Thursday, December 29, 2011

One of the most disappointing endings...ever.

Shadow Heir
Book #4/Final

-Spoiler-Free Rant-
I admit, I've read my fair share of bad series finales or even followups, but I think Ms. Mead may have taken the cake as being the supreme Queen of Disappointment. Not to say I didn't enjoy the book up until that fateful point, but I think if I would have know that it was going to leave me so dissatisfied, to the point of frustration and anger, I might not have bothered with it in the first place. I understand that not every story is meant to have a happy ending, but I at least expected that an author would have the decency to attempt to wrap-up and answer most of the open-ended questions by the end. I guess that was pretty presumptuous on my part.

Without giving too much away, the book was much better as a whole than the final Succubus book, but that really isn't much of a consolation when it comes to the very loose ending. It really is difficult to keep my overall opinion of this book in perspective. Especially when the last thing you are left with is disappointment. The book was good if it wasn't for the ending. Some would say, just ignore the ending and rewrite your own, but it's hard for me to do so, when one ending is already so ingrained in my mind. Anger does that I guess.

I can only assume that the fan unfriendly ending is either a product of some greater machination or just tactic to anger her devoted readers. I really don't understand either reasoning, but I do know that I won't be investing anymore time with this author's future works.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cheap Read Rec.

Blood Wager  99¢
Book #1

Yes, yet another "How I became a vampire", story, but this one isn't at all bad. I only had a couple of issues with the first one. Namely the multiple Passive & Active voices thrown together. It wasn't necessarily confusing, just a bit strange at the beginning. The protagonist also seemed a bit too morose and bitterly sarcastic, for me to like her completely all the time. Little to no humor, but a fast and interesting read nonetheless.  The covers are also a bit cheesy and cheap looking, but thankfully that's not an issue with electronic reading.

One word of warning.  This series is highly addictive, which I quickly found out after finishing the first four in record time.  A couple of things still bother me about this series and is keeping me from recommending it enthusiastically.  One being the heavy handedness of the men in these books, and two,  how the author defines what a "mate" is.
*****
Lissa is a middle-aged woman, down on her luck, with a terminally ill husband, who was just taken off life support. Drowning in her sorrows at a local bar, she unwittingly gets caught-up with two wagering vamps. Turned by rogues who wager her life, Lissa is running from her maker who is determined to kill her, hunted by the Council who has branded her a rogue and blackmailed by werewolves, who utilize her newly-developed talents for their own gain.

6-Blood Queen
7-Blood Rebellion (TBD)
8-Blood War (TBD
9-Blood Redemption (TBD)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Monday, December 26, 2011

Another promising series disappoints

Kissed by Smoke
Book #3

The first book is the best of bunch. The 2nd book was just okay, and the third book, if it can be called that, left me disinterested in this series. The magic that made the first book pretty decent, seems to be missing in the followups. Still a decent series but I have to warn potential readers of a possible disappointment.

This book is a little longer than a novella and it felt entirely too rushed. It's like the author lost all of her momentum and just delivered a stock story she had handy. Little to no romantic tension and a plot I really could care less about, and I just wanted it to be over already. I called it quits after about 75% of the way through.  The other issues I had, were the over-the-top comical superpowers that the protagonists was starting to exhibit on a regular basis.  It was cool at the beginning of the series, now it just seems silly.  I also felt the characters lacked the same amount of depth and their brief interactions were just peripheral to the superpower-fae conflict plot.  Again, it was rushed and everything seemed to be effected by the lack of time vested in either the characters or  plot development.

A little too harsh you say?  I admit, I sometimes wonder if my poor opinion is just a product of a bad day or reading slump.  But then, I think about my own reading motto of life being too short to read a bad book or one you just aren't feeling.  And this book, my friend, I just wasn't feeling.

I think I can positively say, I  won't be seeking out the next book in this series anytime soon.

Sunwalker Saga

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Terrific Debut: The Shadow Reader

The Shadow Reader
Book #1

A heart stopping, non-stop action Fae fantasy adventure that will leave you breathless. This one is a real page-turner, that kept me glued throughout. The pace and editing are excellent, and the world building and plot seemed very fresh. I also loved that the author points out her own use of the stereotypical love triangle and damsel in distress plot devices, that we so often see.  I'm very curious to see if the author will be able to keep up the same pace, freshness, and interest in the followup.  Is it November yet?
****
Written in first Person POV, Mackenzie Lewis is a Houston college student who can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae King, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn't her only secret. She's in love with Kyol, the King's sword-master-but human and fae relationships are forbidden. When McKenzie is captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, she learns that not everything is as she thought. And McKenzie must decide who to trust and where she stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.
2-The Shattered Dark (Nov 2012)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

K4 Update

Update 4.0.1 is now available for the K4, and it is supposed to correct the refreshing and flash issues. The update took less than 3 minutes to complete.  There is also a Kindle Fire update available.  Nothing yet for the Touch.

Go here to get the update.
  • Download and place it into your root directory on your Kindle
  • Disconnect your Kindle 
  • Go to your Homepage, select Menu, select Settings, then select Menu again, and the Update option should show up in your list of options on your Menu bar.

