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October Releases

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interview and Coupon Giveaway with Evelyn Lafont

*Giveaway is now closed*

So here with me today is the new and talented self-published author, Evelyn Lafont. Lafont was nice and ballsy enough to ask me for an interview LOL! Kidding. She is also giving away a Smashwords coupon code that will allow one lucky winner to get her book for free. I am so honored to have been asked and on her release day no less. So join me and get to know more about the author of The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating


1)     
        Hello hon. Welcome to Offbeat Vagabond. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi Diana, thanks for having me! I think I’m your average mix of interesting and non-interesting characteristics. I’m an avid reader, kitty lover, and a pretty independent spirit. I work full time as a freelance writer and have recently entered the realm of fiction writing. I like long walks on the beach…oh, oops, wrong interview sheet. My bad.


1)      Can you tell us what it is like being a freelance writer?

It’s pretty fun. There are definitely challenges that come along with being self-employed, but it offers a great schedule and a lot of freedom to fit in fiction writing. I can take entire weeks off to focus on writing fiction or marketing and still have client work to come back to. It’s hard to complain when you have that kind of flexibility


1)      Did you always want to write? What made you want to start writing books?

My childhood dream was to be an actor. I always had a knack for writing, but to be honest I’m pretty lazy and the thought of writing down all those words that were flying around in my head was daunting. But the ability to write well and easily is kind of like a muscle, and once I started flexing that muscle during special projects at work, I became unstoppable. In 2008 I segued that into a freelance writing career which I opted to take full time in 2009. The addition of fiction still took a little doing, but here I am.



1)      Can you tell us on what it took for you to get this self-published? How was the process like for you?

I enjoy the process of being a self-publisher. It was my first try, so I can’t lie—it was fraught with a little drama and stress, but I think now I really get it and will have it much more streamlined for the second book.
When you self-pub, you need to find a good editor and proofreader, cover artist, layout artists and handle your own book marketing, so it’s a lot to take on but totally worth it to retain complete creative control of your vision. It’s also an investment—not only are you investing your own time (which has a value) into the creation and management of your book, but you must pay other people to get professional quality editing and design work.


1)      Thanks to you, I have had the pleasure of reading The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting & Mating. What brought up the idea of this book?

I was thinking about all the practicalities of dating a vampire—you know, if they actually existed—and I had this idea for an article I was going to write for a class I was taking. The article was all about how to break up with your vampire boyfriend and I just thought about how funny it would be to write a book that took a practical view of dating a vampire. 


1)      Can you give us a little insight to your book?  Tell us what we should expect.

The book is a fun exploration of what it would really be like for a human dating a vampire. It’s the story of Josie, who is attracted to vampires but has yet to meet one that she can actually date because they are in a completely different social strata than she is. When she finally does meet one, it doesn’t exactly work out the way she’d hoped.

When readers pick up the book, they should expect a fun chick-lit read with romance and just a touch of angst. Because angst is hot.

1)     I love that your book has this world where vampires and humans live together almost peacefully. Do you think vampires would be accepted in today's society if they weren't really dangerous? Would that leave room got other beings that haven't been glamorized by Hollywood?

I think it depends on what kind of vampires they were—since every author has a little bit of a different interpretation. I think my vampires would be accepted because they are rich, attractive and powerful—and those are things our society embraces almost without question.

As for other beings, I think it would depend. If they have something we can exploit, they would probably be embraced. Unfortunately, I think they would be seen more as resources to use than sentient beings to respect.

1)      Besides vampires, are there any other supernatural beings you enjoy? Any you would like to write about?

I love all the supernatural. I have a book planned about zombies and one about werewolves—but this year my focus is really on getting the next three novellas in the Vampire Relationship Guide series out.

1)      Are you working on anything else outside of your brand new series?

I have some notes and a little writing done on the two novels mentioned above, but I’m so eager to get the rest of Josie’s story out there that my focus is on this series for now.


1)      Who are your inspirations? Any books or any forms of entertainmentthat influenced you to start writing?

I’d have to say that the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire series really helped push me into this journey. I was so enchanted by the world she created—it was fun, had a very likable heroine, but didn’t shy away from tough topics.


1)      When you are not writing, is there anything you do in your spare time?

I like watching movies and televisions shows. I’m a documentary WHORE because I will watch almost any documentary ever made (except those that will make me cry). I really just like to study people, I guess. I also read, cook, play with my kitties and social network until my fingers fall off.


1)      How do you plan on celebrating the release of your first book?

Like all the big stars do—sex, drugs, alcohol and a trashed hotel room. Oh, wait, that’s the plan for book two. For this book, I’m having an all-day, all-night party on Facebook. I’ll be giving away prizes, hosting discussions about paranormal romance, sex, and whateverthehell, and posting vlogs throughout the day. You can join the party (which starts at 12PM on 3/31) here:


1)      I am a huge tv/movie fan. Do you have any favorite films? TV shows?

I like a lot of British television like Peep Show and Top Gear. I also like shows like The Office and 30 Rock. My love of documentaries also turned into a love of certain reality shows, namely the Real Housewives franchise.
Films…oh that’s so hard. Trainspotting, Waiting for Guffman, and Glengarry Glen Ross are probably my favorites.

1)      Last, but not least, can you tell us what is next for Josie? Do you have any plans or ideas for the next book? Can you give us a bone?

