Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Creepy Classic: Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera

My Creepy Classic for July is none other than Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. I barely got through this book due to my hectic summer schedule. Where do I start with this review? The book conceptually was really cool. But the beginning was a bit hum drum for my taste. For me, the book finally captivated my attention once I read the part describing Christine's past. Her sweet childhood memories with the viscount, Raoul, were lovely, truly. Christine’s father's fable about the “Angel of Music” was even more intriguing, especially once Gaston wove its concept into Christine’s reality with the phantom. Upon Christine’s father’s death he swore he’d send her the “Angel of Music” to give her the gift of song. And several year’s later she found herself at the Paris Opera House, stumbling upon the phantom, her real life “Angel of Music.”

Gaston created a spellbinding world within a world with the Opera Ghost. For the better part of the book it was - Who is he? What is he? Is he real or is he a mere tale, created by overactive imagination of the patrons at the Paris Opera House. I found myself laughing several times when the managers read the demands of the Opera Ghost. And what ludicrous demands they were such as his own private box and his financial stipends etc… This notion of a being or figment of people’s imagination was all speculation at first – at least for some people. As the story continued to unfold, Christine becomes more paramount in the sadistic, bizarre realm of the Opera Ghost. Midway through the novel, Raoul learns the ghost has a name, Erik. And things aren’t as ghostly as they were. They are actually worse, creepier and possibly deadlier.

But the tale teeters on a love triangle between a childhood romance of Raoul and Christine and then, of course, the infamous Opera Ghost, Erik. At times, as the reader, I wanted to reach in and smack Raoul for being wimpy, crying like a love sick fool all the time. But, there was nothing to do about it. He was definitely young (20) with hopeless, romantic tendencies towards the woman of his dreams, Christine. And poor Christine was stuck in the middle of a sullen life, filled with mostly death and despair. Her light was music and her love was song. Raoul represented childhood memories, reminding her of a time of happiness while Erik inspired her to conjure the voice of a goddess. When she sang, she transcended people’s hearts into a blissful state. Her voice was a gift to bewitch and to behold. She was the treasure that both Raoul and Erik needed to possess. And so Gaston perilously balanced this love triangle throughout his story.

However, what’s so wonderful and memorable about this book is its tragic villain, Erik – The Phantom. His morose nature, vengeful spirit, passion for music, and love for Christine plus his deranged underground world are what make this book a classic.

I can’t tell you what happens because that would just be wrong. For starters, you could probably just go out and rent the movie but then you’d miss the genius of the story from its originator. No, you must read the tale on your own.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera a 4.

Until next time…read a Creepy Classic, would ya?

Mina B.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Paranormal Book Review: Lynsay Sands's A Quick Bite

The first Lynsay Sands's book I picked up to read was Book 1 in the Argeneau series, A Quick Bite. I’m so glad I did…because it was really good.

Lissianna is the youngest of the Argeneau family.  At 200+, she’s the baby of the family.  Can you imagine?  I was hooked from the beginning of the book.  Young psychologist, Dr. Greg Hewitt, is overworked, overtired and rarely plays.  He’s quite dull, really.  And just when he’s about to go on an extended holiday - one he’s in dire need of - he ends up being kidnapped by Lissianna’s mother, Marguerite.  Uh…sort of, anyway. 

When you’re an immortal vampire, in Lynsay’s world, you have the ability to control the minds of humans and sometimes read the minds of immortals.  And that’s technically how Greg found himself tied to Lissianna’s bed. 

What first drew me into this series was how the main immortal/vampire character was female as opposed to male.  I loved that aspect of this book. Lissianna is this sweet, young and innocent vampire with one really big problem.  When she sees blood, she faints.  Marguerite, the meddlesome mother and full-time matchmaker, planned for this young psychologist to not only treat her daughter’s phobia but also considered him lifemate material.  I loved Marguerite from the beginning.  She’s the ideal matriarch for any family.  And there’s not a thing she wouldn’t do to ensure her children’s happiness.

What makes a person lifemate material?  The two people can’t read each other’s thoughts. This is essential in the immortal world since how much of relationship could you have with someone if you could control their minds and any given turn?

