Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Book Review: Goddess of the Spring

Goddess of the Spring (Goddess Summoning Book 2) by PC Cast is a modern re-telling of the myth of Persephone, Goddess of the Spring, and Hades, God of the Underworld.

I have found the Goddess Summoning books very hit and miss. (Reading them out of order, naughty Wondra.) I'll love one, hate two more and then love the fourth. Strange. Normally, I either love everything written by an author or hate everything written by them. PC Cast is a very strange author for me in that way. It makes me slightly reluctant to read any books in this series but I'm glad I took a chance with this one.

Even as a child, I was interested in the Greek Gods/Goddesses and found their stories magical. Now that I'm an adult, I include these deities in my rituals and worship because they are the ones that feel most familiar to me, the ones that call to my soul. I guess that's one of the reasons I keep reading PC Cast's Goddess Summoning series even though I'm not always pleased with the results.

I've read several re-tellings of the Persephone-gets-kidnapped-and-raped-by-Hades-and-is-forced-to-become-Queen-of-the-Underworld myth. This was definitely the most delightful of them all. It was sweet and funny and romantic. And, yes, I actually cried.

The good thing about this series of books is that you don't have to read them in order. Each of the stories stands alone quite nicely but has good references to the other characters and plots in the other books.

One of the things that I love most about PC Cast's writing is that she always writes as though she knows her subjects inside and out - whether it's ancient Greek mythology, horticulture or cooking. I can't imagine how much research that must take. (Better her than me. Lol.)

But the thing that I dislike the most is that her characters are always immediately in love when they see each other. Personally, I would like to see a bit of conflict between lovers to start with. A little friction gets things off to a much better - and much hotter - start.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Book Review: Stefan's Diaries Book 3: The Craving

The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries Book 3: The Craving (Geez... Could it have a longer title?) follows Stefan as he flees from New Orleans to New York. Damon is there, fulfilling his promise to make Stefan's eternal life a living hell, as well as Lexi, a new witch and the first mention of the evil vampire Klaus.

This book has two things going for it:

1. It's short.
2. It wasn't written by LJ Smith.

Coming from a life-long LJ Smith fan, I know that sounds blasphemous but come on. Have you read any of the new Vampire Diaries stuff?

LJ Smith is one of the reasons I became a writer. (Her and my third grade teacher.) I could probably recite any book she wrote pre-2000 by heart. I even write LJ fanfic. I'm that kind of fan. But I simply cannot stand any of her new crap. Maybe if I was a 16-year-old anime freak I might be able to stomach it.

But I doubt it.

Anyway... This isn't about how betrayed I feel by LJ Smith's latest work (which I do), it's about how completely average and unremarkable TVD: SD's: The Craving was. If you're reading it just for the story, don't. The only merit this book has is as a supliment to the TV series.

Movie Review: Gnomeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet but with a happy ending. Oh, and gnomes.

Okay. First of all, I'd just like to say that any movie about gnomes is an instant hit with me. Because... Well, who doesn't love gnomes? (One day, I'll share THE Gnome Story with you and you'll understand my obsession with the cheery little fellows. Then again, no... Maybe you wouldn't. Lol.)

Maybe it's because I'm too old. Or, maybe Disney just ruined me for other cartoons. (Do we still call them cartoons or are they called "animated feature length films" now? Bah.) When I sit down to watch a cartoon, I expect it to sweep me off my feet. I expect MAGIC, goddammit. True love, song and dance - the whole shebang!

Did Gnomeo and Juliet step up and provide the goods? Not by a long shot. Don't get me wrong, I'm not slagging the movie off. It was good. There were some pretty funny moments and many of the voices were pleasantly familiar. But there was no magic, no shebang. :(

Favourite line: "I'm not illiterate! My parents were married!" (Lord Redbrick) Because it's SO like something my brother-in-law would say. (Actually, what my brother-in-law said was "I'm not omnipotent! I can have children, thank you very much." Classic.)

Friday, 24 June 2011

One more thing...

Today my heart is breaking.

The actor and legend, Peter Falk, passed away yesterday. I have absolutely adored Peter my whole life and I am so sad that he has left us. :(

"Just one more thing..."

My time at home was not always easy but I do remember spending countless hours sitting on my parents' bedroom floor doing homework and watching Columbo with my dad. These were happy, peaceful times.

Many years later, I found myself curled up on the sofa with my husband watching the same re-runs and loving them every bit as much.

And, of course, there's the AMAZING film, The Princess Bride. (Among many.)

"That's right. When I was your age, television was called books."

Peter Falk is the only celebrity I've ever written to and his autograph is the prize of my collection.

A few years ago, my husband and I drove all the way to London to go to a signing he was attending, only to be told that he'd cancelled due to ill health. And that was the last chance. A few weeks later, it was announced that he was suffering from dementia.

(A drawing my DH did for me.)

As sad as I am, I know that Mr. Falk's journey is just beginning. I hope that whatever comes next for him, that he is surrounded by happiness and love. Whatever his next life holds, I hope he is, in some way, rewarded for all the joy he has brought to us.

Farewell, Peter Falk. As long as there is a Columbo re-run airing, anywhere in the world, you can never be forgotten.

Source: BBC News.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Everything is about balance, right? Something good, something bad.

Well, I had my good (the concerts) and now for the bad...

The cancer that my mother-in-law has is spreading very rapidly. It started in her lungs, spread to her spine and now appears to be in her bones and breast. A year was probably being awfully optimistic.

I'm feeling rather detached about the whole thing - not proud of that fact, but it's true. It's not that I'm being a bitch (which I am) or brave or whatever it's that it's easier for me to deal with one thing at a time. I have to help change her diaper, I go in and do it. It means that my husband doesn't have to and, regardless of whatever problems we may have right now, I don't think he should have to see things like that. I do what has to be done and then put it in a corner of my mind and get on with things. I'm a coper.

