July 30, 2011

Dead to the World

This is the reason why our favorite Southern Vampire Mysteries novel is the
4th one, Dead to the World. If you've read the book you'd understand why
the Witch War was just amazing beyond words.
I think it's the best one in the entire series, the fae war pales in comparison hands down.
I must say, Ms. Harris did a fine job with this one.

And although Mr. Alan Ball has something slightly different in mind
I'm glad that if anything, he amped up the events that will lead to the inevitable
confrontation between these Supernatural forces. Fiona Shaw is spectacular as the Head Witch, I'm still debating the point as to whether or not I hate or like her.
But her character is a godsend, without Marni we won't be seeing a lot of naked Eric.

Of course my favorite is still those steamy love scenes between Sookie and Eric. Even though in the 11th novel, Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris continues to jack up
these two love birds (poor Sookie), I'm still praying that their love for each other
will prevail. I'm such a romantic I know but there's no room left for anything else when
it comes to these two.

How could you not love them?


July 29, 2011

Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon

plot summary &excerpt here
Series: Dark-Hunter 10; Were-Hunter 5
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 28, 2006
Purchase Link: Amazon
Susan Michaels was once the hottest reporter on the Beltway Beat until a major scandal ruined her life and left her writing stories about alien babies and Elvis sightings. Life as she once knew it is over, or so she thinks, but then she gets a lead on a story that could salvage her extinct career. She heads to the local animal shelter, expecting a hot news tip, which she gets in the form of a major police cover-up ... for a ring of soul-sucking vampires out to take over Seattle. So much for saving her credibility.

And if that isn't bad enough, she gets talked into adopting a cat and finds she's allergic to it. A cat that turns out to be a shapeshifter who claims to be an immortal vampire slayer on the prowl for the same corrupt cops. her first thought: seek professional help.

But as Susan's drawn into Ravyn's dark and dangerous world, she comes to realize that there's a lot more at stake than just her defunct career. Now it's no longer a question of bringing the truth to her readers; it's a matter of saving their very lives and souls.

Ravyn's life was shattered over four hundred years ago, when he mistakenly trusted the wrong human with the truth of his existence. He lost his family, his honor, and his life. Now, in order to save the people of Seattle, he's forced to confront that nightmare all over again, and to trust another woman with the secret that could destroy him.

In the world of the Dark-Hunters, life is always dangerous. But never more so than now, when a very human woman can shatter their entire world with just one story. The only question is ... will she?
This book cracked me up! Kenyon sure has a sense of humor I tell you. See Ravyn is an Arcadian Were-Hunter who turns into a leopard and Susan, an investigative reporter who fell on hard times professionally, is allergic to cats. I was laughing my butt off during their supposedly steamy scenes. The first time that they tried to do it Susan can't help but have an allergic reaction to Ravyn's cat fur that seems to cling to his long hair. Her throat would constrict and she can feel the fur tickling her esophagus. When they finally succeeded, Susan has to take breaks in between because she was coughing incessantly! 
Aside from the comedy, I like Susan and her fearless attitude. She's very feisty, speaks her mind and refuses to be intimidated. She is the perfect fit for the Dark-Hunter world amongst all the leading ladies that graced the chapters of Kenyon's books. As for Ravyn, his story got eclipsed by Acheron and Nick Gaultier though his backstory is heartbreaking nonetheless as is universal amongst the Hunters.

There are just a lot of major plots going on at the same time that distracts the reader from really empathizing with Ravyn. Stryker and his Spathi crew are relentless and their roles in the story is getting interesting. After reading Kiss of the Night, I'm afraid I'm torn about how I feel about the cursed race of Apollo. The war between the Daimons and the Hunters seems to be this big farce and they are but the pawns of the Greek Celestial Twins. No wonder Apollymi wants out!

Going back to Acheron, I'm just getting tired of the his daliance with Artemis. Can Kenyon make up another reason why Acheron is busy somewhere else? Surely there are other things that can occupy him aside from giving the Goddess of the Hunt multiple spasms. And we also meet Nick Gaultier as a Hunter, it is in this book where he made the quintessential deal with the devil so he can get his Act of Vengeance against Acheron. These are the events that will lead to his alter-ego Ambrose. This side of Nick is so far from the loving and happy boy in Kenyon's other series Chronicles of Nick. He is full of hate, anger and to say that he is tormented is an understatement.

On a side note, I am looking forward to reading Acheron's story and see how it will all go down. I hope that he lets Simi eat Artemis with BBQ Sauce on the side.

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Review: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward

Plot summary & excerpt
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 7
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 28, 2009
Purchase Link: Amazon
Caldwell, New York, has long been the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It's also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and owner of a notorious night club that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he's approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King and leader of the Brotherhood.

Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood-even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him-and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

Rhevenge of the Halfling

This is the best BDB book so far, no wonder Rhevenge is very popular with the ladies. He is the ultimate bad boy, a drug kingpin, whore, pimp, thug & murderer, with good intentions that more often than not goes awry.

