Monday, December 27, 2010

December 2010 books & reviews

I'm posting this a little early because I'm in the middle of Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series and I think I'll finish the end of the year with Magic at the Gate based on where I'm at now...

December - total 9
Grand Total for 2010 - 151 Books! (Not the 200+ of last year, but hey, still a good total)

Darkness Calls by Marjorie M. Liu *****
A Wild Light by Marjorie M. Liu *****
Storm Front: Dresden Files by Jim Butcher ***
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead *****
Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk *****
Magic in the Blood by Devon Monk *****
Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk *****
Magic on the Storm by Devon Monk *****
Magic at the Gate by Devon Monk ***** (anticipated)

Darkness Calls & A Wild Light are both 5 stars. I loved this series! Maxine is one amazingly tough person who doesn't give up. Grant, her boyfriend, ooh boy - he holds her up when she might falter. And "the Boys"? Both scary and lovable.I won't even start on the demon with the knife feet. Dark well-developed world, amazing characters and some serious scary mixed in with the angst. This is a must read for its darkness and hope in the face of the bleakest of circumstances. (I just hope Maxine's hair grows back.) Read it.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher is the first of the Dresden Files (3 stars). My sister LOVES these books. Me, meh. I don't mean that in a bad way. I actually liked it (I have the whole series to read & that was what I intended to read this month, but...), but here's the thing. I had a hard time relating to Harry Dresden. I know he's not supposed to be an old man, but to me he felt 65+. Just old. And very negative about himself, which usually works for me but not here. I can't even put my finger on why. And it was a little frustrating. But the story is solid and interesting and I do plan to read the rest. I'm just going to throw them in between other books, not all at once.

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (5 stars). I actually debated whether to give this 4 stars because I was annoyed by it. Without giving anything away....this is the finale to the Vampire Academy series which I really enjoyed. (I gave Blood Promise a very rare 6 stars.) My problem with this series is Rose became unlikeable in this book & Dmitri has been unlikeable since the last book. I think they deserved each other (and it bums me out to put it that way). There was so much left hanging with all the other characters (like they were forgotten a little in the Rose/Dmitri love story) - and I wasn't happy how things were left with Adrian. My hope is that the sequel series will clear up some of the unfinished business.

Magic (Allie Beckstrom) series by Devon Monk (5 stars across the board as far as I'm concerned - yes, I haven't gotten to the last book, but hey good writing is good writing - so I'm anticipating those 5 stars). Allie Beckstrom is a Hound, which means she uses magic to solve magic crimes. And magic uses her hard. She suffers memory loss regularly - which can make life a little difficult and traumatic. Allie's father is a wealthy businessman whose company creates magic devices. He's a total bastard. The first book starts out with Allie hounding a magical hit on a boy. It leads her straight to her father. And everything goes to hell from there on. Each book picks up where the last left off. The one bright spot in Allie's crazy-messed-up world - Zayvion Jones. I have it bad for Zayvion. He's a very secretive man who loves Allie (well, I hope he does and that he isn't using her - that's always a possibility - damn). I think I have as many trust issues as Allie. My point is - this is a great series, very unique in its world, with well-developed characters and relationships. Definitely a great read worth owning.

That's it for my post. At some point in the next day, I'm going to work on a list of the Best of 2010. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 24, 2010


This is just to wish anyone who reads this blog (all 4 of you, if you actually still peek at it), Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays - Happy Solstice - whatever works for you!

May your stockings be stuffed with coupons to bookstores and your trees be lit by faerie dust. May the spirits of holidays past, present and future not scare the crap out of you. May the scents of brownies and gingerbread fill your house. And may the pleasures of a winter wonderland (think snow) sparkle as bright as the glowing eyes of your favorite supernatural beast.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another emo post....damn it.

To everyone out there that was hoping for a blog on books - that's coming. I have to get something off my chest first. It has to do with Aspergers and special education and the a$$holes that run the high school special education team at my son's high school....

** WARNING: Do not continue to read this if you're feeling all happy with the Christmas spirit and the belief in the good in people. **

To these "Team Members" - and I use that term loosely because they may function as a team, but they're not part of the team of people who want my son to have a happy life - (not that any one of them will read this blog) but I'd like to say thank you.

Thank you for taking a 15 year old kid who is struggling with Aspergers, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem and letting him know you all think he's worthless.

Thank you for pointing out to this kid who has social skills deficits that he is NOT WORTH THE EFFORT to teach him anything.

Thank you for allowing a teacher to HUMILIATE him in front of his peers and encourage the peers to participate so that he would be absolutely SURE that EVERYONE agrees with his opinion of his own failures.

Thank you for doing NOTHING about this teacher and refusing to even ACKNOWLEDGE that this negatively affected him.

Thank you for showing him that he won't EVER be accepted into "NORMAL" society.

