Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
So, I picked up a lot of Urban Fantasy/Paranoramal Romance that I otherwise might have stayed away from, and this is one of the ones that makes me glad I did. Stolidly written, with decent characterization and a strong plot. That having been said, you can see the plot coming from approximately a mile off and some of the “romance” elements are a bit off putting. But I liked the Tiki bar angle, and the writing was really crisp and enjoyable, so overall a good first effort who’s sequel I will pick up at cover price *Note demerits for use of word *magick*
Swamplandia Karen Russell
I’m not gonna be the tipping point if you’ve decided against it, but this book really is worth the hype. It’s odd, endearing but not cloying, and disgustingly well written. I picked it up because a few years ago I fell in love with St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, and am super happy to see the author get some respect and sales. Yea sales!
Dead on the Delta by Stacy Jay
This is a twist book that actually is a new twist. Evil mutant pixies rewrote the south after chewing on the polluted sewage. The pixie bites kill 99.9% of humans, so town’s barricaded themselves behind iron gates and only send out people who are immune or in iron hazmat suits. The writing is assured and the plot moves briskly, but there are some flaws (more like mosquito bites than fairy though.) One: the drinking problem. Bleech. I feel likes it’s forced too far too fast. No! She drinks! Becomes Whoa, she drinks like a fish! Becomes Dude, this girl has no self control. And I worry that forthcoming books will either rug sweep this or play it up the whole 12 steps. Yoinks. Two: yet again, the plot is SUPER obvious. But why does it still get a B? Because I like the risks of character and setting, and I like how fast it moved, and I liked that while it was close, no characters had awkward sex in a way that seemed forced or boring. I cannot believe I am championing LESS sex. Yeesh.
The Gates by John Connolly
This is a great book. It isn’t Good Omens. Well written, fast paced, and deceptively simple, I read it quickly and I felt satisfied after. If you haven’t read Good Omens, it’s probably an A. But I have, and despite a number of legitimate differences, every other chapter I kept thinking of Good Omens. And Terry Prachett. Because there are footnotes, and physics, and funny business, and demons, and small boys. No, all British humour does not remind me of Terry Prachett, though I will often think “Would’ve been better if Terry had written this.” People are marketing this in the kid’s section. I would’ve loved this as a kid. Which almost always means that small children shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near it.
Grave Dance by Kalayna Price
This is the second book of the series, and as always, get the first one first silly people. I like this series. And I’m so over necromancers, and witches and crap. But still. Likes it. The writing is top notch, the characters are fun and believable and—holy crap—it actually passes the Bechdel test. Who knew Paranormal Romance could DO that? This is fab poolside reading, unless you’re me and drop the first book into the pool, and read the second when it’s so hot that the glue in the spine melts and the pages spill out. No, that’s not an exaggeration. It was 109. Ironically, while this series fails my sex in the first book irritation test, it passes so well in the second that it makes up for it.
Dark Descendant by Jenna Black
This is a harsh grade. Honestly, it’s maybe not that bad. Hell, I may even pick up the next one at the used bookstore. But. Butbutbut. The writing is pretty descent, the plot mostly solid. But I am so MOTHERFUCKING tired of gratuitous violence being passed off as gritty reality. These two concepts, while not mutually exclusive, are also not the same thing. Yep, life can be hard and mean, whatever, some books just twist up excuses to damage side characters, walk-ons, and low level villains for the shock value. Saw 1-1,000, I’m looking at you. In the end, this means that I’m irritated with lead and don’t give a flying leap about the villain. He’s evil, I’m sure, but who cares, shoot him in the face with a sniper rifle and move on already. So, if you don’t mind gore/violence/beatings for no good purpose or the omnipresent threat of rape, this might be up your ally.
License to Ensorsell by Katharine Kerr
I’ve got . . . nothing. I started skipping large chunks of this. Chalk full of utterly useless acronyms, pointless faux-military jargon, and new age sounding bullshit, this book is burdened with irritating leads, silly plot twists, and extraneous villains. Not extraneous as in extra, but as in unneeded and pretty useless. I’m not even sure the author knows why he’s/they’re there. An excuse to blab off more random Catholic saints and drive around San Francisco? Who knows. And the writing is stilted, stupid, and utterly unbelievable, just like the characters. If you want Bay area high jinx, try Seanan McQuire’s Toby Day books (which are AWESOME;) if you want harder, more NCIS meets the supernatural try Jes Battis’s Infernal Affairs books or Harry Conolly’s Twenty Places novels. But don’t waste your money on this. And, insult to injury, this nowhere NEAR the author’s first book. WTF author?
The Stuff of Legend by Mike Raicht & Brian Smith
This sale has been good to my comics collection. I picked up one of the Fables books I was missing, The Black Dossier, Tragic Home, and THIS. I’d been putting this off because it came out right around the time as Tim Lebbon’s Theif of Broken Toys and Brom’s The Child Thief, and I was like, what the heck, it’s a deluge of creepy childhood things. Now my only regret is that it’s the start of a darn series and I will have to buy more. Because it’s creepy, tragic, moving and mind blowing. It’s wonderful. It’s also occasionally lock yourself in a closet to cry/panic worthy, but still. I’d say better than the Lebbon and at least as good as the Brom. (I know others didn’t love that book, but it severely eeped me out.)
James Jean’s Kindling
OMG I love James Jean. I am now in the process of framing them. 2 for me, 1 for your Christmas gift, 2 more for me, 1 for your birthday present, 2 more for me . . . you get the idea. They make great gifts, but I want to keep them ALL FOR ME! Muahahaha.
*A note on Grading: on my Scale A=I might buy the hardback; B=pay cover price; C=get it used or from the bargain bin; D=used if you’re in to self flagellation; F=what, are you stupid?