Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Babblings

Fyre by Angie Sage

The Nitty Gritty: Our intrepid heros are nor 14 an thus ready to take their proper place in the Magykal world and in the Palace.

After the battle over the Darke the Castle inhabitants are still trying to shake off the Darke precense. With the ancient Alchemie Fyre lit they are ready to be rid of the Two Faced Ring forever.

In this heart stopping final book its up to Septimus and Jenna to finally erase the stench of DomDaniel and the Two Face Ring from the world.

Opening Line: "A flame burns at Midnight."

The Good: Once again Sage gives us nothing but twists and turns on every page. Even through the actionless parts Sage has a way of writing that just pulls us along by the nose like the Pied Piper.

Like its predecessors Fyre captivated from from page 1 to the very last page. And I always love Sage's little Endings at the end of her books. I always wonder what happens after the heros rides off into the sunset and Sage never disappoints. I love her teaser at the very end of the book *winkwink*

Sage gave us a proper send off to all the characters that we grew to love. It wasn't a final send off like we would never see them again, but it was a wrap up of six books that will leave fans satisfied.

The Bad: I long grew tired of Jenna. I have to say it was around Flyte that she really got on my nerves and it only got worse as the books progressed. I guess it was just that Jenna thought she could be bossy simply because she was a princess. Not because she actually had anything to contribute for half of the series. To be honest it wasn't until this book that she hand anything substancial and concrete to add to the pot. And I am so glad we didn't have to suffer through much of her mother. Who would have been just as bad if not worse than Jenna herself.

My Final Thoughts: Its hard to say goodbye to a series, and this time is no different. With a heavy heart I wave goodbye to the Dragon Boat and the Castle. Never feat I will go back and reread the tales of Septimus Heap for years to come

Sunday, June 23, 2013

July Camp NaNo Fiction Idea

So I've been wrestling with this plot for an entire month. I first thought of it maybe back in early May and I wrote it down thinking I wasn't going to work on it but then the July Camp NaNoWriMo rolled around and I dusted it off to get ready for the ball.

Title: Grimm Hollows

Genre: fantasy

Protagonists: Dillon Grimm is a girl getting her butt kicked by life. She has a job that is going nowhere she is looking to go. She is a barista at Java the Hut. The job is easy enough and the people are ok for the most part, but she wanted more out of her life. As the daughter of Willow Grimm, the actress who made her mark on the world at age eight a lot was expected of her.

Other Main characters: Lennox, a dragon lord. He is going to be Diggy's best friend and love interest in this tale. The Pixie Queen is also going to play a big role. There are some other roles that I have yet to cast so to speak.

Antagonist: Thalia, the Goblin Queen and her son the goblin prince Devin. Thalia is power hunger and not content on just ruling the goblins under her charge. She is never one to get her hands dirty however and you will never trace anything directly back to her. She rules not through fear as her predecessors did. She rules passive aggressively so you are never sure if it was your idea to kill yourself or hers. Thalia is the first ever goblin queen and

Setting: Majority of the story will take place on the Hollows but some of the story will take place in the fictional town of Wysteria, NC.

Plot: Diggy Grimm is a girl with a plan. By the time she is 18 she wanted to be an international recording artist with a big contract and legions of fans.

Well she is 25 and working at a book store. Don't even get started on her love life. Her last date had more pimples than common sense. Life just seems to be passing her by until she gets a call that her grandfather has died. She hasn't seen him in years but she owes it to him to go to his funeral.

His final act left her with Grimm Hollows. The creepy old plantation house that used to scare as a child. Between her dead end job and stale love life Diggy decides to step out on faith and move into her childhood nightmare.

Strang things are afoot as Dillon tries to settle into her new life. The house magically cleans itself. Dillon swears a bumblebee serenades her at night. Its driving her crazy.

Grimm Hollows is not just a dusty old house. Its a Ever After settlement that protects fairy tale creatures as they live their lives in the mundane world. And Dillon is the new Godmother and protector. A role that she doesn't understand but is willing to give it the old college try.

The Goblin Queen has other plans for Grimm Hollows. She isn't content to just rule Goblin Square she wants all of the Hollows and its inhabitants under her thumb.

And the only thing standing in her way is Dillon.

Point of View: Is going to split between first person for Dillon and third person limited for everyone else.

Story Notes: I think I've cemented this plot. Might have to make a few changes to the plot but I feel its going to be smooth sailing. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Babblings

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Nitty Gritty: So its the Bachelor meets the Hunger Games, but without all the blood and running.

America Singer, a five, has been selected to compete for the hand of the young prince. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity and while every other girl in the country wants to go America doesn't.

