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Pomegranate, anyone?

OH man. I love with just a few, well-placed words, the oh-so-genius people behind The Vampire Diaries have successfully whipped me into a fever pitch, yet again, for the premiere Sept. 15.

Check out the delightfully wordy promo here.

Bloody cakes? Shirtless Damon? Bloody-mouthed Katharine?

Looks like we’re in for a real birthday treat.


The beautiful cover of the third book in The Hollow trilogy.

Well, not officially, but there are at least two September releases I am dying to read.

First off is The Hidden, the final book in The Hollow trilogy, written by Jessica Verday. The Hidden was released Sept. 6. I find it unfortunate that Verday’s books aren’t as well-known as some other YA series because they’re fabulous.

What Verday has accomplished is a melding of the traditional teen lit must-haves (mysterious beginnings, mysterious boy, supernatural happenings) and the ultimate setting that many of us book geeks know and love: Washington Irving’s real-life town, Sleepy Hollow.

As a book nerd, I love allusions to literature IN literature – for instance, I geeked out a bit in Laurie R. King’s Locked Rooms when Sherlock Holmes and Dashiell Hammett (author of The Maltese Falcon) work together on a case. (Not a mystery fan? Shame on you.)

Back to Verday – she portrays main character Abbey as a life-long citizen of Sleepy Hollow who is proud of the famous author and his legacy. Abbey even regularly visits Irving’s grave. AND there might be cameo appearances from famous characters in Irving’s legendary story….In short, this is a spookily wonderful trilogy to get a start on before my personal favorite season, fall.

Cook up a batch of apple cider and grab a slice of pumpkin bread and settle in for a long, good read.

My other oh-my-gosh-I-must-read-this-now book? Goliath, the final book (sob) in the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, out Sept. 20.

The Leviathan books (Leviathan and Behemoth) are the best of the best teen literature has to offer. Westerfeld’s highly popular steampunk series is up to par with Cassandra Clare’s wonderful Mortal Instruments series. My advice: Read it. Read it NOW.

I wrote a fun post about Leviathan a few months back. Read it here.

To sum up, Westerfeld re-imagines the events and happenings surrounding WWI. Namely, England, Russia and France fight with fabricated animals while Germany and Austro-Hungary fight with machines. In the midst of brewing war is Deryn Sharp, snappy English girl posing as a boy to fight in the royal air force, and Alek, prince of Austro-Hungary on the run for his life.

They meet up about halfway through, and fantastic hijinks of an international nature ensue.

Hurry up! You can read the first two in 10 days, right?


British actor Benjamin Stone brings Alek to life on ABC Family's The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

Alek Petrov is a warrior descended from a goddess. He’s also flirty, cocky, beautiful AND British. Did I mention the accent?

Well played by 24-year-old Benjamin Stone on ABC Family’s The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Alek became a forerunner for Chloe’s affections and a fan favorite early in the series.

While the series’ first reason recently concluded, future fans can view episodes 1-7 of right now on ABC Family’s website.

Simultaneously confident and vulnerable, Alek is a must-see as a Mai, a warrior descended from Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess, who helps teach Chloe her path as the Uniter, a long-prophesied leader of the Mai.

A la Cassie Clare’s Jace Wayland, Alek is in full command of the snappy one-liners, and like Jace, comes off as a complete jerk before eventually showing true feelings to his lady-love.

Yay Chloe and Alek!

Be prepared to laugh at some of Alek’s quotes, posted below:

Alek: It’s amazing how many girls find a little bruising sexy.

***

Alek: I’m not cheating. It’s natural talent.

Paul: You’re using your Mai powers.

Alek: Yeah, which is 100% natural for me.
***

Alek: You know, the more beautiful things are, the more prickly they can be…I was talking about me.

He's adorable. What can I say?

Find out more about Alek at this sweet fan blog, dedicated to Chloe and Alek: http://chalekk.tumblr.com/


My most-recent YA purchases just came in the mail a day ago...I'm excited, and sad, to finish the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.

You gotta love teen literature – it always has the best book titles.

I mean, you’re already expecting something interesting with the titles Forever (by Maggie Stiefvater), Passion (by Lauren Kate) and Wolfsbane (by Andrea Cremer).

