Monday, September 26, 2016

American Horror Story: Roanoke - Chapter 2

We're back to continue Matt and Shelby's terrifying journey into home ownership. They are about to get a crash course in why you should always Google the house you're thinking of buying.

We start this episode off right where the last one ended - Shelby in the woods with Wes Bentley and a guy who has had his scalp removed. She's obviously having a great night. She runs away as any sane person would do. There is some kind of ritual going on. Kathy Bates is chanting, people are drumming and some poor guy who is accused of being a thief and deserter is being dressed as a pig and roasted over a fire. Shelby is not the only one having a bad night.

We also get our first glimpse of Lady Gaga this season who looks NOTHING like she normally does.

Scary, right? I love that she went not at all glamorous this season.

Shelby, who has stumbled across this horrific ritual, makes a noise and draws the attention of everyone gathered. Kathy Bates calls for them to seize her and Shelby does the smart thing again and RUNS. She finally finds her way out of the woods only to be struck by a car that Lee is driving. 

Shelby tells the police all about the human sacrifices happening in the woods and they go investigate. They, quite logically, assume she is on drugs when they find no evidence of any crimes being committed. 

Matt finally agrees to move but Shelby says hell no. They are not moving. Perhaps the police finding nothing has convinced her that it is all a hoax because she now believes it is the group of mountain men who tried to scare them away from the house before the auction. She's so convinced it is them she tells Matt that they cannot give up without a fight, especially because all their money is tied up in this house now. Shelby is fighting mad and is not going to be walked all over.

Lee has a visitation with her daughter, Flora, during all this craziness. Probably not the smartest idea. Lee figures though if she keeps her inside and keeps a close eye on her that it'll be fine. It certainly starts out that way at least. Until Lee has to go get some lunch for the little girl and comes back to find her talking to herself. The little girl says she was talking to Priscilla, her friend. Lee assumes she is making things up because of the divorce. She read that kids do this sometimes. Flora is excited about the bonnet that Priscilla has promised her if they can help. When Lee asks what they are supposed to help with Flora says 'help make it stop' because Priscilla is 'tired of all the blood'. They hear a loud noise and Lee goes to investigate. She find a broken vase and a bonnet like promised. I would be running. Why are these people not running?

Shelby, rightly, questions the decision making skills of Lee when it comes to bringing Flora into their home when things are unstable. She tells Matt that Lee knows things have happened because she saw them for herself (even if Lee thinks Shelby is lying). Matt changes the subject and says that he agrees that they stay and fight until they can sell the house.

Later that night Matt is woken up by pig squeals. Shelby is also woken up and is entirely over it. She's pissed, and is not going to cower anymore. She grabs a baseball bat and goes out to confront what she assumes are the racist locals. Shelby is a bit of a badass and I love her. I question all of their decision making skills though because I WOULD BE LEAVING. Matt, of course, goes with her to investigate the noises. Sure, walk into the woods screaming for whatever is out there to 'show themselves' because nothing bad could happen as a result of this. Shelby (in interview format) tells us that she just wanted it to stop, and that is entirely understandable. Back in the reenactments part of the show Matt and Shelby get separated. Matt discovers an actual pig and Shelby discovers a large burning pyre in the shape of the stick men things left in the house earlier. This just happens to have a pig head at the top and is draped in meat (hopefully pig meat and not human).

Shelby says that the police cannot ignore them anymore because there is visible proof now. The police agree to go talk to the group of locals from the auction and provide police detail as protection. This only occurs after Shelby threatens to go to the press if they don't stop what is happening and do their job. She's fierce and Matt is a little in awe of her. He's also happy that they can finally get some much needed sleep. I would be too!

Later that night, Matt hears the phone ringing and answers it to hear someone asking for help as someone is hurting them. He discovers that they phone is actually unplugged and realizes he now hearing people talking inside the house. He follows the voices and discovers two nurses who are caring for an elderly lady named Margaret. She refuses to take her medication and so the one nurse shoots her as they both laugh. Matt, understandably freaked out, runs out the door to get the cops as one of the nurses spray paints "M for Margaret" on the wall in red paint.

Matt gets the police and wakes everyone up in the process. They police officer finds no nurses, or dead bodies in the house. It's basically Matt's turn to look crazy. They chalk it up to a dream. Lee is just afraid that if something actually happens the cops won't be so quick to respond next time.

The next morning Flora is being picked up by her father. They figure, since Flora cannot be found right away, that she is playing her own version of hide and go seek with them. It was something she did when they were still a family and part of the fun for Flora was seeing how long it took them to realize she was hiding.

They find her in the closet where she was talking to Priscilla last time. Flora is angry because Priscilla disappears when they open the door and tells them that she was offering to give Priscilla her doll in exchange for her family not being killed. Flora tells them that it is too late though. All of them will be killed with her being killed last.

