Sunday, February 03, 2013

2011, Part 5

Earth One by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis- When Clark Kent comes to Metropolis to find a job after high school, he's drawn in several directions- Football star, working in a science lab, at a bank, or even at a newspaper. But Perry White, the head of the newspaper, levels with him- Print media is dying, and among its rivals, the Daily Planet isn't doing that well. He gives Clark an application, but Clark throws it away after the meeting, calling his mother that night to let her know how his job search is going. But when an alien ship appears in the sky over the city, looking for a child that fell to Earth, Clark knows that they are talking about him, and he goes to the science lab he had hopes of working for only to find them hopelessly corrupt. Clark knows he has to do something, but is now the time to let out his greatest secret to the world, and defend the planet that has sheltered him for almost 20 years? J. Michael Stracynzski does here what he does best, illuminating the reasons for why Clark Kent decided to work for the Daily Planet, and how he went about disguising his abilities from the world when he never wears a mask. This version of the tale has Krypton destroyed by aliens, but more- they show up on Earth looking for the one Kryptonian who escaped. Lots of fans came down on this series for showing Clark Kent in a hoodie, before he adopted his costume, but I didn't mind. Recommended.

American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albequerque and Stephen King- Pearl Jones works several jobs, but by far her most glamorous one is in the movies. The Silent movies. She spends her days playing slave girls and other chorus roles, but longs to be a star... until the day she snags the attention of the male star of the movie, Mr. Hamilton, who offers her an invite to the party of B. D. Bloch, the director of the movies. She also takes along her friend, Hattie Hargrove, but is warmed by a cowboy drifter-type not to attend the party, which she waves off. But later, she wishes she had taken his advice, for B.D. is a vampire, and so are all his friends, and when they leave her in a ditch to die in the desert, she struggles back, only to be turned by the man who warned her- Skinner Sweet, a new kind of vampire that is immune to daylight and only finds himself weak during the times of no Moon. Tales of Skinner Sweet, and Pearl's blood-soaked ride of vengeance against those who killed them, and a stunning betrayal from a trusted friend. Their blood-soaked tale speaks of something about America, and the way we are. This is an incredibly bloody and violent tale, one that vampire romances and stories like Twilight forget. Vampires were never about love, but about the most violent sexual act of all-rape. A vampire penetrates the victim, and instead of leaving something behind, he takes something precious away- your blood and your soul. Occasionally, he does leave something hehind- the same condition he's got, and he takes and takes and never gives. But in the end, this story that was intended to be an anti-romantic vampire story ends up having a romance between Henry, the drifter and former marine, and Pearl. So while the story is bloody in spades and has plenty of death and killing, I wasn't shocked by it. Yes, nasty stuff happens, but I am not solely a Vampire Romance reader, and Pearl shows us that even the new kind of Vampires aren't necessarily all killing all the time. Recommended, but you may not be as shocked and horrified as the writers want you to be by the story.

Tales from the Teacher's Lounge by Robert Wilder- People often think they can do a better job than Teachers. Or that Teachers have it easy. But Robert Wilder learned that wasn't the case when he left his job in advertising and got a job as a Teacher's aide to a first grade classroom in Santa Fe, at an alternative school. He learned firsthand the struggles of teaching, and he, himself struggled with anger, frustration. But not just with young kids, Wilder taught all sorts of kids, from kndergarten and grade school all the way up to High School, and the slump and weight gain thst teachers experience became part of his day to day life, and still, he's found his dream job. But it's not easy, and if you read this work, you'll also know why. I was honestly surprised by this book, it shows why the teachers in your child's school are burnt out, overweight and apathetic. After reading this book, the last thing I wanted to do was become a teacher, but it did give me a renewed appreciation for what teachers do, and how they do so much with so little. Recommended.

