Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011...Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Happy New Year everyone!

Well, I can't say I'm sad to see 2011 go. It's been a tumultuous year for me. In the short span of 365 days, my son turned 16, dropped out of high school, enrolled in community college, got his GED (scored higher than 96% of graduating seniors), got his first job volunteering at a pet shelter, adopted a cat and enrolled in the local university as a full freshman. The kid doesn't have a car, but he has an A in computer, an A in Japanese, an A- in English Comp, a B+ in Communication and a B in Freshman Writing. He started up the computer club only to have the jerks that joined vote him out as president once he had all the grunt work done. Through it all, he's struggled with anxiety, depression and self-worth issues and has had to have his meds adjusted repeatedly.

After being out of work for a year, my husband started a new job and immediately began obsessing about when he'd be laid off again (hasn't happened yet). He's (well we've) dealt with elderly parents who can no longer care for their house and have had several health scares and a brother who underwent quadruple bypass surgery. He's put on 30 lbs. this year from all the stress.

I underwent three separate and unbearably painful dental surgeries, got myself on anti-depressants (can I say I'm a much more balanced person with them? lol), gave up more freedom to drive my son to classes (spring semester is carefully scheduled so that I don't have to spend hours in the car) and resigned myself to the fact that I'll probably never work a real job again. I've also dealt with my father having several very very scary medical emergencies.

Like I said, tumultuous. Thank God for books. They've kept me sane and allowed me to escape. (Well, the prozac might have helped with that, too.


Now I'm kicking back with a Dogfish Head Brown Ale, reading Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead, while Pineapple Express plays on the television (LOVE that movie - its sooo ridiculous) and kicking 2011 out the door with a laugh. I survived and that's good enough for me.

Hope all of you have a wonderful New Year, too. Bring it on, 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Release Craziness Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is another awesome Tuesday of new releases! I'll be picking up a few of these - probably not tomorrow, but before the week is out. What am I most looking forward to reading?? The Mortal Bone by Marjorie Liu. I'm fascinated by Maxine and her world. I also love Jennifer Lynn Barnes wolf series, so I'm looking forward to reading Every Other Day. And Babylon Steel, while a little off my usual genre, just looks campy enough for me to enjoy. Here's the list:

Every Other Day – Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Daybreak Zero – John Barnes
Archon – Sabrina Benulis
The Demon Lover – Juliet Dark
Shadow City – Diana Pharaoh Francis
Spirit Bound – Christine Feehan
Bedeviled – Sable Grace
Ghost Walk – Heather Graham
A Hard Day’s Knight – Simon R Green
A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
The Mortal Bone – Marjorie Liu
The Warlord’s Legacy – Ari Marmell
Bitter Seed of Magic – Suzanne McLeod
Wicked Circle – Linda Robertson
Babylon Steel – Gaie Sebold
Switchblade Goddess – Lucy A Snyder
Vesper – Jeff Sampson

So what are you anxious to get your hands on?

OOOH! Book Sale!!! 26th & 27th only...good books, too.

Hi All -
Just wanted to throw out there that (out of Canada) is having a huge 2 day sale. 50% off all books - and they're all seriously marked down anyway. I just bought 21 books for $43. No kidding!!! Shipping was $10 (roughly), so the total was $53, but still. You cannot beat that. Most of these are trade paperbacks that originally cost $15 each, with some paperbacks mixed in. Its a ridiculous savings of roughly $170! (I think I calculated it out to $221 for all the books together, without the shipping.)

I've ordered from this company before. They're legit and the books are in excellent/new condition, usually with a mark somewhere on the cover or page edges. AND they're not weird books either. There are big name books there. So what are you waiting for? Go. Buy!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wishing You All Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to take a minute to wish everyone who floats by this blog a glorious Hannukah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanza and New Year. Whatever you celebrate, I hope it will be filled with love and laughter and the joy of family and friends.

As for me, I've survived the in-law's Hannukah celebration (trust me - its an event that requires at least alcohol and often prescription meds). I'm gearing up for the parent's Christmas celebration (much calmer if you ignore all the dogs), my own Christmas celebration (a peaceful, quiet time) and New Years (which I usually celebrate alone because everyone else is in bed). All of this festivity is followed by kid's 17th birthday and two nieces' birthdays (one 27, one 13). It all falls within the window of last Sunday to Jan. 19th. I will be happy when its all over.

Yes, it is a crazy time of year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

e-Reader December & finally feeling a little like Christmas

I decided to make December an e-Reader month since I bought way too many 99 cent books in the last month (I think it was somewhere near 40 heh). Since a lot of these books are shorter, I can actually find the time to devote to reading them. (It's not because I'm trying to bring the number of books I read this year up. Honest.)

So far, I've read some good books and one awesome one. I'll keep you posted. 

Also, at some point this month I'll be posting my favorite picks of the year. So keep an eye out. 

I finally managed to decorate my tree. The thought of crawling up into the attic and drag out boxes was just too much for me this year. Instead, I hit Walmart. I bought some curly ribbon - the kind that comes three colors to a roll and draped that around the tree (its red plastic-y, gold shiny and brown paper). Then I bought 4 packs of ornaments - (1) white glitter icicles (1) gold plastic icicles (1) copper glitter butterflies (1) white glitter stars and a pack of round gold ornaments that were gold glitter, shiny gold and dull gold. I also found a very cool steampunkish star.

Here's where the fun comes in: I bought gold, silver, copper, black and turquoise acrylic crafter's paint, too. I took the white glitter ornaments and dry brushed them with black, silver and turquoise. I brushed the copper ornaments with gold and black. I brushed the gold ornaments with black, copper and turquoise. Then I hung it all up. Voila! Steampunk tree. 

Total cost: $27!

I honestly didn't expect it to end up looking so pretty. (I'll put a picture up as soon as my camera is charged.) My house isn't exactly festive, but that little corner where the tree sits is. It's good enough for this year.

And my shopping is all done! Yay. Not all of it has arrived yet, but the last delivery is supposed to come on the 20th. So I should be good. If not, there's always Amazon overnight delivery. Lets just hope everyone likes their gifts. 

As a little side note for those who missed it, I still have some books that I'm trying to get rid of. Scroll back in my entries and if you see anything you'd like let me know. I don't think they'll make it to you for Christmas, but they're totally free to good homes. And they're all new! (Because they're duplicates.)

Now just get me through the turmoil of kid's meds being off, final exams and the craziness of Hannukah, Christmas, New Years and kid's birthday all falling within 10 days of each other. (Deep breath.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unexpected Expenses (aka Why Me?) - yes, a vent...

...and I apologize in advance.

The kid's phone tried to ELECTROCUTE him! Now, this in and of itself is horrible enough. But it gets worse. See, this is the 3rd phone that kid has had in less than two years.

The first and second phones were the type where the keyboard slides out. Both of them had the screen disconnect from the keyboard causing a white screen (which was really quite pretty). Both were Motorola. The wiring from the screen to the keyboard failed. Verizon rules are: contract plan + phone fail = refurbished phone of same type (ie. "Here, have another phone we've fixed that had the same problem as your last one. Hopefully we've fixed it well enough for it to work for the rest of your contract.") But when the second phone failed (big surprise) in April, we told them that was unacceptable. We wanted a phone that wasn't going to fail.

So, with much haggling (they waived the early replacement fee; we accepted a brand new 2 yr. contract AND paid for new phone at a discount), we got the kid the Motorola Droid X. From day one this phone had issues. The phone periodically refused to recognize the memory card. It rebooted randomly. Kid said "No problem. I know some tricks." Kid is a computer genius. I said okay (yeah, don't say it, I know. I think the phrase you're looking for is "Dumbass"). Kid rooted his phone and for a while he was happy.

Then about 2 weeks ago the problems began. Phone kept shutting off. It wouldn't connect to 3G. It ejected memory card ad nauseum. And then yesterday, when kid turned it on to call me because class got out early...ZAP!!! He got the shock of his life. Literally. He managed to call me to tell me to come get him. When he hung up, the phone zapped him again and went dead.

When I picked him up, I have to admit I was a little skeptical. (And I might have thought he was exaggerating the electrocution a bit.) I told him to plug it into my car charger if it was dead. (Yes, yes, Dumbass and Shit for Brains, that is me.) After lecturing me that it was a bad idea, he did it. The phone made a loud ZZZZTTPFT sound, blue sparks shot out and it killed my charger. Fucking phone.

