Saturday 26 February 2011

Review: Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

Spoilers contained within if you haven't yet read the book.

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.
Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan left Huntsdale to wander aimlessly but after centuries of leading his court it was not long before the reality of being Summer King became too pressing. Violence seemed more inevitable by the day and the Summer Court was not yet strong enough to face conflict, so Keenan made a dangerous deal with the water fey. It is a desperate bargain he makes to strengthen his court against the coming war. Aislinn tends the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. She knows she must be a powerful queen to hold her court together, while Bananach becomes more and more dangerous, and she is losing faeries to her. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. Her court is still powerful, but she must remain focused on keeping them that way and not get distracted by Keenan when he shows up at her door again. The Dark Court is thrown into chaos when they are rocked by tragedy. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
They all know what Bananach seeks – the raven-faery is the embodiment of war and discord. She and her growing number of allies want mutiny and murder. Love, despair and betrayal ignite the Faeries Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win… and some will lose everything. The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr’s bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

Oh my god you guys, this book was so worth the wait. I mean, just. Wow. Now let me clarify this wow, because there are several different types of wow for me. This was the wow I love this story because it’s fantasy and it’s epic and it’s about love but so much more than just love between two people. I said this in my last review of the fourth book in the series ‘Radiant Shadows’ – this series is like a game of chess, watching as all the pieces are slotted into place for the grand showdown at the end. And it’s mesmerizing to watch/read.

For some reason the summer court peeve me. I still love them, so it’s not a big peeve, I think it’s simply that Keenan and I have never quite seen eye to eye. He’s a bit too duplicitous for my liking, and I’m not fussed on guys like that. However he really sorts himself out this book, but I’ll come to that later. Anyway, because of him I’ve never been as taken with the Summer Court as I have with the Dark Court. So Books two and four were always my favourites because of how much they focus on the Darker aspects. Actually scrap that, two ‘Ink Exchange’ is just freaking amazing. Fact.

I’m rambling. Sorry. It’s just I really love these books and I tend to gush when I love things.

So whilst I wasn’t so fussed on going back to the Summer Court, I’m glad the narrative did, because it was the final hurrah where all the threads were tied up. It’s impressive on Marr’s part that she keeps so many courts/people/threads together and coherent. There is a lot going on in this book.

I did miss Ani and Dev. I grew attached to them from the last book, and they were the only people missing – everyone came out to play in this instalment.
All the tangled love lives and triangles were finally resolved, and the big battle that’s been building since the first book finally happened.
And it was awesome.

I hate when battles are built up into this thing of epic proportions and then they happen and it’s just like a balloon deflating *cough* Breaking Dawn *cough*. So things kicked off, and things got bloody, and you know what, I had goosebumps. Everyone came together and were fighting for their lives and their loves, and it was just epic.

And everyone finally sorts themselves out! Although a few things, for example what Keenan does to be with Donia, I did wonder why he didn’t do them sooner, but I guess everyone was growing up to get to this point, so whilst I wonder, it also makes complete sense. But I was so excited that he finally got to be happy. I mean I’m not fussed on him, but I love Donia. She’s so cool, and she’s been through so much and is so strong.

Actually that’s another point I love – Marr creates strong female characters. They are not weak or rely on their men to do the dirty work – they get stuck in, they get their hands dirty, and quite often, they do a better job than the guys might have done. But they are still likeable and human, and I think in that lies their greatness.

My final gushing point is the endings. Now I’m a sucker for happy endings, I love them. But I also love sad endings and people dying, because if you go attack a bunch of people, the laws of logic say you won’t all be in tact at the end.

But, AND PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T YET READ THE BOOK, the bad things happen and it’s all heart in mouth high terror stuff, yet everyone gets their happy endings and all the right people end up with the right people, and it’s all good.

It’s summed up pretty brilliantly towards the end of the book Far Dorcha:
“The winter court could be his if Donia died. It was a natural order. The child of winter would take his mother’s court. He would grieve, grow bitter, and eventually his mourning would warp into something malicious. Which would be tedious.

It just makes you think that maybe all this has happened, or something like it, before. And the cycle keeps repeating, and with all this fresh blood, all these new regents, they had a chance to change it, and to make things right.
All in all, it was the perfect ending to the series. And I’m sad it’s over, but I couldn’t have wished for a better finale. 

Friday 25 February 2011

Review: Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

The events of ‘Fragile Eternity’ have left the faery world off-balance, its key players fighting to maintain control over their world – and its secrets…
Devlin lives in a world where everything is beautiful, ordered… and cruel. As a prominent member of the High Court and half-brother to Sorcha, the High Queen, he’s one of the most powerful faeries of the old guard.
Ani lives in a world where every line is blurred. Half human, half faery, half in the decadence of the Dark Court and half out of it, her life of dive bars, tattoos and street fights couldn’t be farther from the clean lines of the High Court.
But you can’t choose where your heart will take you, and when Devlin and Ani meet, two extremes of the faery world collide – with passion, violence and heat; for better – and for worse…

I adore this series, it’s one of the most decadent and sprawling urban fantasy series in young adult today. Which is partly why it has taken me so long to read this latest instalment. The only problem with this level of detail, is that when there’s a long gap between books, I struggle to get back into it without going back and re-reading everything.

So with the final book in the series ‘Darkest Mercy’ next to me on the sofa, I got going with ‘Radiant Shadows’ so I could have a faerie fest weekend.

The biggest plus for me about this series is that it’s not just about one couple or person, it’s about a group of people who are interlinked and related and in love, and trying to maintain order over these separate courts that are all rapidly becoming further entangled. And not just that, War is coming.

But it’s not a one book build, or even a three book build – four books in and War still hasn’t completely broken yet. It’s all been about moving the right pieces into place, telling all the separate stories that lead us to this point. Where people grow into their roles, make decisions that impact sides and choices, and all it just becomes so complicated I wish I’d made a map.
Not that you can’t follow – Marr is a concise story teller, it’s simply that her scope is so much wider than most writer’s dare to play with, and it’s a truly breath taking piece of work.

