Friday, October 30, 2009

Tonight on TV - My Fantasy, Sci-fi Fridays!

Yeah, yeah, so I've been pretty lax about updating the last couple weeks - I am going to get the next installment of Feehan's Dark Carpathians posted in the next 24-48hrs **PROMISE** - but for right now I want to make a few comments about my "fantasy, sci-fi fridays" which include (but is not limited to): Stargate Universe and Sanctuary!! [I watch these on Space channel here in Canada.]

First for Sanctuary... This is a new show for me this season, though it is currently season 2 for the series itself, and so far I am really enjoying it.  The one plus that it holds for me is that it stars Amanda Tapping, who played Samantha Carter in Stargate SG1, and has always been one of my favorite actors! The last couple of weeks has given me a crash course into the Sanctuary series and as the story continues tonight with "Hero," I'm looking forward to what will happen next for the team...

[this video is actually the trailer for Season 2 - NOT the episode for tonight!]

And for Stargate Universe... "Water" (episode 6) is on tonight and it promises another amazing show and more twists into the Destiny's destiny. I've liked this series right from the start, as I mentioned in my last post on SGU, and since then my interest and appreciation for it has only skyrocketed! Last week's episode ("Light") was an absolute wonder and now I can't wait to see what will happen next!! 

[This video is the trailer for tonights episode!]

So there's my intro for my Fantasy, Sci-fi Fridays! I may just give you an update on the episodes (after the fact), later tonight!!!! TTYL!!

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Friday, October 9, 2009

A Whole New Experience: Stargate Universe

"'... It's a non-disclosure agreement. I assure you, it'll be worth your while to sign it.'
'And if I don't?'
'We'll beam you up to our spaceship.'" 
[Rush, Eli and O'Neill]

Six years ago I was living near Vancouver (British Columbia) and being new to the area I didn't have a lot of friends yet, so I was spending a great deal of time watching TV.  On one of those lonely evenings at home I happened across an episode of Stargate SG-1.  I haven't always been a big fan of science fiction or fantasy on TV or in the movies, but between the release of the first Lord of the Rings movie the previous year, and a brief sojourn in to the world of Alien (with Segorney Weaver), I was becoming increasingly interested in the genre.  For me, SG-1 was the perfect route into "weird."

The science behind the Stargate series, though complicated and advanced far beyond what we are currently capable of, is possible.  The idea that we're not alone in the universe was already one that I accepted.  Combining the two, in my opinion, was genius.  Of all the SG-teams that we've seen to date the original 4 - O'Neill, Carter, Jackson and Teal'C - are and forever will be my favorites.  It just worked out that over the next year my husband and I were able to find all of the available seasons of SG-1on DVD, and thus, our combined obsession with the Stargate franchise began.

It was around that time that Stargate: Atlantis began and Richard Dean Anderson started to pull out of the original series.  We continued to watch and to love the SG worlds, then eventually SG-1 ended and the movies were made, the Atlantis series wrapped up and we were left wondering: what next?

Stargate Universe is the answer.

Over the last several months I've searched out information about the new series - cast, plot, etc. - but no matter what I was able to find, I never really gained a clear understanding of what the show was supposed to be about.  I found a lot of speculation on forum sites, some vague (and not-so-vague) hints on Robert Cooper's blog and eventually there was some concrete info on the Stargate websites.  But when I turned on my TV to watch this first episode, I really didn't know what to expect.

I'm happy to say that after the completion of the premeire/pilot episode that I really like it. I'm looking forward to seeing more and while I'm still not entirely sure where the series, or the season, is going to go, I am interested enough to keep watching.  I was happy to see the brief cameo appearances of O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Carter (Amanda Tapping), Daniel (Michael Shanks) and even Dr. Lee (Bill Dow) because I'm a huge sucker for the "originals" but it was great, too, to get to see some background for the new characters. Though in getting the background, the time shifts during the episode did become a bit confusing.  They weren't always, sometimes the differences in the scenes was obvious but once in a while I couldn't quickly tell.  That being said, there are also wonderful opportunities that have been left open to learn more about the new characters too.

At this point the show is quite a bit darker, a bit more serious and more "mature" then previous SG series have been.  It does hold certain visual aspects that are reminscient of Battlestar Gallatica but it was refreshingly different from anything we've seen from the Stargate franchise before.  Will this hold for the future?.. Only time can tell, but I look forward to finding out.

Here are a few quotes from the premiere that really liked!
"This is my second spaceship, and my first was yesterday." [Eli]
"'A number of people died during the attack on the base, some I knew very well.'
'I'm sure some of them had more value then others.'
'As human beings, all of them were invaluable.'" [Rush and Chloe]

"'Have you found anything?'
'As in ours?'
'The name of the ship.'"  [Eli and Rush]

"There are just some things you never get over.  You get through them.  As best you can." [Scott]

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Feehan's Dark Carpathians - Part 4

Dark Dream (Dark Dreamers)
Christine Feehan
Book 7: Dark Series
ISBN: 0-8439-5687-9

"I am Falcon and I will never know you,
but I have left this gift behind for you,
a gift of the heart."

Hundreds and hundreds of years ago the Prince of the Carpathian people, Vladimir Dubrinsky, summoned forth his most ancient hunters.  It was in a desperate act to do all he could for the future of his people that he asked for volunteers to go out into the world.  Alone or in pairs, completely cut off from their people, these Guardians would protect the human and Carpathian races alike.  Each of them were already encumbered with the weight of darkness spreading across their souls, all of them understood that to go would be a death sentence - for away from their people, the hunters would have no chance of finding their lifemates and salvation - yet all those who answered the summons, agreed to go.  Each of them had only their honor and their loyalty to Vlad, to see them through the long, bleak years intact.  All of them knew that if they turned into the very things they hunted that no one would be safe.

When Falcon knew that he had little strength left to hold the demon at bay he started his journey back to his homeland.  In his fnal days, his only desires were to feel the soothing comfort of Carpathian soil, to look upon Mikhail and his lifemate - a former human psychic who had been converted - and know that his sacrifice had not been in vain.  The very last thing that he ever expected to find was his own lifemate, another human psychic ripe for conversion.  Sara Marten slips into his life and with her pure heart and sweet, compassionate soul, she breathes color and life back into him.

