Reviewed by Piper Grey on August 6, 2010
Chocolate, anyone? I guarantee when you read Joanne Harris’ Chocolat, you will need some! No book has ever made me more famished and craving confections EVER! This tug of war story between Church and chocolate comes to bare in a sleepy little French community that holds a few less appetizing secrets of its own. But how can magical visitors, an ornery old matriarch and a sexy redheaded gypsy unlock the community’s unappetizing skeletons and overcome evil disguised as virtue? By way of indulgence, that’s how!
Flashy and unmarried Vianne Rocher and her 6 year old daughter, Anouk, meander into the petite community of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes as it prepares for Lent. Within a few days, Vianne opens a copious chocolate shoppe on the town square that the local church also borders. Countless handmade delicacies temp the town’s folk into disregarding their Lenten vows which draws the enraged attention of the austere parish priest, Francis Reynaud. Being the daughter of a “witch”, Vianne distrusts the rigid policy of organized religion and lives by a pagan belief in the wind that drives her along her life’s path. She holds a little magic of her own that she is careful not to abuse. However, in true Vixen form and to fuel the fire a smidge, Vianne announces a chocolate festival to follow Easter Sunday service and a sweet holy war breaks out!
Harris’ secondary characters were as scrumptious as the delicacies Vianne creates. Her uncanny ability to guess her clients favorite confections brings curious minds into her shoppe. Once there, Vianne becomes a savior to these suppressed souls. The abused kleptomaniac, Josephine, finds sanctuary and safety in Vianne’s friendship. The grumpy but wise senior, Armande, uses Vianne’s advice and trickery to help her develop a relationship with her only grandchild, Luke. As an elder of the town, Armande is privy to many of Lansquenets secrets and one in particular has Father Reynaud salivating in panic. And there’s Anouk! Vianne’s 6 year old daughter is a sweet little imp who has so much to teach about love and life; even to her mother.
Well, you can’t have sweet without a little sexy, right? My favorite must be “Roux Chocolate!” Roux is the mouthwatering leader of the river gypsies that stop at Lansquenet to sell their handmade goods. They are given a threatening welcome at the indirect hand of Reynaud; but Roux manages to spread some much need sugar Vianne’s way!
I’m giving this book 4 outta 5 pumps, taking one away for the sometimes drawn out discussions between Father Reynaud and a mute mentor he calls “pere” whose significance isn’t evident until the very end….which is why I didn’t mention him. Harris’ little morsel, Chocolat, was a bittersweet story of good vs. evil, new vs. old, change vs. stagnation. If you’re in need of something sweet but don’t want to burden your Vixeny waistline, savor this bon bon of a book and your taste buds won’t be the only thing that ends up satisfied!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on July 13, 2010
Wanda Schwartz is human. Quite terribly so. So mortal and ordinary that in any other novel her character may have been the one that readers would likely forget. However, in Dakota Cassidy’s laugh-out-loud paranormal romance,The Accidental Human, Wanda adds an interesting dynamic to a very unique circle of Vixen-like friends.
For starters, Wanda is a successful consultant for Bobbie-Sue cosmetics. She lives and breathes color wheels and is making the world a better place by pinpointing her clients’ exact color auras. She has the kind of girlfriends that every woman dreams of; Nina and Marty, who are always there for her even despite their vast differences. Wanda is trying to get her life on track after her divorce from her D-bag of a husband; however, a recent doctors visit reveals that our fair Wanda is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Like any good human, she isn’t welcoming of the news at first, but quickly discovers that she is given the chance to right some wrongs and live the rest of her days the way SHE wants to – courtesy of her spectacular F*ck-It List! Yet, it is not in her plan to tell anyone about her deteriorating condition.
