Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Babblings

Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke

The Nitty Gritty: This is the final installment of the Immortal Empire series. If Xandra thought taking the Goblin Queen crown was going to make her life easier she is sadly mistaken. Everyone is clamoring for her favor. They need the goblins on their side to win the war. Though the humans want to kill all artistos and goblins alike.

And Xanda Varden is ready to take on the whole world to keep those she loves safe, but how safe is it when the monster wears her face?

The Human League is out for blood and the aristos and goblins are just trying to stay alive as both sides hear up for war. But is there a traitor in the Varden camp?

Opening Line: "I had a corpse over my shoulder when I walked into the goblin den."

The Good: The pacing was good in the book. Just enough action to keep you from pulling your hair out and enough action to keep you pulling your hair out. There were surprises left and right and not the sort to piss you off, but the sort that make you wince but you keep turning the page.

I have to say that the byplay between Xandra and Victoria were spot on. I love that Locke showed the vampire queen of England with a little vulgarity. I am of the opinion that the British take their monarchs a tad too serious. So I like what Locke did with Her Nibs.

I am so in love with the Vex its not even funny. He is everything that a fictional lover should be. Strong, intelligent, gentle, sexy, in control, commanding....the list can and does go on and on. I love his relationship with Xandra. He is her rock when she needs a port in the storm. He is her shield when she rides into battle and he is the stick when the carrot doesn't work. He allows Xandra to figure out who she is and who she wants to be without any pressure to live up to who he wants her to be. And he loves her all the same. I don't understand why all literary men have to be buttholes and woman fall all over them like they are the ideal mates, but no one is saying anything about how wonderful Vex is. I blame this on that garbage 50 Shades of Grey.

The Bad: Xanda's superhero complex did get a little annoying in this book. Xandra is the sort of person that thinks if she doesn't do it it won't get done and it won't be right. So instead of trusting those around her she tries to take on every little thing herself without help. When her brother and sisters and especially Vex are more than capable of lending a helping hand.

I'm a steampunk neophyte I will admit, but the few that I have read have made a fan out of me and I love the genre now. This series was never heavily steampunk for me. I mean Locke always made mention of a few steampunk devices like a rotary or logic machine, but that was about it. I wanted more. A lot more.

Final Thoughts: This is a very good trilogy. It didn't try to be the next great British novel it just wanted to be a good book. I'm sad the ride is over, but like any great queen the Immortal Empire series knows when to leave a party. Locke has solidified herself in the urban fantasy/steampunk genre for me and I hope to enjoy many more of her novels to come.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My NaNoWriMo Idea

Title: Once Upon a Crime

Genre: fantasy

Protagonist: Maddox Snow, Ember Hood and Dorian Fa. The great-granddaughters of Snow White, Red Riding Hood and Fa Mulan respectively.

Other Main Characters: Chandler Grimm, disgraced godmother and proprietor of Grimm Detective Agency.

Antagonist: The Mirror Cabal, but more importantly Bobby Peoples. She is a shrew human trafficker of humans and Ever Afters alike.

Setting: Grimm, NC. It is a fictional city located in the mountains of NC. Right outside of Asheville on the fictional Highway 160. Grimm is the last Ever After enclave in the world. It started life as a small village and refuge for Ever Afters who couldn't blend into human society or who refused to mainstream.

Plot: In a world where fairy tales are real the Mirror Cabal runs vice in the city of Grimm. From human and Ever After trafficking to drug smuggling, racketeering, loan sharking, and money laundering they flood the city with crime, despair, and death. Madeline Hubbard or MaMa rules the cabal and the city with a ruby encrusted fist.

Chandler Grimm, of THOSE Grimms, a disgraced godmother looking to make a difference in the world she did all she could to destroy. She was drummed out of the Godmother Corp after a lifetime of corruption and decadent living. After her ousting she looked the other way while the Ever After enclave her ancestors helped build flushed itself down the toilet. After the murder of Theo Thumb she has had enough.

Chandler sets about righting the wrongs she let slide. Chandler recruits Dorian Fa, a burnt out lawyer slaving away at the Hall of Justice locking up every Shuffle gang member she can get her hands on. Ember Hood, the only reporter for the Grimm Tribune that will report on cabal activities despite the scare tactics. And Maddox Snow trophy wife looking for adventure with her vigilante night raids on rabbit hole processing centers. Together this motley crew will become Grimm's Angels and they will combat the spreading evil of the Mirror Cabal.

Their first target is Bobby Peoples, proprietor of the Ewe Group, and lowest totem on the Mirror Cabal. Bobby Peoples has lost a sheep and she will kill anyone to get her back. The bodies start to fall and its up to the Angels to put a stop to it and bring Bobby down.

Point of View: Its going to be third person but the focus is going to be on the Angels. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Book Babbling

Amulet of Elusion by Katie Lynn Johnson 

The Nitty Gritty: Alexa Costa is a girl stuck in her hometown till she is 18 but some silly little law. Orphaned at a young age she is raised by a needle wielding swordmaster by the name of Ivy.

She makes the grand mistake of falling in love with Caleb Whitman, a finder of lost objects and all things antique from the forbidden island of San Lucero.

Her 18th birthday is the catapult that hurls this sheltered girl out into the big bad world, and she is shocked at what she finds and who she encounters. With the love of her life at her side and a budding magical power in her back pocket Alexa is going to show the world what a girl determined to never sew another dress can do.

Amulets, sea men, and butterfly kisses oh my!

Opening Line: "The cottage sat on the very edge of the forest, on the outskirts of the vibrant city of San Lucero." 

This is the second ARC I was offered to read by the author for an honest review, and I have to say that I am so honored that writers are trusting me with their babies.

The Good: This is the sort of book you take on a beach vacation or just something to slip into a tub of steaming hot water with a great glass of wine.

Its a simple and quick read. Nothing life shattering or altering. Its easy to fall in step with this novel. Its light hearted even when the heart stopping action get rolling. Which I will admit takes a bit of time to get rolling. But it moves pretty fast once it does. The pacing falters slightly in the beginning as if Johnson is afraid of starting the action before she's gotten a chance to explain everything. I like info dumps as much as the next girl, but give me some action from the start. However once that last birthday candle is blown out we are in a Michael Bey film till the last page.

It does take a couple of chapters to finally get into the plot. Which is a tad annoying, but I know the author was trying to give us a better set up so she can use the rest of the book for the actual book. Which is fine because we don't have to stop in the middle of an action scene for a info dump just so we can keep up.

The Bad: You know how you read a book and all you get is the protagonists and antagonists thoughts and POV and you think to yourself 'gee I want to know what Character A is thinking right now'. Well this book is that thought. Every little errant thought that crosses through any characters head is written out. So this book is that cure all that you've been looking for. Some things don't need to be written out at the exact point. Instead of writing out that Sam was annoyed at something. Just say Sam rolled his eyes to the heavens. That conveys and gives us more than writing out his annoyance.

Sometimes less really is more.

Johnson switches between utter simplicity and overcompensating. Its like watching Forest Gump and that fat guy from Balls of Fury playing ping pong. Its fun for a few minutes, but after awhile you stumble away with a headache wondering if your sister suddenly became a twin.

I hate the song, but I wanted Alexa and Caleb to get us some Blurred Lines. Quibble over doing the right thing just once. Make the worst decision in the history of making decisions. I like squeaky clean characters in my Disney movies, not in my fantasy novels. Both of them are great characters don't misunderstand but they are too great. Sure Alexa is unsure of herself in the beginning, but that should carry over into her life choices and actions. I want some indecision, some clouded judgement on her and Caleb's part. I the two of them together in a scene is sweeter than a slice of pecan pie.

Final Thoughts: Light and easy read that helps chase away those lonely birds when you have an empty house and awaiting the start of The Walking Dead and you've ran out of ice cream.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book Babblings

Possession by J.R. Ward 

The Nitty Gritty: We are back folks for another round of Heaven vs. Hell. The angles had suffered some major losses, and Jim is tired of it. So he sets out to snatch something back from the jaws of hell itself.

