Review: Darker Still, Leanna Renee Hieber

Darker StillIt was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas.

It was the most exquisite portrait I’d ever seen–everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable…utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I’ve crossed over into his world within the painting, and I’ve seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too.

He and I are inextricably linked–bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

Murphy is watching you: Vampire Academy

I know I’m tardy for the party, and I find it ironic that the first movie I’m going to review here just got canceled in Brazil… But I wanted to share with you all my Vampire Academy experience anyway. Specially for our friends in Brazil, who unfortunately won’t be able to go to the theaters and watch it—the Brazilian company that bought the rights to show the movie announced yesterday that they won’t be putting the movie on the theaters anymore, which left a lot of fans heartbroken.

But before I tell you what I thought of the movie let me tell you about the event Vampire Academy San Francisco Mall Tour, where I had the chance to chat a little bit with Lucy Fry (Lissa Dragomir), Zoey Deutch (Rose Hathaway), and Dominic Sherwood (Christian Ozera). When I found out that the cast was coming to San Francisco I had to talk to some coworkers and get my work covered so I could take that day off and head to San Fran. The event started at 2 pm, when they had girls doing hair and makeup to get you ready to take a picture on a very bad ass looking chair. They also had some props to make the pictures fun, like hairbands, necklaces, earrings, and such. Needless to say that the girls had a great time getting all dolled up for later, since the first 50 people in line got a wristband that was their ticket to the Meet & Greet with the cast.

Courtesy of @VAOfficialMovie

The cast arrived in the middle of a Chinese New Year celebration—for those who don’t know, we have a lot of celebrations for it in San Francisco. They had some dragons dancing to the beat of drums around the mall, and it all started right in front of where the Vampire Academy San Francisco Mall Tour was taking place. After the celebration was over, the Meet & Greet started. They had us waiting in line and when it was your turn you’d walk up to the table and could talk to them and get an item signed—which could be a book if you brought one, or it could be one of the movie posters that they had already set aside just for signing at the table. They also took a picture of you with them.

I was one of the last few people in line and was able to chat with them for a couple of minutes. I told them that I’m from Brazil and that my friends in Brazil were very excited to watch the movie. All three of them had only good things to say about Brazilian fans, which was really nice. They said that Brazilian fans are the most passionate ones, that they’re really grateful for all support that they’ve been receiving from them.

After I talked to them and got the info on where I could download my picture with the cast, I ran into the person who was responsible for the event and the Vampire Academy movie twitter and Facebook page. I chatted with her for a couple of minutes and, again, she said how wonderful the Brazilian fans were and thanked me for coming. A few minutes later, I found out that she posted on Twitter a picture of me talking to the cast, which my friends quickly started going crazy about and made my Twitter explode with mentions :)

I had a great time at the event and it was really nice to talk to the cast. The entire crew was super attentive and it was so worth it to take the day off work and go to San Francisco for a day.

Vampire AcademyNow, onto the movie review. When I first saw the trailers that were released for the movie I was worried. I got the impression that they were trying to sell the movie as a Mean Girls meets vampires kind of thing. I get it that they needed to appeal new fans, and not only people who’s read the books, but I thought the tone on the marketing for the movie was off. And after watching it, that feeling only grew stronger.

Rose is our narrator, just like on the books, and we start off with her explaining the viewer about Moroi, Strigoi and Dhampirs. I thought it was a little bit too straight forward, it’s really right on your face. But I guess on movies there’s no room to waste time, so we jump right into the story with that explained. For those who did read the book it may not be a problem, but I’m pretty sure that for those who had never heard of the definitions of Moroi, Strigoi and Dhampirs it was way too much information at once to be able to assimilate it.

The movie is fast paced and, of course, it doesn’t follow the book 100% of the time. I honestly can’t point out every single thing that was changed from the book because it’s been a while since I read the series, and I didn’t want to re-read right before watching it because I wanted to be able to enjoy the story other than analyze every single scene. And on that note I can tell you that I had a great time watching it.

Vampire Academy is funny on a lot of moments, just like in the book. It tells a story about two best friends who ran away from school because they feared that one of them was in danger. Even thought Rose hasn’t officially became a Guardian yet, she feels the need to protect Lissa, her best friend and what she considers her family. And when they get caught and need to come back to St. Vladimir Academy, they have problem adapting to that world.

Yes, the movie is not perfect, it has its flaws like any other one. Some of the special effects weren’t that great, and some actors didn’t really feel like they were the right fit, in my opinion. I had a really hard time with Lissa on the books—the character just annoyed the heck out of me—and unfortunately I couldn’t help but feel the same about her on the movie.