Heath Jefferson wasn’t exactly part of the plan either! Ahh, dreamy-hunk-o’-white-meat-stick-a-fork-in-him-and-take-a-bite, scrumptious Heath. Yes, that same Heath walks right into Wanda’s life when he answers a classified ad for a job with Bobbie Sue. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “A man selling cosmetics?! Uh, no!” or “He MUST be gay!” Well, just you wait. Heath and Wanda’s chemistry is undeniable; and the hilarity that ensues is quite entertaining. I loved their strange but steamy relationship and how it worked quite nicely with the irony that is Wanda’s world.
It is worth mentioning that Wanda’s best friends are of the paranormal kind. Nina is a hot-headed mouthy vampire and Marty is the semi-sweet and emotional werewolf; and they are both on a journey to live forever with their life-mates. Still, they desperately need their reliable friend Wanda to referee their fights, make lists, and plan group shopping trips. She is the human glue keeping everything paranormal tied together with a pretty pink bow. And back to our man, Heath? Well, he isn’t exactly what he claims to be as Wanda discovers all too soon.
The Accidental Human is the third out of four novels in Cassidy’s series. I picked it up on a whim and can honestly say I don’t feel as though I missed much by not reading the first two books. It is chalk full of Vixen-esque vocabulary that will surely bring out your inner hussy. Cassidy’s humor and saucy language are appropriate, the world she creates for Wanda is very real, the characters are charming, and the sex scenes do not disappoint. Overall, Cassidy earns 4 out of 5 pumps from me. I’m only taking one away for the ending that seemed rather silly and far-fetched in comparison to the tone of the rest of the book.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on April 22, 2010
Fashion, flirting and fornicating! The three staple things a girl of today’s modern world embodies, right? But does that translate to the women of the 1920’s? You bet-cher Betty Boop it does! At least it does in Sophie Kinsella’s book, Twenties Girl. Sadie is a partying, fashion forward flapper who makes the most out of life but she has a few problems. She’s lost her necklace and, oh yeah, she’s sorta dead!
Sadie was born in the early 1900s and died a drooly old lady in a nursing home when she was a ripe old 105. However, her ghost is in her younger 23-year-old form and she’s haunting her 27-year-old great niece, Lara Leighton who turns out to be a serious mess. She’s just been dumped by the love of her life AND her business partner. She’s broke and going crazy because she thinks her Great Aunt Sadie’s ghost is haunting her. She can hear and see her plain as day going around screaming at strangers to get them to do her bidding… and its working! Of course, Lara is the only person who can see and communicate with Sadie so she badgers Lara into recovering her beautiful dragonfly necklace. Sadie is not all together sure why, but she knows that she cannot rest until its back in her possession. But where could it be? Or should we say “Who lifted it?”
We meet various lively and expertly developed cast members along the way to solving this mystery. A greedy, rich snake of an uncle, a ditzy self-centered flake of a cousin and boring yet bothersome parents are all suspects! Enter the classic preppy business man with penetrating eyes that has caught Sadie’s attention! Hello Daddy-O!! And she wants him. But the only way she can get him is through Lara. “Anyway you can get it” is what I always say! OWW! A reluctant albeit comical romance develops between Lara and this frowny American. Much to Sadie’s shagrin.
Eventually, Sadie and Lara start to unknowingly learn from one another and the impressions that they leave on the other are life (and death from Sadie’s point of view) altering. Lara uncovered the fact that Sadie’s life meant so much more to so many more lives than she could ever imagine. And Sadie helped Lara figure out the difference between going through the motions of a relationship and really living and loving another person by letting go of her inhibitions.
This was a fun and light story that I absolutely loved! The ending was a bit heavier but delivered a sweet and tender message of family and keeping yours close. I’m giving this book 4.5 outta 5 pumps. Minus .5 for the lack of steamy sex! Sheesh, can I catch a break with the no-sex books already??? But I took away a valuable lesson from Twenties Girl. I want to be just like Sadie when I am 105 years old…. minus the drooling of course!
