Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Broken Wing by Judith James

As some of you may remember that Orannia of Walkabout decided that we all needed to Broken Wing by Judith James since we all bought it last year after KristieJ of Ramblings on Romance, Etc. recommended it highly. Thus the Broken Wing Challenge was started. See here for the details.

So those of us who took up the challenge had until the end of July to read and review this book. With only a few days to spare, I've completed the challenge. The following is my review.

Published: November 2008 by Medallion Press

Number of Pages: 440

Genre: Historical

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone (for now)

Why This Book: Orannia made me do it! And because we all live in fear of the wrath of Kristie(J) *g*

From the Author Site: Abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel, Gabriel St. Croix has never known tenderness, friendship or affection. Although fluent in sex, he knows nothing of love. Lost and alone inside a nightmare world, all he’s ever wanted was companionship and a place to belong. Hiding physical and emotional scars behind an icy fa├žade, his only relationship is with a young boy he has spent the last five years protecting from the brutal reality of their environment. But all that is about to change. The boy’s family has found him, and they are coming to take him home.

Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother’s disappearance. When he’s located, safe and unharmed despite where he as been living. Sarah vows to help the man who rescued and protected him in any way she can. With loving patience she helps Gabriel face his demons and teaches him to trust in friendship and love. But when the past catches up with him, Gabriel must face it on his own.

Becoming a mercenary, pirate and a professional gambler, Gabriel travels to London, France, and the Barbary Coast in a desperate attempt to find Sarah again and all he knows of love. On the way, however, he will discover the most dangerous journey, and the greatest gamble of all, is within the darkest reaches of his own heart.

Hero: Gabriel St Croix is the very essence of a tortured hero. Abandon on the streets as a child, sold into slave to a pleasure house in Paris were he was used and abused in every way possible both as a child and as a man. But he had a deep core of strength, honor and gentleness that could not be destroyed. He was quick to anger and quick to assume the worse of everyone but with Sarah's abiding gentleness and encouragement he is able to fulfill some of his potential.

Heroine: Sarah, Lady Munroe aka the Gypsy Countess and a bit of a rebel. Sarah endured a disastrous marriage shortly after her parents death and had the gumption to leave her horrible husband shortly after their marriage. And he very obligingly died shortly there after. She was able to keep her gentleness and unwavering kindness although she had a very rough couple of years after her parents death. Even after all the turmoil of those difficult years are behind her she continues her independent way, walking about in trousers and living her life the way she chooses and not by the conventions of polite society.

Review: This was a great debut book from Judith James and I look forward to her future releases. The story is set during the Napoleonic era in England, France and the Barbary Coast. The book is excellently researched and gave just enough detail to make the places and characters really come to life. And beautifully written so that you really felt for the characters involved.

The story opens with Sarah and her half brother Ross, the Earl of Huntington, coming to rescue their long lost brother James. Somehow James was lost five years ago and has since spent his time in a Parisian brothel where he has been protected by Gabriel, the gem of the brothel. Much to the chagrin of Ross, both Sarah and James are determined to save Gabriel from the brothel. Gabriel's struggle to fit into his new life outside the brothel is exquisitely told and the reader truly feels the joys of his triumphs and despair of his relapses and the pain of his self loathing for a past that cannot be erased.

Although the story is beautifully written and was a real joy to read, I found the leading characters of Sarah and Gabriel a bit bothersome half way through the book. Sarah was just too dang sweet and nice. She gave me a toothache with all her syrupy niceness. I think I am like those kick-ass heroines a bit too much. I kept waiting for her to take a swing at Gabriel during his moping periods. And I wanted to knock Gabriel in the head for the last part of the book. His continued self disgust, though completely understandable with his background, became just too much at times for me to really enjoy his character. Even after he finds out that Sarah is waiting for him he simple keeps with the moping and "I'm not good enough" routine. Bah!

The secondary characters of Gyspy Davey, Ross, the Earl of Huntington and Jacques Valmont were wonderful. All are very different men and each has his own problems to overcome. I hope Ms James plans on writing their stories. And if she does, I will certain read them.

What I liked best: Gypsy Davey. I really enjoyed the character of Gypsy Davey. He was a cousin of sort to Sarah and her family. A flamboyant privateer with questionable allegiances. But then I do have a weakness for those bad boys.

