Sentence of the Day: Sam

There is a climactic confrontation between teens and killer bugs on a lake!

  • “Be dead, be dead,” Sam muttered under his breath.

Like Buffy!

Trigger Warning: Killer Bugs, and Drake

So many characters in Plague. Each one has his/her/their own story arc, but she’s beginning to develop affinities.

The insects are coming! They’re led by this bad, bad boy named Drake who, even before the crazy time when all the adults disappeared from Perdido Beach, California, was mini-Jeffrey Dahmer, “burning frogs” and “microwaving a puppy” (!!!) He’s absolutely nuts and becomes a kind of Lord of the Bugs, with his own bug army, which he is leading back to town to kill all the kids.

Just then a rush of bugs, a new column of the creatures came over the ridge and poured into the mass of Drake’s army. Different. These had bloodred eyes.

They were not alone.

Brianna stood, arms on hips, glaring down at him.

“You!” Drake said.

“Me,” Brianna said.

To the creatures he said, “Red eyes, serve me! To the town. Kill everyone but Nemesis!”

“You talking to these bugs now?” Brianna said. “I have to tell you: I don’t think they speak psycho.”

“Blue eyes, with me!” Drake said. “Two columns, two armies: blues with me, reds back to town and kill. Kill!”

“What exactly do you think you’re doing?” Brianna demanded.

“Me?” Drake laughed loudly. “I’m going on an epic killing spree.”

“You’ll have to go through me,” Brianna said.

Plague, p. 308

AWESOMENESS!

Better Than It Needed to Be

Self has been reading Plague: A Gone Novel. She’s still less than a hundred pages in, but already she is grateful for the writing: when a book about southern California teen-agers trapped under an invisible dome and having to deal with urges and drinking and plague, not to mention insects that burrow inside them, turns out also to be well- written, she is all : Too much! First the Adrian Tchaikovsky space opera, then this! What are the odds? What has she done to deserve etc.?

The Gone books have two main protagonists: Sam and Caine. The two are twins who’ve been separated at birth: their single mother gave Caine up for adoption, but kept Sam. Caine, naturally, grows up to be a bad boy. Because of his malevolence, Caine has been exiled by the other kids to an island off Perdido Beach. He is accompanied in exile by a beautiful girl, Diana, who’s in love with him. On p. 70, Caine and Diana start making out and then they argue. Caine starts lifting boulders with his finger and flinging them around (so, magic powers!)

“Sometimes I hate you!” he yelled and with a flick of his wrist sent the boulder flying off the cliff and falling toward the water below.

“Just sometimes?” Diana raised one skeptical brow. “I hate you almost all the time.”

They glared at each other with a look that was hate but also something else, something so much more helpless than hatred.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day (Also: Spoiler Alert!)

You’re barreling along on p. 380 of an Adrian Tchaikovsky novel and you’re feeling it, really feeling it, swept along by the dense prose and the unspace and the intense flashbacks to what happened on Berenhof, when . . .

OLLI: “Son of a bitch, I knew it!”

And Solace sends the message.

NOOOO! Airlock her now, Olli!

Self can’t even.

Stay tuned.

Book # 7, the Dr. Ruth Galloway Series: THE GHOST FIELDS

Self read her first Dr. Ruth Galloway book in April, when she was still at River Mill. And she’s been barreling along ever since. She bought # 7 at Waterstones in Oxford, then decided to order # 8. Though the books can be frustrating (many love triangles, “Secret” Fathers, etc etc), the series is addictive.

In Book # 7, our heroine is stuck in a creepy old house with two members of the British landed gentry who are both dotty. There’s a fierce storm, roads have flooded, so Ruth has no choice but to stay put. One of the creepy men enters her room in the middle of the night and . . .

Thankfully, nothing happens. This is Dr. Ruth Galloway, not Hannibal Lecter, lol!

In the kitchen, Ruth makes herself a cup of tea and puts some bread in the giant toaster, presumably bought with the B & B in mind. There’s no sound from upstairs. She hopes that both Georges will sleep late. For ever would be nice.

The Ghost Fields, p. 331

Sentence of the Day, Fourth Saturday of 2022

  • “Then the next night, when you returned, one of the kitchen maids spoke to a dead man as she went home after dark.” — Mary Russell to Queen Marie of Roumania, Castle Shade, p. 235

Developments (Also: SPOILER ALERT)

Mary Russell’s been put into a box that’s barely larger than a coffin. Her fault: she’d been walking around the village in the dark, alone because Holmes had been called away on some urgent business by his brother Mycroft.

