Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress #6)

How do you send a killer to the grave when he's already dead?

One Grave at a Time, by Jeaniene Frost, is the sixth novel in the Night Huntress series. From the back cover:

Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans' voodoo queen just keeps on giving-leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.

Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he takes physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity---forever. But one wrong step and they'll be digging hteir own graves.
One Grave at a Time is Frost' best masterpiece in the series. When I thought this series was getting dull, Frost picked up the pace with the introduction of the hardest foe to defeat: a spirit who is already dead but torments innocent mortals every year. Cat and Bones are determined to finish this case, but they can't use the usual weapons (silver and stakes). They must rely on wit, strategy, and the assistance of a medium to defeat this terrifying menace. I loved reading every bit of the plot, its twists and surprises. This was a refreshing change that got me rooting for Cat and Bones again.

Sadly, I am not looking forward to the last book in the series. What makes the Night Huntress series so fun to read are the characters (and their idiosyncrasies), their pasts, and chemistry together. Night Huntress is one of the best adult vampire series out there if you desire mystery, humor, and action in the mix. Nevertheless, this novel increased my interest in the series again and I can't wait to see what Frost has in sore for her loyal fans.

Stay tuned for the last novel in the Night Huntress series, Up from the Grave.
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Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: Attack on Titan ~Shingeki no Kyojin~ (2013)

Attack on Titan ~Shingeki no Kyojin~ (2013) is a Japanese fantasy anime that takes place in medieval Europe. It contains 26 episodes + one special episode. The animated series is based on the popular manga by the same tile illustrated and written by Hajime Isayama.

Set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by enormous walls due to the Titans, gigantic humanoid creatures who devour humans seemingly without reason. The story centers around Eren Jaeger and his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman, whose lives are changed forever after the appearance of a colossal titan brings about the destruction of their home and the death of their mother. Vowing revenge and to reclaim the world from the Titans, Eren and Mikasa join the Recon Corps, an elite group of soldiers who fight Titans outside the walls.

This is a story about mankind's survival and its refusal to die out, even against colossal odds against its unfathomable foe -- Titans (man-eating giants). The last of humanity live within the safety of the 3 walls, protected from the horrors of the outside world - the Titans. Horrendous monsters with an appetite for human flesh, the walls have held them at bay for 100 years and little is expected to change. But change comes in a big way and the walls are no longer enough to protect humanity. Eren, Armin, and Mikasa wittiness terrible horrors on that day and vow to join the Survey Corp (literally the front-line soldiers) and but an end to the Titan menace once and for all...

Attack on Titan was so epic that it was literally the best anime that came out in 2013. In case you're wondering why I have been writing fewer anime reviews lately, the reason is because Japan has not produced ground-breaking quality anime for adults in a long time. Therefore, this show's premiere was highly anticipated because it represented a type of work that fans have desired since Claymore. It brilliantly mixes elements of post-apocalyptic, medieval fantasy, and revenge, forming your classic 'hero versus monster' story. The voice acting is very well done, and I cannot say enough good things about the soundtrack (the music captures the emotions and scenery of the story's medieval background). Moreover, I am grateful that they had the audacity to put the series on hiatus while the manga continues, rather than giving us endless episodes of filler, that nobody really wants to see. I hope that a sequel continues two years from now at least. Fans would love for a sequel to continue the truth behind Armin's abilities and the secrets of the Titans.

I am not sure when the DVD will become available, but I provide a direct link to the Amazon page so that viewers can access it. I highly recommend the soundtrack! Opening Song #1: "Guren no Yumiya" (紅蓮の弓矢) by Linked Horizon (episodes 1-13) Opening Song #2: "Jiyuu no Tsubasa" (自由の翼) by Linked Horizon (episodes 14-26)
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Review: Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter #3)

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed...

Archangel's Consort is the third novel in the Guild Hunter series. Vampire hunter, Elena Deveraux, has become an immortal--an angel--whose glorious wings of night and day captivate the people of New York. She is also the lover (consort) of the lethally beautiful archangel, Raphael. As she has adjusted to her flying abilities, Elena awaits her archangel to return home to New York. However, their honeymoon is brief when an uncompromising new evil disturbs the peace.

A vampire has attacked an all-girls private school---the assault one of sheer, vicious madness--but it is only the first act. Rampant blood lust takes vampire after vampire, eventually affecting angels too. Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrollable rage. Inexplicable weather patterns darken the city skyline and wreak havoc in other regions. Although Raphael wants to deny it, the omens are unfortunately clear--an ancient and powerful immortal of the Cadre is rising from their slumber. And she wants nothing more than to reunite with her son and rule what is rightfully hers...

