Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dead Witch Walking

Today's post is on 'Dead Witch Walking' by Kim Harrison. It is 416 pages long and it published by Harper Voyager which is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing. Yes I know that this is an older book but I have just gotten around to reading it. The cover is interesting, it is from the first scene with Rachel's back to the reader with a church in front of her.  The intended reader is adult who likes gritty urban fantasy with a heroine who grows over the story. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Rachel Morgan is having a really bad day. Okay a really bad couple of months. She is a runner for the I.S or Inderand Bureau, meaning she keeps the bad supernaturals from getting away with it. But she has not had a good run in months. Her boss is keeping her from doing anything and Rachel does not know why. Well things go from bad to worse when she decides that she has had enough. With a living vampire friend Ivy and a pixy named Jenks she quits. That is when her boss puts a death warrant on her. With assassins of every kind chasing her, Rachel does the crazy thing, she goes after someone with a bounty on his head big enough to make everyone leave her alone. The chase scenes are excellent, the dialogue is funny and when Rachel is held prisoner I was really worried about her.

I went into this book expecting to enjoy it and I was right. I was impressed with this book for one thing. Within 35 pages I cared about all the trouble chasing Rachel. I was worried about her. I cared that she had no where to go and only two people that she could trust. That is very impressive for a first book in a series and with all that I read; it surprised me when I realized that I cared about her. That made me sit up and take notice of the excellence of the writing. It was a very easy read, I read two chapters a day and just flew through it. I do like the covers for the series because they do not show Rachel's face, I like this because it make other things about her stand out, like the charms she has on her handcuffs. The plot is interesting with villain being very evil, the good guys being very out-numbered, and the emotions that Harrison pulls out of the reader is very impressive. I am very glad that I have the next three volumes waiting for me on my to-read shelf. I did buy this series because my local book store had them on sale but it was a good buy.

My rating is 4 amulets and 1/2 pixy dust for a good time. I get nothing for my review and like I said I bought my copies from my local bookstore.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Full Frontal Feminism

Today's Non-Fiction Post is on 'Full Frontal Feminism' with the subtitle of 'A young woman's guide to why feminism matters' by Jessica Valenti. It is published by Seal Press which is an imprint of Perseus Books Group. It is 271 pages long with information about further readings, websites, and just general way to get more involved in your local community. The cover has a nude woman but we can only see her stomach and one hand on her hip.  The intended reader are young women but anyone over the age of about 15 can read this and get something out of it but warned there is language. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- You're a feminist. I swear. Feminism isn't dead. It just isn't very cool anymore. Jessica Valenti, found of the popular blog, is out to change all that.
"Jessica Valenti gets right to the point: If you are a smart, modern woman, feminism must be a part of your life. Full Frontal Feminism will leave readers wondering not what can I do, but what should I do first." Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner, coauthors of Manifests: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future.
"Full Frontal Feminism should be required reading for all the young women out here whose ideas about feminism are more informed by backlash culture than by the actual feminist movement. Valenti has produced a lively, witty primer on feminism that will inspire its audience." Lisa Jervis, co founder of bitch: feminist response to pop culture.
"Finally, a book on feminism that's filled with the sassiness to keep us reading, and the statistics to make us give a damn. Whether she's covering porn or reproductive rights, Valenti delivers a solid intro to feminism for young women and a much-needed refresher course for the rest of us." Daisy Hernandez, co editor of Colonize this! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism.
"Valenti breathes new life into feminism with her tell-it-like-it primer on why it's not only cool but also vital to heed the call to make your world a  better more equal place- for yourself, your friends, your sisters and your brothers." Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of Best Sex Writing 2008 and the sex blog Lusty Lady.

I really enjoyed this book but one thing really annoyed me. I think that feminism is more than just a political thing I think that is a way to live your life. Now Valenti does agree with me but she really makes everything go back to politics. But I think that the core theme of this book is about getting out there and not letting anyone else, no matter who that is, make choices for you. I agree totally. Women of all ages need to get out there and be a voice in their communities and in our government. Do not let anyone make choices for you no matter where you stand on the line. If you are pro-choice then get out there and make some good noise, if you are pro-life do the same. I, for one, am sick to death of watching the women in my life have choices made for them and they either do not know or do not care. I have friends who do not use birth control because it is something that only sluts or married women use. I was shocked when I was told that. But that is something that I think all women can get behind because birth control is just the single best thing in the world other than chocolate. I know that some people reading this will be offended. I ask you to think about why are you offended, do not just shut down. This is, in general, a great book and I wish that I could have read it when I was a teenager because it would have helped me then like now.

I give this four stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Black Wings

Today's post is on 'Black Wings' by Christina Henry. It is 295 pages long and it published by ACE which is an imprint of Penguin Books. The cover is a grey scale picture of a woman with the hint of wings behind her. The only color is the red of the title. It has a tag line of 'She's an agent of Death who really needs to get a Life.' very clever.  The intended reader is someone likes urban fantasy and is over the age of 15 because of some of the sexual things that happen. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Madeline Black is an agent of Death. Her calling or duty is to help the souls of the departed to the other side. She does not really like her job but it is in her blood as in she inherited the job from her mother who was murdered when Maddie was 14. As far as Maddie knew her father was a deadbeat who knocked her up and exited stage left. So begins our tale. In the first few pages there is a murder, Maddie is attacked, and she finds that she has powers that no other agent has. There are dreams about the long lost past, there are good looking men, who of course want Maddie, and there are more fallen angels that you can shake a stick at. In the end the answers to the questions are given but if you are like me then the answers are not a surprise but what you guessed would happen from the first vision/dream.