The update file added to the root directory disappears after the update is complete and another file named "Don't halt of repair" appears in its place.

After uploading the update, a new option named "Page Refresh", appears in the list of Settings (page 3 of 3). It's turned off until you mark it otherwise. Turning it on means you have a flash with every page turn. I think this is what we had before, but I never really paid attention prior. When turned off, I believe you only see a refresh every other page.

B&N 30% off Instore Coupon

30% off a 1-item instore purchase. Good until the 24th, and not redeemable for Nook or Nook products. Go here to print your 30% off Coupon and here for the 25% off coupon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Favorites of 2011

Over at Tangler, we're making our yearly top ten reads list for 2011, so I thought I would share my own best-of reads from this year (or at least the ones I can remember).  Not exactly in ridged order, but I have to say that my most anticipated book was also my favorite of the year.  And that book would be, the 5th book in the Fever series, Shadowfever.


Urban Fantasy/Fantasy

PNR

Books read in 2011, but were published prior:

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Sex, Fey, and Vamps, Oh My

    Love is Fear
    Book #2

    You know you've truly found a good book, when you can’t help but immerse yourself fully, until all reality completely falls away and there’s nothing left but the imaginary world between the pages. In reading this book, I almost forgot about my little world and anything lying beyond the book in my hands.  Lovely.

    A little more Days of Your Lives (Paranormal style) at the beginning, but overall one of the better followups I’ve read in quite some time. Actually, I thought it was even better than the first.  Comparatively, I still noticed a few mistakes, but it's still better polished overall. It also seemed more humorous, sometimes to the point of crudeness, but I took it in stride because it was still quite funny. This book also flowed better, even more engaging (if that’s possible), and the story itself left me breathless, which was the true reason why I liked it so much.  That, and it doesn't exactly follow the same old Hero's journey paradigm.

    Before I get to the plot, I highly suggest anyone who hasn’t yet read the first book, to start there. This isn’t a standalone, and anyone attempting to read it as such, will be utterly disappointed and confused.

    The followup to Love is Darkness starts off exactly where the first book ends, which is sort of a rarity, if you ask me. I especially liked the expanded world building and flashbacks involving the fey.

    Word of warning. This one has way more sex than most PNRs even, but I would still be hesitant to classify this solely as a PNR. Contending with the heavy sexual and romantic theme is the heart of this book's story. The Fey are a long died out race, or so everyone thought. The Fey King has waited centuries for his chance at vengeance, and he's intending to get it at all cost. The fey subplot is actually pretty interesting and balances out the romantic/vamp subplot quite nicely.

    My second caution is to those who despise cliffhangers.  I would suggest holding off until the next book gets released, because this one is a doozy.

    It's Back: $10 + $10 off at Amazon (1 day only)

    This is the perfect opportunity to either pull the trigger on a new Kindle purchase for yourself or for buying holiday gifts for others.  Go Here to check out the offer on Amazon.

    Amazon: $10 off $100 in Electronics & Toys + additional $10 off $50 Future Savings if you use MasterCard: Kindle Touch $89Kindle Fire $189

    Buy Now ►
    Amazon offers $10 off $100 on Electronics & Toys + additional $10 off $50 in Future Savings on Electronics & Toys when you enter coupon code 82YNNB5U and use MasterCard as payment for your purchases from Amazon.com as the seller (no 3rd-party sellers).  Only good for today (12/17), so hurry if you don't want to miss out.

    Note: The additional $10 off $50 code will be emailed to you within 30 days of today's purchase

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Nook Simple Touch Wifi $75 + Free Ship (New)

    Nook Simple Touch  $75
    Just in time for the holidays, Barnes & Noble seems to be selling off all their bestselling ereaders. Maybe a tip off for a imminent new release? You can get a New Nook Simple Touch WiFi eReader $75 + Free Shipping via Ebay, and probably Overstock soon enough. Go here for details.

    I'm actually tempted on finally jumping ship and going over to the dark side at this price point.  I liked it a bit more than Amazon's new Kindle Touch, but the nonadjustable big margin spacing is kind of a deal killer for me.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Another Good Cheap Read

    Love is Darkness   99¢
    Book #1
    Another surprisingly decent cheap read. I am again struck by how many good Indy authors there are out there. The first book in the series is a twist on the very overdone subject of Vampires.  But don't let that deter you from checking out this very engaging and fast read. A little more UF than PNR, but there are still plenty of hot scenes to take in.
    *******
    Valerie Dearborn wants a cotton candy life, but it’s more like a puffer fish: pointy, unusual, and—if not prepared exactly right—deadly. In London for graduate school, Val knows she's finally free. Her father and ex-almost-boyfriend are back in California and she's out of the Vampire hunting biz for good. Or is she?