Reviewed by Piper Grey on April 12, 2010
Wisty! Whit! New Order! Magic! Ahhh, Fire! Prison! Dead girlfriend! Escape! Look a puppy! A.D.D. anyone??? I seriously think that James Patterson and/or Gabrielle Charbonnet are card-carrying members of A.D.D. Anonymous because that’s what reading their sorcery-slash-dystopia novel, Witch & Wizard was like with its 300 pages and about 100-ish chapters! In it, a smart aleck-y 15 year old girl, Wisty Allgood, and her older brother, Whit, are fugitives of the New Order, a newly elected but suppressive political regime that is absolutely con-witch/wizardry. This administration completely changes the world while everyone is asleep one night. …seriously…
Wisty and Whit are unaware of their supernatural abilities until the New Order comes to arrest them for it and Wisty burst into flames. Neat trick, huh? They are eventually overcome and thrown into prison where they have time to explore their new abilities. It also becomes evident during this time that the leader of the New Order holds a personal vendetta against the Allgood family as a whole. Despite the efforts of their “Nurse Ratched” type guards, they escape with the help of Whit’s dead girlfriend (yes, I said dead…she’s a ghost). While attempting to find & save their parents, they encounter group of teenage revolutionaries who are surviving in a holocaust type world. They believe the bewitched duo to be mystical entities and also prophets who will use their power to restore harmony and overcome the New Order.
The cast of characters are potentially colorful but are not completely developed. Examples of the more robust players include the evil “The One Who Is The One” that leads the New Order who has a foreboding and all knowing persona. And then there is Byron, a former schoolmate who is eventually turned into a weasel for witnessing the powers of the siblings and threatening to nark them out. There is also Whit’s dead girlfriend’s ghost, Celia, who helps them escape prison where they are made to run through a hallway lined with hell hounds for their supper. Finally! A diet that works!
The super short, 3 – 4 page chapters and constant switching between Wisty’s and Whit’s perspectives depicted blinky-type thoughts that never really amount to anything substantial. It was like watching a hyper 8 year old bounce around Santa’s workshop. The end result is a lack of depth that keeps the reader from creating a clear picture of the settings. This did, however, allow for an action-packed read with few lulls in the storyline.
So, while this was a suspenseful and vigorous tale, my mature hottie side was left completely ignored and I felt like I had whiplash from the rapid fire micro-chapters switching between thoughts at lightning speed. I also feel that the authors were writing to a strictly middle school aged audience. I would seriously doubt that our fantastically sexy fans could be intellectually (or otherwise, OWW) stimulated by this venture! 3 pumps outta 5, says The Vixen That Reviews!
Reviewed by Piper Grey on February 5, 2010
What does the death of a child do to loved ones left behind and what happens to that too young lost soul? The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold provides the Salmon family’s answers to just those questions when their eldest daughter, Susie, 14, is viciously murdered in December of 1973! It’s a tragically sad story that is beautifully written and it really makes readers examine their own moral strength.
The book begins with Sebold’s teenage character narrating the story of her brutal rape and murder by a serial killer neighbor as she takes a shortcut through the cornfield on her way home from school. It’s a brutal scene that was hard to get through but it was never crude. After her death, Susie watches over her grieving loved ones from her perch in heaven; specifically, Susie’s personal heaven. She watches as this vicious crime tears her family apart, brings together her community, and alters her friends’ lives forever. I pitied her father, was confused by her mother, wanted to love her little brother, and identified with her sister. And I, of course, wanted a long and painful public quartering for the murderous bastard that caused all of this. In a perfect world, right?
Sebold’s writing style is light and graceful which is odd when dealing with such a tragic subject. Losing a child is neither light nor graceful. The fact that she wrote this entire story from the murdered 14 year olds perspective as a heavenly soul, gives an air that I can only describe as sweet and content. This calmness sometimes resulted in slight boredom for me. But there was a great suspense-filled incident and then, later, a very tasteful and intimate love scene that reopened my interest when I thought it couldn’t be won over again.