"For my beloved lifemate,
my heart and my soul. 
This is my gift to you."

Sara has lived with a nightmare chasing her for 15 years but it is her dark dream that haunts her mind and soul.  Even as her life changed drastically when a vampire killed her whole family, it was the face of her Dark Angel that gave her the strength to go on.  In the midst of chaos she forced herself not to succumb to her grief but to continue on and do what good she could wherever she went.  Then out of the night, the face that haunts her appears and becomes more then a dream, he becomes her reality as well.

"My Dark Angel. 
Falcon, Lifemate to Sara."

The bonds between Sara and Falcon, already established in her dreams and visions, are formed and cemented very quickly.  Sara has been on the edges of Carpathian society for so long, she barely has to consider the choice.  She wants Falcon, she needs him just as much as he needs her, and she'll do whatever it takes to stay by his side for all eternity.  With the help of Mikhail, Raven, Jacques and Shea, Falcon and Sara are able to defeat her old enemy and establish themselves, and the 7 psychic children they adopt, deep in the Carpathian mountains.

"For my beloved lifemate,
my heart and soul."

It is in this, the seventh book of the Dark series that we see for the first time the ancient, Ancients of the Carpathian people.  It is with the reappearance of Falcon that we gain a new hope, along with a new set of fears, for the race.  For his appearance gives Mikhail the knowledge that there are true Ancient hunters in the world helping to fight off the vampire threat, but also the bleak understanding that there are seriously ancient vampires with powers unlike anything his hunters have seen, or fought, before.  In this shorter tale, a novella really, we learn that love and the bonds of lifemates can transcend the vagries of time and unite the souls of mates even before color and feeling returns to them.

Watch for Part 5 of the review series when we discuss the Legendary Carpathian Twins, the dark twins - Lucian and Gabriel.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Feehan's Dark Carpathians - Part 3

Dark Magic (novel)Image via Wikipedia
Dark Magic
Christine Feehan
Book 4: Dark series
ISBN-10: 0-505-52389-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-505-52389-2

Gregori. The Dark One. The Bogeyman of the Carpathian people.  For a thousand years he has been loyal to the Prince and when Mikhail and Raven have a daughterGregori knows that she is his lifemate , for he has manipulated things to ensure it.  But when he goes to her, to claim her when she is 18 years old, her fear of what having alifemate means and her terror of Gregori himself, touches his heart and he vows to give her 5 years of freedom before he forces his claim.  And force it he will have to do, for after she flees the Carpathian Mountains and escapes to her mother's homeland, Savannah's independence and fierce will only grows in strength. Gregori has held the darkness at bay for too long though and without her light he will become the very thing he has always hunted - Vampire - and no one, not even Mikhail, would have the strength and power to destroy him.

Savannah does not want to live under any mans control and she sees the bonds of a lifemate as a type of cage.  She can not imagine being happy with any man, least of all Gregori, whose name she's always heard whispered in tones of awe and fear.  All of the Carpathian people tremble at his power and the undead live in terror of facing him in battle.  She can not comprehend how she can be expected to anchor such a man.  Then he comes for her.

The Beast is crouching close, too close, when Gregori comes.  It is only his immense will and deep strength that has allowed him to hold on as long as he has.  Savannah is his only hope, yet still he fears that it is too late for them and that he'll be condemning her to an eternity of loneliness.  The depth of his darkness is proven by their disastrous claiming/mating ritual when he very nearly kills her in hisbloodlust .  It is her goodness, her compassion and her willingness to sacrifice her life for his, that pulls him back from the brink of madness and allows him to fight off the part of himself that would become the deepest of evils.

She looks inside him and sees something she must save.  Savannah know that their lives will not be easy - he's an arrogant, domineering man and she's got a fiercely independent spirit - but the more time they spend together, the more she comes to believe that they can be happy.  The longer they dwell within each other's mind and soul, the more assured she becomes that their love will save them both.

They travel together from San Fransisco to New Orleans in hopes of drawing out those who seek to take Savannah from him.  In the course of their investigations they meet Gary Jansen and they decide to 'take him under their wings,' drawing him further into their world.  They also stumble upon an ancient vampire who has stalked the swamps and people of New Orleans for more then a century.  To protect Savannah, Gary and the innocent people of N.O.,Gregori must defeat this ancient evil and in doing so risks all that he has gained.  In the end, both his and Savannah's survival is in Gary's hands and they can do no other but trust in him.

We saw in the first three books of the series [Dark Prince, Desire, and Gold] that Gregori was a force to be reckoned with but that the darkness within him was vast and nearly enveloping him.  In this book we see a man, a strong Carpathian hunter who is scared of himself, despite of and because of his own power.  He knew that it was too late for him to face the dawn.  He knew that Savannah was his only hope, but even in his darkest of days he remained honorable and loyal.  In this series we see many great men, many powerful men and many strong women but it is in this book - Dark Magic - where we see the first hint of the true strength of theDaratrazanoff line and depth of magic that lies in their souls.

Next we'll see how the past can shape the future and how powerful love truly can be.  Keep an eye out next weekend for Part 4 of Feehan's Dark Carpathians when we witness the return of the first Ancient.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Some More Carpathian Addicted Fun

Okay so I was working on Part 3 for the Carpathian book review series and was looking around at Christine Feehan's website and decided to watch a couple of the book trailers that she's had made for advertisement and endorsement of her books.  Watching those video's gave me the idea to look for other video's of the same series, so I went to YouTube and I searched.  Amazingly (or not so amazingly since I've always known that I wasn't alone in my love/obsession for the Dark series) there are a great number of video's - fanmade for the most part - that are available to view.  I watched a great many... What can I say? "My name is Lacey and I'm an addict..."  

