October Releases

Monday, February 28, 2011

ARC Review: L. A. Weatherly - Angel Burn (aka Angel) (Angel Trilogy #1)

Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where she gets this power from - But Alex does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous - and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy

    Ok, let me start of by saying, this was a nice debut. I like L. A. Weatherly's style. The book was well paced, well to a point. This is my very first ARC, thanks to NetGalley. I got the one named Angel Burn, but just recently found out that it is also called Angel. I won't lie, I got it because Angel Burn sounds cool. Would make a cool band name, what do you think? I read the summary and it sounded interesting. This book was good. With that being said, I had a few issues with this book that I can't look past. 
   Angel Burn starts off with our main hero, Alex, a hot 17-going-on-18 year old Angel Killer, on a hunt. We quickly find out that angels are not what they are cracked up to be. They are out to feed on humanity and they end up becoming "angel burned". It is what happens when an angel feeds on you. Your brain and soul have pretty much dwindled down to nothing and all you know are the "great, bright, and shiny" angels. I like this premise, it was quite unique. Then we are introduced to Willow, our heroine. She is this 16-going-on-17 high schooler who is treated like a freak at school. See, Willow is a psychic. She can see your past and future and she is quickly thrown into fire after she gives her "friend" Beth a reading. Willow sees Beth's angel and notices something is wrong. Beth wants to join the angel at the church, the "Church of Angels" and Willow sees this will slowly destroy Beth. 
    We are also introduced Raziel, the leader of "Church of Angels" and our villain. Beth soon blabs on Willow to her angel and soon, Raziel wants Willow destroyed because she is a danger to them. This is how Alex first meets Willow, by stalking her because he is suppose to kill her. He soon finds out that she is not one of his regular enemies. This is the reason is he has to help save her, so he can get to the bottom as to why she was important.
     They embark on an across country road trip. They have been hopping from one hotel to the other. Being chased by various angels trying to destroy. After their hatred of each other, they quickly fall in love. This is where my biggest issue comes in. This book becomes so lovey-dovey, it got a little on my nerves. It is most likely me because I am not much for mushy. But because it does become mushy, the plot just sort of slows down. They are kissing and talking about how amazing and beautiful they are, it was just too much of that for me.
      The writing was weird for me a little bit as well. Some grammar issues in the book. For instance, "all I could I think of was getting to Denver in time". Huh? Then there was the was the book switches views throughout, which made it a tad bit confusing. The book switches from first person to third person viewpoints. One minute we are reading the characters thoughts as they think them and they are telling us what they are doing. Next minute, it switches to a narrator who telling us what they are doing. It bounces back and forth between we and they. English was my favorite subject in school and I have had teachers ride me over doing this on some of my papers, so I know it when I see it.
      Also I would have liked to have seen them as adults. Alex and Willow have had their fair share of crap handed to them, especially Alex. Throughout the book Alex is called a legend. The best Angel Killer ever. I just had a hard time imagining him as a teenager. Legend and teenager just don't fit in the same sentence to me, well I guess I sort of did that there, but you get my point. It just would have made more sense to me if they were, both for the love story and just the characters overall.
      The story was a bit predictable. I won't give anything away, but trust me, you will put pieces together quickly. When we get to the end and take on our villain, it just felt a little anticlimactic. I do like the help that comes along in the book by certain characters (can't say who because it would be a spoiler), but I would have liked to get more story from them or for them to stick around. Again, might be just me, but when it comes to the ending of a book, I expect a big bang. This was more like 10 cherry bombs going off at the same time, just not big enough.
       But even with those issues, I can say I am interested to see where this story goes. It was good, but not great. The story was compelling for me. How it ended, I pray the next book will be as epic as I wanted this to be. I enjoyed the plot and I honestly believe there is definitely something here. If I didn't, I wouldn't continue the series (suppose to be a trilogy I believe). Also I won't forget that this is Weatherly's first book. I know debuts are a kicker, so I understand. All I want is a little less googly eyes and more fight. I don't mind romance, but jeez. It felt like most of the book was about them staring at each other. I get it, you both are hot, now just go and kick some more bright angel ass! This book is clearly more for fans of Twilight, which I am not, but I do prefer this. So if you do like Twilight, this would be a definite winner for you.


*This book belongs to the following challenge:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My first Interview and Giveaway with Adrian Phoenix!!!

*Giveaway is now closed*

I am so happy and honored to be doing this. I wanted to start doing interviews here. I was scared, but then I thought, "What the hell?" So due to the fact that I am such a gigantic fan and the book just came out, I have asked author Adrian Phoenix for an interview. I am so excited that she accepted and I am glad to report she is also giving a way a copy of the new book in the amazing Maker's Song series, Etched In Bone, to one lucky winner.


1)     OBVB:   Hello Ms. Phoenix. To start off can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
June 28th, WOOHOO!

Adrian: Hello! It’s so great to be here with you and your readers, Diana. Thanks so much for inviting me.  I’m a writer living in Springfield, Oregon (wet, green, lots of ducks and geese), the author of two urban fantasy series—The Maker’s Song series: A Rush of Wings, In the Blood, Beneath the Skin, and the just released Etched in Bone; and the Hoodoo series: Black Dust Mambo (the second book in the series, Black Heart Loa, will be out June 28th).
I have two adult sons, two lovely daughters-in-law, three grandkids, two granddogs, and three feline companions of my own—Amiga, Diabla, and Ember. I just took the plunge and started writing fulltime this year. When I got laid off from my day job, the universe seemed to say, “Seize the moment.” LOL.

2)      OBVB: What brought about the idea for both your Maker’s Song series and your Hoodoo series? 
Adrian: Music (Nine Inch Nails, in particular) inspired the creation of Dante, the main protagonist of The Maker’s Song books, and the Hoodoo series was inspired during a writing workshop on the Oregon coast when I decided to explore my fascination with hoodoo, the bayou, and Louisiana.

