Saturday, February 1, 2014

Being Human US - Sneak Peak and BTS

Something to prime us all for Monday

Sneak peak:

And some interview clips:

Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 12: The Devil Inside

Katherine, who isn’t really dead, is hitching a ride in Elena’s mind – though Nadia lets it slip that it’s not permanent – and she compels Matt to give her a crash course in all things Elena – including how she broke up with him.

Alas, we have to deal with that most annoying of tropes (beyond Elena’s continued existence) the “earlier that day” sign. Because, apparently, telling a story in chronological order is considered passé these days.

Anyway, earlier that day Nadia chained up Katherine in case Elena made a re-appearance while she went to take the Travellers Katherine’s corpse which they want for ill defined reasons that are probably nefarious.

Switch to Damon who has already buried Katherine’s body (rather jauntily) and Nadia is not pleased – using the excuse that Katherine wanted to be buried in Bulgaria with her family. Damon’s going to deny this request simply because he’s that petty.

Tyler is camping with Matt and apparently he’s willing to put aside everything that happened in New Orleans (probably because everything that happened in New Orleans involved Klaus and Elijah sending him home)

At college – yes we are pretending the college storylines are still going – Aaron (who is not dead) drops in on Caroline to tell her and Elena that he’s cutting off all funding to the evil Augustine vampire torture lab. Aaron leaves – and Enzo (the imprisoned vampire made of Sexy) drops in to have a little chat with him.

Stefan calls Caroline to babble about Damon and Elena and basically trying to get them back together and yeah that’s bewildering since Stefan and Caroline are the two people who least want Damon and Elena to be a happy couple. Anyway, they both realise Elena is missing.

Katherine gets frustrated by her phone eternally ringing when her eyes turn black and Elena returns (BOOOOOOO!) to find she’s chained to the headboard. Which was a nice idea on Nadia’s part but neglected the fact that hotel headboards aren’t usually vampire proof.

Meanwhile Stefan and Caroline (hereby called “Prudy Trudy” by Damon) talk to Damon about their intention to win him Elena back – which he doesn’t believe either.

Katherine gets more and more annoyed at her phone and Nadia notes they need Katherine’s body so maybe Katherine should go to the weekly party and ask questions about where Katherine’s body is buried. Nadia disagrees – and points out that Katherine actually knows very little about Elena – so it’s time to question Matt

Friday, January 31, 2014

What Fangs for the Fantasy Expects from Authors We Review

So, looking round Twitter and following the links of the long suffering keeper of certain drunken, piratical Australians, we’ve seen something else looming on the horizon - namely a post on what one book blogger expects - or would like - from authors.

Well, everyone wants different things and the glory of the internet is we can all do things differently - but we have a rather different approach ourselves.

So in light of this, what do we, at Fangs, expect from authors who pass books to us for review? Let me write you a list:




That would be nothing. Actually we expect patience because there’s no way we’re going to get to it any time soon, but GENERALLY nothing

You don’t have to tweet the review, share it, like it, upvote it or even read it. We’re very much in the camp of “reviews are for readers, not authors.” In fact, if you submit a book for review, we probably won’t even email you to let you know the review has been written (admittedly from laziness as much as anything).

If authors wish to share our reviews, fair enough. But we won’t encourage that, praise that or even express public happiness about that - in fact, there’s a good chance we won’t even notice. In fact, I’ll even go further than that - despite our fanpoodling of authors we love, author opinion/support/attention is something we deliberately try to be indifferent about.

Whether you love us or loathe us, ignore us or pay attention to our every innocuous word, share our views or denounce us to hell and back - it doesn’t matter. Here is what matters:

You give us a book

We give you an honest review (eventually).

End of. Whether you love us, loathe us, worship us or denounce us, ignore us or stalk us are all irrelevant to that fact and we try to keep it that way; because the honesty of our reviews are paramount.

That doesn’t mean we don’t love our authors. We do - we can fanpoodle with the best of them: but that fanpoodling comes after the reviews - and we at least like to think that even with authors we’ve loved and interviewed (and we, in general, are not in the habit of interviewing authors we don’t adore) that we can still be critical in reviews and even the interviews.

By not expecting - or caring - whether authors share/like/promote our reviews this means we don’t expect or hope for anything from authors. Which means they  can’t offer us anything that would sway us and we don’t WANT to be in a position where they COULD offer us something - even something as innocuous as a facebook like or goodreads recommend.

We never want the perception that a review can be “bought”, even if it were for something as innocuous as a like, a link or a reblog. Even the perception of selling reviews can compromise your integrity

Authors, we expect nothing from you expect books - sometimes awesome, fanpoodly books (and to start the Prinny punk genre, with chickens. And to continue to be awesome. And to not mind us stalking outside your window crying that the next book isn’t out yet.) In turn, you can expect nothing from us except honest reviews - sometimes snarky, highly critical reviews.

Just to be abundantly clear here - we do NOT work on a quid pro quo system and we are not in the business of promoting authors, ever. We’re reviewers, not advertisers or a publisher’s marketing department

As for reviewers who want to be noticed and drive traffic to their site - well, I can’t say we’re any kind of experts but I think the most successful way to promote your site isn’t requiring people to spam on your behalf (or tweeting the same stuff daily). It’s always about a) producing decent content and b) getting involved in the community - go to other book blogs, comment, offer guest posts, interact - become known; it’s the only sure method. You become known in the community by joining and being active in that community

Cold Iron by D.L.McDermott

Beth is an archaeologist, struggling to make her own name when so much of her work – including her very unusual, even supernatural, ability to find dig sites are credited to her far-from-pleasant ex-husband. One of those finds leads her to a mound in Ireland – and a being that she releases.

Normally, dealing with her ex-husband’s theft of artefacts and attempts to frame her would be her main concern – but Conn, the ancient fae warrior, is seeking not just his sword, but Beth herself. The mortal woman has caught his eye and his fancy – and the fae never accept no for an answer.

