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I Kissed Dating Goodbye
I Kissed Dating Goodbye
by Joshua Harris
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars What I've Learned, 7 April 2014
When I was in my first year at university and struggling with feelings of low self-esteem and isolation, I asked one of the leaders in my student Bible study group if I could meet with him to talk. I was having a hard time fitting in to this new student life. I was extremely shy and quiet, and I sometimes wondered if I should even be at university at all. He was one of the few people to actually strike up a conversation with me, and I thought he seemed approachable and kind. The next time I saw him, at the Christian Union, he told me we couldn't meet up, but his reasons were vague. "We have to be careful about these things", he said. If I needed to talk to someone, I could talk to the girl who was the other leader in our home group, someone I'd barely spoken to and didn't feel comfortable with at all. I felt confused, hurt, angry and most of all, ashamed, even though I didn't know what I had done wrong. All I needed was someone to talk to, not a date or anything untoward. I had no idea what he was thinking. Now, I think it must have been due to the ideas presented in this book.
Christians everywhere have raved about 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye'. If it worked for them, and enriched their lives, then I'm happy for them. But I think people need to be aware that the 'alternative to dating' which Josh promotes isn't necessarily going to be feasible for every single person, and that the system he commends is definitely not without its problems. I'm afraid people have this idea that this is what everyone should do, and that's because Josh doesn't discuss or mention that just like dating, NOT dating, 'guarding your heart', 'waiting for the right one' etc can pose challenges and be equally problematic. Since the book was published, Josh has actually gone on to say that although he still agrees with 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' he has "never claimed that the ideas I share in it are for everyone, nor that my book is or should be the final word on Christian relationships. The book is simply me at 21 years old sharing my personal journey of learning to honor God." He has also said that he doesn't like the way other people 'represent' his ideas, that they've been too 'heavy-handed' and 'legalistic', or that it's an opinion they must agree with, and the only option for Christians. At the beginning of the book, Josh does state that his goal isn't to convince people to stop dating - but given the dating horror stories he shares, featuring couples (usually in their teens or early 20s) who were led astray in their relationships, plus listing all the pitfalls of modern dating - then what conclusion does he expect readers to form?? He doesn't say anything good about dating, just that it leads to selfish, sinful behavior that takes us away from God. Although that can happen to people, does that mean that dating in itself is wrong? Isn't he being rather insincere when he states that he doesn't want to stop people dating, when it's so clear that he disapproves of it and thinks his way is much better and godly?
'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' takes emotional purity to a whole new level. Much is spent talking about how we should 'guard our hearts'. He talks about a couple who were attracted to each other but before they began a relationship, God made it clear that the couple in question, Matt and Julie, should focus on him 'during a certain season.' Matt also made it his priority to guard Julie's heart by avoiding being with her too much, focusing too much attention on her and doing anything that would make it harder for her to focus on serving God. This season 'didn't last forever' and eventually they became engaged. Josh doesn't say anything about why 'the season' ended, or how this couple knew it was OK to finally be together. Did God reward them for all their self-restraint?
Another thing I found slightly unsettling was the way Josh writes about gender roles, particularly regarding women. I found some of the things he said about how we should dress a little bit troubling, even alarming. "Your job is to keep your brothers from being led astray by her (wayward women's) charms. Please be aware of how easily your actions and glances can stir up lust in a guy's mind." Josh seems to be saying that women should cover up, or else fear the dangerous repercussions that could ensue, as if men would completely lose control and try to grab a woman into a feverish embrace at the sight of a bare leg. I think this is damaging (to both men, who are portrayed as lust-fuelled maniacs, who think impure thoughts whenever he glimpses someone attractive), and women, who must try to downplay their looks, for fear of what could happen if they do not. It sounds like a very fearful, guilt-ridden environment. I'm not saying that women should walk around in hot pants and crop tops, or that they shouldn't dress 'modestly' - whatever that entails - but there seems to be a subtext within Josh's narrative which insinuates that women are naturally going to cause men to sin and that is why it's necessary for them to 'cover up'. He even talks about a friend called Janelle, who 'asks her dad to evaluate every outfit she buys.' He doesn't mention how old she is, but it sounds crazy that a girl's father would hold that much authority over her life in today's society. Why can't he trust her to choose wisely? Why would a father want to dictate what his daughter wore all the time? It all sounds very controlling and unhealthy.
In one part of the book, Josh discusses the dangers of infatuation. He mentions a woman in her thirties who told him that until the 'right man' comes along, she refused to feed 'romantic expectations and let my heart get carried away.' He makes good points, but here's the thing; if we close our hearts to the possibility of love, then how will we ever know who IS the one? Maintaining distance might seem safe; it might sound like a fool-proof way to avoid getting hurt, and avoid straying from our walk with God, but life isn't that easy, and I think that's one of the biggest problems I had with this book. Joshua Harris means well I'm sure, but he seems to argue that if we read his book and avoid dating, avoid situations that look dodgy or could go wrong, guard our hearts, hang out in groups, tread carefully in our friendships, honour our brothers and sisters in Christ and serve God then we'll be safe, and God will deliver The One when the time is right. But life isn't like that. I had a crush on a guy in our church for ages, but I never did anything about it because one of my friends liked him too. All my previous experiences with guys had ended badly, and I didn't want this to be another one. I thought my feelings were wrong, so I chose to do nothing. I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I thought that if I did nothing, then maybe my feelings would go away. One night I found out that my friend and this guy were going out to dinner, and suddenly I realized that all along I had been deceiving myself. Now my chance was gone and it was probably too late to do anything about it. I was devastated. That's not the end of the story, but I learned that choosing to wait can be just as painful as dating. I understand that this book has quite a following and many fans, and if reading it has helped them, and transformed their dating lives, then I'm happy for them. It just didn't work out that way for me.


