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Book Review – Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George January 27, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Book Review, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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It’s another blustery snowy day in the mountains of Utah and I’m wishing I could be at home reading instead of at the day job, but I like getting a paycheck so here I be.¬† ūüôā

Today we’re talking about Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.¬† This is a fairytale retelling…well…a fairytale fleshing out is likely more accurate.¬† She follows very closely the traditional lines of the East of the Sun, West of the Moon fairytale, fleshing it out by adding more breadth to the characters and some detailing.¬† All in all it’s an enjoyable read.¬† George has a good knack for fairytale language and the book flowed well.¬† I found that I liked the ‘lass’, since she doesn’t have a name, for the most part.¬† I liked that she was industrious and generally sensible, for example when she finds she needs new clothing she doesn’t ask for clothing from the servants but rather cloth so she can make clothing herself.¬† Her prince suffers from what a lot of prince’s suffer from which is a lack of real character development.¬† He’s handsome and falls in love with her and was a third son but doesn’t feel particularly lucky, so ideal for a fairytale love, but leaves me wondering if they’ll get home to his golden palace and she’ll discover he still farts like a bear.

There are a few other places where the author sets up a clue which didn’t get the pay off that I was expecting.¬† I found this a bit disappointing, since such a big deal had been made through the whole book and in the end it didn’t matter.¬† I’m trying not to be spoilery here, but that’s a tall order.¬† Let’s just say the power of naming should have been more important in my opinion.

All in all I’d read another of Ms. George’s book, but I definitely consider it fairly light reading.


Genre: Fairytale

Age:  10+

Content: True lurve, adventure, romance

Overall: 3/5  paws


Dry Aging Experiment and The Boys are Back in Town January 22, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Life, Musings.
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My husband is a wonderful man and a very good cook.¬† He’ll try just about any recipe including girly desserts and breads, but his most favorite things are 1: Anything which goes on the grill and 2: large slabs of meat.¬† Last week, after watching way too much Alton Brown, he decided to try Dry Aging a roast then blogged about his experience.¬† It turned out really really good.¬† I’d happily eat it again!

The Great Dry Aging Experiment

I watched Supernatural last night and I’m happy to see the boys back in action.¬† This episode was interesting because it dealt with how they see their own actions.¬† As the wraith told them, they provide their own legos.

In other news I am a revising fool. ¬†I’ve chopped about 2000 words off of a 115000 word WIP from Kristen and I.¬† I want it down to a lean 90-100K.¬† I don’t think it really needs anything more than that to tell this story. ¬†The chopping and hacking is bringing it together in a better flow and I like that.

Quote from Emile:

“I guarantee once you’ve been with me, you’ll beg for more. It’s not size which matters, it’s the experience. And I have centuries.”


Book Review: Dead Witch Walking January 21, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Book Review, Book Series, Urban Fantasy.
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Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison is my most recent read, and I wish I had picked it up off my bookshelf much sooner than I did.¬†I really enjoyed the novel,¬†particularly because it didn’t repeat one of my Primo Numero Uno complaints about¬†heroines in Urban Fantasy, the Bitch Factor. I don’t understand why the female heroes have to be smart mouthed to be interesting, powerful or face Bad Guys. Sometimes I think they speak up and insult their enemies¬†when being silent, or not provoking them would be far wiser. Rachel Morgan still has ample One Liners, and good retorts, but what I like about her is she’s NOT your typical smart mouth. She’s resourceful and clever, and does make mistakes. It’s a big pro of the book.

Other Pros: The Pixie characters , while starting to show up in a lot of Urban fantasy, are very¬†interesting in¬†Harrison’s series. She¬†gives a very unique definition to the pixie culture and behavior. The plot is fast paced and interesting, ties up enough loose ends while leaving questions open for further books. Oh and there’s a sexy librarian as a love interest, who has just a touch of magical power.

Cons: Rachel really has way too many Freak Out moments over her vampire roommate, which don’t seem to really fit in the development. The vampire, Ivy, is a flat character and could use some more development. In fact many of the sub characters could use a bit of development.

book cover of   Dead Witch Walking    (Rachel Morgan, book 1)  by  Kim Harrison

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Adventure

Age: Teen/Adult

Content: Curses, Assasination attempts, references to prostitution, mild violence

Overall: 4  paws

Contest Winner!! January 18, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Contest.
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So the results are in…. Jana, poor thing, didn’t get today off of work and so she was busy slaving away. I went ahead and did the roll to see who gets the lonely copy of the newest Andrews book.

And the winner is….