    She draws the attention of Lucas, a 1600 year old Vampire, and King to his kind. He’s also wicked hot. As golden as Lucifer, and just as tempting, he makes Val an offer she can't refuse— help him find out if the Others (Empaths, Fey and Werewolves) still exist or he'll stop protecting those she loves.
    *******
    Okay, I had a few issues with this book. Namely, the various typos & mistakes peppered throughout. We also get the same worn out plot of the old sexy Alpha Vamp and the innocent pretty human girl. And of course it wouldn't be a hot Vamp novel without a love triangle. But in this case, it is more like a love square for good number of chapters.  How many love interests does one girl need anyway?

    My 2nd biggest issue is the dialogue & interaction between Val and the hot Vampire King, which seemed sophomoric, unoriginal, and uninteresting at times, but the scenes with her childhood friend, Jack, more than made up for it. Also, points off for the semi-confusing beginning and soft mild.

    Still, this was a very engaging read, that I gobbled up in no time flat. I looked forward to reading the newly released sequel soon as well. And if you aren't that big into the Vamp craze, a promise of more para-creatures, intrigue, and a further world-building, makes this series more than a little enticing to continue.

    Warning: Adult Content and Violence

    Valerie Dearborn

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Nook Color (refurb) $129 + Free Ship

    Barnes & Noble via eBay & Overstock has Nook Color by Barnes & Noble 8GB WiFi eReader (Refurbished) for $129. Go here or here for more.

    Kindle Accessories Review: A better Sleeve

    Timbuk2 Plush Sleeve ($35)
    For K4 & Touch

    I prefer my Kindle naked, especially when reading. And while some would call that strange (my aunt for example), I call it practical and light. My latest Kindle purchase started me on a bit of a journey on finding the right container for my little naked ereader. My first attempt was with the BUILT Neoprene Envelope Case for the Touch and K4. You can read my review here, but just to sum it up, I was left feeling grossly underwhelmed.  However I have to comment that between the two sleeves, the Built is thinner and softer, but for some reason I prefer Timbuk2's.

    So, I finally decided to try another Timbuk2 sleeve, already having been somewhat pleased with their nylon sleeve I purchased for my K2. The only thing holding me back was the price, $35 (yikes). Quick tip. If you stick an item in your cart, Amazon will notify of a price change when you return. I got this during a brief price dive of $25.

    Pro:
    • Simple and Streamlined
    • Very Soft & Plush Inside (No chance of Scratches)
    • Fits K4 & Touch (Along with the K3 very very snugly-but it does fit)
    • Thick ballistic nylon protection. (No worries with damage here)
    • Easy to handle and hold
    Con:
    • Price (Yikes)
    • Plush ?? ( I thought the case would be soft or thinner than the Nylon version, but nope)
    • Pretty Color options (But not too girly)
    • Could be even more streamlined/thin and the flap could definitely be thinner for easier closure and overall less bulkiness.
    • Bulkier than the Nylon sleeve version.

    So to sum up, while I am happy with this purchase, I would have gone with the plain nylon version for less bulkiness if I had to do it all over again.  However, since I got a good deal on this one and I really do like the color/design, I've decided to keep it. 

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    HM: Caledonia Fae

    Some of you might be wondering what HM might mean. HM (Honorable Mention). I utilize this label whenever I find a book or a series that seems worth mentioning, but for whatever reason it didn't quite live up to my particularly fickle tastes. I usually file items such as these into my PNR list, but the following series, while romantic in nature, is more or less YAish Fantasy.

    Caledonia Fae
    A pretty decent Fantasy about Eilidh, an exiled faerie unjustly sentenced to death. Just as she grows accustom to exile in Scotland, local police discover a mutilated body outside the abandoned church where she lives. Recognizing the murder as work of one of her own kind, Eilidh must choose to either flee or learn to tap into the forbidden magic that cost her everything. The first book has a good mix of UF/Fantasy/PNR and the 2nd leans more towards Fantasy. The series follows Eilidh and her druid love interest, as they become embroiled in a fae racial war.

     These books are fairly well written and paced, and the worldbuilding is interesting enough to get caught up in. The only issue I with these books is the mild content and the little miss innocent routine played by our 120yr old protagonist. I would describe these books a little YAish, with no sex being described and a majority of the violence being skimmed over or omitted completely. However, there are a couple graphic violent scenes in the first book, so I caution recommending these books to young teens.
    Warning: Some Violence, Very Light Sexual Content/YAish.

    3-Enemy of the Fae

    More like this:
    Toby Daye
    Alex Craft
    Dark Swan

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    PNR Pick: Short, but Entertaining

    Dragon Warrior  (2.99)
    Book #1

    Just like all of MacLeod's other books, this one is well written, very engaging, and imaginative. A Non-stop action and romance tale about a post-apocalyptic world ravaged to ruin by raging Dragons. 25 years of war brings their world to a place of devastation and hopelessness. That is, until a long lost warrior emerges and helps to level the playing field for those fighting on the side of good.

    Excellent worldbuilding and a good mix of PNR, Fantasy, and UF. This one is a little different than most Dystopian books I've read as of late, which is always a good thing. The only thing I can complain about is its length. Longer than a Novella, but definitely shorter than most books. Frustratingly enough, the book stops a bit abruptly, and we are left with a cliffhanger. Still, I recommend this extremely fast and entertaining read, that is sure to interest PNR and UF readers alike.