Mr Vanian is not a coper. He doesn't talk about it a whole lot but we both know the time is coming closer and neither of us have a freaking clue how to deal with this shit. When Dad died and when Rocky died other people took care of things. I just had to sort out my feelings and move on. Now, I have a feeling that a whole lot of the taking care of things is going to fall on my shoulders.

Not that I'm thinking about it. Just worry about it when it happens.

My husband has aged a lot over the past few months. In bad ways, sure, he looks older and he has white in his beard, but in good ways too. He does the dishes a few days a week and he cooks a two or three nights a week. He runs errands and does shopping when it needs to be done. If his mother wasn't dying, I know none of these things would have changed. Does that mean I'm glad she's dying? No, of course not.

Cancer is the thing that scares me more than anything else in the world. I've lost too many people to cancer (my sister-in-law, my uncle, my brother) to ever want to see anyone else suffer from it. But at least something good can come from her death, right? I don't think that's too callous a way of looking at it.

Speaking of cancer... You may know that my sister has been fighting it for a while now. Well, ornery bitch that she is (family trait) she's kicking its ass. (Thank the Gods.) Just to look on the bright side. Her middle daughter, though, has just had tests done recently... Like the tests I had earlier in the year... Checking for brain tumors. Well, luckily, I didn't have any brain tumors (and they swear my brain IS human - who knew?) so let's hope my niece's tests come back the same.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Concerts. Whoot!

Well! Mr. Vanian and I have had the pleasure of attending two concerts in one month! That's very unusal for us. Money is normally so tight that we can't even dream about attending concerts. BUT, it IS The Monkees' 45th anniversary and it IS Adam Ant's come-back tour so how could we resist?

The Monkees tickets we got were THE BEST. For real. We were front row, centre and it was freaking awesome. Freaking awesome - and freaking loud. Lol. Afterward, my ears felt like they'd had cotton wool jammed down in them. Who knew three old blokes could belt out music that loudly?

Did I mention how awesome The Monkees are? I saw them about ten years ago with my friends but that was an open-air concert and this was a proper sit-down concert. And, this time, Peter, Mickey and Davy were all there. (Last time I saw them, only Davy and Mickey were.) Stupid Mike Nesmith; he never shows up anywhere. *pout*

They played so many of their big hits - I can't think of anything they left out. They even did my favourite, 'Going Down' which featured a really awesome solo from a barry saxaphone. Mr. Vanian didn't really know a whole lot of the songs but he finally loosened up a little bit at the end and even danced with us - a very little bit.

Our tickets were "meet and greet" tickets which meant that after the show, we got hearded out into the lobby to meet the boys. The only thing that disappointed me a tiny bit was that the organizers really rushed us along. We barely had time to say "hello" before we were rushed out the door. Boo. If I pay £100 to meet someone, I want a chat, dammit!

(I'd already met Peter Tork once before, anyway.)

The Adam Ant concert was not a comfy, sit-down concert. It was held in a bit of a dive and was "standing only" event. I was surprised that he was playing in such a place because he was a huge, huge star in this country back in the day. How the mighty fall, eh?

But, hey, the drinks were cheap. :)

There were ALL KINDS of people there from my age on up to their sixties! And people of all shapes and sizes were dressed up in Adam Ant style costumes. (Not as many as there were back in the 1990's when Mr. Vanian saw him last but still a fair few.)

At the start of the concert, we tried to get close to the stage to see if we could get any good photos but the camera I was using (my MIL's, borrowed) was pretty crappy. Plus, I was getting really grumpy at the stupid, slutty, loud, annoying girls around us and Mr. Vanian was getting overheated so we moved way back. And guess what?

Being at the back was WAY BETTER. I found a window that I could climb up into and plunked my butt right down. I was at a higher vantage point (hey, being short sucks) and could rest my camera on a ledge about my head. Win. Plus, Mr. Vanian wasn't in as much danger of melting.

Oh... And we could watch the freaks making freaks of themselves. Wow. You would not believe how weird some of these people were. I couldn't resist taking a video or two of their bizarre dances. (Or they may have been mating rituals... I'm not sure.) There's a good chance of them ending up on youtube. (If I ever figure out how to turn the volume down on them.)

Anywho... We had a great time at both concerts and I'm glad we got to go. :)

May 2011 Reads

Blogging my monthly reads? Why not?

Hey! These look good... Can I read them too?

It's not ALL the books I read in May because I didn't decide to do this until the last week of the month and some of them found their ways back to the library or to new homes. The full list is:

1. The Summoning, (Darkest Powers, Book 1), Kelley Armstrong
2. Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker Book 1), Jenna Black
3. Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, Book 1), C. C. Hunter
4. The Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1), Kelley Armstrong
5. Goddess of Light (Goddess Summoning, Book 3), P.C. Cast
6. Captivate (Need, Book 2), Carrie Jones
7. Shaddowspell (Faeriewalker Book 2), Jenna Black
8. A Kiss in Time, Alex Flinn
9. Prince Of Air And Darkness (Silhouette Shadows, #26), Jeanne Rose
10. Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad Book 1), David Eddings
11. Queen of Sorcery (The Belgariad Book 2), David Eddings
12. Magician's Gambit (The Belgariad Book 3), David Eddings

The Belgariad makes for a nice change. I haven't read the series in a long, long time but I had fond memories of it. Coming back to it now felt like bumping into an old friend on the street. It's pure scifi/fantasy but I'd recommend it to anyone.

There are several here which are parts of new series which really sucks because I enjoyed them all... And now I have to wait for the next ones to be published! Sucko. Lol.

I got the idea from this blog. I think I'll try to stick with it.