Sunday, April 22, 2012

All the latest Vampire News. . .

Well, new releases anyway.  And there is a lot to look forward to this spring.  I'll put this together chronologically by release date.  That way I show no preference (or have to decide on a preference).

First, the next story in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward was released March 27.  "Lover Reborn" is Tohrment's story.  Personally, I have been waiting for this story.  For those who have not read these books, they are best read in order.  Each book focuses on a particular couples love story set in the overarching storyline of a war for vampire existence.  I really like the big story in these books-- Ward has developed a very unique version of the vampire world.  I guess that I am not alone in this as the books in this series are NY Times bestsellers.  The dialogue is particularly good in these books.  All the slang is great!  Really worth checking out just for that.  In general, this book seems well received by fans.

Typically, some fans of any series always complain that a series has become stale, flat, and used up, but really a series is meant to continue to serve up more of the prior successful formula.  If fans get tired, then it is time for them to move on.  In all of these series, the complaints are the same concerning this, and I for one am getting tired of people making those comments in otherwise positive reviews.

"Deadlocked" is book 12 in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, and it will be released May 1.  There are a lot of Sookie fans out there, so there is a lot of buzz about this book.  These books have gotten a lot of notoriety because of the hit show on HBO "True Blood."  There is already a waiting list at our library.  For me, the books differ significantly from the show.  Though I do like both.  But I think everyone is waiting to see what happens with Sookie and Eric in this next mystery.

The next installment in the Morganville Vampires series, "Black Dawn," will be released on May 1. "Black Dawn" is book 12 in the Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine.  This is one of my favorite series.  The vampires are pretty traditional, but the take here is that they basically all live in a small college town in Texas.  LOL!  Okay, so I did go to college in Texas for awhile, so maybe this hits a particular chord with me.  But this series has great characters and is very plot driven with romance more on the side.  The humans in town have to tithe both cash and blood to the "protection" racket of a vampire sponsor.  These stories definitely need to be read in order.  Most books have cliffhangers from one book to the next.  Can't wait for this one!

"Dark Shadows" will be released on May 11.  Scream!  I can't believe it!  I loved this show, watching it as reruns as a kid.  With Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins directed by Tim Burton, of course, this one is a send up of the show.  A comedy set in the 1970s.  That is actually a relief.  Too much vamp stuff is too serious.  This is a must see for me.  Loved the show.  Love this cast.

"True Blood" (4th season) is released on DVD May 29.  For all those who missed the original airings.  Or those who want to watch in preparation for the next season.  We like to have themed DVD release parties.  Then watch casually from one episode to the next straight through nightly.

"Snow White and the Huntsman" is released June 1.  Okay, so this isn't a vampire movie.  But many vamp fans feel a connection to Kristin Stewart through "Twilight" (obviously).  And this movie looks dark and gothy to me.  It seems to have the promise of entertainment.

"Kiss The Dead" the new installment in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series is released on June 5.  Believe it or not, this is Book 21 for Anita.  This is the original paranormal romance/mystery series-- the genre maker.  I personally think this is still one of the best and a must read for every new addition to the stories.  Of course, again, you will hear many "fans" whine about the storyline changes, etc.  I think it is interesting how much Anita has evolved over the years, actually.  More than many characters do.  This is a must read!  And the Anita T-shirts sold on Laurell K. Hamilton's site are great-- check them out.

"True Blood" returns June 10 at 9 pm.  Okay.   Need I say more?

"Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" released on June 22.  I am ashamed to admit that I haven't even read the book yet.  I'm going to have to get around to that right away.  Well. . .  after the next few books on my list.  And it is a "Lend Me" for the Nook, so if you know someone, you can get a free e-read of it.    

Okay, zombies are not Vampire News, but they are the undead, too.  And I'm still mourning the loss of "Walking Dead" in my Sunday night routine of mental prep for the week ahead.  I guess the scheduled return is (alas!) in September, but no date is set as of yet.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Brunch, Tiki Style

It's always Tiki Time at Trader Vic's.  And they serve up a fabulous buffet brunch.  I'm speaking, of course, of the original Trader Vic's in Emeryville, CA where the Mai Tai was invented.  We love to go to Trader Vic's, and we have been going there for Easter for years.

We always start with drinks.  "I'll have 2 Mai Tais, the old way.  Please."

My daughter enjoyed the Strawberry Banana Slushy. 
And our friend enjoyed the Tropitini off the Easter Cocktail Menu.

 On to the food.  This year's menu--
The shell chandelier in the party room.  The chandelier is actually stunning.  This picture doesn't do it justice.
The carving station.


Chocolate dipped strawberries

We had a lovely table in the bar area next to a window.  I think I prefer the bar area-- it is a bit more relaxing and you can hear the music better.  We enjoyed the view of the Marina and stayed all afternoon.  Last year, they gave everyone leis, and I missed them this year.  They were just the cheap plastic ones, but they were fun and part of the atmosphere since everyone was wearing one.  But what I really missed was the seafood bar.  Last year, they had smoked salmon with capers and cream cheese, sushi, shrimp cocktail and Ahi Poke with taro chips.  Why eliminate that?!  It was my favorite.  I ended up feeling too full this year with the elimination of the lighter fare options.  And how can you have a Tiki buffet with a seafood bar?!  To top it off, the price increased this year by $9 for adults.  I did enjoy myself this year, but I left feeling a bit saddened by the degradation of the experience.

Keep your eyes on the Trader Vic's site for their upcoming events.  They usually offer  buffet brunches for Mother's Day and Father's Day.  And they are starting to have live music on some Wednesdays and Saturdays.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spa Week is Back!

And not a day too soon! No!  You say, "What is Spa Week?"  I have been participating in Spa Week for at least the last 5 years.  Spa Week is an annual event where the top spas in North America offer full-service treatments for just $50.  This Spring the dates for Spa Week are April 16 - 22.

I always take full advantage of Spa Week by booking several appointments.  There are participating spas in most major cities.  There are 15 participating spas in the San Francisco Bay Area.  You can get the full scoop at the official website--

My favorite spa in the Bay Area is Body By Melisa.  This spa is a special secret among East Bay women.  It is located at the top of Piedmont Avenue.  Here is a look at the cozy facilities:

Waiting Area (though, I don't ever really wait!)
Treatment room with the Far Infrared Sauna on the left
Treatment room over-looking Piedmont

The beautiful Melisa (though she does have other aestheticians working at the spa, too)

So. . . here are the secrets about this spa.  Spa Week is actually Spa Month!  That is, $50 treatments are offered for the entire month of April.  And there is another Spa Month in the Fall, too.  But here's the real secret:  she can take years off your face in just a few treatments!  Shhhh----  yes, it's true, and without invasive treatments or injections.  At least, that has been my experience and all of my friends, too.  It's truly a great birthday gift for the special girlfriend! 

How?!  Through SkinBella Particle-free Dermabrasions.  Her site says, "The Facial Rejuvenation is a multi-step method, cleansing and prepping the face, neck, and décolleté, with exfoliation and an specially selected enzyme mask and then the Dermosonic® rejuvenating ultrasound treatment. Dermosonic® programmed ultrasound enhances facial skin by directly stimulating new collagen and elastin production. Ultrasound also provides sonophoresis for deep penetration of the Oxygen Botanical™ products utilized in the Facial Rejuvenation, further enhancing their effectiveness."  You can learn more here.  And this fabulous treatment is only $50 this month!  Regularly, it is $135, which is still a bargain if you're in the market for more youthful skin.  Did I say the treatment concludes with a relaxing shoulder massage?  It does.  Beauty and Bliss.  What more?

Here's what's more. . . the spa also offers three other $50 treatments for Spa Month:  Body Scrub, Massage and Dermosonic Cellulite reduction.  I'm booked for the cellulite treatment next week.  And I can't wait.  I always feel so much slimmer and detoxed afterward.  It's a renewal of my commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

So the secret is out.  Don't wait to book, because appointments fill up fast during Spa Month.  If you call, expect to leave a message and be called back or book online here.

Go in bliss and beauty. . .