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Bark's Book Nonsense

I read the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. I'll read most any horror, romance & M/M novel that comes my way.  

Currently reading

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Marie Kondō
Beautiful Creatures
Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia, Kevin Collins
The Silver Chain
Primula Bond

The Dark Swan: Storm Born #1 by Richelle Mead (GR Cleanup)

Richelle Mead's The Dark Swan: Storm Born - Richelle Mead, Grant Alter, Dave Haman, Adam Markiewicz

GR Cleanup. Originally read in Sept. 2011.

I haven’t yet had a chance to read Richelle Mead’s novel Storm Born (Dark Swan #1) but I’m definitely interested after finishing volume 1 of this graphic novel adaption. Will I be disappointed? Knowing me, probably but this version didn’t disappoint. It’s a gritty urban fantasy brought to vivid life with bright colors and beautiful artwork and it left me hanging for more.

Eugenie Markham, usually known as only as Odile the Dark Swan to the beasties she sends back to the Lands of Death, is all badass beautiful with her tats, violet eyes and fiery hair. She’s a shamanic mercenary who tracks down evil creatures for a living. But strangely her latest monster knows her real name. It’s disquieting and something is definitely afoot that will no doubt cause her later grief but the reasons are not revealed here.

She’s asked to retrieve a missing girl abducted by the fairies (gentry) which will require her to cross over into the Otherworld. Something she never does. She ponders it even though it’s wildly dangerous because, apparently, these aren’t your nectar sipping fey. Does she go? Well we don’t find that out either. Yet.

A small cast of characters are introduced along with Eugenie and they all have fun little quirks. Roomie Tim dresses up as an American Indian because it gets him chicks, Eugenie does cute little kitty puzzles to decompress and then there’s super hunky love interest and veterinarian Kiyo who is gorgeously drawn and heats up the pages. There is violence, bad language and sexuality (and some rough-ish sex) in this here ebook so I wouldn’t let your nosey youngsters snoop over your shoulder as you read. All of the choice bits are cleverly hidden (darn) but it’s spicy all the same.

I thoroughly enjoyed Storm Born and will do my best to track down the rest of these graphic versions as they're released. My only small niggle was one bit of dialogue that could easily have been left out or reworded because it left me wondering how Eugenie jumped to a certain conclusion about a man and his driving skills but it’s a minor nit in a very entertaining story. Other than that this has the makings of a promising series and I’m anxious to check it out.

Storm Born #2 by Richelle Mead (GR Cleanup)

Storm Born, #2 (Dark Swan Comic) - Richelle Mead

GR Cleanup. Originally read in September 2011.

After a lovely time spent in the arms of her new lover Kiyo, Eugenie awakens to discover an icy beast has invaded their space. Before she has time to react, Kiyo is up and kicking its butt like a pro while still deliciously naked, I might add. She finishes the elemental off but not before it says her real name and makes disturbing comments about spreading her soft legs. I’m still not sure what is up with that but theses sexual innuendos from beasties are getting mighty uncomfortable and I’m starting to fear for Eugenie.

This volume again hooked me from page one and features the same beautifully expressive artwork and bright colors that really grab the eye. It’s sexy, suspenseful and sarcastically humorous. It doesn’t answer any of my nagging questions. Who is this Kiyo? He is definitely much more than an extraordinary looking veterinarian. Why are creatures suddenly calling Eugenie by her real name and threatening to get all sexy with her? What is lurking in the Otherworld? Why is a creepy fox in suburbia? Why aren’t her sex induced scratches from Kiyo healing? I don’t know any of the answers but I’m anxious to see where all of this leads.

This is a fabulous graphic novel so far and I’m looking forward to devouring the entire thing.

I woke up to this sleepy face
I woke up to this sleepy face

His tongue was "stuck" this way for a good five minutes! Monday's are the hardest, lol.

Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled by Bert Murray (GR Cleanup)

Colin Preston Rocked And Rolled - Bert Murray

GR Cleanup. Originally read in September 2011.

 

I’m unfortunately going to have to mark this one as a DNF. I’m at the halfway point and it just isn’t working for me. The writing is breezy but I’m not finding any of the characters engaging enough to continue and I'm getting increasingly frustrated at the fact that although Jasmine is stunningly gorgeous there is very little to love about her personality. Also, though it is set in the 80’s, the characters feel more like they belong in the 70’s. As a child of the 80's I was expecting something else. I imagine this would be a fun read for those interested in reliving their freewheeling college days through the eyes of a young guy experiencing the ups and downs of his first deep love affair with a troubled, moody girl. The author captures all of the angst and drama and silly fights of young lusty love but as I have a kid going through the similar ups and downs (and driving me crazy in the process) I’m finding the combination of real life/fictional life drama just too exhausting. I’ve tried countless times but I guess it’s another book that just wasn’t meant for me at this point in my life.

