Book: John P. Logsdon and Christopher P. Young’s The Merging – “…walking around with his shirt open because he looks like a Chippendale’s model”

Ian Dex is a genetically-enhanced individual – as are most of the team of the paranormal police in Las Vegas. These enhancements also make him- and the rest of his team, very horny – which is frankly a weird thing to make a core part of your world building, but whatever it’s different I guess…

In terms of plot the book is largely about how Ian has slept with most of his team and pretty much anything female with a pulse, although there is a number of super-sized and super-strong vampires, werewolves and succubus picking fights all over town

the merging

Apparently this book is meant to be action and comedy – urban fantasy with a bit of police procedural and a sense of  humour, I noticed the action and it was ok however the comedy aspect passed me by almost completely. I’m wondering if I just wasn’t in the mood for it as the Amazon reviews for ‘The Merging’ seem really positive and I was totally indifferent to it

The only real impact this book had was to generate a thought-chain about why HR hadn’t got involved over what was very clearly appropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace

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Book: Patricia Briggs’ ‘Blood Bound’ – “Of course, eating him would work, too”

Blood Bound’ is the 2nd book in the Mercy Thompson series.

Mercy is still a mechanic, still a coyote and gradually getting more involved in both the local werewolf pack and with the local vampire seethe.

It seems slightly odd that in book two of a series with a walker/shapeshifter main character and strong werewolf links is primarily interested in vampires. Specifically how the local vampires feel a demonically-possess vampire.

Stefan is an interesting vampire character, he was different to any other portrayal of a vampire that I’ve read – although I’m very open to  recommendations of similar portrayals!

blood bound

There werewolves don’t shine in this book, they are interesting but they aren’t the main focus – apart from the mention that Ben isn’t the rapist that Mercy thought he was in the first book there isn’t that much werewolf character development.

Some people would argue with this statement, but I honestly feel that Mercy making excuses for the two werewolves who want to get into her pants isn’t character development.

A fair few times there were lines that tracked as follows: “It wasn’t his fault, werewolf instincts are very strong.”

It feels that a lot of a book is making excuses for unequal relationships and repressing women – the entire species of werewolves have never heard of female liberation and it is clearly stated that females take their status in the pack from their (male) mate’s status.

If there first two-thirds of the book had contained more action I wouldn’t have been able to dwell on this, but there wasn’t much happening for most of the book so I got to considering how I kept half expecting Mercy to be clubbed over the head and dragged back to a cave by one of the two male leads. This makes me root for Mercy less than I would usually – she is a funny narrator and she is intelligent but she get involved in stupid situations and gets in avoidable trouble by being headstrong.

My biggest issue with the book is I couldn’t shake one phrase “he ate me” – the scene linked to this was unnecessarily disturbing and it really bugged me.

Overall I don’t like this book as much as the first one, I don’t think I want to keep it.

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Book: Anthology ‘Hex Appeal’ part 3

It was a bit of a struggle but I managed to finish all the stories in ‘Hex Appeal’.

The remaining stories were:

P. N. Elrod’s Outside The Box
Simon R. Green’s How Do You Feel?
Lori Handeland’s There Will Be Demons
Erica Hayes’ Cherry Kisses
Carrie Vaughn’s The Arcane Art of Misdirection

hex appeal

‘Outside the box’ was rather good, it felt like an introduction to a universe – in this case P. N. Elrod’s ‘Vampire Files’ universe. However when I looked at the ‘Vampire Files’ books they were set in 1930s Chicago… whilst ‘Outside The Box’ feels pretty modern.

So despite enjoying the story I am not sure I can actually read anything else by Elrod – which is vexing!

Simon R. Green’s ‘How Do You Feel?’ was odd. An unwilling zombie goes on a quest to find the person ultimately responsible for his murder years before. It is an odd story and doesn’t really make me want to touch anything else by Green – personally I didn’t think urban fantasy involved cars from the future that turn into sex bots.

Lori Handeland’s ‘There Will Be Demons’ made me uncomfortable. The female lead is  set up by multiple people and clearly used sexually, and it bothered me that the reader was meant to be ok about this setting up the wider universe. It features fairies, skinwalkers, dhampires and angels – it was a vaguely interesting premise but it went downhill very very quickly.

Erica Hayes’ ‘Cherry Kisses’ was sleazy and the female lead was not a nice person – at all. It features fairies, vampires and demons, if it hasn’t been for the sleaze it might have been ok.

