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  • gilwilson 7:23 PM on November 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , faery, , , , , , vampires,   

    “Cold Days” by Jim Butcher 

    “Cold Days” (Dresden files book 14)
    by Jim Butcher
    Read by James Marsters
    published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 16 hours

    It was so awesome getting this audiobook in the mail. I’m a huge fan of Jim Butcher’s writing and have been waiting anxiously for this latest installment of “The Dresden Files,” featuring my favorite wizard and all around protector of humanity. I think even if Chuck Norris were a wizard Harry Dresden would still give him a beat down. Dresden is just that awesome. I mean really he’s taken on werewolves, vampires, demons, gods and the three billy goats gruff and manages to keep on for the next day.

    Okay there has been an exception to this, and I’d better approach that before carrying on with this book. If you haven’t read up to book twelve, “Changes,” you may want to skip ahead in this review because this paragraph will contain some spoilers for you. Basically at the end of “Changes” Harry Dresden dies, but what is it like when a wizard dies? In book thirteen “Ghost Story,” Dresden comes back to his hometown of Chicago as a ghost and helps fight of an evil while going all Patrick Swayze on his friends. Then at the end of that book Harry is brought back by the faery Queen of Winter, Mab, because at the end of “Changes” he agreed to serve her as her Winter Knight in order to save his daughter. So he has died but he is so awesome that he comes back to life.

    So now we are at this book, the 14th in the series, “Cold Days.” As per the usual run of any “Dresden Files” book, Harry is faced with many dangers that to any normal person, this includes you, Chuck Norris, would lead to death and the possible end of the world. Harry is now the Winter Knight and as part of his rehab, yeah after being dead he has to go through some intense life-threatening physical therapy, his life is threatened daily by Mab via poisonous spiders, fire, and just about any evil she can come up with for him to fend off. Picture Cato Fong, from the Pink Panther series always surprising Clouseau by attacking, only now make Fong a nearly evil Queen of Winter and Darkness, with unlimited power, and that’s what Harry has to contend with.

    After Harry’s physical rehab, he is assigned a couple of assistant’s of sorts. One is the Cat Sith, no he doesn’t have a red light saber, who is a powerful faerie who is dangerous, and a woman who seems to be Mab’s BFF, but may also have an ulterior motive. Harry is then invited to his own Birthday party to announce the him as the new Winter Knight. There are two simple rules at this party and other than those anything goes. The two rules are 1. No one speaks to Mab unless she says otherwise and 2. No blood is spilled. In Harry’s world, you know one of the rules is going to be broken.

    At the party Mab’s daughter Maeve tries to seduce Harry and pull him to her side, after that fails a Red Cap powry tries to get Harry angry and spill blood, but Harry manages to maintain his cool and receives his first order from Mab; Kill Maeve. So to start things out Harry has to kill an immortal (one who can’t be killed).

    Harry then is allowed to return home to Chicago and in order to find a way to kill Maeve he retrieves his wizard’s equivalent of a computer, Bob. Once he’s on the trail to find out how to kill that which cannot be killed Harry figures out he’s going to need his friends not because of Maeve but because his island, Demonreach, is about to explode and take Chicago with it. So with the help of his apprentice, Molly, his half-brother the vampire, Thomas, the faery general, Toot-toot, and more Harry has to stop a mystical island from exploding, save Chicago, avoid being killed by the Earlking and his hunt and kill an immortal. Oh yeah, and he’s only got 1 day to do it.

    As a side note and a bit of a spoiler, Harry gets to meet Santa Claus and even kicks Santa’s butt in a battle. Funny stuff and great adventure in this latest adventure from Jim Butcher. If you haven’t launched yourself into the Dresden Files yet, get on it.

    As a final note I have to talk about the reader of this audiobook, James Marsters. Actually reader doesn’t do it justice, Marsters is the performer of this audiobook. James Marsters has become a fan favorite as reader of the Dresden Files books and when he was busy with an acting gig and couldn’t do the “Ghost Story” novel, many fans were upset, including me. Marsters, is best known for his role in the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” as the vampire, Spike. His performance in the Dresden books is way above par. He captures the character of Harry Dresden perfectly by being able to vocalize all of the between the lines stuff, such as emotion, history and even the awesome use of sarcasm and snarkiness. Not only does he portray a great version of Harry Dresden, but there are times that while listening to the book it almost sounds like a multi-cast performance with Marsters doing some great vocal gymnastics to represent each character. Thanks to Marsters, the faery General Toot-toot comes to life in full 3-D representation. He definitely adds one more plus to these already great books.