              OBVB: The Maker’s Song is your first series, correct? How did you feel when it first got out there? How does the success of the series make you feel?

Adrian: Yup, The Maker’s Song was my first series (one I hope will continue forever). It felt incredible, amazing, unbelievable when I sold A Rush of Wings in a two-book contract with Pocket. I hadn’t written the second book yet, but I had plenty of notes since it would continue the story started in A Rush of Wings. With the release of each book, it feels just as exciting as the release of the first. I feel like a little kid being presented with a pony on her birthday. LOL. Honestly, it’s all a dream come true. 

4)      OBVB: I am Louisiana-born and I know you visit there.  I love how the city of New Orleans is almost like a persona in your books. The city is wonderful but what else draws you to the city? What is it about New Orleans that attracts you?

      Adrian: Oh, I love that you’re Louisiana born and that you enjoy the settings! Thank you! It’s funny, I’ve always been drawn to New Orleans, ever since I first started reading about it as a kid. I’m fascinated by the Cajun culture, the cities of the dead, the lore steeped in hoodoo and voodoo, the history of the city—the French, the Spanish, the pirates (Jean Lafitte!), the old Creole aristocrats duels back in the early days, everything. New Orleans is rich with a complex and varied history – often dark and violent, but always brimming with a joie de vivre that nothing could erase.

5)        OBVB: I love and appreciate how your books are diverse. I have heard plenty of thoughts and opinions on the subject but what are your thoughts about diversity in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance? Do you believe that it is or should be an important factor in the genres?

Adrian: The main difference between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance is that paranormal romance is focused on the relationship, the romance between the lead characters, with the plot aiding in that relationship,  urban fantasy is focused on the plot, and can have romance, of course, but the romance is a sub-plot, not the focus of the story. They are sister genres, but separate. As for diversity, I’m not clear on what you’re asking. Do you mean there should be more or different paranormal beings?

**I went back and clarified that I was talking about race and this was Ms. Phoenix's great answer**

Adrian: I believe racial diversity to be a good and necessary thing in urban fantasy (and in all genres, really). We don't live in homogeneous societies, racial diversity is a part of our every day lives and our readers come from all races and backgrounds. It'd be pretty boring without diversity!

6)       OBVB: Now one of a gazillion things I love about your writing is how smart and complex it is. You have many characters and all those characters add different degrees to your books. How do you keep track of your stories? Is it easy for you?

Adrian: Thanks! I do keep notes on the characters and who knows what about who. LOL. For the most part, keeping track is easy, but it gets a little harder with each successive book, so I’m much better at keeping notes and a timeline. While I’m writing the book itself, I keep track of things by following the time of day. During the night, certain characters are doing their thing,, and during the day, others are prime movers.


OBVB: Another aspect I love about the Maker’s Song series is the rawness of it. All the emotions and tragedies that have taken place make your books feel real. For instance, we take your main character Dante and what has happened to him in his catastrophic childhood. Even if you were to take out the paranormal aspect of his story, there is still so much to him. He’ll still have demons to face and battles to overcome.  Is it important to you to have many levels to your characters? That no matter their flaws, there is something about them that still grabs hold of us?

      Adrian: Again, thanks so much! Dante has endured many awful things from the time he was born and it’s all shaped who he is and who he’ll become. Yup, it is important to me that my characters are three-dimensional with flaws and faults and quirks along with their strengths. They need to have histories, habits, likes, dislikes, etc. But, I’ll admit, I often tell Dante I’m sorry when I dredge up more of his past or toss him into a new nightmare. 

8)      OBVB: Now about your characters. I know I am not alone in this, but one of my favorite characters in the Maker’s Song series is Von.  He is a big, leather-clad biker with a moustache, who is as much of a smartass as Dante. Other vampires are scared to death of him and yet he can be such a teddy bear. Where did you come up with the idea of him? Why are nomads so significant in the vampire world?

Adrian: Thanks! Yes, Von is a favorite and I’m really fond of him too! When I imagined the people who would be around Dante, Von popped up.  It was just an organic process, and he was always the rough and tumble pagan nomad vampire (or nightkind).
The pagan Gypsy-outlaw-biker styled nomad clans (unlike the majority of the mortal world) know that vampires exist and view them as a part of the natural order. Nomads deeply respect vampires (nightwalkers) and view them almost as night elementals. The clans consider it an honor when a member is chosen to be turned. Because of all that, there is a kinship between nomads and vampires.

9)      OBVB: Heather is one of my favorite heroines. Dante describes her as “all heart and steel”. She is a woman that has seen all the good and bad of Dante in such a short amount of time, but she is never rattled or frightened.  Where does her strength come from? 

Adrian:  I appreciate that! I’m very fond of Heather. She *does* get rattled from time to time – when she saw what Dante did at the end of A Rush of Wings, that made her pull back and really scrutinize her feelings for him, if she was strong enough to help him find the redemption she believed he was seeking.
I think Heather’s strength comes from the fact that she’s always had to care for her brother and sister due to her father’s obsession with his work in the FBI and her bipolar mother’s mood swings and alcoholism. After her mother’s murder, she stepped even more into the parenting role since her father didn’t pick up any of the slack. She’s *had* to be strong.

OBVB: This next question is one that I have to ask you because the thought is unfathomable. I read (albeit) on the Internet a few months ago, that Disney (yes, the Disney) wants to dive into the vampire pool and make a movie about vampires. Come to find out, your series was the one they have been looking at. Now the problem, for anyone that doesn’t know (shame), the Maker’s Song series isn’t for kids. Not even close. Have you heard this rumor? Have you ever imagined or would like your series to become a franchise? Made into films appropriate for adults?

