The Dresden Files keeps getting better and better and Death Masks certainly didn't disappoint. In fact, it's a good sign when you get ticked off becau...moreThe Dresden Files keeps getting better and better and Death Masks certainly didn't disappoint. In fact, it's a good sign when you get ticked off because life seems to get in the way of you and a book. The book in question has been every one thus far belonging to the Dresden Files. I can't put them down; so it should come to no surprise that that's what happened with Death Masks. I love books where demons run amuck so naturally I enjoyed the angels vs demons searching and battling for the Shroud of Turin story line along with Harry's bittersweet reunion with Susan. On a side note: Kudos to Jim Butcher. He sure can write some hot, sexy scenes, even if they are short. Jim Butcher does a fabulous job of thoroughly immersing his readers into the world of Harry Dresden. From his descriptions to the characters, to the magic cast, the dialogue, you feel like you're there, connected to his stories and the characters. (less)
The Conscious Cook is a fabulous cookbook for vegans, vegetarians, and even carnivores who are wanting to make a change, or just simply want to wow th...moreThe Conscious Cook is a fabulous cookbook for vegans, vegetarians, and even carnivores who are wanting to make a change, or just simply want to wow their herbivore friends.
I have been a lifelong vegetarian, but within the past 2 months, I have been easing my way into veganism. Why? Well, it all started about 6 months ago when I discovered that rennet (taken from the stomach lining of calves) is found in most cheeses. And from that day forward, our love affair came to an abrupt end. Unfortunately, cheese has been a staple in my life, as is so true with many vegetarians. But I digress.
The only other vegan cookbook that I’ve come across worth its weight in gold seems to be Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet and The Imus Ranch . Sadly, I am not a fan of most of the recipes within said cookbooks. So when I heard about chef Tal Ronnen and The Conscious Cook touting vegan gourmet recipes, this budding chef had to check this book out, posthaste.
The recipes within are not only beautifully presented, but incorporate fabulous, scrumptious ingredients. Many of the recipes use Gardein “chicken”. (By the by, it’s to die for. I made a horseradish-laden “chicken” salad and it was ah-may-zing.) FYI: I could only find this brand at Whole Foods. The only thing to watch out for is MSG. It does contain some. Good news - It is GMO (genetically modified) free, unlike many of the soy products out there. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really into altering my DNA anytime soon.
I have made a few recipes, tweaked a few, and they have all turned out scrumdiddlyumptious.
Whoever you cook for, using the recipes within, you are guaranteed to knock their socks off. Even if you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan, I would highly recommend The Conscious Cook. (less)
Angel, Spike, Eric Northman, Damon Salvatore, Michael (The Lost Boys), Louis de Pointe du Lac (played by Brad Pitt). What do all these men have in com...moreAngel, Spike, Eric Northman, Damon Salvatore, Michael (The Lost Boys), Louis de Pointe du Lac (played by Brad Pitt). What do all these men have in common? They are all lustworthy, over-the-top sexy vampires. That’s what I love - sexy-as-hell, smoldering, make-me-weak-in-the-knees, dangerous, I-could-rip-your-throat-out-at-any-moment-but-let's-make-sweet-sweet-love-instead vampires. And then we have the vampires more like the übervamps from BTVS. They kind of vamps that are hella nasty, have been beat with the ugly stick, and basically evoke a sitting-in-a-corner-sucking-your-thumb-whilst-rocking-to-and-fro type reaction at their mere presence. My friends, The Strain trilogy is comprised of the latter. Add in tentacles that shoot out of the vamps' mouths and there you have it.
In the past, I have shied away from these types of monsters. Not really even enjoying movies featuring them. Why? Well, I think I’ve gone over that. And also, I've been obsessed with the smoldering kind of vampires since the age of five. The lusting came later, but still. My favorite vampires were always human looking. With all that said, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading The Strain books, homely vampires aside. I particularly enjoyed The Fall, more so than The Strain, because nonvirus vampires fight alongside humans to rid the world of the un-pure vampires. The ones who’ve fallen prey to a virus. Not true vampires. It was this aspect that made for an even more action-y read.
Speaking of action, it starts from the beginning and doesn’t let up. Kelly is hellbent on turning her son Zack. Eph is hellbent on protecting his son from Kelly. Setrakian’s history is revealed. I must say, I enjoyed the flashbacks. Learning more about this man of mystery. Readers are introduced to a book that uncovers the history of The Ancients (true vampires). All factions are seeking out this tome. Add in a few more interesting characters and there you have it.
To sum up, The Fall was unputdownable from the start. (less)
I’m happy to report that a week ago Monday, I crawled out from under the rock I had been living under. The bait: Fever books. Who knew they existed? Y...moreI’m happy to report that a week ago Monday, I crawled out from under the rock I had been living under. The bait: Fever books. Who knew they existed? You don’t hear much news or hype when living under a rock. Anyway, I started reading this series a week ago, days after the release of Shadowfever. And folks, the rest is history. . . .
So basically there are three types of books for me: The ones that were good, held my attention, but towards the end I was like okay, let’s wrap this baby up. I like you and all, we’ve had a lot of fun while it lasted, but I probably won’t be re-reading you. It’s totally me, not you; no worries, I’ll speak kindly of you to my friends; tell others nice things about you; we’re totally good. And then there are those hot messes where you scratch your head pondering how, why, WTF?, was this seriously published? But then, along comes those Precious Gems, that seem few in number, where I have to batten down my stripy socks for fear of them being blown off into the aethers. Because they are that epically amazing! Shadowfever, my friends, along with the rest of the Fever books, was just that. Epically amazing. Faults few and far between.
Possible spoilers below:
Precious Gem deets and what makes them so, according to moi: I knew I was holding a precious gem in Shadowfever when I didn’t want the story to end (ditto for all the Fever books). And I was over the moon upon discovering how thick and hefty this book was, coming in at a whopping 594 pages. While reading, I would get giddy when I would peek at the top to see that I still had 300 plus pages left. I took my time reading every single word, breathing in the juiciness. I was so engrossed in Mac’s world of post-wall Dublin, the characters, everything. And who am I kidding, Jericho held most of my attention. His scenes were beyond titillating. Anyway, getting back on track *fanning myself*, I felt like I was a part of the story in all its three dimensional glory. I was invested with these characters. I laughed, I shed a single tear or two at the end, I would shake my head in exasperation because Mac was leaving yet again without giving the heads up to Jericho, I gasped, basically experiencing the whole gamut of emotions. And then, as what always happens when finishing a Precious Gem, I felt saddened, lost, and no other book interested me. For a time, I was basically doing a mean impersonation of the sad Charlie Brown walk.
Shadowfever had a healthy dose of romance, action, humor, edge of your seat thrills, wonderful characterization. (And mad props go to MKK for her ability to write sizzling sexy time scenes.) This is what UF should be, IMHO. I’m so sick of the UF with the zippy one-liners and the superficial characters and stories. Over it! I loved all the characters in Shadowfever, the location, the fae lore, the inter-dimensional travel. The mystery. I loved it all, if you can’t tell. So what are you waiting for? Go read Shadowfever like yesterday!!!
A wave of nostalgia swept over me fairly quickly while reading the opening pages of Clarity. I was instantly time-warped back to 2004, the very year t...moreA wave of nostalgia swept over me fairly quickly while reading the opening pages of Clarity. I was instantly time-warped back to 2004, the very year the amazingly awesome Veronica Mars premiered on the telly. Oh, Veronica Mars. How I adored your show. And now I adore Clarity, for it reads just like the pilot episode of Veronica Mars, only without the psychic abilities. I suppose I should mention that Clarity is skilled in psychometry, her brother’s a medium, and her mother’s a telepath. I’ve seen this novel, I believe, shelved as fantasy on Goodreads. What to the what? Call me an oddball (most do, so it’s okay), but there is nothing fantasy within the pages of this tome. At least in my opinion. But you know what? I once had a career in law enforcement and heard many detectives talk about their gut instincts aiding them in solving cases, yet they were the first to bash a “so-called” psychic. Hello? Gut instinct = psychic abilities. Just sayin’. And I myself have this bizarre love for psychometry, so I was all onboard with Clarity’s talent. But I digress.
