Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Creepy Classic Review: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

What can I say about a classic like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?  Brilliant, methodical, soul-searching... yes, all of these and more.  With fevered intensity, Victor Frankenstein conspired to wield the hand of God.  Shelley artfully described Victor’s outlandish beliefs and passion for the impossible, and I found it inspiring to read, to say the least.  Such dedication to one’s plight to forgo relationships, food, sleep to the point that one's life becomes a hodge-podge of research testing and theorizing.

Salvaging spare dead body parts to create life, Frankenstein was a man obsessed.  At first, he believed he’s done what he so passionately strove to do, create a living, breathing being.  When he wakes from his one night’s slumber, he realizes the thing is wretched and horrible to view.  In a mad dash, he leaves, retreating in his mind, conspiring on his next moves.  In doing so, he stumbles upon an old friend and feels inclined to bring him back to him home.  This next part was "laugh out loud" funny. Frankenstein’s a character.  He believes the monster’s in his home and won’t let his friend in see his place.  Once he realizes the beast is gone, he joyfully invites his friend in for refreshments. Oh, joy!  Like I said, he’s a character.

Moments later, Frankenstein faints, succumbing to vicious fever.  Finally reviving from his debilitating condition, he thinks he’s imagined the monster – and that he doesn’t really exist.  Two years later, he spies the creature and suspects the wretched thing actually does.  In his mind, he traces it back to that fevered night.  “Alas, I had turned loose into the world a depraved wretch…”  Despair swallows him once he believes the monster is the murderer of a beloved brother, William.  Is Frankenstein’s plight all in vain and his monster retaliating, an eye for an eye?  Or in the beast’s case, with my life, I give you death?

Frankenstein finally meets the monster.  And the beast speaks too and quite eloquently I might add. He’s lived the last two-year experiencing life, learning emotions, absorbing every nuance of detail…and for what?  To hear the monster describe his short-time living among humans and thereafter, the sorrows and dejection that rob his mind was gut-wrenching.  One can’t help but feel sorry for the beast.  And now he wants a companion.  A female one too. Can you blame him?

The story morosely unfolds from there, delving deeper into the challenge that Victor has.  Can he concede to the demands of a wretched beast?  What guilt besieges him in creating life in the first place?  And now he must do it again?  Can he?  What about his own life?  What’s it worth at this point?  I won’t say anymore you’ll have to read it yourself.

Shelley was so ahead of her time with her gothic, gloomy tale, it confounds me.  In embarking on this novel, she created an eternal stamp in the literary world of monsters we crave so much today.  And her discussions on life – living it and the attempts to create it – well, just look at the world we live in now.  Amazing.  Mary Shelley was amazing and so is her classic, Frankenstein. I give it a 5, hands down.

Now you have no excuse. Go get this book and get it now.

Until next time…looking for something to read…try a Creepy Classic, try Frankenstein.

Mina B.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Free Book Contest: Kiersten White's Paranormalcy

It’s contest time! This time my free book contest is for Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy. It’s getting rave reviews and now one lucky winner can get this book for FREE. This YA is the debut novel of Kiersten, featuring vampires, werewolves, faeries, shapeshifters and probably a whole heck of a lot more.  And guess what...mystical creatures crave normalcy too.

Starting now through October 12th, enter to win this killer YA book (see details below.) Also, check back soon as I plan on reviewing my giveaway, Paranormalcy.

My FREE Book Contest for
Paranormalcy ends Oct. 12th eod.

From Kiersten’s website:

Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated.

To Enter:
- You MUST be a Google Friend Connect Follower (I know. I know.  But blog, my contest, my rules. :0) )

...and you MUST

- Leave a comment on this post.
- Leave an EMAIL for contact! (if you don’t feel comfortable leaving it here, email me at Mina Burrows)

Extra Entries:
+4 For all OLD/NEW Followers on Twitter@MinaBurrows
+1 For ReTweeting this contest (limited to one RT, unless you’re Conan O’Brien)
+3 For Becoming my Fan/Like on Facebook
+2 Be my friend on Goodreads/Mina Burrows

This contest is limited to US & Canada only.

Good Luck!

Until next time…Enter today and tell your friends.

Mina B.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two Really Cool Contests

There are two killer contests brewing out in the blogosphere. One is all about The Vampire Academy and the other from one of my Blog followers, Missy’s Reads & Reviews. See below to read about all the amazing prizes.