So our dearest half sympath is on the verge of discovering his destiny. He has always been living in the shadows but special circumstances forced him to take the honorable course in not so honorable means. It's wonderfully written and as a reader you will really understand his struggle and cannot help but be in awe of Rhevenge. Plus Ward's sympaths are really repulsive, disgusting but drawing at the same time.

Aside from Bella (Zsadist's shellan) Ehlena is my next favorite, she's feisty and is just tenacious in her quest to "save" Rhevenge. I loved how Ward wrote their POV's side by side so we're in their heads during those crucial moments. There was a little role reversal here too, Rhevenge became this vulnerable, circumspect guy who is very protective of Ehlena, from himself and other things. And Ehlena is this very trusting girl who chose not to see his flaws but pursues him til he fell for her, refusing to let him let her go.

What really got me going in this book is not only Rhevenge's story but about Wrath's (Dark Lover), the Blind King as well. So now he's literally Blind and the way he came to terms with his disability and how he has to be relieved of his duties as a fighting Brother is really heartbreaking. The struggles he went through in this process was not sugar-coated but very grown up, unromaticized. We see him pushing away people, betraying Bella and refusing or hesitant to recieve help to mask his own fears and self loathing. Ward wrote this part wonderfully.

I can tell that Ward was very inspired when she wrote about Rhevenge, I'm betting that he and the Blind King are her favorite characters in the BDB Series. Now it really feels a real series to me at this point because we get updates about previous charaters we've read about. It feels whole and not just character-centric like Kenyon's Dark-Hunters. There is a continuity which makes it more intriguing, its clutches gripping you slowly until you find out that you are hooked like the rest of the Cellies.

July 26, 2011

Offbeat Vagabond's Book Giveaway!

And the winner is... ME!

Big thanks to Diana for the autographed copy of Tessa Dawn's book Blood Destiny.

Thank you Tessa, and yes I AM a survivor ;)

You can read Offbeat Vagabond's interview with Tessa Dawn here

Review: Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

excerpt here
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 6
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 3, 2008
Purchase Link: Amazon
In this "frighteningly addictive" paranormal romance sage there's a war raging between vampires and their slayers. Here are the stories of a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now a dutiful twin must choose between two lives...

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love.
Events that happened in Lover Unbound forced the hand of Destiny. Phury found himself volunteering for the role of Primale, as tradition dictates the Chosen and any member of the Brotherhood will be responsible in ensuring that the race of vampires is preserved with youngs bred from superior lineage.

But Phury, as a celibate and a junkie is not sure how he'll live up to the demands. Soon his addiction and other emotional baggage gets in the way of his duty both as a Primale and a Brother. His erratic behavior and addiction made him unreliable and a danger to the Brotherhood which forced a confrontation between him and his twin Zsadist which is centuries overdue; and Wrath relieving him of his Brother duties.

Although this is supposed to be a Phury-centric book his storyline wasn't only focused on him unlike in the previous novels where the story would revolve around a certain Brother. As the novels and the story of the Brotherhood progress, Ward doesn't just concentrate on the love story part but on the continuity of the tale and follows up on events and cliffhangers as she goes along. The series is carefully planned and written and she makes the story as tight-knit as she can, avoiding any loose strings. Although there are ridiculous twists like in Lover Unbound but it doesn't take away the fact that she's a good storyteller.

I understand why this series is such a big hit among us females; a band of damaged, leather clad, outrageously handsome vampires that exudes pure, undiluted testosterone that screams SEX lets out the animal in us. We want to be their chosen mate, the one who will take away centuries of pain, to tame the beast that hides within. These vampires are not your typical ones, they are NOT pale, they wine and dine and they live in style and breathes anything and everything designer. Although their description is probably based on pro wrestlers like Prada wearing Batista, Triple H, The Rock and the like, Ward wisely inserted qualities that makes the Brothers fantasy worthy.

Every book seems to be longer and more complicated than its successor as more complications and future storylines are introduced. It can be a bit of a challenge especially if you're part of the ADD generation but with a deluge of action going on in the book you'll really have to give it extra attention otherwise you'll miss the details.

As for the villain, I feel like Ward needs to take her antagonists more seriously. Although Lash (a newly transitioned vampire) is The Lessening Society's silver bullet against the Brotherhood and the Vampire race, Ward doesn't pit him against Butch aka The Dhestroyer, who's missing while this part is going down, but instead faces him off against John Matthew, a former Brorther's reincarnation. Another inconsistency is The Omega was the one responsible for Butch being the Brotherhood's ultimate weapon against The Lessening Society (Lover Revealed), if he made a son (Lash) in the beginning why would he give part of his powers to the enemy? Possibly with the intention of repairing that hump, Ward creates a back story to justify Lash's character and his relevance in the story. In my opinion, The Omega needs to be more sinister, more cunning, he needs to be better in what he does so that he'll be a worthy opponent against a powerful group.

