Thursday, August 4, 2011

July Reading

Once again I let my blogging slide, so I'll be giving brief reviews of what I read in July. I started the month with Heartless by Gail Carriger, the latest installment in her fun and funny Parasol Protectorate steam punk series. I enjoyed reading it but I'm glad there's only one more book planned for this series. It's time for it to end.

Undead and Undermined, the latest in Mary Janice Davidson's Queen Betsy series, was another fun and funny book. She's got some crazy stuff going on with Betsy, queen of the vampires; her sister who is the spawn of Satan; and some bizarre time traveling / timeline altering shenanigans. Kudos to Davidson who finds ways to keep this series fresh.

I read the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance, which included Touch the Dark, Claimed by Shadow, Embrace the Night, Curse the Dawn, and Hunt the Moon. The series starts out OK, but if you stick with it you'll find that the fourth and fifth books really take off.

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan was really good. Werewolves have been hunted to near extinction. Jake is the last of his kind and he's ready to die. After living a few hundred years he finds he doesn't have a purpose to his life, until something changes his mind. I found the vampire subplot a bit extraneous, but I really liked this character driven novel. Very well written.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater is the last of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. It nicely wraps up the story of Sam and Grace, but I found myself more interested in the dynamics between Isabel and Cole. On a side note, Maggie came to my local bookstore and I got her autograph in my book! She was really nice and had a lot of funny stories to tell. It was great meeting her.

The last Harry Potter movie (which was FANTASTIC) got me in a mood to re-read the books, but I'm trying to hold off until they're released as ebooks in October on So to tide me over I re-read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander, Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. All are wonderful and clever books. If you're a fan of the series and haven't read these yet, you'll really enjoy them.

I also read a few Kindle freebies which all turned out to be duds. I'll list them here so you know not to waste your money on them: No Rest for the Wicked by Rebecca Knight, Embrace the Night by Karen Chance; and Just One Taste and Another Sip by CJ Ellison.

Friday, July 1, 2011

June Reading

I'll start with my favorite book of June: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews, the latest in the Kate Daniels series. I love this series and I love this book. Andrews weaves a compelling story in an alternate reality. I absolutely recommend this whole series to everyone. I also read the two Curran POV releases. Interesting supplemental material to the series, but not must-reads.

I re-read Ilona Andrews' On the Edge, the first in The Edge series for my book club. Another home run for Andrews. There's our normal non-magic world called The Broken; there's a parallel magic world called The Weird; in between those two worlds is a thin band called The Edge that has it's own magic, laws and rules. Rose works for minimum wage in The Broken to keep food on the table for her two young brothers when a couple mysterious men show up in life as several evil predatory monsters. Great writing and great storytelling. I definitely recommend this series, too.

Hit List, the latest Anita Blake novel by Laurell K. Hamilton, was a pleasant surprise. I'm not a fan of Anita or LKH, but I do like the characters Edward and Olaf and, thankfully, these were the featured characters. Edward is a sociopath with two distinct personalities, one he shows the rest of the world (his Ted Forrester persona) and one only a select few know about (Edward, the killing machine). Olaf has two personas as well, but we mostly see him in his full psychopath mode with his fixation on Anita. I wish LKH would drop the rest of the nonsensical characters from this world and focus on Edward and Olaf. If you've toughed this series out so far, you may as well read this one, too.

I tried to get into A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. It won a Pulitzer and it's very well written, but I disliked it. There was no real plot and the entire book was depressing. I'm glad I tried it, though. Makes me appreciate my Urban Fantasy books with their HEAs.

Eternal Hearts by Jennifer Turner, the follow up to Eternal Seduction, was disappointing. With the first book she had her own unique twist on the vampire genre. This second outing was good, but it was just like every other vampire book out there. I'm hoping in future books we get back to the more unique aspects of her world.

Hounded by Kevin Hearne was a fun book. Atticus O'Sullivan is a Druid who's thousands of years old living in our modern times. There's lots of humor to go along with the action. I definitely recommend this one.

I re-read Twice as Hot by Gena Showalter for my book club. It was just as fun this second time around. It's slightly on the silly side, but it has to be because it's a world where people gain super powers. Lots of action and humor. If you like Urban Fantasy, this series is fun.

I plowed through a bunch of Kindle freebies that I've been collecting for a few years. I figured it was time to blast through some of them. The best was Operation Sheba by Misty Evans. It's a spy thriller involving double crossing CIA agents. Kept me on the edge of my seat the whole book. I got it for free, but I'd even recommend that you buy it. It makes for great summer reading.