Contest #1 – Vampire Book Club's Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge

So if you know anything about me, you know how much I love The Vampire Academy series. December is a heartbeat away and fans are gearing up for the final book, Last Sacrifice. Anyway, the Vampire Book Club is celebrating Mead’s book release with a special contest, Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge. Ooooh. Love. Love. Love this challenge. There are rules, of course, but the prizes are delish. The catch is you must re-read and review each of the books. That’s not so hard, is it? See their site for more details. And now for the yummy prizes. From VBC site: All participants who review at least one of the five books will be entered to win a copy of Last Sacrifice. Those who complete the challenge will be entered to win the big prize pack featuring new series to will help fill the void left as we say goodbye to Vampire Academy. The prize pack will include: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead, A Vampire Academy-inspired piece of jewelry from Cemetery Cat Designs. Plus much, much more! You must check out this website to read all the juicy details.

Contest #2 – Missy’s Read & Reviews 27th Bday Bash

After informing Missy over at Missy's Read & Reviews she won my recent Kisses from Hell contest, she invited me to participate in her 27th B-day Contest Celebration. And boy can she party. For her big day she’s picking multiple winners. To enter, all you have to do is fill out a form, list ten TBR books you’re dying to read and also mention this contest. It’s that simple. Doesn’t that sound like fun? It does to me and now as I finish this post, I heading on over there to enter too.

Until next time…have some fun…reading.

Mina B.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fred, The Younger Years

So I scaned this in for today's Friday's with Fred post.  This was probably days after I brought Fred home.  When I first saw him, I had that song, "how much is that doggie in the window, woof woof," ringing in my head.  He was way too cute then I just had to have him.  And that was a decade or so ago.  Fred's come a long way baby.

Happy Friday and enjoy!

Until next time...let's not compare this image to last week's mug shot from his chicken bone scandal.

Mina B.

Book Review: Gwyn Cready’s Aching for Always

I participated in another ARC tour this time for Gwyn Cready’s Aching for Always. (Woot to Rex Robot Reviews.) I’m not sure what to say other than WOW. I think I devoured the book within two days. I really liked it.

I’ve mentioned it several times now on my blog that I have a slight obsession with historical romance novels. And when this book opened up to 1684, I'll admit I was salivating. Contrary to popular belief, I actually like prologues.

Flash forward to the present day we meet Joss O’Malley, daughter of a wealthy map tycoon, Alfred Brand. She’s on the board of the company and is about to marry Rogan Reynolds, the investor who saved her company from tanking. She’s had a fruitful life and now’s ready to take the plunge with a man she thinks is Mr. Right. Within a week of her wedding, Joss sets a course looking for one last fling (a Mr. Mistake) and that’s when she meets someone from her past, Hugh Hawksmoor.

Joss can’t explain why she feels connected to this strapping man but the heat between the two of them is off the map! Unbeknownst to Joss, Hugh swore an oath to avenge the death of his brother, Granite. It was Alfred who killed his brother and stole his life (as well as others) all those hundreds of years ago. Did I say hundreds of years? You betcha! It’s all about time travel in this book and a map is what links the past and present together (Thanks to Joss’s mother.)

Hugh and his colleagues have one thing in mind when the reach present day…make Brand suffer and rewrite history. That all goes out the window (sort of) once he meets Joss.

I truly can't decide what it is about this book. I knew immediately there was a time travel aspect to it. That’s hardly a spoiler because frankly this book has so many twists and turns you’ll be enthralled as I was – I’m sure. A few times I recalled practically dropping the book. Taha! What also was cool for me – although others may not appreciate it – at times it was like reading two different novels. The story that takes place in Pittsburgh in present day and then it goes back in time to England early 1700’s. Cready entwines both tales in such a way the book nearly turns the pages for you.

I really couldn’t put this book down which in my opinion is a good thing. If you like a historical romances well seasoned with a magic one, then you’ll love this book.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Aching for Always, 3.75.

Until next time…read something by Gwyn Cready.

Mina B.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Killer News! Jennifer Turner’s Novella, Immortal Dreams - Sneak Peek

Okay, I have some killer news that I had to blog about. I’m just sorry it took me so long to post. Jennifer Turner, author of the Darkness Within series yesterday released on her blog Chapter 1 of her latest novella, Immortal Dreams.

