Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July Paranormal Releases

Tomorrow is July 1, and July is a month chock FULL of paranormal releases.

Among the highlights of July's releases are The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire. This anthology of short stories includes tales by Holly Black, Libba Bray, Melissa De La Cruz, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Clare, Kelley Armstrong, and Lili St. Crow, among others. The release date is July 27.

The fourth book in Jenna Black's Morgan Kingsley series, Speak of the Devil, will be released July 28.

Sharing this release date is the fourth installment of Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, Destined for an Early Grave, and the second installment of Julie Kenner's Ghouls series, Good Ghouls Do, and the third novel in the Tales of an Urban Werewolf series, Karen MacInerney's Leader of the Pack.

A new young adult series by Lisa Mantchev, called the Theatre Illuminata, will be launched July 7, with the release of Eyes Like Stars. Another young adult novel, Blue Moon, by Alyson Noel, shares this release date. And let's not forget the critically acclaimed Prey, by Rachel Vincent, debuting July 1.

Busy, busy month for Pararom lovers. I, for one, can't wait!

For a more comprehensive list of paranormal titles being released in July, please follow this link to SciFiGuy's blog.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review - That Old Black Magic By Moira Rogers

Blurb from Moira’s Web site:
“The job was supposed to be easy. Lifting a magic charm from the house of a reclusive wizard in the middle of a swamp is a breeze for Max, a shapeshifter who has made his reputation by putting an end to dark wizards and the evil magic they use. Getting locked into a closet with an infamous thief wasn’t part of the gameplan, but Max has always improvised well...especially when a hot woman is involved. The one thing Max didn’t plan for was the possibility that Polly would beat him at his own game.”

That Old Black Magic is a short story that doesn’t feel like a short story. In many ways, it doesn’t have a clear cut beginning or ending. Instead, it feels like a passage cut from the middle of a much longer story, like a snapshot in time that captures the essence of the main characters and their stories, but comes nowhere near offering the complete picture. That Old Black Magic jumps straight into the action, as though the reader is already familiar with the characters. It then ends, leaving these characters locked in the middle of their sexual battle for dominance. It’s unlike many of the short stories I’ve read, and absolutely brilliant.

My main problem with short stories is that I like to get to know a character. I like plot. I like details. I like fretting over the dilemmas the main characters are facing. That’s the joy of reading for me. Short stories, by the very nature of what they are, do not have the ability to give me exactly what I want. Until, you know, now, apparently. I’m completely in love with this short story. It has the pace and feel of a novel. Instead of a lengthy introduction, the characters are introduced by way of their actions and, as a reader, I felt I really understood them and their motivations. The pace is fast moving, the action never slowing down or fizzling. And, the sex is ridiculously hot! But really. Super hot.

More importantly, though, it’s believable. Both the sex and the characters. Sure, these are two supernatural beings who have an outrageously hot encounter while in the midst of a magical heist. Not exactly a realistic plot, I know. But even in such a short tale, enough of their world is built and described that they are able to move within that world without leaving the reader confused. No matter how paranormal the tale, the battle of the sexes is timeless. No matter how paranormal the characters, strong willed males and females will typically act in certain ways to get what they want, whether it is the upper hand, unrestrained sex, or both. Polly and Max make a perfect pair of rivals. Both are intelligent, cunning, and powerful in their own ways. They aren’t afraid to get their, ahem, hands dirty in work or play. Each has an agenda and, naturally, their personal agendas are at odds. The tension between them is primarily sexual, and they take their battle of wills and wits to the bedroom (or the cramped confines of a closet). There’s nothing more normal than that.

I do have one very large problem with That Old Black Magic. I desperately wish it was longer. Between Polly and Max, I would love to know how the story ends.

If you are interested in reading That Old Black Magic, you can download it for free at Moira Roger's Web site.

Rating: 4.5/5


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When Venn Diagrams Become Useful

Finally, a venn diagram with a purpose.

Graph made by DrRandomness via Graph Jam Builder. All credit goes to DrRandomness, this is hilarious!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

True Blood Season 2 Sneak Peaks

Brad Brevet at RopesofSilicon was fortunate enough to receive 4 sneak peeks of True Blood season 2, and he was awesome enough to post them.

Click here to partake of all the True Blood goodness.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Review - The Conquest By Jude Deveraux

No matter how honorable my intentions, I just can't seem to avoid the paranormal. I sat down today with every intention of reading a historical romance. Historical. Romance. Not a mention of vampires or werewolves or shifters (oh my!), not even a witch in sight of the back cover blurb. This was my literary effort to expand my boundaries.

