The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Film Review

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Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is back with the second adaptation of The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Catching Fire is a wonderful addition to the first film and it has definitely stayed true to the book and true to the characters that the readers created in their minds when reading the series. I am always sceptical when I watch adaptations because most film makers ignore some of the important points in the book and leave them out of the film. Catching Fire was an exception to this. It was exactly like the book! The first Hunger Games left out a couple of key points but the film contained all of the plot points that were needed to tell Katniss’ story.

The story takes place in a futuristic place of Panem, where people live in districts and teenagers compete in a televised fight to the death called The Hunger Games. In the first book we are introduced to this concept and follow Katniss as she wins The Hunger Games alongside Peeta Melark (Josh Hutcherson), a boy from the bakery who also lives in district 12. The Capitol, who are in charge of the games were not best pleased with the stunt that the two young teenagers pulled and their act of rebellion would definitely come back to haunt them this time round.

President Snow, still in charge, decides to hold a Quarter Quell for the 75th Hunger Games, which means that victors from all of the games compete together. There are some new quirky characters in the second film, Katniss and Peeta fight, holding hands, pretending to be in love for the sake of both of their lives. This Hunger Games was set in a tropical jungle, the challenges that they face are even more dangerous than before. Catching Fire is a step up from the first, Mocking Jay is hoping to be even better. There are rumours that the final film will be split in two parts. I can’t believe that I have to wait another year to see Mockingjay in the cinema.

Catching Fire is an excellent film, the book, written by Suzanne Collins is equally excellent. The perfect young adult fiction series since Harry Potter in my opinion. Collins has created her own franchise, just like JK Rowling. I really believe in The Hunger Games franchise and I know that it will carry on being successful.

If you love the books or just want to see a fantastic action-filled exciting adventure then Catching Fire is for you. This film adaptation exceeded my expectations and more.

Brilliant!

It definitely will not disappoint you!

Rating 5/5

‘Shadowing The Sun’ By Lily Dunn Book Review

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A gripping, dark novel about betrayal, sexuality and the loss of innocence.

Shadowing The Sun has dark beautiful prose, unusual characters and a gripping storyline. Dunn is an excellent writer and I will definitely be reading more of her work.

As an avid reader, I read a lot of books and only a few books leave a lasting impression. I often finish a book, place it back on my shelf and I then read another book, without thinking about it again. Shadowing The Sun was a rare find, after I finished the book, the story and the characters still had a lasting affect. The emotional roller coaster of Sylvie’s story gripped me and I still had a lot of unanswered questions after reading the book.

Shadowing The Sun revealed the terrible consequences of neglecting your children. I was moved by the essence of the story. It was written from the perspective of 12 year old Sylvie. An inquisitive, innocent girl who craved to be loved by her father. The point of view switches from her twelve year old self to present day and it is clear that whatever happened when she was 12 was still having a lasting effect on her present life.

Dunn achieved a perfect balance of naivety and innocence in the tone of the narrator. Sylvie was visiting her father’s commune in Italy for the summer with her brother Sam and her two friends Max and Josie. Whilst she was there her father was neglectful towards her, her father’s friend Jeet abused her trust and Sylvie learnt that things are not always what they seem.

The story showcased the shocking truths of how quickly innocence can be taken and how one summer can affect not only the present but impact the future too. Dunn also captured the feelings of being a teenager perfectly, the story was gripping and sinister at times but also had some light-hearted moments too. What I loved about this book was how Sylvie wasn’t judgemental, which is real to how children actually are.

With beautiful prose, the author created a smooth transition between the flashbacks of Sylvie’s childhood and the demons that affected her in her adult life. At the age of twelve Sylvie was caught in the shadowy space between being a girl and a woman, Sylvie was fascinated by the behaviour of her father’s colourful friends. The men were like predators, circling her, touching her, and constantly commenting on her looks. Sylvie’s vulnerability and innocence shines through very clearly because she doesn’t see that it is wrong for them to treat her this way.

Towards the end of the novel, everything is revealed and we find out that that adults in Sylvie’s life failed her when she needed them the most. They were completely unaware of the terrible things that happened that summer in Italy which explained why as an adult Sylvie found it difficult to trust and love her partner Jack.

