Thursday, January 17, 2019

Supernatural 14x10 "Nihilism"

Well, we're back from winter hiatus. Seems like it went by so fast, no? Feels like just yesterday we were seeing Michael take back over Dean in the last episode. But here we are, ready to pick back up where we left off.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester/Michael in Supernatural 14x10 "Nihilism"Sam, Jack, and Castiel face Michael and manage to distract him enough to get him into some angel cuffs so he can't snap his fingers and make them all go poof. All while they are hearing reports from that girl, whatever her name is that's been featured this season (I wanna say Maggie?) is calling them to tell them the monsters are wrecking havoc and on their way to get them, blah blah etc etc. Luckily, Sam remembers that they always have reapers watching over them, so he calls for some help, and they get transported back to the bunker.

But now the monsters are just on their way to the bunker! They've only got so much time to figure out what to do to try to get Dean back. Michael is all ho hum I'll just wait for my monsters to come save me, while Sam decides to try that mind connector thingy to reach Dean inside wherever Michael has him buried down. He and Castiel head inside Dean's mind. While Cas is shifting through Dean's memories of all of the trauma he's been through, trying to figure out where Michael would've stashed him, Sam figures out that no, the best way to keep Dean complacent and quiet is to keep him somewhere he would like. And that's when they hear the place where Dean actually is...

Rocky's Bar, a bar Michael has invented for him run, with Pamela by his side helping him out. He's in what you might call a time loop of sorts, replaying the same thing over and over again. Sam and Cas manage to make it into this loop of his, and though it takes some doing, they eventually start to reach him by pointing out that one, Pamela got blinded, and two, she's also dead. And then Sam says the magic word, which I don't remember being a thing, but I would hope I am just forgetting that tidbit, and bang, Dean remembers everything. Michael shows up then inside the dream or whatever you want to call it, and they soon figure out that he's the same as them in there, he can't snap his fingers and kill them. They manage to team up against him and lock him away in the closet, where the closet basically represents Dean's mind.
Misha Collins as Castiel, Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, Alexander Calvert as Jack in Supernatural 14x10 "Nihilism"
Meanwhile, the monsters start breaking into the bunker (well, if you want to get technical, they were let in by someone who was turned), and Jack ends up using some of his angel powers to kill them all. Cas gives him a lecture about this later, because the more of the magic he uses, the more of his soul that goes away. And we all remember soulless Sam was such a hoot with his lack of morals and all.

In his room, Dean is visited by head reaper Billie, who informs him that the many books in her library describing the many different ways he could die have all changed to Michael breaking free and killing the world. Well, all of the books, but one. Which she has brought for Dean to peruse, because it always goes well when someone knows their fate. But he seems a bit flabbergasted by the book and doesn't know what to do with it. And of course we don't see what's written, because that would get rid of the tension, I guess.  So we're left wondering for the future just what's in the BOOOOK?!

Random Thoughts:

- I'll be honest, the only episode I'm looking forward to is the upcoming 300th episode which features a certain returning guest star. It will be hard to miss who this is unless you live under a rock considering this person is featured on one of the covers of Entertainment Weekly this week, but I'll refrain just in case.

- Seriously though, where did Poughkeepsie come from?

Quotes:

Dean: How can you always have a boyfriend?
Pamela: How can you only want what you can't have?
Dean: Ohh.
Pamela: Besides, you don't want me, you just like to flirt. I'm a psychic, so I kinda know.

Michael: Cool science project, I give it a solid B-.

Dean: My mind, my rules. I got him. I'm the cage.

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Book Review: Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Published: October 2, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Hardcover Pages: 514

Synopsis: Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.

She believed she knew every horror and was beyond surprise.

She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this astonishing and heart-stopping sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

Thoughts: Here's the thing, I absolutely LOVED Strange the Dreamer, the first book in this series, and included it on my list of my favorite books of 2017. So I suppose I had some high expectations going into this sequel. And while I did still like Muse of Nightmares, I can't say that I loved it nearly as much.

Why is that, you wonder? I think I can boil it down to a couple things, really. Firstly, almost half of the book takes place over the course of one day, whereas Strange felt much more epic in scope and seemed like it was over a much longer period of time. It was just a bit jarring to go from one pace to the other. Secondly, while Strange does feature the blossoming romance between Lazlo and Sarai, Muse pauses to go into a lot of romantic details between them. While some people might enjoy all of that gushy romance, personally, I'm not a huge fan. And it just seemed like there was a lot of it.

Those are really my two main gripes. Now let's get to what I liked! Basically everything else? Ha. This book goes into a lot of the backstory of how the Mesarthim came to be in Weep and what their purpose was. It connects a lot of different mysteries together in a satisfying and intriguing way that honestly just opens up the world to many more stories. I know originally this was supposed to be a duology, but now I'm wondering if there will be more. While it does end in a satisfying way, there is so much potential for more. I don't want to say anything else because it would spoil things.