Singh has become an exceptional writer as she portrays a captivating new world order where angels rule, vampires serve, and humans obey. I enjoy reading the romance between Elena and Raphael. Elena, who is still adjusting to her new life as angel, has made tremendous progress to the point that she can fly in the sky without assistance. Yet, she learns how to bridge both her former human life (still working as a Guild Hunter and learning the truth behind her hunter lineage) and new immortal life (becoming friends with angels and recognizing her foes). Singh ends the novel on a climactic note (the awakening of Raphael's mother!) that urges readers to read the next novel. I look forward to reading more novels in the Guild Hunter series, which is among the best out there on angels and vampires.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunter).
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4)

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets--and human lives.

The Fiery Heart, by Richelle Mead, is the fourth novel in the Bloodlines series. Sydney Sage, an Alchemist who swore to their values and way of life, has a change of heart. She makes a decision that even shocks her--to unravel the truth about their organization. Awakening. Love. Rebellion. The perfect Sydney who follows orders is on her way to becoming a rogue.

However, her struggle isn't over. Her life becomes more complicated when her younger sister, Zoe, arrives in Palm Springs. While Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there are too secrets that she must protect. Working with Marcus, a former Alchemist-turned-rogue, has changed the way she views the Alchemists. Moreover, she has the talent and potential to become a powerful witch.

Still, Sydney must tread carefully as she harnesses her magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Her secret relationship with Adrian, a royal Moroi to make matters worse, cannot be revealed to anyone. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure--and re-education--looms larger than ever.

I loved the direction that this book is heading! Sydney, who is eighteen, has come a long way from the vampires-are-sinful period in her life. Before Bloodlines, Sydney could not fathom being in the same room with a Moroi (vampire) or dhampir (half-vampire guardians with superhuman strength). Not only has she become less rigid and goody two-shoes (it's the best term to describe her old behavior), she is using her Alchemist training to forge a new path in her life that could save others and challenge old traditions. Just as I admired the tenacity of Rose in Vampire Academy, I am loving Sydney's bravery and wit in Bloodlines. Although I thought it was awful how she was caught (by dropping her guard, which ironically she most prized about herself), I look forward to her adventures (and battle against the Alchemists) in the summer of 2014! In the meantime, I wish the luck for Adrian, who must decide whether to succumb to his weaknesses or become the man that can save Sydney.

Remember -- Vampire Academy hits the movie screens on February 14, 2014!! (How symbolic that it falls on Valentine's Day!)

Stay tuned for the fifth novel in the Bloodlines series, Silver Shadows: A Bloodlines Novel .
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: Turncoat (The Dresden Files #11)

Now Chicago's only professional wizard, Harry Dresden, is about to find that the one thing more dangerous than his mortal enemies may be his closest allies...

Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher, is the eleventh novel in the Dresden Files. For years, the White Council has held a death mark over Harry's head. In return, Harry stays out of major trouble when it comes to the Laws of Magic. He is still perceived as a black sheep among the wizards and as a sacrificial lamp by others. But none regard with him more suspicion and disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a huge grudge against warlocks who bend the rules.

When Morgan turns up at Harry's doorstep asking for help and protection, Harry isn't exactly eager to leap into action. Then, Harry learns that Morgan has been accused of treason against the White Council. The only punishment that fits that crime is death. Morgan's on the run, but he wants his name cleared. He needs someone who has a tendency to support the underdog--Harry. Now, Harry must uncover a traitor within the White Council, hide the cranky Morgan, and protect himself from further scrutiny. With no other choice, a single mistake can cost Harry his head.

The Warden Morgan has been accused of treason against the Wizards of the White Council-and there's only one final punishment for that crime. He's on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Like Harry Dresden. Now, Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less-than-agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake could cost Harry his head...

Turncoat is absolutely the best novel in the Dresden Files series so far. The story (action, suspense, and gore) becomes very intense in the second half of the novel. Harry pushes the limit when it reaches out to his allies to plan a complicated trap with little room for error. His techniques (and luck) continue to improve with experience. At the same time, his well-coordinated strategies do have consequences. I must warn you that the ending will make you both sad and sympathetic for Dresden because he will lose two people that had become a major influence in his life.

Stay tuned for the twelfth novel in the Dresden Files series, Changes (Dresden Files, Book 12) .
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Update: Final Book of All Souls Trilogy Will Be Released in July 2014

Finally the moment we have all been waiting for! The final book of the All Souls Trilogy, The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) will be released on July 14, 2014. Stay tuned for updates on the Deborah Harkness' official website.

From Amazon.com:

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches.

