The Beast of Talesend

The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz  description:

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  4 STARS

This is like a hard boiled detective got tossed into the darkest and bloodest of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then made it darker and more horrifying, and then someone decided it should be a comedy. Surprisingly it works. Honestly the twists Shultz has taken on the fairy tales was rather surprising and far different than anything I’ve read before, and I’ve read my fair share of retellings. I would love it if he would go back and write books on the stories they talk about in here as their history. Because while this is obviously a Beauty and the Beast retelling, since it’s a land of fairy tales, they’re all mixed in in varying ways, and the truth about Snow White honestly made a lot more sense than a lot of the other reasons for why the step mom would want her heart. Like I said, it’s dark, but the humor brought to it by the characters going through this, and Nick and Cordelia’s banter help really lighten it over all, even while they’re fighting evil and saving the world from darkness and destruction. Though it did start out a bit overly goofy in the beginning, once you really get into it, the tale does find a good balance and you get taken on quite an adventure. I even rather enjoyed Crispin’s involvement, as Nick’s little brother, there’s a lot going on there that I’d love to see developed and to find out more about their past. But it was the last line of this book that sealed the deal on me snatching up the next as soon as I can. I don’t want to spoil it, but I liked how Shultz got there and then left you hanging with that OMG moment. There’s just so many ways this series can go from here, and I look forward to the journey ahead.

The Fifth Element

fifth elementSo the Fifth Element is one of my all time favorite movies. First off, Bruce Willis is his bad ass self complete with quick wit and dry humor that just makes you love him. The futuristic world shows the great advances we  may one day make, as well as warn us of some of the downfalls that are to come if we don’t change our ways. The excessive consumerism that leads to layers of garbage and smog covering the earth as we build up and away from it. Plus there’s aliens, not an overabundance, but I never like it when any show or movie has us going far out into space and there’s still only humans about. It’s kind of a let down. But while this is science fiction, it still some how managed to mix in this almost mystical story line that is just wonderfully romantic in the end.

Plus I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the whole thing I wanted to talk about was the fact that in the end the Fifth Element wasn’t just some perfect being. The divine light wasn’t just some mystical mumbo jumbo. It was love. Diva Plavalaguna told Korben that Leeloo needed his help, that she needed his love. And when the time came in the end she couldn’t stop the evil that was coming, she wasn’t able to do what she was created to do, because she didn’t know love. It was only after Korben told her he loved her and kissed her that she was able to produce the divine light. In the end the only thing that could stop evil was pure love. So while this is definitely one of those movies where people are fighting, things are blowing up, and Bruce Willis manages to reign havoc on 2 planets, it’s probably one of the most romantic movies I’ve ever seen. Definitely a movie everyone should watch at least once. Ha! Like you could only watch it once.

God isn’t Santa Clause

Okay… I’m not looking for a religious debate… but it gets really frustrating when people keep saying that God must be evil because he lets all these bad things happen… or God must not be that powerful because he didn’t stop this or that from happening… the simple fact is this is not heaven… this isn’t supposed to be some perfect paradise… bad things are going to happen because there is sin in the world… I don’t understand why people keep wondering why God lets all this happen when no where did he ever promise us some perfect life on earth… we had the Garden of Eden and well apparently it took humans all of 5 seconds to screw that one up… and now we’re here having to suffer some bad times… my dad always told me that God isn’t interested in our comfort, he’s interested in our character… people believe that when we go to heaven we’ll just be sitting on a cloud playing a harp… but what little the Bible does allude to the afterlife it doesn’t seem like that’s how it’s going to be… it seems like we’ll have a mission… and geez I hope that’s true because I just don’t have any talent at playing a harp… so the life we live here will reveal our true character… and prepare us for what is to come…

More so… we’re often so grieved when someone dies… we think how could God have let them die… but they’re the ones that are in a better place now… we grieve because we’re sad they’re not here with us… they’re not the ones suffering, we are… We’re sad, but death is just a part of life… and bad things are going to happen on earth not because God can’t stop them, but because it is our job to try and overcome them… to be the ones that are good enough to step up and fight… and to be strong enough to overcome the tragedy when we lose… God made us smart and curious and gifted… we’ve advanced our civilization in so many ways… we have improved our lives so much… and have lengthened our life expectancy… I do believe miracles happen… there have been instances when there was no hope and yet somehow people make it through whatever trial they were within without any real explanation of how it happened… but I also think that we should realize that for the most part our fate is in our own hands… God gave us free will so that we can create and destroy this world in the way that we choose… and what happens is because of us and the choices we make…

Drink Deep

BOOK 1: Some Girls Bite  by  Chloe Neill

BOOK 2: Friday Night Bites

BOOK 3: Twice Bitten

BOOK 4: Hard Bitten

Drink Deep    description:

Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and recently turned vampire Merit can’t tell if this is the darkness before the dawn or the calm before the storm. With the city itself in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times haven’t been this precarious for vampires since they came out of the closet. If only they could lay low for a bit, and let the mortals calm down.

That’s when the waters of Lake Michigan suddenly turn pitch black-and things really start getting ugly.

Chicago’s mayor insists it’s nothing to worry about, but Merit knows only the darkest magic could have woven a spell powerful enough to change the very fabric of nature. She’ll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who’s behind this, and stop them before it’s too late for vampires and humans alike.

drink deepBOOK 5: Drink Deep   4 STARS

This will teach me to put so much weight on others reviews… ironic considering I hope people pay attention to my own… but I read so many reviews talking about how horrible this book was I went in with 1 star expectations… especially knowing that Ethan was dead… this book did start out slow and Merit seemed a bit juvenile at first… but then the action picked up and the weird occurrences she’s always getting sucked into were getting weirder… and the whole time she was grieving Ethan but she was trying to figure out how to go on with her life… but she wasn’t just jumping into another relationship like some led me to believe… she just needed a partner and Jonah is there for her and is a good friend… this book does well in tying so much from other stories together and really building up to an epic ending… by about half way through I went from just thinking this wasn’t that bad of a book to thinking this was a really great story… it may not be as wonderful as some of the others but don’t do like me and go in thinking you’ll just have to force yourself through it to get to the rest… definitely a great and interesting installment to the series…

The Ambiguity of Ligeia and Young Goodman Brown

Many authors have used ambiguity in their writing in order to achieve the sort of story that forces the readers to formulate their own conclusions and bring about a meaning that may be different for each reader. This can lead to varying interpretations that allows a story to reach a diverse audience in new and intriguing ways. Stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s Ligeia and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown use the ambiguity in order to create an even more uncertain and dark atmosphere that keeps the reader wondering whether any of it was real, and how the tales should be looked at. It forces all to question what they are willing to believe.

Young Goodman Brown is often seen as an allegorical tale, where the main characters and even settings are representations of something greater. While Goodman Brown is the everyday man, his wife Faith can be seen as ones faith in religion or even just the representation of goodness in the world, and the old man he meets on the path tends to be seen as Satan or the evil in the world. While the woods are the dangerous wild things that we need to avoid by staying on the path of righteousness. Yet, even looking at the story from such a perspective one is a little unsure how to really take all that happens around Goodman Brown. After all, he never is quite sure of what he sees, for all the people that come to the woods as well just look like the shape of a certain person, or sound like a certain person, but he never clearly sees anything that is going on. As he was hiding in the woods it says, “neither the travellers nor their steeds were visible… It vexed him the more, because he could have sworn, were such a thing possible, that he recognized the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin”(Hawthorne). “The mass of foliage that had overgrown the summit of the rock was all on fire, blazing high into the night and fitfully illuminating… [and] the red light arose and fell, a numerous congregation alternately shone forth, then disappeared in shadow, and again grew, as it were, out of the darkness, peopling the heart of the solitary woods at once.”(Hawthorne). Even when he sees people it is either dark or the casting of the light makes it uncertain, and, furthermore, Satan is known for his tricks at deceiving, and so anything that is shown by his hand is automatically called into question.

By having this story appear first off as a representation of the choices between good and evil it is able to remain a tale that people of any time and place can relate too. It shows how in our life we all come to face choices that can lead us one way or another. However, after all that Goodman Brown witnesses, with the burning woods and the chanting people, he finds himself suddenly “amid calm night and solitude… and felt it chill and damp, while a hanging twig, that had been all on fire, besprinkled his cheek with the coldest dew” (Hawthorne). This ending shows everything that he thought had transpired being completely erased, displaying no signs of the events having ever happened. Regardless of this, the memory of that night stays with him forever; altering his relationships with all the people of that town. This sort of ambiguity leaves the reader unsure if it was real, if it had all been just a dream, if the devil got rid of the evidence, and whether it matters if it was real or not. Because it’s very real to Goodman Brown who can no longer trust those around him, and is no longer the carefree man he was before he chose to enter the woods that night. The tale begs the question of where the real evil lies, and how truth is to be perceived.