What I least liked: Gabriel's reluctance in returning to Sarah after he regained his freedom. Still scratching my head over that subplot. I get that he is tortured but enough is enough. He spends way too much time wallowing in his past.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: It was a very good read and I enjoyed it greatly. I even had a few little sniffles while reading this book (much to the bewilderment of the people sitting next to me on the plane). I still like Derek Craven from Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas better than Gabriel St. Croix. (sorry Kristie)

Grade: B+

Monday, July 27, 2009

Interview Time!

I have two interview this week! Yay! Because this week will be very busy, I won't be online much. I have all my stuffy interview clothes ready to go. (Never mind the fact I had to go buy some new one since I've gotten too fat to fit into my old suit. Also wool suit in summer, no matter how stylish, just isn't comfortable).

I'll be up very early Monday to get to the airport to get to interview number one. Tuesday is the big day for interview number one then back on the plane home.

Then it up very, very, early on Wednesday to get to the airport to get to interview number two. Thursday morning is interview number two then back on the plane home.

Friday will be catch up on all the blogs I was able to read because of all the traveling. I think by the end of this week I'll have spent enough time in airports and airplanes for quite some time to come.

Wish me tons of luck on my interview so that I will once again be gainfully employed. I really do like that money stuff. It makes life so much easier.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Joss Ware ARC giveaway

A new author hit my radar just now and luck would have it she is giving away ARCs for her new book!

Josh Ware has a new series coming out in January 2010 as a part of the 3 book deal with AVON.

Here's the blurb:

A man with no future...
When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift" – he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past
Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one... until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?

If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that takes them beyond danger.
Beyond desire.
Beyond the night.
Doesn't it sound fantastic. Drop by her blog to enter! Good Luck!

Friday, July 24, 2009

SAR Book Club Book for August

I'm starting the ball rolling and choose:

Because I met the lovely Julie James at RWA this year and her books keep getting great recommendations. Besides I have this lovely book waiting for on my TBR.

Next Month: Kati's choice!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club

After the great success of the Broken Wing Challenge. I thought we could start an online book club.

I don't about you but I've joined book clubs so that I can actually talk to someone about books. But it never fails when its my turn to pick a book for the upcoming month I usually pick a romance and then I get voted down or looked down upon since romance novels aren't "real literature" or at least that is what they tell me.

Well, pooh-pooh on them. Who needs their stinking, high brow "real literature"! They can keep their literature and I'm going with the romance, the happily ever after and those steamy sex scenes! Let us all be SHAMELESS and flaunt our bodice rippers and heaving bosoms. Who's with me?!

The particulars:
- One book per month. Must be a romance! ^_^
- A member of the club will choose the book for the month (order of choosing will be in the order of membership).
- Person choosing the book will host the discussion at the end of the month on their blog or this blog.
- Open to anyone who wants to join in for the fun and love of romance novels.
- Can do month to month membership (up to you whether or not you want to read the book. You can choose to skip the book of the month if its one that does not interested you.).

To join e-mail me the following information:
1. Screen name (what do you go by on the Blog-o-sphere)
2. Blog url (if you have one, if you don't it doesn't matter) so I link your blog.

e-mail: 2aymless at gmail dot com

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Blog Title

I've been playing with my Blog title. I'm thinking this may be the final name...

At least for now. *g*

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

RWA in Reflection

I wanted to do daily updates while at the conference but there was no free Wi-Fi anywhere in the hotel (although they implied it on their website *grumble*) and I am too cheap and not addicted enough to actually pay for an internet connection.

So here's MY conference experience:

Wednesday's Events:
- Arrived very early (7am) and couldn't check in. But was able to check my suitcase with the bellhops. Then did the whole registration thing then volunteered to help with registration (so that I had something to do since there was no Wi-Fi *pout* and to generally keep myself out of trouble). Once my conference roomie (KatieBabs), the party really began.
- Drinks and a few little munchies with Jill Myles and Kasey Mackenzie and Kati of Katidom. And briefly met Mandi of Smexy Books.
- Checked into room and shower!
- "Readers for Life" Literacy Signing. Met the love Charlotte of The Lusty Reader.
- Dinner with Lisabea, Rosie, Kati and KB at Medaterra. The food was superb and $3 margaritas cannot be beaten..
- Slumber Party hosted by Ann Aguire and Carrie Lofty. KristieJ, Megan Frampton, Anthea Lawson and Sarah Frantz as well as many others were present. Up until hotel security called told us to shut up (though more politely).

