Monday, 30 May 2011

Books I'm Squeeing about in June

May has been a pretty awesome month - although I'm still waiting for Mr Postman to bring me some of the books I was squeeing about...
June and July are going to be very expensive months, because a lot of my favourite authors have taken it upon themselves to all publish in the same months (and in some cases on the same days...)
So to ease us into the mayhem of July, June is bringing some awesome titles that I am not so much squeeing about, as going completely insane with waiting for them.

2nd - Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Honoria Smythe-Smith is:
A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed "Bug" as a child
C) not in love with her older brother's best friend
D) all of the above
Marcus Holroyd is:
A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) not in love with his best friend's younger sister
D) all of the above
Together they:
A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever and the world's worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love

It's Julia Quinn at her best, so you know the answer is . . .
D) all of the above

I dare anyone to not think that combination is awesome. Ok, well it’s only awesome if you like regency romance, but if you do then Julia Quinn is one of the best. Her stories are light and fluffy, they’re brilliantly written, hysterically funny, with swoonworthy romance and gorgeous heroes. What more could you possibly want? Actually I want more than one book a year from her, but failing that this is all I could possibly want. Seriously, Julia Quinn is like chicken soup for me. She got me through my A Levels, my uni degree, and now through the trials and tribulations of real life. And I can’t wait to fall in love with this latest hero and heroine. Cue chocolate and swooning.

You can pre-order this book in paperback here.
The kindle version is available on 31st May and can be bought here.

21st - Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel

Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human - and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss. With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different 
path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead . . .

I’m not sure how I feel about this book. On the one hand, I loved the ending of the first book which I read and reviewed in January this year, and I’m kind of grumpy she didn’t die. On the other, I loved the first book so much I’m just happy to get another opportunity to get back into Lenah’s world and mind. The book was brilliantly written and a beautifully fresh take on an old myth, and I’m looking forward to a fresh piece of the story.

You can pre-order your copy here.

21st - The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let alone Brisbane's private enquiry business.
Among the more unlikely clients: Julia's very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be left out of anything concerning her beloved—if eccentric—family, spirited Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation.

It leads to the exclusive Ghost Club, where the alluring Madame Séraphine holds evening séances…and not a few powerful gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of dark deeds, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust.
Shocked to find their investigation spun into salacious newspaper headlines, bristling at the tension it causes between them, the Brisbanes find they must unite or fall. For Bellmont's sake and more they'll face myriad dangers born of dark secrets, the kind men kill to keep….

Anyone who hasn’t yet been introduced to my love of Deanna Raybourn’s ‘Lady Julia Grey’ series, go and read my review of ‘Dark Road to Darjeeling’ and bask in her awesomeness.
Seriously, words can barely describe how much I love these books, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the fifth book in the series. The Lady Julia Grey books are a perfect blend of mystery, crime, humour and Victorian manners. It’s a seamless blend of perfection that draw you into the world and weave these incredible stories around you. I’m so excited to see Brisbane and Julia back in London again – the first time since the first book. There’s so much that needs resolving, and I cannot wait to immerse myself back in their world.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading these books, whilst you could launch in mid-series, I’d recommend starting with book one “Silent in the Grave” because then you get to witness the fabulous build-up of emotions and relationships over the next four books. And of course you get more time in Julia’s world…

You can pre-order your copy here.

21st - Legacy by Cayla Kluver

The first boy disappeared on the day of his birth, on a night when the pale yellow moon of the nighttime sky turned red and bathed the heavens in the ghastly color of blood, on the same night the Kingdom of Cokyri abruptly ceased its merciless attack.
Across the land of Hytanica, under the shadow of the crimson moon, infant boys continued to vanish. Not until the blood had faded from the sky did the disappearances stop and the bodies of the murdered infants were found outside the gates of the city, a final word from the greatest enemy Hytanica had ever known. For the next sixteen years, peace reigned, but one mystery remained unsolved. The Cokyrians had abducted forty-nine newborns, but returned only forty-eight bodies.
Now, as seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica is besieged from all sides by suitors vying for the Throne, a teenage Cokyrian boy, Narian, is encountered within the walls of her Kingdom, a boy who will show Alera a world where women serve a purpose and not just a husband. As Narian helps Alera find her voice, she struggles against an arranged marriage that will shatter the life she has scarcely begun to live. And when Narian's shocking past is uncovered, and war with Cokyri looms once more, he must fight to defy a fate ordained at his birth.

This release date refers to the paperback version of the book.
I’ve never heard of Cayla Kluver before, so this is my wild card, want to read based purely on the blurb – which looks awesome by the way. I’m a complete sucker for fantasy in all its forms, and I’ve read a lot of urban fantasy this year, and I’m looking forward to a big splurge of high fantasy in ‘Legacy’. So I can’t tell you more about this, as all I know is the blurb itself. But I’m curious and I can’t wait to read it and find out more.

You can pre-order your copy here.
Or purchase the hardback version here.

Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island. 
Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

This book is like marmite. And insane. But mostly the marmite.
Now I love marmite, and I love this book, but I can also see that there is going to be a strong divide between those who love it, and those who don’t.
Me personally I think it’s brilliant, it’s a fabulous satire, and tackles virtually every subject of contention and problems for young people.
Sexuality? Check. Controlling parents? Check. Sex? Check. Peer pressure? Check. Beauty? Check. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The premise is genius. Having studied Lord of the Flies at school, one of the big talking points was always, how would this situation differ if it were girls stranded instead of boys. You have your answer – they’d sort out a fishing system, an irrigation system, a weapons system and still have time to beautify without cannibalising each other. Genius.