Eternal Pleasire by Nina Bangs- The world is fated to end at the end of December 2012, and a bunch of ancient demons are the cause. But the Eleven, a group of animal predators from sixty five million years ago, are the only ones who can bring the fight to the aliens now.Ty Endeka, a human with the soul of a Tyrannosautus, is the leader of their band, and he is made for killing. But his driver, Kelly Maloy, is a distraction from his mission. Even though she would have been prey to him once upon a time, he's feeling a quite different set of  emotions in regards to her. More like "mate". But can she deal with the stress of being kidnapped, and the realization that the man she is coming to desire is actually a dinosaur at his core? Can she live with the knowledge of what he really is, and still love him anyway? I wasn't feeling the whole "dinosaur love" angle from this book, but it turned out to be much better than I thought it was going to be and I did find the book enjoyable. I thought that this was going to be the moment where Supernatural romance jumped the shark, but it was actually surprisingly... not bad. Recommended.

Eternal Craving by Nina Bangs- Al is another Dinosaur-souled warrior, and the Eleven have moved on to Philadelphia after their last excursion in Houston to keep fighting the demon Others. But this city holds something that Houston didn't- vampires, including a vampire Queen who may not be all that sane. Also, Kelly Maloy's sister, Jenna, a reporter who can't but help sniff out a story. Kelly tries her  best to turn Jenna away, but her sister won't budge, and when she and Al begin to get closer, he can't help but remember that it's been 65 million years since he last had sex, and Jenna, despite her human form, is everything Al can want. But can she, like her sister before her, deal with Al's Dinosaur side, and when she is kidnapped, can Al avoid revealing himself to get her back? And what do the Vampires  have to do with Jenna's kidnapping? Can Al contain his rage over the Eleven's sometimes allies, or will his rage tear down the city? Also surprisingly good. As I said about Eternal Pleasure, I thought Paranornal Romance jumped the shark with Dinosaurs, but this series is better than I thought it would be- much better. Interesting conflict, hot sex and while it's not quite romance, exactly (Dinosaurs don't do romance), I found it to be a good read. Recommended,

Iron Man: The End by Various- Tony Stark is sick. A lifetime of fighting as Iron Man has left him with a degenerative nerve disease, but he can't give up the suit... not yet. Instead, he's concentrating on the other legacy he intends to leave to the world- a space station. But to finally leave Earth and live there with his wife, he'll have to find a proper successor to himself as Iron Man, someone who can not only wear the suit, but be able to upgrade her. The only question is... who? The answer may well save Tony's life. Then, it's back to the beginning as Tony Stark remembers how he became Iron Man, A story as Iron Man tries to help his girlfriend save her father, Count Nefaria, and when Tony is Paralyzed by a bullet, how will he react when everyone treats him differently? I enjoyed all the stories in this book, especially the first one. It was great to see Tony Stark pass on the Iron Man Legacy to someone who was worthy of the mantle, and to see him still go on to do greater and better things. I've seen the other stories retold before, all except the one where Tony Stark was crippled. That one was a new one for me, and really wonderful as well. Highly recommended.

