Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge

The Replacement Wife (2012)
Eileen Goudge
Grade: B
Genre: fiction
Sex scenes: barely classifies as mild, IMO
Source: NetGalley

Camille Harte of Harte to Heart  is a matchmaker and very good at her job. She knows which of her clients will suit and many of her matches result in marriage. Her own to a doctor, Edward Constantin has lasted twenty years and produced two children, reassuring clients that the happy ever after they always dreamed of might not be as elusive as it always seems. Kyra is fourteen and Zach is nine; while Edward won't ever win the award for 'best dad of the year' with his tendency to forget family events and responsibilities, they're the poster happy American family.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Will You Tolerate This?

Robin Hood, episode 1

Robin Hood (BBC, 2006) is one of my favourite TV shows. I love historical stuff, ergo I love Robin Hood. Possibly better than Merlin, which is saying something considering my King Arthur obsession, though I think I would have to watch both shows back-to-back at the same time to make a proper decision.

Robin, Earl of Huntingdon (Jonas Armstrong) and Much (Sam Troughton) have returned from the Holy Land after five years of war and are looking for no more than a hot bath and a properly cooked meal when they have to save a guy (Allan A Dale, Joe Armstrong) from getting his hand chopped off for stealing. Robin demonstrates archery and sword skills to die for. Seriously. I would love be able to shoot with a bow and arrow and fence. Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure was my favourite book when I was about ten and I so wanted to be Alanna to become the first female knight in over a century. I was clearly a strange child.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Celebrity in Death by J. D. Robb / Nora Roberts

Celebrity in Death (2012)
J. D. Robb a.k.a. Nora Roberts
Grade: B
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: hot for NR, but mild for In Death - not very clear if you're not a regular Roberts reader, I know, but this is just how I'm used to thinking of them now.
Source: library
In Death: (1) Naked in Death

It was cute. Not amazing, but cute. I realise that I've used this word to initially describe a lot of the pitiful number of reviews I've actually written, but cute is the first word to come to mind here. I realised that I haven't actually written any reviews for March. Of course, it would help if I had actually read any books in March, and I'm pretty sure that this is my first, so I thought it would be nice to have some down before March is over.

The Icove case (Creation in Death) was one of Eve's biggest. Nadine Furst, well-known face of Channel 75 and one of the few Eve can call her friends, even when she's hounding her for an exclusive interview or new information about a case, wrote a book about the Icoves, father and son who were cloning people or something. I forget. That book has been adapted for the big screen because even in 2060, the public still love a good murder mystery and excitement.

Love Life episode 3

I know I moaned a lot about episode two, but I loved this really. Mostly because everything turned out how I wanted it to and everyone has their happy ending, so it's all great. I don't really want to talk about it because everything that I can think of is a spoiler, so for once, I won't.

Everything was really predictable and lots of the first half of the episode was just silly and over-dramatic and cheesy, but I love that stuff really. That's life in forty-five minutes for you.

Arthur is really cute. He was asleep for pretty much all of the episode whenever we saw him, but he woke up right at the end and is just adorable.

It's not a programme that I would watch again, but since everyone got their HEA, then it's fine. And it was nice to see Rob James-Collier as a good guy for once.

As a kind-of side note, there was a section in the middle that really really pissed me off because it's similar to The Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge that I finished yesterday and should have posted a review about yesterday, but I haven't even got around to finishing my Celebrity in Death review, so The Replacement Wife is going to have to wait another day because I don't have time now as I have to go to bed to wake up early tomorrow for work. Whew. Yeah - whatever I just said. I'll try to do my In Death review now.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Love Life episode 2

Last week was alright; this week was just down-right cringe-worthy, so so predictable and much too like Eastenders.

Lucy has had her baby. It's a pretty cute baby and his name is Arthur. Some people might think it old-fashioned, but I love old-fashioned names and I even more so because of my Arthur-obsession. Not that I would ever name my kid Arthur. But as I said to my mum when she told me, at least it wasn't Lancelot. At least with Arthur you can claim some sort of family relation.

So Lucy goes home only to find that their furniture is gone, courtesy of the bailiffs. She has a shout-down with her dad while Joe goes wandering with the baby, only to bump into Dom. Joe leads Dom to believe that he is back with Lucy and tells Dom that it would be best if he stays away from the baby. Lucy goes with Joe to Joe's brother's caravan to live since she has no where else to go.

Then Dom blurts out the news to his wife, Penny and she goes a little crazy. When she has time to talk to her mother, Penny completely does a 360 and decides she wants the baby. Eastenders much? So she goes to see a solicitor who tells her that the law favours the birth mother unless there is a 'crisis,' homelessness being one of these things ...