I chose this one video to link here.  It doesn't go with any single book in the series, it actually showcases each lifemate-pair for all of the books currently available, including the most current release: Dark Slayer.  Please remember when you view this video that it is FAN MADE and therefore neither the music or the actors used are meant to infringe on Christine Feehan's rights or meant to portray her opinion of who or what the characters in her books look like. Also, the song used is not meant to infringe on the Artists rights.  That being said, I do think that the actors and music used are quite a good fit with the series and the 'feel' of the books themselves.  So, I hope you enjoy.


Now I've always been a vocarious reader, an obvious fact if you look at the archive of what I have written on just this blog since it's inception, but my reading does not only stay within the realm of printed or 'professional' works.  I do a lot of reading (and my fair share of writing) in the "fan-fiction" worlds as well.  I first started reading and writing stories for the WB series Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) but in the years since I first visited those sites, I have expanded my interests to include amatuer works for other TV shows and for some series of books as well - the Dark series included.  

The following three stories are ones that are published on and are probably my three favorite Carpathian fan-stories that are available anywhere on-line. (At least that I've come across so far.)  I hope that you'll take the time to read them and if you do I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them as much as I have.

Dark Alliance (by Skyefox)

Heart of the Dragon (by murgatroid-98) - this story is part of a series, and while each of the parts is great, I particularly like this installment.

Memoirs of a Dragonseeker (by JadedKatrina)


There you go, another update, yay!!  Since before I decided to write this up (and got distracted by YouTube video's for the Carpathians), I was working on the next installment of Feehan's Dark Carpathians, I should be able to put that up in the next few hours, or day at the most.  Until then, happy viewing, happy reading and I hope you enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New This Fall...

So you all read my Twilight blog at the beginning of the month, you got to see how my apprehension of getting addicted to another series of YA novels put me off the idea of even reading the first book for so long.  You got to hear me basically sing raptures about how when I finally gave in to the 'pressures of the media' I fell in love - with the series, with the characters, with the movie.  Well maybe the movie bit was implied but it's true.  

Now, the second movie in the Twilight saga, New Moon, is soon to be released (in November 2009) and it seems like every few days we're learning something more about the cast, the producers, the twists, and all that.  Just in the last week the newest trailer for the movie was released and being the supremely gracious person that I am, and the slightly obsessed fan that I've become, I've decided to post the video here for your viewing pleasure... Enjoy!!

Remember for all information concerning this movie and the rest of the Twilight saga, please visit the official site.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feehan's Dark Carpathian's - Part 2

Dark Desire
Christine Feehan
Book 2: Dark Series
ISBN: 0-8439-5653-4

Shea O'Halleran was born different and had grown up knowing that she was nothing like any one else, not even her own mother.  As a child she needed blood to survive and watched as her mother withdrew from the world and from her, and withered into nothingness.  Overcoming the adversities of her young life, she put her self through University and became a brilliant researcher and surgeon.  But when 2 strange men begin to question who and what she is, she knows that her peaceful existence is at an end and that her days on this earth were numbered.  Especially as the nightmares haunting her become more frequent and the effects of them more lasting.

Jacques has only memories of pain, blood and torture.  He knows he was betrayed, though he has no clear memory of who betrayed him.  So when he's able to connect his mind with a woman far from him and she's all but elbow deep in blood and guts he believes he's discovered his tormentor.  In his madness he uses all his power, weak though it may be to lure her to him.

And she comes.  Years later, but she comes to him and when she does they are both in for a shock.  Shea learns that she doesn't actually have a blood disorder, she's part of another species.  Jacques finds out that Shea is his lifemate and that she is his reason for living.  Together they find family and friends, and they find the betrayer that cost the Carpathians several of their people years before.

His madness and her hard past cause both of them a lot of difficulties in their relationship but they both know that together they have a better chance of survival and happiness then they do apart.  Together they can have everything they ever dreamed but first they are forced to deal with the betrayer -- Shea's father, and a Carpathian we've met before, Rand.

I'm not sure what it is about me but I find that I am forever drawn to the drastically damaged men I read about.  In Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series, Zarek has always been one of my favorite characters. [Dance with the Devil] His pain and his fear of further betrayal, a lure that my heart couldn't resist.  In the BDB series it's Zsadist who caught my heart.  A strong warrior who should have had every advantage in the life but who, through a random twist of fate, became a slave to a sadistic, horrifying female noble vamp. [J.R. Ward, Lover Awakened] And then of course we have Jacques.

Mikhail hooked me on paranormal romances, but it was Jacques who snared me and kept me hooked on the Carpathians and the Dark series.  Raven showed me a strength of character and purity that I longed to emulate and Shea... Shea proved to me that everyone deserves a happy beginning and a happy life.

This completes the second installment of my review series.  Don't forget to watch for Part #3, coming soon.


As always, for your continued interest in any of the series that I've mentioned please follow the links to the author's official sites.

Christine Feehan - Dark Series
Sherrilyn Kenyon - Dark-Hunter Series
J.R. Ward - Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just On A Quick Aside:

The formatting here has really been pissing me off lately! It's not with every post, it's only with the one's where I am including a picture of any kind.... So like, all of my reviews since I include a picture or other image with all of them.  In any case, it's just REALLY making me angry and I thought I'd share that with every one!!!

The Vampire Diaries on the CW

The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

I saw the previews on TV about a month ago for the Vampire Diaries and I was intrigued, enough so that I went out and bought the original book series - including the reunion (book #4). Since Twilight I've been more perceptive to 'new' Young Adult and Teen paranormal or fantasy series, so I was actually pleased to have something new to read that could compare.  And it did, compare that is.

L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries perhaps wasn't as compelling and addictive, for me anyways, as Twilight was but the series itself and the romance between the young 'teenaged' male vampire and the human girl was, and is, an interesting read.  In reading the two different series quite close together, I found that while I read I was making a lot of comparisons between the stories.  That's probably not entirely fair to either Meyer or Smith, but I hope that they won't mind.  Smith wrote her books some time ago and the mind set of our society at the time and the driving 'plot requirements' for young adult/teen stories was different.  In many ways, I think as a society we're just maturing more quickly and also we're not quite as protective of what our youth are reading (and watching on TV).  But personally, I really liked the Vampire Diaries book series.  
I liked reading about Elena and Stefan, Damon, and all the other characters.  I liked the plot line and the color that Smith was able to incorporate into the story with flashbacks to Stefan and Damon's past.  When it comes right down to it, I liked the series as a whole and I don't think there is anything that I could complain or criticise about it.