Adrian: Yup, I learned all about this a while back too. My agent got in contact with Disney after we heard the news. Nothing has been confirmed at this point. And I don’t have to take their offer if they make one. The thing is, Disney doesn’t just do films for kids. Disney has several divisions that handle adult films (Miramax and Touchstone – both put out good movies) and I’m sure it’d be one of those divisions who would do the film. (If such a thing even happens.)  I don’t think there is any intention to turn The Maker’s Song into a movie for kids/teens. And I wouldn’t allow that. I would want any movies/TV series to be true to the books and the characters!

OBVB: This might tie in with the above question, but I have to say, Dante is one of my favorite book boyfriends. Throughout the Maker’s Song series, the descriptions of him are enough to make me pass out from overheating. He is incredibly beautiful. Do you have a muse or someone you can imagine that would make the perfect Dante or close to it? Any muses for Heather or Von? Or are their looks imagined by you?

Adrian: Thank you so much! Oh, I wish I had a muse to eye while thinking of Dante, but it’s a good thing I don’t or I’d never get any writing done. LOL! No, no muses for any of them. I think Brandon Lee’s body in The Crow would be perfect for Dante’s, though.

OBVB: How many books are you planning for both the Maker’s Song series and the Hoodoo series?

Adrian: I don’t have a set number of books for either series. I hope to tell both as long as there are stories to tell! Pocket has picked up books five and six of The Maker’s Song and hopefully, more after that! Book five is titled, On Midnight Wings.

 OBVB: Given how creative your vampire series is, are there any vampire books/series out there that stand out to you?

Adrian: I really like Jaye Wells’s Sabina Kane series – she has a unique mythos and I like her characters. I also love Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series,  Jeri Smith-Ready’s WVMP series, and D.B. Reynolds’ Vampires in America series.

OBVB: Without giving away too much, is there anything you can tell us that we will be in store for in Etched in Bone? 

Adrian: Here’s a bit from the back cover: Determined to face the Fallen and the world on his own terms, Dante hopes to piece together his shattered past and claim his future, with FBI agent Heather Wallace at his side. But in Heather’s human family awaits an unexpected enemy. One who could rip Heather from Dante’s heart and fill the holes with bullets. One who could force Dante to choose his darkest destiny—as the Great Destroyer . . .
There’s more of Von and Silver and Annie, and of Lucien, of course. We also see much more of Gehenna and the Fallen, and some new characters are introduced as well.
Here’s a link to read the first two chapters of Etched in Bone on my blog:

OBVB: Last but not least, for any aspiring authors such as myself, is there any advice you would like to give to any of us novice writers? Things to keep in mind and what to expect in the writing world?

Adrian: My main bit of advice would be discipline. You must write. Every day. Even if it’s only for ten minutes or half an hour, you must write and keep your story moving forward. Complete it. Once you’re done, you can do any corrections you need to, but finish it first.
As Stephen King once said: “ . . . but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in disciplined way, day in and day out, but writing, failing, succeeding, and revising.”
Another quote I’m fond of is from Graham Brown: “Just write the damn thing—get it done. Until you get a draft complete you don’t know where you are. It’s like trying to decide which direction you need to go in without looking at a map. A lot of authors I know, me included, tend to procrastinate because they are not sure where they are going but if you do that too much you never get anything done. Write it. Get it wrong. And then fix it. As opposed to waiting until you think you have it perfectly planned out—because that could take forever.”
Get a couple of trusted first readers. They don’t need to be writers, just folks who read a lot. Readers know what makes a good and compelling story. Research the publishers who handle your genre(s), check out Writer’s Digest online and Publisher’s Marketplace. Learn how to write a query letter. Again, Writer’s Digest would be a good source online. Persistence and discipline are key. Move on to the next project. Never give up. You can do it!
Most important, always follow your heart. Write for yourself first and foremost. Write the story you yearn to read. Again, you can do it!

Thanks so much for having me, Diana!

Stalk Adrian Phoenix Online:

WebsiteOfficial BlogPocket After Dark


To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment about any of the books or ask a question and leave your name and email address.

*Open Internationally*

For extra points:
+1 - Follow my blog
+2 - Follow both me and Adrian Phoenix on Twitter (please leave twitter name)
+3 - Tweet or blog about this post (please leave a link)

  The winner will be announced March 7th and you will be contacted so I can send Ms. Phoenix your information. That is it. Good luck everybody!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review: Unclean Spirits (Black Sun's Daughter #1) by M. L. N. Hanover

In a world where magic walks and demons ride, you can't always play by the rules.

Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers -- and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means -- magical or mundane -- so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions -- Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities -- Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast -- or break them completely....
     I was walking around in my local Books-A-Million store so overwhelmed, as always, trying to figure out a book to get. Then I came across an author I never heard of, M . L. N. Havover. What got me? The cover of course. But I did read the summary on the back and it sounded pretty cool. So I immediately picked up Unclean Spirits and Darker Angels (book 2) all at once. I am happy I did because I need to get to Darker Angels quick because I need more action.
     Unclean Spirits starts very mysteriously. Technically a main character, Eric, (the story would not have taken place without it happening), is killed. We don't know why, we just know his killers aren't human. With his death, comes his niece Jayne (pronounced Zha-nay) who arrives at the airport to get Eric's things situated. While there she meets Aubrey, a cute guy who worked with Eric and who Jayne actually thought he was lovers with (funny little mix up). He becomes her love interest. Well I am not sure love is the right word, but it is something. Anyway soon after this little meeting, Jayne finds out that the uncle that may have saved her out of plenty of jams with her family, but she didn't know all that well, has left everything to her. His ridiculous load of money, his numerous houses around the world and unfortunately the life-or-death situation he died for. 
    Jayne is, of course, overwhelmed by it all. One day she is a regular college dropout that doesn't really know where her life is going and now she is loaded with more money than she can count. Through all of this, Jayne ends up at one of Eric's many, many places of residence. It is here, she meets Midian. A hilarious and witty smart ass who has been cursed by the very man they are trying to hunt down. He is basically a working corpse. Through a fight the ensues after there run in, we the meet the rest of the gang, Ex and Choygi Jake. This is where my problem comes in because I can't give you much of a clear picture of them. 
    Ex is supposed to be a religious nut who is good with guns and Choygi Jake seems supernatural, but I can't really say more than that because I am not sure. He is good with wards apparently. Anyway, they all get together and try to find out how to kill Randolph Coin, a man who is possessed by a demon and runs the Invisible College. A group of people who have been recruited to help Coin gain power and destroy everything around him. That is why Jayne needs Aubrey, Midian, Choygi Jake, and Ex. They knew how Eric operated and they are the only ones that can help Jayne destroy Coin before his next huge recruitment takes place.
     I love the story. I love the plot. I am just not that crazy about the characters. I love Jayne as a heroine, but I don't understand how she can do the things she does. When she is in her first fight, she was able to kick so much ass and no one, not even herself, can explain why. The gang says it might be due to a protective ward Eric put on her, but I think there is more to it then that. So I am hoping to find out a little more about her in the next couple of books. Then there is her "relationship" with Aubrey. I liked Aubrey, he was adorable and smart. But what went down between them, Jayne shouldn't have been all crazy about it because she only knew Aubrey for a few days and then sleeps with him. It is her fault for not asking the right questions. Just saying, she was a tad bit selfish. I don't want to spoil what the problem was, just know, she could have asked a question or two. Actually find out more about Aubrey.
    I liked Ex and Choygi Jake. But like I said, we don't know a lot about them other than they helped Eric and are good at their jobs. They both interest me, but we don't know much about them. Also Ex does something later on in the book that he doesn't really give any explanation for. I believe he does it to take care of the situation (Coin) himself, but we see that he obviously still needs her. It was strange.
    My favorite character in this book was Midian. He had the most depth compared to everyone, that and some of the things he says make you crack up. He has a very dark sense of humor that lightens up the book. He also brings a bit of a twist in the book which was nice.
    Finally there is the villain himself who doesn't interest me in the least. I mean as in why should I care sort of way. He doesn't really even come off scary, just mean. Maybe it is just me, but I expect my villains to be interesting. Maybe it had a lot to do with the fact that all his scare tactics were done from a far. The man was a coward with powers, that was it.
    All in all, this book was good and I am loving the author so far. I want to read more of her work, but I needed more. Characters are a big drive in books and we don't get to know much about them in this book. By the way, I like getting a description of the characters right off the back as well. I hate not getting one quick because I end up creating my own and then it is not how I imagined once we find out how they look like. Just saying, it is weird.


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

Review: Adrian Phoenix - Black Dust Mambo (Hoodoo #1)

'There will be times, girl, when all your magic ain't going to be enough, times when it will seem to dry up like mud under the noonday sun, or even make matters worse. . . .'

Kallie Rivière, a fiery Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a talent for trouble, finds herself smack-dab in the middle of one of those times her mentor warned her about when she visits New Orleans to attend the Hecatean Alliance's annual carnival: her hard-bodied conjurer hookup ends up dead in her blood-drenched bed. And he was killed by something that Kallie would never dream of touching - the darkest of dark juju, soul-eating juju - a black dust hex that may have been meant to kill

Now Kallie has to use every bit of hoodoo knowledge and bayou-bred mojo she possesses to clear her own name and find the killer - even as that dark sorcerer hunts Kallie and her friends. But Kallie's search for the truth soon leads her in a direction she never anticipated - back home to Bayou Cyprés Noir, and to Gabrielle LaRue, Kallie's aunt, protector, and hoodoo mentor . . . who is looking more and more like she just might be the one who wants Kallie dead.

    Anyone that knows me knows that I am a big fan of Adrian Phoenix. That is why I had to buy this book. Her Maker's Song series is one of the most amazing series I have read. But Ms. Phoenix has managed to make me love her even more with her new series Hoodoo. This was an amazing debut and I can't wait for the next book.
     This book holds nothing back. You are instantly thrown into the action and it won't let go. This book starts off with Kallie waking up next to her sexy nomad, Gage, remembering the hot night they had. But that hot night quickly turns to dread when she realizes Gage is dead. He was hexed to death. Quickly we are introduced to another nomad who is quite sexy named Layne (my new book boyfriend). Hot, tall and blonde dreads (a new little feature I enjoy) and him and Kallie have a strange connection, albeit wrong given the circumstances, but still. Layne knows something is wrong and finds out his best friend is dead and he believes Kallie to be responsible.That does change fast though, thank God, I would have hated if they didn't get along.
      We are introduced to a multitude of new characters in the first couple of chapters. All of them bring so many different levels to this book. After Layne, we are introduced to Kallie's best friend Belladonna Brown (definitely sounds like the name from a '70s blaxploitation film) and she definitely acted as such. She was one of my favorites in this book. She is hilarious and naughty, but always has Kallie's back.Then we meet Layne's ex-wife McKenna, another fiery character who acts bigger than she is (she is referred to as being a leprechaun). Then we meet Dallas, a man whore and fellow friend who was sent to spy on Kallie by her aunt who seems to be behind everything. Also Augustine, whose job is to investigate the murder and who seems like a stick-in-the-mud, but becomes quite likable.
       This book has the same format as the Maker's Song series. It is still set in the beautiful city of New Awlins (Woohoo!) and we are shown everybody's side in this story. But one thing that was different was the comedy. Maker's Song is a very dramatic and tragic series and the only release really is Von. This book has as many light moments as dark moments. It is very well balanced. One of my favorite moments in this book is the wet boxers contest naughty Belladonna judged in and got Kallie to throw the water in. 
       Something that I always love about Phoenix's work, is that you don't know where her books will go. That was definitely no exception here. You think you got a handle on things and then it takes a complete right turn. We are thrown bunches of curve balls and every one of them makes you more interested in the story. There was not a dull moment for me and the ending is proof that book 2, Black Heart Loa, is going to start with a bang.
       Overall, if you are looking for something fun, sexy, and fast paced with a plot with plenty of twists, this is the book for you. It is a great Urban Fantasy, a great suspenseful mystery, and it is about Hoodoo, which is very new to me. I hope to find others about hoodoo magic because this really peeked my interest. Highly recommended!


