Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Reading List from 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, I thought I'd take a moment to record the list of books I read, so here it is. There were blocks of time that I forgot to record what I was reading, so I'm pretty sure there should be a few more books on here, but I just don't remember them. And yes, I know it is a fuck-ton of books. But it's not a record number of books for me. I've read more in a year - I think 223 is my record.

Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre
Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre
Devil’s Punch by Ann Aguirre
Agave Kiss by Ann Aguirre
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
No Strings Attached by Kate Angell
Lily’s Mistake by Pamela Ann
Glimmer by Vivi Anna
Dawning by Vivi Anna
Bloodstone by Barbra Annino
Opal Fire by Barbra Annino
Tiger’s Eye by Barbra Annino
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Rush by Maya Banks
Fever by Maya Banks
Burn by Maya Banks
Leopard Moon by Jeanette Battista
Leashing the Tempest by Jenn Bennett
Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett
Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Faerieground: Hope by Beth Bracken & Kay Fraser
Generation V by ML Brennan
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
A Soft Place to Fall by Barbara Bretton
Don’t Call Me Angel by Alicia Wright Brewster
Always the Baker, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker
River Marked by Patricia Briggs
Getting Sassy by DC Brod
World War Z by Max Brooks
Dark Beauty by Taryn Browning

Maid for the Billionaire by Ruth Cardello
Beauty from Pain by Georgia Cates
More Than Fiends by Maureen Child
If You Stay by Courtney Cole
Dark Legion by Rob Cornell
Darker Things by Rob Cornell
Darkest Hour by Rob Cornell
Dangerously Damaged by Lucy Covington
Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane
Rule by Jay Crownover

Blade Song by JC Daniels
Night Blade by JC Daniels
Seven Years by Dannika Dark
Fathom by Merrie Destafano
In This Moment by Autumn Doughton
I’ll Be Here by Autumn Doughton
On An Edge of Glass by Autumn Doughton
Angels Ink by Jocelynn Drake

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Dweller on the Threshold by Rinda Elliott
A Terrible Love by Marata Eros
Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep
Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep
Real by Katy Evans
Mine by Katy Evans
Remy by Katy Evans

Unspoken by Jen Frederick

Just For Now by Abbi Glines
Unbroken by Melody Grace

Darker Angels by MLN Hanover
Vicious Grace by MLN Hanover
Killing Rites by MLN Hanover
Unclean Spirits by MLN Hanover
Graveyard Child by MLN Hanover
Not My Apocalypse by Devin Harnois
Ever After by Kim Harrison
Black Wings by Christina Henry
Graphic the Valley by Peter Brown Hoffmeister
Have Stakes Will Travel by Faith Hunter
Death’s Rival by Faith Hunter
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter

Chosen by Benedict Jacka
Before You Go by Clare James
Charming by Elliott James
The Name of the Star by Maureen  Johnson
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones
Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones
Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
Death, Doom and Detention by Darynda Jones
Death and the Girl He Loves by Darynda Jones

The Fourth Channel by Jen Kirchner
Mist by Susan Krinard

Stay by Allie Larkin
Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
Beautiful Bitch by Christina Lauren
Soul Trapper by FJ Lennon
Abby Road by Ophelia London
Wait for You by J Lynn

The Runaways: Pride & Joy by Marvel
Pandaemonium by Ben Macallan
Taken by Kelli Maine
No Takebacks by Kelli Maine
The Stone Demon by Karen Mahoney
Desert Tales by Melissa Marr
The Eidolon by Libby McGugan
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Chimes At Midnight by Seanan McGuire
Sometimes Never by Cheryl McIntyre
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mea
Requiem for the Dead by Kelly Meding
Iced by Karen Marie Moning
Magic for a Price by Devon Monk
Hell Bent by Devon Monk
Stay by Kelly Mooney
Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan
Beautiful Mess by Lucy V. Morgan
The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan
White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert
Mountain Echoes by CE Murphy

House Rules by Chloe Neill
Biting Bad by Chloe Neill

Foretold by Jana Oliver
Freefall by Tess Oliver
Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olsen

A Trace of Moonlight by Allison Pang
Left Drowning by Jessica Park
Flat Out Love by Jessica Park
On Midnight Wings by Adrian Phoenix
The City’s Son by Tom Pollock
Come Away With Me by Kristen Proby

Damn Him To Hell by Jamie Quaid
Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Dead Letter Day by Eileen Rendahl
Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
Black City by Elizabeth Richards
The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson
Undead Chaos by Joshua Roots