Now, if you're a fan of Laini Taylor and you haven't read this series yet, I would just say why the heck not? She has such a lyrical way with words, and is able to connect so many threads of stories in cool ways. If you liked the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, I don't think you'd be disappointed in this one. I would say I enjoyed this series more than that one, so take that how you will.

Rating: 4/5

What I'm Reading Next: Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

Monday, December 24, 2018

Favorite Books of 2018

This year, I started writing reviews of the books I was reading as I finished them, so if you've been paying attention to those, you may already know which books I will probably feature here. But if you'd just like a quick rundown rather than reading each of the reviews in full, well here you go!

I don't have as many books this year, as apparently I didn't read as many as I have been in past years. I'm not sure why, exactly, but probably just life being busy and all that jazz. Anyway, enough about that, let's get to the books!
Synopsis: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.” Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Why it made the list: In many ways, this book felt like a modern take on a classic fairy tale. That's not to say that it takes place in modern times or anything, because it definitely does not, but it has a more modern sensibility in that the main female character is strong rather than needing to be saved. You know, just that. The story gripped me pretty quickly, and didn't let up once it started going. A definite recommend for anyone who likes fairy tale-ish fantasy.


Synopsis: Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

Why it made the list: Wow. I mean, I enjoyed Scythe, the first book in this series, but I didn't have to read it, I didn't crave reading it, like I did this sequel. It just takes off at a rapid pace and doesn't let up. It's thrilling and interesting, and does a great job at introducing a new character perspective. That in itself is a pretty big feat as that typically annoys the hell out of me, but it was done very well here. I can't wait to read the next one!


Synopsis: Remember, it’s only a game… Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever. Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Why it made the list: A lot of what makes this book so much fun is just the atmosphere of the Caraval itself. The story is somewhat predictable, and Scarlett's arc is fairly expected, but at the same time it was highly enjoyable. This book, more than the two above, features a romance at the heart of the story as well, which may have been part of the appeal as I can be a sucker for a good romance. I haven't read the sequel yet, so I can't say if the series as a whole holds up, but it's on my list.


Other books I enjoyed this year, but wouldn't call my favorites: Gathering DarknessFrozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes, A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir, Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

You can check out all of the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page, but let me know if you’ve had any favorites from this year that I should check out!

Past Years:
2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

Monday, December 17, 2018

Favorite New Shows of 2018

Can you believe we're already at the end of another year? Time just seems to go faster and faster with each passing one. But here we are, ready to talk about some of my favorite new TV shows of this past year. You know what else keeps happening as time has been going on? There has just been SO MUCH CONTENT that it's really hard to keep up with everything. So many streaming shows in addition to all of the regular network television, there's no way anyone can watch everything.

So below are just some of the shows I've been able to keep up with and have personally enjoyed. It doesn't even touch the surface of just how many shows there have been, and how many I still want to watch, but haven't had a chance to yet. But without further adieu, here we are...

The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood is a fairly classic sitcom - two families living next to each other that come from different backgrounds, and seeing how those backgrounds clash while they become friends. It could've been terrible, but it's actually been pretty good. It explores real issues, some that people in everyday life are probably afraid to talk about sometimes. The cast is great, they all fit their roles really well, so it's been a highlight of the year.

Magic for Humans


Magic for Humans

What Justin Willman, the magician at the center of this show, does so well is blending magic with humor. Magic for Humans isn't your typical goofy type of magic, or super serious over-the-top stunt-type things. On the show, he mostly does street magic, where he approaches strangers and does something crazy that you can't figure out. It's a lot of fun. And if you have the chance, I'd recommend checking him out live in person too, we saw his show in LA and were not disappointed!

Queer Eye

Queer Eye

I'll just tell you right now: I never watched the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, so I can't make any sort of comparisons. But what I can say is that this Queer Eye is highly enjoyable. The guys are entertaining and all have very different personalities. The people they help are genuine and oftentimes need more than just help with their appearance, which they so far seem to have been able to give, as much as they can in the short time they are given with each person. Hopefully it will continue to be genuine in future episodes as well.

The Conners

The Conners

True story: I refused to watch this when it was Roseanne. I begrudgingly watched one episode, and could concede that it was a good show, but I couldn't personally watch it and support someone who I so thoroughly did not believe in. So, it was nice when I felt like I could watch it again, and it's been pretty enjoyable. It features a part of America that doesn't always get a lot of screentime, which has been nice as well. It touches on contemporary political and social topics in a funny way, and honestly the acting is pretty good too, particularly Laurie Metcalf.

