Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Have a great day! And don't forget to check out the fun at The Good, The Bad and the Unread! Lots of prizes to win!

Shall add more Holiday stuff as I find it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Movies that Made Me Keep the Lights on All Night (part 2)

The Changeling--Sidekick has seen lots better movies than me, probably b/c his parents were more mellow about letting him watch stuff. This haunted house story sounds great. I'm going to try to find it at work tomorrow. Nothing spookier than a good haunted house story. Gets you thinking about your house, and what if...

Halloween--The original, the best. Mike Myers was just so damn creepy and inhuman, the way he kept coming and coming. Interestingly, in his remakeRob Zombie took also the scary out, by adding in more gore.

Seven--The horror of what a plain old human can do. I saw this in the movie theater, and I almost walked out during the "Sloth" part. Well-written, well-acted, but I find it really hard to watch.

Silence of the Lambs--Another serial killer movie that really worked. I can't decide who was freakier, Buffalo Bill or Hannibal Lecter.

Nightmare on Elm Street--One, two Freddy's coming for you.... I agree with Dev, this franchise got cheesy quickly, but this one was scary! The idea of someone who could kill you in your dreams...I had a lot of nightmares, too. Didn't sleep for awhile after I saw this one the first time.

We're going to a costume party tonight. H-Bomb is going to be a knight, the Destroyer is going to be a fairy princess. Sidekick and I are going with a The Warriors theme. He's going to be the leader of the Baseball Furies and I'll be the leader of The Lizzies.

For once, the weather is working for me, my hair is nice and big and frizzy, and the frizzier the better.

I Can't Stop Laughing at This

I'm not sure why, but I could watch it for hours. But anyway, I'll send a copy of an old Johanna Lindsey and and a Barbara Cartland if you can tell me the actor and the movie it was clipped from. If you were a young girl in the early eighties and you enjoyed dancing, you'll probably can get it.

I have a guest review up at The Good, the Bad and the Unread (note the URL change). I'm actually going to be reviewing there regularly, you can see my bio here.

This weekend on Bravo, they are re-running The Scariest Moments in Movies (or something like that). Lots of good clips and interesting commentary.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Movies that Made Me Keep the Lights on All Night

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The Exorcist: I can't even bear the thought of this movie. I really hope that there's no such thing as demon possession.

Magic--One of Sidekick's picks. I've never seen it, but fuckin' dummy? No good. Not a big fan of dolls coming to life.

Psycho--Creepy, creepy, creepy. Less is more.

The Brood--Another one of Sidekick's picks, but it sounds disturbing. I'm curious, yet nervous to watch.

Freaks--Thought-provoking movie.
Seriously disturbing. My modern sensibilities are uncomfortable with the idea of people being put on display because of their physical differences. And I'm even more uncomfortable with them being the bad guys. I can't help but feel a lot of sympathy for the freaks, but the sequence where they get their revenge is really creepy. Gabba Gabba Hey!

Friday the 13th--The original. When Kevin Bacon gets it and the ending are among the good GOTCHA moments.

The Amityville Horror--The original never fails to creep me out. It's that demonic thing again. Man, is this house creepy. The creepiness factor is of course heightened by our relative proximity to Amityville. Finding the Amityville Horror house was a major pastime of LI teens. I wonder if they still do it. I worked in a school for awhile that had a number of kids from that neighborhood, and they all had debunking stories. The street names have been changed and the house extensively remodeled.

Part two to come later...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Five Vampire Movies worth watching...

and five to probably skip...

With varying degrees of scariness, but little romance {sigh}

The Lost Boys--I think this is the one that did me in. It's all about Keifer Sutherland and his boys. I could care less that they were supposed to be the bad guys, they were way more interesting than the beauteous, but boring Jason Patric, and the Coreys. I was always fascinated by Corey Haim's "I love shopping" t-shirt and the Rob Lowe poster hanging in his room. Was Corey's character struggling with his sexuality? Whatever. Why couldn't they let the sexy and intense Keifer live? Sigh. These days they would've redeemed him.

