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Holiday Exchange on Blogger


This is me spreading the word about the Christmas Exchange. From Things Mean A Lot:

Think about and participate. It should be a great time. Although it looks like I may have found out about this after the deadline passed by. Darn it.

Draw Blood Lines Through It

Blood Lines by Tanya Huff, the third book in the Blood Books Series, has one of the most disturbing scenes in it. I read the first two books without cringing, but there is one section in this book that had me cringing even after the section was gone.

Vicki Nelson, Henry Fitzroy, and Mike Celluci return in this book to fight an ancient Egyptian mummy. Yes, not only are werewolves and demons in the same book as a vampire, but now a walking mummy. This mummy isn’t just wandering around in ancient rags terrorizing the city, he has a purpose, and that purpose is to feed on souls and resurrect a god.

***Spoiler Alert***

Henry’s ka, or soul, attracts the mummy because it burns brightly, and Henry is almost tempted to take the mummy up on his offer of companionship, until he finally realizes that he is not the one in need of companionship. This book also sheds further light on the triangle created by Vicki, Henry, and Celluci. Vicki is very torn between the two, and the men are very aware of how each feels for her, which raises the tensions between them even further–especially when they work together to corral the mummy.

***End Spoiler Alert***

I will not go into detail about the disturbing section of the book, but I will say Vicki is a much stronger woman or better at hiding her pain than I would ever be. After her ordeal, she does not curl into a ball or dissolve into a puddle when it ends. If anything, she fortifies an even stiffer protective wall around herself, which I’m sure plays into her overall character development throughout the series.

I can’t wait to start the fourth book in the series, Blood Pact.

AWP Writer’s Conference 2008

It is that time again. The upcoming AWP Writer’s Conference will be held in New York City, NY, next year. I hope to go to the conference, since I have not been to a writer’s conference, other than the one-day conference in Bethesda, MD, at the Writer’s Center.

I’m excited about the New York City Conference because Yosef Komunyaka, Bruce Weigl, Joyce Carol Oates, Billy Collins, Frank McCourt, Robert Pinsky, Ha Jin, and John Irving, among others will be there. Poets and writers I just love. Listening to their wisdom and possibly meeting them would be a great bonus. Mostly, I just want to see what these conferences are like for myself and determine if they are even worth the money.

While everyone I have talked to says the AWP conference is good and bad, many do not regret going at least the one time they went. The brochure I received yesterday has information about possible discounts on hotel rates and airfare. I will have to call and see how discounted those rates actually are, considering I’m one of the more poor writers in the world. I also have to account for the AWP conference registration, which is quite hefty.

It would be great to go with a fellow writer to the conference, but all of us seem to be really poor at the moment.

Opinions Please…

Please take a look at this slideshow and tell me which photo you prefer. Please leave your selection, either by number as it appears in the slideshow or by title of the photo, in the comments.

Thank you all.

Where There Are Vampires, There Are Werewolves, Naturally


Follow a vampire long enough and you are bound to enter the world of werewolves. While many books pit these creatures against one another, there have been a few cases in which authors and movie script writers bring these factions together for the greater good of “humanity.” Blood Trail by Tanya Huff is no different in this respect, but the werewolves in this book and Henry Fitzroy do not merely set aside their differences for a specific event, but are friends and have been friends longer than Vicki Nelson has been in the picture.

***Spoiler Alert***

Rather than Vicki seeking the help of her new vamp friend, it is he who turns to her for help. He ropes her into more supernatural events, but this time with werewolves. The wer family live in the country on a farm, which is a far cry from Vicki’s city existence and very dim in terms of lighting. Henry needs her to investigate during the day, while he sleeps in a storage closet at the home, and he can hunt for the mysterious hunter killing his friends by moonlight.

This book develops these characters and their relationships even further, and it is apparent that Vicki struggles internally not only with the supernatural world she has stumbled upon, but also with her feelings for Henry and Celluci. Most of the book is spent on the farm and Celluci is no where to be found, but it is when she needs him most that he appears in his armor to save her and her friends in spite of his suspicions about Henry. The only spoiler I will put in here that you may not want to know is that Celluci believes Henry is involved in Organized Crime. This cracked me up to no end. I could not stop laughing every time he mentioned it to Vicki or to himself. How this man is a detective and cannot figure out this man is a vampire I have no idea. It’s fun to watch his deduction skills in action though.

***End Spoiler***

Again, the dialogue and interactions between these characters kept me reading. Blood Trail leads you and Vicki into the woods and does not lose its grip on you until the very end. I couldn’t stop reading last night because I knew I was near the end of the novel. I cannot wait to start Blood Lines today.

