Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered

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

This week's pick is Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
 The highly anticipated first book by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the voices behind the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder!

Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.
I am a huge fan of the My Favorite Murder podcast and I was thrilled when it was revealed that Karen and Georgia would be writing a book. I am expecting this to be a humour filled book with a lot of heart in it as well.

This comes out next May (so we have a bit of wait) but I am really excited to get my hands on this one.

Expected release date - May 28, 2019

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Traitor

The seventh episode of this season, title Traitor, brought lots of plot movement, plenty of fun witch stuff, the world's most awkward dinner, and got us even closer to the more current timeline.

With the usual reminder of spoilers lets break down what happened. 

This week's cold open began to fill in Dinah's backstory prior to coming to the outpost. She took over as the voodoo queen after Marie Laveau died. We see her performing a bloody spell where she rips out some woman's heart. The heart, it turns out, is for spell that was bought and paid for by another woman. The dead woman had been having an affair with the other lady's husband and this was unacceptable. The spell was so that her cheating husband would keep his penis in his pants. The spell includes the heart, some herbs, spices, and other things including something from the wife herself. The wife provides some toenails which prompts Dinah to exclaim that she must really hate her husband. The wife mostly just hates his wandering penis so she even stops Dinah from adding strawberries to the mixture so that it 'goes down easier'. They force feed it to the woman's husband (which looks disgusting) and Dinah makes it so that he doesn't remember drinking it. She promises the woman that her husband will now be faithful because he will be incapable of getting hard for anyone but his wife.

Cordelia approaches Dinah outside the house and they bicker back and forth. Seems Dinah blames the witches for Marie's death while Cordelia hints that Dinah had the most to gain from it (she did become voodoo queen after all). Cordelia eventually admits she needs Dinah's help. She wants a meeting with Papa Legba (who those of you who watched Coven will remember). Dinah wants money, specifically $100,000.00 in cash, to make it happen. Papa Legba's 'help' always comes with a steep price so Cordelia must be desperate.

We're next introduced to Bubbles McGee (played by Joan Colins in her second role), another witch who happens to be an actress. We're introduced to her by a glimpse of her shooting a Christmas horror movie. It's bloody and ridiculous and so American Horror Story and has nothing at all to do with the actual plot. When the director yells 'cut' we learn that Bubbles is able to read people's minds when she overhears a set worker thinking how hot she still is for an older lady. We also see that Madison has come to collect her. Bubbles doesn't think much of Madison's acting (and even suggests she is the only witch who is also an actress which Madison takes great offence to). Madison cuts right to the point of her visit and says that Bubbles has been summoned because they need all hands on deck to help with the Michael situation.

There's a fun dinner scene where Myrtle and Bubbles are reconnecting since they are old friends from their school days at the witch academy. Much giggling over shared secrets and teasing the waiter who was thinking about what kind of underwear Bubbles was wearing. Madison is unimpressed by all of it and reminds them that they have a real problem on their hands because their next Supreme is the literal Antichrist. Myrtle points out that the warlocks are to blame as well since they are hellbent on clearing a path for Michael to take over. The real reason they got Bubbles becomes evident. They want her to read the minds of the warlocks, particularly Ariel, as they need to know what they are thinking. Bubbles is reluctant at first, even hinting that they are being dramatic by calling having a male Supreme the end of the world, but relents when Myrtle asks for it as a personal favor. Myrtle is going to have a dinner and will take care of everything. This should be fun!

Meanwhile, Cordelia gives the money to Dinah who calls forth Papa Legba. Dinah reminds her that Papa is not to be trifled with and that she shouldn't promise anything she cannot deliver. Papa shows up and wants to know if Dinah has reconsidered his offer. She declines again and says that she is not into snatching newborns (so she is declining the same deal that Marie and Fiona had with him). Dinah says she is only there because Cordelia paid her. Cordelia fills him in on what she wants. She wants him to open the gates to hell so that she can shove Michael in and trap him there. Seems like a great plan but Papa Legba wants a steep price to take part in something so dangerous. This is where Papa reveals he is not alone! He's brought Nan with him (who everyone remembers Fiona gave to Papa as part of a deal). Nan is doing great though and seems happy even though Cordelia is not happy about any of this (and even throws out a 'Fucking Fiona' for good measure).

Nan reveals that she likes hell. She likes causing trouble. Papa finally reveals that his price for helping to trap Michael is not just one soul, but the souls of all of the witches at the Academy. Nan begs Cordelia to accept. She wants to see her friends again as she misses them. Cordelia apologizes to Nan and says that she cannot accept. Papa immediately leaves after Cordelia declines. Dinah points out that now not only will Cordelia's 'girls' die but so will millions of other people. 

Back at the Academy Mallory is asking the others about the new Supreme. She wants to know if he is nice (he's not, Mallory, but he is hot). Coco interrupts their Supreme discussion to show off a new power she just discovered. She can now look at food and tell how many calories are in it. The witches have fun testing Coco's powers. It's a rather light moment that quickly turns dark when Coco starts choking on a piece of food. Everyone freaks out instead of helping her and Coco passes out. Mallory jumps into action and removes the chunk of food by magically creating an incision in Coco's neck and taking it out which restores airflow. Coco is fine and Zoey is seriously impressed. There isn't even a spell for what Mallory just did. This also makes me even more convinced that Mallory is going to play a role in the reversing of the apocalypse. Her powers are strong and she seems capable of turning thing back and restoring things to what they once were. I will be very surprised if this is not how this season ends. 

