Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

"Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything? "-GoodReads

No one recommended this book to me, I found it at the library. I read on the back it took place in Austin and was about a vampire themed restaurant. I though, "eh, how bad can it be?". Oh. I had no idea. There's a damned good reason no recommended this book. First off, it's about a teenage girl named Quincie Morris, yup, like the one from Dracula, but a 17 year old girl. Who, at 17 is left in charge of her families restaurant following the death of her parents, even though she has an older late 20-something uncle who helps her and who SHOULD be in charge. But really, that's no reason to complain. And this book has many.

Quincie hires this new chef for her restaurant and spends most of the book sitting around with this really boring guy talking about boring stuff and drinking wine. LOTS of wine. Now I'm not a prude, I'm not going to hate a book because there's some underage drinking in it, BUT this was excessive. It was very much highlighted every time it happened. There was an eventual explanation, but it was just stupid.

Throughout the book Quincie talks about her BFF Kieren, the back of the book calls him her "first love", that's not true. Quincie is in love with him, he treats her like one of the guys, until the very end where everything is SUDDENLY different. Which brings me to the end...

The end tumbles out quickly and messily, like ripping a bag of potato chips down the middle, though I'd rather clean that up then read another sentence of this book. The "villain" is revealed in the last 20 pages, then the whole "big bad situation" we've been reading about for 300 pages is defused and the villain voluntarily leaves town in 2 sentences and the book is over. The "romance" resolved in a sentence. Seriously. It is literally the worst ending I have ever read. This book makes "Dead Witch Walking" look complex (remember the rodent fighting ring? More interesting than this). The only thing that prevents this book from getting an F rating is the fact that I could finish it, and it wasn't offensive (unless extreme ridiculousness is considered an offense...).

Bottom Line: Started out less the average and devolved into terrible and ridiculous. Don't waste your time. Grade: D-.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Summary: Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances. -From GoodReads

Review: Though I very much enjoyed it, Divergent did remind me of a couple of other book I've read in the past few years, the first is, of course, The Hunger Games, the second, to my surprise was Vampire Academy. Similarities between Vampire Academy and Divergent kept coming up as I was reading this. The young prodigy falling in love with her instructor, the mother who holds a mysterious secret, the young couple going on the run to avoid authority. It's not exactly the same, but it's certainly similar, though in the case of Divergent, it's better. I found Tris to be a far more likable character than Rose from Vampire Academy, and thankfully the supporting characters were better as well, no weak characters to protect, no one holding Tris back.
The comparison between Divergent and the Hunger Games are far more obvious, but the details are certainly different. They're both young adult, dystopian novels, they're both about 17 year-old girls training to be strong and fight. Katniss is however, nothing like Tris as a character. Tris is more relate-able and for me and therefore, easier to like. Their upbringing and families are totally different as well, which leads to the difference in their characters.
Saying that either Vampire Academy or The Hunger Games is the same as Divergent, however is like saying Harry Potter is like Harry Dresden because they're both wizards, named Harry, who do magic. They aren't the same, and in the case of Divergent, it's a better spin on the similar ideas.

The book is not perfect, there are a few scenes and situations that could have been better. As with any dytopian novel, if you think too hard about the "world" they live in, it's easy to poke holes and find unanswered questions. It's told through the eyes of a teenager, who doesn't question the way the world works, or how it got that way, therefore as the reader, we're left wondering how our world devolved into theirs. Another complaint was the description of the "test" that determines the factions. It was the determining factor for the rest of the book, and an event much referenced. It was far too simple. As a reader I found it hard to believe that this test could determine anything much less how these teenagers will spend the rest of their lives. That being said, it was easy to overlook these things and as you get caught up in the action and adventure of rest of the story.

Bottom Line: A blend between Vampire Academy and The Hunger Games, but easier to read and better. Grade: A-.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Giveaway WINNER

Congratulations to

Tim Shirk

You've won a signed copy of M.E. Patterson's book Devil's Hand!

Thanks for participating in Supernatural Book Club's first ever giveaway.

Email us at the address on the right (under "contact the club") with your mailing address to claim your prize!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

A Conversation with M.E. Patterson, and a GIVEAWAY!

M.E. Patterson is a brave man. Not only was he brave enough to write and self-publish a novel, he was also brave enough to meet with a group of eight strangers from The Supernatural Book Club to discuss it with them. He could have been walking into a blood-bath, as many of us are pretty tough critics, but fortunately for Patterson, his novel is actually good.

During the almost three hour conversation we had, Patterson (who goes by Matt in real life) was charismatic and charming as he described the journey that he went through in bring Devil's Hand to the general public. Patterson began writing Devil's Hand in 2004, finished it in 2005, and went the more traditional route of shopping it around to publishing houses to try and get it published. Over the course of the next five years he revised his work many times, and during the process, received some promising yet discouraging feedback from the industry. While some of the publishers liked the book, none of them had a place for it in their shrinking portfolio of professionally published novels.

In August 2011, Patterson took Devil's Hand directly to the people through the Barnes & Noble eBook, Amazon eBook and Amazon (self-published) paperback store. It's a decision he doesn’t regret, as he’d sold more than 700 copies of Devil’s Hand by the time The Club met with him in mid-October 2011. (Patterson explains more about his experiences with self-publishing here and here).

Luckily for us, Patterson shared that Devil's Hand will be at least a trilogy (something you’d already know if you followed @mepatterson on Twitter). The next installment in the "Drawing Thin" series is on its way, and although no release date is scheduled yet, Patterson has already finished the first draft. During our Q&A on plot points from Devil's Hand, "Just wait 'til you read the next book" or "If you liked that, you'll love the next book" were common answers. We can hardly wait.

