Review: Moon Fever (anthology)

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 27-05-2011

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Moon Fever (Includes: Primes, #6.5)Moon Fever by Susan Size­more
My rat­ing: 1 of 5 stars

This was one of those “I fin­ished the last thing I was read­ing and I’m bored, what’s already loaded on the iTouch?” reads. It was on there because the anthol­o­gy includes Lori Han­de­land’s “Cob­webs Over the Moon” (Night­crea­tures, #10) and I read all of that series a while back. I did­n’t care to read the rest of the anthol­o­gy at the time, but I had­n’t got­ten around to delet­ing the book. Ah, hap­py dig­i­tal pack­rat am I!

If I’ve read any­thing by Susan Size­more oth­er than “Tempt­ing Fate” (Primes #6.5), it was emi­nent­ly for­get­table. I’m absolute­ly sure that I haven’t read any­thing else in her Primes series, because I prob­a­bly would have thrown said mate­r­i­al firm­ly into the near­est hard sur­face (or what­ev­er the equiv­a­lent is with bytes) because of the insane­ly annoy­ing num­ber of times Size­more feels it nec­es­sary to remind us that her vam­pires are Primes! Alpha Primes! They are! Real­ly! And that means they fight a lot! Espe­cial­ly over women! Oth­er­wise, it’s a Mary Jane sto­ry set in New Orleans. I have a strong feel­ing that most of the Primes series is Mary Jane-ish, but I may at some point be trapped and forced with the prospect of star­ing at the inside of my eye­balls or read­ing more of Size­more’s stuff. I’m not sure which would be worse right now. I’ll get back to you on that.

“The Dark­ness With­in” by Mag­gie Shayne feels ter­ri­bly famil­iar, although I’m sure I haven’t read it before. I have, how­ev­er, read oth­er Shayne novel­las in oth­er antholo­gies, and this sto­ry fol­lows a famil­iar pat­tern. Sexy gal who does­n’t think she’s attrac­tive has had a run of hard luck and may lose the house she has bought rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly and loves. Said house has a spooky past that she did­n’t know about when she bought it. Stal­wart too-sexy-for-her man gets involved some­how, prefer­ably in a way that allows her to ques­tion his motives. They are inex­plic­a­bly drawn to each oth­er and screw like bun­nies (or near as makes no dif­fer­ence), then blame their lapse in judge­ment on what­ev­er weird­ness is going on in the house. (Yep, that’s what they all say — and no safer sex any­where! Does para­nor­mal activ­i­ty pre­clude dis­cus­sion of sex­u­al his­to­ry and pre­vent STD trans­mis­sion?)

“Cob­webs Over the Moon” by Lori Han­de­land (Night­crea­tures, #10) isn’t the most log­i­cal entry in that series. Nei­ther is it the most illog­i­cal — but by the tenth entry, the series’ mythol­o­gy has got­ten a bit ridicu­lous, so I don’t know why I even both­er bring­ing up some­thing as irrel­e­vant as log­ic. Sil­ly me! In every book, we’re intro­duced to a woman who is in some way tan­gled up with were­wolves, then to a man who is tan­gled up with her and/or the crea­tures and, of course, whose loy­al­ties are uncer­tain. There is always an ele­ment of dan­ger to add spice to the romance that has to grow between the two. The for­mu­la nev­er changes at all. There are always evil were­wolves, but some­times there are also good ones. If you like pre­dictabil­i­ty in your para­nor­mal romance, Night­crea­tures is a great series for you.

I sup­pose Cari­dad Piñeiro’s “Crazy for the Cat” isn’t tech­ni­cal­ly any bet­ter or worse than any of the oth­er three sto­ries. There’s more vari­ety in the shapeshift­ing and the main set­ting is the Ama­zon jun­gle. I could­n’t get past the big­otry and colo­nial­ism, though. Dark is bad, light is good, of course! Those poor benight­ed natives could­n’t pos­si­bly han­dle a few rogues with­out that white woman, could they? Spare me.

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Review: and Falling, Fly by Skyler White

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 27-05-2011

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and Falling, Flyand Falling, Fly by Skyler White
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Sam Chupp has been after me to read this book for weeks, so as soon as I fin­ished All Clear, I start­ed it. This book is dif­fer­ent from any­thing else I’ve read in years. I hes­i­tate to say it’s more lit­er­ary than most fan­ta­sy, because I don’t like “lit­er­ary” books — they’re usu­al­ly stuffy, dry, and pre­sump­tu­ous.

After the first few chap­ters, there’s no slow­ing down, because you’re as caught up in what’s hap­pen­ing as the char­ac­ters are. I was trans­fixed by White’s descrip­tions, which can make even ugli­ness fas­ci­nat­ing.

We are trav­el­ing into time, burn­ing two hours for every one I endure beside this bab­bling, cursed child of Greece. I see them all the time, these bas­tard half chil­dren of sto­ries and mor­tals, trapped between worlds, the genet­ic lin­eage of myth reassert­ing itself across the inex­tri­ca­ble ages. Helen of Troy is born the socialite child of a par­tial Zeus mat­ed to half of a swan-lov­ing Leda, the myth­ic DNA in each of them dor­mant until they breed and damn their off­spring with its expres­sion.

White’s vam­pire mythos is like no oth­er I’ve encoun­tered. I found it far more believ­able than most of what’s being print­ed over and over and over again. Anoth­er refresh­ing thing about the book is that there’s no feel­ing of a set up for a series. Odd­ly, though, I’m now see­ing the book iden­ti­fied as the first of a series called Har­row­ing, at least on GoodReads, but as far as I can tell, the sec­ond book has no char­ac­ters in com­mon with the first. Per­haps it’s sim­ply set in the same uni­verse?

In any case, I’ve added In Dreams Begin to my to-read stack, and I’ll be keep­ing an eye on Skyler White.

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Review: Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 07-06-2010

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Blood Oath Blood Oath by Christo­pher Farnsworth

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars
Blood Oath is an inter­est­ing and fair­ly refresh­ing vari­a­tion on the vam­pire riff. Most of the cur­rent tales give us a suave, sexy preda­tor who mes­mer­izes his or her prey, leav­ing humans pin­ing for their pres­ence. They might even fall in love with a human. Nathaniel Cade, how­ev­er, refers to humans as food, say­ing, “Would you have sex with a cow?” That makes much more sense to me. It’s a good thing he isn’t inter­est­ed, either, as the typ­i­cal reac­tion peo­ple have to encoun­ter­ing him is utter pan­ic, often involv­ing the loss of blad­der con­trol.

Review: The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 04-06-2008

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The Outlaw Demon WailsThe Out­law Demon Wails, book 6 of Kim Har­rison’s Hol­lows series, was a very fun read. I’m afraid I whipped through it in one day. Grant­ed, it was a day that involved a fair amount of wait­ing here and there, then col­laps­ing at home to recov­er, which gave me lots of time to read.

I liked Rachel much bet­ter in this book than in the oth­ers. She has grown up a bit, and that’s encour­ag­ing. While there’s a big plot ques­tion left to answer, it felt a lit­tle bit like Har­ri­son is almost done with this series. I hope that she does come back and wind up that last detail, at least. Even if Rachel goes on to live hap­pi­ly (in the) ever after at some point, the world itself is so rich that I would think there are many oth­er sto­ries to be told.

If you’ve read the oth­er books in the series, you def­i­nite­ly want to read this one. If you haven’t, catch up first! I have read them, and I got a wee bit lost regard­ing some ref­er­ences to past events (due to a bad mem­o­ry and fibro fog on my part, not any fault of Ms. Har­rison’s).

Review: A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 02-06-2008

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A Rush of WingsA 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.

Review: Prom Nights From Hell

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 17-02-2008

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So, um, I tried to read this. I real­ly did. I don’t know if it’s “para­nor­mal romance over­load” or the fact that I’d just fin­ished read­ing mate­r­i­al from two incred­i­bly good writ­ers (Sarah Mon­ette and Eliz­a­beth Bear), but I had no patience for the fluff. Over­all, I gave the book a 2/10.

Cover of Prom Dates From Hell
i did get through “The Exter­mi­na­tor’s Daugh­ter” Meg Cabot. I don’t intend to read any­thing else by her. Yes, it was bet­ter than oral surgery, but I wish I’d spent the time clean­ing the sink or some­thing. To her cred­it, I did have a “laugh out loud” moment ear­ly on, when she used the phrase “tramp stamp.” I had­n’t heard that before, and I love it (although “arse antlers” is prob­a­bly still my favorite).

Review: New Amsterdam

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 16-02-2008

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I’m all infat­u­at­ed with yet anoth­er author, my friends, so I must warn you that you’ll be read­ing much more about Eliz­a­beth Bear here in com­ing weeks.

Cover of New Amsterdam by Elizabeth BearNew Ams­ter­dam is an anthol­o­gy of con­nect­ed sto­ries twined around two main char­ac­ters. “The Great Detec­tive” is vam­pire Sebastien de Ulloa. Lady Abi­gail Irene Gar­rett is a foren­sic sor­ceror, Detec­tive Crown Inves­ti­ga­tor in His Majesty’s Ser­vice in the colony of New Ams­ter­dam. At the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry, North Amer­i­ca is still a patch­work of Euro­pean colonies, with all the atten­dant polit­i­cal intrigue and mil­i­tary ten­sion.