There’s more to the story than a so-called kidnapping, an immortal romance and a blood phobia. Lissianna and Greg face some near death experiences, being submerged in sunlight is one way to kill an eternal relationship before it’s even begun. We meet Lucian too: Lissianna’s uncle and Marguerite’s brother-in-law (and frankly the patriarch of the Argeneau family). He comes in with his commanding presence, and tried to put the screws to Greg. He, like Marguerite, would do just about anything to protect his family too. But he lacks the grace and subtlety that Marguerite has. I so loved Lucian. And just you wait, he gets his story too in Bite Me If You Can.

In the end, do Greg and Lissianna have an eternal happily ever after? You’ll just have to read it yourself to find out. This is a cute storypost, wearing a big red bow. Marguerite put him there. He was to be a present for Lissianna…but not that kind of present. Trust me…it get’s funnier.
; one you won’t regret reading. If you love vampires, immortals, romance, and great characters, then you’ll enjoy this book. And quite possibly adore the series.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give A Quick Bite 3.5.

Until next time…read something good, read the Argeneau series.

Mina B.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Coming up next, "All Things Lynsay Sands"...yeah buddy!

I have big news, everyone. BIG. HUGE. MONUMENTAL. I’m still working out the kinks but I’ve just confirmed my interview with New York Times Best Selling author, Lynsay Sands. Did you get that? LYNSAY SANDS. OK. Breathe. In and out…in and out. (I know.) I’m equally excited if not beyond ecstatic. She’s one of my favorite and I’ve read 14 of her books, both from her paranormal and highlander series. She rocks and I’m totally thrilled to have her here on my blog as my special guest.
Stay tuned as I work out all the dates for this killer interview. Plus, I’m also working on a giveaway as well. I hope you’re sitting down but…I’m giving away (courtesy of Lynsay that is)…Love Bites. How awesome is that? I hope to confirm the interview dates and giveaway dates etc…in the next week, so check back to get an update under News Flash.

Now…for those of you who aren’t clued in… Lynsay Sands is a killer paranormal romance author of the Argeneau vampire/life mate series. I’ve reviewed her most recent anthology in the series featuring Tiny here.  As a special treat, I also plan on doing several reviews to get you up to speed within the coming weeks. Hold on to your skirts girls, cuz we are going for a ride. Reading and writing paranormal books is a love for me. So, if you’re new to the genre, Lynsay Sands is a hell of a way to start. Below are the books I plan on reviewing before this special interview day. I’ll be announcing that day by next week so check back. 

Be sure and take a walk with me as I feature these books and then top it off with a Lynsay Sands's special interview plus a "Free Book Giveaway" of a coveted book in Lynsay’s series, Love Bites. It’s hot, hot, hot. And I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Stay tuned.

Until next time…read, read, read anything by Lynsay Sands.

Mina B.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

2010 Comic Con International Starts Today!

2010 Comic Con International starts today!  The coolest of anything supernatural is featured at this show. Killer authors like Richelle Mead and Charlaine Harris will be in attendance along with tons of other celeb writers (Oh and other celebs too but who cares about those actor prima donnas, right?) I won’t be there but I will be watching for all the latest news. Brian Truitt from USA Weekend’s Who’s News is reporting real time at this year’s Comic Con killer event. Check out his author archive to get your up-to-date information. He’s not only moderating a Supernatural panel, but also hosting a vampire lit panel. How cool is that? Best of luck Bryan, you lucky…

Until next time…Comic Con. Comic Con. Comic Con.

Mina B.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Paranormal Book Review: Kresley Cole's A Hunger Like No Other

Kresley Cole’s  A Hunger Like No Other (The Immortals After Dark Series, Book 1) is next on my review list. An author friend of mine recommended this book to read and so I quickly sought out this paranormal romance. And I am happy that I did. It was a really good read.

Lachlain has been trapped in a dungeon in the catacombs, being held captive by the vampires for the last 15 decades. Wow…that’s a lifetime in the clink. But when you’re an immortal, 150 years is a drop in the bucket, right?