Shadow of the Vampire--Fun one about the making of Nosferatu (which is pretty neat too, if you've got to patience for something really old). Willem Defoe plays Max Schreck the mysterious guy who played the "Dracula" in that movie. He is very mysterious, and weird things start happening on-set. This one is creepy, humorous and well-done.

Blade--It's too bad that Wesley Snipes went wacky. He made some good movies back in the day. I really enjoyed the first two movies in this trilogy (the third was bleh). An anti-hero type that will be familiar to paranormal romance readers. The second one (my favorite), was directed by Guillermo Del Toro, who also directed Hellboy which I loved.

Dracula--The Francis Ford Coppola one, with Gary Oldman. Very flawed, but it had some great moments. I loved it when Dracula sees Mina/Winona in London at the puppet show thingy. I love Gary Oldman. I definitely thought Mina should stick with Drac rather than Harker/Keanu and his mysterious accent.

Near Dark--A must-see for vamp fans. Travelling desert vampire, lots of atmosphere. Yummy Adrian Pasdar, Lance Henricksen, and Bill Paxton. It's been awhile since I've seen this. I should rent it or something.

And...erm...some others...

Embrace of the Vampire--My husband (who shall henceforth be known as Sidekick) loves this movie. But that's because he got to see Alyssa Milano's boobies. I suspect that your enjoyment of this film is in direct correlation to your enjoyment of Alyssa's boobies, because, lame.

The Breed--I randomly found this on Sci-Fi Channel late one night. It got slammed on IMDB, and Sidekick didn't care for it but I liked it. It takes place in a future where vampires have come out in the open. (Another familiar set-up). It features Adrian Paul from Highlander and Bokeem Woodbine. Everyone's kind of wooden and plastic because it's the future, I guess. IMO, worth a try if it's on TV or something.

Once Bitten--An early, early Jim Carrey movie, wherein he plays a teenage virgin who gets bitten by Lauren Hutton. I'm not a fan of the Carrey slapsick schtick, but someone else might like it better.

Fright Night--Total guilty pleasure. Totally cheesy, totally eighties, but I always enjoy catching this one. The guy from Herman's Head thinks his next door neighbor is a vampire, so he enlists the help of his favorite horror movie show host. And his girlfriend is Marcy from Married with Children. This one shows up on cable this time of year.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer--Can't compare to the series, of course, but kind of fun when judged on its own merit. I enjoyed it as a teen, but I don't like Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry.

While I was typing this I thought of Innocent Blood (good, romance fans might enjoy), and Underworld (total guilty pleasure, IMO.) Don't bother with Underworld Evolution. It stinks.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was afraid of everything. Everything, including her own shadow. She was especially frightened of things that go bump in the night. Just knew that ghosts and monsters and scary things were there lurking in the shadows. Then came a defining moment. A mime was hired to perform at her primary school. To end his act, he imitated a vampire sucking the blood out of his prey (I swear to God this is true. This was in front of Kindergarteners and First Graders). Not surprisingly, the little girl started screaming her head off. Mom had to come and pick her up. That night she began to sleep with a blanket wrapped around her neck, a habit that was to continue for many years to come.

From this point on she was still scared, but also fascinated by that which scared her. She tried to read scary stories. She watched scary movies and tv shows for up to ten minutes before running out of the room screaming. She stayed up all night with the lights on after reading books of true ghost stories. An attempt to face her fears? Only a licensed therapist might know. Finally she started to be able to sit through entire movies (Except for "The Exorcist". Parents, don't let your 12 year olds watch this, no matter how much they beg. It might scar them for life.)

This fascination with the supernatural and disturbing followed her into teenagehood. This fascination, combined with a totally negative attitude seemed like a surefire recipe for Goth girl hood. Unfortunately (or fortunately), she would've looked awful with black hair and was cursed by the inability to take herself seriously. And so she masqueraded as a normal person, but never gave up her love of all things that go bump in the night.

So, anyway, it may or may not surprise you that this is my favorite time of year. I've been going a bit crazy with my new DVR, taping all the Halloween programming for young and old. We're watching Nightmare Before Christmas as I type. And I haven't read a darn thing apart from a re-read of Connie Brockway's As You Desire (great book, but that's a post for another time). So I've decided to dedicate the blog to all things spooky and supernatural from now until Halloween. Enjoy!