I can't say the same for the rest of the freebies I read. As I look back at my reading list I can't even remember what some of these were about. They were good enough to read because they were free, but I wouldn't recommend spending money on any of these: Reunion by FE Heaton, The Abandoned by Amanda Stevens, Samson's Lovely Mortal by Tina Folsom, Hunter's Choice by Shiloh Walker, Out of the Box by Kallysten, Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher, Enchanting the Lady by Katherine Kennedy, The Marquis by Denise Patrick, Tyger Tyger Burning Bryght by Cathryn Cade, Duality by Renee Wildes, and Claimed by KR Smith.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Super 8 and Bad Teacher

Super 8 was a fun summer action/adventure movie. Set in 1980 before any kind of modern technology, it's about a group of kids filming their own movie who stumble on a big government secret. It's very Spielberg-y. The deputy was exactly like Brody in Jaws, the messy house was straight out of Close Encounter of the Third Kind, and the adventure the kids go on is just like ET. But it still all works. If you don't catch it in the theater then definitely put it in your rental queue.

Bad Teacher was funnier than I thought it would be. Cameron Diaz plays a teacher who shows movies in class until she finds out that the teacher with the highest state test score at the end of the year gets a bonus, which she plans to use for a boob job. Not a must-see movie, but it had me laughing out loud at a few scenes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May Book Reviews

I started out May by rereading Playing with Fire by Gena Showalter, the first her Tales of an Extraordinary Girl series. It's a fun book about a girl who suddenly acquires super powers and can control the weather. It sounds hokey, but there's a lot of humor and sarcasm which mixes nicely with the plot. I definitely recommend this series to anyone who reads Urban Fantasy. I'll be reading the next book in this series in June.

Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill, the latest in the Chicagoland Vampire series, really knocked me for a loop. The writing and story were great, as usual. But there was a surprise at the end of the book that I never saw coming. I'm concerned with what Neill plans to do with this new plot development in future books. I hope they don't turn into anything hokey because this is one of the best written Urban Fantasy series.

Dead Reckoning, the latest in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, was disappointing, just like the last few books in this series. Harris should have wrapped up this series with the fairy wars. Instead, her contract got extended due to HBO picking this up but she's clearly out of things to write about. In this book, the first five chapters are about Sookie cleaning out her attic. Then some characters do things they wouldn't normally do. Then Harris comes up with the worst deus ex machina ever that's going to explode in the last book of the series. If you're not a die-hard fan of the series, skip it.

I picked up The Heat, The Strip, and The Spell which comprise the Big Bad Wolf series so far by Heather Killough-Walden. I downloaded them for $1 each on my Kindle. If they're still $1 and you like Urban Fantasy books about shifters, definitely download them.

I read a few short story freebies: Thrill of the Hunt by Nathalie Grey, Snaring the Huntress by Sylvia Day, and A Knight to Remember by Karin Tabke. They were all just OK. I'd skip them all.

I tried to fit in a reread of the whole Kate Daniels series at the end of the month before the next book came out, but I only managed to fit in Magic Bites, Magic Burns, and Magic Strikes. This one of my most favorite series. Well written, lots of humor, and a tough and sassy heroine. What's not to love?! I absolutely recommend this series!

Friday, April 29, 2011

April Reviews

Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione is the the first in her Lords of Deliverance series about the four horsemen of the apocalypse (or, to be more exact, three horsemen and one horsewoman). This one focuses on War/Ares and his attempts to keep his seal from breaking to prevent Armageddon. Good writing and an action-packed story kept me on the edge of my seat through the whole book. This series is a spin-off from her Demonica series. You don't have to read Demonica first, but there are character crossovers from that series and a plot spoiler in this one for the end of the Demonica series. I definitely recommend both series to fans of the urban fantasy genre.

City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments YA series, doesn't disappoint. Fan's of the first three books will definitely enjoy this one. Simon takes more of a lead role in this one, but Clary, Jace, Isabelle and the rest are all featured. Readers of young adult literature will want to check out this series.

Unbreakable by Sydney Sommers was a surprise hit with me. I downloaded it several months ago as a Kindle freebie and decided to pick it up only to reduce my freebie TBR pile. Usually these freebies end up being somewhat of a disappointment, but this one was a fun, action-packed read.

I also read the Aisling Grey series by Katie MacAlister. Aisling discovers that she's a guardian in charge of protecting the world from demons. She ends up falling in love with a dragon (in human form, of course) and gets dragged into dragon sept and other underworld politics. It's a fun, funny, entertaining four book series. If you're looking for lighter urban fantasy, you may want to try these.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Round-Up

I've seen several movies and read many books since my last post. I'll just give a quick one line review and a rating for each.

River Marked by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson series)
I missed the pack in this one, but it was a nice departure from the usual story line.

White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison (The Hollows series)
Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison (The Hollows series)
These books are just as good the second time around!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
A decent dystopian YA sci-fi novel, but I'd recommend The Hunger Games over this.

The Night Season by Chelsea Cain (Archie/Gretchen series)
Decent murder mystery, but Gretchen is very noticeably absent.

Battle of the Network Zombies by Mark Henry
Too much humor and not enough story.

Iron Crowned by Richelle Meade (Dark Swan series)
A great installment to the series. I can't wait to see how it all ends!

One of Our Thursday's is Missing by Jasper Fforde (Thursday Next series)
Another brilliant book by one of my favorite authors.

A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce series)
I will never grow tired of seeing the world through Flavia's eyes!

