Monthly Archives: March 2013

Murdered Out

This is a review of “Murdered Out” by Rachel Caine, a cute Morganville Vampires short story from Shane’s point of view (POV). It was included at the back of my novel “Carpe Corpus“, so I can only conclude that chronologically, that is where it goes also. You can also read it online here.

Shane and Claire have ventured out, a wee bit too close to darkness than is comfortable in Morganville. They’ve been to see a movie and are making their way home. Problem is, they don’t have a car, and the streets of Morganville are not safe at all. Night time belongs to the vamps, so it’s best that they get home quick. They’re going ok until Claire trips and injures herself badly. Shane decides its probably time for him to get a car…

I really liked this. It was cool to read a Morganville story from another character’s POV.

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Carpe Corpus

This is a review of “Carpe Corpus” by Rachel Caine. It is book 6 in the Morganville Vampires Series. It follows on from “Lord of Misrule“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Claire has just turned 17. She’s been waiting for this day for a very, very long time. It was meant to be a very special day. A day she could share and…erm…really celebrate with her boyfriend Shane. Instead she’s enjoying a cake with her parents, no friends to speak of, and Shane is in jail with his no-good father. She’s utterly miserable. Forced to be the evil minion of Mr Bishop (the baddest vampire out) because of a creepy magical tattoo, she daren’t even make a birthday wish. But maybe, just maybe today will be different? Maybe she would be allowed to see Shane, even if he wasn’t set free.

New mayor of Morganville Richard Morrell won’t help her, can’t help her. So she heads straight to Mr B. himself. Who not only denies her request, but forces her to carry out his unsavory demands by threatening Shane’s life. Poor Claire. No one is on her side. Shane is locked away, Michael has turned to the dark side (Bishop is controlling him against his will), she hasn’t seen Eve for ages (and the last time she did, it wasn’t pleasant), Myrnin is a dirty traitor and Amelie has deserted her and the rest of Morganville. Or have they been avoiding Claire because of Bishop?

Can Claire free her boyfriend? Get her friends back? Defeat Bishop once and for all?

I liked this one. I enjoyed Ada immensely, and at first description she reminded me a little of Hex, the wizard’s computer from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series. I also liked finding out more about Jason Rosser. I really liked the development in Shane and Claire’s relationship. There were some sad parts too.

Favourite lines/quotes:

“By the way, I’m going to start calling you Gollum, you little creep.”
Eve Rosser

“Come on; you know it’s true. Morganville. Come for the education, stay for the terrifying drama.”
Claire Danvers

That, Claire thought, was a pretty good definition of love: needing someone even after you got what you thought you wanted.
Rachel Caine

“Want some coffee to go with that breaking and entering?”
Michael Glass

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Lord of Misrule

This is a review of “Lord of Misrule” by Rachel Caine. It is book 5 in the Morganville Vampires Series. It follows on from “Feast of Fools“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Morganville is in chaos after Bishop’s welcome feast ended badly. Vampires and humans alike are taking refuge in the Founder houses, and are trying to figure out what’s going on. Bishop needs to be stopped at all costs. He’s kidnapped Myrnin, and they need to get him back. Humans must help Vampires and vice versa if they’re to get Morganvile back to the way it was.

But not all humans want Morganville to return to the way it was. Many of them are taking a leaf out of Shane’s father Frank’s book, a sort of “quick, let’s kick em’ while they’re down approach”. It’s sure to end badly. While Amelie and Bishop amass their forces to do battle against one another, Claire tries her best to keep her friends safe.

And that’s not all that’s brewing. A huge storm is on the horizon, and it’s making its way closer and closer to Morganville. It looks to be huge. Of devastating proportions. Morganville is hardly ever normal, but things seem to be a whole lot of crazy.

I did like this book. I especially loved the characters’ dialogue, and new character Hannah. It did take me a while longer to read this one than it did for me to read the others, but that may be because I have been in a “listening-to-music” kind of mood lately. In any case, I cannot pinpoint anything I did not like about this book.