     
  • gilwilson 10:31 PM on May 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , johanna parker, , , , , vampires,   

    “Dead Reckoning” book 11 in the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris 

    “Dead Reckoning”
    book 11 in the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mysteries
    by Charlaine Harris
    Read by Johanna Parker
    Published by Recorded Books (2011)
    Approx 10.5 hours

    For some reason I’ve slacked off on the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mysteries from Charlaine Harris. I think that the stories don’t seem to hold my interest as much, at least the last book, “Dead in the Family,” didn’t. I was browsing the internet looking for more books to load up on my hand me down iPod, since I lost everything I had on my last iPod, I saw that Charlaine Harris was releasing a new book. I also realized I had missed one, and since this series is not one to jump into in the middle, I had to go back and get this one from last year first. While each can be read as a single story they seem to refer to events and ideas introduced in previous novels and it just works out better if you have all the books under your belt.

    Before I go any further I have to explain my sad tale of losing my iPod. Hopefully someone can take this as a warning and not do what I did. I bought a generic iPod car-charger and to make a long, sad story short, I fried my iPod with too much amperage. The unit was hot to the touch and once I found it was unusable I opened the case and saw little black marks where resistors had been burned. I had over 50 books, lots of podcasts, and a little music loaded on my faithful companion and lost it all. So now I’m reloading a smaller iPod with what I can.

    Okay sad story over let’s talk about this audiobook. To begin with, Johanna Parker is remarkable in her reading of the series, her voice sounds just like what Sookie Stackhouse should sound like. If you are a fan of the HBO series “True Blood,” you probably already know that the series is based on these books. Anna Paquin plays the part of Sookie in the series and does a good job, but I think the voicework of Johanna Parker is better. Parker is also able to let the listener know when other characters are speaking with subtle voice changes. She does a nice job capturing the spirit of the other characters, but she has Sookie down perfect.

    I won’t try to recap all the books in the series but I will give you the gist of what is going on up until this book.

    Basically the world of Sookie Stackhouse is filled with all sorts of supernatural creatures. The Vampires have revealed themselves to the world and are in the process of becoming accepted citizens in the world. Seeing the success of this, the were-creatures (were-wolves, were-panthers, were-tigers, et.al.) have recently revealed themselves as well. As you can guess the religious right are protesting these abominations, and there are certain factions of people who want the supernatural beings dead. In another twist of supernatural fate, Sookie herself has discovered she is half faery. The faery and fae have recently gone back to their realm and have closed all portals to the human world. Some Faery have stayed behind, some willingly and some not.

    Sookie herself has dug a deeper hole for herself in the supernatural culture by falling in love and being married, technically, to Eric Northman, the Sheriff of an area of Louisiana which includes Bon Temps, Sookies hometown, and Shreveport. The Vampire world is run by Kings and Queens of regions which in the United States runs along with state borders. Recently the Queen of Louisiana has been killed and the area is under the Rule of the king of Nevada, Felipe de Castro. Felipe has sent his second in command, Victor, to Louisiana to watch over the area. The problem is, Victor seems to want power for himself and sees Eric as someone to conquer. Eric sees Victor as someone to kill.

    In this book, friends and enemies from Sookie’s past are causing problems. Sandra Pelt, a werewolf whose sister was killed by Sookie, has a score to settle. Victor is challenging Eric’s position and, in other ways, threatening her friend and employer Sam Merlotte, a shape-shifter. Sookie’s Great-uncle Dermot and cousin Claude, a couple of Faeries, are making themselves at home in Sookie’s house in the aftermath of the separation with the faery world. Amelia and Bob, a couple of witches from New Orleans come to make sure the wards to keep the evil out of Sookie’s home make a mistake and nearly wrecking Sookie and Eric’s relationship. Bill Compton, or Vampire Bill, Sookie’s first vampire lover, admits he’s still in love with Sookie. Meanwhile, Sookie is learning more about her grandmother Adele’s relationship with her half-fairy grandfather Fintan.

    So with all these faeries, werewolves, witches and even a Vampire Elvis, Sookie has to find out who is trying to kill her and destroy Merlotte’s bar and at the same time find out her standing in Eric’s love life.

    I think that if all the love story aspect were thrown out I’d be more interested and wouldn’t have to play catch-up to get the latest book but, it’s there and folks like that aspect. I just really like the fun romp in the supernatural world while trying to solve mysteries. Almost like Scooby-Doo but with more adult content.

     

     
  • gilwilson 8:54 PM on April 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , touch of dead, , , vampires   

    “A Touch of Dead” Short stories from the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris 

    A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris“A Touch of Dead”
    Short stories from the Southern Vampire Mysteries
    by Charlaine Harris
    read by Johanna Parker
    Produced by Recorded Books (2009)
    Approx 3 hours

    “A Touch of Dead” is a collection of short stories from Charlaine Harris’s series “The Southern Vampire Mysteries.”  For those of you that are fans of the HBO series, “True Blood” this is the series that started it all.   This title was released on October 6, 2009.  and only contains the short stories Harris has published in which Sookie Stackhouse is present.  Harris has written other stories in the Sookie Stackhouse world that don’t include Sookie and are worth checking out.