The Passion by Donna Boyd
Well written, but it ends up being a tragedy and I really need my HEA.

The Gift of Fury by Richard Jackson
It kept me reading even though I wasn't in the mood for it, which probably means it's better than how I rated it.

Primal Calling by Jillian Burns
Boring and predictable.

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Chronicles of Nick series)
Great story with lots of humor - I might end up liking this YA spin-off better than the main Dark Hunter series.

The Sacrifice by Samantha Sommersby
Not as bad as I was expecting it to be since it was a Kindle freebie.

Fang Me by Parker Blue (Demon Underground series)
I'm enjoying this YA series, but I don't think Ms. Blue is planning to write many more of these books.

Lover Unleashed by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood series)
Another home run for Ward. I don't think she's capable of striking out.

The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake series)
Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake series)
Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake series)
Flirt by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake series)
Bullet by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake series)
I'm glad to be all caught up with this series. It was a challenge to keep reading.

Atomic Lobster by Tim Dorsey
Another book that was too jokey and light on plot.

Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampire series)
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampire series)
Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampire series)
It was great re-reading these. Just as good the second time around.

Hannah starring Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana
Great acting, great music, great scenery.

Source Code starring Jake Gyllenhall and Vera Farmiga
A decent movie for your rental queue.

Limitless starring Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro
Good movie. Definitely watch it.

A decent attempt for a scary movie, though several key scenes were pretty hokey.

Somewhat boring and predictable, though not the worst movie I've ever seen.

Nurse Jackie
I'm glad this one started up again. I love all the goofy people who work in the hospital.

Gods of the Arena (Spartacus prequel)
It's not going to win any awards, but it's a fun show with lots skin and blood.

The Borgias
This should be a lot more interesting than it is.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Wrap-Up

Pale Demon, the latest in Kim Harrison's Hollows series, was incredible! Lots of good plot stuff happens, lots of great character development happens, and I'm left practically dying for the next installment. It's great that Harrison is still on the top of her game with this series and isn't painfully dragging it out like so many other authors. I definitely recommend this whole series.

This Side of the Grave, the latest in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, is unfortunately one of the books that is dragging out a series without too much substance. I had a feeling this was going to happen because Frost doesn't have a lot of "pieces" in play in the overall plot to successfully extend this series. This book was OK, but I wouldn't recommend it. I would recommend the first three books in this series, though.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness was a pleasant surprise. This debut novel reads more like a regular novel than an urban fantasy one, which may or may not work for you depending on your reading style preferences. I definitely recommend it and I'm looking forward to more books by her.

Sapphique, the follow up to Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, was just as good as its predecessor. These are both just straight up well written science fiction. Dreams of a Dark Warrior, the latest in the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole, was just OK. I thought the first half dragged.

I went to see Unknown starring Liam Neeson. It had a good twist, but the rest of the plot of painfully stupid. I don't recommend it. I watched The Maltese Falcon and was disappointed. It's all just people sitting around talking about what happened instead of actually showing what happened. Very boring. But I also caught Goodfellas, and that movie never gets old!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Last Dragonslayer, The Rite, and Other Reviews

Once again, Jasper Fforde's writing has thrilled me to pieces with The Last Dragonslayer. It's marketed to young adults, but is full of his usual intelligent wit so it's enjoyable for adults as well. Set in an alternate universe where magic is fading, 15 year-old Jennifer Strange discovers that she's the last dragonslayer and that she must slay the last dragon. Of course, there's also lots of social commentary as with all his books. Definitely a must-read!!

I re-read The Outlaw Demon Wails, the sixth book in Kim Harrison's The Hollows series. Lots of background and secrets are revealed in this installment. Jenks continues to be my favorite character in the whole series - who wouldn't love a smart-mouthed 4-inch tall pixie who's always cursing Tinkerbell?! Fans of the urban fantasy genre will enjoy this series.

I also read Archangel's Consort, the latest in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, which was a bit of a let-down; Eternity Embraced, a short story filling out Larissa Ione's Demonica series, which was as good as the rest of the series; and I read several books in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, which were all total crap. Don't read anything by LK Hamilton!

The only new movie I've seen since my last post is The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins. Of course, he's incredible to watch in anything he does but this movie was boring in its complete predictability. It offered nothing new that you haven't already seen before. Disappointing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

January - Catching Up

Yikes! I've been bad about keeping up with my blog. I took a wonderful trip to DC last weekend to visit friends. It was so good to see them, but it makes me miss them all the more now that I'm back home. My favorite site was the Library of Congress. It's the most beautiful building in America, both inside and out. I got see the Gutenberg bible and Thomas Jefferson's library - both are quite incredible. Being the book nerd that I am I bought all of my souvenirs here. Such a great trip! This is a picture of me in the Library of Congress with my new library card.

I have to start my book reviews with Shadowfever, the last book in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Talk about ending the series with a bang! It was a complete roller coaster ride full of action and jaw-dropping reveals. The previous books in the series are good, but this one is great. No fan of the series will walk away feeling unsatisfied, even if we still don't know what Barrons is.