    Warning: Some violence and Sexual Content.

    Dragon Wars
    2-Dragon Lord (2012)

    Other books like this:
    Aftertime
    Feed

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    A Good Second Effort

    Kissed by Fire  (2.99)
    Book #2

    Overall, I really enjoyed the second book in the Sunwalker series, but maybe not quite as much as the first. Just like the first book, this book is both imaginative and well written. The author seems to know exactly where she plans to take this series. The storyline isn't a rehash of the 1st and it didn't completely run a predictable course either. I thought the writing and flow of this book also greatly improved over the 1st.

    However, a couple of things did keep me from giving this read five stars. The tone was definitely more somber than the first and the humor seemed to be missing. I'm not sure if it was a slower pace or somber tone, that kept me from joyfully devouring this one in just one go. Three quarters the way through, interest and pace did seem to pick up, and I quikly read through the rest without any difficulty. I think the majority of my issue was the somber and somewhat depressive beginning. Hopefully the humor returns in the next book.

    But as I said, I still really enjoyed this book, and it was a fairly quick read. Not many books have peeked my interest as of late, so I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. For those that haven't read the first book in this series, I strongly suggest starting there first.

    Warning: Some violence and Sexual Content.

    Sunwalker Saga

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    $10 off + $10 (future) offer on Amazon Electronics

    This is the perfect opportunity to either pull the trigger on a new Kindle purchase for yourself or for buying holiday gifts for others.  Go Here to check out the offer on Amazon.

    Amazon: $10 off $100 in Electronics & Toys + additional $10 off $50 Future Savings if you use MasterCard: Kindle Touch $89, Kindle Fire $189

    Buy Now ►
    Amazon offers $10 off $100 on Electronics & Toys + additional $10 off $50 in Future Savings on Electronics & Toys when you enter coupon code ZKGYLEBT and use MasterCard as payment for your purchases from Amazon.com as the seller (no 3rd-party sellers).  Only good for today (12/1), so hurry if you don't want to miss out.

    Note: The additional $10 off $50 code will be emailed to you within 30 days of today's purchase

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Cheap Read Worth Checking Out

    Kissed By Darkness  (2.99)
    Book #1

    Freshman author writes an incredibly engaging book, that breaths new life into a dying and overwritten genre. Not to say I didn't have some minor issues with this book, but I was able to objectively allow minor issues to pass and maintain a moderate level of suspension of disbelief, in order to enjoy this book as a whole. No doubt, this author is very imaginative and isn’t afraid to step out of the cookie cutter genre box that others have fallen victim to.  As I mentioned, I did notice a few mistakes and had the feeling the author has yet to find her stride completely with this series.  However, if and when she does get there, she will most definitely be the next big UF writer to look out for.
    ******
    Danger is always on the menu for Morgan Bailey, a sexy and street-smart bounty hunter, who prowls the dark underworld of Portland, Oregon hunting creatures of the night. Morgan’s never met a vampire she couldn’t dust or a demon she couldn't kill until she's hired to destroy a new kind of mystical threat: the Sunwalker.

    A powerful immortal once believed myth, the Sunwalker carries with him an ancient secret which, if left unchecked, will destroy Morgan’s world. Pursued by a passionate Templar Knight and the target of the local vampire clans, an ancient power is awakened within her, unlike anything she’s ever known. Morgan must uncover the truth behind her mission and about herself, before the Darkness lurking inside swallows her whole.
    ******
    Now for the good. The author has a talent for creating sexual tension and romance, not to mention a imaginative and fresh world. And although I would not classify this as strictly a PNR, she doesn't hold back or teases her fans either. There is also a good amount of humor and a bit of sarcasm, without seeming to be trying too hard, which is not always easy to do. As the book progressed, I found myself enjoying the protagonist's voice and humor more and more.  And shockingly enough, I definitely had some laugh out loud moments. A good use of description and grammar, makes this book an easy read. The pace is also exceptional, and is one of the reasons it kept glued throughout. And although this may be classified as just another Vamp book, it definitely delivers a fresh plot, that makes this anything but.

    I had just a few minor issues, besides the ones mentioned previously. One being a lack of character & location back story. As in, random people and places are discussed with little to no back story, like they were introduced prior. Another confusion/annoyance, was the protagonist’s nationality. I had no idea whether or not the protagonist was British or just a visitor at one time, even though she mentions London in passing invariably.

    In summary, I give this book a big thumbs up for its creativity, humor, romance, and pure enjoyment. If you are looking for good, fast, and cheap read, that rivals some of the more well known UF writers we all know and love, then look no further.

    Warning: Violence and Sexual Content.

