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Waiting Really Does Suck

April 5, 2010

Entertainment Weekly have the first shots I’ve seen of Sookie’s newest complication, Alcide Herveaux:

Image Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO via Entertainment Weekly

He doesn’t look like my mental image of him from the books in that shot, but I have no prior experience of Joe Manganiello, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Also, Tara is the subject of this week’s HBO teaser, along with new character Franklin Mott:

I thought he’d be older-looking.


Recent Readings 2 – Karen Rose, Linda Fairstein, Jilliane Hoffman

April 4, 2010

When I think about what I read, I always think I don’t read much by female writers, however it appears that this is not always the case. Not sure why I don’t perceive it that way.

Karen Rose – I Can See You

There seems to have been a concerted effort by the publisher of these books to move them out of the romantic suspense category and firmly into thriller/suspense. I can understand why, as I expect it increases the potential audience by quite some amount, but I’m not convinced. I have enjoyed every one of Rose’s previous books, but I’m a bit of a romantic suspense fan anyway. In this book, the main storyline revolves around Eve, who also featured in the early novels Don’t Tell and Nothing To Fear. Scarred from her earlier ordeal, she is working on her thesis about a Second Life-type game, but breaks the rules around her test subjects when she becomes concerned one may have been murdered. The investigation lands her in the orbit of a detective who has been trying to avoid her, due to his own issues. Eve is a believable and likeable heroine, whilst Noah is sufficiently dark and brooding to be attractive as the hero, whilst never being too dark. The central mystery was well-plotted, and although I had an idea who the killer was, I changed my mind a few times as the twists developed. I’m eagerly awaiting the next novel, Silent Scream, which is due next month.

Amazon link

Linda Fairstein – Hell Gate

The latest Alexandra Cooper novel sees the Assistant District Attorney investigating human trafficking and political corruption, but does not feature any courtroom action at all. While this has never been a huge feature of the series, there’s usually been a court scene of some kind. I do enjoy the history lesson which Fairstein weaves into her novels, but in this case, it seemed like the plot had been contrived around the setting, and I missed the tension of the early books. I had figured out the bad guy by about half way through, and there was nothing afterwards to make me think I may be wrong. I also wonder how much longer the Cooper/Mike tension can be built before it ends up dominating everything else, and I felt as though the final pages were an afterthought to add more of this, rather than being necessary to the main story. Overall, I was a bit disappointed by this book, but I still look forward to next year’s installment.

Amazon link

Jilliane Hoffman – Pretty Little Things

It’s been a while since we had a new book from Jilliane Hoffman, so I was a little surprised when this popped up in my ‘Recommendations’, but I had enjoyed her previous novels, so it went in the basket without me even looking to see what it was about. I’m impulsive like that! From the beginning it was very clear to me where the plot was going, and I have to give a lot of credit to the author here, as so often when technology is included in a plot, it’s done in an unrealistic way, or it’s clear the author doesn’t really understand it. In this case, I think the research which has obviously gone into this paid dividends, as none of the tech details jarred with me. The central plot, of girls being lured away by people on the internet who may not be what they appear to be, is not new but was believably written. I also did not have a clue who the bad guy was, right to the end. The main character was likeable and his connection to the case was well plotted, and I finished the book in one day, as the pacing didn’t let up, and I wanted to read more. I think this was probably my favourite of the three books listed here, although it’s quite a different kind of thriller to the Karen Rose book. I definitely hope we don’t have to wait several years for another one.

Amazon link

Recent Readings 1 – Lee Child, Janet Evanovich, M R Hall

April 4, 2010

I have read a huge pile of books recently, because many of the authors I like put out new books around March time, so I thought I’d do some quick reviews of a few at a time.

Lee Child – 61 Hours

I love Jack Reacher. I have read every book in the series, and I’m still astounded that Lee Child is British, because it never seems to slip into his writing. Apparently, he said in a radio interview recently that his image of Reacher is similar to Lawrence Dallaglio, which is about as close as anyone’s ever come to my mental image of him. In this book, Reacher is stranded in the ice and snow of South Dakota after a bus crash, and soon comes to the attention of the local police, who are dealing with an unfamiliar situation. Reacher proves useful as ever, and makes time for some telephone flirtation with a woman doing his old job, but never loses focus on the big picture. The ending is a cliff hanger, and the best news of all is that there is another book later in the year, so we don’t have to wait until next March.

Amazon link

Janet Evanovich – Three To Get Deadly

I’m re-reading this series from the start on my iPod, because my old paperbacks of the early books have long since given up the ghost. These are the ideal books for me when I’m not feeling great as they never fail to make me laugh a lot. I love how Stephanie is completely incompetent, but lucks into information and situations despite her lack of skill. In this book she’s looking for a local store-owner, who is loved by everyone, who has gone missing after a minor traffic offence. As ever, there is more to the story, including drug dealers and a crazy church leader, and Stephanie is soon in over her head. I’m also glad that the film of the first book is finally being made, but I will be very interested to see who they cast as Ranger and Morelli, as I think they may be even more important to get right than Stephanie.

