Monday, 31 August 2009

Suck (2009) trailer

This looks so bad it could almost be good.

IMDb describes it as: "A comedy centered on a rock 'n' roll band that will do anything to become famous."

It has vampires. It has rock 'n' roll. It has Malcolm McDowell (the man is a God, thank you.) It has Iggy Pop.

And it has Alice Cooper! (Still looking damn sexy at the age of 61!)

Alice Cooper + Vampires = I'm there ... even though this does look really silly. And a little too gorey and gruesome.

(Amanda - I'm looking at you and have warned you in case you watch this trailer, girl ;-) )  

The Big Award Post

This is the post where all the awards I've receieved for this blog goes. Thank you to everyone who's been kind enough to nominate me. :)

From Jaime at Revenge of the Booknerds


From Taschima at Bloody Bookaholic
From Sarbear at My Life is an Effing Fairy Tale
From Kath at Bookworm Nation


From Faye at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm


From Faye at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm


From Ryan at Wordsmithonia


From Nikola at Nikola's Book Blog


From Michelle at Michelle's Masterful Musings


From Sarbear at My Life is an Effing Fairy Tale


From Taschima at Bloody Bookaholic
From Jess at Bookworm Nation


From Ryan at Wordsmithonia



Saturday, 29 August 2009

Weekend Plans

It's Bank Holiday weekend - Yayyy! :-P

First off, my review for the Wicked: Witch & Curse series is now up at The Book Bag. For those of you who don't know, here's the premise:

Holly Cathers' world shatters when her parents are killed in a terrible accident. Wrenched from her home in San Francisco, she is sent to Seattle to live with her relatives, Aunt Marie-Claire and her twin cousins, Amanda and Nicole.

But as Holly struggles to settle into her new home, her sorrow and grief soon gives way to bewilderment at the strange incidents going on around her. Such as how any wish Holly whispers to her cat seems to come true. Or the way a friend is injured after a freak accident by a vicious falcon. And then there's her undeniable, magnetic attraction to a boy she barely knows . . .

Holly and her cousins, Amanda and Nicole, are about to be drawn into a family feud spanning generations. And as they uncover a dark legacy of witches, secrets, and alliances, where ancient magic yields dangerous results, the girls learn of a shared destiny that is beyond their wildest imaginations . . .

My full review is right here.

So, does anyone have any plans for the weekend? My mother and I are off to see The Sound of Music stage production tonight. It's the West End production that has been traveling around the UK starring none other than Connie Fisher (How do you solve a problem like Maria?). We have front row tickets and I really can't wait. :-D

Tomorrow I'm attending the evening reception of one of my oldest friend's wedding. Thank God I've convinced my man to come along - I don't think I could do it alone. It's been a while since I saw them all and I'm a little nervous.

Then, I have to ask you guys for a favour for Tuesday. I had a job interview last week - Apparently I made an impression and stood out so now I've got a second stage interview this Tuesday. Apparently it's very hard-going and really tests your abilities. I'd really love it if you guys could cross your fingers for me. I've been unemployed for over six months and I don't think I can last any longer.

Anyway, TTFN.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Edit: I also have to add a link to an article I just read that my man posted on Facebook. Right here.

Some reader of the Daily Mail wrote a letter complaining that the packaging on the Maoam sweets look 'pornographic.' What the hell??? He said his children were very 'sensitive' and that he was glad he got to the advert before they did.

Right ...

Over sweet wrappers?


Yeah, you should really watch out for those 'inter-fruit' relations. They're dangerous and bad news.

Honestly, this is why I don't read the Daily Mail - the readers are idiots. :P  

Friday, 28 August 2009

My Life According to Books

I stole this from Kay at The Infinite Shelf. It looked like so much fun to do. If you haven't checked out her blog already, do so - it's really awesome.

Using only books you have read this year ( 2009), cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

*Describe Yourself: Witch

*How do you feel: The Color Purple

*Describe where you currently live: In Between the Sheets

*If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Digging to America

*Your favorite form of transportation: The Time Traveler's Wife

*Your best friend is: A Lover of Unreason

*You and your friends are: Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee (You couldn't find a bigger group of people with emotional problems :P ;-) )

*What’s the weather like: Howl

*Favorite time of day : Twilight

*What is life to you: Love, Janis

*Your fear: The Hours

*What is the best advice you have to give: Let the Right One In

*Thought for the Day: Will Jellyfish Rule the World?

*How I would like to die: Skinny Bitch

*My soul’s present condition: The Diary of a Young Girl

I think I answered those pretty well. :-D I invite you all to do it. If you do, let me know in the comments.  

Friday Fill-Ins - August 28th we go!

1. He was a skater boy (that's seriously the only thing I can think of - and I hate Avril Lavigne).

2. Wrapping up in layers is what I look forward to most this time of year. (FYI - Our summer is *way* over :-S )

3. My best friend is the man who makes my heart beat fast and slow at the same time.

4. I'm incredibly stubborn to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be very accurate at times.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my mother.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finally writing my review on the Wicked series, tomorrow my plans include going to see The Sound of Music stage production and Sunday, I want to avoid being asked "When are you going to get married?" at my oldest friend's wedding!  

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The R.I.P. IV Challenge

So much for 'Wordless' Wednesday, eh?

I've been seeing this challenge around a lot of the book blogs and thought I'd keep out of it because I already have a ton of things to read and am lagging behind badly on my Classics Challenge and my GLBT Challenge.

But I went over to Stainless Steel to see what the specific rules were and noticed that there was the option to read only one or two books if you wished. So, I'm going to do it! :-D

This challenge is perfect for me anyway because my favourite genre is horror/thriller and I have a ton of spooky stuff on my TBR to read. I've chosen to do Peril the Second which means reading two books of any length, from any subgenre of scary stories that I choose.

The genres you can choose to read in are:

Dark Fantasy.

I can't wait to get started.

1) Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

I already know that one of the two books is going to be Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger which is released in September. This is supposed to be quite spooky and haunting and I can't wait.