Thursday's Events:
- Opening Session by Janet Evanovich.
- Raided the Goody Room (mostly books marks and such)
- Keynote Luncheon with Linda Howard. She was great. Sometime I too feel like I am the "Keeper of the Nuts" in my family.
- Avon Book Signing (Free Books! Wheee!) And while I was waiting in line I got Silvia Day (aka SJ Day) to sign my Marked Books.
- Smart Bitches book signing. Met the crazy and lovable AztecLady (and was shocked to find out that she really does have a name! *g* ^_~)
- Dinner with Rosie, KristieJ, Barbara and AztecLady.
- Midnight Madness Bizaar. Where I bought soap. I am such a sucker for handmade soap.

Friday's Event:
- Breakfast were I met the lovely Alyssa Day (and got an autographed book) and AnimeJune.
- "Mastering Your Domain" workshop hosted by Alyssa Day, Stephanie Julian and Melissa Mayhue. It all boiled down to this. Do your research and use the oldest text you can find if you are dealing with a myth/legend. But in the end You Make This Stuff Up!
- "Paranormals: Writing Outside the Box" workshop hosted by Kelley Armstrong, Jeaniene Frost, Melissa Marr and Erika Tsang
- Harlequin and Pocket book signings!
- Awards Luncheon where Eloisa James gave a very moving speech on writing with emotion.
- Berkeley and Grand Central book signings! Had a complete giggly *blush* fangirl moment in front of Jim Butcher who was signing next to his wife Shannon K Butcher. But then he was a complete surprise for me since he doesn't write romance.
- Samhain Publishing's open house.
- Dinner with the Kati(s). There was a great turn out (22 people) and the food at the Lebanese Taverna was fabulous. Met the lovely Meredith Duran and now I must run off and find her books.
- Drinks at the bar where I had a lovely conversation with Charlotte and Mari Freeman.

Saturday Events:
- NAL and Ballantine/Bantam Dell book signings.
- Lunch with KB, Sarah Parr, Sally Mackenzie, and Katie the Young Librarian.
- Shipped and BIG box of books home since there was no way I was fitting it all in my suitcase and carry-on.
- "No Holds Barred" workshop with Jessica Andersen and JR Ward. Enlightening as it was funny.
- St. Martin's Press and Sourcebooks book signings.
- "High Octane Kisses" workshop hosted by Ann Agguire, Carrie Lofty, Laura Bradford and Cynthia Eden. Lots of great tips on how to keep the action in romance scene and how to keep the romance in the action scenes.
- Had drinks at the bar with Samantha Kane, Mari Freeman, Lisabea and KB while the RITA ceremony was going on. Met some very interesting Marines. Why is it people are really nice and charming but after a few beers they have a personality change. *sigh*
- Dinner with KB
- Post RITA drinks with Julie James and Colleen Gleason.
- Blogger Party. It was a quiet gathering. But it was nice to chat with fellow bloggers. Candy was as funny as ever.

Sunday Events:
- Breakfast with KB and some people I can remember their names *hang head in shame*. By this time I had long passed my brain's capacity for new names and faces.

Best of Conference:
- Rooming with KB! She's the best! Not only did she let me tag along after her (because EVERYone knows her) but she also got us the room. A lovely person all around. And Mho is a complete PLAYER and he certainly got around. See KB's for details.
- Everyone at the conference was super nice. I have never been around so many happy, friendly people.
- Talking with a lot of my favorite authors. Silvia Day totally rocks. Not only is she a great writer but she is also a lovely person. Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty were great!

Worst of Conference:
- No Wi-Fi in the hotel! How were we supposed to stay in touch with the outside world?
- Someone stole a crate load of books that authors were going to sign during the books signings. Melissa Marr and Kelly Armstrong were among those who lost their books. Why must people take things that aren't theirs!

Anyway.... Now I have many many many books (UPS man is supposed to deliver the rest of my loot on Monday, hope he is wear protective garments! *g*). And now I must prepare myself for my upcoming interviews!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

RWA Day 1+

Left late night Tuesday and plane was 1 hour late but somehow we still arrived on-time (6:15 am)! Caught SuperShuttle to the Marriott with another conference attendee only to find out we were also on the same plane (Cyndy) and made a new friend!

After arriving and attempting to check in and failing because the hotel was overbooked and another conference was wrapping up (American Federation of Teachers), but managed to get the luggage checked. With lots of time on my hands, I decided to volunteer and worked registration for R-Z. Met loads and loads of people. Biggest highlite was that I got to check Nora Roberts and CL Wilson into the conference! And met SJ Day!!!

Once KatieBabs and Mho Fho, my RWA roomies, arrived we went and met Jill Myles and friends at the pub in the hotel and later Kati of Katidom joined us.

