Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Newsflash: Bloggers stranded on island!

Imagine if you will, six book-happy girl bloggers are stranded on a desert island.

Wait, back did we get there? Perhaps a fabulously wealthy reader, fan of all our blogs, grateful for the hours of enjoyment we have provided, decided to send us all on a fabulous vacation together.

But, just in case our plane has to make an emergency landing on a desert island, we bring books, to found a glorious sharing library. We will miss civilization, but what do we care? We have 36 excellent books to read!

A few of our Desert Island Keeper ground rules: we can each pick six books to bring and share, and we can't duplicate any book. We need a variety of genres. And no ARCs. After some discussion and passionate horsetrading, we came up with our picks.

Find KristieJ's list here, and Sula's here, then lisabea's, Christines, and Katie(babs).
Hold the presses -  late-breaking stowaways: Sarai,  TracyMaryKate, Shannon, Ciaralira, and Sarah have added more books!

Here are my humble additions:

Middlemarch (George Eliot): Oh, how I love this intricate, rich and wonderful book. It is really one of the best ever written, especially for the way human behavior is observed, and the characters, the subplots. OMG, just thinking about it, I have to read it again. It takes a bit to get going, but then you are transported into this brilliantly drawn provincial world swirling around Dorothea, an idealistic young woman searching for purpose.

Kushiel’s Dart (Jacqueline Carey): I love this for its sort of exotic, strangely Medieval and richly imagined fantasy world. And really big stuff happens - stunning, fantastical epic stuff. So satisfying. What’s more, the sex is shocking. And most of all, there’s Phedre, a fabulous heroine who really does live by her wits, in the best way.  More about that here.

Demon Night (Meljean Brook): We have to have this in our library because, oh, so many reasons. There’s the emotional complexity that MJB does so well, and the finely drawn characters you get to know so intimately, and above all, Drifter, the best hero EVER. I can't believe I only raved about this once.

Dead to the World (Charlaine Harris): In my mind (and I believe that of my bloggy comrade Lisabea, and possibly others) this is the best of the Sookies. This is the great Sookie & Eric book, and it’s also quite exiting, plotwise with a satisfying ending.

The Killing Dance (Laurell K. Hamilton): With this whole series, I felt like I was back in gradeschool, where all I ever wanted to do was sit in a corner and read and life was just one big annoying interruption to the enchanted world of books. And I found this addition to the series to be the most enthralling. (Though Blue Moon comes pretty close). I just luxuriated in this book, and I could read it over and over. The werewolf stuff. Killer Edward on the scene. The contract on Anita’s life. Richard indulging his total gross-out wolfiness. And last but not least, the legendary (in my mind) bathtub scene.

House of Mirth (Edith Wharton): I love this heroine, Lily Bart, and I love the world of this novel, the glamorous yet evilly confining structures of turn-of-the-century New York. Lily just can’t bring herself to play ‘the game,’ and little by little, goes from one of the most eligible beauties to, well, there is no HEA here. But it is so good anyway. This novel was always a great friend to me in a weird way.

What would your six books be? We want to know!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A tour of my favorite worldbuilding elements of Magic Bites so far

I'm about a third of the way into this book. It’s funny, I sort of wasn’t in the mood for an Urban Fantasy when I picked it up, but I am really enjoying it, particularly the awesome worldbuilding here.

MAGIC BITES by Ilona Andrews takes place in the somewhat near future, in an Atlanta ravaged by magical mayhem; there are ‘tech’ times where technology works, and there are these magic waves where magic dominates and things like cars don’t work, and the two forces seem to be struggling on a sort of invisible level. I could have that wrong, but it’s how it feels. The portrait of an out-of-whack society where people cope and survive is so well done.

This convincing and very comprehensive world also has a delightfully twisted sort of quality. I think maybe it’s partly the names. Example: this excerpt explaining the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid:
The Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid offered just what its name suggested: merciful aid to anyone who asked. If you could pay, they would charge you; and if you couldn’t, they would kill shit on your behalf pro bono. Officially their mission statement was to protect humanity against all harm, by magic or by weapon. Trouble was, their definition of harm seemed rather flexible and sometimes merciful aid meant they lopped your head off.
Other favorite names so far:

“The People,” this scary necro-oriented group, “Part cult, part corporation, part scientific institution” that controls vampires. (Vampires are monstery in this world—Grey Goose and designer duds not included!) What kind of fucked up name is the People for an organization like that? I love it every time I read it.

