Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Favorites

A little hard to believe that it's New Year's Eve already - wasn't Christmas yesterday? Like everyone else, I have my own little list of favorite books from 2011. A lot of my favorites come from series I already enjoy, but there are some new authors/series added to the mix. I also discovered a few series that came out a few years ago, but that I've added to my TBR list, like Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series, Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax, and Kalayna Price's Grave Witch.

Favorite Kid's Book

You know I love YA and Middle School books. Have read quite a few very good ones, like Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Lost & Found by Shaun Tan, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Game of Triumphs by Laura Powell, Ship Breaker by Paolo Baciagalupi and many more, but one book just really stood out for me.

The Boneshaker by Kate Milford

It's a middle school read, but I think that there is something for readers of any age, male and female. This one had a Something Wicked This Way Comes vibe. A small town set at the crossroads, an ominous traveling medicine show, a family legacy, deals with the Devil, and children having to face the fact that sometimes adults don't have all the answers. I'm saving this one for my kids to read when they are a little older. Fantastic book.

Favorite New Series

Started quite a few new series this year, ones where I am counting the days until book 2 comes out. I really enjoyed Enclave by Ann Aguirre, the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne, Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison, Phoenix Rising by Philippa Ballantine & Tee Morris, First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, Dark Descendant by Jenna Black, to name a few, but my favorite remains

Dead Iron by Devon Monk

A Western-Steampunk-Fantasy that was different from what I've been reading lately. You've got a man cursed by an Indian god, Strange beings that stalk humans, witches, a zombie, and a girl who is more than she seems. It's in 3rd person following a handful of characters (both heroes and villains). I've read some books where this effect leads to too many threads and an inability to connect to the characters, but this book did not have that problem. The different POVs propelled the action along, gave me a greater sense of the scope of the world and the magic system, and let me get to know several characters better than I would have in a 1st person narrative. It was a tight story that still leaves a lot of room for more adventures. The worldbuilding was fantastic and I know we've barely scratched the surface.

Favorite Continuing Series

Most of my favorites came through continuing series. I do love seeing characters progress from the actions in previous books. Since a few of my favorites ended, I've broken this category into Favorite Continuing and Favorite Endings. Notable continuing series reads this year, Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews, Ganymede by Cherie Priest, Under Witch Aura by Maria Schneider, Heartless by Gail Carriger, and others, but the favorite of the year has to be

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

This is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series, a series that still for me is at the top of the list for worldbuilding, action, character progression, relationship evolution, and still makes me laugh out loud. A lot of writers can bring the action and the drama, few are able to also bring the funny. There are dark times in this series, but it is also balanced with hope and determination. This is a series I've re-read more than a few times and I still love it. It makes me happy, takes me away from the real world for awhile, and is just plain fun.

Favorite Endings

All good things must come to an end sometime. I've finished quite a few trilogies this year, and am happy to say that most ended on a strong note, like Head Rush by Carolyn Crane and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld, but my favorite has to be

The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin

I have loved every book in Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy. This is not your traditional fantasy saga where a disparate group gathers together and journeys to defeat a big bad. Each novel tells a unique story with a different main character, but the underlying issues that began before book 1 continue to progress throughout the trilogy. Gods, godlings, demons, mortals, all living together in a world out of balance. This book centers on Sieh, the eldest godling, the god of childhood, who finally has to grow up. This is one of those books where I don't feel in any way my words can do it justice. I fell in love with the breathtaking world, have been intrigued by the characters (even if I would never want to meet them), and held my breath wondering what would happen next.


What were some of your favorites?

Hope you all stay safe out there tonight, and looking forward to sharing more awesome reads with you in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Catching Up On Reviews

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday! After many cookies, candies, and longing gazes at my new pretty books, I've got some reviews to post. An Urban Fantasy, a Paranormal Romance, and a Novella.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday and that Santa brings you lots of good books! :)

I've had a lot of fun sharing books with you, and I'll be back next week with my favorites of 2011 and my Must Reads for 2012.

If you haven't heard: Ilona Andrews is giving away a free Kate novella - Magic Gifts. It is set during events in Gunmetal Magic, the Andrea book coming out in 2012. Kate, Curran, Vikings - yes it is awesomesauce!

Here's the catch: it's only available for the next 2 weeks, and only at Ilona Andrews website, so grab it while you can. It's an eBook now, but it will be included as a bonus with Gunmetal Magic.


Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Couple of Good "Ends"

The last couple of months have seen the end to a few trilogies that I have enjoyed. I mentioned Westerfeld's Goliath a week or so ago. This time I have two adult series - Head Rush, the long-awaited end to Carolyn Crane's Disillusionists trilogy, and Kingdom of Gods, the end to NK Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy. I am going to attempt to write about both without being horribly spoilerific, but come on, these are the last books in a series. Some stuff is going to spill if you haven't read book 1 yet, so enter at your own risk...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fate's Edge Giveaway Winner!



Update #2: I had to choose another winner - Melissa Landers! And she has responded so the book is making it's way to her! YAY!

Update: I had to pick a new winner  - so Eternal Werecat you are the new winner! e-mail me at kindleaholic@gmail.com with your contact info. Please respond by Wednesday December 14.

Congrats to

Amanda Grinstead!!!

I hope this helps you reach your goal of reading 100 books in 2012!

Please e-mail your contact info to me at kindleaholic (at) gmail (dot) com

You have until Saturday, December 10 to respond or I'll have to pick another winner (I won't like it, but I'll have to).

Thank you to everyone for entering the giveaway. I hope to have more of them in 2012.

Thank you so much to Amanda Carlson for donating her extra copy and for shipping the book - you are awesome! If you haven't checked out Amanda's website, I hope you do (and keep an eye out in 2012 for Full Blooded).


Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Books I Want to Read

Here's a few books coming out in December that I have on my list.

Head Rush (Disillusionists Book 3) by Carolyn Crane Out December 6 (eBook; print version out in 2012)

I am really happy to finally read this one - it's been a little while, but thanks to the November re-read, I'm ready! We finally get to see what will happen with Justine, Otto, Packard, and the rest of the Disillusionists. I can't wait!

And I'd also like to add that the cover is great - it's my favorite out of the trilogy.



Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla Out December 6

This one sounds very interesting - assassins, interesting world, lots of grey areas.







Under Witch Aura (Witch Moon #2) by Maria E. Schneider Out December 15

Really looking forward to the further adventures of Adriel, White Feather & Lynx! I've heard that this one will be a bit darker - can't wait!

Schneider is having a cover poll on her site December 10 - check it out and vote for your favorite!


Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder Out December 20

I absolutely loved Snyder's Poison series. Hoping that she can mine some more fantasy magic here. There's a healer, intrigue, danger - good stuff like that.

Christmas Prezzie List #3 - Tween/Mid School Books

On to some recs for the older readers (and adults who like to read kids books). For some of these, I'm also going by what I liked to read when I was a tween, in middle school. That's when I first got into Fantasy.

