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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Movie Trailer: ParaNorman

 ParaNorman is the upcoming 3D stop-motion animated comedy thriller.  ParaNorman is produced by Laika Entertainment (same creators of Coraline) and directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell.

From iMDB: "A misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead, takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse."

Trailer


Movie Poster



Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: The Unseen by Heather Graham


Title: The Unseen
Author: Heather Graham
GenreParanormal Romantic 
Suspense, Mystery
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“1800s. San Antonio, Texas: In room 207 at the Longhorn Saloon, in the long shadow of the Alamo itself, a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered. Her killer was never found. One year ago: In that same historic room, another woman vanished without a trace. Her blood was everywhere…but her body was never recovered. Now: In the last month, San Antonio has become a dumping ground for battered bodies. All young women, all long missing, almost all forgotten. Until now.

Texas Ranger Logan Raintree cannot sit by and let his city’s most vulnerable citizens be slain. So when he is approached to lead a brand-new group of elite paranormal investigators working the case, he has no choice but to accept the challenge. And with it, his powerful ability to commune with the dead.
Among Logan’s new team is Kelsey O’Brien, a U.S. marshal known for her razor-sharp intuition and a toughness that belies her delicate exterior. Kelsey has been waiting all her life to work with someone who can understand her ability to “see” the past unfolding in the present. Now she has her chance.
Together, Kelsey and Logan follow their instincts to the Alamo and to the newly reopened Longhorn, which once tempted heroes with drink, cards and women.
If the spirits of those long-dead Texans are really appearing to the victims before their deaths, only Kelsey and Logan have the skills to find out why. And if something more earthly is menacing the city’s oldest, darkest corners, only they can stop it – before more innocent women join the company of San Antonio’s restless ghosts...”
The Unseen is the latest book by Heather Graham. I can say this book belongs in some part to the Krewe of Hunters series or at least it runs parallel to that series.

Jackson Crow, the leader of the original Krewe of Hunters is in Texas organizing a second crew, since his original group is already too busy working many cases and they are not enough for all the demand of work they have. They need more people and here is where Texas Rager Logan Raintree and U.S. Marshall Kelsey O’Brien come. Raintree will be the director of this new group and will work with Kelsey and other members that will come along the way.

After that blurb I think adding more than this will be telling the whole book.

There were things I liked about this book and others I wasn’t so sure. Let’s start with what I liked.
I really liked the historical facts and the description of the locations. I have never been in Texas let alone in The Alamo, but after reading this book I feel somehow as if I’ve been there and seen it. I did know about the Alamo, but not with much detail, what I didn’t know about it I learned with this book; I loved history so that was good, maybe if you already know the history of The Alamo all the historical mentions can be too much for you, but for me it was just perfect. Another thing I also liked was the Native American references, especially when the difference between Comanche and Apache beliefs were explained. I’m an admirer of Native American culture, so for me this was a special treat.
Another thing I liked was that the whodunit wasn’t predictable. I had my suspicions but I wasn’t a hundred percent on it. I liked that very much, I liked when an author surprise me a leaves me with an “I didn’t see that one coming”.

Now to what I didn’t like, first, the case in itself felt put together by force. I didn’t feel there was any connection between the murders to think that they were all related. Ok, I don’t know anything about police procedure but that was just my impression. In my opinion the case in general felt a bit farfetched.
Another thing I had a problem with was Logan and Kelsey’s relationship, for sure there was an attraction between them, but I really didn’t feel a deep connection. It felt more as if they were having a fling than really getting into a serious and long lasting relationship.

Despite the things I didn’t liked I can honestly say I enjoyed reading The Unseen. As I said before I loved the historical aspects of the story and I loved the ghost’s factor and the mystery behind the murders. I really want to know more about the other members of this new Krewe of Hunters and I’m planning to read future books in this series.
I recommend you this book if you like mystery books with a paranormal touch and lots of history behind them.

My verdict: 3 ½ Paws


Other reviews Goodreads

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Covers of the World: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Today in Covers of the World we have Halfway to the Grave. Halfway to the Grave is the first book of one of my favorite series, Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost.

  

1. From left to right: English US edition, English UK edition and Audiobook edition.

  

2. From left to right: French edition, Polish edition and Spanish edition.

  

3. From left to right: Turkish edition, Italian edition, German edition.

 

4. From left to right: Bulgarian edition, Indonesian edition.

As you can see most of the covers of Halfway to the Grave use the same image with different fonts and position modifications. From those with the same image the ones I like the most are the US and Turkish editions, both covers use the same font and position in the art. The audiobook as always has a weird cover, I can't say is terrible but the image of "Cat" looks superimposed on the background. 
From the other covers I don't have a favorite but I have a least favorite and that one is the Bulgarian Cover. The pose of the model is just wrong, the arm position looks weird and short compare to the body and it's not clear if the model is using shoes or is on tiptoes. 
What do you think? Which one of these are your favorite and least favorite?


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday's Hot-Hot Hottie: Charley Hunnam

Today's Hot-Hot Hottie is the English actor 
Charles Matthew "Charlie" Hunnam.
He is best known to UK audiences as Pete Dunham in Green Street and as Nathan Maloney in the hit drama Queer as Folk.
In the United States he is best known as the Vice President of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original, Jackson "Jax" Teller in the Sons of Anarchy series.








Monday, March 26, 2012

Early Review: A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster


Title: A Perfect Storm
Author: Lori Foster
Series: Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor, book 4
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspence
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“He never saw her coming…  
Spencer Lark already knows too many secrets about Arizona Storm, including the nightmare she survived and her resulting trust issues. But in order to expose a smuggling ring—and continue avenging his own tragic past—the bounty hunter reluctantly agrees to make Arizona a decoy. Yet nothing has equipped him for her hypnotic blend of fragility and bravery, or for the protective instincts she stirs in him.  
Arizona wants to reclaim her life, which means acting as bait to lure the enemy into a trap. Sure it's dangerous, especially with a partner as distractingly appealing as Spencer. But as their plan—and their chemistry—shifts into high gear, Arizona may discover there's an even greater risk in surrendering her heart to a hero…” 
A Perfect Storm is the fourth book in the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series by Lori Foster.

Arizona Storm is a young woman with a very difficult past. She was sold to human traffickers when she was just seventeen and even though she was able to escape months after, the ordeal she had to live was something that would have broken anyone. But instead of breaking, Arizona didn’t gave up and found in helping others a way to help herself.
Spencer Lark knows Arizona’s past, he admires what she has overcome but at the same time he knows that deep inside she carries the scars left behind by her past. Scars that doesn’t let her get close to people, even less trust or love anyone. Spencer wants to help her heal, she is young and deserves to be happy, loved and cherished. The only problem is that despite their age difference (Arizona 21, Spencer 32) Spencer can’t help himself but feel attracted to her. He doesn’t want to hurt her, he just wants to show her that there is more in life that just be an avenger. At the same time he doesn’t want her to get too attached to him. He can’t have a serious relationship with anyone because he hasn’t been able to forget his dead wife.
When Arizona comes to Spencer for help to bring down a ring of human traffickers he knows he has to help her because knowing Arizona she will do it with or without his help. The only problem is that now they will have to spend more time together and fighting their attraction while being that close won’t be an easy task.
The question is should they fight their attraction? Or should they leave their pasts behind and find peace and solace in each other arms?

I have always wanted to read Lori Foster but for some reason had never done it. When I saw this book in Netgalley I knew this was it, the now or never. What I didn’t know was that this book belonged to a series. I realized it before reading it, I considered reading previous books first, but there were three books and I didn’t have the time. After asking around I was told it could be read as a stand-alone, so that’s what I did. Now that I finished it I can say, yes, this book could be read as a stand-alone but there is lots of background story about Arizona, Spencer and the rest of the “gang” that I think it would have been better to read previous books first. Don’t take me wrong, I wasn’t lost or anything like that, but there were many references to past events that I would have love to know more. I’m sure if I had read this book as part of the series my enjoyment would have been higher even though I really liked this book.

