Showing posts from May, 2015

[Book Review] The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray

The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray / Robert Schnakenberg ( Powell's Books ) An unauthorized reference book of everything you every wanted to know, and possibly everything you never knew you wanted to know, about Bill Murray. Think encyclopedia rather than biography, with alphabetically sorted entries on everything from movies featuring Murray, to people he has known, drink and cigar preferences, movies he was not featured in, and more.  Content bordering on the obsessive, particularly considering the lengths that Murray has taken to largely remove himself from the public eye (beyond a penchant for surprise guest appearances and photo-bombing).  Not what I expected from a "critical appreciation of The World's Finest Actor." Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

[Book Review] Stripped with the Vampire

Stripped with the Vampire / Jax Garren Five years ago, Charlie ended his relationship with Vince, feeling betrayed on learning that Vince made a living as a stripper.  Vince regrets lying about his work, but still feels the sting of Charlie's rejection.  When Vince is drawn into plots of the chaotic Liberi vampires and a crazed priestess of an Aztec god, he runs to Charlie out of desperation.  Now Charlie must make a stand not only for Vince, but for himself in vampire society, with far more than just his love life at risk. Stripped with the Vampire knocked it out of the park, and I totally didn't expect it. I picked it expecting a pretty standard-fare paranormal romance, focus on the burning attraction with a sprinkling of urban fantasy peril and the scars of previous relationships clouding the present.  The fact that it happens to be a MM I didn't expect to change much, except for perhaps a better balance of the "alpha male" trap that particularly pla

[Book Review] Going Through the Change

Going Through the Change / Samantha Bryant ( Powell's Books ) Going through “the change” isn’t easy on any woman. Mood swings, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and itchy skin are par for the course. But for these four seemingly unrelated women, menopause brought changes none of them had ever anticipated—super-heroic changes. Helen discovers a spark within that reignites her fire. Jessica finds that her mood is lighter, and so is her body. Patricia always had a tough hide, but now even bullets bounce off her. Linda doesn’t have trouble opening the pickle jar anymore…now that she’s a man. When events throw the women together, they find out that they have more in common than they knew—one person has touched all their lives. The hunt for answers is on.  I love the premise of this book.  Lets be honest, how often do we have action stories centered around menopausal women, especially when its the women who are doing the action.  The idea that for a handful of women "going th

[Book Review] The Hookup Hoax

The Hookup Hoax / Heather Thurmeier Sawyer doesn't do relationships.  He's tried them in the past, but his workaholic tendencies led to the catastrophic end of his last serious relationship, and playboy takes care of that itch just fine.  Then he discovers that his grandparents who raised him are looking to give their lakeside home to either him or his cousin, and his cousin is the one with the family and kids, with the best potential to pass the home down through the family. When his best friend's little sister shows up - back in the country after five years of traveling the world and in need of a job and an apartment, well, maybe they can help each other out.  Even better, she's not too keen on a relationship either, so playing a part gives her a nice buffer from interested parties while starting her new life. Except, things don't stay quite as platonic as intended, with growing affection and some incurable lust. The Hookup Hoax delivers exactly what you

[Book Review] A Darkling Sea

A Darkling Sea / James L. Cambias ( Powell's Books ) A Darkling Sea is a book that rose to my attention repeatedly with compelling reviews on the strength of the plot and storytelling.  A novel about conflict on the edges of civilization and exploration, in a universe where distance and wealth of planets invalidates the standard cause of wars over land and resources. Ilmartar is a cold planet, its surfaced covered by ice kilometers thick, surrounding dark oceans kept thawed by the heat of the planet's core.  A human crew lives in a submerged station, studying the native environment and life, but is charged with non-interference with the dominant intelligent species.  When attempts at closer observation lead to the loss of one of the crew and discovery by the Ilmartaran's, the Sholen investigate the human presence on the alien planet. Other reviews: Conflict And Colonization Under Alien Ice In 'A Darkling Sea' (NPR) Awesome Aliens: Jim Cambias’s A Darkli

[Book Review] 50 Shades of Pink

50 Shades of Pink / K. T. Grant K. T. Grant gives a condensed lesbian spin on 50 Shades of Grey , with youthful Lindsay Pinke snared in the mechanizations of Colette Durate in her pursuit of Victoria Nox.  Colette has a past with Victoria, one that she relishes and wishes to regain, and one that Victoria has long kept locked away. Having read 50 Shades of Grey , I expected the plot to work a little different, at first thinking that Colette was the Christian Grey analog.  Grant has taken some of the characters and in effect combined them.  Rather than Leila Williams, Elena Lincoln, and even Jack Hyde, we have the single character of Colette Durate.  The relationship between Victoria and Lindsay develops through a combination of lust, attraction, and uncertainty with the expected missteps and misunderstandings, but without emotional abuse of each other.  Decent characterization, and good re-imaging of key moments and plot points of the material it draws from. Advanced Reader Copy

