Book Review: Vamparazzi

Vamparazzi, by Laura Resnick

Esther Diamond has a lead role in a new off-Broadway play called Vampyre, and her leading man Daemon Ravel claims to actually be one. Thanks to Ravel’s notoriety, the show has sold-out performances and a huge cult following. Esther is even attacked by crazed fans in jealousy of her character’s relationship with the vampire. But after her attacker is found dead of extanguination (blood loss) the next day, Esther realizes there may be a real vampire stalking the show.

Esther’s latest adventure is full of more adventure, mystery, and laughs. And her chemistry with Detective Lopez is as steamy as ever. But best of all, we finally discover what Esther’s close friend and mage Max’s hang up with Lithuanians is in a cleverly written backstory. Resnick’s characters are always captivating, quirky and fun that practically jump off the page.

This new installment in the Esther Diamond series is fast-paced, exciting and completely engaging. I have loved each novel in this series and even hunted down a copy of the out-of-print Disappearing Nightly, because I couldn’t get enough of these characters and story. As I’ve probably said before, this is one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series and highly recommend it to any fan of the genre. Light-hearted, zany, suspenseful, surprising, and romantic – Vamparazzi is all of that and more. Don’t miss this fantastic new release.

Received in September

The following are the books, DVDs, and Blu-Rays I received in September for review and/or giveaways:

DVD/Blu-Ray:
Camelot: The Complete First Season
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Blu-ray Edition)

DC Comics:
Stormwatch #1
OMAC #1

Harper Teen / Balzer + Bray:
Frost by Marianna Baer
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Variant by Robison Wells

Tor / Forge:
With Fate Conspire by Marie Brennan
Spellbound by Blake Charlton
The Highest Frontier by Joan Slonczewski
Ganymede by Cherie Priest
The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge

MacMillan / Tor Teen / Square Fish:
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith
Laddertop, Volume 1 by Orson Scott Card
Cosmic Storm by Dom Testa

Scholastic:
Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
A Web of Air by Philip Reeve
Floors Book 1 by Patrick Carman
First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
iBoy by Kevin Brooks
Sound Bender by Lin Oliver
Six Days by Philip Webb
Circle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Rip Tide by Kat Falls
Clone Codes by The McKissacks
Clode Codes: Cyborg by The McKissacks
The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

Night Shade Books:
The Book of Cthulhu by Ross E. Lockhart

Pocket / Gallery Books:
World of Warcraft: Wolfheart by Richard A. Knaak
Star Trek: Vanguard: What Judgments Come by Dayton Ward
StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres by Nate Kenyon
Alterant by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep
Conquer the Dark by L. A. Banks
Trance by Kelly Meding
Destination Truth by Josh Gates
Thawed Out and Fed Up by Ryan Brown
Day by Day Armageddon: Origin to Exile by J. L. Bourne

FireFly Publishing:
Star-Crossed Saga: ProtoStar by Braxton A. Cosby

Daw Books:
Magebane by Lee Arthur Chane
Changes by Mercedes Lackey
Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey

Roc Books:
Firestorm: Destroyermen by Taylor Anderson

Ace Books:
Down These Strange Streets edited by George R. R. Martin

AmazonCrossing:
The Settlers of Catan by Rebecca Gable

NAL Books:
The Dark Elite by Chloe Neill

Random House Teens / Delacorte Press:
The Death Cure by James Dashner

Orbit Books:
Cold Fire by Kate Elliott

Bloomsbury / Walker Books:
After Obsession by Carrie Jones
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
The Death Catchers by Jennifer Anne Kogler
Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley
Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Between by Jessica Warman

Jennifer Estep Guest Post and Giveaway!

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Angela for having me on the blog again today. Thanks so much, Angela!

So today Angela asked me to write about elementals and why I decided to feature them in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. The series focuses on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

So elementals are a big part of the magic and world building in the books. In addition to the four main elements listed above, some folks are also gifted in offshoots of those elements, like water is an offshoot of Ice and electricity is one of Air.