But these new explorations have revealed a side of Beth she has long ignored – and could have implications for all of the fae, and the world beside.

This book had some strong positive ticks. The world building is solid, there has been some research or familiarity with old Irish myths and legends, we have some nice shout outs to mythology and mythological figures and a definite knowledge to some of the old tales which I really appreciated.

On top of that has been some very solid world building with some nice intriguing, interesting twists – particularly the druids and how they interact with the fae and their history. It’s novel, it’s original, it’s interesting and it has a lot of depth for exploration and nuance and potential conflict, I like it.

The fae are also presented in a way that is suitably alien and scary – and not in any way twee or shiny or friendly as well; scary fae are always good to read about.

The characterisation is pretty solid when it comes to Beth – she’s a character with a full, involved history, motivation and depth that has really created a character with a lot of depth behind her that reflects on her actions and thoughts really well. She’s a strong character, a fully fleshed character. Conn is much less so – he’s beautiful with a layer of angst for characterisation. His growth and evolution would be an interesting element to him but it’s pretty simplistic and expected – he’s not a bad character, he’s just not an amazing one either

One rather curious aspect of this book was the romance. It kept reaching the very edge of holding up some of the most awful tropes – and I was ready to tear it into little shreds – then twist right away from it with a subversion. The fae are, as I mentioned, not nice people in this book – at very least they’re arrogant, predatory and pretty lacking in anything resembling compassion and they have a vast sense of entitlement. Which means, when it comes to humans they find attractive, they don’t ask and they don’t care about consent.

The Tomorrow People, Season 1, Episode 12: Sitting Ducks

Astrid attends an interview to a music school and the three interviewers shoot her

Well that was a surprise – so let’s move 48 hours earlier.

Have I mentioned before how much I loathe it when shows do this? I have? Well let me mention it again! CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER PLEASE! There is no reason to give away part of what is going to happen in the episode at the beginning of said episode. It’s annoying

So the real start of the episode is at Ultra with Hillary and Stephen sparring and Hillary laying down the reality – Stephen can take the training casually because the competition is rigged so he can win. The whole work as a team thing is a dream. She also asks evil Jedikiah what happens if a paranormal exposes their power to a human (do I even have to say what happens to them and the human?) because, of course, she’s seen Stephen use his powers around Astrid because Stephen forgot about the whole undercover thing since the story required him to (what, it’s one of the least shaky things about this shows storyline consistency).

Stephen goes home all paranoid but Astrid assures him she told no-one about his powers (um, you used them in public Stephen, remember?) and he has another surprise – his mother, Marla’s, new boyfriend Peter (he who is probably evil) is taking them all camping. Camping? Ugh, this man is definitely evil. Marla didn’t tell Stephen because she didn’t think he’d want to go – but Stephen wants to go to play watchdog for Marla and Luca.

Stephen runs to Tomorrow People HQ to ask for help- - he needs someone to watch Astrid while he is being paranoid about Peter – Cara et al do think that Stephen may be overreacting a little about Peter (which I find… bemusing. How likely is it that Marla would, coincidentally, date a Paranormal? Unless they think Stephen is wrong) especially since if he is paranormal, Peter can’t kill and if he does cause trouble, Stephen can summon help. Tim’s ability to check people’s browsing history concerns Russell though.

After Cara also dismisses his concern over Astrid (wow, way to help your undercover agent actually stay undercover; how could you let his petty concerns take away Tomorrow people from their busy agenda of… skulking and hiding), John agrees to keep an eye on her since he has seen what Ultra does to humans who know the big secret

Does that sound like flashback bait to you? Why yes it is! 14 years ago, young John showed his powers to a kind comic book seller. Now we’re going to have half a dozen flashbacks or more before this Tony’s inevitable death to show us the Object Lesson.

Hillary tattles on Stephen to Jedikiah, not only telling him about Astrid but showing him buried CCTV footage that showed Astrid at the scene of one of their missions. Later she pushes Jedikiah about it, demanding to know what’s happening and if Astrid will be killed – and Jedikiah gets irritated at her presumption – and for being happy at a human being killed, after all Jedikiah’s Ultra exists (or pretends to exist) to protect  humanity from Paranormals and serve them, having a Paranormal be gleeful about the death of a human does not amuse Jedikiah.

American Horror Story, season 3, Episode 13: The Seven Wonders

Why am I watching a Stevie Nicks music video?

Everyone does some magical practice before going to Myrtle’s carefully prepared “last supper.” Cordelia helpfully recaps us all – Fiona failed to identify her successor so everyone has to go through Supreme testing.

Lots of dramatic speeches until the next day and the actual tests. At last!

Telekinesis, moving a candle stick, they all manage – no surprise since we’ve seen them all do it repeatedly and Madison came with the power.

Consilium (mind control), they pair off to control each other – Queenie and Misty both succeeding in controlling the other(smacking and hair pulling), while Madison faces off against Zoe and forces Kyle to kiss her (because she’s classy like that) and lick her shoes before Zoe steps in and makes Kyle kiss her. Madison turns the kiss into strangulation – and Cordelia breaks it up with telekinesis

Since when does Cordelia have that power?

Netherworld descent next – with the real challenge being getting back. Queenie, having experience, returns to her fried chicken hell before quickly returning. Followed by Madison (her hell being playing Liesel on a Network version of the Sound of Music), Zoe, whose hell is breaking up with Kyle (oh please). Misty’s personal hell is being forced to dissect a frog at school. Being forced to kill a living thing (hello, quick reminder of the hunters she killed, to say nothing of the axeman). Bringing it back to life only to kill it again.