I've been steadily building up a library of more advanced books for my own kiddos to read, too. My daughter will be hitting these first, so I admit to a preference for strong female heroines, although most of these are ones my son would enjoy reading too (he totally ate up The Wizard of Oz - I know boys can read and enjoy books with girls as the main character).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fate's Edge Giveaway

Update: this contest is now closed. The winner will be posted today, Thursday December 8.

Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews came out this week. My friend, Amanda Carlson (I gushed about her here), was so excited she went out and bought it, forgetting about a certain pre-order. That means she has one extra, shiny, pretty, paperback. And so, lucky readers, Amanda has graciously agreed to a little giveaway here for her extra copy of Fate's Edge.

We're making this one easy - just leave a comment below to be entered. You could also talk about your favorite book this year, or one that you are looking forward to in 2012, but any comment will do. You have until 11:59PM on Wednesday December 7, 2011 to enter.

Updated to add: Yes, this contest is international! Woohoo!

If you have trouble leaving a comment (as happens sometimes) just e-mail me at kindleaholic AT gmail.com.

I'll pick the winner using random.org.

I'll announce the winner Thursday, and the winner has until Saturday December 10 to respond with contact info so that Amanda can send you the book, or I'll pick a new winner.

Thank you, Amanda!

To keep up to date on Amanda and her upcoming book, Full Blooded (as well as some helpful writer tips) check out her website. She's on Facebook and Twitter too!

And here's a link to my review of Fate's Edge - awesome good fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2 Middle School/YA Reviews

Goliath (Leviathan #3) by Scott Westerfeld

Let me start by saying how much I have enjoyed this trilogy as a whole. I can't wait until the kiddos are a little older - I think they will love it too.

Now, on to Goliath...

I had a lot of fun reading it - read the whole thing in one day. Good pacing, action, and I enjoy the characters.

Leviathan is still hands down my favorite book of the three, but I like the resolution and the character progression that you find in book 3.

For Deryn, yes secrets come out (but I'm not saying how!) and she learns that there could be consequences for more than just herself.

For Alek, he's felt so much responsibility for the war (since it started with the deaths of his parents), that it's shaped most of his actions. He needs to figure out who his allies really are, and what his limits might be.

Both of them need to decide what it is they really want in their own lives, as well, not just what others want of them.

Down to the action and the gadgets - yep, those are still seamlessly interwoven into the story. The world in this series is just so rich, but it never felt overwhelming, like I was just reading blueprints.

The "bad guy" in this one is mad, yes, but like with many characters, his sense of right and wrong depends on your point of view. With a world at war, right and wrong are in a grey area. It does help shape our hero and heroine's actions though, and that's really the point here.

This is the end of the trilogy, and there is an end that I was satisfied with, although I'd be lying if I didn't mention how much I hope that we'll be treated to more from this world in the future. There are so many places it could go.

Circus Glacticus by Deva Fagan

On the surface, this book seems like a rollicking good ride. An orphan with a mysterious rock, an encounter with a strange masked man, an amazing circus that turns into a spaceship, aliens, epic battles, the value of friends and finding a home, all of that is there. It's just that it was missing some of the finer details to draw out the characters and their interactions. It all felt too rushed, and some things resolved far too easily.

Trix is a hard character to like. I think with a few more insights to her character, it would have been easier to follow and root for her. I am used to kids in tween/middle school age books choosing to go off on their own, not involving the adults, but the reasoning behind it and why their new friends would go along with them, needs to be there. Those scenes felt off to me here.

There were parts I enjoyed, but I was left wanting more, and not in an "I need the next book now" way.

[I received an Advance Readers Copy of this book to review for Amazon Vine. Link goes to Vine review.]

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Prezzie List #2 - Young Readers

All righty -here is where we talk about those books for kids who are just getting into reading. For my recs here, I'm mostly going with what the expert (in this case, my eldest kiddo) likes to read. The kid will snuggle on the couch with these books, reading them to herself, her brother, or one of the parentals, so I count that as a win.

Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold

I'd give this one to a boy or a girl. Buzz has a pet fly, named Fly Guy. They have adventures, such as going on a cross country trip or meeting another kid with a pet fly at the park. There was even a school trip to a flyswatter factory. The kiddo thinks they are great. She can pretty easily read all of the words (and it even has chapters like mom's grown up books). The favorites right now are Fly High, Fly Guy and Buzz Boy and Fly Guy (where Buzz creates his own comic book).


Rocks and Fossils by Chris Pellant

It's not just the fantasy books in our house. We bring on the science too. This was a great intro to fossils for first readers (the preschooler loved it too). Just the right level of info along with fantastic photos/illustrations.





Fancy Nancy series by Jane O'Conner

I'm going to say that these are geared more for a girl audience. Nancy is very, very fancy. She loves to dress up, loves first grade, and everything French. She also has an exceedingly good vocabulary (the pages are peppered with the "fancy" name for things). We just recently read the original Fancy Nancy book, but to be honest, that wasn't her favorite. My resident Fancy Nancy aficionado prefers the Explorer Extraordinaire (where Nancy and her best friend Bree have their own nature club) or Poet Extraordinaire (where you have the introduction of many different forms of poetry). There are others on stargazing (another favorite) as well as Tea Parties (got some decent easy recipes and craft ideas in that one). You'll find different versions all over the bookstore/library. There are hardbacks, but also in the First Reader section, you'll find small paperbacks. Illustrations are well done too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More Recent Reads...

Tiger Eye (Dirk & Steele #1) by Marjorie Liu

I picked this one up as a Kindle freebie (and as of Nov 27 it's still free on Amazon. I checked B&N but right now it's listed at $7.99). Sometimes you get the freebies and think, well, I'm glad that was free, but other times you get one, devour it, then realize you are in trouble because now you want to read all of the rest. Not complaining too much, my TBR list can always use more, and now I get to add Liu's other books.

Very enjoyable paranormal romance. I liked the way that power was introduced. The set up for future books was well done as well - the side characters were likable. The pacing was good too.

Dela and Hari were believable and I liked their interaction. Another one where there isn't a "big misunderstanding." I cannot stand it when the main obstacle is just a miscommunication that could be solved by a 2 minute conversation. Much prefer the action-oriented romances where there is a big bad (or 2) to deal with.

It's a romance, but I also got a superhero/comic vibe from it. The psychic detective agency aspect is fun - Dirk & Steele employ "special talents" who read minds, start fires, change shape, etc. to right wrongs and keep those talents safe from governments or other groups that would exploit them.

Blood Rights (House of Comarre #1) by Kristen Painter

I was expecting more romance - and there is some romantic tension, but this is not a "Romance". I'm putting it into the UF category. I've also seen it referenced with YA, but I don't think that is a good fit at all. This is an adult book, and has some very dark moments (although nothing too graphic or gory).

The worldbuilding was cool - a complex society that you are thrown into. Hidden from human eyes, vampires and other supernatural creatures exist in their own societies. You have the Comarre - kind of like geishas, in that they are companions to vampires, their blood is very powerful, they are known for grace and beauty. A very secretive society, Comarre also have a more deadly purpose. They are well trained in weapons that can kill vampires or other supernaturals.