We next see Zoey run into Cordelia on the stairs. Cordelia is very weak. She gets Zoey to help her to her room. She reveals to Zoey that she is in no condition to fight Michael. Zoey mentions that she thinks Cordelia is fading because Mallory is the new Surpreme, not Michael. This makes sense and would be a much more welcome outcome but I really don't want to Cordelia to die.

Myrtle and Bubbles are hosting their dinner. They offer it up to Ariel and Baldwin as a way to apologize for their past behaviour (such as calling Ariel a pathetic pompous ass). Myrtle says she wants this dinner to be an example for both the covens and show that they can come together. Over some good food and a lot of wine, Myrtle and Bubbles discover that the warlocks are just as awful as I thought. Ariel thinks about how happy he is that John is nothing more than a pile of ash. They both think about how much they hate the witches and how they can't wait to kill all of them. Bubbles manages to remain neutral throughout dinner. It's rather jarring to see them laughing and having a good time when their thoughts are so full of hate. Bubbles reveals the truth to Myrtle as soon as the warlocks leave the table and they agree to tell Cordelia. 

Mallory is upset that her rising means that Cordelia will have to fall. Cordelia tells her that it is okay and that it is the way that it works. She will be heartened to leave the coven in such capable hands. Behold is disgusted that they are drinking and having a good time when there is an Antichrist on the loose. Myrtle is quick to remind him that he helped in Michael's ascension. Cordelia  tells them that they will stop Michael but she wants to celebrate because it could be the last time they have a chance to. Cordelia reveals that she has known this was coming for some time. It made her break a vow she had made and bring Myrtle back. I am so glad we finally get to see how Cordelia brought Myrtle back! We last saw Myrtle being burned at the stake so I was curious. Two years prior to this is when Cordelia performed the spell to bring Myrtle back. It's a very cool looking spell as it appears like her hand is burning from the inside. Myrtle is sad that Cordelia broke her promise but softens when Cordelia breaks down crying and asks for guidance. Cordelia shares with the coven that she had to do everything she could to prepare them for what was coming. Now that they are all united and ready she wants to take the first shot and go on the offensive with the warlocks!

Part one of the plan is to bring back John! Zoey uses her powers to collect all of the dust that is his remains. Cordelia tells Mallory to bring him back. This also happens to be her last test for the Seven Wonders. It, of course, works. Welcome back, Chyenne Jackson. The witches reveal to John that his fellow warlocks conspired against him. He reveals that it was a woman who killed him. This means that part two of the plan is getting this woman.

Cordelia approaches Coco while she is trying to eat ice cream. Turns out that knowing how many calories are in something makes eating some things really hard. Cordelia wants Coco's help with her next plan and Coco agrees. It involves approaching and distracting Michael's caretaker so they can capture her. It works like a charm since the caretaker is too busy shooting Coco (with what turns out to be tranquilizer bullets) that she is easily taken.

Back at the warlock school Baldwin reveals a chemical powder that makes people bleed out of their pores. He also reveals that he has modified it so that it only impacts women. This is how they plan to take out the witch coven. Ariel muses that he wonders what the witches would say if they could see what they've done. Cordelia walks in and tells them that a lady witch already made this exact powder years ago so she would say it is plagiarism. All they've done is switch the genders around. The witch who first made it was burnt at the stake before she could use it which Myrtle thinks is a shame. Cordelia makes the powder disappear by setting it on fire. Ariel, who is annoyed, tells her that her powers have already waned. This makes Cordelia even more angry and she uses magic to seal the warlock's mouth shut. She taunts him with this great line:

It was great. I fist pumped. Cordelia is a queen. I am so happy to see the warlocks get what was coming to them.

The group of witches lead both Ariel, Baldwin, and Michael's caretaker to the place where they carry out the burning of guilty witches and warlocks. She tells them their crimes (killing John) and says that since it is against their laws for witch to start the fire that burns a warlock she'll let their fellow warlock have the honour and John swaggers on over in a great coat and hat. Seriously, Cheyenne Jackson looks so hot here. He gives them a little wave as he walks by. John grabs the rest of the gasoline and pours it all over the caretaker. John makes a little joke that made me laugh for far too long:

Cordelia never undid the spell that sealed their mouths closed which makes what happens next even more terrifying. Imagine being burned alive and not even being able to scream as it is happening.

The caretaker uses John's invitation for last words to spout off some stuff about Satan and being excited to join his kingdom. It's all unsettling and made even more so when she laughs. John is over it and magically lights the torches that will set the stakes on fire. Nobody screams and the caretaker burns with a demented smile on her face. 

The episode ends with Cordelia and John leading the rest of the coven away from the fires and looking completely badass as they do it. The struts on Sarah Paulson and Cheyenne Jackson though! 

See you next week where we get to see Michael's reaction to all of this which I predict will not be good. I am just excited for next week because this was a Michael less episode and I very much want Cody Fern back on my television screen.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Release Date - October 2, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  416 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it.

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous. 
True crime has had a strong resurgence in pop culture media. It is no surprise that it is trickled into the books that are being published. Broken Things has some ‘ripped from the headlines’ inspiration  and some general inspiration from the genre. I have come to accept that I typically feel very mixed about Lauren Oliver’s books and Broken Things is no exception.