I haven't decided on my second read yet. I've got a ton of Stephen King and Anne Rice books to read. I've also got two books by Christopher Pike that my man lent me and, of course, some more Kelley Armstrong and Brian Lumley books to choose from. Oh, and the third Twilight book is also still on my TBR pile. The possibilities are endless. I'm so excited about this.

Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting this challenge. To find out further details and information go here. And to post your reviews, visit this site. I'm be updating this post with review links as I do them.

I hope you guys join in too - You don't even need a blog. It sounds like so much fun.  

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The September Issue (2009)

I don't agree with consumerism. There's nothing I own that I can honestly say I'd miss wholeheartedly if I lost it or broke it. I can amuse myself pretty easily and I don't own a lot of 'stuff' and appreciate my friendships more than my things.

I don't know the slightest thing about fashion - what's 'in' and what's 'out'. I think I bought Vogue once in my life and saw it as something full of clothes I could never afford and most I'd never wear. I have my own style - a kind of grungey, rock-chick, touch-of-hippy, gothic, electro combination - and very rarely buy things in huge high street stores. I don't agree with wearing fur and I don't agree with wearing leather (or any other animals products for that matter).

That being said, I LOVE Anna Wintour. This woman is a Goddess.

While I know nothing about her industry, I admire her so much because she is a woman who knows what her job entails and is good at it. She's been called an 'Ice Queen' on numerous occasions because of her stern face and over-professional attitude. She scares her employees and just about anyone who comes into contact with her. This is a hard-working, driven, and focused career woman who I look up to her and want to be like.

Women are often seen as 'bitches' or 'ice queens' when they choose to put a bigger focus on their career rather than on raising a family - Why? Men have done it for generations and generations. Why can't women do it? Anna Wintour is the epitome of the modern working woman. She's married twice and has two children but she's managed to fiercely climb her way to the top and prove that she has the smarts and expertise to do it right. (I mean, come on - During the recession, she put out an ad for *three* new personal assistants. Vogue must be doing fabulously well.)

The new documentary released next month, The September Issue, follows Wintour around at her work while the magazine prepares for the September Issue - the most important issue of the year. From what I can see from the trailer, the makers of The Devil Wears Prada hit the nail on the head with this one. It almost seems like a 'real' version of those events.

I can't wait to see it. I can't wait to watch the real 'Devil' do her job and I can't wait to get an inside look into her world.


I thought I'd seen everything ...


This blog isn't strictly about books. It's not even strictly about films. It's about anything artistic or creative or anything that takes my interest. What I'm about to talk about made my jaw hit the floor.
I'm referring, of course, to this (click for picture) - The Twilight Dildo! Now you can really know what it's like to have Edward Cullen ... y'know. Oh, God.

It sparkles - just like Edward's would ... if he was real ... which he's not - stop kidding yourself. I see this thing in two scenarios which involve the true hardcore Twihards (Not the 'Oh, *gush*gush* Edward and Bella's story is so romantic' ones, but the batshit crazy ones who stalk Pattinson and ask him to bite them.)

Scenario 1 - The 'Middle-Aged housewife who takes charge of the stalking parties' - "Oh, Edward - do it to me before my husband comes home. I always knew you'd come for me."

Scenario 2 - The 'Tween/Teen - "Oh, Edward, I always knew you'd be my first."

In the case of Scenario 2, this thing will leave a lot to be answered for when said user finally finds a real man and wonders why his thing ain't sparkling. Oh, yeah, and you can also stick it in the fridge apparently - It gets it nice and cold ... for that 'authentic' experience.

Forgive me for being so cynical - it's not the books or films that bring it out in me. It's the mass hysteria that surrounds them.

I'm hoping they get Pattinson on a show like Graham Norton's to promote his non-Twilight film - Norton's the kind of host who would take out this thing and have Pattinson confront it.

Oh, btw, in case you are thinking of getting one, it's called 'The Vamp'. (We wouldn't want Stephenie Meyer to sue now, would we?)  

Monday, 24 August 2009

Weekly Geeks - Waiting to Read

This week, tell us about a book (or books) you have been meaning to read. What is it? How long have you wanted to read it? And, why haven't you read it yet?

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in the classic novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, we heard only one side of the story. But what of her arch-nemisis, the mysterious witch? Long before Dorothy drops in, a girl is born in Oz with emerald-green skin. Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous witch, is a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived ideas about the nature of good and evil. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world. Gregory Maguire's novel is a rich and triumphant feat of imagination and allegory. It is an acclaimed New York Times bestseller and the inspiration for a hit Broadway musical, and has sold over two million copies.

The book I've been looking forward to reading for ages is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I first heard of this story when the stage production came to the West End in Britain.

I thought the concept was brilliant - I don't usually enjoy reading books that have taken someone else's work and added to it but, for some reason, the idea of seeing it from the perspective of 'the bad guy' sounded really appealing. (As does Gregory Maguire's other novel, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.)

For a very long time I avoided buying it because my TBR pile never seems to shrink. I promised myself that I'd buy it as a reward for getting through my pile. A few weeks ago, however, after yet another failed job interview I wandered into Borders and decided to cheer myself up. I bought a copy and it's on top of my TBR, ready to read.

The reason I didn't read it straight away when I bought it? My "to review" books from The Book Bag were taking a priority, and now I'm waiting until I've attempted to finish my Classics Challenge. Once that's done, Wicked'll be next.

I really hope I enjoy this. I mean, I don't really read too much fantasy (though I have been getting into it a lot lately) and considering how long I've been waiting to get my hands on this book, I think I deserve a good reading session - Especially as Gregory Maguire's other books sound just as awesome.

Have you read this? What did you think?  

Sunday, 23 August 2009


It's my first go at The Sunday Salon this weekend. Let's see how this goes.

It's not really been a great week of blogging. Then again, it hasn't been a great week for anything. I've been in such a funny mood - One of those 'isolation' moods. I just don't want to talk to people for a few days. It's strange. I've been enjoying my own company and making my own plans and haven't really wanted anything to distract me or bring me out of my own world.

August has been an unbelievably slow month with reading but this week I've finally managed to finish Wicked: Witch & Curse by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie. I received this from The Book Bag to review (which'll be up later this week) and Wow!