    Sunwalker Saga

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Twilight Causes Seizures


    "And I'm not talking about the crotch seizures that the Twihards bust into when watching RPattz break the headboard with his ultimate sparkle strength...... Doctors believe that the red, white and black images flashing during the scene can trigger episodes of photosensitive epilepsy."   Go Here to read the full post.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Kindle Touch: Cool New Features, but Not exactly easy to use

    My first impression of the Kindle Touch is its comfortable weight. It doesn't feel that much heavier than the K4, and I already love that there are fewer buttons for me to accidentally press while reading.  The touch is very different than its predecessors, so there will definitely be a learning curve, even for seasoned Kindle users.  Navigation is not exactly intuitive and Amazon doesn't provide any instructions (beyond basic set-up) preloaded or included with the device.  You'll have to search for it yourself and sift through  all the info or just work through it by trial and error.  I used a combination of the two approaches to just get a handle on managing my Kindle content.

    Pro:
    • Power Button is much easier to press (not as flush as the K4's)
    • Only one middle button on the bottom of the device.
    • Touch screen and Keyboard aren't overly sensitive.
    • Page turning is a bit faster than all previous Kindles, including the K4
    • Cool new screen savers (non-ad)

    Con:
    • Again, no USB Pwr adapter (I thought it would be included with the touch. Obviously not).  
    • Without the 5-way controller I had no idea how to right toggle content. (Update: figured out from trial & error-hold finger on content.)
    • No electronic or paper instructions on how to use this darn thing. I had to search -Amazon's Kindle site to find info on navigation. Go Here if you want to learn more about navigating the new Touch.  
    • Slow at processing any action other than page turning.
    • Doesn't respond to my first touches consistently. (As in, responds when I don't want it to and doesn't when I do.)
    • Instead of accidental button pressing, I now accidentally hit the screen, causing an action to occur.  
    • Doesn't fit into a Quart size Ziplock like the K4 (Not a deal breaker).
    • Can't be used while encased in plastic, due to the touch feature (Close deal breaker).  As in, no lounging in the pool or tub with this ereader while in a zippy.  

    What's New:
    • Icons replaced the home screen book sorting function.
    • A Kindle Store Icon (Shopping Cart) is included on the top of the Home Page for easy selection. It's also still located under the menu button.
    • There is also a back button Icon next to the Shopping Cart in the form of a Left Arrow <-- Icon.
    • A search window can be accessed by tapping. This will initiate the keyboard application at the bottom.
    • Sorting your Content or Collections can now be accessed in the Menu or by tapping Collections on the home page.

    Navigation Tips:
    • Holding your finger on content brings its action menu up.
    • A quick tap will result in opening whatever you selected. 
    • Holding your finger on a word and dragging it will initiate the highlight function, when your content is open.
    • To place a bookmark: Tap the very right top corner of the page you wish to mark. 
    • To change Font Size or move through your content: Tap either top corners within your open content. It can also be changed by the same hand motions utilized by most touch-screen smart devices. 
    In summary, I think the Touch is exactly what Amazon needed to update old faithful and keep themselves ahead in this competitive market.  However, in keeping with low costs, Amazon decided to skim on a few key accessories like the USB power adapter and full preloaded instructions.  It would have been nice to have either a very intuitive device or at least some help with figuring things out. As it stands, Amazon's site doesn't cover everything you need to know this new device. I count myself as being a pretty sharp person, so I have no doubt other people will be scratching their heads and getting a bit frustrated as well.  Once getting over this cumbersome learning curve, I can see this possibly becoming my new favorite ereader.  But as it stands now, this reader is more of a set-up and learn device that either requires a PhD or a workshop to fully understand.

    Update:  I'm returning the Touch, since I rather use the K4. The Touch gets a bit heavy after reading from it for an extended period of time. I do like the easy page flipping and power button though, but that's pretty much it.  And since I've decided to keep the K4 as my main reader, I called CS and had them remove the Ads for $30.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Breaking Dawn Steps it Up

    Breaking Dawn
    So, I went to see the new Twilight movie this afternoon, and I have to say it has to be the best of the bunch. I'm truly not a Twihard or whatever you call those sad moms who wear Edward tees and scream Robert Pattinson's name whenever they catch the fancy, but I thought it was overall one of the best productions in this franchise thus far.

    The acting was much better by Kristen Stewart, who I'd previously judged to be a good child actor and a sub-par to bad adult actor.  Direction, editing, and comic relief was also a step-up as well. I was pleasantly surprised with the lightheartedness and obvious demonstration that they truly don't take themselves too seriously, especially with the more ridiculous parts that most book fans rejected.  Case in point, Bella's questionable baby name choices.

    I was a bit shocked by what they did end up showing their mostly pre-teen audience, but I think they did stay true to the book as much as possible. The true test on whether this was entertainment gold for me is the amount of times I caught myself glancing at my watch or being distracted by the odd passerby.  Test passed, and was I was actually kinda PO'd that it ended when it did, even though I already knew they were splitting the last book up into two movies.  The worst part of this movie, as you can imagine, is that we now have to wait another year to watch the rest. Oy' vey, but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait, or as Roger Ebert so elegantly puts it, if it isn't, Charlie Swan has a gun and he knows how to use it.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Art house strange, but leaves an impression

    Melancholia
    An interesting movie to say the least. From its long prelude to its extended ending, it sort of reminded me of 2001 Space Odyssey, sans the Apes. But like that film, life as we know it will end and begin again.

