What I’ve Been Reading: Voodoo Curses, Meet Cute Romances and More

I’ve got some mini book reviews today. If you find anything you like, add it to your Goodreads list, which, if it’s anything like mine, is never-ending.

*****

voodooVoodoo Dreams (The Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers Series) by Alana Lorens

I’m always drawn to books, TV shows and films set in New Orleans, a city I hope to visit one day. When I came across Voodoo Dreams on a friend’s blog, I hastily added it to my Goodreads to-read list.
The vivid descriptions of the gorgeous houses in the Garden District, the buildings in the French Quarter, the balconies and local sights made me feel like I was right there with Brianna exploring the beautiful city, and I was curious to see how voodoo would factor in. Good read.

Check it out on Amazon and Goodreads

***

onceOnce Upon a Snow Day by Kait Nolan

Well-written and easy to read. I flew through this “meet cute romance”. A ride through the snow, a snow fight and hot chocolate – what a perfect first date and totally random meeting. Isabelle and Brandon were in the right place at the right time. Once Upon A Snow Day was a fun and lighthearted story. My recommendation: Enjoy on a cold day over a cup of hot chocolate.

Check it out on Amazon & Goodreads

***

bit biteA Bit of Bite by Cynthia Eden

A fun and sexy read with a strong and likeable lead character (Ava). Ava is a tough lady. As Sheriff of the small town of Crossroads, trying to keep the peace between the humans and the supernaturals, she has to be. Julian is wild, rugged and fiercely protective. He’s the alpha of his pack, and only has eyes for Ava. For a short story, A Bit of Bite packed a lot of action and well-rounded characters. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

Check it out on Amazon & Goodreads

***

paranormal keepParanormal Keepers by Jen Naumann

Harper, like most of Jen Naumann’s female characters, is witty, brave, relatable and down-to-earth. I liked her immediately. I fancied Dexter up until he showed his prejudiced nature. Tsk tsk.
The mural on Dexter’s wall was beautiful, though – photos of Harper and snippets of their conversations. Aw, I have to admit I found that lovely.
Paranormal Keepers is a fast-paced and fun monster story with a likeable lead character.

Check it out on Amazon & Goodreads

******

What are you reading at the moment?

******

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Book Spotlight “I Died Once” by James Mahoney

James sent me an email about his story, I Died Once. With a title like that, I could hardly pass up the opportunity to spotlight it here on Emma’s Ramblings on Supernatural Fiction. Scroll on for the enigmatic blurb and haunting book cover.

I DIED ONCE – NOVELLA

 

I Died Once CoverI Died Once (Novella);

Mady was a Dark Child…

She often sat alone in her bedroom, on the floor… Sorting through this or that, generally some sort of pharmaceuticals.

It’s good that she was never allowed to own a Cat… Or a Fish… Or any other sort of domestic animal, as they would have likely ended up at the end of some sort of experimentation… With drastic results.

It’s not that she’s “mean” for say… No.

It’s more that she is disjointed… An outcast really, from her own home…

From her Mother’s Heart.

Yes, Mady is a dark one… But what else was she to be, in a world devoid of light.

 

Check out the trailer

 

 

jConnect with James  at his websites James Patrick Mahoney and The Written Word

Twitter: @DJWrittenWord

Add I Died Once on Goodreads

Purchase Links: Amazon.com    Barnes & Noble

James Patrick Mahoney is a Filmmaker, turned Screenplay Writer, turned Comic Book Script Writer, turned Novelist.

 ****

Thanks for sharing, James. Mady sounds like a troubled young woman. I’ve said it before, but I think the book cover artwork is stunning.

****

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

TV Show Finales – the good, the bad and the what the hell were the writers thinking

I’m always sad to see a good TV show finish. Writing an ending that is going to satisfy every fan is an impossible task. Let’s take a look at some of my favourite shows and how they ended.

Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_title_cardBuffy

If I didn’t love the Buffy universe as much as I do, I’d be harsher about the finale. What was the point of The First? How did destroying the hellmouth in Sunnydale prevent The First from world domination? If anyone can help me with that one, I’d appreciate it.

Why did Willow wait until the last possible moment to do that spell to turn potentials into slayers? Why did Buffy and Angel kiss? Their relationship was over years ago. I think the writers were trying to please the Bangel fans, but it made no sense really.

Forgiving all that, I admit to still tearing up when I watch the scene before the battle when it’s just the original gang: Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles in the school hallway, a nostalgic nod to season 1 and a fitting bookend to the series. The first glance into the mouth of hell was scary and the potentials becoming fully fledged slayers was a powerful moment. Buffy ended over ten years ago, and it’s just a pity there haven’t been very many powerful female superheroes since.

**************************************************************************************

250px-AngelIntroAngel

I stopped watching Angel after the horrible shenanigans of season 4 and the total destruction of Cordelia Chase’s character, so I can’t comment on the finale. If anyone watched Angel to the end, let us know your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear what people thought of season 5 in general.