I might be picking the story too much but like what I said in my previous reviews, this series makes me think on top of getting swept away by the romance and the action. I hope that she works on her villains more, now with Lash in the picture I hope that he will be the central nemesis and Ward makes him worthy to be pitted against the Brothers. Personally Mr. X's profile was interesting and he has a lot of room to be the ultimate villain, I don't understand why she pulls him in and out of the story like lightning. I guess I'll find the answer to my questions in the succeeding volumes.

Snow White and the Huntsman

It's out and the pictures are amazing although I'm not sure about KStew playing Snow White. Based on her pic wearing armor, I guess there'll be a different twist to our beloved fairytale. I hope the movie is as good as the pics.

July 23, 2011

Wolf Gift

Anne Rice has a new novel coming out called Wolf Gift. If it's anything like her vampire novels I'm all for it. I've been very vocal about my partiality to Weres so I'm very excited about this one. No release date has been set yet and according to her Facebook page she's still finishing it up.

Let's hear her talk more about this.

July 22, 2011

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

excerpt here
Series: Mercedes Thompson 6
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Purchase Link: Amazon
Being a different breed of shapeshifter-a walker-Mercy Thompson can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now, on her honeymoon with the Alpha werewolf Adam. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-and innocent people are dying. As other walkers make their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil.

River Marked

It's official! Mercy and Adam are married and they're off to a fabulous and relaxing honeymoon in Maryhill. NOT! It won't be a Mercy Thompson book if Trouble is not far behind, after all coyotes are the harbinger of change.

So on their honeymoon they were a little bit set up by the fae because there is something going down and it's important that Adam and Mercy be there. The "something important" is The River Devil who is devouring people and only Mercy can stop it with the help of some new found friends.

Patricia Briggs went on a writing honeymoon with my favorite couple. Briggs decided to take it slow, instead of a combo punch she just gave them one huge people-eating devil to vanquish.  I struggled a bit with this book because it's a little slow compared to the previous ones where there's a menagerie of complications with other supernatural groups.

River Marked is I think more of a character development for Mercy. We're introduced to the customs and beliefs of Native Americans and how it influenced Mercy's life and highlighted her abilities, here she is referred to as an avatar rather than a walker which apparently has a big difference. Mercy also had the pleasure of meeting her father and her time spent with him and on this misadventure gave her closure on things she saw on her vision quest.

It's pretty obvious how much research has gone into this book. Background on places that they visited were provided, bits and pieces of Native American folklore, practices, superstitions and the like. Another take away is little lessons on body language that is present in the entire series, it futher enhances the meaning of dominance, intimidation and respect. Though I'm mostly into fiction I find these factoids interesting so when I finish a book my mind is not just filled with made up stuff but little info's on things that I can look up and actually refer to in real life.

In a way the unexpected dwindle in the pace of the story is good because the next book in the series will not be released til 2013. It helped me to wean off Adam Hauptman because he is starting to permeate my reality which I find unhealthy, I'm crazy as it is & I don't want to add delusional to the list of my problems.

Watch out for our Mercedes Thompson casting couch coming soon!

July 21, 2011

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

excerpt here
Series: Mercedes Thompson 5
Format: Hardbound
Release Date: March 30, 2010
Purchase Link: Amazon

When mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she'd previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secret knowledge-and the Fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side-leaving Mercy to cover for him, lest his own father declare Sam's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she might not have many more to live.

My favorite coyote shifter is up to her neck in pack politics and fae business. Mercy is slowly embracing the pack as her own however that same bond that she shares with them is laced with resentment and hostility from other pack members aimed at her and her relationship with their Alpha. Still working her way around the magic, Mercy finds herself having compulsions that will put a wedge between her and Adam, threatening their relationship and the stability of the Pack.

But typical of Mercy, one conflict is not enough for her, trouble just seems to follow our heroine. Soon enough she's embroiled in a hostage situation involving a Fae Queen and an artifact that was supposedly handed over to Mercy. But her adbuction is a blessing in disguise, her confinement helped her to appreciate Adam's pack, the strength that they lend her and ultimately the indomitable tie that binds her and the Alpha together.

Typical of a young relationship, it tends to be wobbly and Adam and Mercy are no different. They battle it out because Mercy just refuse to be dominated by Adam's protective instincts. I love reading parts where they argue, the passion between them is so palpable I can almost feel it through the pages, Adam is just so magentic, his masculinity is well defined in Briggs pages. I'm all for feminism and independence but when he calls Mercy Mine I swear I just melted on the spot. It may go against several tenets of women's lib but there is just something so organic about being claimed and laying claim on someone.

There is also some minor complication with Samuel and his wolf, he wants to die but the wolf wants to survive. There is this scene where Mercy was quoting Dylan Thomas and Samuel responded with Shakespeare with the hopes of convincing him to fight and keep on living. I gave out a small sob on this part because for the past 4 books Samuel is just so lost. He doesn't want to fit in, he has somehow given up on his dreams and he is so tormented by loneliness that when it suddenly came to a point where he attempted suicide it just got to me.

