Tag Archives: Pammy

Watch out for that snake of hers too.

18. Underground – Kat Richardson

For once, we are in a part of Seattle I can easily recognize from the one time I got to go there – the buried part aka the Seattle Underground. I enjoyed that tour because it was not as outside as really being outside. However, according to this book it contains a very angry monster and apparently that monster is also a relationship crimp – forcing a relationship that just doesn’t really feel like it should be there. I’m sorry Quinton, I just didn’t quite believe you’d melt Harper’s cold exterior with your also cold exterior. I guess having a monstrous warrior goddess who is also known as “Afraid-of-Nothing” has some influence on relationship choices for cold people.

Thaddeus and Pammy’s relationship needed no mythic warrior attacks to get them together. Just a spaying to take care of some ovarian cysts. Still epic on a much smaller scale. No cities were nearly destroyed.

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Sometimes the movie is better…

37. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

All the manipulation one could ever dream of in one relationship. Gone Girl really takes all the awful things people in a relationship can do to each other and magnifies them, then throws them back in your face, and it dares you to hate everyone in the entire story. Amy’s terrible. Nick’s terrible. I think the only character that really has any standard of respectability that’s maintained is the cat. And Go, for the most part. But, ugh, pretty much everyone else.

That “cool girl” passage is really worth the price of the book, though. The movie version only enhances how awesome that part is. This is also a movie that I like better than the book – it sort of distilled the essence (Flynn really made a nice set of moves adapting her own work) and you don’t have to be stuck in Nick or Amy’s head when they’re on screen. Affleck is such a smarmy asshole, he was perfect as Nick. Rosamund Pike was easily able to tiptoe down that line between sweet-pretender and sociopathic-terror. Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry were my favorites though. They both really fit their characters and provided the necessary counterpoint. And, as usual, the Fincher-Reznor sound and vision combination was excellent.

Pammy will eat all the celery she wants. She doesn’t care if any dude thinks she’s cool. She does what she wants.

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“A million candles burning for the love that never came”

60. The Silent Women – Sara Blaedel

Online dating leads to brutal assaults that women are blaming themselves for, in part because they put no parameters on what they were agreeing to and they were the kind of women who were targeted because they were more likely to blame themselves for being left bleeding and battered in plastic cuffs, alone.

The main victim even has the issue of her mother having basically suppressed her having any kind of life on her own and so when she does try and rebel and it leads to her being brutally assaulted, it really limits her hope. It was nice to watch the Danish police push this victim into therapy and to not to blame herself, and to encourage her to assert some independence even when it came as a result of an act that requires support to recover from. It was also very familiar to me based on my current work to see that dry resignation that comes from knowing that there are many sides to sharing one’s story in the media, especially when her mother could talk to them too…and her rapist could be closer than she knew.

Just imagine Twiglet and Pammy in rain coats in the dark so they seem more cover appropriate.

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“I instinctively have to get away from you. Bye.”

67. Walk of the Spirits & 68. Shadow Mirror – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Apparently these are the last two novels Richie Tankersley Cusick has published via a major publisher according to at least a few of sources. It was clear to me at the end of Shadow Mirror that might not have been intended to be the case. The thing is, she writes about the ghostly encounters of teens in a small Louisiana town with authorita. And that makes sense, she was born in New Orleans, the only place I’ve been where the signs about apartment vacancies mention whether or not the place is haunted publicly. It’s a Spirit Walk kind of state. And Cusick makes a clear differentiation between the southernness of Florida (where main character Miranda is from) and the southernness of bayou-adjacent Louisiana where both books are set, which makes more sense than anyone who would like to lump all the southern states together would understand, including the person I currently know who seems to think no areas of Florida have grass or snakes. They seemed so delusionally sure of what they were saying.

Anyway, Miranda and her mother move to the tiny town of St. Yvette after a hurricane takes their Florida home away. Miranda’s mom is from St. Yvette but she doesn’t like to talk about it because her father, Jonas Hayes, is the town crackpot. So she kept him from knowing his granddaughter – and she tries to keep Miranda from meeting him by having the both of them live above the garage at Hayes House, where her grandfather lives with the massively popular Aunt Teeta.

Pammy was also massively popular, but not for her cooking and welcoming personality like Aunt Teeta.

Not unlike a vampire series which shall not be named (not the ridiculous Derek the vampire one), Miranda finds an immediate friend group at school by being awkward and silent. Granted, she’s silent because she’s dealing with losing everything she ever had due to a hurricane, but, still. And this friend group is very eclectic and its cobbled-together nature is explained with familial ties. There’s Ashley, the bubbliest of cheerleaders, Parker – her sullenly willful boyfriend who is on the football team and rich, Roo – Ashley’s super-goth sister by marriage, Gage – the one with the dimples who lived next door to Roo and Ashley starting in childhood and who Roo is clearly in love with despite all her disaffected bullshit, and Etienne – who sounds exactly like every Cajun I’ve ever run into and is Gage’s cousin and who is much beloved of Miranda’s Aunt Teeta and grandfather.