At 4:00pm we were finally able to check into our room and I was finally able to shower!!! Then met up with Rosie, Lisabea and Wendy the Super Librarian. Then it was off to the Literacy Signing! Chatted with many many many authors (Ann Aguirre, Kresley Cole, SJ Day and CL Wilson to name a few). As I hate having my picture taken I do not own a camera so for pictures fo the signing see KB, Kati, Lusty Reader, Mandi, KristieJ, Wendy , Rosie and Lisabea for pictures and more about Day 1.

Day 2: Opening speech given by Janet Evanovich was great. Keynote speaker, Linda Howard, was hilarious. And I'm off to get some more BOOKS! More later.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TBR Challenge 2009: Sherrilyn Kenyon

I'm off to the RWA conference in DC. Will tell you all about and hopeful escape without any photographic proof that I was there since I am allergic to pictures of myself. But for your reading pleasure I give you the following reviews:

I was bad and didn't write up my review for the TBR challenge last month so here's three books by Sherrilyn Kenyon to make up for it.

Title: Upon a Midnight Clear

Published: October 2007 by St. Martin's

Number of Pages: 282

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 20. See here for reading list and reading order.

Why This Book: Because I'm a series junkie and that stupid OCD thing keeps making me buy and read this seemingly endless series.

From the Author Site: Ever think Scrooge had it right before the ghosts ruined his life and left him vulnerable?

At one time Aidan O’Conner was a world renowned celebrity who gave of himself and his money without wanting anything in return. Until those around him took without asking. Bitter betrayal came at him from all directions. Even those closest to him. Now he’s a man who wants nothing of the world or anyone who’s a part of it.

Until the night he finds a stranger on his doorstep that he’s seen before... in his dreams.

Born on Olympus as a goddess, Leta knows nothing of the human world. But a ruthless enemy has driven her from the world of dreams, into the home of the only man she knows. Her immortal powers are derived from human emotions and Aidan’s anger and hostility are just the fuel she needs to defend herself.

One cold winter’s night that will change both their lives

Trapped together by a storm, the two of them must do the one thing they swore they never would. Trust.

Hero: Aidan O'Conner a bitter A-list movie star whom everyone has turned against because his cousin Donnie paid/convinced them that Aidan was not a nice person.

Heroine: Leta a dream hunter who's nemesis is Dolor, the god of pain. When they last tangled she trapped him. Now he is loose and she must corral him once more.

Review: This really should have been a short story in a Christmas anthology. There just wasn't enough of the story to make it a full length book. The publisher certainly tried. Although the length of the book in relation to the number of pages seems sufficient, the reality is that they used a really LARGE print to make it look like a full sized book.

As to the story, it would have made a great short story with a little editing. This is a short story that was fluffed into a bad almost full length novel. A bit of cutting and pruning would have done wonders for the story.

What I liked best: Nothing. There was nothing I enjoyed about this book. *sigh*

What I least liked: Too many to list. Probably would have been better off not reading this story. It didn't add much to the overall storyline.

Keeper?: Probably not. But I'm a junkie so I may keep it for awhile.

Recommendation: Skip it. Nothing needed to move the overall storyline forward. The only useful fact is that the curse Zeus put on the Oneroi to not feel seems to be fading. But this was also covered in The Dream-Hunter, book 18 of the series.

Grade: D

Title: Dream Chaser

Published: February 2008 by St. Martin's

Number of Pages: 359

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 21. See here for reading list and reading order.

Why This Book: Because I'm a series junkie and that stupid OCD thing keeps making me buy and read this seemingly endless series.

From the Author Site: Dreaming was never so deadly or exciting...

Hades doesn't often give second chances.

Xypher has one month on Earth as a human to redeem himself through one good deed or be condemned to eternal torture in Tartarus.

Simone Dubois is a woman with a secret even she doesn't know. She's never understood why the dead haunt her, especially her sidekick who will never leave her alone. But over the years she's learned to cope. At least until an intriguing and lethal stranger walks into her life.

Now the fate of the world hangs in their hands...

It was bad enough when just the dead relied in her. Now there's Xypher who needs Simone to open a portal to hell.

And you thought you had bad days...

Hero: Xypher is a Skoti, a dream-hunter gone bad. For centuries, he has been in Tartarus, atoning for his crimes. But he made a deal which forces Hades to give Xypher a chance at a second chance. Xypher really doesn't want a second chance. He wants a chance at vengeance. Kill the person responsible for him being in Tartarus, the one who made him a Skoti. Got love this bad boy. He all gruff and rude as hell but on the inside he's really a nice guy.