I always find Lauren Oliver's ideas incredibly fascinating but sometimes do not feel the execution is as strong as I would like it to be. This book tops quite a few of her more recent ones for me, but I still was left wanting more from a lot of the elements included in this book.

The inclusion of Lovelorn, a fantastical world from one of the girls favourite novels, is a large crux of the story. We see how immersed and how obsessed these girls were with both the novel and the place itself. It offers a interesting slant to much of what the reader is experiencing and gives this story a little something extra. This element is what makes this story something other than a typical mystery book and it helps that it one of the more well developed aspects of the novel.

The mystery itself is engaging and I predict many will find the ending satisfying for a lot of reasons. The two timelines that propel the narration are used effectively to contrast the characters and how much they were impacted by the events that happened due to Summer's death. It also keeps the mystery and plot moving along at a decent pace so that the reader stays engaged. Plenty of what works about this story comes down to Lauren Oliver's ability to weave together this mystery.

The truth behind what happened to Summer takes this story from one that is possibly steeped in the fantastical and grounds it in sharp reality. There is a slight Slenderman influence to the story before it veers into something else entirely. The ending would have been much more interesting if we were able to explore the ramifications a little further. It feels like an ending given to be shocking and wrap up the story without really dealing with anything beyond that. I did appreciate the very true crime slant to the story and the ways the unwanted infamy destroyed the lives of these young girls.

The relationships and friendships are the heart of this story and I, personally, found some of them not developed enough. The bond between the three girls is probably the most developed and the most interesting but even that was something I didn't quite connect to. Sadly, the characters themselves did not quite connect for me and that made it more difficult to connect to their story. I would have appreciated stronger voice for the characters as none of them really jumped out to me or were all that memorable. It is hard to talk about the characters as a result because they didn't leave a big impression on me.

For those who have a hard time with animal cruelty there is a scene that I think may be hard for many to read. The scene never quite feels warranted to me. I get the desperation in which the event occurs and why it was included but I am not sure it was effective as the author intended and I have heard from other readers that they skipped it so any effectiveness is being lost as a result.

Broken Things for me is an excellent premise that just didn’t quite reach its promise. Fans of Lauren Oliver’s other works will no doubt enjoy this one as well, but I personally found myself wanting more from it. I think this will be a pretty polarizing read for a lot of people but I myself ended up feeling mixed towards it overall.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

My Sinemia Experiment: Month 3

Month three of my 'Year of Sinemia' experiment went pretty smoothly. The program worked as designed and no new program changes occurred. They even lowered the convenience fee I mentioned last recap to 1.80 per ticket. It was a great month at the movies in other words.

The three movies I saw in October with my Sinemia account were First Man, Bad Times At The El Royale, and The Hate U Give.

I enjoyed all of them in different ways and for different reasons. I have a review of First Man up on the blog and will probably also review The Hate U Give at some point (maybe early Nov) so look for those if you are curious about what I thought. My reaction to Bad Times At The El Royale is pretty much summed up by this gif:

Chris Hemsworth was super sexy in it and it was a fun ride. If you're a Chris Hemsworth fan I recommend seeing this just for him.

My savings for this month was $23.34 after taking the convenience fees into consideration. This brings my grand total savings up to $75.34 (last month's total was $52.00).  I saw First Man in IMAX which brought my savings up a bit. I am hoping to see one of my November movies in a premium format as well. There are so many movies I want to see in November that it is going to be hard to pick which three I want to see. I have counted nine movies I want to see (if they all play at Ottawa theatres on the day they are scheduled to release). It's not a bad problem to have though as it means interesting things are being released. 

This fact reminds me that Oscar season is now in full swing and the next two months are going to be filled with movies that are potential Oscar nominees. You can expect movie recaps to pop up on the blog quite a bit more during this time period as I end up crossing some movies off my must see list.

The Oscars are a big part of why I wanted to join this program in the first place. I always want to see as many of the Best Picture nominees as I can and this program is going to help make that happen. It already has me going way more often than usual and it gives me an excuse to be more proactive about attempting to get people to do things with me.

I figured I would end this post with a question: What November and December releases are you most excited to see? What ones should I have on my radar for the next two months? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... Finale

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

This week's pick is Finale by Stephanie Garber

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 

**spoilers for the previous books in this series**
Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancĂ©, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win...and those who will lose everything.
I a huge fan of this series and cannot believe that the ending is quickly approaching. I cannot wait to see what twists and turns await both Scarlett and Tella as this story wraps up.

The book releases in early May which is perfect for those wanting something fun for the start of summer!

Expected release date - May 7, 2019

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Return To Murder House

The sixth episode of this season, titled Return To Murder House, brought us back to where it all began and offered up plenty of nostalgic moments filled with emotion. It is also the episode EVERYONE has been waiting for and it did not disappoint. 

With the usual reminder of spoilers lets break down what happened. 

Madison and Behold roll up to Murder House pretending to be a couple who wants to buy the property. Madison is complaining that the coven only sent her there because she is expendable. The purchase goes through and the real estate agent does his job by telling them about the 'unprecedented number of deaths' that have happened within the house. Behold makes a joke that Madison just love the kitchen so they are okay with the murders. Interesting that the witches now own this house unless they sell it at some point. The cold open ends with Madison walking up to the door and declaring the house a 'shit hole' before walking in. Maybe don't insult the place that is referred to as Murder House.