The ending was particularly difficult for me to get through. Not because the writing style was bad or it wasn’t interesting, but because of the sad injustice that it presented me with. I certainly wouldn’t call it a happy ending. I believe the moral to the story was “forgiveness and letting go” but I wanted “substantial and committed justice” and “never letting go”! To be honest I’m crying as I type this so there must be something that really resonated with me. I’ll have to dig deep to figure that one out.
My first hair trigger response was to give this book a big fat 2 because of how affected I was by the ending. But after further reflection I’m giving it 4 outta 5 pumps and here’s why: Sebold is a charming and superb writer. I just realized that I simply disagreed with her view of justice and it made me think about my own sense of morals, which everyone hates doing. I didn’t know what I was in for when I pick this book up but I’m glad I did and I believe I’m better for it.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on November 12, 2009
Who saw the trailer for Cirque du Freak: The Vampires Assistant during last summer’s COMIC-CON? I was so impressed with the cast list and the sneak-peeks that I just had to read the book to bide my time until the film was released. And I was not disappointed … too badly.
The Vampires Assistant by Darren Shan is the second book in this series so I supposed you should get a quick synopsis of the first book, right? In Cirque du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan, Darren and his friend, Steve, visit a traveling freak show. Eventually, Darren finds himself in a position where he must sacrifice his mortality in order to save the life of his friend. To do this successfully, Darren must become a half vampire, fake his own death, and be buried alive. HEELLL NO! When he emerges he realizes the extent of what his life has become and how he must count on his guardian, Mr. Crepsley, a full-vampire, as his only companion and teacher for the remainder of his existence. He is totally devastated, and completely resents the older, wiser vamp for causing his “condition”.
In the The Vampires Assistant, Darren has a lot to learn about what he has become and how to live with it. Unfortunately, Mr. Crepsley is the only one able to teach him. After a short stint on the road and away from the Freak show, they realize that “home is where the heart is” and return. Darren finds that there really is a lot to learn and many myths to be disproved about his new status. One thing that he is having trouble complying with is drinking human blood. Death is not instantaneous if he refuses this imposition but it is eminent. Slow, but definitely eminent.
This short read is packed with a plethora of interesting characters who find themselves in many fascinating situations. It is a Freak Show, after all! There is a Bearded Lady, a Wolfman, a Snakeboy, and much, much, more. This new, strange world is old hat to the Freak Show residents and so becomes the norm for Darren as well. He finds a true friend in the Snakeboy, Evra Von and together they find themselves working as a team and escaping various thrilling adventures unscathed.
There are twelve books in the series and they are all labeled as being in the “young adult” genre. The same genre as Twilight so I thought I was safe. However, in my opinion, these books are meant for a much younger audience. I would say 10 to 13 yos would get the most enjoyment out of them. That being said, I can completely get behind the idea of making this book into a movie! The characters and their exploits promise to draw a huge audience. I’m giving the book 3 outta 5 pumps, taking two away for under-achieving its potential in the young adult genre; but still, I express my excitement for its potential on the big screen.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on October 16, 2009
Halloween has always been my very favorite holiday ever since I can remember. Not the gory / monster part but the ghostly / cemetery part is how I explain it to people. There is just something about the possibilities of ghosts roaming the earth on that one special night that just gets my heart pumping and my imagination soaring. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman gave me butterflies like Halloween was just around the corner. Please understand up front that this book targets an audience of 4th to 8th grade readers but carries great weight & depth; a story that anyone can enjoy. So there is absolutely no hanky-panky, people!
This novel opens with a pretty macabre event. A family is massacred off-screen and the killer searches for the sole remaining family member to complete his gruesome task. The toddler he seeks has wandered out of the house, up the hill, to an old graveyard and into the protective hands of its residents. The babe is given the name Nobody Owens (Bod for short) by his ghostly adoptive mother, Mistress Owens, and is granted the “Freedom of the Graveyard.” This status enables Bod to execute various tricks of the dead like fading and dream-walking. Just give me one day with those little tricks and Diabolical Piper would RULE THE WORLD BABY!
