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Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Demon’s Fall-Karalynn Lee

In Book Reviews, romance novels on October 31, 2010 at 10:10 am

Demon’s Fall is a new novella by Karalynn Lee.  Coming in at just over 70 pages, it’s a short read but an enjoyable one.  The story revolves around a demon named Kenan and an angel named Jahel.  Kenan is an incubus, a creature who seduces humans for their souls, which he collects.  He encounters Jahel in Hellsgate, the area adjacent to Hell proper, at a merchant’s where she’s caged and being sold.  An angel’s soul would be a nice addition to his collection, so he buys her and takes her home with him.  While there, he feeds her and helps her clean up while she tells him why an angel was anywhere near Hell.  She had been there to retrieve the soul of a young women she was charged to watch over who had lost hers to a hellhound in the forest after being chased by a hunter in the employ of her stepmother.  Kenan agrees to help the angel retrieve the soul, knowing that if he helps her it will be easier to seduce her into relinquishing her soul. But while he’s helping her he falls in love with her.  Unfortunately, the forces of Heaven and Hell won’t make being with each other easy, and before they can be together, the world almost ends and they must give one another up.

Demon’s Fall has a great idea behind it.  Lee develops the two main characters just to the point where the reader wants to know more, but the span of around 70 pages is just too brief for a story involving demons and angels and the possible end of the world.  As a result, parts of the story that could have blossomed into wonderful scenes are cut short and the overall effect is that Demon’s Fall is a missed opportunity for the author.  The story seems rushed because it doesn’t follow itself to its natural fullness.  Kenan could be so much more, as could Jahel, and once the threat of the Apocalypse is introduced, the reader is left not only wanting more fullness to their relationship but more to the crisis that may bring about the end of the world.

Every reader has gotten through a 400+ page novel and thought to themselves, “This book needed some serious editing!” Some novels leave the reader thinking that the story could have been told best as a novella and not stretched out unnecessarily to a full length novel.  Some stories work well as short stories or novellas. In this case, this reader wishes that Karalynn Lee had given her story more room to breathe and grow.  It very possibly would have been well worth it.  Read Demon’s Fall knowing that you’ll probably wish there was more too.
-Alexandria

Demon’s Fall was provided for review by the publisher, Carina Press, through NetGalley.

October Top 5: The Top 5 Reasons Vampires Are Our Favorite Monsters

In Top 5 on October 29, 2010 at 12:05 am

In celebration of Halloween, we turn our Top 5 for October to the top 5 reasons we love vampires more than any other supernatural creature or monster.  Both Broads are fans of the fangs from way back, beginning with the granddaddy of them all, Dracula.  We love their blood lust and all the other kinds of lust writers seem to think up for these creatures of the night.  Below the list is the discussion of our choices, sure to be racy, so read, enjoy, and have a fangtastic Halloween!

Alexandria/Moira

1.  Danger/ No pelt to get in the way like other supernatural creatures
2.  Creatures of the Night/Neck work
3.  Look young, generally old school/Enthrallment is a great excuse for being a bad girl
4.  Always wealthy/Are you experienced?
5.  Tortured souls/Control of metaphysical world

Number 1 reason to love vampires?

Alexandria: Vampires are the definition of sexy danger.  Think of other supernatural beings.  Sure, they’re dangerous.  The werewolf will tear out your jugular as soon as look at you.  Other shape shifting creatures will eat you like a snack.  Zombies…well, they’ll eat your brain, which is not only dangerous but gross.  But none of these creatures are sexy.  Werewolves and shape shifters are animals, and not in the oh-my-God-ravish-me way.  No, they’re just a step above pets.  And zombies?  Rotting faces and maggots pouring out of the tops of heads is definitely not sexy.  Only vampires offer the combination of sex and danger.
Moira: Agree!  Who wants disgusting dog drool or rotting flesh to ruin a perfectly good night?  (It kinda reminds me of “Jed”….remember him, the wagon train guy…..uuuggh.  That gave me the shivers.)

