Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Vampire Hunters

The Vampire Hunters is the first book in the Vampire Hunters Trilogy by Scott M. Baker. You won't find any cuddly, sparkly vampires in this book. These vampires are monsters.

The story takes place in Washington DC. I'm not going to say anything about that city already being filled with blood suckers. The joke is too easy. I do wonder why Baker chose that city. Our heroes are a couple of ex-cops who discovered the existence of vampires while working a serial murder case. At the end of that case, they are recruited by an unknown benefactor to hunt down and destroy the nest in Washington.

It's a decent story. Nice to see vampires as evil again. It's also interesting to see the heroes dealing with the aftermath of fighting vampires in a world that doesn't believe they exist.

As usual, I do have a few nitpicks.

The head vampire is a man named Ion Zeilenska. The name bothered me because the character was supposedly Bulgarian. Historically, Bulgarian names have different suffixes depending on gender. Zeilenska is female. I had to stop and re-read the chapter because I was confused. His name should have been Zeilenskov.

The second nitpick has to do with holy water. Supposedly religious places or symbols do not bother vampires. Holy water, on the other hand, can hurt them quite a bit. This makes no sense to me. You can't pick and choose - okay, you can because it's fiction but it's not logical. Water is only holy in connection to religious places, symbols and ceremonies. If none of those things bother vampires the water shouldn't either.

The last nitpick has to do with vampire hunter Alison Monroe. She refuses to take any weapons other than a couple of stakes. It's stupid and dangerous. She almost gets killed twice. The second time she's only saved by having put holy water on her neck. Which shouldn't have worked. Having a person like her on a team is dangerous.

Is it just me or does Alison on the cover look like Olivia from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?

I recieved a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guest Post: Donna Del Oro

My Personal Research into ESP Phenomena

It started with my cousin. She was a full-time, practicing psychic. People came from all over California for her “readings”, at which she claimed an approximately 85% accuracy. One day, while in my 40’s, I decided to get a reading from her.  Extremely skeptical—although I’d known her all my life and knew she wasn’t a con artist—I arrived, fully expecting a lot of lucky guesses on her part.  An hour later, I left dazed and confused. How did she know that my husband and I were deliberating over which of two investment opportunities to take. We hadn’t mentioned this to anyone, not even anyone in my family or my husband’s.   The one my cousin advised against—and which we didn’t take, fortunately—ended up in bankruptcy a year later. There were other revelations that day that proved true in the months to come.

And so, I became intrigued by this strange phenomena known as ESP, or sometimes psi. Whatever you called it, it was known as “extrasensory perception”. My cousin claimed to be a “clairvoyant”, or able to “see” what most humans cannot see. Her insights into people, their health, and other personal facts were amazing to me. People in my family both welcomed and dreaded her phone calls. It was often: “You’ve got diabetes,” “You have a cancerous tumor in your bladder. See a doctor immediately”, “Your appendix is infected. Get yourself to a hospital now!” One close friend of the family received one of her calls. She told her that her brother was dying of cancer and that this friend should call him as soon as possible. The friend insisted that her thirty-five year-old brother was perfectly healthy and they’d just spoken days before. However, my cousin persisted and prevailed, even over objections of the friend’s brother. Two weeks later, the friend’s brother called back. He’d seen a doctor, had gotten a series of tests, and his prognosis was grim. He died a year later after a valiant battle against cancer.

When I probed my cousin, she explained the genesis of her visions and revelations. As a child of eight, she began having dreams. Some occurred at night while she slept, while others happened as daytime visions.  A recurring vision puzzled her but one day it suddenly made sense. Her parents—my aunt and uncle—had announced that they were moving to Hollister, California and had just bought a house with property attached. My cousin “knew” what it looked like and proceeded to describe it to her parents, who hadn’t shown pictures of it to anyone. What she described, from the house to the trees, driveway and outbuildings, matched the place her parents had just put a down payment on.

After that, the family believed my cousin to have a gift from God. That experience prompted me to open my mind and begin a thirty-year exploration into ESP. What I’ve learned has convinced me that clairvoyance does exist, and that perhaps to some extent, precognition. Many people have incredible, intuitive abilities and many share this gift with others, at no intent of monetary gain but simply a desire to help others. A poll cited in the Journal of Parapsychology showed that at least sixty percent of Americans believe that they have had at least one psychic experience in their lives.

The difference between a true psychic and a charlatan, or someone who uses trickery and seeks profit or notoriety?  Only one does it for monetary gain. True psychics, as do the psychic women in The Delphi Bloodline, share their gifts quietly and gratuitously.

Like my cousin.

Donna Del Oro lives in Northern California near the Sierra Nevada foothills and Folsom Lake. After retiring from high school teaching, she decided life was too short to waste. Thus, began a journey doing what she'd been wanting to do for many years--write fiction. She sold her first novel, OPERATION FAMILIA, right away and this book went on to win an award for the Best 2010 Latino Books into Movies Award. Following that first sale, she published three more women's fiction books, then branched out into writing her first love, romantic thrillers. This year, 2012, saw the launch of A BODYGUARD OF LIES and THE DELPHI BLOODLINE, both ebooks and available on Kindle, Nook, Apple, and elsewhere. If you have read any of her books, she welcomes your input. Leave a review on Amazon and your name goes into a pile for a $50 gift card at B&N.  She can be found online at

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ghost Trackers

Ghost Trackers is written by TV's Ghost Hunters, Jason Dawes and Grant Wilson, with novelist Tim Waggoner. I'll admit I used to watch Ghost Hunters every now and then. It was good for a laugh. When I was offered a review copy of this book I was skeptical.

Turns out it's not a bad novel. It sort of reminds me of V. C. Andrews or John Saul. As I was reading it I felt that it was trying to be like Stephen King but not quite making it. I guess if you read enough horror it all starts to seem the same.

The main characters are Amber, Drew and Trevor. 15 years ago they went into a haunted house and ended up at the side of the road with no memory of what happened in the house. Since then Drew has become a psychologist, Trevor writes about the supernatural.

On the other hand, Amber is totally screwed up. She exists on a disability pension because she can't function due to depression, nightmares and possibly agoraphobia. And there you get to the thing that bugged me most. The only female main character in the series is the screwed up one. It could just as easily been either of the two males but no. They had to make the woman be the one who can't cope. And then, later in the book, she's used as bait. I'm so tired of horror movie tropes. At that point I almost threw this book against the wall.

Most of theaction of the book takes place during a reunion weekend. The three amigos are vacillating between wanting to find out what really happened way back when and forgetting all about it. Too bad the Big Bad has other plans. Soon people start dying and Amber is kidnapped.

As I said Ghost Trackers is not a bad book. The three main characters are likable. Once you figure out what's going on you'll want to read the rest just to find out how it all works itself out.

I received a review copy of this book.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Last Dragonslayer Trailer

Book description by Amazon:
In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.
Buy The Last Dragonslayer