Meli’s Nostalgic Tales: The Dark Heroine/Dinner with a Vampire

Title: Dinner with a Vampire
Author: Abigail Gibbs
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Type of book: Trade paperback
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 549

Have any of you ever been a victim of quotes on books compelling you to read it because it’s supposed to blow you away? Well, that is what happened to me, this book promised, and I quote, to be “The sexiest romance you’ll read this year…”

four words…What the hell happened???!!!

Do not get me wrong, this started off beautifully, totally sucked me in. Our main Character Violet is left alone by her friend awaiting to go party and suddenly she witness stranger beings going at it all of which end up dead, followed by having said executioner seeing that there is a witness and deciding to abstain from killing her. There are some theories as to why he left her live, but let that be discovered at your own leisure. Golly, Violet Lee, what were you thinking when you saw a massacre happening decided not to use all means to get away fast enough? I liked her, I liked her a lot. When she got kidnapped and became a potential meal for a house full of vamps, she didn’t turn into a lamb and succumb. She fought…like a fearless bastard {my friend’s latest saying} and said “no way am I giving up on humanity! I am an amazon!” which was great!

The thing is these vampires were not as I accepted, in this society, only people of higher positions {military or presidential and so forth} know they {vamps} exist and there is a treaty in place. {Gawd I love talk of treaties feels so much more bad ass}. So should say a vampire kills a human then here comes the next war. Alas, Violet Lee is not our usual specimen; she is in fact the daughter of the Secretary of State for Defense {wowza} and he wants nothing more to start a war but wants his kid safe. I think.

The author’s writing style I enjoyed immensely, her description was appetizing and I think this is one of the reasons I got as far as I could. Violet in her own way appeals to the compassionate side of these vampires, even the son/prince of them all Casper Varn, who is a spoiled hot-head yet deadly couldn’t turn away. I believed I could get through this and write nothing but awesome things about this book.

Unfortunately I cannot. Why you may ask? Because I have yet to reach the end and I am not sure if I ever will. Ladies and Germs, I reached up to page 338-339 and I could not do it anymore. The unspeakable happened…

…They had sex. ;__; Do not get me mixed up I do love some smut, but I felt it killed the whole dynamic of where the book was going. Violet and Kasper had this ongoing sexual tension: he was forbidden to feed off her, touch her or even get near her, all of which he did not heed. Violet couldn’t stop wondering why Casper was an enigma which made her want to seek him out even more. My friends, Violet took a turn for the worse, her sleeping with the enemy not only sealed her fate as a human but comprise the lives of millions. All I could keep thinking about is “why are you so selfish? Did you REALLY have to get it in??” She couldn’t stop crying about missing her family and friends and that humanity meant everything to her but as soon as Kasper would place his poisonous lips onto her, she’s be like “Being human what now?”

I had enough, I expected something else I actually wanted her to plot to get herself out of that mansion, maybe submit Casper a betrayal and more drama. Who knows maybe there is a turn around and maybe I’ll find out but as of yet I keep glancing at it and I cannot muster picking it.

So based on what I read that is my opinion, if you decide to take a gander I accept spoilers.

Grading: 3/5

yours truly Meli<3

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Mandy’s Miscellaneous Flavours: Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock (Review)

Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence

Nick Bantock

Chronicle Books- September 1991

Hardcover

Romance/Mystery/Illustrated novel/epistolary book/fantasy/Paranormal

28 pages

Image

Griffin: It’s good to get in touch with you at last. Could I have one of your fish postcards? I think you were right — the wine glass has more impact than the cup. –Sabine

But Griffin had never met a woman named Sabine. How did she know him? How did she know his artwork? Who is she? Thus begins the strange and intriguing correspondence of Griffin and Sabine. And since each letter must be pulled from its own envelope, the reader has the delightful, forbidden sensation of reading someone else’s mail. Griffin & Sabine is like no other illustrated novel: appealing to the poet and artist in everyone and sure to inspire a renaissance in the fine art of letter-writing, it tells an extraordinary story in an extraordinary way.