The Renfield Syndrome by JA Saare
The Ripple Effect by JA Saare
Tooth and Nail by Jennifer Safrey
Tidal by Emily Snow
Devoured by Emily Snow
Trickster by Jeff Somers
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Borrowed Billionaire by Mimi Strong
Real Ugly by CM Stunich
Get Bent by CM Stunich
Shadow by Amanda Sun
Ink by Amanda Sun
After Math by Denise Grover Swank

The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson
Slashback by Rob Thurman
Trouble by Samantha Towle

Preservation by Rachel Wade
All the Time in the World by Shiloh Walker
Hunter’s Choice by Shiloh Walker
Wrecked by Shiloh Walker
Vampire Assassin by Samantha Warren
Easy by Tamara Webber
Along Came a Demon by Linda Welch
Red Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells
Green-Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells
Silver-Tongued Devil by Jaye Wells
Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells
Bait Dog by Chuck Wendig
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
Unclean Spirits by Chuck Wendig
Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess
Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder

Tab Bennett and the InBetween by Jes Young
Underneath by Jes Young
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
Down London Road by Samantha Young
Into the Deep by Samantha Young
Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha Young

There were some really amazing books in this list and some real shit storms of garbage. And it wasn't all urban fantasy. This year was a mix of urban fantasy, contemporary romance and mystery - both adult and young adult. I found some authors who I'll follow forever.

I'm sorry I've fallen off the blogging grid (not that I was all that on it) but life has been challenging with my soon-to-be 19 year old aspie son at home. Blogging is a luxury I cannot afford. But I do tweet under UnseelieMe if you want to look for me there. 

If you're still following me (and there were only 7 of you, so...), I hope you had wonderful holidays. And I hope your New Year brings you happiness. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An Emo Post about Boston

I live about 35 minutes south of Boston. Some of my favorite things to do are to go into the city and roam Faneuil Hall, visit the aquarium, shop the Pru and Copley Place (not that I can afford anything there, but hey). When I lived closer to the city and was single, I was in there a lot. In fact, I worked in the Hancock Building for a period of time as a temp. I'd walk to Boston Garden for lunch - I was bit by a duck there - or I would go grab a slice at Pizzeria Regina. I would sit on the steps of the old stone church that you can see in some of the images that they're showing on television over the last few days and read.

My husband and I had our first date at Bennigans in the Theatre District and then went over to The Comedy Club, followed by a night of drinking and laughing at the musclehead guys trying to pick up the big haired girls at a nightclub. While dating, we loved going into Boston to eat at restaurants or drink at bars near Faneuil Hall. We loved the blues club that was under Faneuil Hall. I love watching the street performers and people watching from a bench on the cobblestones.

We've been to see the Celtics, the Red Sox, the Bruins, Disney on Ice, Champions on Ice, The Nutcracker, The Lion King, Barnum & Bailey and Blue Man Group - all in Boston.

We've taken my son to every museum in Boston, some many times. The Science Museum and the Omni Theatre were a staple of his early years (as was the aquarium). Before they shut down the viewing floors of the Pru and the Hancock Tower, we loved to spend time there gazing down on the city and pretending to catch cars with our fingers. To this day we love catching the Red Line at Quincy/Adams station, taking the T into Park Street Station and taking the Green Line from there to Government Center. There are stairs there that lead down to the street and Faneuil Hall. I love those steps. When you stand at the top of them, you have one of the best views of Boston life.

Over the last seven months, with my son's cancer scare we've come to know another part of Boston - the doctors and staff at Brigham & Women's and Dana Farber. They are some of the most amazing, strong, steady and compassionate people I've ever met. Those doors in the images on tv are burned into my memory - not because of what happened on Monday, but because I've passed through them repeatedly as we took my son for emergency visits, consultations, surgery and follow ups. The image of the ATF agents storming to those doors is terrifying to me. That hospital represents safety to me. It's filled with the very best of humanity.

The injured who ended up at Brigham & Women's couldn't have been in better, more caring hands.

On Saturday, I'm getting me time so that I can go into the Seaport World Trade Center to go to Craft Boston, which is a spectacular showing of arts and crafts from the very best artisans in Boston. It has everything from steampunk rings to handmade modern art furniture.