Storm Born #3 Dark Swan Comic by Richelle Mead (GR Cleanup)

Storm Born, #3 (Dark Swan Comic) - Richelle Mead

GR Cleanup. Originally read in Sept of 2011.

 

Issue 3 of Dark Swan, Storm Born finds Eugenie making preparations to travel over into Otherworld to rescue a young human girl kidnapped by Aeson, one of several evil King’s that rule the Gentry (fae folk).

Otherworld is a dangerous place and Eugenie wisely decides to bring along some backup in the form of her minions; Volusian, Nandi and Finn. Again there is eye catching artwork and sarcastic humor, especially when Eugenie interacts with Volusian an enslaved damned soul who wants her dead but is forced to do her bidding. When the motley crew crosses over into Otherworld you instantly know it. Eugenie’s minions all take their true form and the scenery changes into a similar but decidedly different landscape. Adventure ensues, blood splatters the pages and King Dorian makes an appearance. Apparently the gentry are ruled by many a horny King but you won’t find me complaining if they’re all as fetching as this Dorian.

Everything starts coming together in this volume as King Dorian fills in a few of the blanks that had me scratching my head in the previous issues. I have to say this one is my favorite of the three I’ve read. It’s violent, sexy and ends on another cliff hanger that has me anxiously awaiting the next volume in the series.

MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman (GR Cleanup)

MirrorMask: The Illustrated Film Script - Neil Gaiman,  Dave McKean,  Read by Stephanie Leonidas

GR Cleanup. Originally read in Sept. 2011

 

I think I did myself a disservice by listening to this story as an audiobook instead of checking out the actual illustrated book. I have a sneaking suspicion the illustrations enhance much of the story, which felt a bit bare bones without them, and that I've missed out on the full experience.

 

Basically MirrorMask tells the tale of a young girl growing up in a travelling circus and starting to rebel and wanting "a real life". After she has a horrible fight with her mother and says something ugly, her mom falls ill and needs surgery. Helena then has a dream-like (is it real or no?) adventure where she enters another realm and realizes a doppleganger has taken over her life. With the help of a masked-boy named Valentine she sets out to find a mirrormask to set things right.

 

This audio is very short and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Gaiman's Coraline. It was beautifully read by the narrator as well as imaginative and full of adventure and riddles but there simply wasn't enough character development for my liking and I didn't understand why Valentine's betrayal is glossed over and forgiven so instantaneously. It weakened Helena in my eyes a bit.

Hung Hounds by Donald Armfield

Hung Hounds - Donald Armfield

Imagine this, if you will, you don’t feel so hot and step into the rest room to take care of business. While you were away, the earth has been plagued by demonic hounds. You probably shouldn't have eaten so many hot wings but it looks like they may have saved your life this time around! So as these hounds are busy eating faces and humping legs (and other things) with their giant doggie parts, you are left stumbling about trying to figure out exactly what the hell happened. Fortunately you soon find a few other misfits and are off on a mission to find a statue and save the world!

This book is most definitely bizarro. I usually have trouble finishing bizarro books because they’re too far out there for me but this one stayed grounded with some fun humor that kept me reading. It was bat shit crazy, kind of gross in parts and a little too heavy on the non-stop action side for my personal taste. There are hounds from another dimension, warty dwarves, a monkey in a wedding dress, mer-people, a man-sized tribble costume and a whole lot more packed in here. There’s no way I can explain the plot and I’m not even going to try. I’ll just say that it’s a very bad idea to wear a tribble costume around a bunch of hung hounds and leave it at that.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (GR Cleanup)

Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill

GR Cleanup Project. Read in October 2011.

 

This is a very creepy ghost story. Judas is an aging former rock star who has a passion for bizarre things and much younger goth chicks. When his personal assistant spots an email offering Jude a chance to bid on a ghost, Jude agrees and gets much more than he bargained for when his past comes back to haunt him. This is an extremely creepy and well written ghost story and character study that I highly recommend. Though nearly all of the characters weren't exactly what I'd define as likable or sympathetic (except for the two german shepherds) I will definitely pick up this guys next book.

OTHERS & ODDITIES Now Available

Others & Oddities - Edward Lorn

OTHERS & ODDITIES is finally available in the Kindle store. The collection will be $0.99 until Friday, then it reverts to its normal price of $3.99. Feel free to share wherever you want. Here are the links. 

 

Amazon.com

 

Amazon UK

 

Amazon OZ

 

Amazon Canada

 

Thanks for all your support!

 

*hugs and high fives*

 

E.

 

 

 

Reblogged from E.

Pariah by Aron Warner (GR Cleanup)

Pariah - Aron Warner

GR Cleanup Project. Read in October 2011.