Over her body, Cordelia cries and holds Misty, asking her to follow her voice back… the last of the sand in the hourglass pours through, Misty missed the deadline – and she dissolves into dust. Cordelia sobs. She tries to take a moment for Misty but Madison is Madison (Queenie calls her out on her heartlessness) but Zoe also wants to get on with things

Transmutation (teleportation) next – something all three of them handle easily and play a game of tag with it - actually having fun. There should have been more of this. Cordelia teleports around with them (wait, she can do that?) telling them to take it seriously – until Zoe accidentally teleports on top of the spikey railings

They take her body inside – but Queenie cannot bring her back with Vitalum (but she managed with Misty last episode?) Madison has no wish to bring Zoe back – instead killing a fly and then resurrecting it, proving her power. Myrtle protests she won’t deserve to be Supreme – but as Madison pointed out and Fiona proved, “deserve” has nothing to do with it.

American Horror Story Coven: Madonna, Whore and Aging Jezebel

Sex sells. It’s a guaranteed ratings booster because of the titillation and few stop to question what and whom is being sold. American Horror Story Coven didn’t sell sex explicitly as we have seen in other shows but sex was at the forefront for large majority of the season. The problem is that though we saw women being sexual it was complicated by common tropes meant to specifically to “other” or slutshame. Women were divided easily into the predictable roles of: The Madonna (Zoe’s man killing vagina), The Whore (Madison who refused to be chaste) and, of course, The Aging Jezebel (Fiona who despite all of her magical power resorted to using her sexuality as a weapon). None of these representations can be said to be the least bit affirming and though they were wrapped in horror they swerved far too closely to the misogynistic roles women have historically been slotted in.

Madison is the Bad Girl of the group. Of the 5 student witches at the Academy, she is coded as the bad one. She is the meanest, she is the cruellest, she is the one who lashes out at Queenie, Zoe, Nan and Misty, often completely unprovoked. She is the quintessential Mean Girl stereotype, a girl who views all other girls as competition who need to be torn down and mocked; and more - she actively tries to kill Misty and refuses to resurrect Zoe. She takes the Mean Girl to the extreme - she is willing to kill in cold blood.

She is, as is often the case with the Mean Girl stereotype, the most conventionally attractive and, of course, the most sexually active. It’s a trope as old as the hills - if you want to code a woman as evil, you make her sexually active. A promiscuous woman, the jezebel, the slut, the whore is one of the most tired characterisations of villainhood. Good girls don’t have sex. Good girls don’t seek sex. Good girls don’t want sex.

Madison is not a good girl - and just as Queenie is constantly attacked for her weight, whenever someone lashes out at Madison, it is through her sexuality. Not just from her fellow students, but even Myrtle mocks her as a “bobble head in crotchless panties.” By making her sexuality the way others attack Madison (in defending themselves against her attacks) it further cements Madison’s sexuality as part of her Mean Girl persona.

These attacks on Madison reach the most extreme level; Madison is gratuitously gang raped almost as soon as she’s introduced (and for no story reason at all), an experience she rapidly recovers from (can’t have the Whore be too traumatised by rape). And Madison is finally killed off at the hands of the man whose affections she was competing for.

Madison is the epitome of the much derided Whore persona: the evil sexual woman who is then punished and ultimately meets her end because of her unrestrained sexuality.

The flip side of the Whore is, of course, the Madonna. Zoe - Zoe who quite literally cannot have sex without killing her partner - something that has deeply saddened her. Zoe is magically required to be chaste and of the five students, she is the good one. She saves Kyle’s life and tries to cure him, she plays peacemaker among the group even as Queenie and Madison attack each other, she even tries to stop Nan killing Luke’s murderous mother.

Zoe is also Madison’s direct competition - represented in their general conversation, reinforced with their mutual competition for Kyle’s affections (Madison is far more willing to share than Zoe - but of course Zoe and Kyle share true pure love which doesn’t involve the sexual Madison. Madonna Zoe’s affections are pure and loving - her very idea of hell is breaking up with Kyle and Kyle not loving her) and epitomised in the final competition to see who would become Supreme. The whole season has had this constant battle between the Madonna and Whore raging from the very first episode and inevitably ends with the victorious Madonna and her true, pure love - and the dead Whore, reviled and dead at the hands of the man she tried to seduce.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Repossessed (Warlock Repo Man Chronicles #1) by Shawntelle Madison

Tessa Dandridge is a witch and a supernatural matchmaker.  Matchmaking is in her blood because this is what her grandmother did.  Anyone who has tried to make it in N.Y. can tell you how tough it and being supernatural doesn't make it any easier.  Tessa is in debt up to her eyeballs trying to keep her business afloat but she knows if she can just manage to hook one big client, she can save her business and be the success her grandmother always thought she would be.

Things take a turn for the worst Tessa when her Honda Civic is repossessed and along with it, the magical scroll which allows her to communicate with her clients.  Determined to get it back, Tessa make a deal with company which repossessed her car, to allow her to pick into limbo and get her scroll back.  Tessa quickly finds out that though her plan is a good one it comes with a many more complications than she can possibly imagine, chief amongst them the navy seal Rob Shin.

I chose to read this book because I am a huge fan of Shawnelle Madison, but that being said, this book did not work for me at all.  I simply could not invest in the characters or Tessa's mission to get the scroll back.  The world was not developed well and had I not had a background through reading the previous books in her Coveted Series, it would have felt completely slapped together without much thought. 

Beauty and the Beast, Season 2, Episode 11: Held Hostage

Cat grabs a newspaper that is further chronicling Vincent and Tori’s socialite partying – and apparently Tori has been wearing the necklace they stole, as Cat complains to Gabe. Gabe a) thinks Vincent may be trying to lure out the shadowy people who apparently know about prehistoric beasts with magical collars and b) is busy helping Cat prepare Tess’s surprise birthday party. He latter Cat finds cute and moves in for a kiss – and he completely dodges her

Gabe, you did not subject me to gods alone know how many episodes of your pining after Cat for you to get cold feet now.

Gabe is concerned about Cat’s obsession with Vincent – but she’s pissed about Vincent having the necklace. See, Vincent may be a beast and have been genetically altered and this necklace may be the only clue as to what he is, but Cat’s ancestor was investigating beast murders too! Clearly this means Cat is much more personally involved and she’s super pissed at Vincent getting in the way of her discovering who she is…

I’m not even going to point out the flaws here. But I will note that, yet again, Cat is absolutely astonished that Vincent would dare kill people (despite, y’know, a whole season+ of Vincent killing people with Cat’s approval).

