jump to navigation

What do you think ‘Dead Ever After’ cover means?! October 20, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
Tags: , ,
5 comments

Here it is. The cover for the last book in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series. Charlaine Harris revealed the new cover earlier in the week to USA TODAY. The 13th and final book in the series will be published May 7.

When asked why she was ending the series, Harris told USA TODAY:

“I felt that I’d told the story I set out to tell. I thought continuing it, which I could have done, would have been a disservice to readers who have stuck with me this long.”

Thoughts on the cover? I think it is bright. The colors pop more than on any other cover. All of her friends are on it — her shifter friends. She’s looking back at them. For support? To bid farewell? Is that a sunrise or a sunset? I think Sookie is wearing a lot of red — Eric’s fave color. Is she following the bats or saying goodbye to them? Are the bats leading her  somewhere or fly off? And what the heck does a rose, tomato and purple daisy signify? I’ll have to look those up for another post, but if you have any thoughts on this — post below!!

Melissa Marr’s ‘Carnival of Souls’ intriguing read but rushed October 14, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Book picks.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

I’m a big fan of Melissa Marr’s books and so I couldn’t wait to read CARNIVAL OF SOULS, a tale that revolves around the mistrust and hatred between daimons and witches. It’s an intricate YA story — and it will hold your attention — but it’s not fully developed and Marr obviously has a sequel planned. Here’s the description from the book that’s posted online:

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures — if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father — and every other witch there — fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

Marr’s story focuses on Mallory,  the daughter of the daimon ruler Marchosias. But she doesn’t know she’s a daimon. She thinks she’s a human because her mother let a witch — Adam — raise her in the human/witch world. He teaches her how to fight. And to fear and hate daimons. (Why did her mother give her up? Most daimon babies don’t survive the rough city.)

But other daimons — from the daimon world — have been hired by Mallory’s biological father and his enemies to find her. Mallory’s daimon father says she was stolen from him and wants her back. In the daimon world — daughters are meant for one thing — making little daimons. One of the searchers is a lower caste daimon named Kaleb. He finds Mallory and befriends her in the human/witch world.

But there are other story lines going on in Marr’s richly created world of daimons and witches, and if you aren’t paying attention it is easy to get lost in the different characters. There is Aya — who lives in the daimon world and has decided that despite her high-class birth, she will fight in a deadly competition that will let her help rule the city if she wins. She’s the only female to have ever entered and she is pitted against her former betrothed — Belias. Belias can’t understand why Aya won’t marry him, why she feels she has to fight (she does have a good reason!)  or why she doesn’t want to “breed.” He truly loves her and wants to protect her. This in itself or Mallory’s story alone would have held my attention, too. But Marr packs in the plot lines.

On top of this story, we learn more of Kaleb — called a cur in the book — and his packmate Zevi. The two are tight and are like brothers. Zevi heals Kaleb after each battle. We also have the back story of Mallory’s foster Dad — Adam — and his all-powerful sibling Evelyn.

I loved the different characters Marrs creates in this story. And the two worlds are so different, especially the daimon world with all of its rigid class structures. You realize that they are going to be part of the sequel or sequels. But I found toward the end that everything was speeding together too fast in the story. The ending was cramped. Another zinger plot point is flung in near the end of the story and all of a sudden — BAM — you are on the last page with a gigantic thud.

I was a bit flabbergasted at the way Marr just ended the story. Without spoiling anything, you know where the next book will pick up. I know this is what authors do now — especially in YA. But it’s a total downer to be left standing out there — giant cliff hanger — with such an abrupt ending. Despite it all — I really liked this story and want to know more. I would just advise you to wait until the sequel is out before reading CARNIVAL because then you won’t have to wait to find out what happens next.

Kresley Cole’s ‘Poison Princess’ a dark, racy thriller for adults and YA October 8, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Book picks, Reviews/summaries.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

If you like Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for adults, you’re going to love POISON PRINCESS, her first   paranormal YA novel.

The story is dark — very dark — but Cole’s witty dialogue, creative new world and characters based on Tarot cards — the Arcana — and just the right amount of weird teen angst make this a page turner. Here’s Cole’s description from her website: (And scroll to the bottom to see YouTube video of her talking about the book!)