This is one of the reasons why I'm so into this series, Briggs just understands the virtue of building up the story to a crescendo to the point that you're on the edge then she pulls you back and the descent is just as exciting. She will make sure that she got your attention to the point where her claws are just gripping you and you have no other choice but to ride it out her way be it in tears or joyous laughter.

This series just keeps getting better and better. I don't mind the lack of descriptive love scenes that is typical in a paranormal romance novel for adults (I take back all the rants I posted previously) because Adam Hauptman's genteel but tough persona  makes up for it. I promise I was giggling like a school girl and squealing with delight over this formidable Alpha.

I wonder who the inspiration is behind Adam Hauptman.

July 20, 2011

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

excerpt here
Series: Mercedes Thompson 4
Format: Hardback
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Purchase Link: Amazon

Welcome to Patricia Briggs's world, a place where "witches, vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters live beside ordinary people" (Booklist). It takes a very unusual woman to call it home - and there's no one quite like Mercy Thompson.

By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan - and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after.

It'll be her friends'.
Mercy is once again caught up in nasty vampire business. In Iron Kissed Mercy killed the vampire Andre which prompted Marsilia to seek retribution against her but Adam got Mercy's back and decided to negotiate a peace pact with the Vampire Mistress.

Then something strange happened, Amber, Mercy's frenemy from college appeared  on her door too seek help in exorcising ghosts that are haunting their house. Mercy decides to go with hopes of keeping the pack safe and Marsilia at bay. Unbeknownst to everybody there is something more sinister waiting for Mercy when she got to Spokane. She found out a little too late that it was all one intricate set up designed to get and drain her dry.

Let me start off by saying that I'm disappointed that Patricia Brigg's is more wholesome than Stephanie Meyer. The deed has been done by our beloved protagonists but she skipped on the deets! Now it did nothing for me but increase my desire for Adam Hauptman. I guess withholding it really works tsk tsk tsk.

As sure as the sun will rise on the morrow, I breezed through this book because it's just too damn good to put down. As always it's direct, action-packed, needled with page-turning excitement with undertones of sexual frustration (oh wait, that's me :S). Anyway Adam and Mercy are already mated and when Mercy finally accepted Adam's proposal I must say that it sent delicious warm tingles down spine.

On the other hand, Mercy is struggling with the pack's perception of her. Not everyone is thrilled that she's now officially a pack member and second to the Alpha and her being a walker who shifts into a coyote doesn't help. In the world of Weres, wolves are just on top of the food chain and coyotes are not doing so good on the rankings.

I like this part in Mercy's character development. We are introduced to a fiercely independent female walking amongst humans, vampires, fae and werewolves, unable to really establish affinity because she is also considered an aberration in her own world. Then all of a sudden she is embraced into this world of rank and order which requires trust, dependence and unwavering respect for pack law that she finds hard to digest. Her independence and feisty character is what makes her relatable and fascinating, a good compliment to Adam's dependability and astuteness. She's all woman but with rough edges that just might cut you deep enough to be lethal if handled incorrectly.

Now let's get to the important point, how hot is Adam Hauptman?! Like seriously, I've been texting with my sissy Cimmaron the entire afternoon because I can't stop gushing about Adam. I know it's pathetic and yes I see the signs that I need to get another hobby aside from reading but this guy is just so dreamy, I can't keep away! He's handsome, looks good in suits, smart, a gentleman and an Alpha to the core. A man's man that Adam Hauptman is, too bad he's a work of fiction but I'm hoping that there's a version of him sitting somewhere in my area... riiight.

July 19, 2011

Review: Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 5
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Purchase Link: Amazon
In Caldwell, New York, war rages between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will.

Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father's war camp he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time-until a destiny he didn't choose takes him into a future that cannot include her.

Jane Whitcomb has been an ignored child growing up as their family always favored her younger sister Hannah. On her birthday and the night that Hannah died they asked the Ouija board who she'll end up with. The answer spelled V-I-S-H-O-U-S.

Vishious knows sixteen languages, is a lover of books, a computer genius, master craftsman and son of The Bloodletter, the most infamous warrior in the history of vampires. Like most of his Brothers, he is cursed. Vishous has the curse of Sight, his hand can incinerate things on contact and his body marked by his own father as a warning to everyone that he's a danger to the society. Raised in his father's barbarian camp, he's been exposed to violence, rape and a myriad of ways on how to administer and endure torture, emotionally and physically. The identity of his mother remained unknown to him until his 303rd birthday, turns out he's a godling and has pre-ordained responsibilities that has to be performed as agreed upon by his parents before his birth. He is to be Primale (sperm donor) of the Chosen (harem) to sustain the race.

Love. Betrayal. Sacrifice. Death. Brotherhood. And major S&M.

Yup, apparently Ward did some research on some alternative lifestyles and decided to include it in this book. It's not bad, it's done with taste and you won't be reading some nasty dialogue. However if you're on the extreme right side of the fence, it might make you feel  uncomfortable. But considering Vishous backstory, it's only fitting that he will be into the Dom-thing.