One class history project brings them all together and they end up in a beautifully described dilapidated Union soldier cemetery and they meet Miranda’s grandfather being all crackpot-style and then he collapses and only gets to say like a couple sentences to Miranda before he dies. Sheesh.

And then there’s the ghosts. And Etienne showing up at all the right times when Miranda is ready to complain about seeing said ghosts and having a new important thing in her life that’s scary after losing all the other things and pushing him away, but wanting him to stay.

Pammy and Thaddeus’ dramatic recreation of Etienne sneaking into Miranda’s bedroom once she and her mother move into the larger Hayes House.

Somehow, the eclectic band of misfit friends who are all cute and constantly give each other hormonally-based shit manage to be interested – except Parker, who has an even bigger secret than his parents being rich and neglectful – in helping Miranda solve ghost problems, which happens to be what drove her grandfather to look like a crackpot. And they still manage to turn the history project in on time! With students who give a shit about their grades like Ashley and Gage involved, though, that was a given. Someone actually has to do the project while Miranda’s passed out, Etienne’s working offsite, Roo’s smoking, and Parker’s becoming a teen alcoholic. For the most part, the personalities of the teens are very realistic. Miranda’s a bit of a cipher and she does that Cusick thing where she runs from getting useful information a lot, but main characters are never perfect and she of course inexplicably attracts the attention of both Gage and Etienne. To be fair, attracting two southern dudes at the same time (while running from information) is also kind of a Cusick thing, I read Blood Roots.

Pammy was perfect, but, she was a guinea pig, so…a very high bar had already been met.

In book two, the last book thus far of the Spirit Walk series, the cracks in those friendships widen – and it’s all Miranda’s fault with all her fainting and ghost shenanigans, now at a giant plantation. One thing I will mention about this series, it throws in tidbits of southern history in a not beating you over the head with self-righteousness way to remind you it was bad. Everyone is aware it was bad and that “bad” isn’t really a big enough word to cover it. There is a level of living with the history of a place and remembering that more than one culture was there, but also there’s the architecture appreciation because now the ghosts are giving Miranda shit through mirrors at the plantation Belle Chandelle. And they are super sad. And they are pre-Civil War ghosts. Who come with smells at the plantation currently being turned into a bed and breakfast. The whole place, regardless of whether or not that is in quite poor taste.

And Etienne is even more preternaturally aware of when Miranda needs him to sneak in to her room and comfort her about ghosts.

Thaddeus was just like Etienne, apparently surveilling the house while also working like ten outside jobs. Thaddeus didn’t have to do quite as much work to watch out for Pammy.

Anyway, those friendships. Ashley might stop dating Parker, even though this doesn’t entirely go anywhere, it does make them upset and distracted. Roo is still trying to act like she cares more about making pithy innuendos than she does being with Gage, because Gage and Miranda clearly have some level of attraction to each other. Gage does research and is clearly cute, but, Miranda has Etienne after her too, and he’s kissed her and won’t quite holding onto her just a little too tightly when she’s upset or trying not to be embarrassed. And somehow, her sieve of a personality reminds Etienne’s mom of herself, so she gets invited to dinner at their house in the bayou.

I don’t know, maybe they like each other. Maybe. A little bit.

One swamp tour later, they know each other even better than all those secret meetings and shared glances – and then it’s gone because Gage shows up and interrupts dinner and he and Etienne get all angry at each other because they both care about Miranda. Miranda once again gets awkward and then relies on everyone else to save her after she tries to fix the ghost things by herself. She’s not exactly a slayer, we’ll just say that. And she doesn’t seem to know that Etienne is way more interesting than Gage even if he has been previously popular with the ladies…ladies we never hear about because the outside characters who are mentioned are either ghosts or impeding on Ashley and Parker’s relationship.

However, in the end, they can all stay friends for now as long as they have to save Miranda and feelings that were hurt can stay hurt and no one will ever find out how it shakes out because that’s the last book. They were all probably going to break up and be pulled inexplicably back together as a friend group over some ghost friends who didn’t get to go to cotillion or something in the next one.

I don’t know, maybe these two crazy pigs who never betrayed each other are still watching over each other as ghosts, waiting for more series books their sweet little antics can be applied to.

 

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“If you go, it’s gonna turn out baaaaaaad!”