    The first story is “Fairy Dust” from the book “Powers of Detection” (October 2004). It introduces Sookie’s  fairy cousins Claudine, Claude, and the deceased third triplet Claudette. Claude and Claudine are recurring characters in later books of the series.    “In Fairy Dust,” Sookie is working at Merlottes when Claudine the fairy comes in and asks Sookie to read the minds of some human guests of her brother Claude. When Sookie arrives at Claude and Claudine’s home in Monroe, she finds three people tied up in the house. Everyone involved (except Claudine) is associated with Hooligans, an exotic dancing establishment. Claude, who dances, tells Sookie that they believe that one of the people murdered their triplet Claudette while she was working at the club earlier that night. Claude explains that Claudette came to her siblings in spirit form to tell them of her death. Using her telepathy, Sookie interviews each suspect to discover the guilty party.  If only Sherlock Holmes had Sookie’s talent (or “disability” as Sookie calls it).

    “One Word Answer” from the book “Bite” (2005), introduces the topic of Hadley’s death, which kicks off the events in the sixth Vampire Mysteries book, “Definitely Dead.”  The mysterious Mr. Cataliades shows up in a limousine at Sookie’s home bringing the news of her cousin Hadley’s death. The rebellious Hadley had not been in touch with the family in years, so they did not know she had become a vampire several years ago. Nor did they know that she was the lover of the vampire Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne Leclerq. It seems that Waldo, a former lackey of the Queen, was jealous of Hadley’s position, so he lured her to a cemetery and killed her. Mr. Cataliades informs Sookie that Waldo has been caught, and that his punishment is in Sookie’s hands – she must decide. Her answer surprises him, and Sookie notices that it also surprises the hidden occupant of the limousine: the Queen.  In this one there were some continuity problems that were incongruent with how the story played out in the series, but this is definitely a story worth hearing or reading, especially since it’s another one involving the dimwitted vampire, Bubba, who is a famous King of rock and roll turned vampire.

    “Dracula Night” is from “Many Bloody Returns” (September 2007) and is just a fun story from the southern vampire mysteries series and occurs some time after Sookie’s tryst with Eric sans memories.   Eric’s vampire bar, Fangtasia, throws a party each year for the vampire observance of Dracula Night, in honor of the infamous Count Dracula. According to legend, the Count will choose one lucky party from all over the world to grace with his presence. The book characters are amused by Eric’s childlike hope that the Count will appear at his party, just like Linus of the Peanuts comic hopes in vain to greet the Great Pumpkin.  This was a funny story due to the references to the Great Pumpkin.

    “Lucky” is from the book “Unusual Suspects” (December 2008) and spotlights one of the many supernatural yet not vampire characters from Sookie’s hometown of Bon Temps, Louisiana.  Insurance agent Greg Aubert asks Sookie (and her witch friend Amelia) to investigate a break-in at his office. He is concerned that someone will discover that he uses magic spells to protect his property and his clients. Amelia and Sookie discover that the break-in was just Greg’s daughter and her secretive boyfriend, who is actually a newly-turned vampire. However, Sookie learns that two other agents in town have had break-ins, and all are getting excessive amounts of claims which may drive them out of business. It seems that Greg’s spells have been using up all the luck in town.

    “Gift Wrap” is from “Wolfsbane and Mistletoe” (October 2008) and finds Sookie alone for Christmas. Her brother and closest friends each have their own plans, and she perversely chose not to ask other friends for an invitation. She recalls that she heard a noise in the woods the night before, so she trudges out to investigate. She finds Preston, a naked, muddy and bloody man, who is nevertheless very attractive. To save him from further injury, she brings Preston back to her house and shields him from the Weres who come looking for him. When he starts kissing her, he tells her to pretend she found him gift-wrapped under the tree, and she succumbs to his charm. On Christmas Day, she is relieved to find a note saying he is gone. Her great-grandfather Niall Brigant turns up on her doorstep, surprising her with his company. In the woods behind the house, Preston and a Were chat about Niall hiring them to give Sookie a pleasant Christmas Eve, tailoring the scenario to her personality, and using a bit of fairy magic to attract her.  This to me was a dull story in that there was no real mystery to solve, just a fling with a werewolf/fairy or whatever.

    If you’re a fan of “True Blood” or of the Sookie Stackhouse books, this may not be a “must-read” but it is a fun one to pick up while waiting for that next book from Charlaine Harris.

     
  • gilwilson 9:02 PM on November 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , chuck hogan, guillermo del toro, , , the fall, the strain, vampires, virus   

    “The Fall” Book 2 of “The Strain Trilogy” by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan 

    “The Fall”
    Book 2 of “The Strain Trilogy”
    by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
    Read by Daniel Oreskes
    Produced by Harper Audio
    Approx. 11.5 hours.

