Thursday, April 24, 2008

Book 25 of 2008: Lady & the Vamp by Michelle Rowen

Book Description:

Former vampire hunter Michael Quinn is living a nightmare: he's been turned into a vampire. His only hope is the "Eye"--a long-lost artifact that, once every millennium, will grant one wish to its possessor. Fortunately for Quinn, he has a map detailing the path to the "Eye." All he needs to do is find it, then he can wish himself back into humanity.

Janie Parker has made a lot of many mistakes in her life, not the least of which was getting tricked into working for a demon. Not only is the pay awful, but she has to successfully complete all her unsavory assignments or risk a torturous death. Her latest mission is to track a vampire who apparently knows where some stupid treasure is. No problem. Until she sees who the vampire is -- Michael Quinn, a man she's had a crush on since she was twelve years old. Too bad she'll have to kill him to get to the "Eye."

But Quinn and Janie are kindred spirits, and soon they're falling in love even though they're after what the other person is desperate for: the "Eye".

My Opinion:

This is the 3rd book in Michelle Rowen's IMMORTALITY BITES series. The book focuses on Quinn and Janie rather than the main character, Sarah Dearly, of the first 2 books. I absolutely loved the storyline in this book and Quinn... *drool* ... majorly grows on a girl. His character is most fabulous! I can't wait to see what happens next to Quinn & Janie, but unfortunately book 4 (which doesn't come out until February 2009 as it is) shifts back to Sarah Dearly so I don't know how much we'll get to find out about Quinn & Janie's story. Oh well... one day! I am curious to see where Sarah is now and what all mischief she is up to so I am still looking forward to book 4!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Book 24 of 2008: The Bitchfight by Michael A. Arnzen

Book Description:

Mike Arnzen, THE BITCHFIGHT. 14,000 words of original fiction from one of horror's up and comers. A nasty tale plumbing the depths of human depravity.

My Opinion:

Hmmm... I didn't find much of a "description" for this one, but that might be the best way to go into reading this short chapterbook.
Michael A. Arnzen calls this a "horror comedy", but honestly, I didn't laugh at all (much like the author of the forward, Brian Hodge). That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the story... it simply means I didn't find the subject matter as humorous. I actually felt quite the opposite about it. If I sound like I'm struggling for words in this "review", that's because I am. I'm still a bit undecided on my true feelings of this novelette. This is my first peek into the writing style of Arnzen and I really like the way he puts his words down on paper, but as for the subject matter of this story, I found it a bit disturbing. I definitely wasn't offended by any means (as it takes a great deal to offend me) but that doesn't mean that subject matter had me thinking a lot. I mean, I can't imagine the events in this book taking place in real life, but if they did... well, I'd probably have a VERY hard time being around this kind of situation and would hope to never have to be. Arnzen definitely has a way with words and describing everything in the book. I honestly felt like I was sitting on the sidelines watching a lot of the events in this book. There were also a few times where I thought that he was going to go somewhere with the story that I was really hoping he didn't go to. (thank you for NOT going those places Arnzen!!!) Of course, having the thought that he MIGHT go there might be saying something a bit about me as well. LOL!!! I do have to wonder where the authors come up with these ideas though. I guess that's why I'm the reader and these other guys are the writers. Maybe one day I'll have a crazy idea or two pop into my head and I'll be able to disturb a few people out there, but in the meantime, I think I'll look for some more books by Arnzen to read!

Book 23 of 2008: Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

Book Description:

Seattle. One minute you're drinking a vanilla breve, the next, some creepy old dude is breathing on you, turning you into a zombie. And that's just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle's undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six-inch stilettos, Balenciaga handbag on sale) while satisfying her craving for human flesh (Don't judge. And no, not like chicken.) and decent vodkatinis.

Making her way through a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, werewolves, celebrities, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters-not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo-isn't easy. And the minute one of Amanda's undead friends disappears after texting the word, "help" (The undead-so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly.

Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle's undead underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than death.

My Opinion:

Mark Henry's first release brought a refreshing new change on the scene. HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED is listed as "urban fantasy" but the book has a bit of everything in it... romance, horror, comedy, etc... Henry adds a lot of "pop culture" references and witty comments throughtout the book as well. I think my favorite parts of the book were within the footnotes that are listed throughout the book. I found myself snorting out loud more than once due to his quirky comments.

The main character, Amanda, ia obsessed with fashion and make-up. (I was quite impressed with the amount of research the author must have put into learning about all the latest fasions) I can't relate to this side of her, but I was definitely enjoying her personality and snarky comebacks she made throughout the story.

