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text 2017-02-22 05:13
Fiasco and WTF
Venom and Vanilla (The Venom Trilogy) - Shannon Mayer

Uff da, this is some silly stuff.

 

Venom and Vanilla started with a bang. We're introduced to Alena on her death bed, cut down by a communicable disease that's so virulent that she's flown out to Whidbey Island off the coast of Seattle to die isolated and alone. It's a sad, slow beginning, nostalgic for her simple life and small rebellions. Alena was a member of the Firstamentalists, an almost cult-like religious group who brooked no contact with the Supernaturals: vampires, werewolves, etc. Of course, fiction being what it is, the narrative lack dictates that, in order to cure the fatal disease rapidly killing her, Alena must become a Supernatural. 

 

I actually loved watching a protagonist struggle with her religion. Alena holds to her principles, even though she'd long questioned them, long past my expectations. While I found her childish refusal to do anything close to cussing annoying -- for fuck's sake, donkey butt has nowhere near the frisson of asshole -- I commend the commitment to character. Alena is a good girl, a religious girl, and she's not going to shed her convictions just because she's like a giant snake or there's a hot vampire or whatever. 

 

But that's about where I stop my praise, because this novel is such an absolute fiasco. Alena is turned into an ancient Greek monster by Merlin, THE Merlin, of all people, to be murdered by Achilles, who is apparently a thing, and Zeus works for Wal*Mart, plus there are vampires and naga and werewolves and satyr and god knows what fuck all. Oh, and there's a standard dystopia where Supes are second class citizens dumped onto the other side of a wall (oops, sorry Canada, you're now the dumping ground for supernatural creatures). 

 

This is one of those stories that is so far gone that I enjoyed it, just waiting for whatever bananas ass shit was going to happen next. Lightning shootout in Wal*Mart? Fine. Naked girl fight in a Queen Anne neighborhood attic? Sure. Casual slut shaming while reveling in the lead's nascent sexuality? Whatever. A house-sized snake fighting minotaurs? I guess. So much random shit happens, SO MUCH. SO MANY characters hide footballs, and not even stealthily, but like right in front of you like you don't have eyes in your head. It's so blatant it passes over insulting into something else completely. 

 

Anyway, I guess what I want to say is that the reader for the audio is fucking amazing, and I think she's the only reason I finished this thing. Her name is Saskia Maarleveld, and I really like her voice. 

 

The End. 

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review 2016-04-11 16:47
"Vigilante Vampire - Bo Blackman #5" by Helen Harper - a darker Bo emerges
Vigilante Vampire (Bo Blackman) - Helen Harper,Saskia Maarleveld

 

"Vigilante Vampire" carries straight on from "Red Angel" and seems to be the mid-book in a second, darker, Bo Blackman trilogy.

 

In the first three books, I reveled in the original, quite British, take on vampires, witches and demons as part of the establishment of an alternative modern London.  I enjoyed seeing Bo Blackman change from novice investigator "Dire Straits", through reluctant vampire "New Order", to celebrity independent vampire, taking on the vampire Families "High Stakes".It was a fun ride, by the end of which, Bo was the rising star in the centre of a strong ensemble cast.

 

The fourth book, "Red Angel", was much darker than its predecessors.  Bo's star began to fall. Despite her best efforts, her world was torn apart. The impact of her now-despised fame, her vampire nature, the traumatic circumstances she faced and the deal with a devil that she felt she had to make, turned Bo  into someone harder and less easy to like than the nice but mildly rebellious young woman we met in “Dire Straits”.

 

"Vigilante Vampire" is darker than its predecessor. It opens with Bo, who has cut all ties with her friends and associates, not even letting them know where she lives, going on a merciless anti-witch killing spree. She has become a weapon, aimed by the demon she has made a deal with.

Although Bo does things she would never have considered in the earlier books, I never could never really see her as a "good girl gone rogue killer". She seems to approach her own violence with all the joy of a man swigging spirits he can't stand the taste of just to drink himself into oblivion. There is a desire for a redemption that she believes she doesn't deserve and a longing to reconnect with and protect her friends that is far from demonic.

 

Bo wants to focus her anger on House Medici, the vampires who caused her so much pain, but her demon master points her at finding a missing young woman. This investigation brings her into contact with an anti-vampire cult. The plot is interesting, especially in the view it builds of the cult and it twists and turns at just the right pace.