Foreclosed: A Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery (The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries, a Cozy Christian Collection)
Foreclosed: A Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery (The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries, a Cozy Christian Collection)
Price: 0.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor uninteresting story., 2 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very boring story. Hoped it would improve but did not. Didn't finish it. Will not buy any more by this author.


Steve Madden Women's Thundr C Ankle Boots
Steve Madden Women's Thundr C Ankle Boots

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cute and comfy, 26 July 2013
I love Steve Madden boots, but usually can't afford them, so at this price, I had to go for it. They're really comfortable and go with skinny jeans, shorts and even dresses. I recommend wearing socks with them though, as the sides can rub your ankles when walking. I absolutely love them!


Madden Women's Razscal Mid Calf Boots
Madden Women's Razscal Mid Calf Boots

5.0 out of 5 stars Cute Boots, 25 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are basically a less expensive version of the 'Banddit' boot. They aren't made of real leather, but apart from that, they look exactly the same. I ordered a size 4, but the boots were packaged wrongly, and I got a 4.5. I think the size 4s in brown are sold out now, so I've decided to keep them. They're a bit big, but it doesn't matter. The buckles are adjustable, so you can fit them according to how tight or loose you want them to be. It's probably not a good idea to slip your feet in and out of them without undoing the buckles first - they're not really a 'pull on' style of boot, and if you did that often you could end up damaging the material. Looks great with skinny jeans and leggings, but also cute with a dress or a skirt. Very comfortable too - in spite of being half a size too big!


Corn Silk Oil Absorbent Powder Papers
Corn Silk Oil Absorbent Powder Papers

5.0 out of 5 stars always in my bag, 1 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used to buy these years ago, but when Boots stopped stocking them, I was forced to buy other oil blotting/powder papers. I think I have tried just about every kind on the market but Corn Silk is the best that I've found. I have very oily skin, and even with mattifying gel, 'matte' makeup, and powder, I need to blot my face several times a day. Other brands oil blotting sheets did the job, but they were so thin I had to use 2 sheets before I felt they soaked up the shine on my face. These come in sophisticated packaging, have a nice smell, and the papers are much more substantial, so I don't need to use so many. I hope they will come back in stock, as I can't find them anywhere else and there are no oil blotting sheets to equal them.


The Vampire Diaries - Season 3 (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
The Vampire Diaries - Season 3 (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
Dvd ~ Nina Dobrev
Price: 15.00

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Show To Die For, 11 Jan 2012
Warning! Contains minor spoilers!