***

I have to admit I’m not quite sure where to begin with this book, but I do know that I wish I could take a picture of each page and post it here, but I’ll refrain myself. This is a book blog after all, not a picture album (also imagine the copyright issues, yikes!)

With that said, I should probably begin this review by saying that Nick Bantock’s book isn’t for everyone.

If you’re the type who prefers their books to have a clear plot and narrative, Griffin & Sabine is unfortunately not for you. However, if you’re up for an unconventional form of storytelling, and have an appreciation for art, then you should give this book a try. I know I don’t regret it.

 Also as the title suggests, yes, it’s a romance. Yet it’s so typical of me to finally read a romance “novel” that isn’t truly a romance novel.

I haven’t encountered any books like this one before, so its peculiar format instantly caught my eye. An epistolary novel, the story unfolds (literally) before the readers’ (viewers?) eyes as a series of postcards and removable letters.

Without giving too much away, Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, is exactly what it sounds like. Griffin, a postcard designer from London, has his life turned upside down after a cryptic postcard from Sabine Strohem, a woman he has never met. Claiming to be from the Sicmon Islands, Sabine adds a splash of colour and intrigue to Griffin’s grey and dreary existence. So of course they begin to correspond regularly, leading the two to ultimately fall for one another.

As Griffin writes in one of his handmade postcards: “Why doesn’t this alarm me as much as it should?”

I can honestly say I was thinking the same thing.

As the readers, we are not given any more insight into the characters’ or story’s development. All we have to rely on are the letters that we have before our eyes, and the unfounded trust in the words of Griffin and Sabine. We are forced to be some kind of detective, putting the pieces (or rather letters) together to better grasp what is happening. Despite being so restricted of material, it is notable how heartfelt and believable the connection is between the two star-crossed lovers. However, the “realness” of the exchanges is forever disrupted by subtleties that add to the mysterious and even mystical feel of the book. For example, a major difference between the letters of Sabine and Griffin are how they are dated. Griffin’s always have a date, Sabine’s never do. This shouldn’t really matter; however, Sabine’s timeless and dateless letters only build up Griffon’s theory of his slow descent into madness. His final letter to her is heartbreaking, while Sabine’s last letter basically says:

Shit’s gonna go down.

With all that said, the world has changed since then. This book was published in September of 1991. Now we live in a time of emails, texts messages, instant chat and tweets. Ultimately leaving one to wonder how a book in this format would be received if it were written today.

Seriously, when’s the last time you handwrote a letter?

I thought so.

Mandy

The Seldom Diaries: The Edge of Never by J.A Redmerski

the-edge-of-never-ja-redmerskiThe Edge of Never
J.A Redmerski
Published by Createspace
November 15th 2012
Paperback
Romace\New Adult\Contemporary
426 pages

Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

… … …

So I feel like I haven’t read anything completely romantic in a while. This one had caught my eye during the summer when I was frequenting the bookstore. The black and grey tones of the cover, along with the cursive writing of the last word of the title made me think of Paris. I haven’t been there yet, but that’s just what came to mind. The only problem I had with it, was the fact that when you look quickly, the ‘N’ in never doesn’t stand out as much as the rest of the writing. I had thought it was The Edge of Ever.

The book itself. I loved it. Though, I have to admit that I liked Andrew, Camryn’s love interest more than I liked her. I feel a little guilty. Reading romance novels\chick lit, I feel as if there’s a silent imaginary girl code where you have to automatically like the main character for support. A little illogical and unreasonable, yeah- probably. I just feel that way when I crack it open. I think I may have stopped reading them for a bit because all the women just seemed like the same kind of person with different names. A little depressing, but in this book, Camryn nips that comparison in the bud.

Camryn isn’t your typical damsel in distress. She is a likeable character, and throughout the book, I like her a lot more than I did in the beginning. She just comes off a little cold? I guess there’s a point to it, probably having to do with character developement and all that jazz. At the Underworld- an exclusive club that she and her best friend Natalie and Damon, Nat’s BF wiggle their way into, Camryn trots off to the sex room or sex balcony (I couldn’t really gather the description properly) to talk with bartender Blake to talk. Camryn is usually standoffish when it comes to guys, even going as far to tell them that she is a lesbian so they won’t start up a conversation. I’m a little shocked when she decides to chat up Blake boy, but as the reader I roll with the punches.