I suggested we take it to Verizon to get a replacement AGAIN. Kid said "no can do". It turns out kid's alterations to the phone to help it work better killed the warranty. Soooo...kid now has a Motorola Droid X that's a charger murdering bastard phone. Seriously, it's only use now is as a TAZER! I can't get it repaired because the warranty is voided. Our options? Pay for the new phone in FULL (uh, Droid X = $549!) OR cancel his phone (Early termination = $350 + cost of new service + cost of new phone = $600-$650).

My house has been a war zone for the last day. Aspergers + end of semester stress + no phone with internet access stress = HELL!!!) It's amazing I'm not a lush. Thank God wine gives me migraines & hard alcohol upsets my stomach. And beer is just tough to drink to excess. All that peeing kills the mood.

In the end kid took it out of my hands. He's now sporting a T-Mobile android no-contract phone ($280 + prepaid $30 card 100 mins/unlimited text & internet). He paid for it. I'm just out the $350...well, plus the money I paid 7 months ago for my electric cattle prod. I guess the upside of the whole thing is that it's cheaper than the $45/mo. we were paying Verizon for pretty much the same service.

Is it any wonder my Christmas tree is still in the attic?
Ho Ho Holy Shit.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Books Read in November

Does time ever get away from you? I just realized that it's December 5th and I haven't posted my reading list for November. So, without further ado, here it is:

Drink Deep by Chloe Neill (5 Stars)
Magic on the Line by Devon Monk (5 Stars)
Reckoning by Lilith Saintcrow (6 Stars)
Serengeti Sunrise by Vivi Andrews (3 Stars)
Hounded by Kevin Hearne (4 Stars)
Hexed by Kevin Hearne (4 Stars)
Hammered by Kevin Hearne (4 Stars)
The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen (3 Stars)

I've blogged about some of these because they were so fantastic. I intend to do a blog about Kevin Hearne's books as soon as I finish Hammered (which I've listed here because I started it in November - before all hell broke loose). The Vampire Stalker is a young adult book loaned to me by my niece. She's 12 and got a little freaked by it. I think it was just too mature for her (some romance and a vicious attack where the heroine gets chomped). I liked it though. Serengeti Sunrise was an e-book and I thought it was cute.

I'd like to spend time talking about these books, but I'm a little overwhelmed by life right now and have to go shuttle the kid to his next class. *sigh*

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Update on Available Books...

Yay!! Some of my books have been claimed. But I still have a bunch of books for anyone who wants them. No charge to you - I'm even picking up shipping! All you have to do is email me and tell me what you want. How can you go wrong? Free books. Free shipping. It's a great deal.

So, still up for grabs...


White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison
Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison

Trade Paperback

Jailbait Zombie by Mario Acevedo
Pack of Lies by Laura Anne Gilman
Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin
Shades of Gray by Jack Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge
Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Mass Market Paperback

Staked by J.F. Lewis
Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow
Fatal Circle by Linda Robertson
Blood Magic by Eileen Wilks
Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks
Death Most Definite by Trent Jamieson
Managing Death by Trent Jamieson
A Flash of Hex by Jes Battis
Hexed and the City by Simon R. Green
Circle of Enemies by Harry Connolly
Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn
Green Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells
Valiant by Holly Black

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nobody entered my contest :[

It was (I thought) a good idea - having a contest to give away all my duplicate books. They were all brand new. They've been neatly shelved and in a smoke-free home. They even still sport their price stickers. Geez.

One week and not one entry. (Can you picture my sad face?) I'm actually bummed that not one person thought it was worth doing. So, I'm putting it out there...these books need a new home. Check my list on the previous entry for what I have available. Email me at unseelieme(at)gmail(dot)com if you want any of them. Whatever is left, I'm going to sell to either Powell's or Amazon.

Doesn't anyone want free books??!????

Friday, November 18, 2011


I promised a list of books that I'm giving away. So ... here it is! (Now, its entirely possible I'll find more books as I reorganize my shelves. If I do, they'll be added to the list but for now this is what I have. These books are all brand new, guys.


White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison
Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison

Trade Paperback

Jailbait Zombie by Mario Acevedo
Vampires by John Steakley
Pack of Lies by Laura Anne Gilman
Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin
Shades of Gray by Jack Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge
Into the Darkness by Delilah Devlin
Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
Immortal: Love Stories with Bite (anthology) edited by P.C. Cast

Mass Market Paperback

Staked by J.F. Lewis
Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow
Fatal Circle by Linda Robertson
Blood Magic by Eileen Wilks
Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks
Death Most Definite by Trent Jamieson
Managing Death by Trent Jamieson
A Flash of Hex by Jes Battis
Hexed and the City by Simon R. Green
Circle of Enemies by Harry Connolly
Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn
Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe
Green Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells
Valiant by Holly Black
Hexed (anthology)

That's 26 BOOKS! Yes, 26 books that need new homes.

Rules: post something ridiculous that you're thankful for. If you can't think of anything ridiculous, you can say something heartwarming, too. I'm not going to be picky. If I get less than 10 entries, I will divide the books among the entrants. If I get more than 10 entries, I will pick 10 winners at random (my genius kid will create me a random number generator program for fun and I'll use that). I will divide the books among the 10 winners. Contest closes at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day (that's next Thursday) and is open to anybody who posts. (If you're outside of the US, I'm going to ship the cheapest way possible - so it could take a while to get to you.) I'll notify winners Friday, Nov. 24 and start shipping books immediately.

I'll start off with saying that I'm thankful for: my ADD because everything is always new to me, the person who discovered chocolate, my gold eyeliner (its seriously cool), every author who ever took pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) especially Edgar Allan Poe, boy's briefs for girls (TMI - I know), animal shelters (the best pets come from them), and my newest passion - Jun dolls. (See, not so hard...)

Happy Thanksgiving! Now, come on, enter the contest. And don't forget to give me an email address in your post like this: unseelieme(at)gmail(dot)com.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Introducing the "Thank God for My ADD" Contest

Seriously, in the spirit of Thanksgiving - where its important to look at all the things you're thankful for in your life - I have decided to create a contest to clear out some books!

I don't have the list of books finalized yet. I'm busy going through my shelves and pulling all my duplicates, which is why I'm calling this the "Thank God for My ADD Contest". See, before I started keeping a log of books (and even after, I have to admit) ADD has caused me to buy duplicates (and in at least one case triplicates) of books. Why is this a good thing? Well, for me each book I discover is like a little slice of goodness, so when I buy it twice (or three times) because I don't remember buying it, it's a little bonus slice of happiness for me.

(Okay, some of them are duplicates because I won contests or have signed books...<3<3 to authors who sign books...)

And for you, those of you who follow my blog, or those who just pass by in a drunken haze wondering who the whack-a-doo is who likes vampires and unseelie fae and calls herself emo, you get to be thankful because I'm offering up FREE books!! Not only that, I'm shipping them to you FREE if you win. Isn't that awesome?!? (FYI drunken wanderers - my books are ALL urban fantasy/uf romance.)

Now, I'm making up a list of the duplicate books - there are hardcovers, trade and mass market paperbacks - and I'm going to list them here in a post tomorrow, so you can see all the titles. (Hint: Trent Jamieson, Kim Harrison, and more!) I'm up to 18 books! But I know there's shelves are just teeming with them. So check back tomorrow to see what I've uncovered.

As for how the contest is going to work. I'm going to pick up to ten winners. Yes, that's right. If I get ten or more responses (come on, I only have 6 followers, I'm going pie-in-the-sky here), I will be picking ten names. And I will divide up the books among those ten winners. All you have to do is post something ridiculous (like ADD) that you're thankful for.

If I get less than 10 responses, then I'm dividing the books between those of you who post. That's right, if only one person responds, you're getting the lot of them! Do with them what you will -- read them, give them to friends, pass them out to strangers on the street for all I care -- I just need space.

The contest is going to run until 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. That's one week to come up with something totally ridiculous to be thankful for - something like ADD or bite size Snickers or gold eyeliner.   (I love my gold eyeliner!) So post, people. Win free books!!

Oh, and don't forget to include an email address like this: unseelieme(at)gmail(dot)com so that I can contact you if you win!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

* throws hands up in the air * (aka a frustrated vent)

NaNoWriMo, I give up. I throw in the towel. I walk away in defeat....sigh

Two years ago, I discovered NaNoWriMo. I participated unofficially (in other words, I didn't sign up) and actually managed to meet the 50,000 word goal.

Last year, I participated officially and had an absolute blast. I love writing almost as much as I love reading, so it was fun to test my mettle, so to speak. Meeting that 50,000 was easy - I had a story in my head, time on my hands, I type 125 wpm (yes, you read that right), and things were good with my kiddo. I not only hit 50,000 words, I went well beyond.