In book two, Josie moves into the next phase of vampire relationships. She’s out of the introductory, Meeting and Mating phase and into monogamy. A monogamous relationship with a vampire is hot, don’t get me wrong…but it also has its problems…

 
Thank you so much for stopping by OBVB.


BIO: Evelyn Lafont is a paranormal romance author and freelance writer. 
Her debut novella, The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating, found at the following links;
Facebook or Goodreads,
are available on at the following links:

Amazon 
Smashwords
Barnes & Noble

on March 31st. You can read the first chapter here:

Check out my review here:

The Vampire Relationship Guide Review




To win the code for the book, all you have to do is leave a comment with your email address, that's it. I will pick a winner tomorrow since Lafont set the coupon good up until April 5th. So get those comments in quick if you want to win. Thank you all and thank Evelyn Lafont for the great interview.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Winter Wishes Anthology by Vivian Arend, Vivi Andrews, and Moira Rogers

Format: Ebook (EPUB)
Authors: Vivian Arend, Vivi Andrews & Moira Rogers
Release Date: December 6, 2010
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Paranormal/Erotic Romance














 A Twist on Tradition

A woman has the Christmas Eve from Hell. Two cat shifters play naughty games. And a witch brings out the beast inside the man. The magic of the season takes on a whole new meaning in these three fantastic—and festive—novellas from some of the best voices in paranormal romance.

Anthology includes:

Tangled Tinsel by Vivian Arend
No Angel by Vivi Andrews
Freeze Line by Moira Rogers
 

*Since there are three stories, you will get three reviews in one. Enjoy*

"Tangled Tinsel" by Vivian Arend

She's the cat's meow, and he's ready to pounce!
Five miles of leather-clad leg is all it takes to lure Kyle Branegan out from his carefully hidden lifestyle as part of the Cougar Corp, a secret branch of the Shifter Enforcer League. He’s hoping for a night of fun and frolic, cat-style, no strings attached. With a sultry swing of her hips, Eloise Scott tangles him up in her ball of tricks, and just when he thinks he’s about to get lucky, she cuffs him—naked—to her bed...

An undercover cop in the human police force, El’s been given a top-secret mission to keep the big cat under her paw until he’s needed to testify in court in the New Year. Her decision to take him home for a quiet Christmas in her sleepy hometown turns out to be far more interesting than she expected. Her parents are suddenly rich, her old boyfriend is sniffing around and all six-feet-plus of sexy cougar male is sleeping in her bed...

And that’s before they announce their fake engagement…


       First story of this anthology was Tangled Tinsel by Vivian Arend. Now I have never read a book by Vivian Arend, but I have always seen her name around, specially for Erotica. Well Erotic doesn't even describe it, just downright nasty. And well, I loved every last minute of it.

       Tangled Tinsel starts off with us following our male lead, Kyle Branegan, who is a werecat. He is hiding and on the hunt...for a fellow playmate. That is when he comes across Eloise Scott. Another werecat that he is sure can't resist him. But Kyle soon finds out that she had his number way before their little "get together" in a lingerie shop. Eloise (El) is an undercover cop who was sent to tail and keep tabs on Kyle. They know he is in the middle of a case (not they way they think) and he needs watching since he can't keep his hands to himself.

       While they are stuck together, El has to visit her family for Christmas. El is not the biggest fan of her ridiculously wealthy family and has tried to avoid them, but can't any longer. So while El and Kyle are together at her folks place, they end up together after El finally comes to terms that she is a cat, not a human. It is okay to just let go. While there, they also get a surprise visit from Kyle's uncle, who he can't stand and to get his uncle off his back and not think he is after El's family's money, he announces they are engaged to be married.

        This was a great story. Plenty of ups and downs between these two. I liked Kyle even though he was a manwhore to the max and El had her own issues, but I liked her too. She has been trying so hard to live in the human world. Didn't like her cat side because she wants her independence and didn't want to be like other female cats barefoot and constantly pregnant. Seriously, her parents needed to slow down. Goodness! Kyle was great too, I like that he helped El break her shell and actually changed in the book. 

        I did have a couple of problems though. I wish that we got to know more of Kyle's uncle. It was so random with him at the house. How and who invited him? We know it wasn't Kyle because he hates him which in turn means he doesn't talk about him much. So how? Then there was the almost fight at the New Years' Party. Kyle said it seems like his uncle was almost looking for someone to fight with, but we are never told why exactly.
        
        Nonetheless, this was a great story. It took a turn that I didn't see coming towards the end and it made me enjoyed it even more. I love books that do that. When you think you have it all figured it and just like that, you find out you didn't know anything. It was a fun surprise. I highly recommend this if you want a great story and you aren't offended by very graphic and detailed sex scenes. Vivian Arend is definitely not a shy woman. Wow!


Rating:





"No Angel" by Vivi Andrews

When Sasha's boyfriend, Jay, is sucked through a fiery vortex to Hell, an angel reveals that Sasha's been chosen as the Champion of Virtue in the battle for his immortal soul. As a perennial offender on Santa's naughty list, Sasha can't believe she's anyone's idea of a girl fighting on the side of the angels. But if she doesn't save Jay, he'll be stuck in Hell forever!
Jay—aka Jevroth—isn't surprised to find himself back in Hell. His visa to visit the mortal plane expired three months ago, but to steal more time with Sasha he's been ignoring his mother's demands that he come home to spend time with his new stepfather: Lucifer.
Sasha has until dawn on the twenty-fifth of December to fight the Legions of Hell and rescue Jay, or be trapped there for eternity herself. But now she must decide if the lying son-of-a-demon is even worth saving...