 

Issue one of Pariah sets the stage for a dark edged story featuring super intelligent teens that are hunted down by the government. Everything seems normal enough at first glance despite the 2025 timestamp. An intelligent teen named Brent Marks declares to the reader that “he is not a freak”, later he is seen ineptly attempting to woo a beauty and a little later being bullied by jerks. He returns home to parents who appear to be glued to their couch with zombie-like expressions on their faces. The drawings are washed out in shades of grime and their dreariness helps set the tone of the book.

An incident occurs that leaves many dead and releases a deadly virus that affects only humans. See, there are humans and there are enhanced humans called vitros. The vitros are super-smart teens immune to whatever virus has been released and they apparently have the capacity to do great harm (I’m not sure how they ended up this way but hopefully we’ll find out in a future installment). The human population, already a bit wary of them, believes the media and politicians when they call this a terrorist attack. This instantly makes all vitros a target and sends them into hiding, including Brent Marks who I fear will never get the girl with the luscious lips now!

I found Pariah interesting in that it takes many modern day fears and puts them in a not-so-distant future where intelligent teens are the enemy. It makes perfect sense that the tv obsessed population would fear these brainiacs. I felt for Brent, who was an outsider from the beginning and whose depressing life takes an even bleaker turn as events unfold. Brent’s character was well developed for such an action packed, short piece of work. Now that things are set up, I’m looking forward to checking out future issues to see what happens to these kids.

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

A Rogue by Any Other Name - Sarah MacLean, Rosalyn Landor

I listened to this book as an unabridged audiobook read by Rosalyn Landor. She does a fine rather snooty job with the narration which fits the historical setting and a fabulous job with the heroine but when it comes time to do to the manly voices I cringed a little. I would’ve much rather had a male voicing the guy parts but they didn’t ask me.

It’s been a bit since I’ve read a historical romance and this one had a lovely leisurely setup that introduced the relationship between childhood friends Michael and Penelope by letters they wrote when they were children and via flashbacks to their friendship. It gave me high hopes for the relationship to come.

As a young man, Michael lost everything in a moment of overeager stupidity and has spent the past decade working to reclaim what was once his. He disappeared from Penelope’s life and hasn’t been there when she’s needed a friend. Because her daddy wants her married off, and soon, he’s attached some very attractive land to Penelope’s dowry. Land that once belonged to Michael, land Michael will do almost anything to get back . . .

Can you see where this is going?

So yeah, Michael suddenly re-enters her life and pretty much steamrolls over it to get what he wants. He doesn’t seem anything like the Michael from the letters and that made me a little sad for Penelope who was so genuinely happy to see her old friend when they meet up again. But then he opens his mouth and ugly spew slips out and she’s not so thrilled. He’s changed and he’s a demanding ass who keeps secrets and strong-arms her into marrying him and then is all about The Revenge. He must get The Revenge! Even if it hurts those who love him.

Ugh. Ugh. And ugh. I don’t like this type of “hero”. Never will, I’m sad to say. He does eventually realize the error of his ways but it’s all a little too little, a little too late. I am not a patient gal so I can only give this one a three. The writing was great; there was wit, sensuality and Penelope was not a push over and I will read this author in the future but I can’t give this story any more than a 3 because of Michael. He is an ass, he knows he’s an ass at least, but that does not change the fact that he behaves like an ass for a majority of the story. His penchant for ass-holi-ness causes no end of conflict and though his fingers may have been magical, his nonsense had me wanting to do this.



“I’m going to turn you from light to dark, from good to bad. I’m going to ruin you.” She didn’t care. She was his. He owned her in this moment, with this touch. “And do you know how it will feel?” She sighed the word this time. “Splendid.”

I saw this today and am definitely going to give it a try. Does anyone have any cheap and creepy ideas for Halloween decorations? I'd like to do it up this year but don't have a lot of cash and all of my old decorations are ancient.

 

 

Today's Amazon Price Drops

You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes The Complete Fifty Shades of Alice: A Fairy Tale for Adults (The Fifty Shades of Alice Trilogy) - Melinda DuChamp

You is only $1.99 for the Kindle Amazon US.

 

The Complete Fifty Shades of Alice: A Fairy Tale for Adults is .99 Cents for the Kindle Amazon US.

 

If you can resist that cover, you're probably a much better person than I ;)

 

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (GR Cleanup)

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett

GR Cleanup Project. Attempted read in Oct 2011.

 

Good Omens is a zany take on the end of the world (as well all know it). The anti-christ is born but due to a mix-up of babies due largely in part to the ineptitude of the angel and demon in charge of Armageddon (who rather fancy the world as it is), things go a bit askew and comedy ensues.

