Saturday, January 31, 2009

Review: The Otherworldlies

I read The Otherworldlies by Jennifer Anne Kogler yesterday. It was recommended to me by Hylian Vampire.

Book description (from HarperCollins)

Fern communicates with her dog, blisters from just moments in the sun, and has correctly predicted the daily weather for more than two years. Even so, she's always seemed to be a normal twelve-year-old girl . . . until one day when Fern closes her eyes in class and opens them seconds later on a sandy beach miles away from school. When Fern disappears again, this time to a place far more dangerous, she begins to realize exactly how different she is.

With the help of her twin brother, Sam, Fern struggles to gain control of her supernatural powers. The arrival of a sinister vampire in town—who seems to have an alarming interest in Fern's powers—causes Fern to question her true identity. Who is she? More importantly, who can she count on? Soon Fern finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old battle—one that could destroy Fern and endanger everyone she loves.

If I had adolescent girls I would definitely be much more comfortable having them read this books than that other popular teen girl vampire book.
Kogler does a great job creating a world that not only children would love to explore, but adults as well. Some of the scenes seem to be just what I fantasized about when I was younger (exploring cool new places with your brother, learning new secrets, etc.).
This was a fun easy read about a young girl who feels like an outcast who must learn and except herself. The vampires have much of the same characterisitcs as your classic vamp, but there is a lot more depth in them than most books. Again, we see vampires being related to Zeus and the Gods.
I would definitely read a follow-up to this book if it came out!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Review: The Vampire's Secret

Last night I finished The Vampire's Secret, book 2 of the Savannah Vampire Chronicles by Raven Hart. If you are looking for something sweet and sappy, this is not it.

If you haven't read the first book The Vampire's Secret, this may contain some spoilers. William has just defeated his evil sire Reedrek, leaving him deep underground to torture him. He now has three "children" - Jack, the adventureous, sensitive, ladies man in love with a cop who he can't have, Werm, a wannabe badass, and Eleanor, a "madam" who is the only woman he has ever gotten close to since the death of his mortal wife.

These Savanah vampires are calling on their old friends from across the country to prepare for a war between the good vampires and the bad vampires, but William gets a agonizing suprise when one of the Dark Lords shows up with members of his clan.

Will William turn his back on his friends? Or william throw it all away to obtain what he desires most?

First, let me say that I think the titles of these books are very misleading. The titles and the cover art makes you think that the books are your regular romance with a vampire male - these stories are more than that, especially this book. I also think the summary's are a bit misleading as well.

There is so much emotion and drama you don't know what to do or how to feel. I felt angry, sad, frustrated, hopeful, and betrayed. A lot of issues from the past surface and you aren't sure who are the good guys anymore. Not much is resolved at the end either.

It was hard for me to get through this book because of all the drama. Sometimes you don't want a book making you feel frustrated, but none the less, I am looking forward to digging into the next book to see what happens.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Than Fiction

Do vampires really exist? Is there proof?

In case you haven't come across them yet, there are a some awesome blogs dedicated to the scientific and historical facts, myths, and rumors. Check them out! There is some interesting stuff out there. These are some of my favorite:

Diary of an Amateur Vampirologist:


Magia Posthuma:
"On several occasions, particularly on the periphery of the Habsburg Empire during the 17th and 18th centuries, dead people were suspected of being revenants or vampires, and consequently dug up and destroyed. Contemporary authors named this phenomenon Magia Posthuma. This blog is dedicated to understanding what happened and why"

Monday, January 26, 2009

Review - Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and Van Helsing

Friday we went to the opening of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Our tickets were bought hours before the show in fear that it would be sold out. I guess there are less Underworld fans than I thought because the theater wasn't packed when we sat down 15 minutes before it started (we were busy eating ice cream). The theater wasn't empty, but certainly less people than I would have thought.

I'm sure everyone knows the basic plot of this prequel, so I will skip the summary.

Overall I quite enjoyed the movie; I only have a couple complaints:
1. Who created some of the vampire's outfits and what were they thinking? I didn't realize that painted on paints and bra tops were fashionable back then.
2. The vampires were a sorry bunch. Their fighting skills were pretty much non-existent.
3. To try not and spoil it, I will just say - why couldn't she go out the window?

I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would. If I remembered the second Underworld I probably would say I enjoyed the prequel more. I think one of my favorite characters was Raze, writer, producer, and actor of Underworld; Kevin Grevioux. Lucian (Michael Sheen) was quite charming as well.

I also watched Van Helsing this weekend.

For old time sake, (and nothing was on TV) I watched Van Helsing. The last time I had seen this movie was when it was in the theaters. It was hard to watch again.

