Archive | June, 2008

Wizard World (Chicago’s Comic-Con)

29 Jun

BuffySo I went to Comic-Con/ Wizard World yesterday. It was a blast. There were all kinds of people dressed up and taking pictures. Artist’s alley was filled with talented people. I learned quickly not to look the artist in the eyes. They’d then pitch their product to me. I wanted to browse not buy. Good Lord. Did I just say that?

There was just a ton of things and a lot of it was over priced (pretty normal for festivals). I brought home a ton of freebies for my brother, light swords for my girls (the lights broke on one of them same day) and several Juno books, Buffy trading cards and comic books, and a  cheap metal lunch box for myself.

While I had fun, I’ve decided next year I’d rather go to the RT convention. What’d you do this weekend?

Pitch Black by Susan Crandall

21 Jun

Favorite Lines:”In defiance of the downpour, dark smears of mud refused to let go of their clothes and skin. Fishbelly white. It was a term used by her grandfather. She’d never realized what it meant until now. Their lips, darkened by the cold, contrasted grotesquely to the pasty, translucent whiteness of their faces.” (p. 17 ARC)

Madison Wade and her teenage son, Ethan, moved to Buckeye, Tenn., to get away from the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia to loosen Ethan up and introduce him to a better life. Instead they find a community unwilling to accept them.

Ethan makes a friend, Jordan, in the small town. He knows something is bothering Jordan and agrees to go camping with Jordan’s stepfather and a few other teens. It isn’t long before four teens stumble out of the woods with no adult in sight.

Sheriff Gabe Wyatt is falling in love with Madison and wants to become a part of her life. His idyllic thoughts of making a future with Madison are put on the back burner when he investigates the death of a popular townsman.

Clues soon point towards Ethan and it’ll be up to his mother to find the real killer.

Pitch Black is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Susan Crandall. It is cleanly written and exciting. The romance is steady throughout the book between a single mother and a bachelor.

I loved Madison. She’s an editor who has given it all up for her adopted child. She’s left a lucrative position for a small town job. But most appealing for me was Madison’s belief that her relationship with Ethan should come before any other. Madison’s budding relationship to Gabe is important, but not enough to risk her child, and I respect (and agree with) that.

I appreciate the way Gabe respects Madison. He’s a strong alpha male, but he never steps on Madison. He sits back while she makes decisions and supports her. He doesn’t butt in when she’s dealing with Ethan; he lets her be the mom, acknowledging that she can handle life without him but making himself available if she wants him.

I knew who the killer was early on, but instead of detracting from the story, it made me more emotionally involved. I wanted to shake a few of the characters and ask them why they couldn’t see what was going on around them. I wanted to knock a few heads as I watched (from the outside) and figured out the hell that was teenage life.

Pitch Black is a great read. It’s one of those books that left me thinking of ways to share it. It’s not snarky, nor is it filled with bloody battles. It’s a grown woman trying her best to raise a teenager in a small community, in which she’s an outsider, while a murder investigation takes place. It’s a bachelor deciding that there is nothing wrong with dating a woman with a child and a woman finding a way to fit a man into her complicated relationship with her son.

How can it not be good? Pitch Black is a great book for any time of the year.

Telling kids no to books

20 Jun

I don’t normally visit the library. I’m a bad borrower. Yesterday I decided to take my girls there though. I remembered being dropped off as a kid and spending all night there. I’d go home from school and ask to be taken to the library, where I’d stay until it closed at 9 p.m.

I remember the excitement I felt when I found books that I’d seen in magazines or in the store. Yesterday I watched my oldest do the same thing…until the librarian told her she couldn’t check out the book because it was a reference book.

The Guinness Book of World Records 2008. Off limits to tons of children who are all eager to read. It’s unbelievable to me. Why wouldn’t they get more than one copy of a popular book? The librarian said next year it’ll be available for checkout. She also said that my daughter was only one in many who wanted to take it home.

Pissed, I told my daughter I’d buy it for her. So stimulus money where are you? I’ve got a mass market book to buy and a hardcover 2009 Guinness Book of World Records to pre-order.

Necking by Chris Salvatore

18 Jun

Favorite Line: “The Thing? Damn, Gia, you’ve got it bad for monsters.” (p. 114 ARC)

Giovanna Felice is a book publicist for a science fiction and fantasy book publisher. She’s working with best-selling author and vampire, Belladonna Nightshade when she falls head-over-heels for Bella’s manager, Jonathan. Now she’s forgetting all the rules. She’s touching Jonathan and gazing into his eyes; falling under the spell of him.

But everything is about to explode in her face.

