Review: A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix

A Rush of Wings<A Rush of Wings was a random "that looks interesting" choice from the library's new books shelves. I was somewhat surprised to find that the book was just published this January, because the copy I checked out has obviously been read many, many times. It seems as if Adrian Phoenix's first novel is a hit.

It wasn't bad, especially for a first novel. It's yet another urban fantasy/horror vampire story, but it didn't feel too derivative. I did wonder if Phoenix has read much of Nancy Collins' work, but she still has a reasonably different spin on the genre.

I liked the main character, FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace. Her love interest, Dante, didn't do much for me, but then I'm not into bad boys or goth kiddies. I didn't quite buy the attraction between them, but happy Wallace did (mostly) continue to live by her values.

I think I would have been slightly happier if I didn't feel like the book was being set up for sequels if it sold well. Whatever happened to standalone novels? Phoenix's website says that her next book, In the Blood, will be released next year. I didn't find anything that says it's about Dante and friends, but I have a feeling that it is.

Crime TV

I’ve been on a video spree over the last month or so, get­ting caught up with all three C.S.I. shows. We also fin­ished watch­ing sea­son 2 of Torch­wood, and real­ized that some of it wouldn’t make sense unless we get caught up on Dr. Who.

Annoy­ing­ly, all three C.S.I.s end­ed on cliffhang­ers. I do hate that. I would keep watch­ing next sea­son any­way, so why the tease? They’re all very well estab­lished. And one episode of C.S.I. Mia­mi had a “spe­cial scene” that was only avail­able on the offi­cial web­site – and it isn’t there any more! What are all the view­ers who didn’t view it in real time sup­posed to do? I found a descrip­tion of the scene, but it wasn’t as good as actu­al­ly watch­ing it.

Sam is always amazed that I can watch that stuff. Hon­est­ly, the vio­lence and blood do both­er me, espe­cial­ly when there are ran­dom crimes. For some rea­son, it doesn’t both­er as much as some oth­er things, maybe because I take off my head­phones so that I don’t have to hear some sounds, and I gen­er­al­ly avoid look­ing at the bod­ies too much.

The part I like is the puz­zle, fig­ur­ing out how a crime was com­mit­ted and who did it. I know the shows are incred­i­bly unre­al­is­tic in many ways, from the fact that real crime scene inves­ti­ga­tors almost cer­tain­ly do not go run­ning around with guns to arrest crim­i­nals to the real­i­ty that nobody can be pro­fi­cient in every sin­gle type of foren­sic analy­sis that needs to be done. Actu­al foren­sic labs are almost always under­fund­ed, so get­ting evi­dence gath­ered, processed, and ana­lyzed in hours (as the shows often depict) is pure fan­ta­sy. Real foren­sic labs don’t usu­al­ly get the equip­ment they need reg­u­lar­ly, and they cer­tain­ly don’t have the lat­est and great­est toys of every sort in handy forms that every sin­gle tech can car­ry in his kit “just in case” he ever needs it at a scene.

I can sus­pend my dis­be­lief that much. And I can almost ignore the non­sense of “trac­ing an IP address to an email address” to get a criminal’s iden­ti­ty in sec­onds. It’s Hollywood.

I watched the first episode of The Clos­er tonight, since I’ll have to wait until fall for more C.S.I. I don’t like cop shows as much as foren­sics shows, but I was intrigued by Kyra Sedgwick’s per­for­mance in some pro­mos I saw a few years ago. Her “Atlanta accent” is atro­cious, but the char­ac­ter is inter­est­ing. I don’t know why the “big plot twist” that was obvi­ous to me in the first few min­utes of the show would take a bunch of pro­fes­sion­als days (appar­ent­ly) to fig­ure out, though. Maybe they’re too gen­der-bound? Who knows.

I sup­pose that if we had cable and I hap­pened to run across The Clos­er, I would watch it again. I think I’ll find anoth­er foren­sics show the next time I’m bored enough to go look­ing for view­ing mat­ter, though.

Books Books Books!

