Tag Archives: vampires

Book Review: The Spiritglass Charade (Stoker & Holmes #2) by Colleen Gleason

Chronicle Books Published Oct. 7, 2014 360 Pages
Chronicle Books
Published Oct. 7, 2014
360 Pages

If you haven’t read the first book *Wags Finger* shame on you!!! But before you go run to the store, check out the review here.

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are ready for their new mission. It has been a month since, they became “partners” and help solve the case of the Clockwork Scarab. So when Princess Alix request their help for a special case, they jump to the occasion.

Princess Alix is worried about her friend Willa, who is convinced that her mother is haunting her telling her that her brother is alive and must be saved.

Determined to prove that Willa’s spiritualist is a hoax, Holmes and Stoker go in full force but quickly discover some cases aren’t as cut and dry as they seem and for Stoker this case hits closer to home than she would like. 

Holmes is my spirit animal. . .if I was able to spot amazing details like her.  She is such an amazing character. She is flawed, she’s not a bitch, she’s intelligent, sassy and she has a heart. I love this woman.

But the biggest props goes to the author who was able to write a “love triangle” without it being a horrible piece of work or the focus of the novel. I like how despite Holmes being this super intelligent detective, she is still a young girl learning how to interact with people she cares for.

As for Stoker . . . she is a badass girl that has a lot of growing up to do. But that is okay because there is growth from the first book to the last chapter of the second book. Stoker has communication issues and self-worth issues; some are fixed in this book, others are not. I may not love Stoker as much as I love Holmes, but I cannot see this book working without her.

I can also appreciate the undead details because they were not cheezy, cliche, nor did they bring some new information about vampires that seem to have come out of thin air (-.-).

Overall, I am completely devoted to this series and for once I don’t think anything was remotely wrong with it. There was a lot of details but that is to be expected for a mystery novel and there wasn’t that much down time. I love this series so much it will be added to my collection.

5 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Blood Orange Soda by James Michael Larranaga

JML Published March 15, 2014 350 Pages
Published March 15, 2014
350 Pages

Darius Hunter is a vampire on reds. Reds is a drug that stops vampires from experiencing transformation and being a full fledged vampire. Darius is being bullied at school.

So into to gain strength to defeat his bully, he gets off the reds and beings taking blood orange soda to sped up his transformation (normally takes 9 months).

But things aren’t so simple as that. When a new girl comes to town, showing interest in Darius, he is tempted into a world he may not be ready for. 

This could have been a better book. Darius was a lame character and that is not because he had a bit of an identity crisis. His priorities switch constantly throughout this book. He was a lack-luster teenage boy, who seemed very weak minded.

I didn’t like the idea that he couldn’t stand up for himself without being a vampire. I felt that he was pressured to make the decision by the girl he liked, his uncle and his own lack of identity.

I understand that this book was a coming of age story with a vampire spin but nothing really changed as in the personality of Darius. I didn’t feel his mental strength or confidence.

Overall the story was very slow and the action really didn’t pick up.

1 Pickle

Manga Review: Bloody Cross by Shiwo Komeyama

Yen Press Published May 1, 2012 224 Pages
Yen Press
Published May 1, 2012
224 Pages

Half angel, half demon, Tsukimiya needs to drink the blood of a pure demon in order to break the curse that will kill her on her 18th birthday. In the middle of a battle, she meets Hinata, an angel, claiming to be there to help Tsukimiya.

But when the demon is killed, Hinata is the one who drinks the blood, leaving Tsukimiya to die. But in a turn of events Tsukimiya drinks the blood of Hinata, causing the two to share the curse.

Now Tsukimiya and Hinata must find a way to save themselves before it is too late. 

I didn’t like this manga. That statement is completely weird because its rare for me not to like a manga.

It way to sexual (funny I’m saying that). Almost immediately I know exactly what this girl looks like naked. It took away the integrity of the manga because before you even know she is this bad-ass hybrid, she is just a naked girl.

I also didn’t like how Tsukimiya allowed Hinata to touch her. There was no boundaries which I thought was weird considering that they just met.

The art was dull, sloppy in some areas and very cliche. What I did like about the manga was the story. The idea of a hybrid being sentenced to death by the 18th birthday and how he/she needs to fight and kill in order to save their life sounds really cool. I just think it was poorly executed.

Others may like this manga but I don’t. Oh and I read the second one . .  still didn’t like it.