But overall I had a great time watching it and will certainly get it on DVD when it comes out. I just feel really sorry that the marketing on this movie wasn’t that great, and that they really set themselves to a failure when they picked the release date. I don’t think Valentine’s Day was a good date, and I was kind of relieved when I saw that they had moved up a week. But when I got to the theaters and saw the line going around the block, I noticed that competing with the Lego movie was not the smartest move for a movie that was not widely publicized and that had vampires as the theme. We all know that people got sick of vampires after the Twilight saga. I could count 10 people, me included, in the room where I watched, and it was on the release weekend.

Previously on this month #44

Previously on this month is a post to talk about our literary month. The idea was inspired in the weekly meme from the blog Lost in Chick Lit, that called the post “This week…” (“Essa semana” in Portuguese).

A little bit late to talk about January, but here it goes!

Reading:
Guta: Under the Dome, Stephen King
Maeva: I’m still choosing which book to read next.

I read this month:

    Guta:

  • Wounded, Jasinda Wilder
  • Teardrop, Lauren Kate
  • The Edge of Always, J.A. Redmerski
  • Sea of Hooks, Lindsay Hill
  • Não pare!, F.M. Pepper
  • The Twisted Tragedy of Natalie Stewart, Leanna Renee Hieber
  • Navigating Early, Clare Vanderpool
  • Days of Blood & Starlight, Laini Taylor
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin
  • O Último Homem do Mundo, Tais Cortez
  • The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June, Robin Benway
  • Red Glove, Holly Black
  • The Flavours of Love, Dorothy Koomson
  • Sempre, J.M. Darhower
  • World After, Susan Ee
  • You can see more books, some not released yet, on my Goodreads.
  • Maeva:

  • Every Seventh Wave, Daniel Glattauer, Katharina Bielenberg and Jamie Bulloch
  • Requiem, Lauren Oliver
  • Fringe: September’s Notebook, Tara Bennett, Paul Terry, Jeff Pinkner and J. H. Wyman
  • Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, Odette Beane
  • Forgive My Fins, Tera Lynn Childs
  • And a book for a research I’ve been doing

Review: Wounded, Jasinda Wilder

WoundedWar has taken everything from me. My family. My home. My innocence. In a country blasted by war and wracked by economic hardship, a young orphan girl like me has very few options when it comes to survival. Thus, I do what I must to live, to eat, and I try very hard to not consider the cost to my soul. My heart is empty, and my existence brutal.

The one impossibility in my life is love.

And then I meet HIM.

War is hell. It takes a chunk out of a man’s very soul to do the kinds of things war demands of you. You live with fear, you live with guilt, and you live with nightmares. If you haven’t been through it, there’s no understanding it. War leaves no room for love, no room for tenderness or softness. You gotta be hard, closed off, and ready to fight every moment of every day. Lose focus for a split second, and you’re dead.

Now the only thing that can save me is HER.

Murphy is watching you: Grimm

I started watching Grimm back in 2011, when the series premiered. I wasn’t really sure about it, though. At first, I couldn’t really like the characters, so it took me a while to finally get into the show and keep watching it. What also didn’t help was that there was a huge hiatus in the middle of season 2, so when the series was back on TV I had already forgotten about it. The good thing about it is that I had a lot of episodes to catch up on when I remembered about the show.

GrimmGrimm follows Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), who lives in Portland with his girlfriend, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch). When his aunt Marie (Kate Burton) is about to die, she tells him that he is a Grimm, a descended from a line of hunters who fight supernatural forces. He starts seeing things that shouldn’t be there: faces that change and become beastly, something no one else seems to be able to see.

Although the name Grimm may make you think that the TV show was inspired by the stories written by the Grimm Brothers, only some of the episodes are. Most of them, though, are not related to it. Some are about fairy tales that look very twisted, some are about urban legends.

Nick soon finds out that the people he’s seeing with beastly faces are wesen, which means being or creature in German. The Grimms are charged with keeping balance between humanity and the wesen. It doesn’t take long for us to realize that the Grimms actually kill the wesen, reason why the wesen fear Grimms.

GrimmBut Nick is new to this world and doesn’t really see why he should kill all the wesen for no reason. Of course, as a Homicide Detective first, he runs into some wesen who have no good intentions at all, but his first instinct is always to arrest the bad guys, regardless if they’re wesen or not. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that not all wesen are, in fact, bad. Some, like Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), who happens to be a Wieder Blutbad, are just trying to live a normal life. Monroe ends up helping Nick understand more about this new world.

Since it premiered, in October 2011, Grimm has had 2 full seasons and it’s in the middle of Season 3 right now. The first 2 seasons had 22 episodes each, and there are already 9 episodes aired from Season 3. Grimm is on Fridays 9/8c on NBC.

Main Characters

Nick Burkhardt

Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli)

Nick was raised by his aunt Marie (Kate Burton) after his parents died in a car accident. He didn’t know he was a Grimm until his aunt was about to die. Since then, he’s seen the wesen and he’s feared by most of them. He’s just trying to find a balance between his ancestors barbaric past and his own morals and ethics as a cop.

When the TV show starts, he’s living with his girlfriend, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch), and planning on proposing to her.