**************************************************************************************

250px-Medium_IntertitleMedium

I watched Medium a few years ago and fell in love with the Dubois family. Recently I went back and watched all seven seasons, knowing full well I hated the finale the first time around, but hoping that on the second viewing, I’d manage to appreciate it. I didn’t.

I felt the finale ignored the heart of the TV show. Medium on the surface may have been a show about a psychic woman who used her powers to help her employer, the DA of Phoenix and the police. But at its heart, Medium was about Allison and her family: her devoted husband Joe and their three beautiful daughters. The finale destroyed the family dynamic and I can’t help but view it as a slap in the face to loyal viewers.

**************************************************************************************

Darkangel_logoDark Angel

One of the best finales – in my opinion anyway. “Freak Nation” was a double episode that opened up so much possibility for another season. It’s a real pity Dark Angel wasn’t given a third series.

Seattle is now fully aware of the existence of genetically engineered humans, and the majority couldn’t be happier to see each and every one of them exterminated. After a tense hold up at Jam Pony, Max and her friends flee to Terminal City  where they make their stand. Jessica Alba delivers a powerful speech and the transgenics gather on the roof to raise the unique flag Joshua created for them.

A fantastic end to one of my favourite TV shows. Jessica Alba delivered in Max a  strong, witty, intelligent, at times vulnerable, but always capable woman.

****************************************************************************************

250px-RoswellTVSeriesRoswell

One of my favourite finales. It was sad watching the gang say goodbye to their loved ones before they went on the run from alien hunters, but the ending was so happy.

Liz sent her journal home so her parents would know why she had to leave, and while she spoke in a voiceover, we watched her & Max get married in the future with the rest of the gang there celebrating with them. They drove off together in hippy van to the upbeat sound of Ash’s “Shining Light”. It was a really lovely way to finish the short three seasons.

**************************************************************************************

Friends_titlesFriends

A bittersweet ending, although it baffled me how Ross went on and on about Rachel moving to another country and not being able to see her every day, yet didn’t once mention how he felt about his daughter moving to Paris. Very strange.

Monica and Chandler became parents, Chandler got the last word – of course, and then the final shot of the purple door to the apartment…

*******************************************************************************************

ThexfilesThe X-Files

I gave up on this show towards the end, so can’t remember how it finished, but I think Mulder spent most of the time in jail? Can anyone fill me in on this one? The X-Files was my favourite TV show until Buffy came along. Mulder & Scully remain two of my favourite characters.

****************************************************************************************

250px-TruCallingTru Calling

The final episode was great, but the show was cancelled, and so we never got any resolution.

Tru Calling was getting so good at that point. The last episode delivered suspense and intrigue amid a Christmas setting. Adding Jason Priestley to the cast halfway through the first season was the best thing this show ever did.

Tru believes it’s her duty and calling to save people who have died when they ask her for help. The day rewinds and she does her utmost to make sure they avoid ending up in her morgue.

Jack on the other hand believes Tru is messing with the natural order, and when a person dies, they should not be saved.

In the last episode, we got to see Tru and Jack work together for once.  Their banter was entertaining, and I even felt sorry for Jack admitting he didn’t want to be alone on Christmas Eve. Yet behind it all, Tru’s father has a dark hold on Jack, and while Tru in the spirit of Christmas invites her estranged father and Jack into her home for holiday drinks and seems genuinely happy for them all to be together in that moment, the sinister atmosphere is evident, and the audience knows it’s only a matter of time before they betray Tru’s trust.

 

****

Did you watch any of these TV shows? What’s your favourite TV finale, and which did you find lacking?

****

Posted in TV Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Invite Your Best Friends for an Evening of Fear and Poker

TGIF. Bring on the weekend!

Today I’ve got a guest post by Austin Toller, a life-long Buffy fan who’s always looking for new ways to bring the Sunnydale crew (back) into his life – and the lives of friends.

Welcome Creatures of the Night

Who said it has to be October to host a horror-themed party? When it comes to horror and poker, any month is a good month. Start by inviting your favorite demons—the night promises to be killer.

Let the Coolest Vampire Help Start the Shindig

Kick off the festivities with a relaxing time in front of the tube. The perfect party warm-up is watching episode five, season six of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. In this episode, “Life Serial,” Buffy and Spike (the coolest vampire, ever) crash a demon poker game in which kittens are used in place of chips (not recommended for your party). What more of a mood-setter can you ask for than vampires, demons, poker, and kittens? At the end of the episode, turn on your scary sounds to terrify the guests throughout the evening.

