Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Creepy Classic Review: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

This month’s Creepy Classic is The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien.  There’s been a ton of buzz about this classic recently; that I felt the topic was timely.  With the overwhelming success of Peter Jackson’s on screen depiction of Tolkien’s masterpiece, Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy, it's no stretch to hear he’s planning a repeat performance with Tolkien’s original classic, The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

The Hobbit thrusts open the door into the magical world Tolkien created. It brilliantly features some of the same trials and tribulations that young Frodo embarked. For Bilbo, his adventure starts when he sets off with a Gandalf and a band of dwarves. Between the wizard, dwarves and the hobbit, the story steadily builds from its unique cast of characters. On their thrilling expedition they face Trolls, Goblins, all-types of Elvish kind, Wargs, gigantic spiders, a dragon and, of course, Men too. To There and Back Again, masterfully depicts Bilbo, our clever Hobbit, blossoming from a hard-pressed survivor to a celebrated hero. I believe I have more of an appreciation for Bilbo Baggins after reading this. He was such a fascinating Hobbit, just like Frodo.  And really…it all began with Bilbo.

For me, the book lit on fire after Bilbo found the ring and, of course, when he met Gullom. Witnessing Bilbo’s several near-death escapes was riveting.  He was in every sense a survivor.  Despite being constantly half-starved, and wanting of his 2nd breakfast, he persevered.  And I loved him for it.  Many of his friends said it was luck – which is highly likely – but I think it was more than that.  He was a Hobbit and not just any Hobbit, but a Baggins. Having the ring and its invisibility magic certainly helped, but I doubt many others could wield it like Bilbo.

There were times in this book when I sympathized immensely for Bilbo, wondering how he’d manage to thwart Gollum, sting a spider or even speak in riddles to the dragon, Smaug. So many times, I was on the edge of my seat, feeling Bilbo’s fear, understanding his reasoning, or sensing his doom.  And (I have to mention this) I wanted to kill Gandalf, who seems to be forever jetting off on some secretive wizardry task, leaving his companions and friends – namely Bilbo and Frodo – behind.  Some friend, huh? 

The Hobbit was so phenomenal; it truly made me fall in love with the series all over again. I was easily reminded how I was reading the beginnings of something truly great, am obvious classic.  For me, Tolkien's The Hobbit was a 4.5.  If you haven't had a chance to read this, do so now - at least before the movie comes out.  

Until next time…looking for something to read, try a classic.

Mina B.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fridays with Fred & Book Blogger Hop

Fridays with Fred is here & Book Blogger Hop too! WOW! I am Iate for this post! Sorry! Thanks for picking me Crazy-for-Books! I do love this question because I often think about it.

"If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…
which one would it be and why?"

There are several series I would do this for but if I have to name one, I have to say…Harry Potter. Why? Because I want to be a wizard! I want to soar the skies on a broom (Nimbus 2001) and fight the evil Lord Voldemort with my magical wand. I want to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and learn all about magic & potions, attend classes, fight a death match with a spider in an enchanted forest. And I want to play quidditch for Cripes sake! Doesn’t that sound like fun? It does to me.  Anyway, that’s my answer. I’m sure I one of millions who feel the same.

Book Blogger Hop

And now...Fridays with Fred!

Did you know that I used to have another Jack Russell Terrier? Her name was Buffy and she was beautiful.  But…about three years ago, she ran away.  As you can see Fred had some fun with her as did Buffy with Fred.  They weren’t best friends per se, but companions nonetheless.  Fred doesn’t like sharing the top spot, if you can imagine that.  I guess it’s a dog thing.  Anyway, when Buffy took off, it devastated our family including Fred.  To this day, we still search for her.  Today, we find humor in her leaving, attempting to reason why she left.  We joke saying comments like Buffy couldn’t take the BS of living with us anymore and so she got the hell out of Dodge type thing.  And so *sniffle*…I thought I’d share this sweet photo I recently found of the two of them. It’s a classic scene of Fred running around and Buffy trailing him.  Don’t they look like their having fun?

Enjoy your weekend!

If you'd like to see more of Fred, try here and here.  Also, please stop by and visit Schatze over at Mary's (BookHounds).  She's one of Fred's other hot babe.

And if you get a chance, enter to win a signed ARC copy of Rachel Caine's latest, Bite Club!  Contest ends April 3rd, eod.

Until next time...

