Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fools Gold A cottonmouth Novel Book 2 WRitten by: Jennifer Skully

Hello there readers, well it seems like this book took me forever to read, in fact I read War and Peace in less time than I read this book. It is sad because I loved the first book in this series titled she's got to be mine. But, where the first book in this series was bizzare, delightful, and wholly fun, this one had a lot of the other books ingrediants, but somehow they didn't mix as well as the previous book. This book, well it felt very, forced, and just didn't develop naturally. We met Sheriff Tyler Braxton in the previous novel and now he's back and in a new town called Goldstone in Nevada, and this is by no means a vacation getaway, but that's what Brax needs, a place to get away. After what happened in the first book, Brax is feeling out of sorts and not fully trusting himself or his sense of judgment, and this his sister voices her concerns and need for help, and so Brax decides instead of relaxing he must now officer advice to his sister, him, a divorcee who failed miserably with a certain red head. Plus, it seems ol' Brax has to start his own investigation on his sister's behalf and see if his brother-in-law is having an affair with the local erotic author or perhaps one of the "chickens?" (Don't worry, not the animal "cluck, cluck" chickens) But, back to this local erotic author... Simone Chandler has found her home her haven in Goldstone. Simone loves this foresaken town and its lovable but kinda odd residents. Her internet business writing made to order erotic fantasies is quite lucrative and some of her best clients are in Goldstone and her friends. Now, a problem, the hunky sheriff from out of town, he's leaving soon and it seems Simone finds herself drawn to Brax, and Brax it seems is drawn to her. However, Brax is torn between being drawn to the beautiful Simone because he wants her in a passionate way a lover wants, and he's torn wondering if Simone is not only writing stories for his brother-in-law, but actin gthem out with him too. The romance is okay I guess, it's fairly normal, at least in a semi erotic story involving a soon to be murder, but it is also a bit silly and almost text book playground at times. Then of course, if a possible cheating husband, and possible future lover cheating with said husband wasn't dramatic enough... MURDER! Yup, murder comes to the quiet town of Goldstone, and Brax is suddenly hip deep in small town secrets with sexy Simone Chandler at the top of his suspect list. So, what's Brax to do? Follow his hormones and feelings for Simone, or... follow what he's been taught as an upholder of the law? There are some interesting characters and scenes in this story that's for sure, but it's all kinda just head spin inducing. Again, readers, I loved the first book, heck I foresake sleep one night just to finish the tale, but this was kind of well flat as I said, not a bad book exactly, but not really an engaging read either. An okay read to pick up when you had nothing exactly better to do and wanted some amusement.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hunted Book Six of the Iron Druid Chronicles Written by: Kevin Hearne

Well hello there readers, and what a pretty day it is here in New England, just don't go outside and be blown away, I mean it dang... Ah well, better than gloomy, I needed some sunshine, especially since I was about to bawl my eyes out yesterday when I was listening to book six in the Iron Druid Chronicles, which definitely had a lot to live up to with the ending Hearne gave us in the last book. We know Atticus O'Sullivan The Iron Druid is quite good at surviving and running, he has to be since he's been hunted and survived for Two Thousand years, but now he's running again. Artemis and Diana are after; Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon, and so now this trio is making a frantic run across Europe because all of the "ways" to Plain shift have been blocked for them. As if running from two Huntress Goddesses who can't die isn't enough of a problem, Loki of the Norse Gods is out to end Atticus's life so he can begin Ragnarok. Oh, and it seems there are bets being played to see just who will survive and certain rules to this Hunt. So, it would seem the Druids' and Dog's plan is to run like hell and seek a friend among the Tuatha De Danann. Readers, this is not a book for those of you who are looking to only laugh, pardon the expression, but...Shit just got real. I mean, I was listening to this book once more, because Luke Daniels is such an amazing voice actor and I've come to associate him with this series that I could not possibly enjoy this book without his vocal talents. So, to hear what the first few chapters offer in this tale, to hear the raw emotion in Daniel's voice, well... I admit it I gasped in shock and almost jumped out of my office chair. The way Hearne writes just impacted me emotionally and made me shake my head in disbelief because, well... did he really have to do that? Well, prepare to be shocked and brought to tears multiple times in this story. Atticus and Granuaile are what stands between the Apocalypse and they need the help of multiple pantheons and their realms inhabitants. Sure, they might be able to outfox the Huntresses, but what happens if there's no world to live in? The stakes are rising and there's a lot of shady back deals going on in this book, and you're never quite sure who really is friend and who is foe... emotions will run wild and truths will come out, and sadly too late. Hearne throws us a "bone" in the end though readers, and I think it helps to deaden the pain he inflicted upon us earlier in the book, but still for every End there is a new beginning right? But, can there be a new beginning if Ragnarok comes about? I highly enjoyed this book, it was a quick listen with a lot of verbal banter, good jibes among friends, and what I love about Hearn'es book the perfect blending of ancient and modern mythos and pop culture.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Clash of Kings, Book 2 in the Game of Thrones Series Written by: George R.R. Martin