Not so with the TV version of the same. 

"The Vampire Diaries" 
When I saw the previews the first thing that I said to my husband was, "They've got it all wrong - Stefan is 500 years old, not 100, Elena is a blond, not brunette and Bonnie was a short redhead, not a tall-ish African American."  And that was just from the preview!  I was almost tempted to not watch the show.  I didn't want to have to rearrange my vision of what the characters looked like in my head.  I didn't want to have to adjust my vision of the town and surrounding setting.  I didn't want to have to adjust to changes in the story line.  I just didn't know if I wanted to risk watching the show and having it skew my pleasure of the book.

But I watched it anyways.  Yeah, it's different.  There's no arguing that, those differences are just to glaring to ignore.  Yet surprisingly, so far anyways, they fit.  I just finished watching the series premiere and I liked it.  For as skeptical and downright pessimistic I was about whether it would be any good, that is actually saying alot.  It's certainly not my favorite show and I wouldn't compare the TV adaptation of Vampire Diaries to the movie version of Twilight but I do like it and I will be watching next week to see more.

So once again I've been surprised by my enjoyment of something that for all intents and purposes I didn't think would be as good as it was.  It was that good, and I can only hope that the show will continue to get better as time goes by.  

Here's hoping?!?!

For more information about the CW's production of Vampire Diaries please visit the official website, here.


I have part 2 of Feehan's Dark Carpathians nearly ready for posting, so I'll be getting that up this weekend sometime.  And a hint on it's content, one word: madness!
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Feehan's Dark Carpathians - Part 1

Dark Prince
Christine Feehan
book 1 - Dark Series
ISBN: 0-8439-5528-7

Over the past several years I've collected hundreds of books. And I do mean that literally! The majority of my library is in the romance genre (surprise, surprise) but the books range through nearly all the 'sub-genres' that are printed - historical, contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, erotic, etc. If I were to pinpoint a specific book that managed to get me hooked on paranormal romances, specifically vampire novels, I think it would come down to one title: DARK PRINCE. I had read the odd paranormal romance before this one but none of them had hooke me. From the first page, the first paragraph, I was drawn in. The despair and lonliness that Feehan portrayed in her lead male, and the leader of his race, Mikhail Dubrinsky was sharp and grasping. And just like Raven was attracted to it and was compelled to respond to it, I too wanted to be apart of their lives.

As the story continues, I'll admit, there were a couple of times when I had to wonder whether I would be able to do as they did. Whether my mind would be able to accept the changes and demands that the Carpathian lifestyle requires. And several years after first reading this book, I still don't know if I would have the courage and strength that Christine gave her leading lady, (and doesn't just have serious double meanings?) Raven Whitney. I'd like to believe my character, my mind and soul, would have that core of goodness. But I'm not sure, and more than anything else, it is this constant, pounding question in my mind that draws me back to Dark Prince over and over.

Would I be able to accept that there were supernatural beings, creatures, in the world? Could I love one of them? Could I become one? Would love be enough of a motivator to compell me if I did have doubts? They are all hard questions and each is vastly different from what a normal man or woman is faced with when deciding to join their life with another. A scary, dangerous prospect in any case.

Throughout the book we see various struggles, by both Raven and Mikhail, that lead us to the day we can't wait for. Happily ever after. Or at any rate - happy. Together. In love. Raven and Mikhail's story is a classic example of two vastly different "worlds" colliding and the people being left to make the very best of a situation. Fortunately, Raven and Mikhail are able to make things work for them... With a little help from their friends.




And all the other hunters who joined together to ensure that their Prince lived, loved, survived and thrived.

This is the first installment for my Feehan's Dark Carpathians review series. This series is a personal favorite and hopefully only the first of such projects that we'll all see published here on 'Ups, Downs, Ins and Outs.' For more information on Christine Feehan or the Dark Series please visit her website (there is a permanent link on the sidebar of this page) or click here. Thank you for reading and I hope you'll keep an eye out for the second installment in this series - for Dark Desire.
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What to Write?

I've always got a lot of ideas about what I should post here on this blog. When I first created it, I was going to use this site to feature some of my personal writings - poetry, short stories, etc. But I have since put up another site where I discuss my trials and tribulations along the road to becoming a published author. I have come to use that site for spotlighting my writing when the mood arises.

Since it's conception this site has seen my monthly reading lists, book reviews and discussions, movie reviews and recommendations, and even some discussion about TV shows that I particularly enjoy. I guess you could say it's a place where I've chosen to discuss that which I use to entertain myself - books, movies and TV. And I've decided that this set-up works for me. I haven't always been good about posting regularly, though I'm going to try to work on that, but when I have written and posted on this site I've always enjoyed myself.

Children reading

I enjoy reviewing other's stories. I enjoy talking about movies and TV shows. I even like letting everyone know what I am reading. So that's exactly what I'm going to do.

I'm going to try to start posting twice a week. About whatever I can think of - as it pertains to books, movies and TV; whether it's a review, a reading list, or simply telling you how much I enjoyed the episode of CSI I watched recently. I'm going to try. And I'm going to write.

I've just posted (less than an hour ago) a discussion of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga and in the last weeks I posted a couple of book reviews for books and/or series that I particularly love. I'm going to be continuing in this vein for the next while as I read through, again, the Dark series by Christine Feehan. I may not end up review each book, individually, but I will eventually discuss all 20 of the current books in the series. I'm not sure where I'll go from there, I guess only time can tell, but no matter where I end up, I am going to try to maintain this site.

Anyways, that's all I've got to say for right now. Keep your eyes open for the first installment of what I'm going to call "Feehan's Dark Carpathians," it should be up by the end of the weekend.

--for a complete list of the novels in the Dark series please follow the link on the left to Christine Feehan's official website or click here.