Upon entry Madison notices the house doesn't look that run down on the inside and inquires how long the house was supposedly empty for. It appears, to her, that someone still lives there. Behold replies that something does.  He quickly surmises that there are souls trapped within the house's walls and likens it to them being in hell. It's a prison they can't escape from. Madison quips that she has been to hell and  Murder House is better. Behold still unsettled by the house inquires if she would rather just go clubbing instead. Madison replies that she is on her third chance at life and doesn't want to screw it up again. Behold reminds her to remember who gave her that third chance. He obviously means Michael but I highly doubt Madison is going to be loyal to him. 

They figure out that the spirits do not want to be seen so they are going to perform a spell to draw them out so they can talk to them. Madison mentions that Michael's family died in the house so if anyone has the goods on their new Supreme it is them. Behold admits he is more worried about all the other ghosts in the house as it is super crowded in there. The spell works and they immediately run into two little girl ghosts that make Madison scream (and prompts Behold to tell her to "Shut up, skinny witch"). They then hear Tate yelling at Mr Harmon. Tate is not happy that Ben is not helping him fast enough. Seems that their daily sessions are not helping much (at least in Tate's opinion). Tate feels like Ben only talks to him because Vivien (Ben's wife) won't. So I guess we now how the Harmon's marriage is going in the afterlife (pretty much as well as it was going before they died). Tate wants help with Violet and is frustrated that is not happening. She is still ignoring him no matter how much he begs or yells. Ben reminds Tate that he set fire to his mother's boyfriend, he shot and killed over a dozen highschool students, he helped kill Violet's parents, and he impregnated her mother. Any of these are reason enough for Violet to not talk to him on their own. Tate claims he is different now and also offers up this very Tate like reason Violet should talk to him again:

Madison walks in and tells Tate that he really isn't that hot. Both Ben and Tate are shocked that Madison can see them (and vice versa). Behold introduces himself and Madison and tells Ben he knows all about him and the fact that he killed himself after his wife died. Ben snaps that he was murdered. Tate just wants to know what is going on because they are supposed to decide who sees them. Madison informs them that they are powerful witches and tells them that unless they want more disruptions they better answer some questions about Michael. Tate scoffs and tells them that even people who are protected by magic are not safe in this house and tells them to 'watch their ass' as he leaves the room. Madison begs and tells Ben that since they bought the house nobody else will come bother them. Ben says that they caught him at a bad time. He has a busy schedule of crying and masturbating ahead of him. He apparently does this daily. Oh, Ben. He is still totally the same. He and Tate have learned nothing. Madison feels sorry for Tate. She wants to help because she feels it's a romantic tragedy for him to be trapped with the one thing he wants and cannot have.

Madison is attacked by Beauregard "Beau" Langdon (Constance's other son) and is saved by Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson's third character this season). She distracts Beau by playing catch with him. She reveals that she is one of the few living people that the ghosts let come and go from the house. She immediately showcases her psychic abilities by telling Madison that she knows who she is. She reveals that she has known some Montgomerys before but she didn't often meet a witch. This, to me, is a huge nod that Madison is of the same Montgomerys that first owned Murder House. She must be a descendant. They are making a bunch of noise which draws Constance out of hiding. Madison demands to know who she is and Constance has the BEST introduction:

Queen Jessica Lange is back! I am so happy that Ryan Murphy was able to make this happen. This story would not feel right without Constance showing up.

Constance tells Madison and Behold that their babies will have the most beautiful skin colour to which Billie Dean informs her that they are not married but are instead there because they are witches. This bums Constance out because she wanted them to run to the corner store to pick up her cigarettes and Crown Royal whisky (because old habits die hard). Moira, the house maid, comes in and tells Constance the house is now clean. Constance immediately goes and finds some dust to throw in her face. This causes them to throw insults back and forth (so basically their relationship has not changed at all). It ends with Constance throwing a glass at Moira's retreating back.  This brings in Behold and Madison who again demand details about Michael. Billie Dean says that they do not talk about him but Constance has other ideas. She teases that she knows Michael better than anyone else but she won't share any gossip unless they get rid of Moira for her.

So we now that Constance is now dead .... we just don't know how she died (yet). Madison agrees and quickly puts Behold to work digging up Moira's body from the backyard so they can set her free. They find a skull which isn't Moira's (Madison can tell by touching it) and causes Behold to quip that there are so many bodies in the backyard . They finally find her though and offer Moira her freedom instead of some banishment. They allow her to pick where she is buried. This causes Moira to cry and thank Madison with a messy display of tears and hugs (much to Madison's chagrin). Moira chooses to be buried in the same cemetery as her mother. Her and her mother have a very touching reunion. It's an emotional ending that is so satisfying (and deserved). Leaving the property is all that Moira wanted for the entirety of the Murder House season and I am so happy it happened for her. Madison may be a bitch but she did a good thing here. 