Amazon link

M R Hall – The Disappeared

This is the second novel by M R Hall featuring Jenny Cooper as a West Country coroner. I enjoyed the first book, The Coroner, although Jenny was somewhat annoying, but this time I found the story too far-fetched to make up for her shortcomings as a character. There’s also a definite political tone which runs through both books, and while this usually wouldn’t bother me too much, I found it stood out too much when I was already distracted by the main character. In this book, Jenny is persuaded to look into the disappearance of two young Islamic students, against the wishes of the Home Office and some scary (but superficial) Intelligence officers. She’s also supposed to be investigating the death of a young girl who turns out to have high doses of radiation on her body. The conclusion of the story was rushed, for me, and too much time spent on Jenny’s many emotional issues. Overall it was one of the least enjoyable books I’ve read recently, and since I gave up on James Patterson, that doesn’t happen very often.

Amazon link

Dancing With The Stars Season 10 Week 2

April 3, 2010

The meltdowns have started early this year, or the producers needed a ratings bump, as there were bust-ups of varying degrees in almost all the VTs.
Shannen and Mark – The jive didn’t suit her, she couldn’t keep up, and there was a lack of energy in all her movements. Plus the costume was just odd.

Aiden and Edyta – I feel bad for the poor guy, he looks terrified, mostly of Edyta. Needs to work on finishing lines but in fairness to Edyta, he had good feet. The routine wasn’t exactly inspired, but he got through it.

Evan and Anna – He is really showing his potential, he was confident and at ease. There was much better projection to the audience, but his feet did need work. Also, I’m with Len on all the flashy stuff – he didn’t need it.

Niecy and Louis – A good week for these two, proving some couples can get along. Good characterisation from her, the frame was a bit loose at times, and she probably needs to stop singing all through the dance but a good effort.

Jake and Chelsie – Either his shoulders were really up, or his jacket was not fitted properly, but it made him look very awkward. Not enough energy or sharpness, but basic steps were there.

Buzz and Ashly – Better than the latin, but a lot of walking around Ashly. I can’t really remember anything else about it.

Nicole and Derek – Bad song choice, and even stranger choreography by Derek. Lots of it didn’t look like a jive, but her footwork did seem good and she’s sharp. How bad are the rest of this year’s celebs, if she comes across as strangely likeable? At least we didn’t have to put up with the grinning boyfriend in the audience this week.

Erin and Maks – I thought their fight did them some good, unlike most of the couples, Maks needs a partner who pushes back. She has grace, and good lines. She’s also confident, and if she cleans up the footwork could be very good.

Pam and Damien – Much calmer this week. They need to focus on more content and less fluff but not terrible.

Chad and Cheryl – He came over a lot better than a lot of people this week in his VT, but that wasn’t terribly hard. Needs to work on his arms and posture before he does another ballroom. There were a couple of errors, but nothing catastrophic, and he looked a little more at ease. Len was harsh.

Kate and Tony – Wow. If she can make Tony quit, how evil is she?! I understand that teaching styles and learning styles can conflict, but she didn’t seem to give Tony a chance, and he’s about the most easy-going pro on the show. She was awful this week, she had no confidence in what she was doing, which won’t have helped with the nerves. Bruno says she needs acting lessons, but I think she’s enough of a drama queen and needs to concentrate on the basics and technique, not more performance.

The pro dance in the results show was fabulous, and was helped in that direction by the appearance of Maks’s chest, but I always feel better when I’ve watched Maks and Cheryl dance, and in fact all the dancers looked good. I enjoyed seeing Anna with Derek as well, very different to watching her dance with Jonathan:

And then we said goodbye to Shannen and Mark. I feel bad for Shannen, as she was far from the worst, and she wasn’t even the least likeable celeb.

True Blood Season 3 – Waiting Sucks Part 2

March 29, 2010

HBO have unveiled another of their teasers for True Blood Season 3. Is this Sam’s brother?

Dancing With The Stars Season 10 Week 1

March 27, 2010

Oh, trashy Friday night TV, I have missed you! Nothing sets me up for the weekend like a couple of hours of complete escapism, and for the last three months, I’ve had to do without. But now, DWTS is back, and so life can return to normal.

There’s a bit of a change to the show this time round – less couples, new co-host and some changes to the set – no longer will the couples return back stage after they have danced, now they are put in a big glass room just behind the audience, so they can be seen all the time. It’s a bit odd. We also have new graphics for the judges scores, which I don’t think really add anything.

On to the dancers.

