Saturday, September 26, 2009

Feehan's Dark Carpathians - Part 3

Dark Magic (novel)Image via Wikipedia
Dark Magic
Christine Feehan
Book 4: Dark series
ISBN-10: 0-505-52389-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-505-52389-2


Gregori. The Dark One. The Bogeyman of the Carpathian people.  For a thousand years he has been loyal to the Prince and when Mikhail and Raven have a daughterGregori knows that she is his lifemate , for he has manipulated things to ensure it.  But when he goes to her, to claim her when she is 18 years old, her fear of what having alifemate means and her terror of Gregori himself, touches his heart and he vows to give her 5 years of freedom before he forces his claim.  And force it he will have to do, for after she flees the Carpathian Mountains and escapes to her mother's homeland, Savannah's independence and fierce will only grows in strength. Gregori has held the darkness at bay for too long though and without her light he will become the very thing he has always hunted - Vampire - and no one, not even Mikhail, would have the strength and power to destroy him.

Savannah does not want to live under any mans control and she sees the bonds of a lifemate as a type of cage.  She can not imagine being happy with any man, least of all Gregori, whose name she's always heard whispered in tones of awe and fear.  All of the Carpathian people tremble at his power and the undead live in terror of facing him in battle.  She can not comprehend how she can be expected to anchor such a man.  Then he comes for her.

The Beast is crouching close, too close, when Gregori comes.  It is only his immense will and deep strength that has allowed him to hold on as long as he has.  Savannah is his only hope, yet still he fears that it is too late for them and that he'll be condemning her to an eternity of loneliness.  The depth of his darkness is proven by their disastrous claiming/mating ritual when he very nearly kills her in hisbloodlust .  It is her goodness, her compassion and her willingness to sacrifice her life for his, that pulls him back from the brink of madness and allows him to fight off the part of himself that would become the deepest of evils.

She looks inside him and sees something she must save.  Savannah know that their lives will not be easy - he's an arrogant, domineering man and she's got a fiercely independent spirit - but the more time they spend together, the more she comes to believe that they can be happy.  The longer they dwell within each other's mind and soul, the more assured she becomes that their love will save them both.

They travel together from San Fransisco to New Orleans in hopes of drawing out those who seek to take Savannah from him.  In the course of their investigations they meet Gary Jansen and they decide to 'take him under their wings,' drawing him further into their world.  They also stumble upon an ancient vampire who has stalked the swamps and people of New Orleans for more then a century.  To protect Savannah, Gary and the innocent people of N.O.,Gregori must defeat this ancient evil and in doing so risks all that he has gained.  In the end, both his and Savannah's survival is in Gary's hands and they can do no other but trust in him.

We saw in the first three books of the series [Dark Prince, Desire, and Gold] that Gregori was a force to be reckoned with but that the darkness within him was vast and nearly enveloping him.  In this book we see a man, a strong Carpathian hunter who is scared of himself, despite of and because of his own power.  He knew that it was too late for him to face the dawn.  He knew that Savannah was his only hope, but even in his darkest of days he remained honorable and loyal.  In this series we see many great men, many powerful men and many strong women but it is in this book - Dark Magic - where we see the first hint of the true strength of theDaratrazanoff line and depth of magic that lies in their souls.

Next we'll see how the past can shape the future and how powerful love truly can be.  Keep an eye out next weekend for Part 4 of Feehan's Dark Carpathians when we witness the return of the first Ancient.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Some More Carpathian Addicted Fun

Okay so I was working on Part 3 for the Carpathian book review series and was looking around at Christine Feehan's website and decided to watch a couple of the book trailers that she's had made for advertisement and endorsement of her books.  Watching those video's gave me the idea to look for other video's of the same series, so I went to YouTube and I searched.  Amazingly (or not so amazingly since I've always known that I wasn't alone in my love/obsession for the Dark series) there are a great number of video's - fanmade for the most part - that are available to view.  I watched a great many... What can I say? "My name is Lacey and I'm an addict..."  

I chose this one video to link here.  It doesn't go with any single book in the series, it actually showcases each lifemate-pair for all of the books currently available, including the most current release: Dark Slayer.  Please remember when you view this video that it is FAN MADE and therefore neither the music or the actors used are meant to infringe on Christine Feehan's rights or meant to portray her opinion of who or what the characters in her books look like. Also, the song used is not meant to infringe on the Artists rights.  That being said, I do think that the actors and music used are quite a good fit with the series and the 'feel' of the books themselves.  So, I hope you enjoy.