As we dug down into the details of Devil's Hand with Patterson, we learned that lots of research went into Trent, Celia, and the monstrous and heavenly creatures that populate their world. In creating that world Patterson turned to many sources: the first being Judeo-Christian texts, like the Bible and the apocryphal texts. He also shared with us that he spent time reading Dante's Inferno and Paradise Lost by John Milton. When it came to inspiration, Patterson looked to modern greats like Neil Gaiman and China Mielville, stating " [they] construct fabulous worlds with deep, mythic stories.
I wanted Devil's Hand to have that same sort of feel hiding beneath the realistic, believable modern-day Las Vegas." And for the record, Patterson's Cherubim
had one blue eye and one green eye as an homage to David Bowie (awesome)!

The evening The Supernatural Book Club spent with Matt Patterson was great fun. We learned a lot about Matt, his process, his struggles, his inspirations and his plans for the future. We were excited by the news that "Drawing Thin" will likely be at least a trilogy, and that many of our questions from Devil's Hand will be answered in the follow-up. Reading a book that you really enjoy is rare, and getting to meet the author of that book and have him turn out to be a cool guy is even more rare. M.E. Patterson is an exciting new author in the Supernatural Thriller genera, and the Supernatural Book Club is glad to have met him, and proud to recommend his debut novel Devil's Hand.

Patterson brought with him an signed copy of Devil's Hand for one lucky blog reader to win! Simply leave a comment below to be entered. Deadline to enter is Saturday October 30th at 11:59PM. The winner will be chosen at random from the list of commenters, and the name of the winner will be posted on Halloween (October 31st).

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Devil's Hand by M.E. Patterson

Summary: "A Las Vegas poker ace with supernatural luck is swept into a world-ending conflict between fallen angels and otherworldly shades, in a thrilling debut novel for readers who enjoy Dean Koontz, Jim Butcher, and Tim Powers.

The lone survivor of a tragic plane crash, Trent Hawkins inherited a mysterious lucky streak that made him famous, and hated, in the poker circles of the City of Sin. It wasn't long before the eyes in the sky threw him on the blacklist and chased him out of town. Now, after years away, Trent returns to Las Vegas, and walks right back into trouble.

As a serial kidnapper terrorizes the city, Trent and his wife, Susan, rescue a strange, thirteen year-old girl, only to find themselves caught in a fallen angel's plot to cleanse Las Vegas with an unholy blizzard.

As the neon dims and the city freezes, Trent is forced to make terrible sacrifices in order to protect his new charge, and learns dark truths about himself and the creatures plotting against mankind. Poker-playing demons, fallen angels, and otherworldly shades all vie to enlist his strange luck, and Trent must choose his role in the coming War, or watch our world fall to ruin beneath a blanket of shadow and ice" (from Goodreads)

M.E. Patterson's debut novel, Devil's Hand, is a gritty supernatural thriller set against the dark and treacherous backdrop of a snow-covered Las Vegas; a place where angels and demons roam the streets and the things of nightmares lurk in the shadows. Patterson artfully brings these creatures--and the city they terrorize--to life through a quickly unfolding plot that dives head-long towards its apocalyptic finale.

Devil's Hand grabbed me early on and drew me in with a rousing mixture of action, horror, and mystery. The vividly described action sequences are fast paced and compelling. The supernatural creatures that Trent, Susan and Celia encounter are awesome, particularly the Render. The horrific situations are frightening and realistic without being overly gory or distasteful. Elements of mystery are intricately woven throughout the book and are well thought out and intriguing. It's obvious Patterson did his homework, adding a fresh take on some familiar ideas about angels, demons and the creatures in between. It’s the balanced combination of all three of these elements that kept me turning the pages.

The only struggle I had with Devil’s Hand was that I felt there could have been more character development of the protagonist, Trent. I liked Trent and found him relatable, but wanted to know more about who he was, how he was feeling and what he was thinking. The root of this criticism can likely be traced to the novel’s third person narrative. That said, given the pacing and level of action in the novel, the fact that the reader is able to relate to Trent at all is a testament to Patterson’s storytelling ability. And without the third person narrative we wouldn’t have been treated to the darker chapters focused on Salvatore and Celia, nor the enthralling action sequences with Zamagiel or the Render.

Bottom line: Devil’s Hand, the self-published debut novel by M.E. Patterson, earns a well-deserved A-. Definitely recommended for fans of Butcher and Koontz, or anyone interested in a gritty, fast-paced, action-packed, supernatural thriller. Also worth noting is that digital copies of Devil’s Hand can be purchased on Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com for the very affordable price of $2.99.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Secret Circle: The Initiation

This is book one of the Secret Circle books by L.J. Smith, an author you might know for writing The Vampire Diaries. If you've read my reviews for that series you know that I found the books left something to be desired, so why would I pick up another series by Smith. Simply, I love The Vampire Diaries television show and saw that Kevin Williamson was also making a television version of The Secret Circle.

"Sixteen year old Cassie Blake leaves her home in California to vacation in Massachusetts with her mother. While there she falls in love with a mysterious boy she meets on the beach. As the Summer vacation draws to an end, Cassie's mother decides instead of going home they were going move to the town of New Salem so her mother can care for her own estranged mother.

Shorty after starting high school in her new town, Cassie finds out that an elite group of students, called The Club, are the most popular and powerful students in the school. Leading the group is the beautiful and popular Diana, who takes Cassie under her wing, but not before Cassie is tormented by the equally powerful and popular Faye.

After becoming friends with Diana the other members of the Club start to accept Cassie, eventually asking her to join them, after it is revealed that the members of this Club are witches and that have been ruling New Salem for three-hundred years. Cassie gets initiated into the Circle, and soon discovers that her mystery man is Adam, another member of the coven and Diana's boyfriend."