Unless you’ve been hiding in a closet or possibly sleeping a coffin, then you already know about or have read Book 1 in Jennifer’s killer series, Eternal Seduction. If you’ve missed it, then check out my review or even better, read Eternal Seduction's first three chapters on Jennifer’s website . Hang on to your book markers my friends, you’re in for a yummy, dark ride.

Now what happened earlier this year is even more spectacular for Jennifer. While fans like me anxiously awaited the release of Book 2, Eternal Hearts, Jennifer Turner acquired an agent. Yeah Jennifer. That sucked for a whole mob of fans because it meant we’d be waiting even longer for Eternal Hearts. Still, in the long run, it’s best for the series not to mention Jennifer. Yes, her books are that good. If you’re interested, check out the first three chapters of Eternal Hearts. 

And so…as a special perk for all her loyal fans - Jennifer wrote a killer novella called Immortal Dreams. It’s Vouclade Nelek’s story and if you’re like me and love Vouclade than your beyond excited about this tale. Get in on the Nelek fun.  Check out Jennifer’s Chapter 1 (sneak peek) of Immortal Dreams.

Until next time… feed me more about the Neleks!

Mina B.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And the winner for Kisses From Hell is...

Congrats to Missy the winner of my Free Book Contest for Kisses from HellThis Harper Teen Anthology Series features a compilation of short stories from Richelle Mead’s Sunshine, Alyson Noel’s Bring Me To Life, Kristin Cast’s Above, Kelley Armstrong’s Hunting Kat and Francesca Lia Block’s Lilith.

Check out my review for a more indepth look at the YA anthology, Kisses from Hell.

Coming up next in my Free Book Contest...Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.  Stay tuned.

Until next time...looking for a change of pace?  Read a YA book.

Mina B.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review: Anya Bast's Cruel Enchantment

My review for today is for an ARC reading of Anya Bast's latest novel in her Dark Magick series, Cruel Enchantment. This book is number 2 in the series. Book 1 is Wicked Enchantment.   Before I begin my review, I want to give a special shout out to Rex Robot Reviews. Thanks for including me in this ARC tour, REX. Like I’ve said before…you ROCK!

Emmaline Gallagher is fae, living free in a human’s world. She has a special power called glamour. This power allows her to appear like any person or species, (male, female, human, fae...). With a power like that, no doubt she has a history. Before she became to live with humans (hundreds of years ago), this awe-aspiring fae female was once a deadly assassin; one who was a master at slipping in, catching her unsuspecting target and killing them instantly with her crossbow. That part of her has been long gone but its memory of ill times haunts her daily, especially him – the blacksmith, Aeric O’Malley.

Aeric’s sworn an eternal oath to kill the murderer who killed his angel and woman, Aileen. She died over three hundred years ago but for Aeric and his vendetta, it was just only yesterday. The one woman he’s fixated on now is the one responsible, Emmaline. Aeric’s mind rotates constantly on when and how he will maim, torture and mutilate her – all in the memory of Aileen. Poor Aeric. Things are never as they seem. Once Emmaline steps foot in the contained city of fae (St. Piefferberg), Aeric's in for a rude awakening, especially when he unmasks Emmaline and also the truth.

Emmaline swore she’d never go back St. Piefferberg. Not after killing Aileen. You see, all those years ago, Emmaline was infatuated with Aeric. But after killing Aileen – Aeric’s first love – Emmaline knew she was as good as dead and would never have a chance at winning Aeric’s heart.

Fast forward to three hundred years later, Emmaline now lives with the humans, working as a spy for the HFF (Humans for Freedom of the Fae). She’s been assigned to an undercover operation where she pretends to be Emily, a human working for the Phaendir (a race of druids who fight to contain the fae).

There’s much more to the plot than this and if you’re not familiar with the series, I’d recommend either starting with Book 1 or taking time to familiarize yourself with Bast’s glossary. There are several players within this book, each with their own back story.

What I think I liked best about this story was first the relationship between Emmaline and Aeric. Basically, it was doomed. I mean what are the chances for Emmaline to gain Aeric’s heart let alone trust after she killed of his lover, Aileen? Pretty slim, I assure you. Still, Bast does a great job at unfolding their history with one another, explaining how the gut-wrenching reality to Aeric when the time comes. As a reader, I liked Emmaline’s character. Her unsightly past gave her much credence in my opinion. The notion about her glamour was intriguing as well. Using it her entire existence and then all of a sudden revealing her true form was without a doubt liberating. The only question I have was why the book’s cover art featured a glamour image of her and not her real one. I don’t understand it. That, I thought, was a miss. Ah…marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Anya Bast’s Cruel Enchantment at 3.5.