*This book belongs to the following challenge:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MyBookishWays and KelseyAnnesBookBlog Giveaways

Hello everyone. Here again to share some great giveaways with you guys from a fellow friend and a new blogger I started stalking.

MyBookishWays has two going on as we speak. Look below:
*Interview and Giveaway with author Mike Shevdon (Ends Feb. 29) :

*Two Bloggers (MBW and The Spinecracker) and One Giveaway with author Jaye Wells (Ends Mar. 1):

Then head on over to KelseyAnnesBookBlog for her first giveaway. She is giving away a copy of author Leah Clifford's A Touch Mortal (Ends Mar. 14):

Stop on by and make sure to fill ot the forms if you want to win.

Book Review: Staked (Void City #1) by J. F. Lewis


Eric's got issues. He has short-term and long-term memory problems; he can't remember who he ate for dinner yesterday, much less how he became a vampire in the first place. His best friend, Roger, is souring on the strip club he and Eric own together. And his girlfriend, Tabitha, keeps pressuring him to turn her so she can join him in undeath. It's almost enough to put a Vlad off his appetite. Almost.

Eric tries to solve one problem, only to create another: he turns Tabitha into a vampire, but finds that once he does, his desire for her fades -- and her younger sister, Rachel, sure is cute. And when he kills a werewolf in self-defense, things really get out of hand. Now a pack of born-again lycanthropes is out for holy retribution, while Tabitha and Rachel have their own agendas -- which may or may not include helping Eric stay in one piece.

All Eric wants to do is run his strip club, drink a little blood, and be left alone. Instead, he must survive car crashes, enchanted bullets, sunlight, sex magic, and werewolves on ice -- not to mention his own nasty temper and forgetfulness.

Because being undead isn't easy, but it sure beats the alternative.

     It has taken me a few days to get to this, but finally, my review is here. I must say, Lewis debut is why he has made it on my favorite authors list. But even so, there were some things in this book that sort of annoyed me to the point that I wanted to start smacking some sense into people. Not Lewis mind you, although I don't think he would mind, given this book, he seems sort of kinky. 
     This book throws you right into the action, which I love. We are introduced to the main vampire named Eric. I love Eric just due to the fact that he has this won't-take-any-bullshit attitude. We instantly find out that Eric seems to have some issues with his memories. There is a dead vampire next to him in a filthy alley, he killed him, but has no idea how. In that same filthy alley, Eric is stalked by a werewolf who pretends to be a bum. They fight and it was dirty and graphic and I loved it. This pretty much sets the mood of this book.
     After being saved and barely making it out alive from the rising sun, Eric goes back to the strip club he owns, The Demon Heart (great name) and this is where we meet the main female of the book. His girlfriend (aka warm sex toy), Tabitha, is head over heels for Eric. But we know Eric doesn't really feel the same way, not only due to the fact that he is a jerk, but the only woman he has ever loved, Marilyn, never wanted to become a vampire. Nonetheless, Tabitha begs him to turn her and he does it as a way to let her go. This is where plenty of bullshit ensues. I mean like the good oh my God I can't believe that happened bullshit, not the bad bullshit. That makes sense, right?
    We are introduced to Talbot who is a sexy werecat (I think he is, we are never told) and he is the one who helps Tabitha, not Eric. Eric is off trying to save his ass and screwing Tabitha's barely legal sister, Rachel.  Eric is in hot water, but ends up in hotter water when he finds out he killed the packmaster's son (alley bum).  I loved how the werewolves were like God's warriors. They are out to destroy vampires at all costs. It is nice and different. But we see that they end up fighting for the same cause over time. I believe this is partially because no one can kill Eric. He is a Vlad. An actual, real immortal vampire. He is impossible to kill, he just regenerates. It is nice to read a book that has immortality correct. Immortality just doesn't mean living forever especially if a simple stab to the heart is all it takes to put you down for good. I don't know, maybe it is just me.
     I absolutely loved this book. It is a great urban fantasy, that is written by a man. That alone is enough for me to buy it because it is so rare, well at least it seems that way. This book was very action packed and gory. It really took me back to the beginning of the Anita Blake series, just a little more macho. I loved that it sticks to the original myths about vampires. It is sort of old school, which makes it more enjoyable.
   With that being said,  I did have a few problems though.
1) Well this isn't much a problem, but it is something that I would have liked. I wish Talbot had a bigger part. He was very mysterious throughout and that only peeked my interest more in him. It would have been nice to see him have a little story.

2) The cover. I know, nitpicky, but still. A cover tells you a part of the story inside. The cover as seen above is misleading. It shouldn't be Tabitha on the front cover. It should be Eric. He is the main character. Most of the chapters are about him. It starts with him and it ends with him. Also the gun she is holding she actually can't hold. The gun can only be held by Eric because it was made for him. So the real cover to stick to should be the one below. Eric looks a tad bit older than I imagined (he "died" when he was 30) and still doesn't seem to be the dominant focus, but it still makes more sense than the one at the top of this post.