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant­ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they re­unite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its miss­ing pages takes on even more urgency. In the tril­ogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions and translations, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Feast of Fools, Lord of Missrule, and Carpe Corpus (Morganville Vampires #4-6)

Welcome to Morganville, Texas. Just south of normal. Don't stay out after dark.

Feast of Fools, Lord of Missrule, and Carpe Corpus, by Rachel Caine, make up the second trilogy of the Morganville Vampires. I labeled these specific three books as the "Mr. Bishop" saga.

Feast of Fools

In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans have learned to live in relative peace. Still, students like Claire Danvers know that after dark, studying can take a back-seat to staying alive. But the tenuous good neighbor policy is really turned on its head with the arrival of Mr. Bishop.....

Lord of Misrule

IN the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans have coexisted in (relatively) bloodless harmony...until the arrival of Bishop, a master vampire who threatens to put the evil undead and smash the fragile peace. But Bishop isn't the only threat....

Carpe Corpus

In the small college town of Morganville, vampires and humans lived in (relative) peace---until all the rules got rewritten, when evil vampire Bishop arrived, looking for the lost book of vampire secrets. He's kept a death grip on the town ever since. Now an underground resistance is brewing, and in order to contain it, Bishop must go to even greater lengths. He vows to obliterate the town and all its inhabitants--the living and the undead. Claire Danvers and her friends are the only ones who stand in his way. But even if they defeat Bishop, will the vampires be content to go back to the old rules after having had such a taste of power?

I enjoyed reading the "Mr. Bishop" trilogy in the Morganville Vampires series. In a matter of three stories, Claire became an incredibly brave young woman who not only saved the town but also her family and friends. Although she can be naïve and troublesome (she just turned seventeen), I believe her strong faith and determination helps her persevere through the most difficult (even life-threatening) situations. While she is not from Morganville, she has become entangled with the city's secrets and functions. As a result, I don't think she will be leaving Morganville anytime soon. Despite several sacrifices, humans have equal rights to vampires. In the post-Bishop Morganville, it is only a matter of time before trouble brews again.

Stay tuned for the seventh novel in the Morganville Vampire series, Fade Out (Morganville Vampires, Book 7)
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10)

In the novels of the Dresden Files follow the cases of Chicago's only professional wizard, Harry Dresden, and his never-ending battle against the evil that plagues his world....

Small Favor, by Jim Butcher, is the tenth novel in the Dresden Files series. Harry Dresden's life seems to have calmed down. The White Council's war with the Red Court has reached a stalemate and no one has tried to kill him for nearly a year. He also trains his apprentice, Molly Carpenter, in the art of wizardry. For once, his future looks bright and peaceful.

However, everything was going too well to last forever. The past comes back to haunt Harry Dresden when an old debt resurfaces by the Winter Court Fae Queen, Mab. He still owes her two favors, and it was time to pay one of them off. This one small favor turns out to become a nightmarish trap that pits Harry Dresden between an extremely dangerous foe (fallen angels) and an equally deadly ally (Summer Fae Court) that threatens to straight his loyalty to his friends and colleagues.

Butcher delivers another action-packed mystery that continues to test Harry Dresden's survival skills against all odds. As Harry battles dangerous situations that would frighten most action heroes, he uses his wit and improvisation to outsmart his intelligent enemies. His love life still stinks, but fallen angels and dark fae occupy his mind. Too often, his friends have come very close to the brink of death. My only concern is can Harry actually survive the impossible in his next investigation...

Stay tuned for the eleventh novel in the Dresden Files series, Turncoat
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5)

Danger waits on both sides of the grave.

This Side of the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost, is the fifth novel in the Night Huntress novel series. Half-vampire Cat (Catherine) Crawfield and her vampire husband, Bones, have fought for their lives as well as for their relationship. Just when they thought they've overcome the odds, rumors of her new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset the long-standing balance in the supernatural world. A powerful zealot, who is inciting tensions between ghouls and vampires, plans to destroy Cat at any means necessary.

When vampires begin to disappear under mysterious circumstances, Cat and Bones can no longer ignore the rumors. Barely surviving an unexpected ambush of ghouls, the couple are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"--the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of the supernatural war. With her ailing uncle near his final days, Cat must set aside her emotions and concentrate on the evil ahead if she wants to live six feet above the grave.

It has been over a year since I read a Night Huntress novel. Life gets in the way, and other supernatural series catch my eyes. I must say that Cat and Bones did not disappoint in this story! I thought Cat would have to sacrifice herself so that no more innocent lives would be lost. Her encounter with the ghoul queen is an experience she vows never to repeat. When she has another crisis on her mind (her dying uncle), it further clouds her judgment and confidence. Nevertheless, Cat stops an ancient supernatural war from erupting on U.S. soil. Plus, the ending reveals a new twist that will continue to engage readers for more action from Frost.