Until next time…read some wicked and cruel, try Anya Bast’s Dark Magick Novels.

Mina B.

Sunday, September 19, 2010 MTV & NBC Join the Vampire Craze

Taken from

That’s right readers, both MTV and NBC have jumped onto the vampire bandwagon and are planning on giving vampire fans another reason to stare at the TV. At this rate every single station on TV will have their own vampire show. We’re in for one big vampire overdose guys.

First up is MTV, they just gave the greenlight to Death Valley, a horror comedy about cops fighting monsters. Seriously. This show is said to be a faux-documentary that follows the Undead Task Force, which battles zombies, vampires and werewolves that have overrun the San Fernando Valley. So, it’s like COPS, but instead of cops dealing with drunken hookers, it’ll feature cops dealing with vampires and other supernatural baddies. Death Valley already has a few cast members lined up – Caity Lotz (Mad Men) and Tania Raymonde (Lost).

Read more here...

Until next time...vampire this, bloodsuckers that. Sounds like fun! 

Mina B.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Book Review: YA Anthology, Kisses from Hell

Today’s review is for Harper Teen’s anthology series, Kisses from Hell. The short stories are a compilation of Richelle Mead’s Sunshine, Alyson Noel’s Bring Me To Life, Kristin Cast’s Above, Kelley Armstrong’s Hunting Kat and Francesca Lia Block’s Lilith.

Remember, my FREE Book Contest for
Kisses From Hell ends Sept. 20th eod.

And now for my review...

Richelle Mead’s Sunshine – 3.5

What can I say about reading anything Vampire Academy? Sunshine sucks you in as soon as royal Eric Dragomir is introduced and then suspends you with an immediate attack from Strigoi. This story is all about Lissa’s parent’s romance, Eric and Rhea Dragomir. Since his mother’s death – killed by a recent Strigoi attack - Eric's father’s been pressuring his son to marry. Although Eric doesn’t really want to, he knows he must. And when he’s almost done convincing himself to settle, he meets Rhea.

I really liked the story. There were only two faults I had with it. First, I wanted more. Second, because I wanted more, I felt cheated. No worries, though, it’s the best read of the book – even if it’s only 66 pages.

Alyson Noel’s Bring Me To Life – 2.75

Sometimes when I read Alyson Noel it takes me a few pages to get used to her present tense style of writing. That might sound strange but that’s me. Anyway, I really liked this story in the beginning. Danika’s quest to submerge herself in her art, traveling to England – I thought was cool. The fog or mist aspect along with the spooky house was also intriguing. Where the tale began to lose me was with the plot. The house has creepy characters, Violet, Camilla etc… and then there are the dreams Dani has. When reading this I get there’s more to the story but as it unfolds, I just kept getting more and more lost. Bram, Dani’s boy interest, is equally interesting but his explanation of things at the end left me feeling, huh?

Kristin Cast’s Above - 2

I’m not sure how fair it is to rate this one. To be honest, I found it hard to understand. Aside from the writing style, the story was confusing. Rheena is underground – some sort of being or creature, I suppose. I wasn’t sure. Her abusive family releases her (or kicks her out rather) and she goes above. She meets another being, Sol – a vampire - and the two become close. An evil being from her home goes hunting for her to kill her. The rest is what it is. You’ll have to read it for yourself. Good luck. For the record, I’ve read other Kristin Cast novels and really do enjoy her books. This short story for me…fell short.

Kelley Armstrong’s Hunting Kat - 3

This is the first time I read anything by Kelley Armstrong. I really liked the characters, even if there wasn’t much to the story. Katrina is a new vampire – 6 months back from a science experiment. Since then, she’s been mentored by another vampire and is set to meet in New York for a vampire conference. I liked Kat and couldn’t help but feel bad for her, especially when she goes for a drive and is ran off the road. Badly injured, she’s being hunted by people who want to imprison her. She befriends two boys, Neil and Chad - both who are supposed genetic vampires. With a few more twists and turns, Kat unearths deception, while trying to run for her life.

