Monday, May 31, 2010

Paranormal Book Review: Larissa Ione's Desire Unchained

Hells Bells! I just finished reading Larissa Ione’s Book 2 in her Demonica Novels, Desire Unchained. Out of all four of the Seminus brothers, Shade’s story is the most unique.

Shade, like his brother Eidolon in Book 1, Pleasure Unbound (click here for my review), is about to go through the change: transforming himself into an insatiable sex demon. Shade’s only saving grace is finding a mate. The book begins with Shade waking up in a dungeon chained next to his ex-human girlfriend, Runa.

A year prior, she was nothing more than an innocent fling for the Seminus Demon. But for Runa, Shade was her heart’s desire until that fateful night when he betrayed her. It was a rude awakening for Runa when she caught Shade tangled in bed with two other female demons. Not only was he cheating on her but she found out his true identity, a demon. The obscene sight ripped out her heart, making her abruptly flee and by accident she ran directly into a raving werewolf. And yes, he bit her. Now, a year later, she’s a werewolf herself, stuck in a dungeon with man she loathes, her ex, Shade.

Shade broke her heart the first time and it was riveting poetic justice the way Runa wielded Shade’s heart the second time around. While being held captive by a dark enemy, they reconnect in a way neither one expected. Shade bonds himself to Runa, and is now mated to her for eternity. And what’s great – at least my favorite part – is she’s unable to bond to him, which made Shade deliciously vulnerable. The only question that haunted their romance was would Runa walk away? My oh my…how the tables are turned in this eternal relationship.

Trust is a common thread that flows effortlessly throughout this book. Ione is a master at tying in an over arching plot that brought everything back to family. Although this was not my favorite book, it was still a wonderful addition to the Demonica Series. Ione delivers with hilarious dialogue as usual, which I just couldn’t get enough of.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Desire Unchained a 3 ½.

Until next time…read a Demonica Novel.

Mina B.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Creepy Classics: Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

This month’s Creepy Classic is Oscar Wilde’s bizarre tale, The Picture of Dorian Gray. As strange as this book was, it certainly kept me entertained at every page. Wilde explores the concept of a few deadly sins in his creepy story. Dorian Gray, the main character, is cursed with one of the most well-known deadly sins, Vanity.
From the first few pages I was drawn into Wilde’s clever dialogue. In the beginning, Wilde introduced two main characters. First was Basil; a talented artist who covets his latest muse, Dorian Gray. When depicting Basil’s personality, he writes with fevered passion about Basil’s attraction to Dorian. Lord Henry is quite another character. If Dorian Gray is riddled with the sin of vanity, then I dare say, Lord Henry effortlessly symbolized another sin, Envy. Both Basil and Henry are smitten by the likes of Dorian Gray; the young, rich and beautiful bachelor. Basil viewed him as living art; an inspiration for his greatest work. Lord Henry saw Dorian as a science project, identifying ways to poison his mind.

One of Dorian’s many character flaws is his weak mind. Because he often lacks an original thought, he falls victim to Lord Henry’s influence and soon becomes as callous as his friend, Lord Henry. Basil sees how Lord Henry’s influence corrupts Dorian in the beginning. He begs both of his friends to take care, but soon Basil’s own insecurities gets himself thrown to the waste side. But before parting, Basil gives Dorian his greatest masterpiece; a portrait of Dorian Gray, one painted to perfection. When Dorian first sees the portrait, he becomes jealous of its beauty, knowing that as time passes on, he will grow old and the painting will remain timeless or young, rather.  It was Lord Henry that suggested that notion to Dorian. And from that point on, Dorian became obsessed with the portrait. So much so, he reverently prayed that instead of him aging, he begged that the painting age and that he keep his youth.

However vain it was, it was a simple request. One, he never thought a moment more about, until he began to notice changes in the image. The portrait altered whenever Dorian acted in poor taste. Under Lord Henry’s influence, Dorian’s dormant, sadistic mind flourished. And from that moment, Dorian began living his life with little consequence, treating people wickedly and living life for his pleasure only. He could care less, of course, since he had his beauty – that is all that seems to matter.

Not too longer after, Dorian saw the errors in his judgment but only when he glances at his marred picture. It’s as if he’s staring into his own conscious and it warps his brain, making him insane towards the end of the book. I won’t spoil the classic story for you. I’ve relayed too much already. If you want to know what happens to the vain gentleman, Dorian Gray – you’ll have to read for yourself. Yes, it’s that good.