Moira: Vampires are smooth operators, and if my mind and body can be taken over by a supernatural creature–I prefer to run my hands over beautiful skin as opposed to becoming tangled in a hairy wildebeest.  EWWWWW!  These two words are why werewolves (for me) could never be the top supernatural creature–back pelt.  Check it at the door, big guy.
Alexandria:
Back pelt….see below….(in the post, you perv, not where you were thinking!)

The second reason to like them more than other supernatural creatures?

Alexandria: Generally, vampires are nocturnal creatures, and it’s not surprising.  Daytime is good for work, chores, and school–not activities usually associated with the mad, bad, and dangerous to know.  Nighttime is a time for the hidden and secret areas of life–perfect for beings who are the definition of hidden and secret.  Of course, there are vampires who can travel about during the day; Dracula is one of them.  But Edward from Twilight is another, and he twinkles in the daylight, so let’s not go any further with that.  Twinkling is not mad, bad, or dangerous.  It’s just lame. 
Moira:
Nighttime is also when scary things feel…..well scary.  It is in the dark that you can give yourself the goosebumps.  Think about it, ever get scared in your bedroom during the day?  I think not.

Moira: Neck work.  As if I have to explain further…Holy Mother, that looks like it feels delicious!
Alexandria: I have nothing cute or pithy to add.  Delish….

The number three reason vampires beat out creatures like zombies?

Alexandria: Youth is wasted on the young, but on vampires it’s a perfect fit.  With few exceptions, these supernatural creatures are young and beautiful.  Vampires live hundreds of years, yet they always seem to be incredibly attractive, even in many horror stories.  They’re the best of both worlds:  they have the faces and bodies of young men, but they have the wisdom and skills of a more mature man.  How many of us have thought, “If I could be young but know what I know now.”  This is the key to vampire appeal.  What’s not to love?
Moira: Would you rush out to see a movie about an old guy attempting to woo some young …okay, any woman?  Not bloody likely.  There is something exceedingly attractive about the idea of being old, yet looking young.  Just look at the creams, gels, and concoctions being sold in the skin care industry or the dramatic rise in plastic surgery patients over the last decade.  Vampires had better keep themselves hidden indeed if they do in fact exist…..for I’m afraid they would be captured just to extract the “fountain of youth” gene from them.  Ha!  That’s rich…the night stalker would be the prey at the hands of aging women across the globe……

Moira:Ho hum life got you down?  Craving a little excitement or adventure with a bad boy/bad ass creature of the night?  Let vampire “enthrallment” give you a new focus and a whole lot of confidence.  Once under the enthrallment of your blood sucking suitor, you won’t have an inhibition to your name–your only thought will be on giving and receiving…really.

Besides, what’s a better excuse for your boss?  “Excuse me, but I won’t be into work–I’m under a bad case of enthrallment.”
Alexandria: That’s what I’m going to use for an excuse for my next mental health day off–enthrallment.  They aren’t buying the claim of the vapors anymore.  Gotta keep it fresh.

I’m already convinced, but you have a fourth reason?

Alexandria: I can’t remember a story that included a vampire that was poor.  They’re always well off, if not obscenely wealthy.  This must be one of the benefits of living for hundreds of years.  But it’s also a very attractive trait–a man who takes care of business with his finances.  Oooooooohhhhhh….sorry, the fantasy of a man who’s good with money always does it for me. 
Moira:
Vacations, luxury, security……Oh, my kingdom for the man you describe.  Remember girls, vampires are NOT real.

Moira:Ancient and eternal, forever in his prime, the vampire has lived and loved in the history we can only read about.  That’s experience, and experience is sexy.  You won’t endure a misplaced grope or an awkward invasion at the hands of your fanged lover.  Just relax and enjoy the ride….
Alexandria: Experienced and good looking?  Mmmm…mmmmm…mmmmm.  However, in our neck of the woods, experience usually comes with the complimentary back pelt.  And I’m not talking about weres either.

And the final reason why vampires are the best monsters?

