May 30, 2015

This time I let my fingers do the walking

As if my Big W blow-out wasn't bad enough, I then let my fingers do the walking after yesterday's splurge and visited two of my favourite online places to buy books.

First port of call was Booktopia.  I already had some amazing specials in my cart.  Bought The Swan Gondola for $9.90, and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch for $6.35!  They also had a copy of Steal the Dragon by Patricia Briggs - to complete the Sianim Quartet - which seems to be either Out of Stock (OOS) or Out of Print (OOP) at Book Depository.  Every time I browse Booktopia I find so many great titles with great discounts.  Great for my bookshelves, bad for my wallet.

About half a hour later, my fingers got itchy again, so it was off to Book Depository.  I caved and pre-ordered Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton.  This is book 21? in the Anita Blake series, and from the sample I read in the back of the novella, Jason, it sounded pretty good.  We're back into the zombie raising aspect of the series, and I hope to see some of the RPIT characters that I have been missing for the last 12 books or so ;-D

So, in all Friday was just a book-fest of a day.  I spent way too much money.  Will have to tighten my belt for the next couple of weeks and ban myself from browsing the online book sites. . . maybe?

Until next time,

I bought more books!

Just a quick hello - Hello! - and an update of why I could never commit to a full on book buying ban. While out shopping yesterday I wandered into my local Big W (for a plant pot) and completely lost the plot.  I ended up getting two of the books {above}, and put a stack on lay-by.  I'm soooo bad.

They had a boxed set of the Penguin Children's Classics down to $15, as well as a boxed set of the Percy Jackson series for $24! Unfortunately these were both in paperback, but for these prices I didn't care!  So by now I thought I'd done pretty good, but no.  There was more discount goodness in store for me around the end of the aisle.

There I found a hardcover book - with slipcase - celebrating 50 years of James Bond posters and a trade paperback of Daughters of the Storm which I have been eyeing off for months now.  They were down to $10 each people... $10 each!  With one final book, Troll Mountain by Matthew Reilly, added to my armful I realised that I had to get out of there.  Considering that about two weeks ago Big W had been a spontaneous 10% off Saturday for ALL books and I'd gone nuts and put so many books on lay-by yesterday's splurge was crazy - but I love them!

I'll post some photo's of all the pretty books once I get them in my hot little hands.  I hope you have had better luck resisting the call of the pretty books.  If you haven't, let me know down below what you bought ;-D

Until next time,

May 28, 2015

"Where's my book?" Update

Yesterday I posted a small rant about how when my book arrived it was a paperback instead of a hardcover copy.  

Well, it's all been resolved.   I was contacted less than 12 hours after emailing them, and they were very friendly and, like always, I've had no negative experiences when dealing with Book Depository if I have a complaint.  A+ service!

After messaging back and forth, okay once, I found out that the book had been incorrectly advertised, and I received a full refund, plus I can keep the paperback.

Now I only have to decide whether or not to buy the books in hardcover or not since I have one hardcover and one paperback book from the Thursday Next series.  Ah, decisions decisions ;-D

Until next time,

New books delivered!

I love the postman!  Well, not really.  But I do love when they bring such pretty books to my door ;-D

Today's parcels arrived a while ago, however in the rush to get other stuff done I forgot to show you my new books!

Swallowing Darkness is the 7th book in the Merry Gentry series.  I have an ugly UK trade paperback (seriously, have you seen those cover designs... UGLY!) and I have the others in these lovely hardcovers.  So when I happened across this one while browsing on I had to get it.

The second parcel was a copy of the Breeds series by Lora Leigh that I did not own yet.  Aiden's Charity comes somewhere after Jacob's Faith.  I have only just started it and although these books include some very sexy times, they are one of my guilty pleasure reads ;-D

Let me know if you'd like to see an overview of any of these series.

Until next time, my lovelies.

Book Review || Jason (An Anita Blake Novella)

Anita Blake #20.5
Laurell K Hamilton

Published: December 2014

Headline, Paperback B Format, 255p.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-2698-3

Enjoying pain with your pleasure is something you either get, or you don't.  And if you don't then no amount of talking is going to convince you it makes sense.

My name is Anita Blake, I'm an Animator, a Vampire Executioner and U.S. Marshal for the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team.  And I have a complicated domestic life.

Jason Schuyler is one of my best friends and favourite wolves.  J.J. is his lady love, an old flame from childhood who dances at one of the top ballet companies in New York.  She's accomplished, beautiful, and she's crazy about hime, too.  Neither of them wants to be monogamous, so what could go wrong?

J.J. is enthusiastically bisexual; she plans to keep sleeping with women, because Jason can't meet her desire for a female lover, but she can't meet Jason's need for rough sex and bondage with another woman because she doesn't understand just how rough he needs his sex to be, so Jason asks me to help him explain.  With some encouragement from a few other lovers in my life I reluctantly agree, and J.J. makes plans to fly into town for an experience that none of us will ever forget.