So why did I decide to focus on elementals? I just thought they would be cool to write about and that I could use some interesting magic/powers for Gin, my villains, and the secondary characters. For example, Gin can make shapes with her Ice magic, like cubes, knives, and more, while her Stone power lets her make her own skin as hard as marble so that nothing can hurt her.

Jo-Jo Deveraux, another character in the series, has Air magic, which she uses to heal Gin and others. Sophia, Jo-Jo’s sister, has Air magic as well, but Sophia uses it to sandblast away blood and more. And of course, Gin’s nemesis, Mab Monroe, has deadly Fire magic that she uses to burn people to a crisp.

One of my favorite things as a writer is thinking about my villains, the powers they have, and how my heroine can use her own magic and wits to defeat them. I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with the various villains in the series and seeing how Gin manages to overcome them in the end.

But there are more than just elemental bad guys in the books. Gin has also tangled with giants and dwarves, both of whom are incredibly strong. As far as vampires go, they can have elemental magic as well, and they can also absorb powers/abilities from the blood that they drink. So a vampire who drinks a giant’s blood could be as strong as that giant is.

I thought that having four main elements as well as a mix of people with other powers/abilities would give me plenty of different bad guys and magic for Gin to battle.

So there you have it – a little bit about the elementals and the other creatures in my books.

What about you guys? What magic, powers, or creatures do you like reading about? What are some of your favorite fantasy books and characters?

USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, and Tangled Threads. Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book in the series, was released on Sept. 27.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. Touch of Frost, the first book in the series, was released in August. First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, is available as a 99-cent download. Kiss of Frost, the second book, will be released Nov. 29.

For more information, excerpts, and more, visit Jennifer’s website at www.jenniferestep.com.

Jennifer was also kind enough to offer a copy of her latest Spider’s Revenge for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends October 21. I’ll draw a name on October 22, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreJennifer Estep Guest Post and Giveaway!

Star Trek TNG Coming to Blu-Ray!

PRESS RELEASE:

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Next Level Blu-ray Disc™ Will Be Released On January 31, 2012
Complete First Season Blu-ray Available Later in 2012

LOS ANGELES – September 28, 2011 – The beloved series STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® will be transferred to high-definition for the first time ever and released on Blu-ray™, it was announced today by Ken Ross, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Home Entertainment.

All 178 episodes from seven seasons will be transferred to true high-definition 1080p for release on Blu-ray and eventual runs on television and digital platforms both domestically and internationally.

“Fans have been clamoring for a high-definition release of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® for years,” said Ross. “Transferring the series to high-definition presented difficult technical challenges, but our team has come up with a process to create true 1080p HD masters with true HD visual effects. We can’t wait to show fans how pristine the series looks and sounds with our upcoming Blu-ray releases.”

Transferring STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® to high-definition presented numerous challenges – The series was originally shot on film and then transferred to videotape, which was used to edit episodes together. In order to create true HD masters, CBS is going back to the original uncut film negative – all 25,000 plus film reels of it – and cutting the episodes together exactly the way they originally aired. The visual effects were all shot on film and will be painstakingly recompositioned, not upconverted from videotape. The newly cut film will then be transferred to true high-definition with 7.1 DTS Master Audio. Denise and Mike Okuda are consulting on the project.

While the first full season won’t be available until later in 2012, CBS Home Entertainment is releasing STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® – THE NEXT LEVEL, a single Blu-ray disc to give fans a taste of the series in HD, on January 31, 2012. The disc will include the feature-length pilot – “Encounter at Farpoint” – as well as two more “fan favorite” episodes, “The Inner Light” (Season 5) and “Sins of the Father” (Season 3). The single disc will be available for a suggested retail price of $21.99.

One of the most popular series in the STAR TREK franchise, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012. It premiered in first-run syndication during the week of September 28, 1987 and ran through 1994.

Set in the 24th century on the Starship Enterprise, about 100 years after the original STAR TREK series took place, the series starred Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Jonathan Frakes as Commander William T. Riker, LeVar Burton as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi, Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data, Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf, Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher and Wil Wheaton as her son Wesley Crusher.

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