Thursday, March 28, 2013

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it’s to get off the iceberg she calls home. Being kissed before she graduates wouldn't hurt either.

Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Government agents step in and save Aurora’s life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska. Basically she’s a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis right before she has to finish the job… by hand.

Now Aurora’s only friends are groupies of the undead and the only boy she can think about may very well be a vampire. And if he’s a vampire, will she be forced to kill him?

I'm just going to come out and say it: this book was pretty awesome. I knew I had to read this one after checking out the synopsis - I mean, this girl is recruited by the government to be a vampire hunter! And she really does kinda kick ass. Aurora is just your average teen - all she wants to do is finish high school and get as far away from her home state of Alaska as she can, but when the government recruits her she learns that she can never leave. Because of this and her new vampire-killing abilities, Aurora really struggles with herself, and even starts to rebel a bit.

I liked reading about Aurora and Fane, and thought it was pretty entertaining that there were so many obvious signs to point out that Fane may have been a vampire, but they all had gone over Aurora's head. Liking his character made up for the fact that I was really annoyed by Aurora's mother. I mean, not only did she pretty much sell her kid to the government (in order to her, but still...), but she seemed to want to live in total oblivion, ignoring the fact that her marriage is crumbling, her daughter is now an assassin, and that Fane might actually be a decent person.

I know that there have been a slew of vampire-related YA paranormal romances being released lately, especially after the success of the Twilight series, but I honestly think that this story managed to stand out for me - mainly because I discovered that Ms. Jefford is a really good writer, and formulates her writing in a way that doesn't make me feel like I'm reading fluff. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that I read through this book so quickly - I highly recommend it, and will eagerly be awaiting to read the next book in the series!

Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt. She is the author of the Spellbound Trilogy and upcoming Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series. Nikki married Sebastien, the love of her life, while working as a teaching assistant in France. They now reside in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands, 70 miles northeast of Forks, Washington.
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

{Movie Review} Liberal Arts

Sunday, March 10, 2013 with 3 comments

When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor's retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.

I finally got around to seeing this movie the other day, and I truly enjoyed it! When I went to the IMDb page for it afterward, I received such a shocker - Josh Radnor, aside from starring in the film, had also written and directed it! I honestly had not known fact, the only thing I had known about this movie going into it was its premise, since I just happened upon its trailer while surfing the web and made a mental note to check it out.

In the film, Radnor's character, 35-year-old Jesse Fisher, goes back to his old university upon receiving a phone call from an old professor he was always close with, who wanted Jesse to go to his retirement party. While back on campus, Jesse finds himself missing college life, and starts to yearn for the intellectual discussions and open approach to life that he's no longer been acquainted with since graduating.

During his visit, Jesse not only develops feelings for a 19-year-old sophomore, Zibby, but becomes friends with a free-spirited, and very friendly, tree-hugger named Nat, and develops a strong bond with the incredibly smart, but emotionally depressed Dean, also current students at Jesse's alma mater. Eventually, Jesse must decide whether he can still fit into suburban college life, or if he should return to New York City and accept that his life will no longer be like it was during his time as a student. Interestingly enough, his newly-retired professor finds himself having to make a similar choice.

Main Cast
Josh Radnor as Jessie Fisher
Elizabeth Olsen as Zibby
Richard Jenkins as Prof. Peter Hoberg
Allison Janney as Prof. Judith Fairfield
John Magaro as Dean
Zac Efron as Nat

I am completely in love with this movie! I thought that the writing and acting were both superb, but what I really enjoyed was the casting. All of the actors right for their roles, and I especially loved watching Zac Efron as Nat. I normally don't care for Efron, since I only know him for his work in the High School Musical franchise (and his voice acting in The Lorax), but he was really good in this role, and his character quickly became my favorite part of the film!

I also felt that I could heavily relate to the main character, Jessie. I may only be 23 and still rather fresh out of college, but after 2 years in the "real world," I already find myself unsatisfied with my life and wanting to go back. And I found it incredibly hilarious that Jessie had a laundry bag exactly the same as mine (rips and all) and it got stolen with all of his dirty clothes. I constantly worry about checking my clothes often enough at the public laundry facilities I go to so that they don't get stolen, and seeing that happen in the film had me doubled over. I knew my worries were for a reason!

Anywho, if you're looking for a cozy independent film with a strong story and some great characters (plus a few laughs here and there), then I highly recommend this one!


Friday, March 08, 2013

The vampires of Dayson city are preparing for war. Having lived in constant fear of the Archway Corporation for decades, desperation has forced them into action. Their solution is to bring the First vampire, Alistair, back from the dead, a warrior famed for eradicating entire armies in the name of his kind. 

For fledgling vampire Catrina Malinka, the fabled return of some unknown deity falls low on her list of concerns. Between fending off strangers trying to kill her in her dreams and trying to rein in an uncontrollable power that no one else even understands let alone shares, Catrina is forced to fight her assumed role in the war against Archway, which threatens to send her down a path she doesn’t want to travel.

The first book in The Blood of Ages series, “The Genesis” is an urban fantasy about the inescapable nature of Fate and the corruption of power.

