This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reviews - Three Books & a Video


Yeah, I have to post some Spiffy Old Stuff tonight, so please don’t kill me for the double posting. I know how annoying that can get and I beg forgiveness for it. Really, this is my begging face. See how cute it is?

Okay, so I’ve been lazy lately and I have piled up some reviews and haven’t posted them. I’ve actually piled up a lot of things, but that’s how I roll. (did that make me sound cool? No? I was afraid of that!) But, I am going to try to get some of it out this week, including page 6 for the judge and a selection of poems that got rejected for a magazine *cries* Oh, speaking of rejection I also got my “loser bookmark” from the Writer’s of the Future contest. So, again, not a winner there either.

Oh well, fame and fortune would only go to my head.

But, I did get a fantastic book review from someone who didn't HAVE to give me a good one. This doesn't mean I am in any way ungrateful for the amazing reviews I have had so far, because I appreciate it more than you guys could ever know, but are any of you really going to say, "Wow, that sucked big time"? Of course not. So here was someone who very well could have said, "This was awful" and lost no sleep over insulting their friend, and yet they still liked it! I think it's Smashwords that has me paranoid. Fourteen people have downloaded partials, but no one has downloaded the full book. it has me terrified that half way though it goes terribly wrong somehow.

By the way, you can read my very cool new review here:

So, reviews. I have a music video critique and three book reviews. Skip down to whatever interests you. If none of them do, then at least leave a kudo and lie convincingly in the comments, huh? ;)

Music Video: Heartkiller – HIM

I’m an absolute fangirl when it comes to the Finnish band HIM, so who could be more excited then me (and the thousands of other HIM’sters out there) when the new video came out? However, upon watching it…. Well… huh. 

I’ll start with the song, though I’ve actually heard it before this vid. Yeah, it’s kinda catchy, but contrast it with The Path or Joy and Sorrow or, well, about any of their previous work and you can see it’s not as good. The lyrics aren’t as good and maybe it’s just the nature of his accent, but he should stay away from “er” words. And what is the point of mentioning Frankenstein? Something poetic that I’m missing? I just don’t know.

Now we’ll skip to the video. Yeah, I’ve heard it was inspired by some photographs or some such thing but, meh. The red and blue is okay, I guess, and the superimposing of the animals over the top of people is an interesting effect in places – when they choose the right animals – however when they use odd ball things like a zebra it leaves me scratching my head. I can see the relevance of a raven, or the horned things, but some of the other eons leave me thinking, “Weird” as opposed to “cool”.  As if that wasn’t enough there just isn’t a lot of motion happening. Yeah, they try to make up for this with the rotating screens and flashing red and blue, but it still feels flat compared to the tempo of the song.

The only reward is a shirtless Ville at the end, but even that has two hitches. One, it leaves me saying, “Why did he sporadically take off his shirt?” – not that I’m against sporadic male nudity, mind you.  But, it feels weird for him to be standing there amidst all the flashy lights and just drop his top. And two, I think, “Hmm… he needs a sandwich.” Yeah, Ville Valo is a skinny, skinny man, but he looks skinnier than normal. And I’m sorry, but the hair isn’t working. I love his wonderful little curls as much as the next person, but the 70’s house wife do just makes me want to say “Uh, no.”

Suffice to say, I won’t be screen capping/making any wallpapers from this one. However, given the chance I would still kidnap – erm, I mean, tackle – erm, no, I mean attack – erm, uh, never mind, I just can’t save this one.

(watch the vid)

EXTRA CREDIT: watch a video where sporadic shirtlessness works!

Fantasy Novel: The Poison Throne by Celine Kierdan

I want to start this by saying that I rarely like a heroine. Most of the time I find the woman either too tough and kick-ass to even be a woman anymore, or else too overtly feminine, whiny and annoying. However, Wynter Moorehawk, the leading lady in The Moorehawk Trilogy, is a heroine I can like! Tough enough to hold her own when she needs to, but feminine enough to cry when she’s scared, I found Wynter to be a very believable character.

Wynter and her father, The Lord Protector, have been away “in the north” for several years and, when the book opens, are finally returning home. However, the home they’ve come back to is a far different place than the one they left. The Prince is gone, the ghosts have all but disappeared, the king seems to have gone mad with new laws and even the cats won’t talk to Wynter anymore.

Surrounded by intrigue and stifled by rigid court rules and formalities, Wynter tries to uncover what’s taken place, but answers seem few and far between. Even her dear friend Razi, the king’s son, and his mysterious friend Christopher Garron aren’t talking, or could it be that they don’t know? As Wynter tries t unravel the terrifying mysteries she comes face to face with death, fear and, perhaps even worse, the destruction of many of her childhood notions about those she thought she knew.