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Now I've always been a vocarious reader, an obvious fact if you look at the archive of what I have written on just this blog since it's inception, but my reading does not only stay within the realm of printed or 'professional' works.  I do a lot of reading (and my fair share of writing) in the "fan-fiction" worlds as well.  I first started reading and writing stories for the WB series Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) but in the years since I first visited those sites, I have expanded my interests to include amatuer works for other TV shows and for some series of books as well - the Dark series included.  

The following three stories are ones that are published on Fanfiction.net and are probably my three favorite Carpathian fan-stories that are available anywhere on-line. (At least that I've come across so far.)  I hope that you'll take the time to read them and if you do I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them as much as I have.

Dark Alliance (by Skyefox)

Heart of the Dragon (by murgatroid-98) - this story is part of a series, and while each of the parts is great, I particularly like this installment.

Memoirs of a Dragonseeker (by JadedKatrina)

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There you go, another update, yay!!  Since before I decided to write this up (and got distracted by YouTube video's for the Carpathians), I was working on the next installment of Feehan's Dark Carpathians, I should be able to put that up in the next few hours, or day at the most.  Until then, happy viewing, happy reading and I hope you enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New This Fall...

So you all read my Twilight blog at the beginning of the month, you got to see how my apprehension of getting addicted to another series of YA novels put me off the idea of even reading the first book for so long.  You got to hear me basically sing raptures about how when I finally gave in to the 'pressures of the media' I fell in love - with the series, with the characters, with the movie.  Well maybe the movie bit was implied but it's true.  

Now, the second movie in the Twilight saga, New Moon, is soon to be released (in November 2009) and it seems like every few days we're learning something more about the cast, the producers, the twists, and all that.  Just in the last week the newest trailer for the movie was released and being the supremely gracious person that I am, and the slightly obsessed fan that I've become, I've decided to post the video here for your viewing pleasure... Enjoy!!




Remember for all information concerning this movie and the rest of the Twilight saga, please visit the official site.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feehan's Dark Carpathian's - Part 2

Dark Desire
Christine Feehan
Book 2: Dark Series
ISBN: 0-8439-5653-4

Shea O'Halleran was born different and had grown up knowing that she was nothing like any one else, not even her own mother.  As a child she needed blood to survive and watched as her mother withdrew from the world and from her, and withered into nothingness.  Overcoming the adversities of her young life, she put her self through University and became a brilliant researcher and surgeon.  But when 2 strange men begin to question who and what she is, she knows that her peaceful existence is at an end and that her days on this earth were numbered.  Especially as the nightmares haunting her become more frequent and the effects of them more lasting.

Jacques has only memories of pain, blood and torture.  He knows he was betrayed, though he has no clear memory of who betrayed him.  So when he's able to connect his mind with a woman far from him and she's all but elbow deep in blood and guts he believes he's discovered his tormentor.  In his madness he uses all his power, weak though it may be to lure her to him.

And she comes.  Years later, but she comes to him and when she does they are both in for a shock.  Shea learns that she doesn't actually have a blood disorder, she's part of another species.  Jacques finds out that Shea is his lifemate and that she is his reason for living.  Together they find family and friends, and they find the betrayer that cost the Carpathians several of their people years before.

His madness and her hard past cause both of them a lot of difficulties in their relationship but they both know that together they have a better chance of survival and happiness then they do apart.  Together they can have everything they ever dreamed but first they are forced to deal with the betrayer -- Shea's father, and a Carpathian we've met before, Rand.

I'm not sure what it is about me but I find that I am forever drawn to the drastically damaged men I read about.  In Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series, Zarek has always been one of my favorite characters. [Dance with the Devil] His pain and his fear of further betrayal, a lure that my heart couldn't resist.  In the BDB series it's Zsadist who caught my heart.  A strong warrior who should have had every advantage in the life but who, through a random twist of fate, became a slave to a sadistic, horrifying female noble vamp. [J.R. Ward, Lover Awakened] And then of course we have Jacques.

Mikhail hooked me on paranormal romances, but it was Jacques who snared me and kept me hooked on the Carpathians and the Dark series.  Raven showed me a strength of character and purity that I longed to emulate and Shea... Shea proved to me that everyone deserves a happy beginning and a happy life.

This completes the second installment of my review series.  Don't forget to watch for Part #3, coming soon.

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As always, for your continued interest in any of the series that I've mentioned please follow the links to the author's official sites.

Christine Feehan - Dark Series
Sherrilyn Kenyon - Dark-Hunter Series
J.R. Ward - Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just On A Quick Aside:

The formatting here has really been pissing me off lately! It's not with every post, it's only with the one's where I am including a picture of any kind.... So like, all of my reviews since I include a picture or other image with all of them.  In any case, it's just REALLY making me angry and I thought I'd share that with every one!!!