22 Arcana cards. 22 young assassins. May the best hand live.

Sixteen-year-old Evie Greene’s horrific hallucinations predicted the apocalypse, and the end of the world brought her all sorts of new powers. With the earth scorched and few survivors, Evie teams up with handsome and dangerous Jack Deveaux in a race to find answers. They discover that that an ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens have been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

Her heroine is Evie — a popular Southern belle in high school who is dating a hunky quarterback and who seemingly has the world wrapped around her finger. But when we meet Evie, we are not in her cheerful high school world — but  in a different world — one that’s been laid to waste by something called the “Flash” with loved ones killed. It’s a world where lawless groups  roam the countryside. Zombie-like creatures are everywhere. And it’s literally every man – -because most women died in the “Flash”  — for himself. But when the story opens, Evie is being lured into an old house by a young man named Arthur, who is exceptionally cruel and evil — and a total mystery.

And that’s how Cole tells her tale. She alternates between the sadistic Arthur  and Evie’s past until we are caught up at the end and back in Arthur’s house. We go back in time to find out that her idyllic teen life wasn’t so perfect because Evie had visions of the end of the world. Her mother put her in an institute for the summer because she was worried Evie would follow in her grandmother’s footsteps — insanity. Or what Evie’s mother thought was insanity.

As Evie struggles to mainstream her way back into school and with friends, she meets bad boy Jackson Deveaux, a Cajun from the wrong side of the tracks who is fascinated by Evie and what is haunting her. They tug at each other — both repulsed and yet attracted to each other at first. It’s a pretty intense and hot relationship — just right for this story.

Cole weaves in the story of Evie’s visions — the strange creatures she sees. A witch, Death, a girl who shoots arrows and a boy who beckons to her as a friend. Bloody battles from ancient wars.  Evie sees desolate landscapes, death and oddly enough — plants. Evie is called the Empress in these visions and later on after the “Flash” but she doesn’t understand who or what she really is. Without giving too much away, I will say that Cole has based her characters on Tarot — what she calls the Arcana — cards. In the end, the story and subsequent books in this series will amount to a sort of THE HUNGER GAMES among these card characters. But the relationships are more complicated in this frightening post-apocalyptic world.

And then there’s Jackson — who is dark and handsome and not part of the Arcana — at least that we know in this first book. He seems to want to protect Evie, who — fast forward into the world after the “Flash” — is determined to find her grandmother, who was put away somewhere in North Carolina. Evie is convinced her grandmother is still alive and can help her figure out what her role as Empress should be in this new world.

Suffice to say, Cole leaves us with a giant cliffhanger and it’s going to be a long wait between this book and the sequel. But if the second book is anything like the first, it will be well worth the wait.

KMM’s ‘Fever Moon’ has some interesting deets but characters look too old! September 23, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

I wasn’t going to buy Karen Marie Moning’s FEVER MOON because I’m just not a big fan of book series I’ve read being turned into graphic novels. But my friends over at SookieStackhouse.com liked the novel so I thought I’d read it.

I should have trusted my gut. Didn’t care for it. Here’s the book blurb:

In Fever Moon, we meet the most ancient and deadly Unseelie ever created, the Fear Dorcha. For eons, he’s traveled worlds with the Unseelie king, leaving behind him a path of mutilation and destruction. Now he’s hunting Dublin, and no one Mac loves is safe.

Dublin is a war zone. The walls between humans and Fae are down. A third of the world’s population is dead and chaos reigns. Imprisoned over half a million years ago, the Unseelie are free and each one Mac meets is worse than the last. Human weapons don’t stand a chance against them.

With a blood moon hanging low over the city, something dark and sinister begins to hunt the streets of Temple Bar, choosing its victims by targeting those closest to Mac. Armed only with the Spear of Destiny and Jericho Barrons, she must face her most terrifying enemy yet.

The cool thing about the novel is you get the back story on the Fear Dorcha. But that’s it for me. The rest is — as billed — a retelling of some events that occur during SHADOWFEVER. And that’s OK.

But my biggest complaint? The characters are — well — drawn way out of character. Both Mac and Dani look too old. Mac looks like she’s a hard-bitten 30-something. And Dani — who is supposed to be a teen — looks like a 20-something. And I know graphic novels like to sex things up but some of the outfits they put Mac into — they are not Mac. Oh — and big continuity problem in one chapter. Mac sets off going to Chester’s in a green dress — and then we switch to a flashback scene — but when we return to the present Chester’s scene, she’s not wearing the green dress. She’s wearing a red dress. Maybe I missed something but it’s more likely someone missed something in editing this?

