Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kingdom of Scars by Eoin Macken


A terrific novel reminiscent of Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies and Stand By Me. I will freely admit that I bought this book because it was written by Eoin Macken, a favourite actor that I wanted to support. I was prepared for it to stink, but you know what? It DEFINITELY DOES NOT stink!

The novel is set in the suburbs of Dublin and it FEELS like I imagine the 'burbs of Dublin should be -and really, it's not so different from any suburb, anywhere. The prose is rich and evocative, the dialogue clear and unique in my mind's ear and it's just an all-round feast of a read. Kingdom of Scars is Macken's first novel and I hope not his last. He has a talent and flair for writing that needs to be shared, and read by all ages. Macken remembers what it's like to be a teenage boy and shares with us all the uncertainty, bravado, hope and despair of being 15 years old with an artful hand.

I don't read many YA books any more - they don't hold my interest, but this one had me hooked from beginning to end. These kids are real. Flawed, imperfect, growing, dumb as posts and brilliant in the most surprising ways. I knew boys like all these boys here, hell, my own son fits in there somewhere. :) And I knew girls like the girls that make up part of the story, I was one of them way back when.

Treat yourself. Read this book.

An extra bonus is the interview with the author at the end of the book. Eoin Macken has talent, folks!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The 7 Deadly Book Sins

Found this on Hunger for Knowledge's blog and thought I'd give it a shot. :)

The 7 Deadly Book Sins

1. Greed- What is your most expensive book?

To the best of my recollection it would be the original Metallica photo book by Ross Halfin. I paid through the nose on Ebay to add this sucker to my collection!


2. Wrath- What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Anne Rice. I love much of her earlier work, including most of the Vampire books and the Mayfair Witches books. Interview with a Vampire, I think, is pretty damned awesome. That being said, she has shown herself to live in her own little navel-gazing world and so many of the statements she's made in the past decade have been way too over the top for me. So... I love a lot of her work but think she's a total nutjob.

3. Gluttony- What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?
Oh, there are so many! To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings, many of Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, my Trixie Belden books - to be honest, anything I read I read without any kind of shame whatsoever. :)

4. Sloth- Which book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark. I really, really want to read this one, but for some reason I have the sense that it's going to be a slog and I'm going to feel bad for finding it such slow going. One day I will read it. One day.

5. Pride- What book do you most talk about in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

I don't believe that I do that, but if I had to pick something, I'd pick the D'Artangnan Romances by Alexandre Dumas.

6. Lust- What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character?
Smarts and a sense of humour are most important. As well, I like characters that have depth and that we see growing in their journey.

7. Envy- What book would you most like to receive as a gift?
Back in 1974/1975 when I was working at W. H. Smith, we were selling hardcover copies of Lord of the Rings (all 3 books) that had the most lovely onionskin type pages with gold edging. It came with a slipcover - no dust jacket. And we were selling it for $45, a HUGE amount back in the day. ( I just went to a conversion site and it seems that the buying power of that today is almost $220.) I coveted that book and would LOVE to have a copy. I've not seen one in the past 30 years though.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


So one of the bloggers I follow, The Book Nut, is doing a Bookshelf Tour on her blog and I thought it was a fun idea, so of COURSE, I had to purloin it. :)

Climb aboard for the tour! :) Lots of pics ahead!

First off, in the living room, we have a selection of my hardcovers. Guy Gavriel Kay, Frank Yerby, Tad Williams among others. And those little red ones? Those are my grandfather's Hopalong Cassidy books that I inherited. :)


Behind my desk is a little bookcase that holds music, erotica, how-to writing books, reference and my Rockfic collection. And yes, that is a figurine of a reading lady who is missing her head. I live in hopes of finding it one day in one of the boxes of stuff I have all over the place since the renovation... 6+ years ago. *LOL*


Over by the stairs we find my small bookcase that is full of Nora Roberts and only Nora Roberts. I have a big collection, hardcovers, paperbacks, trade paperbacks and I'm determined to get them all at some point. I'm at 90+ and counting. *LOL* And this bookshelf is stacked two deep as you can see.