What scares the crap out of you? I've always been terrified of the idea of demons, thanks to Linda Blair and a book by those Warren people (Linda and Ed, maybe?) who investigate paranormal phenomena. To this day I periodically have dreams about someone I know and love getting possessed. Reading "demon" romances is helping though, because with the exception of Lilith (Meljean Brook's Demon Angel), they never seem particularly demonic. Anything gives you the shivers, even though you know it's silly?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thank God for Lisa Kleypas...

Man, am I finding it hard to get in the fall swing of things. I'm having a taste of the future I guess. H-Bomb is in Pre-K five days a week, plus I get to chauffeur him to Speech and OT three days a week. Plus work, storytime and various other educational and edifying activities. I also have all these "projects" planned, like organizing my photos and selling stuff on Ebay and weeding the file cabinets and shit. Add to that a LU induced reading funk and kids who take two hours to fall asleep and you have someone who's grumpy and not getting reading done. I did breakdown and get the DVR, though, because I've missed 4 episodes of ANTM and Ghosthunters. I'm in love with it, it's my new toy, though I've only taped kid's shows so far.

I have read one historical all year. Literally. And it was a mediocre one. I haven't even been re-reading old favorites. After reading Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas, I really have no idea why. They may be just the change of pace I was looking for. I feel like I've been doing so much moaning and groaning about authors skimping on creating chemistry and relationships, relying instead on mental lusting (although, to be fair, I have read some good books in the past few months). This book was able to accomplish so relationship development, though the time span is relatively quick, others should take note. All it takes is a few encounters, some banter, some conversation, where the h/h get to know each other, and we get to know them...and I am a happy camper. Lisa Kleypas is a very dependable author, IMO. Even her less memorable books have well drawn characters, good chemistry, great sex, and an HEA that leaves you with a big smile. And what more can I ask for? I would count MTM as one of LK's less memorable books, but it still gets a B+ from me, because I couldn't put it made me laugh and tear up...and hotness!

When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter….

Those of you who read the Wallflowers Quartet will remember Cam Rohan from Devil in Winter (great book!). I quite like him. For all his Gypsy exoticism, he was a steady, strong, levelhead fellow. He was the sane one in the relationship. Heroine Amelia Hathaway was almost unhinged in her determination to control things and be independent. At one point in the book, she really bugged me. But her family had been through so much, it was a defense mechanism. They made a great pair, I thought that he would need someone with a strong personality, so as not to be overshadowed and she fit the bill. I enjoyed the Hathaway family, especially Beatrix, the youngest, with her mix of immaturity and intuitiveness. She brought tears to my eyes with the window story. I hope she eventually gets her own book. As a fan of the Wallflowers and Westcliff in particular, it was good to be back at Stony Cross Park. There were some funny moments, sexy moments and some emotional moments.

I found the incident at the end with Amelia's former suitor to be unnecessary. Didn't add to the story. I also disliked big brother Leo more than I should. Overall, I don't think this one will stick with me the way some of Kleypas' others do, but it was a satisfying read. If you enjoy Kleypas, it won't disappoint. If you haven't read her before, start with Then Came You or Dreaming of You. I went on to re-read Scandal in Spring. Am I the only one who really loves this one? I love taciturn, secretly obsessed heroes. Speaking of which, the sneak preview of her next historical at The Good, the Bad and the Unread, has me wanting to do a tap dance. I am so excited for Win and Merripen's book. Kleypas does surly, but seething with love so well, and paired with an invalid from a different class? You have a recipe for angsty, tear-jerky reader heaven. Go look. I think I'm going to go re-read Devil in Winter.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A round up...

I wanted to talk about a couple of other books I read while sans computer. I was still in Harlequin mode. These are more impressions or comments than anything else. I'm not going to give letter grades or anything.