Jim Heron had just given Devina a deal of a lifetime. Sissy Barten's soul for a flag. Those flags that represent the wins for each side.

Cait Douglass is a woman on a mission. With a new body, new hair style and new attitude she is crawling herself out of her comfort zone and she starts with the sexy songbird at the Black Crow. G.B could sing the stars out of the sky with his sultry voice and heartfelt words. Cait is instantly attracted. As she goes to meet him for a date a mysterious man pulls her attention

Duke Phillips is a black cloud looking for a landing strip. Being a bouncer at the Iron Mask affords him the fight club he needs to keep himself on an even till. Until a blond bombshell rocks his solitary life to its foundation.  

Opening Line: "Okay...where am I? Where am I...where-"

The Good: The sex is of course always good. Better than most erotic writers out there. Its almost more than a pleasure to get to those nuggets of sex slide in between the pages.

The plot twists in Possession were really good. Unexpected really. It gave the series something it had been lacking since the beginning. Surprise.

I have to admit that I feared Sissy would be a pain in the butt, annoying to the point of frustration. She wasn't. There were times where I wanted to slap her silly, but they were fleeting and few in number. Sissy put on her big girl panties and stepped up to the plate. I got a little pissy with her towards the end, but I can see how Ward is going to write out the ending for her and Heron so I can wait that out. I just hope Sissy is going to do what I think she is going to do in the next two books.

Devina. I've got to say that I am digging this "character." Here is a demon with a severe ODC problem, not to mention a delusional sense of love for the enemy.  I don't mean like the fat nerd in English thinking the high school quarter back is going to ask them to the prom. I mean the when Heaven loses Jim will stand with me as the world burns then we will screw till the end of time delusion. Devina honestly believes she is in love with Jim and the he loves her in return. If only the war for the souls of mankind weren't in the way. Then they could be together. This is an illusion of epic proportions. Right up there with me believing Jay Baruchel is going to propose to me. Don't rain on my parade about that please. Have to love a woman committed to her delusions.

The Bad: I had to say that I think Ward is a bit sexiest. Not in the sense that the women don't play central roles, but they are playing THE central roles. None of the souls that have been in play are women. Even the demon Devina isn't a "real" woman. The demon is just wearing a flesh suit with a great rack. I want one of the souls to be a woman. Give us some variety. I am sure there are plenty of women out there with dark and cloudy pasts that she could give us.

The characters are just starting to be interchangeable. I mean you can line them all up in a line and they all look, and sound the same. Nothing is special or different about any of them. All the woman are small, shockingly white, delicate, blond or brunette. I mean Caldwell is maybe an hour from New York. You can't tell me that there aren't black, Hispanic, Jewish, Cuban, Middle Eastern men and women in Caldwell that Ward can give us. Its all just starting to be blah for me. The men are all too huge to be believable with dark sordid pasts that would make Ted Bundy blush. I'm just looking for some variety. Something different. I mean its getting to the point where I can tell you what's going to happen before I read the book and I really hate that because then I don't have to read the books.  I guess its silly to want a white author to give me characters of color, but I don't think thats so far off the mark. Isn't not like we live in a homogenous society. Even Cheerios got with the program and gave us an interracial couple and child.

Get with the program Ward. Give us a sistah, or a chica, damn even the stylist could have been Korean or Samoan. Hell I will take an Italian Jersey Shore style at this point.

I think its beyond silly that the souls of these men all depend on the women in their lives. And its always the women trying to point them in the right direction. As if all women are virtuous. I know it might sound crazy that as a woman I am advocating for a "bad" girl but I am starved for variety here. All around variety. I guess. I want her to play with some different character archetypes and plot devices. Sure you can go with the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it,' or you can take what works and make it better.  

My Hope for the Series: I just want Ward to get back to the basics. We have two more books to go before the end. Let Sissy get into the game and take Eddie's place or give us back Eddie. I hate that the guardians of the Manse of Souls is splintered. I liked them and I want them ALL back in the game. The book was entertaining, but it wasn't her best.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Babblings

Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis

The Nitty Gritty: Jacque Pierce is enjoying the end of summer vacation before her senior year of high school starts. While on look out duty for the new exchange student something strange happens. She hears a voice in her head, and the new exchange student tunes our to be a hot Romanian with a secret. 

Her world is turned upside down by the arrival of Fane, and the knowledge that she is his mate. Soon Jacque is pulled into the political world of werewolves as she is claimed a mate by two rival wolves.

Opening Line: "Jacque Pierce sat in the window seat in her bedroom looking across the street at her neighbors house: she wasn't really being nosy she though to herself,  just curious."

The Good: Um...Well I can say that this book gave me the pick me up on a bad. It was a laugh, and the laughs just kept on coming. But not for being a good book.

The Bad: This book is one gigantic obnoxious slice of teenage life. From the characters, to the plot, to the dialogue. The MMC's name is Fane Lupei, which means Crown Wolf in Romanian. Are you kidding me? That's like naming a dragon Draco Fuego. Dragon Fire. Its a punch in the face without so much as a kiss hello. Come on Loftis, you can do better than that. That is beyond cheesy. I mean like Barney at a birthday party cheesy.

The book is supposed to be about Jacque, which is fine by me and Loftis does POV switches which again is fine by me. I like 3rd person limited books. What I don't like it that we get the same scenes from Fane's POV and then Jacque's or vice versa. So the plot never really moves at a steady pace. We take two steps forward and have to rewind back.

I don't even know where to begin with Sally and Jen. Sally is only annoying because she is playing off Jen. I don't know what Loftis thinks of modern teenagers but I don't know what that would display such sexual misconduct and speech with a wonton disregard for any adults in the room. I didn't get it and I wanted to slap Jen hard across the face and then wash her mouth out with Bleach.

They just aren't believable as teens. They should have been adults. Well no, this book should have been trashed or maybe been reworked. If Loftis could have found a great editor and maybe better critiquers. Yes that is a word. Look it up.

Loftis needs to look up subtly in the dictionary, and then learn how to apply it. She spells everything out for us like we are two year olds who don't have the basic inference skills to read between the lines. Instead of leaving Fane as the mysterious Romanian next door and have Jacque and her readers figure out what Fane is she slaps use with him during a info dump on page 7 or something. Give me a break. Let me come to the conclusion that this, and that are going to happen in the book. Don't tell me 10 pages in whats going to happen on page 300.

The humor and sarcasm is so forced in this book she could have made a sausage with it. I mean wearing a Twilight shirt that says Team Edward to meet a wolf you don't want to be mated to? That isn't funny or sarcastic. Its pathetic. So of like an old hooker with sagging bobs and varicose veins walking up and down the street in a too short dress. She's past her prime and needs to sit down, but she keeps going.

Prince of Wolves is that hooker.

Final thoughts: I would rather be stuck on a deserted island with nothing but Twilight to read till I die of starvation than read this book or any in the series every again. And I hated Twilight with a white hot passion bordering on insanity.

0 Hearts

Monday, September 16, 2013


So I was dying to get my hands on Lover at Last. There had been all this build up and tease from both Ward and her fans. When I finally got the first copy from the library I tore into it and had it read in about 7 hours. Hey give me a break I had to go to Bible study that night.

I was less than thrilled with book 11. Though I've loved all the previous books. Well Lover Reborn irked me a little bit. Not the book but just some of the actions of the characters. Namely Xhex. I still don't like her and probably never will. However that is neither here nor there.

Synopsis: Wrath and the Brotherhood are locked in an epic battle over his throne and the very future of the vampire race.

My Thoughts: Lover at Last left me a little disappointed. After 11 books its almost as if Ward has forgotten what her characters sound like. In LAL all the brothers started to sound the same and the stars of the book Blay and Qhuinn were overshadowed by the introduction of new characters and plot lines. I know she had to set up the next book but that still should have taken a backseat to Blay and Qhuinn. I mean she didn't let them finally get together till 500 into the book, and then we had to read about the progression of their relationship in the epilogue. I just didn't think was fair since their build up started in book 5.