I signed up again this year with high hopes. But I didn't have a story in my head, so I was going into it with more of a challenge than the last two years. I started out strong ... got 7,400 words down in 4 days and ..... nothing. For three days, I looked at that story and God help me, I couldn't write another word. It sucked. It sucked so bad that the thought of writing another word made me physically ill. I deleted it.

I spent the next two days typing a line or two and deleting them. And then a story hit me. I dove into it with crazy enthusiasm. Over the last 6 days, I've been trying to write it.

But my son and husband figured out I was participating. Suddenly, I've become the most needed person on the face of the earth. Every time I sit down to write, one of them suddenly needs my full and undivided attention immediately.

If I get up early in the morning, my husband gets up and sits beside me asking me what I'm writing, can he read it, and then talking my ear off until I give up.

During the day, I'm running around - I'm shuttle bus back & forth to classes, animal caretaker, housekeeper, laundress, grocery shopper, dishwasher, etc., etc. I haven't even been able to sit down, never mind turn on my computer. (I'm on a very short break between kid's classes right now.)

If I stay up late, they're both talking to me. And they've started staying up until I go to bed!! (I used to get from 10-12 to myself.) They want to talk talk talk. Did I do this? Did I do that? Where is this? Where is that? Can you find this? Can you get that? Blah blah blah blah blah on and on and on and on until I want to just scream at them to leave me alone for five fucking seconds.

(Oh dear, I sound a little hostile there, don't I?)

So, here it is - an hour break for myself. Husband (who for some reason stayed home & worked at the dining room table this morning) finally left. Kiddo is on campus (I've dropped him off and picked him up and dropped him off and picked him up and dropped him off again). One hour. The story is still there. Brewing. But I can't write. I'm sitting here looking at it. And ... nothing. It's like all my writing energy has been sucked out by evil writer blocking vampires.

I have 14,000 words on this new story. It's a good story. But it's done...I'm done...I give up. They win. I'm just going to go read.

*wishing I could take a month long vacation by myself to someplace warm & sunny, where they serve pina coladas *

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reckoning by Lili St. Crow (Lilith Saintcrow)

Gets 6 big, beautiful, bright shiny stars. I love this book. I love this series. I love Lilith Saintcrow.

This is going to be a very very spoilery post. If you haven't read this series, for god's sake, don't read this!

(Because I serious HAVE to TALK about this book!!!)

I've said it before, with Lilith you never know how the stories are going to end. In all honesty, she truly understands that happily ever after is NOT "boy and girl end up together with no problems and sunshine and flowers the rest of their natural days". That's an unrealistic ending and frankly, I think it's a cop out when writers do it.

That's not to say her stories don't have a happy end. They do -- in their own way.

I have a feeling a lot of people are NOT going to be happy with the end of this series.

So why do I find it such a beautiful ending? (I hope, if you didn't heed my warning before, you will now...)

This series starts with Dru, a teenage girl who has been hauled around all her life by her father (who hunts monsters), having to do the unthinkable. She has to kill her father. In shock, she goes to the mall where she is approached by Graves, another teenager, who lives at the mall because his home life is horrible. They're attacked and Graves is bitten by a werewolf which begins his transformation to loup-garou. And they're rescued by Christophe, an old damphir, who looks like a teenager but is NOT.

As the series progresses, Dru and Graves are thrown into unimaginable circumstances and through it all the cling to each other for sanity. Dru discovers things about herself, her father and mother, that change her world. They suffer. They break. And they piece themselves together and keep going. Through it all, Christophe is there helping Dru along and attempting to drive a wedge between her and Graves. He wants her. But love (at least the HEA love) is NOT what this story is about.

Some authors would have taken the easy road at the end and gone with the pretty flowery ending. Dru would have chosen Christophe or Graves. It would have been a cop out. Because, here's the thing: Dru is a TEENAGER. She's matured quite a bit by the end of the books, sure, but she's still so young. And so is Graves. And Christophe, well, he's just OLD. And more than a little creepy. Sorry Christophe lovers, but come on - he trained and had a relationship with her mother! That's just fucked up.

This story is about clinging to life when it would be so easy to lay down and die. It's about fighting for survival and finding that one thing to hang on to when all else is lost. It's about growing up and making hard choices and accepting not just those choices, but who and what you are. And its a beautiful story because of that.

Did it break my heart when Graves left in the end? You bet. Do I think he's coming back to her? I don't know. My gut says he's not coming back. Yes, he loves her and she loves him. And yes, they have been to hell and back together. But they're so young. And they're both so damaged in their own way. Graves was damaged long before Sergei came into the picture. He may never be whole. But realistically, even if he comes back some day to her, she will be different and he will be different. I don't know if they'll ever be together.

But if he had stayed and the book had ended with them together, I wouldn't have been happy. Because love, at that age, isn't usually permanent. Sure, some people find their true love at that age, but its rare. And they still have a lot to sort out - things they need to sort out separately.

Do I think Dru will end up with Christophe? God, I hope not. She said it best when she told him how she felt. She knows he loves her and she cares about him, but to be with someone who's been with your mother? That's just a little much. It feels, to me at least, a little incestuous. Ick.

In the end, the story ended as it should have. Dru, Graves and Christophe survived the worst experience of their lives. They found a way to keep each other moving forward. They're all still standing. And now they need to step back and find a way to heal themselves without leaning on each other. They need to grow.

Will I go back and read these books again, knowing the end? Absolutely, YES! I think I'll enjoy it more, too, knowing how it ends.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Magic on the Line by Devon Monk

I love Allie Beckstrom. She's a fantastic character. Vulnerable, brave, hard, kind. She does what needs to be done, no matter the cost to her physically or mentally. And then there's Zay (Zayvion Jones) her super hot boyfriend, Guardian of the Gates, badass, strong and silent. Yum. And Shame, wise ass, tough as nails and with serious issues. And Terric. And Davy. And Stone, Allie's pet gargoyle. And Daniel, Allie's dad, who I'm not sure is downright evil genius or just evil or maybe self-sacrificing and good. Cody. Nola. Stotts. The relationships make a fantastic story that much more enjoyable. The world is fascinating (magic cisterns, a secret magical authority, veiled, magic technology). It's incredibly well thought out. And each book flows beautifully into the next.

So, what happened in this book? Seriously? Do you honestly want me to give it away? Cause I'm not going to...sorry! Let's just say, I was very very worried through most of the book - not just about Allie, although she had me very worried, but about all of the characters and the choices they were being forced to make - and as it drew to an end I stopped being worried... and then WHAM... all hell broke loose and now I'm in a total panic. Things happen in this book. Bad things. Scary things. Things that make me think that not all the characters are going to make it to the end of this series alive. I love that!

So, this is book 7 of the series, which will have 9 books. I recommend them highly. You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Drink Deep by Chloe Neill

This has got to be a record ... three posts in one day. (Procrastinating much? Who me?)

I just finished Drink Deep by Chloe Neill. You may remember my post regarding the last book - which left me a complete and total wreck. The cliff hanger was a killer. I was literally too upset to read anything for a day after finishing it. (Thanks Chloe. I love when a book hits me like that.)

In Drink Deep, Merit is dealing with the emotional repercussions of the end of the last book (damn, its hard not to give away anything). There's a Receiver in Cadogan House from the vampire council who is making life hell for all the vampires. His mission? To take down the House. Not good. Mallory, Merit's best friend, is acting super bitchy as she begins her magical testing. The Red Guard is working to get Merit to join them.

What I loved about this book ... In the beginning, Merit seems to just be going through the motions as Sentinel. Her emotions seem almost muted. But as the story begins to pick up speed, she begins to deal with things and find a strength within herself that she needed to learn was there. She discovers other things as well (not saying - sorry). And then all hell breaks loose.

This book took some serious twists that I was not expecting. And I am no longer traumatized. Although, I am shocked. And one thing I can say, magic comes with a price. And while Merit might be happy now, I don't think she's going to remain that way. Another excellent cliffhanger.

These books should be on your shelves, people!

Drink Deep gets 5 stars.

Angel Town by Lilith Saintcrow (oh soooo good!)

