Thursday, January 31, 2019

Trailers: Upcoming Marvel Studio Films in 2019

In 2019, Marvel Studios (~The Marvel Cinematic Universe~) has three upcoming films that will hit movie theaters this spring and summer! It is hard to believe that this franchise has been around for nearly ten year! (Just imagine the nostalgia). I was never much of a comic book fan growing up, but I grew to love these classic characters on the movie screen. If you haven't watched Avengers 3: Infinity War (2018), I highly recommend that you do. Make sure to reserve your tickets at the closest movie theater near you. Check out the trailers below:

Release dates (United States):
  • Captain Marvel (March 8)
  • Avengers 4: Endgame (April 26)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5)

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Friday, January 25, 2019

Review: Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland #1)

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

Wild Hunger is the first book in a new series, Heirs of Chicagoland. It is a spinoff of the Chicagoland Vampire series featuring vampires Merit and Ethan Sullivan. The setting takes place in the future (at least two decades after the conclusion of Blade Bound). As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king. Along with a witch childhood best friend, together they join forces to investigate who's behind the assassination of a diplomat in Chicago which may tear apart alliances in the supernatural world.

If you liked Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series, then you will love this spin-off! At the end of the Chicagoland Vampire series (see Blade Bound), Merit s pregnant, and vampires don't get pregnant. Her daughter, Elisa is likable character who is battling her own demons. As the only vampire born rather than turned, she is quite an anomaly in the supernatural world. Seeking to forge her own independence outside the shadow of Cadogan House, Elisa trains to become a guard who defends other vampire houses. As a result, she can defend herself quite well even if she needs a bit of rescuing herself from a romantic interest. When one of her friends is framed for a horrific murder during an international vampire peace summit in Chicago, she and her friends set out to find the true killer, opening up a Pandora's box of diplomatic power struggles and making unexpected enemies in the process. We even get major screen time with all our favorite main characters from the original Chicagoland Vampires series, but their roles are downplayed as to allow their offspring to shine. I must admit that I was lukewarm at the thought of a spin-off series focusing on the offspring but I became hooked on Elisa's background and other secrets she may be hiding from own parents and friends. I can't wait to discover how she learns to control her own hidden powers!

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Heirs of Chicgoland series, Wicked Hour.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Review: Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10)

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry.

Magic Triumphs, by Ilona Andrews, is the tenth and final novel in the Kate Daniels series. Kate Daniels has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with were-lion Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be. Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try for her child, for Atlanta, and for the world.

What a magnificent ending to an amazing series. I took a huge risk with this series back in 2008 with the first novel, Magic Bites (wow has it been nearly a decade??). The co-authors created a world where magic and technology compete for dominance in this post-apocalyptic world. Modern buildings crumbled and roads uprooted, returning cities back to their natural state. Those who were infected with the Lyc-V virus turned into shapeshifters representing all sorts of mammal predators in the animal kingdom. The re-emergence of magic meant that witches and warlocks came out in public to deal with magical-based abnormalities. It was also my first series reading about shapeshifters. I was glad that I stuck through to the end. Kate Daniels was such an impression in my personal life. Kate was such a confident, determined protagonist. As a warrior, she held strong convictions about helping others in need and fighting against evil. As an individual, she found love, started a family, established her own small business, and stood up to her ancient relatives. Stay tuned for future reviews on Ilona Andrews' new series, such as The Iron Covenant featuring Hugh d’Ambray (yes THE former nemesis to Kate!) and Elara Harper as well as Hidden Legacy featuring another powerful couple--Baylor and Rogan. Overall, I highly recommend the Kate Daniels series -- you will not want to put it down once you begin!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Happy Belated New Year and Book Reading List for 2019

Welcome fans and guests! Happy belated new year! I have resumed regular posting on this blog of my favorite paranormal fiction and entertainment. 2019 marks 10 years of blogging Wicked Melody's Tavern! Yes, it's hard to believe this blog is a decade old. But I also must say that the urban fantasy genre is in a much stronger position since I started blogging. In 2017, I finally purchased an Amazon Kindle which expanded my access to new authors who are incredibly talented. This is definitely a luxury that I did not have in 2008 -- I relied entirely on print editions at bookstores and libraries!

