Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Meljean Brook 'Demon Night'

I really don't like anthology books. This is based on limited experience but enough to decide that the short story form is a particular one that requires it's own expertise. I don't think you can be a novelist and just assume you can write a decent short story. That said, I read Wild Thing and was very impressed with Meljean Brook's Selah and vampire story. I would almost make the argument that she is better at a short story character arch than the novel length character arch, but I won't.

Demon Night tells Charlotte and Ethan's story. Charlotte's sister is working with vampire, demon and human blood to try to synthesize a food source for vampires that doesn't involve blood lust. Because of her proximity Charlotte comes under Ethan (the guardian)'s protection.

Ethan died (became a guardian) in the American Wild West and he has retained the drawl and the mannerisms of that time. Charlotte was an opera singer before a tragic accident took away her voice forever. It took me a little bit to warm up to this book, not the attraction between them, or to the two characters, they are terrific, but the plot was a little sticky in the first hundred pages. Looking back, however, you could say the book unfolds a bit like Ethan, slow steady and hot.

How could you not enjoy Ethan, but I also really liked Charlie. I didn't always love the idealization of Charlie that Ethan and other characters indulge in nearer to the end of the book, but Charlie herself is terrific. I had a hard time buying the barrier to their love as it's a TSTL moment for Ethan, which didn't fit with his "acts stupid but keeps a step ahead of Lilith" character.

Overall, slow start, very enjoyable meaty middle and then unravels for me a bit in the last few chapters. And I have to note that the nephilim seemed like a very convenient plot device.

Paranormal Romance 2008: 4 of 5 seraphim, nephilim, excramin.

Friday, July 24, 2009

C.L. Wilson "King of Sword and Sky"

I logged on to try to get one of my 'to be reviewed' books off my desk and my google 'reading list' sent me immediately off into blog hopping land. Is it really a good thing to aggregate blogs in one place so I'm so easily distracted? Ah well, the dangers of bloglandia.

And another thing, is there any evidence out there that caffeine delivered with sugar goes straight from your stomach to blast into your brain? I'm trying a new drink, Sweet Leaf: Sweet Tea and I swear my porch is spinning. If I hadn't had normal food in the last couple of hours I might understand.

Oh, I am so distracted.

Wilson burst onto the romance/fantasy scene last year with Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadows that I reviewed in December. In my opinion they were really one long book that the publisher made her split into two books. No, I have no proof of that....and they were terrific. The story continues with Rain taking Elysetta back to the Fading Lands. As with most super hyperbole stories, the level of amazingness can be hard to maintain.

I felt some of that here, but I thought Wilson did a good job of shifting the focus from the ultimate love these two feel for each other, to the struggles of the Fey as they gear up for all out war with the wizards of Eld. So, no, this book did not transport me the way the first two did but it respectably furthers the story and I'm looking forward to the next one. I will say, if the author drags this storyline out too much further I may lose interest. There is only so much delayed gratification a romance reader can take. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cool Pics on Flickr - From Stanford Medicine

This is not my actual head, although it is someone's actual head. But it's a pretty cool 3D medical image of what my head looks like post surgery (without hair or scalp of course :). I have one of these on each side.

If you see that red artery on the surface of the skull in front of the surgery site, that's a temporal artery (as in temple). There was another one that now goes into the 'spoon slot' in the bone piece that was removed. That's now attached to a major artery in the brain supplying blood from the 'outside' of the skull, as it were.

The three pieces of hardware are called dog bones, for obvious reasons. I have two dog bones and a snowflake. That's how I know this isn't me. :) But seeing this image is a little disturbing since I didn't think my 'spoon slot' was quite so large. Geese, I'm gonna be more careful with pencils behind my ears from now on.

Stanford has uploaded other cool 3D images here. They aren't all head surgeries either. I'm not sure about the top of this person's head. I'd like to think the image just got cut off. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sharon Sala "The Warrior"

This author is new to me but I see she's got lots of books out there. John Nightwalker is a Native American soldier who comes across Alicia Ponte while she's on the run from her father - an arms manufacturer. She overheard him talking about illegal arms deals and knows he'll stop at nothing to protect himself from being exposed.