Hank Griffin

Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby)

Hank is Nick’s partner and closest friend. Hank has absolutely no idea Nick is going through the whole Grimm thing at first, so Nick needs to keep the secret from his partner.

Sean Renard

Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz)

At a first glance, you’ll think that Captain Renard is Nick’s and Hank’s boss at Portland’s Police Department. But the Captain has his own agenda.

Sean Renard is a wesen, and no ordinary one.

Monroe

Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell)

Monroe is one of the firsts wesen that Nick sees, while Nick is investigating a case. They end up becoming friends and Monroe helps Nick get used to the wesen world.

Monroe is a Wieder Blutbad a kind of wesen known for being super strong and having a deadly bite. He follows a vegan diet and practices Pilates in order to keep his Bluetbad instincts under control.

Juliette Silverton

Juliette Silverton (Bitsie Tulloch)

Juliette is Nick’s girlfriend. She’s a veterinarian and has absolutely no idea that Nick’s aunt Marie is a Grimm, or that Nick is one as well. Before dying, aunt Marie advised Nick on breaking up with Juliette, for the girl’s own safety, but Nick obviously doesn’t listen to her.

Rosalee Calvert

Rosalee Calvert (Bree Turner)

Rosalee is only introduced in the middle of Season 1, when her brother is murdered. She is a Fuchsbau, and she takes over her brother’s herbs shop after his passing.

Like Monroe, Rosalee ends up helping Nick with the wesen world.

Murphy’s ballads: David Cook

I’ve got a really long and personal story about David Cook, the winner of American Idol’s seventh season. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with it!

David Cook grew up in Blue Springs, MO, but it was in Tulsa, OK, that he tried to pursue his music career. He self-released an album called Analog Heart and also played with a band called Midwest Kings. He auditioned for American Idol by accident, since it was his brother Andrew who had planned on auditioning and he was there just to give Andrew some moral support. The rest is history and he ended up winning the competition. You may or may not have heard about his famous renditions, like Billie Jean and Always Be My Baby.

David CookShortly after winning, David released what they say it was his debut album—even though he had already self released others before. Released in November 2008, David Cook was certified platinum by the RIAA, as well as his winning single, The Time of My Life. Later on, the first official single of the album, Light On, was also certified platinum. For those who don’t know, a single/album is certified platinum when it sells over 1 million copies in the US.

David went on tour across America, playing mainly at colleges. He says he wanted to experience what he had seen when he was in college, playing over 150 concerts. In May 2009, David joined the Race For Hope, an event organized to raise funds for brain cancer research. Just a day before the race, David’s older brother Adam passed after battling brain cancer for over 10 years. It was for Adam that David wrote Permanent, the most emotional track of David Cook. In May 2010 I went to Washington, DC, for that year’s Race For Hope. As someone who have lost a relative to brain cancer, it was a really emotional experience to me.

David Cook in Williamsburg, VAIn September 2010, David and his band played a couple of shows in Williamsburg, VA, and I flew from Boston just to watch one of them, my first time at one of his concerts! That was, hands down, the best concert I had ever been to, it was totally worth the trip. The fact that I actually got to meet him and his band after the concert may or may not have something to do with it *winks* David is a really down to earth guy, the kind of artist who looks you in the eye and listens to every single thing you say, as if you were the most important person to him at that moment. You can see all my photos from this concert here.

This Loud MorningThis Loud Morning, which is considered his second album, released in June 2011, wasn’t received by the public as well as David Cook. While David Cook was released right after he won American Idol, by the time This Loud Morning came out only his fans who kept up with him knew about it. It wasn’t as widely publicized as the first one, and David wasn’t as much on the media. He hit the road with his band again, this time to support This Loud Morning, performing 37 shows—a very low number if you compare to his first album’s tour. I got to see him playing in Santa Rosa, CA, this time, and had a blast, again, even though I had to leave before the end of the concert.

After the tour ended, David parted ways with RCA, his label since winning American Idol. He went back to his roots and started self-producing his own music again, releasing two singles, The Last Song I’ll Write for You and Laying Me Low.

David Cook in Las Vegas, NVOn September 2013, David hit the road once more with his band, and I was hoping that they’d come to the West Coast. When a Las Vegas date was added to this tour, I got tickets and headed back to the Sin City just to watch him playing again. As someone who lived in Vegas area for 6 months, I was not planning on going there anytime soon, but with a concert on a Saturday night I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I flew in last Saturday afternoon, and flew back home on Sunday morning. You can see all my photos from this concert here.

Some of my favorite songs of his:

Have you ever heard about David? Are you also a fan? Let us know what you think about him in the comments!

Review: Easy, Tammara Webber

EasyRescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl’s struggle to regain the trust she’s lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.

Review: Requiem, Lauren Oliver

Attention! If you haven’t read Delirium and Pandemonium yet
and don’t want to know spoilers of the series, don’t read this post!

RequiemNow an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

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