I think the success of Season 3 largely belongs to the new dynamics formed between Damon/Elena, Damon/Stefan, Klaus/Stefan, and the introduction of the Original family. Last season was over-crowded with all the mythology, the triangle was shoved to the very back shelf so you wondered if it was alive at all, and Elena seemed intent on a one-way suicide mission to save everyone she loved. However, I am happy to report that all the things which hindered Season 2 have been greatly improved upon this season. The season kicks off 2 months after Stefan leaves town with Klaus, with Elena's 18th birthday. Elena's determination to save Stefan isn't easy to watch at the beginning, because it sometimes feels as if she's failing to grasp the enormity of Stefan's 'ripper' habit. But on the whole, I felt Elena was much stronger and more independent than she was last season. Stefan too, after spending the better part of 2 seasons acting responsible and well-behaved is much more interesting as a ripper, although I thought the writers were surprisingly timid in revealing Ripper Stefan in all his glory. I also thought it was strange that Stefan initially resists Klaus' compulsion to switch off his humanity, and afterwards, still cared about Elena to want to save her when she 'falls off' a row of bleachers. (I know he still loves her underneath, but he's been COMPELLED not to feel. I didn't get it.) Oddly enough, it's not until after Stefan is free from Klaus' compulsion that he really seems to 'snap', hell-bent on getting revenge on Klaus and holding Elena and her family and friends to ransom in the process. However, I still can't help feeling that for the most part, the writers play the ripper storyline a little too 'safe'. They never really let Stefan hit rock bottom. I think the writers want the audience to sympathise with Stefan too much, and somehow, it doesn't quite work. I was looking forward to seeing him be unapologetically bad, and while we see glimpses of it from time to time, I didn't feel he was as bad as he should have been for a relapsed 'ripper'.

The triangle. I'll be honest. Mid-Season 2, I was growing concerned about its lack of development, and wondered what the writers were playing at. It seemed very lop-sided to me: Stefan loved Elena. Damon loved Elena. She loved Stefan. That wasn't my idea of a triangle. But this season, the triangle FINALLY hots up. It would have been so easy to use the 'Stefan goes bad'/'Stefan is gone' card as an excuse to throw Damon and Elena together, but the writers refrain from doing that. Instead, Elena and Damon continue to do all they can to save Stefan, while their connection becomes ever more tangible, and the tension between them builds and builds, until the scene in the motel where it finally explodes. However it's worth keeping in mind that the triangle doesn't follow the traditional route, so be prepared for a lot of set-backs along the way.

For those of you who aren't interested in the triangle, then don't worry. How about a serial murderer who's on the rampage? Or a family reunion with some Originals? Or the return of Esther, the Original witch/mother, who is determined to rid the world of vampires? Or a love interest for Klaus?

I've heard some fans complain about this season, claiming there hasn't been enough 'action' in it. I have to disagree there. I think all the action last season, along with the mythological elements overwhelmed the show at times. At the heart of the show, its about the relationships and the complex ties between family and friends which arguably really makes 'The Vampire Diaries' what it is, while the characters are multi-layered and constantly surprise you. You can't help but care about them and become emotionally drawn into their world. Naturally, there are some loose ends which raise questions, such as Katherine's admission that she once loved Stefan AND Damon. (Um, did the writers forget the moment in 2x01 when she tells Damon 'The truth is, I never loved you'? Even if she lied, it still doesn't make sense.) The 'Ghost World' episode could have been better if the writers had only brought back one or 2 'ghosts' but because they brought back a whole lot of them at once, there wasn't time for each one to have the impact they should have had. It seemed a bit weird that they killed Mikael off so soon, and sometimes it feels as if Bonnie is just there to cast spells, and Matt lacks a definitive role in the show but...when a show is as addictive and fun as this one, so what?


Gossip Girl - Complete Season 4 [DVD] [2011]
Gossip Girl - Complete Season 4 [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Leighton Meester
Offered by filmrollen
Price: 8.59

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back On Track - But Chuck, Blair and Dan Steal The Show, 4 Mar 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
*Contains Spoilers*

After a season which grew progressively darker and culminated in Chuck getting shot and lying bleeding on the street, I was not sure what to expect from Season 4. However, I am happy to report that this is a much better season than the previous one. I think this is due to several factors: a move away from the college scene for the most part, a tone which is less dark and more cohesive; but mostly due to 2 major relationships which defines Season 4, and has a life-changing effect on two characters in particular.