Self hates Buried Alive stories, so she is glad this is not that. Though the box Mary Russell finds herself in is very small, only high enough to allow her to squat, she puts all her strength into shooting upwards, and finds that the box she is in is not locked, so the top goes flying up, then flying down again, hard, on the top of her head.

After she recovers from the concussion, she climbs out of the box and finds her boots, her flashlight, her spectacles and most important her knife, lined up neatly next to the box. She secures these items, then goes flying up a village road, knife out to defend against any attackers, and she passes two peasant women who are so alarmed by the sight of her that they drop the contents of their baskets onto the road, which are onions.

And then she proceeds in that fashion up to Castle Bran, where three very handsome young men (servants of Queen Marie) are chatting against a Citroen and stop what they are doing to stare. Then on into the castle where the Queen’s butler (Florescu, he with the fang-like incisors) also stops what he is doing to stare. And past her husband, who has apparently just arrived back from his business in Bucharest, who also does nothing but stop and stare (in horror, Mary Russell notes). She finally recovers enough to turn and address the horrified spectators thus:

“I seem to have . . . had something of a turn, and woke to find myself in a rather grubby situation. Pardon me.”

Castle Shade, p. 195

Self is enjoying this.

Sentence of the Day, Third Friday of 2022

In Brasov, he had managed to claim a corner of what purported to be a first-class compartment, but if things grew worse when they reached Sinaia — as they had on his earlier such trip — he would have to consider some means of taking revenge on his brother.

Castle Shade, Chapter Nineteen

LOL LOL LOL

Holmes is on a separate trip from Mary, having received urgent summons from his brother Mycroft (apparently, their paths continually diverge, throughout this series. And neither of them, of course, seems the least bit put out if they do not see each other for weeks on end. Is this what Victorian marriages were like? How very dry!). Right after the sentence above, Holmes ruminates on his marriage (a very interesting passage. Say what you will, self thinks Holmes cuts a very romantic figure, especially when he broods)

On p. 129, there is finally a kiss, “on the side of the head,” from Holmes to Mary, as he prepares to take on his next assignment, which will entail his leaving her for who knows how long.

Self searches goodreads to see if there’s a follow-up book to this one. No, not yet. She finds this dynamic very interesting, despite the cool indifference between the two. All the reader’s frustrated hopes bust out of the Victorian corsets in the fan fiction.

A Local Witch

Self is on p. 75. That should count for something. btw, she’s just discovered Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell fan fic — so top caliber! There’s the May/December trope, the Having-a-Baby trope, the How-To-Be-a-Kickass-Detective-While-Pregnant trope, all kinds of tropes!

On p. 75, Mary and Sherlock go for a walk in the woods and find ‘apotropaic marks’ (i.e. ‘run away’ marks) on the trees around the home of a woman living in a wee cottage in the woods.

“Isn’t it odd that they let your Mrs. Varga live in the area, yet mark their paths and houses to drive her away?”

“Not necessarily . . . Although I do imagine they take care to ensure that she doesn’t stray into their private area.”

“Yet they ask her to heal their goats and, I don’t know — make their amulets? Help at childbirth?”

“Probably.”

“Isn’t that a bit like trusting the crocodile in your moat to let you go for a swim?”

“You of all people, Russell, should not be surprised at the lack of consistent logic in a system of belief.”

Self is really enjoying Castle Shade.

Stay tuned.

Suspense!

Self adores the vampire references, the creepy castle. This book has a Gothic feel — are all the others like that? It’s her first Laurie R. King. She is prolific, Castle Shade is #17 in her Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series. The characters are charming (though hardly affectionate). Self loves the supernatural lore, and the historical context.

Slight digression: What a gorgeous day today was! The sun was out, strong and warm. There were no groups of wandering high schoolers on El Camino. Self wondered if schools had gone back to remote learning in light of omicron.

Chapter Nine

I wasn’t sure what had awakened me, but I had been dreaming. Dracula again, with horse-drawn carriages and dancing blue flames. I turned irritably on the pillow, puling it down under my head — and froze.

Was that wolves?

I jerked up from the pillow, straining to hear, feeling the ghostly stickiness of drying blood on my palms. A long minute ticked by . . . then yes, it came again, a distant howl, unearthly in the night.

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