3) I loved Eric, he is probably one of the coolest vampires ever. But he is a guy which means he is "man-stupid*" (Thank you Adrian Phoenix, I will start using that). You know he is a good guy. Deep, deep, deep down he is a good guy. He has a brain, he is not stupid as far as the real world goes, but where common sense is concerned, he is a dumbass. He is sleeping with Tabitha's sister. To make that situation worse, he knows there is something off about her, he admits it to himself. But being that he is a guy, his blood is elsewhere. He cares for Tabitha, but does seem to love her in a warped sort of way, but he doesn't try to work with her on it, instead he wants their relationship open. Then there is the stuff about who it is that is actually setting him up, he tries not to think about it because he knows it is as bad as it seems.

4) The character of Tabitha herself. Don't get me wrong, I like her, I just can't respect her. The reason I love Urban Fantasy is because the lead characters are a force to be reckoned with. I love stories about strong, female leads who will do anything to protect people especially those she loves. Tabitha is not that character. She wants to be turned into a vampire for the wrong reasons (well, in retrospect, I am not sure there are right ones). She says it is because she loves him, but she is so selfish, she doesn't take the time to figure what he really wants. Tabitha doesn't fight for him anywhere in this book, instead, she is a doormat. She would be his puppet if that means she can stick with him. I wanted to punch the hell out of her because of what happened in the end. If she actually grew a pair of lady balls, it probably would have ended differently. I mean I didn't expect her to become a instant badass overnight, but she didn't even try to be a badass. She never tries to get to know him outside of the bedroom. I am hoping the further I go she learns to pull her head out of her ass, but for now, she needs sense slapped into her.

    Overall, this book was just fun to read. Again, the fact that it was written by a man really gives you perspective. It is a book that I believe women will enjoy and men would love. Lots of violence with actual mean and scary ass vampires. If you are a fan of Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt series (review for Already Dead posted HERE ) then you will love this. It was an adrenaline rush for me. I wish vampires movies would be done more like this. I liked all the characters, no matter their faults This book has some dark humor to it which I will always love. So if you are someone who wants to like vampires and breaks out in hives at the mention of Twilight (BOOOOOO!), then get your hands on this. It will be one hell of a read.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

MyBookishWays Giveaways!

Hello, me again. Letting you all know to stop by my lovely friend Kristin's site for some amazing giveaways.

Interview and Giveaway with author Hank Schwaeble

Interview and Giveaway with author Ben Aaronvitch:

Interview and Giveaway with author Allison Pang:

So hurry on over before the contests are over!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas #1) by Dean Koontz

"The dead don't talk. I don't know why." But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it's a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd's otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd's deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares-and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere. 

   If you are an avid reader (or maybe even not), the name Dean Koontz is quite familiar to you. There is a reason for that, this man is very talented. The man is great with suspense. I was on the edge of my seat from the first chapter of this book. Mr. Koontz, I am happy to report you have yourself a new fan. So happy I finally started reading your work.
   Odd Thomas (real name, not nickname) is about a twenty-year-old guy who lives in a town named Pico Mundo. Odd is actually relatively normal except he can see dead people (an aspect that is totally at odds at what we are use to given the way how movies portray people who see dead people). Thing is, Odd does his best to actually help the dead, not ignore them as though they aren't there, something else I thought was pretty unique. This book starts off with Odd running into a girl named Penny who we find out is a ghost. She can't talk, none of the ghosts can talk. But she shows Odd what happened to her and who killed her. Well psychically speaking she did, even though he isn't a psychic. It was pretty disturbing and gross, but it, surprisingly, it is not the tone of this book.
   We find out that Odd is a cook at a burger joint, he has a girlfriend named Stormy Llwellyn (I love that name), and is friends with bunches of people in his small town. He is followed by some dead people, a man (can't remember the name) who was killed in a car accident (well drowned from that terrible accident) who still has weird sense of humor. Odd is also followed by Elvis' ghost, which is actually not as comical as that sounds.
   Overtime, Odd is asked by one of his many "followers" who believe he is a psychic (which he isn't). This woman, I believe was named Terri (again can't remember name for sure, I know, it stinks), but nonetheless, she tells Odd about a nightmare she had, so Odd being Odd, he tries to help her. Along the way, Odd learns more about the bodachs. They are these creepy, shadow like creatures who show about when there is potential chaos and/or death. Odd ends up finding the main bodach's, Robert Thomas Robertson's (aka Fungus Man) house. Odd finds bunches of creepy things from this "guy" and knows something big will be coming August 14 (3 days after my birthday, not cool) and it is up to Odd to find out what it is before it is too late.
  This was my very first audiobook (that I listened to from beginning to end) and I am happy I finally did. The narrator, David Aaron Baker, was thoroughly entertaining. Really made me smile with the voices he gave the characters. The characters in this books really add a lot to this story and most importantly, they add plenty to Odd's character. The relationship between Odd and Stormy was fresh and fun. Stormy knows all about Odd's abilities ans hasn't ran off screaming and they have a perfect way of understanding each other. I also enjoyed Little Ozzie. He is a 6 fingered, intelligent author who writes detective novels. He definitely helps steer Odd into the right direction for his unoffical investigation..
  Now for a little babbling. For me, what is the most unbelieveable thing about Odd is the fact that he wasn't a psychopathic serial killer and some nutcase born and bred for the insane asylum. And I am not talking about his abilities, I mean on how he was raised. Odd has THE MOST TERRIBLE PARENTS EVER! Actually you can't even call them parents. More like a sperm and egg donor who decided to conceive the traditional way. His dad is a selfish, arrogant, money hungry pedophile. Will only date girls of appropriate age but look younger and would not spare a dime to his son even if it meant life or death (though Odd wouldn't take it anyway).
  Odd's mom might be even worse. She absolutely resents Odd's existence altogether. She said the only reason she didn't have him scrapped out (her words, definitely not mine), was because if she did, she would lose his dad's money. She has even told Odd to his face that she hates him and she tried killing him before and herself. because of him. So this book has made me appreciate my mom even more. Sorry about the tangent about his parents, but I just couldn't believe they were so awful and Odd was so normal and helpful. I mean we don't meet his parents until near the end of the book and I just imagined them to be loving and supportive. I don't think either of them know how to spell the words.
    Overall, this book was pretty amazing and I am happy I started a Koontz series especially this one given they will be making a movie out it. Odd Thomas will be played by Anton Yelchin who has been in some great movies and tv shows, so my hopes shall be high. The storyline was well paced for me, not too slow and not too fast. This book was not insanely scary, but had plenty of suspense and gory scenes to keep your attention. The characters, again, are outstanding. The people that surround Odd are truly the ones that help keep him above water and that is what makes Odd a great hero. If you haven't started Koontz, now is the time.