The first half of the season focuses on new girl Juliet's mysterious vendetta against Serena, Chuck and Blair's love/hate relationship and attempt at reconciliation, and the love triangle/rectangle between Nate, Serena, Dan and Vanessa. The story with Juliet isn't what we're led to believe it is, and in fact leads to a much bigger story about a secret in Serena's past at boarding school involving a teacher.
As much as I enjoyed Chuck and Blair's interaction, after a while I began to wonder if they were in danger of becoming a bit stale after 3 years. About a quarter of the season in, I felt I'd seen every aspect of their relationship. But don't worry, C/B fans still have much to enjoy this season.

The second half of the season centres on Chuck struggling to save Bass Industries, and discovering a shocking secret of his father's. It also features Serena's new relationship with Ben. However, it is the development of Dan and Blair's unnamed friendship which really invigorates the show. 'OC' fans have labelled Dan and Blair the new Seth and Summer, but I think they have more in common with Joey and Pacey from 'Dawson's Creek.' It's a pairing which has proved to be a divisive issue among some viewers, but as a fan of Chuck and Blair, I have to say that I love Dan and Blair. The writers take a lot of time and care into building their friendship, and it soon becomes apparent that this is for a reason, and not merely a tactic to get Blair back together with Chuck. Arguably the most interesting thing to happen to 'Gossip Girl' in years, Blair and Dan showcase what the writers do best when done right: relationships. However, I felt rather let down with the way the story arc fizzled out without any explanation, and it didn't make much sense when the writers had taken a good number of episodes building up to it. The question is: when the finale apparently waves goodbye to a 'Chair' endgame, have we really seen the last of Dan/Blair? I'm sure we'll see a continuation of their story in Season 5. Season 4 isn't a perfect season by any means, and it does take a few episodes to get into, but it is a great improvement on Season 3. Its strengths out-weigh its flaws on the whole. I almost didn't buy Season 3 because it got too dark for me, but I will definitely be buying this one.


The Vampire Diaries - Season 2 [DVD] [2011]
The Vampire Diaries - Season 2 [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Nina Dobrev
Price: 10.75

62 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexy, Shocking And Spellbinding, 5 Dec 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For those of you who are familiar with 'The Vampire Diaries' you probably don't need to be reminded that it's a million miles away from 'Twilight' and that it's not just for teenagers. 'The Vampire Diaries' supernatural elements mixed with high school, romance, at least one shocking incident per episode and twists and turns in the plot to leave you on the edge of your seat, have all combined to create one of the most addictive shows on television. The show possesses a unique ability through the story-telling to continually challenge the viewer's perceptions of who a character is. So no-one is quite who they appear to be. Stefan has been shown to have a dark side, while everyone's favourite bad boy Damon stuns you by doing something surprisingly selfless and noble...an enemy could become an ally, and a friend could become an enemy.

This season, a lot of the questions that cropped up in the First Season are explained, particularly about why Elena looks exactly like Katherine. We find out a lot more about Katherine, going back to before she became a vampire in 1400s Bulgaria. Her return to Mystic Falls turns everything upside-down, and Stefan and Damon have to put their differences aside to protect the town and the people they love. Stefan has to face his inner demons, Damon has to come to terms with his destructive tendencies and his love for Elena, and Elena has to come to terms with the fact that her feelings for Damon might run deeper than friendship and that being connected to Katherine could mean losing everyone she loves.
Perhaps one of the slight weaknesses of Season One was trying to integrate characters who weren't involved in the supernatual aspects (like Caroline and Tyler) into the main story. The good news is, by creating the werewolf story, the curse and Katherine's determination to wreak havoc, Caroline, Jeremy, Tyler and Bonnie have a much bigger part to play in Season 2. Tyler in particular, has a big story and has really evolved since last season. We see more interactions with characters who before, didn't share a lot of screen time together and that helps to keep things fresh and interesting. We also see the development of two more love triangles possibly developing, in the shape of Matt/Caroline/Tyler and Jeremy/Bonnie and new guy Luka. There are new characters to meet - Tyler's Uncle Mason, and some new vampires including ancient 'Original' vampires Elijah and Klaus who are so deadly and powerful, they make Katherine and Damon look positively angelic in comparison. As more of the mythology is revealed, it becomes rather convoluted and dare I say it, cloudy at times. For example, I'm not sure if the writers have made it clear why Klaus wants to break the curse by sacrificing Elena, other than not wanting the werewolves to be the ones to do it. Also, as Katherine is herself a doppelganger, (she becomes a vampire to escape), then it must mean there was another one before her. Who was the first, and how many doppelgangers have there been? The more answers that are revealed, the more questions you find yourself asking.