12. The Broken Girls – Simone St. James

This book contains many elements that I enjoy – there’s a boarding school for girls that people want to get rid of where four girls find solid support and friendship (I expanded on that sort of “throw away the teens and they will bond” concept in my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy .), a ghost, murder, and research with primary source material!

It jumps back and forth in time and through a few perspectives, but it was not confusing. There’s contemporary Fiona, a reporter unable to stop herself from staring at the old derelict boarding school grounds – because her sister’s body was found on those same grounds. Fiona’s sister isn’t the only body found on those grounds… and the way that St. James weaves the school’s girls during its time and the school’s registered ghost and the murderage and the complicated but very realistic to me relationships of the character Fiona really worked for me (especially her observations of small town public library staff – she’s right). I was consistently happy to pick this book up again and sad when I was done reading it.

Having had two pregnant female guinea pigs in a row, including the pictured Miss Pammy, I at one point thought of my home as a boarding house for wayward teenage guinea pigs. It was a great time.

 

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Why yes, she did make them journal.

33. Secrets to Tell – Ann Gabhart

Camping with your therapist! I’m sure that at this point in time, the legal liabilities of taking several therapy patients on the same wilderness hike where they have tools and are supposed to be honest with everyone would shut this story down before it even began. That said, it was a good read. Things did not go well, ankles were twisted, allergic reactions were caused (Damon is a shitty human being and he’s lucky Gayle had an epipen, I mean, shit, being allergic to wasps is nothing to play with.), a fourth degree assault happened, they ran out of food, and got lost; but, lessons were learned along the way about resilience and how it’s not great if you step into a bear trap in the dark.

“If they ran out of food, why didn’t they just whistle for more treats?” – Pammy, a clearly seasoned outdoors pig.

Mixtape:

1. Invasion A.D. – Carpenter Brut
2. Take Me to the River – Talking Heads
3. Roaring Waters – The Darkness
4. Skin Moth – Torche
5. These Thoughts – Sweet Knives
6. Feel the Love Go – Franz Ferdinand
7. Never Let You Down – Greenskeepers
8. Get Away – Jeffrey Lee Pierce
9. Keep Moving On – Gallon Drunk
10. Black Jack – The Hives
11. Treason! Animals. – Franz Ferdinand
12. Life Means Nothing, Death Means Nothing – Ice Dragon
13. Habit – Uniform
14. Skull Eyes – True Widow

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“You did it to yourself, just you, you and no one else”

68. You – Caroline Kepnes

Stalk-stalkity-stalk-stalk-stalk. Okay. You reads quite quickly and is basically a great exploration of how not to end up in a relationship, how not to keep a relationship, how not to pursue anyone ever…it’s basically one giant flashing sign that says “DON’T” or like a relationship version of “Good Idea, Bad Idea” from Animaniacs.

Granted, the main character is a total stalker, but sometimes he makes decisions that seem kind of normal – manipulative and sad- but almost normal in this tech-driven age, and so it’s important to note that everything this narrator does is in the world of NO, just in case anyone thinks this book reads like stereo instructions. Sure it seems like a good idea to read things you know someone already likes before they know how hard you poured through their social media stuff to create a false sense of friendliness, but, how about waiting until they introduce it to you? Or just asking them about it instead of making it seem all spur of the moment connection when it’s really just your inner sociopath showing through before your shared laughter leads you to guide them into that cage in the basement? That’s at least a third, mutually agreed upon date thing. At least third. That way you know they suck before you have to worry about whether or not you want to release them from your basement cage. Think of the clean up.

Oh, side note, I watched the series well after originally writing this review and I stand by my Animaniacs comparison and, also, Joe really didn’t think about the clean up. It was all right, it did put a nice amount of emphasis on Ozma of Oz, and that’s my girl, so, I appreciated seeing her book since I don’t recall that aspect of the actual book.

Thaddeus never had to steal Pammy’s phone to learn her whereabouts since they lived in the same room and he whistled at her all the time anyway.

 

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I do believe that my favorite role of Rachel’s, Wanda Jo Oliver, was ineligible to be covered in this book. To the mobile fake crisis pregnancy center!

61. Girl Walks Into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle – Rachel Dratch

Rachel Dratch is very good at her characters. She is a very funny woman with great comedic timing. And her memoir is also funny and explores her character as an actual person with less great timing. Someone who has not had it easy in Hollywood with a career that didn’t have the easiest trajectory – it’s really interesting reading the story of someone who has been pushed around a bit more and doesn’t get to rely on the “pretty privilege” as much as other actors and comedians have. She actually has something to say and it is valuable to have the perspective of someone who has had some things come to them a bit later in life than they expected or that society teaches us to expect.

Pammy had a baby at age oneish and maintained a very strong spirit. Someone get her a fake crisis pregnancy center!

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“I’m tired of you being so dark while I’m so impish and whimsical.”