Bella asks Gia to use her contacts and locate a vampire from her past. Daniel, the vampire who changed Bella. The vampire she suspects killed her husband.

Gia is walking a tightrope and if she falls off she’ll be dead. Because a human messing in Other affairs, won’t live long.

Necking is a full of dry humor and is a lighthearted romp in Gia’s point of view. It is a vampire love story that introduces Gia, a smart, occasionally funny human woman running with the big dogs vampires wealthy. In order to gain her position in the company, she had to impose rules on herself. Rules that if followed will ensure her survival.

Despite knowing the danger, Gia broke all the rules while she searched for a killer. She fell in lust with a vampire (Jonathan) and seemed to think that nothing bad would happen. She kept weaving over the “I can handle it line,” into to stupid to live territory.

I appreciated the way Ms. Salvatore refused to sugar coat her hero. Jonathan was a vampire and as a vampire lived by different rules. He was a killer and he killed. My issue isn’t with him, but with Gia’s ability to rationalize his behavior as “okay.” Jonathan did terrible things, but Gia shrugged them off. I think it was Salvatore’s way of showing Gia had a backbone and that there was more to her.

Personally, it made her unappealing. She seemed cold and calculating. Completely unapproachable and someone I really couldn’t connect with. I won’t go too deep into this, spoilers and all that jazz, but it went beyond my imagination to accept the things she did.

Despite all that, there were several things about Necking that I liked. I liked the chemistry between Gia and Jonathan. The pull that existed and went beyond sexual. I enjoyed Gia’s best friend and local werewolf, Lola. I liked the vampire crew that surrounded Bella.

I didn’t like the speed with which the book wrapped up. It felt like just when I thought something would happen (like intense action) the major plot line ended. Just like that. Bang! All done.

I love vampire stories and can forgive a lot. This wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. Would I read it again? No, but I’m not mad I read it.

Necking will be released Aug. 5, 2008.

Countdown by Michelle Maddox

13 Jun

Favorite Lines: “But after a few moments the men in white coats easily managed to restrain me, and dragged me kicking and screaming from the room.” (p. 127 ARC)

Kira Jordan wakes up in a dark room handcuffed to the wall. She’s not alone. Rogan Ellis, convicted rapist and killer, is handcuffed to the opposite side of the room. She has no idea how she got there and wonders if she was caught shoplifting.

Rogan Ellis has heard of people winning their freedom by playing a dangerous, underground game, The Countdown.

While in prison he is approached and given a choice, serve his 500-year sentence or play. He agrees and soon awakes wounded, handcuffed and surprised. Surprised to find a beautiful stranger is playing the game with him.

Then a key is produced and dropped off. It’s game time.

The players are given X amount of time to complete different missions. If they succeed, they live to pursue the next mission. If they fail…they die!

Countdown is exciting, suspenseful and everything I was looking for in a book when I read it. It started with a bang and kept running. The book used chapters, but was also divided by level. I was never lost because Ms. Maddox always told me what level I’d just completed.

Countdown is science fiction meets romance while being stalked by psychos. it’s a book that is told in first person (Kira’s POV). It is cleanly written at a fast pace. The characters are interesting and engaging. The villain is obviously bad, but when Maddox adds the paranormal touch of ‘feelings’ that Kira is capable of, the plot becomes even thicker.

At one point in the book, I screamed at Kira to use her brain because The Countdown is televised online. Of course she didn’t hear me *grin*, but that didn’t stop me.

My only disappointment with the book came at the end. The pacing is so quick that as the book comes to a conclusion it feels like slow motion. That is a small price to pay in an otherwise exciting reality game show book gone wrong in all the right ways.

Countdown goes on sale July 29, 2008. Read other reviews at Tez Says and Ramblings on Romance.

Children need books too

11 Jun

I haven’t posted about charities in awhile and now seems like the perfect time. I’ve found a charity called Bring Me a Book. It is all about giving literacy to children; it’s pricey (ranging from $200 to $800), but you also have the option of donating a dollar amount of your choice.

If you’d like to help by just clicking your mouse, go to Click to Give. Sponsors give money to literacy projects because you took the time to click. Just follow the link to learn more about it.

Finally, help the children who were victims of Hurricane Katrina. Tulane University is trying to sponsor children. It wants all children K through 2nd grade to have a happy holiday in 2008. Its way of doing this is giving them books. To donate or sponsor a child visit its site Book Giving Tree.

Can’t wait …

8 Jun

I can’t wait for Lynn Viehl’s new book to come out. It’s countdown for me. July 1 is the day when I’ll be at the store buying Twilight Falls. You don’t have to wait until then for a Viehl story. She’s posted a free Darkyn ebook, Wanted, for readers.

What are you in countdown for?