--for more about the Twilight Saga please check out the series website, also posted on the left of the page or click here.
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My Twilight Journey

Twilight booksImage by Annafur via Flickr

The Twilight Saga
[Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn]
Stephanie Meyer

It took me a while to get on the Twilight bandwagon. When the first couple books came out, I actually avoided the series. I can't really recall any specific reason, though I think a big part of it was that I'd just gotten over the whole Harry Potter craze and I didn't have any interest in jumping in to another YA book series. No matter what I heard about it. No matter how good the reviews.

Eventually I started to hear whispers about a movie coming out though. I think by this point in time Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Trilogy - Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr had caught my attention and I'd enjoyed (eventually) all of them immensely. I'd seen the movie (for Eragon) too, but that was a disappointment to me. It was good, just not as good as it should have been. So I was intrigued. The Twilight series, this saga had been getting such amazing reviews and they were making a movie of it and I couldn't help but wonder if the directors and producers and actors would do a better job of Twilight then was done of Eragon. The movie came out and was in theaters before I thought more seriously about reading the books. Still though I procrastinated.

Then the fourth book was out and the movie was being released on DVD. And I decided that maybe it was time. I didn't want to commit myself to all four books though, not yet, so I went out and bought only the first novel. I read the first few chapters right away and I was impressed. I don't know what exactly it was about those first pages of Twilight that caught my attention. Then held it. The next morning though, I picked up the book again and started reading.

I didn't stop reading until I was finished the book.

I'm sure I was a pain in the ass to my family - my kids and husband - that day and the several days that followed because I was absorbed. Bella pulled me into her despair of having to move to Forks, her utter horror in having to give up the heat and sun of Phoenix, and her dissatisfaction with life in general, right from the first word. She and Edward tied me up in anticipation of what would happen next, of what could happen next. And I was awed by their understanding and devotion to each other.

Over the course of the next 4 or 5 days, I was back to the bookstore to get the other three books and then I sent the kids to my mothers and I read.

My heart broke right alongside Bella's when Edward left in New Moon. I was so thankful for Jacob when he reached down and helped drag her out of her pain, and I saw doom as I watched Jacob fall further and further in love with Bella. And then there was Bella, herself. Poor, sweet Bella who needed Edward so badly and needed Jacob so badly, and somehow found herself loving both but unable to truly have either. Her continued devotion to Edward, the 'bloodsucker', caused issues with Jacob and the other werewolves. Her loyalty drove a wedge between them, even as her knowledge of the werewolves and Jake's truth pulled them together. Then suddenly one small, seemingly insignificant choice changed everything, again.

The trip to Italy to save Edward had my heart racing with fear. If she was too late, he died and then Bella would fall even further down in to the abyss that she'd barely survived the first time. And then there he was in all his glorious, tortured pain and everything was headed towards okay again. We got another glimpse of course at how twisted "true" vampires could be when we were introduced to the Volturi - we'd been told of them, briefly in Twilight but I don't think any of us truly understood how different they were, not even after the experience with James. But Bella and Edward came back to Forks together and life returned to "normal."

As time passed during Eclipse I was torn. Jacob was such a nice guy and he loved Bella so much. It didn't seem fair that despite everything he'd done for her, everything Edward had done to her, that Bella would continue to treat Jacob with the same level of need that she did once Edward was back. Granted, Jake allowed her to use him and depend on him more then he should have, but I didn't like that he then turned that around and used it against her. I truly think that he did that, he used her friendship against her, to try and make her depend on him even more and then he was hurt that she still chose Edward over him. Edward, who even though he'd hurt Bella, had only done it in an effort to protect her from his nature, who loved her unconditionally. Edward who gave her the freedom to chose what she wanted and what would make her happiest, instead of trying to force her to choose him.

Was this simply the difference between a century old vampire and a teenage werewolf? I don't actually think it was a condition of age. Looking back after having finished the series, after seeing the way things work out for Edward and Bella, for Jacob and Renesmee and for all the others too... I think the boys different reactions to their love and need for Bella was simply a demonstration of the difference between infatuation and real, true love. I'm not belittling Jacob's feeling for Bella during New Moon and Eclipse. I'm not belittling his feelings for her during the first half of Breaking Dawn either. To his mind, at the time, she was everything important to his life but in his fervor to hold her to him, he hurt her even more.

Of course, there were a lot of things - big and small - that happened during the second and third books that could have drastically affected the outcome. The Volturi threat, Victoria, even just the vampire diet in general all worked together with the emotions of the characters to lead the story to Breaking Dawn.

Edward and Bella cemented their human relationship and get married. Then through a twist of fate that no one expected (least of all me) we end up with Renesmee. Bella is changed, "transformed," and we all are forced to question what makes her special, different - it's my theory that she was never a typical newborn vamp because she actually chose to become a vampire. I think it's pretty universal that all the others became vampires after being attacked by one or because they were dying and becoming vampire was the only way they could continue to 'live'. They didn't know what was going to happen, they weren't told what to expect. Bella was and so she was prepared to deal with whatever her choice threw at her.

Then the Volturi threat explodes in their faces and they have to figure out how to deal. They have to figure out how to survive. They have to find hope for themselves and learn to depend on themselves. They have to learn how to depend on each other - vampires and wolves. They have to accept that love, in it's purest form, is sacrificial. Because when you truly love, you'll give up anything for it, even yourself. And sometimes that sacrifice, that willingness to sacrifice, is what actually saves you.

So after plenty of procrastination and, finally, falling victim to curiosity and peer pressure, I love the series. I read through it once, then gave myself some time to think about it and absorb the story, and then I read it again. I paid attention to the way Stephanie Meyer used language and situation to tell the story. I noted the depth of her explainations and the wealth of information and color that she builds into her 'world.' The Twilight Saga truly is a remarkable piece of fiction which, like Rowlings' Harry Potter, I think will live on in the hearts of it's readers forever. Like fairytales and old fables, Twilight (and Meyer) teaches us a great many things.

Of love and loyalty.

Friendship and trust.

Right, wrong, moral or amoral.

Bonds of blood, of heart and mind.

Of everything that is important in the world.

