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text 2018-10-18 05:12
Reading progress update: I've read 25 out of 400 pages.
Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill

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review 2018-10-15 00:55
Leave you wishing for more, but not in the good way
The Daughters of Palatine Hill: A Novel - Phyllis T. Smith

At first blush, there is really nothing wrong with this look at three women in Augustus' court.  The three are Cleopatra Selene (daughter of Cleo and Tony, raised by Octavia), Julia (Gus's daughter by his first wife), and Livia (Gus's second wife).  Selene is well drawn as a character.  It's just that the book leaves you with the vague feeling that there should have been more.  And Julia seems to do a half character change with little reason.

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text 2018-10-14 02:57
The Haunting of Hill House, Episodes 2-4

I wish this weren't an adaptation. The lines that are taken straight out of the book, but with a different context, are distracting. That said, it's growing on me. Although I wish it would stop it with the jump scares.


So far, each episode is concentrating on a different member of the family, which makes me wonder what's going to happen once the series runs out of family members to focus on. I feel like the first two episodes were the roughest, although part of that may have been due to the fact that I didn't like the primary siblings in those episodes as much.


Episode 1 was Steven, the eldest brother who turned his family's experiences into a book, with some embellishments that piss several of his siblings off. I know he needs to make money, but I cringed hard at the way things turned out with the woman whose husband died.


Episode 2 was Shirley, the funeral director. She and Steven are my least favorite Crain siblings so far. Some of it I get - Shirley has held the role of the "responsible and steady one" for years, and she's tired of the responsibility. FYI, this episode includes animal deaths. I could see them coming from a mile away and was still sad. The aspects of this episode dealing with the boy who didn't want to go to his grandma's viewing pissed me off. I was once that little boy, and being forced to look at my grandmother in her casket was a hideous experience I wish I'd been allowed to skip.


Episode 3 was Theo, whose personal life consists of one-night stands. She wears gloves because she is, from what I can tell, an empath. In the present, she generally only uses her abilities at work - she's a therapist for traumatized children. For the most part, I really liked this episode, although the entire dumbwaiter/basement portion of the episode struck me as massively stupid on everyone's part. Yes, I know, they were kids and kids do stupid things. But still.


Episode 4 was Luke, who, as it turns out, is Nell's twin. I had thought they were just really close in age. Theo is probably my top favorite of the siblings so far, followed by Luke. Kid Luke is adorable. I assume the series will get back to him later on, because this episode barely touched on the little girl who may or may not exist and who Luke befriended when he was a kid.

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text 2018-10-13 05:07
The Haunting of Hill House, episode 1 (spoiler-free)

It's...not necessarily bad when taken on its own (reminder: I'm a horror wimp, so I consider myself to be a bad judge of scariness, since it doesn't take much to scare me). As an adaptation, though, I'm wondering what the writer was thinking.


It stars a house-flipping couple and their family and takes place mostly within a couple time periods. Some scenes are flashbacks to when the whole family lived in Hill House, while other scenes are later, after everyone has grown up and drifted apart.


The characters:


- Hugh Crain, the husband


- Olivia, the wife


- Shirley, one of the daughters (In the present she's a funeral home director or something, but I haven't yet caught on to which of the older girls is which in the scenes set in the past)


- Theo, another one of the daughters (in the present she's either a lesbian or bisexual, wears gloves, and has lots of one-night stands)


- Steven, the eldest son (in the present, he visits the sites of supposed hauntings, debunks them, and then writes "non-fiction" books about the hauntings as though he truly saw ghosts)


- Luke, the youngest son (saw some creepy girl in the woods when he was a kid, and in the present he's an addict)


- Nell, the youngest daughter (suffered from what her parents thought were vivid nightmares while she lived in Hill House, always about the "Bent-Neck Woman," and still seems to have anxiety and other issues in the present)


- The Dudleys, the caretakers of Hill House. Mrs. Dudley is stern and religious.


You can see some of the bits and pieces that were taken from the original in the character list alone. There are also a few lines in the show that are taken directly from the book, but with a few extra lines added in between and/or the context changed. The writer also definitely has different ideas about how the scares should be handled. Lots of jump scares. I think the writer liked the hallway door banging scenes in The Haunting of Hill House and felt that the TV series should just get right to that stuff, ASAP.

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text 2018-10-12 14:56
The Haunting of Hill House TV series is on Netflix now

I plan on at least trying it, although it looks like it's only vaguely (very vaguely) related to the book.

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