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review 2017-04-22 16:57
If We Were Villains...
If We Were Villains: A Novel - M. L. Rio

Because I am huge fan of Shakespeare and all that entails this book worked for me on every level. I lived this book and loved it. It is a homage to the bard and of course an atmospheric, beautifully layered and indomitably emotional story in its own right.

The comparisons to The Secret History are for once quite valid, but shoot me if you like, I much preferred this. I'm not a fan of Tartt's overly pretentious and self absorbed writing style that lacks any sense of editing, its not that I didn't enjoy The Secret History I did, but it banged on interminably at times taking 5000 words to get as much depth into the action as M L Rio manages here in mere paragraphs. So as a very subjective thing for me this was much better. Plus I should probably say its similarities are less than its differences so any comparisons made are on the surface.

I read it in 4 hours today stopping only for caffeine hits and got entirely caught up in this insular, elite and yes pretentious world of a group of theatre students whose friendship, love and obsession leaks off the stage and into their personal interactions. The author uses Shakespeare both allegorically and practically - the language they speak, the way they form ties, its all beautifully written and stunningly addictive. The last paragraph shot me off my chair, so perfectly clever was it, having been lulled into the ebb and flow of a novel that seemed to be done with me at that point suddenly going ha ha NO now you will think of me always. And I will..

An amended and fuller review will follow when I'm on the blog tour but this is going to be a novel I return to again and again. For its rich language, its incredibly divisive characters and its beautiful tribute to the work of Shakespeare, a man who formed the basis of a whole lot of our pop culture language use today. For me it was spot on perfect

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text 2016-10-12 22:57
Horror Villain Halloween Post

Lilyn from Sci-Fi & Scary wrote a great blog piece about her Scariest Horror Villains and so kindly asked me to share mine.  Because I am a lazy blogger, I am going to borrow her format. 

I started watching horror movies like The Prophecy & The Exorcist at the drive-in when I was frightfully young so there isn't a lot that scares me nowadays but occasionally a villain has managed to wriggle their way under my skin.  

Scariest Horror Villains

What’s your pick for scariest horror villain?

This one is easy. The Cenobites from Hellraiser. They skin you alive and torture you and play a part in resurrecting your dead flesh. Could there be anything worse? That is something that made my 17 year old self shudder in fear. I'll never forget the first time I watched it. My boyfriend at the time was ghost white when we left the theater and I later learned that Hellraiser was his first horror movie. Ever. I had no idea. Can you guess who picked the movie? This was our first date too. I spilled steaming hot coffee in his lap during our second. Amazingly, that poor foolish innocent boy wasn't scared off and ended up marrying me a few years later.

Which horror villain used to scare you, but no longer does?

Hmmm, this one is tough. All villains, if done well, can still manage to creep me out but I have to agree with Lilyn here and go with vampires.They have just been done to death and romanticized to death and need to be given a rest from their life after death. 

Bring back these kinds of vampires though and I'll change my tune real quick!

Bill Paxton & Adrian Pasdar in Near Dark

Has a horror movie villain ever affected your actions in real life?

Not that I can recall. I do remember being terrified that I was going to become possessed for years after watching The Exorcist and I always went to church like a good little girl because I was afraid of what might happen if I played hooky. This fear stuck with me well into my teens too. I was also very afraid to drape my legs over my bed, fearing monsters would get me, after viewing Don't Be Afraid of the Dark one too many times. I remember it being a creepy little tale of locked rooms and monsters who attack an unsuspecting couple who couldn't leave well enough alone. Now the trailer kind of makes me laugh.


What’s the scariest movie you saw in theatres?

I can't even remember. I thought it was The Exorcist but I was only 3 when that first came out so it's doubtful. My best guess is The Prophecy from 1979, followed closely by The Amityville Horror
I remember being at the drive-in and being terrified those mutated things were lurking around every dark corner and were going to get me.  Ah, such great times. 
Zombie, Vampire, or Werewolf – Which one would you rather fight?
I'd like to think I could easily tame the werewolf with a little raw meat along with some kind, loving quiet talk. They're just overgrown puppies, right? And they're warm and alive and kind of cute.