We discover that she had chosen a career as a photographer, which is her way of taking control – ‘Now it’s me who’s behind the camera, no-one has to see me. I’m the one taking the picture now.’

Dunn crafts the crescendo of the ending brilliantly – adding in subtle clues and hints throughout the novel. This book really got under my skin and I found it a compelling read, the story and the characters have stayed with me ever since. Shadowing the Sun is a perfect choice for those who love a gripping plot.

Rating – 5/5

‘The Civil Wars’ By The Civil Wars Album Review

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The Civil Wars release, what could be their last album. The album is a beautiful collection of organic arrangements, radiant vocals and heart-rending lyrics. It’s the perfect ‘break-up’ album.

I first discovered this duo when their song If I Didn’t Know Better was featured on the pilot episode of the US TV show Nashville. They also sang alongside Taylor Swift in the beautiful soundtrack song Safe & Sound for the successful film The Hunger Games. I was captivated by their harmonies, the smooth and eloquent melodies and the passion-filled lyrics.

The Civil Wars are currently on hiatus, there is a large uncertainty that they will never get back together but nevertheless they release their beautiful self-titled second album. If you are looking for an album to dance around your room to, you are in the wrong place. This album is a perfect soundtrack to your tears, a soothing collection of tracks that will make your heart ache.

After connecting in a Music City recording studio writing camp back in 2008, Joy Williams and John Paul White created The Civil Wars and worked their way up the Nashville scene. Their Gold-certified first album Barton Hallow received a Grammy; it showcased the obvious talent and chemistry of Williams and White. And while they were never a couple, they are both separately married with children, their best songs play off the will-they-or-won’t-they tension that fills the spaces between locked eyes and harmonized choruses.

The songs on this album are nothing short of radiant, from the flawless vocals to the simple arrangements, the duo are an absolute treasure.

In late 2012, they unceremoniously cancelled a chunk of tour dates, and announced that they would no longer play together live. It wasn’t quite a breakup, but it was enough to seriously question if they would have new music for their fans this year. To everyone’s surprise, Williams and White somehow managed to get in the studio together, at the height of their mutual discontent, to record their highly anticipated sophomore self-titled album.

Their 2011 début album, Barton Hollow, received a huge boost when Adele hailed them as ‘the best live band I’ve ever seen.’ They went on to win two Grammy awards this year, collecting them without making eye contact or, notably, thanking each other. They stated ‘If you want to know what happened to the band, listen to the album.’

That raw honesty runs through the core of this album. From the album’s opening moments with the dark, smoky eruption of The One That Got Away, a resonant track that doesn’t have a hint of any reconciliation between the two. A perfect break-up song that could resonate with many, with poignant lyrics such as ‘Oh, if I could go back in time / When you only held me in my mind / Just a longing gone without a trace / Oh, I wish I’d never ever seen your face / I wish you were the one/ Wish you were the one that got away.’

I Had Me a Girl is a little brooding, a little dangerous. It smoulders says Williams. With dark Gothic tones and distorted electric guitars, White’s voice is seductive; Whereas Williams’ vocals are moody and entrancing.  A classic Civil Wars type of track, with amazing vocal runs and simple relatable lyrics such as ‘Like cigarette smoke/ she came and she went/ I slipped through his hands/ to my back door man/ under his chin’ – what more do you want from a song?

The album is littered with songs, describing emotional turmoil.  Same Old Same Old is haunting, gentle with profound lyrics. Williams describes the meaning behind this track she says ‘This song represents the ache of monogamy… What I’m realizing now is that sometimes the ‘same old same old’ can actually be rich, worthwhile and a great adventure.’ The track is beautiful, it’s about love, separation and desire. The gorgeous acoustic guitar gently accompanies the two voices.

Dust To Dust starts with a metronome drumbeat that is the pulse of the entire song. Williams’ voice is elegant, filled with heartache and longing. When she sings the lyrics ‘They don’t fool me, you’ve been lonely too long, and it is definitely heart-breaking. She comments on the process of writing this song. Dust to Dust is ‘an anthem for the lonely… when John Paul and I wrote this late one night in Birmingham, England, we decided to change the pronoun at the end of the song. We wanted to represent that we all experience loneliness in our lives.’