Honorable Mentions: The Rookie (it's fun, but kind of silly and wouldn't watch if not for Nathan Fillion), Cloak and Dagger (I like it, but haven't watched all of it still), Good Girls (similar case of enjoyed but never finished the season)

Still Unsure About: New Amsterdam (I liked the first few but haven't watched since then)

I Wanted to Like You, But You Kinda Sucked: Jack Ryan (watched the whole season, and may watch more, but did I like it? No.), Lost in Space (Straight trash nonsense, but again might try the second season just because I like the concept), Manifest (Why is it happening? WHO CARES.), Single Parents (I don't even know what to say. I like Taran Killam, give him better material.)

Any new shows you loved that I should check out? Let me know in the comments!

Past Years:
2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Supernatural 14x09 “The Spear”

For some reason I thought last week was supposed to be the mid-season finale, but no, here we are. And of course things head back into archangel territory for said finale. As you might recall, the angels were able to let our erstwhile team know the whereabouts of Michael, so now they just have to get the spear that can kill him and get the job done. Easy peasy lemon squeezey, right?

Misha Collins as Castiel and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural 14x09 "The Spear"Ha! Ha ha! So, first of all, Sam has called upon Garth to go into the lion's den, as it were, so that they can get a spy into Michael's organization. He's been doing well so far, but now he's to the point where they want him to get initiated into the special superpowers club, and he isn't able to fake his way through on that one. Garth is forced to drink the special juice with part of Michael's grace in order to keep up his charade. While he's fine at first, we'll soon find out that Michael can control those who have taken his grace. Dun dun dun. First, though, he is able to tell them that Michael's minions have located Kaia and her spear, and just where they think she is. Helpful.

Meanwhile, I completely forgot there was some egg thing that Ketch was trying to find... somewhere. I guess it can trap Michael or something. It turns out he did find it, but then had to send it through the mail system, and it hasn't arrived yet. So, Sam and Jack head out to get the egg at the mail facility where it's currently residing, and Dean and Cas go off to find Kaia. While Sam and Jack do get the egg, they are soon thwarted by Michael and some minions. Michael destroys the egg and knocks out Sam while the minions take Jack.

In some recycling warehouse, Dean and Cas are able to track down Kaia and her spear. And this time, she's willing to give it to them if they'll get her back to her home world, because at least there she's not constantly being chased by Michael. Dean tells her they'll do it, even though Jack can't open gates anymore, because that's so Dean.

DJ Qualls as Garth and Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 14x09 "The Spear"Michael gives Jack a big schpiel about how they can see the world together or something, honestly I wasn't even listening, blah blah, and leaves Jack alone long enough that Sam can come save him. They then encounter Garth, who gets all taken over by Michael, but ultimately are able to subdue him and tie him up in the trunk to deal with later. Cas and Dean arrive, and they soon realize this has all been too easy. If Michael had wanted to, he could've sent a million minions after them this whole time, but he hasn't. He's been luring them to him in this tower. Well, might as well walk into the trap, right?

Blah blah, fighting fighting. Dean is able to get the spear pointing at Michael's neck, but of course he doesn't kill him, because duh, it's only mid-season. Those weird flashes that had been showing up for a couple episodes happen again, and bing bang boom, Michael is back inside Dean's body. Yep, he left some kind of door where he could go back in. He claims it was so he could break Dean so he'd be more compliant. I'm not sure what he thinks he did just in that moment that would break him, because he's like oh he's much quieter now. Ummm your grand plan hasn't even happened yet? But ok. I guess maybe because he snaps the spear that he thinks that has broken Dean? Sure.

And basically that's all she wrote. He snaps his finger to black and now we're left to wonder just what his grand plan is.

Random Thoughts:

- I feel like Hitomi Plaza was a nod to Nakatomi Plaza from Die Hard, no?

- Man there be some spoilers readily available around the interwebs about something happening in the 300th episode. I suppose I don't care that I read it, but the fact that you read it in the headline and not by clicking through is pretty annoying.

- At least they acknowledge that everyone dies and comes back to life on this show.

- Happy holidays everyone! Hope you have a great holiday season and see you in the new year for the rest of season 14!

Quotes:

Jack: Sam says this stuff will rot your teeth, but I like it.

Jack: You mean, dying and coming back to life?
Castiel: Yeah, we've all been through it. It's something of a rite of passage around here.

Garth: Balls.

Werewolf: The only thing that can take him down now is the full Ichabod.

Sam: Who taught you how to pick a lock?
Jack: I did. And the internet.

Dean: So, zero amount of surprise.
Sam: Walking right into a trap.
Castiel: Which is set by a full-power archangel.
Dean: Impossible odds. Feels like home.

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