Wilde created a timeless piece of fiction when he wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray. On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give The Picture of Dorian Gray a 4.

Until next time, if you looking for something to read, try a Creepy Classic.

Mina B.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Top 15 Popular Young Adult Vampire Series

I had the pleasure of coming across a post from not too long ago. They wrote a special feature: What Is Your Favorite Young Adult Vampire Series? In the post - which I found insightful- they listed several YA Vampire Novels.

Since I’m a bona fide list collector, I felt the topic was well worth repeating or reposting, rather. But what I treasured most about the original post was the small book description that followed each series. Check it out if you get the time. If not, I’ve put the list below. These are in no particular order and many of them I’ve read. There are a few I haven’t but since reading this article, I’ve flagged a couple for my “must read” list. Check out my blog for previous book reviews with authors like Richelle Mead of the killer Vampire Academy Series.

1. Vladimir Tod series by Heather Brewer

2. The Blood Coven series by Mari Mancusi

3. Den of Shadows collection by Amelia Atwater Rhodes

4. Bloodline Series by Kate Cary

5. Vampire Beach series by Alex Duval

6. Blue Bloods series by Melissa De la Cruz

7. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

8. House of Night series by P.C. and Kristen Cast

9. The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine

10. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

11. The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith

12.Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber

13. Vampirates series by Justin Somper

14. Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan

15. Evernight series by Claudia Gray

Until next time…read any of the YA series above. I promise you’ll be thrilled you did.

Mina B.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Paranormal Book Review: Richelle Mead's Spirit Bound

Wow. Richelle’s Mead’s Book 5 in The Vampire Academy series, Spirit Bound, was quite a read. Where do I start? First and foremost, there will be spoilers in this review. So, readers beware.

In Book 4, Blood Promise, Rose has returned from a horrendous and unspeakable journey to Siberia. Having failed her mission to kill Dimitri and release his soul, she’s learns of a possible way to save him. It’s a long shot, but one she feels she must take. It involves freeing one of her and Lissa’s enemies from prison, Victor Dashkov. Victor’s brother, Robert (another spirit user) is the only rumored spirit user that supposedly knows how to bring back Stigoi from the dead. And with that, Rose sets off on her last effort to save Dimitri.

In Book 5, now that Rose is back, preparing for finals, Dimitri embarks on his own mission, to kill Rose. He torments Rose by sending her sadistic love notes, promising she’ll die at his hand only. Those letters were brief but impactful and I couldn’t get enough of them. Spirit Bound starts with one of those letters, just as Rose’s final exams are about to begin. She passes her finals with flying colors, of course, all the while scheming on ways to get Victor out of prison.

After graduation, Rose head’s to Court with Lissa, where they both then set off to break Victor out of jail. With Dimitri hot on her tail, I was surprised Rose ventured outside Court’s walls so haphazardly, bringing along innocent friends in the process. Nevertheless, that was part of the allure of the story. Rose had a mission and she relentlessly focused on it at all times. Not surprising, the prison break was a success as was the meeting with Robert. Everything was moving along swimmingly until Dimitri showed up. Did they rekindle of their romance at this reunion? Hell no, but they did exchange a few heartwrenching comments, followed by a gripping fight. To describe the scene in one word; awesome.

Rose makes countless mistakes in her plight to save Dimitri. After reading the previous Book, Blood Promise, I expected Rose to be more mature from her Siberia experiences. Having faced death so many times, I really thought she’d be more responsible with her decision making. For me, it was like her character lost its wisdom – the kind that comes with death and despair - and she reverted back to being a young teenager again instead of a maturing into a vibrant 18 year old. That aspect of the book was disappointing. She continued down a destructive path, making fatal errors in her judgment and putting people’s lives at risk. Alas, it was all in the name of love, so I’ll concede to Mead’s motives.

By the middle of Spirit Bound, Rose and Lissa do the inconceivable and free Dimitri’s soul. Yes, I said it; he’s back from the dead. Unfortunately, he’s got far too much emotional baggage from his stint as a Strigoi, and so he rejects Rose. It was terribly excruciating to read. Rose was stuck in the middle of an emotional tragedy; one of her own making. Dimitri didn’t want anything to do with her and it was just sad. What’s even worse is how Rose treats Adrian. I adore Adrian and at times found myself begging for Rose to give him a chance but she doesn’t. Rose’s heart belongs to Dimitri and he does nothing but rips it to shreds, over and over again.