Consistent with the previous books we'll see preludes to what will happen to the story of the Brotherhood as the series progress. The flow of the Brotherhood's life is already mapped out by Ward and as she writes the succeeding books, she just fills in the details as she goes along. That quality excites me and prompts me to go on reading. It's not all good, there are some rough spots but the flaws doesn't deter me from being fascinated by these hot, leather clad men who can suck out the air in a room with their sexual intensity and brooding personalities.

As always, Butch (my favorite) is still the comedian and the way he banters with people is just flat out hilarious. Any bromance going on in Lover Revealed has been cleared up in this book as well. In the scene below, Butch just asked V about his sexuality and after V admitted that he has misplaced feelings for Butch he went on to allude about the abuse he experienced as a pretrans in his father's camp:

V looked into his bestfriend's eyes and realized yeah. Butch wasn't going judge him. They were cool no matter what.

With a curse, V rubbed the center of his chest and blinked. He never cried but he felt as if he could at this moment.

Butch nodded as if he knew exactly what he was doing. "Like I said, my man, it's whatever. You and me? same as always, no matter who you screw. Although... if you're into sheep, that would be tough. Don't know if I could handle that."

V had to smile. "I don't do farm animals."
"Can't stand hay in your leathers?'
"Or wool in my teeth."


The first 450 pages of the book were amazing. V's story is something akin to the conception of Greek demi-gods, full of hardship and sacrifices, situations that will force the hero to come out of a person and realize his destiny. How he shed his tough-guy demeanor and bonded with Jane was very endearing. We expect to read another Warrior softened by love and whatever emotional baggage they have will be finally sorted out by their chosen mate. And yeah, the story was going in that direction...

Until Jane was shot and died.

That was the best part of the book because Ward kept it real. It's a very good twist and you can feel the tragedy that really happened because how the story build up to that point was written wonderfully. I heard myself saying "Oh, no!" several times as I was reading the chapter because I felt the loss of a loved one, the loss of a dream and a future that will never happen. And the drama that followed Jane's death is a page taken from a Leonardo DiCaprio movie.

Until the most ridiculous and impossible thing happened that ruined the whole thing. Jane lived and walk amongst us as Casper the Friendly Ghost who can eat, drink and have sex! Pssshhh!!!

Like SRSLY?! I feel like Ward's or the editor's computer got hacked and typed in an alternative ending on the last minute before it was turned in for publishing. I can't believe that I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning digesting the 500p book only to be confronted with major disappointment!

Enough said.

From Books to Graphic Novel

One of my favorite authors of all time, Anne Rice, just announced in her Facebook page that Interview with the Vampire will be adapted into a Graphic Novel. Graphic artist Ashley Marie Witter will be breathing new life into the characters. But according to reports, this adaptation will have a little bit of a twist from the book. This time around, Claudia will be narrating the story instead of Loius.

Claudia as drawn by Witter
Anne Rice, a self proclaimed lover of the art said that she doesn't mind that the Vampire Chronicles are being adapted into another medium and in fact she is excited about this one. In her interview with Publishers Weekly she said that Graphic Novels "have a freedom that is all their own to create an entire universe in detail fairly inexpensively, compared to a film."

"I am looking at the drawings, they have such wonderful detail in the costumes, and in my work costumes are almost like a character," said Rice. "They are part of the work, and they got that. What I look for in a movie or a book like this is the essence—baroque detail, sensuality, luxurious hair, faces that are intriguing and deep—and they got it here."

As for how far Anne's involvement in it's production, Witter shares that "it’s still fairly early on in the project to say. So far, I work from my home studio and pass everything to Yen Press. We go back and forth on some designs until we get something we agree upon, and then we’ll pass it along to Anne for her feedback. It will all come back to me, and then I’ll be able to move onto the next phase," in a recent interview also with Publishers Weekly.

Witter further added that "Anne’s characters are so well known that it was hard to breathe new life into them without deviating too far from the original source," so fans can relax a little easy that this version will stay true to the original.

The novel will be released next year, August 2012.

Other Anne Rice GN Adaptations

July 17, 2011

Review: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 2
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 7, 2006
Purchase Link: Amazon
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret bound of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He's the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant to Rhage's protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage's intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves.
Rhage aka Hollywood is one super hot dude he puts Brad Pitt to shame, beautiful or gorgeous is not enough to describe him. But Rhage bears the curse of the Scribe Virgin for killing an innocent creature, for 200 years he will transform into a dragon which is triggered by extreme emotions, response to threats and even arousal. Though blessed with good looks, Rhage feels terribly alone, too scared to risk caring for someone and killing them in the act of love. So he contents himself with numerous trysts and anonymous one nighters.

As prophesied by Vishous, he is soon to meet his destiny. Mary.