Why hello there fellow book enthusiasts, I hope you're all enjoying your multiple worlds, universes, and cast of characters. I know I am. I knew what I was getting into when I started listening to these Audio books, and really I find myself not listening to my usual podcasts, NPR radio stations, or even reading tangible books during my lunch hour... granted I'm knitting more and even running more just because I find myself unable to stop listening to this past book A Clash of Kings. A Clash of Kings picks up right where A Game of Thrones ended. We have a lot of the old characters minus one or two due to events in the first book, but the cast is growing even with all the wars and death the Houses and their people it seems have an immeasurable amount of people. The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are plagued by multiple kings and war has broken out all over as neighbor betrays neighbor and brothers fight under different banners. King Joffrey is a coward and a cruel king, more of a boy who rips the wings off of spiders than any king. Robb Stark has been declared King of the North and has his trusty wolf Grey Wind by his side, and it seems Robb draws more than just comfort from his Dire wolf. Stanis and Renly Baratheon, the previous kings surviving brothers claim blood right to the throne over Joffrey, but each will not support the other. Then there is another a harsher older man who wishes to be king, one who would take the throne by blood and Iron. This civil war is just chaotic especially since Winter Is Coming. Meanwhile Daenerys Targaryen the Exiled heir to the Seven kingdom's and Mother of Dragons is marching forward and trying to gather followers. Additionally the Night's watch has mounted a reconnaissance mission in order to go further North of the Wall in order to investigate the mysterious people known as wildlings. All of these stories readers it seems are warning us that there is yet a terrible disaster to come. Will the warring Kings come to senses and realize what the Night Watch is telling them? Good people are dying and being taken advantage of one and sold at the whim of whoever is around to be cruel. Will the Iron Thrown be claimed by another house other than the Golden Lions? Death is everywhere readers and if you love a character it might be best to love them from afar and to steel your heart, because no one is safe and no allegiances it seems will withstand the chaos of War and the puppeteers behind it. Also, pay attention, because though a character might seem small or put off to the side there are certain things here that say You will be important, maybe not for long, but you are just may be needed to further this tale. I have to just say I absolutely Love the Onion Knight, he is written just so cool, and his tale is one that I respect, he is just so cool. Sorry had to have a Squee moment over him and his pouch of fingers. Though, there are some light moments in these grim ones and it seems the World realizes the evil that has entered it once more, it is subtle, but magic’s that have not been seen in a hundred years are awakening it began in the first book and now continues to grow, and though not everyone is noticing those few that are taking notice are using it to their advantage and donning the cloaks of old. And some are using that magic it seems to exploit the people to their cause and to kill the old ways... tricky when power is given, you never know what that person will do with it. You can feel the change readers and sense perhaps the Old Gods are creeping ever so slightly forward. Even the Men on the Wall have their taste of magic and know the Darkness must be kept back. An amazingly awesome book readers, once more Roy Dotrice gifts of with his voice acting skills and brings an incredible charm to his characters and with such a large cast does a great job of giving everyone their own special voice even if it is subtle you know who is who when they speak because of this voice actor. The show leaves out so much and changes time events that these books really enlighten us as the readers to the magnificent world George R.R. Martin has created, and I just can't wait to start book three!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire Written by: George R.R. Martin

