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Book pick: ‘Supernaturally’ weak sequel to ‘Paranormalcy’ September 25, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News, Releases.
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Turns out writing the second book in a series isn’t as easy as you’d think. — Kiersten White

That should have been my first clue that author Kiersten White was going to have a tough time following up her wildly funny and creative first book — PARANORMALCY — about Evie, a 16-year-old girl who can see through the glamours of paranormal creatures. That makes her a valuable asset of the IPCA — the International Paranormal Containment Agency — where she uses her pink “rhinestone-studded Tasey” to bag and tag paranormals, who are later made into useful members of society. (Read my review of that book HERE.)

But SUPERNATURALLY  is just so totally different in characters, tone and plot that I felt like I had to force my way through this book — which I read on a cross-country plane trip so I was a captive audience.

The sequel picks up with Evie after she has left the IPCA and starts her normal life. But — her normal life is too normal for her. She misses feeling special. Then her boss from the IPCA Raquel — through a series of totally weird events — comes into her life again and offers a position at IPCA. Evie jumps at the chance, even though her boyfriend Lend (invisible boy) isn’t going to be thrilled.

And this is the really annoying part of the book. Evie is so quick to go back to work for the IPCA after everything that occurred in PARANORMALCY that it’s a little tough to believe at first. But — Evie is a teen — and we know how teens change their minds — that after a bit, her return — on her own terms — seems plausible.  However, forget the wise-cracking “what the bleep” Evie of old. She is a big whiner in SUPERNATURALLY. OK — this is a YA book and you expect some teen-age angst but this was boring. Her boyfriend is in college and so can’t always spend time with her. She can’t seem to  focus — even when she’s back at work. She’s turning into a Twilightesque Bella. Where the heck is her backbone? She’s turned into a wimp. And she’s boring. Not the kind of main character you want to like or care about.

The best parts of the book:

  •  One of Evie’s missions is to bag a troll community but she ends of finding out they aren’t the bad guys. It’s a vampire. And this vamp finds that drinking paranormal blood makes him stronger. He’ll be back. And I liked these scenes because the real Evie returns.
  • The new character Jack. Jack is weird. He’s like a kid. A hyperactive one. But at the same time there’s something ancient about him. He’s spent time with the Fae and can travel through their paths. You sense he wants to be good — but he leaves Evie in a bind every time. And there’s something so odd about him that we don’t know yet if he could turn out to be a villain — or if he really is a good guy. But I liked his escapades.
  • We find out who Evie’s father is. It’s not really a “best” part because it’s so dorky. Let’s just say NASCAR is involved. And he’s a paranormal. But is he really her Dad?
  • Reth. He’s back and creepy as ever. What’s he up to? Not sure. But left me wanting to know more about why the Fae seem so determined to snag Evie.
  • The back stories on Vivian and Arianna.

I will say the last 80 or so pages of the book lived up to the pace of PARANORMALCY. The majority of the book, however, was mainly Evie feeling sorry for herself. You can’t help but wonder if an editor could’ve helped White focus a bit more because there were elements of this book that could have been sharpened into a much faster, fun read that would have made this a stronger sequel.

Let’s just hope the snappy, funny, smart Evie turns up in the final book, and that the editing is better for ENDLESSLY. (Here’s what White posted on GoodReads about the final book:

The final chapter of Evie’s adventures. Old friends, new ones, all wrapped up in impossible decisions. And some ball gowns. Because what’s a life of normal and paranormal drama without a ball gown or two?

(Note: I was given a copy of SUPERNATURALLY to review for my news site — which I haven’t turned in yet! So you’re getting my disclosure notice here and a look at my rough draft before I turn it in!)

Dinklage thanks dog sitter but not GRRM in Emmy win for ‘Game of Thrones’ September 18, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Emmy nominations, HBO, News.
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Peter Dinklage won an Emmy for best supporting actor in a drama for his role as Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s GAME OF THRONES. GOT was shut out in the other three categories it was nominated for, including best drama series, but that’s typical for a brand new series going head-to-head with old faves like MAD MEN. 

Dinklage — who is superb playing the GOT imp, — seemed surprised that he won. In his acceptance speech he thanked David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for offering him the role. He thanked HBO for “letting artists create.” He even thanked  his dog sitter. But he forgot to thank A GAME OF THRONES author George R. R. Martin, who was in the audience. I mean — geesh! We know he didn’t think he was going to win and didn’t prepare an acceptance speech — and as everyone is reporting — he was sooooo surprised. I don’t doubt it. But without GRRM, there would be no Tyrion, a fave GRRM character.

Guess we’ll just chalk up Dinklage’s glaring omission to nerves.

DID YOU MISS THESE?
Photos and comments from ‘Game of Thrones” panel at Comic-Con
Interview with ‘A Game of Thrones’ author George R.R. Martin

Movie trailer: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 September 13, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
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3 comments

And here’s the first full movie trailer for the next Twlight flick, due out Nov. 18 ….