This is such an awesome series. It's a Young Adult series set around a group of witches and warlocks whose families have been at war for centuries. Witch and Curse are the first two books in the series and, after reading them, I will definitely be getting the rest. I have to find out how this story ends.

I'm not usually a 'series' type of reader but this is one I'll be getting my nose stuck into in the future. It's written really well - kind of like how I hoped Twilight would be written - and I can't wait to start writing my review on this.

Glancing over at my TBR pile, I haven't quite decided what to read next. It has to be a Classic. I am sucking at my Classics challenge and only have a few weeks to finish it.


A big thank you to Mel from Melody's Reading Corner once more. I receieved my copy of the new Philippa Gregory novel, The White Queen, through the mail yesterday much to my delight. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, I insist you do. She's really awesome.


One more mention of The Time Traveler's Wife. I caught the film adaptation last week and unexpectedly enjoyed it. It wasn't as good as the book but I really did like it. I'd see it again. I'll buy the DVD. Kudos to Eric Bana for not disappointing me (I'm waiting for your shoddy performance, dude - you can do no wrong) and Rachel McAdams was fabulous as always.


And, lastly, over to awards. Taschima from Bloody Bookaholic has given me the Me-To-You Award. Thank you so much, hun. You rock.

The person who recieves this award must do a shout out and nominate 7 other bloggers.

Okay, so the people I'm passing this onto are:

1) Passing it right back to Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic)
2) Michelle (Master Musings)
3) Faye (Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm)
4) Kay (The Infinite Shelf)
5) Jaime (For the love of all that is written)
6) Naida (The Bookworm)
7) Susan (Well-Mannered Frivolity)


This really isn't a great first 'Sunday Salon' post but, like I said, I'm in a real strange mood this week. Don't really feel like being very communicative. I like my isolation at times so I've been sitting in my room spending the days trying to find a job and my nights watching films. Hopefully more blogging will ensue soon.

Love to you all.

And a huge Happy Birthday to my Dad (Monday) and my little brother (Tuesday).

(Not that either of them are old, of course. ;-) They're just both Family Guy fans)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Review: The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Rated: 12A
Release Date: August 14, 2009

Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams

Rating: 4/5

The highly-anticipated big-screen adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s best-selling novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is finally released this week to critics and cinemagoers alike.

Clare Abshire has been in love with Henry DeTamble since she was 6 and he was 36. Henry fell in love with Clare when he was 28 and she was 20. Sounds complicated, right? You wouldn’t be far off. Henry has a rare genetic disorder which causes him to time travel to the past and future at any given time. He can’t control when he goes or for how long, and all Clare can do is wait in the present, getting on with her own life, wondering when he’ll return to her.

While this film was never going to be as successful and well-presented as the book, director Robert Schwentke’s version is a pleasant surprise. For a film attempting to condense a 500-page novel into less than two hours, the result is unexpectedly refreshing. All the major twists and turns of Henry and Clare’s lives from the book are there and accounted for (including the question of whether Henry will be present for his wedding; fertility issues; and plans for the future) to create a story focused more on the relationship and love between the two characters rather than the sci-fi specifics.

Eric Bana (Munich, The Hulk) and Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, Mean Girls) are cast perfectly as the time-crossed lovers: With Bana’s charm and good looks, and McAdams’ feistiness and intelligence, the pair come together to create a love story not without its faults. While Hollywood romances would have us believe that true love poses one dilemma which can be easily resolved before the end credits, Henry and Clare’s relationship is constantly filled with reminders that no romance is ever perfect and is quick to teach young lovers that being together is about sacrifice and compromise when problems occur.

Clare’s loneliness at being left behind and Henry’s frustration at missing important events is distressing to watch. We feel for McAdams as she sits alone at yet another dinner for two, and we worry for Bana as he is thrown across time into hazardous situations. (Though the fact that he travels naked isn’t too bad a sight for us, for him it poses danger in broad daylight on a Chicago street.)

While The Time Traveler’s Wife has included all the important elements of the story, it’s missing one vital ingredient: the ‘falling in love’ part. Again, while it’s obvious that no novel can be completely transferred to screen in its entirety, what seems to be missing from the film are those crucial moments that show us why Clare and Henry are in love in the first place. Clare is quick to proclaim that she has “been in love with Henry [her] whole life” but where is the evidence? The film lacks enough flashback scenes to see the teenage Clare fall for the handsome stranger who travels through time to her back garden. Furthermore, when present Henry finally meets Clare, it feels almost as though he just takes her word for the fact that they’re supposed to be together.

Though the film’s inclusion of the twists and turns in Henry and Clare’s relationship is flawless, it’s lacking those scenes that could have done with one or two more intimate moments to give their love that extra something.

Having said that, however, what may be missing from the script is made up for by the heartbreaking performances of Bana and McAdams as their characters face the reality of the situation they’re heading for. The combination of the effective performances and the compressed story also distracts us from the fact that these actors are supposed to be aging over a span of twenty years – a task which seems impossible but is pulled off because of how fast-paced the scenes are.

Though the ending is slightly different from the book, it works for the mood that the film creates, and leaves us with a satisfied, albeit weepy, feeling.

The Time Traveler’s Wife might feel quite ‘Hollywood’ at times with its sickly, sweet focus on the love story but it works because it avoids what could have ended as a depressing tale. We shed our tears instead for two people, desperate to be together, torn apart by forces stronger than them. The story is fulfilling and romantic, heart-wrenching and raw. So make sure you take plenty of tissues with you and let yourself get swept away by some good old-fashioned sentiment.  

Review: Orphan (2009)

Title: Orphan

Rated: 15
Release Date: August 9, 2009

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Rating: 3.5/5

Fresh from the crop of newly-released Film Festival treats comes this new suspense thriller. Having lost their third baby at birth, Kate and John Coleman are looking to adopt an older child into their growing family. They meet and fall in love with Esther, a 9-year-old orphan from Russia with an extraordinary English vocabulary and talent for the arts. Though it is clear that Esther is ‘different’ from the other children, Kate and John decide to bring her into their family and create a home for her. After a few unusual incidents at the house, however, Kate begins to suspect that Esther isn’t quite what she seems.