Now that Moira is gone, Constance is happy to start spilling the tea on Michael. Constance first has to take a moment to savour the silence. She finally tells them the story of Michael's birth and how she took him to raise when Vivien died. She tells them that she is Michael's grandmother. She admits she made some mistakes with Tate (you think?!) and she wanted a proper do-over with Michael. Things started off well until he started doing unspeakable acts. When questioned she admits that he started killing animals and she knew exactly what path he was going down - the serial killer one. Michael said the little gifts he left her were because he loved her. Yup, perfectly normal to leave dead animals as presents. Constance claims she tried to get him to show affection using other avenues of expression but nothing worked. She eventually gave in and just buried his 'presents' and planted a rose bush on top of the bodies. She admits that she loved all of her children but Michael made her realize that she was put on this earth to raise monsters (and that she eventually came to hate the smell of roses). She finally gets to the incident with the sitter that ends Murder House. Constance convinced the authorities that the sitter killed herself. Up until this point she thought she was just raising a run of the mill serial killer (or perhaps even a gifted one because he is her grandson after all) but this changed when Michael grew up over night. She went into his room one morning to find a full grown teenager in place of the young tyke she was expecting. 

Constance next reveals that Michael tried to kill her once by choking her. He was super apologetic and so child like in his demeanor afterwards. Constance decided that this aging business demanded a priest who Michael quickly killed. This pushed Constance over the edge. She had to admit she was in over her head even if it shattered her to admit. She felt like Michael would have eventually killed her and she wasn't going to give any man that satisfaction. She decided to go to Murder House and kill herself there so she would live on. Her death, much like Constance herself, is extra. She looked fabulous and did it with pills, a bottle of whiskey, and some dancing. She awoke to find herself surrounded by her children (minus one) and that is really why she wanted to be in Murder House. She says that she never wanted to see Michael again and that is the entire story and she excuses herself to go have a tea party with her youngest daughter.

The witches make their way back to Ben (who is in fact crying and masturbating). Madison calls him a DILF and demands he talk to them about Michael. Madison offers to fix it so that he doesn't have to cry and masturbate anymore which seems like a fair trade to Ben so he agrees to talk. He tells them he met Michael when he came over to find Constance. Michael finds her dead on the couch and falls apart. He is like a 7 year old in a 17 year olds body which makes it all the more heartbreaking. Cody Fern is killing this child like quality Michael is supposed to have. Michael is calling for his grandma but she is not answering. Ben shows himself and tells Michael that Constance does not want to be seen which further breaks his heart. Ben tells him that he wants to help him. He offers to help Michael if he really wants to change. Michael's reply to this is:

and he inquires why Ben would want to help him. Ben admits he views Michael as his son even though he technically isn't. Ben reveals that Michael desperately wanted to be good. Ben introduced him to a bunch of child joys he never got to experience. It's a cute montage of Michael learning to play chess, play ball, tie his shoes. Cody Fern's child like joy is infectious here. 

One day Michael is in Tate's room looking at his stuff which causes Tate to loose his temper. He demands that Michael leave his stuff alone. Michael admits he just wants to be like his dad which causes Tate to freak out even more. He rejects Michael as his son and tells him that there is no way he made something as evil as Michael. This is just another time that Michael is rejected by those who should have loved him. Ben could see Michael pulling away and falling further into the darkness. He catches Michael carving up Elizabeth Short (aka The Black Dahlia). He admits that he was losing him and it was made worse when new owners arrived.

Michael decided to put on the Rubber Man suit and kill both of the new occupants in a bloody mess (how very like his father). Michael claims he did it because they didn't belong there but Ben reminds him that they will now be stuck in the house forever. Michael is not happy about this so he burns their ghosts of out existence. He literally makes them disappear. He murdered their bodies AND destroyed their souls. This makes Ben turn his back on Michael (so this is now three people he has cared about who have rejected him). This news causes Madison to want to immediately run to Cordelia for help. This prompts Vivien to enter and she tells them getting rid of Michael will not be that easy. 

We finally get to check in with the Harmons at this point. We discover that Vivien and Ben don't speak because of Michael. She never stopped hating Michael and she resented that Ben needed him. There is a brief moment of tenderness between them but it is still pretty frosty as Ben kisses Viven but she barely leans into it.

Vivien reveals that Michael isn't just some witch they can exterminate and fills them in on the fact that he's actually the Antichrist. She shares some of the things that made her come to this realization - crows circled the house each day, it was really hot all of the time. It wasn't until a group of people showed up that she was sure though. We see that one of the members of this group is the caretaker that Michael is so fond of. The one gentleman in the group introduces himself as Anton LaVey (who was the real founder of the Church of Satan). They, of course, praise Michael and call him the 'chosen one'. This would have been very alluring to Michael who was feeling the sting of rejection from those who he felt should have loved him.

Madison inquires why Vivien didn't stop this group and she says that she felt they were just lost souls following a con man. She didn't think there was anything to fear until the night of the Black Mass. The group abducted a woman and performed a ritual sacrifice that brought out Michael's true powers. The ritual involved killing the poor woman and having Michael eat her heart. There is a fun Rosemary's Baby reference when one of the supporters declares "For you, Michael. It's all for you" before she plunges the knife into the poor victim. Michael watches this whole thing in wonder. As Michael eats the heart we see a shadow behind him unfurl to show the devil with wings.

Vivien shares that she decided to kill him that night after realizing what happened. Seriously, no wonder Michael thinks the human race are a bunch of assholes. He has experienced nothing but rejection from those he considered family. His own mother wanted to kill him. I get he is the Antichrist but his opinions don't seem as strange now. She sneaks into his room with a knife and as she approaches we see that Michael is awake. We also get to see the new branding that is now on his ear:

Michael, sensing he is in danger, sets Vivien on fire. He is trying to get rid of her soul! Tate comes in and saves the day though. Vivien shares that when the fire was out Michael was gone and she has no clue who took care of him after that (we know it was the caretaker though). She says that neither Ben nor Tate is Michael's father. Michael was born from the evil of the house. The source of its darkness is Michael's father (aka the devil). 