So while I am waiting for the King I don't know if I am anticipating it. So many of my favorite urban fantasy books came out of the gates swinging hard only to end up in a dark alley face up with Colombian necktie. I fear the BDB is walking toward that alley. There's enough time for her to turn it all around, but she has to be careful. I mean there are have tidbits about the book released by Ward herself. Apparently we are going to get more Murdher in the book and my only question is...who asked for more Murdher? He's some crazy vamp from Xhex's past do we really need an actual plot line with him in it?  I can't be the only one who doesn't care about him. We get to see more of the orgy chick that services Assail and the Bastards. Like I care about her either.

I think if Ward got rid of all these extra characters and side stories she could focus on the crux of the BDB universe. I'm just praying the BDB don't go the way of the Dodo bird.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cover Revel

UK cover
US Cover

So if you've been hiding out in a cave the last few years you probably don't know that the Uk book covers are always different from the US covers. I'm not sure why but that is just the way of the world. Sometimes our coves are better and sometimes not. For me I like the UK cover of the Heroes of Olympus, but I love the US cover of Half Blood Prince.

While neither of these cover really captures what Ward has described Wrath as. I think they are trying to be super sexy and Wrath is more of the lethal beauty sort or vamp. He isn't Edward Cullen. More Blade than anything. So I think the models on both covers is a misstep. To be honest I can't decide which cover I like better. The UK version has Wrath is more of a guardian angel. He is watching over the city of Caldwell filled with his subjects and the US version has Wrath sitting uncomfortably on his throne. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and all that jazz.

Both covers are nice renderings and they are eye catching. Look forward to more Wrath in his upcoming book.  

Flowers for A Grimm

Chapter: High Ho'

Quintus was not a dwarf that liked to be kept waiting. He fancied himself just as important as the Snow Queen herself. Never mind that fact that he was the fifth oldest of seven dwarves and that he was a little lower than a bank teller. He was one of the Seven Dwarves and that alone made him important.

He fiddled with his ruby cufflinks and then he fumbled with his caveat at his throat. It was a old style he was sure but it was still stylish and he felt all the more important for being brave enough to wear one. Quintus would wear it till it was back in fashion and then he would go back to his bow ties. If everyone else was doing it it wasn’t in style was what he said.

He was a very important dwarf and he had things he needed to attend to.

Namely India Jin. He shook his head of such fantasies. He had business to get on with, and business for a dwarf always come first.

He looked down at his watch and swallowed back a sigh. His partner was never on time, but this was pushing it. He heard a twig snap. “Who’s there?” he demanded. He couldn’t understand why they had to keep meeting in the Enchanted Forest. The place always gave him a raging case of the creeps.

Dwarves liked wide open spaces with rich chocolate earth. Trees took up burrowing and tunneling space. Not to mention those damned nixies.

His partner stepped free of the trees in one smooth motion. Not one branch broke or snapped off. Seeing the perfection of his partner’s entrance did not put Quintus in a better mood.

“You kept me waiting.” It was more of a bark than actual speech, but Quintus was sure his intention had been telegraphed properly.

“You bow and scrap at the feet of that pretender on the throne and you dare give me lip about time.” The voice under the cowl almost sent Quintus into a shiver.

He felt doused in a bucket of ice cold water. It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t that voice should be singing lullabies in the Summerlands.

Quintus took a step back. “Who are you?” he asked. For certain this was not his partner.

“Don’t you remember me Quintus?” The cloaked figure took a step forward. “We were the best of friends.” Another step.

Quintus took another step back. His back bumped up against a tree. He was running out of room. “No it can’t be. You’re dead.” He reasoned trying to keep the wine out of his voice.

The figure laughed. It was entirely without mirth or warmth. “The news of my death were gravely exaggerated. I was given a kindness.” He was a mere hair breath away from Quintus now.

“What do you want with me?” He squeaked.

“Oh my dear Quintus you are going to be given a great honor.” A hand shot out of the cloak and closed around Quintus’ neck. “You are going to be the Snow Queen’s harbinger of death.”

Waiting and Anticipating....

Rick Riordan has become one of my favorite authors. I am a total Percy fangirl. Well in this series Leo and Hazel are my favorites. I am still trying to warm up to Annabeth, but she has this sense of entitlement that I found grating in the Jackson series and its further irritating in Heroes of Olympus.

Synopsis: At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

My Thoughts: I really think we are going to see Percy come into his own in this book. Sure Percy staved off the Titans in the first series, but that was a lot of smoke and mirrors and luck. This book is really going to test him. Annabeth is going to test him, and Percy is going to rise to the top. I want to see a lot more of Leo in this book. I feel like Riordan is using him as comedic fodder and he has so much potential. I don't want him regulated to the sidekick role.

I really wish Riordan would research the by-play between POC of their white counterparts a little more. Especially if he is going to pull characters from a time before Civil Rights. Its one thing to stick Hazel in that situation and then put her in the modern world just to give her an interesting backstory. Its another thing to really let Hazel own the world she grew up in and the world she faces now.

The relationship between Hazel and Nico is going to be interesting and I hope Riordan gives it to us. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Babblings

Rise of the Fallen by Donya Lynne

The Nitty Gritty: Micah Black is a male on the edge. The edge of his 18th floor balcony. His mate packed up his bags and walked out. That would be fine for a normal man to get over, but not a bonded vampire. Its a fate worse than death.

And Micah wants to die. He sets up his murder at the hands of Apostle, a dreak cop itching to bust a few vampire heads. In steps Samantha Garret. A ex-army medic currently working the pole at the Black Garter trying to escape an abusive husband. She breaks up the vampire execution and incurs the wrath of Apostle. along the way she brings Micah back from the brink of self destruction.

Opening Line: "Glass shattered as the heavy vase flew across the room and smashed against the wall."

The Good: For a free book this was a great first opening gambit. It wasn't spectacular by any stretch of he imagination, but it was enough to pique my interest in the series.  The book should have been longer. I felt like Lynne cut a lot out to make it fit into the free e-book category to entice readers and buys.

She took a detour on the sex and introduced us to vampire BDSM with some subtle knife play. I have to give her an A for effort on that front. It wasn't a smack in the face with the BDSM, it was a natural flow.

The sex scenes were good I would have liked to have seen more POV switches during the sex however. It all seemed to be coming from Sam's POV and I thought that it would have up the steam factor to have gotten Micah's POV once in awhile.

The Bad: This reads like Black Dagger Brotherhood fanfiction. Now don't get me wrong its a nicely written book and I finished the whole thing, but the similarities with the BDB is uncanny.

1. We have a set of vampire warriors charged with protecting the race.
2. they have been fighting this foe for years.
3. The books center around the matings between the AKM and their mates. Be they other King's Men. or other females.
4. Vampire males have biological bondings and matings with their mates
5. Vampires can dematerialize and wipe memories from the minds of humans.
6. All the AKM are scared males that need the loving touch of their mates to redeem them.
7. everyone is either a male or a female.
8. Local watering hole that AKM go to to unwind, troll for sex and drink.

Micah and Sam's relationship went from 0 to 180 mph in less than 2.5 seconds. There just wasn't enough time for the give and pull you would expect from a male that tells you he is a blood sucking vampire. Now I wasn't looking for a meltdown. But come on at least give me half a chapter or something. Sam thought about it for ten seconds before she climbed into bed with Micah.

The opening chapters were used to info dump which I hated. I mean it did open with the fight Micah was itching for, but then it was a lot of backstory that could have been woven in with byplay between the characters.

Final Thoughts: I hope that in the books to follow she steps out of the BDB mold and carves out a series for herself. I do want to read the second book at least.

Waiting and Anticipating.....

So I've been a Ward fan since I got the recommendation to read Dark Lover from a friend on Goodreads. These so called BDSM erotic writers trying to ride El James very short coattails should beg Ward to give them lessons on how to write a sex scene. The woman is good and so are her scenes. Though she does tend to use the same word over and over again, but then there are only so many ways you can use to describe a woman's who-ha.