Later, after a fight with her best pal, Camryn just absolutely has to get away. She has no idea where she’s going, she just knows that she needs to go. I think this is the part of the book that I adored. I can relate to that feeling of just wanting to pack a bag and go anywhere. To read it on paper, or in this case on my cellular device, it was refreshing to read. Now! Andrew finally comes into the picture. But unlike the chatty Cathy that Camryn was with Blake, she tries her best not to talk to him until of course his music shoves her out of her beauty sleep.

Their dynamic changes though when they acknowledge their attraction for each other? It’s pretty sweet, Andrew is this pretty laid back, laissez-faire kind of guy. With tattoos. And plays the guitar. Swoon. Anyway. Besides his misuse with the word ‘babe’, he was totally adorable in that sexy knight in shining armor kind of way. After Andrew saves Camryn from near assault, or dreadfully much worse- they decide to spend the rest of their road trip together. Winkwink. They travel to New Orleans where Andrew coaxes Camryn to conquer a few of her fears while they conquer each other through the sheets. Was that a lame line that I just dropped?

Yes, it was

.The sex scenes were a little weird. I thought J.A was going to border the BDSM craze. She didn’t, but I thought she would.

Though, I think things moved way quickly, but I suppose that’ll happen on a roadtrip with stranger. This book was a tad inspirational in the aspect that after reading it, I immediately wanted to get up and do something I’ve never done. Great motivation. I should take it to the gym. Half kidding.

xox,
Sasha

Meli’s Nostalgic Tales: Big Girl Panties

Title: Big Girl Panties
Author: Stephanie Evanovich
Publisher: William Morrow
Type of book: Trade Paperback
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction, Adult, Chick-Lit, humour
Pages: 336

Holly Brennan didn’t expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn’t expect to be so big. Through her husband Bruce’s diagnosis and death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Now, those extra pounds make flying coach more than a little mortifying-especially since she’s sitting next to Adonis himself, aka Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer to the country’s most famous pro athletes.

– Summary from GoodReads.

Now this is part of the actual summary but let me say that it was enough to twist my interest-nub. This author went down a road not many writers where the main character is overweight and dealing with the loss of her husband. However, without even asking Holly was in need of some saving and it came in the form of one fine specimen. Now believe me I was wondering how this was going to pull through, I thought I was going to get sappy breakdowns and rage all through and through.

Yet, Holly just isn’t like that, she’s bright sassy with a mouth with more comebacks I think there should be a Guinness world-record for it. She doesn’t just overcome her physical appearance but gets her self-worth back and as a woman, some of us tend to forget how valuable we are. Yay Holly! I chocked back a sob at one point because I felt I was experience her change with her and when she came to terms with her husband Bruce’s passing. It just did funny things to me…I dunno.

Our lovely beau Logan, what should I say about him? I liked him, I thought I wouldn’t though. I pegged him to have this gas-leak type of attitude and go around strutting his stuff, proclaiming that he was superior. No, no, that was NOT the author’s choice he was a humble guy who loves to work out and make people see their true potential. Although he is portrayed as being absolutely perfect, people, he has flaws…image flaws which had me shouting “Can’t you just enjoy the cookie without counting all its chocolate bits??” yes this is me censoring things.

Eventually they do get to see the bigger picture and realize that when it comes to love, it shan’t be define by outer image but one’s own heart.

*gag gag* “what is up with all the cheese!!”

Also, what made this particular book special was the relationship between Logan’s friend Chase and his girlfriend Amanda. What little meddlers who like things on the wild side. Okay that is all I am saying. But I truly am glad I picked this up during my trip to Vancouver and was able to finish it because it was that hilarious and great. For a debut novel I am giving Stephanie Evanovich huge thumbs up. The only thing that I had trouble was imaging what Logan looked like, the description for him just wasn’t concrete at some moments until made the middle-sih of the book I just gave up and said “he is a fine piece of man-meat and there is nothing I can do about it” That is all.