I have to commend Nina's performances as Elena and Katherine. Playing two different characters (sometimes in different eras) could have been a handful for any actress, but she manages to juggle both effortlessly. She is completely convincing and brilliant as the manipulative seductress Katherine, and empathetic playing high school student Elena. I've read at least one review on Amazon from someone who discredits Nina's acting, but after watching her play two complex roles, I think any doubters will change their minds. I have one slight concern about Elena's character though. At the beginning of the season, say around episodes 4 and 5, I felt Elena was in danger of fading into a rather colourless character. I'm not sure if that's because she was being over-shadowed by powerful female figures like Caroline (who became doubly entertaining and really came into her own after she became a vampire), or due to a flaw in the writing, but I felt she was losing some of her independence and spark. Fortunately this problem (if it is a problem, it's just my opinion), is rectified fairly quickly.

As for the love triangle, the writers pull a jaw-dropping twist in the first episode and another at the end of episode 8. Dramatic twists aside however, the progression of the triangle between Stefan, Elena and Damon feels VERY slow at times; there are long lapses when nothing much seems to be happening between the three of them at all, often for 4 episodes at a time. Just when you think the triangle is finally showing signs of springing into action at the end of 2x10, with Stefan trapped in the tomb with Katherine, and Damon promising to protect Elena, the next episode totally veers off course and ultimately, nothing happens. I found this completely aggravating, not to mention, pointless. It seemed very strange for the writers to hint that things were being kicked up a notch, and then not do anything with the situation they'd created. I know that the triangle has got to last the length of the series, so it's undoubtedly a good sign that the writers are so painstakingly slow in its development. It certainly keeps you watching but you can't help wondering when, and how, this much discussed love triangle is really going to take off and start hotting up, particularly when Stefan and Elena, although cute, are far from satisfactory in the couples department. Maybe it's because they got together in about 10 episodes last season, more likely it's because they lack depth, but I feel like there's something missing in their scenes together. I can't help feeling that Elena and Damon have a dynamic that is more intense, exciting and intriguing. Weirdly enough, in spite of all the things he does, Damon can sometimes come across as being more human than the human characters on the show; probably because of the spectrum of emotions he goes through: vulnerable, heart-broken and desperate in his dealings with Elena and Katherine in 'The Return'; psychotic and menacing when torturing Mason. This season, we get much closer to Damon than we ever have before, including discovering a secret of his which is made all the more heart-rending and shocking because it's not what you would imagine it to be. Ian Somerhalder is fabulous as Damon and is nothing less than extraordinary, especially in 'The Return', 'The Descent' and the bathtub scene in 2x13. But I also have to single out Michael Trevino (Tyler) and the terrific Candice Accola (Caroline).

While the writers try to balance all the aspects of the show, this season has posed quite a challenge to them with the many different stories they are trying to tell. My overall feeling is that while it has made for gripping viewing, they have neglected the development of the love triangle, which is arguably the most important part of the show. It made me wonder if perhaps the writers were trying to do a bit too much. Case in point: 'The Dinner Party' episode. How did the dagger that was used to kill Elijah in the Salvatore mansion end up in the lakehouse?? If Season 2 has a weakness, it might be that it is overly ambitious, to the detriment of some of the story-telling. However, with the exception of the love triangle and some of the weaker moments, Season 2 is just as good as the first. There's a lot more action, a lot more plot twists which will leave you reeling, and a lot more of Damon. If you loved 'Twilight' but are disappointed with the films, then watch this. If you hated 'Twilight' and love vampires, then watch this. And if you loved the First Season, then this is a must-buy.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 3, 2011 8:23 PM BST