So this particular instalment? I loved it. Ani and Devlin are characters that have already been introduced in earlier books, so it was great to actually get to spend a book with them and flesh out the characters. The plot is slowly but surely inching towards its conclusion, and it really felt like all the pieces are slotting into place before the final showdown.

Honestly, this series feels like a really awesome game of chess. It is epic.

My only complaint isn’t really a complaint, more a kind of musing. The road trip felt a little bit ‘ok we’ve driven all this way and now we’re just going to run straight back again.’ But I also get why they went on the road trip. It gave them space to get to know each other and hash it out to a point where they realised they trusted each other and actually needed each other. But I did feel a tiny bit cheated when they realized they should have been at home and hightailed it back. But hey, it meant we got a steamy scene in a motel room. I am a sucker for those.

I can’t recommend it as a standalone book because you’d be so confused it just wouldn’t be worth it – but I do recommend this series as a whole. It’s epic fantasy, with high fantasy thrown in but mostly urban, and it’s brilliant. It’s entirely engrossing, terrifying, with brilliantly drawn characters and exceptionally good writing.

In fact, I’m just going to go read the next one now…
‘Darkest Mercy’ is supposedly not released until 3rd March 2011, but my local Waterstones already had a shelf full. So if you haven’t discovered the series, go and start with ‘Wicked Lovely and if you have, go out and get hold of ‘Darkest Mercy’ it’s going to be an incredible conclusion.

The Vampire Diaries: The House Guest Review

‘The House Guest’
Previously on The Vampire Diaries:
doppelgängers caused havoc, deals and
betrayals galore. Oh and some stabbing too.
Lots of stabbing.

We’re facing another month long hiatus – because someone just loves to drag out the torment… So tonight’s episode was always going to be awesome, but you just know it’s going to be even more than awesome when Nina Dobrev is going to be talking to herself. I love her multiple personalities.
So as always, I’ve noted down my comments and musings as I’ve watched the episode – so you get action, heart wrenching and omg moments live from my sofa.
See you on the other side…

It's Tuesday!
“Stefan, it’s school – remember that thing that we keep forgetting about.” Oh yeah…Glad someone remembered!

So apparently all it takes for Stefan to have a hot and heavy make out session with what I hope is Elena, but hey, you never know in this house! Is agreeing that she’s right and to do everything she asks! Dominatrix anyone?

“Oops, my bad bro – just strangling your gf!”

Ahaha, oh dear lord this is brilliant. Salvatore brothers – going crazy since 1864. Katherine sure knows how to make them throw a loop and hurt the girl they both love. Oh it’s too much. Although points to Damon for spotting the fake one first off!

Elena: Bitch please!
Oh Elena could you sound more whiney right now? “I don’t want her here, get her out of here Stefan – and get me a pony on your way back!”
I love the double Dobrev here – I have missed Katherine/Elena schizophrenia.

“Yeah that’s all he said. That and stop being a douche and take care of Caroline – but I’m feeling too manly to admit to my feelings for you right now.” Urgh, Matt, get rid of the icky ridiculous man thing you have going on right now – I liked it when you were the only decent and lovely bloke in Mystic Falls. You’re shattering all my illusions that there were still decent men left!
Oh puppy I take it back – you made me go all smushy inside with your hurtyness. Smooch already!
(How long until Caroline snaps and tells him?...)

Might possibly be Wednesday now.
You know Stefan’s in a good mood when the car comes out to play. How much does Elena want Katherine gone because she finds it icky that each brother could be having fun with a copy of her. Ooo hijinks is so going to ensue with this one.
Also, perhaps now would be a good time to make some sort of colour coding top thing so that Stefan can always tell which one is Elena? No? That would be the sensible plan…

“That doesn’t mean I want her shacking up with you.” Ha. Jealous much? You’re practically shacking up with Stefan at the moment, and Kathy was naked in Damon’s bathroom last night, so I think you’re ok for ooo at least twenty minutes.

“It’s kind of a girls night – maybe Katherine can join us.” OH MY GOD I WOULD PAY GOOD MONEY TO SEE THAT SLUMBER PARTY. Make it happen people.

Damon when did you get all bad ass with the flame thrower, I thought that was Stefan’s job? Also, why does it not surprise me that Katherine seems surprisingly turned on by burning flesh. Sigh. Vampires. Tsk.

I know it’s a model, but it’s kind of alarming seeing Elijah all death like and smoking after Damon’s just tried to roast him.

Oh Damon sweetie, you’re so cute when you keep getting repeatedly punched in the face by Katherine as she reminds you time after time, she really couldn’t give a crap – you were just mildly entertaining and quite good in bed, but ultimately too clingy. She should see Stefan some days – that guy takes clingy to the max. Maybe then she wouldn’t be so hung up on him.

“Why are you still here?” – Damon needs some aspirin. Or a sorority girl.
“Because you haven’t forcibly removed me.”
*Lifts flamethrower and points.* oh go on, I dare you…

No matter how many times Katherine says she’s being honest about helping, I don’t trust her even a smidge. But I love that she’s here.

Welcome to the awkward kiss dodging lockers of doom! Embarrassment galore!
Although that little kiss and look down the hall is *really* cute. I love it. It makes me squee.

Alaric, I know Elena is family so should be included, but also shouldn’t this conversation be held with someone who isn’t your student?... Maybe with an adult? A psychologist maybe? Wow that would be a fun session.
Good move Alaric, put your future happiness in the hands of a teenager! God I love this show. And that’s said with no sarcasm at all. I genuinely love that this show does that.

Luca, you baffle me. You’ve been roofied, brain raped, almost died from power being sucked out of you by this girl, and yet you still persuade your father to meet with her and her vampy scary best friends boy friend. You worry me a touch. Does your father do nasty things to you when you’re off screen?