Captain America; America First  by Daniel Knauf, Charles Knauf, Mitch Breitweiser, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel, Agustin Padilla, and Howard Chaykin- These three stories come during World War II, when Cap was fighting in the European Theatre. First, in "Operation: Zero Point", Cap is sent to destroy a camp run by a German Superhuman, which is developing Anti-Gravity for the war Effort. But when Cap is captured, can he escape before he is experimented on, and still end up putting an end to the camp and its secret project. The Second Story, "Prisoners of Duty" has Cap taken when injured in the line of Duty. Taken to a Prison Camp to recover. But the Duty of a Prisoner is to escape, and the German-American nurse who helps Cap regain his health is also a prisoner of sorts, to her ill, crippled father, who cannot leave the town. Can Cap save them... and himself? in "America First!" we see the man who took over the role of Captain America after Steve Rogers was lost during the war, and see him teaching kids on the home front and smashing Commies who are trying to invade America- and an American Congressman who might be spreading fear as part of his agenda. But when the man tries to paint the new Cap as a Commie, has he bitten off more than he can chew? I loved the first two stories, but something struck me as off about the third story. Not just because it's about Steve Rogers, but the art style of Howard Chaykin makes everything look very different. Cap and the other characters almost resemble bloated cariicatures of their real selves, and Cap just looks... ugly. I know it's Howard Chaykin's Style, as he both wrote and drew the story, but, I found it rather off-putting and incredibly distracting from the story itself. Still, an all-around excellent volume that I did enjoy. Recommended.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. Many years in the future, America is gone, split into five segments, each ruled by a different Super-villain. Logan is an old man, living with his wife, son and daughter on a little farm out in a place that used to be California, and in the section ruled by the Hulk and his family. So when Logan misses his rent payment, the Hulk's grandchildren beat  him up and tell him he owes double his money next month, or they will kill his family. And Logan doesn't do a thing to defend himself. But he has no money to pay the rent, so when Hawkeye shows up asking Logan to escort him to New York and is willing to pay his 500 dollars, he really has no choice but to accept. But as they travel across the country together, Hawkeye, even though he's blind, will discover exactly what it was that made Logan stop fighting, and their cargo, and the urgency of their plight, might make Wolverine decide to fight once more. But can he save his family from the Hulk gang, and what will make Wolverine decide to fight once more? Can he really make a difference, or is the end of his resistance a forgone conclusion after so long? This is a dark, post-apocalyptic book that can be really hard to read sometimes, like when we find out what made Logan give up being Wolverine. And then there's the ending, where we find out how and why Bruce Banner had an entire clan of Hulk-descendants, which just about turned my stomach. On the other hand, it is a fascinating read, if stomach-turning at points. Recommended.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne by Grant Morrison- When Bruce Wayne appeared to have been killed, but there was no trace of a body. Instead, Bruce had become unstuck in time, travelling back into the past, and then forward again into the future. From caveman times to Puritan America, to the high seas with Blackbeard, the Wild West with Jonah Hex, to the 1930's where he investigates the death of Martha Wayne, and back to the Present where Batman must face the true villain behind it all, the All-Over. But he's not alone: his friends have been searching for him, and by the time he returns home, he may not be the same man as he was when he was left. I hadn't read the original story that this diverted from, but each story, of Bruce Wayne in a different time, yet always returning to Gotham and the Caves that underlie the Wayne estate, where he Became Batman, is fascinating and compelling. How he finally returns to his own present and how he returns to himself, is a journey that shouldn't be missed. Excellently done, and a great read. Highly recommended.

PsychoBusters Volumes 6-7 by Akinari Nao and Yuya Aoki- Kakeru Hase is a middle schooler minding his own business when he meets a group of kids with psychic powera. As it turnes out, he has psychic powers as well and gets caught up in their struggle against Greenhouse, a facility that trains psychics. And Kakeru is a special Psychic, a "Type Zero", with powers over time, which he uses to help and defend his new friends.. But Ikushima, the leader of the Greenhouse, himself a psychic, seems to have some grudge towards these particular psychics. Why? and What is he after? At long last, the story comes to an end. But can Kakeru keep himself and his friends safe and free? Or will his powers exact a terrible toll on all of them? This was a huge volume, and the double size allows them to get really deep into the story. The ending was sad and amazing, as we find out why Ippatsu began the Greenhouse, and Kakeru works to change reality. The ending made me cry, and yet, it was the good ind of crying. Highly recommended.

Animal Academy Volume 5 by Moyamu Fujino- The other students are full of talk of love, but Fukuta learns valuable lessons about the school, when she finds out that another student is leaving because she can't stand humans, and doesn't want to be there any longer. But there is another human student there- one whose job it is to keep an eye on the non-human students, to evaluate them, and the professors thought it was Fukuta, but it wasn't. So there is another human at the school, but who? And Fukuta gets to meet the very powerful Headmaster. But when her roommate turns into a normal cat and refuses to be human, can Fukuta discover what is wrong with her, or will Miiko be lost to her as well? Another volume in this cute series, which is turning darker as it goes along. We know the reason for the school to be there, but will Fukuta be able to stay, and will her education there prepare her in any way for the real world, and what will become of the students whose secrets she is coming to know? Interesting, and recommended. I want to see where this series will go.

Wolverine Goes fo Hell by Jason Aaron and Renato Guedes- Wolverine has always lived in his own personal hell, remembeing the lives of the people he has taken. But when he gets sent to the actual Hell by people intent on taking him out, he must survive Hell without losing himself in endless rage and battles, and find a way out so that he can deal with the people who sent him, his friends, and his lover into death. Surviving Hell with his soul and sanity intact is not easy, however, and By the time he's powerful enough to leave, will he want to? I found this book interesting, but troubling. It's very violent and bloody, and yet it has enough spectacle that it doesn't just feel like an endless, bloody slog through hate and ugliness. Hell is very well depicted and Wolverine's struggles to fight against the sucking pull of endless battles was shown very well. Recommended.