Eavesdrop is a mid-tempo acoustic number that builds. A song that could easily swap from Country to Pop, it is one of my favourites on the entire album.  Williams says ‘Pregnancy literally changed the make-up of my vocal chords. There’s a different timbre to it now, and I love that I can hear the story of my son in my singing.’

Vocally, the real gem on the album is Devils Backbone, Williams croons about a bad boy love affair, and it’s a great showcase of what she can do with her stunning voice. The duo says ‘this song is our take on an Americana murder ballad.’ This track is a little more complex than the other, a smooth mix of rock ‘n’ roll and country.

From This Valley brings a cheerful disposition to a collection of sombre tracks. Towards the end of country gospel track, drums and guitars suddenly drop away to leave the voices of Joy Williams and John Paul White exposed, the duo harmonising with almost spooky grace. Syllables are elongated and multiplied, their voices blend together, twisting and turning, separating and uniting.

Tell Mama is a rendition of a classic, Williams quotes ‘We recorded the performance at Fame studio in Muscle Shoals, a place we’d written a few songs. I always felt the musical ghosts in that studio, one of whom was the great Etta James. We thought it would be a fun to take a stab at ‘Tell Mama.’ I found out later that where we recorded was the same room she recorded her version. That might explain why I kept getting goose bumps.’ They bring out the conviction in the lyrics and the gorgeous flow of the melody.

Oh Henry isn’t my favourite on the album; it seems to drop in quality ever so slightly. The music is bright and buoyant but the song doesn’t really sit well with the rest on the album. Disarm is a rendition of the Smashing Pumpkins number. This track showcases White’s soaring vocals, gentle acoustic guitar and perfectly mirrored harmonies, this is excellent.

Sacred Heart is the only track on the album in a different language. Williams says ‘We wrote this song in a flat in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in full review on a cold night. Tall windows and Victorian furniture, somehow the atmosphere of all the seeped into the song.’ Although this song is in French, the feeling behind the words still bleeds through. A delightful and unexpected turn on the album, a charming song.

D’Arline is ‘a sweet lament of loss and the belief that you’ll never be able to love anybody else again. While we were recording the song together, John Paul and I could hear crows cawing in the background that I’ve since named Edgar, Allen and Poe. This recording and performance of the song is the first and only in existence, a work tape recorded simple on my iPhone.’ A quiet and gentle song that perfectly closes the album.

Williams and White haven’t spoken since the album’s recording finished in the early spring of 2013, and it’s a damn shame that there’s little chance these songs will be performed any time soon. Nonetheless, The Civil Wars have left fans with what is undoubtedly the best album of their career, an elegant, country-stomping exploration of emotional and creative inspiration that definitely didn’t disappoint.

 Rating 5/5

‘Same Trailer Different Park’ By Kacey Musgraves Album Review

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Kacey Musgraves released her fourth studio album Same Trailer Different Park earlier this year and it has had amazing success, it has reached number one in the Top Country Albums chart.

After finding out that Kacey Musgraves originally wrote and sang the song Undermine from the hit US TV show Nashville, I knew I had to listen to more of her music. Her most recent album Same Trailer Different Park is an exquisite twelve track Country Folk album with an Infectious Pop twist.

It’s hard to find a review of Kacey Musgraves’ new album that doesn’t compare her to Pop Country singer Taylor Swift. I see the resemblance, a young fresh-faced country girl singing story-like lyrics about Life, Love and Dreams. She may have that similarity but Musgrave’s definitely has her own identity.

Strong women have always been the backbone of Country music and Musgraves is another woman that successfully expresses her feelings, with just her voice and an acoustic guitar. She sings about characters in her songs, such as the trash-talking waitress in the song Blowin’ Smoke, the nosy neighbour in Trailer Song and the substance-addicted family in Merry Go’ Round. As a songwriter Musgraves isn’t afraid to speak the truth, something that is very rare among artists.

The opening track Silver Lining is inspiring, cheerful Pop fluff with a slight Country vibe. With quirky lyrics such as ‘If your ever gonna find a silver lining/ it’s got to be a cloudy day/ If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightening/ you’re gonna have to stand in the rain.’  My House is filled with harmonicas and upbeat guitars, definitely more Country than the first track. The song is fun, happy with strong southern feel flowing through.

Merry Go’ Round has a solemn message, with lyrics such as ‘Mary Mary, quite contrary, we get bored so we get married.  Just like dust we settle in this town. On this broken Merry Go’ Round.’ This haunting track is riddled with the lyrical truth of life in a small American town. Dandelion is a slow, acoustic based track with elegant vocals and heartfelt lyrics. Blowin’ Smoke is feisty and bold, so is the album closer It Is What It Is which has an inspiring message of ‘You are who you are.’

At the core, Musgraves is a country traditionalist. This album showcases a dozen of songs that are about the truth. Playing guitar and banjo, her voice riddled with Southern quirks, she sings her straight lyrics, no gimmicks. Same Trailer Different Park is one of my favourite albums of the year. It shows that Country music is still thriving as an individual genre.

Rating 5/5

True Blood – Season 6 Episode 10 (Season Finale) TV Episode Review [SPOILERS]

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So season six has officially finished. Season six was the shortest season so far, there were only ten episodes instead of twelve because of Anna Paquin’s pregnancy so the writers had to cram a lot into the season finale to set up all the story lines for season seven. The season finale may have fallen flat comparing to season five’s finale but there are a few cliffhangers that will keep truebies anxiously guessing until Summer 2014.

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The first storyline to come to an end in the finale was vampires being able to walk in daylight. I’m glad that this came to end because vampires are creatures of the night, Warlow died in this episode and the ability for the vampires to walk in the daylight died with him. This resulted in Eric (supposedly) burning in the sun. Now I’m a bit sceptic about this, the writers want us to believe that Eric is dead but I don’t think they will kill of one of their main characters in that way. It’s just a cliffhanger to keep fans guessing and panicking that their favourite character has died. A lot of fans have commented on the ‘six months later’ section of the episode saying that it felt rushed but I felt that moving the time along shows how things returned back to normal in Bon Temps, something that we haven’t experienced since the first season. The writers recently commented on this by saying that they wanted to return to the set up of season one, focus on the main characters of Bon Temps after exploring different subjects like the vampire authority, the fellowship and vamp camp.

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We finally see Sookie in a somewhat normal relationship in the six months later section of the episode, for a few seasons her flirtation and chemistry between her and Alcide has been clear but it is far too domesticated for Sookie, we all know that she is a Danger Whore and Alcide will not satisfy her needs for very long.  Sookie has been whining about having a ‘normal’ life for five seasons and that’s what her relationship with Alcide suggests but the end of the finale suggests that danger is coming whether she likes it or not (bit predictable… when will her character learn?) I also really like the relationship between Jason and his new vampire girlfriend Violet. She may be a little bit crazy and obsessed with Jason but she shows Jason how to only tend to her needs and Jason has only ever had the opposite treatment. This relationship will only strengthen his character in the future and heighten his overall respect for women. I commend the writers on exploring a different path for this character.

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A very sweet moment in the finale was the scene between Tara and her mother. The citizens of Bon Temp have decided, since there is no longer any True Blood that every vampire should have their own human. What Tara’s mum offers to do is to nurture and look after Tara to make up for all of the times that she failed as a mother when Tara was a human. The season finale tied up a lot of lose ends such as Arlene buying Merlotte’s and renaming it Arlene’s Bar and Grill and Sam becoming Mayor. Having a flash forward six months allowed these revelations to be revealed so I think it was a very smart move for the writers, even though it felt a little forced.

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The ending is exciting but not as heart wrenching as season five’s finale. We see many hungry, sick looking vampires making their way for Arlene’s Bar and Grill (it’s going to take a while to stop calling it Merlotte’s.) The writers have managed to leave unanswered questions which is what a successful season finale should do. I am really excited to see how these stories progress in season seven. There is always going to be someone unhappy with the way the writers deal with the main characters but in the grand scheme of things I think they have hit the nail on the head with the final episode.

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‘Now Is Good’ Film Review

 nowisgoodNow Is Good is an inspiring film about a teenager fighting Leukemia, you will definitely be reaching for the tissues.