Bod experiences the pains and thrills of growing up through a string of otherworldly adventures. As a result, he discovers various life lessons through his interactions with a treasure-trove of descriptive and beloved characters from various historical periods. These characters include an impish witch, a melodramatic poet, a roman leader, and a shadowy nocturnal guardian (who I suspect to be a vampire but can’t be sure) just to name a few. Readers are first introduced to each ghost through their clever epitaphs engraved on their headstones. This will certainly get you thinking about what might be on your own headstone! Hmm… “Piper Grey – 19(blah-dee-blah) to 20(someday) – Rawkin the Afterlife in Pink Sequins!” Whadayathink??
The villains in this gothic fantasy are all a bit sketchy and vague. One version of the ‘bad guy’ is a coiling, 3 headed serpentine called The Sleer and is the oldest thing in the cemetery. Imprisoned in its tomb, it guards a small treasure and fruitlessly waits for a master to protect. We never get to the history of the creature, the treasure, or the missing master. Another type of villain belongs to an ancient order whose members names are puns off of the name “Jack” but not much else is explained about them.
Although this novel is dark at times, the overall message it delivers is one of self-discovery and overcoming fears of experiencing life. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is a 5 pumper in this Vixen’s opinion. This coming of age story of Nobody Owens has the potential to become a classic…. and would create delight in graveyards everywhere if it were to make its way to the big screen. Here’s hoping!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on September 23, 2009
Are you on the Team Jacob side of the fence? If so, you were on my mind when I picked up this book! But unless you are completely obsessed with wolves and enjoy uninteresting characters, I doubt you will become fascinated by this storyline. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is based on your average boy-meets-girl scenario. Except the boy, Sam, is a beautiful yellow-eyed werewolf, and the girl, Grace, is the most boring character to enter the world of text!
This young adult book begins when Grace is attacked by a pack of wolves as a child. She is taken into the woods where the pack proceeds with what appears to be an attempt to kill her. To my disappointment, they are stopped when teen-wolf Sam carries her to safety. Grace eventually recovers from the attack and comes to know Sam as “her yellow-eyed wolf” who protectively watches her from the woods behind her house. The mundane back and forth stares between these two continue for what feels like forever with an occasional touch of fur sprinkled in for good measure. Yawn… exciting stuff, huh?
However, one day it is rumored that Grace’s classmate has been killed by the wolves, so a hunting party gathers to take down the wolf pack and, of course, Sam is caught in the cross-fire. Sam shifts into human form and finds himself naked and injured on Grace’s back porch. And I’ll just warn you, it took 60 pages to get to this part! Chinese water torture is more appealing than struggling through pages and pages of lackluster plot! C’mon Mags where’s your creative bone, girl??
Anyway, after Sam shifts into a human, naturally he and Grace fall in love. What’s not to love? He’s smart, creative, and oh-so-sexy! And this Vixen has to give it to Grace for snagging some sweet lovins from her wolf boy when the situation popped up! Get it? Popped up?? As a side note, I am very proud to reveal that I read this part of the book twice! Oww! And because Grace has parents that barely notice her, she does everything she can to keep Sam in human form. You see, when the cold temperatures arrive, the werewolves “shed” their human form by shivering and remain in the woods until the warmer season returns. Yet, readers learn that Sam won’t be turning back into a human again. So Grace and Sam do everything they can to hold onto each other and their love.