I found the characters easy to identify with and completely realistic – despite the more than ridiculous situations. That in itself is quite impressive given that I’ve never been anything remotely resembling a beauty queen, yet I not only liked the girls, I could relate to them and their perfectly normal (mostly) problems and fears.

There are a broad enough range of characters that there’s someone for everyone to identify with, so even if you’re not fussed on one, the plot skips around and gets to know everyone without settling on one for too long. You get to meet a variety of different characters and watch them mature, and by the end I loved all of them, despite not being so fussed on any of them apart from Adina at the start.

It’s a brilliant commentary on the stereotypes we’re all forced to inhabit in some form or another, and watching how the girls develop, how they survive, and how instead of falling down and dying as is expected of them, they thrive, they expand, and turn feral in their search to survive and to find themselves.

The writing is brilliant, and hysterically funny. A note of caution, if you read this book on public transport people will look at you funny when you start laughing out loud. It’s a step away from Bray’s first trilogy of books, but it’s just as good, just as detailed and just as brilliantly conceived.
It reminded me a lot of Jasper Fforde’s books – he likes to use the same level of insane situations, footnotes and general indescribable insanity. So if you love his books read this, and if you loved this book I recommend trying Fforde.

It's not all light and fluffy though, it can get dark and twisted and there are plenty of deaths to go around. In fact, it makes it almost more horrifying when it gets darker - Taylor in particular comes as quite a shock.

However, the stumbling block for me was the abrupt flicks to adverts or forms filled out by the girls, or footnotes to explain all the product placement and people and bands. To start with this idea was genius, and I found the footnotes particularly hilarious. (On a side note, the footnotes are a nightmare to get to on the kindle!) However, the further you get into the story the more I found these jerks away from the plot to irritate me. At the start they were great for setting the scene and offering a satiric commentary on the society the girls are coming from. But as the plot developed I started to resent these jerks away, as I just wanted to carry on reading and find out more.

The biggest marmite element of the book is MoMo B. ChaCha. He’s crazy. The guy impersonates Elvis, has a stuffed animal as an advisor and adores Captains Bodacious (awesomely hot pirates) as his favourite TV show. I think he’s brilliant. He’s the crazy cherry on the top of the insanity cake.
However I can see how he might be a step too far for some people.

I was so excited about this book, and it completely fulfilled every expectation and beyond. It’s a brilliant satire, hysterically written and offers an interesting commentary on all the many aspects of growing up that girls (and boys) go through.

It had everything I could possibly want. Sequins, cat fights, hot pirate boys, crazy people, and girls standing up for themselves and growing into the people they were born to be.


I loved the ending. By the time the girls are rescued I almost didn’t want them to be – they’d thrived so well on their own that I didn’t want them to go back to the oppressive society and families they’d come from. It was great to see that they didn’t lose that new found sense of self through the rescue and the faux pageant. And the epilogue made me squee inside. It was perfect, it was cheesy, and it was happy. There aren’t all that many books that come with uncomplicated pure happiness as an ending. And you can call it cheesy and cliché all you like, but personally I loved it, and it was perfectly fitting for the book.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Review: Stefan's Diaries Volume Three - The Craving based on a concept by L. J. Smith

Stefan Salvatore has come to terms with being a vampire. The events of the past few months have sobered him, and the fog of his own blood lust has begun to lift. He travels to New York City to start a new life, one that does not require him to kill humans to survive. Instead he feeds off of animals in Central Park. But the quiet life he envisioned is jolted when he runs into his brother Damon, who has convinced New York high society that he is Italian royalty. While Stefan is regaining his humanity, Damon has completely lost his. Stefan will do whatever it takes to protect Damon from himself, but there is another villain present. A vampire that seeks revenge for a death the Salvatores are responsible for. Stefan and Damon will have to work together to fight the greatest evil yet.

My problem with this series of books is twofold.

1) That the series is still being marketed as L. J. Smith’s work. Depending on what version of the books you get some explain that they’re based on her work, but most leave it unclear, and I think it’s unfair to lump these books on her reputation, because it just drags it down.

2) That there are now THREE versions of this story.
          Version A: The original book version of the Vampire Diaries, where the Salvatore brothers are born in the 1400’s and are Italian.
          Version B: The TV series version which has the brothers born and raised in 1864 Mystic Falls.
          Version C: The Stefan’s Diaries version which has the brothers born and raised in 1864 Mystic Falls, but then the events that happen both in Mystic Falls and after bear almost no relation to those that occur in the TV series.
If they’re going to market Stefan’s Diaries as ‘based on the hit TV series!’ then at least get it right! I mean these discrepancies are so irritating to those who are fans of the TV show, that it just makes me not want to bother anymore with this particular series of books.

I have no problem with books and TV series being different, I love the original Vampire Diaries books and I love the TV series, partly because of the differences. But something like this that just keeps getting things wrong – for example the original meeting between Katherine and Stefan, which was shown so early in the TV series, that the author must have seen it, is just infuriating.