She's already in love, with a boy from a lower caste. Forced into the competition by the love of her life who dumps her before the big day America walks into the palace intending to head back home as soon as possible, but unknowingly America is pulled into the life of a Selected, and she finds herself warming up to the palace brat each day. 

Opening Line: "When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic." 

What's the 411: I will freely admit that I've never seen one episode of the Bachelor or the Bachelorette. I get stuck watching all the silly Lifetime chick flicks that my mom likes so I figure that is enough girly torture for me. So I am not sure how those shows work and I've never been inclined to watch them and this book has cemented that.

This book is hailed as a dystopia and I ain't buying it sister. Not saying that there is only one way to write a dystopia, but let's call a spade a spade. Yes there was a political upheaval, but there will always be war. The country was able to pull itself up by the boot straps and rebuild. The government doesn't rule by fear or threat, there hasn't been a drastic decline of society. Despite the claims by the narrator society seems to be the same as it is now. There are the super rich and the very poor and a nice spread in between. Yeah so I'm not buying what she's selling on that front. 

The Good: Hmm well it was a quick read and that was good. I like the idea of the Selection. It allows in girl int he country be she poor, rich, smart, talented, short, tall to become a princess. Its every little girls dream and it takes the real world competition of getting a husband and turns it into a fun little game for the world to see. But I would have liked to have seen Cass' critique on that system.

The Bad: Hmm well I do like a good character name and America Singer is just...not a great character name. Especially since as a 5 in the caste system America is part of a musical family and she is in fact a singer. I just think it was a little too on the nose for me and I'm just not a fan of the name America, though one of my favorite shows in the whole world starred America Ferrera. 

This book is a bit thin on the action side to say the least. There isn't a whole that actually happens in the book. Since its told from the first person POV of course we are limited to the amount of action we see, but the main character likes to hide up in her room for much of the book which makes for a slow and torturous read for us.

It likenens itself to a book about a vicious competition worthy of Death Race 3000. Yes I know I am showing my age on that one forgive me. However what we get is a school yard brawl over the last piece of bubble gum. I mean the only scuffle that happens is Celeste telling America to take off her dress and give it to her. I mean serious I don't know anyone that bold and even if she was it could have been a better confrotation that what it was. I've seen toddlers thrown down better than that. And after the performance Katniss Everdeen put in we were expecting something more from Cass than what we got.

The world building just doesn't make any sort of sense. I understand China invading the United States if we defaulted on our loans. But I do not believe for a moment that the rest of the world would sit back and let China take over the world. Not that I am arrogant enough to think that people would run to our rescue for our sakes, but that is what would happen. Countries have allies for a reason. So that when they are invaded they have backup. Kuwait was invaded by Iraq and they had an ally in the United States. We went to their rescue. That's the way it works. She just glossed over that fact like it wasn't important. Well if there hadn't been that little history lesson smack in the middle of the book it wouldn't have even come up, but Cass put it out there and didn't deliver.

And how in the hell did we go from a democracy to a monarchy? There's just no explanation for it. I mean I understand that the United States had been living as the American Chinese State, but I highly doubt that American fighting spirit was crushed and that they just rolled over and died so that we could go from a democracy to communism to a monarchy. I call BS on that one. Either make your explanations make sense or just avoid them. I mean the book would have been fine if she didn't go into any explanations about how the world got the way it did. All she had to say was WW 3 and we could have drawn up our own conclusions.  You can't just throw mad lib politics lines on the wall like a ink blot and whatever sticks is what goes into the book.

What the hell does the caste system have to do with anything. I mean for a country that was trying to throw off the shackles of China why would they create a stupid caste system? A system that isn't built on anything and to which nothing makes sense. After all this is a war torn country trying to rebuild itself is there a reason we are devoting entire groups of people to singing and dancing? I am all for the creative arts so don't get me wrong but it seems like there could have been a better use of time and talent in that instance.

It seems when China invaded the United States we got struck stupid or something. It just doesn't make sense. I believe Cass should have left the political science to the professionals.

And since when are countries named after people? I mean maybe its just me but I really hate that.

America's attitude I think was the biggest flaw in this book. On the one hand she was upset that her brother broke off from the family to live his life in peace without the burden of trying to carry his family when both of his parents are perfectly capable of providing for their family and then on the other hand she didn't want to got into the Selection which would have helped her family monetarily.

You can't have it both ways honey. It was like Cass wanted her character to be the underdog, but she didn't want her to be the underdog. I want her to be poor, but not starving. Though America did act like her family was starving when in fact they weren't.

I really hate that she brought Aspen back into the picture. I just really hate these love triangles that female authors put their characters into. I just hate it and both men are always exact opposites as well.