Unfortunately, even in the good parts, I believe that Stiefvater failed to capture the audience with her narrative. She could’ve had a great novel under her belt, but she missed out on so much, which made the storyline just slightly okay. I give Shiver 2 ½ pumps. I’m taking one away for Grace and her lame-ass-ness; another away for the mind-numbing supporting characters I didn’t care about; and half of a pump away for the plot that barely maintained enough spark to keep me reading.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on August 26, 2009
I’m already a sucker for a good historical romance, but when you throw a little ‘supah-natural’ in the mix, I’m in Heaven! And that, my friends, is where Laura Whitcomb’s The Fetch enters my world. Her enlightened vision of the afterlife follows Calder, a Fetch, whose sole job is to comfort the dying and act as a guide to assist them through their death doors into Heaven. This book is beautifully written and weaves around the tragic story of the end of the Romanov Dynasty during the Russian Revolution of 1917. The mystery that is specifically addressed is, “What happened to the remains of the Tsar Nicholas’ two youngest children, Anastasia and Alexis (Alexei), after the entire family was massacred?”
The plot to this tale gradually reveals itself as the very lonely Calder breaks his sacred Fetch vows by becoming obsessed with a beautiful woman he finds at an infant’s (Alexis Romanov’s) death scene. In order to pursue this woman, Calder breaks into the human world by taking over the dying body of the Romanov family’s mystic healer, Grigori Rasputin. This transition leaves a massive rupture between the worlds that can only be mended by a missing key. Accompanied by the embodied spirits of Anastasia and Alexis, Calder embarks on a long, really long, long journey to find the key. Along the way, they are pursued by Rasputin’s spirit and a whole host of malicious lost souls. But still, the overall voyage tends to be, ah – what’s the word? Oh, yeah… “LONG!” Though, in the end, it proves completely necessary to allow for Calder’s own self-discovery.
Romance creeps slowly into the story-line between Calder and Anastasia. And I do mean ‘creeps’. When Calder dies, he is a 19 year old young man and that is how Anastasia sees him as well; even after he takes over Rasputin’s body. It really is hard to get past this fact when THE WORLD is witnessing a beat up 44 year old mystic falling for a 17 year old girl. Am I wrong here or is “Statutory Rape” not considered illegal in most, if not all, of the known free world? Call me closed-minded but I just couldn’t get past that detail, especially when Calder thought about kissing her or holding her hand. CREEPY!
This would be a great discussion book as it certainly gets readers thinking about Heaven, the afterlife, and the nature of “sin and forgiveness;” so I am giving it 4 outta 5 pumps. Although the plot gets slow at times, Whitcomb’s descriptions of an afterlife are exceptional and well thought-out while the characters are real, introspective, and full of life. Plus the ending will leave you hoping for a happily ever after for The Fetch. It’s come to pass that the remains of missing Romanov children were found in 2007 and DNA testing proved their identities but still … the mystery and speculation surrounding this tragic tale lends it the potential to be a story for the ages!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on July 27, 2009
In Twilight, did you enjoy the fact that Edward could read minds and Alice could predict the future? Well, you’re in luck! Shiloh Walker’s The Missing introduces Taige Branch, a teenage psychic who has a precious skill for visions involving children. Early in the book, she becomes known throughout her area as a heroine who has rescued children from drowning, has discovered missing bodies, and even aided in solving murder cases. However, Taige is not your typical cheery, bubbly teenager. While very beautiful, she is known as a freak that purposefully closes herself off from the rest of the world.
Enter Cullen. No, I’m not talking about Edward Cullen, ladies! I know he is our every reason for living, but stay with me! Cullen Morgan is a new breed of Cullen HOTNESS! Picture this: he’s tall, has chocolate brown hair, a nice build, and eyes that make the cool shades of the ocean look ordinary. Hello? Can we say eye candy?! Well, he gets even MORE desirable when he saves Taige from a nightmare that almost comes true; and from that moment on they are forever bonded.
What I liked most about this book is that the plot is especially captivating. It is a monster of a page turner that left me feeling as though I was cheating on my book by going to bed instead of reading! Taige’s unique visions are woven throughout the storyline. However, because she doesn’t quite have a grasp on her gift, she isn’t sure if what she sees occurs in the past, present, or future. This allowed me to creatively explore the possibilities, and when I was able to predict a few outcomes, I was left feeling slightly unsatisfied.