Angel Town is the final book in Lilith's Jill Kismet series. Can I say it was a powerful, satisfying end to Jill's story? Good. Because I have serious love for Lilith Saintcrow. She can create worlds that I'm able to lose myself in. In fact, I've been known to tell my yakking husband to shut the fuck up when I'm reading one of her books. I'd never say that to my son - however, I have been known to take her books into the bathroom, lock myself in, sit on the floor and read so that I can enjoy them without interruption. (It's the ONLY place I'm allowed any privacy. :p)

Soooo, Angel Town ... How can I describe it? Maybe some of the grittiest, darkest, most graphically satisfying tumble of words I've ever had the pleasure to read. That might MIGHT come close to describing how visual this book is. Jill is, as usual, a total mess. Actually, in this book (if you've read Heaven's Spite, you'll know why) she's pretty much a disaster area. She's lost, she's confused and she's hurting. And freaking Perry - OMG - he's a sadistic evil monster - does his evil best to use her. Thank God for Saul - and Jill's love for him - even if he's a total mess, too. He's the one thing she has to cling to. And can I say, I was clinging to him, too? Because I wasn't sure how this book was going to end. You NEVER know with Lilith - Dante Valentine didn't end up so well. (That was probably the most haunting series I've ever read. It still weighs on me.)

I'm not going to share much about this book. Let's just say things move at a rapid pace and the end is very satisfying.

Now, about writing styles. I'm a huge fan of dark fantasy (I'm a dark kind of girl) and Lilith Saintcrow knows not only how to deliver ... she knows how to deliver with a breath-catching in-your-face brilliance that I don't think is matched by any other author I've read. Her characters are so emotionally charged, they come to life on the pages. I not only understand them, I can feel them. Her worlds are amazingly well thought out and flawlessly delivered. And her writing style? It's visual. Each word, each phrase is chosen with such care that it's like poetry to my emo soul. And Angel Town may be her best book yet.

Thank you Lilith for delivering another wonderful, beautiful, dark tale of life, despair, hope, redemption and love.

Books Read in October - a little late, but hey...

So, my reading log isn't great for this month either. HOWEVER, I read some truly phenomenal books. I've already blogged about a couple of them, so I think I'll keep this short (besides I want to blog specifically about a couple more). Without further ado, here is my reading for October:

Soul Thief by Jana Oliver (5 Stars)
Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep (5 Stars)
Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (5 Stars)
Mob Rules by Cameron Haley (5 Stars)
Skeleton Crew by Cameron Haley (5 Stars)
Angel Town by Lilith Saintcrow (6 Stars)

Yeah, it was a good month, never mind that I only read six books. They were six awesome books! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Barnes & Noble - you know where this is going, right? (a vent)

Today there are a boatload of new releases I'm itching to read. My local B&N (in Hingham, MA) is the most unpleasant bookstore in the world. Last week, when I ran there, they didn't have the latest releases for Richard Kadrey or Julie Kagawa (as well as several others). In addition, they'd shrunk their romance section to half it's size, their sci-fi section to 1/3 its size & the young adult to maybe half it's size. Basically, 1/3 of the store is high end home shit & children's toys, 1/4 is their "Nook Department", and the books are crammed in the rest. I won't go into the stuck up, snotty attitude of the employee's because I could spend HOURS on that.

There's also a B&N in Braintree, but its half the size of the Hingham store & is shrinking in the same way.

So, based on the luck I had hunting down books last week (don't ask), I decided I wasn't going to risk it. I was making the run to B&N in Burlington. If you don't live in MA, that's about a 47 mile drive from where I live. Yeah. Up Rtes. 24 & 128 which is under construction. But damn it, Lilith Saintcrow, Devon Monk and Chloe Neill all had books coming out & I know that B&N Hingham doesn't have either Lilith or Chloe's books.

I think they think anyone that reads urban fantasy is a satan worshipper. I know they think everyone that walks through the door is part of the unwashed masses they have to avoid. Perhaps we're a zombie horde. I don't know.

Aaaanyway, I drove 45 minutes (do the math - I was flying) up to Burlington. I found last week's releases easily enough. None of this weeks releases were on the shelves. So, I forced myself to approach an employee (generally, they're okay in this store) and asked. She had five carts of books in front of her, loaded with teen, sci-fi and romance books. In addition, there were several sealed boxes. I knew KNEW this was where I would find today's releases. In fact, Lilith's book was right there in plain sight. So I asked for it. She wouldn't let me touch the stack, but deigned to pull the book out of the stack and give it to me. Then I asked for Devon's book. She told me it was with the new releases. It wasn't. I went back to her. She allowed me to look at the books on the carts (but not touch). I found Chloe's book, which she removed. She put it in my basket doing her best not to even interact with me. But Devon's book wasn't there. She finall,y with a big huff, looked it up on the system. Turns out it was in one of the boxes right there at our feet.

She refused to open them.

I explained that I'd driven an HOUR there and had an HOUR drive home and that I did that for these three books. I told her she wouldn't even have to look for it, I would do it. There were four boxes, none of them big enough to hold more than 20 mass market paperback books.

She again REFUSED to open the boxes. When I pleaded with her, she told me to take it up with the front counter. Maybe one of them would be willing to come up & find the book in the boxes since she was busy SHELVING them. WHAT??!?

Yes, you heard that right. She was opening these boxes and shelving these books. She knew the book was in one of the five unopened boxes. She was going to have to open those boxes eventually. She had them laid out to be opened. She knew I'd made a two hour round trip drive. It was her job to open those boxes and shelf them and she REFUSED to help me.

I left B&N without the damn book. Can you believe that?

On the way home I stopped at New England Mobile Bookfair, an indie bookstore that is both amazing and overwhelming (they shelve all their books by publisher). They were more than willing to look for Devon's book for me. They found Hannah Jayne and Celia Jerome's books (which were probably in those unopened boxes at B&N as well). But they hadn't received Magic on the Line yet. (They were expecting the shipment late afternoon.) They apologized profusely, offered to hold a copy for me, offered to ship the book to me (when they found out how far I drove). That's customer service.

Unfortunately I still don't have Magic on the Line by Devon Monk. I don't even have anyplace else to go to find it around here. (I miss Borders so much.)

Now all I can do is order it from Amazon and wait another few days for it to come. Once again B&N employees have proved to be complete and total douchebags. I hope they go out of business. (And that's saying something coming from me.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

THE VACUUM - Happy Halloween everyone!