Final Thoughts: There is nothing about this book what prompts me to keep reading this series. I just don't care what happens to America, nor Maxon, and especially not Aspen.

Writing Matters

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Babblings

The Vampire Code by E.C. Adams 

The Nitty Gritty: Aurora Lake is the newest hot shot lawyer in New York City. Defending the wicked from justice while smiling for the camera is the life she loves living.

Until Sebastian Fiscard walks through her door. His brother, the vampire Robert Fiscard stands accused of murdering a human. Aurora is the lawyer they want to represent him in vampire court. She is the first human invited to take a peek into the secretive proceedings of the newly outed vampires.

Not everyone is happy with this arrangement. Between the fear of getting drained and the fear or getting shot by human extremists Aurora has her hands full, but if the sexy vampire turned bodyguard Sebastian  has anything to say about it Aurora will have only one thing on her mind.

Opening Line: "Sebastian Fiscard couldn't have been more than thirty-five when he died."

The Good: Any true Grisham fan would love to get a peek into a vampire court. I am no exception. I was happy to see that it was literally all cloaks and daggers. Well no daggers, but handguns were present. That was enough for me.

When she was in her power suit and in court Aurora was one tough cookie. I would certainly want her on my side if I ever got into trouble. She was tough, took no prisoners and held her ground. It made her a great and competent lawyer.

The Bad: For all the build up of the trial it was a relatively short procedure. I expected it to last at least the entire chapter, but it felt like the trial was the backdrop to the rest of the story when the novel blurb made it out to be the central part of the plot.

I am still reeling over the plot twist of Aurora's past. I am a fantasy junkie. Give me faires of give me death shall be etched on my tombstone, but I hate the obituary throwing in of the fantasy elements. The element felt obtuse and forced. And if left me completely confused. I mean it was so fast I had to go back and reread to make sure I had actually read what I read. Not sure if this is still a book about vampires or even about Aurora.

There are a lot of exclamation points in this book and I'm not entirely sure why. I have never been a fan of using exclamation points just for the sake of using them.

The romance seemed a little force. I didn't that build up to a great romance that I was looking for. It was like one minute she hated Sebastian the next she wanted to take him down to the floor and have her way with him. I don't know it it was the pacing or what, but it didn't feel real to me.  

Final Thoughts: I may read the second book of this series just to see if the confusion is cleared up. Depending on how I feel that day.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Babblings

Rogue Descendant by Jenna Black

The Nitty Gritty: Anderson Kane has had enough. He wants Konstantin dead and he is going to use Nikki to find him. She is a huntress after all. Too bad Nikki has a thing about being a instrument of death.

Nikki tries to keep out of the hunting business, that is until her adoptive parent's house is burned down. Still she resists hunting the man that orchstated the rape kidnapping and rape of her sister, until he sets fire to her condo and kills three innocent people in the process. With their blood on her hands Nikki agrees to hunt down Konstantin, but is she just playing right into his hands?

Opening Line: "It's time Nikki," Anderson said.

What's the 411: I'm still waiting for the magic. Not literal Harry Potter magic, but I am just waiting for something. I just don't understand why these aren't adult demigods. I mean to me that would make for more exciting books than just a descendant of Artemis being tasked with finding the person that burnt down her condo. I've seen more excitement on Dr. Phil, certainly Jerry Springer can put together a better show.

Nikki is the descendant of a mythical huntress and she couldn't find north of her life depended on it. I mean come on Thalia Grace could teach her and thing or two about being a huntress.

The world building in this series is really starting to bug me. The opening blurb talks about the ancient gods giving their children seeds from the Tree of Life. But in this series we have Norse, Egyptian, and Greek descendants running around. If I'm not mistaken only Norse mythology has a tree of life. So is Black trying to imply that all the gods are the same? If they are all the same where did the Olympians get their attitudes from? And why are there multiply mythologies mixing in this book? And if the blood lines don't mix then how did they all come about?

I'm just really confused about this. Black seems to be in no hurry to explain herself as Anderson doesn't bother to make appearances till he wants something from Nikki. And Nikki herself never seeks him out for advice, instruction or just to give him a smile. I am sure the son of a fury could use a pick me up every now and then.

The Good: I can't really say there is much about this book that I found good. Well no I take that back. Emma dying was the best thing about this book. I didn't care for her in the first book, I grew to hate her in the second book and this book put the final nail in her coffin for me. Her death was the highlight of the book.

Well that and the fact that Sita hates Nikki and she spoiled the second attempt at a Jamal sexual encounter for Nikki. I will admit that I literally laughed out loud during that scene. Her love life is one more bad date away from being worse than mine. And that is saying something.