I loved how Mrs. Foster took a very difficult topic as human trafficking and gave it life in the pages. She doesn’t write specifics but just enough to know what had happened making your heart break in many pieces.

In A Perfect Storm she gives us with Arizona and Spencer a broken heroine and a broken hero that find in each other the peace they didn’t know were looking for.

 I loved how Arizona is a mix of strength and fragility; she is also socially awkward and doesn’t know how to relate to others. All this made her more real, endearing and believable to me.

Spencer is a dreamy hero. I loved how caring and protective he was; one of the things I liked the most about him was his resistance on the beginning to get involved with Arizona, when he had not yet realized that because of Arizona’s experiences she was more mature than her years. I really admired him because of that; he didn’t want to take advantage of her even though he could have done it many times.

The secondary characters (Jackson and Alani, Trace and Priss, Dare and Molly) were all great, I really want to go back and read their stories. But one character that I stole my heart was Chris, I loved how he was the only one that was able to see Arizona for what she was and what she really needed before anybody else did and his words of advice were wise beyond his years. I really want to know more about him and hopefully Mrs. Foster gives him a nice and deserving HEA.

All in all A Perfect Storm was a very enjoyable read, with great characters, a complex word and a fast moving plot that will have you glued to its pages. As I said before I’m planning to go back and read previous book of this series. I can also tell you that all the hype about Lori Foster writing is truth, her writing style is spotless, fluid and engaging. She is an author you cannot miss.

My Verdict: 4 Paws


Other books in the series
When You Dare
Trace of Fever
Savor the Danger
A Perfect Storm (3/27/2012)

Other reviews Goodreads

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Movie Trailer: Prometheus

Prometheus is the upcoming science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott. The plot follows the crew of the spaceship Prometheus in the year 2085, as they explore an advanced alien civilization in search of the origins of humanity.

Official Synopsis: 'Ridley Scott, director of 'Alien' and 'Blade Runner,' returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.'

Movie Trailer


US Poster


International Poster





Friday, March 23, 2012

Early Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens


Title: The Kingdom
Author: Amanda Stevens
Series: The Graveyard Queen, book 2
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town. My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purpose here. Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.”

The Kingdom is the second book in The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens.

The Kingdom starts couple of weeks after events in The Restorer (first book). Amelia has broken every one of the four rules her father taught her, rules she needed to follow for her survival.

1. Never acknowledge the dead.
2. Never stray far from hallowed ground.
3. Never associate with those who are haunted.
4. Never, ever tempt fate. 

Now she needs to put distance between her and Devlin, before something more serious happens.
When Amelia receives an offer to renovate Thorngate Cemetery in the town of Asher Falls, South Carolina, she doesn’t think it twice and accepts. Get away from Charleston is just what she needs right now. Packing her bags she leaves immediately to work on her new commission.
Strange things starts to happen as soon as Amelia is on her way; on the ferry that will take her to Asher Falls she is not sure but she thinks she has seen a ghost over the water. Minutes later she meets the mysterious Thane Asher, heir to the Asher family, family that rules and owns half the town of Asher Falls. Thane tells her about the original Thorngate cemetery, the one that was flooded to make way for the Asher Reservoir, that same reservoir they are crossing, the one the locals call Bell Lake.
He hesitated, his gaze still on the water. “If you look for this basin on any South Carolina map, you’ll find the Asher Reservoir. But around here, we call it Bell Lake.” 
“Why?”  
“In the old days, coffins were equipped with a warning system-a chain attached to a bell on the grave in case of premature burial. They say at night, when the mist rolls in, you can hear those bells.” He glanced over the railing. “The dead down there don’t want to be forgotten… ever again.”
After arriving to Asher Falls and meeting her contact she realizes there is more to this commission that just the restoration of the cemetery. Asher Falls is a ghost town, with very weird residents. But what is weirder than all is that Amelia feels a connection to the town, something she had never felt before, a strange feeling she can’t explain. And when even stranger things starts to happen Amelia has two options, stay put and discover what is what Asher Falls and its residents are hiding or pack her bags and leave before it's too late.