I was completely engrossed in this book up until about page 300. Once I realized, Dimitri’s brooding nature and unwillingness to rekindle a romance with Rose, I felt dejected – just like Rose. All her efforts were futile. In between the tumultuous love triangle of Rose, Dimitri and Adrian, there was an interesting twist beginning with Rose’s outburst against Tatiana’s new law allowing young dhampirs to graduate at 16. This had most Moroi and Dhampirs in an uproar. And by the end of the book, Rose, with her flippant mouth and poor judgment, managed to completely alienate herself from pretty much everybody. With nowhere to turn, she receives some intel about Lissa’s Dad and begins to delve into some mysterious bank deposits. And that’s when the unthinkable happens.

I won’t say anymore other than what I’ve spoiled thus far. I may not have approved of Rose’s behavior, but I still reveled in this book.  I promise it was a spellbinding read. If you love The Vampire Academy series, you’ll love this addition too.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Spirit Bound a 4.

Until next time…read, read, read this series.

Mina B.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Richelle Mead's Cover Art for Last Sacrifice

I saw a blog post on Off My BookShelf for the cover art for Richelle Mead’s final book in the Vampire Academy series, Last Sacrifice.

It looks beautiful, doesn’t it? As an added commentary, this cover art is not officially posted on Richelle Mead’s website, so it’s possible this is just a version of the cover art and not the final. I’ll keep my readers posted on any updates. Last Sacrifice comes out December 14, 2010.

And as a special reminder, Spirit Bound is out as of today. Yeah! I just got my hands on the hard back today as well. Wahoo! I plan reading  it a.s.a.p. and promise a review before week’s end.

Until next time…read on my friends.

Mina B.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Paranormal Book Review: Larissa Ione's Pleasure Unbound

My first introduction into Larissa Ione’s Demonica Novels was when a friend of mine lent me Book 3, Passion Unleashed. I made a colossal mistake and read the series out of sequence and am sad to say, I didn’t get it at first. It’s not that I didn’t care for it, I thought it was okay.

But… I just didn’t understand the hype. That is, of course, until that same friend of mine (Hi Sandra) lent me the other three books in the series. And thank God she did. I zipped through books with pleasure, devouring the words as if they were my only source of food.
Larissa Ione is a killer author. The first book in her Demonica Novel series, Pleasure Unbound, is my first review for Ione. Frankly, as far as paranormal romance goes, I loved it.

Eidolon is the head physician and part owner of the Underworld General, an underground hospital for demons and other cryptic monsters. Eidolon is a Seminus demon; a sex demon who unless mated will turn into a raving sex fiend focused on nothing but impregnating his female conquests. The transformation is called S’genesis and Eidolon, the oldest of three Seminus brothers, is the first to go through the hellacious process. As his S’genesis nears, he meets Tayla, a demon-slayer who shows up in Eidolon’s hospital with wounds so severe, he’s forced to make the grueling choice to save her life or let her die.

Eidolon is the consummate professional, known for his cool disposition and fair judgment. He’s usually able to keep is sexual urges at bay, until he meets Tayla. Neither one were prepared for their fatal attraction. And the heat that resonates from this book is too great for words. An absolute must read.

There are two aspects about this author that I applaud. First, in this book, Ione starts the series out with a bang. Holy hell the sensual fever between these two unlikely characters, the demon (Eidolon) and the slayer, (Tayla) is the spellbinding. It’s such a page turner, it sucks you right in as if you’re a patient in that damned hospital, sitting idle watching all the action. But what I loved most about Ione is her wit. Man, is she hilarious. And the way she used her wicked humor within the Seminus brother’s dialogue is unmatched.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Larissa Ione’s Pleasure Unbound a 4.5.  Oh yeah…it’s that good.

Until next a Demonica Novel.

Mina B.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Paranormal Book Review: Lara Adrian’s Veil of Midnight

Book 5 of Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed Series is Veil of Midnight. This book features Russian born, Nikolai, a fierce, adrenaline-junkie vampire breed warrior assigned to warn Gen 1, Sergio Yakut about assassination attempts on all Gen 1 warriors. While traipsing through Montreal night clubs, investigating the whereabouts of the reclusive Sergio, Nikolai is attacked by Sergio’s thugs and meets the lovely but lethal breed mate female, Renata.