Francesca Lia Block’s Lilith - 2

This story started out interesting and then went stale. I like Paul Michael - the awkward teen that nobody liked. But then there was Lilith. She came to town and gifted the social outcast. That’s about it. I had more questions at the end of this one like “You mean that’s it?”

Overall this probably ranked total as a 3 and I’d have to say it’s because of Mead’s tale.

Until next, breathe, eat/drink (repeat) in that order.

Mina B.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday’s with Fred: Busted

Life is never dull with Fred...which why I'm sharing this with you.  Last week I caught Fred rummaging through our garbage can. Now, that’s no small feat. You see, the pail has a lid that you open with your foot. Standard garbage can, right? And somewhat difficult to maneuver for a dog, right? Not in the Fred’s world. Somehow this seventeen pound tenacious terrier needled his nose to lift the lid and then snag some chicken bones. Unbelievable? Yes, I know. But is it true? Absolutely!

Now he’s BUSTED. For what crime? Chicken bone possession.

My JRT, Fred

Take a look at him. Even in his mug shot, Fred thinks he’s bigger than he actually is. (Just like all Jack Russell Terriers.) His head shot on the left makes him look so guilty. The little bugger.

Until next time…enjoy the weekend.

Mina B.

BTW:  Special thanks to my hubby for his killer photoshop skills.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Top Steampunk Books I’m Dying to Read

Okay, so I wanted to do a quick post on Steampunk novels I have on my TBR list. In no particular order, I compiled a list of Steampunk books that I’m dying to read. I’m slowly working them in queue under my Dying To Read section of my blog.

Did you know that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is considered Steampunk? Yes, Shelley’s monster classic is considered Steampunk. And what’s funny is I’ll be reviewing it for this month’s Creepy Classics segment. Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, take a look at the ones below. Have you read any of these? Are they any good? Please comment and send me the link to your review. Also, comment to add additional books to this list.

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)  Soulless by Gail Carriger

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman   Anno Dracula

Perdido Street Station  Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest  Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books)

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (Bantam Spectra Book)  Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare  Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)

 Frankenstein  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 

Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Vern Around the World in Eighty Days (Enriched Classics Series)

Until next time….looking for something different, try a Steampunk novel.

Mina B.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Review: Kresley Cole’s Kiss Of A Demon King

My next review is of Kresley Cole's  Kiss of a Demon King , Book 6 in her Immortals After Dark Series. I’ve already reviewed Book 1, A Hunger Like No Other Click here to read my review. Cole has a remarkable ability to capture sensuality and vulnerability in her characters. I so love that about her novels.

Coming off of Cole’s Book 5, Dark Desires After Dusk, this book is also about DEMONS! Not since Joss Whedon or Larissa Ione have I been so excited about demons. And can I tell you this rage demon has horns….purrrrrr YES! The Demon King, Rydsrtom, has horns and he’s still hawt. Go figure. Only in a Kresley Cole novel would it be conceivable that a horny demon would be hawt. Which reminds me…he’s horny as hell too, especially after he meets his woman, Sabine.

Kiss of a Demon King sucks you right in from the start. The book opens up with Sabine and paints such vivid imagery about the sorceress giving us immediate insight into her domineering presence. I totally loved that about her character. She’s beautiful, tough, cunning and just a formidable as her male counterparts. Sabine is the Queen of Illusions, a magical being so powerful that she’s known to turn other beings brains into soup. As the master of illusion, she’s foretold by the Hag that she’s destined to be the Demon King’s queen.

Here’s the catch though. Rydstrom is all that is good, kind and honorable (and hawt too but we already covered that). He’s playing for Team Good. Sabine is completely opposite; an evil, lying, greedy sorceress who works for his arch nemesis, Omort. With these two so radically different, how can they be destined for a date, let alone an eternal relationship?

What I like best about this book is how each character pushes, teases, torments and seduces each other. Men and women often do that to one another in relationships. And Cole captures that perfectly.

Despite their differences, Rydstrom and Sabine have a cosmic attraction. I can’t tell you how many times I roared when Sabine referred to him. “Demon,...”. And since reading this, I now refer to my husband the very same way.

Kiss of a Demon King is a refreshing, unique tale. And let me tell you, in a sea of paranormal romance books, I so appreciate a tale that’s not only different but great.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Kresley Cole's Kiss of a Demon King 3 ¾.

Until next time…read something, anything by Kresley Cole.

Mina B.