Note: there are some minor spoilers below.

So what did I think of this novella?  I think it is complete and utter crap.  That's it in a nutshell.  It seems that the further on in the series we get, the more frivolous and unnecessary the sexual content has become.  It's now just a super erotic series with a side of murder/mystery that was once the basis of the story.  It never used to be like this...

In the beginning, as all good stories should start, Anita was very moral and wasn't the type of girl to just jump into bed with a new boyfriend, let alone a whole stable of strangers.  But once the ardeur reared it's ugly mug it was game over - although NiC is one of my favourite books.  However the longer this series goes on, the worse it's getting. 

But I digress.  Back to the review of this book.

I have two main issues with this book.

1) the abundance of unnecessary sex : Basically, Jason was just a book about sexual preferences.  How rough is rough?  BDSM, vanilla, topping, the list goes on.  It was okay for the first 66 pages where Anita is discussing sex and sexual preferences with Jason, Nathaniel, Envy and Domino.  Even in Chapter 2 when Anita, Jason and Nathaniel pick J.J. up from the airport it's still actually sex free.  Talking about sex.  Fine.  Then we hit Chapter 3 and it's back to hitting the sheets.  Although this time there is some major girl on girl action instead of just Anita being the belle of the ball.  I just rolled my eyes and skimmed because this novella is literally a how-to for Anita in regards to pleasing a female lover.

Though for all the negatives about this series, there is one positive aspect to these books.  They are very, very, open about their LGBTQ characters.  I think nearly everyone in the Anita-verse, well, main characters anyway, has at least dipped their toes into LGBTQ waters.  Our only outstanding complete heterosexual - homophobic? - character is Richard.  But that's another post ;-D

2) lack of originality : For the majority of the books post-ardeur the author seems to be stuck in a rut.  Anita has bad guys to fight, but feeding the ardeur takes priority so she jumps into the arms - and shorts - of the nearest man in her life and boffs his brains out, before going out to solve the mystery de-jour.  The men in her life are still getting pissy with things, and the characters seem to be in this never-ending loop.  It needs to stop.

I think what this series needs is an injection of fresh ideas.  I mean, seriously.  Anita has beaten Marmee Noir, the freaking Mother of All Darkness, for Gods sake.  She's defeated the originator of the Vampires and yet she can't seem to get out of her own way long enough to figure out how to remove the ardeur!? Pleeease.  {serious eye rolling happening here}

However the story, while blah, was not my only problem.  Let's talk about the physical copy next.  I borrowed Jason from my library (the edition listed), but the type was really odd.  It was so large and weirdly spaced out.  Just to show you how truly annoying it was, I took a photo of it against my paperback copy of Narcissus in Chains. 

As you can see it is so spaced out.  Was this just to allow it enough pages for printing?  I would have rather had this as a short story at the end of Affliction instead of paying for such a pathetically small book.

Overall there was nothing that endeared this instalment in the series to me.  I keep hoping that we will see a more story-based, action packed, book.  And yet I still faithfully purchase the paperbacks - wouldn't waste my money on the hardcovers - in the hopes that it might one day revert back to a less sex oriented series.  I have Merry Gentry for that! ;-D

I give Jason a begrudging 

What did you think of Jason?  Do you think that LKH should just finish the series?
Let me know down below ;-D

Until next time,

May 27, 2015

Where's my book?

Granted, this very rarely happens, but on occasion I do have a book snafu from Book Depository.  This morning my postman arrived bearing two parcels.  One was the gorgeous edition of Perfume by Patrick Suskind {it's sooo pretty!}, 

while the other was a copy of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde... the WRONG edition.

See, it even says 'Hardback' right there on the invoice!

Instead of a lovely hardcover, to match the other books, I find that I have somehow (?) ended up with a paperback.  While not happy, I've already shot off an email to them to hopefully resolve the problem asap.  In the past they have been wonderful in resolving these problems.  A+ for service in my experience, but that doesn't mean that a little part of me isn't terribly disappointed right at this moment.

Will let you know how this plays out ;-D

Until next time,

T5W || Books I won't read. Ever.

By now you know there is not much that I won't at least try.  I've read some of the erotic romances, tried a western (didn't like it that much), and I'll even give pure SF a go.  But in the spirit of T5W, and in an effort to make this weeks T5W list short and sweet, I won't waffle on about why I dislike, detest or otherwise loathe the thought of reading the books mentioned below.  But suffice to say that they will never be found on my bookshelves - or my Good Reads list.  

So without further ado, here are just some books that I won't pick up.  Ever.

click image to enlarge

And, as always, T5W was created by the lovely Lainey at GINGERREADSLAINEY and I'll include a link to the Goodreads group {HERE} if you would also like to participate. 