As for Barrons? Not a thing like I pictured. He sort of looks Asian at times. I was perfectly happy with his monster appearance though! I thought Inspector Jayne was handsome and I didn’t think of him as good-looking in the novels.

The artwork isn’t bad. It’s just that most of the characters looked too harsh and hard bitten. Even the Fae who are supposed to look shiny and gorgeous look like oafs.

Not sure I’d recommend it. I suppose diehard fans will go out and read it anyway! I did. Maybe you’ll like it. (Of course — these graphic novels are super fast reads. A plus!)

Here’s hoping Dani’s story — ICED — which comes out Oct. 30 — will be a more satisfying read!

‘Dragon Bound’ is for those who like their paranormal romance by the book September 16, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

I was excited to read DRAGON BOUND by Thea Harrison because it won top honors from RITA for best paranormal romance. And if you like the formulaic alpha male stuff — complete with sex scenes —  this book is for you. If not, there is enough world building to keep it interesting. But I was surprised it was the top pick.

Harrison starts out with a good idea. Pia Giovanni is running for her life. Her ex-boyfriend blackmailed her into stealing something from Dragos, a very powerful dragon. We don’t know exactly what Pia is other than she is half-human/half-wyr. And we know she is some sort of special supernatural because her mother — who died — taught her to hide her magic.  This part of the story and the friends in her supernatural world she half lives in — is interesting.

And  then we meet the mighty hero — Dragos, who is a powerful, ancient and rare dragon shifter. He is a big-time businessman in his world, too, so no one messes around with him. So he’s horribly ticked off when Pia steals something — and gets away with it — from his stash of goodies. What ensues is a cat-and-mouse game between the two.

Dragos finds Pia fascinating with her human world of Slurpees and Twizzlers. And Pia falls for the big, powerful Dragos. It definitely will remind you of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. The hero is super possessive with all of this “mine” stuff and the heroine — while somewhat independent — can’t help but be attracted to him. Still — she has no clue about her own powers, which Dragos eventually helps her discover.

In the background of this story is a bigger plot. A power struggle between  a dark fae king and the world of Dragos. And the poor humans who have no clue what is going on.

If Harrison develops these other worlds and power struggles — this could be a cool series. But can we please make the characters have a sense of humor? The caveman hero stuff wears thin. But the discovery of other supernatural characters, their allegiances and Pia’s background made this an easy read.

Latest ‘Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2’ trailer …. September 10, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
Tags:
1 comment so far

Here is part 2 of the latestTwilight” trailer. Movie is out Nov. 16. (There is a rambling review at the end of this which some folks might find amusing. But you can watch the video clip first and skip the talking, talking, talking at the end!) But for TwiHard fans this clip looks interesting.

‘Take It Like a Vamp’ — an OK afternoon read but hero is sooooo indecisive …. September 10, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Reviews/summaries, Vampires.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

On a whim, I downloaded Candace HavensTAKE IT LIKE A VAMP because I’d heard good things about the story. It’s a fast afternoon read and if you like the sexy vampire guy meets human girl and wants to protect her story, then this is for you. Here’s the book blurb:

“Vampire Nick Christos might’ve been born in the Middle Ages, but the good old days seem tame compared to the last eight years he’s spent ruling the Supernatural Council. His only respite is with his cute neighbor Casey Meyers, a woman he wants more than any undead man should. Sure, he’s forced to take a cold shower after every encounter, but there’s no way he’ll test his own strength by getting too close to a human, and he’s not willing to risk her life — not with bloodthirsty family on the prowl out to ruin Nick’s life.

When said Nick’s kin shows up, the innocent Casey is caught in the middle of a centuries old fight, and Nick’s biggest fear is realized. Now, instead of keeping his hands off his neighbor, he’ll risk everything to save the human he’s come to love.”

So Nick the vampire and Casey — who thinks she’s too plump — are neighbors in a condo that he owns. They’re best friends, although both are secretly in love with each other. That part of the story is cute and fun. She thinks Nick is out of her league, and Nick is worried about scaring Casey off. The friendship deepens though as Nick — who is high up on a supernatural council — has to get married. His big problem? He hasn’t told Casey he’s a vampire and he’s got a lot of enemies, including a nasty witch who wants Nick to herself, after him.