Heroine: Simone Dubois seems to be your average "I see dead people" physic. But there is more to her than what is on the surface. As a medical examiner she sees a lot of dead people and sometime she see their ghosts and is able to provide them closure of a sort. She has been alone except for her constant companion, Jesse, a teenage ghost who died in the late 1980s.

Review: I liked Xypher from the point he first showed up in the series (The Devil May Cry). He definitely had "bad boy with a streak of goodness" written all over him. Just the fact that he was willing to help for a chance at vengeance, though he hid his reasons for holding up his end of the bargain. He's a straight shooter and doesn't hide what he is and what he wants. He reminded me very much like Zarek. I would have wanted a better heroine for him than Simone.

Simone is a goody-goody and seems to spend much of her time helping others, and in Xypher's case, even if they don't want it. Maybe because she has all those annoying ghost floating in and out of her life. Or maybe its do to the twist that Ms Kenyon made about 3/4 of the way through the book. But whatever it was, she's just annoying.

Ms Kenyon lately has had a lot of WTF going on with her storyline. It seems like every book since Unleash the Night (book 13) had something strange, unaccepted and just plain weird going on. Who knows what she's going to do next. It has made the series a bit disjointed and hard to keep up with since she keeps asking the reader to make all these leaps with her and accept all this new ideas/concepts into the world she has created.

What I liked best: The relationship between Jesse and Simone. Okay so if I were stuck with a 1980s teenager I probably would have tried to have him exorcised. But Simone and Jesse are family. A bit of a strange one, but they keep each other sane and love each other no matter what.

What I least liked: The mystery of Jaden. Is he human or is he demon? And if he isn't either, what in the hell is he? And exactly who is holding his chain. Ms. Kenyon does a wonderful job with bad boys gone good so Jaden's story should be interesting. And you know I'll probably still be buying her books. Just perhaps not new.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: Could be read as a stand alone but there are tie-ins to the great story and much of the terminology of the world would need some explaining so it would be better to read as a part of the series. It picks up a loose end from the Devil May Cry (book 19 of series) and ties it up in a pretty little bow.

Grade: B-

Title: Acheron

Published: August 2008 by St. Martin's

Number of Pages: 816 (mass market paperback)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 22. See here for reading list and reading order.

Why This Book: Because I'm a series junkie and that stupid OCD thing keeps making me buy and read this seemingly endless series. And this is Acheron's story and I've been waiting for it since book 2!

From the Author Site: Even though he was the youngest when he died, Acheron was the first Dark-Hunter ever appointed. He is also the writer of the Dark-Hunter Creed and of the Code we abide by.

Because of his Dark-Hunter age and the fact that he fought the Daimons alone for thousands of years, he is more phantom than real. He interacts with the other Dark-Hunters on a whim, and his sage advice is often sought.

Eccentric and idiosyncratic to the extreme, he is a legend among legends. The Dark-Hunters never know what to expect when Acheron enters a scene. He runs the full gamut from friendly to intimidating to downright scary.

It is said of him that there has never been a mortal born who could equal his physical perfection. He possesses a raw, rare kind of charisma.

To look at him is to want him. To see him is to ache to touch him.

Hero: Acheron, aka Ash, the leader of the Dark-Hunters. He is the oldest Dark-Hunter, having had this job since Apollo cursed the Apollites and Daimons were born. Although he did not get this calling from Artemis, who created all the other Dark-Hunters, she controls him because she controls the Dark-Hunter. He is a god and his word is law and he controls the final fate of the world.

Heroine: Soteria Kafieri, aka Tory, is a professor of archeology and has spent her life trying prove that Atlantis existed and reclaim her family's honor in the eyes of the academic community.

Review: Acheron has been a walking mystery up until Sins of the Night (book 11). We knew he was the last of his kind. At first is was the fact that he was Atlantean. But in Sins we find out he's a God, the last of the Atlantean pantheon still free to walk the earth. His mother, Apollymi the Great Destroyer, is the only other Atlantean god left but trapped and if freed will destroy the world.

The first half of the book deals with Acheron's mortal life and the beginning of the Dark-Hunters The short, the Beginning, is included vertatim, at the appropriate place in the storyline. I would have thought Ms Kenyon would have reworked it so that it would be fresh or left it out completely, but unfortunately it was a retelling of the same story. Acheron is definitely in the running for the most tortured hero. He certainly had hell on earth and then it followed him into his immortal existence thanks to Artemis.