While I love Hugh Jackman and vampires and all that good stuff, sleep seemed more appealing than to finish the movie. The special effects are pretty bad and the acting (even if they are acting satirical) was kind of atrocious.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Vampire's Seduction

Today I read Raven Hart's Vampire Seduction - referred to me by Daelith.

Here is the excerpt from Hart's site:
When it comes to a wild and seductive nightlife, Savannah has bite.

Older than the United States and wealthy beyond his years, playboy William Cuyler Thorne is a vampire with a nice long undead life—one that includes a steady stream of admirers, a consistent supply of rejuvenating blood, and, best of all, a cover as one of Savannah's most prominent pillars of society.

But all good things must end.

Now an ancient enemy has come for William from across the seas. It is his sire, Reedrek, the vampire who created him. And Reedrek will stop at nothing until all that is precious to William—his beautiful mistress, his stable of willing female victims, his glorious estates, and his good-ol'-boy vampire sidekick, Jack—is within his voracious grasp. But William has an arsenal of his own—one that is enhanced by the power of voodoo. And when these two bloodsuckers meet, there will be hell to pay.

The story is told by William and Jack - Savanna's vampires. William is Jack's Sire with lots of secrets and Jack is tired of being kept out in the dark - especially when William's most hated enemy comes to town.

When I first started reading this book I really didn't think I would like it much. I tend to like the books with the female lead and the hunky vampire sidekick (it makes the fantasizing easier - just joking.... kinda). This is evident in my book list. I figured I would try to go on with it though, in hopes I would become more interested - and it worked.

I look forward to reading the next book in the soon-to-be 5 part series. I didn't want to put the book down. There is lots of action and craziness going on that you wonder what will happen next and question who can be trusted. I think the title of the book is a bit more steamy than the storyline. There's a few scenes of kinky sex but it doesn't over-shadow the storyline or become a whole chapter. Things also can get a little bloody.

Hart also showed unique twists in the ever-popular vampire story by adding a different take to the female vampire. In Hart's world, female vampires are rare and turn into a type of succubus. Since the female can no longer conceive, nature balances the shift by having the female vampires take the strength of the male vampires.

I'm definitely going to blame it on my present hormonal state, but I actually got all teary eyed during a particularly touching moment. I know, I'm lame sometimes.

Book 5 of the series comes out January 7th this month. From reading the short summaries (which I try to stay away from) it looks like there is going to be a lot of interesting things going on!

Friday! When did Vampires Start Sparkling?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One More Bite

I finally was able to get Jennifer Rardin's One More Bite (book 5 of the Jaz Parks Series) which came out January 5th. My guy picked it up for me on Tuesday. For some reason Borders said they wouldn't get it until next week though... but Barnes and Noble had it!

I've been looking forward to reading this book and had plans to buy it the day it came out, but it didn't work that way. I was even more excited to read it after Rardin kindly agreed to do an interview!

In OMB Jaz, Vayl, Cole, and an Uninvited guest travel to a remote Bed and Breakfast to kill the enemy of their enemies ally (say that 10x fast!). Jaz must focus on the mission at hand even though there is lots of things to keep her distracted and run her off track (who wants to try and save your enemy?).

The team acts under the guise of attending GhostCon to make more contacts for the business of “laying ghosts to rest” and they get a lot more than they bargained for! Ghosts, witches, action, danger, and maybe a little bit of romance make this book hard to put down and an enjoyable read!

I think this is my favorite Jaz Parks book yet. Jaz seems to be more comfortable in her own skin and able to deal better with all the bad stuff in her past. She is recognizing that she can’t run from others anymore and begins to open herself up again to her friends. She is still funny and stubborn though!

My favorite quote from Jaz is when she is thinking about how hot her vampire boss is even with the gold earring/spy equipment:

Maybe it was his Rom ancestry or Bergman’s sunscreen, but I thought he looked freaking hot. Kinda like Jake Gyllenhaal with fangs and a shudder-to-think-of-it past.(page 76).

I like the Jaz Parks books for several reasons:
Hot vampire character
Strong and independent female lead character
Dangerous spy action
Great characters
Jaz is hilarious
Storyline is well developed
Book is well written
It’s not all about shallow women and hunky vampires having copious amounts of sex because they can’t live without each other.
You want to read more!

This book is fun to read, there is a bit of romance, but it is not a romance! The characters are strong and independent and they don’t jump into bed with each other (even though you sometimes wish they did!). Those that are romantically linked develop relationships before they start pawing each other… which is a nice change. Now, in book 5, relationships have had a chance to be established and grow, and quoting Rardin, “there is a lot of heavy breathing going during One More Bite—and not all of it takes place after foot chases!” I won’t say any more - go read it for yourself!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Twilight, Trueblood, and Other Similar Stories...