However Mary is in the last stages of her life suffering from leukemia. Though in remission, there is a nagging feeling that her illness is back. In a last attempt to live her life to the fullest, she does it vicariously with Rhage. Their mating wasn't welcomed by the Brotherhood primarily because she's human and they don't want to risk her safety and be collateral damage in their war with the Lessening Society.

Of course Rhage could not be deterred. There is something about Mary and her melodic voice that calms him and his inner demons. Her voice is so soothing that even the beast inside of him listens and heeds to her. But Mary's lifeline is way to short for them, soon she is advised that she's at the last stop and there is nothing human medicine can do to extend her life.

But of course it ends happily but I will skip that, I try to avoid giving out spoilers as much as I can.

Anyway, there are a lot of things going on in this book. We meet John Matthew who is the reincarnation of Darius, Beth's father and a former Brother. We will also witness how Zsadist and Bella first met, her abduction and why Mr. O was so obsessed with her.

For some reason I felt a little detached from this. Sure Rhage is described as this drop-dead-gorgeous warrior clad in leather, huge, endowed and a skilled lover and Mary as this girl-next-door type who is dying from cancer. Surely the premise should be enough to make me feel those fuzzy, sympathetic, tear jerker feelings reminiscent of a Nicolas Sparks novel... but it didn't.

I just feel as if Ward focused too much on the attraction and failed to balance it out with Mary's impending demise. So you don't feel the urgency of each moment, the importance of their mating, the act of love that should feel sacred given the fact that they're moving on a timeline. The romance is a little short, I don't know about you but I like courtship and wooing and the snippy exchanges. Like in a song when the notes in the verses are done right you'll find yourself singing along with the chorus. The song was a little too flat for my taste if you know what I mean.

But it's not all bad, this volume of the series shouldn't be passed on should you decide to follow it. Ward gives us details on the profiles of her characters which will help you appreciate them as you read the succeeding books. It provides the precedent for future storylines, entanglements and complications. And since I skipped this book and went ahead with books 3 & 4, that will probably explain my review. No worries, if you follow the reading order the story and writing gets better.

But then again, this is just my opinion and you might feel differently. I still encourage you to follow this series, it's writtent smartly and it's a class on its own.

July 16, 2011


plot summary here

In a nutshell the movie is about haunting and astral travel. As the trailer implied, it's the boy that's being haunted and not the house although it started in that charming Edwardian house that the family initially moved into. Evil is following the kid and his parents, played by Rose Byrne (Damages) and Patrick Wilson (Watchmen), are set to get his soul back from The Further and return it to his body before something else occupies it.

I don't want to delve too much on the plot because I might give out spoilers and I don't want anybody to miss out on the suspense and suck out the fun from watching this movie. Ergo I'll just go ahead and share my thoughts on this film.

First of all if you're a scaredy-cat like me, I suggest that you watch this either during the day or with someone (I did both) because there are a lot of startling scenes and whoever did the music score (Tiptoe Through The Tulips will make your skin crawl) did it really well. It added up to the suspense and as the music swells, my heart is pumping wildly and my throat is ready to release a pathetic terrified scream.

The effects are subtle but great. The seance was flat out scary, I was curled up on the couch, hands covering half of my face and eyes in fearful anticipation. Although the Scooby duo and the contraption used by the medium can be a distraction it will fade into the background in the succeeding scenes. When Wilson's character got to The Further it was like stepping into a haunted attraction with creepy characters and scary antique-doll-looking spirits (I just get creeped out by old dolls et al), malevolent entities and finally the demon's domain. The most suspenseful part was when they were panning reality and The Further side by side while stopping those bad spirits from crossing over into our world. Awesome editing!

As for the story itself, I'm aware of the mixed reviews but as an average viewer I find it acceptable. Whatever the plot is lacking in terms of logical reasoning etc. the element of ominous surprise surely made up for it. It's not gory rather it's monster-in-the-closet type of film. It reminded me of night terrors and why I used to have a night light.

I highly recommend that you catch this film if you still haven't.

July 15, 2011

Review: Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #4
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 6, 2007
Source: Library
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Amazon
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York,
there's a deadly war raging between vampires and their
slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers
like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their
race. Now, an ally of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
will face the challenge of his life and the evil of the ages.

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world-to engage in the turf war with the lessers. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. And if he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers.

But fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he's found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him.

Butch and Marissa: Blue-collar human v Vampire aristocracy; experienced v untouched; crude v polished

These two lovebirds met at Beth's transition after Marissa released Wrath from his oath which means she is no longer his shellan (mate or wife). Though hurt from Wrath's rejection of her in favor of the half-human Beth, Marissa was able to bounce back when she met ex-cop Butch who is acquainted with Beth. Sparks flew instantly between the two, Butch found Marissa goddess-like and she in turn was very curious about him and their sexual attraction to each other. They knew they wanted more from each other.

But various circumstances hindered them from moving forward in their relationship leaving a lot of misunderstanding between the two and the rank smell of unrequited love hangs heavy in the air. Things changed when Butch got kidnapped, tortured and violated by The Omega with the help of the Lessening Society. During his recovery, Marissa stood by his side but her brother disapproved and practically disowned her which left her homeless and alone for the first time.

