Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesdays Tunes - Theophilus London

Of Theophilus London's songs, my absolute favorite - to date - is 
"I Stand Alone."

I first heard this song while driving to my parents farm very early one Sunday morning in May.  As soon as the song started I couldn't help but think that it was a really awesome tune.  The more I heard it, the closer I listened to it, the more I liked it and the more I wanted to hear it.  

And so now I'm beginning another posting series - Tuesdays Tunes - that spotlights songs that I like for whatever reason, some which I'll explain and some I won't, new or old, it'll all be music that I love, like, or worship.  Because like my books, my TV shows, my movies and my fanfiction, music is another very important part of my life, for so many reasons!

So check out this (official) video of "I Stand Alone" by Theophilus London.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle

When I saw that it was time to put up another review I debated with myself about what I wanted to post.  I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to do a review of one of the Breeds’ books by Lora Leigh that I talked about in my reading list post, or if I’d work on something else.  When I realized that the newest Breed novel would be coming out next week I decided to wait on that and talk about the Breeds later (probably next month).   (Please see the note below - updated September 27, 2011!)

So I was again stuck about what to post now.  

I looked back through the reviews I have on file, that for whatever reason I never got around to posting, and found Wicked All Day.  I’ve always been a fan of Liz Carlyle and her historical romances, and while all of them are wonderful stories with rich characters and plot lines that grab your attention, Zoe was always a character that I felt deserved her own story.  And then Liz did us all a glorious favor and gave it to us.  I read this book a long while ago, back when it first came out actually.  It’s been sitting on my shelf of books that I want to read again, along with other Carlyle books, Julia London novels, and several others… Rereading my review, simple as it is, made me remember why I fell in love with Liz Carlyle’s writing and why I really want to go back and read this story. 

Enjoy friends, and see you again really soon!

Liz Carlyle
ISBN: 978-1-4165-9492-5

With dashes of characters we’ve long known and loved, Carlyle has added dimension and fullness to Miss Zoe Armstrong and given us a story that can easily be held to our hearts.  As a young lady, Zoe stole our affection when we were first introduced to her in her father’s story.  Since then we’ve seen her vivacious spirit and her kind, loyal soul.  But it wasn’t until this story was underway that we finally, and truly, got a glimpse of her heart.

While we’ve had encounters, or heard second-hand about Robin, Lord Robert Rowland in the past his brother has been an unknown, a mystery.  Stuart Rowland, Lord Mercer is a man that we quickly learn is used to controlling his environs and the people in them.  When he ends his affair with his mistress, he assumes and expects that to be the end of the issue.  But Claire, Vicomtesse de Cheraute does not wish to be so blithely pushed aside, and she’s just vindictive enough a woman to do anything to get her way.

In many ways the story begins with desperation – Zoe with her situation, Robin and Mercer, both, with their reactions to Zoe, and in Mercer’s case, with Claire – and as is often the case, desperation leads to chaos.  One misstep and an entire house of cards comes tumbling down.  Yet through fires of their own making, each of our main characters comes out better off then they began; for each of them has been shaped by their experiences and tempered like “Sheffield steel,” to use a metaphor often mentioned in the book.

Zoe has lived under a cloud of scandal her entire life but because of it she has a tender heart and a vulnerability that she tries not to let anyone see.  Mercer gained his title at a very young age and so came to the understanding that he had the power and money to get anything he’d ever want very early in life.  Their friends and family supported their beliefs (because for the most part they were actually right) and so the strength of the beliefs of themselves and their own worth only continues to grow.

It turns out, through many painful, random twists of fate, that the key to their own happiness can only be found in the other.  Fortunately they are able to fumble their way to happiness in the end, and the prospects for Robin and his Mrs. Wilfred are good too.

Who will Liz find for us to read about and fall in love with next?  Where will we find our next hero and heroine? What masterpiece will we next see?

Argh! So I was just doing some looking around, checking to see if my local bookstore had the new releases that I wanted to pick up this week... Turns out I'm a moron who can't read, and Lora Leigh's new Breed novel, Lawe's Justice doesn't come out till November 26, 2011, NOT September 26 like I thought... So I'm craptastic and that was my flub.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Reading List (So Far) and Some Opinions

Reading from September 1-15

Megan’s Mark
Harmony’s Way
Dawn’s Awakening
Tanner’s Scheme
Mercury’s War
Coyotes Mate
Bengal’s Heart
Dark Predator

And I have just a bit to say about these books… (especially since I promised some mention of how I liked Dark Predator after I read it!)