Chrysabelle, a highly prized Comarre, is on the run. Her patron is dead and she has been framed. She turns to her anathema (outcast) aunt for help. She falls in with an anathema vampire, Malkolm, who is haunted by spirits of those he's killed (physically, Fi haunts him, and the voices of his victims torture him). We also get Doc, Mal's varcolai (shifter) associate, and get an intro into the other supernatural communities, most of the illegal sort.

We've got conspiracies, lots of action, magic jewelry, the devil, and the end of the world as everyone knows it. There is kind of an ending, but it is really just set up for the next book. I'll be reading it.

There are a lot of new terms thrown around for paranormal creatures we fans are all familiar with. It was easy to get into the lingo, though. I have to admit that I was not surprised by who Tatiana turned out to be, but I was surprised by some of the events at the end.

Fate's Edge

Some series just get their own post, and Ilona Andrews Edge series is one of those. You might be familiar with my adoration of Andrews Kate Daniels series. The Edge is different in that each book follows a different couple (like a romance series), but still has the phenomenal world, complex characters, exciting action scenes, and humor that I fell in love with in Kate's series.

Fate's Edge (Edge #3) by Ilona Andrews

One thing that I have come to appreciate from Ilona Andrews books is that I just have so much fun while I'm reading them. Also, the worldbuilding is fantastic, so it really does feel like an escape from real life. This is the third book set in the Edge world, an actually very complex world, but I never felt lost as characters jumped from the Weird to the Edge to the Broken and back again.

If you haven't read any of the edge books, well, first you need to start with On the Edge. You also need to know that the Earth in this universe has the Broken - the nonmagical world that you and I live in. Then you have the Weird, a parallel world where magic is everywhere, in everything. You have Adrianglia, which is in a state of detente with Lousiana, and in book 3, we have the intro of West Egypt.  In between is the Edge where magic still thrives, though not as easily as in the Weird. Filled with clannish, feuding families, they live a hard life. This time we travel to the West coast and get a sense of what the Edge is like in the pacific northwest.

We first met Kaldar, a snarky thief and Cerise's cousin, in Bayou Moon. The battle with the monstrous Hand has left him with a thirst for vengeance and a job with the Mirror, the Adrianglian secret service. His latest job is to find and recover an artifact stolen from West Egypt, and Louisiana's Hand is the likely culprit. The job was done by an expert thief, and it takes one to know one...

Christmas Prezzie List #1 - Picture Books

As you all know, I love reading. My book collection is a large and glorious thing. Someday I will have a room ringed with bookcases to the ceiling and it still won't be enough room. And that's not even including the eBook collection.

It should come as no surprise that the kiddos have their own collection of books - from factual to fanciful, books are just a fixture at home.

Should also be no surprise that books are a favorite gift. With that in mind, here are a few picture books to consider if you are looking for a present for a young reader (or an adult who loves good illustrations).

Note: these are a couple of my favorites published in the last few years (I'm not including some of my all-time favs, like Where the Wild Things Are, because, well, I think you've already heard of it).


Friday, November 25, 2011

On to Christmas...

Today is Black Friday here in the states - the day that people pack the stores looking for deals. The "official" start of the holiday season. Deck the malls with crazy shoppers....

And I am still in my jammy pants avoiding it all.

I am thinking about what I want to give as presents (and to be honest, what I'm hoping will be under the tree for me), so I'm putting together a few lists. I'll start posting next week, so if you need some ideas on book gifts for kids, teens, or adults, I'll have a few recommendations. I'll probably have a few awesome t-shirts to share too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Thankful...

In honor of tomorrows feast of turkeys, trimmings, pie and family togetherness, I thought I'd join in with my list of things I am thankful for.

First of all, of course, family. Even when they drive me crazy, I still love 'em and wouldn't really want things any other way. Bonus - both kids are in love with the library and finding new books (WIN!)

Thank you to all of my friends - the ones I see in real life, and the ones scattered around the globe. Without my cyber-friends, I wouldn't have anyone to to talk to about all of these awesome books.

It hasn't been an easy year, and so many of you have been so wonderful with your support and caring words - thank you.

Thank you to Hollywood for putting out few movies I want to see so that I can put my entertainment dollars towards books.

Thank you authors, editors, graphic artists, librarians, everyone who has a hand in bringing me my beloved books. You gave me an escape when I needed one and made my days a lot brighter.

If you are stateside and celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday. May it be as hectic or relaxed as you want it to be. If you aren't celebrating, then I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and a great weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Reader's Perspective...

What a freaking minefield!

Nope, not talking about the pre-holiday crush at the grocery store today. I'm talking about publishing. More specifically, self pubbing vs indie (yes, there is a difference) vs traditional, insult-slinging, "house slaves" and primates doing horrible, despicable things to amphibians. I have recently encountered a lot of crap that has nothing to do with bad storytelling, although there have been several points of common sense as well (Dear Author, Tobias Buckell and Chuck Wendig - look 'em up if you haven't already). I know, if there is epic WTF-ery on the internet it must be a day ending in "y" but I think I finally reached my quota for tolerating it. And if you think I'm being "too sensitive" please leave your name and book titles in the comments so that I can make sure I never read your book (just like I'll never buy anything from the two jackholes who brought us the Raping Monkey - and this is from someone who digs crude potty humor on occasion - some lines should NEVER be crossed).

I see this mostly because I have an interest in the publishing industry as a whole, and I get on Twitter, hover around Goodreads, and (when I feel like I have enough patience) go back to the Amazon forums, and through it all I wonder, who is the audience? For all the rants, the mudslinging, is it trying to get the traditionally pubbed writers to abandon their contracts to strike out on their own? Rallying the growing number of self-pubbed writers? Convincing media, reviewers, book bloggers to take a look at more self-pubbed works? Actually trying to get readers to give self-pubs a chance? Cause when I think about what is necessary for the viability of self publishing, those last two are a lot more important than arguing over which method is better.

And the winner is...



First of all, thank you to everyone who entered the Head Rush giveaway. Thank you also to Carolyn Crane for answering all of our questions, and to Samhain for providing the e-ARC.

Now, on to the winner...

DC!
Congrats!

Since I already have your contact info, I'm sending you a message on your prize. Please respond within 48 hours (or I have to pick another winner). Rules is rules. ;)



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Q&A with Carolyn Crane (and a Giveaway!)


It's been a lot of fun doing the Disillusionists re-read. We had a pretty good discussion the other day on Mind Games at the Goodreads group, and now folks are starting Double Cross. Getting ready for the eBook release of Head Rush December 6 (it's already available on Audible, and the paperback will be out in 2012).

I've really enjoyed this series the second time around. I feel like I "get" Justine better, and I loved re-discovering all of the small details that make up the Disillusionists' fascinating world.

Carolyn Crane has been kind enough to stop by to answer a few questions, and the awesomeness that is Samhain is offering an e-ARC of Head Rush! Right here! (Details to follow the Q's)

So let's all welcome Carolyn, and get on with the fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Catching Up

I've been re-reading, reading, not feeling so good at night (when I get most of my stuff done), and all of that has meant no new posts, but I'm fixing that now.