I re-read the Mercedes Thompson series and the Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs. I love the Mercy series! Mercy is a 'walker' who shifts into a coyote at will. She lives in mobile home on the plot of land behind the alpha of the local werewolf pack. She works as a VW auto mechanic in the garage she bought from Siebold Adelbertsmiter, a metalworking Fae. One of her clients and friends is a vampire who owns a bus painted like the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo. Great writing and fun stories. I'm looking forward to the next Mercy release in March.

I also re-read For A Few Demons More from the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I loved it as much this second time around. I tried Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, but dumped it because I just couldn't get into it. Then I picked up the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter, a decent urban fantasy series about a skinwalker who hunts vampires. I'll be finishing up the last book in this series tonight.

I caught a few older movies on Netflix this weekend. I loved Fanboys, a movie about the ultimate Star Wars fans. Very funny if you're into sci-fi, otherwise I don't think you'd like it. I also watched Unthinkable starring Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Sheen and Carrie-Ann Moss. The casting and the acting was good, but the story lacked a little something extra so I didn't like it as much as I hoped I would.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The King's Speech, Black Swan, and other reviews

I absolutely loved The King's Speech! It stars Colin Firth as Prince Albert, who stutters. His father (the king) dies, then his older brother abdicates the throne to Albert (George VI), all this happening while Hitler is continuing to take over Europe. Albert finds help from a very unorthodox speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. With his help, Albert is able to deliver the radio speech to the nation on the eve of England's involvement in WWII. It's a wonderful movie full of humor and heart. I'm sure Firth and Rush will be getting Oscar nominations for their performances. Definitely go see this movie.

The Black Swan was just slightly too weird for me. Natalie Portman's performance as a driven ballet dancer will surely win her an Oscar nomination, but the character she played was unlikeable and I became more annoyed with her as the movie went on. That combined with the many suddenly bloody scenes had me anxious for the movie to end. It's well done, but I don't recommend it unless you want to see a movie that's a little too 'out there.'

I read Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex, the latest in Eoin Colfer's series. It was good, but not as good as its predecessors. Definitely worth reading though if you're into YA literature. I also read Hellforged by Nancy Holzner which rocked my world. Shifters, demons, zombies galore and a kick ass chick kicking all their asses - what more could you ask for? I just finished a re-read of For A Few Demons More, the fifth book in Kim Harrison's The Hollows series. Just as great the second time around. Great wedding scene, heartbreaking ending.

I played a few Nintendo games over the holidays. I love Professor Layton and the Curious Village and Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. Both are puzzle games wrapped in fun little stories. Great series for the DS. I also played Epic Mickey on the Wii. It's sort of like a Mario game but not as fun for some reason.

Friday, December 24, 2010

True Grit, Tron, The Fighter, and Other Movie Reviews

True Grit was awesome! The gritty tale of a girl seeking justice for the man who killed her father is a pretty main stream movie for the Cohen brothers. I was impressed that the young girl who stars in the movie was not overshadowed by Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. I definitely recommend it. It's one of my top five favorite movies of the year.

The Fighter was a good movie, but the most impressive part was Christian Bale. He'll definitely get an Oscar nomination for his role. While this is the story of a boxer, there wasn't an over-abundance of fight scenes. It's a movie about a dysfunctional family and how they cope with the up and coming success of one of their own.

Tron pretty much stunk. Visually it was great and the acting was fine. But the plot was boring and predictable, and the dialogue was truly awful! The only redeeming part of the movie was Michael Sheen as Zeus. Unfortunately the movie was called Tron, not Zeus, so we didn't get to see much of his character. If I was a 12 year old boy and this was my first sci-fi movie I would have liked it, but I'm not and I expect more when I see a movie.

I also rented a few movies. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work was good. It was a reminder to me that Joan Rivers is still as sassy and hilarious as she ever was. Notorious, the story of Biggie Smalls, was just ok. It was too long and, therefore, a little boring. Gone Baby Gone is probably the best most forgettable movie ever made. I had seen this one before and it was interesting, but something about it makes you forget it as soon as it's over.

Bookwise, I'm still plugging my way through the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Narcissus in Chains was excessively long and full of passages that I could easily skim read. I think this book marks the turning point for the series and the books are going to start going downhill from here. I'm still determined to make it through them all, though.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last Sacrifice, The Tourist & Real Vampires Have More to Love

I read Last Sacrifice, the conclusion to the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, in a day. It was incredible. I appreciate that she had an overall story arc in mind for the series, which included a dynamic ending. I was on the edge of my seat the entire story with action-packed excitement from start to finish. Even though it's technically classified as YA, I definitely recommend this series to any fan of the urban fantasy genre.

And speaking of Last Sacrifice...Richelle Mead is currently on a book tour and she made a stop in Michigan! She did a reading, answered some questions, and signed books (note the picture related to this post). She was very down to earth and seemed to enjoy meeting all her fans. Very cool.