Based on the novel Before I Die by Jenny Downham, this film may be packed full of clichés, but I think I can make an exception for this film. I read the book over a year ago and no book has ever affected me in the same way since.  A story that will make you feel enlightened with tears of joy and tears of sadness. The story follows Tessa (Dakota Fanning) a seventeen year old girl who makes up a bucket list of things to do before she dies. Refusing anymore treatment, Tessa decides to love every single moment of the life she has left. Making her way through her list she finds something that isn’t on the original list – love. The handsome next door neighbor Adam is exactly what Tessa needs to fill her last months with joyous moments. She realizes that the little things in life are more important, like talking to your brother, holding your father’s hand or simple lying next to the one you love.

I felt so connected to the characters in the book and expected to feel the same way with the film. However,  I felt that the film lacked the same connection. This often happens when books are adapted into films. However, the moments in the book that made me cry translated perfectly to screen. Each character has their own way with dealing with Tessa’s illness. Her father is ‘cancer obsessed’, seeking an answer to try and take all of her pain away. Her mother is quite a selfish character, too wrapped up in her own life to care about her daughter. When Tessa needs her mother the most she pulls through but I still disliked her character.

What I loved about the main character Tessa is her attitude. She doesn’t let cancer change who she is. She is witty, confident and optimistic for the most part. Knowing what was coming didn’t affect the way I watched this film. Sometimes it isn’t the ending that needs to be a surprise, it’s the moments leading up to it. Even though this film was heartbreaking, I felt a sense of joy when it ended. The film is uplifting and makes you realize how short life really is.  A true gem. I would definitely watch it again.

Rating – 5 Stars

‘The Weight Of Silence’ By Heather Gudenkauf Book Review

weightsilenceThe Weight of Silence
By Heather Gudenkauf
MIRA Books (2009)
373 pages

‘A thrilling novel filled with lyrical prose and heart wrenching plot twists.’

RATING – 4.5/5 stars

Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler. Calli’s mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter’s voice. Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

The Weight of Silence was sitting on the dusty shelf of my nearest charity shop, unloved and used I decided to give it a chance. Judging by the title, the blurb and the image on the front of the book I knew I was in for some heavy content and that’s exactly what I got. The base of the story is about two little girls that are missing, throughout the book you also feel lost, scared and slightly helpless. I think it is the author’s job to create characters that are not just likeable but well rounded. Readers are investing their time into these characters, they need to feel for these characters and I believe that the author was successful in achieving this. I really loved the narrative of this novel, I felt that the best way to tell this story was through each character and it worked perfectly. I was a little skeptical at first when I realized that the novel was built up of small, short character diaries but I don’t usually like that type of narrative but it definitely worked on this occasion. The story is told in alternating viewpoints from Antonia, Martin, Calli, Petra, Deputy Sheriff Louis, and Ben, Calli’s brother. The story has a mysterious aura from start to finish and towards the end of the novel I could feel my heart beating fast, I was right there with the characters (I was that engrossed in the narrative.) The themes of the novel are fear, confusion, guilt and forgiveness. I really liked the fact that the woods is the core of the story, even when the girls are found the author returns to the woods at the end in Calli’s epilogue – which I thought was a nice touch.

Cleverly, the author caught me off guard towards the end of the book. Usually with mystery-based stories that have a whodunit scenario, the reader usually guesses about three quarters of the way through. As a reader, I thought I had it all figured out until I was side-wiped by the real suspect, who was barely a secondary character throughout the novel – very clever indeed! Gudenkauf’s writing style is clear, crisp and concise. The prose is almost lyrical, with plenty of juicy descriptions to enlighten the experience for the reader. Something I did notice was that some of the character views were in third person and some were in first person, although this must have been difficult for the author whilst writing, trying to keep a continuity throughout the novel, it actually worked overall. If there was one minor set back it was the pace during the novel. Sometimes I felt that the story was dragging, then it would speed up and then it would drag again.  Of course I was a happier reader when I was reading the fast paced segments but I also know as a writer myself how important the slow bits are for the story to progress.