And like the lessons of those old stories what we've learned from Bella and Edward, and all the others who make this series what it is, will stay with us always and continue to guides us in our lives.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Review of The Mage

'CoverCover of The Mage (The Sons of Destiny, Book 8)

The Mage
Jean Johnson
[book 8: Sons of Destiny series]
ISBN: 978-0-425-22594-3

We've watched and waited patiently (or not so patiently as the case may be) for the right time to come along and set the 'Sons of Destiny' free. Now whether the stars have finally aligned, or the Fates have reached an accord, that time is now. The eight brothers of Nightfall, formerly of the county Corvis, are finally free of their curse. Though as we have come to recognize over the past months and years, the "Song of the Sons of Destiny" didn't turn out to be a curse so much as it was, and is, a blessing for the men and women it directly relates to.

The Eighth Son shall set them free:
Act in Hope and act in love
Draw down your powers from above
Set your Brothers to their call
When Mage has wed, you will be all.

In The Mage we see Hope's past struggle to become a person of Kelly's otherworld. [for more details on Kelly, see The Sword - book 1] We watch with delight and some trepidation as she returns to Nightfall and the truth of her origins come out. We observed Morganen's upset and confusion, his understanding and his strength. But most of all, we had a front row seat to witness their love grow and flourish into something that no thing, and no body, could ever break apart.

Jean Johnson has led us on a magical journey of prophesy, love and danger, and in this - the eighth and final book of the series - she finishes up all of the story lines and plot threads that were left hanging throughout the the other books. Nightfall was able to finally call for the 'Convocation of the Gods' and they were officially acknowledged as their own Nation, fully and legally responsible only unto themselves (and the Gods). Though through an ironic twist of fate, Nightfall became not only a Kingdom but an Empire, that now ruled over the brother's homeland of Katan, with Morganen as Katan's King.

Their problems with Mandare and Lord Kemblin Aragol (Earl of the West Marches) are forever solved by the plain fact that as the host-nation for the Convocation it is basically illegal for Mandare to attack them. The Nightfallers issues with water purification are corrected through the hard work of all the Nightfall people and the magical abilities of Danau and Koranen. [see The Flame - book 7 for more about this pair] Dominor and Serina [The Master - book 3] were blessed with the birth of their twins, and Kelly and Saber were finally able to get pregnant.

The Mage was a well written and fantastical conclusion to a series that has kept it's readers and fans (those rabid members of the 'Mob of Irate Torch Wielding Fans') entertained and on the edge of their seats with anticipation. But it has also brought about a sad circumstance - we have no more to wait for, to hope for, for the Son's of Destiny. So it is with a fond farewell that we must bid the Brothers and their now much larger family goodbye. Or at the very least "So long," since I am sure we will all make some return visits to the island and the people on it that we've all come to love.

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A Review of Lover Avenged

'CoverCover via Amazon

Lover Avenged
J.R. Ward
[book 7: Black Dagger Brotherhood series]
ISBN: 978-0-451-22585-6

In the last couple of years we've watched our favorite Brothers face many hard circumstances and just as many hard, hard choices. Wrath had to face his fears of inadequacy and claim the throne that was rightfully his, in order to claim Beth Randall (his Brother - Darius's - only surviving daughter) as his mate. [Dark Lover] Mary Luce had to accept that love and faith truly could save a life and that they could give you life if only you let them, when she chose eternal life and love of Rhage, and the Beast, in Lover Eternal.

We watched Bella and Zsadist together and realized that with the right inducement even the most shattered of souls could be pieced back together. [Lover Awakened] Lover Revealed showed us that you truly can't judge a book by it's cover and that love, when given freely and fully, can change us all. This fact is displayed even more in Lover Unbound when it is her love for Vishous that allows Jane to come back as a ghost, to be with him forever. And in Lover Enshrined, Phury comes to the realization that if he can't love himself, can't honor himself, he will never be able to honor his mate and give her the love and life that she deserves.

All Kings are blind -
The good ones see this and use more than their
eyes to lead.

Finally we come to Rehvenge. Though not truly a member of the Brotherhood, his is as close as an outsider can get. His origins are disgraceful and his action not entirely honorable in the world of vampires (or the human world for that matter) but despite this he is still a male of worth. Or he strives to be, as best he can. he has never been able to see the good in himself, for he's far too aware of his dark side, but all those around him, at least those whom he allows to get close, can see the bright soul lurking in his darkness.

Ehlena's life hasn't always been easy. At the moment she'd even go so far as to say it sucked, and for all her optimism she can't see how things could possibly get better. Of course she can't see how they could possibly get worse either. Then her - almost - boyfriend is killed by lessers, her father has another episode and she volunteers to deal with the one patient that no one else wants to deal with when he comes in to the clinic. Rehvenge.

Rehvenge has always liked Ehlena the most of all the nurses who work for Havers, the races doctor, but has always been careful to keep his distance. Then one night they both reach out, despite their desire not to, and a bond is formed between them. After that, the dice seem to be tossed and no matter how strongly they try to keep their distance, they can't.

Lies and truth disrupt their happiness and when the only course they can see is to remain apart, they both have to face their fears, their demons and their very real enemies, if they want any type of life. Any future. Together, or apart.
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Favorite Vamp Series EVER!!!

Well, well, well....

It's been months and months of waiting, of sucking back Lag and Goose and chilling with the other Cellies but the time has finally come for us to visit our old friends again. That's right all you females and males - LOVER AVENGED, our man Rhevenge's story, is finally out and from all the buzz I've been hearing it's just one more example of why our favorite WARDen is the best that there is. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about please, please visit JR Ward's Homepage and also check out the BDB Message Boards)

For the last week I've been reading the other books in the series, visiting the Brothers and reminiscing. Now, I'm seriously psyched to get my hands on Rhev and find out whats been happening in Caldwell and how everyone is dealing.

Seriously can't wait.

Yup, yup. I finished up Lover Enshrined, again, earlier tonight (but unfortunately after my local bookstore closed) and now I'm literally vibrating in anticipation. If you see some majorly hyped person at your bookstore first thing tomorrow morning, and if she's devouring Lover Avenged even as she's waiting in line to pay for the thing, then chances are pretty damn good that that girl, she just might be me.