 

There is a lot of violence and hatred in this book. Bo flips between being self-appointed, remorseless  punisher of wrong-doers and someone who is horrified by the  hate-driven lawlessness of others.  I didn't feel I really got inside Bo's head in this book. Although I was engaged with the events in the story and some of the inidividual scenes were memorable, B0 seemed a bit out of focus.

 

As with "Red Angel", "Vigilante Vampire" has a cliff-hanger ending that has me keen to read the next book.

 

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text 2015-07-19 09:00
Audio Review: A Midsummer's Night Romp by Katie MacAlister

 

A Midsummer's Night Romp

 


The Ainslie Brothers, #2

 

Katie MacAlister

 


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld & Brian Hutchison
Date of Publication: May 05, 2015
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 10 hrs and 18 mins

 

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     Audible    Downpour

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Importance of Being Alice comes the second Ainslie Brothers romance, where finding love means falling head over heels…

Lorina Liddel is terrified of embarrassing herself on national TV as the face of Dig Britain!, a new archeological reality show. Lorina would much rather keep her head down and her hands in the dirt underneath Ainslie Castle, but her on-screen partner is proving to be a major distraction.

Brother to the castle’s current lord, privileged, perfectly sculpted Gunner Ainslie is a sure bet to keep viewers glued to their screens. Lorina intends to keep the ladies’ man focused on the job at hand, but Gunner is confident he’ll soon have the beauty falling into his bed.

When an unexpected find turns the academic dig into an all-out treasure hunt, Lorina and Gunner get swept up in the excitement. But when their steamy tryst is caught on camera, it’ll take more than an award-winning performance to get them out of the hole they’re in…

I had such great fun with The Importance of Being Alice, the first book in the Ainslie Brother's series I totally wanted to read this one. This book picks shortly after the events in the last book except this time, the book focuses on Gunner, whom we met briefly in book 1.

Gunner is a forensic photographer of old buildings, but also has a degree in archeology. With Dig Britain!, a reality tv show, coming to film archaeologists dig up and study the grounds around Ainslie Castle, Gunner is put in charge of overseeing the project. Especially as the entire family is off on their summer jaunts and Elliot and Alice are on their combination honeymoon/book tour. He is also using this time to spend with his 17 year old daughter Cressida, that he didn't meet until she was 10 and that lives in Canada. All with a broken leg from his last assignment.

Lorina has wrangled her way on to the site to photograph and write a behind the scenes book to go along with the show. At least that's what she told the producer's when she pitched the idea. What she is really there for is proof that the archaeologist leading the dig, Paul, knew that he infected her best friend with HIV. He is denying any knowledge of anything wrong, and Lorina can't stand the thought of another woman dealing with this deadly disease.

Gunner and Lorina had an interesting courtship. Lorina was following around Paul, trying to figure out how to get the information she needed. Gunner was interested in Lorina, and couldn't figure out why Lorina was hanging around Paul when it was obvious by her body language that she wanted nothing to do with him. With Lorina and Cressida sharing a tent, and the director assigning Gunner and Lorina to do an "every man" explaination of what happened every day at the dig site, they were thrown together at every turn.

The narrator's of book one were back and Saskia Maarleveld and Brian Hutchison did another fantastic job. By switching back and forth when the POV switched, was very useful putting you into the correct mindset. I wasn't really a fan of dual narrators, but they have changed my mind.

I couldn't help but laugh at many of the situations that Lorina got herself into and Cressy was a breath of fresh air in her scenes. I did miss Lady Ainslie, but I am sure she will be back and weirder than ever in the books to come. There was a brief mention of The Corset Diaries and I abso-love when I can spot a reference like that. :)  This was a fun read and I can't wait to who's next in the Ainslie family. I gave this book 4 stars.

Thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and Recorded Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 
 
Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/07/audio-review-midsummers-night-romp-katie-macalister.html
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review 2015-07-09 00:00
A Midsummer Night's Romp
A Midsummer Night's Romp - Katie MacAlister,Saskia Maarleveld,Brian Hutchison I had such great fun with The Importance of Being Alice, the first book in the Ainslie Brother's series I totally wanted to read this one. This book picks shortly after the events in the last book except this time, the book focuses on Gunner, whom we met briefly in book 1.

Gunner is a forensic photographer of old buildings, but also has a degree in archeology. With Dig Britain!, a reality tv show, coming to film archaeologists dig up and study the grounds around Ainslie Castle, Gunner is put in charge of overseeing the project. Especially as the entire family is off on their summer jaunts and Elliot and Alice are on their combination honeymoon/book tour. He is also using this time to spend with his 17 year old daughter Cressida, that he didn't meet until she was 10 and that lives in Canada. All with a broken leg from his last assignment.