Heather Gudenkauf does an amazing job of ratcheting up the suspense in the first chapter and keeping you on the edge of your seat all the way through to the end. I would have read this book in one sitting if I’d had enough time, but unfortunately my day job got in the way of my reading. It’s really a race against time as the families and sheriff try to find the girls. I really loved the sweet relationship between Calli and Petra,  it is very sweet and they definitely have a special connection. Petra met Calli after she’d already gone mute, and still she befriended her. This shows that Gudenkauf doesn’t just scratch the surface with her characters, she creates profound characters that have multiple layers to their personalities. A nice touch to the story is the moral that Petra saved Calli from obscurity by being her voice and in return Calli found Petra just in time.

One of my favourite passages in the novel was in the Epilogue at the end, narrated in first person by the main character Calli, it’s six year later and she reflects back. She talks about ‘finding’ her voice again. I think the imagery is especially strong on this passage:

I have never thought of it as ‘finding’ my voice because it wasn’t really lost. It was more like a bottle with a cork pushed deeply into the opening. I picture it that way often, my voice like some sweet-smelling perfume, sitting in some expensive-looking bottle with a beautifully curved handle, tall and slender, made of glass as blue as the bodies of the dragonflies I see down in Willow Creek Woods. My voice was just waiting for the right moment to be let go from that bottle. No, it was never lost; I just needed permission to use it again. It took me such a long time to figure out that I was the only one who could grant that permission, no one else. I wish my mother would understand this. She still blames herself for everything, and isn’t that a heavy weight to carry around?

The Weight Of Silence has been my favourite book this year, so far. An enthralling page-turner with characters that you can’t help but sympathise with. Beautiful lyrical prose and a satisfying ending – what more could a reader want!

True Blood – Season 6 Episode 1 – Review (Spoiler Alert)

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True Blood is officially back on our screens with the fang-tastic sixth season. 

I can’t tell you how annoying it was to wait a whole year to find out what happened to my favourite characters but for the next ten weeks I can indulge myself in the blood, sex and gore of the hit TV show True Blood. With shows like this the response can be unpredictable because for the next season to thrive there must be a change in pace and after watching the first episode of season six, I am very excited about the new road that the show is going down.

Based on the best selling books by Charlaine Harris, True Blood is a fantastic TV show on HBO and Fox TV UK that brings the world of Sookie Stackhouse to life. The show has been on the air since 2008 and since then we have watched the show become a massive success as we discovered the supernatural beings present in Bon Temps Louisiana. Over five seasons there have been vampires, shape shifters, fairies, werewolves, mane ads and ghosts all fighting to get along and more importantly- stay alive.

At the end of season five we were left with a cliffhanger, one that frightened every  ‘Truebie’  to their very core. Bill or should I say Billith rising from a pool of blood as Eric and Sookie watch in pure amazement and fear. Eric yells run to Sookie and the credits roll. And that is what every True Blood fan was left with. An uncertainty of what would happen next. But never fear because season six has returned and I personally think it will be the best season yet!

The first episode carries on from where season five left off and I have to say I really liked the thriller-type-camera-angles in the first ten minutes of the episode. I watched an interview with Stephen Moyer who plays the role of Bill Compton and he directed the first episode and the camera angles were his idea. He said ‘I knew I wanted to play the episode as a thriller, I never had the camera on a tripod, I never had the camera on a dolly. We were literally hand held and running, I wanted to give it the feeling that you were with the actors.’

In the first ten minutes of the episode a character dies, which is a little bit of a surprise. The character wasn’t one of the primary characters but I still felt like her death was rushed and they could have waited until further in the episode. However, the death of this character shows the true revelations of what is to come for all supernatural beings and humans during this season, hence the tag line ‘No one Lives Forever.’ When one character dies though another one is introduced. Jason has a run in with Eric’s sister Nora and leaves Sookie, Tara and Pam behind to run off his frustration.

I guess no one ever told Jason to never get into a car with a stranger – but he does. There is something odd about this character from the beginning but I knew that he had some connection to Sookie. He claims that he is Warlow and Jason obviously reacts and ‘Warlow’ disappears without a trace. That won’t be the last of him though, he will be occurring in plenty more episodes and I’m sure they will reveal his true identity because judging by the season trailer, the old guy in the car isn’t Warlow but a distant relative of the Stackhouse siblings.