His Majesty Curran, the Chosen Lord of the Free Beasts. That’s the name for the head of the shapeshifter society here. I like the Free Beasts. You can almost imagine a kind of anarchic world where shapeshifters would sit around deciding on official names, and these would catch on with them. Chosen Lord. Free Beasts. These names feel wistfully aspirational.

Favorite architectural points so far:

The Unnamed Square, five city blocks reduced to rubble by various villains. “Even now, six years later, the city council refused to rename the empty space…reasoning that as long as it had no name, nobody could summon anything there.”

Champion Heights, a luxury high rise that seems to be semi-cloaked by magic. “Pale haze clung to its walls and balconies, blurring the crisp, man-made edges, as a web of wards worked tirelessly to convince the very magic which fed it that the high-rise was nothing but a large rock.” The effect: sections of it look like “portions of a steep granite cliff.”

Sort of humorous, yet vivid and dramatic.
Update: see part 2 of my Magic Bites discussion here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Out at the bird feeder: the unthinkable!

There has been such drama out at the bird feeder, I can’t even tell you. But look! A bird is there! Birds come to it now, and it is so wonderful. This photo was snapped last night. It is not a good photo, but I didn't want to get too close and scare my new little pal away.

Astute readers will notice that this bird feeder is very different from the stupid cage-like one I had before.

Yes, stupid. People pointed out that it looked like a cage, and really, it made me a bit uncomfortable, but I was advised to get a squirrel-proof feeder, because if squirrels adopt the bird feeder as their feeding station, birds will never come to it.

Then the unthinkable happened. A little brown bird got trapped in there! He got right out, but it FREAKED me out.

Then this little red headed bird came by (just like the one at the square feeder, above), and this little guy couldn’t even figure out how to get IN to the bird feeder after many attempts. (Please don't think this reflects at all on you, KB.) But I thought, if this red headed bird ever does figure out how to get in, he will NEVER get out. So I climbed out there and just took the damn thing down.

So I didn’t have a feeder for a couple weeks, in case you were wondering about my radio silence on the matter. But then this week then I got this glorious one. What I also like about it is that it doesn’t discriminate against bigger birds. A giant crow could come to this feeder if it wanted. I sort of like crows.

This is a totally boring blog entry. Like, am I 92 years old? I’m going to stop now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lord of Scoundrels: 5 favorite ending moments

It’s always such a good sign with a book when you think you’ve reached the high point (for me it was that icon scene) and then you realize there is WAY more going on. What a lovely book and a treat of a read. (Psst: spoilers ahoy!)

My top five ending moments (not in order):

1. Dain gives the little boy a bath. I love how Dain holds and cares for his unruly little puking son, and he's also kind of grappling with his own monstous sense of self. And then he makes all these connections with his own situation, and realizes his mother loved him enough to leave him behind, and that he can be the person to love Dominick. The presence of Dominick brought that to life in such a vivid way.

2. His arm works again. It was so excellent how the frozen arm figured in—I certainly didn’t predict it! It became immobile after Jess shot him, and then it comes out here that it had to do with his fear that she’d leave him. And then his arm comes back to life caring for his son!

At first I was thinking, it’s because he is whole now. But it’s also because he has agency as a human being. Even though his mother left him, he can make it so Dominick is not alone, and he can make it so he is not alone. I felt this was a psychologically rich twist.

3. Jess kicks Vawtry's ass. What a great heroine! She even seems quite injured, and I expected her to more just stop Vawtry him until Dain stepped in to take over, but no! She finishes the job.

4. Jess just totally lusts after Dain all the time. Sure, Jess is clever, and has this emotional attachment to Dain, but we’re never allowed to forget that, from the start, she just animal-lusted after him, ever since they were in that curio shop. I really enjoyed that scene where she confesses what she wanted to do to him in that shop.

5. '“Ti amo,” he said. And so ridiculously simple it was that he said it again in English this time, “I love you, Jess.”'