Lorina has wrangled her way on to the site to photograph and write a behind the scenes book to go along with the show. At least that's what she told the producer's when she pitched the idea. What she is really there for is proof that the archaeologist leading the dig, Paul, knew that he infected her best friend with HIV. He is denying any knowledge of anything wrong, and Lorina can't stand the thought of another woman dealing with this deadly disease.

Gunner and Lorina had an interesting courtship. Lorina was following around Paul, trying to figure out how to get the information she needed. Gunner was interested in Lorina, and couldn't figure out why Lorina was hanging around Paul when it was obvious by her body language that she wanted nothing to do with him. With Lorina and Cressida sharing a tent, and the director assigning Gunner and Lorina to do an "every man" explaination of what happened every day at the dig site, they were thrown together at every turn.

The narrator's of book one were back and Saskia Maarleveld and Brian Hutchison did another fantastic job. By switching back and forth when the POV switched, was very useful putting you into the correct mindset. I wasn't really a fan of dual narrators, but they have changed my mind.

I couldn't help but laugh at many of the situations that Lorina got herself into and Cressy was a breath of fresh air in her scenes. I did miss Lady Ainslie, but I am sure she will be back and weirder than ever in the books to come. There was a brief mention of The Corset Diaries and I abso-love when I can spot a reference like that. :) This was a fun read and I can't wait to who's next in the Ainslie family. I gave this book 4 stars.

Thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and Recorded Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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review 2015-04-19 09:00
Audio Review: The Importance of Being Alice by Katie MacAlister
 

 


The Importance of Being Alice

 


Ainslie Brothers, #1
Katie MacAlister

 


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld, Brian Hutchison
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 9 hrs and 58 mins

 

 

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     Audible   Downpour

 

Nothing about Alice Wood’s life is normal right now. Her fiance, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it’s not what she gets.

Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her “romantic” suite with one of Patrick’s friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she’s navigating the waters with a strange—yet mysteriously handsome—British aristocrat.

An author, Elliot is just looking for some alone time to write. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life … and include him in her own happily ever after.

Katie MacAlister was one of my first introductions to the Vampire Romance Genre, way back in the day with A Girl's Guide to Vampires, the first book in her Dark Ones series. Those led me to her contemporary and historical romance. I quickly discovered that I enjoyed her witty dialogue and the way each of her characters has a quirky piece that makes them unique and very relatable no matter the genre. So whenever I see that Ms. MacAlister has a new book, it is an auto add to my TBR pile.

The book starts with the introduction of Elliot, and some of his - let's call them - "interesting" extended family. Including his mother, the Baroness Ainslie. He is trying to manage his family, falling down castle and it's repairs around his writing schedule. You know, the thing that pays for everything else, when Elliot gets a call from an old pal Patrick offering him his ticket on a European River Cruise. Patrick tells Elliot that he wasn't going to be using it since he had broken it off with Alice after his 2 year relationship limit had expired. He assured Elliot that Alice wouldn't be going, so he could use the quiet to get some writing done.

True, Alice hadn't planned on using the tickets after Patrick dumped her. And by dumped, she meant firing her from her job as his assistant, kicking her out of the condo they shared and telling her they would not longer be needing the information about getting married in Budapest at the end of the river cruise. So there she is - jobless, in a cramped rundown apartment feeling sorry for her self, when her best friend convinces her to go ahead and use the non-refundable ticket that she had already paid for. Both Alice and Elliot get a surprise when neither one will back down. Enforced proximity and an unwanted attraction get the best of both of them.

I really liked that the characters had some great communication going. Plus, the romantic side of things had some incredibly funny, yet realistic moments. They were self aware about how they each complimented the other, and though they hadn't known each other long, they just seemed to click.  There were several times I was pleasantly surprised with the direction the book would go.

I'm not normally a fan of multiple voices. But as each chapter was alternately told by Alice and Elliot, having different narrator's really helped to get me in the correct person's headspace. Both narrator's did a good job with the emotional side of things and really bringing their character to life.

Overall, this was an easy listen. I found myself smiling and laughing, even wiping away a few tears during some particularly emotionally scary moments. I will be adding book 2, A Midsummer's Night Romp to my TBR pile and hope the same narrators return.  This was a 4 star read.

Thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and Recorded Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 
Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/04/audio-review-importance-of-being-alice.html
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