    The teaming up of del Toro and Hogan to create this trilogy has turned out to be a pretty haunting affair.  “The Strain” (the first book in the trilogy) introduced the horror world to a different view of vampires.  This time around the heroes are not the vampires or are the vampires the subject of lustful desire, instead the mythology of vampires returns to the dark horror of life stealing blood suckers to be feared and staked or in this case killed with silver.  Some other twists that del Toro and Hogan have added are; instead of fangs the vampires have stingers under their tongues, the spreading of vampirism is through parasitic virus-like blood worms and that there are seven “Ancients” that basically are the leaders of the vampires and have been around for centuries.

    The story behind the “Ancients” is where this book focuses.  The first book told of the spread of the strain of virus turning New York City back to ground zero, this time for the spread of vampires.

    The heroes are Abraham Setrakian, a proffesor from the old world who has been hunting vampires since before World War II,  Dr. Ephraim Goodweather a formerly with the CDC, he was listed as a criminal when he tried to alert the world of the vampire invasion,  Eph’s Son Zach, whose mother was turned and is now hunting him, andFet an exterminator who now has a new form of vermin to hunt.

    Setrakian has revealed to all that he has been hunting “The Master” for most of his life and that “The Master” is responsible for the sudden influx of vampires in the New World.  The Ancients have all been around for centuries and have maintained their anonymity, so why now do they become public and seek to ponentially wipe out their food source?  The secret lies behind the Master.

    Setrakian, Fet, and Eph join up with a battle force from the Ancients in order to prevent The Master from completing his plans.  Using silver weapons and UV lamps to battle the vamps the various skirmishes lead up to one big battle with The Master.  A new character brought into this story takes part in the final battle and has some great fighting styles throughout the book.  His name is Angel and he’s a former wrestler turned movie star, not a normal wrestler but a Luche Libre, a masked Mexican Wrestler.  His movies usually had him pitted up against vampires, but nothing like he’s experiencing now.

    The reader, Daniel Oreskes, does a great job of reading this book, his voice adds to the drama and horror underlying the story and at the same time he is able to allow the listener to discern between who is talking/thinking by subtle vocal changes.

    The nice thing about this audiobook, in that it is part of a trilogy, but del Toro and Hogan write enough of the backstory so that if you were to jump in with this book instead of the first or that a long span of time passed between books, you wouldn’t be lost in what is going on.  Don’t get me wrong though, read the first book, because both of these stories have some great storytelling of epic proportions.

     
  • gilwilson 10:50 AM on September 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , dead in the family, , , , , , , vampires   

    “Dead in the Family” Book 10 of the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries by Charlain Harris 

    “Dead in the Family”
    Book 10 of the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries
    by Charlaine Harris
    Read by Johanna Parker
    Produced by Recorded books
    Approx 9.5 hours

    In each of the books in the Southern Vampire Mysteries the title of the book will tell you what to expect in the story.  This time around “Dead in the Family” hits the nail on the head.  It seems as though every character major and minor ever mention in the series has a family problem in this one.

    To sum up what has happened so fair; The Fairy war is over, Sookie’s great-grandfather Niall (a powerful fairy) has closed most of the portals between the Fairy world and the human world.  Sookie’s cousin Claude (a fairy) chose to remain with the humans.  The two natured (were-wolves, shape-shifters, et. al.) have revealed themselves to the world and it’s not quite as positive a response as when the vampires did it.  The government is trying to get the two-natured to register, even though they have been citizens and veterans all these years.  Louisiana’s Vampire territory has been taken over by the “King” of Nevada and Eric Northman Sheriff of area five of Louisiana, and Sookie’s boyfriend is the last remaining member of the former Queen’s “court.”

    With all this happening the future is pretty much unsure, the Shreveport, La. werewolf pack is under pressure from the government to get registered, and the government is just looking for a reason to lock up all two natureds.  Alcide Herveaux, leader of the pack asks Sookie’s permission to have the monthly pack run on her land since his is being watched.    When the run is over Sookie is told that there have been fairies running around her land recently and a dead body.  One of the fairies can be explained in that Sookie’s cousin and full fairy, Claude has moved in with Sookie because he needs to be near someone like him, even if she’s only 1/8th fairy.  The dead body is that of Debbie Pelt, Alcide’s former girlfriend, whom Sookie killed.  The other fairy scent, needs to be explained.

    Eric & Sookie’s relationship seems to be building, at least until Eric’s maker shows up with his latest progeny, Alexei Romanov, only son of the last Czar of Russia, who as an adolescent witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution, including the slaughter of his entire family.  Alexei seems to be bordering on the brink of insanity (who could blame him?).  Eric returns to Shreveport, but not before sending a tracker to find out who the other fairy may be.

    This tracker discovers another body.  This second body is new and has been buried on Sookie’s land to frame her for murder.  Who is this other body?  Who killed them? Why is Sookie being Framed?  All these questions get answered and but they don’t solve anything.  This just creates more turmoil in Sookie Stackhouse’s life.