Lachlain is king of the Lykae (werewolves), captured by Demestriu, the king of the vampires.  He escapes when he senses her…his life mate, Emmaline. And then the story begins. She’s a halfling, part Valkyrie and part vampire. Lachlain was delusional from his stint in the vampire prison. To break free, he tore off his leg and scoured all of Paris, searching for his life mate. Once he tackles her, he discovers she’s a vampire and nearly loses his mind again at the cruelty of his fate. His life mate is one of a sworn enemy, the vampires.

The first aspect that I adored about this book was when Lachlain first sees Emma. It’s as if his soul recognizes her. This romantic interlude is so tender and endearing when he embraced her, whispering sweet nothings about finally finding her – after over a thousand years.  Can you imagine?

Afterwards he's was unsure as to whether to trust her or not and is downright cruel to her because of who she is. He underestimates Emma, thinking her more like her vampire kin.

This is an unwanted relationship or more like abduction to Emma. Her kidnapper is dirty, disgusting and deranged at first. After he showers and became more accustomed to his surroundings...he's attractive as hell but mocks her heritage in one breath and then gently holds her in another. Emma and Lachlain relationship is tumultuous from the beginning. Emma’s never been away from her family ever until she embarked on a trip to Paris. She’s so naive to the immortal world, let alone the human world. She’s never been intimate with a man until Lachlain attacks her and forced her into an intimacy she’s unaccustomed to.

It sounds strange, I know but it’s oh so good. You’ll be hooked on this series after this book. It has it all: romance, action, suspense, love and mystical creatures. Werewolves, Vampires and Valkeries, Oh my.

A Hunger Like No Other is nonstop hot, sensuous and above all things…fun. If you love those mystical components that are paramount in a paranormal romance, then you’ll love this book. On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give A Hunger Like No Other a 4.

Until next time, read and submerge yourself in a riveting story.

Mina B.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Paranormal Book Review: Rachel Caine’s Midnight Alley, Morganville Vampires

Book 3 in Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series is Midnight Alley. Warning…there are SPOILERS in this review. It’s kind of hard not to mention them because Caine loves to suspend her readers at the end of all her novels. So with that being said…

In Book 2, The Dead Girls’ Dance, Michael Glass has gone ahead and done the unthinkable and become a vampire. It’s not like he had a choice. Michael’s this ubber cool guy who in the beginning was mystically confined to his house, Glass House. Like a spirit, he’s stuck during the day, invisible to humans but at night, he materializes into flesh. His character is so damn cool; I actually wish I knew a guy like that. Anyway, he has this protective side and because of his “condition” he wasn’t much use outside the walls of his family estate. And so he gets Amelia – the Morganville Founder - to turn him so he could help save Shane. Now he’s the first vampire and the first to be created within the last 50 years. I swear Michael Glass could not be any cooler if he tried.
And to boot…Claire has pledge allegiance to Amelia. Poor thing. I’m sort of waiting for her to mature a bit more but oh wait…that may never happen since it is YA. (That’s not entirely fair since she does play the Morganville game well.)  Amelia wants more from her than just a pint of blood and to protect her. She wants Claire to train or become an apprentice to Myrnin, an ancient eccentric, delusional and mostly insane vampire. Myrnin is an old friend of Amelia’s. I can’t say enough about Myrnin. I wish to God he wasn’t so crazy in this novel but, oh well. Caine has a knack for introducing loveable characters in and out of her Morganville series. Now as to what Claire’s be groomed for…that’s another story. Could it be she’s meant to help the vampires?

A few sub plots have taken hold. Monica is seeking a cozy alliance with Claire of all people. Claire will have to watch her back as so will Eve. Not because of Monica though, but because Eve's brother is back and stalking her. He’s not as loveable as Myrne but with his creepy, dark nature he fits perfectly among the demented Morganville residents. Where the hell did any of this come from? Who knows but it’s delicious as hell. Read on, my friends. This book is fast paced and oh so good. Claire and Shane get heated at times but their romance continues to smolder, never truly igniting due to Claire’s age. Hell...she’s 16. Let’s not make her into a slut just yet. Bravo, Caine. Way to keep the novels so damn delectable that you don’t need the smut!

On the Mina Burrows Killometer, Rachel Caine’s Midnight Alley is a 4.

Until next time…read about the Morganville Vampires and especially...Michael Glass.