Once you get past that the books are alright. The writing standard has definitely improved and this book is the better of the three. The voice still is very modern, but at least the facts are correct – even down to little details like Commodore Matthew Perry and Pimm’s being brought over from Britain.

My second biggest problem with them (after the rant above…) is that they are so tiny. The Salvatore brothers are fascinating, there is such a huge wealth of detail and depth of emotions and levels and facets that could be explored, and yet the books are just skimming the surface, going over the barest details that hold the plot together.
I want more. I want to get to know these brothers in another, but equally satisfying way as I am in the TV show, and it’s just not happening.

My third biggest problem relates back to my first. In the TV series Damon and Stefan have no knowledge of Klaus or his relationship with Katherine. So why in the book does Klaus send someone after them? It just doesn’t make any sense! If you’re going to have these as companion novels to the TV series then at least get them factually correct!

Otherwise, this plot was much better, the events were much more interesting, and it was a portion of Damon and Stefan’s lives that we’ve known nothing about prior to this. 

I’m holding out hope that this is a sign of better things to come. If the plot and writing continue to get better then we might get a really good book out of this some time soon… Let’s just hope the next book takes into account the plot of the TV series and the backstory already revealed. 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Review: My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin

Cora Cash, possibly the wealthiest heiress in 1890s America, has been raised to believe that money will open every door to her.  But when her mother whisks Cora to England to secure her an aristocratic match, Cora is dismayed by the welcome she at first receives.  The great English houses in which she is entertained are frosty and forbidding, dogged by intrigue above stairs, and gossip below.  And it is only when she loses her heart - to a man she barely knows - that Cora realises the game she is playing is one she does not full understand, and that her own future happiness could be the prize.

This book has dogged me in every bookshop I went to until I finally bought a copy and set it aside to read on my holiday.
Ironically the book is set for the most part in Lulworth, only a few miles from where I’m staying, so it added an extra layer of interest for me as I explored the coast that the book is set on.

It was a delicious read, allowing itself time to unfurl and creep into every part of your thoughts. I haven’t been able to shake the book, even days after I finished reading it. I want to re-read, to go back and re-immerse myself in the world. Goodwin’s level of research and eye for detail is astounding. It is pitch perfect and rings true as an accurate portrayal of the age. Most books I’ve read set in this period focus on the London season, so it felt like a nosey snoop into the private life of the titled country house life.

I loved the changing viewpoints – it really kept the story fresh and offered a variety of facets to each character and storyline. Whilst most of the story was told with Cora as the central character, the view frequently change to incorporate virtually every other character at one time or another, most frequently Cora’s maid, Bertha. My only complaint was at one or two points I felt like I was being given too much information at once, for example the section from Mrs Wyndham’s pov just felt like it was too much at once when I wanted to get back to the story.

I also loved how deeply into the characters Goodwin delves. There are no bad people and good people, just multiple facets and true representations of the situations and emotions that can shape or change a person. I liked Cora from the outset, and even though she’s effectively a spoilt rich girl she never is unlikeable or inaccessible for me as a reader to get in and empathise with her.

The little titbits of information that are scattered throughout so the reader can piece together a lot of the history makes the read a really intriguing one, and then to be given the final version of the story at the end suddenly all the clues you missed make sense. 

However I wasn’t certain how I felt about the end. On the one hand it was a lovely neat tidy end to that thread. On the other I wanted to see the other possibility explored as well. It felt like a neat end to one of the parts of the story, but there was still so much I wanted more of and answers to – I didn’t want the book to end basically. Or possibly give me a sequel?

It was so good to have a period romance that delved so much deeper than a lot of the fluff I like to read. These were people, there were no happy endings, no shocking twists at the end that the hero and heroine overcome. It was just people, in a different time certainly, but dealing with issues we know and can relate to – love, money and power and what that does to people and their relationships.

I loved it, I highly recommend it, and I kind of want to go straight back and re-read it. A period romance with so much more depth to it than you’d expect from the genre – and a beautiful exploration of the period.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Review: Rises The Night by Colleen Gleason

Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy has been a vampire slayer for a year, balancing her life as a peer of Society with the dangerous role that takes her out on moonlit streets, stake in hand. She has learned brutal and heartbreaking lessons about the sacrifices that must be made in order to save humanity from the evil that preys upon it. Now, in Italy, a powerful vampire is amassing the power to control the souls of the dead. As Victoria races across Europe to stop what could be the most deadly army the Gardellas have ever faced, her unlikely companion is Sebastian Vioget, a man as tempting as he is untrustworthy. But when Victoria discovers that she has been betrayed by one of her most trusted allies, the truth will challenge all her powers as a vampire hunter - and as a woman.

This book was a bit of a step away from the first in the series ‘The Rest Falls Away’. I loved the first book because it was a combination of two of my favourite things – vampires with some regency romance thrown in. It was brilliantly written and very engaging with enough danger to make it really exciting.

I was expecting more of the same from ‘Rises the Night’ but it was a lot darker and scarier than the first.
It was a very sad note on to end the first book, so I wasn’t expecting high romance, balls and fabulous gowns. Ok I tell a lie, I was expecting a bit of that, but I didn’t really get it. I loved the entrance to high london society we had in book one, so in a way it was good to have a change of pace and setting, but I did find myself missing the relative safety of the ton.