I'm still working on my Kingdom of Gods review - some things just need to percolate for awhile before I set them in stone.

I need to re-do my original review for Mind Games based on the re-read. Seriously, I highly recommend re-reading books when you can. I know I get caught up in new, shiny, pretty bookies, but it is a lot of fun to re-discover characters and stories. Be sure to check back on Nov 17 - We've got Carolyn Crane answering some of your questions and a giveaway!

On to reviews - I've got one fantasy short story and a steampunk, alt-Victorian...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Questions for Carolyn Crane

I hope you are enjoying your re-read (or first read) of Mind Games. Next week, Carolyn Crane will be dropping by, so if you have any questions, post them in the comments or e-mail them to me kindleaholic (at) gmail (dot) com, or if you are on the Goodreads Re-read Group, put them there. You have until tomorrow, November 9, to post your questions.

Then stop by here next week on the 17th as we discuss the Disillusionists with Ms. Crane! There's also going to be a giveaway - an ARC of book 3, Head Rush (I know you want it)!

Audiobook out now, eBook out Dec 6.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Update...

Mind Games Re-Read

I need to re-read books more often. This isn't the first time that I've enjoyed a book more on the second try (the same was true for Interview With a Vampire and Discord's Apple), but so often I'm overloaded with all of the new shiny, pretty books, that I don't have the time to re-read. I'm going to start making time, though.

My favorite part is getting to experience those little touches that you might not recall months down the line but they make the story so much more enjoyable while you're in it.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mind Games Re-Read


Time to shake off the sugar coma from last night, take a little bit of the dog that bit ya' (surprisingly, Gobstoppers are my friend today), take a mental break from Nano, and start re-reading (or reading for the first time) Carolyn Crane's Mind Games.

The Goodreads group is here or leave comments on the blog.

Happy Reading!

P.S. Remember, there's going to be a giveaway coming....

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Two New Reviews

I've got a YA with mythological roots, and an older (but still very good) sci fi romance. I was going to include the final book in a fantasy trilogy in this batch, but I think that one needs its own post.

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) by Jennifer Estep

I admit to loving the idea of a "special school where kids with magic powers go off to learn, love, grow, and fight the inevitable evil that has invaded their campus." Blame Hogwarts or Camp Half-Blood, but I am an absolute sucker for these kinds of books.

Mythos Academy is home to the future warriors and Champions of the Pantheanic gods and goddesses who try to keep Loki and his Reavers from unleashing Chaos on the world. We have Valkyries, Amazons, Spartans, Vikings, Celts, and so on. I like that Estep has opened the door to introducing many different mythological beings from around the globe. It makes this world very interesting, and we've only scratched the surface of it. Our heroine, Gwen Frost, is a recent addition to the school. A Gypsy, she feels completely out of place. She does have a gift, psychometry (she can touch something and know all about it and everyone who touched it). This gift can of course be a curse, but Gwen also really likes knowing everyones secrets. And she's not shy about using her gift to further her own aims. Luckily, Gwen does care about other people, so we don't have a megalomaniac on our hands, but I like that she has an edge to her. It felt a lot more realistic.

I'm not going to say more about specific events; there is action, danger, and the revelation of secrets that you should experience for yourself. There is a tiny bit of romance, and some angst, but it was definitely in the right amounts. I never felt like banging my head against the wall.

I will say this, though, as the book does contain the requisite smokin' hot bad boy - I am more than a little tired of the teen-boy-asshat-love-interest. There better be some damn good groveling in book 2, or maybe let Gwen meet an actual nice boy, like her new best friend did. Just sayin'.

Now is an excellent time to read book 1, because book 2 Kiss of Frost, is out November 29.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Re-Read Reminder & Interview

Just a reminder that we'll be starting the Mind Games (book 1 of the Disillusionists) re-read on Tuesday November 1. You can join in here on the blog or if you're a Goodreads member, you can join our re-read group.

This is also your chance to ask Carolyn Crane some questions. We'll be having an interview here later in November, so if you have any questions, leave them in the comments. Can't promise that every one can be answered, but I'll try to include as many as possible.

Have a wonderful weekend, finish anything else you're reading, eat boatloads of candy, and be ready for some high-cap action!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Must Have Books - November

Although my TBR-list already runneth over, there are always new books coming out that I WANT. Here's a few of them:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Kid Sidekick in UF

While motherhood is not a usual theme in Urban Fantasy (because, well, changing diapers is not fun but battling the forces of evil is), kids are still scattered throughout most of the beloved UF series. They can be used to show the maternal/paternal side of a lead character. They are a binding tie to a place/other people. And, lets face it, they make for gut-wrenching villain-kidnap fodder.

Sometimes they are the actual offspring of the lead (such as in the Charlie Madigan series by Kelly Gay), they belong to another important side character (Tink's brood in Harrison's Rachel Morgan series), the niece/nephew (Nancy Holzner's Deadtown), or the stray kid/teen befriended by the lead (Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series, for example). Sometimes they are annoying (as kids can be), a challenge, but they do have their place.

Here are a few of my favorites - kid sidekicks who have earned their spot among the other, more grown-up sidekicks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh, UF, How I Love Thee!

The awesome Jaye Wells has declared October International Urban Fantasy Month! And she is holding a kickass contest to celebrate - seriously, this is one ginormous prize package. How do you enter? Write a love letter to Urban Fantasy. You can be serious or bring on the funny. Just tell the world what UF means to you (and make sure Ms. Wells can see it, of course). Check out her blog for the details. [Sidenote: if you aren't following Jaye Wells yet, you really should. She is funny as hell and has some good insights on writing.]

So, here is a little bit of why I love me some UF...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Giveaway!

Awesome news for those joining the Disillusionists re-read. Samhain is going to be giving away an ARC of Head Rush to one of the re-read participants! Details coming soon...

Hope you're all getting your books ready - re-read starts Nov 1!  

Want to know more about Carolyn Crane and the Disillusionists series? Check out her blog and her author website.   

Friday, October 14, 2011

Disillusionists Re-read

Head Rush, book 3 in Carolyn Crane's Disillusionists series, is finally coming out this December. WOOHOO! In preparation for this, I'm re-reading books 1 and 2. I even started a group on Goodreads if anyone wants to join me.

The Disillusionists series follows Justine, a severe hypochondriac in a city with skyrocketing crime and High-caps - people with fantastic (and deadly) mental abilities. She meets Packard, who tells her he can make her well. There's of course a price to be paid and Justine finds herself thrown into a whole new game. Danger, betrayals, action, romance  - yep, it's in here.

The Disillusionists series is an important one for me in terms of my personal growth as a reader. Prior to reading it, while I liked books that had dark tones, in the end, I needed my heroes and heroines to be, well, heroic. I needed to like them throughout. Tough, kickass chicks filled most of the books I read.

With the Disillusionists, we have one very screwed up heroine and a group of people who may or may not be doing good things (no matter what they tell themselves). Lots of grey areas.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Today I'm at...