Gossip Girl - Complete Season 3 [DVD] [2009] [2010]
Gossip Girl - Complete Season 3 [DVD] [2009] [2010]
Dvd ~ Leighton Meester
Offered by filmrollen
Price: 9.44

42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hot Gossip? Not Quite..., 15 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When Season 3 began in the UK I felt a certain degree of trepidation. The Second Season was brilliant, but it also raised the stakes for the show creatively, and with the start of college, I wasn't sure how it was going to work out. My fears were confirmed from the beginning, which was rather disappointing, and the following episodes weren't much better to be honest. I think this is due to the unneccessary introduction of secondary characters which takes the focus away from the cast, such as Olivia (Hilary Duff), and the irritating Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg). The problem with these characters is that they are only there to add arbitrary drama which the show doesn't really need. Apart from that, the transition from high school to college is a rocky one, for the audience and the characters. It's only when the writers step away from the college scene and back into familiar territory that the show finally gets back into the swing of things again, such as Chuck dealing with the anniversary of his father's death in 'The Dearly Debarted'. Undoubtedly one of 'Gossip Girl's' most interesting characters, Chuck has a lot to deal with this season: the apparent reappearance of his mother (whom he believed had died giving birth to him), the possibility of losing his father's empire to his evil Uncle Jack, and his insecurity that he isn't living up to his father's expectations. Naturally, 'Gossip Girl' is a show about secrets and nothing is ever what it seems to be.

Relationships-wise, much of the 'hot' scenes have shifted from Chuck and Blair to Upper East Side's newest reigning prince and princess, Serena and Nate. But if you thought any hope of Jenny and Nate maybe getting together died sometime last season, you would be wrong. Nate continues to play knight in shining armour to damsel in distress Jenny whenever the situation arises; saving her from a potentially dangerous party scene and advising her against losing her virginity to dubious new boyfriend Damien: "You're a really special girl Jenny, and you deserve a guy who sees that...you deserve a guy who's gonna be there in the morning." As for Chuck and Blair, we watch as they go from being a solid couple to hitting rock bottom. But every scene they share, no matter how heartbreaking or romantic is simply mesmerising to watch. I've been a big fan of Chuck and Blair from Season One, but what I found slightly disconcerting this time round was that the writers didn't seem to know what to do with them once they had become a couple, which may have influenced their decision to break them up lest their relationship became too pedestrian. But even if Chuck and Blair are one of TV's ill-fated couples who will never stay together for very long, or whose chemistry seems to work better apart rather than as a conventional couple, I still favour them over Serena and Nate ("Your biggest concern has been whose hair is shinier," says Chuck), and Dan and Vanessa. Dan and Vanessa look like a match made in eHarmony heaven, but for some reason, they just do not work. I don't know why, but they just don't. Maybe they are too alike. It's a relationship that makes perfect sense on paper, but on screen, I'm afraid they are bland, and therefore boring to watch. I don't even know if Vanessa has been well established as a character on her own. She seems strangely detached from the rest of the group and it seems that the only way she can be integrated as one of them - and thus have a story - is by being in a relationship with one of the guys.

Three characters that really annoyed me this season were Serena, Jenny and Lily. Serena's unwavering loyalty to her father grated on my nerves, as did her refusal to try and see things from her friends perspectives. I didn't understand why Serena sided so quickly with her father against Rufus, when her father hadn't been around for years and had done nothing except show up again to earn her support or trust. Any sympathy I once had for Jenny dissolved completely. I'm afraid that by the end of the season, I just didn't like her - whereas Blair can be manipulative and still convey emotion, Jenny does not, and comes across as aloof and cold-hearted. Lily on the other hand, irritated me by failing to see that her ex-husband was up to no good, and was trying to cause a wedge between her and Rufus.

