Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On Hiatus...

Making it official. I have decided to take some time off from blogging. Well, blogging here, anyway. I'll still be over at The Good Bad and the Unread, as Sybil's newest bitch duckie. How can I resist the lure of the ARC? Lots of cool stuff coming up, so please stop by.

I'll also be continuing my monthly gig at Access Romance: Reader's Gab. Amanda has a post up about Irish romance. Got any recs for her?

Also, debut author, Mark Henry, is giving away a copy of Happy Hour of the Damned (which I reviewed here) at Bam/Dionne Galace's. Go forth and comment. He funny.

So I shall be around, and returning to my regularly scheduled program of lurking and making incoherent comments at other's blogs. See ya'll around the Internets!

Come to The Good Bad and the Unread. Or else face the wrath of the devil duckie.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Vote Early and Vote Often...

So this is an essentially meaningless poll, but I've always wanted to do one. The dilemma that I have been pondering is this: lately I have not had nearly the time to devote to blogging that I like. Some of this is just plain busyness, and some of was caused by "reader's block", if there is such a thing. I was having trouble finishing books. You know the drill. I haven't been blog hopping either, one of my favorite pastimes. So I have been wondering whether or not to fold the blog. Gasp! But of course I must waffle, and overthink, and now subject any visitors to it as well. So, out of curiosity, what would you do if you were me?

Zombies are sexy too!

Over at The Good, the Bad and the Unread, check out my review of Happy Hour of the Damned, the debut novel by Mark Henry.

If you are amused by the thought of zombie chicks breaking into a funeral home to steal makeup (for the industrial strength full coverage), and repairing injuries with liquid leather, then you might enjoy this book. If the idea of the supernatural world as a place of kitschy-cool nightclubs, complete with themed cocktails, wall to wall with bored, gossipy creatures makes you grin, then give HHotD a try. It is unapologetically full of snarky humor, label dropping, pop culture references and other things I usually hate, but it fits so well with the silly, almost satirical tone, that I gave it a pass. Though at first I hated the narrator with a passion, I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Blog Slut

I got some decent reading done in the past week and a half. First off, Demon Night, by Meljean Brook. Loved it. Ms. Brook writes great characters and dialogue, and always a hot romance. Read my review here.

I also read two great non-fiction books: Sex With the Queen and Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman. Very readable, totally absurd history. As you may have guessed, these books focus on royal adultery. Crazy shit. Those poor kings and queens, not only were they forced to marry complete strangers, they were also pretty sad cases themselves. All the inbreeding led to unattractive, weak-minded and stupid monarchs. I enjoyed Sex With the Queen a bit more. Queens definitely got the rawest deal. Very ruled in their own right. Most of them had to leave behind family, friends and country for a place with an unfamiliar culture and language, to be treated poorly by husband and in-laws. It was interesting to read how some of them grabbed happiness (and sometimes a bit of power for themselves) by taking a lover. Don't expect dry academic writing. Herman is very dramatic, almost purple-y. Take a passage like this, about Henry VII's ill-fated fifth wife, Katherine Howard:

Let us imagine the queen's duties in the royal four-poster. The king would likely have suffocated his petite bride if he had perched on top of her. He must have required her to ride astride him, careful not to disturb the stinking wound on his thigh....We can picture the happy king,perfectly sated, snoring, as his young wife lay silently beside him, her heart sinking (Sex With the Queen 79).

Hee. Fun. Read more about the books in Dirty Sexy History.

Now I just have to get something reviewed for this blog.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

I read Darkfever, the first book in this series, just over a year ago. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't blown away. So it took me awhile to get to the further adventures of MacKayla Lane. But I liked Bloodfever quite a bit more than Darkfever. It took off running and never slowed down. I found the book to be engrossing and action-packed.

Many of the things that irritated me about the first were gone. Mac has grown up a bit, gotten a bit darker and a lot more interesting. Jericho Barrons (man, I hate that name) has also gotten more likeable, while remaining a bit creepy and enigmatic. He is not really a nice guy, but I am enjoying the development of his relationship with Mac. I assume some kind of romance will develop, but for now things are nicely off balance. MacKayla now has three men in her life who have mysterious agendas: Barrons, the Fae Prince V'Lane and the dark horse Christian MacKeltar.