I can't help comparing The Secret Circle to Smiths other, more popular series, the Vampire Diaries. I have spent many hours reading those books, and comparison is unavoidable. That being said, the main character in the secret circle, Cassie is far more like-able than Elena of the Vampire Diaries, where Elena is the stunningly beautiful queen of the school, Cassie is the shy new girl just looking to get by. I found myself actually caring for Cassie and getting invested in the story.

Ive noticed something about the love story both in this book as well as in the vampire diaries, it almost as if smith isn't giving her intended audience enough credit. The teen-aged "romance" is so rushed, boy meets girl, once for about 10 minutes, barely any conversation occurs. The next time they speak they're confessing their undying love. Really?? I understand the concept of "love at first sight" and all that but it's seeming like Smith thinks teenagers are either incapable of a realistic relationship, or she's incapable of writing one. That being said, I can get past that for a compelling enough story. And this one was just interesting enough for me to forgive the insult to teens everywhere. And really, there are plenty of young adult novels where the falling in love part of the story is rushed. I guess it's part of that "Love at first sight" fairytale we've been deluding girls about for generations, but don't get me started on that.

On a more positive note, unlike The Vampire Diaries, the love story really isn't the focus of the story. It's more about friendship and a young girl adjusting to a new town and new friends and a lineage she didn't know she had. This is all interesting and kept me turning the pages. The characters all seemed to have definite "life" to them.

Bottom Line: It's not perfect. It's a simple, young adult novel, and it's interesting. And I wanted to read the second book after I finished this one. That warrants a B.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

As the only member of the Supernatural Book Club born with a penis, I have been nominated to write the review for this month's book: Hounded. Now, you're probably asking yourself, "Self, what does being born with a penis have to do with writing a review for Hounded?" The answer is simple; Hounded is an urban fantasy book written by a man for men, so it only makes sense that the man of the Club writes the review.

Yes, Hounded is an urban fantasy book for men; an oxymoron by today's literary standards. You won't find any blubbering vaginas named Edward, nor any dimwitted snobs named Bella in this book, there's also a marked lack of brooding, moaning, groaning, whining, pouting, pondering and bitching. I'll wait right here until you're done jumping up and down and cheering with unbridled joy...

Hounded tells the story of a two thousand year old Celtic Druid named Atticus O’Sullivan, the usurper of your run-of-the-mill tall, dark, teary-eyed and handsome supernatural male protagonist. Atticus, the red-headed, pasty-white, heavily-tattooed, bicycle-riding, bookstore-owning, tea-brewing, dog-whispering, earth-communing, mythical sword-wielding, giant-slaying, witch-slapping, goddess-sexing, bad-ass, “Iron Druid” breaks a fleet of urban fantasy norms by simply being a MAN. Atticus doesn’t sit around pondering which shade of eye-liner to wear on his next date; no, he spends his time decapitating ageless Celtic gods on suburban Arizona streets for sport and honor.

I really liked Atticus for is straightforward, no nonsense approach to stressful and dangerous situations. When Atticus is faced with a problem, he briskly assesses his options, formulates a plan, and executes it; with 2,100 years of life-experience at his disposal, there’s no need for pontification. However, several members of the Club felt that there wasn’t enough internal dialogue and self-reflection to really get to know Atticus, especially given the books first person narrative. They felt that Atticus’s quick action and decisiveness detracted from his character, and created a void between him and the reader.

Whether or not we individually connected with Atticus, there was one thing the Club all agree on, Hounded was action packed. From the first otherworldly skirmish on page 4, to the culminating confrontation 250 pages later, Hearne lays out a fast-paced tale that charges forward and never lets up. What propels the plot forward is the onslaught of Aenghus Og’s minions (giants and faeries and witches…oh my!) which Atticus must dispatch with the help of his trusty Irish wolfhound Oberon. The pacing and sense of urgency is further aided by the fact that Hearne’s prose is tight, clean, and easily consumable; he doesn’t burden the reader with a heavy-handed writing style.

To keep things light, Hearne throws in a few laughs as well. The catalyst for most of the humor in Hounded is found Atticus’s allies. From his team of lawyers which is comprised of a vampire and a pack of werewolves, to his crass neighbor the widow MacDonagh, the supporting cast of characters does a keen job of lightening the mood even in the face of murder and mayhem.

All in all I enjoyed Hounded and will likely read the follow-ups Hexed and Hammered. I felt that Hounded created a strong foundation for a compelling urban fantasy series based on a lead character that separates himself from the crowd by being a supernatural man’s man. Although the world-building was admittedly thin in the debut novel, I think Hearne has the pieces in place to take the Iron Druid Chronicles to the next level in books two and three. It’s rare to find a supernatural book that keeps my interest like Hounded did, and for that reason and all those detailed above, I give Hounded a solid B+.

Monday, 8 August 2011

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

"The central premise of the novel is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them. Immigrants to the United States, brought with them their beliefs in leprechauns, dwarves, and other spirits and gods. Over time, Americans' beliefs and allegiances have changed. Devotion to older gods have given way to devotion to newer more materialistic gods, reflecting America's obsession with the Internet, technology, and media. The power of the older gods has diminished as people's beliefs wane, and there is only so much belief to go around, which leads to a battle between the old gods and the new ones.