This unfortunate circumstance finally gave Marissa and Butch the time and freedom to explore their feelings for each other and if their relationship will work at all. But before they got to their happy ending, they need to ride-out various twists and turns that will eventually bind them together forever.

This series is proving to be quite a challenge to review because the plot is so intricate and there are a lot of interesting things happening in the background apart from the main one. This book in the series is already a far cry from Dark Lover meaning to say that JR Ward's writing has improved tremendously. It's more fluid, tighter and some parts of the story felt like it was sincerely coming from a real place, real first-hand experiences like the storyline of abuse in Lover Awakened and in this book she was touching on domestic violence. If such a term exists, I would dare say that JR ward is a method-writer.

On the other hand, she needs to iron out The Omega and the Lessening Society's  part of the story. They are annoying at best but the revolving-door style of changing the prime human foe is a little bit confusing. I'm not sure if she means to convey to the reader that evil is fickle but it makes them less threatening and just comes off as irritating.

Butch is my favorite character in the series, he's awkward, funny and tactless in an adorable way (Mark Wahlberg, The Other Guys-The Fighter combo). So when he and Marissa finally started dating, there were just a lot of hilarious moments. When they started doing the nasty, Marissa being the virgin she is, was just flat out awkward and funny. It's an odd blend of innocence, curiosity and instruction that resulted to fits of laughter on my part. And Butch was just all over the place because he doesn't know how to deal with Marissa with her flawless manners and every little thing that points to her breeding and station in life (think debutante, never wore pants or jeans, always clad in corsets and vintage designer gowns).

Consistent with the other two books that I've read and the theme of the series, the Brotherhood really takes bromance to another level. Their loyalty to their team, including Butch, is just so heartfelt. Ward just has a style of describing their love for each other in a tender way without emasculating her warriors, again the Brotherhood will remind you of King Arthur and his Knights, so it's not mushy stuff and gender-bending emotions, it's what you'd think a man feels towards a brother or a friend.

July 14, 2011

Midnight Run

Let's go down memory lane and reminisce before we bid them adieu.

Review: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 5, 2006
Source: Library
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Amazon
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her.

Zsadist is the most menacing, uncouth and tormented member of the Brotherhood. He was abducted by his nursemaid when he was still a baby and was sold to slavery later on. He became a blood/sex slave after his transition to a very cruel Mistress until his twin, Phury, rescued him after searching for him for a century. But Phury was too late, Zsadist is too far gone and the only thing he knows is pain, rejection and cruelty. But maybe his salvation lies with Bella.

Bella is part of the glymera, the aristocracy of the Vampire race. She was abducted from her house by the lesser Mr. O who became obssessed with her and started referring to her as his wife. But even in confinement, Bella have fantasies about Zsadist, there is something about him that she can't shake. She saw past his disfigurement, his slave tattoos and aloofness. There is something about his cold stare that stirs a longing inside of her despite the rumors and his reputation.

This story is about abuse. It's well researched and we're given a a victim's story and what one goes through after sexual or physical abuse. When the book was telling the back story of Zsadist I felt my heart go out to his character. When we talk about sexual abuse it's always the female who is the victim but to flip it and make the victim a man and juxtapose it with someone who is physically strong and guarded is just pure genius. In this part of the series, Ward touches on relative social issues in her novel, drugs, family issues, adoption and abuse to name a few but she does it in perfect harmony with the story.

There is also an intriguing twist, the twins, Zsadist and Phury, both like Bella and although this is your typical soap opera love triangle it wasn't written as such. It didn't have a lot of mush in it but there is tremendous drama. You will understand why Zsadist is practically throwing Bella on Phury's lap which stems from his insecurities and mental scars. But at the same time you'll be rooting for Zsadist because you understand his pain and there are a lot of moments in the book that made his character beautiful despite his description that of being disfigured scarred, lethal and dark.

How JR Ward tells the story of her characters is not sugar-coated. It's very real, the happy ending doesn't ecplise the pain, sorrow and loss that are also present. The way she paced the events of the story is not rushed, it's logical and explained but not in an extensive and boring manner.

As for the Lessening Society, the Brotherhood's arch nemesis, they are a little bit all over the place in this book. Mr. X just disappeared and his replacements are just not as enthralling. It was just mentioned in passing as if their story was just a minor inconvenience in restrospect so Ward decided to do some extensive editing focusing more on Mr. O and his obssession with Bella.

There are a couple of funny scenes, like when Bella went through her needing (think animals in heat) and how the males responded to her mating call. And Butch (whom I imagine as Mark Wahlberg), who is the only human "member" of the Brotherhood, has comedic timing due to his awkward position and newness in the vampire world and how he has yet to find his place in the big picture.

