Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Creepy Classic Review: Edgar Allan Poe

My Creepy Classic this month is the collections of poems and tales of the master, Edgar Allan Poe. I have to say – as if it isn’t obvious on my blog – that Poe is one of my favorite classic authors. I’ve spent a good portion of this month rereading his classic poems and stories and frankly…I can’t get enough. Sadly, I won’t review his entire collection, but I will be discussing the ones I adore: The Raven, The Bells, and The Tell-Tale Heart.

There are two aspects I loved for both The Raven and The Bells. First, Poe’s unmatched ability to begin a story.  He starts quiet and subdued and then skillfully, using a crescendo effect, delivers two spell binding, classic poems.  He’s amazing.  In The Raven, his melody - for me – was like reading a symphony…the tap, tap, tapping on the chamber door.  It was poetic genius.  Poe’s main character rambles incessantly, until his rants turn maddening.  Like The Raven, The Bells starts out describing the lovely, silver bells and then gradually progresses into a treacherous, clamoring noise. That’s the other aspect I love about him. Poe can take something so minuscule in life and make in monumental, turning it into a killer story. Something so insignificant and every day like a bird or a chime and he’s created a timeless thriller that’s suspenseful as hell. I love that about him.

In The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe writes about a madman. His main character is practically a modern day serial stalker/killer the way he described his fixation on the old man’s evil eye. It’s symbolic and thrilling how the eye haunts him in the beginning, only to have the heart taunt him in the end.   Poe was a master story teller period. His ability to intertwine humor in his freaksih tales is a large part of his allure – I believe. He writes horror, drenched with humanity, making his sick characters likeable. His dark vision - to this day - brilliantly outshines many of today’s literary masters.

On my KilloMeter…Edgar Allan Poe is a 5.

Until next time…try a Creepy Classic like Edgar Allan Poe’s Classic Collections.

Mina B.

Richelle Mead’s Last Sacrifice Chapter 1 excerpt is here!

Richelle Mead’s Last Sacrifice Chapter 1 excerpt is here! 

Last Sacrifice, the 6th and final book is set to release December 7th. Recently, I took part in the Vampire Book Club’s Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge and for this entire month, I’ve fervently read each of the five books. See my mini reviews here: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise and Spirit Bound.  Ooooh this serious is so deliciously good. For those of you who haven’t read the Vampire Academy series, get on it, would ya?

And for those of you who have…read the excerpt quick and come back and comment. I’m dying to know what you think.

Until next time…breaking news like this is just too HOT!

Mina B.

Monday, November 29, 2010

And the winner of My Gratitude Giveaway is...

Congratulations to Anne J. for winning my Gratitude Giveaway (My Feast for Fools.) The winner was chosen through the established and reputable Random.org. 

My participation in this Blog Hop was a special way to say “Thank You” to all my blog followers. I had a ton of fun as usual and ate a bunch of turkey in the process. Once again, thank you followers. And here’s a big sloppy wet kiss to every last one of you, especially the ones who entered. Mmmmwhaaa!

Oh…before I forget, I’d like to give another shout out to Kathy from I’m a reader not a writer who organizes these hops. It’s a tone of work on her part so…Thanks Kathy. :)

Until next time…looking for reading material? You’ve come to the right place.

Mina B.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fridays with Fred: Leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving weekend. I hope you're not too stuffed. I am. Ugh! Fred is tearing through a leftover turkey leg. How’s that for leftovers? Not really.  That’s actually a toy of his.  Seriously though, Fred is about as stuffed and nauseas as the rest of us. Sorry about the picture. After yesterday, Fred’s not up for much picture taking. Poor buddy. Yesterday he spent the day hoovering the floors littered with Thanksgiving droppings. Gotta love that about my pooch.

Anyway, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and now…enjoy your weekend.

Mina B.

