Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reader Review- Affliction, Book XXII in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K. Hamilton

Review for Affliction (Book XXII of Anita Blake Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton

:::::::Steps up on soapbox::::::

I seem to be one of the few people who have enjoyed all the books in the series and don't
scream about all the sex from books 7 onward. Plus I don't pay attention to author's personal lives, so I stayed out of that "controversy" as well. Whatever she does in her personal life is no one else's business, although I'm pretty sure that the people who are complaining are straight vanilla. Most people into any kind of kink aren't as judgmental.

It's a book people, you KNOW what's going to be in it (it's glaringly obvious from Narcissus in Chains what's going to happen) and if you don't like it, don't read the damn book if you know it's going to piss you off. And don't complain about it if you don't like it because she took the series in a different direction than you wanted her to. She's the writer, she can do whatever she wants.

:::::Steps off soapbox::::::

Now, for the review   :-)

I LOVED IT! Anita is getting control of the Ardeur and the books are going back to preternatural crime solving. Micah's dad is dying from a zombie bite  - but zombies (in Anita's world) don't usually bite, and they certainly don't infect people. They are raised by magic, not infection. So, what the hell?

Turns out an old foe is back and he's majorly pissed off.

But the best part...EDWARD! Oh lord, I love Edward, even though he's a total sociopath. He's fun. He's Anita's best friend. And he brings fun toys to the party.

We also get to see Nathaniel taking a more aggressive role in a a couple of ways (and in one, holy crap, get the ice water!) We get more Nicky (her lion-shifter "bride"), Nathaniel in leopard form, Wicked and Truth are back, and even Jean-Claude is along for the ride, and he has a big surprise.

So all in all, Affliction has the normal vampire action, lots of shifter chaos, and Edward. A few secrets about Micah's family (OMG she meets Micah's parents!) come to light that gives a few shocks all around, and a HFN ending. Can't wait for the next installment, I'm kinda hoping Olaf comes out of hiding for a final showdown.

Reviewer- Jill

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's Friend Friday. Please Welcome My Very Special Guest- Jill, Book Junkie Turned Writer

 Friend Friday

Jill is a good friend of mine and fellow book junkie.  We have wasted many hours online recommending books or discussing them.  Not to mention commiserating on the actions of our books very active characters. So I asked her to join me today and tell us why she is so hooked on reading.

Why do I like reading? It's not really that simple of a question; there are many contributing factors as to why I enjoy books - and enjoy them I do, many different genres, authors, and subjects. And I can place the blame directly at the feet of my father. His philosophy towards reading is pretty straightforward. "I don't care WHAT you read, just read."

That is a tenent that has stuck with me my entire life. I read. I read everything from technical manuals to romance (all flavors) to science fiction and fantasy, modern political theory, scientific theory, military history. I consume it. I inhale it at an alarming rate (to others who don't read for pleasure, which I don't understand on a visceral level.) I have so many e-books, they won't all fit on my Kindle (which holds 3000 books - I have a K3 keyboard). I have a 640GB hard drive in it's own enclosure dedicated to my e-books and audiobooks. I am an e-book addict, and I don't want a 12 step program. I am a happy addict. My bank account, not so much.

My father started me out early, and has funny stories to tell anyone who'll listen about when I was about 5 years old and was reading the encyclopedia. He'd ask me questions to try and figure out if I understood what I was reading, and according to him, I did. A weekly occurrence was a trip to the bookstore with my dad, and he kept me in books, even through college, something I could never thank him enough for. So I kept reading. By the time I was in elementary school, I was already reading on a college level. My teachers didn't believe it most of the time, but it was the truth. I was rarely without a book. I still carry books around with me, and I know that will never stop. Books are as essential to me as oxygen. It's in my DNA. 

But, why do I like to read? 

I guess the main reason is that books are their own worlds that I can lose myself in. Real life generally stinks. You have so much to worry over on a daily basis that reading becomes an escape. I would much rather worry about what a fictional couple is going through than how many dishes are in the sink and how long it will take to wash them. (That's just an example folks, my house is NOT a pigsty and I do take time to clean - I'm actually pretty OCD when it comes to bathrooms and kitchens being clean and safe, so no freaking out, k?) More about my favorite fictional couples will come in later posts, I promise.

Books are like movies for me - and I do love me some movies (currently, as I'm writing this post i am watching Losers, and The Avengers is up next). When I read, I see the story unfold in my head, chapter by chapter, scene by scene. I laugh out loud in places, I cry in some places. A good horror book can make me paranoid for days, to the point where I flip the light switch before I walk into a room. A good romance can make me sigh just thinking about it later. A good erotic romance can cause other symptoms :-) We'll be discussing those in depth later as well since this, of course, an erotic romance blog.

I tell everyone I watch everything from Pixar to porn, and it's the truth, but my reading material is just as diverse (see above). It depends on my mood, which changes often. Sometimes I'm reading two or three books at a time, not usually the same genre, but I can be reading a tech manual for a computer program, a scientific theory book, and a paranormal romance all at the same time. And I enjoy them all - well maybe not the tech manual so much, because that feels so much like work. But I do it. 

So, I guess the gist of this post is simple - teach your kids to read, dammit. Let them read what they want (within reason of course, don't let a 10 year old read a BDSM romance, but I see nothing wrong with a 15-16 year old girl reading a Julie Garwood romance, I know I was when I was that age). I read the Harry Potter books as an adult. It's all subjective. But it makes me sad that there are all these people in the world who don't read for enjoyment, because they don't understand what they are missing. I talk to some people about books, and they look at me like I'm insane and should be in a straight jacket. And others are just as excited as I am and ask for recommendations and new authors to check out. I have lots of both when they ask. You never know what you might find when you open the pages of a book, but they have a certain magic. 


You know I just couldn't let her go.  So I asked her more to tell us more about herself.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Oh my, so so SO many. I absolutely love Sophie Oak/Lexi Blake, Tymber Dalton, Bella Juarez. There really are too many to name. And Julie Shelton (plug here for Loving Sarah, and Owning Sarah which is coming out in September, and she's got another work in progress now so shhhhhh) has been a godsend, she's helping me break the writer's block and is cheering me on (aka kicking me in the butt).

What books are you reading now?  

I just finished Laurell K. Hamilton's Affliction, and I'm halfway through Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones.

What are the current writing projects that you are working on?

My work in progress (in the very early stages) is a BDSM menage. I won't say more now as it's still in the brainstorming stages.

Do you write full time?  If not, do you hope to do so one day?

I'm not working at the moment, so I'm trying to write as much as I can while I have the downtime. I'd love to be able to continue, but my crack-like addiction to things like food and shelter come first.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I've always loved reading, and I was always writing when I was younger, sort of an extension of all my reading, but it got pushed by the wayside as real life intruded. But, now that

I have this time, I really want to spend it doing something I enjoy, something for me for a change.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Getting started is the hardest part for me. I can see scenes in my head, but I have to work out the sequence to get it right. I kind of write by the seat of my pants, never did like using an outline.  :-)

Thanks Jill!

And feel free to stop by anytime!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Top Six Favorite Star Trek Movies- Yep, I'm a Trekkie Too and I Write Romance!

According to my recollection there have been a total of  twelve feature films in the Star Trek franchise.   Beginning in 1979 to the present release 2013.  That’s thirty-four years of boldly going where (at first it was ‘no man’ but became…) no one has gone before and I’m not even counting the tv show’s initial start in the 1966 that spawned countless spin offs!

And the crazy part is, I’ve scene every single one of them at the movie theaters.  That is so messed up.  I really am a scifi geek.  But I blame my dad for that cause I was born a scifi geek, I was converted!  That’s an entirely different post…

6.  Star Trek III-- The Search for Spock

Wait, they actually killed off Kirk’s son?  Spock isn’t dead any more.  Yay!!  The action was pretty good too.