Leading us on this journey is Shadow, who upon his release from prison learns that his wife has just died in a car accident, leaving him without a job or anyone to come home to. On the plane ride home for her funeral, Shadow meets "Mr. Wednesday", who wants to hire Shadow to be his chauffeur, errand boy, and body guard. Being an ex-con without a job, Shadow reluctantly takes him up on the offer. The two depart on a road trip across America to assemble the old gods and prepare for the upcoming battle. "

There's definitely an epic feel to this book, it's a fantasy classic everyone should read, but like many classics, it's not an easy or fast read. There are some times where it drags a bit and the reader is struggling to figure out how all the pieces fit into the plot of the story. I think it's during this struggle that we realize what this book is really about. The gods and their desire to gain power is all there, but as Mr. Wednesday would say, that's just misdirection. While we're focused on the gods and their aforementioned battle, it's Shadow's journey that's the real point of the story.

Shadow is a guy whp sort of drifts through life. Life happens to him more than he makes things happen. Through the tasks and work he must do for Mr. Wednesday, Shadow learns about himself, and must examine who he really is and who he wants to become. It's about who he meets along the way and how they change him. By the end, we see Shadow's journey has just begun.

Gaiman is a master storyteller who brilliantly distracts us with one thing while surprising us with something totally different; a story we didn't even know we were looking for. Though I have unanswered questions, and am left wishing more explanation was given, I still feel satisfied because the book was so well written and the characters were so interesting.
The carousel at "House on the Rock" in Wisconsin, an attraction featured in the book.
Warning Spoilers:
Here is a list of a few unanswered questions that I and my fellow book club members had:

-Why do the gods want to fight? Wednesday needs deaths in his name, so his motivation is understandable, (as is Loki's) but why do the other gods want to fight? Is it for sport? Why is it a benefit to the gods themselves, it doesn't gain them followers or "belief", which is how they get power.

-Shadow "discovers" Wednesday's plot in the end, he just suddenly "knows" the truth. How?

-And after discovering the master plan, Shadow defuses the fight in 1/2 a page, and everyone is so uninvested in fighting in general that some dude saying "you know you shouldn't be fighting" is enough to make an army of age old gods stop without any questions or objections. It's just done.

-There's no epic battle at the end. It's sort of like the end of "Good Omens" where you have this build up and expectation of some action, but then nothing. The difference between the end of American Gods and Good Omens is that in American Gods you realize that the value of the story was all about getting to the battle.

-It would have been nice in this "battle" between the gods if it was explained how the gods "die". If the reason why the gods exist is because people believe in them, than how can Loki kill the god of the Internet? People still "believe" in the internet; killing "Internet" does nothing to solve the problem of belief, and seemingly has no impact on the old gods, or on the actual Internet.

Bottom Line: A story about a road trip through America and the strange beings met along the way. A unique study in humanity through the eyes of an ex-con, as he realizes that he merely drifts through life as a spectator, never going after what he wants. While not perfect, still an amazing book. Grade: B+.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Top 6 Supernatural and Fantasy Television shows V.3

While we all love reading, occasionally we have to give our eyes and minds a break and watch some television! What paranormal shows are the members of the Supernatural Book Club watching? We did a recent poll to find out.
Here are the last 3 in our top 6 supernatural and fantasy television shows*, as voted on by the Supernatural Book Club.

*Disclaimer: This list does not include strictly sci/fi shows, so you won't find shows like "Star Trek" or "The X-Files" here, we're talking strictly supernatural and fantasy shows.

3. Lost:
This show brought fantasy into the mainstream, even those who didn't set out to watch a fantasy show were eased in with "Lost". Before we all realized it, we were in the middle of one of the most elaborate fantastical mythologies ever seen on television. It was so complex that a room full of people could watch it and everyone would get something different from it. Whether you loved it or hated it, there's no denying that "Lost" will be a show that people will still be discussing and hypothesizing about for many years to come.

2. Supern
atural: Demons, ghosts, vampires, shapeshifters, and angels, this show is a cornucopia of the paranormal. Two cool, good-looking brothers driving around in a classic car with a 70s rock soundtrack, battling demons and supernatural beings with some majorly amazing artillery make this show totally awesome. The witty banter and sarcastic dialogue offer a welcome relief from the serious struggle of good vs evil. This is the only show I've seen that can be deadly serious in one episode and totally make fun of it's self in the next and be able to pull it off without being campy or cheesy.

1. The Vampire Diaries:
One of the few times the live-action version is better than the book and to say it's better is a serious understatement
. Vampire Diaries is a show for anyone who loves vampires, but wants less graphic sex and violence than True Blood, but doesn't want Twilight-esque teen romance. It's a vampire show for those of us who want ongoing compelling story lines, shocking twists, and a bit of romance and betrayal.

Here's the list of shows we chose from:

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Top 6 Supernatural and Fantasy Television shows V.2

While we all love reading, occasionally we have to give our eyes and minds a break and watch some television! What paranormal shows are the members of the Supernatural Book Club watching? We did a recent poll to find out.

There was SO MUCH debate about about our number 4 show that I had to give it it's own post, just to have enough space!

4. True Blood
- This show was really a mixed bag for us. There are several members who LOVE this show, as in "best show on television", and there are o
thers who HATE it, as in find it horrid and disgusting. I thought it would be great to have a couple of member give their side, in their own words:

Why I love TrueBlood, by Anna:
I love vampires, so that's a given, but TB has the unique quality of being both action-packed, fantasy-driven with a healthy amount of traditional soap opera drama thrown in for good measure. The over-the-top sex doesn't hurt either, and though some might find it sensational or vulgar, that's exactly what it's meant to be. The True Fans of True Blood understand that when it comes to vampires, sex and intimacy isn't all puppies, kittens and cuddling like Stephenie Meyer would want us to believe. I find her portrayal of vampire intimacy to be, well, underwhelming and stupid. Alan Ball shows vampires how they truly are : hedonistic extremists who no longer live by the moral and cultural barriers that govern the human race. And yes, there are some resulting plot elements and sex/violence scenes that therefore make us, the viewer, uncomfortable - or excited - or shocked - or simply entertained. Because at the end of the day, all TV shows are about 1 thing - entertainment & ratings. And it's a testament to True Blood that it occupies the #1 spot on Sunday prime-time TV with 5.5 million viewers on a PAY channel.