The years 2015-2018 was so incredibly busy for me career-wise hat I had to temporarily set aside this blog in 2018. Unexpected personal responsibilities have to take first priority. I'm older and thus have more commitments than when I started this blog fresh out of college. Now that everything is secured in my own life, I can focus again on my hobby of blogging! Stay tuned for more updates! Below are a list of titles that I hope to read and/or review throughout this year. Expect great things in 2019!
  • Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant #1) by Ilona Andrews
  • Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4, Catalina arc) by Ilona Andrews
  • Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard 
  • Dark Wine at Sunset - unconfirmed (A Hill Vampire #3) by Jenna Barwin
  • Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs
  • Side Jobs (anthology) (The Dresden Files #16) by Jim Butcher
    • Peace Talks is the next book, but the publication date is undetermined. 
  • Sword and Pen (The Great Library #5) by Rachel Caine
  • Fins series by Tera Lynn Childs 
  • Hitch series by G.K. DeRosa 
  • Tempest Revealed (Tempest #3) by Tracy Deebs
  • The Crossing (Ingo #4) by Helen Dunmore
  • Wicked Bite (Night Rebel #2) by Jeaniene Frost
  • Rite of the Warlock series by Juliana Haygert 
  • Dragon Bites (Stormwalker #6) by Allyson James
  • Daughters of the Sea series by Kathryn Lasky
  • Wicked Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland #2) by Chloe Neill
  • The Sacred Veil (Thirst #5) by Christopher Pike
  • Grave Destiny (Grave Witch, Book #6) by Kaylana Price
  • Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter #9) by Nalini Singh
  • Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter #10) by Nalini Singh 
  • Merman's Kiss series by Dee J. Stone
  • TV Show: Midnight, Texas (Seasons 1 and 2)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Review: The Chalcedony Chronicles (Books #1-4)

This post is a review of the four books in The Chalcedony Chronicles by B. Kristin McMichael: Carnelian, Chrysoprase, Aventurine, and Chrysocolla.

Mari's first day of college begins when the hunky quarterback literally falls into her lap. It's pretty obvious that he he has a past, and Mari soon realizes that she does too. Their relationship sets them on an adventure that spans from a small college in Minnesota to the sands of Ancient Egypt. The Chalcedony Chronicles is a love story that spans the ages.

Carnelian is the first book in the Chalcedony Chronicles series. Egyptian military soldier Seth Sangre travels thousands of years to the present seeking something that might help save his country from destruction. He has been in the present for over three years now as a quarterback on the college football team, and he just found exactly what he has been looking for. Eighteen-year-old Marcella (Mari for short) sought a fresh start in college after getting over a painful break-up in high school. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what ends up falling into her lap on the first day she moves into the dorms. Now she has to hold to her promise to herself not to fall for the handsome Seth Sangre. But he has already marked her as his next conquest--in his heart he feels that she's the one. As the semester progresses, Mari learns that Seth may truly be from the past. In addition, she’s connected to Seth far more than she ever wanted to be. If Mari can trust her heart enough to follow him, Seth will lead Mari on an adventure of a lifetime--and reveal family secrets she never knew existed.

Chrysoprase is the second book in the Chalcedony Chronicles series. Mari visited the past and has returned to the present. Unfortunately, she didn’t understand the goddess’ warning that traveling to the past would have consequences. She could never have imagined what they would be, but she quickly finds out that not everything is the way she left it. Now Mari must learn how to time travel properly if she wants to put her life back into the order it was before she went into the past to be with Seth. Mari soon discovers that time traveling isn’t as easy as she thought it, and the goddess refuses to help her learn. Mari must turn to an old friend, someone she never planned to see again, and get his help if she wants to right what she has changed. But even that might come with a price. The past is far more complicated, and dangerous than she ever imagined. Yet she might just be the piece everyone is seeking in their own puzzles to control not only the past but also the future.

Aventurine is the third book in the Chalcedony Chronicles series. Mari's life becomes more complicated as she finds herself trapped in the past while her friends from the past are now all in the future. She wants to go home, but the mysterious Logan Jones has different plans—which include Mari. He wants her, but soon she realizes that there’s something more behind it. To save everyone in the future, Mari strikes a deal. She must give up Seth and agree to date Logan. In return, he’ll teach her to how help her friends and family. But Mari realizes it is much harder to fall in love with another man she has no interest in. If Mari can’t figure out how to do so, she might lose everyone she loves.

Chrysocolla is the fourth and final book in the Chalcedony Chronicles series. Mari’s past and present are not set in stone. Everything keeps changing, and her future isn’t what it’s meant to be. At least not yet. Logan has not given up hope of winning her over, and Seth refuses to let him win. Mari must make choices and fight for the future she wants, but that is easier said than done. Every time she feels they have made the right choice, another problem arises. Can Mari outlast Logan? Can Mari find a way to make sure her future is the one she wants?

I have finally created an Amazon Kindle account, which opened me up to more book series that are not available in print. I decided to give new, emerging authors a try while I waited in-between for new book releases by more prominent authors. As the first series I read on Kindle, I must say that Chalcedony Chronicles was an amazing series to read. It also reminded me of the cult classic, Stargate, and its spin-off TV shows (e.g. Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis). Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this series in Amazon Kindle that involved Ancient Egyptians and time travel and portals! Oh my! It was also my first introduction to B. Kristen McMichael who is very creative author and writes clean YA paranormal romance novels. Her take on Ancient Egypt was unique and captivating given that the royals were redheads. As a result, I could tell that she had done her research on discovered Egyptian mummies with red hair such as Ramesses II. Although I am no longer a teen myself, it's refreshing to read how teens go through trials that makes them wiser. I look forward to reading more novels by McMichael! Say tuned for my review on her next YA paranormal book series, The Blue Eyes Trilogy.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Sailor Moon the SuperLive Coming to America in March 2019

I have exciting news for Sailor Moon fans! Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon the SuperLive concert is coming to the United States! There will be a total of four performances. The locations are Washington, DC (March 24, 1 show) and New York City (March 29-30, 3 shows). For more details about the event, please visit Sailor Moon News.

Here is a description from the Warner Theater in Washington, DC:
The series, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, written by Naoko Takeuchi, debuted in Nakayosi, a leading girls comic magazine published by Kodansha, in 1991. As a new type of performance based on this series, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon -The Super Live has clearly distinguished itself from a conventional musical. The full 80-minute performance, with an overwhelming sense of speed, dance, images and special effects, premiered in Tokyo in August 2018 and again in Paris in November 2018, and was highly praised. The show will make its North American debut. This entirely new live performance is sure to captivate audiences around the world!

I have reserved my ticket to attend the concert. Due to high demand, available seats are becoming limited. Hurry before the tickets run out! Relive your childhood memory of the Sailor Moon series. In the meantime, fans should check out this English rendition of the original 1992 Sailor Moon's opening song, Moonlight Densentsu by AmaLee (there's a surprise near the end -- see if you can recognize the lyrics!)!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Review: The Emerald Sea (The Glittering Court #3)

The final installment in Richelle Mead's sweeping, enthralling Glittering Court series answers the trilogy's biggest question: what is the secret that drives Tamsin to win at all costs?

The Emerald Sea, by Richelle Mead, is the third and final installment in The Glittering Court series. Tasmin Wright has one goal in mind. She must become the Glittering Court's diamond: the girl with the highest test scores, the most wardrobe, and the greatest opportunities to match with an elite suitor in the New World. From a working-class background, Tasmin completely transforms herself into a high-society bride-to-be. She savors every lesson in etiquette, history, and music to become number one in her cohort.

When her friendship with her roommates at the Glittering Court threatens her status as the top-ranked prospect, she does the only thing she knows will keep her on track: she cuts them out of her life. But when her voyage across the sea goes off course, Tamsin must use her unrelenting grit and determination to survive the harsh winter far north of her intended destination in hopes of making it back to the Glittering Court in time to secure a proposal--and a comfortable future for her family.

Experiencing new cultures and beliefs for the first time, Tamsin realizes that her careful studies haven't prepared her for everything, and with new alliances formed with roguish tradesman Jago Robinson and good-natured minister Gideon Stewart, Tamsin's heart begins to be pulled in different directions. But she can't let her brewing attraction get in the way of her ultimate goal: protecting the secret she holds closest to her heart, the one that would unravel everything she's worked for if it's uncovered.

This was a thrilling and spectacular ending to the Glittering Court series. Author Richelle Mead proves that she can write non-paranormal romance novels with a touch of mystery and adventure. In addition, Mead embeds historical fiction (think the colonial period before the American Revolution) to showcase how the New World represented new dangers and a chance to start a new life. My knowledge of American history was useful in understanding colonial life versus the Old World (e.g. England). The longest of the three books in the series at nearly 500 pages (!), The Emerald Sea ties up loose ends and explains there whereabouts of Tasmin's disappearance after Adelaide and Mira landed safely in Cape Triumph. I also loved how the series was divided into the perspectives of the three young prospects and how their lives went through different trials in the New World. Nonetheless, they ended up in the same place, using their new skills and determination to support each other. Most importantly, they defied societal gender norms of the time to create their own destinies, to follow their own hearts. It was a fitting finale that illustrated how the three young women changed with more confidence and opportunities. My favorite of the three books was Midnight Jewel because I loved Mira's backstory (and her courage in being the only nonwhite participant in the Glittering Court). Finally, I look forward to, if any novellas are in the works, how the girls fare after they go their separate ways with new people and in the New World. Despite lacking magic, there is a sense of magic in Mead's story-building that makes it worthwhile to read. Overall, I highly recommend this series.