Charlaine Harris (author of the Sookie Stackhouse books) recently posted this blog entry:

Coincidences happen. I get emails pretty frequently that have essentially this message: “So and so’s book has motorcycle gang werewolves in it, and so did yours. You should look into this. So and so’s copying off of you!” I’m sure people sent the same email to Laurell K. Hamilton when my first books came into print.

The truth is, there are few really original ideas under the sun. There are similarities between many books in the urban fantasy genre. If you get vampires, werewolves, and heroines with a supernatural trait, and they’re all tossed together, some of the results are going to be the same.

I did some lightning plotting last week about a book I want to write. I’m fascinated by cemeteries, and I thought it would be interesting to write a book set in a cemetery. I imagined the protagonist, a girl raised by ghosts in a cemetery, and I began figuring out how she’d live, how she’d avoid being taken in by the state and put in a group home, and what she would do to pass her days in such a lifeless place.

Then I went on Amazon and clicked on Fiction, then on Cemetery, and found that Neil Gaiman has already written a book with a similar premise.

So, what do I do now? Let my lovely idea go? Buy the Gaiman book, and read it enviously? Purchase every copy on earth and burn it?

Can I salvage my own idea? I haven’t decided yet. I would have been happier if I hadn’t checked, I think.

But when when my book was completed, it would have been a rude shock when someone asked me if I hadn’t read Neil Gaiman’s book. I haven’t, and I won’t, in case I decide to go ahead with my own, though the temptation is strong. I admire his writing – who doesn’t? Gaiman (whom I’ve met twice, very briefly) is a living legend.

It’s a hard call, but luckily I’ve got plenty of time to think about it. I’ve got two short stories, a lot of editing, and another novel lined up when I finally send in GRAVE SECRET, which is close to completion. By then I’ll have made up my mind, and I’ll either write CEMETERY GIRL . . . or I won’t.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Review of Episode 1-2 of Freeze - a Korean Vampire Mini-Drama

Friday, thanks to Nichole, I had an opportunity to watch Freeze, a Korean vampire TV drama. Friday we watched episodes 1-2 (of 5). Lee Suh-Jin is a angsty vampire who owns a classy wine bar with fellow vampire (and sire?) Ihwa. He is tired of living and having to sustain himself by drinking blood. He is uninterested in living or being happy again. He is a few hundreds years old and trying to get over his true love who he recently found out has died. When he makes an appearance at her funeral he runs into his love’s teenage daughter Ji Woo who is dealing with issues of her own.

Lee Suh-Jin and Ji Woo cross paths again and this time Ji Woo tries to warm his heart and get him to open up. Ihwa becomes quite left out and blood supplies run short while a killer is draining the blood of it’s victims.

Because this mini-series is in Korean with English subtitles it was a little hard to understand exactly what was going on (is she his sire? Is her mother his old love? Does he think she is her daughter?). We think we have it figured out after watching the third episode.

I enjoyed it, I think Nichole enjoyed it as well, our husbands – not so much. Freeze is like a soap opera (doesn’t seem as cheesy because it’s subtitled) and the only way you know they are vampires is because they have to drink some blood/wine mixture. They can go out into the light, you don’t see any fangs, and you don’t really see them bite anyone either. The boys wanted more action and less angst.

The young girl annoyed me throughout most of the show. She is about 17 and acts like a monkey sometimes – grabbing things, touching things, not letting go of things, etc. We also go back and forth in the beginning whether he thinks she is his daughter or if they see each other in a romantic sort of way, which I think will play out in episode 4. Buffy and Angel had a big age difference right?

Freeze was different than the other vampire TV shows and movies I have seen recently so I was glad to spend a few hours watching it. It’s a little slow moving, with not a lot (or none at all) action. I look forward to watching the rest of the episodes (without the boys).

Friday, January 16, 2009

For Fun.... Spoofs...

I don't watch Gossip Girl but I might have been more inclined to watch Twilight if Ed Westwick played Edward...

It is a lot harder to find True Blood Parodies (just sayin)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Goals for the New Year and Coming Soon

When the year ends and January comes around many people give in to the tradition of creating New Year resolutions. I generally don’t make new resolutions for the year. I set goals (or usually “wish lists”) through out the year and sometimes I work towards these goals, sometimes they fall off my priority list. In the spirit of starting off the year with lots of changes, I though I would write some reading/blogging goals and wish lists for the year 2009.