There’s a vacuum under my bed.
I’m not talking about a Hoover or a Bissell either. No. This is a black hole, a swirling vortex, the kind of vacuum that sucks things into it.
Nothing ever comes back out.
It’s not a big hole – maybe the size of a softball – but it can stretch when it’s got something it really wants. Something like Fifi.
My poodle.
Stupid ugly dog.
Stupid Brian.
He was playing fetch with her in the hallway. My bedroom sits at the end of the hall, my bed right there at the end of a perfect straight line. Brian tossed the ball. Fifi chased it. I gave it an extra tap as it sailed past me, Fifi in close pursuit. The ball rolled under the bed and whoosh, it was gone. Fifi followed.
She didn’t go so quickly.
Her head went in first. I guess she didn’t have the smarts or the instinct to avoid a slurping black hole in the floor. She jammed her head in after the ball and her body started twitching. The hole made a sound like a groan. It wasn’t Fifi that made the sound - that much I know. It groaned. It pulled. It sucked. It churned. And then it stretched like a tight rubber band expanding to swallow her in.
I didn’t expect the ball to roll under the bed like that. Not really. And Fifi? Well, geez, who would have expected that? Maybe I could have stopped her. I didn’t.
Brian tried to grab her by her back feet but I stopped him. If it could pull Fifi in, then it might be able to expand and pull him in. I might be able to explain Fifi’s disappearance, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to explain Brian’s vanishing act to my parents. 
Brian thinks the hole is cool. He's a boy. He likes all kinds of crap that's weird.
It was easy to convince him not to tell.
Mom and Dad weren’t home from work yet, so we had time to come up with a believable story. It didn’t take much of an effort. We agreed to say Fifi had slipped out the open door. Brian even volunteered to be the scapegoat if they asked who left the door open. It was his fault she was gone after all.
I felt bad about the dog. Honestly. Well, mostly. Stupid yappy little thing. But at least I didn’t have to worry about her peeing all over stuff I left on the floor anymore. And done is done. She was gone. There was no getting her back.
I don’t think Brian felt bad at all. He seemed almost relieved. But then again, he was the one that had to walk her every day and I know he got teased about it. The boys in the neighborhood call him names. A fat boy walking a pink poodle is easy to tease. If they called me names like that, I would have probably made Fifi disappear any way I could.
Without her around, he does’t have to do the daily walks and pooper scooping. He can hang out on his bedroom computer and concentrate on playing Halo.
I suppose you’re wondering why we don’t tell our parents about the vacuum. That’s easy. Adults don’t believe in things like monsters and magic and black holes under beds. They’d just think we were making stuff up. Even if they looked, I don’t think they’d see it. Adults are blind like that.
Now you’re wondering how can I be sure that adults can’t see the vacuums. I’d argue that it’s not like it’s the only vacuum I’ve ever seen. They’re everywhere, especially in places that attract large crowds – schools, grocery stores, malls. Most aren’t much bigger than the hole under my bed. They suck in receipts, barrettes, earrings, keys, candies – stupid things people lose every day. No one misses that stuff. And if you don’t notice the lost stuff, you aren’t going to notice the holes eating the lost stuff.
Oblivious. That’s what most people are.
Some vortexes are big enough to swallow a car.
I think the Bermuda Triangle might be one of them.
I learned about that in school. Scientists think its electromagnetic fields or gigantic gas pockets. I’m betting it’s a huge vacuum. For that reason alone, when I’m an adult, I’ll never fly or sail near that area. A vortex that can suck up a squadron of planes is not something to mess around with.
My black hole has sucked up everything from shoes to toys, from tennis balls to homework, from spiders to Fifi. It even sucked up the china doll my great-aunt Mabel gave me. She was an antique – the doll, not Aunt Mabel – made of porcelain, with sleepy eyes and an open mouth. She had real human hair, too, and a pretty black dress.
I stuffed her in the hole because she wouldn’t stop staring at me. Doll’s eyes are creepy, especially the really old dolls. And her mouth? It was one of those special dolls where there was actually a hole into the doll’s head. A spider crawled out of it once. Yuck. Aunt Mabel thought she was pretty. I just thought she was evil.
I think it’s growing – my vacuum. After it ate Fifi, it shrunk right back down to size and didn’t eat anything for a week. I guess Fifi must have been filling. I can’t imagine why, though. She was mostly all that puffy hair with skinny bones and not much meat. Maybe black holes aren’t too picky.
Once it started eating again, I fed it things. I like feeding it things. I like the sounds it makes as it crushes things; the way things get sucked down in as if they're being tugged. 
It’ s... interesting. 
And it eats everything I give it – old sneakers, cooked spinach smuggled from my dinner plate, the ugly dress my mom bought me for Easter. I hated that dress. It was all ruffly and itchy, with big pink flowers on the skirt and something called crinoline. I called it torture.
Brian gives it bugs, dirt and other boy stuff. He tried to feed it mom’s leftover meatloaf, but the vortex didn’t touch it. The stuff just kind of swirled over the top and didn’t go down. I don’t blame it. Neither one of us wanted to eat that stupid meatloaf either. Its always too greasy and sometimes it has hard lumps in it. I’d rather eat Fifi.
Sometimes it makes sounds - soft moans and whispers. Like maybe something is on the other side trying to find a way out. When that happens, I talk to it. I tell it secrets. It eats those, too. Like how I saw Myles, the next door neighbor and some girl doing it in his bedroom. Or how I stole Lucy Jordan’s favorite Barbie the time she stayed over. Of course, it probably knew about that anyway because I fed that dumb Barbie to it, too. I’m not stupid. If I’d been caught with it, I would have been in big trouble. I didn’t want it anyway. I just didn’t want her to have it anymore.
Tonight, it’s making loud sucking noises. I think something is happening with it. But my lights are off and there’s no way I’m going to go turn on the light so that I can look. Something about it sounds dangerous. Hungry. Starving maybe.
I’ve already tossed my pillow under there. And my comforter. I won’t miss them. The comforter was pink and mint green flowers and ponies on it, and the pillow was just lumpy. I don’t know how I’m going to explain those disappearances to my mom, but I’ll come up with something. I can’t say the dog ate it. We don’t have a dog anymore.
Maybe its clogged or something. If I had a flashlight, I could check. The comforter was pretty bulky. But I don’t have my flashlight anymore. The vacuum ate it last night. It likes flashlights a lot. It’s eaten every single one in the house. Dad keeps replacing them, and he’s pretty mad about it. He doesn’t blame me, though. He thinks Brian is swiping them and losing them in the woods.
Brian’s grounded right now because of it.
He threatened to tell mom and dad about the vacuum because he’s tired of getting in trouble for things disappearing. I would’t mind getting in trouble for all of our missing stuff because I didn’t like most of it and I’m just glad it’s gone. Even Fifi. Smelly dog.
Brian’s been kind of a jerk lately anyway. He’s fourteen. He thinks he knows everything. For instance, he thinks the vacuum under the bed goes to Hell. Like the devil would put a vortex in my bedroom. I mean, come on. What would Hell need with a bunch of paper clips?
I wonder whether Brian’s sleeping. He went to bed right after dinner as part of being grounded. No TV for him. No computer either. That sucks. Me, I’d watched American Idol and wished I could stuff some of those singers in the vortex. I don’t know why some of them think they can sing. Bet no one would miss them.
I wonder how long it would take the hole to get hungry after eating a person. I mean, if it was full for a week after Fifi, would someone Brian’s size feed it for a month? A year? Longer?
Doesn’t matter. It probably couldn’t stretch that wide anyway. Brian is pretty fat. He probably should have walked Fifi more.
I peek over the edge of the bed to see if I can tell what was going on with the hole. It's really dark under there, but I can just see it if I concentrate hard on the spot. A small piece of my comforter is still sticking out of it. Geez, I hope all that fluff didn’t give it indigestion. If it's still making that awful sound in the morning, I’ll feed it some Tums or something.
Or maybe Brian.
That thought makes me giggle. Would he scream as it pulled him in? Or would he be too shocked to do anything? Would it hurt? If the way Fifi had twitched and fought was any indication, it probably doesn’t feel good. Maybe I can convince him to come in and try to pull my comforter back out of the vacuum. See what happens.
Would he do it? Probably not. He's too chicken.
Maybe I could tell him I heard Fifi barking down in there. He felt bad when mom cried about that ugly pink dog going missing. Not bad enough to tell her where Fifi had gone, but still. Would he stick his hand in if he thought he could be a big hero and rescue that stupid dog? Maybe.
But I wouldn’t really do that, would I?
The vacuum seems to be laughing a little bit as if it can hear what I'm thinking about. It is pretty funny. I can imagine Brian getting pulled in. His feet kicking. His eyes all buggy. Would he be too fat to fit?
I could tell mom and dad he ran away. They would believe it. They fight all the time about things going missing. I know they;re worried he was selling stuff to pay for drugs. I've heard them talking about it late at night. They might even think he sold Fifi for drugs.
If he disappeared, they would believe he ran away. And I’d have them all to myself. No stupid fat brother to embarrass me anymore.
Maybe I'll try it tomorrow. See what happens. Brian probably won’t go for. He’s started wearing a cross to protect him from whatever's in there. Stupid.
It isn’t a hole to Hell. I’d know.
The vacuum lets out a huge slurp and I know my comforter is gone. Just like everything else I hate.
Tomorrow, while Mom and Dad are gone to work, it will be Brian.

Hope you enjoyed my little Halloween horror story! Karen

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apparently my 15 year old self kept a book list, too....

I'm having a strange nostalgic moment. I'm trying to clean out the clutter in my house & in doing so, I've found several stories & a bunch of poetry that I wrote in my teenage/college years, along with all kinds of crazy stuff. (I was president of The Nice Buns Club in college - which involved oogling college boys' asses & trying to get in a squeeze at bars - and a contest for Best Buns at the end of the year. Yes, I was a total degenerate.)