In the hallway outside my bedroom door is the bookcase that holds my graphic novels and some reference books, including my grandmother's family bible as well as coffee table sized books. In the blue box are my Metallica and Green Day CDs. :) Oh, and that copy of Tad Williams' Shadowmarch? It actually belongs in the space you can see back in the first pic, on the bottom shelf between The Hedge of Mist and Tigana.


Up in the bed/sitting room we find the bulk of my books. This is a small bookcase that holds favourites. Katherine Kurtz, Anne McCaffrey, Jacqueline Carey, Robin Hobb, Patricia Kennealy and more. These shelves, as you can see, are two deep. I need the room!! :) And that middle shelf isn't quite as bowed as it looks. :) Also, I missed it, but on top of this bookcase is a pile of a dozen books that form part of the hard copy TBR pile.


This bookcase holds some miscellaneous old books on the bottom shelves but on the other two are books that I have yet to shelve in their proper spots. As well as part of the TBR pile.


The bulk of my books are in these Billy shelves from IKEA. On the left hand side is the bookcase filled with fantasy and science fiction and the right hand side is the one that's mostly historical romances, fiction, childrens series, mysteries, etc... Again, these books are two deep. A real pain when I have to look for a specific book! *LOL*


This bookcase is kitty-cornerd to the other two and is filled mostly with classics, hardcovers I inherited from my grandfather, my parents and my aunt and just miscellaneous books that I've picked up over the years.


And this is a snap of the tops of my 3 Billy bookcases where I store magazines and yes... even more hardcovers! *LOL* Most of the books are my hardcover Anne Rice books - the good ones, before she eschewed an editor. ;)


I have one more bookcase, it's an antique, but it's behind a bunch of boxes that I have yet to empty in my sitting room and it's full, mostly, of hardcovers that I got through the Book of the Month club and the Science Fiction Book Club. So sadly, no pic of that. :) I also have an archive box filled with my Star Trek novels and another archive box filled with paperbacks that I don't have room for on my shelves.

I also have a Kobo filled with eBooks. :)

And that's my tour!

Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk


Whyborne & Griffin - Book 3

This third installment of the Whyborne & Griffin series continues the love story and paranormal adventures of our stalwart heroes.

I enjoyed this one more than the previous novel. A big part of that was my preference for the undersea menace as opposed to the um... outer space monsters of Threshold, as well as for the whole paranormal side of the plot associated with the 'baddie'. I enjoyed the suspense part of the book a lot. I might have wished for a little more detail and explanation, but that's not really the nature of this series, and that's okay. (Although I could have used more resolution with Kerr, Griffin's father, after what happened at the asylum.)

We also get to meet Griffin's family and learn a little more of his background. He is hiding his relationship with Whyborne from them and leading them to think that he's been cured of his 'unnatural predilections'. And we know how well THAT always goes. :) I found myself giving Christine many internal "Atta girl! You tell him!"s thoughout the story. And while I'm at it, I'd have like to have seen more of her because she's very much a favourite, but I do recognise that W&G are the main characters here. *LOL*

But while I love the boys and all their flaws and quirks, there were times that I found both of them rather whiny and clueless about their relationship. Didn't they learn anything from the previous two books? I mean, I get that Whyborne is insecure about the relationship and the depth of Griffin's feelings for him, but JEEZ, it's like he hasn't grown at all at times. (And that's a big reason why I didn't give Stormhaven 4 stars.) And if Griffin was any more unaware of what was going on with the people closest to him I'd have to accuse him of being a belly-button gazer.

I do hope that the huge strides Whyborne and Griffin have made in their relationship will stick into the next book and beyond. The moments where they FINALLY realise how deep and lasting their feelings for each other are among my most favorite in the book.

In closing, Stormhaven is not without it's problems, in my opinion, but it is a fun and satisfying read and I will definitely be continuing the journey with Whyborne, Griffin, Christine et al. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews


Gay Amish Romance - Book 1

I picked this book up because Heidi Cullinan totally lost her shit over it on Twitter the other day. I don't think I've ever heard Heidi gush so much about a book, so of course, being as she's my hero, I had to pick it up.