Stellar Four talking about Halloween costumes. It might just involve my geeky, devious plans to get my son to dress up like a character from one of my favorite TV shows.

Catching Up...

Here's a few recent reads - 2 UF and 2 YA.

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

First thoughts after finishing this one: "This was a damn good book."

Fast-paced, good tension, lots of interesting characters and really fantastic worldbuilding. I loved the magic system - witchcraft, ghosts, Fae, and Death is a character! (I seem to have a soft spot for books like that).

Alex Craft is neck-deep in debt, but an upcoming high-profile case should help. She's a grave witch, raising shades to answer the questions of the living.  Usually it's getting answers for families who want to know who should get Aunt Rosie's china, but soon there will be the first court case where a shade will confront her murderer. Then she gets a call for help from her estranged sister and her friend on the police force needs help raising the shade of a victim of a strange ritual. Let's just say things don't go well and I'll let you read the awesomeness yourself.

A little bit of romance but it isn't the focus. Need to read the next one.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Miss Firefly...

Watched the last episode again last night. Firefly was just taken away too soon. I am thrilled that we got Serenity, but when I think about where the series could have gone, I still get a little pang.

I admit to watching none of this year's Fall lineup. Am I missing something?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Working...

I've been a bit light on posts here because I've found I need to do a bit of housekeeping. Things like making it easier to find reviews for books and so on.

I have a whole mess of reviews coming, and I've got some awesome books I'm reading right now, so there will be good stuff soon.

Right now I'm reading:

Hellbent by Cherie Priest - neurotic vampire thief, oh yes!

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price - this one is quite good, wish I'd started the series sooner. Family angst, murder, and Death.

Voodoo Dues by Stephany Simmons - really fast pace; I think there is a lot of potential here for the characters

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Today I'm at Stellar Four

And yes, there was a mighty fangirl squee in my house that I got to contribute to one of my favorite blogs.

Today is my True Confession on being a Geek Mom. http://www.stellarfour.com/2011/10/true-confessions-im-geek-mom.html

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What's Your Treasure?

Brenna Yovanoff is having another contest for The Space Between (contest ends Oct 2 at midnight!).
So, so pretty... Out Nov. 15!
Last time, we talked about theme songs. This time around, we're talking about our treasures: they might be be precious, they might only be worth something to us.

My treasure has to be a charm bracelet I received from my grandmother. For years, every time my grandfather traveled (and he ended up flying all over the world testing runways) he would bring back a charm from each locale he visited. I loved looking through the different treasures grandad brought back - a giant collection of Buddhas from his many trips to China, beautiful Kimonos from Japan, but I always loved the bracelet most because I could go through each piece like a roadmap of his journey.

So what is your treasure?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Today I'm at...

Vampire Book Club

I'm talking about some of my favorite vamp (or vamp-like) books that don't get mentioned as often.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Returning to the Clockwork Century...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: This is my kind of Western.

The American West of the late 1800s fits steampunk just as easily as Victorian London. The character types are different, of course, as is the setting, but the expansionist zeal of the United States, the settlers who had to rely on their own ingenuity, and the sense of being removed from law and order make it a very exciting setting, and one where gadgets and airships would come in handy. Cherie Priest has tinkered with history and science to bring to life an America where the Civil War has gone on for 20 years, Seattle is overrun with zombies, and a few good (or mostly good) men and women do whatever it takes, come hell or high water, to get the job done.

I watched 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea over and over again as a kid (I believe I had a giant crush on Kirk Douglas' Ned Land), so I have a soft spot for stories about mysterious submarines. This one is stuck in the bayou, not having adventures on the ocean, but it still was a very fun ride.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows

So yesterday the kiddos and I made our own marshmallows. It was the first time I'd tried them, but it ended up being easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was finding potato starch (3 stores until I finally found it). Just call me Martha Stewart - if the domestic one was into Ninja marshmallows.

Last Christmas I got the Ninjabreadmen Cookie Cutters - the kids love them, but I think I love them more. So of course, we had to make Ninja marshmallows. One has a little battle damage (to be expected when a three year old wields the cookie cutter) but they turned out pretty well. They taste like store bought ones, just fresher.



Next time I will try the chocolate marshmallow recipe I found in Cooking Light. We were also thinking it would be fun to put them on a stick and dip them in chocolate. Maybe add some sprinkles, sea salt, caramel, other toppings.

I got the marshmallow recipe from Bon Appetit magazine: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2008/07/homemade_marshmallows

Like the Ninjas? The cookie cutters can be found at ThinkGeek and Amazon

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Book Was Better

http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/generic/ea7c/
Another shirt from ThinkGeek.com to add to my wishlist. With the exception of Peter Benchley's Jaws, the rule stands. From the character of the Marine Biologist (in the book he's a douchebag who sleeps with Brody's wife) to the end (without being spoilery let me just say, this did not end with a bang), I thought that Spielberg vastly improved things.

How about you? Do you have any books where you thought that the movie was better?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sci Fi Romance Novellas

Coming soon to your eReader (or applicable eBook app) is the latest Kinsmen romance novella from Ilona Andrews. We first encountered this futuristic, beautiful, and dangerous world in Silent Blade. While I do recommend the first novella, it is not necessary to read it (although getting an update on Meli and Celino was a treat).

A little background: You have a planet that while beautiful to look at, is ruled by mafia-type families whose feuding often leads to bloodshed. Only the strong survive and thrive here. Also, some people have technological or biological enhancements. This usually makes them much more efficient at killing people.

This is the kind of romance I like.

Latest YA Reads

This time I've got 5 YA books. Trying to get caught up on lots of stuff. I got a bit behind because of the craphole that was August, but I am making progress.

Sidenote: If I can offer any personal advice, it would be to take as many trips to see loved ones and as many photos as you can. Recently put together my dad's remembrance video and was surprised by how few photos I had with him (tons with the kids, though, which I'm grateful for). Even candids if you are like me and dislike posing for pics. End of my two cents on that topic.

Read on to get to the fun stuff - good books!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Recent eBook Reads

I am loving when great authors get together and bundle their shorts as eBooks. I've been a fan of anthologies for a long time, but sometimes you just want to keep one or two stories from an antho. Lately, a lot of my favorite shorts have been re-released by the authors as eBooks.  Here's a few I recently read.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Girls With Brains

Last week there was much hubbub about a t-shirt JC Penny's was selling (it read "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do if for me"). Lots of condemnation rocked the internets and the retailer pulled the shirt and issued an apology. Needless to say, this was NOT a shirt we bought when going back to school shopping.

Stellar Four* ( my favorite geek girl site) posted this which sums up for me the problems and how fundamentally, attitudes need to change. (Megan S. does a great job here, and her mom is very awesome too.)

This issue is more than a little personal for me. See, I'm the mother of a young girl. She is 100% a girly-girl: loves pink, glitter on everything, and being a princess. She also loves school, math is her favorite subject, and she's really getting into science. This is the way she is. (She also would be incensed if anyone told her that boys, especially her brother, were smarter than she was.) We spent the weekend experimenting with colors and made a volcano erupt. Then we watched The Princess and the Frog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recent Good Reads

Time for a wrap-up of my favorite reads from the second half of August. I've got 3 Middle School/YA books, 1 Fantasy, 1 Urban Fantasy, and 1 book for the geek in all of us.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Theme song...

I've been trying to think of a theme song for Brenna Yovanoff's The Space Between contest.

There's been a hell of a lot of ups and downs in my life this past month. I guess I could go for something quiet and introspective, but to be honest with you, when life kicks me in the face, my first inclination is to kick back. And when I absolutely positively must kick some ass, "More Human Than Human" by White Zombie is the soundtrack.

This song has the added bonus of Blade Runner references, which satisfies my geek requirement.

So what's your theme song? You have until Sunday August 28 to enter the contest.

And lookee at Yovanoff's new book (oooh, shiny, pretty):
Demons, angels,danger, love - I can't wait! It's out this November.

I also really enjoyed The Replacement (dark but still filled with hope, love and acceptance). Somehow, Yovanoff has made the cover gods very, very happy, cause she has some great ones. This one in particular is one of my favorites.




Saturday, August 20, 2011

Must-Have-Books Coming Soon

Yes, my TBR list runneth over, as usual. In the next couple of months there are even more books coming out that I really want to read. In particular, there are some continuing series and trilogy conclusions that I need to get my hands on.

Friday, August 19, 2011

In Honor of Dad - His Favorite Books

In previous posts I've talked about how influential my parents were in my love of reading - taking me to the library, bookstores, sharing books. My dad and I really shared a love of all things fantasy (mom likes fantasy, but really isn't into vampires - we kind of converted her). He made sure I watched all of his favorite genre movies - more than once to ensure that I appreciated them (it took a couple of showings of Krull before I loved it too). He was also very supportive of my writing. I think he got a kick out of reading it.

One important lesson that I took from my dad was to always make a point to talk about and recommend the things that you like. He mentioned many times that most people just complain when they don't like something, but that you should strive to promote the good. Whether we were at a restaurant, Disneyland, or even when he was in the hospital, he made a point to recognize good service, usually seeking out the manager to point out a particular employee. Dad preferred to dwell on the positives in life, and I'm trying every day to follow his example.

We lost dad last week, and in his spirit of promoting the things he liked, I'm going to spotlight a few of his favorite books.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Running Away to the Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I received an Advance Readers Copy of this book to review for Amazon Vine [link goes to Vine Review]. (Actually, I read it back in June, but since the official release date is September 13, I held onto it for awhile before putting it on the blog.)

The bulk of this book focuses on a mysterious circus, Le Cirque des Reves, that appears suddenly, without fanfare, is open only at night, and is filled with all things thought impossible. It instantly brought to mind my first visit to Cirque du Soleil - before they were a Vegas fixture. Seemingly overnight, a tent appeared in the mall parking lot. Curious, my parents and I walked up to the booth, and bought tickets (they were not yet so well known that tickets had to be purchased in advance). We had no expectations, no idea what awaited us.

It was magic - the music, the language, the costumes, the performers - seeing people use their bodies to create artistic tableaus, daring feats, it was as though these artists had created their own world under the big top. It was the first time I'd ever dreamed of running away to join the circus. That sense of wonder came back to me time and again as I read The Night Circus.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Some Recent Reviews...

Here's the next batch of quick reviews. I've got 3 middle school/YA books, 1 steampunk magic adventure, and 5 adult UF books. Yep - I've been running a bit behind.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vacation Reading...

So I had my Kindle stocked with all of the books I've bought (but put off reading so I could get to ARCs and library books), hopped in the car, ready for a week-long vacation and read...next to nothing. I barely touched a book, checked e-mail only a couple of times, and had one of the best get away from it all vacations I've had in awhile.

I visited the folks and had a massively great time at a little ol' place with a castle and giant rodents, dogs and assorted princesses.

But I missed talking books with my favorite readers, and while I was gone I did find one very fun book. The folks love books as much as I do, so I enjoy perusing their shelves. There I found:
Weird California by 
A guidebook to the weird, spooky, and wacky places you can visit in the Golden State (as well as some caveats for some of the spookier ones). It has a wonderful snarky undercurrent too, not too much, just enough to keep me grinning throughout. Must go check out Weird U.S. too.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Powerful as Hell Grannies

One of my favorite supporting characters is the "Granny" or "Auntie" - basically the wise woman who gives advice, shares experiences, and, my personal preference, can kick some ass no matter what decade they're rockin'. These are the women who might look sweet on the outside, but you would not want to cross them. I think we need more characters who still get the job done after their 20s are over.

Here are some of my favorites:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Knights of Badassdom

Oh hell yeah! If I don't see this movie, I need to turn in my Geek card (and that would be a travesty - all those lovely geek shirts would go to waste).

Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau, Steve Zahn, Danny Pudi - what happens when LARPers open a gate to hell.

Link goes to io9 - an awesome source for the sci fi/fantasy fan. There's a trailer that was released at Comic Con.

http://io9.com/5824161/in-the-first-knights-of-badassdom-trailer-larpers-open-the-gates-of-hell

A little rant...

I should know better than to read certain discussions on certain boards. I really should. In my defense, I have met many wonderful readers and authors from these same boards, so the benefits are far greater than the momentary moments of Hulk rage I feel when reading certain opinions.

Yes, I chant the mantra, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion," and I repeat as necessary.

The thing is, it's not so much that we disagree. I disagree with my goodreads friends from time to time, but not one of us takes it personally. Sometimes it's fun to debate why we liked/didn't like certain things. It's part of being in a community of readers, and some books strike a chord within us, giving rise to passionate arguments. I respect that.

What drives me up a freaking wall are the folks who have a vendetta against anything involving the paranormal and try to make Urban Fantasy readers feel inferior for enjoying their favorite books (same applies to Romance or YA readers). I've already gone ranty on this once (see http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/266622-just-my-opinion).

Romance, Fantasy and YA have been taking hits lately right and left - it's too dark, it's a bad influence, blah blah blah. The funniest part is that the majority of the haters haven't even read the books they are railing against. It boggles the mind and leads to moments of the aforementioned Hulk rage.

Today's rant is about folks who hate UF because some of them have romantic elements (again, these are the people who want UF wiped off the map, not those who just choose not to read it).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Currently Reading...

I usually read a few books at once. Sometimes I want something dark, sometimes I'm in a lighter mood. I might feel nostalgic and read a kid's book, or a romance if I absolutely must have that happily ever after. Now that I've caught up on some things on my to do list, I'm also catching up on my reading. I've finished quite a few books this week, and started some new ones too. 

Here's what's on my shelf now:

Dead Iron by Devon Monk: Magical Western Steampunk adventure. I'm about halfway through it and really enjoying this one.

Brightest Kind of Darkness by PT Michelle: YA paranormal romance. I like this one a lot. Sweet and the hero isn't a jerk to the heroine (I'm a little tired of the teen boys being asshats).

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter: I loved book 1 and this one is starting out well.

Feed by Mira Grant: Awesome zombie book. I even have an autographed copy of this one (with a drawing of a chainsaw - fantastic!)

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor: This one looks like it will be a good one, but the subject matter is very dark, so I will likely start and stop it many times before I finish. Set in Africa with a young woman who is the child of rape. I'd barely started the book and I wanted to cry.

The Hidden Goddess by MK Hobson: I loved book 1 and I have a feeling book 2 will be just as much fun.

Embassytown by China Mieville: It's taking me a little bit to get into this one. I've never read Mieville before, but heard that the books can be challenging.

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost: I really liked the beginning of this one, then realized that I should have read the 2 spin offs first (not that you have to to understand the story, I just found I wanted to read them first). So this one is on hold for now.

Hexed by Kevin Hearne: Just got this one. Book 2 in Iron Druid series. Can't wait for more Atticus and Oberon!

New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans by John Swenson: Just getting into this one. I don't usually read non-fiction, but this book called to me. The beginning is an education into the NO music scene, so sometimes I'm in info overload, but then you get into the gut wrenching loss.

I will undoubtedly be adding more books to the list before the week is out, but that's what it looks like today. Hope you are all finding some good reads. If there's something you think I should be reading, let me know!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Catching Up

All righty then - it's Friday, the newest (and last) Harry Potter movie is out, and I'm digging my way out of my "to do" list hole.

I did not stand in line to see the latest Potter movie. I think those days are behind me. Most of the time I wait for movies to come out on DVD, because, well, I'm a book person and don't want to spend $20 to see a movie that's just "OK". I am making an exception for Harry Potter and Captain America. I'm just waiting for things to calm down a little before I go see THE MOVIE OF THE SUMMER.

Recent Reads

After the jump there's some books that I've read and really enjoyed...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Deadlines, T-Shirts, Writing, and New Books


http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/womens/d3eb/
Yep - I am in deadline hell. OK, so part of it are my own personal ones, but those are worse because I really want to finish them. So today I put on my deadline shirt (see right, another awesome acquisition from the fine folks at ThinkGeek.com) and I'm steadily making progress. I can tell that I'm not in overload yet, snarky humor still intact. You know I'm trying to kick deadline ass when the Wonder Woman shirt comes out.

But now it's break time, so I can check another item off my to-do list and actually write a blog post.

I have shared my love of t-shirts here before (the She-Ra shirt is still on my list), but I keep finding new ones! Like this beauty:


http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/womens/e8f4/

Evil-looking unicorns, robots, rainbows - I MUST HAVE!

I should know by now that venturing into ThinkGeek space is dangerous for the wallet, but I guess I am a slow learner in this regard.

I also signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo (I just love the word count widgets - they help keep me on track). I also like the whole goal thing - I know, it's just another deadline, but that's how my life is. It helps me power through any blocks I might have. So far I am behind, but that will change tomorrow.

Today a whole bunch of books I want to read were released to the world, overfilling my already overfilled TBR list - not that I'm complaining, it just doesn't go well with the whole "get out of deadline hell" plan I have going. Dead Iron by Devon Monk, My Life as A White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland, Hammered by Kevin Hearne (this is a double whammy cause I need to read Hexed, too), Sirensong by Jenna Black, as well as the other June and early July releases such as Heartless by Gail Carriger, Brightest Kind of Darkness by PT Michelle, Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter. It is an excellent summer for the reader in me.

Well, break time is over. Once more into the breach and all that. Hope you are keeping cool and reading great books!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On Writer Friends...

Since I started the whole "kindle-aholic likes to review and talk about books" thing a couple of years ago, I've been truly privileged to make friends with some very talented writers. Some go the traditional pub route, some are self-pubbed, but we all share a love of reading and writing. Recently one of them got some very big news...

I started out on Amazon, chatting about kickass Urban Fantasy in the forums. There I met Amanda Carlson. It turned out that we liked a lot of the same books and shared recommendations. Then one day she asked if I would mind taking a look at something she was working on. I quickly agreed, and soon I became one of her beta readers.

What does that mean? I read whatever she sends me and then say what I like/don't like, what I think works, what might be confusing and needs more explanation, and so on. It also means that I leave any spellchecking, grammar checking, etc at the door (I think this is easier said than done for a lot of folks). It means giving your opinion, but also backing away and not taking it personally if your comments aren't used (after all - it's not your story). More than that, I get to see a book come together. It's fantastic to see the first rough drafts, then see how things start coming together after some re-writes (and re-writes, cause that's what writing is).  I have to say - Amanda is one talented writer and she tells a helluva good story. She's also a great writing buddy and I learn a lot from her critiques.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Recent Reads - Hounded & After the Golden Age

It's been a week of deadlines and craziness, but here's a couple of great books I managed to read anyways. Links go to Goodreads.


Hounded by Kevin Hearne

It had me at "Thor is an asshat" (and that was page 2).

Do not get the wrong idea here - this isn't a romp through mythology with Beavis and Butthead, but the bits of snark and pop culture references had me laughing (there are some fantastic Star Wars references as well - this geekgirl approves).

Atticus looks like a 21 year old stoner who owns a New Age bookstore. He actually is a 21 HUNDRED year old Druid who has spent most of those 2100 years running from the Celtic god of love (the Celts weren't big on cherubs, and this guy packs a mean punch). Just when Atticus seems to have found a place he can settle in for awhile, he is discovered. Fight or flight? Throw in a complicated "friendship" with the Morrigan, more deities, other mythologies, vampires, werewolves, witches, betrayals, new allies, and Oberon, his trusty Irish Wolfhound, and you have an adventure with a broad cast of characters that never gets out of hand and leaves you wanting more.

Add that's the big thing - I can't wait to get my hands on book 2 and read more about Atticus and the world he lives in. There are no cliffhangers, I just had so much fun reading this book.

I'm giving it 4.5 stars, because we're still growing into the character and his world. Great start to series.

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

This feels like a perfect "summer book" - superheroes and supervillains, they go with summer like beaches and ice cream. What I liked the most about this book was that the heroine isn't a superhero, she's the absolutely normal daughter of the city's premiere superheroes. That she has feelings of inadequacy and severe parent issues is an understatement. She's also been a frequent kidnapping victim for most of her life (the opening chapter with her boredom at another kidnapping was great).

Now, just when she finally has built a life for herself, Celia's world starts falling apart. Crime is escalating in the city, her parent's arch-nemesis is finally going to trial, and Celia has been brought into the case.

Vaughn does the "seemingly weak character comes into her own" well - the character's journey was believable, and it was also easy to root for Celia.

I really enjoyed it, I would have liked a bit more interaction with some of the characters, but I was still satisfied with the end.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thanks, Dad

I credit both of my parents with fostering (and feeding) my love of books, but my dad is the one who first introduced me to fantasy and sci fi. We all found comfort and joy in reading, and we still share books to this day.

So, thanks, Dad. Thanks for winning control over the TV most weekends so I HAD to watch Doctor Who, The Avengers, Star Trek, Wild Wild West and all of the other awesome shows you introduced me to. I might have made a snit over it, but deep down I really loved them.

Thanks for buying every book of the Belgariad, Mallorean and Elenium so we could all read them together. Thanks for the evening and weekend trips to the library and the bookstore. Thanks for not batting an eye during my vampire/magic obsessed teen years. Thanks for giving in on more than one occasion when I had to have a certain book or 10.

I hope you enjoy your present - yep, books! - there's one you asked for, and one I recently read and think you'll really like (Hounded by Kevin Hearne - good read!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Supernatural Sidekick Smackdown...

Or why Andrea kicks major ass and is an AWESOME sidekick

It is no secret that I have undying fangirl love for the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. (see Is It May 31 Yet?) One of my favorite aspects of this series is the friendship between Kate and Andrea. Like all relationships in this series, it develops slowly (Kate does have issues getting close to people), it has ups and downs, but the series would not be the same without it.

Vote for Andrea in the Supernatural Sidekick Smackdown (brought to you by the awesome Badass Book Reviews and Hesperia Loves Books). Her bracket is up tonight and goes for 24 hours.

Now, I'm going to talk about things that happen in the series. If you haven't read it, then be warned of spoilery things. Also, get off your ass and read these books! Back to Andrea....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recent Reads

I admit it - I read about 3-4 books at once. I see a new book and it's "Oooh! Shiny, pretty!" So sometimes it takes a little while to finish, but I usually enjoy it. No matter my mood, I can find something to read that fits it. Here's some of my recent reads (links go to Goodreads):

Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy

This was a good read. Not what I was expecting (I was expecting a romance as I'd heard it was a sci fi romance), but that's not a bad thing. It reminded me of some of my favorite UF series, but with space travel, tech gadgets and genetic mutations instead of vamps and witches. There were some romance-y bits, but if you are looking for steam then you will be disappointed.

I liked the main characters (and Cat is a very intriguing secondary character), but there were so many (almost) nameless secondary/tertiary characters that I got some of them confused. It's also not done - I need to get the next book! Great start to series


I recently bought the complete Dante Valentine series. Book 1 starts with Dante Valentine, a powerful Necromancer and bounty hunter on the side, who gets a offer she can't refuse from the Prince of Hell himself - although in this future world, Hell and demons aren't exactly the Christian brimstone type, although they aren't altruistic either. We meet Dante's friends, enemies, a former lover with unresolved issues, and did I mention she is tracking a serial-killer demon? Gritty, cool world and magic system. Lots and lots of action. Really good starting point for the series. I'm glad I got all of the books, so I don't have to wait too long before I can get to the next one. I'm already kicking myself for waiting so long to start this one.

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready does love triangles right. Yeah, it's a little high on the angst scale, but it's to be expected given the subject matter. This is book 2 in a trilogy (I'll try not to be SPOILERY, but if you are waiting to read book 1, then maybe you should stop here.).

To catch you up a little, everyone Aura's age and younger can see ghosts. This becomes quite personal for her when Logan, her boyfriend, ODs, but he hasn't crossed over, so she finds herself torn between moving on and keeping a slim hold on her love. She's also trying to figure out why the "shift" (that's whatever event caused the young to see ghosts) occurred, and what her mother had to do with it. And she meets Zach, a very handsome Scottish boy who is looking for answers too (cue love triangle). Then everything goes wrong and Logan becomes a shade - a dangerous ghost that has lost himself.

Back to this installment: For 2/3 of the book, it reads more like a YA romance with some ghostly bits. Some very interesting things happen with Logan (ha - understatement!), but a lot of it has to do with Aura trying to salvage relationships. The last third, though, WHEW! There are some BIG revelations here. Can't wait to see how this is going to be worked out. When is Shine out, again?

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Don't Pirate Books

There are many legitimate ways to get your hands on great reads:

1. Buy it from a reputable bookseller.
2. Library
3. Borrow from friends or family (who bought it from a reputable bookseller)
4. Luck out and win one in an author/blogger/publisher sponsored contest.

I love supporting books and the authors who have poured blood, sweat and tears into their work.

I don't f-ing pirate books. I won't help you do it. Nuff said.

On Meeting Authors - Nalini Singh

Have you ever gone to an author event? Sat with other book lovers, asked questions, maybe listened to a reading, got your book signed? If not, then if you get the chance, I highly recommend it.

I admit it - I'm an author event newbie. You better believe I will be trying to search out ones in the future. When I found out the Nalini Singh was going to be at a B&N in reasonable driving distance from home, I jumped at the chance. I got there a little early, bought the book I wanted to have signed (seriously folks, buy the book early - you don't want to have to go running to the cashier when it's signing time), and managed to sneak a chair up front. It ended up being standing room only, so give yourself some extra time, unless you like standing at the back. Online, Singh has always been charming, funny, and just plain nice. It was the same experience in person. She graciously answered all of the questions, teasing around anything spoilery, and her enthusiasm for these characters she created was infectious.

The occasion was the release of Singh's latest Psy/Changeling book - Kiss of Snow. It is the 10th in the series and her first released in hardback (for those who want the paperback - it will be released in about 5 months, faster than usual for a paperback).

Now here's where I have a confession to make. I've only read the first book in this series and some of the novellas. I've actually only read the first book in Singh's other series as well. So I'm new to the party, but that just means I don't have to wait a long time for the next one to come out.

It was a little weird when a fan asked which book was my favorite and I had to admit I'd only read the first one, but it was over quickly, and the exuberant crowd let me know that I would enjoy the other books in the series.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Musings on "Dark" Books

Who would have guessed that losing myself in a book would be the best way for me to find myself again?

I didn't always have a bright, shiny childhood. No, I wasn't abused, beaten, or molested. What I did have was a younger sister with a terminal disease. My formative years were spent visiting the kid's ward at the hospital - the side where they put the kids who were running out of time.

I remember seeing a little boy racing around. He must have been about 2. He looked so happy. I pointed him out to my parents, that he must be getting better now that he's running around. They got a weird look on their faces and told me that he was really sick, just having a good day at the moment. I then noticed his parents, the look on their faces. Similar to the look my parents had at times. A mix of happiness for a rare good time, a small tinge of hope that was dying as well. A few months later, I stopped seeing him and his parents.

It was the first time I really understood what was going on. That hospitals aren't just places where they "fix people", they are also waiting rooms for death. I also learned that sometimes it even happened to kids my age, or younger. Sometimes life just punches you in the face and there's not anything you can do about it. In time, no matter what my parents did (and even if they kick themselves over it to this day, I know they did everything they could) in time my sister lost her fight.

Who do you talk to about that stuff when you are a kid and every one of your friends has the normal sibling relationship? They aren't at hospitals, they aren't being dropped off at various houses so their parents can go to the next specialist, they aren't at funerals for kids younger than themselves. No one understood, and for the most part, the adults didn't know how to react to me. They could barely deal themselves, or they were worried about upsetting me. Truthfully - kids know. They know when you are hiding something and keeping it quiet doesn't help. Isolating someone because they had an experience you wouldn't want to wish on anyone doesn't help.