There is a reading order and I've skipped book two but I didn't find that to be a nuisance. There are references to what might have happened in Lover Eternal, but not too much that you'll feel completely lost. Reiterating what I mentioned in Dark Lover, the series does appeal to your grey matter. It's a good break from all those steamy novels I've been reading lately but not to the point that my craving for a good romance story will be compromised.

July 12, 2011

It's Almost Time

It's almost time to say goodbye to our beloved Wizards.

Make sure you're with them til the end.

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July 11, 2011

A Beast of a Movie

A narcoleptic masterpiece!

Let's start with the good stuff. The plot is better and more interesting than the novel though both have Beauty and the Beast undertones. Vanessa Hudgens as Lindy is an upgrade from the novel version. I liked Kyle/Beast's body art, Mary Kate Olsen's costumes and her portrayal as the witch is decent enough plus Neil Patrick Harris is part of the cast.

Alex Pettyfer is just bland as the Beast, he didn't evoke my sympathy and his presence is just not commanding considering that he's this hotshot teen in school. Plus he's THE Beast! He should've been bigger than himself, command the screen, intimidate everyone. But it was just a flat performance. His only saving grace is he's a cutie and he has a decent body.

Vanessa Hudgens sounds and looks sweet but her performance is too HSM. We just didn't see her pain come through the screen as someone whose father is a drug addict who "sold" her to Kyle and basically an outcast in school. That vulnerability was just missing, it's like watching her perform in a school play, very amateurish. 

The twist in the movie and how Lindy ended up with Kyle is just pathetic. I prefer that they kept the one in the novel because it was more plausible. The guy playing Lindy's father was just stiff as a board!

I love NPH and I'm sorry but he wasn't convincing as a visually impaired individual. Hi character and the maid's are instrumental in Kyle's transformation from a major jackass to a compassionate gentleman. From the scenes that I was unfortunate enough to see, he was just doling out words of wisdome quoted from books and the like.

Aside from the abovementioned merits, the rest is just snooze worthy. You can fast forward the movie til the last 10 minutes and you'll be fine, you won't miss much.  
Overall the acting was just BAD. Skip the DVD and just wait for it to be shown on cable for free, your dollar is not worth this movie.

Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

deleted scene here
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 1
Format: paperback
Release Date:
Purchase Links: Amazon

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

Wrath, the Blind King, is the last purebred Vampire, he leads a group of warriors called the Black Dagger Brotherhood who are trained to hunt and kill The Lessers.

Wrath's parents were killed before his eyes and he made it his mission to hunt down their murderers and exact revenge from them. Until one of his brothers, Darius, met an untimely death and left in his care his half human daughter, Beth, who's on the verge of turning into a vampire. Since it's a painful and confusing process, Wrath's sense of duty and loyalty to his brother won and he found himself ushering Beth into the world of the undead.

Beth thought that she was an orphan and grew up being passed around in various foster homes. As an adult she's a writer for the local paper and she'd chase around for scoops on crime scenes and the like. But her tough childhood didn't prepare her for her fate and the criminal world will pale in comparison to the one she's about to join.

So I took some time to reflect on this book because honestly I don't know where to start. Don't get me wrong, the book isn't bad, it's very structured and JR Ward's world is unique despite the fact that she wrote about vampires and had stereotypical qualities. But you can tell that she took her time in creating this world and didn't just do it as she went along. The premise for the entire series is stated in the first volume, Dark Lover, and although it has a touch of paranormal romance, I guarantee that it will also appeal to your grey matter.

The book has some touches of Ward's inspirations. The Brotherhood had some Arthurian qualities to it and the names of the characters denote their sinister appeal (Wrath, Phury, Zsadist, Rhage, Vishous). The anti-hero, Mr. X, is a worthy opponent to a group of impregnable and noble knights. Mr. X's profile is reminiscent of Sidney Sheldon's antagonists: careful, deadly, intelligent and insanely ambitious.

Although Beth's back story should make her tougher but in this book she was portrayed otherwise, not altogether helpless but not as formidable as one would expect from someone who basically raised herself and a half vampire at that. I only wish that the succeeding heroines have a little more spunk and not the typical damsels in distress.

This book didn't provide enough comic relief but it's not boring either, it's just a tad sober from the usual banter one would see in romance novels. Probably because Ward wants to give it a hint of seriousness considering that we are introduced to the Vampire race's King and she wants him to be revered as such even though he is a reluctant ruler and doesn't practice the formal etiquette one would expect from royalty.

I like this book, my interest is piqued and although I wasn't taken by the story in a fast and furious manner, I'm impressed by JR Ward's imagination and style. I can tell that the story is just about to build up in the succeeding books because as early as the first volume, you can already surmise that she knows how the series is going to end. It's carefully written and paced perfectly.

I can tell you this much, this is a good break from those hot and steamy novels we are so fond of reading. This will not make your heart beat with lust after the hero but it will appeal to your intellect not with highfalutin words but how the plot and events are laid out. The Black Dagger Brotherhood world is so intricate and finely woven and I just wish that Ward will not disappoint mid-series.