*Rising Darkness by Cynthia Cooke--I had read the first in the Dark Enchantments miniseries and enjoyed it, so I picked this one up. It started off with a great Gothic set-up: a British family in a crumbling estate held hostage by a pack of howling demonic wolves. The heroine, Emma McGovern, is the last of a line plagued by a Gypsy curse, and her face has been badly scarred by a wolf attack. Sadly, the book didn't sustain the atmosphere, the suspense or any interest on this readers part. Strictly paranormal romance by the numbers, it featured two bland ciphers (the hero a tormented vampire type) who fall quickly and deeply in love for reasons unknown to them and me. Seriously, I can't remember how it ended, but I remember being annoyed. Ah well. I still bought the next installment, Night Mischief by Nina Bruhns.

*The Farmer Takes a Wife by Barbara Gale--I wanted this story of a Boston doctor who brings new life to a sleepy town and a crabby farmer because it took place in New Hampshire and I love NH. Unfortunately, this book suffered from some of the worst editing ever. Both the hero and heroine's eyes change color, and the heroine's hair color changes several times before settling on Auburn. At one point the heroine suggests talking to the local congressman in Albany (which is the capital of NY, not NH). The hero reflects on his initial meeting with the heroine, recalling a scene which he was not in. He came in after she walked into the gas station. Also much ado was made of the hero's marrying too young and having a child too quickly. But he's 40, and his son was described as 8 or 9. Having a child at 31? Not exactly teenage pregnancy. It made no sense. And now? I know what people mean when they complain about head hopping. I found the pov confusing at several times. Nah, can't rec this one at all.

*A Family of Her Own by Brenda Novak.--I've been reading another book by Novak, and I think that she is a skilled writer who writes interesting and original stories. But the romance (frustratingly to me) always seems to take a backseat. This is about an ex-con auto mechanic named Booker and a "good girl" hairdresser named Katie whose intense affair ends when she runs off for SF with a guy that everyone thinks is a tool. Two years later she returns to Dundee Idaho unwed, alone, penniless and pregnant. Booker is unhappy to see the woman who broke his heart but he ends up taking her in when her family turns her away. There was a lot of focus on Katie growing up and becoming mature and independent, which was a good thing, because I wanted to hate her. Sure, no one approved of Booker, but they didn't like the other guy either. And once they got to SF he got a nose ring and a Robert Smith haircut and became a club kid who sponged off of her. But she stuck it out for two years? And gave him pity sex "one last time"? Whereupon she became one more victim of the dreaded romance novel condom failure rate? Great judgment, Katie. Dump the sexy, mysterious, intense guy who is kind enough to take in the village idiot (no, not Katie, this other guy) for a wannabe hipster tool. I wish there had been some flashbacks or something about Katie and Booker's relationship, so I could see what he saw in her, as well as why she didn't believe that he cared about her. I was also curious about what Booker did time for. Overall, not so bad though, just didn't quite satisfy.

*Driven by Eve Kenin--All is not lost, 'cuz this book was great! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes futuristic/sci fi or who is looking for something other the standard vamp/furry paranormal. Driven is set in a frozen future in which truckers have to bring goods to the various settlements. One particular company controls everything, and is run by a powerful and super nasty guy. There's a tough, kick butt and likeable heroine, Raina who is a great match for the unusual and very hot hero, Wizard. I lurved him, though an HEA with him would not be easy. See some reviews here, here and here. Worth your while. Bev from Bev's Books, if you stop by, I'm recommending this to you. You'll like it!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm baaaack!

Woo-hoo! The drought is over. My computer is back and better than new. Hurrah! I've been so busy, and worked so little, that I have had very little computer access. So before I go bopping around catching up, I wanted to type up a review that I wrote out longhand. Yes it's that time of year again...Black Dagger Brotherhood time!

I've got to say I'm definitely curious to see what people have to say about Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward. This book had a lot going on, some of it pretty unorthodox for a romance. I've always been a Vishous fan myself. I find the fact that he is supposed to be super smart sexy, and I dig the tattoos, the weird abilities, the tortured feelings for Butch, the Dom tendencies. Just the kind of delicious weirdness I like. I was apphrehensive about how Ward would treat his kinky and queer leanings? Was he going to to meet some chick and undergo a personality transplant, a la a Dark Hunter? Would it be all peaches and vanilla cream? I was also invested in the Butch/Vishous relationship that had developed. Could I buy V's HEA with someone else? I bought Butch and Marissa, but she was a familiar character. Also, weak soul that I am, I gave in to the temptation to read some spoiler, which made me pretty nervous about whether I'd like this book at all.