Of course agent Dana has seen the same pics and wants to send Gabe, Cat and Tess over to talk to Tori and confiscate the necklace which they’re all very smug about. And Cat blows the surprise party (actually a policeman behind the desk does) which Cat also blames on Vincent because… because she’s Cat and needs to be eaten

Vincent and Tori are waiting in ambush for goons coming to get the necklace – so when Cat barges into their home Tori throws her down – and Cat pulls her gun. Of course she does. Because they won’t give the necklace (whose providence has been provided by photographs) Cat arrests Tori, revelling in lots of power abuse.

They leave Gabe behind with Vincent as the real goons move in: Gabe is shocked to realise yes they Are using the necklace as bait (well DUH? Why are you shocked by this?). The goons attack, Vincent grabs one and demands to know who he works for – then drops him and throws a knife at a second, killing him. Gabe shoots the guy gasping on the floor – Vincent isn’t thrilled.

He also doesn’t really trust Gabe (who tried to kill him), Cat (who shot him) or Tess (also shot him) nor how they’re all working with the FBI now. Gabe stresses that Cat’s ancestor’s involvement means she should have the necklace because it’s so important to her – Vincent counters with the whole collar, gem beast mystery being part of his very being. Gave also thinks Vincent should give Cat the necklace basically to help her move on – really?

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 12: Sharp Teeth

Garth… oh dear, the character I have most wanted to be killed for so very long.

In rural Wisconsin, something is causing cows distress. The farmer shoots at the man he assumes is responsible for the cow worrying but misses and the cow worrier runs – on to the road where he’s hit by a car. Like the only car for miles around – sometimes Loki just decides it’s not your day. And since the cow worrier is Garth, I agree with Loki.

Garth is taken to hospital and both Winchesters go to visit him (there’s a pillow right there guys if you want to make sure he’s not going to follow you home…) Tension between the two brothers is still very thick. Garth is also handcuffed, accused of killing a cow, but is unconscious on pain meds. Dean has issues with Garth walking out on them when they needed him and plans to wake him with an injection of adrenaline – and Sam slaps him awake instead.

Gah, now he’s awake!

While Garth vomits horribly in the bathroom, the Winchesters awkwardly bring each other up to date until they realise Garth has done a runner through the bathroom window. Time to investigate.

Sam talks to the farmer who has not just lost a cow but a range of lifestock – all with their organs ripped out. He connects with Dean who pretends the CCTV saw nothing – yeah Sam doesn’t buy it, Dean is trying to avoid Sam for his own good because everyone around him dies, blah angst blah issues that will never be dealt with etc etc.

They track the car Garth left in (and the owner, a woman called Bess) and catch up with him – breaking in to the house guns drawn. The woman, Bess is a werewolf. And so is Garth

Garth the werewolf. Oh dear, this may be the worst addition to dubious shapeshifters since the weresloth.

Garth got bit on a hunt and was ready to commit suicide when he met Bess – and fell in love, got married and even joined her pack. Garth doesn’t hurt people – but yes he does mangle cattle which is still admirable restraint for a bitten werewolf: and yes you can be born a werewolf, like Bess is. And they’re all totally peaceful and friendly – Dean is suspicious so gets invited to a prayer meeting.

Which involves hymns. And a very smiley mother-in-law and a whole pack of smiley people including Bess’s father, pack leader and reverend. Everyone tries to make Dean welcome and Dean is having none of it – though Garth does manage to get him to sit down to dinner with them. With raw hearts on the menu. Awkward dinner continues with a discussion on spirituality, not liking the term “werewolf” and wearing silver bullets as jewellery to remind them of their mortality and the death of Rev Jim’s first wife to a hunter and his decision not to seek revenge with an added revelation of a 4th generation werewolf.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Full Blooded (Jessica McClain #1) by Amanda Carlson

Jessica McClain is unique in that she is the only female born to a full blooded werewolf family.  This makes her pack extremely uncomfortable, as there have long been rumors that a female werewolf would destroy the pack.  When Jessica manages to go through puberty without changing, the fear subsides and after battling with her alpha father, Jessica manages to live a life incognito as a human.  Unfortunately for Jessica her non werewolf status does not last and she shifts one day without warning. 

Jessica goes from leading an almost anonymous life under a fake identity, to quickly being hunted as the prize she is.  Though she tries to deny that she can change, when she manifests into a Lycan, the first in thousands of years, this greatly elevates the threat level.  Jessica quickly finds herself on the run, unaware if she can trust the mercenary who owes her father a blood debt to keep her safe.

Full Blooded is the first in the Jessica McClain series and as first books go, Carlson did a good job introducing us to her world, though there were some problems with pacing.  From the very beginning, Carlson hinted that there are all manner of super natural creatures but she gave no direct warning of vampires and the balance of power they negotiate with the wolves.  This made the revelation of the threat the Queen posed feel like it came out of nowhere.  

In many ways, Full Blooded was very formulaic and felt like a book put together by the numbers.  One female werewolf - check.  Said female werewolf is sensitive yet full of snark - check.  Said singular werewolf develops mystical powers - check.  Female werewolf a threat because of her gender and considered a prize - check. Love interest uses proprietary language like "mine" - check. Dead mother - check.  I assume you get the picture.  If Full Blooded were a test on how to write a female werewolf utilizing all of the appropriate tropes which have become normalized, Carlson would have aced it. 

Being Humans, Season Four, Episode Three: Lil' Smokie

The episode begins at a flashback to Sally's death scene.  She fights back and then Donna appears and kills Sally's former lover saying that they make a good team. 