Season 4 of ‘True Blood’ ends with a big whimper September 11, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in HBO, News, True Blood, Vampires.
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7 comments

Did Sookie choose Bill? (Not with that ugly robe!) > HBO

It’s Halloween in Bon Temps (or Samhain if you’re one of the witches) for the season 4 finale of True Blood — and we get lots of tricks and treats in “And When I Die.”  But seriously — what was Alan Ball and his team of writers thinking? This was a total snoozer of a finale. Here’s why: (Spoiler note — don’t read if you haven’t watched the show!)

How did Marnie tie up both Bill and Eric? > HBO

DEAD MARNIE WALKING
Marnie takes over Layfayette’s body and forces Jesus to give her his magic. And then she kills him. No shocker there.

This fork scene made many of us grimace. > HBO

Then she somehow (we never see this) finds Bill and Eric, binds them with silver to a pyre and proceeds to burn them to death. Just as the vamps are in flames, Sookie, Holly and Tara arrive (they figured it out) and chant a spell that calls the dead to help them. Antonia and Gran and a bunch of deadskies show up. Gran pulls Marnie’s spirit out of Layfayette’s mouth (kind of gross) and then Marnie is persuaded to shuffle off into the night with the other dead to her rightful place. I thought this whole ending to the Marnie storyline totally weak, given the buildup in the previous shows. I was disappointed this is how the writers concluded the major story arc of the series. (Sigh — and it started out so well, too!)

Lafayette seems to be OK. I wondered for a minute if Alan Ball would really kill him off — but then thought — NOT. (Later, Jesus shows up while Lafayette is trying to sleep and says goodbye.)

DEADLY SPIRITS AT MERLOTTE’S?
Sam lays Tommy to rest. Sookie gets her job back.  And ohhhh — I wondered if Rene would show up, and he sure does. (Remember, it’s Samhain — when the dead are closest to the living — and Sookie, Holly and Tara cast that spell to bring dead spirits around!) He

Is Scott Foley gonna wreck havoc with Terry & Arlene? > HBO

warns Arlene about Terry, saying the dude is bad news and that his ghosts won’t remain quiet for long. He says she should run from Terry. Meanwhile Terry’s Marine buddy Scott Foley — who has this creepy look on his face when he finds out Terry is married — also comes to town. Seems like Terry saved his life twice. Terry thought the guy was dead …. just saying …. but is he a bad ghosty? Not sure where this is going but might be interesting. Again — another big foreshadowing for the next season. Alan Ball likes to just drop new stuff in at the last minute.

THE H-J-J TRIANGLE
Thinking he’s doing the right thing, Jason tells Hoyt he slept with vampy Jessica. Guess what? Hoyt doesn’t take the news well and gives Jason a pretty good pounding. That night, Jessica — dressed as a naughty Little Red Riding Hood — shows up at Jason’s house, and yeah — big sex scene follows. But afterward, she tells Jason she just wants to be friends — with benefits — but nothing more. Puppy dog Jason agrees. After she leaves, the Rev. Newlin shows up on Jason’s doorstep and he’s sporting fangs. (Trick? Is The Rev. really a vamp or is it a Halloween gag he’s pulling on Jason? Anyway — he can’t come into Jason’s house unless Stackhouse does something stupid — like invite him in.) This part of the series is still fun and entertaining. You want to see what happens next season with these folks.

MEANWHILE, IN THE SOOKIE TRIANGLE
Sookie — after feeding crispy critters Bill and Eric at the same time — decides she can’t choose between them because she loves them both. So, she won’t be with either of them. Glad she’s dumping them both — although it took her forever to get her lovey-dovey lines out.  Personally, Bill in the HBO series is more likeable than in the book — where she kicks him to the curb for some time. But Eric is just plain sappy in the TV series. He has a lot more edge in the book and I hate the “nice” TV Eric. Blech on both of ’em. (And what was with the matching ugly robes?) Now, there is some good news. Don’t forget Alcide. He dumps Debbie Pelt and makes a pitch to Sookie. Could get interesting. At least he has a pulse and fab abs.  Since the TV series is veering away from the books, why shouldn’t she hook up with the hunky Alcide. (Ummm — not sure how he’s gonna take the news about Debbie — see below.)

Holly is the only "fairy" who showed up in the last episode. > HBO

WHO IS REALLY DEAD?
It appears the evil Debbie Pelt. The she-wolf comes at Sookie with a shotgun but winds up hitting Tara, who leaps in to save Sookie. Ummm — shot to the head. Sookie gets the gun from Debbie and — after hesitating for just a sec — blows off Debbie’s head in the kitchen. She’s a goner for sure. (Sookie also offs her in the book series.) But Tara — I’m thinking it would be mighty hard for her to recover from that head wound unless one of the vampires gives her a ton of blood. Now — wouldn’t that be ironic. For once, a vampire could help Tara? But I think she’s a goner. Remember, they foreshadowed her death earlier in this episode when she and Sookie talk about growing old and sitting on the porch together. So not going to happen.