In about a month, my son and I (along with several of his friends) will be going into Boston to attend Anime Boston which is held at the Hynes Convention Center inside the Pru. It's a convention that I've mentioned before where kids and adults like my son, who are often met with rejection, hostility, discrimination, bullying and worse gather in an environment where they're welcomed by tens of thousands like them, embraced and accepted. For a weekend, in Boston, they are part of a community that loves them.

While there, we'll take breaks and walk the Prudential Mall, Copley Plaza and Boston in general - where Bostonians and tourists will stare at them in their cosplay costumes with equal measures of amazement and confusion, and these anime geeks like my son and his friends will share their love of anime, manga, Boston and each other with everyone they come in contact with.

We'll likely walk past the spot where the bombing took place. I plan to bring flowers.

Nothing will prevent me from attending either event.

It's hard to watch television right now. I've been avoiding it for several days, because while the rest of the world goes on, here in Boston and the surrounding communities our televisions have been bombarded 24/7 with news coverage from the scene, replays of the bombings, footage of the aftermath and interviews with government officials, doctors, victims, family members, runners, etc. At some point it becomes overwhelming loud static. The news vultures constantly searching for a new, more tragic story angle to make us grieve harder make me want to vomit. They jump to spread misinformation and revel in speculation about how and why this happened, all while they run video footage of blood and pain over and over. And it doesn't stop. Every local station. Every minute of the day. It's relentless.

Yes, I understand that the news needs to be reported. I have a journalism degree. I get it. But there comes a point where enough is enough. Let these people grieve. Stop stalking them for a 10 second sound bite. Let us all grieve and regroup. Stop shoving the horror down our throats.

When I got up on Monday, my son was already up. In fact, he'd stayed up all night in some misguided attempt to regulate his sleep schedule. Aspergers is hell on sleep patterns. When he was young, he slept in 15 min. increments every 6-8 hrs., for the first 4 years of his life. (Can you say sleep deprived?) I used to put him in his baby swing and later in his johnny jumper while I napped on the floor in front of him. Or put him in the car and drive until he fell asleep. Sometimes that drive took me to Boston where I would load him in his stroller and push him along the cobblestones and pretend we were okay.

Monday was a beautiful day here - warm, sunny, we were up and the Marathon was happening. I've never been, which seriously is a sin since I've lived around Boston since graduating college in 1985. My son wanted to get out and do something. I suggested going in to the Marathon - an idea that he nixed because of concerns of sensory overload. Large crowds, motion, noise, strong odors - all of these can send him into a tailspin. So, while we entertained the idea of catching the Red Line in and making our way to the finish line to see the runners finish, instead we went to the local mall. We shopped and laughed and climbed in the car to drive home and heard the news.

I spent the next hour making sure people I love were safe. My sister and niece (who is on vacation this week) had also debated making the drive to Boston (they live 2 hrs. away). My niece is a crazy talented athlete at 14 and they often drive down to catch different sports events. She wanted to go to cheer on the runners crossing the finish line - my sister couldn't get her act together fast enough for them to make the drive. My immediate family and friends are all safe and sound. I don't know yet if there was anyone I know peripherally in that crowd. I think of all the doctors and nurses who have taken care of us through my son's scare and I'm pretty sure I knew some of those first responders, as well as at least one surgical team that helped save lives.

What I want to close with is this: I've learned over my 50 years that life isn't always fair, it isn't balanced - but the good always outweighs the bad. The sheer number of people who ran toward the bombing victims shows that. One person can do a lot of damage and we could focus on that if we wanted to - but instead we should focus on the good. The people who tore down scaffolding that the fucking blast couldn't knock down - with their bare hands and will alone. The people who ripped off their shirts, jackets and belts to make tourniquets. The doctors and nurses who raced to the hospitals to be there for the injured. The people who simply took the hands of the injured and held them so they would know they were not alone. The people who did what we all should do - be the light in the dark.

Darkness is always there. But light will ALWAYS be there to push it back. Be the light, people.


(As I finish writing this, the radio station just announced that there is a suspect in custody. Amen.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A funny and strange book story...

Back in November (I think) I downloaded an e-reader book by J.C. Daniels (aka Shiloh Walker) called Blade Song. It's a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. A few weeks ago when the sequel, Night Blade, came out I was excited to read it and immediately downloaded it. Unfortunately, my TBR pile is miles deep, so I didn't get around to reading it until yesterday.