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lord of Scoundrels LOVEFEST

Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Spoiler level: HIGH (Sarai and Lone C: beware!)

Oh, wow, can I be any more in love with this novel? Hardly.

Everything is so unexpected here. I richly enjoyed the engagement scene with the lawyer. And the non-starter wedding night. And how the seduction worked!

Later Jess says, “But getting you into bed—you, the greatest whoremonger in Christendom—gad it was worse than the time I had to drag Bertie to the tooth-drawer.” And they have this laugh, and Dain sees how it’s been for her, how he’s been. (Like his father!)

Anyway, last night I hit the part where she gives him the icon as a late birthday present. So lovely. To be honest, I had been worried Dain’s friends might do something to screw up their nascent relationship, more bets and things. Who knows, maybe they still will, but this is more a novel of emotions and weighty internal obstacles, not externally generated misunderstandings, and that icon, all I can say is OMG.

I didn’t expect it to come back. When it first appeared in the story I thought it was more a metaphor for a larger tale of disguised and discovered value. Dain admired it, I thought because the woman looked like his mother, and then Jess had an instinct about it and bought it and had it cleaned and it turned out to be beautiful and valuable, just as Dain would later.

But then that scene at the breakfast table where she gives it to him, and it turns out that Dain is the baby! And the little icon, at least to me, stands in for Dain’s heart, or more, a time where it was last whole, before it was destroyed. Oh, I just loved that. And his description, not realizing what he’s revealing:

'"She’s half-frowning, yes. Mildly irritated, perhaps, because the boy’s being troublesome. Yet she wears a glimmer of a smile, as though to reassure or forgive him. Because she understands that he doesn’t know any better. Innocent brat, he takes it all for granted: her smiles, reassurances, her patience…forgiveness. He doesn’t know what he has, let alone how to be grateful for it. And so he frets and scowls…in blissful infant ignorance."

Dain paused, for the room seemed to have grown too quiet suddenly, and the woman beside him too still.'

And he tries to cover, but without meaning to, she looks at him with pity, because she realizes.

And there’s the new obstacle. It’s not his stupid friends screwing them up, it’s something raw and emotional that scares real people - the exposure of your deepest wounds, and that somebody might view you not with love and admiration, but pity. Reading this, I literally thought to myself, Sheeeesh, this fucking story just gets better and better.

Maybe Loretta Chase consciously selected this icon to carry all this baggage, but really, the play of the icon feels like something the subconscious delivers up to an author, like a gift. This whole book is so wonderful for the way the obstacles are largely internal, but they’re mirrored and echoed externally.

Even the shooting scene, which is so wonderful, feels like that. His defenses are so thick, she just has to shoot him. And it looks like this blundery thing, but in fact she is an expert markswoman and very strong and smart, with a strong and smart heart.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oh, Lord of Scoundrels!

Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Spoiler level: pretty HIGH

I have a friend who is holding off on reading specific books until she is elderly, so she has things to look forward to. I suppose it might have been smart to do that with this book, but actually I'm glad I didn't, because I am SO into it. It is delightful at every turn. A feast! Still, I’m trying to savor it, though I may yet gobble it all up in one sitting. Or maybe ravish it. Maybe even tonight!

At present, however, I am just a third of the way through. There is just one enchanting scene after another.

Sigh. The glove scene in the coffee shop. What do I even say about it?
He had relieved whores beyond counting of frocks, stays, chemises, garters, and stockings. He’d never before in his life unbuttoned a gently bred maiden’s glove. He had committed salacious acts beyond number. He’d never once felt so depraved as he did now, as the last pearl came free and he drew the soft kid down, baring her wrist, and his dark fingers grazed the delicate skin he’d exposed.

He was too busy searching Dain’s Dictionary for a definition of his state—and too confused by what he read there—to realize that Miss Jessica Trent’s grey eyes had taken on the drunkenly bewildered expression of a respectable spinster being seduced in spite of herself.
Chase is exploiting the hell out of the rotating 3rd person point of view and I’m loving every minute of it. For example, with the two steamy kiss scenes that come after the glove, you’ll have Dain’s feverish POV in the moment, then Jessica’s, and then Dain’s again, but later, reflecting back in a heartbreakingly emotional way. One of my favorite examples of this so far is the way he reflects, hours later, on the kiss outside the ball:

…a firestorm of images, feelings, and one sweet, anguished moment…when she had kissed his big, loathsome nose…and cut his heart to pieces and put it back together again and made him believe he was not a monster to her. She had made him believe he was beautiful.