Favourite lines/quotes:

C: I think I need guy CliffsNotes.
E: Guys aren’t deep enough to need CliffsNotes
Claire Danvers and Eve Rosser

“I’m an everything.”
Hannah Moses

“Terror Aerobics. Just wait until they get it at the gym. It’ll be bigger than Pilates”
Eve Rosser

“See you soon. Wait, probably not, loser.”
Monica Morrell

“Sleeping the sleep of the just. Or the just drugged anyway.”
Hannah Moses

“Without forgiveness, there is never any peace…
How can hating them heal me?”
Theo Goldman

“OK, that was extra creepy, with whipped creepy topping.”
Eve Rosser

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Feast of Fools

This is a review of “Feast of Fools” by Rachel Caine. It is book 4 in the Morganville Vampires Series. It follows on from “Midnight Alley“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Claire’s parents have decided to move to Morganville. What the hell were they thinking?! Now she’s got them to worry about too. They want her to move back in with them, but Claire most definitely does not want to do that. Claire’s not the only one to have parental problems. Amelie’s father Bishop is in town. And he seems a little cranky. He’s arrived on the doorstep of the Glass House with his two vampire lackeys, and he’s not leaving until he sees his daughter. And what’s more, Amelie and Oliver seem wary of him. Which means he must be one frightening vampire.

Myrnin is locked up. He’s too far gone with his sickness to be allowed to work in close proximity to Claire any longer. Claire is still working on the cure for his condition, and has developed a stronger dose. She visits Myrnin in his cell often, to test the dosages and spend time with him studying. They still haven’t perfected a cure, but they have not given up hope. The local doctor has been allowed (to a degree, he doesn’t know everything) to assist Claire in the matter, and he’s growing curious about their project.

Shane has attracted the attention of Ysandre, one of Bishop’s vamps. She’s gross and overly sexual, and she’s pissing Claire off majorly. Michael has started playing music in public again, he’s a massive hit. Eve’s brother Jason is still creepy and smelly, but he wants to talk about “family stuff” with Eve. Monica’s still a massive bitch, and her policeman brother Richard, is the only decent Morrell. Amelie and Oliver have, for the moment, joined forces and set aside their differences.

A party is held to welcome Bishop to Morganville (mostly to prevent any difficulties). It’s a masked feast. All the humans are buzzed. All vampires must attend, and they must take along a human guest. It’s become the social event of the year. Who will be invited?

I enjoyed this, just as I have enjoyed the previous Morganville novels. I have been meaning to mention this since I have started the series, but it keeps slipping my mind at review time. I really like how different this series is to the other two series of Caine’s I have read. The Morganville Vampires Series has a completely different tone (and subject matter) to the Weather Warden Series and the Outcast Season Series, and all of them are so great! I love that Caine is so versatile. Caine’s Morganville characters are very witty, and I get a real kick out of their dialogue.

Favourite lines/quotes:

“Remind me to stock a handy vampire-killing kit under the sink for times like these.’”
Shane Collins

“Apparently just in time to hear my funeral plans. I especially like the garlic up the ass. It’s . . . different.”
Michael Glass

“I’m giving you a piece of my mind.”
Myrnin

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Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones

This is a review of “Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones” by Bryan Cogman, preface by George R. R. Martin, foreward by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

This was a gift to me from my fiancé for Valentine’s Day. Does that give you an indication of my (or indeed our) geekiness? But if you look closely, you will find that there are hearts on the cover…

This is a great book, especially for fans of the HBO show Game of Thrones, and the A Song of Ice and Fire books alike. Within, there is information and pictures detailing how the sets were formed and designed, character vignettes, clothing designs (and influences for the costumes), actor’s perspectives and little tidbits about how certain scenes were set up and filmed. It was a great read, and the pictures were fantastic. I loved reading about the transitions from artist’s realisations to actual television sets. There were entire sections devoted to different locales/families. I really enjoyed GRRM’s preface.

I would highly recommend giving this a miss if you’ve never watched Season 1 of Game of Thrones or read “A Game of Thrones“. There are also some teasers and set spoilers for Season 2 of the HBO series if you’ve not watched that yet.

And if you’ve never read or watched any of GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire masterpiece, what the hell are you doing?! Get to it!

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Ghosts Can Bleed

This is a review of the book “Ghosts Can Bleed” by Tracie McBride. It is a collection of short stories and poetry. I was very pleased to win an ebook copy of this book in Tracie McBride‘s Australia Day Book Giveaway. This book was pleasantly surprising, and as I had never read any of McBride’s work before, I had no preconceptions or expectations. I can gladly say I’d love to read more of her work!

There were many short stories in this collection, and like I have done for other short story collections, I’d like to review them all. There were poems interspersed throughout this book and they covered a number of different themes and subjects. I liked them all, especially “Sleeping with the Fishes”.

Last Chance to See
Sharon has been in a car accident. She died. But she has 24hrs in an avatar as a reincarnate to say her goodbyes.