And I wasn't disappointed. A Forbidden Rumspringa is a beautifully written story about two young Amish gay men and how they fall in love and the tragedies and doubts that haunt their time together. It's not an inspirational story in the genre meaning of the word. Yes, the Amish angle is very, very important to the story, and the author does a wonderful job of being respectful and truthful about the religion and culture and how difficult, nigh on impossible it would be for two young men such as Isaac and David to even admit their feelings to each other, never mind to their families and friends and the general public.

I had a few quibbles with the story. For instance, David seemed to have experience in sexual matters that I don't think would have come from magazines, books or movies and when juxtaposed with Isaac's total ignorance on the matter it was a bit jarring. The sex scenes were very intense and hot, though, don't get me wrong. :) Another thing that bothered me was that David ended up seeming to me to be a bit of a wishy-washy user - which sounds more harsh than I mean it, probably, but if I'm honest, the last couple of chapters cooled me on him.

And then there is the matter of the cliffhanger ending. I think it needed more of a lead up, maybe. Although the story is told from Isaac's POV, I think I found David's abrupt about-face at the end too convenient and wanted more of the why behind it. And then there was the metaphor of the train that ran through the book but was never really exploited come the final chapter, sadly.

So while I'm not as OMG OMG OMG as Heidi was, I did really enjoy the book for the most part - enough to give it 4 stars - but for my taste there were a few things that could have been done differently. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Not Fade Away by SE Jakes


Hell or High Water - Book 3.5

Basically it's a series of hot sex scenes that serve to explore the growing trust between Tommy and Prophet. There is nothing wrong with this at all as SE writes wonderful sex scenes. And it's Tommy and Prophet. I love Proph.

A quick and steamy read. :) Good one!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mélusine by Sarah Monette


Doctrine of Labyrinths - Book 1

Y'know, I'm not quite sure what to think about this book. :) I can safely say that I enjoyed it very much. I can also say that I spent a good part of the books with a tickle of confusion in the back of my thoughts.

Basically, it's the story of two men, Felix and Mildmay, as their lives get turned upside down. Felix Harrowgate is a wizard and Mildmay the Fox is a thief who get thrown together by a catastrophic upheaval in their city of Mélusine.

Sarah Monette is a wonderful writer and a detailed and skilled world-builder. The thoroughness with which she creates her worlds is almost too much at times. Too much for me - hence the tickle of confusion I mentioned. For instance, the way time is told throughout her world. There are two different ways. The non-nobility/non-wizarding folks use a system that is based on multiples of seven. And there are no years, they are termed as indictions. It seems that the wizards and nobility reckon time as we do with years and days and stuff, but there is not a lot of that in Mélusine - maybe in the following books? There are also different types of wizards throughout the different lands, like different religions, and it felt as if we had to meet all of them. There is just a lot of different information that is presented and I'm not convinced it was all needed.

Felix spends the majority of the book descending into madness. It's not easy to read but you certainly experience the depths of his despair and hurt and anger. You also begin to get a handle on how he feels about his relationship with Mildmay.

And Mildmay experiences his own type of madness throughout the book. He's in uncharted territory and feels quite ill-prepared to deal with it all, as well as dealing with Felix.

The whole book felt like it was laying the basis for the real story that is to come. We get to know Felix and Mildmay, but I don't think we come know all of their secrets. We also get to meet a bunch of characters who sort of disappear off the page and I'm left wondering where they are and what they're doing. The resolution of both Felix's and Mildmay's challenges at the end of the book felt rather too easy considering what both had been put through, which is another reason I'm thinking there must be more that's going to pop up and bite us in the next volume of the Doctrine of Labyrinths.

I must also say that the very ending of the book is such that, while not being an actual cliff-hanger (tied to the tracks and the train is coming), you know you HAVE to read the next one. *LOL*

But be that as it may, I enjoy Sarah's writing and her characters are always different and unique. I'll be adding the other books in this series to my TBR pile. :)