Here's how I see it. Clarity or Clare is Veronica Mars, the teenage P.I. sans psychometry. I imagine Gabriel as Weevil, and Justin as Logan Echolls. The setting is hella quaint (Cape Cod) and the mystery/plot is Nancy Drew-esque. All in all, it's great all around.
I had every intention of getting a good night's sleep the night I cracked open this tome, but that idea was soon squashed. I couldn't stop reading. In fact, I devoured this novel in a few hours time. And upon reading the last chapter of this book, I went from frowning because it was ending, to smiling because there just might be another book? Maybe? Please? A girl can hope. I mean, there were some possible future plots thrown in towards the conclusion, some loose ends. I highly recommend Clarity to all. It’s a fun escape. Period.
ETA: News alert - just found out there will be a sequel. Color me excited. (It doesn't take much.)
Did you think Jumanji was the bomb? Did you think Never Ending Story was practically perfect in every way? Yeah, me too. Well, Malice is a hybrid of t...moreDid you think Jumanji was the bomb? Did you think Never Ending Story was practically perfect in every way? Yeah, me too. Well, Malice is a hybrid of the two.
I will not recap the description, you’re welcome. But know this. Malice’s opening is beyond brilliant. It’s enchanting, arresting, pure funivity at its finest. Malice is completely immersive. As close as you can get to a movie experience, IMO. A total page-turner. Unputdownable. Did I mention that I really liked this tome? Sometimes I’m not clear with my feelings.
The Jumanji aspect in this novel is a comic book in place of a role playing game. Some important deets. The story itself is about two friends who find out that their missing friend, Luke, is in fact not missing, but trapped within the pages of a comic book, once thought of as an urban legend. Said two friends Sherlock their way into the bowels of London to track down an unheard of comic book store, a la the Frog Brothers, where after some cloak-and-dagger maneuvering, they pilfer the comic book - the myth, the legend - entitled Malice (not the actual book I'm reviewing, but the story within the book). Its pages are brimming with missing children crying out for help within its pages. Including Luke. Creeptastic, right? Word on the street is that the author/artist of Malice scours the missing person section of the daily to use as inspiration for his characters, or does he? With comic book in hand, rumor has it that if you Beetlejuice a certain phrase, not three times but six, after having cast an animal-friendly spell (mad props to the author for keeping it PETA-esque *blows kisses your way Mr. Wooding*), those that are brave enough to cast spell and recite phrase are then whisked into the world of Malice. Inside the bleeping comic book. Well, in order to save their "missing" friend, that's what the two friends do. And so begins the adventure. (And yes, Malice is a book, it's a comic book, it's a world.) But there's a catch. After the spell is cast and words are recited, Tall Jack comes looking for you! Spine-tingling, terrifying, so so cool! So watch out kiddies!
Keeping with the comic book theme, peppered throughout the actual book of Malice are graphic novel sections. Now, for those that balk at graphic novels/comic books, there are only 8 pages a pop. Totally doable. To me those sections mixed it up, added to the story and the overall amazingness and uniqueness that it was/is.
More gushing: likable characters atmospheric descriptions Typographic symbolisms- visually awesome And . . . Fantastic ending. Totally hooks you for more, tempting you to continue on with the series. To which I say, uh, yeah, obvi I’ll be reading Havoc. I have to, for I’m in love with this whimsical series. (less)
Personally, I detest anything wild, wild west, yet M.K. Hobson somehow managed to draw me into this era with s...moreSimply stated, I adore The Native Star.
