Trying to add a photo to see what Google + is up to...

Something Odd ...

Uh-oh! There appears to be some sort of picture issue happening on the blog. I can only think that it has something to do with my having to get a new computer. I still have all the book cover photos n such....but well......will have to fight this later when my husband (who knows more about computers than me) is awake and can help me.

Is anyone still reading my blog?

Summer Reading : Vampire Edition

Summer is a great time to induldge in a bit of brain candy. Easy reading that leaves you warm and fuzzy. For me this is vampire stories. Odd I know, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. This summer I've been leaning more towards shorter faster reads....not large weighty novels that vampire books can sometimes tend to be.

Title: Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse Series)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Source: public library

Of course I had to read this! Sookie and her crazy paranormal world are my current go to brain candy. I won't spend a lot of time on this, but I do have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this one. See, there has been a lot of talk that this will be the last True Blood novel.  Honestly, I'm fine with authors moving on. They can't be expected to write in the same universe forever....it has to get boring! But I've read lots of reviews and spoken with people who bagged on this novel because of the way it ended. I won't discuss it in detail....no spoilers...but I liked how it ended. Ms. Harris wrapped up the series very intelligently. All of their current problems are concluded and all that is left is for them to make a decision. See, this time it's really up to the characters. If they make the right choices.....if Ms. Harris is appropriately inspired....they can come back together and move forward into another book. However, if the characters are content to let their lives settle where they are....then an ending is appropriate. I like this. No loose ends. No what-ifs. Perfect!

Title: Vampires: The Recently Undead
Authors included: Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Rachel Caine, Charles De Lint, Charlaine Harris, Tanya Huff, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Nancy Kipatrick, J.A. Konrath, Tanith Lee, Kim Newman, Susan Sizemore, Michael Marshall Smith, Jeanne C. Stein, Carrie Vaughn, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro......and many more.
Genre: fantasy, anthology, short stories, paranormal
Source: Public Library

This is a fantastic anthology! Honestly. I enjoy anthologies in general....they allow me to taste test different authors without having to commit to a full novel. But, I will admit that the stories contained in anthologies are often hit or miss. There is no tell how many will be to your liking.  This anthology worked for me. Not only is it chalk full of authors who I already enjoy....they are offering up new stories (most not set in their most famous worlds) to give the reader a glimpse into something new.   As a bit of summary, most of the short stories in this collection have something to do with the age of the vampires....their longevity.....how they acclimate themselves into different eras, etc. My favorite happens to be one that contains a tale about Doc Holiday. That was a part of history that I had never connected to vampires. It was fun!  Nearly every tale offered something new and interesting, however, there were a few that just didn't work for me....but who knows....maybe they are your flavor?


Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Source: Netgalley, e-book

Bumped is the story of a world riddled with a devastating disease. Reproduction stops at age 18. Due to this disease, early teen pregnancy is not only trending it's a way of life...

This is definitely a YA novel. It's fast and easy to read. Unfortunately, I don't think that the YA format does justice to the satire the author was so obviously going for.  Too many times events are glossed over to really make an impact. For example, one of the main characters finally sees and begins to understand some of the physical problems that can occur with teen pregnancies. She seems to be on the verge of changing her entire philosophy on life.......but is then distracted by her sister's drama to never mention the dangers again.

There are some interesting character arcs, but they too seem to happen to quickly. The conservative Christian character is shown that she can still be with God but doesn't have to go blindly. But then she makes a snap decision to go back. What?  A girl who starts off all for the "bumping" process comes to terms with her own secret belief that she doesn't want to be part of the system. She's the knowledge and the ability to continue her growth in this new direction, but is then distracted by teen hormones and an out-of-date condom. (Which, btw, should totally not work and she'll still get pregnant......which might be a spoiler for future books.)

I can see where the satire is and what it is trying to show. However, I don't think this was the most effective way to tell this story. I wasn't rooting for any of the characters. The twists and surprises were telegraphed to the point of being so blatantly obvious I was hoping that the author would have chosen another direction.