    I can't say understood every nuisance of this film, but it definitely left an impression, which I can't often claim. It is a beautiful film about exactly what, well I am not entirely sure. The main focus is the end of the world, but also about depression and the evolution of young women, after she realizes something isn't quite right in the world. Instead of using this as an excuse to act out, as some might would, it becomes her salvation and she finds a bit a peace before the end. I would encourage those interested in seeing this movie to find a sitter and leave the impatient Hangover-type fan friends behind.
    ~~~~~~~
    Justine and Michael are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister Claire, and brother-in-law John. Despite Claire's best efforts, the wedding is a fiasco, with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is heading directly towards Earth

    Warning:  Nudity, Adult Content, & Animal Cruelty

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Excerpts and Stuff

    Shadow Heir Excerpt  (Dec 27)
    We don't have long to wait until the release of the final Dark Swan book, but I'm on the fence on whether I'll be peeking a bit early. In any case go Here if you don't mind a peek.




    Spinoff time.  It looks like the Jane Jameson series is going to get its own spinoff.  The first book will be tittle The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires.  I don't recognize any of the characters from the JJ series, but I'm sure it will be an interesting read.  Go Here for more info.

    The fifth book in the Vampires in America, aptly named Duncan, just released this last Friday on Kindle.  It should be another good read, but I'm not really digging the cover.



    Home for the Holidays Excerpt
    "This Cat and Bones story takes place right after the events in One Grave at a Time. Oh, and Ian fans, you’ll be glad to know that he plays a prominent role in Home for the Holidays."  Click HERE to read it.



    2011 Goodreads Choice Awards
    Go Here if you want your voice heard.  I can't wait to read the results.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Kindle Accessories Review

    BUILT Kindle and Kindle Touch Neoprene Envelope Case $29.99
    I purchased this Envelope because I was tiring of repurchasing different sleeves and covers every time I got a new Ereader or upgraded. I had the Built Open Sleeve for my old K3, which I liked, but it's considerably too large for the new Kindle. It fits, but without a closure and snug grip, the ereader is liable to fall out if it's accidently turned upside down or sideways.

    I've also previously purchased the Timbuk2 nylon envelope for a older version Kindle (K2), but I disliked its stiff bulkiness.

    This Envelope gets 3 1/2 stars for the following reasons:

    Pro: The shell is very well padded and secure, and the interior is plush and soft, with no chance for scratches.

    Note/Observations: For those that are curious, no the K3 (Kindle Keyboard) does not fit into this envelope. It's a little over 1/2" too long. I have a feeling the new Timbuk2 envelope for K4/Touch might, since they usually run big.

    Cons: The shell is already well padded, just like their other Open Sleeves, but the flap closure is just as padded and creates added bulkiness, that really isn't necessary IMO. I also really don't understand the side zipper pocket. I personally will never use it, unless I'm traveling for an extended period of time. There is also a bit of clunkiness in regards to it in the closed state. It does not exactly lay flat and flush (puffs out on the front top sides).

    Overall, I'm a bit disappointed, especially for $30. I already have other sleeves that sort of work, so I don't need another I don't really care for. I'm returning this one and trying out the new Timbuk2 soft envelope.

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    New this Week

    Hey all, it's been awhile. I've been out of sorts lately and I'm still not back to my old reading routine. I guess that's what happens when life changes a bit. I'm still enjoying the delightful works of Ms. McGuire, but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Ethan in the upcoming Chicagoland book. I vote for it all being just a dream. I'm probably dead wrong, just like I was wrong with the ending to Lost. Oh well. I'm going to have to re-read the last book soon, as I got distracted and gave up about half way through.

    Drink Deep
    Book #5







    Death Magic
    Book #8







    Last Breath
    Book #11/YA







    Magic on the Line
    Book #7







    Heart of Steel
    Book #2/PNR







    Also just released:

    Great Hexpectations
    Book #3







    Trance
    Book #1

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Demon Slave is now up for grabs

    Demon Slave is Book #2 of Kiersten Fay's Shadow Quest Series. This series is a cross between Sci-fi and Romance. For those that have read the Scarabaeus Books, it reminds me a lot of that, but with a little bit of sexy. I really enjoyed her first book, Demon Possession. Book #2 continues the story, but with another couple sitting center stage.  You can check out a sample the book here.  I would suggest reading the books in order, to better understand the world.

    Demon Possession (Shadow Quest Book 1)Shadow Quest
    Book #1
    A great mix of Sci-Fi/Fantasy Adventure and Romance. Great plot construction and character ARC. The romance itself was endearing & hot, and didn't feel rushed in anyway like with most romances.

    After being enslaved on the spaceship for most of her life, Analia has no memory of her life before, and has lost all knowledge of her people. Her mysterious gift and pointed ears are the only indication that she is different. By chance Analia escapes her captors, and hides herself on a merchant ship. When Analia is found by a handsome demon and captain, she must adapt to her new role on the ship, and try to control her newly awakened desire for the brutal, and devastatingly erotic demon.