Want to see other pix of Fred?  Click here and here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Mini Book Review: Richelle Mead's Blood Promise

Continuing on with the Vampire Academy mini book reviews, next up is Richelle Mead’s Blood Promise (book 4).  I can’t thank the Vampire Book Club enough for hosting their Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge. This has been a challenge indeed, trying to fit in all the extra reading, but well worth it. For those that are interested in my previous review, click here. (Spoilers mentioned there and here.)

Earlier this year, I reviewed Blood Promise and gave it a 5. Ironically, I read this book over the Thanksgiving holiday last year and now I’m here today doing this mini-review. Three news aspects I recognized this time around are as follows. First, I’m incredibly happy that Rose went off on her own thing, leaving Lissa. I know she’s bonded and all but still – the girl’s got have a life. And with their separation, both Rose and Lissa grew, ultimately appreciating each other more. Second, the ghosts Rose summons as a result of her being shadow-kissed. Very cool. And finally, I ardently read the part when Strigoi Dimitri captures and detains Rose. There was much insight in these scenes; moments where an outsider, like Rose and the reader, can delve into the sadistic mind/lifestyle of a Strigoi. I couldn’t help but wonder if Rose was part of a bigger plot here. I haven’t a clue but some of the dialogue between Rose & Dimitri was intriguing as hell.

Blood Promise was emotionally and difficult to read, whether it’s your first, 2nd or 10th time to read it. I felt Rose’s pain, conflict and unconditional love for Dimitri. And at times, I even wanted him to turn her just so they could be together. I know it’s wrong but its how I felt. Oh well.

If you haven’t read this series, do be a fool. Get out there and buy it/read it immediately. And you’re lucky because unlike the rest of us, you’ll be able to read these books immediately in sequence without having to wait. Last Sacrifice comes out December 7th. Ooooh, I can’t wait!

Mina B.

Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Mini Book Review: Richelle Mead's Shadow Kiss

As part of the Vampire Book Club’s Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge, my next mini review is for book 3 in the series, Richelle Mead’s Shadow Kiss. For those interested in my original review, click here.

In my original review, I gave this book a 5. I recall loving this story for the suspense, passion and creative twists. And now since I’ve participated in this reread challenge, I can appreciate it so much more. As for new discoveries with Shadow Kiss…first and foremost is the tone of this book. For me, Shadow Kiss transformed the series. In the beginning, the books went from suspenseful, imaginative YA tales and then in this book, something bewitching happened…it morphed into a soul searing, spellbinding epic tale. Richelle Mead is a master storyteller. My emotions were completely out of whack when I finished this book. And the story still haunts me.

The second thing I discovered was Adrian and Ambrose. In lieu of the cliff hanger of Spirit Bound, I couldn’t help but take a closer look at characters like Adrian and Ambrose. And finally, Rose. Her entire notion of being shadow-kissed put me in awe all over again. It really is creepy as hell and from the looks of it; Rose doesn’t seem to have much of a future with that curse lurking around her.

Those are my thoughts and once again, I give it a 5. A special thanks for Vampire Book Club for having this challenge. It was such a pleasure to re-read Shadow Kiss and discovering its brilliance all over again. Last Sacrifice comes out December 7th

Until next time…hurry and read the Vampire Academy series. It will blow you away.

Mina B.

Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fridays with Fred: A Football Fan

Today’s Fridays with Fred is all about the Miami Dolphins, folks. Fred is a huge fan. Why? I have no idea. Still, he’s a diehard just the same – which is why he’s wearing a Dan Marino jersey. I could have killed the Dolphins though when they took the TV slot for Vampire Diaries last night. Oh and by the way…the Dolphins lost too. Typical. Hey, I’m a fan but seriously; don’t mess with me and my vampires. I’m not a TV addict, I’m a book addict. But…I do like my vamp shows. And since Buffy’s not around anymore – what other options do I have?

Oh well. Fred still looks adorable in his jersey. As usual…he’s such a good sport. Don’t forget to check out Mary from BookHounds...phoDOGraphy. Enjoy your weekend.

Mina B.