Hola readers, well, finally! I've been dreading actually the Game of Thrones series, because I knew once I began this journey there was no going back, and I would be forced to continue until the very end. I admit I started with the show first, but my friends got me hooked, and a few others whom I consider great friends convinced me I needed to read the series to really appreciate the show, and well... they were RIGHT! I will try to not have the show taint my review, but even though this book was narrated by one sole narrator and a rather talented one at that. Roy Dotrice was the man who helped bring this book to life for me, alas reading books as of late has become more difficult and these audio books are allowing me to keep the written word in my life. Dotrice had a gruff voice when it was needed, an Aristocratic air, and a haughty tenor when the character and scene called for it. This voice actor was quite impressive and had me wondering if he were an old man or a young man able to play the young man? Though, even though I was hearing Dotrice I could also hear and see the shows actors and hear their voices and they blended perfectly. George R.R. Martin has created quite the world that seems to be plucked from one of man's possible pasts or even their futures, and yet it is wholly separate and Alien. This world is one ruled by Kings, Knights, Lords, Ladies, and each having their own holdings, keeps, castles, and lands that each protects fiercely. Then we have the High One True King a usurper in fact, but don't let him or those who follow him hear you say that, because better a Usurper than a Mad king of old eh? There is a lot going on in this book with there being a huge cast of characters spanning entire continents and it seems we are only going to focus on several Noble Houses whom shall lie, cheat, and create a civil war as they battle for the Iron seat of power. And, let me restate this, there are A LOT of Characters, I mean my gosh! I had to reference the web a few times to remember who was who at times. Meanwhile there is an exiled Prince and Princess whom are trying to find their places back into power one is quite mad the other barely a person having been so poorly used by the other. Add a dash of supernatural with ancient blood magic, Dragon ancestors, premonitions, and a foe so evil it once banded the world together to fight and is lurking it seems once more and being stealthy in its growth. It could be said that this threat is awakening the "magic" of old that has not been witnessed in generations and is taken for tales only now, were it not for the Dragon Skulls, a Wall so high it is said to be the End of the World, and the ever diligent Nights Watch, standing guard of the people of this Realm might just consider their past one of made up stories and legends. This tale is one for both the young, middle aged, and old each will have their moment and each will have their lessons and time to grow. This is not a happy tale readers, there are a lot of mature topics and a lot of terrible and horrific things occur and no one is safe. Rape, murder, incest, betrayal, are just a few of the topics and instances that occur in this book, there's a lot more where that came from, and Martin makes them so woven into his story you begin to realize this is the World and where it is not exactly acceptable in this Seven Kingdom Realm it isn't exactly not unacceptable... depends really. There are houses that are clearly more noble than others, and if you love a character remember to steel your heart, because no one is safe in this Game of Thrones. This is a game for keeps, and enemies should be swiftly dealt with, and a weathered eye kept on possible enemies. I am being vague intentionally simply because readers Martin really does knit together quite a complex and vivid story that he clearly has a plan and knows where he intends to end up. Though, I cannot say exactly where that end may occur. I have a few favorites in these books readers and I know what will happen at least until the most current episode of Game of Thrones, but that did by no means keep me from being completely engrossed and even at times surprised by this book and there are quite a few details left out of the show that make the book even more precious and worth the read. A marvelous tale and one that can capture any aged or gendered reader at anytime and keep their attention.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Sandman Written by: Neil Gaiman

Why hello there readers, the Endless, what a concept huh? The endless, that is something that is hard to come by in our realm, in our world, and in our lives. I am somewhat meloncoly at the moment, first I would like to take a moment to remember a wonderful man I had the joy of being able to call family. Al, he was a very upstanding guy, but had a similiar stubborn sense of humor I enjoyed greatly, he will be missed. It is amusing that I finished the Sandman series on the day he was buried, a fitting end to this series to end with a wake and funeral. Neil Gaiman, he is a wonderful writer, I've always enjoyed his works, and Sandman was my first introduction to Mr. Gaiman the series ran from 1989 and ended in 1996, I didn't read this series until I was 12 a bit after the series had ended, but I was well acquainted with many of the characters and a few of the worlds, realms, and tales Gaiman brought to his series, so it was as if I were introduced to this supernatural world having been exposed to so many tales already, and here I am closer to 20 years later reading this series once more, and it was as if I had forgotten how influenced I was by this series and Mr. Gaiman. Before I continue reviewing this series I would like to also acknowledge the amazing artists Dave