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Advent Thanksgiving: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

daughter of smoke and bone laini taylor coverMy Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea.

This one’s  a no-brainer. If you haven’t already seen my gushing review of this for the BFS, click here to read it.

When I started doing book reviews it was because I thought it would be cool – I’d just joined the British Fantasy Society, and when they tweeted that they needed more reviewers it seemed an ideal way to get involved. Plus, hey, free books!  I was right, it is cool, and perhaps book reviewing should get it’s own Advent Door as it’s definitely made 2011 fun. I’ve discovered new writers and read great books I might not have found out about otherwise, often before they were published. It’s connected me to other reviewers with similar tastes, and now I review for Slacker Heroes too.  It’s hard to believe that this time last year I didn’t have a blog and hadn’t ever reviewed a book (except out loud, ranting, raving or recommending to my friends).

But when I offered to get involved with reviews there was another factor, apart from coolness and book-greed. Hope. I knew that Laini Taylor and Stacia Kane (two of my favourite writers) both had new books out soon. I didn’t expect it to work out, but I crossed my fingers and squinted my eyes up and hoped I might get to read one of them early. I was willing to risk reading bad books by other people if it meant I was in with a chance of getting one of theirs. I didn’t think I actually would, but you gotta hope, right?

daughter of smoke and bone laini taylor fan art

But I did! Hope works, people! The reviews person at the BFS had approximately 90 seconds grace between sending out the ‘Would anyone like to review ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone‘ and getting a shrieking, capitalised response from me, begging for the review copy. Which I got. W00t!

I then panicked that the book might not be as good as I hoped, that my high expectations would sour it, and I left the book on my table for a while. I worried. Then finally I began, and loved it. Phew. I still want more Dreamdark books, and I miss Magpie and her band of crows. But Karou and the warring angels were a sumptuous substitute for the sequel to Silksinger (ooh, so many Esses) and now I have two Laini Taylor series to recommend. Marvellous.

(Just need someone from Harper Collins to send me an ARC of Sacrificial Magic now… #cheeky).

Here’s a great trailer for the book, and another link to my review.

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Advent Thanksgiving: Lost Girl

lost girl tv show

My Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea..

I’m going to kick off with ‘Lost Girl‘. The first series ended last Thursday (in the UK), which means I have nothing to watch tonight. Pout. Missing a tv programme is a sure sign it’s doing something right.

The show is not without flaws. It is very light, and there are often gaps or contradictions in the narrative. Characters and plotlines get dropped without notice or explanation, and even at its climax, last week’s season finale, there was hardly any tension. But I don’t care. It’s actually a welcome change to watch something that doesn’t wrench my heart and/or guts every week. Buffy broke my heart every few episodes, I rarely got through an episode of Walking Dead‘s first season without weeping, and Lost chewed me up and spat me out with no regard for my sanity. Even Eureka, previously my go-to tv for soft sci-fi storylines, stressed me out this season. Whereas Lost Girl just makes me happy.

What’s that? There’s something weird happening, beyond human ken? Does something appear to be eating people? Worry not. Let Bo, slinky succubus turned P.I., help you out. I’m sure that her wise-cracking, uber-kohled sidekick Kenzi will assist, and if they get in trouble her brooding, sexy-as-hell werewolf policeman lover is sure to help them out. 45 minutes later, case solved, all is well in fae-land, and I am struck down once more with raging lust for Dyson, the aforementioned werewolf-policeman.Though I dismissed him during the pilot as a dull Chris Martin look-alike named after a vacuum cleaner, I have since developed Strong Feelings for Mr Holden-Ried and would like him to call me. Or even just show up at my door unannounced, I’d be cool with that. Please.

dyson lost girl kris holden-ried

I'm sorry I said you looked like Chris Martin. Please call me.

Women more your thing? You’re spoiled for choice. Lost Girl has a slew of strong, interesting female characters.Lauren, Bo’s other love interest, has made a lot of LGBT viewers happy by providing a f/f storyline that rivals that of Bo and Dyson, and I predict more of that after the way Season 1 ended. Bo herself is an alright character, naive and selfish but kickass and likeable enough. The main star, though, is Kenzi. She’s Bo’s side kick and the funniest non-Whedon character I’ve seen in a while. Most episodes find an excuse to put her in a ridiculous outfit, kinda like Alias did with Sydney, and every episode gives her the best lines.

Kenzi Ksenia Solo Lost Girl

Kenzi

I haven’t yet praised the Siren, who’s a whistling black guy rather than a slutty mermaid, or how most of the stories start in the pub, like a Fae version of Eastenders. I could go on. I won’t. I have to go play Skyrim now (a post in itself, coming later this month). Here are two youtube videos for you instead – a great mashup of highlights from the first season, and Kenzi at a speed dating event quoting Ludacris. Enjoy.

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My Advent Thanksgiving

Lego Advent Calendar

Look how cool this Advent calendar is! Though I have a horrible suspicion it does not include chocolate, which means technically it is not an Advent calendar at all.

Technically, Advent has already started. Or so Wikipedia says. In my world, though, and maybe yours too, if I’m not yet allowed to rip back that cardboard & eat cheap chocolate for breakfast, it ain’t advent. Which means it’s not advent til tomorrow and thus my series of advent posts isn’t late. Phew.

Kinda inspired by all the ‘I am thankful for’ posts that Americans got to post on their blogs last week, this month I’ll be posting about things from 2011 that made me glad, made me lustful, made me dance, made me head of a guild of thieves with a fighting horse and magic gloves*, and made me grateful for my wifi and my local library. See you tomorrow. I’ll probably start with lust 😉

*January Edit:  I didn’t post about Skyrim in the end, because Paul Cornell did it so well on his blog that it eclipsed anything I would have said. The bastard.

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