Or maybe just some other whacked Cellie who's just as addicted to the BDB as I am. Completely possible, considering.

I GUARANTEE that you will see a review for this book soon. BDB and me? We go way back and I like to take any chance I can get to blab about them.... As a related note, I will be putting up a review for The Mage too - I've had to read the book a couple of times and take some time for digestion before I felt comfortable writing about it. Soon... I hope, but I'm making no time line promises for that one.

Well for now that's it. After all, if I'm going to be at the bookstore at 10AM to get my fix I should probably try to get a couple of hours of sleep.

See you soon!!!

Woooooooooo Hoooooooooooo!!!!!!!

Caldwell Here I Come!!!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Before the End Comes - The Sons of Destiny

For some time now I've been reading Jean Johnson's Sons of Destiny series. Initially the first book, The Sword, was one that I picked up on a whim - and what a whim is has been! Immediately I was pulled in to the story, just as Kelly was pulled through the dimensions, and the entire world of Nightfall and the eight brothers (the "sons of destiny") came alive for me. For the past two years I've been following each successive brother through his courtship, meeting each of their mates and drawing the couple into my heart too, and watching the group as a whole as it struggles to make their incipent kingdom of Nightfall in to a thriving, fully recognized, curse free nation.

It's been a trip! So now, before the eighth and final book of the series - The Mage is released tomorrow, I want to take a small stroll down memory lane and touch on each of the stories that have brought us all to where we, and all the current inhabitants of Nightfall Isle, are today.

The Sword
That first fateful, inspiring novel that drew us all in and held us captive to the lives and stories of the eight Corvis brothers. In this novel we watch as Saber - who is morbidly afraid of his curse in the 'Song of the Sons of Destiny' - meets his match in Kelly Doyle. Kelly, a woman who would come from what would be our very own dimension, arrives on Nightfall terrified of what might next befall her. She's spent the last couple months and years of her life struggling just to make ends meet, only to end up being accused of witchcraft and having the perpetrators of such awful accusations attempting to murder her by starting her house on fire in the middle of the night. Fortunately for her Morganen, the eighth and youngest Corvis brother, spies her troubles and uses his magic to rescue her and begin his task of Matchmaking his brothers with their destined mates.

Saber and Kelly suffer through a tumultuous courtship - arguing, avoiding and vaguely disliking eachother. Of course that dislike is a mask for the attraction they have to one another and when they are both poisoned by watersnakes (an inspired, if not a mite disgusting creature) they are forced to deal with each other in very close quarters. The fall out of that incident, obviously, is that they fall absolutely, positively in love with one another. Kelly fights it because she's not sure if she should be staying in Saber's world and Saber fights it because he still fears that it could be the end of his world. But despite their fears and doubts, they do fall and their marriage causes the 'Song of the Son's of Destiny' (which really is a prophecy about the eight brothers that implies dangerous and destructive things could happen if and when they each fall in love) to begin it's unraveling in their lives.

Together Saber and Kelly, and the seven brothers, work together to start the process of saving themselves and giving them all a new lease on life. It is during the foretold 'disaster' that Trevan is shot by a musket and Dominor is abducted from the island.

The Wolf
This second story starts for us during the final days of book one. With Morganen's help, Alys of Devries is able to escape from her uncles clutches and drags herself all the way across the Empire of Katan, through the sea and lands herself right in the path of the man who she's destined for. Wolfer find Alys after she washes up on the shores of Nightfall Isle and as she's always been a friend to the brothers and tells him that she has no where else to go, he takes her up to the palace to be introduced to Kelly and reunited with the other brothers.

Wolfer and Alys have a much easier time of things, and so it's only a matter of days before they are well in love with each other and every one knows it. They do encounter a few snags when Alys's uncles continue to attack the brothers on the isle, going so far as to visit the brother's in a twisted sense of familial duty (one of Alys's uncles is also the brother's uncles-by-marriage). Alys is forced to tell the brothers that she's known about, and been forced to help, her uncles attacks on the isle by taking care of the magical - and sometimes extremely dangerous - animals that have sent to harm them (including those nasty watersnakes that percipitated the eventual fall of Saber and Kelly).

Though Wolfer is hurt that Alys would do something like that, even under duress, they manage to work through the situation without any harm to their relationship. Unfortunately during the final attack on Nightfall by the uncles Evanor is seriously harmed and we see the first seeds for that eventual story.

The Master
At the end of The Sword we saw Dominor abducted by the Mandarites and this books starts there. Almost immediately the Mandarite ship is overtaken by the Natallians (the two countries are at war with each other) and all of the ships crew and passengers, including Dominor, are put up for sale as slaves at auction. It is a situation that Dominor, affectionately and not-so-affectionately known as the Master, is thoroughly embarassed and disgusted by. It is there that Serina finds and purchases him, in the hopes that he is capable of helping her complete her current project as the Guardian of Koral-tai.

Through very percise mathemagics Serina determines that Dominor can indeed help her, that he just might be the perfect man for the position, and with his oath to help her they set out to right the wrong that was inadvertantely causes over a century ago in Natallia - this 'botched magic' is actually the root of the problems between Natallia and Mandaria. So they return to Koral-tai (an interesting nunnery of types) and work at the project. Along the way they are able to contact Dominor's brothers and let them know that he's okay, of course the brother's are then also able to let Dominor know about everything that's happened since he was taken... Including his own twins injury.

Seeing his torment over his twins situation Serina insists that they do their magic and the earliest possible moment so that Dominor will be free to go back to Nightfall to be with Evanor. Of course she doesn't take into account the fact that she'd fallen in love with Dominor and that he had fallen in love with her. She also didn't inform him that she was going to have to end up pregnant. Fortunately for them they've got friends and family that love them and interfere in the situation so that Serina and Dominor can be together, in love, and most importantly - happy.