While Poison Throne is a fantasy novel, it’s what I would call “soft fantasy”. The speech patterns of the characters are just old fashioned enough to put you in a different time, but familiar enough to keep the average reader from going, “huh?”. Though there’s not a lot of swashbuckling, hack and chop action, there is plenty of subtle tension crawling beneath the surface that does explode into a few violent scenes, more than one of which have the power to stay with you after you’ve put the book away.

Kiernan has also done an excellent job on giving you just what the reader just what they need to know, without overburdening them. The details in court life are explained while necessary, but twiddly, historical details that could very easily bog down the story are left out.

An excellent blend of fantasy, romance and drama, I can’t recommend this enough. If I were writing this book it’s exactly what I’d have written – and that’s pretty rare for me to say.

(yes, I did win a free copy in a contest, however, that did not effect my opinion on it!)

Check out the website:

EXTRA CREDIT: read an excerpt:

Fantasy Novel: The Crowded Shadows by Celine Kierdan

Book two of the Moorehawk trilogy begins with our heroine, Wynter Moorehawk, riding the dangerous roads alone, her heart heavy with worry for her father and her friends. However, her quest to find Prince Alberon and discover the truth is more important than anything she could do for them.

All too quickly, however, Wynter becomes a first hand victim of the road’s dangers. After a narrow escape she stumbles upon some all too familiar company. Torn between anger and relief, she finally lands on the latter, and together they make their way to their mutual destination; the camp of Prince Alberon who, it seems, has called every enemy of his father to come and meet with him.

With more action than Poison Throne, and even more intrigue, this is going to be a tough book to beat for the final in the series. The characters, which were so carefully crafted in the first book, are now expanded. But even as some mysteries are explained, new ones crop up to take their place and keep you on the edge of your seat, mysteries that you may not guess the answers to. And, just as with book one, Kiernan doesn’t pull her punches. Bad things happen. Disturbing things happen. And there’s even enough gory detail to keep me happy.

And that was one of the really refreshing things. It’s getting harder and harder for me to be surprised by something in a book. I tend to spot the plot device a mile away, but this book had at least three large “things” I did not see coming. Later, of course, I looked back and saw the subtle hints, now glaringly obvious and thought, “Wow! How did I not notice that?” however, I refuse to spoil it for anyone, so you’ll have to see if you can find those things on your own.

In crowded Shadows Kiernan has woven together another brilliant tapestry of fantasy, fighting, love and intrigue that will leave you wanting more. I know I can’t wait for the next book!

(again, I got a free copy of this as a contest prize, but the review was not skewed by that fact!)

Check out the website:

EXTRA CREDIT: read an excerpt:

Western Romance Novel: Eye of the beholder by Ruth Ann Nordin

Mary Peters live in Maine in the late 1800’s. A nineteen year old girl with a “too big” nose, “too thin” lips and freckles, she’s left behind without so much as a suitor while all of her sisters have left the house to be married. With an eye to the papers, she stumbles across an ad from Neil Craftsman, a Nebraska farmer seeking a bride. He asks for a woman who is hardworking, dependable and capable of bearing children, yet he never mentions the word pretty.

It fits Mary to a t.

Despite her parents’ objections, she boards the train and spends a week traveling to the prairies of Nebraska. Only, when she gets there, she discovers that Neil did want something pretty after all, and Mary is just too plain!

A lesser woman would have run crying, but Mary is a strong woman who refuses to go cringing back home. It’s this exact resilience that impresses Dave Larson and leads him to ask her to marry him instead. Though reluctant to accept, he manages to convince her and, by the end of the day, Mary Peters is a married woman.

But, her mother never taught her about marriage, and certainly no one instructed her in the ways of farming back in her hometown in Maine. The next several months are a learning experience for her, in more ways than one, the question is can she learn to trust Dave’s feelings and see herself through his eyes?

When I started this book I only intended to read a couple of chapters; I ended up reading the whole book in one setting. Mary is a character that I could quickly identify with, from her desire to please, to the rejection she has so often gotten from men, who see only what’s on the outside, not what’s inside.

But this isn’t just Mary’s story, it is also Dave’s who, after tragedy strikes, has to learn how to cope. Interwoven between the lines is the story of Neil Craftsman who finally gets what he wants; a beautiful east coast bride, but is she really as fantastic as everyone thinks?

More than just a historical romance, this is a story about looking under the surface, least we forget that there’s more to people than what they look like and that, while a pretty face may appeal at first, there has to be something underneath it.  But most importantly, it’s a reminder the beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Ruth Ann’s website:

EXTRA CREDIT: get the sequel as a free e-book on LuLu:

And now for the segment I like to call “Random Video Links” (yeah, I just made that up!) Here’s the link to a video that I couldn’t find any embed code for that discusses the different personality types and how it effects your writing style. I thought it was very cool!

Seriously, go watch it and you’ll see what I mean. 

Okay then, I’m off to go find something old and spiffy. Yay.

Last Song I Heard: Need You Now – Lady Antebellum


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