McBride tells us that this story was inspired by her visit to say her goodbyes to an aunt dying of a terminal illness. She says this story was born from her wondering: what if everyone got to have a pre-funeral? A chance to say goodbye?
This first story resonated with me for a number of reasons. One of the characters was named Tania, which is my mother’s name, so that was cool. It also appealed to me because I’ve lost a few people that were very close to me in these last few years, and I would have given a lot to have been able to say goodbye to them all and tell them how much they meant to me. I did get this experience with my grandmother in a way. She died of cancer, but I got to visit her and say goodbye before the end. The way McBride describes the family and what they’re doing in Sharon’s last hours seems very true to life, it’s a mix of a death bed vigil and a wake. Having waited for death to take someone close to me, I can say, it’s quite a surreal experience. I liked this story, I thought the idea was a good one and I enjoyed McBride’s writing style.

A Good Trade
Malik hears a prophecy from his wife, but misinterprets it badly.

I liked the writing style of this one. It dealt with some strong themes for such a short work. McBride says in her introduction to this piece that despite having fairly good experiences with religion in her lifetime, she always seems to write pieces about religion-gone-bad.

Becoming
Geena is a coddled child. Her father decides it’s time for some tough love to enable her to fly the coop.

No intro/insight from McBride for this one, but I really, really liked it.

The Last Tiger
A strange wild girl rescues a civilised one, who takes her to meet her companions. However, you may be able to take the girl out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the girl.

This piece was born from an experiment in writing in the second person. I really enjoyed this one. It was great. I loved the switches from second person point of view (POV) to third person POV, and I loved the strength of the main character.

Nim of the Kamankay
Nim is looking for a band of warriors to belong to. She thinks she’s found the right one. Now all she has to do is prove herself.

I really like McBride’s writing style, especially when it comes to her fantasy work.

Baptism
A religious brother travels to the island of Koreka to convert the mermaids there. Many have failed in their mission before him. But he believes he can resist the seductive allure of the mermaids.

McBride tells us of the two unrelated ideas that came together to inspire this piece. I liked this one. It was wild and sad. It was probably my favourite.

House Arrest
A humorous little story about losing weight, with help from an unexpected quarter.

I loved it! Very funny and inventive.

Killing a Goddess
Five men have entered the Guard where they are tasked with bedding the Offering (a young woman) as a part of a religious ritual.

McBride tells us that the origins for this story came to her in a dream. This story was a sad one to read, it reminded me a little of “Froi of the Exiles” by Melina Marchetta.

After the Storm
A woman has been forced to survive alone on an alien planet. A catastrophic event has occurred, and for all she knows, she’s the only one left alive.

A sad story that resonates with any country that has been ‘colonised’.

One True Faith
Talia has to bathe in her dead cousin’s ashes as part of a mourning ritual. Afterwards she has horrible dreams. Her parents urge her to seek professional advice.

A strange story. I liked how it was written, but I am not sure I liked the story.

Trading Up
A story about a woman who collects souvenirs and trinkets, some are given, most are stolen. She steals a glass bottle from a store, within it lives an entity. But the glass can be traded up…

McBride tells us that the story had to contain the first sentence: “Mamma has always had a love for other people’s possessions.” The resulting story was rather creepy, and a bit chilling but I really enjoyed it!

Dreamcatcher
Patrick has been having nightmares. His mother Leigh helps him to make a dreamcatcher. It works, but the nightmares caught need to be disposed of, and neither of them know how.

A really interesting story about nightmares and where they originate from, and a cool solution to making them stop.

Lapp Dancing
A comedic story about a woman trying to escape her troubles in a remote location. There she meets a man who seems to be having the worst Christmas ever.

This one stems from the theme “tragedy at the North Pole”. It was funny, light hearted and entertaining.

Fairy Gothic
A woman reminisces about her two daughters while looking at photographs.

A sweet, nostalgic piece.

Theft of a Servant
Serena is overseeing an intake of chubby blonde girls. She spots a dark-haired girl among them and questions her presence, until she sees the girl’s face, she then realises how strongly a bad decision can haunt you.

A bizarre short story, for some reason reminded me of E. Annie Proulx’s short stories. I think it was because the main character wasn’t likeable.

On the Border
The Bearer is the only one allowed to touch the book of maps. The book has already drawn much from him, he shivers and shakes and cannot even recall his own name. Two armies meet and wish to divide land between their people. How will the book and the land react?

Inspired by the thought: what if maps had their own agenda?

Ghosts Can Bleed
Maurice is a ghost. His wife Doreen won’t believe him. It seems the only other person that can see him is Charlie, his bestfriend. Can he move on?