Stay tuned for the sixth novel in the Night Huntress series, One Grave at a Time.
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

New TV Show: Almost Human (FOX)

Watch the trailer for the upcoming new television science fiction series, Almost Human. It premiers November 4, 2013 at 8:00pm EST on FOX.

This action-packed police drama set 35 years in the future centers around the unlikely partnership between a part-machine cop and a part-human robot.An unlikely partnership is forged when a part-machine cop (Urban) is forced to pair with a part-human robot (Ealy) as they fight crime and investigate a deeper cover-up in a futuristic new world.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires #3)

Morganville is such a nice place to live...and die. If you don't mind that sort of thing.

Midnight Alley, by Rachel Caine, is the third novel in the Morganville Vampires series. Claire Danvers is a sixteen-year-old college student at Texas Prairie University who has learned more about the supernatural world than she would like to admit. In Texas, vampires run the college town of Morganville, and the locals apply for Protection as a means of safeguarding their status--and pulse--among vampires in the community. When Claire tries to protect her friends more troubles that continue to land on their doorstep, she pledges herself to Amelie, the powerful vampire in Morganville. In the contract, her body and soul now belongs to Amelie. This decision means her intention to transfer to another college after two years is no longer an option.

Suddenly, people are turning up dead, a stalker resurfaces from the past, and an ancient vampire extends a chilling invitation for private lessons on alchemy in his secluded laboratory. By Amelie's orders, Claire must attend these lessons so that she can become a good apprentice and lifesaver for the community. However, Claire will soon discover that this is no ordinary night school, and she must be extra cautious when unanticipated events forces things to go bump in the night. Can Claire truly protect her closest friends with Amelie's Protection, or has she sealed her fate for a long, terrifying journey in Morganville?

The Morganville Vampires novel series continues to amaze me. Claire Danvers, the protagonist, gets knee deep into the college town's culture that there will be no escape for her if she wants to stay alive in one piece. She knows too many vampire secrets that a sudden cliffhanger at the end of the book even surprised me. In addition, I think Claire has witnessed more dangerous encounters with the supernatural than your typical college student! I will root for her because she is such a brave soul trying to protect her housemates. I look forward to reading the next novel in this captivating series full of mystery, suspense, and danger.

Stay tuned for the fourth novel in the Morganville Vampires series, Feast of Fools.
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires #7)

She and her Master, centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, have risked their lives time and again to save the city they love. But not all of Chicago is loving them back.

Biting Bad, by Chloe Neill, is the eighth installment in the Chicagoland Vampires novel series. While Caroline Merit has only been made a vampire for less than a year, she has already seen a lifetime's worth of troubles. Despite risking her life to save and protect the city she cherishes with, dangerous enemies don't appreciate her kind's existence in Chicago.

Anti-vampire riots are erupting all over town, striking them where it hurts the most. Rioters armed with Molotov cocktails and deep-seated hate have targeted the allies of the vampire houses, including a relative of Merit. As the riots continue, the vampires quickly group together to find a solution to the mayhem. Merit and her allies rush to figure out who's behind the attacks, who will be targeted next, and whether there's any way to stop the destruction.

Biting Bad was another fantastic addition to a series I have come to enjoy in the last two years. Since I lived in Chicago during my undergraduate years, it gives me great pleasure to revisit sites and cultural tidbits that I once engaged in on a daily basis. Neill is a gifted writer who knows how to portray Merit as the ultimate heroine--smart, strong, athletic, funny, and just. Her personality also reminds me of my time in graduate school, which probably explains why I enjoy this series very much. I can't wait to read what other mystery Neill has in store for her fans in the next novel. Chicagoland Vamipres is currently one of the best adult paranormal series in the market, which makes it quite a nice transition from Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series.

Stay tuned for the ninth novel in the Chicagoland Vampire series, Wild Things
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #7)

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them--no matter the cost.

Magic Rises, by Ilona Andrews, is the seventh novel in the Kate Daniel series. Mercenary and Pack Consort, Kate Daniels, and her partner, Curran aka the Beast Lord, have an unprecedented crisis at their hands. Many of the Pack's shape-shifting children fail to survive to childhood and the number of loupism cases is at an all-time high in Atlanta. While there is medicine (panacea) to help the children, it is closely guarded by the European shape-shifters. Since the development process of panacea is still unknown, there is little available in North America.