Mina B.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy coming soon at a theater near you…

New York Times Best Selling Author, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy is coming soon to a theater near you says Preger Entertainment in a recent press release.  Well, I’ve seen several clips about this and I’m not surprised that with all the vampire fever there is, that someone finally set plans in motion to have this movie made.

Now, Preger Entertainment is poised to take over the reins and bring this classic vampire YA tale to the big screen. How cool is that? Not to sound negative but I hope Preger doesn’t screw it up like with other classic fiction novels that moved on to be made into movies. And I think we all know which ones we are talking about.  Between big budgets, diva actors and typical red tape, too many times we see some of our most beloved books butchered at the box office. I pray that doesn’t happen to VA. That would be a crime.

The viral energy about this series on the web is crazy. Just take a look at some of the fan based videos on you tube. Fans are clamoring about who they want to play Rose Hathaway and of course Dimitri.

Ooooh, I can’t wait.

Until next time…if you can’t wait for the movies, read the Vampire Academy series.

Mina B.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Paranormal Book Review: Rachel Caine's The Dead Girls Dance, Morganville Vampires

Book 2 in Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire Series is The Dead Girls' Dance . I have to say that Caine is merciless when it comes to her cliffhangers. I swear I couldn’t put these series down when I first laid my eyes upon them. READER BEWARE: SPOILERS will be mentioned in this posting.

After Book 1, Glass Houses , Caine suspended her readers into pandemonium and we all fretted as to whether the beloved Michael Glass was dead and gone for good. And thank god she didn’t kill him off or else this past winter I would’ve used the novel for kindling. More unique characters were introduced that lit up this dark realm of Morganville. Shane’s psycho father (and former resident) is back with one plight in mind: vengeance on the vampires. Dealing with grief from losing his wife and daughter at the hands of the vampires, he and Shane have a score to settle.

The ever present issue of protection continues to loom for the once independent Glass house residents. Since Shane stands accused of a vampire’s murder, Amelia threatens to pull her protection. And Oliver, among other chess players, demands Shane’s blood as payment for supposedly killing one of his own. Claire and Eve have their work cut out for them in this book as they attempt to save Shane.

Monica’s still around and still bitchy as ever. If you recall, she’s that mean girl /“wannabe a vampire” and I promise you, when you read this book, you’ll be pleased to see her get a thrashing. A few other characters were introduced like Sam, a distant relative of Michael and old flame of Amelia’s. And, of course, there’s the two-faced frat boy, Ian. All I have to say is thank God for Sam or else Claire would’ve been faced with the reality of rape instead of just vampires.

This book was a thriller. Claire is a diehard hero who, despite her naivety, has the wherewithal to play the game, pick a side when needed while always remaining faithful to her friends, especially Shane. Like most series, you really MUST read Book 1, Glass Houses first. It’s a killer book too and you won’t be disappointed. See my review of Book 1 here. The downside, as usual, is another gut wrenching shocker at the end – which then beckons you to read on to Book 3, Midnight Alley . It’s a deadly addiction, these Morganville Vampires, but then there are such things as good vices.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Rachel Caine’s The Dead Girls' Dance a 4.

Until next time…read about Morganville's Vampires.

Mina B.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Free Book Giveaway Contest winner is…

Congratulations to Wildcat 32 for winning Stormwalker by Jennifer Ashley’s alter ego, Allyson James. To conclude the “All Things Jennifer Ashley” week, I want to thank all the contestants that commented and especially thank Jennifer Ashley who took time out of her busy schedule to be interviewed. For those of you who missed my author interview with Jennifer Ashley, click here to read some insight into a truly gifted writer.

Looking for more information on Stormwalker? Visit Allyson James site to read the first chapter.

As a special reminder, Jennifer Ashley’s Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage releases July 6th and promises to be an instant hit. Get a glimpse into the highly spirited characters by reading Chapter 1 by visiting Jennifer Ashley's site.

Also, for more information the Mackenzie series, click here for my review of Book 1:
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. 
And for Book 2, click here to see my review for Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage.

Thanks again for participating and check back frequently this month, as I’ll be running another giveaway contest for my mystic mind fans.

Until next time…read more about the Mackenzies.

Mina B.