I've loved the Black Dagger Brotherhood since Wrath and Beth's story. I was a little miffed at Ward for Lover at Last. However this isn't a BDB book. This is an Fallen Angels novel and I am looking forward to it. Jim was the very of a very high cliff overlooking the pit of hell itself. I can't say that I understand what going on with him and Sissy and I can't really say that as this point I even care about her. I mean that's cruel to say but I am more interested in the game between Jim and Davina than anything else.

Synopsis: When Cait Douglass resolves to get over her broken heart, throw off her inhibitions, and start really living, she’s unprepared for the two sensual men who cross her path. Torn between them, she doesn’t know which to choose--or what kind of dire consequences could follow.

Jim Heron, fallen angel and reluctant savior, is ahead in the war, but he puts everything at risk when he seeks to make a deal with the devil--literally. As yet another soul is unwittingly caught in the battle between him and the demon Devina, his fixation on an innocent trapped in Hell threatens to sidetrack him from his sacred duty...

Can good still prevail if true love makes a savior weak? And will a woman’s future be the key, or the curse, for all of humanity? Only time, and hearts, will tell.

My Thoughts: I think this book is going to the tipping point in the good verse evil struggle. I am loving the gay angle with the angels. I mean being a Christian it was a little shocking to say the least but then I just remember that this is a work of fiction and not to be taken seriously. That is a hard think for a diehard nerd like me though. I mean I'm just waiting on submitting my Star Fleet application.

I want to see what is going on with Eddie. They are just carrying around his body and I have a feeling that is going to come into play later in the books. I hope its this one. I can't stand this mopey Adrian. I need him being hard and fast. He makes this books a lot more interesting when he has something to prove. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Waiting and Anticipating......

So I was just bopping around on Goodreads today and I find out that John Flanagan is gifting us with one last trip with Will Treaty!!

I am in hog heaven over this. The Ranger's Apprentice is one of my favorite book series. I am so love with all the characters even if I started out hating Horace.

I think the first time I stumbled across this book I was in Barnes and Noble looking for a hardback copy of The Sorcerers Stone. The jacket of The Ruins of Gorlan caught my attention. I bought the book and the next day I was back for the second one, then the third, and well you get the picture. I have since turned two cousins and a nephew onto this series.

I clapped like a five year old at a Beiber concert when Flanagan wrote the Brotherband Chronicles. I'm hoping he keeps expanding the Rangerverse and keeping giving us tales from the other kingdoms and other characters. In 11 books his characters kept growing and improving and the story line never lost steam. Charlaine Harris, Laurel Hamilton, PC Cast, and other urban fantasy writers could take some lessons from him.

The Synopsis: John Flanagan stated in an interview that the final book of the series will tell the story of Will's first apprentice being the first female ranger. And it will take place 16 years after Will and Alyss's wedding in The Lost Stories

My Thoughts: From the little teaser chapter that has been released I am dredging reading what I fear is going to be the death of one of the main characters. Not because I particularly care about this character, but because of what that death is going to do to the character I do care about. I am a little miffed that we won't get the book till Nov. 5 and the UK and Australia get it Oct. 1. Might have to bribe one of my Manchester friends into getting it for me and shipping it. Sometimes the Uk book jackets look better than the American ones...just saying. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book Babblings

To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory 

The Nitty Gritty: Dulcie O'Neil is a fairy regulator for he ANC. Its her job to keep the supernatural set of California in line. In short she is the long arm of the law for creatures from the Netherworld.

After a nasty hex from a well known illegal potion smuggler Dulcie returns to arrest the bastard. Only to find him ripped apart and half eaten, and now she is the prime suspect.

On the hunt for the killer she is saddled with a agent from the Netherworld and she can't tell anyone. Oh and she might be in the middle of a love square. All in a day's work for a fairy.

Opening Line: "There was no way n hell I was looking in the mirror."

The Good: I had such incredible high hopes for this book. The jacket grabbed my attention for the word go. Society has always placed fairies in the non-threatening category. After all we call gay men with more glitter than testosterone, fairies in an effort to emasculate them. So we never think of fairies as doing more than flying and giggling. I love you Tinkerbell! So I loved that Mallory took a fairy, gave her a gun and a bit of an attitude. It was a nice touch in a otherwise lackluster book.

The Bad: Dulcie O'Neil is all that is wrong with this book. So much so that I was unable to finish this book because I wanted to physically throw up if I had to spend another second being inside her head. Her name sucks. Not in a candy sucking sort of way either. It really sucks. Its not a name that rolls easily off the tongue. Its not a name that makes any sort of sense and I had a class with a honest to God, Bonquesha.

I found her hatred of her ears completely annoying. I am all for a wardrobe upgrade, a new hair color or sexier panties. But I draw that line at changing something that fundamentally makes you who you are. It would be like me not wanting to be black anymore. Being black is who I am. Part of who makes me who I am. To think about hating that part of myself enough to want to change that makes me physically ill.

The "love" square in this book went beyond the pale of believability. None of it made sense. There wasn't enough build up and you should never throw more than two potential lovers at a characters in the first book. I mean come on whet our appetites a bit first. I just felt that she was trying too hard to work in some romance in a book that would have been a better book without it.

I am so sick and tired of female leads with self esteem issues. Seriously! I am serious. What gives? Are women that self conscious about themselves. Are we that shallow that we are always thinking about our appearance and measuring ourselves up against other women? Its disgusting that everyone thinks Dulcie is beautiful and she thinks she is an ugly hag. Any woman that enters her line of sight is in danger of a death glare because Dulcie thinks they are prettier than her and thus after her man. Which man we don't know because she had a harem of them to choose from.

Final Thoughts: Will never finish this book nor start the rest of the books.

0 stars

Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Babblings

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy 

The Nitty Gritty: Stephanie Edgley is a girl mourning the sudden passing of a beloved uncle. She doesn't have long to mourn as he leaves a house and a fortune to her.

Sitting alone in hew newly acquired home she is rescued by Detective Skulduggery Pleasant, a war veteran, who just happens to be a living skeleton.

Thrust into the world of magic young Stephanie is loath to return to her ordinary life, especially not after she learns that her dearly departed uncle was the vicitim of a magical attack. With new threads, a spanking new name, and a fire wielding skeleton for a partner Valkyrie Cain will risk life and limb to prove she is more than just a kid.

Opening Line: "Gordon Edgley's sudden death came as a shock to everyone-not least himself.."

The Good: I am in love with Valkyrie Cain. She is a breath of fresh air in a literary world choking under the smog of Bella Swan rip-offs. I love her name. Its not a name she comes to lightly, and not a name that instantly transform her into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her name does invoke a warrior goddess bringing her enemies to their knees. And that is what Valkyrie does. Though not in the traditional sense that we think a warrior woman should do. Her unshakable loyalty, sense of justice, and stubbornness are just as much tools of warfare as a gun, sword or fireball. She is technically a kid. Landy never lets us forget that and neither does he.

However we are teased with the budding powers of Stephanie as she begins to unlock the sleeping magic that has been buried in her family through fear and unbelief.

Landy took the trope out of a YA fantasy book. We have been bombarded with werewolves, vampires, love sick teen girls with low self esteem and daddy issues to the point where its all blurring together and the book sales are starting to level off and drop in some instances. It was a fun run while it lasted, but the YA set is demanding more and I applaud Landy for breaking that YA mold and giving it to them.

Who would have thought that in this zombie obsessed culture that we would read a book about a skeleton. With him being the good guy. Pleasant isn't sickeningly good nor is he so tortured that its hard to think of him as the good guy. He is the Batman of the YA set. He does have a tortured past that takes a lot for him to get past so that he can be effective in the present, but it shaped him into the skeleton he is today. Today he can laugh and joke with Valkyrie while pursuing his quarry to the ends of the earth. Never once did he sake Cain's faith in him. Not once did we question his motives. Others night have, but Landy's readers didn't. The revelations of his past helped us care more about him.