With my now-complete move to Chicago (whew), I decided to reward myself by catching up with a few of my favorite series. Here’s the low-down on each of the series so far:

1.The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater – When last we left Sam and Grace in Linger, Sam was dealing with the possibility of staying human, something that still seemed out of reach to him. Meanwhile, Grace begins losing hold of herself to the dormant wolf within. At the end of Linger, Grace’s friends forced her to shift to save her life, leaving the newly human Sam alone. Stiefvater interestingly turned the tables on us after the events of Shiver with Linger, so I’m excited to see how she completes the trilogy. Find out more about Forever, the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series here.

2. The Fallen Series by Lauren Kate – After Luce finds out bad-boy Daniel is a fallen angel in Fallen, she’s sent to a West Coast school  to protect her from the evil fallen angels, or so she thinks. During the second installment of the series, Torment, Luce discovers the fate of her love could affect the destiny of all creation, including heaven and hell, making her a target for more than one evil faction. During Luce’s time at the school, she begins learning more about the past lives she has shared with Daniel, who has loved her again and again, only to lose her in each life. This life is their last and the stakes are high. Passion continues the series, which will end with the fourth installment, Rapture. Learn more about Passion here.

The mysterious cover of Wolfsbane, the second book in Andrea Cremer's Nightshade trilogy.

3. The Nightshade Series by Andrea Cremer – Calla Tor may have been meant to be the female alpha of the pack’s next generation, but that doesn’t stop her pursuing her undeniable attraction to human Shay, despite the draw she feels to her destined mate, wolf Ren. At Nightshade‘s end, Calla and Shay were on the run from the Guardians, their escape made possible by Ren’s sacrifice. I’m looking forward to continuing this very promising werewolf series in the second book, Wolfsbane. Read more about Andrea Cremer, and check out book excerpts, here.


The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore) with his signature fedora at Comic Con 2011.

Summer is just too damn bleak without The Vampire Diaries.

Luckily the show’s stars and producers are helping kick the butt of summer doldrums by dropping fun tidbits about Season Three, which premieres Sept. 15 on the CW (Just a few short days before my birthday!)

The premiere will take place on Elena’s 18th birthday (hey-o she’s legal! Wait, does that mean she’s a Virgo too?) and understandably, our No. 1 girl isn’t in the party mood. As for Damon, he seems to feel that Stefan will be back from his Klaus-induced rampage when he’s good and ready.

Besides the main storyline of holy-crap-where’s-Stefan and oh-my-god-I-kissed-Damon-but-he-lived, there’s an interesting scene or two in the promo, first of all, where Damon’s shirtless and Elena freaks out, naturally, AND one showing Caroline jumping in Tyler’s bed. I was so glad C survived the second season by the way. I mean, Jenna who?

As a forever Buffy The Vampire Slayer fangirl, I just had to use this photo of my girl Eliza Dusku at TVD's Comic Con 2011 panel.

Check out the full promo here.

Also keeping away the I-miss-TVD blues are numerous interviews with Ian Somerhalder who takes time out to enlighten the Damon fan about what’s going on with our favorite bad boy in the coming season, and apparently, he’s PISSED.

The following Ian Somerhalder quotes are taken from articles by ZAP 2 it and MTV, which you can read in full here and here.

On Stefan’s leaving Damon in the lurch: 

“Stefan’s left Damon here in Mystic Falls. Now he’s got to protect this girl that he loves, but that he can’t have, because it’s his brother’s girl — and even though it’s Damon, he can’t do that to his brother,” Somerhalder says. “And even if he could, she doesn’t love him anyway. She wants his brother. So when he finally sees Stefan, it’s like, ‘I tried for two seasons to get you to do this and now you’re off running around with this idiot.’ That’s all Damon wanted in Season 1, was his brother to run around with him and munch on sorority girls and bring down the house wherever they went, and Stefan said no. Now he’s left Damon here all by himself, to fend for himself, and protect this girl who is 150 years his junior. He’s not happy about it.”

On Damon keeping his edge in Season Three:

“This is a hundred-episode arc of a character, and he can’t just be one-dimensional. I was worried that Damon was becoming this hero, and Kevin [Williamson] said ‘No, he’s not the hero. He needs to be, but he’s the anti-hero, because he’s supposed to be not hurting people, but that’s not his nature.’ So he slips, and his response is ‘Screw this.’ Now, I think that struggle, that push and pull for Damon is what’s going to make this season interesting for me as an actor and interesting for Damon as a character. I don’t want to lose that quote-unquote ‘bad’ side of Damon.”