What wasn't cool was the latest book in the Glory St. Clair series by Gerry Bartlett, Real Vampires Have More to Love. It was the same story with the same people doing the same things they've already done. As opposed to Vampire Academy which had a specific structure to the series, it's clear that Bartlett is just writing books with nothing specific in mind. Very lazy writing. I'm disappointed in this one.

I also went to see The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. The critics are beating it up pretty hard. I didn't think it was that bad. Despite being predictable, it was an entertaining spy film. It's not a must-see movie, but you should at least try to catch it when it come to cable.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Faster, The Hurt Locker, & Fistful of Charms

Faster, starring Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) and Billy Bob Thornton, was a fun action movie romp. I love watching Johnson take down the bad guys to correct injustice! Johnson is released from prison for being the driver in a bank robbery, and immediately starts gunning down the people involved in his brother's murder. Thornton plays a crooked cop mere days away from retirement who gets assigned to this case. Also mixed up in the plot is a psychopathic killer who's hired to take down Johnson before he can finish killing everyone on his list. It's definitely not a must-see movie, but if you like action flicks then put this one on your list.

I finally got around to renting The Hurt Locker. I hated it. One of my biggest pet peeves is when there is NO PLOT! It's so aggravating. I thought I was going to get a small semblance of a plot when I Ralph Fiennes walked on screen, but he was killed about five minutes after his grand entrance. Eventually I started pushing buttons on the remote to my new blu-ray player to find out how much time was left in this torturous piece of crap, but I hit a wrong button and stopped the disc completely. When I went back to the disc it didn't save my spot so I just ejected the disc. What's the point? There was no plot so it's not like I missed some big ending where questions were answered and story lines wrapped up. Faster was much more entertaining.

I just finished my re-read of A Fistful of Charms, the fourth book in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. This is such a great series! I'm having a lot of fun re-reading it. In this book, Rachel starts to use demon magic (black magic) but for good reasons. She continuously struggles with her choices but ultimately she is who she is, and that's a person who would do anything in her power to help her friends. The price of invoking demon magic is big splat of black smut on her aura to make up for the imbalance she created in the universe. Either before or after she dies, she's has to work to remove the smut before she can go to heaven. The usual characters are afoot in the story: Ivy is a mess, Jenks is human-sized, and Nick is a turd. If you like the urban fantasy genre, definitely pick up The Hollows series.
I also read A Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts. It's a series of three novellas that feature vampires at Christmastime. It wasn't bad for a Kindle freebie, but it's not a must-read either. I just didn't want this one to sit around too long like my other Kindle freebies because of the Christmas theme. If it's still free and you like vampire books then download it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Next 3 Days, Blade Runner, Anita Blake 1-9

I just got Netflix and the first movie I decided to stream on demand was Blade Runner, a futuristic movie that explores what means to be human. What a great movie! It really stands the test of time. My only complaint is that Sean Young's acting was bad, but it was offset by the awesomeness of Rutger Hauer who will forever be my favorite bad guy.

The Next Three Days, starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks, was just ok. My mom wanted to go to a movie and it was either this one or Love and Other Drugs, and I'd rather stab my eyes out than see that stupid looking piece of crap. Three Days was predictable so the pace didn't really need to be as slow as it was. You can wait for this one to come out on cable.

I've been working my way through the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series by Laurell K. Hamilton and just finished the ninth book out of 19. I knew that they weren't going to knock my socks off. The first eight were ok. The ninth one, Obsidian Butterfly, was pretty good, though. The main point against them is that LKH started writing this series in the early 90s. I think if I had started this series back then I would have loved them, but they don't quite stand the test of time. I'm still planning to continue with the series. Ten more to go to catch up, and #20 coming out in the summer. I was hoping to have this series finished by the end of the year but I don't think that's going to happen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deathly Hallows and MANY other reviews

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 was EXCELLENT! Very good movie making and story telling. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire movie. I can't wait for the last installment to come out next summer. You definitely need to see this one. I'm going again this weekend, and it probably won't be the last time I see it.

Fair Game starring Naomi Campbell and Sean Penn was another excellent movie. It's a dramatization of the true story of the undercover CIA agent that got outed by the a-holes in the Bush administration. My only warning is that you will be so angry by the time the movie is over, but it's very well done.

Unstoppable starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine was a fun action movie, but you can wait for DVD.

The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead was SO FREAKING AWESOME!! This is one of my most favorite book series ever! I highly recommend them. The last book in the series comes out on December 7th. I'm going to a book signing on December 12th, so I'm pretty geeked to meet her.

Full Dark, No Stars is typical Stephen King. It's the train wreck you can't look away from because his writing is so good. I always recommend Stephen King.

Unfortunately I've also read a few stinkers: Immortal by Allison Cassatta which I couldn't even finish, Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox which I had to skim read just to finish, and Immortal Beloved by James Simon which had a good story but was full of typos.

