Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane

First, I have to say how much I love this series. There is so much that is fantastic about it - from Chessie with her drug addiction and emotional instability, to Terrible with his hardcore non-hero status and his love for her, to Lex with his humor and his sexiness, to the world of the Church and Downside. Honestly, as far as I'm concerned these books are poetry for the soul. For a book lover there is nothing better.

Now, I'm not going to go all spoilery on you. Chess is, as usual a mess of angst and insecurity magnified by her need to drown out the horrors she's endured in her life. Terrible is dark, dangerous and .... well, I have me a soft spot for yon Terrible, dig? ... heh. And then there's Lex. Every time he makes an appearance, I'm seduced. The story is exciting and intense, the ending both powerful and worrisome.

Poor Chess doesn't have an easy time of it in this book. But then again, when has her life been easy? Despite the drugs that fuck her up, despite her fears which fuck her up, despite her getting in her own way in so many ways, she still keeps fighting. It's heartbreaking and inspiring.

Stacia Kane creates a world that is so visual, so complex, so fascinating you can't help but be drawn into it. You will feel everything Chessie feels - her pain will be your pain - and you'll think about her long after you finish the book. This series is unique and brilliantly written. If I could give this book 100 stars, it would have it. It left me emotionally drained and yet intensely satisfied. 6 Perfect Stars - my highest rating.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Books Glorious Books

Yesterday my most recent book purchases arrived in the mail. Woooot! But I had a problem - which book to read. It was horrible. Stacia Kane's Sacrificial Magic or Stacey Jay's Blood on the Bayou. Both have strong female characters with serious issues. Both have angst and action. And I know both of them are going to knock my socks off.

I carried the books around with me from dinner time to bed time and I couldn't read either because I was so excited at the opportunity to read them, I couldn't make a decision which to read first. Is that ridiculous or what?

This morning I got up and did it again. I'm chalking it up to extreme stress from other factors in my life. But finally I broke down and started Sacrificial Magic. And still, I feel almost guilty about making Blood on the Bayou wait. (Yes, I am weird.)

But I love LOVE Chessie, Terrible, Lex and Bump. I love the language in this book - the way the characters talk as well as the descriptive ability of Stacia Kane which makes the world come to life. Chess is such an incredibly complex character. And Terrible? Well, lets just say he's just incredible. Not a pansy-ass, pretty boy with fancy pants muscles. No. He's hard and dangerous and not exactly a good guy. And it makes him all the more powerful of a love interest, because he should be scary (and he kind of is) but he's also so accepting of Chess and her faults it makes you want to weep.

If you haven't read this series, you absolutely have to right now! And while you're at it, you should also buy Stacey Jay's series, too. Cause, seriously folks, these books are amazing. Now, I'm going to go read until I've finished both books. I might throw some tweets up (non-spoiler) as I read just for fun, tho.


Friday, March 16, 2012

My Cat is Freddie Kreuger in Disguise


So, every night before I go to bed, I put the dog to bed and spend a little one-on-one time with the cat. We play. His favorite toys? The rubber ring from the dog's water bowl, a bow of curly ribbons, his leash and me. One of our games? We skulk through the house - well, he skulks and I pretend to look for him. He likes to hide behind the dining room curtains, under chairs, in boxes and I'll "look" for him. When I pass him without seeing him (or so I let him think), he'll pounce on me and run off again. It's a relatively safe game, although my feet and ankles do take some abuse.

Last night we were playing the game. Only kitty decided to try a new hiding place. Behind an outlet station where 2 phones, 2 computers and my ereader were all plugged in to charge. And then kitty decided that those plugged in cords looked remarkably like snakes and he needed to kill them. Far be it from me to ruin his fun, but I didn't want to have to explain fried kitty to the kid in the morning, so I tried to shoo him out. That just pissed him off.

There was no way I was getting him out of there without extricating him by force.

I bent down, scooped him up and lifted him to tuck him against my chest. That's when he decided that my face was his next target. It went something like this...

Me: No! Bad kitty! *scoop kitty up*
Kitty: Die bitch! Hissssssreowwrwhaaarrrreeeeee *twist and attach to human's face with all claws*
Me: Owwww! *attempt to dislodge cat*
Cat: Hissssss *sink claws in for better purchase*

Of course, dislodging a cat that's attached to your face is (a) stupid (b) painful and (c) bloody. When it was over, kitty strolled away content in his mastery over me. Or at least my face. Which was dripping blood. Yeah.