Ligeia, on the other hand, has a much more obscure meaning. Poe creates a narrator that is unreliable to begin with. He talks at length of how beautiful every part of Ligeia was, and how much he loved her, but freely admits that he had “never known the paternal name of her” (Poe). Nonetheless, he seemed to remember every detail of her appearance, and comments on how intelligent and knowing she was, but goes on to repeatedly mention that there was something strange about her. Saying, “although I perceived that her loveliness was indeed ‘exquisite’… there was much of ‘strangeness’ pervading it.” Though, he continues to mention this strangeness there is never a real explanation, and once more calls to question if the narrator’s memory is accurate or if in his grief he is just romanticizing the truth about her, as he points out his “memory is feeble through much suffering” (Poe)

The ending of Ligeia is what leads to much debate about not only the narrator’s reliability, but also the meaning behind the tale. After Ligeia’s death he remarries the Lady Rowena, but she too falls ill in the same way Ligeia did, but at a point when she appears to be recovering he states, “I saw, or may have dreamed that I saw, fall within the goblet, as if from some invisible spring in the atmosphere of the room, three or four large drops of a brilliant and ruby colored fluid. If this I saw –not so Rowena. She swallowed the wine unhesitatingly” (Poe). Seeing such things happen would normally cause someone at least a moments worry, but he seems to take it in stride and doesn’t even bother mentioning it to Rowena, who does not see any of the things he supposedly sees. The real questioning of the story as a whole begins after Rowena has died, but the narrator finds her coming back to life. However she does not appear as Rowena, who was small with fair hair and blue eyes, for he begins to question what it is he sees, “but had she then grown taller since her malady? What inexpressible madness seized me with that thought?… and there streamed forth, into the rushing atmosphere of the chamber, huge masses of long and dishevelled hair; it was blacker than the raven wings of the midnight! And now slowly opened the eyes of the figure which stood before me… ‘can I never be mistaken –these are the full, and the black, and the wild eyes –of my lost love –of the lady –of the lady Ligeia.” (Poe). This unexplainable ending that has the narrator questioning his own sanity leads to so many questions that it’s hard to give real credence to anything that is told. Has the narrator gone insane from losing two wives to the same illness? Was Ligeia someone magical, and was that the strangeness he saw in her? Did the power of his grief from losing his true love transform his new wife into Ligeia so he could be with her once more? The lack of explanation for anything that happens in this story gives it a dark and unnerving edge that creates a tale that the reader won’t soon forget.

Altogether, the ambiguity gives what could be a straight forward and simple piece of fiction a remarkable quality that keeps people delving into in the search for answers. The narrators aren’t ones anybody would simply trust and take at their word; instead the reader is left to search for clues and hidden meanings in the text. Poe and Hawthorne have managed to write stories that have withstood the test of time for a number of reasons, one of which is the haunting feeling that nothing is certain and the dark hides much that we may not wish to see. It is that dark aspect and the ambiguity that make these two stories so fascinating and eerily memorable.

Silver Shadows

BOOK 1: Bloodlines  by  Richelle Mead

BOOK 2: The Golden Lily

BOOK 3: The Indigo Spell

BOOK 4: Fiery Heart

Silver Shadows   description:

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.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

silver shadowsBOOK 5: Silver Shadows  5 STARS

The switch off of first person from Adrian to Sydney worked much better in this book considering they were in 2 completely different locations for most of the story… I really liked how much of the old cast was more involved in this book… and the new characters were interesting and made this story very twisty considering they are Alchemist in re-education who are being tortured and brainwashed and may or may not want to escape the facility where Sydney is trapped… the story was extremely fast paced as it all swung around Sydney trying to escape and coming to terms with how demented the Alchemist really are… it was a really intense plot and the story was just incredible all the way to the last page… and now the final book needs to come out to see how it all gets tied together…

See How She Runs

See How She Runs  by  Michelle Graves  description:

One delivery changed her whole life.

Izzy was a normal girl living in Chicago as a bike messenger before that fateful day. She delivered one package and set into action a chain of events she never could have expected.

Now she is running for her life from the Corporation, her best friend is not at all who he seemed, and to top it all off she keeps having visions.

Will she survive to navigate the waters as a Seer? Will her feelings for Kennan be her very downfall? Find out in See How She Runs

runsBOOK 1: See How She Runs   3 STARS

There was definitely an interesting premise to the book… Seers and Guardians teamed up to help stop disasters that are to come… and the evil Corporation who’d rather use such knowledge to make money… I also really liked Izzy… after all she is a Southern girl who hasn’t lost her twang even living most of her life in Chicago… and she has a funny sort of wit about her that keeps her pushing through the tough times instead of bemoaning her lot in life… yet my problem with the book was for a large part of it there was no balance… Izzy is funny, Kennan is a trickster, and Ian is a complete whackadoo… so it’s like the characters keeping getting more ridiculous to the point that it no longer seemed like a serious situation of 3 sorta magical people training to take on the evil that’s after them but instead 3 teenagers off on a camping trip… and the fact that 2 were 100’s of years old and the other is at least 25 it didn’t really jibe to well… though it did finally get really intense by the end… also one of my pet peeves is the overuse of words… and Graves used “snickered” so much that I don’t even ever want to see a snickers bar again… there were also such phrases that she repeated used to describe and over describe certain things as in how Izzy would say what was going to happen and then show that it happened… but for the most part I did enjoy the book and I would like to know what happens next…