So, I start the book....and its weird, because Blade Song was in first person and its an urban fantasy. This book seemed to be a romance in third person about a girl who was abused and raped as a child, dealing with a psycho, trying to remember that past (she's blocked it out) and trying to trust the man she wants to love. It wasn't well written (it actually felt like a draft), but I thought...well, maybe there's a back story to get to the urban fantasy, so I kept reading. And skipping thru parts. And struggling to figure out how this fit in as a follow up to the first book.

I finished it this morning (really, I was skimming at that point trying to understand what the hell one book had to do with the other and wondering if the author had lost her mind somewhere between the two - which is highly unlikely because its Shiloh F-ing Walker). I thought maybe I'd missed something. I went back and looked at Blade Song. Nope. I thought maybe Night Blade came after this story - which was maybe a freebee offered up with it. Nope. I was all WTF?!?!? This can't be right? Am I losing my mind?

Then I remembered that maybe two days after I downloaded the book, I received an e-mail from Amazon saying that there was an updated version of the book. I'd ignored it, and deleted it - because I don't really care about updates. So I went to My Amazon and sure enough there was a link to download the update of Night Blade. I downloaded it. And waited. And....opened the book....

...the update is an entirely different book. And yes, it is the actual sequel to the first book! WT everliving FUCK?! So what was the book I just read? I. Don't. Know! I can tell you I wasn't a fan of it. It needed serious work. But I'm glad I now have the right book.

So I guess tonight I'm reading Night Blade. The real Night Blade. So strange.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Slashback by Rob Thurman

I'm just getting rolling on a stack of books from some of my favorite authors. Last night, I finished Slashback by Rob Thurman. As usual, this book excels.

Rob takes a bit of a twist in this books - in that she takes us back to when Cal and Niko were kids, and Cal believed there was a serial killer living next door. We get a rare look into Niko's psyche since the flashbacks are written from his perspective. (Have I said that Niko is one of my favorite book characters. If he was real, I would be all over him. Swear to God.)

Present time, is as usual, from Cal's perspective. He's still his snarky self, but underneath that Cal is taking on new and worrisome depths. He and Niko have to deal with an evil serial killer who is hunting them for some reason (hence the tie-in to the past).

This book is all about secrets. Secrets you keep because you're trying to protect the people you love from ugly things. Secrets that have to be revealed to heal broken parts of yourself. Secrets that are surprising in their implications. Seriously, now knowing these secrets, I may have to go back and reread the whole series again, because these secrets definitely play into all of the characters' motivations through the ENTIRE series of books. Holy crap, it's brilliant.

I'm recommending not just this book, but every single book in the Cal Leandros series. Seriously, buy them and have a reading festival. Be prepared to stay up late, skip housework and order delivery. Cal, Niko, Goodfellow and the relationships between them are amazing and real.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Trickster by Jeff Somers

You know how sometimes you read a book and it sticks with you even after you've finished it and moved on to another? This is one of those books. 

Lem is a mage (well, he refers to himself as a trickster, but basically he can do magic with blood). He's also a con man and taking care of Mags, who is also able to work magic, but is mentally challenged. They're down on their luck, just getting by, bleeding themselves to perform crap tricks like making a one dollar bill look like a twenty for a meal. Then all hell breaks loose.

This is a pretty dark and visually ugly world. Magic users cut themselves to make magic. Or they cut others. Blood fuels magic. More blood, more magic. The more powerful magic users have bleeders to bleed for them. And the highest level users slaughter people. They're not good people, as Lem says.

So, Lem and Mags make the mistake of breaking into an apartment and discover a body in a bathtub. This is only the beginning of their troubles, though. Because then they rescue a girl locked in the trunk of a car - a girl who has magical runes all over her. And that's a very bad thing. Why? Because they've pissed off a very strong mage who has plans for the girl. 

Why did I like this book so much? In all honesty, I think its because Lem doesn't try to be likeable as a character. But he is. He takes care of Mags as best he can. He wants to save Claire (the girl in the trunk).  If he has to con people to do it, then that's just what he has to do. He's practical. And compared to his fellow mages, he's a damned saint. 

I loved this book from the first page. It's dark and gritty and it bleeds hopelessness at the same time it gives you hope that Lem can do what needs to be done. Where it ends up....well, you'll have to read it to find out. Let's just say Lem is tested in ways that would break most people. But he's smart, tough, resolute and persistent. 

This is a definite must read if you like dark urban fantasy. I can't wait for the next book to come out. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Is It Seriously March??

I think I entered a time warp. Damn.


I've probably lost what few people visit this blog, and am blogging to myself. That's just sad, you know? But blog I will...