Still, Taige and Cullen’s relationship made this book worthy of my time. The reader can easily see why they belong together; but life crapped on their plans for a happy ending, sending them on separate paths. Several years later, Cullen finds Taige to help him with a situation involving his daughter. I was so excited for his return even though their reunion is less than ideal, and their actions were awkward and clumsy. Even so, there is no denying their past and unexplainable connection. Their romance left me sexually stimulated and needing some action of my own – A girl’s gotta ‘eat’, right?!
The Missing is a dark love story about two incredible characters. Their relationship gave me whiplash, to quote our girl Bella, but I never gave up on their potential. Yet, it is the plot that I enjoyed the most! The atmosphere is murky and depressing, and their circumstances overwhelm the reader. If you are sensitive about situations involving children, you should know that I’m a big baby, and I managed to get through this story unscathed. This book gets 3 ½ out of 5 pumps. I’m taking 1 away for the fact that I had predicted what would happen early on, and another ½ away for the author’s average writing style.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on July 23, 2009
Can I say how incredibly excited I was to read Bram Stoker’s Dracula? It is the literary work of art that started it all! There would be no Twilight or Edward Cullen without the Grand Pubah that is Dracula! I am grateful to its existence for that reason and believe it deserves a high level of respect for never going out of print since its debut in 1897! 112 years of longevity, baby! Oww! However, I found myself conflicted between the longing I’ve always had for the more romantic and simple era and my modern expectations of what a horror story should be.
The seven main characters in Dracula, minus its namesake, form a union to eradicate the evil that is the ‘undead’ and all that it has infected, to include England. After a young and beautiful acquaintance of theirs is struck down with a strange blood disorder, or so it’s believed to be, they make this their sole mission. The two most distinctive characters were Dracula and the mentor-hero, Dr. Abraham VanHelsing. These are the only characters that Stoker takes the time to give detailed physical descriptions of! He even bestows his own first name to the good doctor. After much research, Dracula’s character emerges out of the history books and is brought back to life based on a real fifteenth century Wallacian warrior prince, aka “Vlad the Impaler.” So Drac’s not from Transylvania, people! Stick that in your Trivial Pursuit and sit on it!
If you consider yourself a bit of a ‘Nosey Nelly’ and would just love to get your hands on your neighbors mail or your daughters diary, you will love the fact that this entire novel is written in the form of personal documents ranging from journal entries, to news articles, to even telegrams. This form of writing does chronologically jump around, but also gives you various characters perspectives of the story line.
There are many editions of this book in print. I read the version that includes a Foreword by Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian. She drew inspiration from Bram Stoker’s Dracula in writing her novel and I was convinced of her deep love for this story. It was extremely interesting to read her interpretation of Stoker’s thinking behind his writings and how it may have all tied into his own life experiences. The Foreword may have actually been my favorite part of this book!
I give Dracula Three, Three Vixen Pumps! AH AH AH AH! (Okay, bad “Count from Sesame Street” impression, just couldn’t let THAT opportunity pass me by?) I have to take one pump away for the lack of suspense. Back in the late 19th Century, readers considered this novel overly suspenseful but it just doesn’t measure up with today’s expectations of the genre. I took another pump away for the difficulty in reading the various European accents (albeit, comical at times) and English dialect that was common in Victorian England.
Reviewed by Laney Belle on July 16, 2009
If you’re looking for a series to capture both the male and female audience, The Black Dagger Brotherhood is it! This series is filled with intense action scenes, light-hearted comedy, and the kind of sex scenes that leave your tongue draggin the pages and heart racing at each climax. You smellin what I’m cookin?!