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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

MyBookishWays Giveaway with author Maria V. Snyder

Please everyone make sure to drop by MyBookishways for a chance to win Maria V. Snyder's sequel Outside In

 Contest ends on February 15th, so get to it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

127 Hours (2010)

Source: IMDB

127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he is finally rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet?

     Finally watched this today! This film took forever to get to our theater and I took even longer to watch it. Well you know what? It was like a marinate, the longer you wait, the better it will be. And guess what, that was so true with this movie.
     This film goes right into it. We start off by seeing Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) pack all his equipment for his hiking trip to the desert. He is ignoring calls left and right from friends and family, won't talk to anyone. So he leaves early morning to start biking and walking around through nature ( Love looking at nature, but don't want to explore especially after seeing this).
      While hiking, Aron runs into two pretty girls Megan and Kristi (Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara) and they are having fun playing in this beautiful underwater cave. There was chemistry between them all and they were definitely having lots of fun. But that is not where this story really begins.
       After making potential plans on meeting up with the girls at a party the next day, Aron goes hiking a little further. He then ends up at a canyon with a big drop and a big boulder. He tests the boulder, but he was wrong. The boulder gives he falls and while his arms are flailing in the air, one of his arms gets jammed in between the wall of the cave and the boulder. It was kind of gross, but not too bad to look at. While Aron is stuck here, he is running low on water which he manages to spare over a few days. He starts going delusional because of the lack of water and food. He has the dreams and fantasies about escaping and drinking.
       But among those delusions, the ones that really are the turning point for him are the ones of his friends and family. Aron starts from when he was younger to now, seeing how selfish he was. That if he just said where he was going and what he was doing, he wouldn't be in the situation he is in now. Aron realizes it is all his fault for being so inconsiderate and he pays one hell of a price for it.
       I truly loved this movie because it was more than a survival film. It was more than a film about a man who needs to escape such a tragic situation. It was up to Aron to decide whether he was going to die selfish or go on and live for others and not just himself. James Franco did such an amazing job in this movie. It really isn't a surprise he has an Oscar nomination for his role in this. This guy is truly an amazing actor. He manages to act, but still seems like himself which is quite a trick in the acting world. I mean, who would have thought the hot and lazy bum Daniel from Freaks and Geeks would become an Oscar nominee. Hell, Franco has even received a Golden Globe nomination for "playing" a pothead. A POTHEAD! (I am sure you saw the quotation marks, just a reminder that he has admitted to liking the stuff.) But maybe that is why he was so successful in Pineapple Express, he knows exactly what it is like. Either way, we have seen plenty of pothead films and only Franco has the talent to play a pothead and get a nomination for it. That is how good this guy is!
       Let's not forget Danny Boyle, one of my favorite directors in the world for this movie. This man does not simply make films, he starts revolutions. He reinvented zombie films in my opinion with 28 Days Later (giving zombies the ability to run is probably the most terrible thing ever. I like my zombies nice and slow, now our chances have been cut in half). Boyle did such a great job truly capturing the feeling of complete isolation in this film. Freaked me out whenever he would show the canyon compared to the rest of the desert. It was so vast and barren, I got a little agoraphobic (fear of wide open spaces). He really showed exactly the sorts of things I'd expect someone to go through when trapped for five days with barely any food or water. Some films don't get it right.
       Overall, this is a film I watched once and will definitely watch again. I urge you all to catch it as well. It is simple, yet brilliant. Nice to see a movie that doesn't need so much CG and explosions and etc. to capture an audience (I like CG mind you, just saying, we don't need it in everything. This was a breath of fresh air if you will).

My rating:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review: The Darkest Whisper (Lords of the Underworld #4) by Gena Showalter

Bound by the demon of Doubt, Sabin unintentionally destroys even the most confident of lovers. So the immortal warrior spends his time on the battlefield instead of the bedroom, victory his only concern - until he meets Gwendolyn the Timid. One taste of the beautiful redhead, and he craves more.

Gwen, an immortal herself, always thought she'd fall for a kind human who wouldn't rouse her darker side. But when Sabin frees her from prison, battling their enemies for the claim to Pandora's box turns out to be nothing compared to the battle Sabin and Gwen will wage against love.