Dom goes to try and find Lucy at her dad's but finds the dad instead who tells them of their financial plight and tells him where to find Lucy, which he promptly does and tells her of Penny's plan, which is where it sort of ends.

As a little side plot, Joe meets a girl who he met whilst on Everest and she tells him of her plan to trek around South America and tries to tempt him to join her. Lucy finds out and goes crazy on Joe and the preview of next week shows that he might be going away again.

So a lot of crazy shit. A lot of it had me moaning at the screen and blaspheming a lot at the incredulity of it all. But I'll be back for more.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


I like to bake and came across a recipe for scones a little while ago that I thought I would try once I got home. It's really quick and simple and you can eat them with whatever you like. We had cream and jam while they were still warm from the oven, but I forgot to add dried fruit which you could add if you like. Sometimes we toast scones and eat them with butter, but if you just want to have them plain, then they're your scones.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dollhouse: Echoes

Episode 1.07

I do love this episode and it covers a lot, so I'm going to try and be brief.

We start with that scene with which we are now familiar: Echo (while still Caroline) and Adelle sitting across from each other with that ubiquitous pot of tea between them, the papers not yet signed. We learn that Echo was caught in the middle of doing something against Rossum that she thought was 'right' and that Caroline and DeWitt have been circling around this for two years.

The Rossum Corporation, besides running the Dollhouses, do a lot of drug research. A vial of a new drug that they're testing (I can't remember what it does; A-level chemistry was enough for me) worth millions has gone missing and one student died by banging his head repeatedly against a window after ingesting too much of it. Rossum aren't requesting just one active - they need an army (dramatic, huh?)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Dollhouse: Man on the Street

Episode 1.06

This episode takes to the street with a documentary asking what the people of Los Angeles think of the Dollhouse. Many believe the Dollhouse to be a myth but we see a range of opinions about what people think about the idea of such an organisation existing with some ready to sign up, no questions asked and others who perceive it as an aberration and abuse of power.

As a backdrop, the 'documentary' is interesting, and I'll come back to it at the end since this episode really packs in a lot of other, very important scenes.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Dollhouse: True Believer

Episode 1.05

There's not really that much I really want to say about True Believer, but here's the gist of the episode: Jonas Sparrow has spent a lot of his years in prison and the last time round, he claimed a conversion and now lives just outside of Pleasant, Arizona leading a whole group of other religious believers. The people of Pleasant don't know what goes on inside the compound and so they're not exactly friendly. On their once-a-month trip to get supplies, the locals cause a bit of a ruckus with smiley, sing-y, much-too-happy compound people and when they leave, we see the shopping list has 'save me' written on the back. Hey presto, the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) have finally been granted their tiny window to find out what Sparrow is really doing.

Here's where Echo comes in. Only a true believer will be able to infiltrate the group but they go one step further: Echo has to be blind. Not just pretend-blind, but she'll have an operation that will make her actually blind, and the images that her eyes would otherwise see will be transmitted to the ATF's surveillance cameras. A tad extreme, huh?

Monday, 19 March 2012

University Challenge Final, 2011-2012

Pembroke College, Cambridge v Manchester.

My favourite team of this year's competition, Worcester College Oxford got knocked out at semi-finals, as did UCL who I also loved. Pembroke and Manchester were both fantastic teams all the way through and I did like both of them, but neither were my absolute favourites. If you couldn't already guess, I'm a huge University Challenge fan.

As always, I got a pitiful number of questions right; I'm not going to say how many because it's just shameful, but I was quite pleased with getting The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark which was one of the first questions in the episode. I still haven't finished the book after nearly a year of owning it ... Plus there was a reference to King Arthur with The Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson which I loved.

This was a very very good series with a lot of laughs, UCL and Manchester most notably for coming out with the strangest of answers, yet sometimes correct! Manchester really deserved to win and I can't wait for the next series - maybe Sussex will make it on to the televised episodes!

Dollhouse: Gray Hour

Episode 1.04

Echo has been tasked with retrieving the Parthenon from a high-security vault with two other thieves and an artifacts expert on hand. The 'gray hour' is the time when the security systems will be down and they'll be safe to find the piece and leave. Only, of course, the job is complicated when the artifacts expert finds the piece and runs away, locking the three other inside. Echo has just updated Boyd on the situation when the line is hacked and Echo is remotely wiped - something that even Topher can't manage.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Dollhouse: Stage Fright

Episode 1.03

Again, another very interesting episode that raises very important issues for the overall plot.