     
  • gilwilson 9:41 PM on September 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: audible frontiers, , , , , , , , , , , , , , vampires,   

    “Strange Brew” Edited by P.N. Elrod 

    “Strange Brew”
    Edited by P.N. Elrod
    Multiple readers
    produced by Audible Frontiers (2009)
    approx 12 hours.

    In continuing my search for more Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” stories I find another collection of short stories that have a few of my other favorite supernatural authors and I may have found a few more.  This book features 9 stories all dealing with the supernatural, in particular witches, wizards and potions.  There is no Professor Snape to let this lot know if they are doing it right or wrong, but for the most part they all get it right.  The nice thing is that for most of the authors in this book, they have a running series and these short stories take place within the realm of that same series and for the die-hard fans, here’s one more source for some quick pleasure while waiting for that next book.

    Each story has their own reader thus giving this collection in audiobook form a better sound of being different stories from different authors.  Now let’s talk about each story one by one.

    “Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs:  Patricia Briggs returns to the world of Mercy Thompson, but follows an entirely new character – the witch (Wendy) Moira Keller. Tom Franklin, werewolf and second in the Emerald City pack, shows up on Moira’s doorstep asking for her help in finding his kidnapped brother Jon, Moira cannot refuse him, even though it could mean her death. For Moira is no ordinary witch, and she has a dark past connected to those who have taken Jon – the Samhain Coven, led by the cruel and power-hungry Kouros. Together, Moira and Tom set out on Jon’s trail, using her magic and Tom’s strength to discover Jon’s fate, and to face Samhain once and for all.

    “Last Call” by Jim Butcher:  Harry takes on the darkest of dark powers–the ones who dare to mess with his favorite beer. All Harry wants to do after a long hard day of wizarding and private investigating is have one of Mac’s famous home brews and possibly a steak sandwich, but when Harry, walks into Macanally’s, he finds the place in disarray, not the normal planned disarray but one which finds several tables turned over, customers and Mac,himself, unconscious.  Harry then finds that the home brew has been tampered with and a deeper darker mystery unveils in which an ancient being wishes to take over Chicago.  This story takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.

    “Death Warmed Over” by Rachel Caine: This story takes place in a world where witches moonlight in extremely specialized fields. Holly Caldwell is one such witch with a rare affinity for resurrecting the dead, working at her day job when she receives a last minute email from her other boss, Sam – a request for a “disposable,” or a long-term resurrection from the local police department. Holly has sworn off disposables ever since her first and last job – because of the pain her impossible relationship with the resurrected caused her. Now, Sam and the police want Holly to raise the same man from her past, a powerful witch named Andrew Toland who died in 1875 fighting an army of resurrected dead gone violent (or more commonly, zombies). Though it pains her to reopen a relationship that is in all ways impossible, Holly breathes life back into Andrew. Unfortunately for them both, only later do they learn that someone has been killing resurrection witches, and Holly is next on the list.  This turns out to be kind of a creepy love story of sorts that has a twist in the mystery unfolding.

    “Vegas Odds” by Karen Chance: The longest story in “Strange Brew” is Karen Chance’s “Vegas Odds.”  The story bursts with excitement from start.  Half-Were Lia and her boyfriend Were Cyrus destroy her house while under attack from a group of War Mages.  From there the listener is thrwon into a world full of magic and a strong instantly likeable heroine while never letting up on the non-stop action.

    “Hecate’s Golden Eye” by P.N. Elrod:  Yes even the editor gets into the action with a story from her Vampire Mysteries series featuring the Vampire Noir, Jack Fleming and his partner Escott from 1930’s Chicago.  Fleming and Escott are asked to recover a stolen heirloom–a rare yellow diamond with a curse. Any man who touches it DIES. Of course, since Jack’s already dead he should be immune, right? Maybe, maybe not.  Mix in some con artists and a homicidally violent mad Irishman and see what happens!  Just picture the old film noir detectives, but picture one as a vampire and you have this fun tale.

    “Bacon” by Charlaine Harris:  A beautiful vampire joins forces with a witch from an ancient line to find out who killed her beloved husband.  This story has the funniest ending and is worth the purchase of this book alone.  This story takes place in the world of Sookie Stackhouse (you know, from “True Blood” fame) featuring the vampire Dahlia.  There was a previous Dahlia story in the anthology “My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding,” and Dahlia does appear in “All Together Dead.”

    “Signatures of the Dead” by Faith Hunter:  The story is told from the perspective of Molly, a witch who is asked by the police to track down a group of killer vampires. The star of the story is actually Jane Yellowrock, skinwalker and vampire hunter, who has the job of actually finding and exterminating the vampires. This story is an introduction for the Jane Yellowrock character, who is going to be the protagonist of her own series of books.