On a side note, coming from the fact I work with girls who already think that it is cool to get pregnant in groups.....I really hope they don't read this novel. I feel this is definitely for adults who can think for themselves and see the satire for what it is.

What does saying good bye mean?

Well, sadly, in the case of Borders.....it means that we are down several brick and mortar book stores. Happily, for me, the closing of Borders has also meant several great book purchases for me.

These are making my book shelves very happy right now.  Have you picked up anything good lately?


Title: Boneshaker
Author: Cherie Priest
Genre: Steampunk, alternative history
Source: Own, it was a birthday present

If this is what can be expected of steampunk novels....I'm in love! I positively devoured this novel. I've blogged about my issues with  reading historical fiction before, luckily for me this novel, and from what I know steampunk in general,  doesn't rely on history being mostly accurate or well-known. Imagination leads!

Set in Seattle during the American revolutionary war, Boneshaker is the story about ingenuity and family. Toss in a biological disaster, some zombies, an airship or two, and an underground resistance to make an enjoyable, complex, and enthralling world.

I'm so excited about this novel I've already bought its follow-up, Dreadnought  and am eagerly awaiting Ms. Priest's appearance at the Phoenix Comicon in a few months.

Vampyre Kisses

Title: Vampyre Kisses
Author: Elizabeth J. Kolodziej
Genre: Paranormal, romance
Source: A free copy of the e-book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Werewolves and vampires have settled into a comfortable, long standing, loathing of each other. Witches, while real, are no longer living. Right?  This is the general basis of the novel, Vampyre Kisses. There is quite a bit of intrigue and action, but it's very light on the romance....but that's not really a problem. Ms. Kolodziej tells an interesting tale.

What I like:
1. Oran. He's the pet / magical flying beast. He's a tinier than tiny kitten with wings. He's awesome! I want one.

2. There is just the right mix of tensions between the werewolf beau and the vampire suitor.
While the romance plays a very minimal part in the story, the character development of the main characters is crucial. These two boys need to know how to play well together, but it just wouldn't be the same without some of that delicious rivalry.

What I dislike:

1. The mythology is distracting. There is Christianity, there is paganism, there is Wiccanism, there is Hinduism, and even the Greek and Roman pantheons pop up...yet it's all jumbled and mixed up. More than half of the characters are named after well-known "people" with equally well-known mythos. But that's not what we are given. We are given confusion. For example: Within this novel Vampires are a descendant of Cain. Okay, not an issue...this isn't a first. But....only it's not Cain...it's Kane and while the author makes it very clear she is talking about Cain from the Christian Bible...his name is spelled incorrectly and the reason for his downfall is completely incorrect.**  This is a peeve of mine. I don't mind authors taking an existing mythos and shaping it or changing little bits to make it their own....this story, however, is just chock full of mixed up, mashed up, myths and legends.

2. There are silly grammar and content errors throughout the book. I have a reasonable tolerance for mistakes of this kind. No one is perfect. Maybe the author intended that word/sentence/phrase to be read differently than I did? However, I was caught stumbling over things like "I'd had had..." repeatedly though out the book. (BTW, I'd is equal to I had...so that makes three hads in a row) There were also some minor content things such as, blood coming from scars. Scars are a healing process. Blood comes from newly opened wounds. It's alright to use that word. Even if a scar is cut open, the blood is still coming from the wounded scar...it's a wound.

Overall:  I like the story. It was a fast and enjoyable read, but I was so distracted by the mythology mash-ups and the mistakes that I can't say it is a great read. I do, however, thank Ms. Kolodziej, for allowing me to read her novel.

** Since posting this review, I have had a conversation with the author. She was very gracious but wanted to point out that my example was incorrect. She hadn't intended for Kane to be the biblical Cain. This makes a bit of the story more easy to understand. I must have been reading that bit into the text.

However, I do still feel that the mythologies are confusing, and inconsistent within themselves. Maybe by the next installment things will be cleared up.**
I read books they way other people eat, sleep, or watch movies....voraciously, obsessively, and as often as possible. The reviews, random commentary, and snark in this blog are mine alone. Don't take my word...read the book.
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