The Song
We watched in The Wolf as Evanor was injured - losing his voice and his magic - and in The Master we met Mariel - the healer who will use her Song to end his suffering. Dominor convinces Mariel to come to Nightfall with her son, Mikor, and attempt some very complicated healing magic that would actually have to regenerate his twins vocal cords. It doesn't take long once she arrives for Evanor to start wooing her - even with out his voice, or his magic, to aid him. And it doesn't take long before Mariel starts to fall.

With Mariel, Evanor instantly gains all that he's ever dreamed of - a wife and a child, a family, of his own. Once Mariel finally heals him and he's able to tell her just how much she means to him and that he wants to keep her with him forever. Together all the inhabitants of the island help create a new communication tool that everyone can operate and they distribute them amongst themselves - just in the nick of time. With his cryslet on hand, Mikor decides he's now capable of leaving the palace on his own and goes exploring, only to be caught by soldiers who've accompanied the Katani ruling council to the island. The brothers save young Mikor and then they must face the Katani - the end result of which being Kelly 'ringing the bell' and gaining the grace of the Gods to make Nightfall in to it's own true, free nation.

The Cat
After being chased out of their own homes, their own country and continent, after being tracked across land and water Amara of the Shifterai and her sister arrive on the island. Like Alys, they wash up on the beach and after a chance to rest, forage and clean themselves, Amara is discovered by Trevan. Fearing for her sisters safety she allows him to find her alone and then goes with him to the palace to determine whether she and Rora will truly be safe on Nightfall. (Unbeknownst to her, initially, Rora is having her own adventure - see The Storm below...)

She decides after some convincing to take up residence in the palace and Trevan starts his courtship of her almost immediately. From two very different cultures the couple is constantly stumbling over obstacles and contradictary perceptions of how things should be. After a rocky start they are finally able to settle in to some semblance of peace - though Gods-know that it is entirely unlikely that Amara will ever be able to accept the leadership and rule of Kelly, incipent Queen of Nightfall.

Fortunately she does eventually come to understand that while she may never be the queen she was born to be, she can still be a leader among the people of Nightfall. In a confrontation that threatens not only her sister, but all Nightfallers, Amara proves her loyalty to Kelly and Nightfall and shows that she has more than enough power in her own right to protect those she deems worthy.

The Storm
While Amara is being chased by the Cat, her twin sister Rora is chasing the Storm. Night loving Rydan finds being in the presence of others extremely difficult, in fact it's all but impossible for him to enjoy the company of his brothers and their wives. For some strange reason though, Rora's presence doesn't hurt him. And it is through her presence and her love (and that which she hold within her) that he's able to find the strength in himself to rejoin his brothers lives.

Rydan, self-appointed Guardian of the Nightfall Fountain, find solace with Rora. But in loving her, he must give up that which he's been using to define himself - the Nightfall fountain. Of course he only has to give it up temporarily and in exchange he takes on the responsibility of becoming the Guardian of the Living Fountain but it's still a sacrifice... One he does eventually make quite willingly even if it means opening up his underground halls to his brothers.

With Rora's power and his brother's help Rydan is able to defeat the dark powers trying to hunt her down and protect the island as well. It is also through this confrontation that we meet the people of Menomon and the woman who will come next to Nightfall.

The Flame
Koranen has lived in fear of harming any lover he touches from a very young age - when his passions run hot, so does his touch. It's only with his prophesied, destined mate that he knows he'll be able to love freely, so when a group of Aquamancers arrive on the island from Menomon he sets out to find the Water to his Flame. Danau, the highest ranking aquamancer Menomon has to offer, has always suffered from the stigma - and very true reality - that she's too cold to love. Not knowing, and not wanting to care, about Koranen's situation Danau focuses her sights of the desalination system and leaves the field open to the other women that came to Nightfall with her.

Fortunately for both Koranen and Danau, circumstances put the two of them together at the right time and in the right place to discover just what happens when hot meets cold. The couple then works together on the desalination system, along with the other aquamancers, and then together they must discover who murdered one of the Menomonites and bring him or her to justice.

In the end, they find that together there's not much that they can't do and so decide to stick it out with one another. Love and all that stuff, you know....

And that brings us back to today. Or tomorrow, I suppose. What will happen as the Nightfallers continue their efforts to make their island an independent kingdom, fully recognized by man and Gods? Will Rydan and Rora be capable of doing what must be done to unleash the power within her? Will Morganen and Hope fall quickly, deeply, and madly in love with each other, or will theirs be a nice slide in to comfort, love and satisfaction? And what is all the Gods names did Hope mean at the end of The Flame when she said, "I'm home... I'm finally home."

I may not be able to garuntee when I'll post again but you can bet that once I get my hands on a copy of The Mage and have a bit of time to read and digest it, that you'll be hearing from me again...

Can you tell that I can't wait???

[If you want to see more information about the characters, the stories and the author of this series please visit the official website... For costs and purchasing information on any of the books please visit either of the following websites: Chapters, Amazon (USA), Barnes & Noble, or Borders or contact your local bookstore.]

And Round and Round While We're At It

I don't know where the time goes... I really don't. And I always have such good intentions when I write a note to you all and say that I'm going to write more often - I really do mean it when I say it. It's just that life gets in the way and then other things, more important things, end up popping up in front of me and I get distracted or set in a different direction. Inevitably I end up forgetting about this blog, forgetting that I said I was going to write more and I just end up doing nothing with it. To be completely honest with you, I was debating just deleting the blog entirely a couple of weeks ago. I mean really, it's been 9 months since I last wrote anything it's not like anyone is holding their breath waiting to see what I've been reading lately or what I'm going to write next.

But I'm not going to delete this blog. Whether I really get my act together and start writing more often (even to just start writing out my monthly book lists again) or if it's just here waiting for me for when I do think of something I want to write, I'm not deleting the page. We'll just have to see what happens in the future - and by now, I know better than to tell you that I will try to write more often because I know that I can't garuntee that I will.

Beyond that I can't say I know what this page will become. I don't have any major goals for it. I just don't. Maybe that's a bad thing, but it is the way it is.

Till next time - however long that may be! - I hope you're reading. I hope you're enjoying your life. And I hope that you're happy. See you again sometime (soon??) in the future!