Thank you for putting so many obstacles in our way that my 15 year old - who turns 16 in exactly 14 days - has now decided to DROP OUT OF SCHOOL.
(I guess that's better than the alternative...that he KILL himself.)

Thank you for showing my kid that GRADES DON'T MATTER KID who has a 135 IQ with his disability, a straight A average, who got the highest score at your F*CKING school on the PSATs (he's 10th grade - he outscored the 11th graders).

Thank you for reminding us exactly why we pulled him from the district in the first place. (We should have kept him free of you. Shame on us for giving you a chance to get it right.)

Thank you for doing your damnedest to RUIN HIS LIFE. (And not only not giving a SH*T that you're doing it, but seeming to GET OFF ON IT.)

Here is what we say to you....

He will use the tutor you provided* and EXCEL.
*After 6 weeks of demanding our legal right to one because he's UNABLE to attend school because of his anxiety and depression over the treatment he's received from you and your refusal to help us get him placement in a smaller school that he could navigate more effectively.

He will take the SAT early (because he needs those scores to go to college) and he will EXCEL.

He will DROP OUT, take the GED and enroll in college for the spring semester (because he will be 16 and can) and he will EXCEL.

He will go to college for a double major of computer programming and Japanese and he will EXCEL.

Yes, we say FUCK YOU very much! I have never seen such blatant disregard for another person's well-being in my life. You don't get to ruin a kid's life because you're a bunch of sanctimonious, pole-up-your-asses, superior, arrogant, douchebag asswipe dickhead FUCKING pricks. I cannot even begin to tell you how much you SUCK!

(And you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I don't know how you look at yourselves in the mirror. But then again, I think you LIKE this.)

Do I feel any better after this rant? No. My kid is still FUCKED.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The road less traveled....EMO post

The poem of my life....
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

My thoughts on it - Robert Frost is an idiot. You should always stick to the traveled path unless you're a masochist. My path was not one of choice, but necessity and its been brambles and skree and cliff climbing without gear. It's not a path any sane person would choose. (And I swear to God if another person tells me that I was "chosen" for this path, I'm going to punch them right in the nose - HARD.) The less traveled road has hidden holes that sprain your ankles, overgrown thorn bushes that reach out and flay the skin from your body, and nasty creatures that come out of nowhere and tear out chunks of your heart, your strength and your will. There is no light along the majority of this path - its dark, its empty and its tricky. Beware of the smooth stretches of path because they're a precursor to something that will have you sitting on the ground in the mud, head bowed, limbs weak, weeping like a baby. And the worst part is, you have precious cargo. A child. A child you have to lead through this misery and convince that this is NORMAL and OKAY. That there's a reason you're on this path. That it makes SENSE. You have to push forward because the path behind you vanishes in the blink of an eye. There are no do-overs. There is only now and forward. Up the skree hill, climb that rock face, patch up the torn bits as best you can and plod on. A child relies on you to create the way. A child, who no fault of his own, is all alone and struggling but believes there is an end where people will be waiting to welcome him. Not that he's ever experienced that. You can only hope that you prepare him well enough for this path so that when you fall, when you can no longer go on, he'll be strong enough to go on alone.

The road less traveled sucks, Robert Frost. It sucks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Books Read in November & reviews....

The following is the books I read in November - a total of twelve. I actually have a few short stories that I read on my e-reader and I haven't posted those, but I will. I love me some angst but I have to say, when reading angsty books and you're in an angsty state, you must lighten it with happy music. God help me, I listened to some seriously gag-worthy happy music this month.

Broken Angel by SW Vaughn ***
Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway ***
Beastly by Alex Flinn ****
White Cat by Holly Black *****
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick ****
Spun by Sorcery by Barbara Bretton ***
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler ***
That Voodoo You Do by Jodi Redford ***
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers ****
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride ******
Bitten in Two by Jennifer Rardin *****
The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu *****

Broken Angel by SW Vaughn(3 stars) isn't an urban fantasy. In that I mean there aren't vampires or other supernatural creatures running around. Its the story of Gabriel, a young man searching for his sister in NYC. What he finds is an underground fighting and prostitution organization run by some seriously bad guys. The book is all about Gabriel's unwilling transformation from a young, if not innocent, man to a bad-ass fighter. There isn't a good guy to be found in this story and yet I liked the characters despite their dark souls. I have to say, tho, that for a good portion of the book I thought there was going to be some guy-on-guy moments. It felt like it was leaning that way. It never happened. It was just a good, solid, interesting story.

Almost to Die for by Tate Hallaway (3 stars) This was a funny little story of Ana, a girl just about to celebrate her 16th birthday. Her mother is a witch but Ana doesn't have power. The ceremony starts only to have things go haywire. Not only does Ana not pass the test, she discovers her father is a vampire. And all hell breaks loose. Her best friend is shunning her, the boy she likes is a slayer and her mother just wants to control her. Entertaining.