The most interesting thing I found so far? A Star Wars notebook with an alphabetical list of the books I'd read over the course of the year at the age of 15. I didn't remember keeping a list, so it cracked me up. Apparently I was into lists back then, too. More interesting, though, is the books I read:

Alien (horror - loved the movie, too)
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson (horror  - snitched from my father's shelves)
A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson (a true account of WWII and a spy - I can't fathom why I read this one although I vaguely remember it - weird)
Bugs in Your Ears by Betty Bates (emo story)
The Best Little Girl in the World by Steven Levenkron (emo - anorexia)
Break a Leg Betsy Maybe by Lee Kingman (dunno - guessing emo)
Cry for the Strangers by John Saul (horror - purchased in secret & hid from my parents cause it was creepy scary)
The Catherine Wheel by Jean Stafford (emo)
The Cliffs of Dread by Virginia Coffman (thriller - story of people who wrecked ships to rob them)
Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin (twisted stories - still have it on my shelves)
The Chopin Express by Howard Kaplan (espionage - inspired my first foray into story writing)
The Cranshaw Inheritance by Christine Etheridge (historical romance/suspense)
Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack by M.E. Kerr (emo)
The Devil's Doorstep by Marian Rumsey (I have no idea - guessing horror)
Deep Space by ?? (completely clueless but might have been a sci-fi anthology)
The Doubting Kind by Alison Prince (emo)
Dear Judgement by John Crosby (I assume its one I snuck from dear dad's stash - looks like a crime story)
Eye of the Gods by Richard Owen (again, no clue)
First Step by Jean Richardson (emo)
Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye by Lois Lowry (emo)
French Postcards by Norma Klein (emo)
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews (horror - and incest! eek)
Going Crazy by T. Hemmings (anorexia)
Gretchen, I Am by Carroll E. Jay (pretty sure this was horror)
Gentlehands by M.E. Kerr (emo)
The Golden Unicorn by Phyllis A. Whitney (suspense)
Get a Little Lost Tia by Phyllis Anderson Wood (emo)
The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan (horror)
House Malign by Julie Wellsley (I assume horror - that seems to be a theme)
Haunted Houses by ?? (I'm guessing an anthology of ghost stories?)
Horizon by Helen MacInnes (thriller)
House of Strangers by Jennifer Hale (gothic thriller)
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein (emo)
It's Not the End of the World by Judy Blume (emo)
Is There Life on a Plastic Planet by Mildred Ames (horror - about a girl who replaces herself with a lifesize doll - creepy)
Ice Castles by Leonore Fleischer (romance/emo - yes, I had a whole "Robby Benson is a doe eyed god" thing going on)
If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits by Erma Bombeck (the woman who made me really want to pursue writing)
Kiss a Stranger by Glenna Finley (romance - have a feeling I swiped this from mom's stash)
The Lansing Legacy by Ann Hyman (looks like a thriller)
Lady of Mallow by Dorothy Eden  (historical suspence/romance)
Like Mother, Like Me by Sheila Schwartz (emo)
Letter Perfect by Charles P. Crawford (emo)
Morning is a Long Time Coming by Bette Greene (emo mystery)
My Name is Davy I'm An Alcoholic by Anne Snyder (obviously, emo)
Mom, the Wolfman and Me by Norma Klein (emo - apparently a was a big fan of Norma)
The Magician's Sleeve by J.C. Conaway (I have no idea - at this point, I'm assuming horror)
Mistress Masham's Repose by T.H. White (girl discovers Lilliput - comedy urban fantasy?)
Night of the Scorpion by Rosemary Carter (dunno... horror? thriller? gothic?)
Nightmares by ?? (I'm assuming it was the poems by Prelutsky about monsters)
Night Stalks the Mansion by Harold Cameron and Constance Westbie (true ghost story)
The Ouija Board (I think this was a non-fiction book, because my parents gave us a ouija board that year & we were trying to contact the ghost that lived in our house - let's just say we put it away after several freaky things happened - truth)
Out of Love by Hilma Wolitzer (emo)
Outrun the Dark by Cecilia Bartholomew (horror - about a girl who supposedly murdered her brother & got locked in a mental institute)
The Phaedra Complex by Jeannette Eyerly (looks like a bad thriller/romance)
Punish the Sinners by John Saul (horror - kept this one hidden from my parents!)
Play Misty For Me (thriller - swiped from my father's bookshelf)
Rosemary's Baby (horror - again, swiped from dad)
Ronnie and Rosey by Judie Angell (emo)
Rich Kids by H.B. Gilmour (don't know -- here's a guess...emo? lol)
Sea Cliff by M Thomas Hinkemeyer (I'm guessing again...historical thriller? gothic?)
Sunshine by Norma Klein (emo emo emo - I remember this one)
The Son of Someone Famous by M.E. Kerr (emo)
Sooner or Later by Carole and Bruce Hart (emo)
7 Ways to Tell Fortunes & Predict the Future by  Jodra Petrie (don't know but guessing it was non-fiction)
Suffer the Children by John Saul (horror - again, a secret purchase)
The Sound of Midnight by Charles Grant (horror)
Something Left to Lose by Robin F. Brancato (emo)
Shadow of the Tamaracks by Sara North (I'm guessing from the cover...romance/thriller)
Seventh All Hallows Eve by Ruby Jean Jensen (looks like a gothic horror)
The Terror Trap by Willo Davis Roberts (gothic thriller)
The Tower Room by ?? (not sure who wrote it since there are 3 books by that title from the late 70's - but all of them are gothic thrillers)
The Touch of Evil by Lydia Colby (gothic thriller)
The Testing of Charlie Hammerman by Jerome Brooks (about a boy afraid of swimming - something I'm not to fond of myself)
The Turning Place by Naomi J Karp (about prejudice - emo)
There is a Season by ?? (again multiple books by that title - I think it was about a Jewish girl and Catholic boy - emo)
Two for Survival by Arthur J. Ross (about two diverse boys on a plane that crashes in the wilderness)
Voices Long Hushed by Barbara Ann Pauley (gothic horror)
Wrath of the Lion by Jack Higgins (from my dad's collection)
The White Jade Fox by Andre Norton (gothic thriller)
Where are the Children (horror - snitched from dad's stack)
Planet of the Apes (sci-fi obviously)
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (sci-fi)
Logan's Run (sci-fi - loved this one)
Logan's World (sci-fi)
The Omen (horror of course)
Damien: The Omen II (horror)

Apparently I was into emo "my-life-sucks" books, gothic novels, thrillers and horror. I remember the horror books because my parents would have freaked if they'd found out I was reading them. (I started sneaking them when I was 11 or 12.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In honor of Halloween...If I were a supernatural creature....

...I'm giving this way more thought than I should. But I'm bored, so here goes.

I wouldn't want to be a werewolf. A) they're hairy B) canines lick their own asses C) the whole shape shifting thing has to hurt and I'm not a fan of pain.

I wouldn't want to be part of the seelie court. A) they remind me of the shallow girls who made me miserable in high school only with magic B) I can't see myself running around in a long flowing dress C) I'm not into pinks and pastels D) I'm not cheerful kind of gal E) some of them are ridiculously tiny

I wouldn't want to be a ghost A) I wouldn't like being invisible to most people B) I couldn't eat pizza C) I'd be dead (although passing through walls might be fun).

I wouldn't want to be a demon A) ummmm.. evil? B) evil evil evil C) fire and hell...hello?!? evil

I wouldn't want to be an angel A) no freedom of choice B) a tough boss C) no sex

I wouldn't want to be a gargoyle A) they turn to stone during the day B) they're not very sociable C) gray doesn't look good on me.

I wouldn't want to be a mermaid, selkie or any other water creature A) I don't like deep water B) I'm more of a drowner than a swimmer C) I can't open my eyes underwater

I wouldn't want to be a zombie A) they're dead B) they're rotting C) they eat brains.

I could probably live with being a vampire (what the hell does that say about me?) Although A) the whole blood thing...euwww B) frying in sunlight would suck C) I like silver jewelry.

That could also probably find something in the unseelie court....which is filled with all kinds of scary ass long as there was no A) blood sucking B) flesh eating C) pastel clothing.

After thinking about it (way too long and hard), I guess I'd like being a witch or magic wielder. I also wouldn't mind being a magical shape shifter (I do have a little native american blood). A kitsune would be okay. Or maybe a coyote.

And yes, this year for Halloween I will be giving out candy in a witch costume :D

So what would you choose to be?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mob Rules by Cameron Haley

I'm just about finished reading Mob Rules and about to dive into it's sequel, Skeleton Crew. I've seen a few reviews of this book (some of them not favorable) and I felt the need to talk about why I really like this book.

The main character, Domino Riley, is not your typical urban fantasy heroine. In fact, she's not really a heroine at all. Domino is an enforcer for a gangster. She wields magic to take care of problems and isn't adverse to killing. She doesn't really feel remorse for the things she's done. She is who and what she is.

Domino is 35 years old. She's at a point in her life where she's reflecting on her choices and sees them in a very realistic light. She knows she's not a good person necessarily, but she can accept that. She's okay with herself - good and bad.

I also like the idea that magic is flowing in the world and that magic users are on the fringes of society. They wield their magic through graffiti tagging, which also lays down the various gangs/mobs territories. I thought it was clever that Domino uses quotes to wield her magic (and that everyone manipulates it in a way that makes it unique to them).

The story follows Domino who has been assigned the job of figuring out who is making a move on her boss and why. She's in charge of taking them down. And she does what's necessary to solve the problem. From that she discovers she has a lot more magical ability than she realized. She also discovers there's more to the world around her than she thought. It puts her in an interesting position where she needs to be the good guy. I like that that makes her uncomfortable.

