Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Creepy Classic Review: Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis

Originally called Die Verwandlung, Franz Kafka’s bizarre novella, The Metamorphosis, was published in 1915. The truly creepy tale is so artfully imaginative; it’s hard to believe it was written back then.

So what is metamorphosis? Well, by definition it’s 1: a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism, as from the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly. OR…2: complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft.

But that’s neither here nor there. The point is it means change, a drastic one at that. Change is what happened to the traveling sales man, Gregor Samsa, when he woke up one morning and found himself transformed into a beastly insect. Poor Gregor was living life to the fullest as far as his employer/family’s expectations we concerned. He was a good son, ardently working to financially provide for his parents and sister, Grete. As a salesman, he religiously adhered to his company’s demands, meeting his sales numbers and so forth. Everything in his life was progressing until the whole “insect” thing.  And for the first time ever - since waking up in his condition - he missed work.

To read  the inward ramblings of our main character was hilarious. The way Kafka describes the corporate demands of Gregor’s employer is so true to form, even for the early 1900’s.  Apparently corporate greed is timeless.

As Gregor comes to terms with his irreversible condition, he learns how to maneuver with his little legs. Despite his transformation, I found Gregor terribly likeable. As weird as the tale was, I couldn’t help but be drawn into its story - wondering what would happen next to our unlikely hero, Gregor. As he continues to live in his insect form, his family slowly adjusts to Gregor’s condition. His dad goes back to work as does his mother. His sister begins to be the primary caretaker of Gregor since his parents struggle with the emotional strain of his transformation.

It’s funny how in the beginning Gregor’s family was painfully aware that the “thing” in Gregor’s room is in fact their son/brother. Yet as time progresses, the situation weighs on them and they become less and less tolerant of Gregor’s scurrying behavior. He’s a bug now for Christ’s sake. What the hell did they expect? Eventually, they all grow tiresome of Gregor, who ultimately becomes dejected, unable to eat. Not too long after he dies and guess what…his family happily moves on.

For as hilarious as this tale began, it certainly finished with a morose ending. I loved it, though. There’s a reason why it is a classic; one I realized will stick with me for quite some time. It’s a good thing I liked the darn thing. On my kilometer, I gave it a 4.5.

Until next time…looking for something different – try a Creepy Classic.

Mina B.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fridays with Fred: Happy Halloween

Happy Friday and…Happy Halloween. It’s time for Friday’s with Fred. And this year’s he’s all about playing his part. Take a look at my buddy. He’s the best.

Ahoy there!
And look…he has friends too!

Sophie & Darcy
Fred is a pirate…duh! Such a good sport too. Don’t worry. I gave him tons of treats. And his friends, those loveable Robin Hood bandits, Darcy and Sophie. Aren’t the great! And so purdy too! Thanks Carla.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop

It’s here! The Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop!  Okay folks, here’s the story. With Halloween around the corner, it’s blog hoppy time.

Welcome to my blog. I know why you’re here so let’s get down to business.

One lucky winner will win this from the Free Sh** Fairy…
• Lara Adrian’s Taken By Midnight Book
• $10 Starbucks Gift Card
• A bag of Monster Mix (m&ms, assorted nuts and raisins)
• Strawberry lip gloss

Yeah, this is pretty much me in a nutshell - whether I'm reading or writing.  Give me a good book, some coffee, something sweet, followed up with yummy lip gloss and I’m good.  Total giveaway package worth $25 (Starbucks GC not shown in pix).

Here are the rules…

To enter…
You MUST be a follower of my blog and comment once on this blog post!

Extra entries…
+2 NEW/OLD Followers on Twitter@MinaBurrows
+1 For ReTweeting this contest (limited to one RT)
+1 For Becoming my Fan/Like on Facebook
+1 For Frequent commentors - and I know who you are (Love you *smack*)

That’s it. The contest runs from runs from 12:01 AM on Monday, October 25th to 11:59 PM on Sunday, October 31st. Contest is for US residents only.

Want to see who else is participating? Take a look at the links below and hop on by.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Review: Zoe Winters's Blood Lust

Zoe Winters's Blood Lust is a compilation of three paranormal novellas: Kept, Claimed and MatedNot being a big fan of novellas, I have to admit...I was pleasantly surprised.  Blood Lust ebook retails via Amazon for $3.49. And if you’re an avid reader, like me, then Blood Lust is a deal for all three novellas. For those that are not convinced, Winters offers the first novella, Kept for free on her website (here).

Kept, Novella 1
Greta is a werecat and finds out her father is planning on sacrificing her in a tribe ritual. Bleeding Greta dry is the surefire way to increase his power. The second Greta uncovers the plot, she does the last thing she ever expected and sought refuge with her tribe’s sworn enemy (sorcerer, Dayne.) While I can appreciate the paranormal mystique surrounding shape shifters and sorcerers, this was my least favorite of the three novellas. The sexual heat between the Greta & Dayne was totally hawt but I thought the plot was too predictable. Still, I suspect the novella accomplished what it set out to do; introduce the hypnotic world of the Preternaturals.