If this sounds like your typical scary movie plot, you wouldn’t be far off. We’ve all seen the spooky story about mysterious people with thick foreign accents not quite able to fit into society but when it comes to this film, somehow, it works. Rather than follow Kate (Vera Farmiga) on her quest to find out whether her new daughter is really who she says she is, this film does what many thrillers don’t – Shows us what the characters don’t know. We’re right next to Esther through every gruesome detail of her ‘accidents’ and are there to witness the lies she continues to unfold to her unsuspecting father and wary mother. We know from the first half hour that Esther is dangerous and that is why this film succeeds at creating the tension and atmosphere all good thrillers are made of. There’s only one thing scarier than a suspected psychopath, and that’s a proven psychopath. Esther’s power over her new brother and sister (who are also witnesses to her psychotic tendencies) is spine-chilling. She holds them – and us - prisoners in their own house, taking away their free will and ability to tell the ‘grown-ups’ what’s really going on.

Unfortunately, what begins as a strong story, pulling the audience in to the ambience of every scene, fails at an equally-potent climax. The “twist” feels too last-minute thought-up and, what could have been an original piece of cinema, is rushed and tainted with silliness and fight scenes that have been recreated over and over before.

In spite of this, the performances from the actors are strong. Twelve-year-old Isabelle Fuhrman has found her breakout role as Esther, adopting a Russian accent and numerous guises to tempt, tease, and terrify the audience into never forgetting her. She shines at drawing us in with her soft-spoken voice and excels at creating the best jolts of fear.

King of the character actors, Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, Flight Plan) makes the most out of a one-dimensional father role, and Farmiga (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) shows enough heart and courage to make us forget that her character’s ‘demons’ are nothing new.

Those who love a good scare will get everything they want out of Orphan, though it’s best to be warned that scenes can get quite gruesome and gory at times. Director, Jaume Collet-Serra, has made sure to hold nothing back.  

Monday, 17 August 2009

Updates and Winnings

Happy Monday everyone! :-)

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend or, if you didn't, that the coming week will be better. I've been incredibly behind on replying to everyone's comments, visiting your blogs, and blogging in general so I'm going to try and get everything together today.

Today I shall be posting a review for the new film, Orphan, which I saw on Wednesday and also a review for the long-awaited The Time Traveler's Wife which I caught on Friday. I'm not saying a word about the latter until I've posted the review so you'll all have to catch my opinion on the adaptation of my favourite book then.

For those of you interested, an updated version of my Religulous DVD review is available here on The Sprout.

And, on a more bookish note, I've won my first competition in years.

As you may have seen on my previous post, Mel from Melody's Reading Corner was giving away two copies of Philippa Gregory's upcoming novel, The White Queen.

I'm very lucky to have won a copy so thank you so much, Melody. I'm absolutely over the moon and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this new series about the War of the Roses, so this has really made my day. :-D

Everyone please visit Melody's Reading Corner. Her blog is pure awesomage.

Congratulations also goes to Molly of My Cozy Book Nook who won the second copy.


That's my little update until I get my reviews up. I'm going to leave you with this little treasure I can't stop watching. One of my favourite bands, Phantom Planet's 2002 appearance on Letterman singing 'California.'


Friday, 14 August 2009

'Tis the day

The Time Traveler's Wife is released today and I shall not blog another word after this until I have seen it. I shall be seeing it at 6pm today (What? Like I was going to wait?) and I'm looking like a child dizzy on lemonade at the moment. I'm an ultimate film geek and passionate about literature so the fact that my all-time favourite book has been transferred to screen is enough to make my head explode. (This is how Twi-hards must feel.)

Rachel McAdams is impossibly awesome and who can ever get enough of that Australian piece of manhunk? Okay, now I have to occupy myself for four and a half hours until 6pm comes around.

Until then, TTFN.  

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

TQM: The Woodstock Meme

(Who is this guy in the picture btw, Mimi? He's hot!)

(Courtesy of Mimi from Queen of Memes)
Forty years ago this week, three days of peace, love and rock 'n' roll (and mud) happened near Bethel, New York. It was the summer of 1969.
Attire: Hippie jeans, Long hair, Legal or illegal smoke, Psychedelic vibe.

The scene: You are at Woodstock. You go alone but meet up with a beautiful man/woman. You spend three days together.
Put yourself inside the peace & love vibe. You can choose to be stoned or straight. I put it in the story for the sake of reality. Just don't inhale in this meme.
This is the conversation you have upon meeting or you can make it into what you overhear others say. It makes no sense and has no continuity by design.
You must fill in the familiar blanks to finish the story. Some are song lyrics. You may use more than one word to fill in the blanks.

Oh! I forgot to tell you (must be the smoke in here). You have a new name. It must be a combination of the first letter of your first name, the third letter of your middle name and the last letter of your last name.
Peace out!

1. Hello, my groovy name is Cuy.

By the looks of those flowers in your hair, you must be pretty radical.
Didn't they tell you? No squares allowed!

2. Come on, Baby, light my soul on fire with your bad self.
When I lay me down to chillax, I pray the Flying Spaghetti Monster my eyeliner to keep.

If I cry before I wake, I pray the Flying Spaghetti Monster my face to take.

3. Because the first time I ever saw your chest hair I realised that what the world needs now is abolishment of razors, sweet abolishment. Besides, I always feel guilty watching you watching me shave my own legs when I should be growing long, luxurious forests.
But I dig it!

4. Have I told you lately that I dig you? Hey! Don't step on that cat's tail!!
Dude. That guy is really weird but not weird enough for me.

5. There's a party in my sleeping bag and half a million of my lhama friends are coming over tonight and we're gonna try and throw my baby off my mind. Darn the luck. It's raining salmon and trout.
Luckily, Papa was a rolling stone impersonator and I'm on a first name basis with the cops. **puff puff**

6. I'm really digging your big butt but that chipped nail varnish has got to go. Those flowers in your hair are beginning to smell like opal fruits.
Have I told you lately that I like to smell you? **puff puff**

7. I'm beginning to see pandas in those trees over there. Do you see it? Out of all the millions of hippies here, you are the most stubborn.
But I dig it, man. **puff puff**

8. I'd use all my blood, sweat and taste buds, just to get next to your looking glass.
Love is free but I'd really like to buy that guy's neck brace.
It says "Make ketchup, not mustard." Far out!