Kate can't bear to watch more innocent children suffer and die. Then, a rare opportunity arises that Kate and Curran simply cannot ignore that may forever turn the tides against loupism. However, the solution to their problem turns out to be more dangerous and threatening than they could possibly imagine. The European shape-shifters, who once outmaneuvered Curran, have requested him to arbitrate a dispute---and they'll pay him with panacea. With the young people's survival and the Pack's future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer---but they have little doubt that they're heading straight into a trap. Furthermore, Kate will soon discover that she can no longer hide her ancestry when a foe more menacing and dangerous is watching her every move.

Magic Rises is one of the most exciting novels to have in your collection. The plot psychologically and physically challenges Kate Daniels as she faces a number of challenges that will force her to address her past, fight her archenemy, and determine her future with Curran. Although Andrews uses panacea as a plot device to force the Pack to travel to Europe, it becomes minimized as the plot shifts to the world of shape-shifter politics. To the delight of fans, Kate encounters the archenemy she vowed to avoid in Europe. The action was splendid, and what happens in the end is genius. Magic Rises is undoubtedly the best novel in the series, and I look forward to reading the next novel!

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Tenth Anniversary of my 'The Vampire Files' Collection

This month marks the tenth anniversary that I began my first adult paranormal series written by P.N. Elrod. She is best known for writing the The Vampire Files, a series about a journalist-turned vampire detective Jack Fleming whose first case is to solve his OWN murder! There's 12 books and counting, as well as a number of short stories about his adventures in 1930s Chicago.

Since I was a major fan of the cult 1990s TV series, Forever Knight, I felt lucky that I found another author who also loved the show. I stumbled upon one of her books during vacation when I happened to walk into a discount store that sold mass market paperbacks. I saw one of her titles, became intrigued with the plot and characters, and purchased the book. I became so fascinated with the history of Chicago that I eventually relocated and completed my undergraduate studies in the Chicagoland area! The rest is history.

This series would also help me learn about other famous paranormal/fantasy authors, such as Tanya Huff, Charlaine Harris, and Lynsay Sands. As of July 2013, I have read over 125 fantasy/science fiction books by sixteen authors. Since I launched this blog in 2008, I have read and reviewed every The Vampire Files novels and novellas. Because I loved this series throughout college, I will share links where you can access the books for purchase below. Please take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to learn about an amazing (but often overlooked) historical paranormal series you will want to have in your collection!

The Vampire Files, Volume I (Bloodthirst, Lifeblood, and Bloodcircle)

The Vampire Files, Volume II (Art in the Blood, Fire in the Blood, and Blood on the Water)

The Vampires Files, Volume III (A Chill in the Blood, The Dark Sleep)

The Vampire Files, Volume IV (Lady Crymsyn, Cold Streets)

The Vampire Files, Volume V (A Song in the Dark, Dark Road Rising) Click here to read the rest of this post...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review: Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter #2)

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her world of angelic rulers, vampiric servants, and the woman thrust into their darkly seductive world.

Archangel's Kiss, by Nalini Singh, is the second novel in the Guild Hunter series. Vampire hunter, Elena Devereaux, survives the most horrific case in her career. She awakens from her year-long coma only to suddenly learn she has been healed from the injuries and reborn as an angel--an immortal! She turns around and finds two beautiful wings (the colors of midnight and dawn) grown from her back. No human has been Made into an angel in centuries. However, she must take conditioning lessons to regain her full strength if she wants to test her gorgeous wings in flight -- especially with her stunningly dangerous archangel lover, Raphael.

Both lovers have barely learned to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the ancient archangel, Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must prepare Elena for the flight to China--and the nightmare that awaits them there. To their dismay, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead--zombies, to be more precise. And she has organized the most perfect and vicious welcomes for Elena...even if it includes a bounty for her head in the world of angel politics.

This was another excellent romance and mystery novel by Singh. The author was able to masterfully craft a splendid series about trained human warriors (some of whom are blood-born--have the trait of sensing vampires) who learn how to navigate the complicated world of angels and vampires. As vampire hunters, these humans track down rogue vampires and return them to their angel masters. Elena, caught in the most epic battle of her life, transforms into an angel during the process by Raphael's deep love for her. Now, she must transition from being a human in awe of those magnificent wings in the sky to being an angel possessing her own pair and immortality. I love the main cast, and look forward to more Guild Hunter novels.

Stay tuned for the third novel in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel's Consort.
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: The Dead Girls' Dance (Morganville Vampires #2)

Good news, girls. Your dates are here. Bad news, girls. They're dead.

The Dead Girls' Dance, by Rachel Caine, is the second novel in the Morganville Vampires series. On on the one hand, lare Danvers has her share of challenges--like being a science genius in a school that favors beauty over brains, dealing with the homicidal girls in her dorm, and learning that her college town is overrun with vampires. On the other hand, she has great roommates (one of whom tends to disappear at sunrise) and a new boyfriend named Shane--until his vampire-hunting dad brings him along with his biker punks to wreak havoc in the small college town.