Carrie Vaughn’s ‘The Arcane Art of Misdirection’ wasn’t even 30 pages long and this was a pity as Odysseus Grant is one of the most interesting characters in the Kitty books.

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TV: Sleepy Hollow – “no more first-hand accounts of witches or founding fathers. Or donut tax outrage unless you want to be sent back to the asylum”

The premise of the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ TV series is an odd one, Ichabod Crane is resurrected two and a half centuries after his death in the Revolutionary War and finds himself working with Police Lt. Abbie Mills.

Nicole Beharie is fab as Abbie and forms a superb odd pairing with Tom Mison’s Crane. The strength of their interactions really sets this series apart from anything else currently on television.

I can’t really explain the storyline in a way that does it justice – I really enjoy the culture clash between Crane’s historical viewpoint and the modern reality he now finds himself in. That combined with the supernatural elements just works for me!

sleepy hollow

Season 1 was entertaining purely on “this is different” and whilst season 2 did flag a little in the middle it ended on a high to the extent that now it has finished I am finding myself looking forward to season 3.

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Book: Christine Warren’s ‘She’s No Faerie Princess’ – “Given the way his night had been going so far, he didn’t have time to go to jail”

This was published in 2006 and was one of the earliest urban fantasy books that I read that wasn’t by Kelley Armstrong.

Fiona is actually a fae princess, she is Queen Mab’s niece. However she would rather pop to earth and go to a punk club that stay in a palace.

she's no faerie princess

Whilst popping she encounters a very large demon that wants to eat her and a werewolf who wants to get in her pants.

The book wanders along happily, with some sex, some mild detective work and mild paranormal stuff.

It’s not a bad book whilst not being terribly challenging or original. However once I’d read it more than twice I found that I had little interest in rereading it and was keeping it around more as a security blanket than anything else.

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Jeaniene Frost’s ‘The Beautiful Ashes’ – “Beauty fades, but Evil Bitch is forever”

‘The Beautiful Ashes’ was recommended to me ages ago but the paperback was just under £12 – which I wasn’t going to pay for a book that I wasn’t sure about. Then I found it on Kindle for 99 pence, which combined with my flu seemed a good combo.

The back blurb doesn’t mention the large part of the plotline is demons VS angels – this isn’t something I seek out as they deteriorate into shades of grey where everyone is as petty as everyone else – inevitably over a girl, and nothing matches up to the ‘Dogma’ take on demons and angels.

I have read some of Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bone’s series, which always seemed a slightly more raunchy version of what I’ve heard about Spike-era ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’, so I was expecting similar bad boy antics however I also expected a strong female lead.

the beautiful ashes

Ivy isn’t terribly strong, she is looking for her missing sister and has no support network – gosh this seems to be a familiar theme for female leads these days. She is kidnapped by a strong, attractive, mysterious stranger and lusts after him even though he has kidnapped her. I suppose I should be grateful that he isn’t dressed as a pirate really.

There is nothing wrong with the book, it wanders along nicely, the descriptions are done well, the plot progresses sensibly and doesn’t randomly jump into what feels like a completely different book but nor does it throw up any surprises, the characters are entirely paint by number, the whole thing feels like you’ve read it before.

In fact if you’ve read any urban fantasy ever you probably have read it before, that doesn’t make it bad, it was just what I needed when bedridden with the flu; a nice safe, predictable read. I think everyone should have a couple of dependable books like this that are perfect for when you are feeling crappy, sort of want to be rescued yourself and don’t want the stress of an emancipated female lead who can sort her own s*** out.

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Book: Becca Mills’ ‘Noland’ – “None of that meant a thing to the beast. Either blood would be shed over the matter, or it would not.”

I picked this book up because I read about the author’s recent experience with a malicious use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and because this book was free – book 2 costs money but I was open minded about paying for it if I liked the first one.

Beth has panic attacks and no real support system. She lives alone in the small town she grew up in and barely sees her brother or his kids due to his wife’s rabid dislike of her.

Beth takes photos on a non-digital camera and develops them herself, one day she sees a monster foot in one of the photos – but she swears it wasn’t there when she took the photo. Then weird stuff starts to happen and she finds herself dealing with powerful forces who think she has skills they can use.

nolander The start of the book was rather good, Beth was ok, the plotline was interesting, the characters were developing – even if Williams was clearly a pyscho,  and then the book got odd.