As for Blood Ties on Lifetime, I recommend readers check out the show because the actors do such a great job portraying the essence of these characters as they are written. It appears the show is struggling ratings wise, which would disappointment me if it was cancelled. I just love the show and generally these shows become cult classics, but I think the stories and the characterizations are enough to hold onto the attention of mainstream audiences if they know what channel to watch.

Sensual and Sarcastic Vamps


Photo Copyright of the Blood Ties television show.

Tanya Huff is a whiz with characterization. I thought I loved watching Vicky Nelson and Henry Fitzroy on the television screen, but I enjoy reading about them even more. Book 1, Blood Price, does not disappoint. There is certainly enough blood to go around. Poor Vicky; she gets so beat up in this first book. It makes you wonder how she copes with the supernatural in later books, but I guess she toughens up after this first experience with the demons.

***Spoiler Alert***

Vicky is full of sarcasm and equally arrogant about her abilities despite her loss of peripheral vision, and her ex-partner, ex-lover, Mike Celluci is pigheaded and arrogant as well. Coupled with the ageless Henry Fitzroy how could the supernatural possibly win out. Have I mentioned that Fitzroy, who prefers to be called Henry, happens to be a Vampire? Much of the book focuses on Vicky’s story and how she stumbles upon a murder on the subway, and how because she quit the police force she feels abandoned and useless. She left the force of her own accord and continues to fight the feeling of uselessness throughout the book until she comes to a realization at the end that she is not useless and that she has a great many skills to use in solving even supernatural crimes.

Mike takes turns as the bad guy reminding her that she left the job she loved and reminding her that she is still needed by him, at least. While Henry spends a great deal of time trying to place her; where has he seen her before; why has she entered his solitary life; and how should he deal with this newly budding relationship. Henry is drawn to her, not only as prey but also as a companion in the modern world.

***End Spoiler***

I won’t spoil the whole story for you, but I will tell you that the book is fast paced. The dialogue and interactions between Vicky and Henry are hilarious and had me laughing for much of the book’s latter half. I was equally amused by the conversations with Celluci and Vicky. Even the supporting characters, like Coreen and Norman, are quirky but not beyond total belief in this horror/fantasy novel.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in vampires or great characters.

The Quickie

How shabby can a plot or characters get? I remember a book I read long ago by Zane in which the character was not well created and everything under the sun happened to her by the end of the book. The Quickie by James Patterson is much like the title suggests, a quickly written novel to fill the space between two better written novels. I already reviewed Step on a Crack and You’ve Been Warned.

Unlike those two books, which has suspense and plot twists, The Quickie was a roller coaster ride you wanted to get off quickly. When I reached about halfway through the novel and it ended in a shootout with the bad guy, I thought thank goodness that is over. But it wasn’t over. I handled the transition to the subplot behind Detective Scott Thayer’s odd behavior and ultimately his death relatively well, but I could not absorb the other twists thrown my way.

***Spoiler Alert***

Lead character Detective Lauren Stillwell of the NYPD is not a good detective at all. She had no idea Scott Thayer was playing on her vulnerabilities and insecurities, and she is a “tough as nails” cop. She was equally blind where her husband was concerned, and still wanted to save his sorry butt even after learning he has another “wife and child” with twins on the way, not to mention he committed robbery, shipped off millions to be laundered in a foreign nation, oh and killed her lover boy Scott Thayer. Nevermind, Paul’s sordid past.

How is it that Patterson can write this many novels in one year without making mistakes? At one point she is driving around in her mini cooper when she has to head home to tend to “brownies” when she leaves to return to the scene she has a completely different car–did she misplace the mini, was it beamed away while she was looking for her husband or hiding the evidence that he killed Scott, or was it the editors and Patterson forgetting to keep the story consistent? Miraculously, and this is the part that really got me thinking about Patterson’s production levels this year, Lauren gets pregnant and it is determined she’s been pregnant a lot longer than she initially thinks, especially given she just slept with Thayer 6 days before the news. However, many places in the book, the character refers to her and her husband’s stagnant love life at home…which leads the reader to believe they are not sleeping together. So, I ask you how did she get pregnant? Immaculate conception or his sperm jumped through the air when they passed one another in the mornings. I have no idea.

There are so many plot twists and subplots in this book, it was driving me insane. The narration was all over the place and not tied together tightly enough for me to believe in it. The main character is a detective; Patterson writes about them all the time, but this one has to be the dumbest detective I have run across.

***End Spoiler***

I suggest you skip this one and read one of the other two I have mentioned. They are much better books.

Someone asked me if I think it is James Patterson’s use of co-authors that has hindered the plots and entertainment of some of his latest books, but I can tell you that is not the case. Step on a Crack had the same co-author, Michael Ledwidge, as the Quickie and it was a better book. I think it has more to do with Patterson’s schedule; he is cranking out too many books per year these days. I say slow down man, we can wait for a better book.