The Vampire Diaries on the CW

The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith


I saw the previews on TV about a month ago for the Vampire Diaries and I was intrigued, enough so that I went out and bought the original book series - including the reunion (book #4). Since Twilight I've been more perceptive to 'new' Young Adult and Teen paranormal or fantasy series, so I was actually pleased to have something new to read that could compare.  And it did, compare that is.

L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries perhaps wasn't as compelling and addictive, for me anyways, as Twilight was but the series itself and the romance between the young 'teenaged' male vampire and the human girl was, and is, an interesting read.  In reading the two different series quite close together, I found that while I read I was making a lot of comparisons between the stories.  That's probably not entirely fair to either Meyer or Smith, but I hope that they won't mind.  Smith wrote her books some time ago and the mind set of our society at the time and the driving 'plot requirements' for young adult/teen stories was different.  In many ways, I think as a society we're just maturing more quickly and also we're not quite as protective of what our youth are reading (and watching on TV).  But personally, I really liked the Vampire Diaries book series.  
I liked reading about Elena and Stefan, Damon, and all the other characters.  I liked the plot line and the color that Smith was able to incorporate into the story with flashbacks to Stefan and Damon's past.  When it comes right down to it, I liked the series as a whole and I don't think there is anything that I could complain or criticise about it.


Not so with the TV version of the same. 

"The Vampire Diaries" 
When I saw the previews the first thing that I said to my husband was, "They've got it all wrong - Stefan is 500 years old, not 100, Elena is a blond, not brunette and Bonnie was a short redhead, not a tall-ish African American."  And that was just from the preview!  I was almost tempted to not watch the show.  I didn't want to have to rearrange my vision of what the characters looked like in my head.  I didn't want to have to adjust my vision of the town and surrounding setting.  I didn't want to have to adjust to changes in the story line.  I just didn't know if I wanted to risk watching the show and having it skew my pleasure of the book.


But I watched it anyways.  Yeah, it's different.  There's no arguing that, those differences are just to glaring to ignore.  Yet surprisingly, so far anyways, they fit.  I just finished watching the series premiere and I liked it.  For as skeptical and downright pessimistic I was about whether it would be any good, that is actually saying alot.  It's certainly not my favorite show and I wouldn't compare the TV adaptation of Vampire Diaries to the movie version of Twilight but I do like it and I will be watching next week to see more.

So once again I've been surprised by my enjoyment of something that for all intents and purposes I didn't think would be as good as it was.  It was that good, and I can only hope that the show will continue to get better as time goes by.  

Here's hoping?!?!

For more information about the CW's production of Vampire Diaries please visit the official website, here.
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I have part 2 of Feehan's Dark Carpathians nearly ready for posting, so I'll be getting that up this weekend sometime.  And a hint on it's content, one word: madness!
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Feehan's Dark Carpathians - Part 1

Dark Prince
Christine Feehan
book 1 - Dark Series
ISBN: 0-8439-5528-7


Over the past several years I've collected hundreds of books. And I do mean that literally! The majority of my library is in the romance genre (surprise, surprise) but the books range through nearly all the 'sub-genres' that are printed - historical, contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, erotic, etc. If I were to pinpoint a specific book that managed to get me hooked on paranormal romances, specifically vampire novels, I think it would come down to one title: DARK PRINCE. I had read the odd paranormal romance before this one but none of them had hooke me. From the first page, the first paragraph, I was drawn in. The despair and lonliness that Feehan portrayed in her lead male, and the leader of his race, Mikhail Dubrinsky was sharp and grasping. And just like Raven was attracted to it and was compelled to respond to it, I too wanted to be apart of their lives.

As the story continues, I'll admit, there were a couple of times when I had to wonder whether I would be able to do as they did. Whether my mind would be able to accept the changes and demands that the Carpathian lifestyle requires. And several years after first reading this book, I still don't know if I would have the courage and strength that Christine gave her leading lady, (and doesn't just have serious double meanings?) Raven Whitney. I'd like to believe my character, my mind and soul, would have that core of goodness. But I'm not sure, and more than anything else, it is this constant, pounding question in my mind that draws me back to Dark Prince over and over.

Would I be able to accept that there were supernatural beings, creatures, in the world? Could I love one of them? Could I become one? Would love be enough of a motivator to compell me if I did have doubts? They are all hard questions and each is vastly different from what a normal man or woman is faced with when deciding to join their life with another. A scary, dangerous prospect in any case.