The Bad: For 307 pages this book had very little going on. I mean we get a condo burning down, a house burning down and then someone strangles Emma (thank you for that) and Nikki dies again. That's about it. Just not seeing how that takes 307 pages. Well Black did fill that space with Nikkie whining about not wanting to hunt Konstantin because she wasn't a killer. Give me a break honey.

I am so over her hang up about being a foster child. I mean seriously how many times in a day does a foster kid who was adopted by a good family think about when they were a foster kid? She still refers to the Glasses as Stephs parents which is really starting to get on my nerves. These people opened up their home and their hearts to a child that wasn't their own. They treated her like she was their daughter and she can't even give them enough to call them 'my mom and dad' its always Steph's mom and dad. That is beyond disrespectful. And what's worse they gave Nikki money and she won't spend it. They took their own hard earned money and gave it to her so she could have a better life and she won't spend it. They gave her a condo free and clear and she pays them rent. Why? Because she is stupid and still living her life like a foster kid. And she has the never to try and save someone else from their problems. Hello girlfriend fix yourself first before you try and save someone else.

Nikki's attitude that she alone can fix all the broken people in the Libri house is the most annoying thing about her. Jamal clearly wants to be left alone to work out his own demons but Nikki just won't take a hint. What's worse is that she refuses to understand where he is coming from. I think Black making Jamal a formal slave and then not fully understanding the dynamics of slavery and its impact on Black America was a mistake. No I am not saying that non black authors can't write black characters, but what I am saying is that you just cant write a minority character and just say 'oh well' when cultural clashes come up.

I'm not even sure Black understands the struggles that Jamal is going through with trying to have a funtioning sexual relationship with Nikki. I mean Nikki thinks is hot to touch Jamal's scars during sex. She knows he hates that but she keeps doing it! And then she gets all upset when he stops right before they have sex! Girl it is not that hard to keep your hands off the man during sex. Puhlease.

Well its Book 3 and still Nikki has no idea what she is doing as regards to being a huntress. I mean how hard is it to goggle Artemis? She has never just sat down and explored what it means to be a huntress. So she just relies on dumb luck to get her through things. Everyone thinks she is this great hunter and even fight to get on her good side and for 3 books she's done nothing more than zone out and get a feeling about something.

As being the herione of the series I am finding Nikki seriously lacking. I mean Dorothy Gale put up a better fight than Nikki has given us. Being a self proclaimed bleeding heart is one thing, but just sitting back and allowing a vicious dog like Konstantin the pleasure of roaming the earth because vengeance is wrong just make my balls itch. And I am a bonafide female.

There is a different between vengeance and justice is a fine line for sure, but Konstantin has never been innocent and he had never been called to task for any of his misdeeds. Its seems like to me Nikki thinks someone has to be caught in the act of doing something bad to be guilty of being bad. Her sister was raped and beaten yet she had a conflict about Anderson killing the man. I call BS on that. If a guy looked at my sister wrong I would rip his head off let alone rape her. I would have killed him myself and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The characters haven't changed from Book 1. There isn't any growth going on. Everyone is still the same. Sure Jamal is more on a even keel but that is about it. Nikki is still blissfully ignorant to the cruelty of others. Anderson is still too cock sure to be true. Blake is..I'm not even sure what Blake is. In the first book Black made him out to be a sex god sort of player and then she clipped his wings by handcuffing him to Steph thus neutering him or any other really good side plot she could have written for him. I do like that his has history with Cyrus, but she never goes into that.

Where the hell is the mythology in this book!!?? I mean is it just me? Being a fan of Percy Jackson and the Olympians I will freely admit that I love mythology and I was expecting this book to be chocked full of it. I am still waiting for it. I mean Emma was a descendant of Nyx and all she could do was turn the lights out? And what are the Olympians doing? I mean what do they do all day? What do the Libri do all day? What the hell is their purpose in life. I mean hell Percy and his friends couldn't even drive and they were saving the world left and right. I mean we got Blake in his room knitting sweaters, Leo or whoever in his room checking the stock market. What the hell?

I mean I can't call it. Its a book about the descendants of mythological gods and goddess and the most magical thing in the book is a jealous tiger.

Final Thought: Ok I've given this series three books and it has gone absolutely nowhere and I am getting off the ride.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Ok my lovlies this i my first Book Giveaway and I am proud to announce its for the newly penned A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers!! So good luck to everyone and happy reading!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting....and Anticipating

So I am out working my happy little tail off in the rain and I got a little email in my box. To my surprise its an email from Lisa Desrochers herself asking me to participate in her cover revel for her new book published by Harper Collins! color me totally surprised because I've never been asked to do that before. So I am beyond excited and proud to present the deliciously steamy cover for A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers!