Lies, he told himself. They were all lies and tricks to trap him.

Reading this book, I feel like SUCH a girl. I love that Dain is not handsome, and emotionally wounded, and that Jessica wears all these silly hats and baubles that Dain hates, but then he keeps and treasures that one crushed hat from the rain scene. I love how clever she is. This book feels so well put together. The characters’ histories and goals make sense, and the way the peer groups work in - each with their own sorts of reputations to worry about - all dovetail so wonderfully.

I just got to the part where she shoots him (Katiebabs, I thought you were joking!) and I’m thinking both of them are about to have nothing to lose, which is a great place for characters to be, I suppose, unless you are SO worried about both of them like I am.

Some previous commenters seem to be on Dain’s side and some on Jess’. Do I have to pick sides? I want to love them both.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fun at the vampire country home

Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

Last week I read Happy Hour at Casa Dracula and Midnight Awakening (MA discussed here and here) back to back, and it was so interesting.

Both of these are vampire series books I’d recommend, but they couldn’t be more different. Whereas Midnight Breed is sort of big and dramatic and not especially realistic, Happy Hour is incredibly realistic, even personal, in a way.

I would describe Happy Hour as sort of like what would happen to a real girl if she started turning into a vampire. Or make that, a funny, interesting, real girl who you’d want to be friends with. Because it’s easy to resonate with the narrator, Milagro. Her delightful and funny narration is part of what makes this book so enjoyable. At times I would just laugh, and I’m not a big book laugher.

It all starts when Milagro goes to a party where she meets Oswald. They have what you might call an enthusiastic and sexy encounter where she accidentally gets “infected” with his vampire blood and then runs off. She becomes horribly ill over the next weeks, but she thinks maybe she just has the flu. Though when she finally drags herself to the all-night supermarket, all she wants is red meat.
Honestly, I had planned to fry up a burger when I got home, but I was agonizingly hungry and so weak after days without food that I thought I would pass out. I made it to the corner before I took out the package and tore a corner of the plastic wrapping. I lifted the Styrofoam tray to my mouth and sipped the blood. Then I sipped again. In seconds I was sucking at the raw meat, trying to extract every drop of liquid and telling myself it was no different than eating steak tartare.
And then later: "My vision had improved, if I defined “improved” as seeing everything clearly, but with a heightened sense of dimension."

Anyway, suddenly all the enemies of Oswald’s family are after her, but Oswald’s family intervenes and whisks her away to their country home.

Oswald’s vampire family is a little uptight, and not entirely comfortable with being vampires—they really try to be normal, though in the middle of the night they drink animal blood out in the barn (humanely taken from animals they lovingly raise) in a kind of odd yet fancy cocktail hour ritual.

What with the country home, the cocktails, the fun romantic intrigue, vivid and engaging characters (even the minor ones) and the unwinding secrets, this was a world I richly looked forward to spending time in. That's something I prize highly in a book.

Milagro is a Latina, and another dimension I really enjoyed was the way her sense of being an outsider in various situations related to Oswald’s vampire family’s own feelings of outsiderness.

Eventually the European cousins arrive—they are way more debauched and act a lot more like normal vampires, and Milagro takes up with them for a bit, until she gets disgusted. Overall, the family’s biggest problem is this secret society that’s after the whole group of them.

In general, this book merges the best aspects of chick lit with a paranormal drama. It’s not for somebody seeking alpha males, vampires with major powers, or lots of steamy scenes. It’s more like a quirky, very clever and fresh take on the genre I'd shelve with favorite authors like Evanovich or Josh Lanyon.

The next book, Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula, is currently out. I am definitely going for it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Serial Continues

Chapter one is at Tumperkin's.
Chapter two is below
Chapter three is at Kate Rothwell's
Chapter four is at Carrie Lofty's
Chapter five is  up at Ann Aguirre's
Chapter six (and the finale!) is at Lisabea's.

The Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaire's Blackmailed Martyr-Complex Secretary Mistress Bride
“What is this, Madame?” The toothless old airport customs guard lifted two baggies of talcum powder from Molly’s suitcase—she’d brought the powder in anticipation of changing diapers at the Greek children’s hospice. The girls at the hospice back home had told her there was a diaper rash epidemic raging, and that the poor Greeks had never heard of talcum powder!

The customs man grinned a kindly toothless grin. Molly’s heart broke to see such a lack of dental work.

“Sir, that is—”

“I apologize for my secretary’s gross lack of judgment,” Nico said, slipping the man a thousand-dollar bill and whispering in his ear. All Molly could make out were the words Drug-addled and nymphomaniac.

The old man’s eyes brightened and he cackled as Molly choked back her tears. Oh, what did it matter? Nico always thought the worst of her anyway, and with a thousand dollars, the poor old fellow could get his teeth fixed! And maybe get his shirt whitened.

The towering captain of the global hummus industry then snatched up the baggies and her suitcase and pulled her away by her slender wrist. To her consternation, Molly’s nipples hardened.

They slipped into Nico’s princely limousine, as sleek and unfeasibly long as he was tall, and sped for the hotel.

“I’d remind you that we’re no longer back home where you can dole out sexual favors every time you get into trouble,” he growled. “I am a Greek billionaire, yes, but I have many enemies, such as those in the kalamata olive sector, as well the manufacturers of baba ganouj, which is inferior to hummus in every way. I hope you worked that into my keynote address.”

“Yes, of course, but—”

“And the audacity of making hummus from eggplants. Or should I use the term aubergines?”

To her consternation, Molly’s nipples hardened.

“At any rate, as my fiancée, I can’t have you visiting every disco and orgy in Athens tonight.”

“That wasn’t—”

“I know you’re used to a certain level of stimulation.”

Molly shook with indignation, eyes blazing. “I would never—”

“As my fiancée, you must be in bed at a decent hour. Naturally I’ve booked us a romantic suite, and we’re going to have to make it look natural, in case the enemies of the global hummus industry have installed spy cameras. They must be convinced that you are my fiancé, and I mean 100% convinced. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Molly gasped. “I’m your secretary, not your mistress! I only agreed to pretend—”

Nico pulled the baggies of talcum from his briefcase. “I think you’ll pretend more convincingly now.”

To her consternation, Molly’s nipples hardened. She focused on the baggies. She had been so excited to introduce the Greeks to the wonders of talcum powder. She imagined the wide eyes of the nurses as they saw how effectively it prevented diaper rash. “Please, I need that for the orphans—”

“Orphans!” Nico roared with cruel laughter that shook his unfeasibly tall frame. What was the point? He never believed her. “You’ll be my mistress or I’ll turn you into the authorities. Is that clear enough?”

Molly eyes flashed as she imagined the police testing the substance and declaring it to be talcum powder. However, the tests would involve all sorts of chemicals, which would ruin the powder for the infants. And knowing Nico, he’d take his bribe money back from the needy customs worker. There was no amount of sexual humiliation she would not gladly endure on behalf of orphans—or spry, bright-eyed, toothless customs guards. To her consternation, Molly’s nipples hardened.

“I’m glad you see things my way,” the billionaire barked. “Now, hows about a kiss?”

“You don’t understand!” She shook her chestnut mane. “I can’t pretend a passion I don’t feel.”
“You have passion enough about these.” To Molly’s horror, the global hummus tycoon appeared to be stuffing the baggies down the front of his pants. She chastely looked away, but when she looked back, she spied a prodigious bulge.

“I must have those baggies!”

“Then you will extract them, my dear.”

“Surely you won’t go through the whole conference with those in your pants!”

“I can and I will. And if you want them, you know where to get them.”
Molly’s eyes misted up, but then she remembered the orphans and the old man. With a trembling hand she reached over and undid Nico’s belt buckle, emblazoned with the worldwide hummus insignia. She could feel the Greek billionaire’s hot breath on her ear. She placed her hand on the ample tummy hair that snaked down, down.