       This was the second story in the anthology and this was hands down my favorite of the three. What a story! I love how unique it was. Never read anything from Vivi Andrews either, but I have added her on my must reads list after reading this.

        No Angel is about a young woman named Sasha Christian who lives in Los Angeles. Sasha is the daughter of the world's most beloved "angel" her Hollywood actress mother, Layla Christian. She hates the recognition, hates the attention and hates airhead blondes from Oklahoma who think being rich and famous is the key to happiness. But while on the phone being hassled by her mother over not ever getting the chance to meet Sasha's boyfriend (Layla believes he was made up), Sasha has the sinking feeling, he is going to bolt for good.

        Sasha's boyfriend, Jay, is in trouble. He is half-demon and half-human. But he hasn't told Sasha that. Not only that, but he is on a very tight schedule. Since he is a demon, he has limited time on earth. Demons aren't allowed on Earth on Christmas Day. Thing is, Jay doesn't want to go back to Hell with his ruthless mother who just happens to be the wife of the devil himself. Jay is in love with Sasha and doesn't want to lose her, but telling her he is a demon and his stepdad is the devil, will definitely put a damper on things.

         When Jay finally gets the courage to tell Sasha the real reason he can't be with Sasha on Christmas, it is too late. He is grabbed through a vortex to Hell in the middle of her kitchen while baking cookies. She is in shock, but to add to that, she gets a visit from an angel. This angel drops an even bigger bomb on Sasha to let her know she is God's Champion of Virtue and if she wants Jay back, she will have to go into Hell and save Jay or he will be there forever.

         I could talk about this story forever. It was so amazing. It was complex and simple all at once. The characters were amazing. I absolutely loved Sasha. She reminds me of myself. Nice, but is not afraid to show her edge and push back when she needs to. I loved Jay as well. The fact that he is from Hell and doesn't seem to have an evil bone in his body is insane.

         I also love that this story really takes what we think about Hell and twists it a little. When and how Sasha gets to Hell was definitely unique and funny. With such a topic as Hell, this book can be surprisingly light. It is full of humor, action, and apparently lets us know Lucifer isn't so bad.

         Like I said, this was a definite win for me. Only disappointment for me was that it wasn't longer. I would have loved to have read more of Sasha and Jay. Sasha is just a great heroine. Takes a lot for a woman to go to Hell to save her boyfriend. Nonetheless, highly recommended.


Rating:





"Freeze Line" by Moira Rogers

She can't survive in his world, he can't stay sane in hers

A twenty-first century ice age dulls the magic that emanates from the earth. Shane Sullivan is a lone wolf above the freeze line; He has no desire to join the packs that range closer to the border, where feral instincts can turn a man into a monster. Not until the winter solstice, when he stumbles across a dying witch who needs his help to get back to her people--and her magic--in the south.


Nadia is a powerful woman in her own world, but drained by her escape from captivity in a northern lab. She knows it's foolhardy to trust a werewolf, but he's her only chance to survive the vast white wilderness. The farther south they travel, the harder it is for Shane to keep the beast within under control, and as their mutual attraction intensifies, Nadia's no longer sure she wants him to. 



     Now for the very reason I requested this anthology, Moira Rogers. Rogers is no stranger to amazing paranormal romance. I saw her name and knew I had to get this because I have read other works from her and knew I would love it. Unfortunately, this wasn't a love for me, a like, but not love.

     Freeze Line is about a werewolf named Shane Sullivan who lives on his own. Doesn't have friends or neighbors. So while out in the ridiculous winter, he stumbles on a witch named Nadia. She is on the verge of dying since she was above the freeze line. The closer to the line, the less powerful you are, which is what Shane wants since he doesn't like his werewolf side. But in order to help save Nadia's life, he has to go further South and he is afraid to lose control, of both his wolf and with Nadia.

    Now my issues. My problem, the biggest problem, were the back stories. Not just for the characters, but for the environment itself. When we meet Nadia, she is bruised and beaten into an inch of her life. We find out that she was either kidnapped or sold and somehow escaped her captors. Problem is, we don't find out who or why. All we know is that she was in a lab and was being studied and somehow got away. That's it. We do actually find out why Shane resents his wolf side so much and I was happy to get that, made me feel sorry for him.

    Then there's the environment. We don't know exactly where they are and even more, we don't know what exactly happened to America. California is not California, it is called the Gulf of California. Shane says he has heard of the place, California. They are in a time where everything is split up into tribes or regions. It says that they are in the middle of a 21st Century ice age, but how did America itself change? I mean it seems like there was an apocalypse of some kind, but we don't know for sure. Hell, we don't really know the year is exactly. Is it now or sometime way later in the 21st century?

     It has taken me a couple of days to do this review because I was debating what to give this. I won't line. As much as I enjoy Moira Rogers work, I was tempted to give this 2 stars, but at the end of the day, this was about the romance. I did love it. Shane has his demons and is afraid of his wolf side, afraid of hurting people (given his story, can't blame him) and I like that Nadia doesn't push him into it, I would have hated her for that. There is an attraction between them that was great because they really defended each other. Happy Nadia wasn't a damsel in distress, she really was a warrior and could take Shane head on if she had to.