Synopsis: Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for better part of the last few years…and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome. But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to Confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt…and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy on the eyes deacon…only eight months away from becoming a priest. As Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way.

What the Buzz:

A Little Too Far series  (HarperCollins, Sept '13)
—"More than a ridiculously sexy, HOT read, Desrochers takes you on a wild ride of self-discovery and bittersweet romance." Jennifer L. Armentrout (J. Lynn), New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You  
Personal Demons trilogy  (Macmillan)
—"Lisa Desrochers' debut is fantastic: full of shivers, surprises, and sultry romance.  Such a great read!" Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of Nightshade

My thoughts: I know I am a fantasy glutton and pretty much all my reviews have been fantasy reviews, but this little number has me hooked. And anything that gets a stuffy priest out of his collar is ok in my book. I actually love this cover. It has that A&F feel to it but not as stuffy. Its a cover thats approchable. So I give this cover 4 shivers and two claps!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Babblings

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card 

The Nitty Gritty: the world has changed. Bugs attacked the Earth and we barely survived. Bugs muscled their way into Earth's air space and it was one bloody battle after another but we pushed them back. We are still left standing, but no one knows for how long.

That is where Andrew "Ender" Wiggen comes in. He is humanity's last hope and he is only 6. If Ender can't win the war against the bugs it can't be won and we are all screwed seven ways from Sunday.

Opening Line: "I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he is the one."

What's the 411: Before Katniss was the girl on fire we had Ender Wiggen killing his way through his competition to get to the top of the mountain. Though no one told Ender he had to kill his other space cadets to live to see another day.

He was just a little boy trying to stay a step ahead of the bullies. A little boy that wanted to survive the day to just play and laugh with his older sister Valentine. I mean its a dream that all children should have and we adults try out hardest to make sure that our kids don't have anything to worry about other than who they are going to play with today.

That is not the world in the Enderverse. Children have become commodities to wield like the weapons the adults want them to bo. To the adults Ender is not a child, he isn't even a human being. He is a weapon they need to sharpen so he can defend the world. Whether he wants to be that weapon or not.

They turn the very real and very deadly art of war into a game. Children like games, they can identify with games. So the adults give them a game. Though they call it Battle School. After all children understand they have to go to school to learn and be taught.

Ender's Game is a story about children. Plain and simple, but at Battle School these children transform into elite soldiers battling each other for the chance to go into space to kill buggers. We start to think of them as adults and out brains see them that way. They certainly see themselves as tiny adults, bu just when out hearts get on board with that train of thought Card smacks us in the face with the their innocence. I believe that is deliberate and brilliant on Card's part. He is making us as readers superimpose the actions and reasonings of an adult on top of the body and thoughts of a child.

Soon the thoughts of the child fade away and nothing is left but the body. Everything else has moved on and matured in the adult weapon Colonel Graff needs them to be. Its gone beyond a want at this point. They need Ender to be that weapon.

Graff throws out all the rules to shape Ender. He even goes against the wishes of his superiors to see his goals achieved. Is it madness or just the fight or flight response in high gear? Not sure how to answer that.

The Good: Kids killing kids always a cringe fest for most people. Kids are supposed to be skipping through the roses popping their doublemint. Any time kids step out of that image we have a problem with it. Its hard for us to believe it. Some even refuse to believe it.

However in the Enderverse its the kids that humanity puts all its bets on. The adults have tried and they barely survived. Now its up to the ankle bitters to have a go at saving the world.

I love how that the child like innocence is completely absent from this book. Well that isn't entirely true. Its sprinkled here and there to remind us that these are in fact children, but those instances are few. From the very beginning. Ender sounded and acted as we would expect an adult to act. We expect children to only live in the now of their lives. However dealing with the bully at school Ender knows that if he doesn't end the fight once and for all he will be subjected to the taunts the rest of his life. That is a very adult way of thinking. And boy does Ender really end that bully. Later in the book its reveled that he actually killed the child. I take that as the final say on the matter.

The threat of the buggers was all in the head of the humans. Igor in Van Helsing said it best "Do unto others before they do unto you," and I think Card was exploiting that human trait. We have never played by the golden rule. Its just a cute little saying we tell children so we can make them do what we think they should be doing, but as adults its all about getting them first before they can do something nasty to us. And that is one of the flaring themes in Ender's Game. We have to wipe out the buggers before they wipe us out. o chance for a sit down, no quarter will be given. Nothing short of utter annihilation will be acceptable.