There is some reincarnation/mysticism combined with pretty realistic action. The relationship between these two unfolds relatively slowly, which I liked, but the overall pace of the book does not put it squarely in the typical CIA/arms dealers/something blows up every three minutes genre. Again, I liked this about the book but if you are an action/plot junkie, this might annoy you.

Alisha is certainly on the "Oh my god I can't believe this is happening to me." side of the character spectrum but I liked her well enough to want John to get together with her. John is hard not to like, loyal, steady, deadly and hot.

I would definitely try another book from Sala.

Contemporary Romance 2009: 4 of 5 spanish conquistadors.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Be Still My Beating Heart

Remember when I promised more pictures of beautiful men to up my readership. This is Colin Ames-Beaumont.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jo Beverley "Devilish"

Expectations. I used to overuse the life maxim, "All things in moderation." Now I've moved on to constantly saying "It's all about expectations." I'm such a relativist. And I don't think that's really an admirable thing, I'm a John Winthrop, not a Rogers Williams in Sarah Vowell's world. But I get ahead of myself.

Lord Rothgar is the head of the Malloren family, he's the only son of his father's first wife, who went mad and strangled her infant daughter when he was about three. His father remarried and had several more fun children whom Rothgar has enjoyed protecting and rescuing from various scrapes over the years. (See earlier Malloren novels please.) But now they are all married and producing their own children, something he has sworn not to do, so as not to pass on the insanity of his mother.

Diana is the Countess of Arrandale in Yorkshire. She decides never to marry because she will not just hand over her powerful position to some man because it's expected of her. But King George isn't so happy about a liberated woman running around the north country unchecked.

Beverly has a feel for this time period that is refreshing and entertaining in it's own right. Her plot is well paced and complicatedly realistic (but not too complicated if you know what I mean.) It's a terrifically crafted book. I just didn't love it. I felt for their romantic difficulties, I liked Rothgar and thought his character was drawn well enough to understand the deep seated fear he had of having children. I suppose I didn't love Diana, I used to love the pistol wielding stereotype busting heroine; but to petition to take her seat in the House of Lords in 1763? That's just dumb.

This one I can't knock on craft, it just didn't transport me, and I had rather high expectations. I imagine if I had read some of the back stories, maybe it would have been different. I will definitely try another Beverly in the near future.

Historical Romance 2000: 4 of 5 hermaphodidic ambassadors.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Julia Quinn "What Happens In London"

Considering I was one of the few people who liked Mr Cavendish, I presume I'm pretty sure I've lost my objective abilities (such as they are) with Julia Quinn. But, I read her new book so I want it duly noted.

Really it's very good. She's honed in on what she does so well, comedy of manners. When Sir Harry muses on what Olivia would do if he started choking at his desk, while she is spying on him through the window, it's not only funny but makes you fall in love with Harry all the more. Who doesn't like tall dark handsome and a sense of humor.

Now as par for Julia Quinn, the sex is not extensive and it comes later in the relationship (oh, how novel, you mean not all the women in Regency England slept with practical strangers as long as they felt like they were THE ONE) but in this book I thought she gave a bit more time to the sexual tension and build-up which was nice.

If you haven't read Julia Quinn yet, MY GOD, what are you waiting for, and if you have and are waiting for a used copy of this one, you're going to like it. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I've Completely Lost My Mind

Gerard Butler. What is it about Gerard Butler? Okay, right, well there is the obvious....but it can't just be the bod since there are no shortage of beautiful male bodies on the internet to look at. And look at this picture, I'm not usually partial toward frat boys!

I really loved 300. That's embarrassing in itself cause, well, it wasn't The English Patient or anything.

Now I am actually dieing to see a movie that won't be out for three weeks. People, I have two children, I don't see any movies unless they've been out for at least three years and six different friends insist I must see it. And this doesn't look like a good movie, it looks like a formulaic hackneyed Hollywood romantic comedy. And on top of it all, from the trailer I'm thinking someone told Gerard to temper his accent into an unattractive incomprehensible version of "I'm an actor trying really hard not to sound Scottish cause that's not my written character." But despite all of these hurdles, I am panting to see this movie just to see Gerard flirt, tease, and fall in love with someone on screen. Yes, I've completely lost my mind. Now leave me alone while I go watch the trailer again.