Claimed, Novella 2
Anthony is a vampire monster with a mean streak. I liked Anthony's role in Kept and loved how his bloodlust frenzied state set fire to story # 2, Claimed. Anthony’s unsure why he's attracted to Charlee. She's after all…only human. In the beginning, he’s consumed with bloodlust, mentally struggling with biting, maiming and killing the lovely human, Charlee. The intensity of his internal battle with the beast inside him was riveting. And when he attempted to wipe her memory of the sordid incident, the last thing he should have said was “forget everything.” I found the storyline of Claimed spellbinding. Anthony & Charlee’s relationship was constantly in question. Neither one actually wanted to bind themselves to the other – at least not initially anyway. Claimed was easily my favorite of all three.

Mated, Novella 3
Jane was introduced in Claimed. Her role in the beginning seemed rather cliché. Vampire Goth chick follows the vamp scene. In Mated, her back story unfolds and then I caught a glimpse of her real essence. In Claimed, Jane was paired with Paul (Anthony’s minion vamp). Paul’s abusive tendencies towards Jane were appalling. Jane was what's called, Kindred; having vampire in her DNA. Because she’s an anomaly, the vampires want to own her. For quite some time, she was considered a vampire groupie. The sad truth was she was doing what she had to in order to stay alive. By the time Paul got through with her, Cole (werewolf) was just what Jane needed. Like the vampires, he saw something unique in her, although unable to place it. And in collecting a debt, he snatched Jane away from Paul, imprisoning her in his cave. Jane was terrified of Cole; the werewolf pack leader with the badass reputation. Poor girl's life had been about being a possession more than a person. I really liked the chemistry between Jane & Cole. Mated was a fun read and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.

Claimed and Mated made this book a hit for me. Overall, I give Zoe Winters’s Blood Lust a 3.5.

Until next time…read about shape shifters, vampires and werewolves.

Mina B.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday’s with Fred: Play Things

Hi! Happy Friday, everybody. Ready for the weekend? Halloween in just around the corner so I thought I’d share a few shots of Fred playing with a squeaky toy. He’s sure silly - my little JRT. Anyway, he has a bin full of toys and recently I pulled out his Halloween ones. He’s in heaven. Despite his age, Fred still acts like a puppy. Thankfully, I don’t think that will every go away. Enjoy these shots.

Wait for it....


Remember, my Spooktacular Book Blog Hop starts Oct 25th.

Until next time…have fun this weekend.

Mina B

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Review: Blue Parker's Bite Me

I had the pleasure of finishing a book I picked up some time ago, Bite Me by Parker Blue.  This YA tale had a unique twist on vampires and slayers.  Bite Me is the first book in Blue’s Demon Underground series.

Bite Me

Valentine Shapiro (Val) is an 18 year old loner, human girl and 1/8th of a succubus demon.  A succubus demon is a female lust demon that thrives on her victim’s desire.  Val has spent her whole life suppressing her demon side who she calls “Lola”.  She learned early on how deadly Lola could be, nearly sucking the life out of the first boy she kissed. Val had to find a release for Lola or else.  And so she found the one thing that sated her demon need: vampire slaying.

The notion of this book was kind of cool, I have to say.  When the book starts out, we learn about Val’s family and how crappy they treat her. Man, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the chick.  Val’s mom is a pitiful excuse for a mother. Her step dad is pretty worthless too.  And her sister, Jennifer, in my opinion, is a pain in the ass.  Thanks to her meddlesome sister, Val gets kicked out of her house at 18. WOW, that was intense.

Anyway, Val went on to bigger and better; getting herself a new place to stay, a dog, some friends (finally)…oh and a job too. Apparently she’s built up some kind of a reputation for slaying vampires.  The SCU (a police paranormal unit) sees the need to hire someone with her skill set, especially since San Antonio is running ramped with vampires.  Her boss partners her with a yummy copy named Dan.  Things are finally looking up for Val at least it seems so until she brought back down to reality.  Vampires are on the loose and are killing innocent people.

As Dan and Val investigate the increased vamp activity, they meet a new wave of vampires – all a part of the nonviolent movement. A small set of vampires are desperately trying to integrate themselves within the human population. But let’s face it…Vampires are blood suckers, plain and simple. Right? Maybe…maybe not. Their movement is about using blood banks, recruiting high school volunteers and of course mind-control. Val’s annoying sister, Jennifer, gets wrangled in the whole mess, along with her step dad, Rick. Val’s doing her best to be the supporting daughter/sister, despite her family treating her poorly.