McKean, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Kelley Jones, Jill Thompson, Marc Hempel, Michael Zulli, Charles Vess, if I have missed some I hope you read the series for yourselves so you can really appreicate their talents. And, of course the inkers, letters, and colorists who gave the artists and Gaiman's art and words such depth. They are Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Steve Parkhouse, Charles Vess, P. Craig Russell, George Pratt, Dick Giordano, Stan Woch, Shawn McManus, Vince Locke, John Watkiss, Alec Stevens, Mark Buckingham, Michael Allred, Steve Leialoha, Tony Harris, Marc Hempel, D'Israeli, Glyn Dillon, Teddy Kristiansen, Richard Case, Michael Zulli, Jon J Muth, Kent Williams, Kevin Nowlan, Todd Klein, John Costanza, Robbie Busch, Steve Oliff, Danny Vozzo, Lovern Kindzierski / Digital Chameleon, Jon J Muth, Sherilyn van Valkenburgh, and ofcourse the other creators Mark Dringenberg, and Sam Kieth. Instead of reviewing this series by issue or even by volume I have decided to review it in its entirety simply because it all flows so well together from beginning to end the plot it seems is all woven even by the minute events or sentences all events lead to one final ending, and ending where there are the Endless. The series introduces us to several characters and all though I was familiar with, the concept of these "family" these... "Endless" was wholly unique to me. The series follows one of these Endless quite closely he is known as Dream and at a great part of the time Morpheus, and in the beginning Dream is captured, and is taught that perhaps even though one is constant ever going that perhaps sometimes change is inevitable even if you do not realize you yourself are changing. Dream is one of the Seven Endless, the others his "brothers and sisters" are Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium who was once Delight, and there is a final brother one who I won't name, because that would spoil that story, but I'll give you readers a hint, his name starts with a "D." The endless are basically anthropomorphic personifications of their given titles and duties. Dream, having been captured for quite a number of years is freed finally in "present day" and goes about seeking vegence upon his captors and seeks to rebuild his kingdom, the Dreaming. The series brings in classical heros and villians and old tales and mythologies from the Christian, Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Irish, etc... though the main story arch takes primarily in the Dreaming and our "Waking world." The tales themselves span of billions of years and jump from past to present almost seamlessly and paints Dream as quite the Tragic Hero. We the readers are taken at times to other realms and witness other characters tales, but read and watch carefully readers because Gaiman it seems knew just where his series was going to go from the very beginning. This started off as a DC publication, but eventually ended at Vertigo and consequently a few DC characters appear throughout the series, but not nearly as much as in the beginning of the series and the very end of the series. The series will definetely not be for those who cannot appreciate a good death joke or those who are easily squeemish. There are many classic lessons that almost beg for us to say at the end of their telling, "And, the moral of the story children?" But, sometimes bad things just happen and even if we the readers don't believe in the old, new, Gods, Fei, etc... or even the Endless, Gaiman through his writing teaches us that just because you don't believe it, doesn't mean they don't believe in you. If you like dark tales and are not afraid to pick up a series that will hold you captive and cause you to weep and churn your stomach and mess with your mental health, then Sandman is series for you. I loved this world and all of its inhabitants when I was just exiting my childhood and love it even more now, and it for me readers remains, Endless.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Nature Girl Written by: Carl Hiassen

Allo, fellow book readers. I think I am now like one of those people who shamelessly buy the grocery store or newsstand tabloids, you know they're trash and full of complete nonsense, but you just cannot stop yourself from reading the highly dramatic mess that seems to hang around certain celebrities and at times political figures, what am I getting at? Well, I just could not help myself from picking up another Carl Hiassen book, and guess what? We're in Florida again! I just cannot help myself! Maybe it's because I have a bit of island fever at the moment and wish I were somewhere tropical and when I listen to a Hiassen book it makes me think... maybe I'm better off here in New England. This is Hiassen's 11th novel and is a bit more modern compared to his previous books which makes sense since those book were significantly older and things have changed slightly. But, it seems Florida just continues to attract and create its own special variety of loon. This book had quite the diverse cast of screwballs. The female lead Honey Santana is clearly not right in the head, but she means well and is looking to educate the world about the pollution issues and their own toxic emotional issues; Boyd Shreave, a telemarketer who is just a slime ball, just an utter slime ball, Boyd's mistress and co-worker Eugenie Fonda; quite the looker and