The Kingdom surpassed all my expectations, since the moment I pick it up I couldn’t put it down until I reach its last word and after that I wanted more. Mrs. Stevens’ uncanny writing is so vivid and realistic than even though I don’t scare easily I started to hear weird noises at home, it didn’t help I read until wee hours of the night, as I said before I couldn’t put down this book. Yes, it’s that good!

Amelia is such a great character; she is determined, strong, caring and smart, even when the world she knew shattered in pieces she finds the strength to carry on. I suffer with her and more than once I wanted her to leave Asher Falls behind. At the end I was very happy she stayed because she discovered things about herself she wouldn’t have discovered any other way. Things that left me open mouthed in awe.

Devlin is not physically present in this installment; he is more like a memory of Amelia’s past, a memory she can’t seem to forget.

Thane serves as a distraction not only for Amelia but for us too. He is a character with which I had an ambivalent relationship, I doubted him, I liked him, I didn’t like him, I cared for him and at the end… I will let that for you to discover.   

The drama and mystery is one that will have you biting your nails and trying to read faster and faster, at the same time you will have to stop many times to listen for weird noises or to look for shadows that weren’t there. Yes, it’s this kind of creepy, but a really good creepy, one that will leave you addicted and wanting for more.

The world Mrs. Stevens has created in her series and in The Kingdom, is unique and amazing in a haunting kind of way. One, that days later after finishing the book you will still remember with vivid detail. A world you will want all your friends and family to experience for themselves.  

The end wasn’t a throw-the-book-to-the-wall-cliffhanger, but one that will leave you dying to get your hands on the next installment of this series the Prophet, which will be release in April 24th, 2012.

The Kingdom is one of my favorite reads of this year and I’m sure it’ll be on my top 10 list at the end of the year. I recommend this book to all of you, but especially to those who love modern gothics, paranormal fiction or a good mystery.

My Verdict: 5 paws
 


Other books in the series
The Abandoned
The Restorer
The Kingdom (3/27/2012)
The Prophet (4/24/2012)

Other reviews Goodreads

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Covers of the World: Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

Today in Covers of the World we have Guilty Pleasures. Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton.

  

1. From left to right: English US first edition, English US reissue edition and English UK edition.

  

2. From left to right: Another English edition, Czech first edition and Czech reissue edition.

  

3. From left to right: Bulgarian edition, Dutch edition and another English edition. 

  

4. From left to right: French edition, Italian edition and German edition.

  

5. From left to right: Portuguese edition, Polish edition and Norwegian edition. 

  

6. From left to right: Russian edition, Turkish edition and Spanish edition.


Guilty Pleasures have over 60 editions and almost all the editions have a different cover. Let me tell you, those are lots of covers!! 
From these ones my favorites are the Russian (6.) and Polish edition (5.), I also like the french edition (4.). My least favorites are the english black cover in 2. row and the purplish english cover in 3. row. 
From these ones which is your favorite and least favorite covers? 



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stacia & Stacey Giveaway Hop!


Welcome to the Stacia & Stacey Giveaway Hop!

This hop is hosted by Addicted 2 Heroines, Goldilox and the Three Weres, and Miss Vain’s Paranormal Fantasy - in celebration of the releases of Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane and Blood of the Bayou by Stacey Jay. 

To help celebrate I'm giving away a Winner's Choice of Any Book by Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series or Stacey Jay's Annabelle Lee series.

This giveaway is open international to anywhere The Book Depository ships (for a list of countries included please click on the link). * This giveaway ends on March 27th, 2012 at 11:59 EST. After the winner is notified it has 72 hours to respond. After 72 hours if winner fails to respond and new winner will be chosen. *

If this wasn't enough the ladies hosting this hop are giving a $50 Amazon Gift Card! (US/CA only). Please make sure to fill both forms at the end of this post.