And I love that the innocent Ender is the one to bring out the genocide of the buggers and that Peter the sadistic older brother ushers in a period of peace on Earth after the Bugger War ends. The fate of the world rests in the hands of the Wiggen children, and they don't even know about Peter and Valentine. They are the power behind the throne before they can stay up past 8 o'clock. I would have love to have seen more of Peter in his later years in this book, but the title is Ender's Game so yeah.

The Bad: There is a lot of explanation missing from this book. What brought the humans to the buggers attention? How the hell did worker ants build space jumping ships? The book is mostly about Ender, but Peter and Valentine play a big role on Earth and we are left to guesstamate what the hell the Polemarch and the Hegemon are.

Yes I know the definitions of those words, but what do they mean in the Enderverse? What is the Warsaw Pact they keep talking about? Is is the actual Warsaw Pact that existed in the 1950s? Or is it some Scott invention simply for Ender's Game? Beats the hell out of me because he never explains it! No I am not looking for an exhaustive back history, but a little would have been nice. I hate reading books where I've got more questions than the book answers.

There are only two girls in this entire book. Valentine (hate that name. Thank you Cassandra Clare for that) and Petra. I sort of feel like this book would have had more of a impact if Ender and Peter had been girls. Not only is there this taboo that exists about girls being violent there is a taboo about women in combat. This would have just blown minds worldwide if Ender had been a chick and kicking butts like Ender did. Maybe this is just the feminist in me but I want to see female characters shattering the glass ceiling and taking women to new heights and deeper depths. And that fact that it would have been girls and now women I think that would have been the bee's knees. But like I said that is just me.

My Final Thoughts: I know this is now a series, but I think I'm going to stop with the first book because I really only cared about Ender to be honest. So I will be seeing the movie when it cones out and I just hope that they keep the magic alive.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Book Babblings

Dark Currents: Agent of Hel by Jacqueline Carey 

The Nitty Gritty: Tail lashing agent of Hel, the Norse god of the dead, is a part time file clerk for the local police in the small Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet. Being Hel's agent means keeping the local eldritch community in line and the mundane humans safe. Daisy acts as the liason between the magical and the mundane. Mostly that involves taking her best friend Jen to Twilight Manor to plead with her sister to forsake her vampire boyfriend and come home or scaring off a milkweed fairy from kidnapping a changling child. Seems easy enough.  

Till a college student bodies floats to the top of the river and it smacks of otherworldly involvement. Its left up to Daisy the the Down Low wolf is cop's clothing Cody Fairfax to solve the mystery before the Christian right raze the underworld and purge their community of the hell spawn.

Opening Line: "It was an idyllic summer evening in Pemkowet the night the Vanderhei kid died." 

What's the 411: I must say the title is what pulled me in. though I readily understood that this was not a story about a actual agent of Hell. I was intrigued enough to pick it up. The story blurb further pulled me in. It took me longer than I planned to read this because I have the literary attention span of a ADD kid on crack. I can read nearly seven books at one time and I was trying to devour two George R. R. Martin books and a Mercedes Lackey book at the same time on top of struggling with a new job and Vacation Bible school planning going on. Suffice to say my brain was quite happy to get one thing off my plate.

Its a wonderful concept in this world of fan fiction turned sellable art and regurgitation of the classics. A hell spawn actually ok with what she is and actively trying to control her inner most demons, no pun intended I assure you is quite the plot. Nevermind the fact that the magical and the mundane live side by side without all the ugly backlash. The few instances of blowback are feeble and weak. Of course this couldn't be urban fantasy without werewolves and vampires. Glad to see the vampires played a ever so minor role in this book and I hope to not see any more of them in the coming books.

Since this is the fitst book in the series I don't know if I should be irritated at the hotter than allowed werewolf Cody. Honestly are all werewolves hot and sexy? Can't there be a over the hill wolf with a Budweiser belly and bad teeth? Just asking. We shall see if the hot werewolf gets on my nerves, but I have high hopes that Stephen the sexy ghoul will stay in rotation.

This book did have pacing issues. The spaces between the action and the filler chapters was a little too long. It felt like a long drive through Texas. When you high the brights lights of a big city its a fun ride and you drink it all in, but when there is nothing between you and that long stretch of burning asphalt it gets tedious and mind numbing.

On the whole with this book I expected I don't know a bit more action. A lot more magic. It seemed like the book s was struggling with itself on how much to revel and how much to hold back. Well it held back too much for my liking. Well we got to see naiads and fairies. Which is nice but also over done. We only for a few mentions of the ogre and Hel herself which was the main attraction for me. norse mythology save Thor and Loki is sadly lacking in urban fantasy if you ask me. 

I know the first book is supposed to tease you enough to prompt you into buying the next book but I'm not a huge fan of tease. I like everything laid out on the table in plain sight. If I like the book I'm going to like. I don't need smoke and mirrors.