Personally, I detest anything wild, wild west, yet M.K. Hobson somehow managed to draw me into this era with such ease. Aside from the western era, this book has it all (sounds like Stefon from SNL recommending a NYC club): magic, adventure, human fire hydrant people, Teddy Graham people (Just joshing, or am I; you'll have to read for yourself), whimsical romance, steampunk; the author even throws in reality is what you make it mumbo-jumbo, which to some is bunk yet gospel to moi. So naturally, I loved the Credomancers: reality-is-what-you-make-it Warlocks. So true, so true.
Anyhow, The Native Star is an airy, fun, enjoyable read and I certainly hope there will be more to come, in other words a prolific series.
Mad props to author Mark Hodder for the amount of research and time that went into writing this novel. It had to be a veritable migraine tidying it al...moreMad props to author Mark Hodder for the amount of research and time that went into writing this novel. It had to be a veritable migraine tidying it all together into book form. And I hand out an A+ for originality.
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is a madcap, whimsical tale of epic proportions centering around actual historical figures who lived during the Victorian period. Specifically the explorer/anthropologist Sir Richard Francis Burton and his very own Watson - the unabashed Marquis de Sade devotee and poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. (Florence Nightingale makes an appearance and so does an adolescent Oscar Wilde - Burton’s newspaper boy/contact.)
Burton and Swinburne - having been commissioned by Lord Palmerston - set out on a Holmesian mission to track down a leaping, woman-accosting, stilted bandit otherwise known as Spring Heeled Jack. While investigating the assaults, Burton and Swinburne uncover another mystery: Eyewitness accounts of werewolves seen terrorizing and kidnapping youngsters in London’s East End. How can that be when werewolves don’t exist? Swinburne goes undercover on a solo mission in hopes of unraveling this whodunit.
If the aforementioned aren’t enjoyable enough for your reading pleasure, then factor in traveling by steam-powered velocipedes and rotorchairs (flying recliners). There are even messengers in the form of parakeets that have a nasty case of Tourette’s.
And I must say, the intricate description of the inner workings of said rotorchairs, velocipedes, and even messenger pipes and canisters were not lost on me.
I can’t tell you how rip-roaringly awesome this book is. I soaked up and enjoyed every word within, not wanting the story to end. I highly recommend The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack. The writing style spoke to me. It’s refreshingly unique, chock-full of fascinating history, and is basically a fun escape from reality. (less)
**spoiler alert** Wow, amazing, phenomenal, absolutely wondrous. Aside from the Harry Potter series, which will forever be number one in my eyes, The...more**spoiler alert** Wow, amazing, phenomenal, absolutely wondrous. Aside from the Harry Potter series, which will forever be number one in my eyes, The Hunger Game series is a close second. Mockingjay was equally as wonderful as the first two in the Hunger Game series. And as strange as it is, I couldn't have asked for a better ending to a dystopian book. I just finished reading so I'm a little emotional and still in the process of digesting everything. There wasn't one thing I disliked about Mockingjay or the series itself. Everyone should read these books. They're definitely not an easy beach read, fluff, or anything of the kind. They are intense, heart-pounding thrill rides. Each time your eyes beg you to quit for the night and you reach the end of the chapter, it ends with a cliffhanger that propels you onward. And to me, that is one of the main qualities that make for an excellent book.(less)
Awesome, awesome book. And definitely one I'd highly recommend. A very smart book, what with physics and chemistry used as the basis for Allomancy. Bu...moreAwesome, awesome book. And definitely one I'd highly recommend. A very smart book, what with physics and chemistry used as the basis for Allomancy. But I must point out that this dense novel deserves all your attention. So much detail. There were nail-biting moments intermingled with slower moments, but all in all I thoroughly enjoyed Mistborn and can't wait to continue on with this series. (less)
As of late there has been an influx of metaphysical/motivational/inspirational speakers coming out of the woodwork, which can most likely be attribute...moreAs of late there has been an influx of metaphysical/motivational/inspirational speakers coming out of the woodwork, which can most likely be attributed to The Secret. Everybody by now I’m sure knows the message behind The Secret and Abraham Hicks, insert countless other names here, their messages are all the same: “Ask and you shall receive”, “Believe and it will come.” And sure, you "apply" these esoteric, vague theories and then what? For me I was never really on the bandwagon. Why? Because the supposedly easy peasy results they swore would happen never materialized - color me shocked - and besides, I was not impressed with their preachings about the snap-your-fingers-and-there-will-be-a-pot-of-gold-resting-at-your-bedside type happenings. Yeah, right, sure, okay. Read some more fantasy while you’re at it. That was until a few years ago when I heard a brief mention of the name Neville Goddard (the man at the forefront of the inspirational movement - we're talking back in the 1930's). The minute, literally the minute I downloaded one of his books off the Web (many are public domain by the by), I was blown away. I devoured three of his books and then eventually I tossed them aside, let life’s events take over, and continued on with my normal way of thinking - translation: I didn’t adhere to his principles to change my life and surprise, surprise my life stayed the same.