Rating: 4.5

Meli <3

Nostalgic tales: Dream Lake

Title: Dream Lake
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Type of Book: Trade Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: romance, contemporary, paranormal–ghost

Ahh miss Kleypas but you truly know how to make my toes animate themselves and start singing a mighty fine tune. But seriously, if you guys thought Sam Nolan was delicious, y’all best make room because Alex Nolan is just sinful and no amount of finger biting will make you turn away. Although I haven’t read Crystal Cove the third instalment, Dream Lake is my overall favourite.

Alex Nolan bad soul, heavy drinker, the youngest of the Nolan kids who suffered the most thanks to his parents’ alcoholic ways. Got married and divorced made him a very bitter man. Highly believes the world is better off if it just left him the hell alone. Which I will say he probably is better off. Sadly enough for him and delightful giggles for us readers the supernatural just got thrown into the mix. If that wasn’t enough on Alex’s plate wait till he meets his lady-in-waiting, cute, bubbly, petite and so much sunshine you need sunglasses Zoe.

She needed a house to get a fixing for her ill grandmother and he was the best in town.

A real opposite attract kind of couple, in the previous book Rainshadow Road we got a sample of these individuals, once more the author plays the magic bit around but it’s a lot more tone down in comparison with her previous novel. Mostly I think is because of there being a ghost in the mix and his tale is equally as sad. A ghost who can’t remember isn’t as sad as a ghost who can’t remember and the lost-love who never stopped loving/waiting for him. What worked really well too was the theme of alcoholism and how it affects not only the abuser but the people around them as well and I found the author did a good job is highlighting the dangers of it without making it seem cartoony or over dramatic.

Throughout the book Alex and Zoe go through many rough patches, Alex and his devils coming to haunt him and Zoe who behind her upbeat-ness hides tons insecurities and loneliness. Nobody said love between the broken would be easy; however it was nice to see how both of them, by being with each other were in fact healing one another and together became stronger. I truly do recommend this book, a great read, great writing style and gourmet dishes Zoe cooks up will have you drooling all over.

Grading: 5/5

Meli<3

Nostalgic Tales : Sweet Tooth

Title: Sweet Tooth
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Author: Ian McEwan
Type of Book: Trade Paperback
Pages: 320
Genre: Spy thriller, romance, historial fiction, mystery

So before I start off this will perhaps one of hopefully few books where I am required to have two different ratings. The reason for this is because at the end of it I truly am not sure where my vote lies, or maybe in the end of it all, once I’ve regurgitated my feelings I will look on this book and give it a permanent mark in my mind.

Let’s begin.

Ian McEwan, at the beginning of the description of his novel Sweet Tooth, it was written: In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction. – By Goodreads.

I wish I had been more mindful to the words: Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist, merely because ladies I feel this author does us women no justice, this author… presented me with the most pathetic, useless, and frivolous female leads that I have ever come across. Makes me wonder…why write such a character?

Serena Frome a gorgeous, gorgeous girl with long blond hair, big blue eyes and rather big on literature is a floosy. This well-rounded person, has a feminist for a mother who forced her to make more of herself academically, a Bishop for a father whom she does not have a close relationship with, and the wild sister who is the total opposite. Overall she be an okay gal, but once gets to university now that’s when things unravel.

Again in the few 100+ pages she throws herself from one relationship to another all because of her undeniable need to possess all which is not hers. She seeks constant approval for all her deeds and pretty much…opens her legs without even knowing a person long enough, once more all in the act of needing to possess a person. What made me curious is that while you’re reading, all this in her POV she does make it a point to remind us the reader that she does need to be praised and for me while reading that I still had to ask “but you’re a babe! You should be able to make men beg for you!!” later on you do find out why she is like that.

Daddy Issues…plain and simple.