Madison has heard enough. She is ready to get the hell out of there and tell the coven everything. Behold chases after her and Madison quickly snaps at him that he better not try to stop her. Behold says that he is not going to. He never would have supported Michael if he knew that he was the Antichrist. They both begin to wonder what happens if they can't stop him (a frightening thought).

Madison hears crying and decides to go investigate. It's Violet who is upset. She reveals to Madison that she stayed cleared from Michael so she can't help her. Madison offers to help her as she sense Violet is having a hard time. Violet admits that she is tortured by the fact that she still loves Tate even though he has done so many awful things. Madison tells Violet that Tate was not really evil. The house used Tate and used him as a vessel to do things that would bring about what it really wanted (which was the birth of the Antichrist). She uses a spell to show Violet the truth of who Tate is which immediately makes Violet soften towards him. She immediately calls for him and he comes running to her side. It's a rather sweet reunion  and pretty much what every Tate and Violet fan could have wanted. Also, look at Madison doing good all over the place in this episode.

We leave Murder House with Madison magically locking the gate so that the ghosts of Murder House can spend their afterlife in peace.

The episode ends with Behold teasing Madison about helping out. She reveals that she just wantd someone to have a happy ending. Behold reminds her that if they don't stop Michael nobody will have a happy ending. Eeeep!

See you next week where we'll hopefully hopefully see the coven deal with this whole Antichrist mess.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - First Man

First Man

Rating: PG (Canada) / PG-13 (USA)

Director: Damien Chazelle

Language: English

Length:  138 minutes

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll

Viewing Method: Regular Screening

Release Date: October 12, 2018

Synopsis: The story of NASA's mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie explores the sacrifices and the cost -- on Armstrong and on the nation -- of one of the most dangerous missions in history.


Those expecting First Man to be a thrilling look at the race to be the first to get a man on the moon will most likely end up disappointed. First Man, instead, offers up a more quiet, contemplative character study of the man who would be the one to take those historic first steps.

Ryan Gosling's Neil Armstrong is a stoic man whose type of masculinity meant being unable to show emotion. His Neil is not, however, uncaring or unfeeling. He in fact feels a great deal. He is just more comfortable internalizing it and only allow displays in more private situation. This characterization suits Gosling's talents and feels like a natural fit. It makes the viewer lean in a little to decipher who exactly this man was. It's exactly the type of performance you would expect from Gosling and that should indicate if it'll be something you enjoy or not.

This movie is at its best when it is focusing on Neil Armstrong and who he was as a person. It shines when it lets itself be a character study. There are moments when the movie veers off this path and attempts to explore the larger question of whether this space exploration program was worth the cost, both in financial terms and in lives lost during the process. The movie never really manages to answer this question. It feels like a deliberate choice done to allow the viewer to make their own decision but it never really goes deep enough for that to be possible.

The final shots of the movie where Neil finally takes those first steps onto the moon are stunning to look at. Every from the cinematography to the directing choices and colour palates work to create a truly breathtaking spectacle. It also offers the most stunning example of sound and its use in movies that I can recall in a long time. Getting to space is noisy. This movie is filled with loud, noisy moments that all lead up to the eventual silence that is felt during these final moments. The lack of sound is so pronounced that it is just as jarring as the more violent symphonies that came before it. It's a remarkably done moment and one that I am excited to experience again.

This movie also does an incredible job with making space exploration feel difficult and dangerous. It feels like something earned, and at times like something we are not supposed to experience. The unknowable vastness of it is shown to be both breathtaking and fear inducing. The reality of traveling into space is not something this movie takes lightly and therefore neither does the audience.

The movies most emotionally resonate moments come from the family bonds that are effectively woven into the story. Neil and his relationship with his children provide the two strongest emotional beats in the movie. The strain on Neil's family, and himself, is clearly evident at numerous times during the movie. Claire Foy does an excellent job at playing someone trying to keep their home life together while worrying that her husband may not come back from his job. Her performance lets you see the toll that takes on not just her, but the kids. The cost of this mission isn't just a financial one and it is one more piece to weigh in the decision of worthiness.

The second man to walk on the moon, because this is such a singular character study, is delegated to a background character. Buzz Aldrin was a much more boisterous, outgoing man when compared to Neil and that fact is showcased here. Their character traits are so expertly woven in that even the way they walk on the moon is indicative of who they are as men. It is this attention to details about both the setting and character that manage to set this movie apart.

I would be remiss to not mention the style used to film this movie. It has a grainy sort of old time feel that matches the period this is set in perfectly. It's a clear image that manages to capture that classic feel at the same time. It fits the story perfectly and makes the incredible moon sequence feel all the more vibrant.

First Man is a solid movie that offers up breathtaking shots, an insightful character study, and a history lesson all in one. It's focus on the man, and not solely on the mission, make this a more grounded look at space exploration and the humble man who is now such a large part of American history.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Wicked Saints

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

This week's pick is Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..
I've been super curious about this one since I read the vague description with the deal announcement. It has continued to pique my interest and we now have a cover (and what a cover it is).