Don't forget to visit other blogs participating in the hop for more amazing prices. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Early Review: Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane


Title: Sacrificial Magic
Author: Stacia Kane
Series: Downside Ghosts, book 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
PublisherRandom House 
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
*Warning: This review contains spoilers from previous books*
“When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.   
Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.   
As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.”

After waiting for a year and eight months (who was counting) finally I was able to read one of my most anticipated books of the year, Sacrificial Magic. 

Sacrificial Magic starts couple of weeks after events in City of Ghosts (book three). Chess is still trying to assimilate and in someway believe than Terrible wants her and they are a couple. They are keeping their relationship secret, they don’t want people to use Chess as a weapon against Terrible. Terrible is Bump’s enforcer.
After a gruesome murder in which magic was used Chess’ drug dealer, Bump, “asks” her to investigate and find the culprit or else… At the same time Chess is giving a new debunker case by the Church, a case that takes her to a school deep into Sloban’s territory. Sloban is not only Bump’s number one enemy but Lex’s father. Before getting involved with Terrible, Chess and Lex had a fling, Lex is also one of Chess’ drugs providers.
The school case is not as easy as Chess originally thought and being in Sloban’s territory makes it even more complicated. Lex is always around trying to help her, but by helping her he’s putting her in a difficult situation with Terrible. And when Chess discovers that there is a connection between the school case and the murder in Bump’s territory things get even more complicated for Chess. 

Sacrificial Magic as previous books of this series is not an easy read or one with butterflies and unicorns, completely the opposite, it’s a dark and gritty one, one that will crush your heart and will have you on the edge of your seat from the first word to the last. 
It took me sometime to get into the story, maybe fifty pages or so, it wasn't that Sacrificial Magic wasn’t good or anything like that, I think my disconnection was related to the time between this book and City of Ghosts. Somehow I also forgot Downspeak and during the first chapters every time Downspeak was spoken I have to go back and read the paragraph couple of times to understand it, after a while I got used to it and it became easier to understand. 

Chess is still the same broken, self-depreciated, drug addict heroine. In this installment we learn more about her past; her childhood memories give us and inside look at some of the reasons of her addiction, even though I don’t condone her addiction I kind of understand her need to get lost in the drugs stupor. 
If I’m being honest I wanted to smack her more than once, her hopelessness and self-loathing got tiresome at times but at the same time I understood her and wanted to hug her and tell her everything will be better, she just needed to believe and trust herself more. 
Mrs. Kane has masterfully created in Chess a heroine that shouldn't be love or accepted, but after getting to know her better we don’t have any other choice but care for her and wish for her a better and happier future. One future I hope will come someday soon. 
It’s the same case with Terrible, he should be an anti-hero, he should be a man difficult to connect with or sympathize with, but after knowing him we forget his physical flaws and his job description, we start to see the real Terrible, the caring, smart and lovable man that is hidden under the rough facade, and after seeing the real Terrible we can’t help to love him. 

Lex plays a bit role in this installment, page after page he is testing Chess commitment to Terrible just by being close to her. He shows us once more that in his way he really cares for Chess and wants her to be ok. There is a change of power at the end of the book, one that left me dying to get my hands in the next book, Chasing Magic (06/26/2012). 

New characters are introduced in this book, characters I wish to see more of in future books, particularly Lex’s sister Blue. From previous characters I loved Elder Griffin, in this installment it is obvious he cares for Chess; he is almost like a father figure to her, I think he suspects something about Chess addiction and I really hope to see and learn more about him in Chasing Magic.

Sacrificial Magic is not only a great addition to a great series, it is Urban Fantasy at its best. I can’t recommend enough this book and this series in general. Sacrificial Magic could be read as a stand alone but there is so much background story that to get the whole effect I think preferably they should be read in order. 

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series
Unholy Ghosts
Unholy Magic
City of Ghosts
Sacrificial Magic (3/27/2012)
Chasing Magic (06/26/2012)

Other reviews Goodreads

* From March 20th-27th I’m participating in a Stacia Kane Blog Hop. Don't forget to stop by, there are lots of blogs participating and giving away great prices. *

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