5. Star Trek II-- The Wrath of Khan

It made me cry and showed how much they all cared for each other as friends.  The pain, Kirk endured upon watching Spock die- like I said it made me cry.

4 .Star Trek IV-- the Voyage Home  

A perennial favorite they are best friends and family all rolled into one.  They know each other care for each other and have repartee all their own.  And poor Spock, he’s half gone, half their because of the soul/brain transplant he’s just under gone- he’s hilarious as he tags along with Kirk just generally being himself- very straight faced yet backing every bit of Kirk’s play.  At this point they’ve been together so long they’ve dropped pretty much all pretense of a military structure it’s like visiting old friends.  Oh and did I mention the great environmental message that is the center of the story?

3.  Star Trek VI-- The Undiscovered Country  

Arguably the most introspective of the Star Trek movies to date it examines so many issues from resistance to change, to getting old and bigotry.  

The last movie in the series for the original cast, it is the ultimate swan song.  It was as if the writers, director, cast and producers knew it was time for them to move on and they did it in style including the personal signatures featured in the end credits.   

In this film, the main crew members are old and grizzled on the verge of retirement. One has actually left in favor of his own command- Sulu.

In a surprise turn of events they are called to extend an olive branch of peace to a group of people whom they’ve considered their enemies for their entire career.  

Instead of becoming sullen and morose and possibly  melodramatic, the tone was humorous and respectful of the simmering anger that all the characters felt for having to ‘deal with each other under the circumstances.’

Though the serious were many a  few of my funny tid bits from the movie perfectly frame and lesson the underlying bigotry that many of the crew feel towards their Klingon frienemies.  For instance, two Federation guards, who by the way are instruments of a bigger conspiracy by the Klingons and Federation officers to keep up the Cold War, are discussing the appearance of the Klingon delegation on board the Enterprise.

One of them says,  “Did you get a load of that smell?”

The other replies, “They all look alike.”

“Only Top of the Line Models can speak.”

I mean you can mine this movie for years regarding its examination of prejudice in society.

And then there were the quotes from Shakespeare along with Elizabethan in design uniforms all speaking to Kirk’s torturous choice between devil of serving a cause he does not believe or disobeying a group he has spent his entire defending.

From the examination of bigotry and fear of change to the use of great literature to hone the point that this is an eternal human condition is astounding.

The people around them are the most human and identifiable to the people we are like in contemporary American and/or human society…not to say all of contemporary human society is represented by American society…

Leonard Nimoy was an Executive Producer and contributor of the story development.

2.  Star Trek-- 2009

I didn’t expect to like it at first.  And then I saw it and it was action packed, updated, yet true to the heart of the series.  The characters were young and full of passion.  The story was engaging and deep.  I was like- Yes J.J. and the gang- great job.  Bring on more.  And it helped that Spock and Kirk were kinda hot too.  Never thought of them that way before.  He also promised to readjust to the story line. 

1.  Star Trek: Into Darkness--2013

 JJ Abrams swan song as director for the series, I think.  I loved.  In my opinion better than the first.  Continues the story line whilst revisiting some of the stuff in the original cast’s movie series.  And Khan played by Benedict Cumberbatch-- Dayum!  Hot! 

After the first viewing I stopped rooting for Kirk and the gang and switch sides.  Team Khan!  Oh wait did I say that out loud?  Although not as popular as the first by many hardcore trekkies and in general in the American domestic box office, it was still good and worthy of praise.  

The connections he made between the two, ‘farewells,’ (his and the original casts were so call. I’ve seen it referred to by meany fans on the net as ’Easter Eggs) 

Some of them are  Sulu in command… not quite like Undiscovered Country but reminiscent.

Surgery on a Torpedo between Spock and McCoy…. In ST:ID surgery on torpedo between Mccoy and Dr. Marcus and Mccoy and Spock.  

There’s a shot of the Klingon Homeworld\, where Khan has taken refuge.  Next to it, we see the Klingon moon, Praxis.  It appears partially destroyed.  (Despite the fact that in the original series, it was completely destroyed decades later due to over mining.)

I’m sure there are many more but those are the fun ones I can think of now, aside from bringing in the Khan story line but that was in the second movie of the original series but an Easter Egg nonetheless.

It was a great movie and Benedict, who portrays a modernized Sherlock Holmes on the BBC or PBS depending on where you watch it, hit it out the park with his ferocity, yet desired to protect his family. 

I recommend you see it as soon as you can!  And then whip out the DVD’s and play the original movies and see if you can pick out the connections.

Live Long and Prosper


Good Luck.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sex and Violence: Or Why I Fell In Love With The TV Show Supernatural and Male/Male Romances

I love paranormal shows just as much as the next person but up until recently, I considered the show Supernatural just another show to pass over as I was channel surfing.  All that changed when I saw the episode Sex and Violence.  

Sam and Dean are in a small town plagued by senseless murders where men have killed their wives or girlfriends for no reason.  In fact, up until that point the relationships in question were considered happy by all.  And to make matters worse, the distraught males can neither account for nor remember their behavior during the incident in question.  

But all clues lead to a mysterious woman that every one of the men had been seen with prior to the murder.  After some investigating, all clues led to a Siren.  In the ‘world’ of Supernatural, this particular Siren fed on the love of its intended victim, receiving a cheap thrill off him killing for him.

The really interesting happens when Sam and Dean meet another investigator during their search.  An FBI agent, whose name escapes me at the moment, is also determined to fine this elusive killer.  In the midst of all of this, Dean is plagued by doubt regarding his relationship with his brother.  His only real connection to family and the feeling part of himself, Dean is upset by the fact that Sam seems to be hiding something from him.  More like pulling away, leaving him feeling isolated and paranoid of his intentions.  

Dean reveals some of his woes to this mysterious FBI agent while on a stakeout of a potential suspect as Sam (in Dean’s opinion) leaves once again to do his own thing and leaving Dean to do this on his own.   

After hitting it off with the agent, feeling copasetic, Dean shares a drink with him.  The FBI agent, who at first pish-posh in disbelief of his theory about the character, reveals to Dean that a person can also be infected through saliva- I.e. the cask of whiskey they’d been sharing.  However we all know, he had Dean way before the infected booze.  Completely under his spell, the Siren, who taken a form of a man, an FBI agent in fact, is again excited at the prospect of having another one person under his/her/its spell all in the name of love.  

Completely under his spell, Dean holds a knife to Sam’s neck and nicks him just so at the instruction of his new love.  Enthralled with his new catch, he toys with a hyacinth and taunts Sam saying, “…I got exactly what I wanted, I got Dean….I gave him what he wanted and it wasn’t some bitch in a G-string.  It was you.  A little brother that looked up to him.  That he could trust.  And now he loves me. He’ll do anything for me and I got to tell you Sam, that kind of devotion, watching someone kill for you is the best feeling in the world.”  Sam retorts back, “Is that why you’re sluttin’ all around town?”  

Course Sam is infected next.  Lucky for them, family friend and fellow hunter Bobby kills the Siren before Dean tries to kill Sam during the biggest knock down, fight to the death, brother on brother, bromance brawl I’ve ever seen on the show.  

Other than the fact that the Siren was completely, disgustingly evil and had massacred the lives of innocent people-- the episode was damn alluring!

I mean it was seductive.  It was a bromance gone to the Nth level.  It was like girl porn for me.  I can’t describe it.  I went from being a sometime watcher of the show to an avid fan.  Dude it was male on male romance without the sex and was fantabulous!

The juxtaposition of the female whore archetype against a man, who on the surface, appeared very macho and masculine- completely the opposite.  Then there was Dean, this very alpha male man who falls in love with another guy simply because he gave him what he needed.  Love.  <Swoon!>

How many fanfics out there included the story line taming Dean’s savage inner beast?   Tens?  Hundreds?  

What can I say?  The way the Siren sat confidently waited on the bed when Sam came into the room, you knew right then he’d dropped the phony macho disguise and was like any other ’gal’ completely satisfied by the new love he‘d found.  At that moment, there was nothing anyone could do to spoil that perfection.  Even the tone of his voice had changed.  It was calm, seductive, alluring.  Like that of a pleased lover.

And yes he was in love again, with Dean, who deep down in his heart wanted to be loved too.  The pie eating, womanizing, tough talking, heavy drinker was taken down by the fact that all he wanted was someone he could trust, someone he could give his entire self to without having to pretend to be something he was not. In short unconditional love.  

Then there was the Siren with his/her/its crossed legs, a dainty flower held between its two fingers and a pleased expression on his face, confident in the knowledge that Dean was all his or hers or its. And though Dean was not yet on camera, we knew he was there.  

And the motel room, it was classic.  Red velvet walls, cheap red satin-like sheets, one could imagine that at a place like that, the rates were charged by the hour.  Its as if they’d already had their own kind of sex in that gaudy, cheap motel room and we somehow missed it.  

Yes we got to see the lead up to the very masculine, man sex Sam had with the forensic chick who was a suspect in the case at one point.  But unlike their sex,  Sam had shaken his off.  (We don’t know about the Forensic Lady.  They never show her again.)  Dean on the other hand, had not.  I think the difference was, Dean actually loved his new mate, where Sam was there only to have a little fun.  By the way, the Siren, wasn’t the most handsomest man in the world, but then again, he didn’t have to be to catch his quarry.  A lesson every single person needs to learn but that’s a different kind of post, for another blog.  I digress…

To see Sam barge in like a husband who had neglected his wife for far too long, but was not back to reclaim who was rightfully his was amazing.  Yet to the Siren he was no threat.  Cause he knew what his man wanted and had no problem giving it to him.  Unlike Sam who held back.

The whole thing was arousing, titillating and at the same time educational.  The writers did an excellent job portraying the subtle tones of let’s of homo erotic love without saying it out right.  Though subtle it was hot as hell.  Of course it helped that the actors did an outstanding job portraying their roles each in their own passionate way.  They really sold it.  

But the main thing I  got out of this episode after all the other stuff we’re suppose to get as viewers such as…Sirens killing people is bad, come between the Winchester Boys is a death sentence, and that you should love your family no matter how screwed they are cause in some cases they’re all you got-- yada yada-blah blah.  Yeah I know but the new thing for me was the connection between love and sex not only in my writing but also in life.  

After watching the show I saw it differently.  Sex when in the context of romance- starts in the heart, affects the mind and manifests itself in the body.  And when love is love- even when it is hijacked by a twisted supernatural being, it’s still love.  Even when its between two men.  And yes, sex between two men can be really hot even when it’s merely suggested as a prospect in the ether by a lonely siren seeking to mate with a hot alpha male torn up by his own pain, who’d fall for the first person who says, “I get you and it’s cool.  Don’t change. I like it, in fact, I look up to you,” even though you know it’s a creature disguised as man who’s been instrument behind the deaths of people all around town.  

So as a result, I ‘get’ slash fiction.  I get its allure.  I see why it can be just as hot as M/F romance fic.  Now I love a good male/male romance fic as much as a male/female one.  (Not forsaken my sistahs out there who love female/female or F/F/M its all good too.)  I’m just saying I am into slash fiction too. 

One of the best written episodes I’ve seen.  Sex and Violence is well worth the look for any fan of romance.

Btw if you are interested in watching this episode of Supernatural it is in season four, episode fourteen.  

My own work or romance includes a male/male romance in the story line is a M/M/F futuristic menage entitled ‘Soul Ties.’  Book One in the series- Bonded, is available at eBook retailers now.  

Soul Ties

Is now available as a freebie for a limited time only for your Kindle Device! Get your copy today!