I spent the next 20 minutes trying to clean up the mess. I have two deep scratches on the right side of my face and two on the left. There's also a nice flap of skin about the size of half a dime that I had to deal with. Blech. Jeez. Thank God I get a regular tetanus shot (my last was this year, so whee - don't have to go do that).

ps - This morning, I went to make my coffee and a fucking spider had made a nice little home in the Keurig's water tank. I HATE spiders. Actually, it's probably more truthful to say that spiders give me the willies and I can't seem to control the urge to scream and freak out when I see one...(it might be reasonable to call it a phobia)...I vacuumed the bastard out, screaming and squealing and hopping from foot to foot the entire time. I'm pathetic. I'm also usually comatose when I get up, so I have to thank the cat for activating pain receptors because my face hurts & when I got up I didn't need coffee to wake me. Otherwise, I might have made spider coffee this morning, so.... *shudders violently* ... I may have to thank the cat.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Thoughts on The US Suing Apple/Publishers

Yesterday morning, my husband left his Wall Street Journal for me to read. In particular, he'd tagged an article about the U.S. government possibly suing Apple and certain publishers for "collusion" in regards to pricing of ebooks. I read the article over coffee and stewed on it all day. Why?

The Justice Dept believe that Apple and these publishers "conspired" to use a publisher's model for book pricing on ebooks with the intent to force people to pay more for ebooks. The idea is that when Apple introduced the iPad, they got together with these publishers and came up with a plan to keep ebook prices for hardcover books at a comparable rate to those hardcover books - to prevent online retailers like Amazon from pricing the books low to compete.

I think the US government has their heads up their asses.

Now, before I express my opinion, I want to say I have nothing to do with the publishing industry. Yes, I would love to be a published author, but I'm not. Nor have I ever even attempted it (for reasons I don't want to go into here but chalk it up to extreme insecurity). So what I have to say here isn't coming from someone who is in the industry. Its coming from a consumer of extreme consumer of books, if I must be honest.

Given the choice of paying more for ebooks and having the option of buying a hardcover or paperback OR getting cheap ebooks, I choose the EXPENSIVE ebooks. I'm more likely to buy real books. I like them. (Okay I love them.) I don't get the same kind of enjoyment from ebooks. Sorry. And while I don't think its okay to ask the same price for an ebook as a hardcover book, I do think it okay for it to be the same cost as a paperback. In addition, I think that when the only book available is the hardcopy at full price, the ebook shouldn't be priced to undermine that sale. I know, its probably a pretty unpopular view, but it's mine.

Amazon, should the USJD pursue this suit and win, will wipe out book purchasing as we know it. Because anyone with a mildly competent brain in their head knows that's who's behind this action against Apple and the publishers. Poor poor Amazon with its market share of the worldwide sales of everything from books to tutti fruitty gum (seriously, I don't know that they sell that, but I'm betting they do) is unhappy because they can't screw publishers and authors by selling books at so cheap a rate the those authors and publishers might as well bend over and give them the tools to do it.

If Amazon - through the USJD - gets their way, they will offer dirt cheap ebooks. This, in principal seems like a good deal for consumers until you really LOOK at what it means. Because with Amazon's low prices, there is no competition that can stand up against them.

There is a trickle down theory here that's more like a flood and Amazon is sitting back wiping their false tears and saying to Mr. Govt Man "this is so unfair". Unfair, my ass. If the govt goes after these publishers, Amazon will in effect kill paper book sales (which they're trying to do anyway).

But that's not all they'll do. They have a far more sinister plan. The death of paper books will kill independent book sellers who survive on those paper book sales from people who don't like Amazon's view of the future and still want to read real fucking books!

And, if the indie sellers go down, the only place to buy books will be online (since B&N is only faking being a bookstore at this point).

This suit will also damage authors' livelihoods because the profit they get from those higher books sales make a difference in whether they can continue to survive on their royalties from books. Authors are already in a precarious position whereby if they don't bring in the numbers, their contracts run the risk of being cancelled. And it's not really the publishing companies fault because publishing houses are struggling under Amazon's corporate chokehold. Authors are being forced into a position where they have to go the "indepent publishing root" using - yes, you guessed it - Amazon.

The combination of NO real bookstores and authors being forced into independent publishing, and the forced lowball prices that are supposed to create a fair market will create instead a monopoly. If the govt does this, it will eventually kill publishing companies & literary agents.

And once they've accomplished that, they will go after the other online book sellers, who will never be able to compete with Amazon's pricing.

But don't worry, Amazon will pick up the slack.

Yes, by playing the poor, helpless company who isn't getting a fair shake for the govt, Amazon has set itself up to be the biggest, most influential player in a global book market.

Yes, we will all be shopping for books on Amazon. We will have to search through millions of books for authors we might want to read. And we will have to decide that from the small excerpts that Amazon allows us to read what books might appeal to us. And we won't know whether the books are edited professionally or not until we buy them - which means a lot of bad books with typos and story glitches that an editor would have caught. And we will be reading those books, published and sold by Amazon on  an Amazon kindle.