I really liked the notion of Val’s demon side. I also enjoyed how Blue used “Lola” (Val’s demon side) to test the boundaries of her relationship/crush with Dan. Despite all the talk about lust, the book is total age appropriate. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

On my KilloMeter scale, I give Parker Blue’s Bite Me a 3.5.

Until next time….Demon Underground, anyone?

Mina B.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book Review: Lara Adrian's Taken By Midnight

Today I’m reviewing Book 8 in Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series, Taken By Midnight. Ooooh, I’ve been waiting for this book, let alone review. I tend to devour everything that’s Lara Adrian and Breed when it comes to paranormal romance. I love this series and just can’t seem to get enough. That being said, I wasn’t over the moon with this book, simply because I was left with more questions than answers. But…I still liked it…a lot. WARNING…there are spoilers. Read on…if you dare.
In Book 7, Shades of Midnight, we first met Jenna Darrow, the ex-cop who was held captive by the Ancient. Keeping her barely alive, he fed off of Jenna, a mere human, taunting her with a merciless question: Choose life or death?

The question had merit, especially for Jenna. It had been four long years since Jenna lost her husband and daughter in a terrible car accident. Four years since her life was transformed into a pit of misery. Unknowingly, Jenna answered yes to that fated question. And from that moment on, the Ancient implanted a piece of himself into Jenna; transforming her into God knows what.

Luckily Jenna’s transformation wasn’t nearly as difficult thanks to Brock. I read other reviews that didn’t appreciate their relationship and felt it lacking. I totally disagree. I liked their chemistry and understood their draw towards one another. Jenna, the control freak, had the insatiable need to control things. Brock, the vampire breed warrior, was gifted with the ability to relieve pain. And the moment he met Jenna in Alaska, he siphoned a monstrous amount of Jenna’s pain and heartache without hesitation.

For Brock, there was a possessive sort of protectiveness when it came to Jenna. As the story unfolded, it revealed more about the Jenna’s new mysterious DNA which left me flummoxed. I honestly had more questions than answers about the two of them which frankly drove me crazy. That being said, I did feel a tinge of regret when they were unable to bond. But…that may be a good thing. I sense – or hope, rather- that on the horizon, Adrian answers the unknown about Jenna and her ever-changing DNA. Dear God, the chick actually has dermaglyphs now.

And as for the plot…it wasn’t as riveting as it has been in the past but I still liked it. The action compelled me to read on – which I loved – and I was left wondering what’s to come. With the Ancient dead and the breedmates freed, what type of diabolical plans will Dragos unleash on the Order? I can’t help but think somehow Sterling Chase is involved but I could be wrong.

I’ve said it several times before; I’m a huge fan of Lara Adrian. She writes delicious vampire tales that catapult me to another world…which is the whole point of reading, isn’t it?

If you’re into vampires, romance and a killer plot, than Adrian’s Midnight Breed series is just for you. If your interest in her other books, see below.

Book 1, Kiss of Midnight (my review) 
Book 2, Kiss of Crimson (my review) 
Book 3, Midnight Awakening (my review)
Book 4, Midnight Rising (my review)
Book 5, Veil of Midnight (my review) 
Book 6, Ashes of Midnight (my review)

On my KilloMeter, I give Lara Adrian’s Taken By Midnight a 4.

Until next time…read something breed, try Taken By Midnight.

Mina B.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fridays with Fred: Dog Tired

Dog tired.  Yep.  That’s what I feel like lately and apparently so does Fred. I read somewhere that dogs sleep up to 18 hours a day.  I think Fred's living proof.  Below is Fred in his typical pose…snoring to boot.  Crazy canine.  I do love him, though.

Anyway, this is a shot I captured when I was writing the other day.  Much inspiration comes from my furry friend.  Interested in other ridiculous shots of my pooch?  Click here, here, and here.

Until next time….dog tired, anyone?

Mina B.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

And the winner of My Free Book Contest for Paranormalcy is...

Congrats to Loriann the winner of my Free Book Contest for Kiersten White's Paranormalcy. I really liked this YA unique paranormal tale. Check out my review to find out why.

A HUGE thank you to all my mystic readers who entered. Remember you can't win it, if you're not in it. And since I'm participating in this month’s Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop…if you win…it'll be like the free sh** fairy visited you for Halloween.

Enjoy and remember...for those loyal minions - who constantly comment - I’ll give one (1) extra entry for my spooktacular giveaway. That’s how much I appreciate you! And if you don't comment - you better start because this contest begins October 25th, runs until October 31.

Until next time...I'll be watching....BOO!

Mina B.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book Review: Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy

My review today is for Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy. This is the author’s debut novel and what a YA ride it was. There are spoilers in this review. So beware. After reading a plethora of reviews on the book, I was definitely intrigued but also guarded. Initially, I had concerns about the similarities to Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer covert military operation episodes. Still, I remained open minded and was without a doubt pleasantly surprised.