This book, bore me to death, I perhaps had too much hope when I heard it was a spy-thriller, I expected my female lead to be cunning and daring and strong. She was weak, confused, the life she lead and career path (the secret service) was not of her own volition, but she still continued on to make her past-lover content, even though he did end their relationship and left her in a random location. She felt very 16. But then again during the course of everything she may have been only 25-26 by the end of it all.I had to forced myself to get threw it because it was just very me-on-a-rainy-day-lazy. The first 100+ cover her life and time in the agency, her friendship with Shirley who I rather liked a lot and wished more of her was showcased.

There are many historical terms and facts which are thrown about and all the men are pompous, egotistical, machos who think women only need to be around to look at. Anything else, they’re not cut out for it. So it wasn’t until she was assigned her mission to recruit a fellow writer Tom Haley, later on lover to work on behalf of her undercover agency that things looked to be picking up. But Serena was still sucking for me. Even when she had her new lover, that didn’t stop her to be flirty and pompous to her ex-lover, who broke with her and later on it comes to bite her in the ass.

Nevertheless, the flirty-jealousy bit I do not mind, he is one crazy guy.

So that concludes the first rating and review = 1.5/5. I don’t like things to be rushed but I am not riding a camel in a desert either.

The second half of my review, cover chapter 18 (20 if I want be really generous) till the end of the book. This was the highlight of my long suffering, the ending had my jaw open and I could not stop saying “oh damn”. Up until that point I would have never suspected who the real spy was in the end. Serena does not get better, her only brownie point would have been when word of her cover blew up and she silently told her superiors to “screw off”. The only time in her life where she finally decided to do something for herself, which was to stay with Tom—awww romantic gesture, it did nothing to console me nonetheless. And perhaps, it was nice that her long questions of whether or not her older-lover truly loved her or not, was finally answered. She spends a huge amount of time obsessing over it.

Total rating for this section = 4/5, it wasn’t perfect but considering everything I went through it was.

Meli<3

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan


Title: Saga Volume 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Year: 2012
Type: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160 pages
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy, science fiction, romance, adult

Summary: When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

This specially priced volume collects the first six issues of the smash-hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls “the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make.”

Collects Saga issues #1-6

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15704307-saga-volume-1]

Review:
Where to begin? The art is fantastic and the character design is unbelievable. There is a character who is a grease monkey (slang for a mechanic) who is actually a monkey. I thought it was clever. One of the bad guys is a robot prince with a tv for a head, which is kind of weird but I assume that was the point, and another is a super creepy spider lady who invaded my nightmares for about a week and reminded me why I should not stay up until three in the morning reading scary comic books. Anyway, everything about this graphic novel was visually stunning.

Now, the story is a tale as old as time, but I like the classics so I was completely fine with the whole star-crossed lovers racket. Besides the non suicidal Romeo and Juliet plot, this comic contains a wisecracking ghost, a tree that turns into a rocket ship, magic, sarcasm everywhere, and bounty hunters. The star-crossed lovers thing is completely overshadowed by all the awesome.

Oh and the best thing about it is that it is entirely narrated by the lovers’ newborn baby, who is sarcastic and I loved it. Speaking of cool character, Lying Cat is the greatest. She can tell when you are lying and voices is by calling you a liar outright. I got attached to her. I also got extremely attached to Izabel,the ghost babysitter that helped save their lives and now follows them around. She’s sassy.

Oh I almost forgot. Remember I was praising the art before? Yeah, the artist (Fiona Staples) is very accurate with body parts. Mind all of the nudity because they show everything! If you freak out over a nip slip, then do not read this book because you will get the mother of all nose bleeds. There are a few sex scenes, as well as a brothel planet where no one is afraid to show anything off. Huh, I actually just noticed that there is some minor nudity on the front cover (everyone scroll up). Hey, breastfeeding counts.

Aside from the nudity, there is also a lot of blood and guts. At some point someone’s head explodes and there are a lot of battle scenes. There is a war going on, after all. Those who have read Hack/Slash won’t even bat an eyelash. Those who have read Runaways may be a little freaked out. You should all go and read both of those now. They are both fantastic, completely different from one another.

In short, this is a very funny and interesting graphic novel that kept me wanting more. I would recommend it and I would recommend Brian K. Vaughan’s other works, which I will eventually review. :)
5/5