Drumroll please……

Wait for it.


Are you ready to shoot me yet?

Just a little longer….




Monique Tsui

Be sure to go check out her blog as well at: http://phenomenomenom.blogspot.com/

Monique, contact us with your information at realitybypass@gmail.com at your convenience.

Book Review – On the Edge – Ilona Andrews January 13, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Book Review, Book Series, Romance, Urban Fantasy.

Happy Wednesday, Folks.

Yeah, second week back to work is easier than the first. Well, at least back to the day job, some work never takes a vacation. ūüôā

Today’s review features On the Edge, by the lovely Ilona Andrews. We’ve reviewed some of her Kate Daniels books here before with much love, so feel free to go see what we thought of that. On the Edge is NOT a Kate novel but the first book in a new series which I’d classify as a paranormal romance. I’ve been following Ms Andrews blog for a long time and spent much of the lead up to this book eating up snippets, so I was excited to pick it up.

This leads to a CONTEST announcement!¬† I actually picked up two copies back in October when it released but I ended up giving one away for a contest and the other to my best friend for her birthday and realized I was bookless.¬† Now I have two copies again because I bought one for myself for Christmas and so did my husband.¬† Soo…I’ve a copy that needs a good home.¬† Contest will be open until Sunday night and one commenter will get my unread copy of On the Edge.

Now, back to review things.¬† This was a fun read and a quick one.¬† The flow of the writing is very easy to get into with a good balance of action, humor and romance.¬† I really enjoyed the family dynamic as it’s so easy to get the hard bitten heroine, and here Rose is a loving sister and granddaughter who is trying to do everything and take care of everyone.¬† As the oldest of six and mother of two I empathized immediately with much of her situation. Okay, not the magical aspect or being pursued by highly messed up hounds, but ripped shoes and getting kids to school and the toy aisle at WalMart were right up there.

Rose’s love interest, Declan, was amusing to me as well.¬† There were moments where the high blood arrogance got on my nerves, but those were around the same moments when Rose would verbally poke him or something would happen to show that there was much more to the story than met the eye.¬† The logistics of why he’s at Rose’s door and what he really wants both in the beginning and at the end had me giggling.¬† It’s human nature to make assumptions and in this case they both jump to conclusions which get Declan and Rose in trouble with themselves and others.¬† The younger brothers, George and Jack, were delightful as was Grandma.¬† I appreciate very much the skill this author has with secondary characters.¬† I’ve never read an Andrews book where the secondaries weren’t just as round as the primary characters, but were still secondaries.¬† This also applies to William and his painful story and need to be accepted.¬† Bayou Moon, the next book in the series, is William’s story and I’m hoping to see him end up in a happier place!

All in all this was delightful and fun.¬† I guessed a lot of what was going to happen in the plot, but it didn’t matter because the method of getting there was interesting and fun.

“Grab the guns and get in the truck, we’re going to WalMart…” – On the Edge

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Age: 15+

Content:  Some sexual content, mushing of badguys, violence, magic, family, lurve

Overall: 4.5 paws


Supernatural Pet? January 12, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Uncategorized.
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Psychic Cat

This came from the lovely Angie Fox. Highly appropriate that I already OWN a psycho(ic) cat. ūüôā


All in a new year’s work… January 11, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Inspiration, Life, Literature, Plans.
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It’s about time I came out of hibernation. Don’t worry, even my family was sending me phone messages asking me “Kristen, where have you been?” I don’t know what it is about that end of semester crunch, but I always end up vanishing for a good week or two and avoiding having to be much of anywhere. But I’m back, and going to dutifully return to keeping up with posting among other things.

So what are the New Years Resolutions on this end? I have a few, actually.

1) Manage to work on Dissertation proposal AND papers early to save the fits of tears and horror, that come with Comprehensive exams.

2) Lose ten pounds, which involves eating better, DDR every day for 45 minutes, and sleeping more.

3) Finding time to write creatively. I  took a vacation from that too into the realm of online RPGs, papers, and working 2 jobs+classes.

4)¬†Donating 3/4 of my closet… and replacing it over the next few months. 90%% of the clothing is old… very very old. Retirement to pasture old…. I don’t know why I keep shirts I hate, and never wear and they stay clean because I’d rather wash clothes at midnight than wear them. It’s strange.

5) Continuing with piano and singing… because it’s fun!

So what resolutions did you all make?

Treacle Tart January 7, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Musings.
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Okay, after yesterday’s post I got some questions about what exactly is a treacle tart.