I am excited to learn even more about this one as the synopsis really doesn't reveal all that much. I love books that keep a little mystery going in. It makes for more exciting reading.

Expected release date - April 2, 2019

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Boy Wonder

We're already at the fifth episode of this season which means we are halfway through the season. This episode, entitled Boy Wonder, brought back some other familiar faces, showcased why Sarah Paulson is regularly my favourite part of this series, and set up the rest of the season to be quite interesting.

With the usual reminder of spoilers lets break down what happened. 

We begin where last week's episode left off. Cordelia fainted when Michael brought back Queenie and Madison. While unconscious we see that Cordelia has a vision of the apocalypse ... complete  with zombies. Her powers are useless against the zombies who begin to tear pieces of her flesh away. As this is happening Cordelia sees a white faced demon looking man who seems to be controlling the zombie horde. He laughs as they eat her (which is rude).

Cordelia awakens and immediately wants to know what is going on. The other witches tell her she was passed out but yelling for them in her sleep. She is properly reunited with Madison and Queenie. Madison is all snark and wanting to know if they even knew she was dead. Zoe assures her that they knew. This is perhaps one of my favourite moments because the inference is that they didn't do anything about it. Cordelia though is very happy to have everyone back. 

It's super cute to see them all back together. Once the reunions are over Cordelia instantly demands to see Michael. The warlocks show concern over the fact that she fainted to which Cordelia admits she was not prepared to see 'her girls' and reacted. Michael tells her that he needed to get her attention. Cordelia says that he has it but she needs everyone's attention first. She tells them of her vision of the apocalypse. She mentions the man with the white demonic face. John questions if there was any warning. Cordelia admits she is not sure but she needs to act because what happens may depend on the decisions she makes now. She announces that Michael will take the test of the Seven Wonders during the next blood moon (which Myrtle is not a fan of at all). She tells Michael that if he succeeds that he'll be the next supreme and that it'll change everything.

Once the witches are back at their own house Myrtle wastes no time demanding to know what Cordelia is thinking letting a warlock take the test. She is seething. She spits out that the entire concept of the 'Alpha' is just a fairytale the warlocks tell themselves. She goes on to list men who were terrible leaders and claims that history hasn't shown men to be all that great in that department. Cordelia tearfully admits that she is scared. She has seen the future and it ends with all of 'her girls' dead. She is worried that it is her hubris that leads them down this path. Her inability to see the possibility of this boy being the next Supreme. Myrtle reminds her that passing the Seven Wonders test doesn't mean you'll be a great Supreme as Cordelia's mother showed. Myrtle tells her that there are plenty of options within their own walls and mentions that Mallory was able to bring a young fawn  back from the dead. She didn't just heal the wounds, she undid them which impressed Myrtle. Cordelia reminds her that it was Michael who brought Queenie back. That takes some real power. Myrtle wants the test delayed until Mallory has time to blossom. Cordelia reveals that she doesn't have time. Her powers and strength are fading. She bluntly states that she is dying and shows off a section of graying flesh on her stomach. Myrtle tearfully tells Cordelia that it is not fair as she has just reached her prime. They are interrupted by Mallory who advises Cordelia that her next appointment has arrived.

The appointment is none other than Coco! Her father is bringing her to the school as she has shown magical ability. Coco's big talent is a knack for being able to determine when something has gluten in it (she discovered this when she saved her brother's life by preventing him from eating a biscotti that had gluten in it). Coco is supremely unimpressed that this is all she can do. Cordelia tells her that her powers are being able to recognize when something is dangerous and in her opinion that is a great place to start from. Cordelia convinces Coco to stay by giving a rousing speech out how if Coco will only trust her she can get her powers to blossom. Cordelia has Mallory show Coco around and it seems that the two were perhaps good friends.

As the blood moon nears the warlocks of the school for boys gather to cast a protection spell on Michael to aide him in his test. They bless him with salt from the earth, water from the sea, and blood from the body. These are meant to protect and purify. It's a pretty ritual with blue flames and everyone is really excited except for John who sees the same white faced demon that Cordelia did when he looks at Michael. This causes John to want to peace out. He goes and starts packing a bag. He is caught by another of the teachers (whose name is Behold) who calls him out. He tells John that all of this disrespect is beneath him. John wants answers though. He shares that he saw that white face demon too. Behold chalks it up to jealousy and tries to prevent John from leaving. John easily moves Behold out of the way with a wave of his hand and a biting line:

John says he is not jealous but rather afraid and leaves while Behold is still stuck against the wall.

John is driving to Cordelia and has to stop for gas. I am immediately screaming for him to get back in the car because nothing good is going to come out of this. While he is waiting for the car to fill up Michael's caretaker shows up. She plays like she can't put gas in her own car and while he is helping her she leans down to pick up something she drops and attacks his ankles with a knife. He falls and she cuts his throat. She pours some gasoline on him and throws a match on top of him as she is driving away. Goodbye, Cheyenne Jackson ... we barely got to see you. Goodbye, John ... the only voice of sanity at that school.