I'd have no problem picking off a vampire or a zombie but I'd have to get to working on my cardio again. I'd likely end up as dinner for either of them so I won't be picking any fights any time soon. 

Which horror BOOK left a lasting impression on you?

Book? As in one? I can't possibly pick one. Horror novels shaped my childhood and helped me cope with a lot of truly terrible real life horror that was flung my way. So I'm picking five.

The Witches Buttons by Ruth Chew I remember picking this off of a RIF table (remember those?) when I was in first or second grade and reading it until the pages fell out. I cannot describe the complete devastation that overcame me when I returned home from school one day to discover my mother had thrown it away. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the reason I hoard books now. This book also set off my lifelong love of reading.

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews was about children who had it worse off than I did! And then there was the incest. So taboo, so over the top, so perfect for any tortured pre-teen.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King was the first horror novel that made me cry and also ruined many a cheesy horror novel for me when I realized that I loved the characterization nearly as much as the monsters,

Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite helped me feel not so quite alone when a main character shared the same traumatic life event that I experienced as a young teen.

I first read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn when I was in my early 20's and I reread it every few years or so. It never fails to amaze me and it is the book that I judge all carnie and dysfunctional family novels by. So far, I haven't found one nearly as good. If you find one, let me know, eh?

That's it. Please share your favorites in the comments. If you decide to write up your own post please leave me the link so I can check it out. And don't forget to check out Sci-fi and Scary who gave me the command inspiration to create this post!  I hope you all enjoy it.
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text 2016-07-13 02:06
Reading progress update: I've read 6 out of 160 pages.
Titans, Vol. 4: Villains for Hire - Eric Wallace,Fabrizio Fiorentino

this is a re-read for me, but I don't remember much about it. which is good, because then it won't be a grind. and I do recall enjoying it quite a bit. it will do as a villian-centric alternative to the Squad.

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review 2016-07-03 10:00
Quick thoughts on Firefight
Firefight - Brandon Sanderson

Another enjoyable read, didn't lead where I was expecting which was nice and I rather enjoyed our outcast crew member showing up again.

Ended on a high note, very much looking forward to the next book.

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review 2016-05-31 21:38
ARC Review: Butt Villains On Vacation - anthology
Butt Villains On Vacation - Kage Alan,Ally Blue,TC Blue,Kiernan Kelly

What do you get if you mix a proven team of 4 authors, snark, sarcasm, and a good dose of humorous antics? Why, you get another butt-thology, of course.

In this latest anthology from Kage Alan, TC Blue, Kiernan Kelly, and Ally Blue, we get Butt Villains On Vacation!

I'll review all 4 stories separately.

First up, Master Malevolence in The Tail Of The Fluffy Monkey, by Kage Alan:

This story could only have been written by Kage. I mean, seriously, it has what we shall call Kageisms all over the whole thing. I was howling with laughter only a few pages in, because the clever snark just does it for me. I have a weird sense of humor sometimes, and that's what Mr. Alan usually delivers. Snark. Sarcasm. Witty one-liners. Acronyms that make me giggle, such as Plot Outline Of Peonage, aka POOP. I'm also secretly a 12 year old boy... sometimes.

We enter this story at an awards ceremony for villains....

"In the category of Villainous Acts Green, or VAG, our first nominee is [] for her victory in unknowingly getting the members of a certain church in Harlem hooked on the taste of semen in their coffee."


"Mr. Malevolence [the guy from the title] piped an invisible [] gas into Congress that had every male politician believing they'd grown female genitalia just prior to a vote on limiting healthcare..."

*dies laughing*

Another nominee perpetuated a hoax that all gay people were going to relocate to Texas which had Texas secede from the Union in protest, and.... well, you read this for yourself.