Looking for other fun pix of Fred? Click here and here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Gratitude Giveaway: My Feast for Fools

It’s here! The Gratitude Giveaways - Blog Follower Appreciation Hop. What’s that? It’s a killer way to say thanks to all my mystic minions for following my blog.  So...without further delay...let’s get down to business.

It’s a Thanksgiving feast, you fools. If you’re any bit of a real fool, then you probably hunger for Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires. This YA vamp series is dark, mysterious and unique as hell.  I inhaled the series initially but then I ran out of money and had to seek a book therapist for my habitual reading addiction and constant overspending.  But…when Ghost Town was released, I sadly picked up my habit again.  Drat.  But mystic readers don’t despair; I’ve since become quite savvy shopping for books.  And today, with this Gratitude Giveaway: My Thanksgiving Feast for Fools, (themed after Rachel Caine's 4th book, Feast of Fools) I’m passing my good fortune on to you.

Below is my feast. Like it? Good. You should. One lucky winner will receive the last two installments of Rachel Caine’s killer Morganville Vampire series, Kiss of Death and Ghost Town.  I stopped reading the series after Lord of Misrule so I have a ton of reading to finish before this bloody contest ends. These books retail for about $25 so this isn’t a shabby giveaway. In fact…it’s a feast.

My Gratitude Giveaway starts today, Wednesday, November 17th and ends on Sunday, November 28th eod.  Oh and by the way...Thank you for following me and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Here are the rules…

To enter…

You MUST be a follower of my blog and MUST fill out this entry form.

Extra entries…

+2 NEW/OLD Followers on Twitter @MinaBurrows
+1 For Becoming my Fan/Like on Facebook 

That’s it. The contest runs from runs from 12:01 AM on Wednesday, November 17th to 11:59 PM on Sunday, November 28th. Contest is for US residents only. Lastly, I want to give a quick shout out to Kathy from I’m a reader not a writer who organizes these hops. Thanks, Kathy.

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Mini Book Review: Richelle Mead’s Frostbite

Book 2 in Richelle Mead’s thrilling Vampire Academy series is Frostbite.  As part of the Vampire Book Club Vampire Academy ReRead Challenge, I am doing this mini-review. Want to read my previous review for Frostbite, click here.

I have to say – although I’m sure it’s debatable –Frostbite is my favorite book of the series…so far. I preferred it when I read the series initially and so far…I still do. I think I loved it so much because of the ending. What can I say about the ending: intense, riveting, spellbinding? Yes. All of those and of course more. And Mason, my hero *sigh*. I love that boy.

This time around three things resonated with me. First, I have more of an appreciation than before of Rose’s wit. Damn she’s funny. Second, the life lessons learned about love and how you can’t force it. And finally, Adrian. Getting a fresh new take on him was inspiring. He’s wicked, sexy, mysterious and yuuuummy!

If you haven’t had a chance to read the series, holy hell you better get on it. Last Sacrifice comes out next month. Oh, and the Vampire Book Club’s Vampire Academy ReRead Challenge ends this month.

Until next time…read Frostbite…a veritable classic on my bookshelf.

Mina B.

Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Mini Book Review: Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy

As I mentioned previously, I am participating in the Vampire Book Club's Vampire Academy ReRead Challenge.  It took me awhile, but I finally got my hands on Richelle Mead's first book, Vampire Academy.  I'm happy to report it was equally as difficult to put down the 2nd time around. Before starting, I went back and read my previous review of the Vampire Academy.

I initially stated the book was phenomenal and frankly, not much has changed. Reading this novel the first time around, I remember being so enthralled, I sucked the pages down. This story set my mind racing with anticipation. Some new things I got from the Vampire Academy reread was an appreciation for two things. First, the originality or brilliance, rather of Mead's tale and second, the entire Victor storyline and Vladimir history. Victor's purpose resonated more clearly this time around - kind of like a take on "for the greater good."  In his minor rants, he spoke volumes of what's to come - which again speaks to Mead's brilliance.  Other things of note were Rose’s maturity - her need to act less irresponsible and more like Lissa’s true guardian.