Landy also broke another YA trope. He gave his female lead a functioning set of parents. Especially her father. He might have been a tad forgetful, but he loved Stephanie. Even sat down to have a heart to heart with her where he showed us how deep his love went. Though if you're like me you were frustrated that he didn't want anything to do with magic thus forcing Step to lie to him.

The Bad: I would have thought that the villain would have taken a little more to take down. As much of a presence that Cain played in the rest of the book I would have liked to have seen a bit more from her in the final take down of the villain.

Don't get me wrong I'm glad that Cain wasn't written off as a ditzy little girl and pushed aside while the grownups did all the work, but as much as she did in the moments leading up to the final showdown I wanted her to be more of a part of it. Of course this could be because she is not a warrior mage like the other characters and Landy wanted to tease us a bit more.

Final Thoughts: This is an exciting series one that I look forward to delving head first into.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Changling, my Changling

Chapter 1

The moon hung low and bright in the midst of the inky blackness that was winter's first night. A tiny silver sickle was the only source of light within the dense forest. Only two creatures lurking in the forest needed the reassurance from the moon. The rest of the creatures took solace in the cold arms of darkness. 

Jack Frost, in all his chilling glory, was already making his slow trek across the carpet of moss and grass. A pair of Black Knights stood tall and valiant in the flow of the moon and the frost in the air. Their breath, the only things moving, swirled from their nostrils in lazy patterns. Their chests rose and fell with a synchronized, practiced rhythm born of years of hard fighting. The silence of the forest stretched. 

Neither man felt the need to speak. 

They were on the hunt. Silence and stealth were their forerunners. Their prey was trying to hide, but the creature was going to make a mistake. 

They always did. 

The Knights stood side by side in a relaxed pose. Almost as if this was a bromace night out in the country. 

They slide their sword free of its scabbard without so much as a whisper of sound. A twig snapped. 
The knights sprang in silent action. Nathan broke off to the left, Martin took the right. Nothing needed to be spoken. Their training was showing. Each knight took care of their footfalls as they ghosted from one bare patch of cover to the other. Another twig snapped followed by a soft curse. Martin's ear twitched at the sound. He was closet to the sound and he stepped out of the shadows to engage their prey. 

"Its easier if you surrender." He barely spoke above a whisper. His voice ladened with an ironclad command. His eyes zeroed in on the possible hiding place of their target. He was not going to repeat himself.

Nathan didn't break cover. He was the backup in this chase. Just in case their prey tried to run again. He would need to cut them off at the pass. 

With trembling steps a girl moved out from the shadows. She was a tiny thing, reeking of teenage drama and woes, barely old enough to wonder about the poor job her training bra was doing. The girl was shivering in a stained and ripped sweater dress that was clearly too big for her. Her pale skin glowed translucent under the moonlight. It was currently dotted with flecks of mud and blood from her mad dash through the forest. "I haven't done anything wrong." Her voice trembled. Nathan was sure it was born of fear more than the cold. 

Martin advanced on her. "I am not here for your pleas for mercy demon." The moon glinted off the chaste surface of his sword. 

The girl’s eyes widen to dinner plates when she saw the sword. She took a step back from Martin's advances. She has lost her shoes in the pursuit. "Please," she begged chewing on her bottom lip nervously. Her hands came up in silent surrender.  

Martin took no notice of her placations. "By the covenant of the Black Knights with the Almighty I sentence you to death for your crimes against the created." That was all the girl needed to hear. She let loose a whimper and turned to take off into the forest once again. 

She had been quick as a dart, but by God Martin was faster. His arm shot out grabbing a fist full of the girl's hair. 

Nathan jumped out of the shadows of his perch to intercept the girl. He was not keen on another chase. There was only so much his body could do at his advance age. 

With a vicious yank Martin drug the girl backwards. She fell with a thud and a tiny crack. "Praise God for this victory." He stepped on the girl's arm to hold her down. The girl looked up at him, her eyes round and pleading, silent tears streaming down her face. Martin looked down at her. Pure malice pouring out of his eyes. "May God show you mercy." She opened her mouth to scream. 

Martin swung his sword. She never got the scream past her lips before her life's blood stained the steel of Martin's sword. 

Nathan stood over the girl as Martin pulled his heavy boot off her arm. The logo of his boot branded across the flesh of her arm. Her fingers gave a final twitch before settling into a death grip. 

A heavy silence fell in the forest. The darkness grew heavy with sadness. 

Nathan was the first to break the silence, “What have you done?” he demanded as he turned away from his brother in arms. His chest rose and fell in rapid succession. The night air was suddenly thick with the rich smell of fresh blood. As Nathan spoke, the coppery tinge coated his tongue. 

Martin moved away from the body like discarded trash. He pulled a black handkerchief from his left back pocket to begin to cleaning his sword. “I have only done what you have been failing and unwilling to do Nathan.” Martin started at the hilt of his long broadsword working his way down to the tip. 

His sword was a gloriously wicked affair. Majestic, as that was its name was a 12 foot double edged sword wrapped in blackened steel. It was fabled that the Knights' swords were worked with meteorite rock. Its beauty was currently marred with the blood of the dead teenager. Moonlight caught the jewels worked into the crosspiece sending silver bursts of moonlight across Nathan’s face. 

Nathan backed away from the light show. He jabbed his sword toward the mangled body steaming a few feet away. “This is not what we do.” He growled. He punctuated each word with a jab of his sword. 

“It should be.” Martin snapped. He bite back the rest of the angry retort. It took him a minute to pull himself together. Martin shook his head and continued. “Have you grown weary of the fight?" He looked down to finish cleaning his sword. "This is not the first changling we have put down. Is that the source of your disgust?” Martin looked to study Nathan's face. Nathan's stomach rolled with the accusation. This was not the first time they had this argument. Since Martin had taken his vows, nearly 25 years ago to the day, they had upheld their pledge to guard mortals against the onslaught of the supernatural.

They stood as sentries in the night protecting people from the things of nightmares and fairy tales. The pair had been brother in arms as well as friends since that day. However Nathan feared Martin had lost his way. He was waging a one man war against the very mortals they were sworn to protect. A changling was no more responsible for what they were than the man on the moon. Martin believed in the divine justice he wielded with his sword.  

Nathan snorted as he sheaved his sword once again. It was clean of any blood or gore. “I am disgusted that you are killing innocents!" The cold fury in his voice snapped like a whip. A startled bird took flight from a nearby tree. "The child could have been saved." Nathan's shoulders slumped as he sighed. His tirade finally spent. 

He couldn’t help the movement of his head as he turned to gaze at the the body. Nor could he help the tears that rolled down his face. 

Martin calmly sheaved his sword as he spat. Nathan's tantrum's were nothing new. They had been brothers since Martin's vows. Tonight he feared Nathan's tantrums would only get worse. 

“She was a changling Nathan. There is no saving that. It was going to come out sooner or later. I don’t like to gamble on the later.” He bent down to retrieve his hastily discarded duster and cross. “It wasn’t human Nathan. Don’t waste tears on evil.” He shrugged himself into the black duster and draped his heavy cross around his neck. "Hold your tears for the souls we just saved.” He away turned from Nathan to walk back to their rented SUV.

Nathan stood in the grove of trees alone. His head bent in a silent prayer “Lord forgive us for we know not what we have done.” Nathan’s eyes lingered on the child’s body. Her eyes frozen open in terror. Her last scream had been chocked off by Martin’s brutally efficient slash across her throat. 

The child's beauty eternally marred by Martin's savagery. 

Nathan closed his eyes and walked away.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NaNoWriMo Idea #1

Title: Wake the Dragon

Genre: fantasy

Protagonist: Ember Grace, the only female dragon hunter. She met her first dragon when she was seven and after her sister was killed by a dragon she vowed to kill as many as she could. Ember takes the loss hard, its what shapes her into the person she is today. Ember, a dragon hatchling abandoned by her dragon mother had her dragon flame stolen making her human. She is adopted by her mother's handmaidens and raised in the human world. Her mother, the Dragon Sun Goddess, fearing war in The Summerlands took her daughter to the human world to keep her safe.