THE DYNAMIC DUO
I did enjoy watching  Bill and Eric team up to kill vamps.  They get rid of Nan, who was fired from her position as spokeswoman for the American Vampire League. She came to kill Bill and Eric but then started to talk about teaming up. But her fatal flaw? Shooting off her mouth about Sookie and her fairy blood. So, the vamp boys offed Nan. Yup — she wound up as a sticky patch on the King’s floor. Let’s see if they can stick together in season No. 5.

Hey -- who let out the King? > HBO

ODDS & ENDS
–Is Marcus really dead? Or is that him snarling at Sam at the end? Or is it another wolf from the pack, bent on revenge for their leader’s death?
–What is with the goofy Andy and Holly scene at the end? He gives her a big hug. I’m wondering when nympho Fairy with the ET finger will show up? Remember she made him promise to protect her — always? (OK — and where are the Fae? We open up the series in their land but then — that’s it. Hardly a mention of ’em.)
–No big surprise to see that Russell Edgington has managed to claw his way out from his concrete prison. Can’t wait for him to get back into the storyline.

DID WE LIKE?
Might be me but if Sookie started to cry one more time I was gonna whack her. That’s not the Sookie we know. Good grief, the last scene was of her wailing for help with a mortally wounded Tara in her arms on the kitchen floor. Get a grip girl! And while I thought season 4 was good overall — really funny and witty in so many places —  I can’t help but feel the pacing of the last two shows was off. It was much slower and — frankly — not all that surprising. Doesn’t mean I won’t tune into season No. 5. In fact — can’t wait. But I hope they pick up the pace and lighten up a bit. And please turn off the faucet Sook!

FAVE LINES
Jesus to Marnie: “You can’t trade magic like f****** Pokemon cards.”
Pam to Ginger: “I’m so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her stupid name.”
Eric to Sookie/Holly/Tara: “Excuse me, we are feeling a little crispy here.”

OK — so what did you think?

True Blood: Which regular dies in season 4 finale? September 7, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, HBO, News, True Blood, Vampires.
4 comments

Eric & Sookie in Season 4 of HBO's True Blood. Photo: HBO

I’ve been on vacation — even from vamp blogging — but am back and am getting ready for the season 4 finale of TRUE BLOOD this Sunday. Here’s the official description of the finale from HBO:

SUNDAY, SEPT. 11 “And When I Die” (Season Finale)
It’s Samhain, Wicca’s greatest holy day, and spirits of the dead surface in Bon Temps, giving Sookie valuable allies to combat Marnie’s newest incarnation. Lafayette’s latest medium encounter imperils his relationship with Jesus; Jason finds confession good for the soul, but not the body; Alcide makes a heartfelt appeal to the woman he loves; Terry receives an unexpected visitor at Merlotte’s; Sam and Luna  envision a storybook ending, for once; Nan wears out her welcome with Bill and Eric. Debbie confronts Sookie and Tara with deadly consequences, and the denizens of Bon Temps brace for a new crisis with a familiar face.

If you don’t want to read any spoilers, stop now!

Photo from HBO

Michael Ausiello, editor of TVLine.com, says “By the end of the hour, the show will be down at least one series regular.”

TV Guide Magazine, in its Aug 29-Sept. 11 edition says Sookie “finally chooses between her vamp lovers when the war against Marnie the witch gets bloody deadly.”

TV Guide also says not everyone survives Halloween clash between vampires and witches in the fourth-season finale:

“There is a body count by the end,” says creator Alan Ball. “It’s more than one death – people we know and love – and it’s pretty shocking.” Alan also says that Antonia is the toughest foe that Bill, Eric, Pam and Jessica have ever fought; that Sookie’s decision choosing between Eric and Bill is her toughest decision she’s ever had to make and two major past characters return. (Says Alan, “One is beloved, the other despised. One reveal is terrifying, and one is emotional and powerful.”) And finally, Alan says, “A lot of things that seemed like they were happening outside of the witch story find their way into it. You’re going to think things are finished when they are not.”

So, who does Sookie choose? Who dies? Who are the two past major characters who return?

Is Russell Edgington — the King — coming back? That would seem a logical answer. But The Hollywood Reporter says an HBO spokesperson says actor Denis O’Hare doesn’t appear this season.

Do we lose Lafayette, who in the Charlaine Harris series dies in the first book? What about Tara?

Several websites, including WetPaint.com, have reported that in the last show of season 4 we’ll meet Patrick Devins, 35 to 45, tough, and ruggedly attractive, he served in the military with Terry, and they share a serious history: Terry saved Patrick’s life twice. Does he return the life-saving favor(s)? Do we get a reprise of Rene?

Photo from HBO

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