To her consternation, Molly’s nipples hardened as she searched for the baggies in the Greek
tycoon’s pants. Suddenly she found herself gripping his straining, throbbing manhood. Why did this excite her so? What was going on? The skin on his member felt soft as a baby’s bottom, so soft. She squeezed her thighs together. So soft yet so hard! She felt confused, and then Nico came, roaring his pleasure.

“Oh, Molly,” Nico whispered, spent. “I know I’m just one in a faceless parade of men for you, but that was amazing.”

Why should she tell she was a virgin? That she’d never touched a man in such a way? He wouldn’t believe her.

Nico buttoned his pants, then leaned forward to give the driver directions.

Molly lowered her gaze and that’s when she spotted the baggies lying on the floor.

She gasped—Nico must’ve tossed them there when she wasn’t looking! Her blazing eyes roamed to his feet, shod in tassled Greek billionaire loafers, and hideous black nylon dress socks.
To her consternation, Molly’s nipples hardened.
Find the VERY EXCITING and AMAZING next installment
at Kate Rothwell's blog, and the collected chapters starts at Tumperkin's.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bird update + the other 4 semi-freaky Midnight Breed things I like

Well, I am still waiting for the birds to discover my bird feeder, however there have been some NEW DEVELOPMENTS out there.

As you know, I scattered seed on the flat rubberized roof area outside my window, and then a little higher, on the windowsill, before we went out of town. When we got back last night, I observed that the seed on the roof was eaten, but none had been eaten off the window ledge, which is halfway to the feeder.

THEN, last night while I was sitting at this very desk, I heard a little bird singing and I peeked over and saw it on the ledge next to the pile of seed! One little brave bird. (Who looks a lot like the picture.) I got the feeling by his singing that he was trying to alert the other birds, but I don’t think they came by. Then this morning, I saw at least one bird fly to the ledge and leave. Maybe that same brave bird. Whew! So much excitement!

A continued appreciation of semi-freaky aspects of Midnight Breed
Semi-freaky because now that I look at the list I made while reading, really, these next four aren’t that freaky. Oh well.

The men are always washing the women’s hair. Is there a scene like this in every Midnight Breed book? I’ve only read the first three, but it seems to be a recurring activity. I actually love these scenes. A lot of times it happens right after the woman has been through something awful, or the vampire warrior has been a jerk, and it’s always a totally satisfying TLC moment. I have never had my hair washed by a guy outside of a salon setting. I just asked my husband if he would ever wash my hair. Wash your hair? **long pause.** I guess.  If it was important to you.
The bloodlust problem.
This is actually not freaky at all either, but I love how it’s developed through the first three books. Again, it is creative worldbuilding that feels true because it echoes things in this world. And I think it is really well done. I love how Tegan and Lucan were/are always sort of on the edge of it.

The fact that vampires are descended from aliens. I have always really liked this as an explanation. It’s very creative worldbuilding, yet sort of believable. And this alien angle also gives more credence to the villain Marek’s whole program. I mean, who ever heard of aliens who are more powerful than humans and they come to earth and DON’T take the place over?

I’m sure Marek fumes every time he watches a space invasion movie. But then again, the First Gens had human mothers, so it also makes sense that they would have split sympathies.

The way the glyphs pulsate and change colors, like mood rings. I admire this innovation, and it’s always entertaining when the human woman are like, Oh, what unusual tattoos! A lot of the glyphs seem to reach to their necks—I’m trying to remember. I know Marek’s went to his arms. Anyway, it would be sort of hard having them advertising your moods your whole life, though I think it would be handy if you were the breedmate. You could never have those conversations like, What?!? I’m not mad. Or What?!? I don’t think that girl is hot. It’s nice because it also works into the alien thing in my mind; the gylphs are very alien-seeming.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Midnight Breed: Still Kicking Ass & Freaky thing #1

Here I am in Pewaukee, Wisconsin visiting my parents and sisters and nieces and nephew. In all the commotion, I am not making much progress on LOS, (not to mention getting a serious case of blog withdrawal!) but that's okay, because I am sort of backlogged and I wanted to talk about books I've already finished, and specifically, certain freaky things about Midnight Breed.

I finished Midnight Awakening last week - my predictions didn't come true, but  that's probably for the best. All in all, it was as thoroughly entertaining as the rest of the series.  