Sally, Aidan and Josh are in the kitchen and Sally is looking for the grimoire trying to find out what she is now and what she can do.  Aidan makes it clear that he thinks she should get rid of it.  Nora walks in and snarks about a decorating spell.  It seems that spells keep appearing and disappearing in the book.  Aidan tells Sally that blood magic comes with a huge price and Sally argues back that she only did blood magic to save Josh.  Sally says that she can learn to control what is inside her and asks everyone to just trust her.

Aidan and Josh are walking together and they are discussing the excuse Aidan made for Josh to be absent from work.  Aidan also tells Josh that his sister is in rehab.  Josh worries that it is because of what happened to him and Aidan says knowing the truth about vampires and werewolves kicked off a binge.  Josh of course blames himself and Aidan reminds him that he was incapacitated. As they approach the hospital, they see a van pulling in for Sapp & Sons.  Aidan explains that the funeral home opened under new management but that he has stayed out of what the new regime is doing.  Aidan announces that it is time to give the vampires a lecture on over dipping and leaves.  The van suddenly pulls up behind Aidan and two vampires jump out and try to kidnap him. Aidan holds his own until one of them puts a gun to his head.  Aidan is grabbed and pushed into the back of the van.

At the funeral home, Kenny pulls the hood off of Aidan's head and apologizes for the way that Aidan was grabbed. Kenny tells the vampires that he wanted Aidan to have an escort and not be kidnapped.  Aidan asks about Kenny's face and Kenny replies saying that time healed his face.  We also learn that vampires can procreate naturally now.  Kenny tells Aidan that it's time for a tour of the operation.

Josh is at work and is having difficulty concentrating because he is overwhelmed by the sounds.  A doctor calls Josh to help him with a patient and Josh struggles at first but is able to help the patient. 

Sally is still reading through her grimoire and she finds a spell to bring back her door.  As soon as she finds the spell it's starts to disappear. Sally quickly begins to say the spell and instead of her door, Donna appears.  Sally is shocked and explains that she was trying to call back her door.  Donna tells Sally that if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Sally realises that Donna put that spell in the book and asks if there is a spell to bring back a door.  Sally yells that maybe Donna didn't get a door but she did get a door.  Donna warns that they are more connected now than ever and the more Sally practices  magic, the closer they get.  Donna tries to bind Sally and take her back but Sally uses her power to set both Donna and the book on fire, causing them both to disappear.

Kenny takes Aidan to what he calls Boston's newest alive blood venue.  Kenny explains that the vampires who came back after the virus don't want to be skulking away.  Aidan asks Kenny how he pulled this off and Kenny says that he stepped into the vacuum using tricks he taught himself.

Nora is back from getting new wallpaper and Sally explains what happened with Donna.  Sally adds that the spells are burnt into her and are a part of her now.  Nora asks how Donna tricked her and Sally explains about trying to call up her door.  Nora is shocked to hear about Sally trying to call up her door and Sally explains that she cannot stay there for eternity.  Sally brings up the fact that Nora and Josh are going to move away soon and no one knows what Aidan is going to do.  Sally questions what happens in 100 years when the house falls down.  Nora tells Sally that she knows Sally will do whatever she wants but warns that there could be serious blow back.  Sally asks if calling up her door is going to tarnish her soul and turn her into a necromancer.  Nora says that no one can be corrupted unless they want to be corrupted. Nora starts hanging wallpaper and Sally looks at the scars on her abdomen. Sally tells Nora that she always admired Nora because she got out and she never did.  Nora assures Sally that she would have if she had more time. Nora suggests that with all of the spells, Sally could turn out to be the strongest of them all.

Josh is still at the hospital and is now talking to the doctor he worked to save the patient with.  Josh is once again having difficulty concentrating because the noise is overpowering. Josh claims to be having an allergy attack to get out of the conversation.  Josh heads outside to get some fresh air and he fixates on a gargoyle on the building.

Aidan is at the club with Kenny and he says that he is waiting for Kenny to ask for something.  Kenny says that he through him in the dumpster and ran.  Aidan points out that he almost killed Nora and Kenny reminds Aidan that he was starving.  Kenny says that he brought Aidan here to prove that he is not a monster.  Aidan acknowledges that what Kenny has accomplished is amazing.  Kenny asks Aidan to help him to run Boston but Aidan turns him down saying that leadership comes down to kill or be killed.  Aidan grabs his bag and leaves.  

Josh's body is covered in sweat and he is running on a trail.  When a man runs in front of him, Josh's predator instinct kicks in and he finds himself chasing the man.  Josh's eyes turn yellow and he barely manages to stop before attacking.

Teen Wolf, Season 4, Episode 16: Illuminated

Outside, kids breaking jack-o-lanterns are interrupted in their petty vandalism by a rather huge number of the creepy black-clad masked figures walking down the street.
Alison and Chris Argent manage to break down the door to where Isaac is screaming; he’s shaking on the floor, skin like ice. He can’t hear them and keeps shaking – so Chris tells him to turn – and starts hitting him to provoke the change, until his eyes turned. Back to himself he tearfully describes his attackers including their firefly eyes and appearing out of the shadows. Chris seems to recognise the description and thinks they were after him (hence the not killing Isaac). And for some reason, as he fiddles with some barely seen object in the dark, he wants to keep it secret

Moving on to the police station where Agent McCall (who isn’t dead, alas) questions Stiles, Scott, Kira and Lydia (is Sheriff Stilinski actually laughing at the plight of some poor fool trying to question Stiles? Yes, he is revelling in the pain of agent arsehole having his mind messed with by Stiles). Special bonus points for “do you believe this?” “I haven’t believed a word Stiles has said since he learned how to speak.” Since Kira backs them (after all three of them stare at her), Agent should-be-eaten-by-a-kanima has little way of pursuing the question. Agent Kanimafood tries to give Scott a warning about something dark and dangerous controlling the now dead barrows but, really, it’s kind of old news to the supernaturally-aware.

Kira goes home and takes a photo of herself in candlelight – the picture shows her wreathed in fire.

At school Stiles finds an odd key on his keyring and Scott tries to talk to Kira when Stiles stops him – he votes to avoiding Kira until they’re sure she’s not a dangerous monster.