I would like to read at least 100 books for the year
Blog at least 3 times a week
Watch at least 5 vampire related movies
Finish Dracula and The Vampyre

Wish list:
Varney the Vampire
Dance of the Vampire - (to watch)
To watch Let the Right One In. I was hoping it was still playing when I was in Southern California last week, but it wasn't.

Books I’ve requested at the library or that I need to buy:
One More Bite- Book 5 of the Jaz Parks Series which came out January 5th - I was gone on vacation and I haven't had a chance to buy it!
In my waiting list at the library:
Feast of Fools – Morganville Vampires Book 4
Vampire Academy
Vampire Diaries
Raven Hart's vampire series

Coming soon:
If you haven't already read it, Charlaine Harris' first chapter to Dead and Gone is up on her site. Read it here.
White Witch Black Curse- Book 7 of the Rachel Morgan books comes out February 2009
Bone Crossed - Book 4 of Mercy Thompson Series Comes out February 2009
As Shadows Fade - Book 5 of the Gardella Vampire Chronicals comes out March 2009
Dead and Gone - Book 9 of the Sookie Series comes out in May 2009
Royal Blood - Book 6 of Vampire kisses comes out May 2009
Skin Trade - Book 17 of Anita Blake Books June 2009
Royal Kisses - Vampire Kisses Book 6 comes out Summer 2009
While on Laurell K. Hamilton's site I saw this Penny Arcade comic posted on her news and updates. At least she has a sense of humor about it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Movie Reviews: The Fearless Vampire Killers and Club Vampire - The good and the bad

I just got back from my honeymoon -it was nice to be away for a week with beautiful weather and lovely company, but it did lack some vampire action, haha. I managed to finish watching The Fearless Vampire Killers last night. You can view lots of screen shots here.

Summary from Amazon:

One of Roman Polanski's more overt comedies, this 1966 monster spectacle stars Jack MacGowran and Polanski as a clunky but heroic pair of vampire killers. Called upon to rescue the beautiful and buxom daughter (Sharon Tate) of an innkeeper from a Draculalike bloodsucker, the duo muddle through all sorts of scrapes, the most intense being a scene in which a room full of dancing vampires realize the human interlopers are the only ones in the room who are reflected in a mirror. Scary and funny, the film has some unforgettable set pieces, a terrific score, one of the few records of Tate's extraordinary beauty, and vibrant performances. Not exactly Polanski in a relaxed mode, but clear evidence of his estimable skills as a director of both brilliance and polish. --Tom Keogh

I thought this classic 1967 film was quite funny. I did have to turn the English subtitles because the sound wasn't too good. The movie is quirky and odd and once I could at least read what the characters were saying, I enjoyed it. Sharon Tate is beautiful in the movie and the Vampire son and the proffesor's sidekick added plenty of hilarity.

The musical Dance of the Vampires was adapted from this movie. I would love to see the musical - some of it is on youtube, but I would love to watch it at least on DVD if not in person.

I also attempted to watch Club Vampire... and I say "attempted" because I only got through about 6 minutes (if that) of it. The DVD cover doesn't look to bad, but it was truly awful. I have a knack for renting horrible movies, just ask my brother or husband or mother.

This is what happened during the part I watched: Main guy with lame lip ring (I like lip rings, but this one looked horrible) is sitting on the beach watching the sunset - he has been practicing to try and see as much of the sun as he can, then maybe he "will feel human." He has been watching a human who sleeps during the day and watches the sunset as well, his incredible insight is "maybe she is lonely too." She works at a strip club.

The strip club scene is interesting - about 10 people on stage, most of them clothed, one riding a fat guy in bondage gear. The gal I just mentioned is wearing some sort of glittery skirt and mesh shirt - she dances odd, doesn't take anything off, and the vampire guy watches her from the rafters. A female vampire is interested in her and pays her maybe 200 dollars for some alone time. They make out and mess around a bit, she mixes their blood without the human knowing and then kills her by doing something with a knife when she goes down on her.... um yeah.

The main vampire guy comes in now, and yells at the vampire girl, some horrible writing and acting occurs and my husband turns it off; which I am grateful.