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is an erotic, paranormal romance series by J. R. Ward. This chronicle surrounds six vampire warriors who are bound by brotherhood and sworn to protect their race against the Lessers: de-souled humans who threaten their kind. This ongoing war between the Brotherhood and the Lessers is your typical good vs. evil scenario with romantic love stories intertwined. Each book is focused on a specific warrior and his saga, yet the ensuing war drives the plot to thicken with each book; coincidentally, so does the warrior’s ‘size’, if you get my drift!
The setting of the story truly adds to the excitement, as it takes place in the heart of modern-day Boston, giving it that dark and edgy feel. The depiction of the surroundings gives the reader an eerie sense of anxiety throughout, especially when the Brothers are out on the prowl, hunting for their next victim (or love interest, whichever it may be). Whether they’re in a trendy downtown club, or a hoity-toity suburb, the author’s choice of location is perfect for each scene.
The vampire warriors in the Brotherhood are totally entertaining and deliciously tempting! J.R. Ward had me rolling at the hilarious repartee that goes on between the warriors throughout the series. She also does a great job of capturing the essence of ‘man-talk’; none of that cheesy “Fabio” crap that sometimes interferes with your sexual fantasy, errrr (COUGH)… I mean visual representation of the story. This author should win a prize for her ability to create characters that embody every girl’s ‘dream man’ six times over! I’m not going to lie and say that I fell in love with these beefy man-treats, but I definitely fell in ‘lust’ with them! The steamy sex scenes had me literally coming up for air afterwards, and panting like the ‘Twigar’ I am! Raaawwrrr!
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is definitely a series I would recommend to any vampire loving girlfriend of mine. It will keep you thoroughly entertained for weeks since there are nine books altogether. If I’m being honest though, the individual storylines do get a bit predictable by book three. But I’m not your Momma, so let’s not pretend that you’re going to be reading these books for the plot! OOOWWWW!!! NAUGHTAY! So with all that in mind, I give this book a 4 outta 5 Humps…I mean Pumps! Yes, four incredible, everlasting Pumps! Whew! Anyone got a cigarette?
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on July 9, 2009
Do you close your eyes or change the channel when a scary movie crosses your television screen? Well, you are in good company with me! I am the last person that should be reading anything related to the supernatural because I get so freaked out that I can’t sleep for weeks! However, A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb, is anything but your typical spooky ghost story.
In the beginning, the reader is introduced to Helen, a young woman who refers to herself as a spirit of the Light; a soul floating in the midst of the Quick, or living humans. She died nearly 130 years ago and has been clinging to human hosts to “haunt” ever since. Helen is not a scary ghost; instead, she acts as a shadow or a proud guardian to her host. The man she is currently following is a high school English Teacher named Mr. Brown. The reader is captivated by Helen within the first two pages of the book when a student actually sees her standing in the classroom! Yet, this student is unique because he is being claimed by another spirit of the Light who goes by the name of James.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly due to James and Helen’s relationship and the world that separates them from each other. Helen desires nothing more than to be with James every second of every day. Their emotions and interactions with one another made me feel as though I was re-living my days with my first love again. The high-charged emotions I felt and the love that I will forever cherish, were reignited by this odd couple. Furthermore, the underlying story of why Helen has not made her journey to heaven kept me intrigued and demanding answers. Throughout the book, Helen begins to see glimpses into her life before she was Light. What she remembers chilled my bones and left me feeling anxious for her.
Laura Whitcomb creates a world that invites the reader in. She made me reconsider what is important in life, and will likely do the same for you. Even if just briefly, take a moment to appreciate your lover’s scent, the taste and crunch of a juicy apple, or the sensation that you feel in your heart when it is filled with love or sadness. Whitcomb reminds us that these are the precious moments in life we should never forget. Also, the last 20 pages provides readers with all the answers that they need. Whitcomb shatters our hearts into a million pieces, but somehow manages to put them back together again like a beautiful mosaic. This book gets my full stamp of approval with 5 out of 5 pumps! A word to the wise: toward the end of the book be sure to keep a full box of tissues at arm’s reach, because you will need them!