TrueBlood is horrible. By TornSack:
As a connoisseur of supernatural television, I have to say, True Blood is horrible. Rather than rant and rave (as I usually do) about the myriad of things that make True Blood absolute trash, I'm going to conduct a little television critique experiment with you. What I need from you is simple; all you have to do is put True Blood out of your mind while you read the rest of this review, and honestly answer the questions I pose with either a yes or a no. Ready? Great, here we go.

I saw this new show, it's really cool, in this one episode, this guy takes some drugs, and he get's a raging hard-on. It's pretty awesome, he's got a boner, and it won't go away. He beats-off 3 or 4 times, but only succeeds at the beating part, nothing goes "off," if you catch my drift ;). Feeling like a boner for abusing his boner, the guy cries to some of his friends about how he punched himself in the dick so much that his crotch turned all black and blue. Then he shows his one-eyed monster to this chick who wants to bang him; she nearly pukes at the sight (and smell?) of the thing and convinces him to go to the ER where a doctor drains the blood from the guy's dick to relieve his awesome drug-dong of it's RAGE!!! Is this a show you'd like to watch?

Oh my goodness, I love this show sooo much, you HAVE to check it out! In this one episode, these awesome people, they trick these other people into having an orgy, but then one set of people totally torture and brutally murder the other people. First they molest and bite the throat out of the female (and make her husband watch), then they taunt the man over his dying wife's body before they break his neck. But that's not even the best part! As the woman lies bleeding to death, the two murders, they totally make the sexy time right in the middle of the pool of blood and on top of the dead bodies! It's sooooo awesome! Is this a show you'd like to watch?

This show is off-the-chain! You gotta watch it! It's got this fresh and original plot line in season 3. It starts out with this crazy-eyed guy rescuing this chick from a couple cracked out hillbillies who are trying to rape and kill her. To repay the knight in shining armor for saving her, the damsel in distress makes freaky-deaky-squeel-like-a-pig "love" to him. The next day, ol' crazy-eyes brainwashes the damsel and kidnaps her to Mississippi where they rent a room in Castle Gay Skull (the gaudy residence of the King of Mississippi). There, the knight ties his damsel to the bed, and proceeds to beat and rape her for several episodes. Finally the damsel escapes, smacks the knight upside the head with a mace, and his HEAD A SPLODE! But he's not dead, so it's cool. Is this a show you'd like to watch?

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you should be ashamed of yourself (at least a little). True Blood is not good TV, it's just blood, guts, and porn. For some reason people think that because it's on HBO, or because they talk about it on E!, that it's not porn. Well sorry to burst your bubble, but True Blood is PORN, and as porn goes, it's not even good porn, and worse than that, it's on the more gruesome and disturbing end of the porn spectrum.

So keep this in mind the next time you come to my house and ask to watch True Blood on my HBO, it's no different than asking to watch some porn on my pay-per-view.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Top 6 Supernatural and Fantasy Television shows, V.1

While we all love reading, occasionally we have to give our eyes and minds a break and watch some television! What paranormal shows are the members of the Supernatural Book Club watching? We did a recent poll to find out.
Here are the first 2 in our top 6 supernatural and fantasy television shows*, as voted on by the Supernatural Book Club.

*Disclaimer: This list does not include strictly sci/fi shows, so you won't find shows like "Star Trek" or "The X-Files" here, we're talking strictly supernatural and fantasy shows.

6. Being Human: A vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost sharing a house, trying desperately to fit into a human society that no longer accepts them, a community they're no longer a part of, struggling to remember what it's like to be human. It's a premise so good they remade it in America, but it's the original British version that best captures the humanity behind the "monsters". It asks the questions, "What would it really be like to be a vampire? How would you live your life?".

5. Pushing Daisies: Ned has the unique ability to bring the dead back to life with a single touch, but if he touches that person again, they die forever. Now Ned must resist the desire to touch his childhood love, whom he's revived after her death and doesn't want to lose again. When he's not pining over his love, Ned is helping solve murders and settle will disputes, by simply asking the recently deceased. Charming, whimsical and romantic, this show was a cheery and sunny take on death, and a unique viewing experience.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Rachel Morgan is a witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Services, or IS. She's either great at her job or terrible, depending on who's talking. She doesn't follow rules and is trying to get fired. When she is unsuccessful at this, she finally quits, unfortunately for her, the Inderland Service's best bounty hunter, or "runner", living vampire Ivy Tamwood decides to leave with her, thus causing the entire IS to put out a death warrant out on Rachel. Yup, Rachel must die because this vampire quit with her, why does Ivy choose right then to quit? Who cares? Everyone are after this witch, and that's what's important. Danger is around every corner, and after moving in with Ivy, no where is safe for Rachel. Now she must fight to pay off her contract with the IS, survive life with Ivy, and catch a mob boss who deals in illegal goods.

Review: Where to start... The protagonist and narrator of this book, Rachel. Rachel is the stupidest protagonist I've ever read about. She's wrong about almost everything, she's so sure no one will care when she leaves her job, after all she's terrible at it and they hate her, everyone she knows and even a random cab driver tell her the IS will put a death warrant out on her, she is convinced they won't and guess what? She's wrong. She's so convinced her brilliant "plans" are fool-proof, and almost every time she's caught. Rachel is described as being a good witch and yet even her simple "disguise potions" fool no one, she walks in in her "old lady disguise" and people are like "oh, hi Rachel". Rachel is flabbergasted, how can this be happening?? The fact that she is shocked is in and of it's self proof she's daft, it's what happens every time.