Currently, I'm working my way through the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I'm on the seventh book in the series. So far they're all ok but nothing special. I wouldn't recommend them, but I'm still going to continue the series.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Due Date, Good, Alfie & Every Which Way But Dead

Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galafianakis, was funny but not as funny as The Hangover. A funny, outrageous plot pits Downey's uptight character against Galafianakis' flaky idiot. It's definitely worth seeing.

Good stars Viggo Mortensen as a regular German guy who lets himself get swept up in the Nazi-ism in the 1930s. He is a "good" guy who doesn't take action to oppose Nazi forces and lets his Jewish friend get taken away to a concentration camp. It's a good movie that explores character weakness instead of strength in the face of Nazi forces. Definitely worth renting.

Alfie, starring Jude Law, is incredibly boring. Don't waste your time on this.

Every Which Way But Dead, the third book Kim Harrison's Hollows series, is fabulous! It was fun re-reading it to soak in all the details. I love watching Rachel take on the world even though she's kind of a mess. Great scenes between her and Al, and her and Trent. I definitely recommend this urban fantasy series.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Conviction, and Other Reviews

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest kicked ass! I thought this third movie held its own with the first two and was a fantastic way to wrap up the series. Noomi Rapace, once again, turned in a stellar performance as Lisbeth Salander. My favorite scene was watching her walk toward the courtroom in her full hard-core goth gear (see picture on the left). If you can tolerate subtitles, I highly recommend watching all of these movies.

Conviction stars Hillary Swank as the sister of a man convicted of murder, played by Sam Rockwell. The movie was very well done, but the story itself is pretty incredible: not only what the woman did to free her brother, but all the legal crap that kept setting them back. This is definitely worth watching.

Two movies that aren't worth watching are Paranormal Activity and The Fourth Kind. Both were slow, boring, and didn't deliver. Don't even bother putting these in your rental queue.

I've been a little slow in my reading lately. Wolf Tracks by Vivian Arend, the forth installment in the Granite Lake Wolves series, was good. I also read Scat by Carl Hiaasen, which was an excellent book aimed at the 9-12 age bracket. I appreciate immensely that he didn't dumb-down his writing and that he kept the story entertaining through humor and several well-developed subplots. This is a great book for a young reader.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mockingjay, Crescendo, Clockwork Angel, and More

Once again I let all my reviews pile up, so these will be short and sweet. Let's start with Mockingjay which totally rocked my world! The third and final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins was an intense and exciting exploration of the uprising of an oppressed people. Katniss was such a wonderfully flawed and damaged protagonist who felt very real to me. I think everybody over the age of twelve should read these books.

Crescendo, the follow-up to Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, was almost as good as the first book. It was an action-packed mystery that kept my rapt attention. My only complaint is the cliffhanger ending to set up the next book. Cliffhangers are starting to get a little too gimmicky for me. If your writing is good then people will read your next book, even without a cliffhanger.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is the first book in her Infernal Devices series, which is a prequel to the Mortal Instruments series. I liked it, but not as much as the Mortal Instruments books. I think the main reason is that some big issues were brought up at the end of the book to lure readers into the next book when it comes out. *sigh*

I've read some Kindle freebies recently. Sin's Daughter by Eve Silver was a decent short story. The Pearl at the Gate by Anya Delvay was an OK short story. The Ghost Shrink by Vivi Andrews was funny and entertaining! An Unwanted Hunger by Ciana Stone was one of the worst books I've read in awhile.

I'm currently working my way through the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. So far I've read the first four books, which are all OK but not great. I try to keep in mind that she started the series in the early 90s and helped establish the Urban Fantasy genre. It helps that I've been reading other books between these. Four down, eleven to go!
And last but not least, I went to see Hereafter starring Matt Damon and directed by Clint Eastwood. A very good but slow-paced movie about a few people struggling to come to terms how the afterlife has impacted them. Very well done. Definitely worth seeing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crave, Catching Fire, RED, and other reviews

Crave, the second installment of J.R. Ward's Fallen Angels series was pretty good. The overall plot of the series is that fallen angel Jim Heron has seven souls to save, one for each deadly sin. Each book in the series focuses on one of those souls. This book was well written and I enjoyed it, but I had already figured out the plot twist that occurred toward the end of the book as well as the ending (I hate when I already know what's going to happen). But, like I said, it was good and I recommend them to readers in the Urban Fantasy genre.

Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, had just as captivated as the first book. In this installment, Katniss returns home to district 12 after surviving the brutal Hunger Games. She learns that many districts are primed for a revolt and that she is the symbol and catalyst they use. This is a very well written young adult series. I couldn't put it down. I definitely recommend these.

It was wonderful to re-read The Good, The Bad and The Undead, the second book in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I love absorbing all the details this second time around. It's fun to watch the various characters develop in the series. My favorites are Algaliarept the demon and Trent the...well I won't spoil that for you. ;) Harrison is great at writing complex and fascinating characters. Ivy, vampire and coworker to our heroine Rachel, is really struggling in this book and it was to watch that all play out. As usual, Jenks the pixie gets all the best lines. “Oh my God Rachel it’s polyester. I’m wearing polyester. I’m breaking out! I can’t wear polyester. Look. See? Welts. And it stinks. I can smell the oil. I’m wearing dead dinosaur. I can’t wear a dead animal. It’s barbaric, Rache.” *snicker, snort* I highly recommend this series.