The caretaker immediately drives to see Michael. They embrace like a mother being reunited with her son. It would be cute if they weren't the Antichrist and a Satan worshiper. He literally runs into her arms. It's too precious. Michael wants to know if she did what he asked. She says John is taken care of. Michael reveals that 'these people' are the only ones who could be a threat to him. He wants to destroy the coven from within once he becomes the Supreme. So this was a plan to get him into the school and take over because witches/warlocks are the only threats to him. Interesting and also further proves that Michael isn't an actual warlock. The caretaker reveals that Ariel was part of the plan to get rid of John and urges Michael to not talk about his father in front of the warlocks. This, for whatever reason, made me laugh. Ariel joins them and says he was not going to sit by and let John ruin their chances of having a warlock Supreme. In other words, he was totally fine with John being killed if it meant the women didn't run things anymore. The entire lot of warlocks are not very smart at all (minus John, he knew what was going on). 

It is finally the blood moon and it is time for Michael to take the Seven Wonders test. We get a montage of him passing each hurdle effortlessly. First up is Telekinesis, followed by Concilium (mind control). Transmutation is next. This is followed by Divination, and Pyrokinesis. The last two are Vitalum Vitalis (bring something back from the dead) and Descensum (going into the Underworld and coming back). You can see the warlocks getting more and more excited as Michael sails through the tasks and the witches getting more and more worried. As Michael reaches his final task, Descensum, Cordelia puts an added twist to the task. She wants him to retrieve Misty Day while he is down there. The warlocks are outraged as this is not part of the official test. Cordelia points out that she is doing this because the next Supreme is going to have to be stronger because of her vision. Ariel calls bullshit. He thinks she is just afraid to let go and allow Michael to take over. Cordelia isn't having it. They bicker back and forth with Ariel accusing Cordelia of trying to kill Michael during these tasks. He compares her to her mother (who actually did kill potential new Supremes) which Cordelia does not like. She bites back with what is perhaps my favourite exchange:

She reminds him that she has humoured the warlocks and coddled their fragile egos but that doesn't mean that they actually get a say. She reminds him that she outranks him so he needs to fall in line because she is the Supreme. Michael tells them that he'll do it. He'll get Misty back. 

Michael descends and finds himself in Misty's version of hell. The one where she has to keep killing the frog over and over. She's distraught and begging for it to stop. We see it happen over and over until Michael kills the teacher who forces Misty to kill the frog. He guts the teacher and it is a bloody gory mess. Misty is kind of in awe and asks if he is there to save her. Michael then awakens back in the school with Misty following shortly after. Cordelia is in shock. Michael is drained and stumbles over to lean against a table.

Cordelia cradles Misty like she's a treasure. It's really sweet and people are shipping them and I entirely get it. I kind of hope they end up together at the end of all this.

All the other witches welcome Misty back. As this is happening Cordelia gets a nose bleed. The warlocks begin to celebrate this sign of the Supreme weakening. We've seen Michael get a nose bleed before after a big display of power so I can't help but think he pushed his nose bleed onto Cordelia somehow.  Misty senses something from Michael for sure though.

Ariel demands what is rightfully theirs. He wants Cordelia to name Michael as the next Supreme. Michael points out that he passed all seven of the tests and even sasses her by saying "unless you want to add another one". Cordelia relents and says that there is no doubt that Michael is the next Supreme before she faints again. Michael is very pleased. 

Cordelia is resting and regaining some of her strength. Misty brings her a tea. There is a lot of smiling at each other. Cordelia tells Misty that she knew her for only a short time but that she missed her forever. Yup, these two are totally adorable. Misty tells her that they should have left her where she was. She says Michael gives her the creeps. There is something wrong with him. While Michael was 'saving her' Misty recounts that after the killing of the teacher the students all began speaking in unison in a strange language. Their eyes went white and their heads were thrown back. Misty tells Cordelia that Michael was listening and that evil was speaking to him. Cordelia muses that perhaps Michael was negotiating her release from hell. Misty isn't buying it thought. She says that she has never smelled anything like Michael before (she calls it the 'perfume of death'). Myrtle is even less enthused that Michael is the next Supreme. Cordelia assures them that he will never be the Supreme. She reveals that she only let Michael take the test to determine how powerful he is. She also used him to get all of 'her girls' back so she has a full fledged coven. Michael inadvertently made them more powerful. Cordelia isn't stupid. 

Misty bemoans that she cannot fight. She was in hell so long that she is all out of sorts. Cordelia tells her that she has done enough. Misty brought them the first proof that Michael is not what he says he is and now she needs to heal. She's arranged for a surprise,  The White Witch (aka Stevie Nicks). Stevie performs a song and dances with Misty. It's all very lovely and witchy. We see Cordelia leave the room during this which catches Michael's attention. Cordelia, it turns out, is having a meeting with Madison. She wants her to use all of her training to find out everything she can about Michael because he is dangerous. Madison questions why Cordelia doesn't assume that she'd be loyal to Michael. He was the one who brought her back, not the witches. Cordelia points out that Madison is only loyal to herself. It turns out Behold was eavesdropping on them and he wants to go along. He reveals that he has his own concerns about Michael. Cordelia agrees that they can go together and gives Madison the address. When Madison asks what is so special about where they are going Cordelia simply replies 'it's where it all began' and we get a shot of the Harmon's old home (aka Murder House).

We're going back to the first season in the next episode! We're going to see more of Michael's upbringing and I expect the Harmons, Tate, and maybe some of the other ghosts! Those missing Evan Peters' face should be happy with next week's episode as I expect he'll be all over it. I am really excited to see these characters again!

See you next week .... be like Cordelia and make good choices!

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