Alexandria: I love a man with a tortured soul.  I can’t help it.  Vampires in stories are often torn between doing the right thing and not killing others and satisfying their blood lust.  Other times they’re made to be just bad, but then the author gives them some tragic back story to show why they’re bad, usually because a woman did them wrong.   Whatever it is, I do love me a man with a tortured soul. 
Moira:
Uhmmmm, yeah, ditto.  Except in real life…..then I recommend avoiding these men at any/all costs.  Keep it in between the pages ladies….then you can shut the book when you’ve had enough of his shit.

Moira:I like a man/vampire who is in control of the situation at all times, and vampires take first place in this category.  Able to close doors, let loose the hounds which guard his estate, or remove clothing with just a thought, the vampire is the master of his physical world and by association, mine.  Thatsa shesa nice.
Alexandria: I like when authors have them light candles just with their minds.  Controlling the situation and being romantic at the same time.  Now that’s a male who knows how to take care of the business.

Illegals: The Unacceptable Cost Of America’s Failure To Control Its Borders, Darrell Ankarlo

In author information, Book Reviews, nonfiction, social science on October 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Talk radio personality Darrell Ankarlo has over three decades in the broadcasting business.  He has been awarded multiple Talkers Magazine Heavy Hundred Awards, two Dallas Press Club Katie Awards, a Billboard magazine Air Personality of the Year Award, and the Scripps Howard Excellence in Journalism Award.  Honored by the White House for his efforts to raise money and support for America’s military with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, Ankarlo lives his patriotism in deed.  Numerous television appearances on shows such as Glenn Beck, Anderson Cooper 360, NBC’s Today, and Paula Zahn Now, among many others, in addition to his previous book, What Went Wrong With America and How to Fix It, showcase his knowledge and experience concerning issues that face our nation today.

In his latest book, Illegals, Darrell Ankarlo investigates many aspects of America’s devastating war with illegal immigration.  Focused primarily on the Mexican border, Ankarlo cites the many dangers American citizens are facing in the Southwest such as increasing crime, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and violence in respect to the overwhelming flow of illegals across our border.  Also, he points out the massive expenses of this influx on our weakened economy and struggling health care industry, and in example after example, clearly shows the flagrant disregard for our nation’s laws by both the Mexican government and the illegal immigrants.

Ankarlo and his team, endangering their own safety, crossed the border repeatedly to expose the corruption and mis-information the Mexican government turns a blind eye to, and the hopeless circumstances which encourage the criminal behavior of its citizens.  In story after story, Ankarlo compassionately reveals the plight of those wishing to escape, while always exposing the truth of their belief that they are above the laws of our land.

In no way against legal immigration, Ankarlo explains the harmful effects America’s failure in securing its borders is visiting upon her citizens.  Interviews with Border Patrol Agents reveal startling facts.  In one six month period, agents at one facility saw more than 600,000 pounds of marijuana come through, all confiscated from illegals crossing our border.  Understaffed and overwhelmed, these men and women do all they can, but the numbers speak for themselves.  More than one million people pour over our southern border annually.  These come looking, perhaps, for a better life, but unfortunately, they remain in poverty, with hardworking Americans paying to provide at least one-third with food and healthcare through our welfare system, and approximately three-fourths living at or below the poverty level.  Simply put, they are not giving back to the country they expect help from.  Information obtained from the Center For Immigration Studies shows that crime is up dramatically in areas with large concentrations of illegal immigrants.  Our strapped for cash schools cannot keep up with the extra steps to teach other languages.  Our debt riddled municipalities cannot provide the additional police officers needed to deal with the increase in crime, so mayors must resort to raising property or sales taxes on the law abiding population.  These are only a few of the statistics cited in the book.

What is America to do?  Ankarlo interviewed police, social experts, senators, and Border Patrol Agents, and lists many options.  In the final chapter, he outlines his own “Ankarlo Immigration Top 30”, an approach this broad believes the vast majority of Americans would support whole-heartedly.  The first step, Ankarlo advises is the necessary sealing of our borders.

Recommendation:  * * * * _ An in depth look at the illegal immigration problem facing the United States of America;  very informative and interesting.  I highly recommend this book.

~Moira Naveen

The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga, by Edward Rutherfurd

In author information, Book Reviews, historical fiction, Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 at 1:00 am

History and Fiction Meet on the Liffey Plain……

Edward Rutherfurd takes readers back in history to explore the misty-green, magical land we know today as Ireland, focusing on Dublin and surrounding areas.  Spanning eleven centuries, The Princes of Ireland begins in Dubh Linn, 430 AD, and introduces the characters whose families will carry the saga through the mid 1500’s.  Rutherfurd blends historical fact and fiction seamlessly together, creating the paths the descendants of Celtic, Nordic, and English lines take over the course of years.  Quite lengthy, the novel boasts 770 pages, but in actuality, there are three major time periods dealt with, each with its own characters and events.  Because of this, the story doesn’t feel overdrawn; it stays fresh and flowing, but I must admit, during the second storyline set in the 1100’s, I had to force myself to read through portions.  This was the only section I struggled with, and I very much enjoyed the novel overall.

Edward Rutherfurd has written a number of novels including Sarum, Russka, London, and The Forest, and I will definitely check out another of his works, as this novel was well crafted.  More than an evening’s commitment, The Princes of Ireland, is involved.  This broad appreciated the pronunciation guide and maps, but they are not necessary to understand or enjoy the story.  I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

Recommendation:  * * * * _ If you have the time and inclination to get involved in a great, but longer, novel and have an interest in history, Edward Rutherfurd’s, The Princes of Ireland, will surely satisfy.

~Moira

Frankenstein: Lost Souls-Dean Koontz

In Book Reviews, fiction, horror on October 25, 2010 at 12:01 am

The Fourth Time Is Not A Charm

Dean Koontz returns to the Frankenstein story with his fourth book in the series, Lost Souls. The five remaining characters from the third book, Dead and Alive, are back:  Deucalion, Victor Frankenstein’s original creation; Carson O’Connor and Michael Maddison, former New Orleans police officer partners and now married private detectives and new parents of a little girl in San Francisco; and Erika Five, Victor’s fifth wife creation, and Jocko, the creature that grew from one of his creations and stays with Erika. Deucalion corrals them all to help him fight Victor again, but this time it’s a Victor replicant the human being created because they killed the real Victor in New Orleans at the end of Book Three. They all gather in Rainbow Falls, Montana, where the new Victor, now called Victor Leben has successfully created a new breed of replicants who are planning to exterminate all of humanity.

I freely admit that I read this series because I like what Koontz does with the character of Deucalion.  I continue to say that he is one of the best characters fiction has to offer today.  That said, this book is not one I enjoyed.  The story is filled with characters far less interesting than Deucalion, and he is in just a small fraction of the story (less than a tenth).  The vast majority of the book is about the townspeople of Rainbow Falls, Montana, and the almost boring descriptions of how they are all being done away with and replaced with replicants.  Koontz would be better off beginning the story with this already having taken place and the five main characters then having to act to end Victor’s reign of terror.  But that would mean only one book instead of three or more.

In addition, the reader finds out little that is mentioned in the blurb on the inside, front cover.  So what I must assume is that this book’s information is actually the information for other books to follow.  That seems like a bait and switch.  Do publishers not have to give information on the actual book I’m reading anymore? I’m only happy I didn’t buy this book but took it out of the library.  I can’t imagine how anyone would be satisfied if they bought this book thinking the write up on the inside flap was the story they would be reading. The story the reader finds in the book is far less interesting because it’s basically just the introduction to a story that will follow in future books.  That’s like reading the beginning of Dracula and only getting to the part when the main character gets to London.

Overall, this book seems like the prologue to the same story he told in the last three books. However, this one doesn’t even do as much as the first book in the series, Prodigal Son, did to set up the other two books after it.  As much as I enjoy the character of Deucalion, I don’t think Koontz does justice to the story he established in the previous three books with Lost Souls.
-Alexandria