In the locker room, Danny is having trouble finding power for the blacklight party he’s planning given the huge blackout – Ethan hopes to help him. Aidan mocks Ethan for caring but Ethan points out how much Aidan doesn’t understand Scott – Scott doesn’t care about power, he cares about people. Ethan helping people – helping Danny – is going to be noticed and get them in the pack far more than any power plays. Ethan finds Danny a venue – Derek’s Wolf Loft

To class and Lydia’s mum is teaching (and asks her daughter not to embarrass her followed by shoe snark that tells me Lydia and her mother together are always awesome). She’s also not ready to be besties with seat-mate Aidan since he helped kill Boyd and after helping save Kira’s life she’s had something of a personal revelation about bad boys and how she wants nothing to do with them

Elsewhere Derek menaces some trick-or-treaters before he becomes the next person attacked by the shadowy-masked guys with fire-fly eyes

Scott goes to see Kira over lunch – and she asks him to take a picture of her and see the corona in the picture. She doesn’t know what it is, it’s only recently happened – and Barrow knew about it She’s worried that the police now have her phone with the pictures Barrow took (also preventing her indulging in more product placement this show loves so much).

Which means a mission, aided by Stiles, to find the phone and get it back (and no, Scott didn’t tell Stiles about the pictures – just that she had pictures he didn’t want anyone to see – naked pictures. Kira thinks this was a great idea, because Kira is also kind of awesome). Stiles gives them loads of help and very-illegal cloned card keys but warns them that since his dad is being investigated by Agent Kanimafood (Scott’s dad) he can’t help or be caught – and will run and “leave you both for dead” if they get caught. Wise Stiles.

They sneak into the building and find her phone – but it isn’t charged, they can’t delete the pictures, which means finding a charger in the desk with the convenient apple lap top left on it (seriously, Teen Wolf’s product placement is almost comic) that can be used to charge phones. To actually make some story reason for the product placement, the lap top has a picture of Scott as a child as its wallpaper. Oh Scott, don’t go all sad and melty – that might stop your dad being fed to a Kanima.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bitten, Season One, Episode Three: Trespass

The wolves are gathered around the body of the boy which was dropped at  Stonehaven.  Clay wants to move the body but there are hunters near by.  Jeremy orders the wolves to leave the body saying things will be worse if they are caught trying to cover this up. The hunters identifies the child as the Richardson boy and are immediately accusatory towards them.  Clay gets defensive and Jeremy is forced to try and calm things down.   The hunters dog gets agitated and it seems that Elena is the one egging the dog on.  Clay knocks the hunter down and takes away his gun.  Jeremy orders Antonio and Nick to escort the hunters off the property.  When they leave, Elena questions who would do this to a child.  Jeremy calls in the murder to the sheriff.

The wolves head inside and Jeremy affirms that goading the dog was a good idea.  The wolves gather in the house to try and figure out what the mutt's plan is.  Antonio walks in to say that the sheriff has arrived.  Elena tells Jeremy that she will stay now because the mutt killed a kid.  Jeremy orders Elena and Clay to head into town and sniff out the mutt with orders to bring him in alive so that they can find out who sired him.  Jeremy orders the other mutts to hunt down Karl Marsten because he knows the mutt rumor mill very well.  Jeremy then takes Elena aside to talk privately.  Jeremy hands her a bouquet of her favourite flowers and asks if her relationship is serious.  Elena says that it is serious enough and she knows how he feels about long term relationships with humans.  Jeremy asks her not to keep secrets and adds that he trusts her.  Elena reveals that she hates lying to Philip but Jeremy reminds her that their existence is dependent upon the ignorance of humans.  Jeremy takes the flowers away to hide the existence them from Clay.

Elena calls Philip to thank him for the flowers.  They chat happily for a it and Clay listens to the conversation from outside the house.  He manages to hop in the truck just before Elena comes outside.  When Elena hops in the SUV, Clay simply drives without saying a word.

The sheriff's department are cordoning off the area where the boy's body was found while Morgan talks with Jeremy.  Morgan reveals that news of the bounty is spreading.  Morgan says that she would rather have a slap on the wrist from Fire Arms Control than have another dead body show up.  Jeremy suggests that having people walking around armed does not some like a good idea.  Morgan reminds Jeremy that people want justice.  Antonio approaches and Morgan asked how they all found this body together and Antonio claims that they were all out for a walk.  Morgan questions why an eleven year old boy would be out there.

Philip meets with James clandestinely and James reveals that there is a power struggle going on with his board of directors.  It seems that the board wants to scale back their assets, while James wants to expand. Philip wants to expand to vodka and wants Philip to convince the board that the vodka will sell in North America.

Clay and Elena are roaming through the bars in bear valley and Elena says that the scent is too faint and that there is nothing new in the air.  Clay brings up the lilacs and Elena tells him the lie she told Philip so that she could leave.  Clay says that Elena shouldn't have to come up with excuses.  They are interrupted by  one of the hunters who found the wolves over the body earlier.  He suggests that they are going to want to find a new place to fill up for awhile because they normally use the Richardson gas station, which is owned by the grandfather of the boy who died.  Elena and Clay promise to keep a look out for the wolf and Elena adds that the boy deserves justice.  The hunter walks off in a rage.  Elena says that she doesn't understand why the hunter left a body on their property and left.  Elena is certain that the kills are a message.  Elena begins her search again and stops briefly when she sees a flier for a rave.

At the crime scene the officers are still collecting evidence.  Morgan heads to see Jeremy and reports that the wildlife experts are hoping to see what kind of animal they are dealing with.  Apparently, there is some confusion because the size of the footprints and the length of the stride.  Jeremy tells Morgan that if she needs anything, she shouldn't hesitate to ask.

In Toronto, Olivia pops into visit Philip and he tells her about the client he just landed. Olivia asks about Elena and Philip explains that Elena is with family.  Olivia points out that they have been dating six months and Elena is clearly not as committed as Philip because she didn't tell him about her family until now.  Philip protests that Elena is guarded and has a complicated history. Olivia asks, "what is so complicated about being honest?"