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon
Yes, the girl and I managed a library run (to the GOOD library) on Friday. It took more time and energy than expected, of course, but we got a bunch of very good books.

I read My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon last night, with much giggling. The stories were a bit uneven (normal for an anthology), but worthwhile overall.

I especially liked "Heorot," the Harry Dresden piece from Jim Butcher. I love the way he brings in mythology from so many different cultures.

Kelly Armstrong's "Stalked" was fun, too. Her werewolves are just more wolfish than most, in my opinion.

P.N. Elrod's "Her Mother's Daughter" wasn't bad at all. I've obviously missed some of her Jack Fleming novels, and I'm looking forward to catching up.

I want to find some of Marjorie M. Liu's longer works, as "Where the Heart Lives" isn't the first of her short stories that have impressed me. What's even better is that WtHL is a total departure from the earlier stories I remember.

SBQ: Sick of a WIP?

The Stitch­ing Blogger’s Ques­tion of the Week is:
Do you ever get to a point work­ing on a project that you’ve had for so
long, you start to won­der what pos­sessed you to start it in the first
place?

Of course! It has always hap­pened with pat­terns I chose to do for some­one else, though, rather than those I chose because I was inter­est­ed in them. There are a few WIPs that have out­lived the rela­tion­ships that inspired them, and they may nev­er be fin­ished. That’s a bit embar­rass­ing, but in at least one case I wouldn’t have ever start­ed the piece if I’d real­ly known what an unsta­ble, vicious being the intend­ed recip­i­ent was.

Vicious Teacher Leads Bullying of Disabled Child

Teacher lets kindergarten students vote 5-year-old "out of the class"

After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted Alex — who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism — out of the class.

The teacher, Wendy Portillo (portillow@stlucie.k12.fl.us), has acknowledged that the incident happened. She had been participating in the child's IEP team since February, so she knew that Alex was being evaluated for a disability (most likely Asberger's syndrome, from the information in the article).

There isn't be any excuse for any adult treating any child that way, but a teacher to encourage children to ostracize a disabled child? That's even worse.

The school district has refused to fire Portillo, but claims that she has been moved to non-classroom duties. That isn't nearly enough.

Civil Rights Win in Florida

Months ago, I post­ed about Ponce de Leon High School in Flori­da ban­ning the wear or dis­play of any kind of gay pride sym­bols or words, claim­ing that they indi­cat­ed involve­ment in an “ille­gal orga­ni­za­tion.” I lat­er found out that the prob­lem start­ed last fall, when a les­bian stu­dent com­plained that she was being harassed. Instead of inves­ti­gat­ing or try­ing to stop the harass­ment, the school admin­is­tra­tion cracked down on any show of sup­port for her. The prin­ci­pal lat­er said that he was sure that gay pride sym­bols would cause stu­dents to visu­al­ize gay peo­ple hav­ing sex, lead­ing to dis­rup­tion.1

Any­way, Flori­da man­aged to get some­thing right, or at least one judge there did so. Oh, wait – he was a fed­er­al judge, not a state author­i­ty. Any­way, on May 13 he issued a per­ma­nent injunc­tion against the school! He told them that they must stop their uncon­sti­tu­tion­al cen­sor­ship of expres­sions of sup­port for gay peo­ple, and warned them not to try retal­i­at­ing against any­one involved in the case.


1 Damn, those are pow­er­ful rain­bows! Won­der what kind of porn they’d find in a raid of his house?

Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

From Dead to WorseAfter reading From Dead to Worse, I feel as if Charlaine Harris is finished with the Southern Vampire Mysteries. If so, she's doing so well, as volume seven is the most satisfying book of the series.

This is not a "happily ever after" book, but it isn't an "oh my God what's going to happen next," either. I'm sure that more could be written about Sookie Stackhouse and her very interesting life, but Harris has a history of leaving series on a high note. The Aurora Teagarden and Shakespeare sequences felt a bit more "done" at the end, so maybe I'm wrong. I certainly don't hold Ms. Harris' confidences.

In any case, I hope that we'll see more books by Harris before long. She's a good author, and I enjoy her ideas.