Mina B.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free Book Contest / ARC Giveaway - Rachel Caine's Bite Club

Once again the FREE Sh** Fairy had hooked me up.  My latest FREE Book Contest is for the ARC copy of Rachel Caine’s 10th book in the Morganville Vampire series, Bite Club.  That’s right, minions.  This book’s not even out yet.  And one (1) lucky winner will get chance to read it before the masses. How’s that for a giveaway.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review please do.  This was a thrilling read for me and I have no doubt you’ll think so too.

But wait…there’s more!  What’s so great about this ARC is it’s signed too!  Yes, I said “signed” by Rachel Caine herself.  That’s like the cherry on top, huh?  I know.  I know.  Calm down.  I was excited too.   

And now down to business. My Free Book Contest for one (1) signed ARC copy of Caine's Bite Club starts today, March 23rd and runs through April 3rd, end of day.

To enter
You MUST be a follower of my blog AND fill out this form!

Contestants must submit their name, GC handle & email in order to officially entered.
(This contest is open to US only.)

Extra entries
+3 NEW/OLD Followers on Twitter @MinaBurrows
+1 Retweet on Twitter or Repost this on Facebook (limited to one RT/FB post)
+2 Like me on Facebook/Mina Burrows

Until next time...contest ends April 3rd, eod. Enter to win today!

Mina B.

(Note: The Winner will be notified by email and will have no more than 72 hours to respond before another winner is drawn. Winners are selected by the reputable

Monday, March 21, 2011

ARC Review: Rachel Caine's Bite Club

Book 10 in Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series, Bite Club, is set to release in early May.  An insane amount of fans are waiting patiently for the series latest installment.  I used to be one of those fans too, that is until I got my hands on an ARC copy.  Before I begin my review, I must give a GINORMOUS thanks to Rachel Caine and her team for providing me with an ARC copy of this coveted book, Bite Club.  I was beyond fortunate to read it earlier than most.
First off, if you are unfamiliar with the series, I’m listing a few of my previous Morganville reviews, specifically the last two, Book 8/Kiss of Death and Book 9/Ghost Town.  As always, I will do my best not to mention any spoilers, even though it's nearly impossible.

Something is always brewing in Morganville or Nowhere, Texas.  In Bite Club, Claire’s having an unusually ordinary day on campus until she witnesses her lab partner steal vials of vampire blood and then later finds him dead. The mystery starts there and then quickly unravels into chaos.

Bite Club delves wonderfully into Claire’s boyfriend, Shane Collins, and all his dark, misunderstood and repressed tendencies.  He’s a bit of ticking time bomb and woven brilliantly into the plot, Caine –who normally writes in third person – switched over and wrote first person, from Shanes’s perspective.  And it was awesome!  I know some people don’t like this.  But I did.  I loved getting a glimpse inside Shane’s head. On the surface, he comes off as a total slacker, but if you’re a fan, then you know he’s far more complex and smarter than that.  And reading his voice, you know he’s all heart.

In Bite Club, Shane’s thinks he’s found his calling when he signs up for martial arts classes.  While Shane hones his fighting skills, things in Morganville start to change including Shane.  Claire does her best to support him plus meet the demands of Amelie and Myrnin.  Amelie, whose constantly under the threat of vampires –possibly even humans– revolting against her, remains the ice queen when it comes to ruling Morganville.  And Myrnin gets in on the action which I found thoroughly entertaining.  There were so many laugh out loud moments in this book with Myrnin, especially since Frank Collins– Shane’s Dad –is now literally hard-wired to Myrnin’s mystical computer. I think Frank and Myrnin are the new dynamic duo, they were so hilarious.

Caine’s a genius at creating loveable characters, even when their menacing ones.  A genius! The plot has so many twists that guess what…even ol’ *bleep* is back.  I won’t tell you who, but I can tell you I nearly dropped the book.  Our young hero, Claire, is forever the driving force behind these perilous plots.  And in Bite Club, with all the dead bodies, exploding tempers, brutalizing fights and impending hostile take-overs, Claire’s got her work cut out for her. Again.

Bite Club was a 4.5 for me. I loved it and I have no doubt you will too.

Until next time…Morganville Vampires – the thrilling adventure continues.

Mina B.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And the winner of Kresley Cole's Dreams of a Dark Warrior is...