How About a Revolution

Thought you all might like a change of pace, so I am sharing with you one of my photos from Las Vegas. The Beatles Lounge.

Beatles Revolution

Solar v. Lunar Eclipse

The third installment in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, Eclipse, does not disappoint with even more action and drama than the last two over an even greater length of pages–629 in the volume I picked up at Borders. I tried to slow down and take in the entire book, but found the pages flying by as I grew more eager to discover what choice Bella would ultimately make between her werewolf and her vampire.

***Spoiler Alert****

Vampire clans in Italy are an imminent threat to Bella and Edward if she is not changed, while other vampires closer to home are on a rampage on their way to kill her for revenge. Meanwhile, Bella’s love for Edward continues to be the center of her night sky. I think what irked me about this book is how dense Bella seemed. It wasn’t until page 327 that she realized Jacob was in love with her. Could she possibly be that obtuse? She had glimmers of intelligence throughout the book when it came to deducing which vampire clan was after her and which were not, but she had no idea that her “friend” loved her. Granted she is a teenage character, and she may not be that perceptive, but I would have given Bella more credit than that.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Jacob takes it upon himself to kiss Bella to prove that she feels the same way, and she hits him in the jaw, only to have her own hand broken in several places. The teenage unpredictability is endearing in her because she is so emotional and where’s her heart on her sleeve. Despite her inability to control her emotional outbursts with regard to Jacob’s advances and Edward’s caution, she is still unaware of her own feelings for Jacob for about another 200 pages. This bit of ignorance on her part, however, is believable because they are teenagers and many times I remember confusing friendship for something more or pretending that there wasn’t more in favor of mere friendship.

The choice is inevitable for Bella in the end, but I still wonder if there is not more to her choice. Perhaps she does not need to choose the path Alice sees for her. Perhaps there are alternatives despite her love for both men in her life. I can tell you if I were caught in between I would have a tough time choosing, though I think I would have walked away from both of them at some point to clear my head and figure out the best choice for myself rather than plunge into a decision head first, blindly. However, that is probably why these characters are teenages, minus the few hundred years Edward has spent as a 17-year-old vampire.

***End Spoiler Alert****

Despite my passion about Edward Cullen, Bella Swan, and Jacob Black, my favorite character is Edward’s sister, Alice. She is such a giddy schoolgirl when it comes to human events and coming of age incidents. Bella always reprimands her for going overboard about proms, dances, graduation, and birthdays, among other parties. She wants a sister she can dress up and “play” with it seems, and she has found that with Bella. What I enjoy most about this character is the interplay she has with her brother, Edward. She sees the future to a certain extent and he can read minds, it makes for an interesting dynamic. Who will win their little tet-e-tets? It’s a fun bunch of dialogue, and the dialogue between Edward and Jacob in the latter portion of the book is equally amusing.

As for the Solar and Lunar Eclipse title of this post, it alludes to the eclipse of Bella, her true self by both sides of the coin, the moon (Edward) and the sun (Jacob). I feel as though she has lost herself in the midst of this struggle between her two loves and herself.

I had a great time reading these books and can’t wait for the next installment, tentatively titled Breaking Dawn. It is expected to come out in Fall 2008.

This Book Also Was Reviewed Here:

The Bookworm

New Moon Rises

The second book, New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, is read. Yes, in a day and a half. I have uncovered another passion for an author and these characters. I can understand her passion for her characters and their voices like a writer should.

***SPOILER Alert***

Edward and Isabella reunite in this book, but their world has changed.

Its akin to a teenage, vampire-werewolf Romeo and Juliet in the modern world. Jacob Black, the family friend’s son stars in much of the first portion of New Moon, with Bella at his side. He comes of age and their relationship changes, but she is not ready to move on. She merely wants to wallow in her pain and her memories of Edward. Jacob won’t let her because he loves her too much. While the feelings are not reciprocated, it does not matter. The adventures in this book are more heart-racing and adventurous than the last.

I was riveted to the words on the page and stayed up until 1am to read to page 400. On the way to pick up the little niece and her mom, I read in the car and finished the book this afternoon. I have never been enthralled with two characters before. Ok, that may not be entirely true. My passion for Edward and Isabella is akin to my passion for Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights.

To think, I have read over 1,000 pages in the last three days, and all I have is another 600 to go in the third book. And no, I have not started it yet. I will be.

I love the red and white flower cover on this book and its depiction of how the passion and innocence of the characters is comingled. Their interactions are much like young teenagers, rash and passionate, but at the same time an enduring love and understanding binds them to one another. Edward aptly says in the book that there is a new moon lighting his night sky when he is with Isabella, and without her the sky is black and devoid of stars and moonlight. I can’t wait to get to Eclipse.

This Book Also Was Reviewed Here:

The Bookworm