Nick, Peter and Logan walk into a bar purchased by Nick without his father's knowledge.  Nick tells them to have some vision when the talk about the dated decor. They are interrupted by Amanda and Nick introduces her to Logan and Pete.  It's Amanda's job to over haul the bar for Nick.  Marsten walks in and Nick says that they should keep it cool.

Elena and Clay arrive at the rave and Elena undoes a few buttons preparing to enter on her own.  Clay tells her that she is not going in alone but Elena makes it clear that he is so up tight people won't trust him.  Clay argues back that Elena needs to stop thinking that he cannot control himself and that they should have each other's back.  Elena points out that two of them will scare the mutt, so Clay suggests that she drive him towards the door and promises to grab the mutt on his way out. 

Amanda heads over to see Marsten and asks him to put out his cigar.  Marsten questions why someone so beautiful is in a place like this.  Marsten heads over to see Nick and the two chat briefly.

Elena enters the rave and it is in full swing with a very crowded dance floor. Elena heads to the bar but doesn't stay there once she catches a glimpse of the mutt.  The mutt tells Elena that they share something special in common.  Elena says that they are nothing alike because the mutt killed three innocent people and adds that the mutt broke the rules.  The Mutt says that he is not going to let the rules get in the way of his fun.  Elena tries to walk away but the mutt grabs her and forces her against the wall.  Elena over powers the mutt and reverses positions.  She grabs his chest, which gets his heart going, initiating the change.  When he cannot stop the change, Elena drags him into an office.

Clay paces out front of the club.

Blood from a Silver Cross (Kat Richardson #4) by E. S. Moore

Kat Richardson is over-committed. Forced assassin for Baset, watched by the most powerful vampire in the city, courted by a demon, trying to avoid recruitment by Adrian’s wolf pack and still trying to figure out what she feels about Jonathon and his Lunar cult – humans who revere werewolves.

Keeping all of these balls in the air would be difficult anyway, but she has people she has to protect, people she cares about – people who her enemies will be quick to use against her if she doesn’t strike the right balance

And the presence of the Left Hand, fanatical human supernatural hunters, in the city may upset the scales catastrophically.

This book has done an amazing job of turning around so much of what was annoying me about this series. In particular, Kat has had a character transformation. She has recognised her own anger issues and how that makes her an impossible person to deal with and is now actively combating them. She doesn’t lash out as much as she did. She recognises her lashing out as unacceptable and something she needs to work against. There’s much less of her intimidating people she cares about, a lot less of her snarling and a lot less of her random threats of violence. She thinks now, she doesn’t just react, she doesn’t just hate and rage. She’s no longer rabid and it’s a vast relief.

She’s also much more willing to work with other people around her, to trust in them, to put a level of faith in them, to discuss issues that they share, etc. She’s not exactly working together with others or forming collaborations, but she’s not pushing people away or freezing them out for the sake of it either. She actually cares about people – really cares about them, not “oh this person is someone who I care about so they can be used against me boo-hooo waaaaaah”.

And while her planning has certainly not become truly excellent, by any stretch of the imagination (she’s considerably more reactive than active and does a lot of improvising), it wasn’t nearly as ridiculous as in previous books.

In short, this book is a vast improvement on the previous books simply because I do not want to reach into the pages and somehow throttle the protagonist. But nor has this growth and change come about randomly – you can see a character progression of someone who has recognised her own flaws and is actively working to reverse them, to become better. I’m much more engaged in Kat and interested in this growing character trying to come to terms not only with her own status as a vampire but also with her warring emotions over the people she cares about, learning a new way to live (after accepting that she is going to live), letting people into her life without endangering them more than is necessary and trying to negotiate the many commitments she has and risks she faces.

Which leads me to an element of the story I have mixed feelings about. Kat is overcommitted and menaced from all sides and the story reflects that – which in turn informs her character growth. Her developing feelings for Jonathon mean that, yes, she is going to spend more time worrying about the Lunar Cult, their enemies, security and threats. She is going to worry about how much she can involve her friends and loved ones without them being used against her when Baset is already doing just that, just as Adrian represents yet another threat against her loves ones while at the same time being a possible source of sanctuary and aid if she’s willing to pay the price (a message doubled by Ethan’s demon’s tempting offers). Ethan making a blood substitute and the temptation of the demonic offer both combine to highlight how uncomfortable Kat is with what she is and how much she still craves humanity.

Lost Girl, Season Four, Episode Eleven:

Tamsin and Kenzi are hanging out debating on what movie to watch.  Kenzi says that Bo locked  her out and she wants to forget about it all and watch zombie movies.  Bo shows up saying that she is still Kenzi's BFF and is not brainwashed.  Bo then does twists and turns to justify dumping team love triangle, claiming that she wants the same thing out of life as Rainer does.  Bo finishes by apologizing for locking Kenzi out for a time.  Tamsin interrupts the girl love fest to inform Bo that Hale wants Kenzi to move in with him.  Kenzi quickly denies this saying that Hale said that they need to talk. Kenzi and Bo hug it out and Kenzi sends Bo to fetch some drinks.  As Bo is looking through the fridge, a zombie makes its way in.  Bo stabs the zombie and when it does not die, she finishes it off by chopping off its head. Acacia enters fast on the heels of the zombie.

Tamsin tells Acacia that she is supposed to be dead and checks her hand to see that she has a new one sewn on.  When Bo questions how this happened. Acacia reveals that The Wanderer cut it off when Tamsin didn't deliver Bo as quickly as Hugin and Munin wanted. Bo counters by saying that Hugin and Munin betrayed Rainer and suggests they were acting alone.  Tamsin tells Acacia that Rainer and Bo are dating.  Acacia tries to leave saying that she is a revenant hunter now. Tamsin finds a Wanderer card and demands to talk to Rainer.  Bo says that Rainer is out of town paying respect to the dead but Tamsin suggests that he really went to raise the dead.  Tamsin points out that Bo doesn't know much about Rainer but Bo immediately goes on the defense saying that she broke his curse and that she knows he is a good guy.  Bo states that Rainer does not want to kill her.  Tamsin goes through history books and says that she cannot find a single reference to Rainer.  Finally, Bo agrees to go with Tamsin and Acacia to find out who is really raising the dead, leaving Kenzi to clean up the dead body.