Yeah Stefan, I wouldn’t go bandying trust about like that. Daddy Witch doesn’t look like he’s going to reciprocate, and his son is mentally unstable – I think things are going to go downhill from here...

Slapsies turn into piano thumping pinning. Oh Damon you know how to turn a girl on. I need some water. “If it’s any consolation, I’m glad that you’re not dead.” I’m glad too. Very glad. Actually I think most of the world is. Take that on board please, don’t go all suicidal pouty just because Katherine’s an idiot for not choosing you. WE LOVE YOU DAMON. Maybe we should set up a support group?

“You’re gonna kill them?”
“No I’m gonna let Elijah do it.”

Urgh product placement. I want one.
I like that these slumber parties are back to being a regular feature. I hated when Bonnie was being all judgy.
The one where everybody
learnt to read.
Haha! Never mind the terrors that are plaguing our town – what movie are we going to watch?!

Much as I love the Jenna joining in thing, these are probably not the best people to be talking to. What with them knowing EVERYTHING and you knowing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Just a pointer.

Stefan was having problems with some
of the longer words.
Uhho, Caroline’s having a crisis. Vampire Barbie may cry at any moment. Also, Jenna is talking Caroline into telling Matt (inadvertently) and they’re all going to convince Elena to tell Ric to tell Jenna the truth. Ha! I figured it out! Well, we’ll see, but my money is on this scenario playing out. Or not, and me looking like a fool. Both are good.

We’ve moved from depressing films to dancing! Where both boys will most likely be! I like it! To The Grill people!

I think people might like Luca and Daddy Witch more if we’d had more stuff like this earlier! I get that they were all ambiguous and we didn’t know who’s side or what was going on. But suddenly, a little more time on them, and I’m not so peeved with them. Oh I’m still mad – just a little less. And the fact that they’re bringing back my baby has NOTHING to do with this. Really.

“Can I help you?”
“I’m bored.”
*sigh* Ah Damon, you know what happens when  a vampire gets bored. It will involve killing/drink/topless dancing – not necessarily in that order. Quick, entertain her!

Luca could have been so much creepier if he'd
done this more
Oh no… Luca thinks she’s Elena. This is not going to go down well. Seriously, no matter how many times they play the Katherine is Elena game, it never gets old!

Smoooooth Salvatore’s. I like your style. Elena’s jedi non-speaky tricks have rubbed off on you.

OH MY GOD THE TENSION IS KILLING ME. Need to breathe. Need to breathe. I love this whole invisible ghosty Luca, it’s so cool. But did he stab her too low?! I don’t want her to die!!!! ARGH.

That’d be a no she’s ok. Just a flesh wound. We’re good. But that dagger on the other hand. Rise and shine!

LUCA! FLAMES! DAMON! “Some kind of crazy ass witch psychic attack – get over there and do something about it.” I love it when Damon is hands on.

Ooooo burnt Luca is less pretty. Why do witches always have to turn to their spell books when someone they love dies? Wouldn’t they learn some emergency revival spell, you know, just in case? Apparently not.

Daddy witch, if you’d had more screen time and been a little less of a brick wall of unrelentingness, I might feel your pain. As it is, sad face that Luca is no more. Non-plussed face at the water works.

The almighty grill of repairing broken hearts.
One Ric – check.
Jenna – check.
Caroline – check.
Matt – check.
Go forth and sort yourselves out!

YES! Elena, the only person talking any sense right now. She gets points for that. And possibly a t-shirt saying something along the lines of ‘sense talker’. I can see her rocking that.
Now let me live out my rock star fantasy

“This isn’t going to end well.” Says the woman currently main lining tequila. I think Caroline has a better shot right now.

Also, nice mind wiggy Caroline – I like it.
I LOVE IT. Words cannot express my love. She’s good, and it’s kind of embarrassing and cringey and awesome all at the same time.

YES YES YES YES YES. Sorry. Having a moment. I love Matt. And Caroline. This is epic. This is teenage epic vampire love right there. AND HE DID THE DIP! Oh where are the Matt’s in this world?...

Is Daddy Witch going to turn into the Incredible Hulk now? Cos I think we’re got enough supernatural creatures for the moment.

Why do they always forget that Daddy Witch can do the mind wiggy thing? Not cool Stefan – you are no longer heroic. You’re just having an aneurism. Repeatedly. Tsk, no use to anyone like that.

Phew – for a minute there I thought Damon was being nice to Katherine. My mistake.

“So you chose Stefan. Again.” When is Damon going to learn that when it comes to girls who look like Nina Dobrev, the hero hairdo is always going to work. Although why Katherine feels the need to repeatedly punch Damon in the face with this fact is beyond me. Seems a little beyond cruel. Once, maybe twice, but every half an hour? C’mon, give the guy a break. 


Matt + Caroline + Bathroom = more awesome.

Elena had a special moment
when Bonnie told her that her
brother was a good kisser
Smooth Bonnie, real smooth. Way to drop it casually into conversation. Woah, was expecting more freaking before Elena was magically ok with it. And shouldn’t Bonnie have been at least a little abashed, you know, to start with. Instead of launching into the whole ‘he’s supper yummy, and hot, and strong, and like his arms, and he’s such a good kisser!’

And then they can get married and be like sister’s in law! That’s if the curse of the Jeremy doesn’t strike again and Bonnie only has three more episodes left before she gets killed…

Bonnie why are you trying to talk Daddy Witch down from the ledge? He’s already taken your powers, he’s probably going to start on limbs next.
Although him blowing all the lights in the grill is cool, it probably won’t aid him in his search for Elena…

And Bonnie’s down.

Is this Caroline’s first foray into brain aneurisms? Sweetie – she’s gonna need some Matt loving after this.


Omg, someone save Matt, someone save Matt, someone save Matt, someone save Matt.

Feed him your blood, this is no time to panic Caroline. KEEP YOUR HEAD.

Yeah Matt’s going to have some questions after this.