[Book Review] Becoming a Jett Girl

Becoming a Jett Girl / Meghan Quinn Goldie works hard for the money, and she has to because she has a whole lot of debt thanks to Katrina and school loans.  She works at a strip club on Bourbon St as a waitress, but dreams of taking the stage.  Then a mysterious man makes her an offer that ultimately she cannot refuse, become a dancer at the secretive Lafayette Club and share the bed of only the equally secretive proprietor, Jett Colby. So, apparently everyone loves this book.  I mean it has 4.21/5 stars on GoodReads with 416 ratings.  The reviews are raving. I couldn't stand it.  The characters were abrasive, the dialog crude, the plot jarring, and the eroticism strained. So, some of my issues. The first chapter left me wondering if I should start keeping a tally of the times the female lead called the women she worked with whores (and why is she calling them that as an insult when prostitution is how she makes ends meet?). Goldie has a lot of debt, and I get it

Link Smorgasbord, April 2015

BDSM and beheading videos: The evolving role of the librarian "Libraries change, but librarians keep helping people find the weird information they need." Ursula Le Guin talks Sci-fi Snobbery, Adaptations, & Troublemaking Ursula K. Le Guin almost always has something to say that I love listening to. Not the affirmative action you meant, not the history you’re making Worth a read. Amazon gets green light from U.S. regulators for new drone tests And everyone was mocking me for taking their idea seriously? Robert Gray: Expletives Undeleted Reflecting on the Clean Reader app Guest Post Roundup A listing of some really excellent guest posts on Jim C. Hines' blog focusing on diversity in SF/F.

[Book Review] Crave (Undone #1)

Crave (Undone #1) / Jennifer Dawson Layla was on her way to the perfect life with her loving fiance.  Home, kids, dog, and a loving husband were on the horizon (plus a health dose of kinky sex, but I suppose that's not normally part of the American Dream). Now 18 months later, Layla is still reeling from grief at the the death of her beloved.  Avoiding friend's who won't mention John, family who look at her with pity, and certainly avoiding anything resembling the emotional intimacy of a relationship.  Instead she holds out as long as she can, until distraction, memories, and pure carnal need send her scouting for a rough one-night stand to take the edge off, letting her return to her guise of a normal life. And then she meets Michael - arresting, dominant, and determined to be more than a meaningless one-night stand.  Being with him even once means breaking her own rules, risks letting him in, and can she still be true to John while healing and moving on with her li

[Book Review] Harrison Squared

Harrison Squared / Daryl Gregory Harrison Squared is the YA/Middle Reader prequel to Daryl Gregory's wonderful tale of horror and madness, We Are All Completely Fine .  As indicated by the previous sentence, I really enjoyed We Are All Completely Fine .  It hinted at horrors survived and explored living with the lingering trauma, and the struggles of seeing the world so clearly everyone thinks you are insane.  In this context we meet Harrison Harrison, known to his mother as "Harrison Squared," and known to the world through a fictionalized retelling as 'the boy who kills monsters.' Don't get me wrong, the events of Harrison Squared definitely count as horrific in their own right, and certainly would be devastating to a teen boy, but they are definitely of a level of existential horror aimed at a young teen reader.  After reading We Are All Completely Fine I was left with a feeling of "that's all?" The characters are a little old by Mid

Unintentional Radio Silence

So having a full time job is amazingly awesome.  I love not having to worry if I will earn enough to cover my basic cost of living. But, me being me, just because I started a full time job doesn't mean I feel that I should (or need) to end my various part-time employment work.  After all, no website work had come up in months, and the work at the bookstore is only 15-20 hours a month. And then I got pulled into a huge website project that's projected to last through June, and am doing a good 20+ hours for that every week on top of my full time job.  Life's a little crazy. I've got loads of books to finish, reviews to write, and some beer to bottle.  In theory somewhere in all of this I'm going to start being more active, with the target goal of fixing that whole "can't run for shit" problem. More content will be forthcoming, and maybe I'll learn a lesson about moderation and scheduling in all this.