The Good: Well the fact that there wasn't any sex to distract from the actual plot of the story was a good thing in my book. I really hate to say it but a lot of female urban fantasy authors are churning out nothing but porn these days. Their characters have lost their edge. Blunted by the hard cock of whatever flavor of the month. Sorry to be so blunt but its true and I'm getting damn tired of it. I find it highly ironic that its the female authors that are guilty of this. Harry Dresden, the brain child of urban fantasy author Jim Butcher, is a man that hasn't suffered from a lack of willing ladies lining up to keep his bed warm in the 11 books about his life as Chicago's only outed wizard. No to be fair he did enjoy the company of a few of those willing participants, but you never had to read about his rolls in the hay. They were never used as plot devices to keep the book going. The actual plot did that! Since it hasn't happened I'm not going to get myself worked up over what might or might not come to pass.

I did like the introduction of Ghouls in this book, especially ghouls as the good guys. In the few books that I've read with ghouls they always got the short end of the stick. To be fair there are some pretty nasty ghouls out there and the fact that they survive on the emotions of humans is a little gross to be sure, but on the whole I do like that Carey painted Stephen in a positive light. How bright that light shines in the coming books remains to be seen, but for now I like him and her characterization of him.

The Bad: Like most urban fantasies with a female lead the female just has to have a long line of suitable and unsuitable bedmates. While this first book reined in its heroine's libido I fear that won't last long. Which is a shame I rather like Daisy. She does suffer from the repetitive word usage, namely the word Gah. Which I can't fathom would ever pass by anyone's actual lips. She isn't as whiny as most females in her shoes would be. After all she is literally Rosemary's Baby with a flicking tail, and believe you me all the flicking did grate on my nerves slightly. After all I doubt Cody would have commented on that fact that he didn't wear boxers because his tail would have gotten angry with him. I likened it to her commenting about flicking her hair out of her face so it got to be very annoying because it was mentioned nearly every page.

Carey needs to take a lesson in small town building for Charlaine Harris. Pemkowet just feels like she took a large city and squeezed it into a small town. Albeit with a few fairies and ogres sprinkled in. Don't get me wrong she had all the right ingredients  Long family histories, the town drunk and occasional wife beater, the good ole boy police chief, even a cross dressing shop owner and thrown in for good measure a "magical negro". I do love it when white people become self aware. Its almost like they think minorities will give them a pass. We don't but its fun when they try.

Anyhoo, I'm not buying the small town vibe in this book. It might have worked if A) I hadn't went to high school in a small town and B) I hadn't read books with better small town building in them. Harris might have lost her creative edge with the passage of time but the woman can still paint a pretty convincing picture of small town America. Maybe I am trying to impose a southern small town vibe on a midwestern small town, but the two can't vary that greatly. Never been one for the midwest myself so maybe I am off base here.

I'm still a little iffy on the whole white female authors writing about interracial relationship with their white female leads and black males. Its starting to be an alarming trend without any of the social implications attached. Maybe I wouldn't be so touchy if they didn't feel like experiments to the female characters. Its almost like Daisy is saying "Well I'm attracted to a ghoul and a werewolf why not a black guy." Like there has to be a justification for her being attracted to a black guy. Without the ghoul and werewolf would the black guy still be as beautiful? Would he still feel like an experiment? I think that's what pisses me off the most. The relationships with black men is put into the same category with vampires, elves, werewolves or whatever supernatural creature is the hunk of the year. Are we animals? Are we exhibits to be experienced? A one in a lifetime attractions that can't be missed?

It reduces everything that is wonderful about black men into a cheap parlor trick used as a plot device.

Final Thoughts: For now I will keep reading about Daisy's adventures. My hope is that Carey leaves what goes on behind closed doors to the imagination. It was a fun ride.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Babblings

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

The Nitty Gritty: Someone is killing off the vampires in St. Louis. Which usually isn't a bad thing except vampires have rights and its starting to piss them off. It falls to the Executioner by night, animator to pay the bills, Anita Blake to investigate.

Not because she wants to, but because psycho master vampire Nichlaos has threaten to drain her nice and slow if she doesn't.  If that weren't bad enough but Jean-Claude has given her two vampires marks and that is messing with her animator mojo.

Opening Line: "Willie McCoy had been a jerk before he died."