Victoria fairly quickly finds herself in Italy, where EVERYONE seems to be up to no good. I kept trusting new characters and then wishing that I hadn’t. I mean seriously, was Italy just filled with people wanting to be vampires? Actually that wouldn’t surprise me…

So yeah, lots of bad people, even worse situations, and a few people I used to trust turned traitor.
I had kittens over a lot of what happened, and seemed to spend most of it in a state of high tension convinced no one was ever going to get out alive. I was wrong – mostly – but it did leave me wanting a break before I launched into the third book.

I love Victoria, and this continuation of her character growth, particularly her through her grief was brilliantly handled. She irritated me, but it didn’t make me dislike her, it was more a ‘silly girl what did you do that for? Here have a blanket and some tea’ irritation. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how the events of the second book affect her through the third book, and how she handles the new problems she’ll face.

Ah Sebastian, I could spend hours shaking you just to see if you retaliate/get some sense knocked into your head.
I go from page to page genuinely unsure about his actions and motives. I just don’t trust him, even when he seems to be trying to help Victoria, it’s just all one twisted game. That does frustrate me, as whilst I like the uncertainty with him to a point, there does come a moment where it just feels like I won’t trust anything he does ever, because you can guarantee he won’t actually be being helpful in the way he’s meant to be. I’d like to see more character development with him, and a bit more consistency, otherwise no matter how yummy and seductive he is, I will just lose interest in him.

Overall I loved the book, it was darker, it was scarier, and there is never a moment where you feel that the outcome will be predictable. There are so many twists it’s untrue, and it’s all one big rollercoaster of a ride.
I miss London, and hope the books will take us back there soon, but in the meantime I love the development and set up and am looking forward to seeing what Victoria does next.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Gossip Girl Review: The Wrong Goodbye

'The Wrong Goodbye'
A pretty decent finale to a rubbish series

Previously on Gossip Girl: Charlie is crazy if she doesn’t take her pills, Blair is engaged, but the Prince has given her an ultimatum to open up to him, Chuck realised what an idiot he’s been, Daddy Thorpe turned out to be more murderer than idiot, and then promptly locked Blair on the roof…

Urgh, why is Vanessa still around? On a side note “the last time this happened she ended up wandering through the snow in her bare feet.” Does this mean they finally got in touch with Aunt Carol to find out what was wrong with Charlie? And what the hell are those pills for? Because there’s a massive difference between barefoot snow wandering and stripping off and telling a boy to ‘call her serena’.

Good god, of this pair Serena is actually being the more mature one. I never thought I’d see the day…

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BROMANCE??? Nate and Dan are pitiful together now. I feel cheated.

“I’m hoping it’s just a crazy misunderstanding and not actual crazy.” Oh Dan you’re so sweet and trusting and naïve. Surely you’ve learnt something other than takedowns in your UES time, like HOW TO RECOGNIZE COMPLETE AND UTTER LOONYBIN? I mean come on, you shared an apartment with Georgina…
Nate on the other hand has the best reaction ever. *laughter* “Woah, are you sure?” *followed by more laughter*

“What’s Chuck doing here? Gossip Girl said he was going to rehab.”
“Yeah, that’s another long story.”

First off, Dan, when did you start trusting gossip girl for everything?
And secondly, when is anything ever NOT a long story on this show? Surely you guys must have worked out some sort of shorthand code for these situations involving pictures/hand movements for ‘set up’ ‘framed for murder’ ‘evil uncle’ and ‘fake blast’ ?

I take that back, their bromance is on the rise again with Dan’s hurt looks and Nate’s pacifying act.

I wish Chuck would actually pay attention to Eleanor Waldorf – unfortunately he’s too busy sniffing out the bad news of Blair not making her grand entrance. Sigh. Why did it always have to be him to work out when she’s in trouble?
On a side note, why does this feel less like a social gathering and more a chance to show off this week’s band?

Ahahaha, throw back to old school gossip girl, everyone converging in the same place yelling “I need to talk to you!” Although why Vanessa is still being included in this is completely beyond me.

“Ok whoa, just tell me no one’s trying to stop a wedding/run a Ponzi scheme/ give anyone fake cancer or turn into a justifiably vengeful townie.” I LOVE ERIC SO MUCH RIGHT NOW.

Love how Vanessa and Serena trying to outdo each other basically means Nate can’t say anything.

“You’re kind of cute!”
“I’m still gay.”
“That means you can dance!”
Do I need to tell you how much I love Eric again?

Also, Chuck = bum. Sure ok Uncle Jack talked some sense into him, but he has some serious issues to work through before he can even hope of winning Blair back after what he did. And I sure hope she tells him so. Otherwise I’m gonna be pissed. And probably rant a lot.

“So if she’s not here, not at home and not at the party, then where is she?” *phone rings* TADA! Tied up in your building! Congratulations Bass for having the worst timing for acquiring building sites where dainty bodies can be so easily tossed.

Yeah Blair, if he hasn’t tied you up, you really think the door’s gonna open? This is an evil murdering mastermind with at least a six episode arc after all, not some one episode crook.