Hellsing, Volume 10 by Kohta Hirano- In the last volume, Lady Integra and the rest of the Hellsing crew must fight against the Nazi's collection of supernatural creatures, and the leaders of the Nazi crusade. The six highest ranking of the Nazis and Alucard, Seras Victoria and the others must face off in one on one battles to finally defeat the Nazi menace. But will all of them survive the coming conflict, and if they do, what will be the outcome for the belagured nation of England, and the Hellsing Organization? This was a fitting end to the series, and the bad guys die and the good guys are (relatively) victorious. This series has just the right amount of buildup and battles and doesn't bang on and on simply for the sake of stretching out the fights (I'm looking at you, Dragonball series!). I felt the ending was perfect, even as it happened 30 years later. It was amazing and glorious and well worth reading. Highly recommended.

Siege: Thor by Kieron Gillen, Billy Tan and Batt, Rich Elson, Dough Braithwaite, Jamie McElvie and Niko Henrichon- Loki, once again conspiring against his brother, Thor, has had Thor exiled from Asgard. Thor and Loki's borther Balder site on the throne, with Loki as his sinister "advisor". But worse, Loki has convinced Norman Osborn that Asgard doesn't belong on Earth, and Osborn arranged a devastation in Chicago that has left many dead, and put the blame on Volstagg of the Warriors Three. With this justification, Norman Osborn declares war on Asgard, which is currently located just outside of Broxton, Oklahoma. As Volstagg struggles to clear his name, Kelda must apologize to Bill's parents for his death, and Thor fights Volstagg, while Loki discovers himself a bit more tightly enmeshed in the mortal world than he realizes. And Dani Moonstar must fulfill a deal with the Goddess Hel, to bring her the dead she is expecting. But when she's given the powers of the Valkyrie, she can't help but be drawn into the conflict. But how will she deal with the experience of fighting in Ragnarok? And will Thor's exile ever be rescinded? This was okay, but aside from a few moments, and the story of Dani Moonstar, but the rest of it was just not that interesting. The best parts were Dani Moonstar and Volstagg. So, recommended, but only slightly.

Dead Man's Chest by Kerry Greenwood- Phryne Fisher, her maid, Dot, and her two adopted daughters take off for the sea on Vacation, but the couple that is supposed to be in the house they are staying in, taking care of it, are missing, and there is a rumor about buried treasure near where they are staying, and a gang of teenagers are hanging around. But what is really going on, and what's the truth about the treasure? And for that matter, what happened to the married couple that were supposed to be at the house? And will Phryne be able to keep her promise to her daughters that this will be a vacation without a dead body? I always enjoy Phryne when she goes out to solve a mystery, and this book is no exception, except that this book has the added fun of her interacting with her adopted daughters. Phryne's ability to remain calm and cool-headed even in the midst of danger makes her very fun to read about. Her books are exceptionally enjoyable for me, Recommended.

Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter- Nicolai is the Vampire King, well noted for his virility and sexuality. In a rare twist, he's been deprived of his memory, his timepiece, and enslaved in the land of Delfina, where he provides sex to his masters and mistresses. But they can't enslave his dreams and he's been dreaming of a human woman, Jane Parker, and she has been dreaming of him. But when she is drawn into Delfina by Nikolai's dreams, she must help him escape to be able to go home... the problem is, Nikolai doesn't want to let her go, and by the time he's free, she may not want to go... Can the two of them escape Delfina and return Nikolai to his memories and Kingdom, and is there any future for a vampire and a human? It's a Harlequin Romance in the Nocturne line, which does Supernatural Romance, and what can I say, It was good and hot, and it made me believe in vampires and romance while I was reading it, so recommended.

Bone Palace by Amanda Downum- The death of a foreign Prostitute summons Isyllt Iskaldur from her bome in the middle of the night. This is because the prostitute has a royal signet ring on her body. Isyllt tests for plague, always a problem in the city of Erisin, but the woman is clean. Finding her killer and why she died will distract Isyllt from her three missing fingers and the moodiness of her ex-lover. But something is stitrring in Erisin, something more than the Vrykolaks in their underground kingdoms, something that smacks of rebellion against the king and his current queen. But can Isyllt discover and stop the plot before her home city becomes a seething mass of blood and fire? And can Isyllt save herself from those same coming tides? I remember reading The Drowning City, also by Amanda Downum, and this book promised more of the same intriguing main character, and a new intrigue in the capital city of the empire. I loved this book, and found myself drawn deeply into the intrigues and the characters. This book is fascinating and a wonderful read. Recommended.

Mistress, Maids and Men: Baronial Life in the Thirteenth Century by Margaret Wade Labarge- The life of a Baronial  Household in the Thirteenth Century is explored through records of the time, manorial records and manorial household records. The role of the lady of the manor, the castle as a home, the management of the house, daily diet, the role and price of spices, the manor's provisions of wine and beer, some purchased, some brewed onsite, clothing and other household goods are all discussed in detail, illuminating what it was actually like living in such a household. This isn't a dry recounting, but really brings the time to life, and brought that whole century to life for me. Recommended.

The Search for King Arthur by Christopher Hibbert- This book looks at the stories told about King Arthur and looks at them and beyond them to look for the "real" King Arthur, and what the world was actually like when King Arthur would have been on the throne, and how stories about his reign and what his world was supposed to be like tell us about the mindsets of the people who told those stories. This book has plenty of pictures, but it's rather dry and academic. I like dry and academic, but even so, this book was a slog for me. It looks at a variety of approaches to the Legend of Arthur, which is good, so it's still recommended, but it might make a good sleep aid for some people.

The Pleasures of the Torture Chamber by John Swain- Man'a inhumanity to their fellow man takes many forms, and the worst is torture. This book takes a look at various forms of torture by type. Tortures takes from the culinary arts (boiling in oil, being roasted over the fire, etc.), by cord (hanging, slow strangulation) and so on, and describing the effects of various tortures and the long-term effects of being tortured in various ways. and looks at why the various forms of torture were used. This book has less pictures and more woodcuts showing torture rather than the copious photographs of other books on this subject, and the tone is less conversational and more scholarly, but it makes the toll of torture, on victims and society, very clear and speaks with a voice of authority. Recommended.

Duke Most Wanted by Celeste Bradley- Sophie Blake's rich grandfather has willed his money to the first of his granddaughters to maery a Duke. But since her cousin Deirdre has that sewn up by being the fiancee of a Duke, Sophie is content to just live her life, enjoying her books and the company of her friends, including Graham, who she absolutely loves, since he has no designs on her whatsoever. She's content to just be with him, trying to figure out what demons live inside him. But when Graham inherits the family title completely unexpectedly, he inherits along with it a ruined estate and a mountain of debts, and must find himself a rich wife if he hopes to restore the estate to anything like a functioning place for the people who depend on him. He must immediately seek out a rich bride. amd that means Sophie, no matter how he feels about her, will no longer do. And Sophie, realizing she will lose Graham for good if she doesn't do something, steps up and makes herself over to prove that she can be the woman he wants, and the woman he needs as well. But can she win Graham's heart and become his wife in time to win the prize he needs: the money to restore his estate? I liked this book a great deal- the story was good and the characters engaging.and sympatheric. Graham's backstory involves physical abuse whereas Sophie is much more sheltered, but neither shrink away at doing what must be done for them to be happy together. Recommended.