In a lot of MB books and others of that ilk, you have a sense of the hero rescuing or fulfilling the heroine in one way, and the heroine helps the hero in a different way. Like pieces of a puzzle - or a hungry bird and lonely bird feeder. But usually their attraction is more based on something animal/chemical. What I enjoyed here was the way Elise and Tegan rescued each other from the same sort of self-destructive vigilantism. I liked that they had that whole lost love/vengeance thing in common. Like that their attraction was based a little more on their characters.

I also enjoyed the part Elise played at the end. I hope the warriors will see from this that they can utilize Elise and the other females more often. I mean, those females have some pretty awesome superpowers. Best of all, I like Savannah's superpower of reading the history of an object and knowing about its owner. That would actually be a cool superpower for a writer to have, too, though not quite as cool a superpower as the power to not have a job.

Anyway, this being the third book I've read, there are a few recurring freaky things I wish to discuss, and all I have time to write about right now is freaky thing #1, but this one is the complexly freakiest anyway.

Entertainingly Freaky thing #1: The infantilization of the breedmate ladies as they suck the warriors blood.
Something about the whole feeding-off-the-warrior thing kept on striking me as a very strange and odd, and I remembered the feeling from previous books. 

Of course I was having too much fun reading to stop and think about it, but finally, then, I did. At first I thought it was just the use of the word mewling to describe the sound the women make. Mewling, if you look it up, is to cry weakly, as a baby or young child, or whimper or wail. 
But part of the effect was also lines like this: "The pinch of her blunt little bite was an erotic pain that went through him like an arrow."  It's always about the blunt little teeth. 

It actually never occurred to me until now that that's what babies sort of have in common with vampires, that they feed off human bodies for food; and the way the breedmate women feed is more babyish than vampirish, though it's a little of both. And then you add in the sex part, and it's its own crazy deal. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing here. I enjoy this weird and creative world building. It's just something I think about - briefly, while they are feeding off the warriors, the breedmates turn into these oddly infantilized creatures. Is it just me, or have other people noticed this? It will be interesting to see if this continues in Rio's story, which I have and can't wait to read. (After LOS!)

Okay! Next up, the other 4 freaky things.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I am still waiting.

Dear bird,
You may have noticed changes in my birdfeeder. I have made these changes just for you! I am waiting with renewed hope.

My mother, who knows all about birdfeeders, had all kinds of ideas. Why didn’t I ask her before? But that is how daughters are, I guess.

Anyway, she said to take off the dangling strings—they will scare you away! (Not that I think you are the type to scare easily.) She said to put something bright and green around the feeder, to help you notice it, and then to scatter seeds around, which other astute readers have suggested. So as you see, I have implemented these suggestions.

Okay, enough birdfeeder weirdness. I’m sure my landlord loves the look of that rag I tied on there. Every time I go by I think it’s a parrot for a split second. I think that would be too much to hope for.

Other readers have made great suggestions, too, which I may implement soon. Aside from certain bawdy ones. You know who you are.

Thanks to my focus on the birdfeeder, I have neglected to report on the 2 books I have finished recently. M & I are taking a trip to Wisconsin for a long weekend and I hope to be able to get computer time for the following:

Midnight Awakening: 5 freaky things I want to talk about.
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula: Prize for most delightful narrator ever.

I just started Lord of Scoundrels, and I find myself smiling like an idiot every other page.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Midnight Breed Feeder update #3

Now a snowstorm is raging outside.
How long will you cling to your stupid pride?

I get it, finding the neighbor’s feeder empty was a heartbreak. Somehow you think it was your fault, and you have toiled to armor yourself against everything and everyone ever since.

You think you don’t deserve the joy of an endless source of seeds. And maybe a little part of you is afraid to have that and lose it again. But you do deserve those seeds. You did nothing wrong--you couldn't have prevented the neighbor's ignorance and thoughtlessness on this matter. Honestly, do you think you can control everything that happens in this world? Please know that I will keep my birdfeeder full!

Yes, my birdfeeder looks like a cage. People have told me so. But if you would stop being so stubborn, you would see that this feeder you so callously eschew would actually FREE YOU and that dark and gnarled husk you call a heart.

If you would just take a taste, just a taste, I think you would understand.