Hm, is Jeremey a tiny bit pleased Luca’s out of the picture? He seems cranky. Maybe he needs loving too…

Kinda saw it coming, but still highly relieved it was another switcheroo. But does that mean Daddy Witch is dead? And if he is, does Bonnie get her powers back yet?

Uh, no. Apparently not dead yet.
And breathe…

Seriously, I haven’t been this tense in a vampire diaries episode in a while. I mean the tension is always high, but this, jeez. I need some water.
I love Nina Dobrev. I love her as both characters separately, but there’s something strangely mesmerizing when they’re having whole conversations with each other.

Oh Ric. That was so sweet, and kind of heart breaking. And I am amazed Jenna didn’t fall into your arms then and there. But given her history of dating, I can see why she didn’t. She thought you were different, and you hurt her just like the rest of them. You cad you. Sort it out.

Oooo this is gonna get interesting. Powers and a ‘How to Kill Klaus’ handbook – Bonnie got cool again.

“You hurt me today.”
“Tit for tat.”
“You were mean, and very rough, and monstrous.” Kinky as it is, please stop playing him Katherine, he doesn’t deserve it. Although we haven’t had a shirtless Damon today. Meh. Go for it. I need my fix.

Much as I want shirtless Damon, I love self-restraint yet pleasantly kinky Damon. He makes me happy.

Do we reckon that’s the first time Katherine’s been turned down?... Certainly by a Salvatore, but ever?... She seems quite pouty.

Oh my word, it’s heartbreaking. I can’t cope. Matt. Caroline. Although her we love each other and it’s all going to be ok was a touch on the creepy side. But oh god. Make it all ok now please?

What the? Ok… Now when we’re talking cliff hangers, Rose getting bitten, not so much. This? OMG. What, what what? Now I’m going to have to flail for four weeks? But how?

Isobelle’s back? And Matts freaking out and won’t calm down? And Jeremy and Bonnie hooked up and Bonnie knows how to kill Klaus, and Damon got will power, and Jenna’s head is about to implode?! How can they survive for four weeks?

Never mind that, how am I going to survive?
I think I’m just going to eat my ice cream and watch this over and over until it’s all ok again…

How about you? What did you think? How much of your brain just spontaneously combusted? How are you going to survive the break?

Thursday 24 February 2011

Gossip Girl Review: While You Weren't Sleeping

'While you weren't sleeping'
Plot holes, cutsey moments,
and man bangs gets lines!

So Gossip Girl is not proving to have much staying power at the moment - hence why this is quite a belated review. Here follows my musings and ramblings on the episode as I finally caught up on the goings on in the UES.

Ah Nate, you’ve been inactive so long you don’t even know how long you’ve been wearing the same sweater. It’s truly tragic. As is the fact that Chuck is only using you as a sex toy. Seriously, re-evaluate your life and friends – don’t you still go to college? Meet new people! Socialise! Get out the house and stop moping on your shrine of girlfriends past.

“New minion – ”
“My name is Emily.”
“She has no time to care.”

I am loving Blair’s dictator streak. It’s always been there, but it’s truly surfacing now – I don’t think she’s ever before reached the level where she didn’t have time to chastise minions for their incompetence.

“Not to worry, my new intern is already here.” Oh Dan, your worried face doesn’t even come remotely close to how afraid you should really be right now.

I’m in two minds about that slap from Lily. Half of me is doing a little dance and saying ‘yay, finally she actually gives Chuck what for.’ And the other half is going ‘oh god, we’re sliding further into soap land with every cliché.’ I can’t decide which I’d rather. A more indignant Lily, or more ridiculous plotlines… (on a side note, how did no one else in the restaurant notice that slap?! Does this sort of thing happen regularly on the UES?)

AHAHAHAHA. Sorry. Ahem. I may need a moment to recover. I love Daddy Thorpe appearing from behind a newspaper in the corner. WHERE IS HIS SLEUTHING HAT AND COAT?!

Oh Serena, your brother is sick on his birthday, so this is the perfect moment for you to spend more time with your bland pile of boyfriend! Seriously, you used to give a damn about Eric at the very least. I know he started hanging out with Damien, but can’t you see it’s a cry for help? Minus 20 sister points. Also, minus another 30 points for still going out with Bland Ben. He makes me want to throw things.

Ahhh, ok the soap opera acting makes sense. Schemes galore! Lily this doesn’t make you a better person though.

Serena, why are you preaching and giving Eric evils for telling Damien? You were planning on outing Lily TO THE PRESS a few weeks ago. Urgh. This whole scenario has too many plot holes, it’s giving me a headache. Just before I start ignoring it, why did they have this meeting in a public foyer where anyone could hear? Instead of, you know, upstairs in their private apartment. Oh you Van Der Woodsens and your complete lack of any brains.

Oh Ben, you made the fatal error of not agreeing with everything Serena says – I’d go pack your bag now.

“All you have to do, is admit you need me.” I am loving Dair more and more with each moment of witty banter.

Man Bangs – every word coming out of your mouth is boring me. I can see why you’ve had so little screen time recently.

Blair trying to drink from her pencil holder – highlight of the hour.
However Dan leaving her to it may have been the saddest moment. Yes Miss Waldorf I saw how you watched him walk out with those puppy dog eyes…
(Although the fact that he comes back makes me grin. These two!)

“As a friend and peer, not as an underling.”
“As a friend and *trails off to incoherent mumbling*”

Why is Blair taking orders from the girl who is wearing a dress so short you can see virtually everything? A fashion faux pas like that should never go un-scolded – seriously, she is off her game today.

Nate, whilst your acting skills have gotten even worse than they were previously, your scheming skills have apparently gone down the pan as well. Baby Thorpe is so work orientated, I seriously doubt she’d cancel a day to go ice skating. The plot holes are widening… Seriously this episode is hanging together by a very few threads, all of them Dair coloured.