First – after discovering last week that the latest Carpathian novel was released, I read a couple reviews from advance readers and readers who picked it up as soon as it hit the shelves.  I was somewhat surprised by what I found.  One of the reviewers actually said that she was disappointed with Dark Predator on the whole and went on to say that after waiting for so long to see/hear Zacarias De La Cruz’s story, she felt that what we got was flat and lacking.  It has been commented on in the past couple of years that the last several books that have come out in this series just weren’t as good as the earlier ones.  To a certain point I can agree. 

The first five, six, or even eight books in the series did a lot of setting up the plot line for the future.  Then we had a few books that were transitioning, and introduced other, new races besides the Carpathians and revealed the overall ‘evils’ that the Carpathians faced.  The last couple of books while different and evolving, are just that – different.  If the stories were all the same, with the same situations, the same problems and dilemmas, and the same resolutions, we wouldn’t keep reading them, especially when you’re considering a series that includes 22 books, so far.  So yes, if you’re judging the “worth” of the book based solely on a template of the earlier books, I can agree that it’s not quite as good in that sense.


But, ChristineFeehan’s Dark series is as much about immersing the readers into the paranormal world of the Carpathians, as it is about showing the ‘human’ side of the Carpathian’s themselves, or their ability to develop a more human-friendly nature.  Does that mean that the latest books – Dark Predator, Peril, Slayer, Curse, Possession – aren’t as good as those that we initially fell in love with?  NO! I loved Mikhail’s story, and Jacques, Gregori’s, Lucian’s, Gabriel’s, Falcon’s and Byron’s.  I love them, but I’m just as fascinated by Zacarias, Dominic, Ivory and Razvan, Nikolai, Vikirnoff, and the other De La Cruz brothers.  From the very first Christine’s Dark novels have been trying to teach us (and them) that change, while disconcerting, confusing and difficult, is necessary.  Did readers really think that the message wasn’t about more than just the situations the Carpathians came to be in?  Or was it just me that saw the possibility?

So yeah, I liked Dark Predator. Did I find fault with it, or have complaint’s, sure.  I would have like to see more interaction with other Carpathians – nearly the entire book has only Zacarias and Marguarita.  Would I have liked to see more vampire/Carpathian battles? Yes, because frankly they are always interesting.  The way that Predator was written, works for this story.  And really, that’s what matters.

LoraLeigh is an author of books that I’ve always seen on the shelves.  Just due to the typical alphabetical product placement that most bookstores employ, I would see her titles every time I was scanning the shelves for some of my (other) favorite authors (for example: Johanna Lindsay, Angela or Deidre Knight, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Linda Leal Miller and K.M. Moning!)  But for years, literally, I didn’t pick up any of her books. 

I have this weird thing where if I’m starting a series that already has several books published, even if they don’t have to be read in a particular order, I have to read them in the right order.  Or as close to the right order as possible.  For a while I would look at Lora’s books and think about getting them, but the first few from the series were just never available. Then last spring (this would have been Spring 2010) I finally picked up Megan’s Mark and Dawn’s Awakening when they showed up on the shelf, and forced myself to order Harmony’s Way.   And I haven’t regretted the decision once.

All of Lora’s books lean more into the realm of erotica than (nearly) all of the other novels that I have.  While my husband (and men/women all around the world) may joke that all romance novels are porn, or pornish (pornesque?), the extent to which her books are more explicit than I was used to, was almost something of a shock to me.  (Not a real shock, I am a happily married woman with three kids, and a semi-adventurous spirit, after all!)  But I’ve been known to skip over the intimate parts of novels on repeat readings because it’s not the sex that I read them for, it’s the HEA- happily-ever-after. 

So the explicit sexual scenes, which Lora frequently puts in her books, were different for me.   I’m not saying that those scenes made the books better or worse, or that all romance novels should have more explicit scenes, but for Lora Leigh and her Breed novels (and actually the Nauti, Elite Ops and the Bound Hearts series as well – which are three more of her series which I have found these types of scenes in.) these more explicit and frankly erotic scenes fit.  They fit with the stories, the men and women the stories are about, and Lora manages to write them with just the right touch! (pun intended!) 