Flora's father is beyond upset that his daughter is talking like this and, naturally, blames Lee. He rushes Flora out of the house promising Lee that she'll never see her daughter again. Lee breaks down crying and breaks her sobriety as a result. Matt and Shelby find her very drunk and a bunch of knifes stuck in the ceiling in the kitchen. They assume Lee had done it, but I don't understand why. They both know crazy things have been happening. 

Shelby sees a little girl outside the house and calls for Matt to come look. He sees her as well so they decide that they best thing to do is go investigate. She's disappeared by they time they get there, but they do see doors in the forest floor that open into a bunker of sorts. They decide to make more bad life choices and go down into the bunker. They quickly realize that someone lived down there. There is a bunch of camera equipment and a TV. They play the tape in the VCR and are told a horrifying story about the house they now live in. An author, Dr. Elias Cunningham (played by Dennis O'Hare), who was researching a book recorded these tapes. He too felt a presence in the house during his time there. He was researching a pair of sisters who were nurses who killed elderly people in their care. They opened an assisted living facility that only took those people whose family were tired of taking care of them. They also only accepted those with particular names. The sisters spray painted the first letter of each of their victim's names on the wall and as they wanted to spell out MURDER with them (including 'M is for Margaret') they only selected people with those first initials. They did not quite finish as they never got to kill the person for the last 'R' before they fled as the cops were called by some of the family members of the clients who became concerned. They police never found anyone, just the word left behind on the wall. Apparently the letters, no matter how much they were scrubbed, refused to be removed from the wall. *side note - this is apparently based on a true case and that makes it all the more terrifying*

Matt immediately puts "M is for Margaret" together with his earlier 'dream' and runs to check to see if the paint is where the guy in the video said it would be. He rips off the wallpaper to discover Murde written on the wall. With that proof in hand they go back to watch the rest of the tape. Dr Cunningham muses on the tape that he doesn't think that the sisters got away with murder. They didn't just flee with their work unfinished. He is convinced that something got them. Something made them stop. He calls this 'something' even more evil than the sisters and says that is everywhere - in the house, in the woods, in the air. The tape ends with him walking through the house calling for whatever is there to show themselves, and is met with, what looks like, the pigman before the tape cuts out. Shelby and Matt hear a thud and turn around to find a bloody cleaver stuck into the door frame of the room they are in.

Matt and Shelby are 100% done with the house and everything in it. Matt declares that the bank is going to have to just buy it back considering the new information they have. They are told however that they purchased the house 'as is' and should have raised any concerns or questions before bidding on the house. I am not sure how this works in the USA but I always thought you had to disclose previous deaths in any residence being sold. Anyways, Shelby brings up the fact that even if they wanted to Google the house before buying it to see what came up, the address had been changed by the bank before selling. This seems very shady to me. It was an obvious attempt to hide the horrors that happened there from potential buyers. Shelby is, once again, showing how fierce she is. The couple realizes that they are trapped, and that they will never recoup the full amount they paid for the house. 

Matt says things could not possibly get worse and pretty much ensures that they will in fact get worse. While all this was happening, Lee decided to drive and basically kidnap Flora in her panic. She brings her to the house. Matt is incredulous. He demands to know if Mason (Lee's ex) knows and if she is drunk. Matt mentions that Mason is a police officer and that means that there is probably an alert out on Flora already. Shelby takes a call from Mason and pleads for him not to call the cops on Lee. She tells Mason to come pick up Flora and manages to calm him down. Flora, who is doing her homework in the other room during all this, is lured outside by Priscilla. The grownups realize she is gone and chase after her. The only thing they find though is Flora's sweater high up in a tree and no other sign of the little girl. 

This season is definitely bringing the season one vibes, and scares. I am still not 100 percent sure what this season is, but I am excited to continue watching to see how it all comes together.

I've seen people bemoaning the fact that Evan Peters and Finn Wittrock have not made an appearance yet. I am right there with you! I do, however, think we've seen Evan. I think he's the guy in the pig mask in the videos. I totally think that, knowing everyone wants to see him, this is something they would do. Hide his face for most of the season. I predict we'll see him in flashbacks and learn how he came to be in that pig mask.

Now, I've heard a rumour about something happening later in the season. I'll enclose it in spoiler tags for those who do not want to know, so click for spoilers.

I am VERY happy if this is true for obvious reasons and the other part of that spoiler has me REALLY excited for the midpoint of this season.

What do you think of season 6 so far? Are you like me questioning why Matt, Shelby and Lee have stayed at the house after all this craziness (especially since Matt and Shelby both want to leave now)? Hopefully that is explained soon!

Until next time .... stay out of the woods.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews)

I have two awesome things that made their way into my mailbox this week.