9. I'm grateful to be young 'cause there's a bad vibe rising in Jefferson's Airplane. But that's okay, 'cause Joe Cocker said I could get by with a little pinch of smelling salts from my friends.

10. Oh, by the way, your Spider-Man pants are on fire. But I dig it.

I was in a really weird mood when I filled this out. Blahhhh. Mimi says I might stay out of the dungeon if I post a picture of myself in hippie clothes.

I'm not old enough to have attended Woodstock but did go through a mad hippie faze in college (and still have a little hippyness to me). I'm not going to post pictures of me in those clothes though because I was a little 'bigger' back then but I wondered whether I still get points for showing off my awesome hippie peace tattoo which I've had for four years.

(Excuse the quality of the photograph - it was taken during a very drunken night out)

Giveaway: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Mel from Melody's Reading Corner is giving away two copies of Philippa Gregory's latest novel, The White Queen, to two lucky readers.


Philippa Gregory, "the queen of royal fiction" (USA Today) Presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.

To see more details on how to enter, visit Melody's Reading Corner here. The deadline is midnight, August 17th.  

Monday, 10 August 2009

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) trailer

I've been waiting for the trailer to this film for a long time. Before Ledger died, I spotted that he was collaborating with Terry Gilliam and thought that would be an interesting mix. After seeing pictures of the set designs I knew this would have an amazing look to it - it takes place in a travelling circus and - as long as the circus doesn't have clowns - I love them! The costumes and design of old-fashioned gothic circuses are incredible. And this film looks absolutely visually stunning.

I was kind of P.O'd that The Dark Knight was being marketed as Ledger's 'last film' because (as usual) it meant studio heads were ignoring Gilliam's latest efforts and this would likely never see the light of day. But luckily after it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival critics have gone mad for it and people are fighting over it. Woot!

I'm loving the look of it. Critics have said it's a true weird and wacky Gilliam world.

An observational note: Johnny Depp seems to be able to have only one British accent. He failed miserably at the one in From Hell and swore that next time he was going to make sure it would never happen again. He found his niche using the slurry Jack Sparrow accent and, from what I can tell, has stuck to that one ever since (think Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland). Bless.  

Sunday, 9 August 2009

The Lovely Bones (2009) trailer

I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I just don't know. Ahh. I was told to read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold because it was apparently 'amazing,' and actually I was quite disappointed. It was alright. It just didn't blow my mind like it was apparently supposed to.

But, as far as the trailer goes, it doesn't look too bad. It looks pretty similar to the book and I still didn't have the 'Wow' reaction but I do love some of the actors in the film - Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan (who stole the film in Atonement and bravo on her for conquering that American accent) - so that would probably be the reason I might go to see it.

Mark Wahlberg still seems too young to be playing a father of teenage girls (I can't believe they originally cast Ryan Gosling in that role - he's 28!)

What do you think of the trailer?

BTW - what on Earth happened to Peter Jackson? He's introducing the trailer here and I couldn't believe my eyes when he popped up. I'm glad he's all healthy now but, as my boyfriend said, "It's sad when big cuddly people become skinny."


Oh, yeah, a big thing I forgot to comment on following my recent changes to the blog - my username, Lady Lazarus is gone. I don't know how I feel about that yet but I've changed my username to my actual name (seeing as a few of you said it was really pretty (aww, shucks, thanks!) ). My name means 'Love' in Welsh, and is pronounced the same as 'Keri' or 'Kerry.'

Yeah ... the change is a little weird. But at least I'm me now. :-)  

Childhood Recaptured

Thursday I attended a recruitment evening for a cosmetics company I won't name. Needless to say I did pretty well and was called back on Friday to come in for a trial run Saturday to see how well I interact with the customers and whatnot.

I have five years of customer retail experience. I worked through college and university, and I worked in a huge music/DVD company for Christmas after I graduated last year, so I know that I can do a superb job in dealing with people and products. I was really nervous Saturday morning but knew that once I got into the swing of things I'd be fine.

Unfortunately I discovered that I might as well have applied for a job in telesales. Now, I know I can work with people, I know that I can help them find what's right for them, but one thing I can not do is convince people to buy things they don't need and don't want.

I'm a fan of this cosmetics company - they use organic products, not tested on animals and about 80% of their stuff is vegan (the other 20% being vegetarian) - but I saw such a different side to it yesterday. They're known for having bright, chirpy smiles and an 'always willing to help' attitude, the moment you walk into the shop.

When I got there, they took us to the office and gave us the run-through. We're expected to greet every customer that comes in. (Fine, I can do that.) We are not allowed to say 'How can I help you?' 'Would you like me to show you a demonstration?' 'Would you like my help?' (Um, okay ...) You just do it! (What?) You say, 'Here, come with me and I'll show you.' And give them at least five demonstrations. You don't leave the customer alone at all! No customer should be without a sales person.

How is that not pushing them to buy, buy buy, if you're completely attached to them at all times? I can understand that some people don't really know what they're looking for or and do need help and are afraid to ask. That's cool. But, as somebody who hates having sales people leer over me in shops when I just want to be left alone to browse, I don't feel comfortable doing that. It's one thing to ask, 'Do you need any help at all?' (which isn't allowed to be said at this shop) but to stand right next to somebody when they've popped in on a Saturday just to have a quick look around and browse made me feel awful.

I even got glares from the Assistant Manager when I walked away from two 12-year-old girls who clearly had no money (this shop is really expensive) and were just in town together on a Saturday to look around. I can't force these children into buying something with their last £2.50!

In the end, the manager called me aside and said I looked really uncomfortable and it was clear when I walked in that I was nervous. She said thousands of people come in for shop floor trials and never make it because you have to have full-on in-your-face confidence from the start.

When I left and met up with my boyfriend, I cried. But I don't know whether it was from sadness at failing another interview, or relief. I could tell that the whole thing was going to put a damper on my day but then my boyfriend changed that.

After our friend had arrived, he snuck away for a while. It's probably worth mentioning that a few weeks ago we were walking past Borders and they had a bunch of children's books in the windows. Among them were a selection of the old Where's Wally? books. I joked that I felt like the one thing that had been missing from my childhood was a Where's Wally? book. I'd never had a copy of my own and never so much as looked at one because they were always taken out of the library.

So, to make me better about a crummy day, he snuck away for half hour, went straight to Borders, and bought me my own copy of Where's Wally?: Book One!

One thing I love is the fact that I'm completely open about what I read - whether it's children's books or adult fiction or crime/thriller or horror or chick lit or erotica or whatever. Being an adult will never stop me from reading children's/YA books, so my new Where's Wally? book is holding a pride of place position on my bookshelves right now. Thank you, hunny, for that surprise and making me feel wonderful :-D.

While on the other subject of books, it's probably worth mentioning that my review for Shame On You by Clara Salaman is right here. I know a few of you saw that in my Mailbox Mondays post and found the plot quite interesting.

Onto other things, I bought an issue of New Humanist yesterday (I had never read this magazine until then) and with it came a free pack of God Trumps! Some of the most hilarious descriptions I've read on those cards - you play against each religion's strengths and weaknesses. My boyfriend and I were having a right ol' giggle playing it in Starbucks yesterday.

And, finally, to show how infinitely nerdy I am - my parents have just got some brand new bookshelves that take up the space of one of the walls downstairs and have asked me to organise them! Yes ... I'm excited and I'm a dork! :-D  

Friday, 7 August 2009

The Picture of Dorian Gray (2009) trailer

Just a teaser trailer but I am loving the feel of this. Out of all the book-to-screen adaptations I've seen the trailers for recently, this is the one I'm the most excited about. <3

It looks so sexy and British and suave and ... (I swear, I'm describing the film not the actor) ... dark and gothic and ... wow. I'm going to read the book again before this comes out. I'm currently using the book as a mousemat ... but I'm going to read it anyway. :-D

This is the kind of 'dark, brooding monster' teen girls should be lusting after ... not frickin' Edward Cullen!!!  

Thursday, 6 August 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

John Hughes: 1950 - 2009

This is really not a good year for talent. Director John Hughes has died in New York after a fatal heart attack. This is the man who is responsible for directing:
  1. Curly Sue (1991)
  2. Uncle Buck (1989)
  3. She's Having a Baby (1988)
  4. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
  5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
  6. Weird Science (1985)
  7. The Breakfast Club (1985)
  8. Sixteen Candles (1984)

And writing the Home Alone films, the Beethoven films, the National Lampoon films, and the beautiful screenplay for the Miracle on 34th Street remake.

He hadn't done much in a long while and, as a fan of his '80s brat pack movies, I was hoping he'd come back with something awesome. At least we have a whole host of fun family (and teen) films to remember him by.  

BTT: Serious Reading

Booking Through Thursday
's QOTW is:

What’s the most serious book you’ve read recently?
(I figure it’s easier than asking your most serious boook ever, because, well, it’s recent!)

I guess it kind of depends on the definition of 'serious.'

I'd call Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin a serious book because of the issues it dealt with. It gave a very hard look at all the things we put into our bodies on a day-to-day basis. Yes, it was done in a humourous 'in-your-face' way but the issues themselves were still very, very serious, and some I took to heart.

Likewise with Will Jellyfish Rule the World? by Leo Hickman. In spite of the fact that it was a children's book written to have fun with, it underlined some very important issues about climate change and what we can do to help our world.

The most serious in tone I've read recently is The Monk by Matthew Lewis, a book I didn't finish because of how monotone the narrator seemed and the neverending 'serious'ness of the way the story was told.  

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A few things I need your opinions on ...

Okay, so this isn't much to do with anything but this blog. There's a few things I want to change and I wanted YOUR opinions and possibly YOUR help with a few of these things. :-)

1) Blog: As you may have noticed, the blog's name has changed from "Lady Lazarus" to "Not in the Pink."

- When I started the blog, I wanted to be slightly hidden from the world. Obviously everyone needs a bit of privacy on the internet and 'Lady Lazarus' seemed like a great identity to take on. (Not only am I the number 1 Sylvia Plath fan but 'Lady Lazarus' is my favourite poem.)

'Not in the Pink' is a lyric from the song 'I'm going slightly mad' by Queen. I always joke that that song sums up my life and the phrase 'not in the pink' means 'not entirely sane.' Obviously I used it as my blog address but I think I'm going to add it as the title to my blog. It's a much better describing word of the blog than just having my 'name'.

I'm still going under the identity 'Lady Lazarus' but the blog will be 'Not in the Pink'. (Of course, a few of you I've been making friends with know my real name - Ceri - and refer to me as that which is cool :-D ).

Anyway, wrong decision? Right decision? What do you think?

2) Comments! A few of you have asked me whether I'd consider putting the comment box in a pop-out rather than having it embedded, while I have also heard that a pop-out comment box can cause problems for those with pop-up blocker.

So I've put a poll (to the left) for you guys to vote on what you'd prefer. :-)

Speaking of comments, I'm so sorry I take forever to reply back at times. I'll get on top of that and am really grateful for all the lovely things you guys say.

3) Layout - I like the template I have on my blog right now but that's not to say I won't think about changing it at some point.

I was just wondering (as I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to HTML), does anyone know how to save all the widgets and whatnot that's around the side of the blog? (The lists, polls, etc.) I wouldn't want to lose them all from just changing a template/style.

Any advice/comments you can give me would be great. Thanks so much guys. Love to you all.

(And, just for good fun, here's the video for Queen's 'I'm going slightly mad'.)


The Queen's Meme: WBLOG TV

(Courtesy of Mimi from Queen of Memes)
The place where unbloggable news happens and sources are never a secret. You are the creator, producer, writer and news anchor of the WBLOG nightly news. It is your job to deliver the news in your own style from your own blog.

(Why do I get the feeling I'm going to fail this one?)