Other Main Character: Lennox, Crown Prince of Clan Darrow, blooded son of Dragon Queen of Fire and Light, Avery.  The Dragon Queen Avery. Her handmaidens Lily and Ivy.

Antagonist: The Danvers clan and their hired gun, the White Dragon Cain, and the Guardian council. While they have the simple mandate of keeping the Fae hidden from humans the new Blackstaff is less forgiving. She wants all the Fae eradicated. Even human sympathizers.

Setting: I want to set this in a real city, but then I don't want to research a real city. I mean we have enough stories based in New York and L.A so my top choices are Philly and Boston, but I'm a southern girl so I have no idea what they do up north. Might have to noodle this awhile longer.

Plot: Ember Grace is the best dragon hunter the Guardian Council has ever seen. Her capture rate is 96%. Its her job to capture rogue dragons that threaten the Troll Accords. Fae and humans have a strict treaty to prevent a war between the races. Fae stay hidden and humans leave fae alone.

She is sent on the trail of a particular vicious dragon who is leaving the bodies of mutilated women all over the city. Ember tracks the dragon to his den where she is attacked and left for dead. Lennox, the Dragon Crown Prince saves her life with his dragon’s kiss. The kiss reawakens her dragon’s flame and they are mated. Dragons mate for life.

This throws the dragon clans in upheaval. Lennox was promised Nia Danvers. Now Ember must navigate the political backlash from his choice while she learns about being a dragon, a princess, learning to love Lennox, and still hunting for her killer.

The killer is a black dragon of the exiled Dermott clan, contracted by the Danvers clan to kill the queen, and Ember as the Dragon Goddesses daughter (though that is the plot for another book in the series).

Point of View: This is either going to be first person from Ember's point of view or its going to be third person from the plot's point of view.

Story Notes: Still trying to decide if I want to make this an urban fantasy book or just a fantasy book and set it in a fictional world. I'm getting better at world building and such so I may try my hand at it again. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

White Authors writing Black Characters

If you don't know by now I am a black woman. Seriously go check out my About Me page. There is a big picture of me live and in living color. I love being black and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Yes there are a lot of things that I would change in a heartbeat about the state of blacks in America, but that is for another post.

I love reading if you didn't know that either. I'm fantasy hound. I love all things fantasy. Well I'm starting to get into horror a little bit but I'm not sure it falls under fantasy. As you can imagine there isn't a lot of characters of color in fantasy books. Let alone people of color writing fantasy books. I hope to change that with my books.

Since there aren't a lot of black authors writing fantasy it has fallen to white people to try and include black people in their books. Well some of them are trying. Now don't misunderstand me I am in no way saying that white can't write characters of color. Hell I have white characters in my books, not a lot mind you but some. My question is are they writing black characters?

My bone on contention is on their portrayal of black characters. Their black characters are as shallow as a kiddie pool during a hot Texas day. They are all working off the same cheat sheet that was created in the 1950s.

They are working from basic Black Character Archetypes that rarely vary or change. Its almost as if they believe that black people are incapable of straying from these archetypes. That we can't evolve.  Or they are just being lazy. Not taking the time to research, interact with, observe black people in our natural environments.

Here is are just a few of the most basic character archetypes that are used for the basis of black characters in literature.  

1. Mamie 
This is a black female character that is used to be the mother figure in the tale. She is affectionate, compassionate, she is used as the foil for other mothers or mother figures. She is usually an older, often overweight woman. I mean if she is going to be your mother she can't me sexy right. Soccer moms are not sexy. They have cheese doodles in their hair and they drive space shuttle mom vans.

And since she is black she has to be fat because most of us are fat.

She helps the title characters navigate the turmoil that is their lives. There advice and comfort is often sought, but is never heeded.

Though she is black she is as close to white as can be in her mannerisms. After all the white characters have to feel comfortable coming to her. She most often lives in the burbs with 2.5 children, a dotting husband.

Notable Characters: Claire Washburn from Womens' Murder club mysteries by James Patterson. Mammy from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

2. Sex Kitten

Here is a woman that has no moral compass when it comes to her sex life. She enjoys it and she will have it with you, your best friend and your husband if she has half the chance. She is every white man's fantasy. Carmel colored skin (because dark skinned women aren't the sex kittens), long black hair that is permed and silky to the touch.

She loves her role as the sex kitten and will even turn down offers to take her away from all her troubles because this is all she knows. She sometimes is an actual working girl but most often she just enjoys sex. Where as Samantha was Sex and the City was applauded for her sexual escapades, the Black Sex Kitten is the butt of all jokes. She is the woman to hide your men from and turn your nose up at. She is the woman to compare your sexual knowledge against. If she knows it, its bad, if you don't do it you're a good girl.

3. Tall, dark and psycho
This man's name is Dangerous, with a capital D. He comes from a broken home. A single mother with his father either in jail, dead or just a deadbeat. He is most often the oldest child of many. He never finished school and he fall in with a bad element, went to juvie and or jail and just can't seem to get his life in order.

Possibly because he is just a rotten apple to the core. He is the man our mothers warned us about. He gets off on hurting people. Especially women. He is the nightmare the KKK is still trying to protect white women from.

Something is misfiring in his brain and there aren't any redeeming qualities for this man. He should be put down and put down hard as soon as possible.

Sometimes this man is giving some redeeming qualities because he is the bad boy love interest of the white female lead. Because just like the white man craves a black sex kitten, the white woman craves her Mandingo. He is used as the foil for the white male lead when he makes a move on the FMC. She has to have someone to choose from. I mean she can't just have one man interested in her.

Notable Characters: Blade in Blade comics by Marv Wolfman, Mustafa from the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlene Harris, Jamal from the Nikki Glass series by Jenna Black, Ranger from Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich (he is not black but only because in an Italian girl dating a black guy in Jersey is liable to cause WWIII, so is his Cuban which is close enough), Zayvon Jones from Allie Beckstorm novels by Devon Monk, Tom Robinson from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4. Ghetto Fabulous or the Hood Rat
This can be a man but most often its a female. She is uneducated and likes it that way. She is a finger popping, neck rolling, bubble gum chewing ghetto queen and proud of it. She too comes from a broken home. She was either molested as a child or a former or current prostitute. She too has a bust moral compass. She will do anything that profits her. She is loyal to her family and her hood and she will protect it to the detriment of all else. She has two or more children with two or more baby daddies. She is unmarried and always on the lookout for another baby daddy or a sugar daddy to keep her in her Dolce and Gabana sunglasses. She can be a good mother when she puts her mind to it, but she is more concerned with securing a steady income from her various schemes than she is in being a good mom.

She is the ghetto tour guide for the white leads. I mean they have to delve into the underbelly of society from time to time. They can't be expected to navigate that alone. Hood Rat to the rescue.

Notable Characters: Lula from Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich,

5. Fat Chick

She is the comic relief. Her wit is razor sharp and she can reduce a man to a thumb sucking, sniffling baby in 2.5 seconds. She is smart, she is sassy. She has to be. She takes the brunt of all the jokes and scorn in the book. She is the ugly girl that allows the main white character to shine even more than she should.

She is either completely incompetent at everything. That way the white character is the only star in the system, or she is the sidekick who knows everything but feeds it to the white main character that way she once again is the only star, but a smart star. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Babblings

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich 

The Nitty Gritty: Stephanie Plum is up to her elbows in cleaver wielding murders, wanger waving skips, and stick bbq sauce in her 15th installment.

After Lula witnesses the murder of a celebrity chef her life is in danger. Plum to the rescue. Between working her actual job as a bond enforcement agent, being Lula's body guard and helping Ranger with his little security problem Plum is in need of a hunk of birthday cake in the worst way.

Opening Line: "When I was a kid, I was afraid of spiders and vegetables."

The Good: Ranger's flirtatious nature gives me heart palpitations in the worst way. I might not be so bad if I had a husband, but since I'm single a girl has to get her kicks somehow right?

Grandma Mazur is without a doubt the coolest woman over the age of 75. She is grabbing life by the balls and refusing to let go. She isn't afraid to put herself out there to simple test the waters. Even when crazed maniacs stab her in the middle of broad daylight she manages to keep her wits enough to wonder if she can show off her wound at the funeral home for her 15 minutes of fame. Whereas Stephanie panics when the 7-11 is out of Snickers.

I actually like Joe Morelli. Here is a man that makes no apologies for the man that he is. He is an Italian stallions that likes his meatball subs, beer, and sex. Sometimes not that in that order either. He doesn't let Stephanie push him around to get her way. He doesn't change to make her happy. I like that.

The Bad: Wow, we are at book 15 people. Book 15. And Plum is still the exact same person she was on One for The Money. Nothing has changed for her, nothing has improved. I mean I can now read the jacket on each book and predict the ending without reading a single word.

Stephanie will find a dead body or one will be dropped off at her apartment. I mean everyone break into her apartment right. Then there will be some cursing a shooting by Lula. Copious amounts of chicken from Cluck in a Bucket, some laughable apprehension scenes, sexual tension with Ranger, sex with Morelli, mounds of poo from Bob and miraculously Stephanie will somehow save the day.

This woman defies logic. She eats at least four cakes per book, buckets and buckets of chicken, lamb, ham, fries, cokes, tastykakes, peanut butter and olive sandwiches, and doesn't gain a pound. I mean I am impressed.

Whereas Lula, the lovable comic relief seems to get bigger as the series progresses. Yet she eats the same amount of food Stephanie does. In fact in this book Plum has the gaul to suggest that Lula goes on a diet. As if Stephanie is the healthiest person in the world.

I mean I don't know about anyone else but I am sick of Stephanie's life. She doesn't have any marketable skill set. She can't cook, she can't clean, she works in a job that requires her to carry a gun and in fact she has been in situations that could have been avoidable is she had bee carrying yet she keeps her gun in a cookie jar as if that makes it acceptable.

We are at book 15 and she is still mystified at the fact that she sucks at her job. I don't understand why she keeps letting her skips out of her sight to use the bathroom, or lock up the house, or check the thermostat. We all know what's going to happen yet Stephanie falls for the same trick over and over again. I'm starting to think Rex is the smart one in that relationship. At least he doesn't pretend that he's not running on his wheel.

Speaking of Rex he is the hamster that just won't die. The average lifespan for a hamster is 3 years on a good day. Rex was alive before the series started. Wherever she got that hamster they need to give us the secret to eternal life.

Stephanie is afraid of everything. Yet she does nothing to overcome that fear. She keeps walking into the same traps, the same bad situations, over and over again. I could set my menstrual cycle by it.

And I am getting sick of her and the triangle sex, maybe its love thing. I could see this from an 18, but Plum is well over 30. There has to come a point in your life when you grow the hell up and put on your big girl panties. Ranger does not want to date her, he does not want to marry her he has made the clear time and time again yet Plum is still struggling with her attraction to him. Yes he is gorgeous and a wonderful lay, but that's as far as anything goes with Ranger and Plum has said that she wants more. However when presented with more with Morelli she balks.

She wants to keep her apartment. I've seen cell blocks with more personality than her place. Its constantly getting broken into, dead bodies dropped off, crazed killers on the fire escape yet she wants to keep it. Morelli wants more with her but she wants to keep playing these games.

If I were Morelli and Ranger I would tell her to go eat a birthday cake and then take a flying leap into the Hudson. Both of them deserve more.

Final Thoughts: I just can't keep going with this series. Jackass 3D had more character development than this series.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Babblings

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

The Nitty Gritty: Stephanie Plum is an out of work lingerie buyer. Hocking her furniture for hamster food is as low as hse is willing to go. When her mother mentions that her cousin Vinny (yes I realize the inside joke) is hiring Stephanie is reluctant to take the job.

When $10,000 and the prospect of getting even with Joe Morelli is dangled in front of her she can't resist getting in the bounty hunter game.

Well she should have read the job description because she is ill prepared when the great Trenton boxer Benito Ramirez starts stalking her and leaving half dead hookers on her fire escape.

To top of it Morelli might be innocent or he might just be a really good kisser. Plum can't decide which one, but she does want that ten grand. A girl needs furniture in her life.

Opening Line: "There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever."

I've seen this books laying around the library for years. Even during the semi-annual book sale I've bought a couple of them. Hey when you can get all the books you can squeeze into a plastic shopping bag for $3 you grab anything that looks interesting. I actually had Two for the Dough and Three to Get Deadly for nearly a year before I decided to sit down and actually read the books. So I started at the beginning.

The Good: First I love Grandma Mazur. She is funny as all get out just because she can be. When she shot that chicken I had tears streaming down my face. Anytime you can make a old person cool you got my vote.

Is it bad that I sort of want to meet Morelli in the flesh? Not sure if its to slap him or kiss him, but I wouldn't mind a sit down with the man. He walks a fine line between charming and revolting.

I can't remember the last time I laughed so much reading a mystery. True be told I'm not well versed in the genre. I've read James Patterson, Dan Brown and John Grisham, but that's about it. Mystery just isn't my bad, sorry. I'm a fantasy nerd. Sue me. The book itself wasn't laugh out funny, but there were certainly funny parts. Yeah I know the guy getting blown up in the car wasn't supposed to be funny but Stephanie running around without any eyebrows is pretty darned funny.

Living in the south I can understand how certainly parts of the county seem like foreign countries and I love how Evanovich sets up Trenton as something to be avoided because only Trenton should spend any amount of time in Trenton. I know Evanovich isn't a fantasy writer but I love her world building. Even if she is using a real place.

I'm still debating whether or not I like Stephanie. She just doesn't seem to have a back bone most of the time, but she does face down her fears like a champ. She's just so much of a girly girl that I find her annoying at times and other times I'm applauding her gall. Locking up a man in a refrigerated truck to collect his bounty took balls and I like that.

The Bad: Obviously this book is old school. It was written in 1994 so all the car phone references, chicks and grandmas running around with spandex shorts are slight irritating. I grew up in the 80s and 90s and don't remember women wearing that much spandex.

Ok and the whole tunnel job in daddy's garage was a tad gross. I mean come on what six year old is playing that filthy game. And if I ever caught my child doing anything remotely like that I would beat their tails till the chickens came home to roost.

I really hate that the big bad black guy had to be the villain in this book. I mean come on this book is set in Jersey why couldn't Guido be the bad guy? Yeah I know that is just as bad as a black guy being the villain but forgive me for being partial.

The plot was a bit sluggish and half of it could have been cut out. She could have lost 100 pages and the book still could have been good

My Final Thoughts: Well this was a great introduction to the Plumeverse and I think I will continue the series.

Book Babblings

Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong 

The Nitty Gritty: Reeling from the loss of her mother and the loss of a powerful black witch Paige Winterbourne has taken on the task of raising Savannah and running the American Coven.

Paige's life is a balancing act. An act that she believes that she is doing well. Until the woman responsible for her mother's death send her custody paperwork. Outraged Paige plans to get at the half demon alone.

Till Leah confesses they have the backing of Savannah's father behind them. Paige enlists the help of a human lawyer who winds up as fertilizer all over main street and Paige is the suspect.

Opening Line: "Todd adjusted his leather power seat and smiled." 

The Good: I actually like Lucas. He is long suffering, sweet, intelligent and for the most part honest. I have to admit that I am partial to nerds and Lucas is a glasses wearing nerd who happens to be a lawyer. That is beyond sexy to me. Lucas is opened-minded and hard working. He is one of the best male protagonists in the fantasy genre that I've read. He was the star of the book for me. Its saving grace.

The Bad: I hate Savannah. I hate her with a white hot passion that I didn't know existed. I mean I like Bella Swan from Twilight more than Savannah. She snotty, condescending, cocky, mean, a total brat. Everything I hate for a child to be.

Here is a kid that should lucky someone wants to put up with her. Instead she abuses the generosity afforded to her. She abuses the magic that she had been entrusted with. Without a thought or care for the consequences to her actions. She just doesn't care who she hurts to get what she wants. In one scene she unleashes a confusion spell that gets Paige slapped around like a rag doll and Lucas stabbed. Does she even act like she is sorry? Nope. Does Paige or Lucas punish her? Nope. They just talk about it among themselves and they move on. Her little tantrum at the end of the book just did it for me.

This chick needs a padded room and a straight jacket and I would be too happy to supply both.

I don't know if I like Paige. She is so flighty. Not in the fact that she can't sit still but in the fact that she is scared of everything. Freaks out about everything, and is just so...I can't even keep going. Paige is so stuck in her ways she can't even see that Lucas wanted to help her from the beginning.

And of course I'm still trying to come to terms with white authors having interracial dating/hook ups/marriages with characters of color. Especially when those characters of color are the only splash of color in a book. Its really frustrating for me because its just like they are including these characters just to include them. They aren't taking the time to understand said characters ethnic and racial background before they throw a white girl at them.

Honestly this book could have lost 150 pages and still have been boring. It was a book about a supernatural custody battle in the middle of a Tampax commercial. It was a simple plot that she tried to make interesting with all the little twists and turns when frankly she should have come up with a different, better plot.

My hope for the series: So I am still trying to find something that I like about Armstrong's female protagonists. I can't stand Elena and I'm starting to not like Paige, but I really like the concept of the series. So I'm hoping the females get better.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Many Bloody Returns

If you don't know already I am in love with vampires. Above all other mythical creatures in fact. Sure elves are sexy. Something about those pointy ears do turn me on, but vampires have my heart. I actually think I fell in love with them when I saw Dracula with Gary Oldman for the first time. Admittedly he was scary as hell in that film and I never, ever want to meet Dracula I did fall in love with vampire lore.

Here is a small list of my favorite vampires.

Black Dagger Brotherhood 

These warriors take the top spot because not only are they all drop dead gorgeous and incredible sexy they are the defenders of their race. The love hard and fight with fury. There is something about a male that knows what he is and accepts it that is admirably. Too often I run into vampire series with vamps who either hate who they are and mop left and right or they are total brutes trying to drain the human world dry. The fact that vampires can only drink from other vampires is nice. It takes the fear out vampires being among. Well just a little bit. The Brotherhood has no qualms about killing humans if they threaten or get in the way of the Brotherhood or the vampire race.

The story is told from the point of the view of the men. Well there are chapters that feature their shellans (wives) but the plots are about the evolution of the brothers. I like that.

Each male is a tortured soul. Damaged beyond all reason. Zdasist was kidnapped as a baby and made a blood slave. Raped till he had no soul Bella was able to bring him back from the brink of destruction. Vishous was turned over into the hands of the Bloodletter and his warrior camp. Rhage pissed off the Scribe Virgin and she cursed him. Wrath had to endure the slaughter of his family while he had been powerless to do anything. Butch watched his sister get into the car of her rapist and killers. Phury had to live without his twin for a hundred years only to find a hollowed out body where Zadaist used to be on top of fighting against his own raging drug addiction. Tohrment had to deal with the suicide of a woman he went through hell to rescue only to turn around and deal with the murder of his shellan and unborn young. John Matthews was born in the bathroom stall of a bus station without a voice only to be raped by a human in a dirty stairwell. Qhuinn born with one blue eye and one green eye in a world where a wrinkled shirt earns you a lifetime of scorn. Blaylock, the perfect male and the perfect son, except for the fact that he is gay.

Nothing nice and rosy for these males, and yet over the course of the series each of them finds the capacity to love and be loved. While kicking a lot of tail and taking names.

Blade Series 

Though Blade is a comic book hero I love him to death. First of all there aren't that many black superheroes to choose from so Blade holds a special place in my heart.

Blade is one sexy vampire. Well daywalker as they like to call him. I love his devotion to the cause. It is all consuming for him. His everything. His reason for living. There is not compromising with him. If you drink blood to live you have to die. And I love that the vampires in this series like being vampires. No one is crying about living forever.

Blade, born after a vampire attacked his mother was gifted with all the strengths of the vampires and none of their weaknesses. Well except for the thirst which he quenches with a serum. He is super strong, self healing, extremely fast, ages at a slower rate and he isn't allergic to silver and garlic and can walk in daylight. Which makes hunting vampires all the easier.

Southern Vampire Series

I love the fact that the vampires live out in the open. I think that it one of the biggest things that I love about the series. These vampires are a proper cultural and subculture. Its not just a gang of blood thirty animals running around. They have structure, rules, rituals and customs. I do think having kings and queens then sheriffs is a bit confusing, but not to the point where its distracting.

In the beginning I did like Sookie though she is only a human, but as the series has progress I've grown to really hate her. I think Harris really lost Sookie's voice somewhere between Dead in the Family and Dead Reckoning. Good thing this post isn't about her. Its about the vampires.

Each vampire is a very different creature. Sure they are all blood sucking predators. We know that, but they are still different from one another. Eric is one of the oldest in the series. He was turned before the known world was created. His surname is Northman for a reason. The vamp started life out as a Viking. Bill Compton was turned during the Civil War, Pam was an aristocrat during Victorian times. It gives each vampire a personality.

House of Night

I started off really liking this series. Anything that has women on top is good for me. I liked this series in spite of its protagonist. I just couldn't keep reading it. Its like the never ending story. There has been 11 books so far and the story arc is till going. I just can't keeping reading through Zoey's eyes anymore. She is one of the most annoying characters ever, and that is saying something since I read all four Twilight books.

The reason I like these vampires is one because its a matriarchal system. The women are on top. They run things and have all the power. The men do what they do best. Look good and beat up things.

In this series no one is born a vampire or turned. you either have the vampire gene or you don't. Even then there isn't a guarantee that you will survive the change over to become a vampire. And the goddess Nyx is the start of all vampires. I love the inclusion of the mythical in this series.

I tip my hat to the Casts for the inclusion of characters of color. We need more of that in the fantasy genre and I love that vampires are getting the color treatment.

The Dresden Files 

I love Harry Dresden. Absolutely love him. What's more I love the supernatural creatures in the Dresdenverse. Since this is a vampire post we will focus on the vampires in the Dresdenverse.

No two vampires are alike. There are several different courts of vampires each with their own powers and abilities. White court vampires suck on the emotions of their victims. Some white vampires suck on sexual tension, others suck on the fear. Little is know about Jade court vampires. They seemed to be highly secretive and cult like. Red court vampires wear skin suits to look more human, but when they are feeding their true selves are reveled and there is nothing sexy about it.

Butcher created this awesome world of magic, fae, demons, shifters and the like to delight and titillate his readers. I wholly appreciate his efforts and I look forward to many bloody returns from Harry Dresden.

The Vampire Chronicles

Who can say they love vampires without loving Louis de Pointe du Lac. The vampiric son of the infamous LestatUsually I hate vampires how hate being vampires. I mean you either like who you are or you end it all and save us listening to you whine, but I love Louie. I mean I think he was my first vampire crush to be sure.

Louie though looking to die was turned against his will. He wanted to die not live forever. Especially living on the blood of the living. What I liked most was his fatherly instincts toward Claudia. Though he was responsible for her death, its a better way to die than she would have gotten with the plague. He takes responsibility for her in a way that any father would have. Lestat was more concerned with turning her into the perfect killer. Louie just wants her to be happy. Her death scene tore at my heart.

With Rice we get back to the quintessential vampire. Tall, dark and deadly. These vampires aren't looking to mainstream or come out of the coffin. They like living in the night, pretending to be human while draining the world dry. They suave predators that I am sure many men and women would love to be lying under as they died. When I think of the classic vampire I think of Anne Rice.