53. Get In Trouble – Kelly Link

Kelly Link’s brand of magical realism is always something I look forward to reading. I bought her Get In Trouble short story collection as soon as it came out and read the eight stories I hadn’t read before quite quickly. It’s been interesting to read the evolution of how Link deals with forming her characters. They seem to be much more realized in this collection than they were in her earlier work and usually a non-character character bugs me, but it never did in her writing.

I don’t like the cover of this collection as much as the past three of hers, it’s too not-whimsical, too graphic designy for me. The feeling I get from Kelly Link stories is like entering a long-abandoned and overgrown mini-golf course with a fairytale theme at dusk and red, cream, and brushy lettering is not quite right.

Pammy would’ve made a good cover model, especially on her shiny 1950s chair. She’s darling and cautious and those sweet eyes hint at an abandoned mini-golf course within.

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“In the back shakes a tambourine/Nicotine from a silver screen”

38. Silver Scream – David J. Schow, ed.

In 1988, Dark Harvest published Silver Scream, a collection of movie-centric horror stories edited by Splatterpunk dude David J. Schow. It’s awesome…except for the note at the end. Too much, man, too much. Don’t splatter me with such random tidbits. I prefer to be splattered in a much more specific way. That sounds horrible, not unlike many of the events in the stories of Silver Scream.

Ozymandias is ready to walk the path of cinematic terror. Are you?

“Cuts” by F. Paul Wilson – This reminded me of this movie that keeps randomly playing on Flix Retro called Mark of the Devil. It turns out it was part of a Hammer television series in the 1980s called Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense and involves this dude (Dirk Benedict) who murders a voodoo dude-slash-tattoo artist and grows a tattoo of the murder on his chest that he must – MUST – keep from his new bride Jenny Seagrove. In “Cuts,” things get a little bloodier than murder. Yep. It just proves that you should never mess with anyone who writes about voodoo. Also, do not fuck with books when you make them into movies. Most of the time it goes badly and in this case, you’ll suffer extensively.

“The Movie People” – Robert Bloch – I haven’t read Psycho as of yet, so I believe this is one of my first exposures to Robert Bloch’s writing (I can’t recall if he’s been in any of the other short story collections I’ve read, I’ve read a lot of them over the years). It’s a wistful story of loneliness and reaching out across time and really, really taking one’s craft as an extra seriously.

“Sinema” – Ray Garton – Holy shit this story was great. A basically abandoned kid and a serial killer in the midst of a strictly religious town watch movies together and make friends…until there are reasons for them to be not friends. A little more sadistic at the end than I would’ve liked, but I am glad the basically abandoned kid got the upper hand at some point.

Ozymandias will control what we watch from now on. He has taken control of the remote for all time.

“More Sinned Against” – Karl Edward Wagner – 100% my favorite story in the collection. I know the sacrifices women are expected and conditioned to make so that they can support someone else’s dream. It doesn’t always turn out quite like this, but the excuses were so familiar. “If I just had this, we could do this,” and they never, ever mean it. They were always planning to get ahead of you and expected you to just stay where you were. They were special, you were not. Well, getting your own action figure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be sometimes. Everyone is special.

“Bargain Cinema” – Jay Scheckley – A ballad of co-dependency. Don’t be Chuck and Patty.

“Lifecast” – Craig Spector – Sounds like Troma maybe screwed someone over at some point. Hmmm. This tale of make-up work and, yes, more voodoo, ends in a way that I was not expecting. Yikes.

Ozymandias was always very independent, and very special. He would never have made any mistakes while practicing voodoo.

“The Show Goes On” – Ramsey Campbell – Abandoned theaters are super creepy. I have been in exactly one abandoned theater myself, I was not alone – there was a print of Coach Carter there in addition to other people I came with, and thankfully it wasn’t as far gone as the theater in this story. Parts of this story made my breathing wonky because it was so easy to picture all the dust and mold and musty smells. It was also very tense, as a lot of urban exploration can be, even without the hauntings.

“The Cutter” – Edward Bryant – Delusions of romance and grandeur drive a movie theater owner who used to edit in Hollywood. He re-cuts the movies he shows and he creepily pursues and finally “edits” a young woman with a bad attitude who lets him do things for her. Eek.

There are two other things I took issue with about this collection besides the overly wordy and inside jokey essay at the end. One, the last story was Way. Too. Long. I lost interest nearly a quarter in and never regained it. I’m surprised I made it through the whole thing. And- there are no stories by women in here. There are several stories about women and featuring their perspectives, but I bet there were some stories about movies by women that really could’ve been worth including. It would’ve been nice to see more equal representation.

Ozy and Pammy, equals and Teddy Bear pigs.

 

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