I was laughing so hard, I cried. I couldn't breathe, gasping for air. The way all these current affairs are woven into the speech just left me in stitches.

And on it goes, with snark, and more snark, a wee bit of possibly romantic feelings between two villains, one of them The Fluffy Monkey, lots of references to Gweilos, surely a nod to Mr. Alan's HH and Little Brother, and a conspiracy plot, plus sexing up villain-style - it's a fast ride, it's hilarious, and it earned itself five shiny stars for being so fabulous.

Bonus points for honoring the memory of someone from our FB community who is no longer with us.

The Flaming Skull B&B, by Ally Blue:

What do you get when you mix an on-the-run alien villain running a B&B with an Earthling bartender? Why, you get this funny and quite sweet story, of course.

Kynn-ang-Peen, the aforementioned alien, is supposed to be a villain, but only wants to make people happy. Not exactly in the villain job description, amirite, so he's been running off his home planet and landing on Earth, where he now runs a very unsuccessful B&B. This might possibly be because Kynn-ang-Peen has no "earthly" idea what earthlings look for in a nice, quiet B&B, and his idea of one doesn't mesh with his customers. Or non-customers, because nobody is staying.

His vassal, aptly named Thfft, is mostly interested in hunting and eating crabs, so when the latest potential customer leaves (and then goes up in a heap of smoke, because angry and disappointed villain right there), our lovable alien hies himself to the local bar, Cajun Alley. Where he meets Riley Jackson, bartender, and this is where the plot takes off and goes from villainous and fun to mostly sweet and fun.

It's really rather cute, with misunderstandings between alien notions and Earth reality, and while Riley may be just a little too perfect in his actions and understanding and reaction to coming face to face with an alien, I did like this quite a lot, and thought the ending was just perfect.

4 stars!

Attack Of The Undead Enema, by T.C. Blue:

This was more on the sweet side as well, telling the story of Jake Green, villain-in-hiding, and Griffin, waiter at the resort where Jake is staying/hiding. It has a real villain (The Undead Enema), a bit of angst, and a great romance between the two main characters. I really liked how Griffin stood up for Jake, and basically showing him that their love was worth fighting for, and that the Undead Enema mustn't be allowed to win. I really liked Jake, who was supposed to be a villain, but not, and who loved strongly, and just wanted to do the right thing. He carries a lot of guilt from something that he thought he caused a couple of years back, and I felt sorry for him. I rooted for him and Griffin throughout.

Lovely ending too.

4 stars!

Hero Land, by Kiernan Kelly:

Sadly my least favorite of the four stories in this anthology, mostly because I felt that it wasn't long enough to do itself justice.

The Assassin Bandit (or Ass Bandit, as his travel agent Loki calls him) has been booked for a holiday in Hero Land instead of the Rogue Empire Resort where he expected to stay. Whoopsie. Loki done messed up, but Loki ain't sorry. Faced with impertinence from his not-sorry travel agent, this Super Villain decides to wreak chaos and mayhem in Hero Land instead, because, you know, one's got a reputation to keep.

Except he's foiled in his plans by the Golden Adonis, a hero from Hero Land, whose primarily claim to fame are his adonis-like looks and physique. Shocked that his usually overwhelming smile does not work its magic on Mr. Ass Bandit, our hero feels spurred into action.

It's a Code 69. All of Hero Land must be warned that a villain is in their midst, OMG. Except Adonis, The Golden, feels a stirring in his loins, one that may possibly be reciprocated by our Ass(assin) Bandit, and off they go to possibly fornicate.

I liked the writing in this story for its witty and clever references. Unfortunately, I didn't quite buy the romance and the changes in attitude on the Adonis' part in the timeframe we're given here. It was just too short.

3 stars!

** I received a free copy of this book from one of its authors, because he knew I was salivating for more butt-thology. Thank you, Kage! A positive review was not promised in return. **

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