 

 

The Wickedly Fun Game Itself

You can be really creative with your poker accessories. Use anything from plastic insects to toy eyeballs as chips. As for the cards, check out these awesome horror movie decks at Zazzle. The losers of each hand must drink something that looks really gross, or blindly take a bite out of something slimy. The stakes will be high, so make sure to brush up on your skills and read over the particularly helpful tips at PartyPoker. Tips such as playing loose players and avoiding tight ones can improve your chances of success and triumph. After all, you don’t want to be the big loser at your own party.

 

Devilishly Good Food

The food for your themed party can make or break it. If you really want to swing for the fences and make your horror bash one of epic proportion, then a little time and care will be necessary to prepare the chow. Just check out these 14 gross-looking, yet delicious recipes at Delish:

  • Spiders
  • Spooky Fingers
  • Crunchy Doughnut Eyeballs
  • Brain Cupcakes
  • Chocolate Mice
  • Tentacle Alien
  • Guacamoldy Eyeballs
  • Mummies
  • Chocolate Eyeballs
  • Eye-Popping Soup
  • Big-Eyed Alien
  • Worms in Dirt
  • Pickled Brains
  • Ladies’ Fingers and Men’s Toes

 

The sky is the limit here on nasty. It all depends on how far you wish to take it. You can follow these monster recipes or conjure up your own mad scientist creations. Do whatever you must to provoke, delight, and disgust.

 

Abominable Decorations

Cobwebs are a staple of a good horror party, but you can go a bit further. Placing white sheets over furniture is cheap and always gives off a creepy and unsettling vibe. If you have picture frames around your home or apartment, just print out some disturbing photos from the internet and place them over the existing pictures in the frames. This is also a cheap way to add to the fright. Another inexpensive trick is to replace some of your lighting with colored bulbs. If you really want to go all out, you can purchase some cool props like gravestones, skeletons, and a fog machine. SpiritHalloween has a great inventory of decorations that you can order or just use for inspiration. Again, creativity has no limitation, so have fun and make your place look spooky as all hell.

 

 

There Will Be Blood

Just kidding, you may want to stay away from that stuff—it’s really hard to get off of your clothes. So, let Buffy and Spike commence the ceremonies and then fill the airwaves with a nightmarish soundtrack. In the meantime, play the most twisted poker game in the history of all poker games while munching on some ghoulish grub and taking in the bone-chilling décor. Let the haunting begin.

 ****

Thanks, Austin. I don’t know much about poker, but a horror themed poker night sounds like something that would inspire me to learn.

Have a great weekend everyone.

****

Posted in Various | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Book Review: The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski (They Took the Road Less Travelled)

Last year I fell head over heels in love with The Edge of Never. I kept reading positive review after positive review from bloggers that I trust and had to see what all the fuss was about myself. You can read my full review of that HERE.

the edgeMy thoughts on The Edge of Never:

“No supernatural shenanigans in this one, but a book that deserves a blog post all its own”

“The banter between them is entertaining, the conversations at times made me laugh out loud, and they start to fall for each other”

“This book is told from both Camryn’s and Andrew’s perspectives, something I loved”

“This one grabbed me and took me on an emotional rollercoaster”

And I think the beautiful cover captures Camryn’s melancholy nature evident at the start of the book.

Book Review: The Edge of Always

alwaysWhat’s interesting about this book, just like the first one, is that there’s not much of a plot. Guy and girl have fallen in love and now they’re in a committed relationship. Something awful happens and they decide to go back to their roots by hitting the road for new adventures.  That’s about it. These books are simply Camryn’s and Andrew’s story of their life together. It’s a study of their relationship, and credit has to go to the author for captivating the audience by creating such vibrant characters that leap off the page and make you want to hit the road with them.

One thing that jolted me was I got to about 86% on my Kindle and the story was over. The rest of the pages were excerpts from other books of the writer, just a warning to readers who buy the ebook version.

The Edge of Always like The Edge of Never got me thinking about my own life and how I work the typical 9 to 5 job and often dream of escaping and travelling the world. Andrew and Camryn are determined to take the unconventional path. I really admire people like that.

Time moves a lot faster in this book. Years pass and they’re still doing what they love. While it was great to see how they live when they’re older, it was also quite sad as it’s doubtful there’ll be a third book. I think their adventures in Europe would have made for a terrific novel. 

I didn’t love The Edge of Always as much as The Edge of Never and I think that’s down to the fact there was a lot of telling rather than showing. Over a number of pages the reader is told of Camryn’s and Andrew’s travels to foreign countries, that they mingled with the locals, they stayed in hostels and cheap but safe accommodation, that they didn’t do the normal touristy things that cost a lot, but we’re not shown any of it: the setting, the people they met, the emotions they felt at each stop. Because of that, I can’t say it lived up to the first book, but I can admit The Edge of Always made me imagine what it would be like to quit the day job and normal life and take the road less travelled. ****

Find The Edge of Never on Goodreads and Amazon.

Find The Edge of Always on Goodreads and Amazon.

***

For anyone who has read both books, which did you prefer? Have you heard of The Edge of Never?

***

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments