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Review: Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan

30 Sep

Favorite Lines: “She stood over them in the now-pouring rain, blood oozing down her thighs, her hands fisted at her sides, and ground her emotions into them like putting out a cigarette in someone’s arm. She made them feel the fear and pain of every woman they raped and killed, imagining their last thoughts.”  (p. 22)

Able to manipulate people’s emotions, Miranda Grey has become somewhat of a recluse as her ability grew faster than her brain’s ability to process it. Her desire to keep a roof over her head forces out of her small apartment to Mel’s Bar twice a week where she performs in front of an audience.

After one of her late night performances, Miranda is brutally assaulted on her way home and her reaction to the assault leaves her attackers dead. Fortunately for her head vampire David Solomon arrives and cleans up her mess. He is determined to teach her everything she needs to know in order to manage her supernatural gifts because he knows she is one small step away from going mad.

Queen of Shadow by Dianne Sylvan is a book which combines the best of urban fantasy and romance. Sylvan clearly divides the book in two sections: “Pomegranate Seeds” (urban fantasy) and “The River Styx” (romance). With those divisions, it was easy to see the first half of the book would focus on Miranda reaching her lowest point, as well as her introduction to the shadow world, and that the second half would be where she was reborn. (Learn about pomegranate seeds or the River Styx by researching Greek and Roman mythology.) 

Vampires live in the shadows of the world, but David Solomon is the prime, or leader of those living in the urban setting of Austin, Texas. An internal battle taking place in the vampire community which means Miranda is not going to a “happy vampire haven.” There are vampires who feel they have the right to kill humans despite the fact that David banned it. This means that Miranda is exchanging one deadly world for another. 

Queen of Shadows is a book which follows a down trodden woman on a journey of rediscovery. A woman who learns to pull herself out of a filthy alley while creating a better life for herself. This journey would not have been possible without a man, but there are periods in this book where Sylvan pulls him away from Miranda to prove a point. Women do not need a man to save them; in the end every woman must want to save herself. She needs to be comfortable with herself or do everything in her power to become comfortable with herself regardless of her surroundings.

I thoroughly enjoyed book one in Sylvan’s Shadow World series. I don’t know when the next book in the series will be out, but it will be an instant buy for me.

Want to know what other bloggers think? Visit:

Dear Author
Smexy Books
Lurve ala Mode


I ♥ Covers: Whedonistas

23 Sep

Welcome to the first episode of I ♥ Covers. Today I bring you Whedonistas. Awesome comic book exterior which will house a collection of essays written  by a ton of strong female UF and fantasy writers like: Sharon Shinn, Jeanne Stein, Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear, Cathryynne M. Valente, Maria Lima, Jackie Kessler, and Sarah Monette.

I love that there is a woman of color on the cover holding a stake and the “wanted” like poster of Joss Whedon. It is the best looking book of essays I have ever seen. I can’t wait to get my hands on this sucka. The Barnes & Noble website says it will be released in March 2011.

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie

13 Apr

tendergracesmagendieFavorite Lines: “Mothers–they have so much power. a few little words, and a few unthoughtful actions, can nurture or destroy a child. It’s a power I always said I’d use wisely. I sometimes feel as if I’ve failed.” (ARC  p. 195)

Bonus Favorite Lines: “Grandpa Luke tried beating the babies from Grandma Faith at first. His fists made the first two children, a girl and a boy, come out strong jawed and ornery. He told her the third one was born dead, wrapped its twisted body in his oily flannel shirt, and buried it in the woods. But Grandma thought she heard a pitiful mewling as he left the room and that sound haunted her to her last thought. While Grandpa scraped the burial dirt from his fingernails, Grandma cried.” (p. ARC 9)

Virginia Kate Carey was born in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia to a wild young woman and a smooth salesman. One of three children, she revisits her painful childhood after her mother passes away and she returns to handle her mother’s affairs.

Dragged into the past by a journal that houses her grandmother’s thoughts and is peppered with her mother’s comments, Virginia Kate begins the journey of coming to terms with her mother’s selfishness and inadequacies, while discovering that she can always find her way home.

Ms. Magendie‘s debut story is an excellent foray into the world of poverty, alcoholism, and abuse, and showcases humanity’s ability to claw itself up from it all. She takes a young woman born into poverty and placed in hellish situations, and forces her to come to terms with the path that led to her pain. She shows her heroine, Virginia Kate, what her grandmother and mother were exposed to, from infanticide to molestation. This gives the heroine empathy and enables her to see a little more deeply into her troubled family’s past.

Tender Graces is all about coming to terms with the past. It is a book that takes place from the 1950’s to present and flip-flops in time. It is a southern women’s contemporary women’s fiction you cannot miss. It subtly shows the abuse all of the characters faced, their reactions to it, and the damage that results. It is not a violent or sexually explicit story.

Tender Graces is an excellent book for people who seek out women’s literature and those who don’t. It is a gripping story that promises to take you to the mountains of West Virginia and dumps you into the lap of a family struggling to survive.


22 Jun

I feel little more than disgust as I write this post. We all know that Afghanistan is far from America. I think we all know of many of the differences and similarities our cultures share. I don’t know how anyone can justify killing little girls though. I’m writing this in disgust with the Taliban who felt it necessary to drive by a girls school as it was letting out for the day and open up fire on them. Two girls were murdered in the drive buy. This is just another form of intimidation that the Taliban is using to prevent women from getting an education.

I feel so bad for the mothers who showed their bravery by allowing their daughters to brave the Taliban by going to school. I can only imagine their grief and it breaks my heart.

13 Superheroines

21 Jun


Thursday 13

1. Painkiller Jane (I’d never heard of this one until I researched this TT. Painkiller Jane is about a DEA agent forced into a secret life of working for the government. She also has the ability to self-heal.)

2. Wendy Wu Homecoming Warrior (My kids love this Disney movie.)

3. My Super Ex- girlfriend (I can’t wait to watch this movie. The preview of the spurned lover throwing a shark cracked me up.)

4. Elektra (It doesn’t matter if it’s the movie or the comic books, this girl knows how to kick butt!)

5. Catwoman (I never watched the movie but I do have a few of the comics and she is cool as hell.)

6. Witchblade (Did anyone else watch the T.V. series when it was on TNT?)

7. Dark Angel (This series didn’t last long despite my patronage.)

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (My favorite name on this list.)

9. Xena Warrior Princess (Started off seriously dorky, but gradually improved.)

10. Red Sonja (I used to watch this movie all the time. How about you?)

11. Supergirl (I prefer the comic book to the movie.)

12. Sheena (Wild woman)

13. Wonder Woman (As pitiful as the show seems today, it really was cool at the time.)

Other TT’s

  1. Full Plate
  2. Mama Archer
  3. temporarily me
  4. scifichick
  5. life in the
  6. Tilly
  7. Midnight Moon
  8. West of Mars
  9. Mommy
  10. Stars
  11. Ember
  12. Amie
  13. Gypsy
  14. Pessimists
  15. Writing My Life
  16. From My Brain
  17. Fractured Fiction
  18. Pieces of Me


19 Jun

When I was a little girl I used to read a lot. Big surprise, right? Anyway, the only books my dad had were about the wilderness or fishing. I remember reading about how to survive bear attacks and in recent years was surprised at how many people didn’t know basic survival. You can click here and read about bear attacks or continue reading to see what you should do if you cross paths with a bear.

If you’re ever confronted by a bear DO NOT RUN, like many animals the bear runs much faster than you. If the bear charges you drop into the fetal position and cover your head. This will protect your vital organs as well.

It’s easier said than done, but DO NOT YELL OR FLAIL ABOUT. You don’t  want the bear to think that you’re a threat and if you play dead you increase the odds of surviving. Bears aren’t going to tear you apart if they think you are already dead. If you move before the bear is gone it will re-attack you until it deems the threat gone.

3 Easy Rules to Remember:

  1. Keep a clean campsite. Never leave dirty dishes or food out as they’ll attract animals.
  2. Never leave soap or body products laying around. Bears are attracted to sweet scents.
  3. Women should never hike while menstruating. Bears have been known to violently attack women on their periods.

Can you imagine…

17 Jun

not getting help while in the hospital? I complain about the wait in my hometown, but I know that they would never allow a person to die in the waiting room like this hospital in California.

I don’t understand how 911 could be so cold in the face of frantic phone calls from the woman’s husband; he pleaded for help. I’ve heard of 911 horror stories and I must admit they scared me away from living in a large city. The example of a woman dying while waiting treatment just serves as a reinforcement for me. It tells me for all the crap that comes with living in a small city, it’s actually better when it comes to health care.

I also read that there are many areas where doctors don’t want to deliver babies because of high insurance rates. Can you imagine living in a state with few obstetric doctors? Here’s an article about it. What do you think?

New Blog

16 Jun

I started up a new blog yesterday. It’s going to play around with new products that are coming out and different beauty products. The first post was about different lip glosses and places to find them, while today’s post dealt with bubble bath. My plan is to find recipes and products that aren’t at Target or that you don’t want to look up. Let me know what you think.

Another week ends

15 Jun

Can you believe that another week is over? It seems like this week flew by. My Nalini Singh Caressed by Ice came yesterday and I spent the day reading it. It’s a great book. I’ll be posting my review next week. I’ve been adding several books to my Books Read page and linking to the reviews that I posted for Romance Designs, so check it out!

I did buy Anya Bast‘s latest release and I’ll be reading it this weekend. I’ve got two books from Cerridwen Press that I’m reading, Lady Iona’s Rebellion and Eye Witness. Those reviews will be linked to from the Books Read page. I haven’t been surfing like I normally do so I feel a little out of touch. Are there any contests being ran? Any book pimping you want to do? Feel free to post in today’s comments.

On to personal drama, well it’s not drama. My oldest is in summer school this year. I discovered that I could sign her up for enrichment classes for $15 (one benefit to being poor). She’s taking “Cooking up a Book”. The class reads a book then they make some kind of food to connect to the story. For example, they read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie then baked cookies. My daughter acted like she’d never seen cookies made before. She said, “Mom, the cookies were tiny before we put them in the oven, but when they came out they were bigger than my hand.”

They made pigs in a blanket the next day. Yesterday they made playdough and baked bread. She was highly upset that they ran out of time before she got to eat the bread. The whole way home she complained that she was starving. It was kinda funny seeing as how the girl was only at school for 3 hours and had ate as soon as she got there.

What are your kids doing this summer? Any major plans? Does your school district offer summer school? Today is dump day, lay it all out.

Have you seen…

13 Jun

I was watching the Today show this morning when I heard the news about a woman missing in Florida. What makes this so important? Women disappear everyday, but this woman makes me want to help. She was a recent graduate from John Jay College of Criminal Justice who took her 16 year-old sister on vacation to Miami. She went to a nightclub and was seen getting into a dark sedan later that night. That was the last time anyone has admitted to seeing her.

Why has it taken so long for us to hear about this missing woman? You can read John Ridley’s opinion here. It makes me question the priorities of the media. Why do some people get more coverage than other people. I was even more disgusted after I read a blog that described the footage being cut from MSNBC in favor of airing Paris Hilton news. You can read about it here.

I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t care about Paris going to jail. People go to jail for making bad decisions everyday and we don’t read coverage about them. So what that her parents are rich. I’d much rather hear about a missing woman than a woman sitting in jail for violating the law.