Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When You Like The Other Guy Better Version 2.1 - Reign

For all the time I spend on this blog talking about shows like Arrow, The 100, Once Upon a Time, etc, etc, Reign is one of those shows I really love, but kind of gets lost in the background. Sure, its historical content is wildly inaccurate at best, but damned if it isn't entertaining. And I know its not exactly high-brow entertainment, its like a historical spin on Gossip Girl.
Last time I did one of these When You Like The Other Guy Better posts, it featured Mary and Bash (Sebastian) on Reign. Now, almost a year later, I find myself with the same conundrum, only the hero has changed. Maybe I should have called this post When You Like The Other Other Guy Better.
The other other guy in question is Louis Conde, Francis's cousin and a prince in his own right of a small neighboring country, Navarre. However, he is the younger son, with an older brother to inherit the crown. Conde is introduced early in the season as he assists Francis who is trying to keep Lola and their newborn son safe from the plague. Lola and Francis had one night together in Paris while Mary was engaged to Bash, and the pregnancy, plus the fact that Lola is one of Mary's ladies made things between Mary and Francis complicated, just when they were starting to look better again.
Conde comes to the court (I can't remember why) and ends up playing diplomat for relations between the two counties. Through a series of circumstances, he and Mary get to know one another better, and eventually he starts turning into her knight in shining armor, almost literally in the episode when he helps her track down and kill the man who raped her.
Now, because of the rape, and the part Francis played in making bad decisions while being blackmailed by someone else (which I won't go into because that is a whole other thing. This show is so twisty and soap-opera like, no wonder I can't stop watching it!) which inadvertently led to the castle being attacked by Protestants and Mary corned in her bedchamber, she ends up associating Francis with the whole thing and wants to live separately from him.
A while ago, Mary found out that Conde was in love with her, and they kind of danced around the issue, but then Conde got fed up with being led around by Mary (rightful so) until Mary was eventually forced to face the fact that she had feelings for him. And even though Francis was making all this noise about fixing things with Mary, there was no deny that a deep bond was forming between him and Lola whenever he spent time with her and his son.
This past episode, Mary tried to take Francis into her bed for the sake of conceiving an heir, but couldn't go through with it. The two of them argued, with Francis demanding to know if she loved Conde, and then forbidding her from being with him. After, Mary had a new resolve that she wouldn't do things for other people any more, she was going to live her life in whatever manner she saw fit. This culminated in her declaring her feelings to Conde and then asking him to return to Scotland with her.
But, because things are never straight forward and this is one of the twistiest show on TV at the moment, the episode ended with Conde's older brother, the king of Navarre, telling him that Queen Elizabeth, recently having come into her rule in England, had expressed interest in being courted by Conde.
Now as rumor would have it, Queen Elizabeth will be joining the cast in season 3, which I'm really looking forward to. Its going to be interesting to see how they convincingly move her into the storyline, since she obviously can't just go hang out in French court while she has her own country to run. It makes me wonder if some of the cast (Mary and a few others) might not make the move back to Scotland as has been mentioned previously.
But back to Mary and Conde. And on a side note, this guy has the brooding stare down to a fine art. Meanwhile, I'm sure our handsome prince is not going to tell Mary about Elizabeth considering him for a match, for fear of hurting her. However, she will find out, probably in some way that will definitely hurt, and then she and Conde will have the expected falling out. As much as I love Mary and Conde as a couple, I'm under no illusions that they'll last considering Mary is married to Francis and one would assume, will eventually find her way back to him. But, I may be wrong. Either way, I'm tuning in week after week to see what happens next.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Just Finished Reading... Captive Prince by CS Pacat

Another author I know mentioned this book when I caught up with her for lunch earlier in the week, and it sounded intriguing, so I went home and downloaded a sample on iTunes books ('cos I have an iPad mini and I'm lazy, so that's where I get all my books from these days). Pretty much from the first few pages I was totally sucked into this book and so I immediately downloaded the full book... and then proceeded to sit up until 1am reading every single word. As soon as I finished it, I downloaded volume two, and the next evening got a slightly earlier start, so I managed to finish it by the respectable time of 11:30pm.
Look, I'll admit that this isn't the best example of world building in the fantasy genre, but this author knows how to tell a story and keep readers turning the pages. The whole premise hinges on Prince Damen being handed over to the enemy, Prince Laurent as a slave. Damen's bastard brother has killed their father and seized the crown, and his country thinks Damen dead as well. Laurent has no idea that Damen in the prince of the realm they've been at war with, and worse, during a battle some years ago, Damen killed Laurent's older brother who should have inherited the crown. Throw in some serious court intrigue and it makes for one twisty read.
I was seriously disappointed that volume three hadn't come out yet. There had been some talk of it coming out last year, but nothing eventuated. There had been some mention of it being release later this year, or even as far into 2016, but I'm not holding my breath. If its taken this long for the book to eventuate, then my guess is that the author may be having some sort of trouble with it.  
Like so many others, I'm dying to find out what happens when Laurent discovers who Damen really is. Also, there are huge questions about how Laurent is going to beat his evil uncle and exactly how Damen is going to get his country back and whether or not the two of them will find a way to be together.
My final say on the matter? I really think this story would make an awesome movie and I'd love to see it on the big screen.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ships That Aren't Shipping 2015 - Part Two Clarke and Bellamy on The 100

Welcome to Part Two of this year's series of Ships That Aren't Shipping But Totally Should be posts. We started off this year with my favorite on-screen couple Oliver and Felicity on Arrow for Part One. Last year, the second spot was taken up by Charlie and Monroe on Revolution, but since Revolution ended up being cancelled, I had to find someone else to take their place. The answer was easy in Clarke and Bellamy on The 100.