What's the 411: Everyone who is anyone has been telling me to read these books. I've been reluctant, not because I don't like vampires I do, but Twilight sort of killed vampires for me. I've been putting off a few of the other vampire series I've been meaning to get into because of that. However I finally broke down and bought Guilty Pleasures at Barnes & Noble. Along with Ender's Game and a Perfect Blood. Anita Blake is the crown jewel in the Hamilton kingdom and the premis is excellent and fresh. Which the vampire world could use a little more of. Although it makes very little sense. Why would a person who animates dead bodies for a living start staking vampires? Good question, let's jump into the book and see if we can find the answer. Oops sorry Anita's only reason is. "because." I'm sorry girlfriend, that's not good enough for me to keep reading about you. There's not childhood vampire drama to contend with. No vampire virus coursing through her veins forcing her the kill the creatures that infected her to drink the blood of her loved ones.

It didn't take long for me to read it, but I felt like I had to struggle through the entire book. One minute Anita was sitting at a club the next minute she was trying to battle the mind control of a vampire who wanted to suck Anita's face.

I felt like I was missing some key piece of information along the way or something. which is crazy because this is the first book in the series! Sure as writers its always advisable to start a book or a scene in the middle of the action, which is well and good but only if you can pull it off. Hamilton did just that but she didn't give us any background to help us understand what the frack was going on.

We were thrown to the lions without so much as a 'hi how are ya.' I need a frame of references here or something. No I don't need a George R.R. Martin index (which is sort of handy when you think about it) but a little background would be nice. I mean we get a snippet when Anita comes face to face with a vampire she was sure she burned to ashes with holy water, but that's about it. No rundown of the scars that riddle her body, especially the cross shaped one that seems to match the one that Jean-Claude has. If ever there was a time for Anita to be overly descriptive it was about that scar! Give me something girl, well other than clothes. To which she seems overly obsessed with. If I didn't know any better I would say Anita needed to go the Devil about some Prada but I guess animators take themselves too seriously to care that stripes clash with polka dots.

And why in the hell are they torturing zombies?! I mean this where we get the horror aspect from? Because I have to say I feel sorry for the zombies and I've a lock and loaded double barrel shotgun in my closet just in case of a zombie outbreak. Zachary, who is dead but not a zombie (never really know what he is) is the one killing vampires to full his little juju doll, but why is he raising zombies and torturing them? That is never explained and I'm left scared and confused.

The Good: Edward has got to be my favorite character. He was the one thing that made sense. He liked killing things because one he was good at it and two he is completely crazy as hell. He was straight forward, black and white. All of his cards were on the table. I hate to admit but I wanted him to torture Anita a little bit. I just wanted her to shut up for a few chapters, but of course that never happened. One can only hope right? There is a reason to his madness and he stays true to himself.

The Bad: I don't like Anita. Being in her head is like drinking the Kool-Aid at the Jim Jones compound. A bad idea and certainly bad for your health. Anita acts like a spoiled child most of the time and a heartless wench the rest. Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying there is only one way to write a female character, but Anita is just one dimensional to me. There isn't any growth in this book. She is scared out of her mind of vampires yet she is the of nightmares for vampires? I don't get that. Anita makes a point of describing in great detail how scared she is of vampires and what they can do but yet she is a vampire hunter. She isn't a 'go into the zone to kill' sort of person. So how is that she is able to but aside her fear and turn into this Buffyesque vampire hunter. Though I am sure Buffy never would have gotten a hard on for a gun. She had Angel to help her with that.

Take me for example. When I'm scared of something I keep away from it I don't make it my business to start kicking butt and taking names. I'm missing something here.

Anita tries to throw off her fear by being a smartass but it just comes off as a petulant child not getting their lollipop after a shot at the doctor. I mean I could be a tad bias because I am a Harry Dresden fan and no one can do smartass like Dresden. Even when he is scared out of his mind. When you can call the bat crazy Lady of Winter 'spangle crotch' with a straight face you are the King of Smartassray. All should make a pilgrimage to sit at your feet and learn. So Anita needs to go get a clue from Harry when she is chained to a wall and a wererat wants to screw her brains out.

Which is utterly gross by the way Hamilton.

I could have lived the rest of my life without that little literary nugget of joy.

And what the hell is going on with Anita and Jean-Claude? He just pops up at the strip club and wham there is this whole history between the two of them to which Anita never elaborates on. Though we get an entire page of a freaking shirt with sleeves long enough to hide a knife. Priorities Anita! Gah! I can see why several people were trying to kill her.

Anita's contempt for other women is so stereotypical that is makes me want to gag. Knowing that nothing good is going to come from going into a vampire strip club, she allows Monica to lead them down the tunnel of dark desires just so she can threatened a woman who didn't have a chance to beating up Anita on a good day. Way to go girl. You scared the equivalent of a fruit fly and you are strutting about like cock of the walk?


My Final Thoughts: Don't really think I'm going to be reading the rest of this series. If the first book is bad the rest is worse. And from what I hear the series deteriorated somewhere around the tenth book anyways.