2 Pickles

NetGalley Review: FanGirl_15 by Aimee Roseland

To Be Published July 8, 2014
To Be Published July 8, 2014

Chloe is in love with a fictional character. His name is Lucien and he is part of the Dark Riders series written by her favorite author.

But the problem (other than the love of her life isn’t in reality) is that the author died and there will no longer be a eight book. Completely devastated, Chloe has a mental breakdown at work and falls asleep in the lounge. 

When leaving the office and walking through the parking lot at midnight, Chloe gets hit with a supernatural force that transports her in a alternate reality in which the characters of her book are very much alive.

Determined to give the story a proper ending, Chloe has made it her mission to make things right and that includes not giving into her tempting Lucien.

This book was great. From the time I started it I couldn’t stop laughing at how serious Chloe felt towards her characters. Listen I have been emotional over characters and freak out a bit but Chloe was WOW!

But don’t take it as if I didn’t like her. I liked Chloe because she was true to the book. She was witty and sarcastic but other than that there was no real personality to her. She lived and breathed that series.  I felt that Chloe should have been more developed.

However, that didn’t deter me away from the book. What I liked about the story was the fact that it was just cute. There wasn’t a lot of back-story for the characters that Chloe loves and I understand why. But I didn’t feel anything for them at all. But the enthusiasm Chloe felt to get the story done in the “right” way was contagious. The energy in this story was very high which made for a quick fun read.

What I didn’t like about the story was the relationship between Chloe and Lucien. It was very childish. The I want you but can’t have you the I am going to throw a fit because I don’t she wants me; that right there made me believe that Chloe and Lucien were more teenagers than grown men and women. I felt that there wasn’t a developed romance between the two and there no steam or chemistry.  I didn’t see or even feel it until the end of the novel.

Overall, 3 Pickles.

Quick Five© with Travis Luedke

Courtesy of Travis Luedke
Courtesy of Travis Luedke

Name: Travis Luedke

Who is Travis? Hilarious father and full time author with a true love for sexy horror.

Website: http://www.twluedke.com/

Books: The Nightlife Series (Books 1-3), The Shepherd, Blood Slave, A World of Romance (ASMSG Collections#3)

Where to Buy? Amazon and Barnes & Nobles


You instantly know when you found the author of your dreams; fun, passionate, knowledgeable and so completely serious all at the same time. Readers meet Travis Luedke a wonderful author who provides a breath of fresh air in genre (paranormal romance) so often used.  Interview by Tania Lasenburg, Travis explains not only his thought process when writing but how serious self-publishing really is.


Were you always a writer? If not what did you do before you decided to publish your first book and why did you decide to leave it?

I started writing in 2010. It wasn’t until 2012 I decided to self-publish. Once I saw everybody doing it, I knew it was time. I love the control I have over every step of the publishing process.

Control freak? Yes.


Why did you choose romance paranormal? What it is about that genre that you feel draws readers

and writers in?

I have always been a fan of escapist fiction like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert R. McCammon, and Peter Straub. I found horror novels based on the supernatural were my Brian Lumley taught me the dark, wicked beauty of vampires. Then I discovered Anne Rice. I loved The Vampire Chronicles, but these creatures never had any sex! I wanted vampires who get it on, seducers. With Laurell K. Hamilton I finally found the full, combo meal deal. Vicious predators, sexy seducers, and gobs of smoking-hot sex; I’m a total addict now. PNR is my guilty pleasure, and that’s what I write. I have my cake and eat it too. My vampires live in the real nightlife of today: back alleys, ghettos, strip clubs, casinos, drugs, prostitution, escorts, mafia, cartel. All that good stuff.

I like it dark, gritty, violent and sensual, with thriller intensity. I blend these elements into my own wicked cocktail.


How has your experiences been in the publishing world? Is there a lot of networking? Sucking up?

          Self Published    Published Aug. 18, 2012              Kindle Edition
Self Published
Published Aug. 18, 2012
Kindle Edition

Or did you have an easier time because your writing spoke for

I pretty much splatter myself on every major social media platform. You could call me a social media junky. I spend more time there than I do actually writing. For those who like a dark, gritty, sexual read, my work does speak for itself, and the Nightlife Series cover art oozes sensuality. Honestly, publishers trying to combat obscurity need to get creative, get guerilla. It’s all about metadata and Amazon’s internal SEO, keywords and categories. We have to grab eyeballs with freebies, giveaways, discounted sales. Our main advantage over traditional publishers is our ability and willingness to sell for less, and give books away. I know, it sucks. We write our masterpieces only to give them away?

Sounds insane.

