Monthly Archives: February 2012

#8 Radiant Shadows ~~ Melissa Marr

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#8 Radiant Shadows ~~ Melissa Marr

4 of 5 Stars

Hunger for nourishment.

Hunger for touch.

Hunger to belong.

 

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.

 

Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries’ coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani’s death.

 

Ani isn’t one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin’s plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

 

Link Souffle

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Why am I calling it a link souffle? I have no idea. It’s just what popped into my head as I was typing the header.

First off, I really need to step away from ancestry.com. My best friend has an account and she’s letting me build my family tree on it. I’ve literally spent the last three days doing nothing but building my family tree. Or trying to at least. I can get just about every line OUT of the United States, but as soon as I’m across the pond all of the trails turn to dead ends. It’s very frustrating. Especially since my best friend has gotten her husband’s lineage all the way into the 300′s. Back to the Roman legions stationed in Britain. I am jealous.

The first thing on my list of links comes from Ilona Andrews. She’s posted the first chapter of Gunmetal Magic (Andrea’s story) up on her blog. It’s in two parts, so make sure you click both links.

Jim C. Hines has an excellent post up about Amazon and their E-book Pricing. It’s a good reminder that Amazon is not looking out for authors, they’re looking out for Amazon.

J.K. Rowling has signed a deal with Little Brown for her adult novel. As much as I love Jo and the Potter-verse, I’m going to reserve my squeeing over this until I actually read the book. Just because she wrote one of the best children’s/YA series I’ve ever read doesn’t mean she’ll be able to make the leap to adult.

Chuck Wendig has another 25 Things list up. This one is for the “aspiring” writer.  His words aren’t just for the so-called aspiring writer, though. Go forth and read him. Warning: Do not read his blog while drinking any sort of liquid unless you are okay with needing to buy a new keyboard.

Also, I would just like to note that I started writing this post at 5PM on Sunday and it is still light outside. I love this time of year.

And don’t forget to enter here for a chance to receive a copy of Seanan McGuire’s Discount Armageddon!

This Is NOT Okay

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I’ve been dealing with computer issues this week (which I blog about tomorrow on Black Ink, White Paper) and I have several more 52 Books in 52 Weeks posts to do, and a links post in the works, but right now I want to talk about something that happened to one of my new favorite authors.

Seanan McGuire is the author of the October Daye novels and the upcoming Discount Armageddon. Discount Armageddon‘s official release date is March 6th, but Amazon decided to ship the physical book several weeks early for some unknown reason. In response, Barnes & Noble also started shipping the books early as well. What they are NOT doing is selling the e-books yet. Those won’t be delivered until the actual release date. And people, supposed fans of Seanan, have decided to heap a truckload of abuse on her head. She has been called greedy, selfish, ungrateful, but worst of all she has been called a bitch. A cunt. A whore.

Seriously? Why is it okay to not only verbally lambaste somebody for a business decision that was not theirs, but to also relegate them to a perceived negative sexual status.Why? Jim C. Hines and Marie Brennan have both chimed in on how inappropriate this is.

I really like Seanan both as an author and as a person. She’s smart, funny, articulate, passionate, and she writes hella good books. So, to show my support for her, here’s the deal: I’m going to buy two copies of Discount Armageddon when it officially goes on sale. One copy will be for me to slaver over and devour and the other will be sent out to one lucky commenter here. (I promise not to get the two of them confused because sending out a book covered in my drool would be gross.)

Leave a comment on this post to enter.

Publicly linking to this contest on Twitter/Facebook/your blog/any other social media is worth an additional one entry EACH. (You must leave a comment on this post with links to your posts for the entries to qualify.)

This contest is open to US residents only and will be open until Thursday, March 1 at midnight Eastern time. A winner will be chosen using Random.org and the winner will be announced on this blog on Monday, March 5.

Down for the Count

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My loving husband decided to bring home an early Valentine’s Day gift last week — his and hers plague. And it was apparently the deluxe version complete with headaches, body aches, lethargy, chills, nausea, dizziness, and stuffed sinuses. The worst part is that we’ll start to feel better and then several hours later we’re right back to being sick. We spent all weekend doing not much more than lying on the couch watching TV. Saturday was a Stargate SG-1 marathon and yesterday was a Firefly marathon on the Science channel.

I’m still feeling very gunky today, so I think I’m going to grab my notebook, brew a pot of tea, throw another season of Stargate into the DVD player, and take it easy on the couch while I get my writing done.

 

Tea and Sword Fighting

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I got a box of books and tea in the mail the other day from my friend, Anna. One of the teas was a box of Numi flowering tea. These cool little dried blobs open up and “flower” as they steep.  It was a little sampler package with four different varieties of tea. I think the one I’m drinking now is the regular black tea. I’m not sure because the individual packages aren’t labeled. The box says the flowers can be steeped several times, I’m on the second steeping of this one and I’m very pleased with how smooth the tea is with this second steeping. It doesn’t need any sugar to get rid of that back of the throat constriction I get with most unsweetened black tea.

