The Stalker Who Emigrated to Netflix

I finally finished season 1 of the Netflix original You, and I don’t know if it’s very good, but I liked it.

I feel like the majority of the reason why I like it, or at least how it initially hooked my interest, is its’ similarity with another former guilty TV pleasure: Gossip Girl.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize how similar the two shows really are, with the storytelling via voice-over, extreme drama, some blonde bitch everyone’s got the hots for, and, of course, Penn Badgley.

#twinning

I defy you to watch this show and not think: “And then Dan Gilbert from Gossip Girl did what?!” Or think “Hm… Dan Gilbert’s looking a little anemic. He needs to get some sun.” Or even: “No, Dan Gilbert! Stalking is bad. Didn’t follwing Serena around like a kicked dog teach you anything?” It adds an umame-ish element to the show that, while difficult to define, is undeniably delicious.

#umame

As the show progresses, it also gets more interesting. More violence, more drama, more sex, more unrealistic relationships. For while this show begins with the wholly realistic premise that there are creepy guys in the world who could find out pretty much everything about you from your internet presence, this is not a realistic show. Just as campy as it’s sister-show GG, this show includes fantastic elements that are intended to be surreal and frightening. And for me, at least, it worked.

#campy

What about you? Have you seen the show, and if so, what are your thoughts? If not, do you intend to? Why or why not?

TBR Treasure Hunt: Truly, Devious

Novel #2 from my TBR list: Maureen Johnson’s Truly, Devious.

This novel, while classified as a mystery, is in reality a pure escapist fantasy that hardly solves anything. Having said that, I liked it.

#gofigure

Johnson’s writing is funny, inclusive, and intelligent, while writing about things that are, at their core, both interesting (if you’re into mysteries and/or true-crime documentaries/podcasts) and dark. In general, I consider this novel a portion of the treasure – more akin to gold doubloons stolen from the pirate’s corpse than discovery of the actual chestful buried beneath a large, red “X.”

#doubloon

It has all of the elements of a mystery novel, except for the solution. It is the most interesting book entirely comprised of exposition I have read. Yet at the end of the day, this book is entirely comprised of set-up for, at the least, a second novel, and more likely, an entire series. And the mystery set-up throughout this book is not solved. So I am currently queued up for the second book in the series (The Vanishing Stair) through my library.

#welldoneMsJohnson

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?

(Hyperlinks are to Amazon links from which I earn from qualifying purchases; please consider using these links if you are already planning to purchase the identified items via Amazon, anyway.)

H&G: The Witch Needs to Update

“Look,” Geoffrey said, pointing towards a copse of trees about 600 meters away. The green of their leaves shone brighter in the sun that shone, seeming to single out these trees amongst the cool shade of the woods surrounding them.

“No, Geoffrey,” Hannah protested, stamping her right foot, her hands curled in fists at her sides. “You will not drop trou and piss in the woods. I will not have it.”

“Aren’t I supposed to be the bossy one? I’m the boy, and I’m older.”

But it had always been this way. It was difficult to resist someone who was so opinionated and certain when you were an aimless waffler.

Speaking of waffles…

“What is that delicious smell?” Hannah asked, her nostrils widening as she breathed deep.

“What do you care? You don’t eat – anything, really, as far as I can tell.”

Hannah shrugged. “True. But baked goods means that there is probably someone nearby. Perhaps in a lovely little cottage.”

“Lovely little cottage? Have you been watching those Jane Austen movies again or something? We live in the 21st century, not the 19th. Also, have you seen those hairstyles? You could never pull that off.”

“No one could. That’s why they wore bonnets. Or hats? I don’t know – something that covered their head.”

“That’s about the level of eloquence I expect from you.”

“I would kick you, but it might cause you to piss yourself.”

“Thank god for Oprah; I might not be alive anymore if you weren’t a germophobe.”

“…Hello children.” The voice broke through their fighting, despite having a fragile, bitter quality that should have been easy to ignore. Its’ owner looked equally frail, and was waving a hand with gnarled, knobby fingers at them, smiling at them with a mouth filled with crooked, yellow teeth.

“Hello,” Geoffrey said politely.

“You must be tired, if you have walked all the way out here to my cottage. Please help yourself to my house.” The gnarled fingers skimmed along the windowledge, and the siblings realized it was gingerbread. The entire house, in fact, was gingerbread, decorated with thick white icing, windows spun from sugar.

“Please. Eat,” The elderly woman prompted again, but both of them declined.

“That’s sweet, but I’m on a diet,” Hannah said.

“Diabetic,” Geoffrey said ruefully, shrugging his shoulders.

“Although, if you don’t mind, we would love to use your bathroom,” Hannah continued. She had begun feeling the pressure from her own bladder for the last few minutes, and was relieved to think that she would not have to walk all the way back to the car without relief.