I didn't account for ghosts, though. Cause yeah, a ghost definitely features in the resolution of this book. Naturally. That's the only reason I'm reviewing it here. Because of the ghost.

Even when I try, I can't escape paranormals.

The book in question is The Conquest by Jude Deveraux. What can I say? I love my paranormals, but I just felt the need to branch out and try one of the other romance subgenres. Now that I have, I don't believe historicals are for me...at least not this kind of historical.

From Amazon:
"Lovely Zared Peregrine was the pride of her family, a treasure her rough-hewn brothers would strive at any cost to protect from their ancient enemies, the Howards. The Peregrines had suffered loss enough. Thus Zared's brothers trained her in the arts of war, and dressed her in boy's clothing. Beyond the castle walls, none knew that the youngest Peregrine was a girl.... Yet when the magnificent Knight Tearle Howard returned from a lengthy sojourn in France, it took him but one glance to discover that Zared was most definitely female, and beautiful. Now, as the enmity between their families raged on, Tearle would mount a bold campaign to win the ravishing spitfire's heart -- and save her from his brother's dark and deadly obsession!"

This book was a quick read, but even so I found it horribly monotonous. The heroine is a crossdressing, 17 year old girl who is either incredibly immature for her age, or simply, well, simple. She is uneducated (which, considering this is a historical, can be forgiven), but she considers herself logical and brimming with commonsense. So, she tries to think of logical conclusions to justify her hate-driven paranoia of everything, always looking for conspiracy theories that simply aren't there. This gets really old, really fast. Reading her "logic" spelled out on the page is a lot like listening to the barroom logic of really drunk men right before last call; it's completely absurd and you pray the individual will come to their senses before embarrassing themselves.

The heroine, Zared, also idolizes her brothers to a degree that is slightly disturbing. She speaks at length about their physique, honor, fighting skill, intelligence, etc. She compares all other men to her God-like brothers in a way that seems to supersede the normal hero worship that can sometimes take place between a younger and older sibling. Nothing incestuous takes place on the page, but it's disturbing none the less.

As for those God-like brothers, Rogan and Severn, I think it's further proof of the heroine's simplicity that she could idolize them at all. While these are the "good guys", they are incredibly boorish and proud, and these traits are exalted as the masculine ideal. Severn is portrayed as manly and clever because, after a noblewoman he's courting makes a fool of him, he throws her over his knee and spanks her in the middle of a dining hall. This is, of course, completely fine because the woman in question is too clever for her own good. Severn is revered for teaching her a lesson. I understand this is a historical novel and that gender roles were far different then, but it's the way scenes like the one described above are presented that bother me. Not that the event took place, but that the (likely female) reader is supposed to agree that the uppity noblewoman got what she deserved.

Then there is the hero, Tearle. Tearle is the oddest man/woman hybrid I've ever read and, granted, this is a book in which the heroine has spent her entire life disguised as a boy. In addition to being big, brawny, and the most skilled at war games, Tearle is also more refined than even the grandest of ladies. In one scene he's being trampled by a horse to protect his lady love, and in the next he's explaining to her the finer features of rose-scented silk gloves. I'm sorry, there's a disconnect there somewhere.

In addition to being a master of both might and refinement, Tearle is a peacemaker and a scholar, a poet and musician. He's beautiful in a manly way and the smartest person in the book. He's apparently the total package. So why don't I like this hero? Because in addition to all those fine traits, he's extremely manipulative. He proclaims to detest the emotional games women play, yet he plays them more than anyone else. This is even more reprehensible when you realize the person on the receiving end of these manipulations is Zared, a girl far too dim to realize anything that she isn't beaten over the head with half a dozen times. Overall, the "enlightened" Tearle seems more sexist than the more brutish male characters, because he is manipulative and conniving in his bigotry, where the other men are at least straightforward.

For a romance, much of this book is dedicated to the exploration of hate, with love thrown in as an implausible idea on the part of the slightly effeminate hero. As such, the hate between characters is far more believable than the love is. The HEA is, at best, contrived; it results only from deus ex machina, in this case the paranormal element that I mentioned in the beginning of the review. When a completely happy (and implausible) resolution seems out of reach, the ghost of Zared's grandmother shows up and gives her a riddle (which apparently is important to the entire story, but not mentioned until the end), then leads her to a ledger that spells out everything needed for the HEA. Wonderful. Perfect. Ripoff.