And oh, you get to make up the news! Here's your assignment:

1. The Weather Channel: Give me your personality forecast. Are you sunny, wet, windy, or cloudy? Why?
Typically the weather seems to be quite stormy with unpredictable sunny spells. It's kind of like British weather in the sense that it's unpredictable (I mean, it's rained all the way through July and it's still raining here in Wales!). Weather will depend on what I'm doing for the day and also depend a lot on how my mental state is holding up.

2. The News Channel: What is the breaking news story of the day in your world?
This just in: Lady Lazarus got another two job rejection letters! Yay(!) (Ergh!) Oh, and she ate cheese ... (Bad vegan!)

3. The Economic Channel: How are things on the economic front? And more importantly, do you have ideas to save the planet from financial ruin?
Latest news on the economic front is bad. Very bad. In fact, it's pretty non-existent. WBLOG suggests that Earth stop spending green notes on crap. *whispers* You don't actually need that stuff. :-P Oh, and if that doesn't work, go back in time and invest all your money on this thing called 'the internet'. (It'll be huge!)

4. The Entertainment Channel: Give us the latest blog celebrity gossip. Dish it!
My source tells me that Lady Lazarus was that close to spilling some real big secrets she's acquired on her blog. haha! Her friends would love her for that(!) Well, let me tell you one thing: Lady Lazarus certainly does not kiss Eric Bana (as Henry DeTamble)'s picture every night before going to bed. Honestly ... *ahem* :-P ;-)

5. The Sports Channel: Make up your sport, give your team a name and choose five players from the list of names on the Mr. Linky list. What are the rules of the game?
It seems that jen the dust bunny hostage, Mimi Lenox, Bond, Tarot Mom and Duchess Dethroned have joined forces to combat against opposing teams in the new sport, The Deadly Eye. Rules are as followed: Each player must sit two feet away from an opposing player and proceed with what is commonly called a 'staring contest'. The twist to The Deadly Eye is that each player must wear a piece of fruit as a moustache. Last player to hold a straight face is winner!

6. The Comedy Channel: How will you make us laugh today? Tell us a blunny (that's blog + funny for all you non-blog speakers).
This just in: Live webcam shots of Lady Lazarus acting like a prat - dancing around and singing in her PJs to the Chicago soundtrack while attempting to blog. Laughter ensues.

7. The Religous Channel: Make up a blog religion. Tell us why your blog church will save our souls.
The fabulous new blog religion is called: 'The Church of Blank'. Oh, yeah, if you join this church, you won't just be joining a church, you'll be joining a nothing! Guaranteed to live guilt free, you'll be left to your own devices and not have to worry about what happens in the afterlife. The Church of Blank encourages you to stay away from all religion because religion causes wars and wars make pandas cry. :'-( So join The Church of Blank and live carefree! :-D

8. The Soap Opera Channel: What is the name of your soap opera?
'No Days in Our Lives' - Life that takes place when the sun goes down, insomniacs reach their peak hours, and people with strange sleeping patterns wake up and go about their daily lives while the moon is out, the sky is dark and daylight is a mere illusion. (Oh, yeah, we exist and we do some weird things :-D )  

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The Zombie Chicken Award

A big thank you to Jaime at For the love of all that is written for giving me my first blogger award! :-D And what an awesome award too! I can't think of a more kickass one than this.

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...

This means a lot so thanks again Jaime - you rule.

This is hard (having to nominate) because there are so many wicked blogs but here's who I'm giving this to:

- (Even though she's already had it before) Joanne at The Book Zombie

- Amanda at The Zen Leaf

- Violet at Violet Crush

- Lauren at Half Deserted Streets

- Melody at Melody's Reading Corner

- Marta at Vampire Wire

If you haven't visited these blogs, I urge you to. These are some pretty terrific gals :-) (I feel somewhat guilty that I have no men on there.)  

Weekly Geeks - Music Match

Well, I thought this was my first Weekly Geeks but it turns out I'm wrong. Way back when I was still trying to figure out what to use this blog for, I did a Weekly Geeks about Guilty Pleasures. This week's is about music:

Music is a pretty amazing thing. It can take us back to the past, make us want to dance, put us in a romantic mood, or simply lift our spirits. But sometimes, music does something a little different for me: it reminds me of a book.

Yes, there is nothing more geeky than to be riding down the road listening to the radio and suddenly thinking "That song matches [book title] perfectly!". But that is exactly what happens to me sometimes. For example, whenever I hear Phil Collins' song 'Can't Stop Loving You,' I immediately think of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North and South. To me, it is exactly the kind of song that describes the two main characters' relationship.

So, my fellow Weekly Geeks, your challenge this week is to come up with at least one song-book match. It could remind you of a theme from the book, a specific part of the plot, or even one of the characters (a sort of theme song, if you will). Be sure to include samples of the lyrics and the reason why that song reminds you of that book. If you can provide a link to a recording of the song so that other geeks can hear it that would be great as well. (One good place to look for links is, there are others, too).

This was a lot harder than I thought. I ended up with two good answers and three pretty lame ones. We'll start with the good connections.

1) Gothic Lolita by Emilie Autumn = Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice/Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

How old are you?
I'm older than you'll ever be
I've been dead a thousand years
And lived only two or three
I don't mind telling you
My life was ended by your hand
The kind of murder where nobody dies
But I don't suppose you'd understand
Call off the search
We've found her

If I am Lolita
Then you are a criminal
And you should be killed
By an army of little girls
The law won't arrest you
The world won't detest you
You never did anything
Any man wouldn't do
I'm Gothic Lolita
And you are a criminal
I'm not even legal
I'm just a dead little girl
But ruffles and laces
And candy sweet faces
Directed your furtive hand
I perfectly understand

There's something so eerie about the idea of a little girl who has lived for a thousand years. The words stick out and remind me of Claudia from Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, a tragic character who grows into a woman locked underneath the face of a child. Claudia is dressed in ruffles and laces and made to look like a doll with a candy sweet face but she is very much an old soul.

Eli from Let the Right One In and her relationship with Hakan seem to fit these lyrics properly. Like Claudia, she's been alive for hundreds of years but is locked in a child's body. Her 'partner in crime' is Hakan, a convicted paedophile who provides her with blood in exchange for 'being' with her. How old are you? I'm older than you'll ever be? ... I'm Gothic Lolita And you are a criminal I'm not even legal I'm just a dead little girl ... These lyrics couldn't be more true to describe their twisted relationship.