    “Ginger: A Nocturne City” by Caitlin Kittredge:  This is the story of werewolf detective Luna Wilder’s witch cousin Sunny Swan. This thriller is a morality tale of sorts showing how doing the right thing can get you into more trouble then you can imagine, and that in everyone is the will to get done what needs doing. Who knew that the small task of supporting her cousin by visiting the trial she is testifying in will lead her into the dark depths of Nocturne’s City underworld?

    “Dark Sins By” Jenna Maclaine: Recently turned vampire, witch Cin Craven may be the strongest witch in existence if she knew how to use her magic. This small fact allows for the imprisonment of Cin and her companions The Righteous a group of vampires that act as judge, jury, and executioner of their own kind.

    So if witches are your cup of tea, check out “Strange Brew.”

     
  • gilwilson 1:42 PM on September 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 13 bullets, , , bernadette dunne, , , david wellington, , vampires   

    “13 Bullets” by David Wellington 

    “13 Bullets”
    by David Wellington
    read by Bernadette Dunne
    produced by Blackstone Audio
    approx 11.5 hours

    If you’re tired of the recent trend of vampires being used to tell stories of teen angst or of eroticism, and think it’s time to get back to staking those bloodsuckers, then I have just the book for you.  David Wellington not only gets back to hunting down of these undead but also throws in a bit of a twist in the story that doesn’t detract from the true vampire horror fans have come to enjoy.  In fact, Wellington takes us back to the Nosferatu type of vampire, bald, rows of sharp teeth, pointy ears and pale skin.  Not only does Wellington bring back a terrifying look of the vampires, but his words create a terrifying story that will keep you looking into the shadows.

    Bernadette Dunne does a smashup job of voicing this audiobook.  She not only differentiates the characters with subtle vocal changes , but she captures the mood of every scene and presents the horror with her vocal tempo.  This creates not only a great audiobook experience but also sucks (pardon the pun) you into the story so you don’t want to stop listening.

    In “13 Bullets” vampires are not mythical creatures but have been known about for centuries.  The vampires in this world cannot simply swap blood to create other vampires, the victim must commit suicide to complete the transition into undead status.  The vampires also create an army of minions by bringing back their victims and creating half-deads to do the vampires bidding.  The half-deads are weak, have no skin and scare easily, but they will do the vampire’s every demand.

    The story begins when a Fed named Arkeley has tracked down the vampire Lares and in the process of trying to capture him, the vamp wipes out a SWAT team and nearly takes out Arkeley.  Lares takes Arkely as his “hostage” to a boat where in 3 coffins are 3 other vampires, these vampires, however, are in a severly deteriorated condition.  When Lares begins disgorge all the blood drained from the SWAT team onto the near skeletal remains of the vampires, Arkeley realizes Lares is trying to bring back the other 3 vamps.  Arkeley destroys Lares and 2 of the remaining 3 remains.  One vampire, Malvern, is taken into custody and is being studied.     This is the opening action of this book, with the chase the fights and the horrific scenes the listener knows they are in for a great scare fest.

    The book really takes off when a state trooper running a sobriety check point on a highway meets a half dead with a trunk full of dismembered bodies.  She calls in the feds and Arkeley is the one who takes over.  That night the trooper, Laura Caxton, is visited by one of the half-deads and when she tells this to Arkeley, he realizes they want more from her, but what?

    Caxton and Arkely then team up to try and destroy at least 3 known vampires and “13 Bullets” will take you on a journey through some dark places and unravel a classic vampire tale.

     
  • gilwilson 3:25 AM on July 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , chronicles of nick, dark hunter, , infinity, juvenile fiction, , sherrilyn kenyon, , vampires,   

    “Infinity: Chronicles of Nick book 1” by Sherrilyn Kenyon 

    “Infinity: Chronicles of Nick book 1”
    by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    Read by Holter Graham
    Produced by Macmillan Audio
    Approx. 8 hours.

    I think I have just listened to the next juvenile fiction craze.  Okay it’s really hard to figure out what today’s youth will read, but if the recent trend of supernatural series is any kind of sign this series will glide right in.  This one not only has vampires and werewolves, but within this first in the series (or rather sub series, but I’ll explain that later) the hero getting bit by and then chasing zombies, befriended by demons, getting suspended from school and worse yet getting grounded by his mother.

    Nick Gautier (pronounced Go-shay not Go-tee-ay or Goat-chay, that has an extra H in it and as Nick’s mom says, “We’re so poor we couldn’t afford the extra letter.”) is your typical high school freshman.  Okay,  typical in some aspects, like full of sarcastic wit, worried about bullies, and fully aware of girls.  Now he’s not so typical in that his mom dances at a strip club on Bourbon Street to pay for Nick’s tuition to a private school that because he tested so high got somewhat of a scholarship and is the only reason he is in a school where  everyone else constantly reminds that he doesn’t belong.

    Nick also has one more secret, one that he doesn’t know himself, he’s not quite human.  It is never revealed fully what he is but it is powerful.  His father is in prison and is the secret behind what Nick is and what Nick could become.