     Overall, this was a good story, despite my complaints. I just wish I didn't feel like there was a whole chunk missing out of this story. When I read, I like being engulfed in a new world, I couldn't get engulfed in this world since I didn't really know where I was and what I should and shouldn't do. Hope that made sense. There will be those who love the simplicity of the story, which is great. But I just wish there was more development. 


Rating:



Overall Rating:


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lover Unleashed Giveaway Winner!!!

And the winner is...

Deanna Lynn C.

Congratulations Deanna. You are the lucky winner of Lover Unleashed. I want to give a HUGE thank you to all who participated and another BIG thanks to my new followers. You all have been incredible. Hope to see you soon because I do have another giveaway planned, so I hope to get that rolling soon. Thank you all again and congratulations again hon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

ARC Review: The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating (Vampire Relationship Guide #1) by Evelyn Lafont

 Format: Ebook (PDF)
 Author: Evelyn Lafont
 Series: Vampire Relationship Guide
 Release Date: March 31, 2011
 Publisher: Self Published
 Genre: Chick Lit/Paranormal Romance














Josie wants what she’s never been able to have—sex with a vampire. When she receives an invitation to a party thrown by one of the world’s richest vamps, she doesn’t stop to question her luck; she just jumps into her favorite stilettos and heads out to the event of a lifetime, secretly hoping that she’ll come home with a party favor in the shape of a sexy coffin dweller.

But the great undead, much to Josie’s chagrin, aren’t just pale sexbots with pointy teeth waiting to satisfy her carnal desires—they are dangerous…and sometimes cranky. With a single-minded focus on fulfilling her sole sexual longing, Josie unwittingly entrenches herself in the twisted and sometimes antagonistic world of vampire relationships with no one to guide her, but herself.


     Thanks to Evelyn Lafont herself, she gave me the chance to read her very first book. Now I must admit (and I told her myself) that I do like paranormal romance, but chick lit has never been my thing. But she said if I was a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series, then this should be up my alley. I must say, she was definitely right.

      Meeting and Mating is pretty straightforward. In a world where vampires and humans coexist on an actual normal basis, Josie, a thirty-two year old woman who works at a bridal shop, wants to finally do it...with a vampire. While at work one night, she gets an invitation from a mailman (who is a vampire) who says he can't make it to the party. Josie takes advantage and goes to this party and meets a sexy and rich vampire (with a spray tan) named Gregory. They hit it off and plan to meet up again. While leaving this party, she meets another vampire named who calls himself Walker. He is a smartass, a smoker, and is sort of stalking Josie. But oddly enough she ends up on a date with them both. It was more obvious the differences between the vampires and that just made it more fun to read.

      I am not going to say more because I will end up giving things away. It is short, but it is quite packed. But don't go in to this book expecting some novel about a chick gawking about love because I can tell you now, it will change on you. I wish I can say it, but trust me, by the time I got to the last two chapters, my mouth was hanging open. I really enjoyed this book. It may not have been my genre of choice, but I am glad I broke out of my comfort zone.  This book is full of humor, intriguing characters, and mystery. I just wish the book was longer, but I can tell you now, it is great either way. I am having an interview with Evelyn Lafont on Thursday and I hope to see you all there congratulating her on her first release. She deserves it. Thank you Evelyn so much and I can't wait to read more from this series.

Oh an by the way, make sure to check out the amazing trailer for this book as well. I guarantee you will be smiling (or drooling which was my case)


Rating:





*This book belongs to the following challenge*

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: Red-Headed Stepchild (Sabina Kane #1) by Jaye Wells

Format: Audiobook
Time: 8.9 hours  
Narrator: Cynthia Holloway
Release Date: April 1, 2009 (audiobook September 2, 2010)
Series: Sabine Kane
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
            














In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane has the only profession fit for an outcast: assassin. But, her latest mission threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races and Sabina must scramble to figure out which side she's on. She's never brought her work home with her---until now.

This time, it's personal.


     Finally got a chance to read this after winning it in a giveaway from my good friend Kristin at MyBookishWays and I couldn't wait to start it. Man I am happy I did. After hearing about this book from so many booklovers and authors, I knew I had to jump on board. I think it is safe to say that this is my new favorite series.

     Red-Headed Stepchild is about a woman named Sabina Kane. Sabina is half vampire, half mage, but she prefers her vampire side. Sabina is an assassin for the Dominae, a vampire council that overseas everything concerning vampires and their legal (or illegal) affairs. It is also a council that is run by Sabina's grandmother, Lavina Kane. After Sabina is sent to assassinate to a friend who was said to betray the vampire race, Sabina finds that things are not so simple when her mixed blood and grandmother are involved.

     But given that Sabina is an assassin, she is one kick-ass vampire with a mouth. Seriously, she cracked me up sometimes with the things says. She reminded me of old Anita Blake; mouths off, shoots you, then asks questions. So after said assassination, Sabina is called by her grandmother to help infiltrate an enemy to the Dominae known as Clovis, a vampire who believes vampires and mages should co-exist and not head into war. Sabina is the only woman right for the job and the Dominae don't believe mages and vampires should mix and they want Clovis brought down (keep in mind the irony).

