Friday, February 28, 2014

52 Reviews - February Addition

tea is not a necessity, but an excellent addition to any book.
Buy this print here

Have you been keeping up with your reading? I have. February is over and I'm still doing well with my 52 Book Challenge.

Here is what I read in February:

By Mercedes Lackey and Friends

306 Pages

Among Mercedes Lackey’s many novels, few are as critically acclaimed and beloved as those about the Elemental Masters. The novels in this series are loosely based on classic fairy tales, and take place in a fantasy version of turn-of-the-century London, where magic is real and Elemental Masters control the powers of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Now other authors join Mercedes Lackey to add their own special touches to this delightful alternate history, in a world where magic is always just around the corner...

I'm a huge Mercedes Lackey fan, (as explained in the previous post) and I love the Worlds that she creates. These anthologies are a nice way for other authors to add to these ever growing Worlds. Usually Valdemar is the setting for these anthologies, but now she is branching out into one of her other Worlds; Magical Victorian London and often fairy tale related.
That being said, there's a disclaimer at the beginning of this book that tells you that they gave the authors the liberty of removing the time and place restraints.
This defeats the entire purpose of this anthology.
Only one person wrote within the original parameters and they did it by using pre-existing characters from the series. Not even Mercedes Lackey stuck by it. It was very weird.

I'm not a big fan of short stories. I'm always left wanting more. I want the characters to be developed and the conflicts to have more of a build up. I want to feel invested in the story by the time it ends.
What I like about these anthologies are the continuing stories that run through multiple book and authors picking up side characters from her novels and flushing them out. I can tell that they are trying to set up the same with this new world and I'm hoping that some of the stories will continue.

I'm not going to go into each individual story, but here are some one or two word summaries to give you an idea.

A Song of the Sea by Diana L. Paxson - good
The Fire Within Him by Samuel Conway
- weird
Makana by Fiona Patton
- ok
War to the Knife by Rosemary Edghill
- ok
Stones and Feathers by Elizabeth A. Vaughan
- ok, but I need more
Fire's Children by Elisabeth Waters
- good, but I need more
For the Sake of Clarity by Cedric Johnson
- odd
To Ride the River-Horse by Dayle A. Dermatis
- good (fairy tale based)
The Phoenix of Mulberry Street by Michele Lang
- good
Air of Mystery by Jody Lynn Nye
- good
A Flower Grows in Whitechapel by Gail Sanders and Michael Z. Williamson
- good (actual setting)
Tha Thu Ann by Tanya Huff
- good, but I need more
The Collector by Ron Collins
- weird and creepy
Queen of the Mountain by Kristin Schwengel
- good
I Have Heard the Mermaids Singing by Mercedes Lackey
- odd... reminds me of what it's like to have to prove myself as a geek girl
There is another anthology in this series out now (that doesn't have the disclaimer at the beginning) that I will probably pick it up at some point this year and read. Hopefully it will be more on point and the stories that I liked will be continued.

Dark Currents (Agent of Hel #1)
by Jacqueline Carey
399 Pages

The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload—not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres, and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.

To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it’s home. And as Hel’s enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it’s up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly.

But when a young man from a nearby college drowns—and signs point to eldritch involvement—the town’s booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime—and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she’s ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon.

Jacqueline Carey is one of my new favourite authors. She was introduced to me last year and I've already read 12 of her books. She's extremely versatile and is the kind of writer in which I aspire to one day be.
Even still, I was a little nervous about what she would bring to the unban fantasy genre, a genre I never find to be overly pleasing. But Carey never ceases to impress. Her main character is fun and quirky enough that the angst that is expected in unban fantasy is more amusing than annoying and her love life never overtakes the rest of the story, which is a nice change up.  Her foray into the supernatural is refreshing, despite some obvious tropes that she purposely uses. She borrows from all walks of eternal life, including ghouls, werewolves, nasty fairies, vampires, swamp beasts, a Norse goddess and the Acorn King. I read this book in 2 days!
I'm looking forward to reading more of this series, so hopefully the 2nd book will come out in soft cover soon.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy of Four

 Since I got into fantasy/sci-fi, people have been telling me to read Hitchickers, but no one actually ever had a copy of it to lend me. Finally, I saw it at a friends house and asked if I could borrow it. This copy is the trilogy of four, but so far I have only read the first one. This really wasn't what I was expecting at all. That's the problem with books like this, they get over hyped and you expect them to be ground breaking or world changing. I didn't find it to be either of these things, but I did enjoy it for what it was and now I actually understand all of those references to it that I've seen over the years. I was going to read all of them at once, but the book was so large and unwieldy, that I actually hurt my hand trying to read it. So I'm taking a break and reading other things. I'll get back to it soon though. I don't think I'll be able to leave it alone for long. 
by Kris Radish

328 Pages

From the bestselling author of The Elegant Gathering of White Snows comes a poignant, outrageous, refreshingly liberating story about one woman whose life takes an unexpected turn....
Meg Fratano has just witnessed the unthinkable: her husband of twenty—seven years making love to another woman. In her bed. And all Meg wanted to do was watch. Quietly, secretly, watch. Then she realized her life would never be the same. 
Meg isn’t sure what she wants, but she knows it’s not what she had. After almost three decades of marriage and two children, she has finally awakened to how unhappy she is. 
Now, with the help of friends old and new, and even her teenage daughter—a former brat who has blossomed into a startlingly wise young woman—Meg just might break through the chains of everyone’s expectations for her and find the strength to take the first step on her own path. To strip away a lifetime of inhibitions. To dance naked at the edge of dawn...

This book has been sitting on my book shelf for almost 2 years. I bought it when my last relationship broke apart, because I thought it might help me find myself again. But when your pain is still fresh, it's hard to read about other peoples pain. It's also hard to know how that pain is going to be dealt with in a book and whether that will be good or bad for you.
I put this book on my TBR list when I started this challenge and after reading hitchhikers, I decided that I needed something different to read.
This book is different. This book is life changing. This book makes me get in touch with the woman that I want to be and that I think I am. This book allows you to see women from all different angles. This book reminds me how fortunate I am to have wonderful, strong, fun, amazing, inspirational women in my life and how thankful I am to have such a remarkable relationship with my own Mother.
Now, to get back on my own path to happiness, knowing the journey is just as important as the destination.

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1)
by Brent Weeks

645 Pages

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

After reading Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, it was very strange to pick up this book. It's very grim and deals with a lot of really horrible things; murder, mutilation, rape, starvation, to name a few. But despite that, it's a really great, fantastical, adventure story that I couldn't put down. I'd be hard pressed to explain the story to anyone, due to the fact that it spans many years and multiple characters that seem to have nothing to do with one another, yet they almost all tie together in the end. I think now that they have, the next 2 books will come together better. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Books that I am currently reading
Geist (Book of the Order #1)
Page 77 of 294
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
by H.P. Lovecraft
Page 16 of 360
(Nope, not even 1 page farther)

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3)
by George R.R. Martin
Page 312 of 1128
(Sloooowly making progress)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Her Universe Super Sale

Damn it Her Universe!
I just spent all sorts of money on your Syfy sale! Now you want me to do it all over again, so that I can live in your awesome sweaters, sleep in your cozy pj's and rock out in your fantastic t-shirts....
You're going to make my pocketbook hurt if you keep this up.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Extravaganza

Happy Valentines from this geek to you!

rock paper cynic

Grace Allison

stellar four




Tom Kurszanski










Ivan Camelo