The second half of the book is the love story between Acheron and Tory with Artemis and Stryker as the villians. It wasn't the best but it also wasn't the worst. I'm not sure that it was worth all the hype and waiting. An interesting story with only a couple of WTFs to take in. It was nice to see some of the others from earlier in the series but it also left some loose ends to tie up. But thats to be expected as this seems to be the never-ending series.

What I liked best: Simi. What's there not to like about Simi. Barbeque sauce toting, eat everything in sight and loves Acheron unconditionally. Need I say more. I like that she is so literal. She'll do exactly as Ash tell her to do. No more, no less. And there misunderstandings about her instructions make for great fun.

What I least liked: Artemis and Apollo. They have no redeeming qualities. I don't understand why they can't be killed off. Sure she's the goddess of the moon and he's the god of the sun but why can't someone take over for them. And really with all the different pantheons running around this series, why isn't there another god/goddess of the moon and sun around to take over that way Simi could have herself a great ol' feast. And that would be really fun to watch/read.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: Well worth reading. It has much of the flavor of the older books, which in my opinion were better, and less of WTF of the newer books. But the series is just getting too long. Especially if Acheron is the middle of the series as Ms Kenyon had once indicated. I don't know if I can make it another 20 or so books. She should just wrap it up and start something new. I wished she would write more the the Lords of Avalon series. She only wrote two and there is much to enjoy about them and there seems to be so much more to tell.

Grade: B
Series Grade to Date: C

Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: Eve of Chaos by SJ Day

WARNING!!! If you haven't started this series beware of SPOILERS as each books builds on what happened before. As always I try to keep the spoilers to a minimum but it is particularly hard with this series.

Published: June 2009 by Tor

Number of Pages: 362

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Stand Alone/Series: Marked #3
Book 1: Eve of Darkness
Book 2: Eve of Destruction

Why This Book: I really enjoyed the first two books and needed to get my fix of the Eve-Cain-Abel triangle.

From the Author Site: How do you tell Satan that you ran over his hellhound?

Evangeline Hollis has no idea and she doesn't want to find out. Living with the Mark of Cain—and the two sexy brothers who come with it—is trouble enough. She doesn't need to borrow more. Too bad Satan is too pissed to oblige her.

Incensed at the loss of his pet, Satan has put a bounty on Eve's head, and Hell's denizens are converging en masse. The proliferation of Infernals is complicating Eve's hunts and creating chaos in her once orderly life. They've also brought her to the attention of an overzealous reverend who is certain she's Jezebel reincarnate.

How can a Mark drafted by God strike a bargain with the Devil? Eve's about to find out...
Excerpt here.

Heroine: Evangeline Hollis killed Satan's last hellhound and Satan is pissed off to say the least. So with a Get-Out-Of-Hell card up for grabs its open season on Eve. Thus Southern California becomes the destination of choice for demons everywhere and that makes life very difficult for Eve and company. Not that she needs more. Eve is still trying to have a "normal" life while being a supernatural bounty hunter for God. But outing with her mother turn into death duels with demons. And her love life is in tangles. Since she's a one man woman, her bed is empty and dating both Cain and Abel is a challenge.

Other Notables:
Alex Cain: Cain is having trouble with his new position. He's not what he was and no one know quite what to expect since his situation is a first.

Reed Abel: Abel is both thrilled and disappointed with Cain's new role. Thrilled because it has provided an opening for him to be with Eve. Disappointed because he wants what Cain has managed to obtain.

Review: Another fantastic page turning story. Now that Eve has managed to graduate from her Mark training course alive she is being assigned demons to hunt down and eliminate. But there is trouble. Her mentor has other duties that take away from helping her cope with her new job. Her handler wants in her pants. And detectives that she thought she had seen the last of with the death of her neighbor are starting to find her a "person of interest" which makes her demon hunting activities that much more complicated.

Ms Day has once again turned up the heat and added a bit more spice to catch and keep our little mental taste buds tingling. She takes us on a journey to discover more about the whys of archangels and the firms as well as a taste of Cain and Abel's original home life with their parents, Adam and Eve. The love triangle of Eve-Cain-Abel gets a few more twists which only makes the story better.

A side note: The cover art for the first three books has been fantastic. Unlike some covers these accurately portrays story that is being told. Each portrays Eve in an outfit that she is described to be wearing wielding the appropriate weapon. The artist really took Ms Day's Eve and brought her to life.