Renata yields a deadly power that can momentarily cripple breed warriors. When Nikolai first meets the female, he’s impressed with her militant tactics, her sword fighting ability and ice-cold demeanor. To Nikolai, she’s a sexy, young vixen; tough enough to match his lust for titanium steel, hand-to-hand combat and best of all, love.

Despite a recent assassin attempt on his life, Sergio dismisses Nikolai and the Order’s help. But in good faith, Sergio mistakenly allows Nikolai to conduct an investigation on his secluded property. Once onsite, Nikolai was horrified by what he uncovers. The story began here and continued down a rabbit hole of lies, back-stabbing and murder. Adrian methodically integrated Sergio’s sadistic world into ongoing plot of the puppet master, Dragos and his breeding toy, the Ancient.
The clincher for me with this book was the intro of two other characters. First, Mira, a young psychic girl and then Hunter, Dragos’s enslaved breed warrior assigned to kill Sergio. Between these new killer characters, and the growing lust between Nikolai and Renata, Adrian had the makings of yet another classic paranormal thriller.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, Veil of Midnight is a 4. Don’t miss out on Lara Adrian’s killer Midnight Breed Series.

Until next time…read about the breed.
Mina B.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lara Adrian’s Announces Title of Book 9 in her Midnight Breed Series: Deeper Than Midnight

Lara Adrian announced the title for Book 9 in her Midnight Breed series, Deeper Than Midnight. And as a special perk, she's released the book's cover art.

Just a reminder this is Hunter's story. You know, Hunter, the Gen 1 vampire breed warrior that was bred and trained for one thing…killing. If you don't recall, we first met Hunter back in Book 5, Veil of Midnight. He was the assasin assigned to kill Gen 1 breed warrior, Sergei Yakut. Hunter's somewhat of a fledging, less than 50 yrs old. When on assignment about ready to strike, Hunter stumbles upon Mira, a young girl with freakish psychic powers who show’s Hunter his future. Hunter soon broke free from Dragos’s shackles and then joined The Order. And from what I recall about his character is he's a quiet, subdued and an efficient killing machine. I'm truly excited for his story but honestly not half as excited as I am to read Sterling Chase's story aka, Harvard. Still praying that’s coming soon.

Deeper than Midnight releases sometime in January 2011.

Until next a little, would ya.

Mina B

Saturday, May 8, 2010

News Flash: Lara Adrian releases Taken By Midnight Excerpt

A few days ago, I got a chance to review Lara Adrian’s excerpt of her upcoming novel, Taken by Midnight. Yes, the excerpt is live on her website so check it out. Holy moly, I can’t wait to read this book.
First of all, before you read it, you should’ve read Shades of Midnight. And for that matter, you should’ve read the entire Midnight Breed series. If not, you may be lost when reading the excerpt, not to mention missing out on a killer series. Anyway, I read it and was salivating for more by the time I finished. I can’t get enough of Lara Adrian’s vampire breed warriors and Brock’s story promises to be hot, hot, HOT!

Check it out now, before I go rogue on you and have one of those warriors on my tail. Wait…that might not be a bad thing.

Until next time…Can’t wait for Taken By Midnight out September 28.

Mina B.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Countdown to Richelle Mead’s Spirit Bound

Less than 2 weeks, 12 days and 288 hours until Richelle Mead’s Spirit Bound is released. Holy cow...I can’t wait. If you haven’t had a chance to read the first four books, do so before Book 5 comes out. You can’t even imagine what you’re missing: suspense, action. mystery, fantasy and above all, romance. These books have it all and they are only YA.  Take a gander at the Spirit Bound excerpt.

I spent some time earlier this year, reviewing the other books in Mead’s series. See the books below and check out my reviews.

Book 1, Vampire Academy - My Review
Book 2, Frostbite My Review
Book 3, Shadow Kiss - My Review
Book 4, Blood Promise - My Review

I’ll get my kindle copy of Spirit Bound and will probably bang it out in no time – that’s how much I’m crazy about Richelle Mead and her Vampire Academy series.

Stay tuned as I plan on reviewing her book later this month.

Until next time…can’t wait for Spirit Bound.

Mina B.