She receives an invitation from a campus fraternity house for the annual Dead Girls' Dance. Along with her equally outcast and goth best friend, Eve, they get dressed up to find out why. Unfortunately, hell breaks loose and bodies turned up dead. Meanwhile, a vampire is found dead and Shane has been arrested for a crime he did not commit. Clare must race against time to prove his innocence because everybody's hungry for blood in Morganville.

This novel picks up right after the end of Glass Houses. A major change happens to two members of the main cast (I won't spoil it, but let's say it was inevitable for one and a surprise for another). The gang seem to get into more trouble that puts them in the middle of Founder's Square. Readers will also learn more about Amelie, the most powerful vampire in Morganville. For now on, the main cast will encounter more dangerous cases as they battle it out against the vampires who lurk in the shadows. So far, I am enjoying this series and can't wait to read the next novel!

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Morganville Vampires series, Midnight Alley.
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Nightwalker (Stormwalker #4)

Stormwalker Janet Begay must choose between protecting Ansel or facing the most powerful magical beings in the world, who are willing to destroy Janet, Mick, her hotel, and everyone she cares about to get to Ansel and his secrets.

Nightwalker, by Allyson James, is the fourth book in the award-winning Stormwalker series. Janet Begay is a Dine stormwalker, one who can gather energy and power from storms. She is also the proprietor of the Crossroads Hotel, a place where out-of-town guests and the paranormal stop for a safe night's rest in the touristy desert town of Magellan, Arizona. However, a new case has Janet shaking her head and fearing for her own life

A slayer is targeting Ansel, a Nightwalker (vampire) who has become more-or-less a permanent resident and friend at her hotel. When she and her lover Mick intervene to rescue Ansel, they find that the attack is only the beginning of an unraveling mystery. The most powerful beings want access to ancient magic that no mere mortal should ever possess. It seems everyone is chasing Ansel, who holds dangerous secrets about the item in question.

Janet already has her hands full with her crazy half-sister and grandmother, the upcoming marriage of her father, the return of a woman claims to be Coyote's wife, a couple of dragons who are willing to destroy her, and the increasingly strange behavior (and disappearance) of Mick. Complications have increasingly become a norm in Janet's life. Nevertheless, Janet must protect those she cares about from the dark forces that may ultimately seal her own fate.

This was another excellent book by Allyson James. In the last four books, Janet Begay has become a more confident and wiser young woman. Her enemies (human and supernatural) continue to test her abilities and resolve in these cases. In this novel, Janet must survive the impossible when an ancient pot with powerful magic disappears from a museum. She must race against time to convince her friends and enemies that her best friend, Ansel, did not murder an innocent woman. I admire her courage, intellect, and determination to solve mysteries with the best solution (and the least casualties). Having a sexy dragon as a lover and partner in investigations doesn't hurt either.

Meanwhile, I enjoy learning about the cultures and topography of the American Southwest. Since I have visited Arizona, I can vividly envision the mountains, mesas, high broad basins, plateaus, and desert lands. I also have a deeper appreciation of American Indian mythology and the importance of not disturbing ancestral lands. I look forward to reading more Stormwalker novels. I highly recommend this series.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Stormwalker series. I will update this page when the Book 5 title is announced.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1)

New York Times betssleling author Nalini Singh introduces a world of beauty and bloodlust where angels hold sway over vampires...

Angels' Blood, by Nalini Singh, is the first novel in the Guild Hunter series. Vampire Hunter, Elena Deveraux, knows that she is the best in her line of work. As hunter-born, he can smell the presence of vampires she targets for return to their masters. When her reputation reaches Angel Tower in New York, even the dangerously beautiful archangel, Raphael, requests her services for an important, top-secret mission. Elena knows that failure is not an option, and she doesn't know if she's good enough for the impossible task at hand. Because it is not a wayward vampire that she's chasing. It's an archangel gone rogue and bloodthirsty.

Elena must chase a powreful killer that has no intention of stopping the killing spree. During the hunt, she is pulled so passionately into Raphael's seductive charm that she wants him so badly. Even if the mission does not destroy her, she will never be the same after her association with devious archangels.

A friend recommended that I experiment with this breath-taking series about angels and vampires. I thought the concept of angels creating vampires was very intriguing. Although I have no clear idea of the timeline, archangels rule the various regions of the world. They can create a toxin that turns humans into vampires. Elena, disowned by her own family, is hunter-born, meaning that she has a genetic gift for hunting down rogue vampires. Her world changes when she meets the archangel of New York, Raphael.

