieval ghosts of Lynn Kurland’s paranormal romance novels. The sentient zombies of In the Flesh. The married angel-demon couple from Midnight, Texas, another Charlaine Harris story. And no one is more trustworthy than True Blood’s own shapeshifter, Sam Merlotte.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 2: A Flintlock & A Hound

Doris Finds Her Guys & Witt Wrings His Hands

The title of episode 2, A Flintlock & A Hound, refers to an old-style gun fired by striking a spark from a flint and a traditional type of hunting dog. In other words, the hunt is on, and the hunters are armed and ready. Doris is searching for the best crew to act as her backup when she confronts her enemies in the Banished Brawlers. Big Graham is framed by Molly and Doris and thus on the hunt for revenge. Individually and as groups, the Happiness Ghouls and the Banished Brawlers are hunting for a lot of things, most of them conflicting. Joel is definitely trying to maintain the status quo, but he’s not getting any help. The hunt for peace is never an easy one.

Recap

The episode begins with a major piece of Ethan’s origin story. Late one night in Detroit, several weeks ago, Ethan prepares to leave work at Doris’ restaurant. As he says good night to her at the bar on the way out, they’re both mocked by the last customer, an obnoxious redneck. The bartender informs the redneck that it’s closing time. The customer continues to argue and insult the staff before he stumbles outside, shoving Ethan as he leaves.

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The Man in the High Castle Season 4 Episode 2: Every Door Out… Recap

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“Every door out… is a door in.” In season 4, episode 2, Dr Mengele and his portal experiments return. The program has advanced significantly in the last year, with regular teams of Nazi spies making the trip to the Alt-World for both espionage and sabotage. Thanks to Hawthorne Abendsen and the Reich’s enhanced interrogation methods, Mengele has also made a map of the multiverse. John Smith understands the potential waiting for them in each world- if the Nazis can send someone to a new world, that world can send someone to the High Castle world as well. Everyplace is a potential threat.

Including schools and homes in the American Reich, since children have been taught to spy on and turn in their loved ones. Some, like Amy, are very enthusiastic about enforcing the rules. Jennifer isn’t happy about being back in the Reich, so John has to play referee between his two daughters to keep them both alive.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 1: The Tale of Harold Horpus Recap

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My review of Reprisal season 1 is HERE.

In episode 1 of Reprisal, we’re introduced to Katherine Harlow, aka Doris Quinn, who begins the story as a scorned part of the Banished Brawlers gang, but soon reinvents herself into Chef D, a respectable Detroit caterer. Unfortunately, Chef D finds that the men of the Detroit restaurant world aren’t much different from the men of her hometown gangster world, which forces her to make some decisions that will affect more than just herself. As William Faulkner said in his novel Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Reprisal takes place in a neo-retro noir alternative world that could be the recent past, but could also be a future which has regressed technologically. It could be 100 years into our future, in which we’ve dialed back the level of materialism in order to save the planet or because of the way wealth has been redistributed. In the retrofuture world of Reprisal, Original Star Trek’s communicators have become modern flip phones, which are in use alongside old style land lines. The music spans many decades, from rockabilly and blues to punk.

Much of the series’ look refers back to the post-war era of the late 1940s-60s, especially as viewed through the lens of film.The creators have drawn from films such as Rebel Without a Cause, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dirty Dancing, Blade Runner and American Graffiti. They’ve combined the neon of the 50s and the neon of neo noir/cyberpunk into their own disaffected, Gothic Noir style.

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Stumptown Season 1 Episode 9: Dex Education Recap

Stumptown S1Ep9 Dex & Penny

The winter finale of Stumptown finds Dex reunited with one of her high school nemeses, a redhead formerly known as “Perfect Penny”, who knew our heroine as “Dirty Dex”. Both have grown beyond their high school personas, though they each still have some of the character quirks that earned them their nicknames, proving we are all works in progress. And that it’s easy to use words to mislead, which happens a lot this week. From the interrogation room techniques the police use to the way the drug dealers try to misdirect Dex, there are many ways to lie, including to oneself.

Penny brings Dex the case of the week, which involves her daughter being expelled from an expensive private high school for dealing drugs. Meanwhile, Dex tries to sort out what really happened at the end of her night out at the casino with Liz.

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Theatre Review: Waitress National Tour in Albuquerque, NM, 12/13/19

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Waitress * Book by Jessie Nelson * Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles * Directed by Diane Paulus * National Tour at Popejoy Hall, UNM 12/13/19

I reviewed the Waitress first US national tour in December, 2017 HERE. This is a review of the Waitress US national non-Equity tour which began in November, 2019.

The musical Waitress is about Jenna, a diner waitress who is at a crossroads in her life, and the journey she takes as she comes to terms with the ramifications of her choices, slowly at first, then all at once. By the end of the show, her life is both drastically changed from the life she had at the beginning, but also still comfortingly familiar. Jenna manages to grow and get what she needs without losing what she already has that’s good in her life. But she also leaves the worst of her old life behind as she learns to stand up for herself and leave fear behind.

She’s contrasted with and supported by her two fellow waitresses, Dawn and Becky. Dawn is younger than Jenna, single, even more fearful and with less confidence and experience of the world. She posts a profile on a dating site under the name NewDawnRising which leads her to meet OKCWithaBullet, otherwise known as Ogie, who shares a love of Revolutionary War reenactment with her.

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Emergence Season 1 Episode 9: Where You Belong Recap

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In episode 9, the winter finale of Emergence, Jo and her family fight to keep Piper out of the hands of the terrorist group that’s been bombing Auger Industries sites. In the process, they come to a mutual agreement about Piper’s standing in the family, Ed pursues a possible treatment for his cancer and a traitor in their midst is revealed.

Some huge events happened very quickly at the end of episode 8, including the death of Alan Wilkis at the hands of a new character, Helen, who accused him of taking something that didn’t belong to him, and Piper finding out the truth about what she is, but not succumbing to the fatal exception.

And Jo and Alex making out. Oh, darn it, that was still only in my head. They are definitely both thinking about it for real, though. Chemistry doesn’t lie. Stay away, new homewrecking FBI Agent Ryan Brooks, Jo’s taken.

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Stumptown Season 1 Episode 8: The Other Woman Recap

Stumptown S1Ep8 Dex & Dex

This week on Stumptown, Dex faces old foes and old issues in order to solve a case for Sue Lynn Blackbird. Dex and Grey attempt to navigate around Grey’s relationship with Liz, while Liz and Ansel become better acquainted.

Recap

Dex sits at the bar and checks out a comics-style drawing of herself done by Liz, at Grey’s request, for Dex to use on her PI Yelp page. Grey thinks she needs tp jazz up the page to bring in hits and paying customers. Dex, as usual, rejects ideas that are new and related to Liz, despite Ansel’s enthusiastic approval. During the conversation, they find out that Liz played college soccer with Tobin Heath, a famous real life player for the Portland women’s  pro soccer team, the Portland Thorns FC. Ansel is a big fan of the team.

Sue Lynn enters and puts a stack of cash down in front of Dex as a retainer. She says that someone is harassing her using seemingly minor acts and she wants Dex to find out who. They’ve stolen her wallet, broken into her house, put a rotting fish on her windshield, and laid a honeytrap by sending a man to seduce her. He was just her type, but too perfect. Dex thinks she’s being paranoid. She’s barely finished saying it when a bomb explodes on the hood of Sue Lynn’s car. Dex sees Sue Lynn’s point and takes the job.

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