If Apple and these publishers got together and came up with this plan, I don't think it was to fuck the consumer. I don't think they were trying to hurt the competition. They see the big picture. They know what will happen if the USJD and Amazon get their way.

Amazon is Skynet people. We should all be getting our weapons ready for the coming of the Terminators. Because guess what? They're here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Head Rush by Carolyn Crane

Is a must read! Seriously. I bought it when it came out, but hadn't gotten around to reading it because my e-reader was acting badly and overheating. Plus, it came out when all the shit hit the fan in my house, and there was no way I was going to read it when I couldn't handle getting up in the morning without a panic attack. I wanted to be in a place where I could actually enjoy it.

I started it this morning at about 8 a.m. and finished it at about 6 p.m. tonight (give or take - I was not keeping track of time by that point). I did nothing but read - screw laundry, dishes and grocery shopping.

What can I say about this book? Hell, how do I describe this amazing series?

Well, Justine is a Disillusionist. "A what?" you ask. A disillusionist - a person who has a fear that's out of control (in her case its hypochondria enhanced by dying from a rare brain aneurism) and a psychic ability to pass that fear onto someone else. At the beginning of the first book, Mind Games, she's a nervous wreck of a woman. Until she meets Packard - head of an organization that rehabilitates criminals by using their ability to use fear to 'zap' them. Justine begins working for him. Packard is not what he seems.

Then there's Otto Sanchez, Justine's crush. He's a police officer bent on fighting crime the right way. But he isn't all he seems either.

And there's a history between Packard and Otto - a history that will cause Justine to question everything.

Yes, it sounds like a crazy premise, but its not. The very bizarreness of it is part of what makes it so good. It's written first person present tense from Justine's point of view - so you learn as Justine learns. And that POV works perfectly with this story. Can I say Carolyn Crane is a brilliant writer? Justine, with her obvious flaws and lack of faith in herself despite her capabilities, is an amazingly well thought out character. I dare you not to root for her - to gasp when things go wrong - to squeal with delight when good things happen. In fact, I dare you not to love every character in this series - even the bad guys.

The second book - Double Cross - was one of those books where the end knocked me on my ass. I had to go back and reread the last chapter a second time because I couldn't believe it ended on such a cliffhanger. (Like rereading it was going to change things *face plant*). It took me from a joyful high to an oh no moment so fast I was stunned. (I may have cried a little - I sure as hell yelled at the book for at least a few minutes.)

And then there's Head Rush, which picks up where Double Cross left off. I didn't think it was possible that this book could top the last one for delicious goodness, but damn! It did!

My poor son, who is 17 and endures my rants about books with the weariness of an 80 yr. old man rattling off his ailments, knows the Disillusionists stories because I have to talk to someone about them. They're that good. So, with this book, I kept stopping in my reading to relay what was happening. (Okay, I didn't relay the sex scenes - that would be creepy and weird.) By the time I reached the last few chapters where all hell was breaking loose, he had squeezed into the chair beside me and was reading along with me. I don't know who said "oh shit" more, but we were both definitely saying it.

When we finished, he looked at me and said "That was EPIC awesomeness! Wow. Are all the books you read like that?" Heh. (Yes, he reads Rob Thurman's books, but they're about guys) And sadly, no, not all the books I read have that amount of epic, action-packed, panic-enducing, emotional goodness.)

So, bravo Carolyn Crane. Not only did you hook me in, you hooked my 17 yr. old son. You should have seen him! He was INTO it.

Now, I'm going to say, Headrush is only out in e-reader format right now. The paperback of it comes out on Sept. 5th which is a long way away. (Yes, I will be buying it to add to my 'real library' just like all three books are on my e-reader, they will also be on my shelves). But if you don't have an e-reader, you know you can download e-reader software from Amazon for free and read it on your computer, right?? And if you haven't heard of or read this series, WTH? Go out and buy it.

ps. There's a Simon (gotta read to find out about Simon who is deliciously delinquent and naughty) novella you can download, too. I'm going to read that tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Curses! A F***ed Up Fairy Tale by J.A. Kazimer

Oh my God! This book has had me giggling all the way through!

It starts out with Cinderella getting run over by a bus after chasing a bluebird into the street. The hero is actually a villain (RJ) who has been cursed to be nice. Cinderella's ugly stepsister (Asia) asks for his help to find out who killed her & RJ can't not help because of his curse. What ensues is over-the-top hilarity with a good, solid storyline behind it. Its been a nice break from my preferred reading of doom & gloom emo urban fantasy books. Why? Because in its own funny way, its a little emo itself. A girl has to love that.

