Thursday, May 21, 2009

REVIEW: Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

I love the Kitty Norville series! I'm terribly disappointed in myself for falling behind on this series, but I'll be remedying that now as I'm currently reading book five, Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, and plan to read book six, Kitty Raises Hell, immediately or very shortly after that.

In this fourth installment of the popular series, Kitty has returned to Denver to deal with family issues. Unfortunately, the alpha and his mate of the werewolf pack she ran away from is not happy to see her back in town. To make matters worse, the vampires have their own power struggle going on, and Carl's werewolf pack is right smack in the middle of the action, leading him to believe that Kitty is secretly aiding the potential usurper of the (Vampire) Master of Denver. With Ben at her side, Kitty takes a stand. But you'll have to read the book to find out what happens next! ;)

If you haven't yet started this series, what are you waiting for? Carrie Vaughn delivers an action-packed urban fantasy with tough yet endearing characters you can't help but fall in love with!

BookCrossing journal page for this book

Friday, May 15, 2009

REVIEW: Unseelie by Meredith Holmes

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

When Alfhild was a little girl, her grandmother called her a fairy princess and told her all of her favorite tales. She'd never imagined they were real.

Now as a grown-up, Alfhild has changed her name and fled Louisiana, and the paparazzi that's been haunting her since her half-brother's murder accusations. She's now taken up residence in her grandmother's ancestral home in England, where all is well until the morning she awakens to find a naked man in her rosebush: a faerie prince by the name of Cadfael. And then the games begin....

All of a sudden, Alfhild is unwittingly drawn into the Faerie realm, becoming a pawn between the sparring Seelie and Unseelie Courts. And it seems her half-brother Gulliver is here too, playing for the other team....

Like me, you're probably thinking, oh no, not another faerie book! Aren't all these faerie realm books beginning to sound the same: young girl gets sucked into the realm, discovers her faerie prince, yada yada yada, and when all is said and done, lives happily ever after. This is what I was afraid of when I first started reading. But fortunately, this story had a few different things going for it to distinguish it from the standard "faerie tale" setup, and unlike many of the other faerie-based stories out there, this isn't a young adult book. For starters, we have Alfhild's half-brother, Gulliver, and her best friend, Jackie, both characters in the story who follow Alfhild from the human realm into the faerie realm. There are also several other interesting species besides human and fey, and several mythical beings from the old legends such as Jack of the Green and Jenny Greenteeth. Some very interesting characters to be sure! The unconventional methods by which Alfhild attempts to bring victory to the Unseelie Court in their never-ending battle with the Seelie is quite entertaining (she's such a ditz! LOL) and didn't follow any of the preconceived formulas of other stories I've read.

According to an online interview with Meredith, this book started it's life as a NaNoWriMo project which grew into three separate self-published novels. These three novels were then later combined to become the single book it is now. During my reading, I actually did find myself thinking this seemed to be quite a long book, though reading on my Kindle I couldn't quite give a specific page count. If I were to hedge a guess though, I'd have to say it would probably be over 400 print pages. The finished product could have done with a bit more editing before being released however as there were some incidents of bad grammar and awkward sentence structure, and even a few conflicting facts within the story itself which, for an obsessive reader like me, detracted a bit from the enjoyability of the reading. For future books, I'd like to see a bit more foreshadowing, allowing the reader to speculate a bit. Instead, it often seemed the facts were laid down as they happened, leaving little room for such speculation. But I truly believe some of these skills will come with more experience as a writer. And despite these minor drawbacks, I did enjoy the story overall, particularly for the differences cited above which allowed it to stand out from the crowd.

If you enjoy a good faerie story, you should enjoy this as well, and can pick up a copy for your Kindle from Amazon, or directly from Drollerie Press in one of several other ebook formats.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A quick "me" update

To all who follow my blog and/or book reviews, I wanted to take the opportunity to fill you in on what's been going on in my life and explain the lack of updates out here in case you weren't already aware.

Over the last year, Mike and I have been prepping and preparing to sell our house here in the Boston suburbs and move out west to the San Jose area of California. Once we get there, we'll definitely be living in a much smaller place—and possibly even living out of our RV for up to six months while we house hunt—so we've been working on a major downsizing by going through all the "stuff" we've accumulated over the past 40 years, deciding what to keep, sell, or just throw away! I can't lug all this crap out there with me. It's time to simplify and lighten the load!

Anyway, over the last six months, this effort has picked up steam and the clearing out process has taken away from much of my reading time. It's no wonder I've only managed to read 10 books so far this year! =:-o

I already have some family out there: my sister, mother, and two nieces, and we investigated neighborhoods and different areas when we were out there previously, doing a few drive-bys and such, though we weren't prepared to make an offer on any place without having sold our house here first.

So, as soon as our house here is sold, Mike, the bunnies, and I are hitting the road in the RV for a cross-country road trip, while the rest of our stuff is shipped out via movers and whatnot. We'll probably take about three weeks to travel from coast to coast, exploring many parts of the country we've never seen before. I'm actually really looking forward to that, and plan to take and share many pictures along the way. Keep an eye out for those... if I don't post them here, I'll definitely mention where they are. You can also follow me on Twitter, or friend me on Facebook, to keep tabs on me. I'm looking forward to the journey and hope you'll join me, at least virtually. ;)

On a side note, all this clean-up has obviously stirred up quite a bit of dust, aggravating the heck out of my allergies, already piqued due to the pollen. With stupid Blue Cross Blue Shield canceling coverage for my prescription allergy medication earlier this year, I've taken the opportunity to try out some all-natural remedies like Oregano Oil and Butterbur while switching my body over to Zyrtec-D. But what a pain in the ass all this is! Because the sale of over-the-counter decongestant is used in the production of crystal meth, it's sale is quantity restricted, and I'm only allowed a two-week supply at a time, presenting my license at the pharmacy in order to even get that! Grrr....

But on the good side, I've been quite happy with the Oregano Oil. It hasn't completely replaced the Zyrtec-D (or the Nasalcrom and Naphcon-A which I also take), but it has supplemented it quite nicely. I haven't had nearly as many migraines as I usually deal with this time of year, especially with all the dust and pollen coming into my system at once. Sometimes I even forget that my 12 hours are up and it's time for another pill, something I never experienced before when I used to start getting stuffy again after about 10 or 11 hours. For the Butterbur, I haven't been taking that long enough to form an opinion one way or the other yet.