I was just handed Awakened Imagination the other day and everything clicked. Awakened Imagination changed my way of thinking. Neville mastered the secret to life. Why the rich stay rich, why the poor stay poor, you wait a lifetime for change and you die waiting. Out of all the books Neville has written - and I’ve read most of them - this one in particular, Awakened Imagination, resonated with me the most. I was meant to read this particular book. (And on a side note, there is so much about the human mind that we aren't even aware of. Isn't it said that we only use 10% or less of our minds? It's absolutely fascinating when you realize you have the power to use your mind to make changes and this part of what Neville covers.)
Anybody out there who is a spiritual seeker should most definitely read this book, pronto!
It's such an easy concept that Neville speaks about, yet your rational thought tries its darnedest to convince you otherwise. I myself have been guilty of rationalizing everything; in the past I tended to over think things, etc, which is not the healthiest, but once you read Awakened Imagination - or consume it, highlight the text, memorize the written word like moi - you'll never look at life the same.
Neville believes the Bible to be metaphors, not real life scenarios. This might be a touchy subject for devout christians (I am a very spiritual person myself), and if you are very religious, then I suggest going into this book with an open mind. You can still believe what you want about the Bible, but with that in mind, listen to Neville’s explanations and apply them. You won’t be sorry. He explains verses in the Bible and applies them to life. For example: “As within so without . . .” Neville explains that your inner talk (‘the within’) is what creates your outer world, the external reality, the reality of the senses (the ‘so without’). Your inner talk is what compels the outer world = “As within so without”. The outer world is objectified by your inner talk or Your Imagination or in other words, what you deeply desire or what you are deeply focused on and thinking habitually.
To put a horrific spin on it - beware of your thoughts, for they might be detrimental in nature and be materialized before you. The Universe or God or whoever/whatever you believe in responds to said inner thoughts -there is no subjectivity when it comes to complying to your inner talk, meaning there is no right or wrong, good or bad, the Universe is indifferent. If you think "it", regardless what the "it" is, regardless of how positive or worse, how harmful the it is (your inner dialogue) you will create it in your outer reality. If you want to change your life, you must change the way you think, the way you talk, the way you react. Easy right? Or sometimes something so easy is the hardest to wrap your head around. At least for me that has been the case.
After reading Neville’s works you realize You are the only person to blame for the lack in your life. It’s such an easy concept to apply, yet at the same time you have to constantly be aware of your inner dialogue.
So here's one of the secrets: When your inner dialogue and your desire are in discord, your inner dialogue is always the winner. In order for your life to change, your desire and your inner dialogue must be in harmony. Once you master that, and it’s all about taking something one day at a time by applying habitual positive thinking and thinking from the end desire not of it, then you’re on your way to change. And what ends up happening is your outer world has no choice but to comply to your new way of thinking or your Awakened Imagination. (less)