I like the protagonist's personality: Elena is a free spirit who stands up for justice and speaks her mind. She refuses to follow traditional (submissive) customs for women. However, this mission will transform her life and her relationship with Raphael. I thought the plot was interesting and addictive. I look forward to what comes next in this riveting series about angels. The action, suspense, and romance were excellent. The mystery in the next novel already looks very tempting. I recommend this novel.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel's Kiss
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ancient Egyptian Statue Moves On Its Own Inside Glass Case in British Museum

Wow! According to the Huffington Post, an ancient Egyptian statue (nearly 4,000 years old) moves on its own inside a glass case in a British museum. The statue eventually faces the east once it stops moving. Is this a magical statute trying to show us something? You decide!

Staff at the Manchester Museum in Manchester, England say the 4,000-year-old statue, recovered from a mummy's tomb, has been spinning without anybody moving it, NDTV reports.

The 10-inch tall statue of a man named Neb-Senu was originally an offering to the god Osiris and has been in the museum for 80 years.

Price returned the statue to its original position and set up a time-lapse video, which he says shows the statue moving without the help of humans.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

New TV Show: The Haunted Hathaways (Nickelodeon)

Nickelodeon will broadcast a brand-new live-action comedy series, The Haunted Hathaways, debuting Saturday, July 13, at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

Life in The Big Easy gets a little more complicated and way more spirited when the Hathaway siblings move into a house occupied by a family of ghosts.

You can view the teaser video at Nickelodeon and additional coverage about this supernatural show at Broadway World. Click here to read the rest of this post...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: White Night (Dresden Files #9)

Harry Dresden -- Wizard: Lost items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

White Night, by Jim Butcher, is the ninth installment in the Dresden Files series. Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, learns that someone has been killing low-level witches. He receives a call from Sargeant Murphy off the record to investigate a crime scene. Upon his arrival, he gets a good look and realizes that the so-called suicide is clearly a murder with magical intent. All the evidence points to his White vampire half-brother, Thomas, as a prime suspect. As a Warden of the White Council, who is at war with the Red Court of blood-drinking vampires and the White Court of sex predator vampires, Harry is determined to clear his brother's name.

During his investigation, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that is more complicated than he realizes. He must go into action, including a battle with ghouls on the lakefront that turns into a gripping flashback of another encounter with ghouls some years before in New Mexico. He draws on support from unthinkable allies such as as his first love, Elaine Mallory, and gangster gentleman, Johnnie Marcone. On top of that, he is still teaching strong-willed, occasionally impulsive teenager Molly Carpenter. Last, but not least, Lasciel, the demon trapped in a coin Harry secured under his summoning circle, is a lingering presence that continues to test his deepest temptations.

When all hell is about to break loose around him, can Harry solve this dangerous case and survive another day in one piece? It will take aptitude, cleverness, resourcefulness and determination to overcome the evil that lies ahead.

Once again, Jim Butcher produced another action-thrilling masterpiece in the increasingly dangerous world of Harry Dresden. I never thought Butcher could outperform his previous novel, Dead Beat, as Harry assumes more responsibilities (and dire consequences if he fails) in his professional work. Dresden's case files have become more introspective, dangerous, and complicated. Dreaden's enemies have become more powerful, sinister, and merciless. Yet, Butcher has the humor, wit, and creativity to create a supernaturally good novel. You can't help but cheer for Harry Dresden because he wants to help others and believes in giving individuals a second chance in life. He takes these risks because he believes in the good of humanity. I look forward to reading the next novel!

Stay tuned for the tenth novel in the Dresden Files series, Small Favor.
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1)

The truth is when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back--with a vengeance.

Gameboard of the Gods, by Richelle Mead, is the first novel in the Age of X adult series. It takes place in futuristic North America that has turned its back on religion. Justin March is a brilliant bitter former investigator of extremist religious groups with a troubled past. He was exiled to Panama after a failed mission that nearly cost his life. In the provinces, he is free to indulge into his addictive personality for women, sex, and alcohol. Nevertheless, he longs to return to his homeland, the Republic of United North America (RUNA), where he can redeem himself and restore his professional reputation.

Suddenly, authorities from RUNA assign him a peculiar mission that require his expertise and skills. He must solve a string of ritualistic murders steeped in seemingly unexplainable phenomena. His new partner and bodyguard, Mae Koskinen, is a beautiful super soldier (praetorian) whose true nature holds more danger than anyone realizes. Her aristocratic (patrician) background piques Justin's avid curiosity--and his desire--although tries to maintain self-control in her presence.

As their investigation unfolds, Justin and Mae find themselves in the path of terrible danger. Mysterious enemies and powers greater than they can imagine have begun to assemble in the shadows preparing to reclaim a world where humans are merely gamepieces on their board. Supernatural forces want to reclaim the world, and the Justin must decide if he wants to acknowledge and embrace the truth around him.