Beastly by Alex Flinn (3 stars) A modern day Beauty and the Beast. Kyle is a stuck up little shit who treats others badly. He messes with the wrong girl - and is turned into a horrible beast. He has to find true love to save himself. His father abandons him to the care of a housekeeper and a blind tutor. He kidnaps a girl who he feels bad for in hopes she will love him. And he learns that outside beauty is nothing compared to inner beauty. I thought it was well done and entertaining.

White Cat by Holly Black (5 stars) Cassel comes from a family of curse workers - people with a gift to curse you with luck, memory loss, death, etc. Only he has no powers. The books starts with him dreaming of following a white cat. He wakes up on the roof of his dorm and realizes he's been cursed. What follows is a roller coaster ride where he learns that nothing NOTHING he believes is right. I won't say more than that. Read it. It's amazing.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (4 stars) This is the follow up to Hush Hush and I actually liked it better than the first book. Nora, the main character, is trying to figure out her relationship with Patch (who is now her guardian angel) which is quickly unraveling. Enter Scott, a boy she knew as a child who is nephilim. Lots of emotional angst and sadness and really stupid choices. I liked it.

Spun by Sorcery by Barbara Bretton (3 stars) This is the third in a series about Chloe, a sorceress, who runs a small Vermont town and Luke, her human boyfriend. The book starts after an epic battle (book 2) where the town is missing. What follows is a desperate roadtrip to Salem, MA to try to figure out what happened. This wasn't my favorite book because I missed the quirky residents of Sugar Maple. I thought it dragged a little. But I love Chloe and Luke's relationship, so I still liked it.

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler (3 stars) I'm going to preface what I say about this book with a warning - this is not a book for the faint of heart. This book is a very real look at anorexia, an illness that is very familiar to me since I suffered with it from 13 until 21. (You'd never know it looking at me now - lol.) For that reason, I had a tough time reading it. I loved Death and I thought the story was very clever. Who better to understand famine than a girl who deliberately starves herself? This book hit me on a very visceral level. I think a lot of people would be turned off by it, but I recommend it.

That Voodoo You Do by Jodi Redford (3 stars) Okay, this was an e-reader. It starts off with a majorly steamy graphic sex scene where a sweet, innocent woman seduces her gorgeous guy friend. Only it turns out he's her familiar (he shifts into a tiger) and having sex with him triggers a curse that raises zombies. Then it gets even naughtier with the introduction of a werewolf. To fight the zombies, she has to have sex with both of them! Eek! Can you see me blushing?! Holy smokes. Okay, so I'm a prude or something cause I was just like WTFH?
I liked the story. And the sex scenes didn't gross me out, so I have to say it, interesting. And good. Definitely good.

Personal Demons by Lisa DesRochers (4 stars) Mary Francis is a girl with a dark secret - well, actually she has several. Luc is a demon sent from hell to tag her soul. Gabriel is an angel sent from heaven to stop him. Only once Luc meets Frannie, he doesn't really want to tag her. In fact, he falls in love with her. And he might be growing a soul. Now hell is sending other demons to do his job and Luc and Gabe have to keep her safe - not an easy job. I liked this book & I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (6 stars) Yes, it gets a super star! I LOVED this book. Go out and buy it! Sam is a short order cook, a slacker who's floating along in life until one night he and his friends are playing potato hockey outside their fast food restaurant. Sam hits a shot that breaks a car's tail light. That brings him to the attention of Douglas, a psycho crazy necromancer. What follows is a dark, scary, funny, brilliant story that will alternately have you laughing and freaking out along with Sam. An absolute MUST READ!

Bitten in Two by Jennifer Rardin (5 stars) Another wonderful story about Jaz Parks. This one was hard to read, because Jaz is in a bad place in the book. Vayle has forgotten who she is and she's desperately trying to find a way to get his memory back and worrying about being alone. The angst Jaz feels was exacerbated by my angst reading it - because I kept thinking about Jennifer Rardin who passed away recently. This was the series which got me back into reading and I had several conversations with her (she was a super nice lady) as well as a signed book. I loved the story and this series is one of my favorites.

The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu (5 stars) A very dark story about Maxine, a Hunter, and Grant, her boyfriend who is a former priest and more than he seems. But then again, so is Maxine. She had her boys, demons who during the day live as tattoos on her body and at night peel off and help her hunt demons. Maxine comes across a kid in an alley and draws the wrong kind of attention. Suddenly, someone or something wants her dead. This is one of the darkest series I've read and it's absolutely fascinating. Like I said, I love angst. This has it in spades.

So, that's the list. I'm currently cranking through the next two books in Marjorie Liu's series while dealing with a kid STILL out of school (can I say my school district SUCKS?!) and suffering from severe anxiety, and a father in the hospital with a very scary infection. I put up two Christmas trees - one upstairs, one downstairs, I'm blasting Christmas music all day and doing lots of donating this month. Gotta mix the dark with the light, people. Just wish a little of that light would roll my way....