Groupies and fan mail comes with the territory when you're famous, but when Rayna Russell's life is on the line, her manager turns to the Dollhouse - because, clearly, this isn't a job for the police. Or security. Or the FBI or whatever. Echo is programmed to be a backing singer but will sub-consciously have Rayna's protection at the forefront of her mind. Echo's 'audition' really encapsulates the moral issue of the Dollhouse as well as Rayna's position:

"I've got to find the freedom that's promised me
Freedom from our struggles and misery
Freedom is all we need
To heal the pain of history"

SPOILERS (I would prefer not to, but I think it's necessary here to uncover the real message of this episode)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Dollhouse: Target

Episode 1.02

This was a pretty cool episode, though more for the background stuff than the actual storyline itself, which I didn't really like that much except for the mystery/questions it adds to the overall arc.

In Target, we're introduced to Alpha. Alpha, as the phonetical name indicates, was a doll. Only he wasn't a normal doll who had every imprint wiped after the engagement - or rather, he was, only the wipes didn't work and Alpha turned into a crazy sociopath, killing lots and lots of dolls and handlers ... all except Echo. Alpha is the one who sliced up Dr Saunders' face (Amy Acker) and the reason that Boyd (Harry Lennix) is Echo's new handler - because Samuelson was unlucky enough to get in the way of Alpha's killing rampage. Or was one of Alpha's targets and he would have got sliced up anyway.

Colour-Coding Books

I have a very, very strange way of arranging my books. I makes complete, utter, perfect sense in my head, and I'm not sure if I can explain it very well, but I'll try.

First thing to note is that I like to alphabetise things. Anything that can be alphabetisized, really. I used to volunteer in my local library and I loved to shelve the books when I had the time. Clearly, that's the most obvious item that can be alphabetised in a library, but I would do this to the DVDs too. One of the librarians thought I was crazy, but she did admit that it made it so much easier to find what she was looking for. Of course, I'd come back every week to find it messed up again, and so I would just have to rearrange it all over again.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Love Life

The show; not mine.

It's a ITV's new show featuring Downton Abbey's Thomas (Rob James-Collier) as Joe who has just returned from travelling to find his ex-girlfriend Lucy (Andrea Lowe) and the love of his life, pregnant. By her Dom (Alexander Armstrong) - her boss. Her married boss. Who is currently on bad terms with his wife (Penny, Sophie Jordan) because she can't get pregnant.

My mum told me about it since we're both Downton Abbey fans, and seeing as how it's the holidays and I'm too lazy to do any work, of course I sat down and watched it. Painfully slowly. The buffering icon was swirling for most of the time and I had to pause it continuously (even through the adverts) to let it catch up. And even after I had turned off the sub-titles, they continued to play: backwards, out-of-sync, too fast, too late - you name it, the sub-titles did it and it was a complete nightmare.

That said, it was a pretty cute show. A little cringy at times and it was a tad strange at first to see Joe as the 'good' guy as compared to the character he plays in DA, but overall, it was sweet. There were some funny lines and scenes as well as some pretty predictable bits (I mean, this is television. OF COURSE Lucy didn't tell Dom that the baby was his. Or even that she was pregnant in the first place. What fun would that be?) but Joe is clearly still in love with Lucy and it's just sweet, is how I can really sum it up. Not in DA's league, but I'll definitely be watching the next episode where it seems there'll be some crying and fighting and baby-kidnapping going on ...

(Available on ITV Player)

Dollhouse: Echo vs Ghost

Episode 1.00 v 1.01

Also known as original, unaired Dollhouse pilot and the second one that was actually aired. I've just watched them back-to-back and I have to first admit that although I've watched most of Dollhouse, I haven't seen either of these two.

In a nutshell for those of you who have clearly been asleep or hiding somewhere with no internet since 2008, the Dollhouse is a place that can give you your every desire. So long as you're rich enough, that is. 'Dolls' are wiped of their very essence when they first enter the house, and are imprinted with complete personalities for their 'engagements' where they become a new person. Literally. This trailer sums it up pretty well, in my opinion.

KONY 2012

Given how much work I had piled up at the end of term (term's now finished!) I haven't really had the time to keep up with current affairs. Through AS politics, I would watch the 6 o'clock news daily, read The Times, watch Question Time and through A2, I would read The Economist. Now, I only get The Economist, but I've had so much work that I probably have something like two months worth of Economists to catch up on.

Hence, I haven't really been up-to-date with the Kony campaign. The above video explains what's going on in Uganda and what KONY 2012 aims to do. While I'm aware that it has its critics, my intention is to spread the word to get people to care. You can make up your own mind about whether you want to support the KONY 2012 campaign.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Long Time, No Post ...

The above is what happens when you have deadlines. Granted, it was only two, but they were within a week of each other, and each is worth 20% of each course. Combined, they're worth a measly 10% of the entire year overall (and the year doesn't count for anything anyway), so it's shocking how much research and effort goes into a single piece of work.

I have a ton of stuff to read, and lots more time to do it in, so I should have some more reviews up soon. Hopefully. Once I've caught up on my sleep ...