Since there are probably many, many places to read about the book at this point, I shall dispense with the synopsis and get down to business. I'm going to try to avoid spoilers, but read at your own risk. I definitely liked LU better than Lover Revealed, but...well there are several buts.

The Love--Love V. Love him. Totally tortured hero. I've got to give JRW props for sticking to her guns and making it clear that V is not your average tortured hero. He likes sex rough and his feelings for Butch went way beyond friendship. I thought that both situations were acknowledged, handled and explained well, as was his horrible childhood. These things made V who he was, not some aberrations to be explained away, by meeting the right woman. And I did buy his HEA with Dr. Jane. As for heroine Dr. Jane Whitcomb herself, I liked her quite a bit. She was intelligent, strong willed and witty. V and Jane played off of each other well, and had a repartee somewhat like Butch/V [whose dialogues provide some of the best moments in LU]. But this brings me to the big but...

The But--Not enough V and Jane. These books have always alternated between the primary romance and the larger cast of characters within the BDB universe. Now being such a fan of these books and characters, it doesn't always bother me, but in LU all the scene changes detracted from the romance. I really liked V & Jane, but damn if the story didn't keep cutting away to John Matthew and his school chums. I've enjoyed the saga of JM/Tehrror so far,but this time I wanted him to go away. He was having quite the pity party also. The best part of a romance is seeing how the emotional connection develops, and I always feel short changed if it is rushed or if we are told rather than shown. V & Jane had great chemistry and good scenes, but they came after V's realization that he was "in love". Before that, one or the other was passed out. I would have preferred some 'getting to know you' banter. The later chemistry was not quite enough to overcome this. The Primale thing took from them as well, and was kind of unnecessary. It was resolved so quickly, it ultimately served only as Phury's sequel set-up (more on that later), and there was plenty of conflict without it. Question: If the Primale is to father future Brothers (sons) and Chosen (daughters), and if the Brothers and Chosen are expected to mate as well, won't there be all sorts of creepy incest going on? The only interesting thing about the subplot was V's relationship with the ever-annoying Scribe Virgin.

The Ending--I would imagine the ending is quite controversial. Didn't bother me too much. Perhaps it helped that I was mildly spoiled (and read a similar ending in Kenyon's Sins of the Night). So yeah (spoiler warning) Jane gets shot and dies and lives happily ever after as a ghost. Seemed a bit unnecessary but whatever. My biggest problem was all the questions that kept coming to mind. Like if Jane can have sex and eat, does she need to go to the bathroom or wash up? I appreciated the humor, but it was a bit sitcom-y. Uh-oh, Zsadist sat on Jane again. Fritz, you dog, you put Jane's clothes in the washing machine while she was still in them! Oh well, although the Scribe Virgin as Deus ex Machina is getting old, I did get a bit verklempt at the ending.

The Dislike--Not feeling the setup for Phury's book at all. Hate the Chosen. They just creep me the hell out. The only thing that made those scenes bearable were some funny lines and reactions. Phury's book is going to to be Dumber and Dumber, with who can be stupider about sex. At least Cormia has already seen Phury's (Ph's?) junk, so we'll be spared an "Oh My God, it's so big! And it moves!" scene. And I love Phury so. Would've like someone with a bit more fire for him. And Lordy, how I hate the idea of John Matthew with the 'hermaphroditic' chick with the dumb ass name. I try to be open minded, but something about how she is described squicks me out. Please don't let it be so.

The Conclusion--Lover Unbound is an unusual and compelling addition to the BDB series. Disappointing in that intriguing characters were given short shrift in favor of storylines I found almost painful to read I still enjoyed it, and was completely obsessed with finishing. I was going to give it a B, but I've been thinking about it a lot, and want to re-read soon, so I think I'm going to bump to a B+. This series is staying strong, and is definitely one to try. Read in order for sure and your can check out my previous ramblings here.