Treacle tart is a lot like the inside of a peacan pie.¬† It’s a tart with a filling based on eggs, dark corn syrup and treacle, which is very similar to molasses.¬† I’ve had it only once or twice but…holy yum.¬† So my new goal when I’m not jump starting my diet and avoiding sugar is to find a really good recipe.¬† I’ll even share it here once I find one.

Treacle tart.¬† Good food.¬† Even if you’re Soulless or a werewolf.¬† I’m sure Miss Tarabotti and Lord Maccoon have reason to know.


Book Review: Soulless – Gail Carriger January 6, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Book Debut, Book Review, Book Series, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy.

It’s funny to me to live in Utah where the winters are routinely below zero.¬† I’ve been listening to people complain that it’s going to drop to zero in their home town or there might be snow and I respond with a typical intermountain west ‘meh.’¬† Snow and freezing temps are just part and parcel.¬† For everyone else I suggest extra socks, walk like a duck, and let your pipes drip just a little so they won’t explode.

Moving on to other things.¬† Today’s book review is focused on Soulless by Gail Carriger.¬† I picked this one up from the library after reading a lot of very positive reviews.¬† Then I accidentally dropped it behind my bed and forgot I’d checked it out until the library started sending me ‘return our book’ emails.¬† Despite acquiring a nearly five dollar fine (I should have just bought the book in the first place since between getting a copy and the fine I’ve nearly paid for it twice) I held onto the book and got it read.¬† I’m glad I did.

Soulless is a Victorian age Urban Fantasy crossed with some Steampunk.¬† My library shelved it in Horror, so I suppose there’s some of that in there too.¬† The Soulless are a type of prenatural as compared to the supernatural creatures who are seen has having an abundance of soul which is why the super powers kick in.¬† Alexia Tarabotti is a soulless who has the problems of being Italian blooded, big nosed, swarthy, unmanagable and old…like all of 25.¬† Her mother, step father and step sisters despair of ever getting Alexia properly married off and she seems to have accepted her social demise with at least some measure of grace.¬† I loved Alexia as our heroine.¬† Much of the trouble she gets into honestly isn’t her fault, and when it is she knows it and fesses up.¬† She’s a great balance of a proper lady and someone playing on the fringes of acceptable society and the combination was charming.¬† This charming aspect is reflected in the language of the book and the way she reflects on things such as a badly tied cravat on a vampire trying to eat her.

In this London the supernatural have come out of the closet, so to speak, and are an accepted part of society.¬† They have ruling classes within their own groups and both the werewolves and the vampires have specific attaches to the queen in order to keep everything in balance.¬† In particular we are introduced to Lord Conall Maccon, the Alpha werewolf who just can’t keep his eyes or his hands off the troublesome Miss Tarabotti, and Lord Akeldama, the vampire dandy who is one of Alexia’s best friends.

Plotwise the book holds together fairly well.¬† I saw some of what was coming early on, but it was done in such a way that I remained both amused and willing to go along with it.¬† I love the dichotomy of the scientific versus the spiritual and man versus supernatural.¬† It was also nice to seem someone using a proper mythological golem and it went well with the book.¬† As vampires and werewolves began disappearing and Alexia got drawn further and further in Carriger did a good job at balancing the pacing between drama, romance and action.¬† There were points that were maybe a big heavy on the romance for everything else that was going on, and the book ends on a rather sexy note, but it sets up really well for the next book.¬† I’d expand on that, but it’d be spoilerific, so ask in the comments if you want to know.¬† ūüôā

I’ll definitely keep reading this series.¬† Over the top, sure.¬† Charming, absolutely…and it left me craving treacle tart!

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror/Victorian Steampunk

Age: 15+

Content:  Some violence, sexual content and destruction of a perfectly good treacle tart!

Overall: 4.5 paws


What Santa Put In My Stocking January 4, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Life.
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Heya Gentle Reader,

Hopefully your holiday was as nice as mine was.¬† Plenty of sleep in time and good visits with the family and friends.¬† We reached the point where my sweet husband announced that he could happily not see the family any more for at least a month, so then we became cave trolls for a few days and kept to ourselves.¬† It’s a good way to spend chilly days in December.

Santa was good to me this year in the book department.¬† We joke at our house that you can always guess which packages are oddly bookshaped.¬† I received a bunch of retold fairytales, CE Murphy and some spending cash which bought another CE Murphy book and Patriot Witch.¬† This means I spent a lot of time reading too.¬† ūüôā

So what about you, gentle reader?  Did Santa fill your stockings with book goodness?  Please share!