I also read The Fury, the third book in The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. This whole series is poorly written and I struggled to get through this. I couldn't bring myself to read anymore in this series. I recommend you stay away from these books entirely. If you're interested in this at all, watch the TV show on the CW which is much better than these crappy books.

RED was a fun movie! John Malkovich, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman are all retired CIA agents labeled as Retired, Extremely Dangerous. Willis' character was set up to be murdered, and he unravels an unsavory plot that requires the help of his former agents. It was a lot of fun and it didn't take itself too seriously. If you're looking for something light but highly entertaining I definitely recommend watching this.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Social Network, Bayou Moon, and More

The Social Network blew me away. I can't believe how much I enjoyed this movie. The bulk of its success has to do with the writer, Aaron Sorkin, who excels at writing intense, fast-paced dialog. The story was presented well with cuts between depositions and the story of what happened. I found it fascinating that there really wasn't a good guy and a bad guy, or a right person and a wrong person. There's just what happened and how everyone felt about it. This movie will definitely get a few Oscar nods. I highly recommend it.

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews did not disappoint. It's the second book in her The Edge series, this one featuring the story of William whose character was kind of left hanging after the first book, On the Edge. It dragged a little in a few spots, but overall I like the crazy 'world' she created, and I always enjoy a smart, capable woman in the leading role. It's a great mix of action, adventure, romance and fun. If you like urban fantasy you'll like everything written by Ilona Andrews.

I finally picked up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know - it took me long enough! I didn't really want to read it, but I picked it up at four in the afternoon on Saturday and didn't put it down until I finished around 11. I just had to know what happened next! Set in a dystopian future, 24 teens are sent into an arena-type location where the winner is the last one left alive. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy. If you like young adult literature, you'll love this book.

I browsed through Exile by Diana Gabaldon in the bookstore. It's the graphic novel version of Outlander. I guess it was good for what it was. I just don't enjoy reading graphic novels. It has no flow since you look at the picture, read the text, then take another look at the picture before you move on to the next cel. I like to get lost in a story which is impossible in this format since you're always stopping and starting. This wasn't the first graphic novel for me and it won't be the last since this is one of the new waves of publishing, and several of my favorite authors have committed to making these. *sigh*

Last night I read Discovering Dani by NJ Walters, a Kindle freebie I picked up along the way. It was predictable and, therefore, somewhat boring. But it was short and I needed a book that would keep me occupied for one night, so I guess it served its purpose.

I recently rented It Might Get Loud, a documentary sort of about guitars. It features The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White sitting around talking a little and musically wanking on their guitars a lot. I got bored. Unless you're a guitar player yourself and a huge fan of all three of these guys I wouldn't recommend it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vampire Diaries, Extraordinary Girl, and Angels' Pawn reviews

I decided to pick up the Vampire Diaries books by LJ Smith because I've started watching the TV show. If you were wondering, the TV show is better than the books. They were written back in the early 90s when young adult literature was dumbed down. I've only read the first two so far, The Awakening and The Struggle. I already have the next two so I'll read those soon, but I definitely recommend the show and suggest you skip the books altogether. {Please note the photo of Ian Somerhalder; he's the reason I watch the show. *wink*}

I also recently read the Extraordinary Girl series by Gena Showalter, which includes Playing with Fire and Twice as Hot. Belle is an ordinary girl with a sassy mouth who develops super powers of controlling fire, water, wind and earth. This series is a fun and funny way to explore what would happen if a normal people developed super powers. I definitely recommend these.

Somehow Angels' Pawn slipped through the cracks when I was reading Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series. It's a novella set in the "world" but doesn't involve the main characters of the series. It's good, and I recommend it if you've read the other books in the series.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pat Benatar Rocks!

I just read Pat Benatar's autobiography Between a Heart and a Rock Place and I love her even more now than I did when I was eight (if that's even possible). I played my Crimes of Passion tape over and over and over until it literally wore out. I found it fascinating to read how she succeeded in a male dominated industry that wouldn't listen to her. Instead they exploited her as much as they could, and many of the people around her who were supposed to be looking out for best interests weren't. But she rocked it out anyway and bulldozed a path for women in the recording industry.

The best part about this book is that a dear friend of mine bought it for me when Pat Benatar was in her town signing I have autographed copy!!! SQUEE!!! This is definitely one of the coolest things I own. :)

Blameless by Gail Carriger, the latest in her Parasol Protectorate series, was good but not as good as the first two books. The humor was there but the story lacked the mystery that kept me interested in the first two books. It was obvious where this one was going, even though it was a fun ride to get there.

Sin Undone by Larissa Ione is the fifth and last book in her Demonica series. It did a good job wrapping up various story lines, as well as setting up the spin-off series about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I like Ione's writing so I'm looking forward to the new series coming out next year.