And that’s my biggest issue with the book. A lot of time is spent about Nick worrying about telling Casey what he is and why he needs to marry her. It’s totally annoying. I wanted to yell at him — just tell her and stop dragging her around and pulling her into danger! And I also got tired of the heroine who is insecure about her body. In this case, Casey says she has a little pouch instead of a flat belly. I’m guessing this is to appeal to all of us women out there without model bodies but I am sooooo tired of this formula. She’s way too insecure. Of course, Nick and his other supernatural buddies think she’s gorgeous. We so didn’t need to get into women’s bodies issues. (Notice the men never have body issues but I guess the book publishers know their female audience!)

That said, there were some really funny moments in the story. Casey has some good lines — like this: “It’s sad when your best friend makes your panties melt.” And the other characters are entertaining: Her Aunt “Teddy” who used to be a guy is pretty amusing and and Nick’s friend Linc, who is a clothing designer but 100 percent straight and hot. (I’m guessing Havens will write more about these other characters.) Havens also drops in references to current vampire books/movies like TWILIGHT and TRUE BLOOD.

The pace of the story is fast. And that’s what makes it an OK afternoon read despite some of the flaws I found annoying. When I got to the end — I almost wanted an epilogue or something. It just stopped so abruptly. Maybe she’ll write more. But if she does, I hope she sharpens up some of the characters a bit to make this is more of a top-notch read. If you’re looking for a more complex, witty story — like Kresley Cole or Patricia Briggs — totally skip this. But if you enjoy the occasional light stuff, you might like this.

Hugo Award winners announced …. any of your faves on here? September 3, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, announced the 2012 Hugo Award winners on Sept. 2 in Chicago. Here’s the list:

BEST NOVEL
Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)

Description from Amazon.com

Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled–and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off…

BEST NOVELLA
“The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s, September/October 2011)
You can read some of the novella at the link above. Johnson’s story is about an alien planet and the humans who try to tame it.

BEST NOVELETTE
“Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com)

Description from Amazon.com:

Doug and Judy have both had a secret power all their life. Judy can see every possible future, branching out from each moment like infinite trees. Doug can also see the future, but for him, it’s a single, locked-in, inexorable sequence of foreordained events. They can’t both be right, but over and over again, they are. Obviously these are the last two people in the world who should date. So, naturally, they do.

BEST SHORT STORY
“The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2011)

Above is the link to Liu’s PDF of the short story — which is about 15 pages. It’s been called a gentle fantasy and is about culture clash, love, paper tigers and a mail-order bride.

BEST RELATED WORK
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls, and Graham Sleight (Gollancz)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY
Digger by Ursula Vernon (Sofawolf Press)
Digger is the story about a wombat. Link takes you to author’s site.

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM
Game of Thrones (Season 1) (HBO)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM
“The Doctor’s Wife” (Doctor Who) (BBC Wales)

BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM
Sheila Williams
She is the editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine.

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM
Betsy Wollheim
Runs DAWS books

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
John Picacio
He is the artist of the “A Song of Fire and Ice” calendar. Here is my interview with him at Comic-Con 2011.

BEST SEMIPROZINE
Locus, edited by Liza Groen Trombi, Kirsten Gong-Wong, et al.

BEST FANZINE
SF Signal, edited by John DeNardo

BEST FAN WRITER
Jim C. Hines

BEST FAN ARTIST
Maurine Starkey

BEST FANCAST
SF Squeecast, Lynne M. Thomas, Seanan McGuire, Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, and Catherynne M. Valente

 

True Blood season No. 5 finale — love it or hate it? August 26, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, HBO, News.
Tags: , , , , ,
2 comments

Loved parts of it and totally hated other scenes. The worst? That birthing scene. Totally annoying. The best? Bill. What the heck is he now? And who looks like the hero? Eric. The storyline on the HBO show is so different from the books that I can’t even begin to think where they are going to take this in Season No. 6, especially because before that season begins, we’ll already have Charlaine Harris’ ending to her series.

Some links to good recaps/commentary of the finale:

EOnline.com:  Bill’s Religious Fanaticism Explodes

WSJ’s recap from SpeakEasy blog

TVLine.com: Tales from the Dark Side

And here is the bonus scene from the finale that was on HBO GO on the iPad app. Note what is said at the end!

Cat sings ‘Game of Thrones’ theme song August 22, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment.
Tags: ,
2 comments

I realize this doesn’t fall into the traditional realm of my blog but so many of my friends on here watch the HBO Game of Thrones series so I am sharing this link — first seen on Jezebel but available on YouTube — with you! Totally made me laugh! What about you?

%d bloggers like this: