Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Not Dead

YET. Still here, in fact. However, I've been all atwitter over recent kerfuffles at work the end result of which is that I've finally put in my two week notice. My last day will be next Tuesday. Which is actually one of my regular days off. Yes I planned it that way. My notice had been in for a week when another huge storm blew in and my manager asked me to stay. Until then she appeared to be perfectly ok with my leaving. Once the storm hit she asked me if there was anything she could do to convince me to stay. Then told me nothing I asked for would be guaranteed or promised. So my answer, of course, will be:"No thank you. I'm leaving."

Meanwhile I just finished a huge test(one of only two aside from the final) in the computer class I'm taking. I've no idea how I did. Maybe God will smile at me and bless me with a B. But I doubt it. I'm behind in one of the projects. Another project is due Thursday. A project I thought I'd saved but now I can't find it. I also have a post due up Thursday morning at Access Romance. APost which is as yet, unwritten.

On the plus side, I saw an old friend today and we're hoping to get together next week after I stop working. Also on the plus side, my sister sent me a basket of coffee and a mugstand for our birthday. No, we're not twins, but our natal days sit side by side in May.

However, I have been reading. One day in the future when I'm caught up and my children have had a home cooked meal and my house is semi clean I'll post my thoughts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday 13 #40~ Kiss of Midnight; Lara Adrian

Thursday thirteen is intended to allow bloggers all over the world to get to know one another better. Click link in title above to see a list of other participants. Leave a link in the comments below and I'll link back to you here.

1. Written by Lara Adrian and published by Bantam Dell in May 2007, Kiss of Midnight is the first book in a new series of paranormal romances set in a vampire world created by the author.

2. The backstory is unique, to say the least. Vampires, it seems, originated when a small group of aliens crashed on earth millennia ago. They could not eat the foods found here and took to drinking human blood for sustenance. At first they wiped out large groups of humans (like the Maya and the mound building Indians of the central US) before they figured out a way to survive without eliminating the food source. Crudely put, but pretty accurate.

3. In the modern era, the vampires have evolved into three distinct groups. One- colonies of vampires who live routine lives and try to blend into whatever human society is close by. Two- Rogue vampires who break both human and vampire laws by killing those they feed from and making zombie minions out of humans. Three- warrior vampires, calling themselves the Order, whose chosen role is to protect civilian vampires and humans from the Rogues.

4. This series revolves around members of the Order living in metropolitan Boston Massachusetts.

5. Gabrielle Thorne is a freelance photographer who lives a relatively quiet and orderly life with a few close friends. Things get exciting one night when she sees a gangland style execution in an alley behind a club built in a former church sold to pay for legal expenses (shades of 'real' life, anyone?).

6. Lucan Thorne is the leader of this group of the Order. He is a Gen One vampire, meaning he’s a first generation offspring of one of the original alien vampires. Vampires are exclusively male (another genetic anomaly) and have beautiful tattoo like markings all over their bodies which change colors depending on his mood.

7. Gabrielle comes to Lucan’s attention at the club. Eventually he decides he can’t protect her at her apartment and he brings her to the Order’s compound for her own protection. Things escalate from there.

8. Someone has declared war on the Order, but who is it? Because whoever it is, they seem to have declared war against the Order and they are willing to use humans and civilian vampires as fodder.

9. In the meantime, one of Lucan’s fellow warriors gets killed when he takes a mission in Lucan’s place. Lucan being at Gabrielle’s at the time. It turns out his mate is three months pregnant and they had planned to retire when the child was born. So Lucan has that to cope with.

10. Gabrielle has emotional issues from her past to cope with and, like many childhood traumas they affect her present too. The fact that Lucan witnessed part of what happened complicates matters.

11. Ms. Adrian has really caught my eye and my greedy reader’s heart with this series partly because the characters are depicted as flawed and needy and bringing baggage to a relationship, yet Ms. Adrian doesn’t allow these problems to overwhelm either the character or the storyline. Essential and necessary but not developed to the point of putting off the reader.

12. The idea of dermaglyphs all over the guy’s bodies fascinates me. Ones that change color even. Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm. ;)

13. Props to Ms. Adrian for developing a unique vampire world populated by well rounded characters whose relationships remain at the forefront while simultaneously sketching out an ongoing plot that could keep the series going for quite a while.

Image found at fantasticfiction

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Perfect Waltz; Anne Gracie

I'm thinking Anne Gracie is my new glom. Good for the reader in me, bad for my wallet. Unless I find them in the UBS..Anyhow, The Perfect Waltz was written by Ms. Anne Gracie and published by Berkley in November 2005. I read the first book in the Merridew sisters group a few days ago. My thoughts HERE.

The heroine this time around is Hope Merridew, one of the twins. Naturally she is a darling of the Ton, a diamond of the first water, etc. No shy, retiring wallflower she. Sebastian Reyne has recently decided he needs a wife in order to better care for his younger sisters recently returned to him. Sebastian has specific criteria due to issues with his sisters. With the help of his buddy Giles Bemerton, a man whose social polish is well known, Sebastian decides Lady Elinor Whitelaw is meets all of his criteria. That he's actually attracted to Hope is irrelevant.

So Sebastian sets out to court Lady Elinor. That she and Hope move in similar circles means they all meet frequently. Giles steps in to assist with socializing duties, and he and Lady Elinor are like oil and water. Poor Elinor, convinced the only way she can honor her recently deceased mother is to be just like her. Only Giles sets himself to make her see that this idea is wrong.

The Perfect Waltz allows the reader to watch two different couples step through an intricate dance complicated by the little Reyne sisters, Sebastian's sense of honor and duty, and the faces we all wear when out in public. Absolutely one of the best romances I've read in a long long time. Keeper.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Invisible Ring; Anne Bishop

Published by ROC in in October 2000 and written by Anne Bishop, The Invisible Ring is set in the same universe as Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy and related books and short stories. After reading and digesting it I am reminded of an issue that came up when I started reading the Miles Vorkosigan (written by Lois McMaster Bujold) books. Namely, which order do you want to read them in? Published or chronological? Now the Vorkosigan saga is much longer, but the comparison is apt, I think. Despite being listed on various sites as the fourth book in the Black Jewels trilogy, The Invisible Ring is set before the trilogy begins. Chronological order works best for me, and now I wish I'd read this one before I read the trilogy.

Lord Jared has been sent to the biannual slave auction at Raej. Why? He's a Queen killer. Murdered the last Queen who wore his Controlling ring. So he's going to be sent to the salt mines in Pruul via the slave auctions. Except, Grizelle the Gray Queen buys him. And plans to take them to her Territory, Dena Nehele. Jared has heard nothing but rumors about Grizelle and Dena Nehele, and not a single positive thing.

Unfortunately, Dorothea SaDiablo is out to kill Grizelle and she's willing to use every weapon in her considerable arsenal to achieve this goal. A new master of the guard, spells specific to this task, and an endless wellspring of powerhungriness amorality and cruelty. Lucklily for Grizelle and her little band of slaves, Daemon Sadi saw Jared in the auction pen and decided to help out as much as he could.

Will Grizelle make it to Dena Nehele? Will Jared and the other males be able to protect everyone long enough to make it over the border? Will the reader's heart survive Dorothea's agonizing activities? Is the invisible ring real or not? Is Garth what Jared thinks he is? Will Jared make it to Shalador or Dena Nehele? Neither? And who is the Rogue sapphire warlord? For, like in all good books, all is not what it seems.

Anyhow, I think any new Anne Bishop reader would do well to read The Invisible Ring before reading the Black Jewels trilogy or any of the related pieces. Ms. Bishop fleshes out the role of pleasure slaves, details what the Blood is supposed to be and gives a reader an inkling of the true price of Dorothea's schemes would be if she succeeds. Not to mention making Daemon much more mysterious, thereby priming the reader for the trilogy. Excellent book. Buy all four at the same time and read this one first. BTW, this is being reissued month after next in June in trade paperback size with a new sexy cover. Click here to see Amamzon's page.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

March Synopsis

I only finished two reviews this month, although I read three books. There just isn't time enough in the day to finish everything that needs to be done.

Sword of Shame, Medieval Murderers

A Rose for the Crown, Anne Easter Smith

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tangled Webs; Anne Bishop

Published by ROC in March 2008, Tangled Webs was written by Anne Bishop. Click link in title above to go to Ms. Bishop's website. It’s a follow on to the Black Jewels trilogy, featuring Surreal SaDiablo and her lover Rainier. Set shortly after Daemon and Jaenelle’s wedding, events unfold quickly. I loved Ms. Bishop’s nod to real life fairy tale Prince Rainier of Monaco. The multi layered references within the title amuse me. First thing that came to mind was the old truism, “what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Second, the method of travel within the Realms of the Blood is by ‘web’ for those gifted with magical abilities. Third, there are relationship webs woven between individuals.