I loved, loved, loved this book. I didn’t state it the first time, but it’s an automatic 5; a keeper among literary vamp classics.

Until next time…join the Vampire Book Club Vampire Academy ReRead Challenge. You have until the end of this month…so hurry.  Last Sacrifice releases in less than one month...can't wait.

Mina B.

Vampire Academy Re-Read Challenge

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Review: H.A. Goodman's Logic of Demons

H.A. Goodman’s debut novel, Logic of Demons: The Quest for Nadine’s Soul, is a fictional tale about the pivotal decisions you make in your life that may effect your afterlife.  What would happen if your pregnant wife was raped and murdered and you knew who the killer was?  Would you seek justice and kill the culprit?  It’s a logic “what if” question; one that we all ponder from time to time.  If that scenario happened to you…what would you do?

The book opens with our hero faced with that conflict. Devin Schwartz's wife is brutally murdered and he’s knows the killer.  With little hesitation, Devin slaughters the man responsible for his wife & unborn child’s death and winds up dead himself, suspending in a bizarre afterlife. Since his vengeance, he’s now deemed a “demon” and is recruited to work for The Company, selling something called “The Formula” to unsuspecting living humans.  With all the conviction that Devin started out with in this book, he certainly lost his bravado when it came to the afterlife.

The bulk of this book was about Devin fumbling through afterlife, attempting to reunite with his wife and child. There were many times were I wanted to smack Devin. Between The Company, the Angels, the Paladins and Satan herself, there was a point in the book where I didn’t know who was telling the truth. Devin acted – often to his detriment – too impulsively, causing more problems for our demonic hero.

The Company (aka Hell), ultimately tasks Devin with selling The Formula to a troubled teenage girl, Nadine. Using The Formula, Devin must convince Nadine to do something heinous. And who is Nadine anyway? In the story, Nadine is this talented anime artist whose parents are dead and she lives with her holy-rolling Uncle. But why her? There’s a billion depressed, self-loathing teenagers out there so what makes her so special? With all the tragedy bestowed on this chick, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. While reading this, I often thought that personal tragedy was the common thread between Devin and Nadine. Could it be that Devin is the key to save or condemn Nadine’s soul? I won’t tell you…you’ll have to find out.

Overall, I liked H.A. Goodman’s novel, Logic of Demons:The Quest for Nadine’s Soul. To be honest, the last 50 pages did it for me.  During Devin's quest, I found there was too much back and forth between afterlife characters/scenes that I didn’t appreciate.  But the ending….ah, the ending…redeemed the book for me. On my KilloMeter, I give H.A. Goodman’s novel, Logic of Demons: The Quest for Nadine’s Soul a 3.5.

Until next time…looking for a killer plot twist, try this book.

Mina B.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fridays with Fred: A Day at the Park

It's time for Fridays with Fred.  And this week is all about Fred’s day at the park.  The Doggie Park, that is.  He’s been there more than a few times.  You could say...he’s a pretty social pooch.  All frolicking aside, he’s slightly happier chasing his human friends rather than other dogs.  And just look, even the chicks dig him.  It figures it’d be a beagle sniffing around.  And from the next pix, it appears as if Fred missed her when she left.  Typical male. Doesn’t know he’s got until it’s gone. Still, it was a great day, indeed.

Do da doooo...

Well...if you must.

Was it something I said?

Enjoy your weekend.

Until next time…have fun with your canine this weekend.

Mina B.

Looking for other photos of my furry friend, Fred...click here and here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Review: Lucienne Diver's ReVamped

Straight off my last review, I’m continuing on with Lucienne Diver’s second book in her YA series, Revamped.  I liked this one much better.  There are spoilers here so reader, beware.

From Book 1, Vamped, Gina and Bobby – the girlfriend/boyfriend vamps – are forced to work with the Feds.  I guess this organization oversees paranormal activity.  In Book 2, Gina and Bobby along with Rick get deputized, trained and assigned to investigate some strange occurrences.