I've been reading a lot. I've read some really fantastic urban fantasy books, some deliciously smutty books (don't judge me - I'm keeping myself sane), and a few bombs. Even the bombs have been an escape from my life, though, so I can't complain. I'm making a commitment to whoever is out there that I'm going to start blogging about the books, because I've discovered some really interesting authors.

My life is chaotic. Kiddo turned 18, which is scary & challenging. He's taking a couple of courses at community college (one he loves, one he's withdrawing from). I remind myself that at least this withdrawal is only $600 lost, compared to last semesters spectacular failure which cost us over $16,000. He thinks he's doing well - and he's happy with the way his life is, but from my end I'm dealing with a sullen, erratic, volatile, uncompromising dictator. Aspergers is part of it, but not all.

My beastie has been another source of stress for me. We've been back and forth to the vets since October dealing with what we thought was an injury to his leg. That led to xrays which showed the beginnings of arthritis in both his lower spine and the leg he was favoring. Over the last few months, things have progressively gotten worse. There have been tests, expensive meds, more xrays, emergency visits - which in the end has led to the diagnosis of systemic lupus. He can no longer sit at all, or stand from a lying position. The stairs require the help of a sling under his belly. For now, he's stable and not in pain, and I'm hoping with the coming of warm weather, some of his symptoms will subside. We'll see. I'm pretty emotional about it, because Leo is the smartest, sweetest dog I've ever known. And he's been my constant companion through all the shit.

I'm back to being a chauffeur, sitting in parking lots while kiddo goes to classes. On the upside, I've started writing again. It's crap, but at least its giving me a release. Writing is cathartic. Which is why I'm going to start blogging.

So for those of you who are out there, don't abandon me. I'm trying. I have so much to blog about - book-wise, that is. My personal life I'll keep to myself as much as possible.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I'm sorry for my absence from the blog. I've been dealing with some heavy stuff and talking books fell by the wayside. I'm hoping to get back to blogging soon - it helps to keep me sane and I miss it desperately.

2012 was a year of turmoil and trauma for me with my father becoming very sick first with shingles and then enduring 3 surgeries to remove gallstones (two failed attempts), only to have his gall bladder removed in the end. He is recovering slowly but surely.

While that was going on I had a cervical cancer scare. It's thankfully not cancer yet, but they will be monitoring me closely.

On the day that I found out I didn't have cancer, my son discovered a lump on his hip. What followed was a nightmare experience where they told us he had terminal vascular cancer - only to learn he had a very very rare benign vascular tumor. He underwent two surgeries and while he'll be monitored yearly by Dana Farber, they don't expect any recurrence.

He left for college 3 weeks after the second surgery, while still recuperating. Unfortunately, the challenge of having Aspergers Syndrome, dealing with that and all the changes that living away from home presented sent him into a tailspin. He decided he no longer needs his medications which control his perseverations and inflexibility. We medically withdrew him from school at the end of October when we realized he was not eating, sleeping, brushing his teeth, showering or attending classes at all. It has been a roller coaster ride since with the only constant being complete chaos.

The reality is that he may never be able to live on his own. It has been .... discouraging and disheartening to say the least.

In addition, a month ago my beastie (dog) couldn't get up one day. He's only seven years old. I made several trips to the vet for bloodwork, meds, xrays, etc only to determine that they think he suffered a catastrophic injury to his back - probably chasing the cat down the stairs. That triggered already developing arthritis to rapidly flare. (Or it could be a tumor, but I'm not putting him through more stressful tests to check that because if it is, there is little they'll be able to do.) He can't get from a lying position to a standing position without help and has to be held in place until his legs and back will support him. He also needs a sling and help to get down the stairs and is currently on 4 different meds to take away the pain. (At the moment he is not in pain.) If he doesn't improve, I will most likely have to make a quality of life decision that I'm not ready to make yet.

This dog has been my companion, comfort and savior over the last seven years.

Needless to say, I can't wait to see 2012 end. (END ALREADY 2012!)

I can only hope 2013 is a better year.

Tomorrow I hope to post a final count of the books that I've read this year. I'm currently reading The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong and enjoying it immensely. I love strong female characters and Maya, the protagonist, is definitely that. It's very well written, with a good story, well developed characters and an interesting world. Stay tuned and don't give up on me. I will be blogging about books again hopefully soon.

Have a happy and safe New Year everyone. Don't drink and drive.