 

Overbite

BOOK 1: Insatiable  by  Meg Cabot

Overbite   description:

Meena Harper has a special gift, but it’s only now that anyone’s ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard — a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican — has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena’s ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.

Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena’s sworn off vampires for good … at least until she can prove her theory that just because they’ve lost their souls doesn’t mean demons have lost the ability to love.

Meena knows convincing her co-workers — including her partner, über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf — that vampires can be redeemed won’t be easy … especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just the lives of the Palatine, but Meena’s friends and family as well. But Meena isn’t the Palatine’s only hope. Father Henrique — aka Padre Caliente — New York City’s youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case. So why doesn’t Meena — or Alaric — trust him?

As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare … and temptations she never even imagined existed, but finds impossible to resist. This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew.

overbiteBOOK 2: Overbite   5 STARS

AMAZING!!! I thought the first one was great, but this one was even better. It was such a novel view of the world of vampires and the vampire hunters, and the ending was the best part. It was sad but beautiful in its’ way. I loved that this books main point was whether those that are inherently evil still have a choice to be good. There were so many twists and deceits in this book, each chapter was something new and I couldn’t put it down. I love how Meena has changed, and this isn’t just a rehashing of the previous plot. She’s helping the Palatine guard, though still wishing to know more about Lucien, and Alaric also isn’t a 100% on the “all vampires are evil ride”, but still wants to serve the guard as much as ever. It really shows the next step for all the characters, and I liked that even within the vampires there were different sorts and even greater evils out there. It made it a rather dynamic world that still left much to be discovered. Honestly, even though the ending was rather perfect I still kind of wish she would write another because I just love this characters so much.

Insatiable… or just a little thirsty?

Insatiable description:

Sick of vampires? So is Meena Harper.

But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them.

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die (not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does). But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side . . . a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, he already is dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.  Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . .

If she even has one

insatiable

BOOK 1: Insatiable         5 STARS

Exciting! Amazing! Too good to pass up. This book just never stopped, and I couldn’t put it down. It was just so alive and so different. Yes there are more vampire books out there than you can shake a stick at. Every time I turn around there’s another one popping up. To be honest though I don’t really mind. The one thing about such books is you can see how original a writer can be with a tired out subject. Many writers sound too much like each other, and others just seem like they were trying to be different but just got confused. Now Cabot, well she knows how to write, that’s for sure, her Insatiable series was definitely original and a nice change. This is no silly high schooler who’s dazzled by a pretty face, this isn’t somebody who wants to live on the dark side, this is in fact about a woman who hopes to never hear about vampires again. Where most books have quite the romanticized view of vampires this was most definitely did not. Even the ‘good’ vampires want to kill you. It still did have some good romance as well as being action packed and laugh out loud funny. It really does have it all, and honestly that’s all I have to say. I could give you some plot points but the back of the book can do that for you. All I really want to say is that this book was probably one of the best book of any genre I’ve read in a while and it earned all 5 stars, hands down.

Odd Thomas Book vs. Movie

oddmovieI reviewed the book Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz in the post It was supposed to be Todd… and while I won’t deny that this book isn’t a bit cheesy at times… I think it did well in carrying the comic effect of Odd Thomas from the book into the movie that helps keep this from being straight up horror… and yet still held that edge of fear that has you on the edge of your seat… there was some slight deviations from the book that I caught… like at the very beginning when they said his mother was sent to an insane asylum… though in the book she was still completely crazy and Odd doesn’t have a good relationship with her… considering she likes to point a gun at him a lot… as well as the fact that they just had Elvis as a card board cut out and not actually have his ghost interact… which might be better than a bad impersonator… as well as the lack of mention of the diner owner but it was just now that I realized that… because though she was a fun character in the book she wasn’t necessary for the story and obviously took nothing away from the movie…

The fact that it was so good makes me really sad it had a limited release and mostly went straight to DVD over some legal hassles… which makes me doubt there will be a 2nd one… just my luck that Hollywood finally makes a decent movie based on a book and they still manage to somehow screw it up… either way… if you liked the books you should give the movie a try…