Going undercover, Gina’s assigned as a Goth-type teenager to a local high school, Rick a jock and Bobby a smart, good looking kid who has to hang with the popular crowd. Having Gina be a pretend Goth girl was funny, indeed.  Her real personality – aside from being a vamp – is the exact opposite of the Goths.  I like how she immediately embraced her challenge and made friends.  Very cool.  As for Rick, I was terribly confused about his purpose.  He seemed to cause more problems – and for no good reason either.  I’d personally like to see Gina beat (possibly kill) his ungrateful butt!

Gina was wittier than ever this time around.  The odd thing about her is, she comes across like an airhead but then in her musings/actions she ends up…semi-intelligent.  I found her entertaining - just like before.  Sadly, Gina and Bobby didn’t get much face time.  I wasn’t too happy about that which makes me think maybe they aren’t as perfectly matched as I'd hoped. Ulric was my absolute favorite new character in the series and then, of course, Alistaire (but he wasn't new). I hate to say this but I’m not feeling the love so much with Bobby. :(  Ulric on the other hand was off the charts hot.  At first, I wasn’t sure what side he was on but I liked him.  He wasn’t all cookie-cut – and with his uniqueness…I wanted more.  Alistaire was bizarre, menacing, exciting and a breath of fresh air into the plot.  I’d like an entire book on Alistaire alone, but that’s me.

As far as the plot, the vampire council is back with a whole string of new characters.  And guess what…they are turning teenagers again.  Having Alistaire back and confronting his father added to the intrigue factor for me. There was a trader within one of the groups.  I wasn’t surprised it was one of Gina’s Goth gals.  I’m not sure what is next in this series but if it has anything to do with Gina, Alistaire and Ulric…I can’t wait to find out.  This book is fun YA read.  It's PG enough where you could toss it to your teenager and not worry.  And it has just enough vamp intrigue in it that a teen shouldn't get bored. 

On my KilloMeter, I give Lucienne Diver's YA book, Revamped a 3.75

Until next time….read on and as often as you can.

Mina B.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review: Lucienne Diver's Vamped

Today I’m reviewing YA vamp tale, Vamped by Lucienne Diver. I was really excited to read this series since I already had a copy of Book 2, Revamped in my hands. I couldn’t read it, though without reading Vamped first, right? Youbetcha. Beware, there are some spoilers in this review.

Gina Covello woke up one evening as an undead vampire, climbing her way out of a coffin. That scene would be normal for any undead creature, but for Gina and her divalicious style, it was downright criminal. And who was responsible for her undead transformation…Bobby Delvecchio. This one-time geek/chess champion was not as dull as Gina recalled, especially after he showed up in the graveyard, holding two, filled Macy shopping bags. The second she saw those bags, Gina began warming up to the unlikely hero.

For me, Gina’s character was lively, snarky and brazen from like page 2. Her dominating personality was slightly schizophrenic - to the point of her hearing voices in her head. This all went well with the story, told from her point of view. She was the perfect, popular teenager that wouldn’t let “being dead” stand in the way of her maintaining fashion sense. For as narcissistic as she was, I found it funny that she couldn’t see her image reflected in a mirror. I thought that was the perfect touch for  her self-involved vamp personality type. Add the fact that she’s a teenager and you have quite a character on your hands.

Eventually, Gina did begin putting others first. Hey, even as an undead bloodsucker, she was still maturing. I really liked her boy toy, Bobby, and would have liked to had more of him in the book. Oh well.

As for the plot…it unfolded a bit awkward for me. First there was Mellisande going around creating an army of vamp teenagers at the local high school. And then there were so many different characters between humans and vampires, Mellisande minions and council members; I had a hard time following the “who’s” in a scene.