Age of X is Richelle Mead's new adult science fiction series that is full of action, romance, and suspense. I am an avid fan of her bestselling Vampire Academy and Bloodlines teen series. I was delighted to hear that her new adult science fiction book series would combine paranormal and mythological elements in a world still distrustful of religion and plagued by an inexplicable disease. The last chapters are the best part of the book -- it lays the foundation for what to expect for the main cast. The plot is thrilling, intriguing, and irresistible. This series could also become a successor to the The Hunger Games franchise. I look forward to the second novel!

Stay tuned for the second novel in the Age of X series.
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review: Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires #1)

Welcome to Morganville, Texas. Don't stay out after dark.

Glass Houses, by Rachel Caine, is the first novel in the Morganville Vampires series. Morganville is a small college town in Texas filled with quirky and unusual characters. When the sun goes down, the evil awakens. Clare Danvers, a 16-year-old child prodigy, has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation at Texas Prairie University. The populaar girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Clare doesn't really have the right (undead) connections to protect herself from hazing that could kill her.

When Claire heads off campus, she discovers an imposing old house where can find a room--a sanctuary--away from her bullies. Her new roommates don't show much interest in her, but they eventually have her back with the town's deepest secrets come crawling out for her. She is warned not to get too curious, but she stumbles upon an ancient treasure that is worth her freedom. When word spreads, the evil lurking around Morganville won't stop until they have her blood. Not even the law enforcement can protect her.

Glass Houses is the debut novel of the Morganville Vampires paranormal teen series. Initially, I had reservations about this novel because the audience is targeted towards teens. Nevertheless, the plot improves impressively in the second half of the novel as the Glass House residents--Michael Glass, Shane Collins, Eve Rosser, Claire Danvers--must battle for their lives as the town's oldest vampires seek to destroy their lives. Furthermore, Michael Glass has a major secret that will eventually reveal itself, forever changing everyone's fate. Although Claire had loftier dreams of transferring to a more selective university such as MIT, the town's secrets inadvertently trap her where she can not leave its borders. It will be interesting in future novels how the Glass House residents manage to survive and maintain some type of sanity in a dangerous town such as Morganville.

Stay tuned for the second novel in the Morganville Vampires series, TBD.
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: Siren's Desire (A Dark Tides Novel #3)

While fighting for their lives, they must battle dark and forbidden desires hidden in the ocean's depths.....

Siren's Desire, by Devyn Quinn, is the third and final novel in the Dark Tides series. After defeating the covert federal agency that threatened to destroy the Lonike sisters, Addison Lonike, the youngest of the three sisters, grudgingly resumes her life as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in Maine. The sisters promised not to swim in their mermaid form in the bay. However, Addison would love nothing more than to take on the dangerous Mer queen, Magaera, who is determined to destroy the descendants of Queen Nyala, who once loved a human and sealed Ishaldi, the land of the Mer, inside a the dimensional wormhole separated from the outside world. As her older sisters settle down and start a family, Addison can't take the risk--until a terrorist attack in her hometown changes everything once news spread that her brother-in-law has been seriously injured and her oldest sister, Tessa, has been kidnapped by Queen Maegara.

Before Addison could freak out, Mason McKenzie, captain of the naval task force on the hunt for Queen Maegara, arrives at her doorstep. He wants to recruit Addison to join him team in the Mediterranean Sea. After the terrorist attack, Addison vows to find Tessa and defeat the evil queen. But while at sea, Mason and Addison begin to develop a wave of passion for each other that threatens their independent natures and their mission. An encounter with a new race of male sea-shifters further complicates Addison's desires and knowledge about the Mer. Pressure builds once she learns that the Mer need a queen to lead them. Now, she must choose between her life in the sea and the deepest longings of her heart....

Set in the contemporary era, Quinn wrote a magical/romance adult series about the lives of three mermaids trying to balance life in the human world and under the sea. The author incorporates Greek/Roman mythology along with fantasy, action, and science fiction in this trilogy series. Siren's Desire was the best novel in the series because it answered lingering questions in the previous novels as well as provided some closure for the Lonike sisters and the future of the Mer. I am fortunate that I discovered Dark Tides series earlier this year because adult novels about mermaids are very difficult to find. Although I wished this series was extended another three books, it ended on a good note, even if the last chapter seemed a bit rushed. I hope that the author considers writing novellas or short stories about the Lonike sisters to keep readers updated on their lives. Given their unique personalities, they were a real treat to read, and I will miss reading about their adventures. Click here to read the rest of this post...