In the first episode of season six titled Who Are You, Really? We see the end of the Bill and Sookie relationship. Well I assume so, she did try and stake Bill to save Eric. Maybe they will find their way back to each other one day? Hmmm maybe not.  I think I prefer her with Eric anyway. Another surprising turn in the episode was Sookie banishing Eric from her home, it seems that Sookie has finally learnt that vampires bring trouble – About damn time Sookie! She believes that her life with will one day be ‘normal’ but who is she kidding really? She’s a half ling – half fae half human telepathic. There’s nothing normal about that.

Now, let’s talk about this Billeth situation. I wasn’t the only one who was shocked when Bill supposedly died and resurrected from a pile of red goo. I didn’t know how the writers would come back from that and I felt that the character Bill was going to be killed off. But cleverly it has worked to their advantage and now the character Bill is actually exciting to watch – I found him boring and too perfect before. No vampire is that perfect. While the episode spent much of its time on the aftermath of the assault on vampire central, it also found time to add a few new layers of intrigue, most notably the new politician storyline. I feel like this is a secondary part of the plot, like the vampire authority was in season five.

I tolerate it because it is part of the show but I prefer the show when they focus on the main characters but that is my personal preference.  It’s still early days, but so far, it seems that Bon Temps is indeed an almost faerie-free zone – except for the magical children in the care of Andy Bellefleur. Lafayette is yet to be possessed by anyone yet but it will happen at some point – he has the worst luck in the world. Just like Sookie, he will never be normal. Alcide has become the master of his pack and is enjoying the power he has over the other wolves, especially the ladies.

I am really excited for next week’s episode. Ten weeks sounds like a long time but I feel like it isn’t long enough to unravel all of the hidden parts of the plot that need to see the light. Hopefully they carry on making True Blood because I think the show is exceptional! I give the first episode of season six five stars because it has left me excited and on the edge of my seat. I guess I will have to wait until Monday to find out what happens but in the mean time I think I am going to dive into the fiction that runs through the veins of the show – it’s time to read the fourth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series Definitely Dead.

I don’t like to compare the books to the TV show because they both run on completely different tracks. Some hardcore fans are annoyed by the fact that the show doesn’t stick to the books – but where is the fun in that? I will possibly write another review next week after the second episode airs. I hope you all like my review on the first episode of season six – now I need to go and ‘sink my teeth’ into the next Charlaine Harris novel.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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As a writer you have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to like your writing or what you have to say. There are the good comments that you receive that make your heart swell with pride, when you realise that you have found the perfect words and when you string them together it says everything that you want to say and more. The bad comments are often constructive criticism and that’s okay because every writer needs it. Whether its just a small criticism or an honest opinion it’s easy to take it to heart but you just have to realise that every criticism you receive will only make you become a better writer in the future. Then unfortunately there are ugly comments or nasty comments, when people go over the line and it becomes personal.

I have been writing music reviews at Female First and I am not a know-it-all when it comes to music, I love most genres of music and I know a vast amount of musical terms but this doesn’t make me an expert. I just get given the CD’s for the week and I have to listen to them and write a review. I got given a CD by an obscure band called Wax Idols, a modern punk band from California. I give every album a chance and I listen to it twice before I start to review it. I didn’t like it. It was that simple. So I wrote an honest review and gave it two stars. It is my job to be honest and to review the music I am given and I did just that. I was going through my reviews on the website and saw that I received two comments on my Demi Lovato album review and they both said ‘Good Review’ This made me smile because it’s proof that I must be doing a good job.

Then I looked at the other review I had done and because I had given it two stars there were several people that didn’t agree with me. Nasty comments that said that I shouldn’t have the job and it was the worst review they had ever read, it did upset me, of course it did. After I got upset about it though I realised that sometimes people are nasty and I shouldn’t take it to heart. If people don’t agree with what I wrote well that’s up to them. I am there to express my opinion. I know that I am a good writer. I just think fans of the band took what I wrote too seriously. I had to write the truth and the truth is I didn’t like it. I have to accept that I will not always get good feedback on my work and if I carry on writing opinionated pieces there are going to be people that don’t agree.

I am okay with that now. Being a writer means that you have to be vulnerable, open and confident about your opinions. You are putting everything you have into your words and when someone doesn’t like what you have to say it can knock your confidence and even though it knocked me down at first I am ready to get back up again.