This is an older book (published in 1991), but I am not overly impressed. If all of Deveraux's work is similar to this, I believe I'll be avoiding her novels. If all historicals are like this, I think I'll stick with paranormals.

Rating: 2/5


Friday, June 5, 2009

The Shifters Series by Rachel Vincent

I just learned about a shifter series that has apparently been around since 2007. I'm slightly disappointed that I hadn't heard of it before now, because all the comments I've found today have been very positive. Must track down copies and read for myself!

The series (called the Shifters Series and currently comprised of 3 books) is the work of Rachel Vincent. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I like what I'm seeing.

The first 3 books in the series are Stray, Rogue, and Pride.

The 4th book, Prey, will be hitting stores July 1, 2009. So far, the buzz is positive.

I'm looking forward to reading this series. If you already have and care to weigh in with your opinion, please feel free to do so in the comments. Or you can visit Rachel Vincent's blog here.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Further Adoration of Moonlight

Need further proof that you should be watching Moonlight? Check out these promos for the show:

"The Life of a Vampire"

"Tall, Dark, and Immortal"

Interested but too cheap to spring for a DVD series you've never seen? Preview Moonlight for free online at CBS's Moonlight Web site.


In Memory of Moonlight

Well, I have chapters due to my critique partners and a synopsis that needs to be contest ready by June 15, so that means that I'm writing furiously wasting time online as usual. Yeah, cause I'm cool like that (*epic fail*).

Anyway, while perusing twitter and certain other blogs, I saw this blog post on popculturedivas, lamenting the departure of tv shows that left us all too soon. One of the shows mentioned was Moonlight, which of course reminded me exactly how much I *loved* Moonlight, which inspired this post when I really should be concentrating on rewrites for chapter 3.

If you missed this show when it was on, then you truly missed out. CBS dropped the ball in an outstanding manner when they canceled Moonlight after the first season, ending their one vampire-themed show just before HBO found tremendous success with True Blood (seriously, *what* were they thinking).

This video, cleverly titled "Interview with the Vampire", is a teaser of the series, which revolves around Private Investigator Mick St. John, who just happens to be a vampire.

Turned by his now ex-wife, Mick tries to atone for the sins of his existence by helping those unable to help themselves. Along the way he meets spunky reporter Beth Turner, and finds himself falling for her.

The single season of the series (now available for purchase), is filled with humor and drama, delightful supporting characters, and a male lead who is completely captivating. Mick is just sexy, and Beth is a likable female lead who's as smart and she is beautiful.

In short, if you love vampires, you should watch this show.


Jared Leto the new Lestat??

I was prowling on myspace; I mean that is what myspace is all about right? While sifting through the usual celebrity blog garbage, I came across a jem! Yes my friends, this is a picture from the "official blog of Jared Leto." Please feast your eyes on the following:

Looks like Lestat is hanging with Robert Pattinson

So for comparisions sake, here is a look at Stuart Townsend who played Lestat de Lioncourt in Queen of the Damned (2002).

And here is Tom Cruise as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire (1994).

I personally have yet to read the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. This is something I do plan on getting to, all you scoffers out there claiming me not to be a "true fang fan". On the pictures alone, I do see the resemblance. I find Leto looks strickingly similar to Townsend's character. A rock and roll vampire is definitely something I wouldn't mind sinking my teeth into!

I must leave you with the following! Just notice the hideous cheetah print couch...yet I would allow it in my house if it came with a lounging Lestat complete with a shirt that he quite possibly ripped from the wardrobe of Elvis.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1st and JR Ward

Today is June 1st. According to the lovely and extremely talented JR Ward, this is the day she planned to begin the outline for the next book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Lover Mine. As Ward is crazy about sticking to scheduling, I have no doubt that the first wonderful words of John Matthew's long awaited story have already been committed to paper (or, more likely, a word processing program).

Now begins the long wait until the book's release, currently scheduled for early 2010.


New Moon Movie Poster

I love this movie poster. Robert Pattinson does absolutely nothing for me (I think he looks perpetually stoned and more than a little unwashed). I didn't see what all the fuss was about when he played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I certainly don't get it now. Taylor Lautner, however, makes me wish I was about a decade younger and a resident of Forks.

I'm hoping for good things from this movie. Only time will tell.

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