                                      1-Demon Possession (Chap 1-3)
                                      2-Demon Slave (Chap 1-3)

    -Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

    Cutting the Cord


    For those who are regulars or know me, you know that I just recently moved cross-country. With that, I decided to officially cut the cord from Cable and Satellite Tv. Spending $60+ a month on service I rarely used is quite ridiculous. Especially when that monthly donation is going to such a greedy company. They are such vultures, they showed up on my door-step while I was moving into my new place, ready to provide service, and I never called them!  I also had to threaten to take legal action, after they wouldn't stop calling my cell to sell the same service, stating that I called them asking for it.  Satellite isn't as bad as the evil cable company, but I still had issues with them as well.

    I've spent the last couple of months planning my escape and I think I'm fairly satisfied with the outcome. Any station or show I don't catch on tv, I just watch on my computer. No biggie, and I don't miss Cable/Sat. Now if there was a way to cut the strings altogether and pick up a over-the-air internet feed, I would be all over it.  I currently, still have my Direct-tv DVR, which I plan on returning after my 6 month vacation hold.

    The Following is from my recent review on the paper thin Leaf Antenna and my journey towards salvation.


    After being burned and wasting money on cable and satellite the last couple of years I wanted to look for an alternative, especially because I don't really watch tv all that much. I'm a apartment dweller, and often move once a year for work. I wanted to buy a strong outdoor antenna, but stringent rules on cabling and mounting of such an antenna, made it difficult. I wanted to try my luck first with a couple of indoor antennas, before shifting to the outdoor route.

    I purchased this item, due to the high ratings. I was completely disappointed when this item didn't work for me right out of the box. I called their CS, and they were very helpful. I assumed my 7yr old Sony HDTV had a digital turner and wouldn't need a converter, but I was wrong.

    When I finally got my digital converter box and hooked up the Leaf, I was able to detect about 22 channels, but not all that well. Most cut in and out. I also purchased a few other items to supplement this product, and after playing around a bit with placement and set up, I now get 17 channels at 100%, and there is only 12 full-pwred stations in the surrounding cities in my area. I also get quite a few channels in High Def. There is only one VHF channel in my area, but I get that one at 100% with the Amp I'm using. The picture is better than I've ever been able to receive with Cable or Satellite. I can't believe I'm finally utilizing my tv's HD capability, and I'm not paying a dime.

    I said it works But because I was able to receive almost the same amount of channels with the $8 rabbit ears I bought at the same time and I also wouldn't suggest using this item alone. However, if I had to choose either one, I would definitely go with the Leaf. Less adjustment is needed and it gets a stronger signal overall. But I would suggest adding a amp and maybe a extra VHF antenna for the best possible signal from an indoor antenna. I'm planning to buy the PCT 2-Port Bi-Directional Amp/Splitter to eliminate the extra cabling and to boost my signal.

    Update: I was still curious about how many channels I could possibly get in the area, so when I went to Lowes I picked up the GE Outdoor/Indoor Antenna on a whim for almost $50. The box claimed the strongest signal, with its 20db built-in amp, but I only got about a third of what I got with the Leaf, even with it outside.

    Update II: I have since received the PCT 2-Port Bi-Directional Amp and now this works like a champ. I didn't realize this amp has two outputs not inputs, so I can only connect one antenna without a additional splitter. Well, it doesn't seem to matter, because this amp boosts the leaf enough to use alone. The signal is so strong now, there is no pixelation and everything is pretty much looks HD without any signs of noise, which the RCA Amp couldn't do. I'm going to purchase the PCT 1-Port Bi-Directional Amp, to see if that helps even more.

    Update III: I tried the PCT 1 Port Bi-Directional Amp with this Antenna, but it definitely under performed in comparison with the heavy duty 2-port PCT amp. I don't recommend wasting your time on the 1-Port Amp, even though it advertises to be double the amplification. Don't believe it.

    My Final Set-up after trying multiple equipment:
    PCT 2-Port Bi-Directional Amp/Splitter.
    Viore Digital TV Converter Box ($34 Walmart)

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Pleasantly Surprised

    Archangel's Blade
    This one took me a while to complete, but not because it was lacking, but because of life and what not. I don't have a lot of time to discuss this book tonight, but suffice it to say, it ultimately exceeded my expectations, as far as a book from this series is concerned. It started off a bit shaky, with shifting POVs and flashbacks. The dialogue and writing, also seemed a bit trite for me at the beginning.  But after delving further, I either got used to it or just started to grow on me.

    The story itself was good and the couple was pretty darn hot. However, I thought they dwelled a little too long on the abuse angle, which seems to be a common theme among books of these types. I also didn't like the hokey connection between the couple the author came up with or for the somewhat curt ending. Again, overall not bad and definitely a big step up from the last book. I didn't think I would have cared or wanted to read Dmitri's story, but this book proved me wrong. I'm back to looking forward to reading another book in the Guild Hunter series.  Hopefully it will deliver.
    ************
    In the intensely dark, violent, and romantic fourth Guild Hunter novel...Singh focuses on the 1,000-year-old vampire Dmitri, lieutenant to the archangel Raphael, and Guild Hunter Honor, still recovering after a rogue vampire kidnapped and tortured her for two months...a heart-pounding and strongly emotional read.
    -Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    New Software update for Kindle 3

    The update is for what Amazon calls the "Kindle Keyboard", which is actually the K3. For those with the K3, this upgrades the software from version 3.1 to 3.3.  You can either go here to get your update or wait for it to be delivered wirelessly. I usually manually download these updates, since I never seemed to get them when others do.  It may also have something to do with not having my wireless continuously on.