Congratulations to Cindy L. for winning a copy of Kresley Cole’s Dreams of a Dark Warrior.  The winner was selected by the reputable,  Winners have at least 72 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.  That almost never happens but I have to say that.
A HUGE “thanks” to everyone who participated. I’m such a die-hard fan of paranormal romance/urban fantasy literature that it’s only natural that Kresley Cole’s on my Free Book roster.  She’s wickedly talented and if you haven’t had a chance to read her novels, please do.  She’s created an enticing mystical world with her Immortals  After Dark series that I promise you will not be disappointed.  On a side note, if you follow the series there is one thing I can’t wait for.  Nix’s story a.k.a. Nucking Futs Nix!  She’s a loop-d-loop Valkyrie that I would love to read more about.  Give me a shout in the comments if you read me!

Next up, tomorrow I’m posting a review of Rachel Caine’s Bite Club. I was blessed with an ARC copy of it and can’t wait to tell all me fans about the killer YA read.  Be sure and check back because I have a whopping surprise that you won’t want to miss.

Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Until next time…

Mina B.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fridays with Fred & Book Blogger Hop

Good Morning! Happy Friday, everyone. Welcome to Fridays with Fred and Book Blogger Hop. Starting off with Book Blogger Hop, there’s an interested question that’s been asked. This week's question comes from Somer who blogs at A Bird's Eye Review.
Book Blogger Hop

"Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?"

Interesting question. I read several. It’s just the way I do it.  For me it all depends on what little time I have to read what. Location. Location. Location. There are times when I’m out and about and I get a few lines in from an ebook on my iPhone- and in that case, I read whatever book is readily available.  Other times, at night for example, I take in a couple chapters of a book by my bedside. Everything depends on what I’m doing - when I'm doing it. And one more thing. There are times when I pick a book that just not resonating with me but I still want to finish it. It may take me longer but usually finish. Its rare for me to abandon books.

This week on my blog, I reviewed for Rachel Caine's Ghost Town. If you can...check it out. And BTW, I just finished reading an ARC copy of Bite Club. Jealous? You should be. Stop by over on Sunday for my review and surprise!  Want to know more? You'll have to come back!

And now…Fridays with Fred.

This shot below is of my prankster pooch and his crazy ways. Fred’s been busted below in the bathtub. I’ve seen evidence of him there i.e. paw prints peppered everywhere. I didn’t get it at first, because Fred hates taking a bath. Then I realized, he was thirsty. So I doubled up on his water supply, thinking that would help. Nope. His tracks continued to show up around in the tub, even when he knows he’s not supposed to. The little devil. Oh well. It just means more cleaning for me. In the scheme of things, if it makes him happy and its not hurting anybody…have at it, Fred.

Don't forget to check out Schatze over at Mary/Bookhounds. We just want to eat her up!

Until next time...
Mina B.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Review: Rachel Caine's Ghost Town

Rachel Caine’s Ghost Town, Book 9 in the Morganville Vampires series, was easily another thriller. I meant to review this some time ago, but then time slipped away from me.  That happens, you know.  It’s called life.  Anyway, the series was/is one of my favorite young adult series.  Despite targeting the youngsters, it has crossover appeal that continues to outlast most series.  If you haven’t read the series, take a moment to peruse my previous reviews. Glass Houses, The Dead Girls Dance, Midnight Alley, and Kiss of Death.
I’ll do my best not to mention too many spoilers, but it may just happen.  I apologize in advance if I go overboard.  Where to begin?  Ah…the town of Morganville.  Yes.  Morganville has its boundaries, you know.  And those parameters are watched/guarded against vampires and humans alike.  Like the roach motel, you can check in but you can almost never check out – thanks to the town’s mystical borders.  In previous books, we’ve learned just how those borders were kept; by some freakish “steampunky” device which used the brain of Myrnin’s former vampire assistant, Ada.  It needed a brain as its CPU, Myrnin insisted.  After Ada departed, he wanted Claire’s brilliant mind to fill that position.  Claire obviously declined that promotion.

In a bizarre twist, Claire fixes the machine/computer and in less than 48 hours, Myrnin screws it up, wiping 3 years worth of memories of Morganville residents (vamps & humans.)  The story starts out with mild hysteria building and quickly burst into full blown chaos.  Humans are losing it, crazed with amnesia and then worse, the vamps become afflicted too.  In fact, they become so enraged; they outright kill/maim anything that crosses their paths.

What I love best about this series are three things.  First, the books are always fast-paced thrillers.  Action. Action.  Action.  Need I say more?  Second, there’s a steady, frightening undertone of impending doom that permeates throughout Caine’s novels.  I for one would not want to visit Morganville, ever!  I mean who can Claire and her friends trust?  No one.  Even Michaels’s friendship is questionable at times because he is - after all - one of them…a vampire.   Lastly, the characters…I can’t say enough about the characters.  They are so beautifully complicated, vulnerable and imperfect that in short instances, you see the humanity in the vamps and the beastly nature of the humans.
This book was another 4 for me.  Now it’s your turn to get your Morganvill fix. Read Rachel Caine’s Ghost Town and hurry because this May is the release of Book 10 in the series, Bite Club.