“Bathroom? How would I get plumbing to work in a dessert house?” The witch replied, furrowing her brow in disbelief.

“I don’t know. How do you prevent the bugs and birds from eating it?” Hannah retorted, her bladder pressing ever more urgently.

“I don’t. It’s just fresh baked. Look, here they come now.” A line of ants was creeping up towards the windowpane from which the witch had greeted them.

“Well, what are we supposed to do?” Hannah asked, certain the woman was holding out on them. “Our car has got to be at least 2 miles away!”

The elderly woman shrugged. “Use the trees like everyone else?”

As the two hangry females had been arguing, Geoffrey had crept behind a nearby tree and done just that. Hannah refused.

So it was that two hours later, two lost little children came upon a restroom in the woods. They ran inside, only to find themselves caught in a trap once they had relieved themselves. And Hannah and Geoffrey came upon their car, having been lost only once, which was a full four miles from their encounter. Hannah would discover she had a urinary tract infection the next day, and Geoffrey would secretly revel in the fact that he had not solely been her lemming, and he did not.

TBR Treasure Hunt: The Bloody Chamber (& Other Stories)

The first novel I crossed off my TBR list is Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber (& Other Stories), a collection of fairy tale re-tellings that lingers on the more dark/scary/sexy than the “here’s a story you would feel comfortable telling your kids. Right before they go to sleep.”

#youvebeenwarned

Carter is said to have been a woman ahead of her time – to have pretty much brought about the fairy tale retelling oeuvre that is well known and liked today. She is cited as having influenced Gaiman and Niffeneger, amongst others. How could I go wrong?

The 10 stories in this collection are good, particularly given that Carter was pioneering a writing style rather than continuing in an established style that had already proven it had an audience. I am certainly not sorry to have read these tales. Having said that, I did not care enough for them to now want to procure my own copy.

#sorrynotsorry

Of course, some stories were better than others. I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor of Puss-in-Boots; probably one of the lighter stories. The language in the Erl-King was like a smorgasbord of showing off a well-developed vocabulary. There is less murder than I was expecting, there is a lot of sex and virginity, and many tales featuring a male “beast” character which seems designed to showcase how very much bestiality is inherent in those stories you read over and over again as a kid (short answer: a lot). My favorite tale is probably the one whence the collection derives its’ name.

#predictable

All in all, a fairly good start to my TBR challenge. Having said that, I’m still searching for some treasure. How is your search going?

(Hyperlinks are to Amazon links from which I earn from qualifying purchases; please consider using these links if you are already planning to purchase the identified items via Amazon, anyway.)

Becoming Fearless

The world is bright.

The sun, midway in her journey ‘cross the sky,

sends warmth and light

to the meadow below,

lush with verdant, sweet-smelling grasses

and variegated wildflowers.

The nymph,

slender and young,

brunette curls trailing down her back,

espies a bloom fit for the crown she is weaving;

she plucks it, heedless of the thorns

until she feels the prick of pain,

sees the blood trickling from her finger.

The god,

looking for diversion,

espies a nymph fit for play,

and gives chase.

But fair Daphne knows how quickly a bud,

once picked,

can begin to wilt,

and how the world is

cruel and negligent

to those who are hurt and withering.

So she runs.

The mythical beings move ever faster;

he, demanding,

nipping at her heels.

She, frightened, feels

exhaustion

already causing her limbs to shake.

Why must she be so weak?

How can someone

so fair, so bright,

so full of potential,

be out of options

and powerless

so quickly?

She does what all young do,

if they can;

face red with shame,

she appeals for assistance

from her father.

The strong, possessive fingers of the divine grasp her shoulder,

and she learns that, in the face of complete terror, she screams –

with a power that seems to force Apollo to retract,

that shakes the buds resting in bushes and growing from the ground

with its volume and emotion.

But no –

it was not acknowledgement that she,

as a person with her own thoughts and feelings,

did not desire his touch

that had caused Apollo to retreat;

it was, instead, another man’s

imposition of himself upon her.

Granted, she had asked for his help.

Not realizing that he,

preferring that his daughter remain an untouched vessel

for eternity,

or at least, as long as trees live,

would cause her being to harden, thicken, and hollow,

her arms to grow lanky, darken, and sprout

thick green leaves

that Apollo, not to be thwarted of his prize entirely,

would tear from her being

as he had yearned to tear off her clothes,

and wear as a crown upon his head.

Ground suddenly unreliable,

her feet sank into the soil beneath her,

firmly entrenching her into the particular spot

on which her transformation had begun.

The sun continued to shine, until its’ journey was complete,

and Daphne drank in its rays and warmth,

spreading her branches far and wide,

secure in the knowledge that she needn’t fear

any longer.