The world of the Fae is developed more and is rather dark and creepy. We also learn more about sidhe-seers like Mac, and those relationships aren't going to play out well :) Karen Marie Moning is a very popular author of fantasy, men-in-kilts romance. I've read one, and only found it okay. But this Fever series really has a lot to appeal to fans of urban fantasy, especially those who like Irish settings and folklore. The happy ending is not clearly in sight at all. But if the action remains fast-paced, and the characters and world keep developing like this, I'll be sticking with this series for awhile: B.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I've finally got an Ebook Reader!

I made my IPod Touch into an E reader!! And it was easy! There are these things called webapps that you can put on your IPhone or IPod Touch and there's one called Readdle. Readdle makes it possible to view a variety of documents, including pdf, html and txt on your Iphone or Ipod touch. And it is easy.

The Iphone hack proved to be beyond my capabilities, but now I've got several books on my ipod. Once you download and open a particular file, you can bookmark it and thus read it even if you are offline, which is good. It's free to use and gives you 50 MB of storage, which is fine for me for now.

Unfortunately, it doesn't read docs that are in .lit, which is my preferred format for reading on my laptop. I find .lit easy on the eyes and easily navigable. Also, I guess it saves the document exactly as is. I downloaded a pdf without opening it up and looking at it first, and when I opened it up to read, it was way too small. I was unable to zoom in adequately, and I couldn't change from a two page to a single page display.

Readdle definitely has its limitations, but it's good enough for me for now until Apple smartens up and gets its own application going. Now I don't have to bring my laptop to bed, and I can read in the dark! And read e books and the Speech Therapist's office!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Review up at TGTBTU

I've got a review up at The Good, the Bad and the Unread. Yet another Ellora's Cave novella. I don't know why these keep sucking me in. This was an all right read, though. Silly title and character names, and, well, premise. But Ride 'Em by Tilly Greene was pretty okay.

Friday, January 18, 2008

See ya, suckers!

I'm off to New Hampshire for the long weekend. Not all that exciting, but I never go anywhere. Hopefully, it will be a break from the every day and I will return, refreshed, renewed and ready to read. Seriously, look at the paltry year to date total.

I did manage to polish off His Magical Student by Mary Winter. See the review at TGTBTU. Not one of my best review haiku. Not the best book either.

Heads up! Lisabea's got a contest. For a signed copy of Demon Night by Meljean Brook, no less. Advance word seems to be that it's as good as Demon Angel and Demon Moon, two of my favorites of 2007. Brook really stands out with her wonderful characterization, great dialogue, and dashes of humor. Worth checking out, and enter the contest!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Oh noes...

When I wrote the last post, little did I know the dilemma that would be facing me. Tonight at 9pm, Masterpiece Theater kicks off its Jane Austen-a-thon with a new version of Persuasion. At the same time VH1 is premiering Rock of Love 2, featuring the increasingly creepy Bret Michaels. It's the highest of highbrow and the lowest of lowbrow! What's a girl to do? Thank God for DVRs!

Friday, January 11, 2008

TV Things that may be of interest for those who love love...

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be strippers.
They may end up on tv puking drunk and throwing themselves at
washed up rock stars with bad weaves

**My post at Reader's Gab is up. Not a new topic, to be sure, but it certainly seems that there are more and more books being marketed as romance which really only have romantic elements. Is it a marketing ploy ? Does it screw readers who don't know beforehand?

** Have all the English majors and Costume Drama lovers set their TiVos for The Complete Jane Austen? I'm all excited. It's been slim pickings on the telly for me lately. First up, Persuasion. I love the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root version, but I always am interested in a different take. Dude, it's nothing but Jane and cute actors in gorgeous costumes romping around the scenic English countryside until April! I may actually OD on it!

**As I said, the writer's strike has really killed TV for me. I find myself turning to Television Without Pity, because it's far more entertaining than most anything on TV. There I discovered the joy of Rock of Love weecaps. The woman who writes them also does America's Next Top Model, and she is hilarious. I think it helps to have watched it, but seeing the scintillating dialogue in black and white really underscores the absurdity of the proceedings. Was there Rock? Was there love? Doubtful, but there was lots of entertainment. Read them, it will make you feel better about your life. Parents, this is what will happen to your daughters if you don't instill any sense of self-worth apart from their looks. I'm not even joking.