Also, since when would Baby Thorpe go back to the Bass lair with Nate and wander round in a dressing gown? She’d be avoiding that place like the plague.
That last shot of Nate lighting up BT scares me. His eyes look dead on the inside.

Given the Serena posing as Lily shenanigans a few episodes ago, there’s something strangely charged happening between Lily and Chuck. I don’t know if I should be worried at this stage if incest curiosity runs in the family. After all we’ve had Dan and Serena, what other lines have Chuck/the writers left to cross, other than a Chuck and Lily pairing. *Shudder*

Vanessa? Get out.

Urgh. Tulips. Double crossing. Obscene amounts of money. I suppose it’s like most other episodes of Gossip Girl, but for some reason this one really isn’t doing it for me.

And Rufus’ lines are getting a little slurry. Has he turned into an 
alcoholic house husband whilst no one was paying him any attention?

Ok this is making up for it – stoned Man Bangs and BT are actually quite amusing. How long until they accidentally fall on top of each other from swaying back and forth so much?

Yay, one step closer to Ben finally leaving! He’s a control freak psychopath, and why is it taking Serena so long to see this?

This party is actually quite cool – there have been some boring ones this season, but I actually like what they’ve done for this one. It’s just a shame Eric isn’t enjoying any of it – aside from finding his new trust fund cheque book.

I’m going to gloss over most of this, because if I start ranting, my head may well explode from the improbability stakes being raised so high.

However, on the plus side, yay for Chuck finally getting somewhere. Boo for Blair being crushed by the evil woman. And yay for Rufus finally getting a little screen time (with lines!) although it scares me how quickly Daddy Thorpe pieces it all together. That man must have spies everywhere. Either that or he has no life and watches shows like this all day long, so he expects silly plot twists like this.

Vanessa? Get out.

LILY? PARENTING SKILLS? Someone get a bottle of champagne.

“I think you’ve actually gotten less smart since high school Humphrey – oh right, you go to NYU.” Don’t judge Blair, you went there for a while too! And he’s apologising, stop being so meeeean.
Oh Blair, your look of confusion means Dan did something nice for you when you weren’t looking. I love it. I love it. I love it. Seriously Blair and Dan are the only two decent things holding this show together. Serena has apparently let her hair/boobs do her thinking for her, Nate is too stoned to string a coherent sentence together, and Chuck has completely lost has Basstard streak. I mean c’mon, he used to be cool! And everyone else has just faded into mediocrity, so I’m glad these two are still awesome – even if it’s a shame it’s just the two of them now.

Uhho – Ben is lurking and there is mildly menacing music. I fear for Damien’s life!
Seriously he reacts to being pounced on like a girl. Sigh. Where are all the decent men in this town? Oh right, there’s just Humphrey left…

“I always knew you read too much Shakespeare to be sane.” Best line ever. Oh and finally, Ben stopped being bland and went back to being a psycho – excellent, things might get interesting now…

Oh Vanessa, why are you stood in the middle of the road? Is life really that bad? And really, you expect us to believe she heard that conversation all the way over there whilst dodging traffic?

The Van der Woodsen/Humphrey/Bass breakdown of the evening is possibly the best recap of a party ever.

The fact that Ben goes from psycho to sweetie in thirty seconds is a little alarming. It also doesn’t make me like him any more than I did.

I suppose it was too much to hope for that Daddy Thorpe and Damien would go jump off a cliff somewhere. The next logical step was for them to team up. This is not going to go well for anyone…

Eating pizza curled up in Brooklyn with a Humphrey? Blair Waldorf, are you coming down off you high horse to be with the masses? Hmm… This could be interesting.

So as ever, plot holes galore, wooden acting and uninspiring moments. As I said earlier, the only thing really keeping Gossip Girl together at the moment is Blair and Dan and their awesome banter/chemistry. So whilst I’m not holding my breath for this season to get any better, I will keep watching if only to see where these two go.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Books I'm squeeing about in March

February has been mixed. I’ve spent a lot of time hiding in book world, and made some amazing discoveries – new authors, new series, and sequels galore. But I’ve had one eye on March, because there are some amazing books scheduled to come out throughout. I’ve been waiting for some of these for a long time – and I’m not a patient person, so this is a big deal.
Ok, so the four I’m going to throw at you are two new books, and two that are continuations of series’ that have already been published.

The Return: Midnight (The Vampire Diaries) by L. J. Smith
Release Date: 3rd March 2011 (Paperback)

The vampire love triangle that spawned hundreds of thousands of fans-and inspired a major new dramatisation shown on ITV2 concludes in this powerful final volume of The Vampire Diaries. In Midnight, golden girl Elena Gilbert is back from the Dark Dimension, having successfully freed her vampire boyfriend Stefan Salvatore from imprisonment. Saving Stefan had an unlikely consequence: his vampire brother Damon Salvatore has become a mortal. While the trio reels from this latest twist, they must still deal with the demons that have taken over Elena’s hometown, Fell’s Church. MIDNIGHT takes Elena, Stefan, and Damon to their darkest moments yet...   Danger, romance, and paranormal mystery will keep readers fascinated with this captivating finale to the New York Times bestselling series.

I literally cannot wait for this book. The series has been incredible, and if you haven’t found them yet, go out and catch up before this final instalment. However, the release of this will be bittersweet. Anyone who has kept up to date with news surrounding this series will know that this will be the final book that L. J. Smith writes for the series. She has been effectively ‘fired’ from the series, so whilst there will probably be more books, they won’t be written by Smith herself. Readers are furious, and it will be interesting to see what happens. Will people keep reading the series? The company will be using a ghost writer to continue the series, and given the standard of Stefan’s Diaries, also written by a ghost writer, the potential is that the series will go downhill with the loss of L. J. Smith. So will readers continue to follow the events of the characters? Or will they stop with the release of ‘Midnight’? Regardless, there is still one chance to read the brilliance of Smith’s story, and that makes ‘Midnight’ all the more precious.

Click to pre-order:

Darkest Mercy (The fifth book in The Wicked Lovely series) by Melissa Marr
Release Date: 3rd March 2011 (Paperback)

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.
Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan left Huntsdale to wander aimlessly but after centuries of leading his court it was not long before the reality of being Summer King became too pressing. Violence seemed more inevitable by the day and the Summer Court was not yet strong enough to face conflict, so Keenan made a dangerous deal with the water fey. It is a desperate bargain he makes to strengthen his court against the coming war. Aislinn tends the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. She knows she must be a powerful queen to hold her court together, while Bananach becomes more and more dangerous, and she is losing faeries to her. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. Her court is still powerful, but she must remain focused on keeping them that way and not get distracted by Keenan when he shows up at her door again. The Dark Court is thrown into chaos when they are rocked by tragedy. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life. They all know what Bananach seeks – the raven-faery is the embodiment of war and discord. She and her growing number of allies want mutiny and murder. Love, despair and betrayal ignite the Faeries Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win… and some will lose everything. The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr’s bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

This series is brilliant. Melissa Marr is a genius with urban fantasy fiction, and her ‘Wicked Lovely’ series is utterly mind boggling. Instead of being focused solely on one person or one couple, there are an entire cast of characters who feature in some or all of the books, and each play a part in the intriguing ins and outs of faery court politics. If you enjoyed Holly Black’s series of books Tithe, Valiant and Ironside, you’ll love this series.
A truly staggering work of imagination, if you haven’t yet discovered Melissa Marr, start with the first of the series ‘Wicked Lovely’, followed by ‘Ink Exchange’ ‘Fragile Eternity’ and ‘Radiant Shadows’.

Pre-order the paperback here:
However, the kindle edition is being released ahead of the paperback, and will be available from 22nd February 2011.

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Release Date: 7th March 2011 (Hardback & Kindle)

Baltimore, 1889. Seventeen-year-old Amelia van den Broek has been sent from Maine to live with her cousin's family for the summer. She's been sent there by her older brother for one reason, and one reason alone: to find a husband.
For a girl who's in the city for the first time, though, Baltimore offers up a slew of distractions. Including the fact that she's started having visions of the future. As the people of Baltimore -- and everywhere else -- are currently fascinated with Spiritualism, her visions serve to catapult Amelia from Outsider to In Demand.
The most distracting distraction of all, though, is Nathaniel Witherspoon, a mysterious artist Amelia finds herself irresistibly drawn to, though she knows that he is, in no way, an eligible suitor. But drawn to him she is, even before she learns that they have more in common than their mutual attraction...
I came across this through an early review which can be found here at ‘The Bookshelves Of Doom’ blog
After reading the review I immediately went to buy the book, and was thwarted by the fact that it wasn’t out for like TWO MORE MONTHS. So I sent the link to my best friend so that I wasn’t dying of impatience alone. I like to share frustration. Stir it around with a nice big spoon. I’m nice like that.
It’s been likened to ‘A Great and Terrible Beauty’ by Libba Bray, which is on my list of awesome books I wish I could eat so they stay with me forever. And I’ve been searching for something similar to those ever since I read them. That and the fact that I love historical fiction, young adult romance, and the really pretty cover. I am a sucker for pretty covers.
So I’m going to continue to get over excited until the book arrives and I can review it and share the excitement.
Go and pre-order it now:
Entwined by Heather DixonRelease Date: 29th March (Hardcover)
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to 
keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

This looks to be another retelling of the twelve dancing princesses, which is fine be me. I love that story, it was one of my favourites as a child, and I’ve only just discovered some of the retellings. I read and reviewed “Princess of the Midnight Ball” and it was through that I found “Entwined.” I don’t know much about it other than the blurb, and haven’t found any reviews yet. So I’m going into this fairly open, and am looking forward to seeing what happens.

Pre-Order here:

Saturday 19 February 2011

Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

‘R’ is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow dead.
Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows – warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can’t understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.
This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won’t be changed without a fight…

This blurb doesn’t do the book justice. It’s rare, but it has happened before that I’ve gotten a little way into a book and realized that in a way, this book is going to change my life. All books change our lives in some way, but it’s more obvious with some than with others.

There were four things that made me pick up this book.

1) The cover. Some of the blood vessels are raised, and it kind of makes me squirm a little every time I pick the book up, but it’s simplicity used incredibly effectively. And a nice break away from the Twilight esq covers that have flooded the bookstores recently.

2)Have you seen the recommendations on this book?! Simon Pegg, Stephenie Meyer, Audrey Niffenegger and Nick Harkaway. Wow.

3) The awesome self-deprecating ‘About the Author.’ I normally find these so frustrating and smug, and this was a refreshing change.
Isaac Marion was born in north-western Washington in 1981 and has lived in and around Seattle his whole life, working a variety of strange jobs like delivering deathbeds to hospice patients and supervising parental visits for foster-kids. He is not married, has no children, and did not go to college or win any prizes. Warm Bodies is his first novel.
Finally an author who has written a brilliant novel without the list of achievements that makes me feel completely useless. There is hope after all.

4) The first page. Go and read it. Now.

The prose is exquisite. A blend of humour, morbid decay and depression; it suited my mood perfectly. But as the story progresses some of the idle beauty is lost as R starts to regain his consciousness and becomes more focused on the human world around him. That doesn’t detract from the book at all, but having fallen in love with the style of the first stage of the book, it was strange adjusting as more people were involved and R began to interact with the living again.

The book has so many different levels to it. On first sight, it’s just a fantasy book about zombies, but it is so much more than that. It’s a love story, it’s an apocalypse story, it’s a story about two men who are in love with the same woman, both of whom are dead. It’s about desperation, re-birth and hope. It’s beautiful, it’s tragic and the writing is brilliant.

It’s disturbingly gross at the same time, Isaac doesn’t shy away from the fact that R is a zombie, he is dead, he is surrounded by the dead and desiccating, and they eat people to stay alive. That does diminish over time, but there is no sugar coating when it happens.