1) With so many vampire novels out nowadays, readers have a wide selection of series to choose from. What makes the Blood of Ages series stand out from the crowd?
The majority of vampire novels these days seem to centre around the idea that either vampires are evil, else they're remorseful over what they are or have become. I've tried to steer away from both, while at the same time taking them back to the old school, where it's all about the hunger and the blood.

2) How did you come up with the idea for The Genesis, and why did you decide to make it a series?
I had the original idea for this book almost thirteen years ago, so the details are a little hazy now, but basically it was an amalgamation of films I'd seen recently, namely "The Matrix" and "Blade". Originally, the book was supposed to be stand-alone, but once I'd reached the end, I realised I hadn't spent enough time in this book's universe or with its characters. There was so much more than needed to be discovered and uncovered.

3) What did you enjoy the most about writing this novel?
I really enjoyed the time spent in the Otherworld, as it allowed for a bit of surrealism.

4) What did you dislike the most?
I occasionally had a tough time with Fox's character. It was sometimes difficult to draw the line between unreasonable and just a complete douche.

5) What are some of your favorite vampire novels/series?
I'm a big fan of Tanya Huff's Blood series, and while it's not technically vampires--more demons, though they do drink blood--my favourite book is Justine Musk's Bloodangel.

6) Any favorite quotes that you'd like to share?
"I can be disciplined, when circumstance calls for it. I mean, I spend nearly every night with you, and I havent put a bullet in either of our heads yet."

7) What book are you reading right now?
I'm working through Jim Butcher's Dresden Files at the moment. I'm currently upto book three, Grave Peril.

8) Where is your favorite place to go when you need to think?
I generally sit at my desk at home, put on the pair of noise-cancelling headphones I paid far too much money for, and close my eyes. That or I take a bath. I get some of my best ideas in the bath.

9) If you could create a soundtrack for The Genesis, which songs would you be sure to include?
Well, I do have my Blood of Ages iTunes playlist, all of which I would like to include, though I suspect they don't make movies long enough to cover 26 hours of music! I'd need to at least include "Freak on a Leash" by KoRn, "I Stand Alone" by Godsmack, and "Backwards" by Apartment 26.

Born and raised close to North York Moors, initial setting of American Werewolf in London, one might be excused for thinking K. L. Kerr's interests might lie with those furry beasts. But she has always preferred monsters of the fanged variety, having written the very first draft of her novel, The Genesis, aged sixteen.

When not writing, Kerr can be found playing the MMORPG, World of Warcraft, or listening to music from video game soundtracks. She still lives in the North of England, close to The Moors (keeping to the roads, naturally), with two cats who--like all cats--think they're people.  

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Undone by Cat Clarke

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 with No comments

Amazon | Goodreads

Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend. Not exactly ideal, but she's learning to live with it.

Then the unspeakable happens. Kai is outed online ... and he kills himself.

Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back. But she wants to know who was responsible. And she wants to take them down.

A searing story of love, revenge and betrayal from a bestselling author.

I went into this book knowing that it would be sad, but despite the heavy subject, I had assumed that it would be a really light, unmemorable read. I was wrong, of course - this book had way more substance to it than I had originally thought that it would.

The major plot points, in a nutshell:
  • Jem and Kai meet, become best friends, and grow up together. Jem is a social outcast, and Kai is bubbly and outgoing.
  • Kai drags Jem to a party. At some point he is secretly videotaped while giving another boy head, and said video is emailed to everyone in school.
  • Kai commits suicide, and Jem falls into a depression.
  • Jem discovers that Kai had written her 12 letters, with instructions to open one letter each month after his death (totaling up to a year's worth of letters).
  • Jem receives an anonymous letter informing her that the people responsible for the video, and thus Kai's death, are also the most popular students in school.
  • Jem decides that she will transform herself from a social outcast to a member of the popular group, and destroy them all from the inside as an act of revenge. 
While I don't exactly agree with a lot of Jem's choices, I can see where she is coming from - she believes that the members of 'team popular' have killed her best friend. Jem constantly has to remind herself that she is nothing like the popular kids, and that they deserve what's coming to them, but at the same time, she finds herself wondering if she has a lot more in common with them than she'd originally thought. She even finds herself falling in love, though she tries to deny it:

"I like you too, Lucas Mahoney."

He smiled. "Why do you always do that? Call me by my whole name?"

I nuzzle closer to him. "I just like the way it sounds." A lie, of course. In my head Lucas Mahoney is not a real person. He is a fictional character. A puppet. Someone who exists for me to mess with. I know exactly how I feel about Lucas Mahoney. I despise him. But Lucas? Lucas is very real. Frighteningly real. I'm not sure how I feel about Lucas. And I'm starting to wonder if...


But while the inner struggles of Jem were quite fascinating, they were not the reason I ended up enjoying this book as much as I did. No, it was actually the ending that struck me the most - it was completely unexpected, and had stuck with me long after I'd finished the last sentence. In fact, I'd even go so far as to recommend this book purely for its outcome. But I don't want to spoil it too much, so I'll just stop there and give it 4 Stars!