    One day before school Nick’s mom gives him a hideous Hawaiin shirt, Nick knows he’s going to be picked on, AGAIN, and the shirt will be the cause, but, because Nick loves his mom so much he doesn’t argue with her to protect her feelings.  When he arrives at school, sure enough he’s picked on.  This time Nick takes the taunting about his shirt.  He even takes the taunting about his being poor.  But, when the taunting by the school’s football team bullies becomes about his mom Nick fights back.  This fight gets him suspended and grounded.  His mom only allows him to go to work, but he feels so bad about letting his mom down so he skips work to go apologize to her.  On the way back he runs into some friends that say that if he stands lookout while they pull a job they’ll pay him 200 bucks.  This will be the biggest deposit in Nick’s miniscule college fund ever, so Nick decides to help.  When he the “friends” proceed to rob a couple of tourists at gunpoint, Nick helps the tourists escape and then gets beat up and shot by the “friends.”

    This turn of events is witnessed by Kyrian, who turns out to be a Dark Hunter.  Here’s where the idea of the “sub-series” comes in.  Sherrilyn Kenyon has written numerous books about the Dark Hunters, the Dark Hunters are death to those that prey upon humans.  This book is the first in a series in which Kenyon is writing for a younger audience.  The nice thing is that as a writer when the readers get older they can discover her earlier works which are actually later in the life of Nick and the Dark Hunters.   But for now this series is full of fun, thrills, zombie chases, crazy rednecks and very strange supernatural beings of all sorts.

    Kyrian takes Nick on as an assistant to help Nick on the right path.  Before Nick can fully enjoy his job he discovers Kyrian and his many friends are demons or supernatural beings.  He also discovers his uncle is a demon that stays hidden to keep him safe and to aid in his training, that some demons love to eat humans with barbecue sauce, the football team is made up of shape shifters and the world is not what it seems.  Then again this all takes place in New Orleans, and New Orleans has never really been what it seems.

    The reader of this audio book, Holter Graham, does a superb job of interpreting this book to audiobook form.  He captures Nick, with all his sarcasm, angst and discovery perfectly and captures all the characters in their own uniqueness, from the redneck zombie hunter, Bubba, to the extremely wealthy upper class of Kyrian.  Some of you old-schoolers may recognize the name Holter Graham as the kid from the Stephen King movie “Maximum Overdrive.”  He has grown up and honed his talent to becoming a great voice actor that brings this fun novel to life.

    So, if you are a fan of the Dark Hunter series and would like to share the series with your younger friends and family, or just want to know what made Nick, Nick put this one on your list.  I you like reading supernatural fiction, no matter what your age this is one I highly recommend you give a listen.

     
  • gilwilson 4:29 AM on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , betrayal in death, , , eternity in death, , , , , , , , , , , , , vampires   

    “Eternity In Death” (novella) book 29 of “…In Death” series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) 

    “Eternity In Death” (novella)
    book 29 of “…In Death” series
    by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
    read by Susan Ericksen
    Produced by Brilliance Audio
    approx. 3.5 hours

    Okay, I’ve been reading a huge batch of vampire, zombie and werewolf novels and thought I’d go back to listening to one of my favorite futuristic detective novels.  Once again I visit the “…In Death” series by J.D. Robb and the thrilling world of Lt. Eve Dallas of the NYPSD as she solves another series of murders.   Well guess what?  This book, which I just picked out of the blue as one in the series I haven’t read yet, has vampires.  Either that is synchronicity at work or just luck, either way this book was great to hear.

    To sum up Lt. Eve Dallas has escaped a childhood of torture only to become the best homicide detective on the New York Police and Securities Department in the mid 21st century.  She is assisted by a wonderful cast of characters including her husband, Roarke, an Irish immigrant that now seems to own half the world and even a few planets and satellites,  that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one.   Other fun characters are here detective assistant Delia Peabody, Peabody’s main squeeze Electronics Division Detective McNabb, the Chief of Electronics division, Feeney (her former partner in homicide) and Psychologist/Profiler Dr. Mira.  The setting of these books is just far enough into the future to have some really cool sci-fi toys to work with or contend with, yet close enough where real detective work is still done.

    The entire series is read by Susan Ericksen, who does a smashup job of capturing each and every character vocally.  Sometimes I wonder if Ms. Ericksen doesn’t suffer from some sort of personality disorder with all the voices that come out of her.   Each character is distinct and acted vocally to perfection.

    This book opens with a young, famous-for-being-famous, socialite anticipating the visit of a dark stranger that has promised she will keep her 23 year old youthful appearance, but first she has to die.

    The next morning the socialite’s body is discovered drained of blood and two punctures on the neck.  Lt. Eve Dallas is called to the scene where the adventure into the darker side of New York City begins.   Dallas, in no way believes in vampires, but her assistant, Peabody, does get the creeps on this one and starts wearing a cross.

    The clues lead to a vampire themed club in New York’s seedy underground.  In Eve Dallas’s time New York’s Underground is a place where even the police have no jurisdiction.  A club called “Bloodbath” is where the socialite recently frequented and the owner of the club seems to have some strange powers.   Eve must pull in all her resources to ignore the supernatural beliefs trying to sneak into her thoughts and bring down a murderer masquerading as a vampire.

    Once again J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts) creates an exciting detective thriller that you can’t stop until the last word is spoken.  Once again I will point out the single downfall of the entire series and that is the explicit sex scenes.  I realize that J.D. Robb is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts, and Nora Roberts is a romance writer, but come on, enough is enough.  The scenes are totally unnecessary.  The story moves great without them and they add nothing to the story, plot or characters.  The good side of this novella is that it is short and only one of these scenes is in the book.  In audio format I just fast forward and lose nothing in the missed scene.

     
  • gilwilson 2:39 AM on June 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: abraham lincoln, abraham lincoln vampire hunter, , , , , , , vampire hunter, vampires   

    “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” By Seth Grahame-Smith 

    “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”
    By Seth Grahame-Smith
    Narrated by Scott Holst
    Published by Hachette Audio 2010
    Approx 10 hours

    I have just listened to one of the most all around entertaining books of all time.  Yes, this book “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is it.  This book offers a little bit for everyone, history, civil rights, and vampires.  Seth Grahame-Smith says in an interview included with this audio book that he got the Idea for the story around 2008-2009 just as the country was celebrating the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth.   He saw that all the bookstores were stocking the shelves full of books about Abraham Lincoln and at the same time the only other books that were visible was the “Twilight” series of books and the other books caused by this vampire craze.  So he did what any creative writer would do and said, “Hey, what would happen if you combined the two?”  (I paraphrased that, a bit.)  Then after his mashup “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” became a best seller he got the chance to mix Lincoln with vampires.

    The historical aspect of this book is priceless, Grahame-Smith and his key researchers, did some great work in maintaining a believability factor in this book by writing around historical facts.  Most having to do with Lincoln’s life and can be verified by many of the biographical books on Lincoln, but some of the history talks about some significant facts of our nation’s history.   One that sticks out is the mystery behind the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Virginia in 1590.  Grahame-Smith makes a pretty decent argument as to what could have happened.  There are many features through the book that made me look up the characters mentioned only to find that most of what was said was true, such as the haunting of the Surgical College in St. Louis, Missouri by Dr. McDowell, who wore a breast plate armor because he was paranoid…or was it because he was a vampire.

    There are times during this book when you just can’t help but laugh.  I know, it was a dark time in our history when our country was divided, and I know that vampires are scary blood sucking demons, but bring them together and there is fun aplenty.  This book would be perfect for any history buff, civil war buff, Lincoln buff or vampire buff.  For those looking at the historical aspect the adventure is fun.  For those looking at the vampire aspect, be careful you just may learn some of that history that you slept through in freshman history.

    The narrator does a superb job of bringing voice to this fun novel.  It is narrated like a history channel special most  of the time, leaning toward making the novel a credible historical work.  During the dialog scenes the narrator does a superb job of distinguishing between the different voice and really brings out the difference between a young, buff, ax-wielding, vampire slaying Abe Lincoln and the older presidential, tired of bloodshed Lincoln.    As an extra bonus if you get the audio CD you also get a pdf file with photos proving the vampires existence in Lincoln’s day that would be in the physical book.

    This book brings us the history of Lincoln and of early America with the premise of vampires coming to the New World and promoting slavery to provide a blood supply for the undead.  Throughout Lincoln’s life he was followed by mysterious deaths, like his mother’s death from an unknown disease that was caused by a vampire.   This vampire was a loan shark and loaned the Lincoln family enough money to start a farm in Indiana, when the farm failed, Abe’s father could not repay the loan, so the vampire came back and poisoned Abe’s mother with his vampiric blood.   When Abe becomes a teenager his father relates this story to him and Abe then schemes to bring this vampire back to the farm where a young Abe Lincoln stakes his first vampire.   From there he learns that there are many more in the area and begins his career as a vampire hunter.

    Lincoln soon learns of a vampire that is stealing children from their beds and tracks her down to Evansville, Indiana and attempts to stake her.  He makes many mistakes and is nearly drowned in the fight that ensues, but just before he blacks out he sees her destroyed by another man.  Abe wakes up in the home of this man days later, and learns the man is a vampire by the name of Henry Sturges.   Henry teaches Abe the ways of the vampyr and begins giving Abe assignments to destroy vampires.  Why does a vampire wish to destroy his own kind?  Because those that prey on the innocent do not deserve to live.

    All the way through Lincoln’s assassination he and Henry have a give and take relationship that leads to the deaths of many vampires.   Do yourself a favor and pick up this book and enjoy it for what it is…a fun book stocked with many historical facts.

     
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