But Amazon is the self-publishers best friend. A massive freebie campaign, giving away twenty thousand books, is

really a smart move. Everybody debates the pros and cons, but this is the best way to get our books in front of thousands of eyeballs. For prolific authors with a series, numerous titles available, a fat ass freebie run brings loads of attention to our other books.


 What in your daily life allows you to stay creative?

I have a constant stream of ideas. Never dries up. My critique partners look at my ideas and give me a score on the suckometer (usually needs a lot of work). They know my writing intimately, and they bring me back down to reality. It’s easy to become consumed with a new idea. I need my team to point out the gazillion flaws in my genius (lots and lots of flaws). Either it sticks, or the idea is discarded for something better. A novel is constantly evolving, right up until the moment I click publish. The real problem is putting away the social media to focus on writing. Social media will consume your life, an addiction worse than drugs.


Finally, how has your writing changed from your first book to your last?

Its sexier, meaner, leaner, tastes great, and less filling. I write the light beer version these days, a minimalist approach. Lots of chopped clauses. A sprinkle of touchy-feely. Some wall-smashing, toe curling sex scenes. Sift in a few pounds of crushing violence and cover it in blood frosting (several quarts of arterial flow sprayed across the room). I have a lot of fun with my writing. Got no problem getting into the mind of villains. It’s the heroes I always struggle to write.



               Amazon   Published May 1, 2013              Kindle Edition
Published May 1, 2013
Kindle Edition

To know more about the always active Travis Luedke or simply enjoy some good






(truly king of social media)





                                       For your Quick Five© email wordpress174@gmail.com for details.


Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I love Holly Black but did not love this book.

   Little, Brown Books for Young Readers     Published Sept 3, 2013           432 Pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published Sept 3, 2013
432 Pages

Tana’s world includes vampires. It also includes a place called Coldtown in which all vampires, found and caught, are sent to live.  This is also a place where humans wanting to turn can go. Ultimately, most people in Coldtown never leave.

Tana wakes up one day after a party in a bath tub with all her dead classmates surrounding her. Left is her infected (bitten by a vampire) ex-boyfriend and an unknown vampire that seems to cause more trouble than good. Abandon by her father for assuming she’s been bitten, hunted down by the police for being at the party, Tana goes to Coldtown as her last hope.

The author creates a new myth for new vampires. If you don’t drink human blood for 88 days then you will not become a vampire. This is the whole concept of the book. Tana watched her mother go through these motions and ended up getting her killed. So in a chance to redeem herself Tana fights tooth and nail to make sure her ex does not drink anybody’s blood even though it risk her life and others around her.

I didn’t like this new myth even though it was creative. It takes away from the vampires we all know and love. Same ways Stephanie Myers made them sparkle; it just takes away from the true monsters they are to be supposedly.

What I thought was unbelievable was how Tana was running around with two vampires and didn’t get eaten alive by them. Don’t get me wrong her ex tried but he was a just turned vampire with that much control not to bite her? Really?

Finally, Tana was passed out in the tub in the bathroom are you saying that those vampires that took out a whole graduating class couldn’t sense her? I mean I guess she was that drunk? I’m not sure but I wanted a better reason for why she was missed.



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Book Review (Kindle Edition) Awakened (Vampire Awakenings #1) by Brenda K Davies

Sera has been hiding at her college for the past three years since a

          Smashwords   Published July 29, 2012      450 Pages Ebook
Published July 29, 2012
450 Pages Ebook

 traumatizing event that took place her senior year of high school. She is withdrawn and stays away from men. That is until her roommate and best friend convinces her to go to a party in which she meets Liam and everything she has known completely goes out the window.

This book was okay enough but I call baloney. One Sera who has been closed up for the past three years meets Liam who she is instantly attracted to and decides to spill her secret after the second day of meeting him -.- Who does that?  I was completely thrown off at how easy she gave away that information.

The writing was sub par. It lacked depth, passion and motivation.  I liked the fact that this centralizes around a college frat house however, I didn’t like how Liam only became a vampire (yes vampire) the year before and now all of a sudden is so in control and perfect with who he is. In what story, new or old, does a vampire only take a year to be so freaking perfect?

Although the book wasn’t full of clichés it was too simple for a vampire story and in no shape or form did it leave me wanting more.

Overall the book gets 6 out of 10. It could have been a whole lot better and realistic (for a vampire novel).


Tania Lasenburg is a communications major that plays video games and cyber stalks Gym Class Heroes. Follow her on twitter @mrztanyapickles