I’ve never been a fan of zombies; they scare the pants off me so I was hesitant about the content. But whilst the terror is still there, it was a very different view on zombies to the stereotype that you often see in films. But whilst there was a more human look on the inner workings of a zombie, instead of just looking at the mindless shuffle and groaning, there was still a terror element in the form of the Boneys. There did need to be another threat, and they work really well, and are incredibly well written and terrifying.

That’s another thing – there is no explanation how or why, or even when! And I’m so relieved. A lot of books try to really get into the breakdown. There’s a curse, or a medical condition, or testing gone wrong. There was none of that here, just an acceptance that this was how things were, and always had been. Well, for the memory spans of the characters. And whilst things do change, there is no real cure, or again, explanation. It just happens. And it works.

I’ve been really lucky with debut authors over the last few months, and Isaac Marion is no exception. And again, I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – with the standard this high in his first novel, I cannot wait to read his next offering. His writing is brilliant, and I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve found this book. It crosses so many genres that no matter what you enjoy reading, you should try this book: Fantasy, romance, an insight into existence? Go get and see for yourself.

Friday 18 February 2011

The Vampire Diaries: The Dinner Party

'The Dinner Party'
Stabbings, secrets and iphones replacing 
vampy super powers.
Tonight’s episode was freaking awesome.

So tonight is another reaction post, with my thoughts, quotes and comments about the episode as I watch it.

OOOOO Stefan’s evil past and dark misdeeds. I love it. I have been waiting for this for way too long. What I’m not liking is that the fight between Stefan and Elena appears to have carried over into today. After all, why else would Stefan be broodingly skimming stones and talking to his brother, and leaving Elena to find out all about his bad side without him there to censor it? Seriously why is he not censoring it? He always censors stuff. That and grabbing people’s faces and forcing them to look at him. He gets a little handsy when he’s stressed.

Damon, whilst I may enjoy you giving Stefan a blow by blow account of what you’ve done since waking up this morning (although I have a feeling you left out the morning sex) I’m not too sure Stefan’s impressed. I also don’t think he or I believe you’re genuinely going to be careful. You don’t know the meaning of the word.

“It’s a joke Ric, lighten up.”  I love you Elijah. I have a feeling I will be repeating this a lot for the next hour. (On a side note, Elijah and Jenna would make a cute, if creepy couple, and Ric playing the jealous other half does not work. Although he has good reason to what with Jenna introducing him as her ‘friend.’ Burn.)

“What you doing?”
“Thinking about last night.”
“Yeah me too!” *teenage boy grin over the kinky kiss*
“It was a tough spell.”
That’s the equivalent of a witchy bitch slap Jeremy. Wipe that smug ‘I’m getting some’ look off your face. Bonnie is so past it.

“Maybe you could come over tonight, we could practice… Get stronger…” Yeah Jeremy, your witch powers are gonna be really useful here… Also, stop thinking dirty double meanings. You’re too young for that.

Ah Luca, you’ve finally twigged Bonnie is an evil manipulating witch, and are responding in an appropriate fashion. None of that ‘hey you channelled me and nearly killed me, but you’re cute so I forgive you!’ You tell her!

Yeah that’s right Stefan, Elena knows about your dirty past. So get that judgey look off your face. Although I kinda sympathise, she is being a douche over this one, but you’re not helping. You’re both as stubborn as each other, and until one of you gives a little, she’s going to get killed, and you’re gonna be pissed. Which would be a sad note to end it on.

“I want you to know the truth, but I want you to hear it from me.” SO I CAN CENSOR IT AND MAKE YOU LOVE ME AGAIN. Just kidding, I do love Stefan really, but he’s grumping too much today.

Stefan is so needy, Elena should notice the warning’s here. Seriously, he acts all macho, and then gets all whiney as soon as it looks like Damon might stand up to him and he won’t get what he wants after all. I don’t like this Stefan very much. (Although seeing him act more like the present day Damon is fun.) It makes me not trust present day Stefan, because surely all these characteristics are still in there. Hell we know they are, him getting angry at the guy who got snarky with Elena in season one ring any bells?

“It sounds like you were Damon.”

“I was worse.”

I love Damon and Andie, no matter how weird and creepy it is that she acts so ok with being compelled left right and centre. I love it…

Ric, jealousy is not a good look on you.
(P.S Still love Elijah.)

FINALLY. Katherine has been in that tomb for ages. It’s nice to see her finally showing a few signs of desiccating. Although was shocked to see Damon on the other end of the blood bottle.

I love the banter between the two of them. It’s weird, but I like it. Although I don’t trust a word that comes out of Katherine’s mouth what with her and John being all BFF’s again.

“For weeks I kept spiralling, constantly driven by the need for blood – here have some coffee!” Sorry. The moment made me laugh. I’ll shush now.

“How come no-one caught on to what you were doing?”
“Because I am sly like a ninja. And you know, there was a war. Dead people just wasn’t doing it for Mystic Falls anymore.”

Some weird, twisted part of me loves Bad Ass Stefan. Oh how the mighty have fallen.


(On a brief side note for anyone who has read the appalling bits of tree stapled together and labelled ‘Stefan’s Diaries’ do we not think they might have wanted to save writing those until they’d shown episodes like this, if they were going to attempt to mimic the TV show’s plots? *sigh*)

Lexi reminds me a lot of Caroline. This is just getting better and better.

“Talking about her brings up things I’d rather forget.”
“Like Damon killing her.” Subtlety has never been your strong point, has it Miss Gilbert.

“There’s no such thing as a bad idea – just poorly executed awesome ones.” You know Damon, that might be my quote of the week, or failing that, my new mantra. I love. Ric, stop being so whiney. Combine with the hairdo and you’re practically turning into Stefan…

Neeeever trust Damon’s scout’s honour – knowing him he possibly had one for lunch.

Damon’s way of dealing with topics that make him uncomfortable – “stop talking.”

“Oh God.” *nervous laugh* Any boy’s dream reaction to setting up a romantic setting with candles when the girl they kissed the night before is coming over to practice magic. Oh my head hurts.

“You did like it right?” Ok, I am joining my best friend on the Team Jeremy banner for the next five minutes. He is beyond adorable.

“No nothing dishonourable, just getting to know you and your insides intimately.”
“Well that’s good.” I LOVE YOU ELIJAH. Seriously, I never thought anyone could compete with my impassioned love for Damon, but you know, Elijah is totally doing it for me.

“Andie’s a journalist – big on facts.” Ahahahahaha. Sorry I’m having another moment. When have the MF press ever been ‘big on facts’?

“Some say you could hear the screams from miles around as they burned – could you pass the uh – ” I love your dinner talk Elijah, it makes every dinner party I’ve ever had seem bland in comparison.

“It must be brandished by human’s alone.” Oooo crap. This is not good. This is very not good. Quick Stefan, get out your product placement iphone and call Damon! Stat!

For anyone not familiar, that would be the ‘you bastard why did you not tell me this’ face that Elena is currently sporting.

“So let me guess, in addition to the moonstone, the doppelganger, the lion, the witch and the wardrobe.” Oh Damon, you crack me up.

Seriously, both the tension and my love for this episode are growing by the second. Damon and Ric’s note passing charade! It makes me happy. And giggly. They are way too cute when they’re feeling grumpy and betrayed. Although thank god Ric got their in time. You know for a second there, I thought Stefan might actually have to use his vampy powers and run back to the house to warn Damon. But for the wonders of technology.

“Of course she hates him (UJ) so there is absolutely no need to keep him on the endangered species list.” Oh Damon, I will love you and Elijah both. I cannot decide between your wits.


I refuse to believe it. I will be distraught if this turns out to be it for him.
I love how even Damon looks a little bit freaked by the new bad ass Ric. Yeah that’s right. You get a spine, we’ll all judge you.

Whilst Stefan and Elena are both peeving me for separate reasons, I also love them both for it. I love that they’re actually fighting, that it’s not all paradise lake house, and they’re acting like a real couple. Admittedly real couples don’t usually fight about sacrificing themselves for a vampire curse, but hey, the essence is still the same.

“That’s all I want you to do, I just want you to fight for it.” I love how they also make up their fights, and for once Stefan is actually backing down a little. He still doesn’t want her to die, but I think he’s finally twigged that his bull headed approach was never in a million years going to work.

Role reversal! Sulky Damon, bad ass Ric. I like it. More please. Also, corpse carrying, every males bonding experience!

“So long as the dagger stays in place, the original is to all intents and purposes dead.” I’m actually doing a little victory dance right now. Thank God Ric took the dagger out. Although Elijah is gonna be pissed when he wakes up…

Uhho. Elijah wasn’t joking when he said he’d take her away. Damon/Ric – you did a bad thing not listening to the creepy old dude. Can we make a new name for them to celebrate their bromance? Something like Ramon or Dic? Oh the possibilities for fun are endless.

Bonnie, I thought you were going to be practicing real magic, not playing peekaboo with the fire. 

Jeremy, do not encourage her. I want real spells dammit. Do you not remember asking her about sex spells eight episodes back? Where has your boyish enthusiasm gone??

Not cool Daddy Witch, totally not cool You do not steal a girls powers. Although that door slamming thing was quite cool. But that does not excuse you from the stealy!

Maybe it was just because it was wood, but the pebble thing was not nearly as cool as when he did it with the change on the window. Maybe it was the lack of screaming that followed too. Elena is way too ok with vampires destroying her things.

WOAH WOAH WOAH WOAH. My brain just exploded. Or imploded. Or something. Ploding took place.

1)      Oh my word she is good at negotiating
2)      I love that he calls her bluff
3)      I love that she actually goes through with it, and not some nice easy wrist slitting, but a shot to the abdomen! Cooool!
4)      Yay for Elijah realizing he might possibly have been an idiot
5)      OMG she just stabbed him?!?!?!?!?! Elijah baby! They can’t do this to you! Twice in one night? This was so not what you signed up for.
6)      Thank god someone used their super speedy vampy powers tonight. I would have felt cheated if iphones had replaced their cool powers. What good are vampires if apple are just going to create bits of technology that negate any need for them? Hm?

Also, love how Damon kinda looks like he’s perving on Elena drinking Stefan’s blood.

I want to cry, but at the same time Jenna deserves the truth… Oh the dilemmas! Seriously how do these people cope with the stresses that come with living in Mystic Falls? Ric had better man up and give it to her… Not all of it, cos I’m not sure how that would work exactly with Jenna knowing all of it – but at the same time, it could be really interesting.

Urgh, UJ does not deserve his ring back. I want to punch him. WHY DID RIC NOT PUNCH HIM??

“So as long we keep the dagger in, he stays dead?”
“Pretty much.”
Ok you’ve had your fun. Somebody take the dagger out now. I want Elijah back. I miss him already…

Salvatore boys, I have one word for you. Whipped.

You know what, I’m actually kind of glad Damon doesn’t apologise for Lexi. It would be wrong if he did. I like the devil may care lets stake some people Damon of old. But I also like this new slightly more emotional Damon. And I like the balance they’re striking with him at the moment.

That Lexi Damon moment is actually heart breaking. I love it.

Yes ladies and well, ladies, that look on Damon’s face says quite clearly ‘like hell am I going to give you a robe, I’m going to make the most of the fact you look like the woman I’m in love with and accidentally cry out Elena’s name when we have sex in thirty seconds.’

P.S. I love Katherine.

P. P. S The preview for next week’s episode looks freaking awesome. Katherine/Elena hijinks!

(also I like to think that Caroline and Matt were making out in her bedroom for the entirety of this episode.)