There are some clever characters in this and some humorous ones. I think the world that Cameron Haley created is unique. And I can't wait to see where it goes in book two. I'm giving it 5 stars.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where I Profess My Love For Urban Fantasy...

So....for my blog readers out there, Jaye Wells has declared October "Urban Fantasy Month". And she's offering up a massively cool list of books (signed!!!) to lucky winners. What do you need to do? Write a love letter to urban fantasy on your blog. (You know where this is going, right? Right?!?)

Dear Urban Fantasy,

I love you. No, seriously, stop laughing. I L-O-V-E you!

If you take some time and read this blog, you'll probably understand why, but since you're busy people and I don't want to take you away from writing (because I need more UF books like a crack whore needs her drugs), I'll give you a brief synopsis of why Urban Fantasy is my life saver.

I'm a middle aged housewife, raising a 16 yr. old with Asperger's Syndrome, who is currently a freshman in college. My husband works long hours and is rarely here - when he is, he's usually asleep in his chair or in his home office working. This means all of the crap that's come our way - shitty school system, doctors, therapies, etc. - falls on my shoulders. My world revolves around my son and his needs. I haven't been able to hold a job since he was born. My life is chaotic. It's stressful. Generally, it sucks.

For the longest time, I was so wrapped up in taking care of my son that I fell by the wayside. There was no time for me to breathe, never mind do the things I love. I'd forgotten what it was like to pick up a good book and read.

Enter Jennifer Rardin's Jaz Parks series.

I was at the bookstore with my son, finding books to help teach him something (I don't remember what) when I saw Jennifer's books. I picked one up and read the first few pages and fell a little bit in love. That night, I stayed up until 2 a.m. and read it. No, I take that back. I devoured it. And I remembered how much I loved to read. I dragged my son to four stores over the next 48 hours to find the rest of the series. Then I discovered Kim Harrison. And Lilith Saintcrow. And the Deadline Dames. And the League of Reluctant Adults (oh League, you make me laugh) .... and sooo sooo many more amazing urban fantasy writers.

I fell completely, irrevocably, madly in love with you, Urban Fantasy. I started this blog to talk about the books I've read and share my love with anyone out there who would like to do nothing more than lose themselves in worlds where kick ass heroes and heroines fight incredible odds to save the world.

I have so many Urban Fantasy books, my husband had to install IKEA shelves in the living room to hold them. See?...

And, yes, those books are two layers deep on those shelves. Worse, I'm putting shelves in the family room so that I have someplace to expand my library. In fact, I have so many Urban Fantasy books that I have a file called "Urban Fantasy List" which is currently 124 pages long. It's broken down alphabetically by author with columns (Author) (Released) (Own )(Format) (Title) (SF/Romance/YA, etc) (vampire/demon/were/etc) and (Rating). I follow up books I've read with a brief synopsis of the story. I also have a second folder called "Urban Fantasy Books Missing" which is 12 pages long, separate lists of e-reader books and anthologies, and a list called "Release Dates" (4 pages) that I use to keep track of all upcoming Urban Fantasy books. I carry the release dates and UF books missing lists in my purse at all times.

Is this a little obsessive? Probably. (I'm a little ADD and got tired of buying books I already owned.) Urban Fantasy are you scared of me now? Don't be. I'm not a stalker, I promise. Maybe a bit of a rabid fangirl. (Okay, I'm a definitely a rabid fangirl.) But my love for you is true.

Thank you for making my life more bearable. I love you.

Happy Urban Fantasy Month!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

It's a rare book that I feel the characters on a visceral level. Trial by Fire (2nd in the series which begins with Raised by Wolves) was one of those rare books. In fact, I can count on one hand the authors who have that affect on me: Lilith Saintcrow, Maggie Steifvater, Stacia Kane, Melissa Marr and Adrian Phoenix. (Oh wait, that requires two

The way this book hooked me and pulled me in is why I'm taking time out of my crazy schedule and blogging about it.

I've actually had the book for a while. I loved the first book so much, I wanted to make sure when I read Trial by Fire I had the attention span and time to devote to it. So this weekend was finally the weekend where I could read uninterrupted and appreciate what I was reading.

The story follows a teenage girl, Brynn, who was raised by Callum, a werewolf alpha, after a rogue werewolf killed her parents. In the first book, she discovers that everything she believes about Callum and her life is questionable, and makes some dangerous but necessary choices to save herself and other young wolves. Callum is manipulative, sees the future, and he has a plan (what that plan is still has yet to be revealed, but I'm extremely worried for Brynn). I don't want to say too much about the plot, though, because you have to read them!

What I want to talk about is why these books are good. Yes, this is a young adult book  - but it doesn't assume that teenagers can't read with depth - and its a fantastic read for adults as well. The story is clever, action packed and emotional. What Jennifer Lynn Barnes does is pull you into Brynn's world - into her head - into her fears, hopes, wants, and needs - and makes you feel them in your gut. The emo in me LOVES that! I love getting so into a book that the world around me falls away. I love it when I FEEL a book like I felt this one. It is wonderfully done.

Brynn is an intelligent, strong character who stands up for those she loves no matter the cost to herself. She thinks things through. She's incredibly brave. And her loyalty is matched by the loyalty of her friends who rely on her and look up to her. In fact, all of the characters in the book are well written, brilliantly vivid and wonderful - whether they're the good guys or the bad guys.

The end of Trial by Fire is breath stopping...and I can't wait to read more. (There had better be more. Right, Ms. Barnes? There will be more?!?) That's why I say get to the store and buy these books. Add them to your shelves. Buy them for your teens. Awesome. Amazing. And the coveted 6 stars!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Soul Thief by Jana Oliver

I just finished reading Soul Thief by Jana Oliver. It's the sequel to The Demon Trapper's Daughter. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy this series. And I give the book 5 stars.

Riley Blackthorne is a demon trapper, just like her father. She's seventeen years old and lives in Atlanta - a very unique Atlanta where the world has gone to shit and demons run rampant. The trappers work to keep the balance. Riley is the first female trapper and most of the other trappers aren't happy about that. Denver Beck is a journeyman trapper - trained by Riley's father. He has issues. He and Riley don't get along - mainly because Riley had a crush on him and he stomped on her feelings. Something is afoot in Atlanta. Demons aren't behaving like they're supposed to. And for some reason, Riley seems to be the centerpoint for whatever is going on between heaven and hell. But she and Beck are going to have to work together to figure it out and they can't even be in the same room together without fighting.

I've read a lot of reviews of these books. People either love them or hate them. I'm on the loving side. I think the world that Jana Oliver has created is interesting and her characters are well developed. Nobody is all good (even Riley and Beck) and nobody is all evil. The characters make choices that could end up damning them.

At points (and I don't have a problem with this) the writing loses its rhythm. In other words, the pace becomes a little chaotic and doesn't flow smoothly. This is just the writer's writing style. And the dialogue (mainly Beck and some of the trappers) is a little too colloquial (that's the only word I can think of for it - basically, they talk with an accent). I don't think that was necessary, and it's really the only thing I didn't like (because it makes Beck sound more ignorant than he is - which may be the point of it) but it doesn't by any means ruin the story.

What I really like about this series is that I don't know where it's going. I don't know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. I don't know what the ultimate plan for Riley and Beck is. I don't know if there's going to be a happy ending. I know what Riley and Beck know - and I keep learning (as do they) that I'm wrong about certain things. That's clever. And it's what makes me keep on reading. I even read the prequel for the third book at the end of Soul Thief - something I NEVER do. What I do know is that Riley and Beck are in serious trouble and they'd better start trusting each other or they're both doomed.

Go forth and buy, people.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Books Read in September 2011

Okay, now that I've recovered most of my files, albeit with missing chunks and shit, I can say with certainty that I read 7 books this month. (I think I read 9, but this was one of my corrupted files & for the life of me, I can't remember the other two books.) So we'll stick with the 7 the file says I read and if I remember the others, I'll post them.

Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead. My favorite series of all time is done! (sobbing hysterically). I will miss Georgina and all her friends. But I loved this book. And it ended like it should (even if I don't really like Seth - who I think is a bit of a jerk.) Georgina is happy and that's what counts.

One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire. Another huge favorite of mine. Toby is a wonderful character and I can't say I'm sad with how things turned out in this one. I absolutely love the fae in Seanan's world. Everything is so well thought out. Definitely a series to own.