But take this as a warning if you aren’t a reader who can enjoy these types of scenes – none of the Lora Leigh books that I have read to date, is anything but unapologetically sexual, from the tone she sets right off, to the personalities of her characters.  If you don’t like, or can’t handle, reading the nitty gritty of sexual interactions, don’t read these books.  They are awesome books, the stories and the characters that she portrays, whether were talking about her Breeds, the Nauti boys, or the members of her Elite Ops and Navy Seals series, are all amazing, rich and well worth the read.  Just beware.

That’s everything I have to say… And I guess it was more than just a little bit.  Oopps.  See you next time everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fanfiction Worth Reading

As I’ve mentioned before one of the things that I enjoy doing is reading and writing fanfiction stories.  One of the largest, though by no means the only FF-archive online, is FanFiction.net.  Here a fanfiction writer can publish and enjoy stories based on television shows, movies, books, cartoons, comics, games, anime and plays.  There are some truly superb writers, and of course there are some that are just bad, and when I’m lucky enough to come across stories by these writers I can’t try not to deny the impulse to point them out to others.   Which is the point today.

This author has written 43 stories for Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars.  The stories range from single chapter ‘one-shots’, to multi-chapter lengths.  Among the titles, my favorites include: The Sleep Fakers, Bathroom Monkey, What Happens When, Across the Pond, and Refuge. 

The newest releases, or posted, are 2 new one-shots for Gilmore Girls that is set several years after the series finally.  Amends gives readers and fans another avenue of approach for the rescue of the Rory and Logan relationship.  While Normal Is the Watchword is something of a sequel to Amends but is set several months after and features a not quite normal day between Rory and Logan after their reconciliation.  I’ve got to tell you that both of these stories are really good.  Unlike some, they don’t stray too far from the believable, nor do they venture away from the “feel” of Gilmore Girls that we loved on the show.  Like with the other titles this author has written Amends and Normal Is the Watchword will be added to my favorites list.

A random draw from my list of favorites gives you these stories/authors to check out and read:

Call and Answer  by citygrl  (a Gilmore Girls Trory-ship, post season 5)

Helping Rory by KRiSTiNEDAHLiNG  (a Gilmore Girls Rogan-ship, post season 5)

He Lied by Wildly Obsessed (a Gilmore Girls Trory friendship, approx season 1-2)

Life As We Know It by AnimalLuv (a Gilmore Girls Rogan-ship, AU/AR)

Choices by filesfreak4life (a One Tree Hill Leyton-ship, AU/AR)

Dark Chronicles by Idle-Daydreamer (a Carpathian story)

Dark Memory by LilithsShadowHounds (a Carpathian story)

Inner Eye by SMILES01 (a Dark-Hunter – Black Dagger Brotherhood crossover story)

Thanks everyone! It’s amazing to me how many really good writers there are out there just waiting to be discovered! I hope you’ll enjoy some of the reading that I’ve recommended and/or find something else that catches eye, holds your interest and manages to ensnare your imagination. 

Happy reading, happy writing and happy life!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Feehan's Dark Carpathians - Part 5

DARK LEGEND                             DARK GUARDIAN
Christine Feehan                            Christine Feehan
Book 8: Dark Series                       Book 9: Dark Series
ISBN: 0-8439-4952-X                    ISBN: 0-8439-4994-5