Rogue in My Arms by Celeste Bradley- When a little girl is dumped on the doorstep of a gentlemen's club, they can only conclude that one of them is the father. The first gentleman, having proven himself not the father, has nevertheless found a woman and become engaged. Now, the second possible father, Sir Colin Lambert, wonders if the girl could be the daughter of an actress he once had a relationship with, so he sets out to find out if she is the girl's mother. On the way, he finds that she has decamped for elsewhere, and finds himself saddled with her former dressmaker, a Miss Prudence Philby, and her brother, who are after Melody the actress for the money she owes to Prudence. But as the four of them share a carriage together, Colin is discovering that Miss Philby has charms of her own, and that he is less than immune to her presence. By the time they find Melody, he may be willing to give her up for Prudence. But can he abandon the possible morher of his possible daughter? And if Melody is his daughter's mother, what will he do about his attraction for the lovely Prudence? And can he convince her that his affections truly are sincere? Another excellent little romance. I loved all the character moments, and how Pru was very well named, having to support not only herself but her brother in a profession where money is not guaranteed. The scene with the play and Colin's performance made me smile in a sort of fond, affectionate way, and the interactions between them makes the page crackle. Recommended.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke- Prosper and Bo, two brothers on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle, travel to Venice and fall in with a group of house thieves led by a boy named Scipio, who calls himself "The Thief Lord". But on the heels of Bo and Presper come their aunt and uncle, and Victor, a Private Eye they hired to track the boys down. But hanging out with the underage Thieves gets them caught up in a scheme to discover a lost treasure that could have consequences for all of them. And in this new and unfamilliar city, can they give their aunt and uncle the slip permanently? And what will be the effects of everybody finding what they seek? I liked this book, which is full of danger, thrills and two kids on the run. I don't necessarily think it's something new and wonderful, like how I felt when I finished reading the Harry Potter book, but I found the story quite enjoyable and interesting. Recommended.

Crimson Moon by Rebecca York- After a life looking for trouble and a fight in a bar leaves him half-dead, Johnny Marshall made a new life for himself as Sam Morgan, and found a new vocation in fighting for the Earth. But when his latest target's daughter, Olivia Woodlock, daughter of a lumber baron that Sam has his eye on, comes barreling into Sam, she won't reveal why she is running. Olivia's life is in danger from a man who wants to possess her, while dealing with the problems of a Werewolf who may just have met his lifemate. But can he keep her safe from the man who will do anything to get her, Luther Etheridge? And will she be able to overcome the abuse and secrets of her family to love Sam in the way he deserves? Another excellent book by Rebecca York. This one was a little hard for me to read in parts because of sexual abuse and some other nasty stuff, but I loved how Sam and Olivia came together, and the love they shared with and for each other. Recommended.

Beyond Fearless by Rebecca York- Zachary Robinson has been hired, outside of his usual crew, to find the wreckage of the ship called the Blue Heron, and the missing brother of a millionaire. But his first dive on the ship is a disaster, and his newly-hired crew believes that the wreck is haunted hy a bloodthirsty Carib God. Anna Ridgeway is working on Grand Fernardino, using her abilities in a "magic" act. But her abilities tell her that Zack is in trouble- Danger clings to an d follows him, and when she gets involved with Zack, danger reaches out to engulf her as well. Lucky for her that Zach knows quite well how to defend himself. But are they ready to defend themselves from a danger that isn't strictly physical? I got into Rebecca York with her Werewolf romances, and wasn't quite sure I'd enjoy one of her non-Werewolf books. But this was wonderful and quite surprised me- it was just as good as her other romances, and it's very enjoyable. Recommended.

The Anatomists by Hal McDonald- Edward Montague and Jean-Claude Legard are surgical students in Edinburgh, which means to become surgeons, they must also become criminals, buying dead bodies from the local "Resurrectionists", or body snatchers, who steal recently buried bodies from the local cemeteries. But when the body of the middle-aged man they ordered turns out to be the body of a younger woman, they must figure out what went wrong, and, since the body was buried in the grave that supposedly contained that of a middle-aged man, discover who killed her and hid the body in the grave, and who wanted her dead in the first place. But the situation isn't so clear, and the two students must become detectives to prevent the University or themselves being blamed. But can two want to be  Doctors succeed at solving a mystery? This smacked a lot of Sherlock Holmes to me, with a Edinburgh (student) Doctor filling the role of Watson to the more intelligent French student's Holmes. Legard is more charismatic and balanced than Holmes, but there was a definite undercurrent there. Still, a good mystery and recommended.

Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon- Nykirian Quiakides is a former League assassin, and he's the only one, because no one is supposed to survive leaving the League- but through his great skill at killing, he's killed all the assassins that have come after him. But when a young woman named Kiara Zamir needs help to survive after her politician father takes some very bad positions that would help the non-League worlds, Nykirian is called on to protect her. But she isn't going to make it easy, since he is the same as the one who killed her mother. But Nykirian, while professing not to care, finds himself coming to care for Kiara. But when it all comes down to the end, does she love him enough to give up her life to be with him? And will those in her life let her make that choice? And does Nykirian have the strength to give up his life for her? And will the League let him? Well, this was a new series for me, but I do have to say that it quickly turned into another session of "My childhood was worse than yours!" part infinity-nurgle-numpty. I don't object to the idea as a means of inducing conflict, but it seems like each time Sherrilyn Kenyon uses it, the childhood has to get worse, until each of her heroes are in competition for the trophy of "Worst Childhood EVAR". It's gotten more and more over the top and it's gotten to the point of distracting me from the story in a major way. Seriously, Ms. Kenyon, time to move on to another trope. PLEASE! Otherwise, acceptable and still recommended.

Lord of the Abyss: Desert Warrior by Nalini Singh- Micah is a monster that the people of the Realm have been taught to feat by the Dark Lord that rules them. But when the Dark Lord's daughter, Liliana, seeks to flee her father by hiding in Micah's realm of the Abyss, she is taken directly into his palace, where Micah imprisons her. But where others see a horrendous monster, Liliana sees only a very lonely man who lashes out at others in his loneliness, and where others see an ugly witch, Micah begins to see a beautiful woman who he could love. But as they work with Micah's siblings to break the power of the Dark Lord, will her father take a terible revenge on them? The book also contains a reprinting of Desert Warrior, Nalini Singh's first published Romance. When Jasmine must return to Zulheil, her former lover, Tariq, now Prince of the Land, kidnaps her as he had promised to do. He wants to punish Jasmine for running away from him, but can he convince her it is love behind his harshness, and can Jasmine overcome his bruised feelings to forge a deeper connection? I liked both books, although I was a little taken aback at Desert Warrior, which pushed directly into the very overdone "Foreign Prince" territory. His country is, of course, highly advanced, but he still mostly lives in tents. To put it in a shorter form, cliche as all get out. But the Lord of the Abyss actually managed to surprise me a bit at the end. Not in the content of the story, but in what happened with the heroine. Excellent and recommended, "Desert Warrior" is terribly cliche, but still manages to be hot. Recommended.

The Mid-Atlantic Treasure Coast: Coin Beaches & Treasure Shipwrecks from Long Island to the Eastern Shore by Stephan M. Voynick- talks about notable shipwrecks at various places along the Mid-Atlantic coast, diuscussing as well how many unknown shipwrecks lie off our coiast because of being wrecked before there were any people from Europe to record them, and then continues enumerating wrecks from the end of Long Island all the way to the Merida, a ship that wrecked off the coast of Virginia with millions in gold, silver, jewels and gems on board in 1902. The stories are lurid, as befits tales of treasure, and give the general area of the wrecks, so that interested treasure seekers can possibly go to seek them out in the depths of the ocean. Also included are places known as "Coin Beaches", where you can still find copper or gold coins washed up from shipwrecks after storms. This book is incredibly informative, and if you love the hunt for treasure, this is a good book to inspire the imagination with the lure of treasure. Well worth reading and recommended.

The Guardian by Sherrilyn Kenyon- Lydia is a Dream-Hunter who knows the location of Olympus, which several evil Gods wish to know the location of. So they toss her to Seth, a man in Hell of his own accord, who has been tortured and drained of his powers for millennia, to find out the truth of where Olympus is. Seth has been tortured so much that he no longer trusts anyone or cares for anyone or anything. They tell him he must get the key to Olympus from Lydia. But Lydia has no idea what Seth is talking about, and even so, he doesn't believe her. But when Lydia tries to get Seth on her side, she begins to see how damaged he is. inside. even as she begins falling in love with him. But when Seth discovers that she is a Jackal, one of the beings who are responsible for being in Hell, will his trust in her be forever damaged? Once again, it was Contestant for "worst childhood EVAR" #46, but at least Seth's life was worse than his childhood, so this book irritated me less than some of Sherrilyn Kenyon's more recent works. I liked the resolution of the story, and the truths that Lydia and Seth learned about themselves., and how they came together in love. The ending of the book made me smile, and enjoy the book just a bit more. Recommended.

1 comment:

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