Then there's Ivy, living vampire and described as a frightening badass. You wouldn't know this of course because after the first couple of chapters she seldom leaves the house and never does anything remotely "badass". She does however, come on to her new roommate Rachel and act super creepy almost all the time. She tells Rachel that, she (Rachel) has to stop feeling any type of emotion (sadness, stress, anger, etc.) because it makes Ivy almost unable to control the urge to bite her (how Ivy managed to live in the world without biting anyone for 3 years is unexplained). Rachel must live with Ivy to be protected from the creatures hired to kill her, but we never see Ivy protecting her, in fact Ivy makes other dangerous vampires come around who want to kill Rachel, and Ivy is constantly tempted to kill Rachel. This makes no sense.

I can suspend disbelief as much as the next person, but this book was over the edge. Repeatedly we're told how pixies are the lowest on the pay roll and unimportant and people see them as a nuisance, when Rachel and her band of misfits are constantly being saved by a couple of pixies. The pixies are the smartest and most powerful over and over despite the author's attempts to tell you otherwise, but that inconsistency is far from the worst. Not only did I have to believe the world's stupidest person is an all powerful witch, but I'm supposed to believe that the rich and powerful in Cincinnati go to an underground RAT FIGHTING RING! Yes, that's exactly what it sounds like. A warehouse where rats and other rodents are brought to fight to the death, like dog fighting or cock fighting, but with RATS! And the circumstances surrounding this is even worse, but I don't want to ruin the um, surprise.

I'll give you one last complaint, though you know I could go on. This book was like Narcoleptic Kryptonite, I swear every time I'd start to read it I would fall asleep, even if I wasn't tired, even if I was sitting straight up in a wooden chair at my kitchen table. The only time I could get through more then a couple of pages without nodding off I was at the doctor's office. I seriously considered just going there so I could actually get this damned thing read.

This cloud does have a "silver lining", the world that Rachel lives in, one in which 1/4 of the world's human population was killed off from bioengineering tomatoes, and supernatural creatures now outnumber the humans, is rich and full of possibilities. It's unique and interesting, sadly the main two characters were ridiculous and stupid. It's sad, really to see the bit of potential being wasted.

Bottom Line: Boring and stupid. I wouldn't waste my time if I were you. Rating: D.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

On the move...

Megan over at The Book Addicted Girl was kind enough to have me over for a visit! Check out my book review for Glass Houses on her website and bookmark her page for the latest and greatest in Young Adult paranormal fiction!

Here's the link to my post!

Friday, 3 June 2011

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

"Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you, But we are not you. We can do things you can only dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster then anyone you have ever seen. We are the superheros you worship in movies and comic books-but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and to fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in England.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four.
I am next. "
-Description from the book jacket

Number Four a.k.a "John Smith" is a 15-year old alien from the planet Lorien, he lives with his guardian (or Cêpan), Henri. They have spent the last 10 years here on Earth, on the run from the Mogadorians, another race of aliens that are hunting down the nine teenagers from Lorien that are part of a group called the Garde, who have special powers and abilities. The nine Garde are protected by a charm that protects them from the Mogadorians, long as they are apart, they can only be killed in numbered order. The book begins with the murder of Number Three, which signals to Number Four that he is next...

I'll tell it to you straight, this book is formulaic and typical. It's about a planet called "Lorien" for goodness sake (though I guess if you're going to blatantly steel stuff, do it from the best, and fantasy doesn't get much better than Tolkien). More specifically, the love interest is lacking in personality and is pretty generic. The school bully who makes trouble for the protagonist is also pretty generic and predictable.


Let's face it, there aren't that many ideas out there, everything borrows from everything else. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and be entertained, to not have to concentrate on advanced plot lines and just enjoy the ride. This is a great book for that. It's got a great protagonist who seems like a real teenage kid. The relationship he has with his father-like mentor is heart felt and moving, as is his relationship with his best friend. There is also a helpful and loyal dog, and I love dogs, so definite plus. There are a lot of young adult books out there, most are unoriginal, not all are entertaining, this one definitely is.

Bottom line:
A fun, fast, and entertaining read. Good characters that the reader can root for and get behind. I'd give it a B+.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

W.W.W. Wednesday

Thanks to "Should be Reading", once again here's the W.W.W Wednesday update!

What are you currently reading?
What did you just finish?
What do you think you'll read next?

I am currently read "Obsidian Butterfly" by Lauren K. Hamilton, yeah I went back to Anita Blake. I couldn't help it. I like the character, and the stories are very well written, now if Hamilton just would stop venturing off into the "land of porn" I'd be really happy. So far this one has not had any of that, BUT I'm only on page 268 or 596. There's still time....

I just finished "One for the Money" by Janet Evanovich. It was good, very much like the Sue Grafton books I loved when I was in my early 20s. Not a supernatural book, so you'll see no review for it here, sorry.

I'll read whatever the book club chooses next, and of course another Jim Butcher book.

What about you? Answer the questions yourself in the comments!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Summery: "There is a distinct hint of Armageddon in the air. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (recorded, thankfully, in 1655, before she blew up her entire village and all its inhabitants, who had gathered to watch her burn), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their mighty hogs and hitting the road, and the world's last two remaining witch-finders are getting ready to fight the good fight, armed with awkwardly antiquated instructions and stick pins. Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. . . . Right. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon -- each of whom has lived among Earth's mortals for many millennia and has grown rather fond of the lifestyle -- are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. If Crowley and Aziraphale are going to stop it from happening, they've got to find and kill the Antichrist (which is a shame, as he's a really nice kid). There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him. . ." -From Gaiman's website.