     I finished this a few days ago and at first, I was going to give it 3 stars because there was a little too much "Does he like me or doesn't he?" and vice-versa. But the last 40-50 pages really picked this book up for me. I really enjoyed it and have been waiting to read Sabin's book because out of all the demons, he came off the coldest and meanest. So I was very curious to see how he would actually interact with a woman. 
     I just started Gena Showalter and I became a fan very quickly. When I started J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood (YUMMY!), this series was a high recommendation if I enjoyed the BDB. I am very happy I picked this up. Really great series, so far.
     The book starts off with the demons still searching for the artifacts that their loves depend on. They end up on the other side of the world near a cave that is full of Hunters. The Lords don't know what they are hiding in the cave, but they know they are hiding something. So after some eavesdropping, the Lords didn't find artifacts, but found something grotesque. They found out that the Hunters were raping and impregnating women of different species to create superhuman children. There were vampires, sirens, and more. Out of all the women they had trapped, the only one they did not touch was Gwen the Timid. Gwen is a harpy who, quite frankly, was afraid of her own shadow. But ironically, when pissed, she can kill in the blink of an eye. So the Hunters were scared shitless of her, but kept her locked up for a year. A little confusion here for me I must say. They obviously knew what she was when they kidnapped her, so it is safe to assume they knew what she was capable of, so why kidnap her in the first place? 
     Nonetheless, upon entering the cave of  the hypocritical bastards known as Hunters, Sabin lays eyes on Gwen and, of course, he is in awe. Gwen and Sabin both take an instant liking to each other. But with Sabin being possessed by Doubt, he questions everything he does and everything she does. Gwen herself seemed to be possessed by the same demon sometimes because she second guessed herself as well throughout. 
     Gwen and Sabin go through plenty of push and pull. I like that Sabin treated Gwen as his equal, something I thought he would die before he ever let happen. There was so much between them and it was nice he wasn't scared of her harpy. Like I said, Sabin was the biggest douche before this series and we get to know why. His demon is a bastard and it screws with everyone know matter who. Due to Sabin's demon, the last woman he was with couldn't take life anymore. Yeah. So Sabin being who he is is understandable. Gwen has her own insecurities to worry about though. Her sisters might kill her for being caught so easily and might kill the Lords (well try) if they hurt her. Gwen needs to learn how to fight and not be so afraid of her harpy.
      While all this is going on, Sabin is battling whether he should leave Gwen behind to go to Chicago with his fellow friends. The Lords found out that the Hunters have built a special school for their special children and want to take down the school and save the kids. He stays behind for Gwen, but nonetheless, the Lords get caught and trapped and it would take more than Sabin to save them.
       What I loved about this book were the secondary characters. I loved Sabin and Gwen, but we finally get more insight with the other Lords. We find that Torin (keeper of Disease, his story I can't wait to read) and Cameo (keeper of Misery) have a "relationship" going on. We find that Aeron's (keeper of Wrath) adopted daughter Legion (the little green demon who springs from nowhere) finds out that Aeron's stalker is an angel. An angel in love with a demon, classic! We find out more about Gideon (keeper of Lies) and a little bit of his story. I am looking forward to his. I hear his story is one of the best of the series. But best, well worst of all, we see more of Paris (keeper of Promiscuity) and his anguish over not having Sienna back. I can't wait to see what happens in his story either. Given that we know Cronus is a jerk, we know something epic will have to take place for Paris to get her back.
        Overall, this was another great book in one hell of a series. Like I said, I would have given 3 stars because of all the talk and questions between Gwen and Sabin, but the ending boosted it up for me. I get the action I crave. We get one hell of a twist in the story with Gwen here and believe me, it is a big one. I wasn't 100% happy with what Sabin allows Gwen to do in the end. I understand why he did it, but still, come on! So when reading this, I say the main focus is the back story, not necessarily the main story. The back story really gets the ball moving in this book and man was it good.

My Rating:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekend Box Office Predictions 02-04-11

   I haven't done these in a while (shame on me), but thank God movies are always being made, so I can pick it back up. Unfortunately, I am not really jumping out of my seat for this weekend's choices. 
   First up is Sanctum, a film that is not, I repeat NOT by James Cameron, so do not expect any Avatar-like
special effects and insane worlds that we would leave Earth for in an instant. The film was directed by Alister Grierson (check here for more info). Grierson only has one other full length under his belt. A film named Kokoda (crickets). But apparently it has been good enough to win Australia. So I am curious to see Grierson's work here in the US, since he is sort of new to this. The film looks interesting, I won't lie, but I am not sure what could be added to the plot of this. They travel and want to explore an underwater cave. That alone is enough to freak me out. Not from the plot mind you, just being in a dark underwater cave with people you may or may not trust. But like I said, not totally crazy excited for this, but might check it out this weekend.
    Next up, The Roommate. I am definitely not excited for this because guess what? I saw this film years ago. It was named Single White Female, it came out on 1992 (check here ). The Roommate is basically the Single White Female's prequel. It is a film about a girl who gets a roommate to share for her dorm. As luck would have it, that roommate is a total psycho who is obsessed with her roommate's every move. She wants to destroy everyone  in her life just so there is her as in her roommate's life. Now I do like the premise. Love watching films about crazy psycho chicks, but this is just too closely related to ones in the past.
    My verdict: The Roommate. Why? Because this weekend is Super Bowl, so women are more likely to spend money in the theaters this weekend and this might be top choice. I can see Sanctum in the top 3, but this weekend will be tough and unfortunately, will be rough either way at theaters. So I might see Sanctum, but I think since 127 Hours finally made it in the theater and I might actually have time tomorrow, 127 Hours it is.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Giveaway at mybookishway!

     Just letting everyone know that my good new friend Kristin from is having an Interview and a Giveaway from author Jess Haines. Make sure you all stop by, the giveaway ends on February 7th so hurry :) The link is below, I hope to win, but still, good luck to everyone :)

My First Interview and Giveaway is on the 18!

   That is right! I finally grew a pair and asked an author for an interview and giveaway. That author is (drum roll please)...ADRIAN PHOENIX!!! That is right! The amazing author of the Maker's Song series and the recent Hoodoo series.

   Phoenix has agreed to do an interview with me on February 18th and one lucky winner will be receiving a signed copy of Etched in Bone which comes on the 22nd this month.
   So everyone mark your calendars and I hope to see you all here. Any questions or thoughts, remember to save them for Ms. Phoenix on the 18th. Can't wait!