What I liked best: The ever so entangled love triangle of Eve-Cain-Abel. I didn't like Abel so much in the other two books but I have to say that he is definitely growing on me.

What I least liked: The ending! I announce that Ms Day is an evil evil woman. How can she leave us hanging like this!!!??? Now I'll have to wait and wait until the next book to figure out WHO it was. Those of you who have read it will understand this pain and will most likely commiserate with me. And those of you who haven't read it, get to it so you can suffer just like me (pain does love company). So anyone know when book 4 will be released? Anyone? Hmmm.... maybe I need to go grovelling to the author. Will see her at RWA in a couple of days so perhaps I can get some additional info or at least another teaser to keep me on the edge of my seat.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: This is not a series that you should pick up in the middle. Each book build on the one before it. Each build the world a bit more and creates additional depth and if read out of order many things may not make a lot of sense.

Grade: A
Series Grade to Date: A-

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's off to the RWA Conference!!!

Yay! I decided I needed a break from my "real" world and go off and play. Perhaps look at a career change. Who knows maybe there's writer in me waiting to be set free. Or maybe there's story floating around in my head wanting to take form. Who knows.

Anyway... thanks to those lovely folks with JetBlue and SuperShuttle, I will arrive at the Marriott very very very early Wednesday morning. Will have to find folks to hang out with while I wait for check in time and for my RWA roomie (Mho Fho) to magically appear (KB says that she'll bring him IF he behaves). Then its fun fun fun and learning learning learning and books books books until I drop from exhaustion.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: Eve of Destruction by SJ Day

Published: June 2009 by Tor

Number of Pages: 414

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Stand Alone/Series: Marked Book 2
Book 1: Eve of Darkness

Why This Book: I read book one and it left off with a cliffhanger so I had to read book 2.

From the Author Site: When you're learning to hunt demons, homework can be hell...

Class is in, but Evangeline Hollis is far from being the star pupil. She's struggling to get through the required training to be a full-fledged Mark -- one of thousands of sinners forced to hunt demons for God. When her class goes on a week-long field trip to an abandoned military base, passing the course suddenly isn't just a matter of pride... it's a matter of life and death. There's a demon hidden among them, killing off Eve's classmates one by one.

As the body count rises, a ragtag team of ghost hunters from a cable TV program unwittingly stumbles into the carnage. Now keeping the Mark system secret competes with the need to keep the "paranormal researchers" alive. With Cain on assignment and Abel investigating a new, terrifying class of demon, Eve must fly solo on her hunt to stop a killer before he strikes again.
Excerpt here.

Heroine: Evangeline Hollis was "recruited" to be one of God's bounty hunters aka Marks and now has to attend her required training courses. Although she is a new Mark she has already has been on a hunt and has done some demon-ass kicking due to her having Cain as a mentor. Since Cain is God's number 1 Mark, all the other newbies are very jealous of her. Not to mention that her handler is Abel which also does not get her points with her classmates. Also going against her is being Archangel Raguel's teacher's pet (not her choice) and getting to keep her family ties. Therefore she's in the spotlight for many reasons and to many people which is mostly not good.

Other Notables:
Alex Cain aka Cain of Infamy: Eve's mentor and current boyfriend. Cain has the ambition of wanting to head his own firm of Marks and is pretty much willing to do anything to attain this goal except give up Eve. In addition to being Eve's mentor he is still "on-call" for the special hunts assigned to him by God himself.

Reed Abel: Eve's handler and want-to-be boyfriend. Abel also want to head his own firm and is also willing to anything to attain this goal even perhaps giving up Eve. Since he doesn't actually have her yet makes giving her up less painful. But as he spends time with her, the more he wants her. First he has to figure out how to get Cain out of the picture.

Review: The story picks up right where book 1 end. That being with a very toasty Eve. And Eve is still a tasty treat to be fought over in the oldest case of sibling rivalry, Cain vs. Abel. Cain has moved in to the empty condo next door but is spending most of his time at Eve's. Meanwhile, Abel is checking in on Eve at a regular basis. Both are leaving laundry and dirty dishes in her condo (isn't it just like a guy).

Eve's training as a Mark has begun in earnest with Archangel Raguel teaching the class just as Raguel intended. Eve is the most despised person in her class. Not only does she have Cain as a mentor (most think she has slept her way into this situation, which she did but not in the way her classmates think), she has Abel as her handler when all the other have not yet been assigned to a handler and on top of all that Raguel has made her his star pupil. Talk about a rough start.