2) King's Crossing by Elliott Smith = The Beatniks/The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

This one I'm going to give you to listen to. As well as the lyrics, it's the all-round mood of the song.

There's something very tragic about the way some of the Beatniks wrote; The idea that they never truly belonged anywhere, always alone on the road, looking for that something new to express their creativity. While it's a lifestyle I'd love to try out at some point, it must have gotten awful lonely. This is why I also applied it to The Virgin Suicides. The girls who were trying to live their lives as normal teenagers were shut up in isolation with nothing to occupy their thoughts but suicide (a big element of the song).


3) Narcissist by The Libertines = The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This is kind of an obvious choice, especially as the song features the lyrics:

They're just narcissists
Well wouldn't it be nice to be Dorian Gray?
Just for a day

The song's pretty self explanatory. I'll let you listen for yourself. It's about beauty and the narcissism that consumes us in the modern world.


4) Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush = Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

A lame and obvious choice but any excuse to see Kate dance crazily to this song. Hearing it always makes me want to pick up the book.


5) Supermassive Black Hole by Muse = Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Yeah, I did *not* like the book and thought the film was okay but that baseball scene in the film stuck in my head because of this track. As a result, Meyer's Twilight saga will always be slightly 'cool' because of Catherine Hardwicke's decision to put this in the film.


Review: The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory

Title: The Virgin's Lover

Author: Philippa Gregory

Rating: 2/5

Year: 2004

Plot: In the summer of 1558, church bells across England ring out the news - Elizabeth is queen. One woman hears them with dread; Amy Dudley, wife of Sir Robert, knows that with Elizabeth on the throne he will return to the glamourous Tudor court. Amy's hopes that the ambitions of the Dudley family had died when Robert's father was beheaded are ended. The triumphant peal of bells summon her husband once more to power - and to a passionate young queen.

Elizabeth has inherited a bankrupt and rebellious country. Her advisor William Cecil warns that she will only survive if she marries a strong prince, but the only man Elizabeth desires is her childhood friend.

Robert is sure that he can reclaim his destiny at Elizabeth's side. And as queen and courtier fall in love, Dudley begins to contemplate the impossible - setting aside his loving wife to marry the young Elizabeth ...

(Taken from the back cover of Philippa Gregory, 2005, The Other Boleyn Girl, Great Britain: HarperCollinsPublishers.)

Review: I'm a history buff. My specialist subject is The Tudor family. As a result, I love all historical fiction that revolves around that time period and, though I'm more than aware that Philippa Gregory's novels are less than historically accurate, I do enjoy her books.

However, I was greatly disappointed with this one. I'm not going to spend too long talking about it because I want to move on and away from it. The biggest issue I had with this book were the way the characters were written.

Let's start with Elizabeth. Now, the whole reason Queen Elizabeth I is a big deal for this country is that she was the first queen to rule alone at a time when women were regarded as second-rate. Her time was regarded as 'The Golden Age' and she chose not to marry (to the frustration of her council) and did it all alone. She is a strong, fiercely ambitious woman in history that saw this country through wars, rebellions, religious hatred and near bankruptcy for the entire country. And she did it without leaning on her 'King' husband for help. That son and heir Henry VIII always wanted was her.

Gregory's portrayal of Elizabeth is a whiney, spoilt, little girl who has no clue what she's doing. I'm under no illusions that when Elizabeth first came to the throne she knew all the tricks of the trade. But I also find it hard to believe that this feisty redhead who knew how to get what she wanted was controlled so badly by Robert Dudley that she grew too scared of him to stand up for herself. Gregory's Elizabeth finds herself taking orders from Dudley as though he is king. She is weak, feeble-minded, and doesn't know how to make decisions for herself. Gregory's Elizabeth is merely a sorority girl plucked from obscurity and placed onto the throne at the Tudor court - not my kind of Elizabeth!

While Robert Dudley is probably represented quite accurately - as a man longing for power and to always remain the favourite of the Queen - I think my judgement is probably clouded by Joseph Fiennes' portrayal of the lord in Elizabeth (1998). I picked up a book entitled The Queen's Lover to read about a great love story between a powerful woman and an ambitious man - not to read about a weak, silly little girl seduced by a womanising sod who has no ounce of charm. He's often described as charming, good-looking and irresistable in the novel (as history tells it) but there's no evidence from his actions here to support that.

Amy Dudley's character was pathetic: Everything a woman was expected to be at that time - running after and forgiving her husband for every major flaw. When she discovers he's having a very public affair with the Queen, she mopes around her friend's houses with nothing better to do.

The only thing that kept me reading this story was William Cecil, Elizabeth's advisor. The second half of the novel seemed to focus on him and his opinion a great deal and it was only because of his intolerance for the relationship and quick intelligence that there seemed to be any reason to stick with the story.

Portraying Elizabeth as a selfish, flirtatious Barbie seems to be a trend among historical fiction writers these days. It almost appears to be too taboo to think about her strength as a woman during those times. (Would anyone like to recommend a book that does focus on that?) Yes, Elizabeth had lovers and knew exactly how to use her sexuality ... but so did her father, and her grandfather, and every other king before and after her who had wives and multiple mistresses. But, of course, because a woman does it, it's a big deal. And she's a tramp.

A very disappointing read, especially when I'd enjoyed Gregory's other novels (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen's Fool, The Wise Woman). Let's hope the next ones I read improve.

About the Author: Philippa Gregory is an established writer and broadcaster for radio and television. She holds a PhD in eighteenth-century literature from the University of Edinburgh. She has been widely praised for her historical novels, including Earthly Joys, Virgin Earth, A Respectable Trade, The Other Boleyn Girl (which was adapted for BBC television) and The Queen's Fool, as well as her works of contemporary suspense. Philippa Gregory lives in the North of England with her family.

(Taken from the inside cover of Philippa Gregory, 2005, The Other Boleyn Girl, Great Britain: HarperCollinsPublishers.)