Tuesday night, my best friend and I headed up to her mentor’s house to begin our training in sword fighting. We decided to go with actual combat training which means the first thing we learn is footwork. And we won’t do anything except footwork until we’ve perfected it. Yes, I’m perfectly aware of the fact that I just mentioned the other day how I wasn’t going to take my time and perfect one step before moving on to the next in regards to juggling. Yep. The Universe does enjoy its jokes.

So, for fifteen minutes every day I have to practice my footwork. It doesn’t sound like much, but because of the stance, boy is it one hell of a leg workout. And I’ve been doing it while holding two-pound dumbbells in my hands which gives me the arm workout as well. It’s really driving home how completely out of shape I am.

I also need to give a shout-out to my friend October Weeks who just sold a short story to Musa Publishing! Congrats, October!!

A Title Would Be Nice, Huh?

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As pretty much everyone in America knows by now, the Patriots choked last night. Again. I am so disappointed with them right now. Even my Wes choked at the most inappropriate time. *sigh*

That said, congrats to the Giants. You definitely played better than the Pats and deserved that win.

In other news:

I’m teaching myself how to juggle. Many years ago, a group of friends and I organized and put on a local Renaissance Festival. My best friend bought my husband a How to Juggle kit hoping he would be able to learn in time to be our jester. That didn’t pan out and we ended up hiring a couple of actual Ren Faire jesters. The juggling kit was pretty much forgotten about until I pulled it out of a box a few months back. Then it just sat on a pile of paperwork for months. A couple weeks ago, I picked the box up and decided that I was going to put it to use. I started by following the instruction book, but it stressed the importance of mastering each step before moving on to the next. I don’t have the patience for that. So, after I got semi-proficient with juggling two balls, I added in the third. This was on Friday. I’m already fairly adept at juggling three balls. As long as I don’t start over-thinking things that is.

Tomorrow, my best friend and I are going to start learning sword fighting. Her mentor in Druidism is proficient in several different types of sword fighting, so we’re not quite sure which technique we want to start learning. She even knows sword DANCING! Decisions, decisions…

I’m so glad that, no matter which technique we choose, we’re going to start with the very basics because I spent a good portion of today scrubbing my kitchen floor and my arms are killing me. I am now a confirmed proponent of using white vinegar as a cleaner. My kitchen floor is the cleanest it’s been in decades. Not even several very liberal applications of bleach made it this clean. There are even spots where the original color is showing through the left-over grime. It’s going to take a couple more applications of vinegar to get the floor super clean, but I’m quite impressed by how clean it is now.

No Poo Update

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The No Poo regimen is working really well for me. I started it two weeks ago and haven’t run into the dreaded overly oily stage. As I mentioned in my initial post, I think that may be because I don’t wash my hair very often. Usually only once a week unless it needs it. I did have to cheat a bit last week and use some conditioner to tame some of the tangles, but I’m pretty sure, considering the length and fineness of my hair that I may have to continue to occasionally use conditioner.

Most of my hair feels *almost* like it did while I was using shampoo; it’s not quite as soft as it was and it’s extremely staticky, but my ends are very sorry little buggers. Without the shampoo and conditioner to smooth them down, my split ends are going crazy. They’re also stiff enough to stand upright all on their own.

Aaaand… No Poo does not play well with hot oil treatments. At least not with coconut oil. I really should remember to read ALL of the article before just jumping in and doing it. I made up a very lovely hot oil with safflower, sesame, and coconut oils last night then proceeded to treat myself to a mini at-home spa. After an hour and a half of soaking in a hot tub with a good book and a glass of wine, I was ready to wash the oil out and luxuriate in my soft locks. Or not… Nothing I tried would get the oil out. Not the Dr. Bronner’s, not the conditioner, not the baking soda. Nada. I was finally forced to use regular shampoo to get it out.

So, if you’re going to go No Poo and you like homemade hot oil treatments, definitely research which oils work well with No Poo and which ones don’t.

Here’s a picture of me and my hair before the hot oil treatment last night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s me and my hair today.

#’s 6&7 Blameless and Heartless ~~ Gail Carriger

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#6 Blameless ~~ Gail Carriger

3 of 5 stars

Quitting her husband’s house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.
Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London’s vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.
While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires — and they’re armed with pesto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#7 Heartless ~~ Gail Carriger

3 1/2 of 5 stars

Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband’s past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking ), Madame Lefoux’s latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf’s clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama’s second best closet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ana Says: I enjoyed the first two books, Soulless and Changeless, right up until the very end of Changeless. The end of Changeless made me want to throw the book across the room and never pick up this series again. Changeless ended on a trope that I hate with a fiery passion — the easily resolved by just a bit of conversation and use of brains misunderstanding. It was also quite obviously a set-up for the next book. I was assured by several people that the series righted itself, and it has. A little bit.

Blameless saw a distinct lack of Conall and Alexia bickering and Lord Akeldama was almost completely absent and I think the book suffered for it. Alexia wasn’t nearly as charming without Conall as a foil.

Heartless just sort of meandered everywhere. I forgot what the main plot was at several points. It felt like everything was set up simply for Alexia to find out more about her father and Conall.

I really don’t know if I’m going to pick up Timeless. The character interactions are fun and enjoyable, but overall, I’m finding the stories lacking. Also, I really wish that whoever is doing the covers would do something about Alexia constantly looking like she’s bald and about to lose her wig.