**Okay, there's this upcoming show called Lipstick Jungle that I had no interest in, then I found out that Julian Sands and Andrew McCarthy in it. George from Room with a View! Blaine from Pretty in Pink! It's like it's 1986 all over again and I'm starting with the celebrity crushes. Okay, I'm still not that interested in the show, but I may have to watch this to see how they're looking.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Sunday night, while I was watching The Munster's Scary Little Christmas with the kids, it got me thinking about how paranormal romance (and its cousin urban fantasy) is really just so many variations on just a few themes. Humans and creatures living together (uneasily or unknowing), secret groups of vampire or shapeshifter warrior/defenders, and the kickass vampire/demon/monster slayer. It's the particular author's voice and style that makes a book rise above the cliches. For example, I passed over Dark Lover several times, thinking I'd had enough vamp warriors. But once I read it, a fangirl was born. Similarly, Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost flew completely under my radar. I think I dismissed it as a Buffy/Anita Blake ripoff (although I hate those books, I do give LKH credit for being innovative). Then reviews by Bev and katiebabs had me wavering. Young vamp slayer with superpowers and a bleached blonde vampire with a British accent? Certainly sounds derivative. But the reviews were so enthusiastic I found myself wanting to give it a try. And they were right, it is definitely worth a try.

Flirting With The Grave...

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unlikely partnership.

In exchange for help finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side ... and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

So here we have a young half vampire who lives to kill vamps, meeting up with a mysterious stranger who kills vampires. And who, indeed has bleached blonde hair and is of English extraction. He teaches her how to hone her fighting skills, about vampire society and generally shakes up her world. Cat finds herself increasingly attracted to Bones, who goes against all her assumptions about vampires. Okay, not terribly new or different, but well done here. Just plain fun to read.

I think the characterization is what made the book stand out. Sure, Cat is immature, sassy, hot-headed and other potentially annoying traits, but her loneliness and alienation always shine through. It's pretty sad. She has always been different, and has never known unconditional love. Her grandparents and neighbors disapprove of her illegitmacy and unusual strength, and her rather unhinged mother is just waiting for Cat to go psycho and start sucking blood. Her vampire hunting is a way to avenge her mother's rape and also to gain her mother's love and approval. Cat's behavior always seemed appropriate in the context of how she had been raised. And as she begins to show vulnerability and just blossom because of her relationship with Bones, it was very nice.

And Bones was just lovely. All tough and scary and mysterious, but also so sweet and loving and protective with Cat. He was a great hero. The development of their relationship began with him beating the crap out of her, but from there on out it was a lot of fun to read. The interesting characters and romance, combined with the fast moving plot, made this one a winner for me. I'm going to give it an A-, and I really look forward to the sequel, One Foot in the Grave, out April 29.

I don't do politics...

normally, because that ain't what I'm here for. And if you're like me, you're probably looking at the upcoming Presidential election with mixed feelings at best, mounting dread at worst. But in honor of the NH primary, and my awesome cousin, I just had to share this. My twelve year old cousin has been volunteering on the John Edwards campaign in NH, and he's been getting a bit of local media attention. Here's a little documentary made by a local filmaker.

Ah, to be young and idealistic! Isn't he fab? Perhaps someday he'll be a politician, and I'll be able to say I knew him when he insisted his name was SpongeBob Squarepants. Or when he used to create sagas with the refrigerator magnets called "The Powerful Helmet", starring a Jets helmet magnet.***

***"Powerful Helmet"--ever seen that one in a love scene?

Monday, January 07, 2008


**I recently reviewed Deep Magic by Joy Nash over at TGTBTU (They are under construction. Please bear with the ducks, 'twill be awesome eventually!) It was very good and different.

**Spurred on my enjoyment of Deep Magic and craving more unusual settings, my first official read of 2008 was The Preacher's Daughter, by Cheryl St. John, who I've heard great things about. It was pretty good. I love me some Americana, especially when they have socials with lemonade and pie and fiddlin'. I liked the preacher's daughter, Lorabeth, the girl had gumption. But although the angst of hero Ben was understandable, given his upbringing, it felt kind of contrived. Lorabeth and Ben's courtship and marriage were so angst-free, for him to start acting cold made him seem like a jerk. I don't know, something didn't quite work. Instead of feeling bad for Ben, I wanted him to get a grip. But I'd definitely read St. John again, because I liked the setting and her style.

**I went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum on Saturday. It was fascinating. Although the slums of the Lower East Side are certainly not romantic in and of themselves, I would love to see more romance set in 19th or early 20th century New York. I think it would be a great setting. Anyone know of any? I tried Brenda Joyce's Deadly series, but I didn't care for the heroine or her love interest (although apparently it changes).

**I found a new tough vampire hunter chick to love. Who'd have thought it possible? My review of Jeaniene Frost's debut should be up soon.