Tangled Webs is set in late October in Dhemlan. Surreal is coming into her moontime and Daemon is in the house to protect her during the few days a month when witches are without most of their magic. Things get a little prickly when Rainier arrives, but Surreal manages to smooth it over. A few days later Surreal gets a royal invitation to attend a spooky house built by Jaenelle and Marian. A rather abrupt and oddly worded invitation. Surreal and Rainier decide to go, though. And that’s when the trouble really begins.

Surreal and Rainier meet at ‘the spooky house’ and enter with a small group of landen (base born, non magically gifted) children. Thus they are trapped and in deadly danger. Now comes a race against time and danger. Will Surreal and Rainier be able to keep themselves and the children alive and escape the spooky house? Who built it and why?

Ms. Bishop works in details of the SaDiablo family relationships: how Jaenelle and Daemon are dancing the tender and prickly dance newborn marriages go through; we watch Lucivar and Marian and little Daemonar; we see Saetan and Sylvia mourn the inevitable end of their relationship; we watch Jaenelle feeling her way around her new jewel and how recent events have changed her official role. All of these things deepened my affection for the Realms of the Blood created by Ms. Bishop.

In my opinion Tangled Webs could be read by someone unfamiliar with Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series, although I feel that familiarity with this world deepens the reading experience. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys both fantasy and mystery novels.

Image found on Fantasticfiction

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Glomming again

As regular readers know, I love vampire romances. I dunno, sharp teeth. Hungry all the time. Only for her, naturally. A couple of days ago I came across a new to me vampire romance author. Lara Adrian has written four Midnight Breed books, all set in my former stomping grounds of metropolitan Boston. Ms. Adrian's website is linked to above. Click here to go a trailer page on Ms. Adrian's website. They're really delicious. Work safe, most likely. Nothing too graphic. The trailers are quite well done. Really. I've seen some corny ones.

I've read two of the Midnight Breed series in the last week, and they are YUMMY. LOL Needless to say the Excel project I was supposed to do for class was put off until the absolutest last second. And even then Pianist helped me.

Image found at stockxchng.hu

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday 13 #39- The Perfect Rake, Anne Gracie

This is the first time I've done a Thursday 13 book review, but there's always a first right? The purpose of Thursday 13 is to help bloggers get to know one another better. Put a link in the comments and I'll link to you here. Click link in the title above to see a list of other participants.

1. The Perfect Rake was written by Anne Gracie and published by Berkeley in 2005. It's set in Regency England.

2. The set up is full of time worn romance cliches: abused orphan sisters led by the plucky eldest flee their evil guardian and are launched into society by an elderly relative while said mean evil guardian pursues them/her and she/they are finally saved by the hero.

3. In this instance, I must say Ms. Gracie makes all of these cliches work for me. And work well, too. The initial scene where Prudence and Gideon meet is extremely funny and reveals much about them individually and sets the stage for their relationship.

4. I think Ms. Gracie let the guardian off the hook too easily at the end, though.

5. I appreciate Ms. Gracie's ability to show the internalization of emotional abuse and she walks the knife's edge of just enough, not too overblown, yet clearly depicting how easily damaged a young woman could be.

6. The hero, Gideon, is supposed to be the classic "rake": well experienced with married women, drinks too much, parties too much, but has his own code. You know the drill: no innocents, because even rakes have to draw the line somewhere; a female relative or two who dotes on him and swears society has it all wrong; no bastard children, emotionally damaged in some way as a child and tons of money.

7. From the beginning, Gideon has eyes only for Prudence. From the start he calls her Miss Imprudence for her tendency to allow her mouth to get herself and by extension, Gideon, in trouble. I loved Gideon for his sense of humor, his ability to roll with Prudence's schemes. In the end, for his ability to both protect her and his ability to to help her grow.

8. Prudence for her part is fiercely protective of her sisters and is desperate though resourceful in her efforts to save them. Luckily she has enough memories of her parents to sustain her and give her strength through her ordeals.

9. Despite the overtones, The Perfect Rake manages to be funny and at times lighthearted. Always showing the power of familial love, parents' ability to reach beyond the grave to influence their children and the healing power of a new relationship.

10. A midnight hell for leather carriage ride.

11. Gideon gets shot, but all is not what it seems.

12. A Duke who is described as stout and serious and likes to live on an isolated estate.

13. Very highly recommended.