     This was such an incredible book for me. Sabina is easily on my favorite heroines list. She is a smart ass and she is ruthless. I love that through the characters she meets throughout the book, we find she is not as heartless as we thought, well I thought. She goes from being a loner to making some very interesting friends. For instance, Adam (oh delicious Adam!) I definitely wished we had more of Adam, the sexy mage who is following her and knows more about Sabina than she does. I also enjoyed Giguhl, a demon sent to kill Sabina, but can't. Since he failed, he is stick with her which in turn means he must travel with Sabina. This is what makes Giguhl turn into wrinkled, hairless cat (long story). He is given the nickname of Mr. Giggles. He really brings a smile to your face and for a demon, he is really likable. Also Vinca, the super-perky, flower-power nymph who becomes Sabina's roommate and who is not as innocent as she looks, well sort of.

     Another thing I heard about this book was the mythology. I have read plenty of vampire books and this was definitely one of the most unique. It has a different take on vampires. Vampires can eat garlic, they don't dress up like goths, they can go out into the sun on occasion and they do have rules.

      I don't want to give so much away because this book definitely has some twists and turns you don't see coming. It is full of action, witty and sarcastic dialogue, and can be gritty and dark at one moment and light and funny the other. I really can't think of anything bad about this book. It was just amazing and I plan on jumping on The Mage In Black (book 2) as soon as possible. Seriously, if Urban Fantasy is your thing, do not miss this book.


Rating:
I really loved it, truly amazing!



*This book belongs to the following book challenges*
BCC's Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011
Parajunkee's View Vampire Challenge 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Giveaway: Lover Unleashed (Kindle Edition)

*Giveaway is now closed*

You read that right! Since I want to have a giveaway, I thought why not have one for one of my favorite series in the world, the Black Dagger Brotherhood! So I am giving away book 9 of the BDB to one lucky winner with a Kindle or any Kindle friendly device. The actual Kindle, an app on a Smartphone or Kindle on the PC, doesn't matter, you can win this.

This was literally my first paranormal romance and this is what started me in the genre even though I was apprehensive about it. I just don't do Romance, what can I say? But add hot, manly vampires who are all haunted by their own demons, but manage not to be bad guys, well you get the BDB! Ok, time to shut up now, I know you guys want to know how to win this. Let's do this!



Just comment below, tell me what you like about the BDB or what you don't like. I love hearing everyone's answers.

You don't have to be a GFC follower, but it would be appreciated and I would love if you spread the word. Let fellow fans know.

Please leave your email address, it is the only way to send this ebook to you. The lucky winner will be announced and will receive the ebook on the day of release on March 29th, so you have until March 28th to enter. Thank you and good luck to everyone :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Gail Z. Martin -The Sworn (Fallen Kings Cycle #1)


As plague and famine scourge the winter kingdoms, a vast invasion force is mustering from beyond the northern seas. And at its heart, a dark spirit mage wields the blood magic of ancient, vanquished gods.

Summoner-King Martris Drayke must attempt to meet this great threat, gathering an army from a country ravaged by civil war. Neighboring lands reel toward anarchy while plague decimates their leaders. Drayke must seek new allies from among the living – and the dead –- as an untested generation of rulers face their first battle.

Then someone disturbs the legendary Dread as they rest in a millennia-long slumber beneath sacred barrows. Their warrior guardians, the Sworn, know the Dread could be pivotal as a force for great good or evil. But if it’s the latter, could even the Summoner-King’s sorcery prevail?

The Sworn is Book One of The Fallen Kings Cycle, and it picks up the adventures of Tris, Jonmarc and the Winter Kingdoms gang six months after the end of Dark Lady’s Chosen. There are all new challenges, lots of dark magic and the biggest threat Margolan has faced in 400 years.


    Wow, this was better than I expected. Thanks to Netgalley, I had the pleasure to add this to my iPod. I must say, I have not had the pleasure of reading Gail Z. Martin's first series, Chronicles of the Necromancer, but I see why she is so popular in this genre. It was truly epic with all sort of supernatural beings that made it quite refreshing. I have never come across a series that was an epic fantasy that is full of zombies, demons, vampires, werewolves and more. It was 600 pages of greatness.

    The Sworn is about individuals who come together to try and take on a group we know as Black Robes, that want to raise an ancient cult known as the Destroyer. They want to raise it so they can bring back the old ways of the Winter Kingdoms. But while all of this is happening, the Winter Kingdoms are swarmed with multiple problems. Crops are slowly running low, there is a plague happening that turns people into zombies (or ashtenerath) and there are also demons (or dimmons) being raised by the Black Robes to attack people. Even worse, the Black Robes are capturing vampires and werewolves to sacrifice their blood to the Destroyer.

   I will not go too much in the details because there are a lot. Each chapter is a different addition to the plot. I love that there isn't just one or two main characters. Everyone is a main character. There were so many subplots that led to the big plot, it was a tad confusing, but I believe that was due to the fact that I just got into this world and haven't read the first series. The Sworn is a spin-off of Chronicles of the Summoner series for those that don't know.

   I also loved how when the books changed from one character to the next, it is a different world. Each world is full of magic in one way or the other. Whether it be the world of summoning because of King Tris, who has the ability to raise the dead or talk to their ghosts. Or the world of Aidane, the serroquette (a ghost whore), who has the ability to harbor a ghost's spirit and let them live through her (but only for two hours). All their abilities end up playing a huge role in this seemingly inevitable war.

   I am so regretful for not starting Martin's work earlier, but I definitely intend to. Her work is beautifully written and imaginative. It is full of fantasy, horror, and magic, it was hard not to get engulfed by this book. Actually this book leaves off on a sort of cliffhanger and even though it is a little over 600 pages, I was literally screaming at iPod because I didn't want it to end. So if epic fantasy mixed with vampires, demons and werewolves sounds like your kind of thing, I highly recommend this book to you.


Rating:
I really loved it!





*This book belong to the following challenge*
BCC's Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011

Movie Review: Red Riding Hood (2011)


Valerie (Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon's arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon.


    Well no beating around the bush here, I hated this movie. This is the perfect example of crap on film. I was already skeptical since it looks like Twilight's older sister, but man, I at least expected something to make sense. But nothing did. I wasn't even sure I should write a review for this, I watched this last Wednesday. I was just debating it all this time. I wasted money on this instead of following my gut. I feel a responsibility to save others who think this maybe worth it.

     This movie is a girl named Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) who is in love with a guy named Peter (Shiloh Fernandez). They make plans to leave since Valerie has been arranged to marry someone else named Henry (Max Irons). But plans get interrupted when Valerie's sister gets brutally murdered by the werewolf the town has been trying to be safe from. This was within the first 10 minutes of the movie and I was already pissed because Valerie is sad for a few minutes then gets even more sad when she finds out her sister was suppose to marry Henry and didn't tell her. I was like, "Who cares? She is dead now." And that was the end of that. That was a common thing about this movie. If someone dies, less than a handful of people grieve and it lasted for two seconds. Then they go back to the "romance".

   There were so many dumb little things about this movie, I wanted to leave as soon as possible. Like I said, there were things that didn't make sense. For instance, one scene that was dumb and pointless was when Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) came into town. I am not sure how or why he ended up in the town for the werewolf, but he did. He was there to battle and kill the thing, but he brought his kids with him. I was so confused. Forgive me if I am wrong, but when people are going to battle, why bring your kids to scare them for for a minute and then send them back home? Then he goes to tell this story about how he killed his wife to save her from becoming a werewolf. He kept the hand he chopped off from the werewolf and put it in a box. Thing is that happened 20 years ago and the hand still had flesh on it. What?! Man Gary Oldman, what is up with you? You are literally one of two actors that has played Dracula to perfection (the other being the original Bela Lugosi) and now this is where you are? Are you going through some sort of crisis or something? Snap out of it!

   And just like Twilight this movie focuses on the romance over everything else. The romance was ridiculous. Valerie wants Peter, but her mom doesn't like him. So he tries to part from her so she can have Henry. There is one scene where he is dancing with another girl and Valerie does this little flirty, part lesbian dance with another friend in front of Peter and the dancing at times was modern, which didn't make sense. There were actually a lot of parts in this movie where it seemed it couldn't remember exactly what time it was in. Not to mention Peter's hair. I mean everyone at least looked like they fit into the time and age of the movie, but Peter was the only one who had a modern, perfectly gelled, almost faux hawk. It was obvious him and Edward Cullen use the same hair care products. I just had to laugh.

   A little side note here. What the hell were Colonel Tigh (Michael Hogan) and Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) doing in this movie?! For anyone that knows there sci-fi, theses names should be familiar to you. Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG-1 stars people. These guys are no stranger to great supernatural/sci-fi action and to see them in this movie nearly killed me.

 The movie even tries to trick you with who the werewolf is and in the end, they don't explain why. The ending was one of the dumbest things I've seen. The way they kill the werewolf was odd and stupid. I try not to spoil anything for anyone no matter how bad it is, but just take my word for it, the final blow was so dumb, I laughed.

  I honestly don't know why I wasted money on this, but I did and I regret the hell out of it. This is what happens when you don't check the movie times before you go to the theater and only one movie is available at the correct time. There were so many little things about it, I could vent forever, but that might be a book's worth. Nonetheless, I am not talking about this movie anymore, just letting you know it isn't worth it. There was no soul to it. It felt just hashed together by a bunch of teenagers girls. If you want a silly supernatural soap opera, this is your movie.


Rating:
 Not worth the time.

Movie Review: I Am Number Four (2011)


Extraordinary teen John Smith (Pettyfer) is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past. In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events-his first love (Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny. 


     Finally checked this movie out. It has taken a while to get to this because I don't know what to put. I was on the fence about it considering Michael Bay's name is connected to it and my gut was right. Another movie with a great trailer, but as a whole, was a little more like Jumper. Yeah, I know.
    
     I Am Number Four is a book-based movie, a book I am yet to read, but I pray is better than this. It follows a young (and hot) teenage boy named John Smith (played by Alex Pettyfer) who seems like your everyday teenage boy. He is hitting puberty and wants to discover the world and all. All of a sudden he realizes him hitting puberty sucks more for him than other regular kids. His powers are coming into affect. When they do, he gets caught by the greatness of technology, which means he needs to work extra hard to keep a low profile. He soon gets attached to a girl named Sarah (Dianna Argon) and needs to make a decision whether to stay with her because with him, she is in danger.