I think it probably got odd around the time statutory rape was mentioned and that the quasi-demonic creatures could, I’m paraphrasing, “make you want it even if you don’t”.

This seems a bit rapey for what had been reading like a Young Adult book, but I tried to ignore that feeling. I continued through the  MASSIVE plot jump and getting lost in the jungle bit and the random octopus bits – seriously I don’t know why we need to know the octopus’ gender.

By now I’m over 60% through the book and increasingly aware that this wasn’t the plotline that I started with or one that was strong enough for me to suspect my disbelief – increasingly I was getting a  bored and creeped out.

The odd phrasing of talking about characters who are searching for Beth but Beth is commenting on their actions as if she is there with them and using the word “me” was jarring.

But I got through that speedbump and was on the home stretch only to find that the end of the book seemed random too, it was as if the book wanted to be a slaves and masters romance but felt urban fantasy might be a more modern genre.

‘Nolander’ isn’t a bad book, but it feels like two books accidentally got spliced together and just had to roll with it. I was personally more interested in the original story than the one I fell into, so I won’t be continuing with Beth’s adventures.

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Book: Richelle Mead’s ‘Succubus Shadows’ and ‘Succubus Revealed’ – “Your truths are worse than your lies.”

I started reading Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series at my local library, however the library only had the first four books and in order to find out what happened I had to buy the last two books.

The first four books were a long time ago but they must have been interesting enough to make me care about the ending. I’m aware that my taste in music has, bluntly, grown up noticeably in the past couple of years and I am wondering if the same is true with books as on rereading I found ‘Succubus Shadows’ to be a 276 page long build up to a rather dull sex scene.

succubus shadows

Things improved slightly with ‘Succubus Revealed’ as stuff at least happened, even if it was a long wander into a demonic trial with a predictable and dull Happy Ever After ending.

The plot and characters felt disposable and predictable, perhaps it was all the cheating, lying and being unfaithful but I didn’t really feel like the Happy Ending went to those who deserved it most. Perhaps the charity shop can find a happy final resting place for these books.

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Book: Faith Hunter’s ‘Bloodring’ – “I lost track of time. I was hopelessly off course”

I’d read one of Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series and thought that it was ok if not super, so when I saw ‘Bloodring’, the first book in the Rogue Mage series, in a charity shop it seemed worth a go.

The angelic cover art and the backblurb made it clear that it was set in a post-apocalyptic world, which is fine however there is standard apocalypse and then there is ripping off the Rapture-style apocalypse. This is the latter, full on seraphs descending with flaming swords and wings, plagues, a new ice age, war and demons.

When the celestial bloodshed ended humans then decided to enforce a worldwide oppressive and vague religious regime. In addition they forced mages into a enclaves, a gilded cage apart from the human population.

bloodring

I have a soft spot for the end of the world – regardless of how it is done, so can deal with bleak books and mass death. I’ve even read some of the ‘Left Behind’ series, mostly because it seemed an amusing idea and my library had them in stock – despite having very little else on the shelves, and the first couple were less dire than I expected. This meant I was at least a bit interested in someone else’s take on avenging angels and wiping out humanity for its own good.

The main protagonist is Thorn St. Croix who is a mage in hiding amongst the human population, she makes jewellery and has a very promiscuous ex-husband. When the male-slut is kidnapped she has a not-entirely human policeman arrive on her doorstep who she is very attracted to.

This is part of my issue with the book, page 33 informs me that female mages go into heat. As if this wasn’t offensive enough they produce LITTERS. I’d be unimpressed if a male author was this tacky and it is a great way to put me off a series – and an author.

After the litters revelation I started skim reading, I just wanted the book to finish so it could go back to the charity shop. Thorn is rather dull, hiding constantly is rather dull, everyone in the book is rather dull – including the angel beings who seem more likely to be evil aliens, and who honestly thought LITTERS were a good theme?!

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Film: ‘The Ninth Gate’ – “You know, 300 years ago, you’d have been burned at the stake for saying something like that.”

It needs more research but I’ve got a theory, any film which features Johnny Depp smoking seems to value style over substance. Or to phrase it another way: when he smokes the plot sucks.

In this case the plot is a rare book dealer is hired to authenticate and acquire a legitimate copy of a book claimed to be a book rumoured to be able to summon the devil.

the ninth gate

As with most demonic thingies in films there is a conspiracy and things go weird – very very weird and very very slowly!

The plot wasn’t strong enough to support the film being over 2 hours long and nor was the acting!

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