I bet you fifty bucks Chuck doesn’t bother phoning the cops before he goes, cos that would make it too easy…

As I said in last week’s recap, I find it really hard to feel any real emotion about Blair’s plight when we know that nothing is actually going to happen to her. Maybe some emotional scarring, but that’s about it. So yay for the lighter, let’s hope Daddy Thorpe accidentally sets light to himself.

Georgina darling! With a rock! And a bloke showing off baby pictures! My my, she has been busy. Although she seems less happy now than she is when she’s scheming.

“Wanted a hot wife to impress his partners and I wanted a loft and a Yale legacy for Milo – now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go and get drunk enough for you to all seem interesting.”

Whilst I love her all over again already, I have to wonder, why is she here?... Did she ever go to Constance? Or is the bloke a St Judes?

“Oh of course you’d be here!” I am totally with Dan on this one. Also love his showcase of looks when he turns and sees her.

“I can tell that you’re up to something. Please let me in on it, I haven’t been this bored since I believed in Jesus.” I love Georgina. She has the wit and fabulousness of series old! Why is there not more of this stuff in every episode?!

“The last thing I’d want would be Georgina Sparks getting involved.”
“Not unless the thing was twisted and nasty! In which case my help could prove invaluable!”

Hey! Lily! You haven’t decomposed upstairs whilst watching numerous reruns of Downton Abbey!
He’s a good son?! He’s freaking awesome! For all Lily’s whinging about her kids, yes she did a crap job with Serena, but Eric turned out awesomely!

I like Charlie when she’s off her pills – it livens everything up.
She’s good… Also, love that Dan says “We’re going to need a plan B” just as Georgina looks like the second coming.

Does everywhere just have on nice photo of Blair and Serena in uniform? Because that one photo is used for everything. It’s getting boring. We have two series of them in uniform – pick another photo!

Strangely Headmistress Queller’s little interlude with Serena sounds just right – I so know that speech from teachers when you go back and tell them what you’ve done since you buggered off. Sigh. They’re always so disappointed…

“How could you not end up with Nate or Dan? We both voted on Gossip Girls poll and we both lost. So who did you end up with? The billionaire or the guy who tried to kill you?” WHO LET THESE CHILDREN IN? And why do they seem to have more brains than anyone other than Eric or Charlie?

“I’ve actually become a Bedford wife – and it’s really just the worst thing. Please let me in on whatever scheme everyone seems to be a part of. I haven’t conspired since I convince Dan he was Milo’s dad – unless you count speeding up the process at the hospice to get someone’s apartment.”

Seriously, I just love pretty much anything that comes out of Georgina’s mouth at the moment.

Pointing at Vanessa “I’m sorry, she’s a part of the game but I’m not?!” See! Even Georgina understands and appreciates Vanessa’s true worth.
Oh they should have let Georgina play…

Urgh, Daddy Thorpe you are destined to fail.

“I’m calling 911!” NATE! YOU HAVE BRAINS! Although maybe a little later than needed…

Oh I’m so glad Blair isn’t blinded by what Chuck’s done to her. “He treated me like something he owned rather than earned, and it destroyed me.”

That fell a bit flat for me. I kind of expected, I don’t know, more. Yay she got the lighter off him, but it just was a bit. Ok, we’re done, let’s all troop out now and let him potentially get away or do something stupid whilst the cops arrive.

Ha, love the explanation for why Blair didn’t call the cops.

And the fact that Chuck is kind of being a grown up about this. Is he growing as a person?

I’m not convinced, but this conversation goes a little way towards healing the massive ‘I hate you Chuck for hurting Blair’ shaped hole in my heart.

Why would Raina prefer to go back to a hotel in Chicago to a hotel in New York? She no longer has any family anywhere apart from Nate, who will most likely stay in New York. Where is her logic?
I’m not fussed though. I’ve been bored by her storyline all the way through. She never seemed to have any chemistry with Chuck or Nate, and I didn’t believe either of the relationships either. So I’m glad she’s finally going.

I hate that I love it, but I do love it. Chuck and Blair back to being them. Taking a night off and crashing another party, and pretending to be other people who aren’t hurting or stressed or worried or having to make huge decisions.

Loving drunk Charlie.
Also love that Georgina knows which window in the whole school is the one that opens.

“What if in seventeen years your kid is in trouble and needed help?”
“If Milo isn’t in trouble in seventeen years then I’ve done something wrong.”

“I miss you! You get me!” Why is she not a regular?! Ah yes, because if they had her awesome full time they’d forget it and turn it into sludge, just like every other talent on this… Sigh…

I can’t help but smile at Chuck and Blair…
This doesn’t mean you’re completely forgiven Bass.

Ha Vanessa! In your face. You are no longer welcome in this room/loft/show.
If she takes that manuscript I am going to hunt her down. Otherwise, I am super excited to see more of this manuscript of Dan’s – he could turn into gossip girl but published!

It makes me sad that they’ve only half addressed the issues between Blair and Chuck that they raised following Chuck’s drunken outburst. I want that to be resolved properly. Yes I’ve been a huge Chair fan, but I feel cheated that they did that and then two episodes later it’s all ok, just because they had a good evening.

I really hope they take the time to deal with those issues properly, otherwise the whole relationship will just be a cheap sham for me personally watching it in the future.

“I know she’ll be here.” Yeah Louis, when that line is followed by a steamy make out scene with Chuck, I think your chances just plummeted.
You may be the Prince, but she likes herself a bad boy.