Throughout the book we see various struggles, by both Raven and Mikhail, that lead us to the day we can't wait for. Happily ever after. Or at any rate - happy. Together. In love. Raven and Mikhail's story is a classic example of two vastly different "worlds" colliding and the people being left to make the very best of a situation. Fortunately, Raven and Mikhail are able to make things work for them... With a little help from their friends.
               Jacques.


                               Byron.

                                             Gregori.

                                                            Aidan.

And all the other hunters who joined together to ensure that their Prince lived, loved, survived and thrived.

This is the first installment for my Feehan's Dark Carpathians review series. This series is a personal favorite and hopefully only the first of such projects that we'll all see published here on 'Ups, Downs, Ins and Outs.' For more information on Christine Feehan or the Dark Series please visit her website (there is a permanent link on the sidebar of this page) or click here. Thank you for reading and I hope you'll keep an eye out for the second installment in this series - for Dark Desire.
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What to Write?

I've always got a lot of ideas about what I should post here on this blog. When I first created it, I was going to use this site to feature some of my personal writings - poetry, short stories, etc. But I have since put up another site where I discuss my trials and tribulations along the road to becoming a published author. I have come to use that site for spotlighting my writing when the mood arises.

Since it's conception this site has seen my monthly reading lists, book reviews and discussions, movie reviews and recommendations, and even some discussion about TV shows that I particularly enjoy. I guess you could say it's a place where I've chosen to discuss that which I use to entertain myself - books, movies and TV. And I've decided that this set-up works for me. I haven't always been good about posting regularly, though I'm going to try to work on that, but when I have written and posted on this site I've always enjoyed myself.

Children reading

I enjoy reviewing other's stories. I enjoy talking about movies and TV shows. I even like letting everyone know what I am reading. So that's exactly what I'm going to do.

I'm going to try to start posting twice a week. About whatever I can think of - as it pertains to books, movies and TV; whether it's a review, a reading list, or simply telling you how much I enjoyed the episode of CSI I watched recently. I'm going to try. And I'm going to write.

I've just posted (less than an hour ago) a discussion of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga and in the last weeks I posted a couple of book reviews for books and/or series that I particularly love. I'm going to be continuing in this vein for the next while as I read through, again, the Dark series by Christine Feehan. I may not end up review each book, individually, but I will eventually discuss all 20 of the current books in the series. I'm not sure where I'll go from there, I guess only time can tell, but no matter where I end up, I am going to try to maintain this site.

Anyways, that's all I've got to say for right now. Keep your eyes open for the first installment of what I'm going to call "Feehan's Dark Carpathians," it should be up by the end of the weekend.


--for a complete list of the novels in the Dark series please follow the link on the left to Christine Feehan's official website or click here.

--for more about the Twilight Saga please check out the series website, also posted on the left of the page or click here.
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My Twilight Journey

Twilight booksImage by Annafur via Flickr

The Twilight Saga
[Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn]
Stephanie Meyer

It took me a while to get on the Twilight bandwagon. When the first couple books came out, I actually avoided the series. I can't really recall any specific reason, though I think a big part of it was that I'd just gotten over the whole Harry Potter craze and I didn't have any interest in jumping in to another YA book series. No matter what I heard about it. No matter how good the reviews.

Eventually I started to hear whispers about a movie coming out though. I think by this point in time Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Trilogy - Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr had caught my attention and I'd enjoyed (eventually) all of them immensely. I'd seen the movie (for Eragon) too, but that was a disappointment to me. It was good, just not as good as it should have been. So I was intrigued. The Twilight series, this saga had been getting such amazing reviews and they were making a movie of it and I couldn't help but wonder if the directors and producers and actors would do a better job of Twilight then was done of Eragon. The movie came out and was in theaters before I thought more seriously about reading the books. Still though I procrastinated.

Then the fourth book was out and the movie was being released on DVD. And I decided that maybe it was time. I didn't want to commit myself to all four books though, not yet, so I went out and bought only the first novel. I read the first few chapters right away and I was impressed. I don't know what exactly it was about those first pages of Twilight that caught my attention. Then held it. The next morning though, I picked up the book again and started reading.

I didn't stop reading until I was finished the book.

I'm sure I was a pain in the ass to my family - my kids and husband - that day and the several days that followed because I was absorbed. Bella pulled me into her despair of having to move to Forks, her utter horror in having to give up the heat and sun of Phoenix, and her dissatisfaction with life in general, right from the first word. She and Edward tied me up in anticipation of what would happen next, of what could happen next. And I was awed by their understanding and devotion to each other.