On why Elena can’t turn from Damon:

“The dynamics happening between Damon and Elena…they sort of like poke fun at each other, they jab at each other, she gets things from Damon that she doesn’t get from Stefan. He makes her smile. I mean, yes, he killed her brother; yes, he destroyed her life…but he makes her smile.”

And we all know one laugh can make a big difference :)


Tale as old as time/song as old as rhyme/Beauty and the Beast

My absolute favorite Walt Disney movie of all time is Beauty and the Beast.

It fascinated my 8-year-old self – I was transfixed by the love story, the Beast’s horrific curse and the brown-haired, brown-eyed heroine who had a love of books and freedom. (What? I have brown hair and brown eyes. It blew my mind in a world of Cinderellas, Snow Whites and Little Mermaids.)

And like the reveal scene at the end of Casper when Devon Sawa walks down the stairs at the dance (the height of romance at 10), the Beast was romantically revealed, when Belle thought all was lost, to be a hot blonde prince – and the love of her life.

Swoon.

For that reason, today’s post is dedicated to the Beast, an unnamed Prince with gruff manners and a soft heart, who apparently is 21. Still YA material, in my opinion.

Top five reasons to love the Beast:

  1. He’s been a beast for three or four years and has forgotten how to use silverware? Adorable.
  2. The man has a gigantic library. As a biblioholic myself, I can relate to Belle’s delight.
  3. To quote Jane Austen not very accurately, “It came on so slowly I hardly know… but I believe I must date it from the time I first saw his wonderful grounds at Pemberley” ….or his gigantic gothic then Greek splendid castle
  4. The Beast can DANCE.
  5.  In fiction, I’m usually all about gruff guys with a heart of gold. That preference started early.
So tell me, who’s your favorite Disney hero?

Elena comforts Damon in "As I Lay Dying"

I’m not sure I can contain my happiness…..I’m sorry Stefan fans, but The Vampire Diaries Season Two finale, “As I Lay Dying,” was all about DELENA. All of my expectations were fulfilled. There were quite a few grip-the-couch-pillow-in-anticipation moments, ahem Jeremy’s ghosts, but I’m going to concentrate on the finale’s best Damon/Elena moments.

1. First of all, Damon’s about-to-die conservation was adorable: “You should have met me in 1864…you would’ve liked me.” Swoooon. Her response was beautiful: “I like you now. Just the way you are.” A friend thought it was corny, but I’m going to have to respectfully disagree.

2. I’m all about seeing how much Stefan and Damon care about each other – Stefan was willing to sacrifice all to save his brother and Damon did the same in Season One when Stefan was captured by the tomb vampires. They may try to fool us, and each other, but they truly love each other….awesome!

3. Back to the Damon bed scene – I love that Elena, finally, was able to put her “OMG I’m with Stefan” thing aside to comfort Damon in what she thought would be his last moments. He’s done so much for her, good and bad, and he had really EARNED that kiss. And just as an aside, that was NOT a kiss one gives to a boyfriend’s brother, even if he WERE dying.

4. It was pure poetry when Elena found out Damon was dying, right after she’d “shut the door” in his face when he was begging for forgiveness. Time to pay the piper Elena. After all, it’s OK to love both of them. (Good point, Katherine.)

5. Even while clammy and sweaty, Ian Somerhalder pulled off dying beautifully. He delivered those lines so convincingly…”I love you. You should know that.” Elena was sobbing,  I was sobbing. Tears were streaming my face. Logic will tell you there’s no way the show would kill off one of the most popular characters (there’s no show without him), but you’re still on proverbial tenterhooks when it appears Damon is breathing his last and finally bearing his soul, for real this time. No compulsion.

“As I Lay Dying” has completely lived up to Season One’s ending/cliffhanger, except this time, viewers should be prepared for a turning of the tables: Stefan as an evil henchman, Damon possibly good. Do you think Damon will pay his debt to Stefan by backing off from Elena when he may actually have a chance to win her? How long will Stefan be bad, anyway? (It was sadly short-lived in Season One.) Will Elena ever acknowledge her feelings for Damon?

Is it September yet? In the meantime, check out the Delena clip and the song playing in the background:

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