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We didn’t die… April 24, 2012

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However certain aspects of live have taken over for a while.  We’ll be relaunching here soon!  Stay tuned!

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Book Review – Under Wraps – Hannah Jayne August 29, 2011

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I can’t say that I regret the time I spent with this book. I picked it up because of the controversy over the cover, and I have to agree that the cover is ridiculous as compared to the actual content. Pondering it I would have been just as likely to buy the book with an appropriate cover versus getting it just for the kick assitutude represented by the sword and leather fall back position.

This story is a highly campy urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Sophie Lawson works at the supernatural version of the DMV, the Underworld Detective Agency, where it’s paperwork and dodging slime day in and day out – usually while wearing comfortable shoes. She’s drawn into an above world murder plot and gets to hang out with the handsome and detective Parker Hayes. She’s got a fashion obsessed roommate and a kindly boss who she chains up every night…apparently it’s a werewolf thing.   Not that it always works anyway.

The world building here is all right, but nothing that blew me away. It’s campy, fun and very predictable. The interesting thing for me was that I’d recently finished Grave Witch by Kalayna Price which had a similar base plot, but it was done much better. So I think Under Wraps suffered by the comparison.

This book reminds me most in tone of the Simon Canderous novels or Touched By An Alien.. Fun, but I’ll check the next book out from the library before purchasing.

Genre:  Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Age: Older teen +

Content:  Accepted drinking, some violence and borderline torture, bad shoes, mild sexuality

Overall: 2.5/5

Movie Review: Captain America July 29, 2011

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“He’s the star spangled man with a plan!!!”

Okay, so maybe not.

Bunneh and I went to see Captain America on Wednesday and, as my husband put it, We were “completely charmed.”  The setting was perfect, the story and plot worked beautifully, the romance was heartbreaking and the chemistry between the actors in various positions were perfect.  This was the Captain America I love.  A man who was patriotic and determined to do the right thing and defend others whether he was a scrawny 90 pound asthmatic or a buff butt kicking superhero.  He was a good man and became a better man not just because of a serum or a process, but by choice.  I love that.  I love what it represents for good people anywhere.

I could get into a lot of specific details as to why we loved it, but it boils down to all the right things coming together to create a movie that reminded us about things like courage and friendship and faith.  Not to mention Agent Carter, the love interest, kicks butt in her own right, so we had a couple who were balanced and yet put everything else in front of sex and even romance because they both knew this was war and what had to be priority.  We don’t see, or at least don’t hear about, nearly as many examples of such selflessness but it is poignant and powerful.

All in all go see this movie.  Even if you aren’t a comic book buff, go see it.  Of all the superhero movies I’ve seen in the last couple of years, this one is by far the most relatable to by both comic book fans and non fans.  And if you’re looking forward to The Avengers stay through the credits.  Otherwise, run before the lyrics to Star Spangled Man infest your brain.

Jana

Feeling “Series”ously annoyed July 23, 2011

Posted by Realitybypass in Rants.
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Okay universe…why can we not identify books in a series in a standard easy way?  Why do you do this to me?  Why why why why…

So I’m a little peeved.  One of my favorite past times is to buy books for my adorable husband…myself as well, but he’s cuter when I buy him books.  The last three or four times I’ve bought him books I’ve managed to buy books that were NOT the first in the series.  When buying in the bookstore I check the front cover for the book lists.  I check the spine for a number.  I check the front of the book for some CLUE as to where this book attaches or if it stands alone.  And still I manage to continually buy out of synch.  This is one of the things which seriously drives me to the Internet for purchasing because I can figure out which book in a series I’m looking at.  I prefer the immediacy of walking into a bookstore and walking back out with a pile of bright shiny books, but so many brick and mortar don’t carry all the books in a series and then their not marked…thank you Amazon.

Grr…argh…I must go place an order now.

Jana

The end of Borders Bookstore… July 22, 2011

Posted by kmcalear in Life, News.
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I get most of my news from NPR these days, so I heard on the morning report that Borders Books was going out of business. I can remember going to the bookstore was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid. I’d wander around the store until I found just the perfect book, or books, to bring home.

But, for me, that has been a thing of the past for many years now. If I want to wander and try new books, I go to the library, Halfprice books or I browse the amazon ‘look inside’ catalogue and purchase through amazon.com. It’s really hard to beat the prices and convenience of Amazon Prime’s 2 day shipping. And I love the selection! So, although it may be sacrilege to say so as a reader and writer, I won’t miss the Big Box Stores for books. I still go check out the little local book stores like Murder by the book for signings, book groups and a little browsing but for the most part the convenience of the online booksellers have been far easier and more convenient.

What about the rest of you? Does anyone prefer the big bookstore over the online accesibility? Are we losing something with the demise of the Mega Bookstore?

Book review: The legend of sleepy hollow July 20, 2011

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“A song of ice and fire” book 5 released! July 12, 2011

Posted by kmcalear in Book Debut, Fantasy.
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Hello blogland!

I found out one of the very nice perks of the kindle, you get your pre-orders nearly immediately upon hitting the release date! Yay! July 12, 2011 is the release date for the epic novel A Dance with Dragons which continues the stories of the characters of George R. R. Martin’s A song of ice and fire series. It’s hard to believe that I started reading these novels over a decade ago!

Now normally I would re-read the old novels in order to catch up, but A song of ice and fire are over 1000 pages each, and I do tend to warn people they are “stressful” books. The plots are intriguing and the books are hard to put down, but no character is actually safe in the series. George Martin kills characters off that you never expect to bite the big one!

That said, there’s something compelling about these novels and they tend to keep me up until the wee hours of the morning turning page after page. Thankfully I just found a really good summary/recap for those of you who, like me, can’t quite recall where everything left off.

http://afantasyreader.blogspot.com/2011/07/song-of-ice-and-fire-recap-from.html

Book Review – Hounded by Kevin Hearne July 8, 2011

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I was excited for this book when I saw the initial story description and having finished it I find myself seeing it as a hit and miss kind of offering. There are some great ideas which I liked very much, but also some thing that made me cringe and want to slap the narrator and occasionally the author. 😛

On a positive note I do like the pacing of the book and the wit. The widow McDunna was a complete crack up, and I like the use of the Irish mythos in a way that wasn’t over done, even if it was a bit simplistic. The explanation of why Atticus is in Arizona and what he’s chosen to do with his life makes sense to me, as does his desire to play keep away from a God that wants his head. The relationship with Oberon is good, though I do find some of the things Oberon says to be so far out of a dog’s realm of understanding that it throws me out of the story. I think if there had been more information making Oberon a specific familiar with thoughts outside of doggie comprehension that it would have made better sense, but he’s just a dog who has been affected by being around Atticus. For me that doesn’t make the jump to understanding traumatized Toto or citrus air fresheners.

I do not like how Atticus thinks and acts like an oversexed frat boy. Sex doesn’t bother me. Sex with at least two goddesses and being lusted after by others…well…kinda par for the course for the genre. Many of the heroes and heroines of UF are attractive to all sorts of folks, even if the hero/ine themselves are described as being plain or otherwise not overly attractive. So it’s a little Gary Stu, but dealable with. I despise the interactions with the EMTs and the portrayal of the same. If you are 2100 years old and as smart as Atticus is supposed to be using power you don’t have to give an EMT a wedgie twice is just plain stupid and arrogant. And I can see setting up problems with authority, again very typical, but when you get into medical folk, in particular EMTs, you’re dealing with people who work stupid hours responding to people when their lives have gone to crap. Very rarely do you find an EMT who is a jerk and even more rarely do they sit there and bicker details versus HELPING the person involved. It’s not their job to determine the legitimacy of a wound, it’s their job to save lives and treat the hurt. People who are into a job for the power over other people don’t become paramedics, EMTs or other emergency personnel. It’s fine to keep up with the times and be hip, I don’t have a problem with that. But there is a difference between acting young and keeping up appearances and thinking like a teenager. 2100 years worth of experience should, in theory, also bring with it a bit of wisdom and tolerance, Atticus shows neither.

I’ve seen a lot of comparisons with Jim Butcher, and I’d say Herne has some of the same flow, but it’s definitely Butcher lite. I’m willing to give him a couple of books to hit his stride, I’m not so turned off that I won’t pick up another one, but it could go either way for me right now. I want to see that up with the times Druid with power and a nifty sword and a soft spot for an Irish widow, but I want to see him tempered by the years he’s lived and to show wisdom through humor. Otherwise what’s the point of him being a 2100 year old Druid instead of a newbie, except that he gets to make esoteric historical references?

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Age: 15+

Content:  Abundant fantasy style sword and sorcery fights, werewolf maulings, etc.  Some sexual content, mostly FTB and nekkid goddesses, mild drinking

Overall: 2.5/5

Review : The Messenger July 6, 2011

Posted by kmcalear in Book Review, Fantasy, Mystery, Supernatural.
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This novel is a little slow to get started, but about 60 pages into it I really became intrigued with the story. For one thing it opens with the recruiting of a character you don’t see hardly at all later in the novel. As an editor I would have removed that “first chapter” because it set a tone for the story that was not continued later in the story. I was expecting more of a ‘ghost’ story than the supernatural thriller it became, because of the opening chapter. That said, however, the story is intriguing and I liked the twist on the Immortals idea Burke uses. The character of Tyler was also engaging, as was Amanda, although they remained a little flat. I wouldn’t say they’re complete charicatures or tropes, although you have the “awkward girl meets dashing handsome lover” theme, but Burke manages to avoid complete cliche enough to keep me reading. I loved the ‘cemetary dog’ concept and I think Shade may have been my favorite character.  I also rather liked the creepiness and dark appetites of the villian. My biggest critique of the story, I think, is that the end of the novel is very predictable in a Happily Ever After fashion and that there weren’t any true ‘keep you up with the lights on’ scares in the novel. In the end it was entertaining, readable, but an average novel.

Genre:  Fantasy, Ghost story, Mystery

Age: Pre-teen – Adult

Content:  Very little of consequence, some characters drink heavily, violence in the kidnappings and the war flashback

Overall: 3/5

The World in 3D July 4, 2011

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Dear Media producers…

Please stop trying to 3D my life. I do not need 3D movies, phones or hand held gaming devices. They give me a migraine.

While you’re at it leave my mass market paperbacks alone. I like them pocket sized, dangit!

So there.

Happy Independence Day folks.

Jana