The story is both fast paced and full of action and keeps you flipping those pages just so you can see what happens next. About half-way through the book there is a great plot twist which changes the Eve-Cain-Abel triangle in so many different ways that adds an extra layer depth and complication to their relationship. Ms. Day has certainly spiced up the age old tale of Cain and Abel to make it red hot and has added many more spices to keeps us all drooling and begging for more.

What I liked best: Eve's nicknames for her fellow classmates. But my absolute favorite is the demon Giselle's reaction to a certain incident with Cain. Since I am trying very hard not to give a spoiler, I'll end with that.

What I least liked: There isn't one thing in specific that I didn't like but the general feeling that God is stacking the deck against Eve in many different ways. As it is mentioned several times that there are no coincidences so it really does seem like someone wants to give Eve very hard time and its not all coming from the dark side.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: This is book 2 in a the series and they should be read in order. Book 1 describes how Eve got into her current situation. Book 2 picks up exactly where Book 1 left off. They really could have been one really long book.

Grade: A-
Series Grade to Date: A-

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July

Everyone in the US was so happy to have me come to the country they celebrate it every year with fireworks, parades and special picnics (never mind that whole independence day thing). Golly! *blush*

You know as a thank you I think everyone should take a day off work with pay (thankfully I have a lot of support from businesses)!!! *g*

Happy Fourth everyone! Go forth and gorge on all that lovely barbeque, watermelon and ice cream! Then sit back and watch those lovely fireworks.

Eeerrrr.... Note to self. Really must start Broken Wing *looks around nervously* Have less than 26 days to finish.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Book & Movie Review: The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

Published: 1973

Number of Pages: 283

Genre: Fairytale

Movie Rating: PG

Movie Released: 1987

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone

Why This Book/Movie: It's a classic! It says so on the book cover! ^_^ "Hot Fairy-Tale Classic" to be exact.

Book Blurb: What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince in the world and he turns out to be a son of a bitch? (How can you NOT read a book with a blurb like that!?)

Hero: Westley. He's dashing, heroic and great at everything. What more do we want in a hero?

Heroine: Buttercup. As a heroine she really is too stupid to live and really there's not much to say about her other than she's the most beautiful girl in the world at the time our story opens. But its a fairytale and we have to have the beautiful princess in for this story to work. She's basically the window dressing to the for the story.

Review: A great read. The book is written as if it were an adaptation or abridgment of a much older (and more boring) fairy-tale/history written by one Simon Morgenstern. It has many funny asides by the author/editor of the story about the boring parts that are left out as well as some parts that his publisher thought were not relevant or thing that could cause trouble with the historians of the original book. I love his reminiscences of when his father read him this book.

Its a story of true love and revenge. On the true love side we have Buttercup and Westley as lovers torn apart by fate and now find a way to be together. On the revenge side we have Inigo Montoya's search of the six fingered man who killed his father so that he can have his vengeance. It has kidnappings, pirates, death duels, and miracles. Everything you could possibly want in a fairytale.

What I liked best: There are so many good parts it's really quite hard to choose. But I think I would have to go with Fezzik, the kind-hearted giant and his love of rhyming. He's strong enough to kill a man with a single blow bare handed but he would much rather spend his life in peace making rhymes. And really Prince Humperdinck! What a name!

What I least liked: The part where the man in black slaps Buttercup. Thankfully that didn't make it into the movie.

Keeper?: Yes

Movie Trailer: Here

Review: The movie a perfect adaptation of the book. But that is to be expected as William Goldman is also a screen writer. Much of the dialog is verbatim and even the breaks in the book where the author reminiscences about when his father read the book to him made it into the movie.

The movie is perfectly cast. Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya and Andre the Giant as Fezzik are great. But Cary Elwes as Westley is perfect. His dry wit and wonderful comedic timing is great fun. And he's resemblance to the dashing Errol Flynn doesn't hurt either.

The movie is fast pace and keeps you entertained right up to the end. Its wonderfully funny and heart warming. Its the perfect pick-me-up whenever you are down for whatever the reason.

What I liked best: All whole chase between the kidnappers (Inigo, Fezzik and Vizzini) and the Man in Black. Though in particular I love the sword fight at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity (that name alone has me in giggles) and Inigo's impatience to get the fight started. And the Wedding is too funny to miss!

What I least liked: Oh there is nothing about the movie I don't like. The casting and the chemistry of the cast is perfect.

Recommendation: Everyone should see the movie! The book is great but movie is absolutely perfect!

Book Rating: A
Movie Rating: A+++++ It's the best movie ever!

Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari