Friday, August 29, 2014

Welcome to Hell by Demelza Carlton

Hell: The Offices of Heath, Environment, Life and Lands Corporation. Run by Lucifer, it is working on consolidating the power of government services under its wing, so to speak. Raphael needs an agent inside and Mel is his second choice. His first choice didn’t come back. Armed with Angel wings and her lucky bra, Mel faces down Lilith and a pair of demons only to run into Lucifer, er, Luce Iblis, literally on the way out.

Welcome to Hell is a short story that sets the stage for Carlton’s first book in the series, Mel Goes to Hell. Lucifer has escaped the pit and he’s taking on the modern world of business. This is a funny blend of the worlds of reality, myth, and the paranormal. Light in tone, funny, and just a tad bit racy.

This is a short story preview for her Welcome to Hell series. How many times have you said, "I'm working for Satan"? Well, Mel is. Angels and Demons bring the war in heaven to our plane, and get sucked into the nine to five right along with us in the process. It's great fun.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Zsadist was held captive for a hundred years, used as a blood slave, tortured and sexually abused. A hundred years have passed and still he can’t stand to be touched, won’t eat food that might have been laced with morphine - the drug used to sedate him while he was chained for his mistress. After this much time none of the Brotherhood believe he’ll ever change, not even his twin, Phury.

Then Bella, a civilian vampire and friend of Mary, Rhage’s shellen, is captured by the Lessers. Zsadist had met Bella, twice, and he can’t stop thinking about her, even though it makes him crazy. When he hears that she’s in trouble, he stops at nothing to get her back - and that’s when he finds out just how deep into her he is.

Like the previous BDB books, all it takes is the right woman to tame the beast. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and these warriors fall like ten ton barbells when they meet the woman worth committing to.

I hadn’t been sure what to expect of Zsadist’s story, I hadn’t even been sure there would be one. I liked watching this character transition out of the wall he’d built around himself. There were a couple times when the back and forth with him came close to being overdone and his relationship with his huge endowment was almost comical, but in the end, I did like the personal triumph of this story.

Book four is Butch and Marissa. I’m not especially looking forward to that, but I’m going to read it. Will I like it? It will be interesting to see what happens. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book to Movie: City of Bones

I always approach the movie version of a book thinking I'll reread it before I see it and then I don't. I loved the City of Bones. I bought it on a whim, read it in one sitting, and immediately wanted to head out for the second book.

That's a two hundred sixty mile round trip drive for me.

Before I set out on a Saturday afternoon drive for no reason, I looked for the book online at my favorite bookstore to make sure they'd have it. They didn't. Book two wasn't out yet. The temper tantrum that ensued would do a two year old proud.

After loving the book I cautiously anticipated any movie that might come of it. Obviously I didn't hurry out and see the movie. I don't care for the actor cast as Jace. I don't care for Alex. Clary is okay. I like Simon and Isabel. Jonathon Rhys-Meyers as Valentine was an unexpected treat. I like the movie personification of Magnus better than the book. 

The chemistry isn't there between Clary and Jace. Jace is more distant in the books than the movie made him out to be. The rest of it seems to follow the book fairly well. From a visual point of view, the settings are darker than I would have liked for them to be. That hasn't much to do with the book and everything to do with making the most of what you have to work with and the book had a lot of visually interesting settings that could have been fabulous. These sets could have been total eye candy. Some of them were. Too many of them were monochrome. Flat.

Other scenes popped to life. Clary finding the cup was one. Much more memorable in the movie than from the book. The drama scene over Clary and Jace finding out they were brother and sister hit and was gone. Much of the movie felt that way, like too much was crammed in too little a space.

In the end, I would have rather reread the book. Maybe I will.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Writing - Switching Gears

As I've mentioned, I'm in this romance phase or mode or whatever the hell you call it when you can't settle into the Space Opera you'd planned to work on this month. On the reading side of things I've waited for Deborah Harkness' The Tree of Life since I finished Shadows. I started reading it and set it down, bored with the story. I sat down Mercy Thompson after two chapters - and that never happens. It would be back to the Black Dagger Brotherhood for me, except the next story is Butch's and I already hate what she's built for that one and I can't read them out of order. No skipping allowed. It drives me nuts when I read a series out of order.

This is generally when I would go back to writing. I can't seem to get anything written on my Girl Found side story WIP, and even it's something of a romance. True, it is in the same world build as Girl Found, and it has occurred to me that I need a break from that. So I sorted through all my other story starts and found one that appealed.

Medieval Romance.

Yup, you heard right. Medieval romance. I have four story starts in that genre that I worked through nearly fifteen years ago. I picked the one that has the most done. I finished the outline two days ago and the necessary research last night. Now I'm working my way through the rough draft start.

I'm thinking novella, which means looking at the word count I'm about a third of the way done. Pure word count on a rough draft means little with me, as I generally go through a story no less than five times before I'm even close to nailing down what I'm really writing about. I constantly feel like the most disorganized Pantser in existence, but I do have words on a page, which is always a good place to start.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lover Eternal, by J.R. Ward

Did I mention I was in a romance phase? Yeah, burning my way through the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, among others. These are fun, fast reads that also catches me up on my Goodreads commitment for the year. I like multitasking. On to the review.

The boys are back and the Lessers have shifted their game plan. They’re coming straight for the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and they’re using civilian vampires to do it. When Bella, one of those civilian vampires, runs across a young vampire at the house of a human friend, she isn’t sure what to make of him, and then she reads the name on the bracelet he made for himself. Tehrror, in the old language.

He’s a warrior and he’s alone in the human world. Bella does the only thing she can do, she calls the Brotherhood. When they tell her to bring him in she has no choice, nor does she have a choice when it comes to her friend, Mary Luce. The boy is mute, which means her friend Mary will have to come with them to translate. They aren’t supposed to be seen by anyone other than Tohrment, but wouldn’t you know it, Mary runs into Rhage, straight off a bender with his beast. He can't exactly see straight yet, but he likes the way she smells. He loves the sound of her voice. He pins her to a wall and makes her talk to him to ease the pain he’s in, and when she’s gone, he knows he has to see her again.

Mary and Rhage both carry something deadly inside them. Mary’s story in this book brought me to tears. The straight forward style Ward has with her characters told Mary’s tale of cancer and surviving without resorting to any sappy gimmicks. Rhage turns out to be quite a different character than expected from the first book. The angle with his beast worked quite well.

I appreciated the flow of this book much more than the first one. The storylines are still split. Not something I generally care for, but I’m warming up to it with this series as I get to know all the characters. This is really like being a fly on the wall as this group of people live their lives.

Can’t wait to read book three.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Asylum, by John Harwood

Oh what tangled webs we weave… Georgina Ferrars wakes up in an asylum, the memories of her past a dark abyss. She is told she admitted herself here only yesterday, not as Georgina Ferrars, but as Miss Lucy Ashton. Georgina is beside herself at this news for she cannot imagine why she would have made up a name or why she would have sought to speak with Dr. Straker personally at all. The only thing she can remember is that she is most definitely not Miss Lucy Ashton, that she has no memory of ever succumbing to seizures, which she’s told she may have had the day before, and she most definitely doesn’t suffer melancholia.

Then Georgina begins to remember. She lives with her uncle at the booksellers, oh how worried he must be! But when inquiries are made, his niece, Miss Georgina Ferrars, is safe at home, and Georgina's internal world is plunged into chaos.

The Asylum is Victorian Gothic. It’s a slow read that delves deeply into a young woman’s psyche and life, not only her life, but the lives of her family as a host of secrets kept come out from behind the curtain of the past as Georgina struggles to make sense of her situation. There were times when I wondered what the story I was reading had to do with Georgina finding out who she really was, or if this was indeed more of a rambling character study, and then the end is upon you and the pieces slide into place.

The plotting was sublime. It wasn’t until memories of Lucia returned to Georgina that I began to guess what was happening, and still did not quite guess it all. Again, this tale does unfold slowly, too slowly at times, but I hung in there and was glad for it. There are some inconsistencies at the end as Harwood ties up loose story lines, but they aren’t distracting. All in all, The Asylum was a good change of pace for me. It read more like a mystery than a horror story, I thought.

Has anyone else read it? Would love to discuss the ending with someone.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Book Talk

Time to talk about my writing. The ebook version of Girl Found goes up in two days. It's a very anticlimactic kind of event. I was more excited when the MS came back from the editor than I am to know my baby is going out to greet the world. Maybe that's because it's not my baby anymore. I've moved on to the next story, putting this one into the all-grown-up category in my head where I don't need to worry about it.

I still need to worry. There'll be marketing and interviews and all that, but as far as the story part is concerned, I'm done.

On to the next story.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Great Deceiver by Andrew Cormier

Before getting into this, let me say, this book isn’t my cup of tea. The Great Deceiver is a fictionalized memoir, narrated by a man who becomes a tool of Satan. This version of Hell is structured and run something like a business, acts of chaos going on all around, but not chaotic in its function. It reminded me a little of the Incarnations of Immortality series in the way the supernatural is described as one would a job or a company. This part of the story I found very interesting.

The beginning is dry and starts too early in the narrator’s life for my taste. That said, the story is well written. Once the narrator dies, the world build gets quite interesting and imaginative. The horrors of Hell are not shied away from and neither are they gratuitously embellished. The details that were chosen for description and the way they were put forward demonstrated a keen intelligence and a body of knowledge on the part of the writer that I admired.

This story has two endings, demonstrating the exploratory nature of this book for the writer. I liked the second one, because it wasn’t the predictable ending and it exemplified the overall theme of wanting prevalent in the book. It was the right ending for this story.

This story begs me to postulate whether a book should have duel endings. Some movies do, but not the one that you see in the theater. Does that matter? I think it does. Two endings disrupts the story at a crucial point.

Your perspective?