First up is another Funko Pop for my collection. This one is the Edward from Twilight Hot Topic exclusive. He sparkles! On one hand this makes me laugh, and on the other I think it is the best thing ever!

You can really see the sparkles in the sun (which, hilarious) and I am so happy to have him as part of my small (but growing) collection.

Next up is a book I am VERY excited about from Raincoast Books. A huge thank you to Raincoast Books for sending this one along! 

How To Break A Boy by Laurie Devore (goodreads)

Keep an eye out because this one just might be featured at the end of this year during a special event!

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.


Such A Good Girl by Amanda K Morgan (goodreads)

I know almost nothing about this novel, just the brief Goodreads synopsis which makes it sound amazing. The cover was revealed, and while it doesn't grab me the way some covers do, I am much more interested in what the synopsis doesn't give - any details about the plot.

Seriously, just read this synopsis and try not to be intrigued.
Riley Stone is just about perfect. (Ask anyone.)
She has a crush on her French teacher, Alex Belrose. (And she suspects he likes her, too.)
Riley has her entire life planned out. (The plan is nonnegotiable.)
She's never had a secret she couldn't keep. (Not ever.)
Riley is sure that her life is on the right track. (And nothing will change that.)
She's nothing like a regular teenager. (But she doesn't have any problem admitting that.)
Riley doesn't usually play games. (But when she does, she always wins.)

She thinks a game is about to start…
But Riley always has a plan…
And she always wins.
I want to read this immediately just for that synopsis alone. It is intriguing while giving no details away.


Mr Robot Season Two

The second season of Mr Robot has come to a close. Once again the final episode of the season was brilliant and left me with more questions than answers. No spoilers here, but the wait for season three is going to be rough. I shall miss this being on my television screen each week until Elliott says "Hello, friend" to us again.


Funko Pops

It is time I admit that I am obsessed with Funko Pops. I now have 6 in my collection with more on my wishlist. I am so excited for more to be announced, and really hope they end up releasing Stranger Things Pops. The only downside is how to display them. I am currently looking at shelving options because I can all ready tell this is going to be a problem.

Pottermore's Patronus Quiz

I, like everyone else, took the Pottermore quiz to determine what my Patronus is. Turns out mine is cute but deadly! Mine is a stoat (which is part of the weasel family) and pretty adorable.

This is apparently a deadly predator, but I am too busy thinking how adorable it is.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Blog Tour - The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis

I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for this important and brilliantly written novel from Mindy McGinnis. I am also honoured to be ending the tour with a Top Ten list from Mindy.

First up, be sure to check out the previous stops on the tour. There are reviews, interviews, and more to check out.

Week 1:
9/12: Swoony Boys Podcast - Review
9/13: A Reader Under the Sea - Q&A
9/14: Pretty Deadly Reviews - Review
9/15: Brittany's Book Rambles - Guest Post
9/16: Lekeisha the Booknerd - Review

Week 2:
9/19: The Irish Banana Review - Q&A
9/20: Fiction Fare - Review
9/21: Fiery Reads - Playlist
9/22: Ex Libris - Review
9/23: A Glass of Wine - Top 10

Here is a little about the book in case you haven't already heard of it.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. 
Be sure to order your copy from your favourite retailer one of the below links

 Amazon | B and N  

Here is a little about the author herself and you can follow her at the following links

Mindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.

For my part of the tour, I asked Mindy to provide a Top Ten List. The chosen topic was her top ten books written by women. The list is, unsurprisingly, pretty awesome.

Top Ten Books Written By Women

1 ­ The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
2 ­ The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
3 ­ Them by Joyce Carol Oates
4 ­ The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
5 ­ The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
6 ­ A Place of Execution by Val McDermid
7 ­ The Thirteenthh Tale by Dianne Setterfeld
8 ­ In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason
9 ­ Stiff by Mary Roach
10 ­ Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Hopefully you want a copy of The Female Of The Species of your very own now that you've learned a little bit about the book. Be sure to enter the below giveaway for you chance to win one of three copies as part of this blog tour. This is a US ONLY giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis

The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis
Release Date - September 20, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. 
The Female Of the Species is a hard book. It's a hard book to review and at times a hard book to read. It's unflinching and raw in its darkness and message. It's a darkly intelligent novel that is as sharply written as it is necessary.

The cover, while not really part of this review, immediately lets you know what type of story this is. Graced with pictures of the female of various species and their names ranging from vixen, cow and bitch, it hammers home the words we assign to women and how damaging many of them are.

If I had to provide one word to describe this novel I am confident it would be violence. Violence is the heartbeat of this novel. It's represented in my ways and forms. Actual violence, imagined violence, and what the numbing to violence does to society. It's exploration is razor sharp, and gritty. It is uncomfortable because it paints an all too realistic picture of our society. It makes it impossible not to question things, and offers one of the more complex explorations that I've read.

Alex Craft exists in grey. She is one of the most morally complex characters that I've ever met. Her sister's murder has left her justifiably angry. She's allowed that anger to create a dark hardness within in her that allows her to be capable of violence. She could easily be compared to Dexter, another morally complex character. The difference is, this is the first time I've encountered this in a female character. Alex muses that there isn't a word for what she is, and that feels true. She names herself vengeance which feels appropriate.

Rape culture seeps through every page of this novel. It ranges from subtle to glaringly in your face. This novel looks at the danger of gross casual comments, right up to slut shamming and its impact on how women are perceived. You are hit with the reality of this culture right from the initial pages, but it is hammered home with the jaw dropping presentation made by a police officer at Alex's school, complete with jarring statistics. This novel puts things into perspective in a way that is undeniable. Branley, and the way she's viewed and treated, is a direct product of rape culture. She's slut shammed, treated as nothing more than a pair of boobs and an ass. We see how damaging this is, and how it can leave a lasting scar that may not be visible , but hurts just as much getting as a physical one.

I normally don't provide trigger warning in novels, but those who have issues with animal cruelty may have issues getting through the earlier part of this novel. I believe you should, and the reason the animal cruelty is included is immediately evident and does highlight the point the author is making. The story itself is one that is worth reading, even if you have to skim these two occurrences. It is not enough to not experience this incredible novel.

My words are not enough to adequately express the way this novel impacts you. It's the kind of novel that gives you the worst kind of book hanger, and one that makes you see the world around you a little bit differently. A tough novel to read at times, but one that is incredibly important. Mindy McGinnis has given us unforgettable characters, and a novel that will settle itself inside you, and demand that you discuss it with everyone. This novel may make you uncomfortable at times but it is vital and required reading. The Female of the Species is indeed deadlier than the male, and Mindy McGinnis shows us why in her brutal, breath-taking novel that pierces your soul. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Love Interest

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
This synopsis probably sounds familiar .... right up until that final line. It ensured that I would immediately want to read this. I am excited to learn more about this secret organization, and to meet this characters that already sounds so interesting. It's a long wait, but something tells me it'll be worth it.

Expected release date - May 16, 2017

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo
Release Date - September 20, 2016
Publisher Website - Hachette/Little Brown
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
There is something about the Jack The Ripper case that draws people's interest all these years later. Perhaps it is simply us seeking to know the unknown. Solve what appears to unsolvable. It is a hook of sorts, and as a result we see books, movies, and TV shows inspired by the grisly case pop up again and again. Stalking Jack The Ripper may have the infamous case at its centre, but it has more to offer than just a splashy hook.

The setting of this novel pulses through each page. Victorian era England is captured through the vivid descriptions. The tone is set with foggy alleyways and darkened rooms. It is the idea setting for a mystery and Kerri Maniscalo uses it to her full advantage. It is easy to picture the crime scenes, and the other locations within the novel simply because of the way it is written and the care given to ensuring this world was as darkly enthralling as possible.

If the tone is pitch perfect, the characters are delicious icing on an already well constructed cake. They are the pulse of the novel, and what, I feel, people won't soon forget after they have finished. Audrey Rose, in particular, stands out. She will instantly be a new girl crush for many readers. She's progressive for her time, especially wanting to have a job of her own, be educated, and especially her interest in forensic medicine. She has very little patience for people telling her what to do or how to act. This is especially true when it comes to the men in her life. She, as her mother would say, is a 'delicate rose with thorns' and you cannot help but love her for it. She pushes for what she wants, and isn't afraid to scandalize by breaking societal norms. She wears pants instead of skirts when it suits her, and sneaks around at night. The author, however, allows her weaknesses, and a love for things that are considered 'girly' like makeup and pretty dresses. She is this wonderful mix of passion, faults, drive, and intelligence. It made her seem very human. I anticipate many will love her for both her strong opinions, and vulnerability.

The romance in this novel is filled with witty banter, a roguish scoundrel, excruciating sexual tension where you just want to force them to kiss already, and enough scandalous moments (at least for this time period) to add a little something extra to it. It will be nearly impossible to not become invested in this ship if you're a fan of razor sharp banter, and couples who push each others buttons.

Plenty of research went into the mystery aspect of this novel. People will instantly recognize well known elements from the Jack The Ripper case. It is evident that care was taken to ensure that she remained as true as possible to the events that happened, while still crafting her own vision. The Jack The Ripper case weaves seamlessly into the story being told, but is not the whole story. This is really the story of a girl who is forging her own way. She just happens to be solving a crime as she does it.

A entertaining mystery that unravels at just the speed. Filled with romance, danger, action, and a heroine who wants to leave her own mark on the world in her own way, Stalking Jack The Ripper is a perfect Halloween season read that will have you breathlessly awaiting the next case Audrey Rose gets mixed up in. 

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