The 100 is my other favorite show on TV at the moment, aside from Arrow. The only downside to The 100 (or the fifty-one, it probably should be called now, since I think that's how many there are left) is that it only gets a half-season run at 12 or 14 episodes. Seriously, this is a show that deserves a full 22 ep season.
So, the Bellarke ship is not just the unrequited desire of crazy enthusiastic fans. In the books the series was based on (and I say was not is because the TV series and books have gone in totally different directions) Bellamy and Clarke are actually together by the end of book 2, titled Day 26.
In the series, however, Clarke's love interest came in the form of Finn. However many Flarke shippers there might be, I never felt these two had much believable chemistry. It was okay, but I always got the sense that Finn liked Clarke a whole lot more than Clarke liked Finn. Meanwhile, in the few short scenes Bellamy and Clarke spent together, sparks usually happened, even though they intensely disliked each other for most of season one.
Those who'd read the books would have already been hoping that Clarke and Bellamy would eventually get together, and those who hadn't soon jumped on the bandwagon, because it was easy to see by the end of season one that Clarke and Bellamy were definitely starting to see each other differently than they first had.
The seeds of this were sown subtly at first, but then grew stronger, like in the episode where the kids all accidentally got high off some nuts they'd picked. Many, like Bellamy faced demons of their past. Bellamy was ready to give up, in the process of leaving for the unknown when Clarke found him. He admitted the things he'd done to get on the ground in order to protect his sister, Octavia, calling himself a monster.
Clarke brought him back from the edge, telling him he'd done what he'd had to in order to protect his sister and that she needed him, he'd been essential to leading and keeping the kids safe. After this, the two of them seemed to form a tentative bond, despite keeping up pretenses of not liking each other. However, they were always there for one another when needed most, climaxing in Clarke standing up for Bellamy when talking to the ark, in order clear Bellamy's name so he wouldn't be punished when the adults came to the ground.
The season finale saw the climax of the rising tension with the people who'd already been living on the ground. The kids came up with a risky plan of blowing the reserve fuel left in the drop-ship to take out the attacking grounders out. But before they did that, they had to draw the enemy in. The plan was to let the grounders attack and then start retreating, everyone going into the ship before sparking the rocket ignition.
However, as these things usually ago, it didn't happen according to plan. Bellamy had been off doing something else (maybe taking Octavia to her grounder boyfriend, Lincoln, I can't remember now) and when time came to enact their plan, hadn't returned yet. Clarke was worried, and when Bellamy did make an appearance, he was cut off by a grounder who attacked him. Finn went out to help him and when the others started calling for the ship doors to be closed, the two boys were too far away to make it to the ship. Of course, Clarke wanted wait, but to save everyone, she had to make an impossible choice. Season one ended with the kids who'd survived getting gassed by men in black masks, with Bellamy and Finn nowhere to be seen.
Going into season two, I knew it would be a while before Clarke and Bellamy shared any screen time, but the five (I think it was) episodes we had to endure before the two of them had their reunion was painful. At least the reunion was worth the wait with the sharing an intense embrace.
My total Bellarke disappointment came in the fact that Clarke and Bellamy had only a little bit of interaction after this episode, basically no alone time. And as of two episodes ago, were split up again as Clarke has been plotting with the grounders and Bellamy infiltrated Mount Weather to take the "mountain men" down from the inside.
There are only a couple of episodes of season two left, and while I didn't expect huge Bellarke revelations, I was hoping for a least a few really good Bellarke moments. However, not much has eventuated, and I can only hope that going into season 3, the creators might start giving the Bellarke ship more prominence in the storyline.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Enatngled's Sci Fi Week Facebook Party

Entangled are having a sci fi party! I'll be there from 12pm (Aussie EST time) or 8pm (US EST time) today. There's a Kindle Fire to win and plenty of fun in store.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Escape Velocity Release Day and Thai Food

Well, we are officially here. Today is the release day for Escape Velocity, and I'm excited about seeing this book launched into the world.
Now, you might be wondering what Thai food has to do with anything, but something kind of hilarious happened last week when I was online browsing recipes.
See, I really like cooking. I love trying new foods, finding new ways to cook my favorite foods and experimenting with new recipes or cooking techniques. My husband has joked a few times that I should try out for Masterchef, but for one, I might be good, but I'm not that good. And two, I know writing is my passion, not cooking.
So last week I was doing something I often do -- browsing the internet to find a new recipe. I specifically wanted something I could do with some chicken I had in the freezer, and was in the mood for something Asian or Thai.
To my astonishment, I came across a Thai grilled chicken recipie called Kai Yang.

Kai Yang grilled chicken recipe on asiaotaku.com


And if you don't already know where I'm going with this -- Kai Yang is the name of the hero in Escape Velocity.
That's right, my tough, sexy battleship Commander is named after grilled chicken.
The lesson I've learned from this? Always google your character's name before you publish a book.
And now I'm off to cook me some Thai grilled chicken...


Kai Yang in Escape Velocity from Entangled Publishing

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Play This or That Sci-Fi Style with Entangled Authors



This coming week, Entangled Publishing are celebrating all things sci-fi. There will be a number of things happening over the week, including giveaways, but the most exciting event will be the sci-fi facebook party, where reader will get to chat with sci-fi authors, the authors will be answering some of life's most difficult sci-fi questions (like which Star Trek captain was better, Kirk or Picard?) and at the end of the night, one lucky person will win themselves a Kindle Fire!