I feel bad writing a less then stellar review for this book. It seems like not loving this book will cost me my seat at the "cool kids table". This is the first satire I've read. And while it was funny I found myself so fixated on every line of the book, trying to tie together in my mind why every detail was included, that it took me three times as long to read as it should have. I was told I should "skim it", but I'm a terrible "skimmer". I read for detail and continued story, this book is full of digressions with a slow moving story weaved in. It feels almost like Gaiman and Pratchett got a little too clever for their own good. They took the wit and hilarity a couple steps too far, making the book way longer then it needed to be.

That being said, the book IS very clever. Gaiman and Pratchett obviously did their research and their take on the Apocalypse is original and funny. I particularly liked the interaction between Aziraphale and Crowley. And the hilarious take on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I really think this book would make a fantastic movie, that way some of the excess incidental stuff could be toned down and the basic story and humor could be seen.

Bottom line: If your looking for an action packed apocalypse, look somewhere else. If you're looking for a meandering, humorous story that takes it's time getting to the finish line, this is the book for you.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

W.W.W Wednesdays

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

(Special thanks to "Should Be Reading" for the idea)

What am I currently reading?:

-Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (for the book club). Only read a small amount so far, but it's funny. Not as easy to read as the YA books I've been reading lately.

-Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar -Teen trash, sometimes I need a break from the wizards and demons. Like book candy, tastes good while you're eating it, but has little substance.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote - A Classic I'd never read. It's good, really good.

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher - I love Harry Dresden. I listen to the audio books of this series when I run. It's narrated by James Marsters. Best book narrator I've ever heard.

What did I just finish?:

ay by Suzanne Collins -Someday I'll get round to reviewing this book...

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
- Sort of like "Pretty Little Liars" with more secrets, oh and vampires.

Watchers by Dean Koontz
-Got to love Dean Koontz. This one was less violent and had more mainstream appeal then many of his others. I would recommend it.

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher - Harry Dresden is the one of the best literary characters ever written. Jim Butcher is a genius.

What do I think I'll read next?:

What ever the book club votes on.

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
-Found this at the library, I had wanted to read it years ago, figured I'd give it a shot.

White Night by Jim Butcher -Of course.

There you have it. What about you? Answer the questions yourself in the comments.

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Vampire Diaries: The Return, Shadow Souls

Description (from the back of the book):

Elena Gilbert's love, the vampire Stefan Salvatore, has been captured and imprisoned by demonic spirits who are wreaking havoc in Fell's Church. While her friends Bonnie and Meredith explore the evil that has taken over their town, Elena goes in search of Stefan.

In order to find him, she entrusts her life to Stefan's brother, Damon Salvatore, the handsome but deadly vampire who wants Elena, body and soul. Along with her childhood friend Matt, they set out for the slums of the Dark Dimension, where Stefan is being held captive. It is rumored to be a world where vampires and demons roam free, but humans must live enslaved to their supernatural masters. . . .

Elena will stop at nothing to free Stefan. Yet with each passing day the tension between Elena and Damon grows, and she is faced with a terrible decision: Which brother does she really want?

This review contains spoilers!!

Hmmm I wonder who Elena will chose? Each book promises this "love triangle", but really it's Stefan, always Stefan, there's never really any doubt. To be fair, this book comes the closest to Elena actually questioning her feelings for Damon, though it's only because Stefan is physically absent. As soon as Stefan is back, it's ALL about him. Which is fine, but don't lie to us about this complicated decision, from the first chapter of the first book, Elena's mind is made up.

The best:
-Stefan is gone, so there's far less super gooey "lovely love" baby talk between Elena and Stefan, there's still some, as Elena visits him in dreams and they attempt to nauseate us with their undying love.
-Damon has a lasting chance at redemption. Damon is better than in the last book, some of the sense of humor is back.
-Elena and Damon build a much stronger bond. It was interesting to see how their relationship would go, well "interesting" is probably too strong a word.
-I liked that Damon got turned into a human at the last second of the last book and Stefan gets super pissed (Damon does so much stuff and this mistake is what Stefan wants to kill him over?). Though the way it happens is stupid (plus, I had forgotten after watching too much of the television show how much Damon does NOT want to be human, glad they changed that in the show, makes it way more interesting).

The worst:
-The reiterating the SAME things over and over is really grating. "Elena is sweet, and kind, and pure and the most perfect being in existence". "Bonnie is fragile and delicate, emotional and weak". Yep, we got that the first 500 times, we do not need paragraph after paragraph of discussion about it.

-There's an exorbitant amount of time spent talking about clothes and jewelry, and what Elena is wearing, right down to her custom perfumes. This wouldn't be so bad (wait, yes it would be) if the characters hadn't JUST been talking about the urgency to save Stefan. Somehow everything they have to "get" to save him involves ANOTHER set of dresses and another 5 or 6 pages of descriptions of frivolous crap (seriously, there are descriptions of how the lighting at the various events will be, so they can accurately decide what colors to wear...). Even when "rushing" to visit Stefan, they must first waste a bunch of time making custom stuff for Elena (and others) to wear.

-The entire book is about a road trip to save Stefan from prison, and when they get to the actual rescue, it's over in half a page. The mere presence of a set of Elena's "wings" cause the plant-woman chasing them to crash into them and die (couldn't have whipped those babies out 10 pages ago when this creature started her pursuit?).

Bottom line: Better than Nightfall. About the same as the first four.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summery: "In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on
live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love."