Until next time…The Morganville Vamps are to die for.

Mina B.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fridays with Fred & Book Blogger Hop

It’s time for Book Blogger Hop and Fridays with Fred.  Wow!  This week blew by, huh?  I love Friday (my fav day…TGIF.)  Anyway, the Book Blogger Hop has an interesting question this week.  I actually submitted a question last week.  I’m not sure if someone’s submitted it already, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Book Blogger Hop

This week's question comes from Ellie who blogs at Musings of a Bookshop Girl:

 If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?

This one’s fun. Okay. At first, I said I’d put the $ towards a Kindle, but then I recanted. As much as I'd relish a Kindle, I’d probably prefer an iPad instead. That being said, I easily listed these books in no particular order:

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead’s
Born to Bite by Lynsay Sands
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Bite Club by Rachel Caine
No Rest for the Wicked by Kresely Cole
Ten Stories about Smoking by Stuart Evers

NevermoreSuccubus BluesBorn to Bite: An Argeneau Novel (Argeneau Vampires)
 Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)Bite Club (Morganville Vampires, Book 10)No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, Book 2)Ten Stories about Smoking. by Stuart Evers

And now on to Fridays with Fred

Did you know this past Tuesday was Fat Tuesday?  Well…now you do.  Fred did his own thing as usual as did his friends.  I decided to give Fred a rest this week and feature one of his buds.  This picture comes from Carla and what a picture it is.  This is either Darcy or Sophie – not sure which and the mask doesn’t help.  This pooch is all decked out and in full Fat Tuesday mode.  I love it.  Happy Mardi Gras!

Don't forget to check out Schatze over at Mary/Bookhounds.  Fred really adores her.

Until next time...enjoy your weekend!

Mina B. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review: Kresley Cole’s Dreams of a Dark Warrior

Kresely Cole’s latest book and 11th in the Immortals After Dark series is Dreams of a Dark Warrior.  Regin the Radient and Aiden the Fierce have quite a past.  Regin, one of the many daughters of the god, Woden, left heaven in search of her sister.  During her quest, Regin met Aiden, a Berserker and a warrior, and their lives were never the same.

Aiden was instantly obsessed with Regin, his godly charge who radiated a mystical glow.  He knew she was meant for him and from that moment, he vowed to protect her.  As a young child and even as a grown woman, Regin considered Aiden a lowly mortal.  As a Valkyrie who was destined to be an immortal, she was intrigued by Aiden but intuitively knew not to fall in love with him.  Even though Aiden was a Berserker - a being with immense power when raged, he was still mortal.  Aiden arrogantly vowed he’d be turned into an immortal, winning ohalla; a gift bestowed by Woden to mortals who fought 200 battles in his name.  That never happened, not in Aiden’s lifetime.  And their eternal curse set not too long after he claimed her for his own.

Several centuries later and during Aiden’s fifth reincarnation, Regin is captured by Declan Chase.  He’s Aiden’s reincarnation – that's for sure – and he’s a screwed up, militant-type guy, whose job is to collect, cage or kill immortals. Chase works as a hunter for the Order, a secret, specialized operation that considers all immortals as monsters. Chase is dark and menacing. He follows his orders no questions asked until he meets Regin and begins breaking all the rules.

What I loved about this book was how screwed up the characters were.  Regin’s mind was warped after repeatedly finding and living briefly with Aiden’s reincarnations. Each one of them different yet somehow still Aiden.  She had mere moments of bliss with all of them and then they died, forcing her to live in perpetual hell without her true mate.  Chase, has such an effed up past, it’s a wonder he doesn’t kill all immortals on site.  These two were a pair.

The story captivated me from the start, which is typical Kresley Cole style.  Aiden and Regin have such history together is makes sense their relationship would be doomed.  Still, Cole manages to bring it home, and beautifully too. I really liked this book…not only for his romantic elements but for its complexity of truly dark and mysterious characters.  Dreams of a Dark Warrior was easily a 4 for me.

Until next time…read anything by Kresley Cole and you won’t be disappointed.

Mina B.
My FREE Book Contest for
Kresley Cole's Dreams of a Dark Warrior
ends March 17th eod.  Click here to enter!