I enjoyed this story quite a lot and am looking forward to the release of the 2nd book in this series, ROAD TRIP OF THE LIVING DEAD!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Book 22 of 2008: Gleefully Macabre Tales by Jeff Strand

Book Description:

Cemetery Dance magazine says that "No author working today comes close to Jeff Strand's perfect mixture of comedy and terror." Gleefully Macabre Tales compiles 32 of his most twisted blends of cringe-worthy horror and ghoulish humor, with a couple of serious pieces thrown in just to mess with you.

This collection includes tales from his three chapbooks (Two Twisted Nuts, Socially Awkward Moments With An Aspiring Lunatic, and Funny Stories of Scary Sex) and numerous other stories both popular and obscure, including "Really, Really Ferocious" (the one with the wiener dog), "High Stakes" (the one with the slot machine), "Roasting Weenies by Hellfire" (the one with Satan), "The Bad Candy House" (the one with a very unpleasant old man at Halloween) and "The Socket" (the one with the eyeball socket).

It also includes two of his entries in the World Horror Convention gross-out contest. But you don't want to read them.

So if you're looking to laugh, gasp, gag, or do all three at the same time, making sort of a weird sound that hurts your lungs and elicits odd glances from nearby pedestrians, don't miss Gleefully Macabre Tales!

My Opinion:

Being a huge Jeff Strand fan I was torn when it came to buying this book as I wanted the book, but the covered creeps the hell out of me due to my fear of clowns. *shudder* In the end, I gave in and just try not to look at the cover much.

This book is stuffed full o' Strand goodness and has a little something for everyone, well... maybe not EVERYONE, but for all of us twisted, psychotic people that like to read about gross things. ha ha!!! My favorite new-to-me stories within were (in random order):

Socially Awkward Moments With An Aspiring Lunatic
Werewolf Porno
Abbey's Shreik
Howard, the Tenth Reinder & Howard Rises
Wasting Grandma

I actually have the chapter books for the first 2 mentioned, but hadn't had the chance to read them yet, so now I can keep from breaking the mini-spines of those chapter books for now. :)

In addition, 3 of Strand's stories that I've enjoyed in the past and still enjoy are:

The Socket
The Bad Candy House
Mr. Sensitive

Probably my least favorite stories in the book were:

Them Old West Mutations (this one reminded me of Mandibles and just isn't my kind of story)
One of Them (I guess I'm in the majority on this one based on the story notes at the back of the book)

It's nice to have a compilation of Strand's stories all in one book instead of having to go from one book to another and I do hope there is a GMT 2, 3, etc... in the future.

I did think one thing while reading this though... if I ever meet Jeff Strand & there is a chainsaw anywhere nearby... I'm running like hell!!! It seems like a chainsaw is a VERY common weapon in his stories and I wouldn't doubt that that would be his weapon of choice if he were to ever have a breakdown and go on a killing spree!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Book 21 of 2008: Duma Key by Stephen King

Book Description:



A terrible accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. When his marriage suddenly ends, Edgar begins to wish he hadn't survived his injuries. He wants out. His psychologist suggests a new life distant from the Twin Cities, along with something else:

"Edgar, does anything make you happy?"

"I used to sketch."

"Take it up again. You need hedges...hedges against the night."

Edgar leaves for Duma Key, an eerily undeveloped splinter of the Florida coast. The sun setting into the Gulf of Mexico calls out to him, and Edgar draws. Once he meets Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick old woman with roots tangled deep in Duma Key, Edgar begins to paint, sometimes feverishly; many of his paintings have a power that cannot be controlled. When Elizabeth's past unfolds and the ghosts of her childhood begin to appear, the damage of which they are capable is truly devastating.

The tenacity of love, the perils of creativity, the mysteries of memory and the nature of the supernatural -- Stephen King gives us a novel as fascinating as it is gripping and terrifying.

My Opinion:

This book took me forever to read, but not because it wasn't a good book, but because it was a hardback book and rather large/heavy/bulky. I actually enjoyed the book quite a lot especially as the book came to a climax a bit into the second half of the book. The story took a major turn in the book, which made it quite exciting and fast-paced. I did have to laugh at the obvious "advertisements" for his son's book HEART-SHAPED BOX by King using a heart-shaped box as an object in the book several times near the end. I am glad to be done reading this though as I was really tired of lugging that monster around, but I'm definitely glad that I have had the opportunity to read the story though.