Most everyone has read this but me so I’m not going to go all long-windy with the plot synopsis. I listened to this on audio and though the narrator does a spiffy job it took me a quite a bit of time to get into the groove of the story. If I’m being completely honest, I had to re-listen to disc one twice in order to catch everything because my mind kept drifting away. And while I’m being honest, I’ll go ahead and admit that the second listen was a bit of a chore too. For some reason I can’t pinpoint, I just couldn’t stay focused. If this were a novel this is where I would’ve put it aside for good but I made it all the way to disc five before throwing in the towel.

There are many characters here and I lost my way somewhere around the point where the book starts to focus on the kids. Many folks think this book was a laugh riot from the get go but I found it a wee bit dry and dare I say almost boring? I saw the bits where it should’ve been funny, but it didn’t work for me. I’m afraid my sense of humor has gone on vacation without me again.

I typically enjoy Gaiman’s writing but the two Terry Pratchett novels I’ve tried to listen to on audio were DNF’s. Sadly, this one is a DNF as well. My 3 star is only for the content that I read (roughly 1/2 the book).

Lure of the Mummy by Janis Susan May

Lure of the Mummy - Janis Susan May

GR Cleanup Project. Read in 2011.

 

Bert Carmody is a hieroglyphs translator, working with a team in Cairo amidst the heat and the stench of the poor city. Though he excels at his job, and thinks he’s the best in field, he is continually passed over for the plum projects which are given to his younger, better looking, and much more charming colleagues. Determined to make his name known, he follows a wizened old native through the twists and turns of the city on the promise of a relic that will make his career. Instead the man leads him to a shriveled up all too common fake animal mummy. He takes it back with him anyway. Big mistake there, Mr. Bert Carmody!

Bert soon realizes that his mummy may not be a fake after all. At the same time, he becomes irate that his nemesis (only in Bert’s mind, of course) Rick has been given yet another plumb assignment. He bitches, moans and whines about his lot in life and finally decides to steal a copy of the work Rick was given to translate in the hopes that he can steal Rick’s thunder by doing the translation properly. Mistake #2, Mr. Grumpy Pants. The translation appears to be a spell of sorts, so naturally Bert reads it aloud not once but three times. Hasn’t he ever watched an episode of Charmed, fergodsakes? Trouble ensues of the murderous kind and Bert quickly finds himself in a heap of trouble.

This is a short novella and I’m thankful for that because honestly I don’t think I could have stomached much more of Bert’s jealous, venomous thoughts. He was just a thoroughly unpleasant fellow to follow around. I was not surprised he was continually ignored because he was borderline rude to everyone he met, including the woman he was crushing on. He’s the sort of personality I dislike most, one who blames everyone else for his woes. Meh. Despite my dislike of the main protagonist this story was well written, the landscape and atmosphere extremely well done and the horror tame and twisty like an old episode of the Twilight Zone or Tales from the Darkside.

Here’s a little bit of vitriol from Bert the charmer.

“Damn it all, Bert thought angrily. He was a better translator, he was going to be in People magazine, he was alive, and she still wouldn’t give him a tumble.”



Bert on cats (or himself?!)

“Bert didn’t like cats at all. Nasty, insinuating, selfish things.”

 

A Ranger's Tale by Mysti Parker (GR Cleanup Project)

A Ranger's Tale - Mysti Parker

GR Cleanup Project

 

A Ranger’s Tale is an action packed fantasy set in a world inhabited by magical elves, trolls and goblins in a land called Tallenmere. Caliphany is a beautiful high born elf and the only surviving child of an overprotective wizard who has her entire future mapped out for her. A future spent moldering away inside the stifling walls of the Magic Academy and marrying a man she doesn’t love. She does her best to abide by his wishes but her desire for adventure leads her into the arms of Galadin, a hunky halfling with a nefarious history. Her defiance leads them all into emotional turmoil but what’s the sense of living if you don’t do it with your whole heart?

This was a fast moving romp of a read with a nice mix of adventure and romance. It was written in first person with alternating chapters told from the point of view of Caliphany, Galadin and another character named Jayden. This format helped me to get to know each key character and their motivations pretty well but it also held me at an emotional distance at crucial times. There were several scenes that should have been emotionally devastating but they just missed the mark and didn’t give me that achy angsty punch to the gut. You know that feeling when your chest tightens up and you stop breathing as you try desperately to hold it together? Yeah, none of that happened here and it should have. I felt as if there was a slight glossing over, a holding back, of emotional pain after the fallout from several “events”. I’m a pain whore I suppose but this book could have been amazing with just a bit more focus on these emotions. I’m not sure if it was the 1st person POV causing this reaction or just the stepping away from the pain and moving along of the story. Maybe I’m just dead inside.

With that said the story was very readable and had some nice sexual tension going in the first half. Though the characters are tortured and impulsive (especially Caliphany) there are moments of humor and I’d be interested to see what this author comes up with in the future.