previously famous mistress (famous as she had a book published about the affair that had a man kill to be with her.), Sammy Tigertail, a half Seminole, who gives us our first dead body of the novel has quite a bit of baggage, and now that baggage includes having a white man die on him of a heart attack and having to get rid of that body. Honey, she brings this cast together she's our lynch pin. Honey cooks up quite the plan in order to punish Boyd for nasty comments he made during his phone solicitation to her. Her plan ends up involving her 12 year old son Fry, and her ex-husband in a dark comic tale that though I did not find as educational or compelling as previous novels manages to make you shake your head laugh at inappropriate moments and just make you want to know just how will this conclude? This book was narrated by Lee Adams, I've had the pleasure of listening to book done by Adams before and I just love her voice, she's just so wonderful at doing archetype voices and for whatever reason I love her male voices they just make me happy. I loathe her valley girl voice though, it is amusing, but so spot on it makes me grit my teeth whenever I hear it, but considering the character Hiassen created Adam's valley girl voice is oh so perfect for this role. I did laugh quite a few times, this book was just so out there nuts, but the characters were oh so real and that made me just feel icky like when you have too much sugar and you have that film on your teeth and only a good brushing will fix that odd and slightly unpleasant feeling, but you'll go back and have sugar again.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Leftovers Written by: Tom Perrotta

Hi there readers, well new month, I fell a little short last month compared to the past few months, but... c'mon been buuuusy. Though, it felt good to get back into reading towards the end of March and now into April. I saw this book and thought huh, interesting... The cover was what intrigued me, I thought is this a book about bad cooking? Then I read the jacket... and I asked myself hm... what if "Whoose right now, with no explanation a number of us simply vanished?" What would I do? Okay... continuing "Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?" Well, I don't know if people vanishing would change the entire world upside down, but okay yeah I get what you're getting at... continued reading and decided, yup I've got to read this. Mostly because I love how many apocolypses I've apparently survived in my lifetime Y2K, Mayan, and who knows how many other Christian prophecies have supposedly been deemed upon us, oh and of course Ragnarok is going on now... so what would happen? I chose to listen to this book, and I have to say I was not disappointed in the voice actor this book was narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris his voice is somehow soothing and not at all shrill or overly dynamic, his reading was just smooth and brought you along the tale his voice changing subtly from character to character, but not too much and so he continues with his very relaxing tone an all American type of voice that lacks an accent but somehow comes off as American and well rounded average guy. Perhaps he's not what I imagined, but his voice definitely suited this book. The big scene for this tale is little town called Mapleton whose citizens have lost many of their neighbors, friends, and loved ones in the unknown event known to the world as the "sudden departure." These citizens are trying to go on and figure out what they should do to exactly make that happen. Nothing though, since the sudden departure has been the same. Kevin Garvey, Mapleton's new mayor is trying to speed up this healing process and to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin though can't even stop his own family from falling apart; his wife, Laurie has left him and their children to join a silent cult known as the Guilty Remnant; his son, Tom is gone too, he's dropped out of college and follows a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. And his daughter, well she's home, but Kevin doesn't really recognize his baby girl anymore. There's a few others we follow in this tale who all are connected to Kevin and his family in some way, and readers... if the rapture had occurred I wonder, would we have all went as Looney as a lot of these people went? It is odd, because the world really didn't change just the millions of people vanishing changed those left behind, but the world did not change, and yet people abandoned their jobs, their families, and decide what's the point? Some people decide they only have seven years until judgment so they should party as hard as possible, and others decide they should be religious and triple their pious lives. But, no one knows what's right, because so many can't figure out what happened, because readers... the great departed it seems could have been anyone. I don't know if I really liked this book, it was entertaining, but the characters did not feel real to me, they felt like reflections as if they were just reactions moving forward rather than real people. The book jumped forward into time it seemed abruptly as if the author thought he had completed one thought and now it was time to just move on. The ending too just kind of ends. So, an interesting book, amusing, and raises some interesting questions, but was just a little flat for me.