TBR Treasure Hunt

Hello, my lovely readers! Thanks for stopping by the blog. Today, we’re going to talk about the quest on which I have embarked, and on which I further encourage you to join me.

#quest #treasurehunt #joinmeplease

Letz Bee Real – if you are an avid reader, you have an endless, seemingly insurmountable To-Be-Read (“TBR”) pile of books. As the days pass, it grows ever larger, and thank the powers-that-be that Goodreads is around, or you would never be able to keep track of it. Hidden within this list are books you will treasure, and books you thought you would like that are complete shit; it’s a bit of roulette. And you may never find those treasures, etc., if you don’t make a commitment to get started on that TBR.

This, dear readers, is where the quest comes into play. I solemnly pledge that I will do my very best to read at least one book off of my TBR list (currently sitting at 60 books) each month.

After reading, I will review the book on this blog, and for funzies, I will judge myself at the end of the year and figure out whether my TBR list seems decent or if I don’t appear to know my own tastes at all.

As a reminder, most of us aren’t rich, and given the gambling nature of this exercise, the library is your friend. I plan to obtain most of my TBR books from the library, because I can always purchase a copy later if I love it.

So – will you join me? If so, please let me know in the comments below, so I can follow you and see how your reading journey goes.

Willy Wonka picture obtained from IMDB (text added)

Mr. Fox Takes a Wife


Write a story about or containing a fox.

Writing Prompt for The Waking Forest FFBC Tour

Mr. Fox walked into the bar, smoothing down his fastidiously-trimmed moustache with one hand, while the other clamped down on the wooden cane that he stamped upon the ground with every other step, making a loud thump in conjunction with the light taps of his patent leather clad feet. He ordered a scotch, neat, from the waitress who appeared at his table, and surveyed the establishment with an appraising eye. He was on the hunt for new prey; it had been too long since he had been with a woman, and he was growing weary of returning to an empty home each evening.

The problem with living in a small village, he thought to himself, was that the women were all too quickly known. It was hard to be excited that little Molly was now grown up, having seen that curly brown hair in unruly pigtails, and those fair cheeks smudged with some unidentified sticky substance. And while it was impossible to deny the beauty of Katrina, it was also impossible to forget about her sister’s disappearance, which darkened those lovely green eyes with tragic shadows.

It was the same with all of the women his eyes skimmed over. They were all known. Boring. Predictable.

And then, he espied a new crop of burnished golden curls. Large blue eyes. Creamy skin. A female he had never seen, small and delicate as a porcelain doll. It had been awhile since he had hunted someone young and virtuous; his long, slender fingers stroked the trimmed beard on his face, grey streaks breaking up what had once been a full, red chin of hair. He would rather enjoy being around someone malleable.

He sent a drink to her table, a pink cocktail with too much sugar that hid the taste of alcohol. Her pale cheeks flushed with surprise and delight, her pink lips opening in an “O” of surprise, morphing into a smile and a mouthed “thank you” directed to him once the waitress disclosed him as benefactor. He waited until she was nearly finished before ordering another cocktail that he delivered himself. “You looked like you enjoyed the last one, so I got you another. I hope that’s all right.”

“I am very thirsty,” she responded.

“Care if I join you?”

“Of course not! Thank you, again, for the drinks. Is everyone so nice here in Forest Green?”

He laughed. She thought he was nice. He responded: “Who could resist being nice to a pretty little thing like you?”

Two months later, she was walking towards him in a white, silk dress, her hair fetchingly arranged in an updo festooned with flowers, a coy, pearl-encrusted veil shielding her face. He gazed in wonder at his demure young bride, who was everything he had hoped she would be, as she joined him at the altar. They said their vows, and the food and revelry that followed passed in a blur as both bride and groom anticipated their wedding night.

He was not expecting the collar she slapped around his neck, soon as he had taken off his shirt. Strong black leather, studded with metal, to which she affixed a linked metal leash to keep him in bed. Not only was the new Mrs. Fox not the innocent virgin he had anticipated; she was also well aware of the dungeon that still contained Mr. Fox’s previous wives, including that of the beautiful Katrina’s sister. She deftly plucked the large, ancient brass key from his bureau, and led the townsmen to the cool underground room with its’ blood-spattered walls and stink of decay.

Was she really so clever, so good an actress? Or was he just getting old? Possibly allowing his imagination to make someone what she most certainly was not? He did not have long to ponder on the conundrum, but it filled his mind in the time he had left.

A mere week later, Mrs. Fox walked into the bar, protected from the chill air by a luxurious fur wrap. “Thank you; it’s fox, of course,” she responded to the exclamations of admiration from her female compatriots. She joined a group of them at a table, and ordered a round of drinks, obtaining for herself a scotch, neat. She sighed with contentment at the first sip, then began surveying the establishment for a suitable male companion. The hunt had been long and arduous, and it had been too long since she had enjoyed the company of a man.