First up were Cheryl and Chad, with the cha-cha. Apparently Chad likes to dance after he has done something good in his football games (I know nothing about NFL, so I’m not even going to try to sound like I know), but then he gets fined a lot, so he’s doing the show to allow his to have fun. Or something. Anyway, he doesn’t like it if Cheryl says he’s doing well when he isn’t, which is great, because Cheryl immediately tells him he sucks, and should do it again. Overall I thought he came across well in the VT, he comes somewhere between Warren and Jason on my football player scale for now. The dance was ok for the opening number. It was a little hesitant in places, but Chad generally had good rhythm, and didn’t forget what he was doing. Good start overall.

Next out, Shannen and Mark. Shannen is very nervous about performing live, and is threatening to break out in hives, which would look lovely on TV! She’s a bit gangly in training. They are dancing the Viennese Waltz, which is never fantastic on DWTS, and her dress is a bit witchy, which is a little distracting. She messes up a few times, probably due to nerves, and she needs to get her arms under control, but she did better than I thought she might.

Now for my highlight of the night, Maks and Erin. They start off well when she tells him she had asked for Tony, which really sets the tone for them as a couple, and it’s clear they’ve hit it off. She seems capable and quick at picking up the steps, so they could turn out well. She looks fantastic in the cha-cha dress, and her legs seem to be about 6 feet long, they look like they are having a lot of fun, and she’s keeping up with Maks. Best of the three dances so far.

Jake and Chelsie are next, and about 2 minutes into the VT I am sick of the rose overload. He does nothing to really distract me from this, as he seems to have the charisma of a door panel, and then they continue the rose theme into the dance. The VW can be sickly sweet at the best of times, and this is right up there in ‘sugar’ terms. He seems stiff and a lot of the time poor Chelsie is pushing him around quite hard. Not impressive.

Niecy and Louis are a start contrast to Jake and Chelsie. She’s never going to be described as dull, but is also not at all irritating. She seems to be picking up the dance ok, but the actual performance could have been better. She looked the part, and most of the time, she had the character, but it was a little slow. There was a lack of hip action, which I think was because she was placing her feet too precisely, and not really getting into the dance floor, but overall not bad.

Next, we have Evan and Anna, my early tip for the win. He has very strange hair, which seems unreal. He moves just as well as I expected, and Anna seems to have caught a break here. Their VW is good, but it’s a good style for him anyway, and Anna has worked with his strengths. His arms are fantastic, and he finishes every line but, as the judges note, he needs to remember his feet and finish those lines too. If he can bring a bit of personality, then he’s still my tip for now.

Our first real stunt casting sees Buzz Aldrin take to the floor next with Ashly. It’s about what I expected, and he doesn’t really dance so much as step around with his hand on his hip. There’s no actual cha-cha in any of what he does, but he looked to be having fun.

Nicole and Derek follow, and much is made of the fact that she doesn’t do this kind of dancing, so she isn’t a ringer. No, really. She’s not. Their VW looks wonderful, but it’s a lot of showy stuff, and it looked to me more like a Dmitry dance than a Derek one. There’s no footwork to speak of, but it get s a lot of marks from Carrie-Anne and Bruno, despite Len being correct in the points he made. I think she’s going to be this year’s Mya.

Next we have Aiden and Edyta, and I’m already worried, as Edyta seems to be wearing a coat, which is never a good sign. Anyway. Aiden. Wow, I got so distracted, he is just lovely. Sadly, though, Edyta has gone straight for gimmicks, and doesn’t really give him a chance to show what he could do. The coat was exactly what I expected, and gets pulled off to show one of her typical non-existent costumes, and the dance is too much about her, plus there’s a knee slide! Overall Aiden was a bit hesitant, and didn’t really get the fun element, but he did what he was given. Len hated it, which was a given, but I hope they do a proper dance next week, as I’d really like him to stay around for a few weeks.

Kate and Tony follow, and I am fascinated by her attempts to move parts of her face. They are completely frozen. Also, she appears to be a different person to the one in the clips. That’s some serious makeover. Tony is as lovely as ever. She is very nervous in the dance, and makes a few mistakes but it wasn’t terrible. She needs to stop counting in her head and feel the music, which will help it flow more.

And so, to our final couple, Pamela and Damien. Damien is lovely, but Pamela appears to be completely insane. She doesn’t really seem to be picking up the dance that well, which may be due to her having the attention span of a four-year old. When they take to the floor, she certainly looks the part, but it’s clear that her hair did far more dancing that she did. There was a lot of hair being flung about, but not an awful lot of cha-cha. Still, it was fun to watch!

I have no idea what they dance next week, as I am trying to stay away from all the US sources, so I don’t get any spoilers!

True Blood Season 3 Hype

March 25, 2010

These make me very happy.

Season 3 Poster:

HBO Promo Teaser:

Apparently HBO will be releasing one of these each week, after each Season Two episode they reshow. Much as I appreciate this one just for the Eric-ness of it, I am really looking forward to seeing Alcide and Debbie just to see how well they fit with my mental pictures of them.