    Enhancements or fixes from this update include:

    --Download your archived Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: You can now view and download your archived personal documents to your Kindle Keyboard conveniently anywhere at any time. Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library until you delete them from the Manage Your Kindle page at www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle.

    --Whispersync for Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: Just as with Kindle books, Whispersync automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks and annotations for personal documents (with the exception of PDFs) across the Kindle devices. Learn more about Kindle Personal Document Service on www.amazon.com/kindlepersonaldocuments.

    --AmazonLocal deals - Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers users in many regions can now view, purchase and redeem AmazonLocal deals directly from Kindle Keyboard - no computer, no printer, no hassle. AmazonLocal offers savings up to 75% off products and services from businesses in your city, national chains and online merchants. Learn more about AmazonLocal on www.amazonlocal.com.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    More Rambling

    I'm a avid reader, to the point of obsession sometimes. But since I've had my mind on other things in my life, I really haven't been able to get back into my old reading routine. For those that have lives outside of reading, like children and spouses, this ain't nothin' but a thing. But for me this is important stuff. It sort of like suffering from a bout of insomnia. Yeah, I'm sort of worried. But just like any other dysfunction, it doesn't help to dwell on it or put added pressure on yourself into performing. Well, you know what I mean.

    Anyways, here is some things I missed while I was moving and stuff.

    Sookie #12 has a name and a small synopsis. Deadlocked (May 01, 2012) Sookie gets kidnapped by a man that Charlaine thought was dead, isn't?

    More Lover Reborn Leakage. Okay that sounded wrong on so many levels.

    Fever is not over by a long shot. First up is a trilogy featuring Dani, Christian MacKeltar, Ryodan, and the mysterious Dancer. The first book, Iced, is set to be released on Oct 30, 2012.  Then after that, two more back in the main fever world with Mac & Barrons center stage.  Additionally, it is highly likely that DreamWorks will be taking on this story for an upcoming movie project.

    Drink Deep Sneak Peak and Spoilers.

    Fair Game Prolugue.

    Almost Human Book #5, Descendant of Darkness, gets more Snippets and we finally move a bit closer to its release, but no official date just yet.  Book #6 gets a title, Destined for Divinity.

    And be sure to check out the snippet of Third Grave Dead Ahead.

    And Oh how I wish I can be at this year's NY ComicCon. I would love to see some of my favorites like Patricia Briggs(Mercy Thompson), Kim Harrison, Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey), Marjorie Liu (Dirk & Steele), Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress), Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires), & Melanie Nowak, just to name a few. Such as life.

    -Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Tuesday Ramblings and Show & Tell!

    I finally got around to developing all the photos I took on my last cross country drive. I sort of lost steam with picture taking around the time I hit Texas. Maybe there just wasn't that much to photograph.

    Tell me if I'm wrong, but I do believe I visited a literary landmark. Wasn't the Church in Sedona, Az a setting for part of the Weather Warden books? It wasn't at all what I imagined.  I swear I read about a million different steep steps leading up to the thing.  I think I was imagining some ancient Aztec set of stairs leading to a very old looking church.  I don't want to say too much for those that haven't read the books yet, but intend to.

    Anyways here is a couple that made it past the cutting floor.  The first couple are of Sedona, NV, then Hover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and US Hwy 395.  And for those that are curious, yes I'm still working on the same darn book the last couple of weeks.  Yo, I got other stuff on my mind besides reading right now, like moving.  Speaking of reading...

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Yep, Tangler is Down



    Update II: Tangler came back up yesterday Oct 17th, but it's still loading slow for me, which is making me nervous. Hopefully it won't be crashing again anytime soon.

    Update: This is the email response I received from Tangler today, regarding the issue:

    Dear Steph

    Thanks for your email. We greatly apologise for all the inconvenience during this protracted but temporary outage. Our network operations are hosted in the US and limited weekend resource has exacerbated the issue.

    May we write to you again in 24 - 30 hours time (US PST Monday) with advice as to when users can expect the outage to be resolved.

    Kind regards, Alex
    Tangler Pty Ltd
    ************************
    I have no idea why our favorite forum has been down for almost a week. It's not working for anyone it seems. I just sent a email to Tangler's listed email addy, but they are based out of Australia, so it might take some time to get a response. Here is a link to their contact info and blog, which hasn't been maintained for over a year.  http://blog.tangler.com/?page_id=8

    Here is their FB Pages: http://www.facebook.com/TanglerLive?sk=wall  & http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tangler/7105450827

    I'll post an update, once I learn more.