 For two thousand years they’ve stood side-by-side, anchoring each other to the world.  They’ve lived always in each other’s mind and fought always back-to-back.  In all the centuries of their existence there has never been another as powerful as them and this is no one who knows them as well as each other.  It is with this in mind that they make their vow – if one should succumb to the darkness in his soul, the other will hunt him and give him justice before he then seeks the dawn for himself.
“Don’t get any ideas, I’m just giving the devil his due.  All this time our people called you the angel of light and Lucian the dark angel.  I think they might have it backward.”
Gabriel has spent several centuries hunting his twin and in their last great battle he managed to surprise Lucian and locked them both within the earth for 200 years. Awakening to a much changed Paris, Gabriel is starving and his beast crouches close in wait of blood.  While terrified that Lucian has also risen, Gabriel is even more terrified of his own weakness, for he knows that he doesn’t have the strength within himself to maintain his honor.  Then Francesca slides into his life and upon realizing his dire straits, says the only phrase that could chain the beast. “I offer my life for yours as is my right.” And he is saved.
They do not come together gently and the path to their future happiness is not completely smooth.  He manipulates her body to hold her to this life and binds them without her full consent, but despite this she can do no other than respect him and need him.  And when he helps her to save Skyler (the traumatically abused psychic girl she’s introduced to at the hospital), Francesca can only love him too.
She supports Gabriel as best she can while he hunts the undead who have threatened her, and her city.  She soothes his pain as he must continue to hunt his twin.  And when the truth is revealed that Lucian had never turned vampire and had done only what he must to keep Gabriel safe, she gives them both a great gift – the knowledge that Lucian’s lifemate exists in the world at that time too.
It is with this hope in his mind that Lucian holds on to life and begins his search for the light to his dark soul.
“I would change what I am if I could – the dark angel of death, my people call me – but I am a hunter of the undead, and I fear I always will be.”
          Her wide eyes flashed with sudden anger.  “They call you that? ‘The dark angel of death’? How can they be so terrible when you’ve given them so much? What right do they have to judge you?”
Jaxon Montgomery has lived in hell nearly her entire life.  Everyone she’s ever loved, everyone she’s ever cared about, has been killed by her step-father.  Their only sin? They cared about her too. She knows she can never be close to anyone, yet when Lucian Daratrazanoff bursts into her life she feels drawn to him and oddly compelled to keep him close. 

She is nothing like what he had expected his lifemate would be. In his mind he’d envisioned a woman like those born to the Carpathian race: tall with dark hair and eyes. Yet Jaxon is a small, curvy firecracker and he loves her almost immediately.
She’s fiercely protective of everyone around her and when evidence suggests that her oldest enemy has come back in to the picture, she can’t help but want to protect Lucian too.  It doesn’t take long before she realizes that it’s not just monsters of the human variety that are drawn to her and she knows, at least subconsciously, that she’ll never stop protecting the world from any of them.  And she’ll do it at Lucian’s side.
Together they draw her stepfather and the undead away from their city.  Together they destroy the master vampire determined to capture her. And together they defeat her all-to-human demons.  After all that they know that nothing can stand in their way and that life just got a whole lot brighter.  For both of them.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Just Something Stupid I Saw

So this is just something stupid that I came across online today... Originally from the Tosh.O site.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Setting Things Up for Later

I’m supposed to be working on something else right now, that’s what the schedule says.  Yet every time I look at the schedule I start getting the jitters because I see that I have to have something ready for this site by Saturday… my own personal deadline for me.  I started thinking about what book reviews could go up, what TV premieres I could talk about and make predictions for, what fanfiction stories I’ve read recently that I think are good; just everything.  With a blog like this there really are so many directions that each individual post can go.  And so I started looking back at what I have done – specifically what projects I started and never got around to finishing here on the site.
To that end I discovered that my review series for Christine Feehan’s Dark series (Feehan’s Dark Carpathians) has been standing with only the first four parts completed for nearly two years… and that is just so NOT cool! So that is one thing that I will be picking up again now.  Look for Part 5 coming this weekend. 
For those of you who haven’t read the first four parts of this series click here and you’ll find yourself looking at those four posts from the past.  And if you want to look at the complete reading list for the Dark series by Christine Feehan, you can follow the permanent link to her official website that is displayed on the sidebar or you can click here. 
And you know what I discovered when I went digging in the past? Well I found myself clicking over to Christine’s website and discovered that the latest book in this series was released just yesterday! Dark Predator is the long awaited story about Zacarias De La Cruz, the oldest, darkest of the De La Cruz brothers, and the last of them to find the light to his darkness, his lifemate.  Can’t wait to read it!! [And even if I wait to fully review this story until its “proper” place in the review series, I will be letting you know what I thought of once I’ve finished it!]
Until then check out this book trailer (straight from Christine's website) for Dark Predator.
On that note – make sure you keep your eyes open for any new releases that you might like reviewed or discussed.  I try to check out the book stores online, author websites and other sources so that I know what’s coming up, what looks interesting, and what to put on my TBR pile but there are only so many hours in the day. 
Happy reading Darlings! (And that might have been a hint about an upcoming release that just had some info about the book released recently… Can you figure it out? If you can, you could win a prize!! *wink, wink*)
See you again soon!