Oh yay – window jumping! Well she won’t sustain any lasting damage, she’s coming back next season! God when did I get so cynical?...

I love that Dan is angry with Vanessa for going through his stuff – that girl just waltzes around doing whatever she wants. Go get angry Humphrey!
You know I think that argument was one of the most satisfying things involving Vanessa in a very long time. Love Dan a little bit right now for that.

Aw crap – she had to go and take it. I really hope he had a back up copy…

Oh Blair, I am so disappointed in you right now. Don’t give me that complex love crap. Urgh. Not going to rant again, because I’ve said it all (over and over and over again) but this just irritates me no end.

Does this mean Serena might actually start taking control of her life and making decisions next season?

Yay for sisterly bonds. But why has Charlie stopped being crazy all of a sudden? Did Serena slip her some pills?

Oh Louis you cuddly boy, someone needs to take you home and love you better. And possibly move you a few steps away from Chuck before he lashes out…

Hm, can’t decide what to think about Chuck butting in on that one. I know he thinks he’s doing the right thing for her, but I’m not convinced Louis is the right thing for her – none of the guys so far seem to be that.

Oh god – this big sorry session just feels horrible. Although I’m so glad Serena finally got off her arse and sorted things out between her Dan and Nate.
Seriously, why has the crazy magically stopped?! What were the pills? What’s wrong with her?!!?

Oh god. Well I feel better about the big I’m sorry thing, because she’s still a crazy psycho, but who’s she calling to say it went perfectly?...

Oh god this is so convoluted.

AHAHAHA! Yes. Firstly I love Georgina. Secondly, I love that Georgina can spot a faker a mile away. Thirdly, how awesome would that pairing be?! And last, omg what the hell is she playing making people think she’s on meds/off them and not at all? At least that explains the suddenly being ok randomly.

“I left the empire state building last year after two minutes when you didn’t show – Louis waited all night.”

“Guilt – I feel it too. Maybe I’m actually growing up after all.” You know what Bass, I might agree with you there.
“I didn’t want to let you go just yet.”
“Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not powerful. You’re the most powerful woman I know.”
“It’s taking all the power I have to walk away from you.”
“I know. But I need to let you go. You need to let go.”

You know, I think that was one of the most moving scenes the entire series. It was beautiful and it was perfect, and it showed both of them maturing and realizing that they do need to let go – at least for now. And you know what, it kind of redeemed Chuck a little in my eyes. For all my ranting, that was a pretty good way of handling it.

Although I don’t believe for a moment that that is it, and Chuck and Blair will never end up together. The producers have already said they’re end game. This is just another gap before that.

Mush mush mush. Although I am loving Dan and Blair and the fact that Blair already has Dan’s summer films all sorted and ready to go…

Charlie can’t actually leave can she?... She’s way too cool to go now!

“Well look at that – Chuck Bass maturing.” I know Nate, I think we’re all stunned.
“You’re a good friend.”
“One of us has to be.” Seriously, Nate is suddenly getting his groove back after a season of bleh. I love it – please keep this up into next season Archibald.

“Hey can I borrow your sun hat?” No. No way would Blair know which sun hat Serena was talking about. Blair can’t just have one.

First off, no way is Vanessa ever going to see those cheques reach Dan.
And second, does anyone else want to bitch slap her right now?

Um, anyone else want to cringe over that whole Serena scene? I don’t even want to comment it hurt so much…

I think my mind just got blown a little bit… What on earth is up with Carole?
Excellent – pairing of the century about to occur…

Ahaha, fab ending. Hmmmm, doubt it’s going to be Serena (given that she hasn’t had a love interest in a while.) My money is on Blair, but it’s Chuck’s child. That Gossip Girly enough for you?

So all in all a much better series end than the rest of the second half of this series. This series as a whole has been pretty disappointing, but it’s had some good moments mid season, and again with this finale. And just in time, because it managed to re-peak my interest in gossip girl enough to make me want to come back next season, which two episodes ago wasn’t look likely.

Thoughts? Opinions? Loved it or hated it? And who’s going to end up with a baby and a baby daddy next season?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Gossip Girl Review: Shattered Bass

'Shattered Bass'
Where I hate on Chuck a lot, and everyone stops taking their non-crazy pills.

Previously on Gossip Girl: Charlie is starting to go crazy (or you know, going back there) Chuck fell off the wagon and lost all of his fans in one swift move. Raina continued to be useless, Serena was a bitch and Blair got engaged to the Prince.

Sure writers and producers, it definitely isn’t abuse when the girl involved wakes up from nightmares of shattering glass, touching the cheek that was cut by said glass. You continue to fight your useless corner.

Nate, so long as you continue to judge Chuck for being such a dick to Blair, I will stop calling you Man Bangs and refer to you by your real name. I will also stop insulting your relationship with Raina. That is all.

Anyone else wanting to throw things at the screen over the fact that not only is Chuck acting like he isn’t the biggest jerk in the world, but he also appears to not be suffering the hangover of evilness?

“I saw what you did to Blair.”
Whilst Nate gets points for calling Chuck on what he did to Blair, could he sound any more petulant when he says he’s going to stay with Raina?

Ahaha, they are such a married couple.
“If you walk out, don’t be here when I get back.”
“Don’t worry I’m already gone.”

I like Serena’s dress, and I like her attitude towards Vanessa, but I still dislike her.

Although I am in a better frame of mind since they have FINALLY decided to drop Vanessa and Jenny from the regular cast. *happy dance*

Oh good lord, he’s letting her feed him already. Run! RUN FOR THE HILLS.
And he’s got his eyes closed and is guessing the colours? This boy is far too trusting. Has Dan learnt nothing over the last four years?

Woah woah woah, did he just let her kiss him? Are they onto kissing already? Oh god. Someone save him.

CYRUS IS BACK. You have no idea how happy this makes me. I love him.

Oh goody. Jack Bass is back. Can you sense my enthusiasm?
He’s back ten seconds and already putting the moves on Raina. Can we just kill off all the Bass’s now please? Epic explosion. It’ll be tragic. But brilliant.

“While I love making my nephew suffer, what, besides entertainment, is in it for me?”

“You brought in Jack Bass?” Nate is swiftly entering a realm that has only been inhabited by Eric so far – the one that houses those with common sense. Wow Nate, I’m impressed.

Raina, you have no idea what you’re doing. Idiot.

Charlie is on medication? The alarm bells are doing a little dance in my head.

Ooo Rufus, was that a flicker of worry? Cos if it was you may join Nate and Eric at the semi grown ups table.

“Chuck is out of my life for good. You can rest assured that my family and friends are nothing like him. Most of the time.” Oh Blair, you keep trying to rise above it all, and they’re just going to keep dragging you back down.

Woah, does Mommy Royal have some in built lie sensor? Like a gaydar but potentially more lethal?

If Blair is running to Chuck I may throw things.

Charlie is going to give Serena a bigger ego problem than she already has if she carries on make comments like that – “you’re like my fairy god-cousin.” Creepy. Very creepy.

Why make a bold move like that scene with Chuck and Blair, which I didn’t like but had no problem with, and then go on record saying it wasn’t abuse. My problem is that you have backtracked and said it isn’t abuse, when it clearly was.

To then have Chuck acting like it’s no big deal and act like Blair is being an idiot who has finally come to her senses, and Blair go rushing off to warn him about Jack as if nothing is wrong? That’s awful. If you’re going to have situations like that, deal with them, don’t just brush them under the rug.
I will now get down off my soap box, but this farce of a relationship between Blair and Chuck is never going to mean anything for me. Not until they suitably address what went on in last week’s episode.

Although Blair does get points for wincing when he touches her, and the line “risking my well-being” at least someone on this show has some vague idea that she might have actually been scared and effected by what Chuck did.
How does Blair not notice the highly conspicuous black limo parked directly opposite her? Quel sigh.

And Daddy Thorpe is back in the picture. Wow a conversation about the fact that they’re all actually children? Good lord, I thought this show had forgotten that fact.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t actually trust these ‘adults’.
Huh. Whatever those pills used to do, I don’t think they’re going to be doing it for much longer.

Does anyone ever think things through logically on this show? Why tip away all the pills and then dump the empty container in a waste basket in the middle of the living room where anyone can see them/find them. Tsk. These upper east siders. They think they’re good at schemes, but they fall at the first hurdle.

Oh Cyrus, surely even you would know not to hug a Royal…

Does Serena not find it weird giving Charlie dating tips for a night with Dan? 
Since she flipped over one kiss between him and Blair this seems a little weird.

Ha! I love that all it takes for Mommy Royal to love Blair is half an hour with Cyrus. That guy should spend an hour with Chuck, maybe he might be able to mould him into a human being.
Oh Cyrus I’ve missed you and your crazy way with word (and apparent obsession with birds…)

Chuck is drunk again? How much is he drinking? Didn’t it take him a few days solid to get to the weaving stage last time? Or has he just not stopped at all?
Oh this is just such a pants spiral. Chuck’s drunk and angry enough to go for Nate now? Eesh.
So Chuck’s off to rehab? Or a mental institute? Which one would be more fun?

Serena is getting major fashion points this episode. I love her outfits!

I can’t decide if I like Blair’s gown or not. I love bits of it, but the sequins seem a little much. They keep distracting me from the conversation Blair and Louis are having – shiny things tend to have that effect on me…

Woah, Louis telling Blair off for having a dark side after pointing out that it was Chuck who hurt Blair and is the reason she has a cut on her face?
This guy is supposed to be in love with her and care for her. This doesn’t seem very caring. He should be wanting to pulverize Chuck for hurting her in the first place.

“I want you to show me all the parts of yourself, even the parts you’re ashamed of.”
“Maybe if we don’t talk about them, they’ll just go away.” It’s moments like this when Blair seems like a vulnerable young woman again. She acts so grown up all the time, and really she just needs someone to love and protect her. And whilst Louis seems to be the best bet at the moment, he’s not doing a good job of protecting her.
On a side note, has Blair told anyone about what Chuck did to her?

Oh good god. The bitch has gone crazy.
It’s just as well they got rid of Jenny Humphrey – there’s only so much crazy this show can take at once. Although if Georgina shows up we may over dose on the crazy…

Serena, you’re so observant. “That’s my dress.”

Oh Daddy Thorpe, you so sly about going through Chuck’s suite.
As grumpy as I am with Chuck, I do love it when characters you don’t expect to come together, do. And this is quite an awesome threesome of revenge against the big bad.

Oooooo! So it wasn’t Daddy Bass who killed Mommy Thorpe, it was Daddy Thorpe! He must have really loved his wife…

Wait, Dan doesn’t remember that dress?! Or is he just blinded at the thought of getting laid at the end of the night? How can he not remember that?!
“I think I would know, and so should you since you were my date.”
Did Dan forget to take his non-crazy pills too?!

“Can we just call the cops? I’m hungry and all you seem to have are olives and hallucinogenic mushrooms.”
I hate Jack Bass. I hate Chuck. And I hate the writer’s for making me like them with this. If there is one thing Gossip Girl can do, it’s take downs. Sometimes with shockingly bad plots, but take downs all the same. Particularly the ones with unlikely allies.

Oh good, so Daddy Thorpe meant to kill Bart rather than his wife. Well that makes it all ok…

“Unless we’re close to the end of this sob story, I’m gonna order room service.” I love hate you Jack Bass.

“I can’t choose my entrée with hall of fame playing in the background – I’m calling the cops.” Wow, the only guy with sense is actually a grown up for once.

“Hey girls, can we at least get my plane fare home out of this?” Should he be being this funny in a big intense scene? This is the most comedy we’ve had on this show in ages.

CYRUS SAID PRINCESS BRIDE. I LOVE HIM. Ahem. Sorry, fan girl moment.

“Chuck was the only one who ever could – but he couldn’t see the rest.” That about sums up their relationship.

Wow, Nate is whipped right now. And Raina gets less likeable the more I see of her.
Hey Nate, you remember that scene two minutes ago where we weren’t supposed to let Raina know what actually happened to her Mom? Were you listening at all?

Ha, of course it’s Rufus to look in the bin. Who else in this flat would ever do that.

I think Charlie is the first person in a very long time to get excited about going to school. Admittedly in a ball gown, but you get my point.
If this is her after a few hours, how crazy is she going to get?...

Jack and Chuck actually on the same team? Are mine eyes deceiving me? And does Chuck actually think he can win Blair back after his performance the other day, plus the moment on the roof? He’s such an idiot.

When confronted by his daughter saying that he murdered her mother, Daddy Thorpe’s response is “why don’t you let me take you to dinner and we can talk about it.” Did everybody forget to take their crazy pills???

“You’re as dead to me as my Mother is.” Would someone please give this girl some decent dialogue?

“It’s Waldorf level scheming but Blair’s in love with her Prince – it’s all Charlie.” Ha, totally called this back when she arrived that Charlie was a mini B in the making. Only, you know, scarier.

Wow, blast from the past with some of the old faces. I miss the good old days of school. Back where the show was actually good. Hold on, I’m getting all nostalgic for the days of almost deaths in the pool and pregnancy scares. Give me a moment.

“No I was pretty much the anti-crazy.”
“Huh. We’re going to have to fix that.” No no, I beg you, please don’t, not when you’re on withdrawal from the pills…

Sorry, but that is not Headmistress Queller’s office. Just saying.

Wait, she actually just stripped and told him he shouldn’t leave high school without doing it on a desk?
Where has Charlie been all these years?...

Ok, actually turning into quite a hot make out scene until that…
“You can call me Serena.”
I think Dan gets it spot on here. WHAT?

Oh good, Miss Crazy now has funds. What the hell is she going to do next?

I love that Blair doesn’t know Charlie by anything other than Serena’s cousin. It’s so fitting – everything is beneath her notice. Or at least it is until she works out that there’s a new crazy bitch aiming for the throne.

So why if it ‘ended pretty badly’ is everyone calmly stood around chatting about it and not actually doing something? Ah yes, because we have to let it get out of hand so there’s a good plot first.

“Have you seen real Blair?” I love that there are mini Blair’s and Serena’s at this party! Although they seem way too young to be there…

Aw crap. Crazy guy has Blair on the roof. This can never end well.

Right, so this episode was a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, it was fab classic gossip girl. With laughs, unholy alliances, crazy and schemes. It was everything I love about this show.

What’s making me grumpy is that it feels as though the writer’s really haven’t resolved the scene at the end of last weeks Gossip Girl between Chuck and Blair. I have no problem with the scene itself, but there should be some sort of dealing with it, instead of Blair being a forgiving idiot, and Chuck continuing to be a twat until it suits him to go after her again.
If that’s the idealised romantic relationship that the show is promoting then god help us all.

Last week I was about ready to give up on the show, which was why I was so reluctant to watch this week’s episode. However, this week was a very good episode. So I’m on the fence.

On the other hand, I am loving Charlie. She may be completely off the rails, and about to get worse, but I cannot wait to see what happens. I’m so glad they’ve made her a series regular, she’s bringing a much needed breath of fresh awesome to the table.

And whilst I want to be upset and worried about the fate of Blair up on that roof with a crazy guy, I’m really not.
There is no way this show would kill off its strongest player. Which makes this just seem a bit flat. Give me a real cliff hanger. Up the stakes. Kill some people we don’t expect, and bring back some of the spark we used to get on a weekly basis with this show.

But this is just my thoughts and ramblings – what did you guys think? Have you forgive Chuck? Who are you rooting for? Will Blair manage to get off the roof without breaking a nail? We’ll find out on Monday…