The other reason I love this book? Well, the first story I ever wrote was called Snoozing Woozy and the Seven Little Pygmies - yes, a fairy tale with a twist. Woozy was narcoleptic. And the pygmies were filthy, nasty little men who ran around in loin cloths with poisoned spears. The prince was a wimp and Woozy saved the day. I love taking fairy tales and twisting them up into something ridiculous and entertaining. J.A. Kazimer has excelled at this.

So, if you're looking for something different - something fun and silly, but with heart - for goodness sake, go buy this book. You'll be giggling your way through it with me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

SUVUDU Death Match

Don't forget to vote! Some of my favorite characters are in there including Evy from Kelly Meding's series, Chess Putnam (love Chessie) from Stacia Kane's series, Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison's series and many more. It's kind of a pain in the ass to work your way thru the voting process, but you don't want to see crappy characters win do you?!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Contest For Doubletake...

Just a little FYI....

Adrian Phoenix (who is one of my favorite authors - her main character Dante from her Maker Song series is by and far my FAVORITE character of all time) is having a contest. She's offering up 3 copies of Rob Thurman's Doubletake, the latest in the Cal Leandros series. For those who don't know either of these wonderful authors ... what the hell?!? You can't possibly NOT read their books. You should OWN them. You should have them on your shelves in a perfectly positioned, eye-level spot. You should have them on your e-readers. You should maybe sleep with them hugged to your chest. (Okay, maybe I'm taking that a little far...but ohh man, I dare you not to drool over these badass, wonderful characters.)

So, what are you waiting for? Go. Put your name in for the giveaway (even if it means I have less of a chance of winning...sigh) at

And don't forget to check out Adrian Phoenix's Maker Song and Hoodoo series AND Rob Thurman's Chimera and Trickster series, too. They're some of the best UF reading you'll find.

My Reading Was Felled By A Couch

I haven't been able to hold a book in four days. Why? Long story short, it was a couch....

...well, actually, it began with my dog (who wrenched my left arm viciously in an attempt to reach his "girlfriend" - a german shepherd with attitude who would just as soon gut him as let him have his way with her). I flew about 3 ft. through the air, managed to land on my feet and dig in before he dragged me across the lawn. The result, though, was the muscles in both my upper and lower arm were wrenched. Still, this isn't the first time little Leo has done this, so I wasn't worried. It would heal.

Then I got the call that my new couch was coming.While this was exciting news, it meant I had to tackle the family room - and the removal of the old couch, chair, footstool and computer desk. It was fairly easy to get most of the furniture outside. Yes, it hurt carrying my end of them with my arm, but I still wasn't worried. I've moved heavier things. 

And then I had to move the old computer desk. And that's when disaster struck. I'm pretty sure the damn thing weighs four billion pounds. Not only that, the only way to get a grip on it is by the overhang on the desktop - which means carrying it with my fingertips. I was in tears by the time we got it outside, and pain was shooting down my arm all the way to my middle finger. 

(Let me inject at this point that I have carpal tunnel syndrome. I've had surgery on my left hand and I'm not supposed to carry anything more than 20 lbs. - hah, like that's back to the story...)

Stupid, evil computer desk. 

By the next morning, despite copious amounts of advil, I couldn't lift, bend, twist or in any way move any part of my arm without letting out a little scream. I couldn't hold anything (my book, phone, DS, ereader) or type on my computer. I was in agony. 

But here's the good news. A week or so ago, I saw this device on Amazon. It was the deal of the day. And its called a Prospera - a device that has electrodes and sends current through you to ease muscle pain. I bought it for my hubs, who has a bad back - although I expected it would turn out to be crap. But, for $25 (on sale from $100), I knew I would probably end up giving it to kiddo to "hack" (he loves taking apart electronic devices and using them creatively.) 

It arrived yesterday. After four days of unbearable excruciating pain, I had nothing to lose. 

I hooked that puppy up to my upper arm first. I spent the first few minutes squealing as my brain tried to come to terms with my deliberately sending a electric current through part my body. My fingers twitched with each pulse. My brain was telling me it hurt, but it honestly didn't - in fact it tickled. And then the most amazing thing happened ...

... the mucles relaxed. The fucking thing actually worked!!! Four days of excruciating pain relieved in 15 minutes by a strange little device. Unfuckingbelievable! So, I'm back to normal. And I can use my arm again without screaming. Yay.

I'm currently half way through A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison. Its (as usual) a fantastic book. Now I can finally go finish it.

BTW, the best thing about the Prospera device is the manual which advises you not to attach it to your head or your privates - heh - I'm assuming they don't want you to fry your brain or stick those electrodes to your sensitive parts....cause they don't feel so good when you peel them off!