Overall, I'm not sure how I feel about this season. When the writing is strong, it all comes together, but much of 'Gossip Girl' depends on strong and likeable characters and the relationships they have. When these elements don't deliver, then I don't feel suitably engaged with the show. There are some good moments but...unlike the previous two seasons, I'm not sure if I'll be buying this one.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 1, 2011 10:42 PM BST


The Vampire Diaries - Season 1 [DVD] [2010]
The Vampire Diaries - Season 1 [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Nina Dobrev
Price: 9.01

187 of 198 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Falling For A Vampire (And He Doesn't Sparkle!), 1 Mar 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It would be tempting to dismiss 'The Vampire Diaries' as another mediocre show riding on the wave of the public's fascination for all things vampire, by conveniently cashing in on the multi-million franchise that started it all. Taken at the pilot episode's most basic premise, 'The Vampire Diaries' doesn't sound exactly original: a teenage girl is drawn to a mysterious new boy hiding a dark secret; 'so far, so Twilight' you might think. But once the show gets going, it becomes obvious that 'The Vampire Diaries' is far more epic in scope than 'Twilight'.
The story is set in the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, where our heroine, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) is trying to hold her family together after losing her parents in a car accident four months before. At the start of a new school year, she finds herself immediately attracted to new student Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), a vampire who has lived in solitude for a century but who is unwillingly lured from his shadowy existence by his infatuation with Elena. Elena bears an uncanny resemblance to a picture of a woman called Katherine, whom Stefan and his older brother who is also a vampire, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) loved more than a century ago, a story which ended in tragedy and a bitter feud. Stefan hasn't spoken to Damon for 15 years, but when he shows up in Mystic Falls in the wake of several brutal murders, Stefan is deeply troubled.
Stefan is the sensitive, 'good' brother who refuses to drink human blood because he believes killing people is wrong. Damon however, does not share his conviction and does not hesitate when it comes to feeding on, or taking human life to sate his thirst. He continually ridicules Stefan's moral principles and sees it as a betrayal of their identity as vampires. Damon is significantly stronger than Stefan and possesses the ability to manipulate people's minds through a power called compulsion.
It would be easy to describe Damon as evil, but even as early as episode 3 his 'evil' intentions regarding his brother and Elena are questionable. Stefan challenges Damon, stating "You're not going to hurt her (Elena) Damon, because deep down inside of you there's a part of you that feels for her." He argues that Damon isn't the monster he pretends to be. When Damon shockingly kills Stefan's football coach, Stefan sadly concludes that he was wrong to hope. "There's nothing human left in Damon...only a monster who must be stopped." But even as he's speaking, we know this isn't true as we see Damon at the sleeping Elena's bedside, gently caressing her cheek with his fingertip. At the heart of the show is a love triangle, but a far more engrossing one than seen in 'Twilight': two vampire brothers, one good, one evil, battling for the soul of a mortal girl who is caught between them. But is Damon really evil? Glimpses of his humanity is one of the most intriguing thing about him. Although the writers focus on Elena's romance with Stefan, there is something captivating about her scenes with Damon. I can appreciate that Stefan and Elena have chemistry though, I just find Elena and Damon a more exciting, compelling match. I suppose I find Stefan a little dull in comparison to Damon, but then Damon would make any vampire - Edward Cullen included -look dull. Apart from being gorgeous and charming, Damon is pretty much the antithesis of Edward: arrogant, sarcastic, funny, devastatingly sexy and deadly; often all at once. He gets all the best lines in the show and steals every scene he's in. Ian Somerhalder (who clearly relishes his role as a bad boy) is brilliant as Damon.
A word of caution - I have never read any of LJ Smith's books, but there are many people who have, who feel strongly about how the show should work out, and who should get together based on what happens in the books. Do not expect the show to be a duplicate of them, because the TV show will inevitably go a completely different way. Two of the producers, Bob Levy and Leslie Morgenstein also produce 'Gossip Girl', which took Cecily Von Zeigesar's characters and then did their own thing. If you are a die-hard fan of the books, do not spoil your enjoyment of this amazing show by trying to anticipate how closely the writers will follow the books. Otherwise, 'The Vampire Diaries' has it all: a cast so beautiful it shouldn't be allowed, the potential for an epic love triangle, humour, darkness, witty dialogue, charismatic multi-layered characters and fantastic story-telling. It also has an incredible soundtrack, with songs that always capture and accentuate the intensity of the scene. Anberlin's 'Enjoy The Silence', 'Cut' by Plumb (Stefan and Elena's love scene) and Within Temptation's 'All I Need' (Elena and Damon's dance) are some stand-outs. Even the most cynical fans of the vampire genre may not be able to resist this.
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