Movie 22 of 2008: Donny Brasco

Movie Description:

In the late 1970s, FBI agent Joe Pistone (Depp) is assigned to infiltrate a New York City mafia family. Calling himself Donnie Brasco, and posing as a diamond expert, he befriends Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino), a low-level mob hit man whose personal life is in tatters, and Dominick Napolitano (Michael Madsen). Lefty can't seem to make any money, his son is a junkie, and he is continually passed over for promotion to a higher position within the Family. He continually reminds Brasco of his growing disillusionment about having spent 30 years in the mafia (and killing 26 people), with little to show for it. In Donnie, however, Lefty sees a young protégé who might be able to succeed where he had failed. He takes Donnie under his wing, and under Lefty's tutelage Donnie quickly becomes accepted by the other Family members, although he is never elevated above the rank of "associate" member (the lowest mafia rank). But the longer Pistone plays the role of a gangster, the more he finds himself actually becoming Donnie Brasco during his rare off duty hours. His change in personality drives a wedge between him and his wife (played by Anne Heche) and three children. Over time, Pistone comes to realize that the slightest mistake in his performance as a mobster could result in the death of him and his family. In addition, Joe Pistone has come to regard Lefty as a close and trusted friend. He knows that when the day finally comes that the FBI arrests his mob associates, he will be ending Lefty's life as surely as if he himself had killed him.

Movie Trailer:

My Opinion

This was one of the few Johnny Depp movies I hadn't seen yet, but I now have. It's definitely not one of my fave Depp movies, but I did enjoy it. Al Pacino is also a fabulous actor (especially in THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE) so that helped make the movie a winner as well. I'll probably re-watch this one someday though as I was kinda drifting in and out towards the end.

Movie 21 of 2008: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Movie Description:

Sweeney Todd is a villain/anti-hero appearing in various English language works starting in the mid-19th century as a barber and an early example of a serial killer. His weapon is a cut-throat razor (or "straight razor" in American English), with which he slits his victims' throats. In some versions of the story, Mrs. Lovett, who is his partner in crime and variously his friend or lover (and whose first name is variously Marjorie, Sarah, Nellie, Shirley or Claudette) hides the crimes by butchering the corpses of Todd's victims, baking their flesh into meat pies, and selling them to unknowing customers. His wife, Lucy Barker, is a woman so contested that it caused him to be exiled for life and fuel his vengeance. He is also assisted by an unwitting apprentice lad named Tobias Ragg, who later aids in unmasking his crimes. In most recent versions of the story, Sweeney either helps or hinders (sometimes both) the love affair of a young woman, Johanna Barker, and a sailor named Mark Ingesterie or more commonly known as Anthony Hope. In the musical stage production and 2007 film, Johanna is Todd's daughter Johanna Barker.

Movie Trailer:

My Opinion:

This was actually my 2nd viewing of this movie as I originally saw this at the theater back in December the week it came out. I enjoyed this movie a lot! Granted... I'm a bit biased as I'm a fairly huge fan of both Johnny Depp and Tim Burton and when they work together on a film the outcome is always amazing! The songs in this movie are fabulous and I ended up ordering the soundtrack the day after I saw this movie the first time. I don't know if I should've laughed so much during this movie considering the theme, but I found several things about the movie to be quite amusing... even the way the blood splattered. LOL!!! Maybe I'm a bit sick & twisted... who knows!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Movie 20 of 2008: L.A. Confidential

Movie Description:

L.A. Confidential is a 1997 feature film based on the 1990 crime fiction novel of the same title by James Ellroy, the third in his L.A. Quartet novel cycle. Both book and film tell the story about a group of Los Angeles police in the 1950s, and police corruption bumping up against Hollywood celebrity. The film adaptation was produced and directed by Curtis Hanson and co-written by Brian Helgeland and Hanson. At the time, both Australian actors Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce were relative unknowns in North America and one of the film’s backers, Arnon Milchan was worried about the lack of movie stars in the lead roles. However, he supported Hanson’s casting decisions and this gave the director the confidence to approach Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito and Kevin Spacey. When Hanson gave Spacey the script, he told him to think of Dean Martin while in the role.

Movie Trailer:

My Opinion:

I honestly didn’t focus on this movie as much as I probably should’ve when watching it so I can’t give a full opinion of this. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t keep up with the movie enough to get a true idea of what all happened in it. LOL!!! Maybe I’ll watch it again one day.