Nightshade by Michelle Rowen AND Bloodlust by Michelle Rowen -This is an interesting series about a woman who gets injected with some kind of serum by a mad scientist and then ends up on the run with a damphir who is trained to kill vampires. There are a lot of twists and turns in this and I really liked the secondary characters. The problem is I wasn't a big fan of the main character, who doesn't seem to know her own mind. People keep telling her what she thinks and she's like "oh yeah, I guess I do think that." Hunh?! (Grow some balls and decide things for yourself sister. Geez!) Still, I'll keep reading the series because I'm interested to see what happens.

Crossroads by Jeanne Stein - This is the latest in the Anna Strong vampire series. Anna is a bounty hunter who was attacked and turned against her will. (Its pretty awful.) In this latest installment she's coming to terms with what she is and dealing with someone from her past (the jerk). These books are written first person present-tense, which is usually a killer for me, but I like these books because they're well written and fast paced, with a good storyline.

Beasts and BFFs by Shannon Delaney - This was really just a short story prequel to the book 13 to Life which I'll be reading in October. It definitely got me interested in the characters and curious to know what exactly is going on.

Bloodshot by Cherie Priest - I'll also have to admit I'm not a fan of detective stories. This book has the feel of a detective story, but not. The main character, Raylene, is awesome. She's a vampire who's just a little bit neurotic and paranoid. She doesn't like attachments - and yet she has them. I love the characters in this book & I'll be reading the 2nd in the series in October, too. I kind of wanted to savor this one and read something light before reading the next book. It was really good.

Like I said, I'm pretty sure I read more than this but my records that I salvaged don't reflect anything else and I'm too tired to remember. Right now, I'm reading Soul Thief by Jana Oliver and its fantastic.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Books I Read This Month....coming soon (I hope)

AKA The Computer Saga...

Thankfully, I've already blogged about several of the books I read this month. Right now, I'm reading Bloodshot by Cherie Priest & loving it. It's kind of a modern-day old-vibe gumshoe vampire vs. government action book.


My computer died. Yes, the stupid piece of garbage computer (don't buy a Toshiba with the bubble-button mouse pad - they're junk) failed completely. First the left click button went, then the 'W' button went, followed by the 'R', 'T', 'F' and 'E'. I backed my data up on my external hard drive and then the computer just crashed. It wouldn't stay on. I couldn't get Firefox to work when it did stay on. It took 20 mins. to turn on and couldn't shut off without forcing it. And it was heating up to astronomically alarming temperatures. In other words, it went into it's death throws.

So, I turned the POG over to my son (the computer genius), who ran all kinds of diagnostics and said it wasn't a virus or some hacker. He suggested as a last ditch effort, we should do a fresh install, although he suspected it wouldn't help because he believed it was a bad sector on the motherboard. So, we made sure everything was backed up & he did his thing. When I attempted to reinstall all my files, bookmarks, etc., my dog (God I love the beast, but damn) decided he needed to sit on my lap. Up he hopped. Right. Onto. My. External. Drive. 55 lbs of dog vs. small plastic hard drive?? Dog wins. He broke the hard drive and IT crashed.

So, my little guru took the computer back, along with the hard drive and his own computer and hard drive, did a little magic and managed to retrieve all my crap. Only problem? They seem to have moved all over in the system. Nothing is where its supposed to be. And all my music? OMG! Everything EVERYTHING I bought since 2009 is GONE! (Oh, its still there in my files, but my Zune no longer allows access to do anything but listen to it.) In other words, I can listen, but the music isn't in my Zune folder and when I plugged in the device, it deleted everything off it too. Zune says I have to rebuy it all. 600 SONGS! LOST!

This is a long post, hunh? Long story short, I'm going to spend tomorrow baking cookies and trying to retrieve everything that I can from the various places on (1) my old computer (2) my cracked and mangled hard drive (3) my son's confusingly messed up hard drive - and put it on my brand new, shiny Dell. Yes, that's right. I went out this weekend and bought a new computer (and external hard drive).

I just hope this one is a little better made than the last one. I know its a whole lot prettier and the keyboard is more comfortable. And the damn thing has surround sound and an LED screen. (I think we're going to be best friends....)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire

This is book #5 in the October Daye (Toby) series, and as usual Seanan does not disappoint. I might actually go into spoilers in this post, so I'll give fair warning before I do....

Toby is fae, a changeling, who was turned into a fish by an evil-ass fae when she was investigating the kidnapping of Duke Sylvester's wife and daughter. Fast forward years and Toby finally breaks from the spell that's held her captive. She comes back to find her boyfriend has moved on and married, and that her daughter has grown up and wants nothing to do with her. They think Toby bailed on them, and since she can't tell them that she's fae, she has to let them go.

While Toby was a fish, Luna (the duchess) and Rayseline (Luna & Sylvester's daughter) have returned to Sylvester. However, they've been held for most of Rayseline's life in a place that drove her insane. She's now married to Conner, a Selkie, in a political marriage to strengthen the Courts of faery. Conner was Toby's first love and they're still attracted to each other.

That's pretty much the set up for everything that happens in the series. And a lot of stuff happens. Through it all, Toby stays true to her character as she struggles to fix all that is broken. She gathers a very interesting support group along the way - from her fetch to the king of cats. (Oooh, I love Tybalt.)

What I love about the world that Seanan creates is how carefully she's constructed it. She's obviously done her research, because she introduces everything from the night haunts to selkies to Daione Sidhe with brilliant detail. The world makes sense. The divisions and alliances make sense. The relationships between various fae breeds (and changelings) are believable. Her characters have depth, they have motive and they have history behind them to explain their actions. She takes her time telling Toby's story - it moves along at just the right pace to keep you hooked. And you can't always guess where she's going (which I frankly love), but when she takes you there you know its the only place the story could have gone. Know what I mean? It's just one of the best UF series out there. So get out and buy it. This series should be on your shelves!

AT THE END!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to be honest here. I don't like Conner. I've never liked him. He's kind of a wishy washy foof head of a guy.  I don't see what Toby sees in him, other than maybe a time before her life went to shit. Even then, I don't know why she's actually with him now. And in this book, he and Toby are together as boyfriend/girlfriend (in as much as fae are boyfriend/girlfriend). I didn't like it. Pthat. Gag. Ptooie. Their relationship is not equal. He's such a weak person...and Toby is so strong. I kept waiting through this entire series for him to grow a set of balls, only he never did. (Well, some might argue in his final act, he did - but I say not. I think he just figured he'd sleep for a while and she'd be right there taking care of him. Wiener.) So I can't say I'm disappointed with what happened at the end of the book. Toby might be mourning (I honestly think she's mourning the loss of her daughter more), but I'm not. She needs someone strong and capable (Tybalt!!!), to match her as an equal - not whiny, poor me Conner. Sorry. Don't miss him. Bring on Tybalt and some hot Cait Sidhe loving!! lol

Why I Love the Foo Fighters (or Dave Grohl can I be your love slave?)

Got your attention, didn't I?

Actually, this post isn't really about being Dave Grohl's love slave. Although, I don't think I'd kick him out of bed with both feet (to coin a phrase my friends and I used back in the day).  I mean, come on. Look at the man....and the way he sings. God....

Annnyway...Back to the reason for this post. The Foo Fighters did something amazing the other day. They took a stand against bigotry, prejudice and hate. See, there's this hate group that sells themselves as a religion who use grieving families and tragic death to promote their words of hate. I'm not going to name them. They don't deserve to be named. Suffice it to say that their message is not only disturbing but downright evil. And they use their own children to help spread it.

I'm positive that God, if He's sitting out there somewhere judging us, does NOT condemn people for loving whomever they choose be it a man loving a man or a woman loving a woman. Love and acceptance  is what we're supposed to strive toward. I also believe that He wouldn't be too thrilled with a group that hates so viciously and spreads that hate in the most heinous and evil way possible.

So, back to why I'm writing this, the Foo Fighters recently premiered a song and this hate group took offense to it. They decided to picket the Foo Fighters concert. The Foo Fighters could have ignored it. The courts have certainly ignored these people and even ruled that they can do what they do because it's freedom of speech. But being the amazingly awesome human beings that they are, the band decided to perform their song in an impromtu protest of their own. Yes, they showed up on a flatbed truck and sang the song to the hate group to the cheers of the crowd that was there to enjoy the real concert. Is that just the most awesome thing you've ever heard? For that classy, totally brilliant move I can honestly say I love the Foo Fighters more than I ever did (and since they're my favorite band - and I listen to their music almost obsessively - that's saying something). 

Bravo, guys. You make us all proud as human beings.

(okay, I admit - if I wasn't a 48 yr. old married woman, I really would like to be Dave Grohl's love slave)