I wanted to like this book more than I do. It has some very interesting plot threads with death being a big bureaucracy, fallen angels and a spunky heroine who wants to understand what is going on around her. But Henry does not live up to the promise of the plot line(s). She does not really do anything with what she has. The story does go from A to B but nothing really happens. People talk, the reader gets more information about an interesting world, there is a kiss (not even that great of one because Maddie faints during it) but that is it. I am not going to buy the next book but get it from my library because I still want this series to turn out. But I am also not putting any money on that. All in all I am very disappointed with this book because like I said I really wanted to like it.

My rating is 2 stars. I get nothing for my review, sadly I spent my own money on this book.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Death Warmed Over

Today's post is on 'Death Warmed Over' by Kevin J. Anderson. It is published by Kensington Fantasy. It is 296 pages long with an teaser chapter from the next book 'Unnatural Acts' coming out in January of next year bumping up the pages count to 309. The cover art has the main character Dan Shamble with other supernatural creatures like a vampire, a witch, etc. The intended reader is anyone over the age of about 14 or so. Not because of anything in the book but because I do not think that anyone under that age would be able to get most of the references in the book; one needs to have read and watched much to get them. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Dan Chambeaux was just a normal P.I. trying to make an honest living in a new world. He is the P.I. half of Chambeaux & Deyer Investigations. The Big Uneasy had happened five years before making all the fairy monsters real. Now the world has witches, vampires, ghosts and more. He got his new name about town of 'Shamble' when he was murdered in a back alley and came back. Murders and suicides have the highest chances to come back as either ghosts or zombies. When his girlfriend is murdered Shamble swears to her that he will get her killer. That does not change when she comes back as a ghost or when Shamble is shot in the head. There are many cases that introduce the reader to this very funny world with funny and interesting characters. Like a five thousand year-old mummy named Ramen Ho-Tep to the witches on the cover, yes there are two, but that is important to the story so I will not ruin that for you either.

I have a story about this book. I am a pretty big fan of Mr. Anderson and I have the pleasure of meeting/seeing him at Dragon*Con every year. So last years' D*C he read the first two chapters of this book at his reading. I really enjoyed it. Over the year he talked with his fans on his facebook page about the writing he was doing including Death Warmed Over. Well months past and I am getting excited because it is almost time for D*C again. I come back from a short vacation to the beach to find a package waiting for me. Confused because I had not ordered anything. I see that the return address is from Mr. Anderson. Now I am very confused and a little concerned. I'm thinking on some list somewhere, like a bad list, but I open the package. Inside is an  Advance Reading Copy or ARC of Death Warmed Over. I start screaming and waving my hands and in general looking like an idiot. So that is my story. Mr. Anderson sent me an ARC copy of this book and he personalized it to me. Now the review of the book itself. It is very funny. It has some laugh out loud moments but most of the humor is subtle. It will catch you off guard with it. I do not want to ruin those moments for you but just watch what you are reading because he has surprises for you. It is first person as Shamble but that is part of the humor because he thinks a lot like the reader. The bad guy(s) have soliloquies, the good win in the end and an evil company is made to pay. All in all a fun and fast read.

Rating four and half stars out of five.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ghosts of Manhattan

Today's post is on 'Ghosts of Manhattan' by George Mann. It is 236 pages long and is published by Pyr books. This cover art is is by Benjamin Carre and is a wonderful minimalist in grays, blacks, and whites with the Ghost's eyes as red dots that draws that eye. The intended reader is anyone who like fantasy, alt history and steampunk-like genre. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The city of Manhattan is haunted. It is haunted by the war, by prohibition, by the mob and by a cold war with England. It is 1926 and the world is changing. Steam and coal are the fuels for the moment but Tesla with his electricity is trying to change that. None of that matters to the Ghost who is just trying to find a way to help the helpless and stop the mobsters who think that everything should be theirs. One mobster in particular thinks that the whole world should be his; The Roman. That is all that he is known by. The Ghost thinks that he is just another power mad lunatic but that is not all he is. Enter woven with the Ghost's story is Celeste Parker, Gabriel Cross and one honest cop Felix Donovan. They are all losing time to The Roman and his mad desires. But true madness will not be seen until the end.

This book is very well written. The plot is fast, the dialogue is okay ( not the best I have read but not bad all the same), and the action is gritty. I like the steampunk themes in it and they are not just to make steampunky because that is popular at the moment but are really part of the story; they are important to the story. I guessed who was The Ghost before chapter 2 but maybe the reader was suppose to. Or rather I should say I guessed who The Ghost pretends to be when his mask is off. Now I grew up listening to Old Time Radio so as I was reading GoM I am thinking 'man this guy loved The Shadow too'. But if you like Batman or Moon Knight then maybe you would see them in this character before I did. The only odd thing in the book is the supernatural bits that happen towards the end. There are some but they are explained as supernatural but some weird science that The Ghost just does not know about. So when an Elder God basically rips through reality it is a little weird. But do not let that stop you from reading this book. It is worth the read.

Rating Three and half stars out of Five.