Review: The Hunger Games is about a corrupt government punishing its citizens by sentencing their children to fight to death in an brutal, televised, staged environment. It's part "Survivor", part "Battle Royale", part "Lord of the Flies". By design the book is uncomfortable. There's no denying that everyday life for these people is terrible; the "Games" are just the horrific icing on the oppressive cake that is life under the control of the Capitol. Just reading it made me want to escape. It's stifling. In creating this environment Collins made the reader really feel what Katniss was going through. This is the book's greatest accomplishment.

The book is told in the first person and ordinarily this is my favorite type of narrative, but in this case I thought it limited the action in the story. Having only the ability to see Katniss's perspective left little to no pay off for the long tense scenes. I would have really enjoyed some actual combat.

There's a lot of praise for this book, and it certainly is a book that keeps you turning the page, is it worth all the hype? I suppose as much as any book. I liked it, I didn't LOVE it, but I'm pretty particular. I can say that it's better than most books I have read lately and the best book the "Supernatural Book Club" has read so far. Perhaps it was the subject matter that prevented me from loving it. I distrust the government and it stands to reason that I don't like any book that features citizens being oppressed by an all powerful governing body. That's probably it. Everyone else in the book club loved The Hunger Games.

Spoilers ahead:
Other than the subject matter in general, there were a couple other issues that prevented me from loving this book. First was the protagonist and narrator of the story, Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is difficult to like; she's hardened, stubborn, automatically distrustful and self involved. I understand that she's self involved because she HAS to be; she's had the task of caring completely for her mother and sister since she was was eleven years old. She's so self sufficient that it's easy to forget she's a sixteen year old girl.

Then there's the love story, which becomes as frustrating for the reader as it does for the characters. Katniss struggles to understand her feelings for Peeta, a boy who clearly is in love with her (and is so absolutely sure about his feelings), and her indecision is absolutely grating. Does she love him? Is she simply playing along to stay alive? The whole thing got really old fast. On the plus side, the love story did make me like Peeta more for being so faithful and loyal to Katniss, willing to do anything to protect her.

Bottom line: I give The Hunger Games a solid B. An easy read and an intriguing story; a great start to a series. The protagonist is a little tough to relate to, but I can see that changing as the series goes on. Collins' ability to make you feel what the characters are feeling partially makes up for the flaws in her main character.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Angel Time by Anne Rice

Summary: Anne Rice returns to the mesmerizing storytelling that has captivated readers for more than three decades in a tale of unceasing suspense set in time past—a metaphysical thriller about angels and assassins.

The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O’Dare—a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases—just now: Lucky the Fox—and takes his orders from “The Right Man.”
Into O’Dare’s nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives. O’Dare, who long ago dreamt of being a priest but instead came to embody danger and violence, seizes his chance. Now he is carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England, to dark realms where accusations of ritual murder have been made against Jews, where children suddenly die or disappear . . . In this primitive setting, O’Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love. --

This is the first Anne Rice book the book club has read and the first I myself have read, so I can't say how well it compares to her older books. I have heard the older books are WAY different due to Rice's recent conversion back to Christianity. Before I read "Angel Time" I had heard it was "preachy", and yeah, it is, but that's not really the issue.

Overall the book was sort of flat. I can tell that Rice is capable of telling a good story, I just don't think this is it. The story is about redemption of a professional assassin, an angel tells Toby that God needs him and his skill set specifically to help some people in thirteenth century England. I could accept that, though sadly there wasn't enough of a threat to require the "specific skills" of an assassin, or Toby personally. It's possible that the explanation is yet to come, as this book is the first in the "Song of the Seraphim" series, but the story wasn't engaging enough to make me care to read on and find out.

Spoilers ahead:

After traveling back in time Toby meets and instantly feels for the people he's helping, he would die for them, he loves them like family. I understand that we can't understand God's love and all that, but it just seemed rushed and I couldn't feel the sympathy that he did. The story was long and sort of unnecessarily complicated.
In the end Toby helps the family in an elaborate lie to deceive the Catholic church. This was really strange to me. This guy is brought to help the Jewish people and in turn receive his own redemption, but he must do this through lies and deceit? Not sure what to think about that. God and an angel help this guy lie to protect the Jewish people of England?

Bottom Line: It's clear that Rice is an excellent writer, her book was full of exquisite detail, I just really thought the story could have been stronger, and well, better.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Horror and Urban Fantasy reading Challenge 2011

I'm finding all sorts of fun stuff to do! I saw this challenge and knew it was something I wanted to do. Click on the banner on the right side of this blog to join! Then all you have to do is read 24 horror or urban fantasy books before the end of December! (Since I didn't know, here is the definition of "urban fantasy": Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.) Most of the books we read here are probably considered urban fantasy.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

W.W.W Wednesday

Recently I started reading the blog "Should Be Reading" and in a recent post found these fun questions, that as an avid reader, I couldn't resist!

"To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

My answers:

-I'm currently reading 3 books (I have a short attention span, I have to change it up):

The first is The Vampire Diaries: The Return, Shadows Souls by L.J Smith. After reading the previous installment, I have to say that this one IS an improvement. It is also really long and I wish the author would just get to the point already!

The second is Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard. Shockingly enough, I don't just read supernatural books! This one won't have a review on this site, and I've not read enough of it to say whether or not it's good. Perhaps on the personal blog I'll review it...

The third is I am Number Four by Pitticus Lore. I know, I know everyone is ripping this book and movie apart, partially I think because James Frey is such a self-righteous jerk. BUT so far the book, while simple and definitely an YA novel, is engaging and entertaining. I like it.

-I just finished Angel Time by Anne Rice and Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon by Keith DeCandido. Both with be reviewed on this site shortly.

-What will I read next? There are SO many options! The next book I read will be the book the book club decides on, as perhaps the next Preacher comic that's been sitting on my bedside table for months...

with either the link to your own WWW Wednesday post, or share your answers in the comment section here. Thanks!