I wouldn't suggest attempting to watch it - unless you have to bring a bad movie to a party, then this may be a good choice.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Books Read

82 - 'Salem's Lot 12/8
81 - Incubus Dreams (Anita Book 12) 9/18
80 - Cerulean Sins (Anita Book 11) 9/12
79 - One Quick Bite (Argeneau Vamps, book 1) 9/10
78 - Bitten to Death (Jaz Parks Book 4) 9/8
77 - When Twilight Burns (Gardella Vampires Book 4) 9/4
76 - Narcissus in Chains (Anita Book 10) 9/1
75 - Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake Book 9) 8/27
74 - Blue Moon (Anita Blake Book 8) 8/24
73 - The Last of the Red Hot Vampires (Dark Ones Book 5) 8/24
72 - Even Vampires Get the Blues (Dark Ones Book 4) 8/22
71 - Sex Lies, and Vampires (Dark Ones Book 3) 8/20
70 - Burnt Offerings (Anita Blake Book 7) 8/19
69 - The Killing Dance (Anita Blake Book 6) 8/18
68 - Bride of Casa Dracula (Mil book 3) 8/16
67 - Bloody Bones (Anita Blake Book 5) 8/14
66 - The Lunatic Cafe (Anita Blake Book 4) 8/13
65 - Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake Book 3) 8/11
64 - The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake Book 2) 8/9
63 - Guily Pleasures (Anita Blake Book 1) 8/8
62 - Blood Noir (Anita Blake Book 16) 7/29
61 - Sex and the Single Vampire (Dark Ones Book 2) 7/23
60 - Dance with a Vampire (Vamp Kisses book 4) 7/19
59 - All Soul's Night (Blood Ties book 4) 6/4
58- Midnight Brunch (Mil Book 2) 6/2
57 - Happy Hour at Casa Dracula (Mil Book 1) 5/28
56 - A Girl's Guide to Vampires (Dark ones book 1) 5/27
55- The Bleeding Dusk (Gardella Book 3) 5/20
54 - Rises the Night (Gardella Book 2) 5/19
53- The Rest Falls Away (Gardella book 1) 5/16
52 - Vampireville (Raven Book 3) 5/15
51 - Kissing Coffins (Raven Book 2) 5/14
50 - Vampire Kisses (Raven Book 1) 5/14
49 - Kitty and the Silver Bullet (Kitty Book 4) 5/12
48 - Kitty Takes a Holiday (Kitty Book 3) 5/11
47 - Kitty Goes to Washington (Kitty Book 2) 5/10
46 - Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Book 1) 5/7
45 - From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse Book 8!!!) 5/6
44 - Midnight Alley (Morganville Vamps Book 3) 5/5
43 - Dead Girls Dance (Morganville Vamps Book 2) 5/5
42 - Glass Houses (Morganville Vamps Book 1) 5/4
41 - Claimed by Shadow (Cass Palmer Book 2) 4/23
40 - Dead Sexy (Garney Lacy book 2) 4/19
Reread all of the Sookie Stackhouse books (4-9-4/15)
39 - Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson Book 3) 4/8
38 - Ashes to Ashes (Blood Ties Book 3) 4/2
37 - Posession (Blood Ties Book 2) 3/30
36 - The Turning (Blood Ties Books 1) 3/26
35 - Real Vampires Live Large (Glory Book 1) 3/21
34-Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson Book 2) 3/18
33- Moon Called (Mercy Thompson book 1) 3/18
32- Touch the Dark (Cass Palmer Book 1) 3/14
31- Fledgling 3/13
30- Bloodline (book 2: the reckoning) 3/11
29- Bloodline (book 1) 3/10
28- Tall Dark and Dead (Garnet Lacy book 1) 3/8
27- Bit the Jackpot (Vegas Vampires Book 2) 3/7
26- High Stakes (Vegas Vampires book 1) 3/6
25- The Outlaw Demon Wails (Rachel Morgan Book 6) 3/5
24- Biting the Bullet (Jaz Parks book 3) 2/29
23- Eclipse (Twilight Saga book 3) 2/28
22- New Moon (Twilight Saga Book 2) 2/27
21- Twilight (Twilight Saga book 1) 2/27
20- Another One Bites the Dust (Jaz Parks Book 2) 2/26
19- Once Bitten Twice Shy (Jaz Parks Book 1) 2/25
18- All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse Book 7) 2/24
17- Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse Book 6) 2/23
16- Dead as Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse Book 5) 2/21
15- Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse Book 4) 2/21
14- Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse Book 3) 2/20
13- Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse Book 2) 2/19
12- Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse Book 1) 2/14
11- For a Few Demons More (Rachel Morgan, Book 5) 2/12
10- A Fistful of Charms (Rachel Morgan, Book 4) 2/11
9- Every Which Way But Dead (Rachel Morgan, Book 3) 2/10
8- The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (Rachel Morgan, Book 2) 2/9
7- Dead Witch Walking (Rachel Morgan, Book 1) 2/7
5-6 The Blood Books, Vol. 3 (Blood Debt / Blood Bank)
3-4 The Blood Books, Vol. 2 (Blood Lines / Blood Pact)
1-2 The Blood Books, Vol. 1 (Blood Price / Blood Trail)