Please remember that these are my personal opinions, and I don't in any way mean to insult a book that you may love.  If you love any of these books, let me know why in the comments down below ;-D

Until next time,

May 24, 2015

Book Review || Heraclix & Pomp

Heraclix & Pomp
A Novel of the Fabricated and the Fey
Forrest Aguirre

Published: October 2014

Underland Press, hardcover, 285p.
ISBN: 978-1-63023-001-2

Heraclix and Pomp, Aguirre's first full-length novel, explores the ideas of identity and immortality through the eyes of a man-like golem and a time-bending fairy who can barely grasp the idea of now, much less the dangers of what's to come.

Before being sewn-together, Heraclix was dead—merely a pile of mismatched pieces, collected from the corpses of many troubled men. And Pomp was immortal—at least, so she thought. That was before her impossible near-murder at the hands of the necromancer, Heraclix's creator. But when playing God, even the smallest error is a gargantuan weakness. When the necromancer makes his, Heraclix and Pomp begin their epic flight.

As they travel from Vienna to Prague to Istanbul and, even, to Hell itself, they struggle to understand who and what they are: who was Heraclix before his death and rebirth? What is mortality, and why does it suddenly concern Pomp? As they journey through an unruly eighteenth century, they discover that the necromancer they thought dead might not be quite so after all. In fact, he may have sealed his immortality at the expense of everyone alive . . .

Heraclix and Pomp is a richly textured and decadent read, filled with Baroque ideology and Byzantine political intrigue. Fans of fantasy and historical fiction alike will revel in Aguirre's layered prose and vivid characterizations. Heraclix and Pomp brings the surreal and the macabre to one of history's most violent eras, and it does so in a voice sure to resonate among this season's best new releases.

NOTE: Minor spoilers mentioned in the review.

I bought this book for myself as a birthday present.  The cover is gorgeous, and once I'd read the synopsis on Book Depository I had to have it.   However, once it arrived I found myself putting it on my TBR shelves.  I kept picking it up, admiring the beautiful and detailed artwork on the cover, yet for some strange reason I just didn't want to read it.

Then yesterday I decided 'enough is enough!', and I pulled it out of my TBR stockpile.  Even then, it took me a little while to start reading it.  I don't know why I had such a hesitance about reading this book.  It's not long, it's in a genre I love, and since I hadn't spoiled myself by readin any reviews, what was I worried about?  

Famous last words.

I started reading.  The first dozen or so pages were great.  Then it went downhill from there.

The altercation between the sorcerer, the golem, and the fairy, the one that's hinted at on the front flap - and the one that I thought was going to be the climax of the book - was actually the beginning.  Really... REALLY!  There is also one HUGE mistake that I'd just like to mention right off the bat.  Heralix, one of the main protagonists, is not actually a golem.  He is NOT made from clay but is rather a Frankenstein monster who has been assembled from pieces of numerous corpses and reanimated.  

Having said that, he was however the one character who's story I found interesting.  As a by-product of the reanimation process, his memory is wiped, and instead of just getting on with his 'life', he is obsessed with his past and nothing can deter him from seeking out the truth about his former life (lives?).  If we could have stuck with Heraclix as our narrator, the one POV, I might have found this book more interesting, instead we have numerous perspectives which jump around and just add to the confusion.

Our other protagonist is Pomp.  She is an interesting stereotypical fey character.  She seems to have all the tropes.  She is very small, with major powers, has wings, and is very skittish and literal.  Pomp, as well as her fellow fairies, have no concept of the most basic of things.  In one scene two of her friends are playing with a small bat.  They do not realise - or care for that matter - that they end up killing it.  When it won't play anymore, they move on to something else amusing and forget about it.  But this is also the scene where you see the change in Pomp as a character.  She feels for the creature.  She feels bad.  It is her character's growth that was the most surprising in this story.

But, even though Pomp is maturing as a character I found her endless questioning of things so annoying.  What is slept?  What is dream?  What is remember?  All through the book she is questioning everything.  Yet while very annoying, in all fairness this did differentiate her voice from Heraclix's.  So it evens things out.

So while the characters of the book had almost equal points on the pros and con list, it is the world building that I find of nearly equal importance to having great characters.  This world was gritty, a very real and oft times violent world.  However we didn't see much of it at all.  Just the sorcerers house, parts of the forest they escape through, an urban area or two, and other vignettes during interactions with characters along the way.  Perhaps if this had been a 500+ page book we might have seen more of this world, but as it was we only received a very limited overview.  Instead of a rich world to put these character into some context, I found myself with a very sepia toned palette instead of rich Technicolor hues.  This was another tick on the con side of my checklist.

Would I really like to continue this as a series?  No.  I think since I'm not enamored with this book I'll leave well enough alone.  I should have waited for the paperback as this book was definitely not worth the nearly $24 I paid for it on Book Depository (and that is with it already discounted and then using my 10% off voucher!).   So while this is by no means a rave review, I can see hints of why a lot of people liked this book.  I wouldn't say don't buy it or read it, it's just not my cup of tea.

I gave Heraclix & Pomp

Let me know in the comments if you've read Heraclix & Pomp.  Did you love it?  Why, and if so, should I give it another chance?

Until next time,