   I can't say I hated this because this movie had some high points that I enjoyed. I didn't have any clue that Timothy Olyphant was in this and thank God he was, he made it better for me. But one person that impressed me the most in this movie was the kid named Sam (Callan McAuliffe). If it were up to me John Smith and Sam would have changed the places. I was more intrigued with Sam's story. That and I thought Sam had more life to him. John was hot (boy was he hot) and that was why he was main character, but he needed more personality, more oomph if you will. That was one of the issues I had and what made me think about Jumper. I was more interested in the sidekick than the main character.

   Another thing I didn't like were the villains. They are aliens, but they acted more like teenage thugs. That and they were sort of comical. It was weird as hell. I honestly couldn't take them seriously. They were creepy when we first see them and then they started talking. My point is, for villains, they just didn't do it for me. There was one point they freaked me out when they tortured someone, but that was it.

   It was obvious they were aiming towards the Twilight crowd, but still trying to include boys in the mixture. Still it seems more girls will check this out. At least this was as lovey-dovey as Twilight and no one didn't annoy me too much. Nonetheless, this just wasn't my favorite. I wanted better acting and didn't really get it. Everyone just felt dull to me. I know Deanna isn't going to like this (sorry hon), but this was another ok film. I know some will like this, but for me, the secondary characters were better than the leads. This movie would have been better if they focused on them more.


Rating:
It was okay

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Top 5 Sundays – Books for an UF Newbie! (March 20, 2011)

Rules:
  1. Write a post listing your TOP 5 choices within the theme I chose (or was chosen on a poll) for the week.
  2. Mention this Blog on the post and link back to it.
  3. Fell free to use the Feature's image (there is a smaller size version of it bellow)
  4. After you've finished your post, add you link (of the post, not your blog's main page) to the Mr.Linky at the end of that week's post.
  5. If you don’t have a blog to post, just leave your list in the comments =)
********************************************************************************


Ok finally getting to one of these list. This week Larissa's Bookish Life Top 5 Sunday theme are Books for a UF Newbie. So I think it best to make a list of the series that got me addicted to the genre or whatever I can think of at the moment. Here we go :) (in no particular order)

1) Jeaniene Frost - The Night Huntress series

I believe it is in agreement this is a great series to start with. It is one of my favorite series and I am so happy I stumbled on it. It is fun, fast paced and sexy. Also Cat and Bones are definitely one of the greatest couples in the Urban Fantasy world. Honestly, don't miss this series.


2) Charlaine Harris - Sookie Stackhouse series

This was the very first series I started. I was so eager to know what Sookie was on True Blood, I thought,  "Why not just read the books?". I am very happy I did. This series is the reason I am such an avid reader.


3) Karen M. Moning - Fever series

This is simply a favorite. I have read this series twice and was even more floored the second time around. So intriguing, so mysterious. Mackayla becomes a great heroine Barrons is my absolute favorite book boyfriend. Seriously, sexiest thing on the planet.




4) Ilona Andrews - Kate Daniels series

Another favorite. A great series that is both fitting for men and women. This was the first series I read that was full of magic, action, and laughs. Again, another couple that can conquer the world. Kate and Curran are both wise asses that are too much fun to pass up.



5) Kim Harrison - Rachel Morgan series

When I first started taking reading seriously, if there was one name I saw more often than my own, it was Kim Harrison. So I thought I would dive in and start the Rachel Morgan series. I may have just started it, but I definitely understand why Kim Harrison is so popular in the Urban Fantasy world.  This is another series that is worth the hype and more.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Movie Review - Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles

   
     WARNING! If you are expecting a big almost District 9 or Independence Day type film, you are not going to find it here. As a matter of fact, calling this a sci-fi film would be a little insulting to me or any other self-respecting sci-fi nerd. Overall, if you want to spend money on a videogame, this would be the cheapest one yet.
     
      This film gets you right into it. We find out that there are meteors hitting L.A., but come to find out, they are spaceships. Aliens have evaded Los Angeles, not Earth, just Los Angeles. Then a group of marines are sent out to defend the city. That is basically the whole setting of this movie. We have little microscopic stories of certain soldiers. One is getting married, our lead Sgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) is not liked by other marines because he was in a previous battle where all his fellow members died, but he survived. So no one doesn't like him or feel safe around him.
     
       The only good thing about this movie was Aaron Eckhart and the special effects. Eckhart delivered what was given to him. It really showed his talent on at least trying to give the dialogue some life. But don't watch this expecting a storyline because you won't get it.

       The special effects were definitely the only highlight for this movie. The aliens, even though we only see them about 5 minutes, look amazing. I mean District 9 amazing. I also enjoyed the look of the movie. It was Black Hawk Down meets Cloverfield. We get all the action and that sort of real time camera feed with the movie.Which is both a bad and good thing about this movie. This film definitely has a budget, a big budget.  But they went into this with the full intention of showing off exactly how much money they spent on the effects over the ridiculous, cliched dialogue and the none existent plot. This is basically this year's Transformers 2, nothing but guns and explosions.

        There is really nothing more I can say about this movie because there is nothing else. This was a search, shoot and rescue mission kind of movie. There was not much in between. This is the sort of movie you watch once and only in a movie theater. If anything, the effects are worth the money. The spaceships looked amazing and we have one interaction with an alien-like egg thing, that almost reminded me of those eggs from Alien, which looked just as gross. Overall, this movie was ok. I wish they actually went further with this and did something with the dialogue, seriously, it killed me listening to it.


Rating:


Monday, March 7, 2011

Trailer Evaluation: The Hangover II (2011)


    YES!!! Now this may be more of a teaser, but I just wanted to talk about it. I am a huge fan the first Hangover. It is probably the most watched movie in my house. Everyone I know loves it, even my grandmother laughs at some of the jokes (while still complaining about the profanity, but still). That is the power of the Hangover. Which begs the question, out of the ridiculous amounts of bachelor/frat boy party films that have been made since the 70s (let's face it, Animal House started it all), what makes the Hangover so different? I know I am not the only one who is so done with the college, frat boy flicks about teenagers with nothing left to do but try to lose their virginities for whatever lame reason. National Lampoon, give it a rest already! But is that the reason why the Hangover is popular? It has taken that format and twisted to where it is fresh and actually funny. Not too mention, all the guys, especially Zach Galifianakis, all bring something to the table.  
    What do you guys think? Do you enjoy the bachelor party films? The Hangover?
 
    On another note, is Doug missing again?! Seriously, that guy obviously needs to be on a leash. But they seem to be in Thailand, which has never been my first choice for a vacation, but still. And guys, I really could have done better without the roach the size of my fist, thank you.

Etched in Bone Giveaway Winner!!!

And the winner is...

Kara-Karina


Congratulations Kara, you have been randomly selected as the winner of Adrian Phoenix's Etched in Bone. BIG thank you to all that participated in my first ever interview and giveaway. You all have been so amazing. Another BIG thank you to the amazing Adrian Phoenix for giving me a chance. I had so much fun and I can't wait to do it again.I surely hope and pray to have another giveaway sometime later this month. So I hope to see you all soon. Thank you and congrats again to Kara.


*Winner has been notified and if there is no response in 48 hours next choice will be given the prize*

Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Review: Sophie Littlefield - Aftertime (Aftertime 1)


Awakening in a bleak landscape as scarred as her body, Cass Dollar vaguely recalls surviving something terrible. Wearing unfamiliar clothes and having no idea how many days—or weeks—have passed, she slowly realizes the horrifying truth: Ruthie has vanished.
And with her, nearly all of civilization. Where once-lush hills carried cars and commerce, the roads today see only cannibalistic Beaters—people turned hungry for human flesh by a government experiment gone wrong.
In a broken, barren California, Cass will undergo a harrowing quest to get her Ruthie back. Few people trust an outsider, let alone a woman who became a zombie and somehow turned back, but she finds help from an enigmatic outlaw, Smoke. Smoke is her savior, and her safety. For the Beaters are out there. And the humans grip at survival with their trigger fingers. Especially when they learn that she and Ruthie have become the most feared, and desired, of weapons in a brave new world.... 


     Every once in a while, a book comes a long that you read and read until it feels like your eyes are about to burn out of your head, but you still continue to read. You continue to read because you can't wait any longer to see what will happen next. That is what this book was for me. Too incredible for words.
    
     Aftertime is the name of the time after the modern civilization as we know is gone. Now the world (well just the West side, seemingly) has been taken over by zombies. We are immediately put in our heroine's, Cass Dollar, shoes. We find out that she has been walking for the longest time after just waking up from an attack, not just any attack, a zombie attack (they are known as Beaters, by the way). Cass is confused, of course. She has been attacked, but has no idea why she is not a Beater. She doesn't remember much and you can't blame her, I wouldn't want to remember wither. That doesn't matter to her though. What does matter, is her daughter Ruthie, who was also attacked by Beaters and taken away. Thing is, she has no idea where her baby girl is because it has been two months.

     Cass is then almost attacked by a girl who mistakes Cass for a Beater. Signs of a Beater: shreds of skin missing (literally, they rip shreds from you skin), shiny eyes and hair that has been pulled out by the chunks. So after taken down the girl, she walks them to a school that has been used as a shelter for survivors. We are then introduced to Smoke, who helps and protects Cass throughout this story. He first and foremost lends his help on the journey to find Ruthie. Smoke is quite mysterious and overtime we learn that his past is not as squeaky clean as others think, but he does what is right.
   
     I don't want to give so much a way because after they leave the school, the things that happen are insane. But this is not a book about zombies. This book is about a woman who has lost her child and even though she isn't perfect, she knows that she has to at least know her girl is alive. Cass feels responsible for all that has happened and can't live without knowing where Ruthie is. Cass is a former alcoholic who sleeps around to escape her life and the only good thing she had, Ruthie, was stolen from her. This book will send you on an emotional rollercoaster. It is full of horror, sadness, joy, anger. All the things you would expect to feel after just surviving the apocalypse. 

     It is so nice to read a book like this from a woman. I am not complaining mind you, but the world of zombies has almost been reserved for men. Aftertime is about so much more than survival. This book is about a flawed and tortured woman looking to get her life back even though life around her won't be the same. Life has changed so much, but no matter what, Cass will do whatever it takes to get to Ruthie.
     
     I am calling it now, Aftertime is easily on my list of best book of the year. It is so well written. It is destructive, adventurous,  heartbreaking and just downright beautiful. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I read that this will be a series on Littlefield's website here: http://www.sophielittlefield.com/dystopian/ , but there doesn't seem to be a name yet. Either way, I can't wait to read more from this author.



Rating:
+1



*This book belongs to the following challenge:
BCC's Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011