Vex heads to see Trick who talks about how he wasn't a very good king.  Vex relates how Trick bought piece to the land and Trick justifies using his blood to get Rainer's armies to betray him, adding that this was the only way he could win.  Trick says that he should have been a better king and Vex points out that everyone has some regrets. Trick tells Vex that his father was one of the bravest men he'd ever known.  Vex clearly has some daddy issues.  Trick offers to tell Vex about his dad.

Kenzi is cleaning Bo's sword when she hears a knock on the door.  Kenzi opens the door to find her cousin Dimitri and her mother.

Team girl power heads to place where the cult of the dead hang out.  A zombie is walking right in the middle of the street and Acacia snarks that Reiner sent a telegram.  Before anyone can act, Dyson shows up and kills the zombie.

Dimitri is on the phone running scams upsetting Kenzi. Hale shows up and Kenzi rushes over to see him, making an excuse for why they cannot spend time together.  Kenzi declares that she is not like her mother and Hale reveals that he invited Kenzi's family.

Acacia and Bo split off from Dyson and Tamsin to interview Harvey who has a long standing grudge against Tamsin.  Acacia quips that Bo is the one who convinced Tamsin that she could be something more and Bo warns that if Acacia comes on the wrong side of  Tamsin again, there is going to be a problem.  Acacia reminds Bo that all she did was side with The Wanderer because she had no choice.
 They are interrupted by Harvey.  Acacia puts the head of a zombie on a table and demands to know who controls it.  Bo uses her succubus power on Harvey to find out who the owner is, to avoid having Acacia beat it out of him.  Harvey declares that he would do everything for Bo and do everything to her.  Harvey then pours the blood out of the bag into a glass and drinks it. Harvey comments on the flavour of the blood completely disgusting Bo in the process. Harvey declares that the dead is owned by Acacia. Acacia and Bo begin to fight, as Harvey grabs his ancient video camera. Really props department?

Tamsin and Dyson walk through the compound and talk about how Dyson is dealing with Bo's rejection.  A man approaches them saying that there may be help for them.  He tells them the story of a woman who could controls the dead.  He mumbles that the woman is dead and alive repeatedly.

Tamsin heads back to tell Acacia and Bo about the lead they found and finds Bo and Acacia fighting.  Bo breaks the video camera which looks like it's circa 1990 before leaving.

Kenzi is sitting on her bed and her mother tries to make peace with her.  Kenzi tells Laavena that her boyfriend ruined her life.  Lavena says that she should have protected Kenzi but she was just a little girl too. It seems Lavena thought she didn't have the strength to stand on her own.  Kenzi talks about living on the street and how hard she had it before she met Bo.  Lavena reveals that she kicked out her boyfriend six months ago but she didn't know how to find Kenzi until Hale called. The two women embrace and Kenzi admits that she was worried about her mother.  Kenzi assures Lavena that she did the right thing.

Tamsin and Acacia are talking about the Wanderer and Tamsin admits that she is now remembering things.  Tamsin reveals that she gave Rainer's soul to the Blood King, instead of taking him to Valhalla.  Acacia says that they have to take out Rainer because there is no way Rainer is going to let Tamsin go free, even if he is having sex with Bo. Acacia suggests that the revenants are actually after Tamsin and not  Bo.

Bo and Dyson go to see Laveau, who is a voodoo priestess with the most ridiculous accent you have ever heard. If this is Lost Girl's version of the great Marie Laveau, they ought to be ashamed and afraid, cause I wouldn't mess with the memory of that woman for the world.  Laveau says that everyone knows who Bo is and that she has seen into Dyson's animal heart. Bo drops a head in a bag and asks who sent it to kill her.  Laveau decides that she will go one step further and wake up all of the dead. Laveau uses her power to force Acacia to start swinging her sword around.  Bo realises that Laveau is behind the attacks. Laveau reveals that Bo has something she wants - the prize of the five - the seed. Dyson sneaks up behind Laveau and knocks her unconscious.

Hale is having dinner with Kenzi and her family and Lavena declares that Kenzi is going to make a very good wife.  Hale chooses this moment to propose marriage saying that he has asked for Lavena's blessing.  Before Kenzi can answer, they are interrupted when Dimitri's phone rings.  It seems that Kenzi's step father wants to borrow some starter money from Hale. Kenzi loses her shit and demands her family leave and Hale puts away the ring.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast: 2014, Episode 3

It's Monday! Time for another episode of Fangs for the Fantasy, the podcast where we examine many of the shows we've been following this week, along with our book of the week and dissect them all from a social justice lens (this time hopefully dodging Rene's disturbing fish obsession).

You can join us here and you can listen live on our youtube channel, here, or in our sidebar. All will also carry a recording after the show is finished. As ever all our previous podcasts can be found in the archive

The podcast begins at 7:00pm EST (technology willing)

Including: The Season Finale of Dracula (and the death of Lady Jane), The Season finale of Sleepy Hollow, The Vampire Diaries (and the not!death of Katherine), The Originals (Rebecca's agency and Elijah in a suit), American Horror Story (Marie Leaveau's representation), 

For the coming weeks - here are the next few books we will be reading

20th January - 27th January: Written in Red by Anne Bishop
27th January - 3rd February: Under Attack by Hannah Jayne
3rd February - 10th February: Wild Things by Chloe Neil
10th February - 17th February: Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
17th February - 24th February: Blood Passage by Connie Suttle
24th February - 3rd March: Undead Pool by Kim Harrison