I liked Gina’s spirit, though and was inspired by her willingness to lead the charge against the Mellisande. But when the end erupted into her “coming out” to the Police/media/public, I was like…huh? I didn’t really get it until the Man in Black sauntered in. Then, I’ll admit I was intrigued. Through all the trials these teenagers endured, it was clear someone of power would always try to control them. Gina seemed to be jockeying around to different players throughout the tale in an effort to survive. In the end, they were left with another entity attempting to control them. And what does this mean for Gina? Not sure but I’ll have to wait to read Book 2…Revamped. Stay tuned as I plan on reviewing this book soon.  On my KilloMeter, I give Vamped a 3.

Until next time…read a YA book, try Lucienne Diver’s Vamped.

Mina B.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fridays with Fred: Fall

It’s officially Fall for us, here in SoFlo.  And yes, we do have leaves.  Lots of them.  Just ask my neighbor. Hah!

As you can see, Fred’s getting in on the leaf action.  He’s normally a bit more animated than this but hey, at least he “stayed” for the shot.  He’s such a good sport like that.  Anyway, since it’s November and the cool air has managed to drift its way down south, I thought I'd show a pix of Fred partaking in the action.  Have a great weekend.

Take the pix already, would ya?

Until next time…

Mina B.

If you missed last week's Halloween pix...see Fred here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My First Blog Award

I got my first ever blog award. Woohoo! *pops champagne cork*

It's called a "Great Blog Neighbor Award".  So here goes my acceptance speech...

*sniffle* I’d like to thank all my readers for making this possible.  My near empty bank account for all the books I’ve bought and read.  And of course…*sigh, wipes a tear*…my own personal writing is the real reason for this celebratory day.  I probably wouldn’t be here if I didn’t write.  But alas…I still read. (I won’t discuss the slight hair loss I acquired during writing and editing my own stuff.) Another big thank you goes to my Google followers; who apparently think more of me than Google does. (According to Google I’m ranked a whopping zero.  Hey, let’s stay positive, guys…at least I’m ranked.)  The point is…*mind wanders as to what I was saying…ah, yes*…the point is I’m honored.  THANK YOU, Missy from Missy's Reads and Reviews.

1. Thank the person you received this award from.
2. Pass it one to 10 other bloggers.
3. Contact the bloggers to let them know about the award.

And now *drum roll*…It is my pleasure to announce ten, nine blogs I deem worthy of the aforementioned  award….

Rex Robot Reviews
Forever Young (Adult)
John Smith Books
Reads, Reviews and Recommends
Super Girl Reader Reviews
The Book on the Hill
The Romantic Type
Insert My Title Here

If you can’t accept the award, I understand.  Just make a mental note that I thought enough of you to nominate you. That’s how much I heart you!  I guess the deal is you now will have to pass the award on. Whew! For me, this was pretty intense. A lot of accepting, passing, speech writing and blog posting.  But...I wouldn't change a thing.  Thanks, Missy!

Until next time…isn’t it nice to get recognized for something?

Mina B.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And the winner of my Spooktacular Book Blog Hop Contest is...

Congratulations to WCC, White Chocolate Cherries for winning my Spooktacular Blog Hop Contest.  The winner was chosen through the established and reputable Random.org.  My participation in the Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop was to celebrate my 100th blog post.  It was my first hop and I had a blast.  I hope you did too!  A big wet kiss and a special THANK YOU to everyone who entered.

In the near future, check back for other Free Book Contests.  You never know when I might spring one on.  This November, I’m planning some killer reviews, and hopefully another author interview (keep your fingers crossed).  Also, before the end of the year, I’m planning on posting a few sample chapters of my novels. About the only thing that mirrors my passion for reading is my writing.  I’m hard at work this November, participating in NaNoWriMo so I hope to finalize one WIP called, Mystic Deeds.  Check out my new pages to read it’s synopsis plus other fun stuff I've scribbled. 

Lastly, I’m definitely planning on doing another yummy giveaway before the end of the year to celebrate my bloggoversary. Yes, folks...in December 2010 it will technically be one year for me.  WOW. Craziness I know.

Until next time…who doesn’t love the Free Sh** fairy? I know I do!

Mina B.