I rented a couple movies recently. Bronson starring Tom Hardy is a British film about the man considered to be the most dangerous prisoner in Britain. It was well made and done slightly over the top, reminiscent of Clockwork Orange but with better focus. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a heavier movie done in a slightly artsier way.

I also rented A Threevening with Kevin Smith which was slightly disappointing. It wasn't nearly as funny as the first two but was still entertaining. Toward the beginning Kevin went off on an excessively long story about how he ended up with all his dogs that had me bored stiff. After that I never really got into the rest of his musings. But I'd still recommend this to any fan of his.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review for Mortal Instruments, No Mercy, and more

I finally got around to reading the three books out so far in the young adult Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, which includes City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass. I'm glad I forced these into my reading line up because they were a lot of fun. It's an alternate reality of vampires, werewolves, and nephilim. It's your typical epic saga format where the good have to unite against the evil, but it kept me captivated throughout. I definitely recommend these to fans of YA UF books.

I also read No Mercy, the latest book in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. It was good, but I was slightly disappointed in the main plot because there wasn't really anything original about it. Also, she didn't do too much with the primary subplot involving Nick. She didn't reveal anything new about him, nor did she put him in an interesting situation. Overall, I liked this book but it didn't advance the series in any way which left me wanting more.

I re-read Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison, the first book in her Hollows series, for my book club on Shelfari. It was great to be able to soak in more details this second time around! I love that Rachel's life is a mess, but she stubbornly fights the good fight because it's the right thing to do (even though it may not be the best thing for her). It's one of my most favorite series and I highly recommend it everyone.

I also picked up I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, another young adult urban fantasy novel. A decade ago, an alien species sent nine children to Earth when their planet was destroyed by another evil race. The children are discovered on Earth and hunted by this evil race, but they can only be killed in the order in which they were numbered. When the novel opens the first three have been killed and number four is next on the hit list. It's a fast-paced entertaining read.

Regina in the Sun was a free Kindle download I picked up somewhere along the way and finally got around to reading. It was an OK vampire book, but I don't plan to read more in this series.

I've seen several movies recently, but Get Low is the only one I recommend. Starring Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Bill Murray, it's one of the year's best movies and sure to get a few Oscar nominations. This is one of the very few must-see movies out this year.

However, you can definitely skip The American with George Clooney (well made but slow and boring), The Other Guys with Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg (predictable and not funny), and The Last Exorcism (slow and not scary).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Big Mess o' Book Reviews

Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole, the latest in her Immortals After Dark series, didn't disappoint. It's the story of a demon-turned-vampire (vemon), Malkom, and his escape from captivity with the help of Carrow, a Valkyrie. Lots of action and adventure. I definitely recommend this series.

Amberville by Tim Davys was a freebie download from Kindle I picked up somewhere along the way. The characters are all stuffed animals - odd, but it's the reason I downloaded it in the first place. Eric Bear is tasked with discovering if there really is a deathlist and if a mobster dove is on the list. Eric indeed discovers the list but is heartbroken to see that his twin brother, Teddy, is on the deathlist as well. It's a very interesting story that delves into the nature of good and evil. I definitely recommend this one.

Mossy Creek is another Kindle freebie I collected somewhere. It's a series of short stories by various authors, with the common thread of all the stories being set in the small Southern fictional town of Mossy Creek. It's not bad, but I wouldn't recommend that anyone spend money to buy it.

A few other free Kindle downloads were The Wicked House of Rohan by Anne Stuart, Seducing Jane Porter by Dominique Adair, and Mistress by Mistake by Maggie Robinson. Of these three I only recommend the latter, which was surprisingly good because it actually had a plot and some character development. I don't know why some authors find these two concepts to be elusive.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Expendables and More

I loved The Expendables! It was a good old fashioned 80s action movie revamped for a new generation to enjoy. Was the plot good or believable? Who cares?!! There were a lot of explosions, guns, explosions, knives and explosions. Each of the major action stars got to show off their stuff in their own separate scenes. It was very cool that Ahhnold and Bruce Willis each made a brief appearance. My only complaint is that I would have liked more of the funny/cheesy lines that go hand-in-hand with this type of movie. There was one great one that had the whole audience chuckling, but I would have liked a few more sprinkled here and there. If you're a fan of action movies, you definitely have to see this one!

I really enjoyed reading The Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. I couldn't put it down. Even the beginning where all the different characters who have seemingly unrelated stories was great reading. It's set during WWII just before the Allies' invasion of Normandy. It explores the possibility of what would have happened if a Germany spy found out about the deception leading up to the planned attack. It's quite the page turner. I definitely recommend it.

I also finished reading the Wild Wulfs of London series by Ronda Thompson. It was a pretty decent trilogy. The thing I liked most about it is that they were the more traditional werewolves who were at the mercy of the phases of the moon. Each of the Wulfs had to figure out how to break the curse that's plagued their family for generations. I recommend these to fans of the PNR/UF genre.