Evie works for IPCA, a covert operation called the International Paranormal Containment Agency. With no parents, this orphan was picked up by IPCA, who then raised her and trained her for strictly bagging and tagging paranormals. This 16 year old beauty is gifted with seeing through paranormal glamour’s. That might not sound very exciting to most, but when she’s surrounded with paranormals that constantly hide under elaborate glamour, one can see Evie’s allure.

With all the paranormal activity in her life, she begs for a simpler kind of life, a normal one. I was sucked in throughout this novel, feeling Evie’s loneliness. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Poor thing really never fit in anywhere. In her paranormal world, she’s being stalked by an ex-boyfriend, Reth (a faerie) with ulterior motives. Her boss, Raquel, is the only mother figure she’s got. And her best friend is a mermaid, Lish. Yep, you know the girl’s got issues when she refers to the IPCA as being her only family.

In walks Lend, a paranormal teenage boy with a cool power. He’s a shape shifter that can appear as pretty much anyone. And Evie busted him because she saw right through his disguise. How perfect were they made for one another! As empty as Evie is, she was desperate for love, craving attention often. When she first met Lend, she gravitated towards him with curiosity. Why? Because he lives on the outside and goes to a real life high school. Lend lives a normal life and Evie can’t get enough of the detainee.

The two formed a friendship that blossomed into much more. While they begin unraveling the secrets of one another, strange happenings are occurring: paranormals are being killed everywhere. The who, what, where and why are so intriguing, up until the very end of the tale.

I loved Evie and her plight for normalcy. She’s positively refreshing when it comes to characters. Paranormalcy had a unique take on paranormals with an exciting plot. Its true blue young adult and I really liked it. There were way too many unanswered questions at the end and I totally wanted more. Bring it on Book 2, 3, 4? Possibly more? I hope so.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Keirsten White’s Paranormalcy a 4.

Until next time…try something normal. Try Paranormalcy.

Mina B.

my Free Book Contest
for Paranormalcy ends Oct. 12th eod.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fridays with Fred

Okay, so here’s the scoop. Today’s Friday’s with Fred is a picture of Fred with - you guessed it – a copy of Kiersten White’s book, Paranormalcy. I bought this book initially to enter a contest to have new upcoming author, Natalie Whipple, critique my YA manuscript. My tale is a vampire one, of course, and I was interested in getting a YA author/insider opinion of my book. Sadly, I didn’t win, despite Fred’s cuteness. The contest required you to send in a picture of the book with a shot in the wild. I chose most appropriately, Fred. How much wilder can you get with this furry creature? (Psst…I thought the winner was pretty cool, though. If you’re interested, click here.)

Anyway, he’s too cute for words. And since I didn’t win, that’s why I’m running my Free Book Contest. Which reminders me…you have until October 12th to enter to win. Click here for details.

Until next time….Fred is such a die-hard fan. Love that about him.

Mina B.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My 100th Blog Post

Hey, everybody. I’m thrilled to be doing my 100th blog post today! Yeah! I contemplated for days on how I wanted to celebrate this small milestone and decided I wanted to give my minions something special.

It’s not new “news” how much I love Halloween. Who doesn’t, right? Well, to celebrate my 100th blog post, I’ve joined a special Halloween Blog Tour called, Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop. What’s that mean for my mystic mind minions? Free stuff, that's what!

In participating with this killer blog hop, I’m offering one lucky winner some killer book items. Right now, for my giveaway, I’m shooting for a Free Book, something chocolate and a gift certificate. The fun starts October 25th and ends October 31st! So you’ll have to stop by to see the giveaway then and sign up to win it. Forget about spooky – let’s just have some fun.

One more thing.  I want to thank all my minions who’ve been reading and commenting on my posts. For those loyal minions - who constantly comment - I’ll give one (1) extra entry for my spooktacular giveaway. That’s how much I appreciate you!  And if you don't comment - you better start because this contest begins October 25th - less than 20 days away.  

I’ve had more fun this year, and I’m just getting started. Happy 100th post to me!

Until next time…join me this month for a Spooktacular time October 25th - 31st!

Mina B.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fridays with Fred: The Little Devil

Today marks the first day of the best month in the entire calendar year…October. Why? Because I live for this month! I think a lot of people do too, right? I have spider webs and spooky decorations galore plastered all over my house – and that was since mid-Sept. I don’t mess around when it comes to Halloween and neither does Fred. Even he’s gotten in the spirit, the little devil.  I know. I know. I just couldn't resist.

Do you have any adorable Halloween pet pix you’d like to share? If so send them my way. Email me your pet’s picture in a costume (by Oct. 28th) and I’ll post his/her shot on Oct. 29th.

Until next time…Halloween almost here! BOO!

Mina B.