Over the course of the next 4 or 5 days, I was back to the bookstore to get the other three books and then I sent the kids to my mothers and I read.

My heart broke right alongside Bella's when Edward left in New Moon. I was so thankful for Jacob when he reached down and helped drag her out of her pain, and I saw doom as I watched Jacob fall further and further in love with Bella. And then there was Bella, herself. Poor, sweet Bella who needed Edward so badly and needed Jacob so badly, and somehow found herself loving both but unable to truly have either. Her continued devotion to Edward, the 'bloodsucker', caused issues with Jacob and the other werewolves. Her loyalty drove a wedge between them, even as her knowledge of the werewolves and Jake's truth pulled them together. Then suddenly one small, seemingly insignificant choice changed everything, again.

The trip to Italy to save Edward had my heart racing with fear. If she was too late, he died and then Bella would fall even further down in to the abyss that she'd barely survived the first time. And then there he was in all his glorious, tortured pain and everything was headed towards okay again. We got another glimpse of course at how twisted "true" vampires could be when we were introduced to the Volturi - we'd been told of them, briefly in Twilight but I don't think any of us truly understood how different they were, not even after the experience with James. But Bella and Edward came back to Forks together and life returned to "normal."

As time passed during Eclipse I was torn. Jacob was such a nice guy and he loved Bella so much. It didn't seem fair that despite everything he'd done for her, everything Edward had done to her, that Bella would continue to treat Jacob with the same level of need that she did once Edward was back. Granted, Jake allowed her to use him and depend on him more then he should have, but I didn't like that he then turned that around and used it against her. I truly think that he did that, he used her friendship against her, to try and make her depend on him even more and then he was hurt that she still chose Edward over him. Edward, who even though he'd hurt Bella, had only done it in an effort to protect her from his nature, who loved her unconditionally. Edward who gave her the freedom to chose what she wanted and what would make her happiest, instead of trying to force her to choose him.

Was this simply the difference between a century old vampire and a teenage werewolf? I don't actually think it was a condition of age. Looking back after having finished the series, after seeing the way things work out for Edward and Bella, for Jacob and Renesmee and for all the others too... I think the boys different reactions to their love and need for Bella was simply a demonstration of the difference between infatuation and real, true love. I'm not belittling Jacob's feeling for Bella during New Moon and Eclipse. I'm not belittling his feelings for her during the first half of Breaking Dawn either. To his mind, at the time, she was everything important to his life but in his fervor to hold her to him, he hurt her even more.

Of course, there were a lot of things - big and small - that happened during the second and third books that could have drastically affected the outcome. The Volturi threat, Victoria, even just the vampire diet in general all worked together with the emotions of the characters to lead the story to Breaking Dawn.

Edward and Bella cemented their human relationship and get married. Then through a twist of fate that no one expected (least of all me) we end up with Renesmee. Bella is changed, "transformed," and we all are forced to question what makes her special, different - it's my theory that she was never a typical newborn vamp because she actually chose to become a vampire. I think it's pretty universal that all the others became vampires after being attacked by one or because they were dying and becoming vampire was the only way they could continue to 'live'. They didn't know what was going to happen, they weren't told what to expect. Bella was and so she was prepared to deal with whatever her choice threw at her.

Then the Volturi threat explodes in their faces and they have to figure out how to deal. They have to figure out how to survive. They have to find hope for themselves and learn to depend on themselves. They have to learn how to depend on each other - vampires and wolves. They have to accept that love, in it's purest form, is sacrificial. Because when you truly love, you'll give up anything for it, even yourself. And sometimes that sacrifice, that willingness to sacrifice, is what actually saves you.


So after plenty of procrastination and, finally, falling victim to curiosity and peer pressure, I love the series. I read through it once, then gave myself some time to think about it and absorb the story, and then I read it again. I paid attention to the way Stephanie Meyer used language and situation to tell the story. I noted the depth of her explainations and the wealth of information and color that she builds into her 'world.' The Twilight Saga truly is a remarkable piece of fiction which, like Rowlings' Harry Potter, I think will live on in the hearts of it's readers forever. Like fairytales and old fables, Twilight (and Meyer) teaches us a great many things.

Of love and loyalty.

Friendship and trust.

Right, wrong, moral or amoral.

Bonds of blood, of heart and mind.

Of everything that is important in the world.

And like the lessons of those old stories what we've learned from Bella and Edward, and all the others who make this series what it is, will stay with us always and continue to guides us in our lives.
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