I found this one a little confusing and sad.

Rush Hour
Virgil and his daughter Ginny try to make their way home in rush hour traffic.

Entertaining! Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “the traffic was hell”.

Metal Mouth
Carl is out on his first hunting trip since his last. On that last hunting trip he was savagely beaten by drug dealers and left with a broken jaw. He’s hunting for pigs, but he finds something far more dangerous…

I enjoyed this one. Upon reading the end, the phrase “every dog has his day” popped into my head.

Barking
A pharmaceutical salesman goes through some life changes, and is having trouble adjusting. He sees a psychiatrist to see if that helps.

McBride tells us that during a creative writing course she was tasked with writing a story within a story, this is the resultant story. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of a Roald Dahl short story. A mix between “Man From the South” (which for some reason I want to call “Man in the Panama Hat”) and “Royal Jelly”.

Flesh Pot
Dan can remember getting drunk at the nearby spaceport bar last night. He remembers winning at pool and chatting with soldiers about alien sex at brothels. But he can’t remember how he got here…

A disturbing but entertaining piece.

Whipping Boy
Candice has just moved back to the small place where she grew up. Everything is as she remembers it, except it is too quiet, too calm. And there is a strange man whom she doesn’t know, but is curious about. Zero is mysterious, quiet and well respected. What is he hiding?

I liked this one, it was very interesting. I couldn’t help but picture Zero from Vampire Knight though. 🙂

A Hit Single
Leo arrives home to find Karla shooting up. But it’s not your everyday drug…

A really cool story. I liked it a lot.

Fridge Wars
Gary has forgotten to pay the power bill and Gillian is pissed off. The food in the fridge has already started to go bad. They arrange to stay elsewhere until the power is back on. Meanwhile the contents of the fridge begin to mutate…

A humorous little tale. I enjoyed the two concurrent tales, and how one was told purely through dialogue. A clever story and entertaining read.

Marked
Hannah and Silver are both scarred. Hannah ignores him at first, believing him to be not right in the head. But when he disappears for a while, she can’t help but be worried. When he reappears, he shows her something, and Hannah realises that she has more in common with him than just scars.

This story actually reminded me very strongly of an extremely vivid dream I once had. Creepy.

The Blue Screen of Death
Sarah keeps dying. But she’s not meant to. Azrael can’t seem to get the system working correctly, so Sarah consults an expert.

An amusing read.

Hell is Other People
A being is going a-hunting.

Cryptic I know, but that’s my little teaser. A cool story.

Dark Wings
The band of mercenaries from the story “Nim of the Kamankay” return in this one. The healer Leta’s services are required by a young man who leads them to his wife who is suffering through childbirth. Nim goes along for Leta’s protection. But there’s something not quite right with this baby…

I loved this one. Another favourite. It reminded me a little of Laurell K. Hamilton’s short stories in the fantasy genre.

Crimes of Faith
Alec and Emily are confused as to why someone has left a rotting turkey on their doorstep.

A witty, macabre piece.

Diagnosis
Dr Goldstein introduces us to the new cutting edge diagnostic tool The WellMate.

An entertaining work.

I really, really enjoyed this book. As I mentioned, having not read any of Tracie McBride’s previous work, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I thoroughly enjoyed this, and especially recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading short stories, or fantasy. Loved it!

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White Cat

This is a review of “White Cat” by Holly Black. It is the first novel in the Curse Workers Series.

Cassel is the youngest in a family of Curse Workers. Curse Workers are people who have abilities. There are Memory Workers, who can make you forget things ever happened, or make you remember something that never did happen. There are Emotion Workers, Physical Workers and Luck Workers. There are Death Workers and Transformation Workers. But Cassel is none of those. He’s the only non-Curse Worker in his family. Which blows. Curse Working is illegal, but that doesn’t stop Cassel wishing…

Cassel is a pretty good con artist, he learned that from his mother. His entire family are great criminals. His mother is in jail for emotionally working a millionaire, but she’s sure she will get out soon. His two older brothers, both workers, are successful in their own lives, and Cassel’s not doing so badly himself, attending a swanky boarding school. But not all is ok with Cassel. He has to live with a horrible memory. A few years ago, he killed his best friend Lila. He has no idea how. But he has the memory of her body, his hands, a knife and blood. So much blood.

Cassel’s just started sleep walking. That hasn’t happened since he was a kid. After waking up on the roof of his dorm after dreaming of a white cat, Cassel is suspended from school pending a medical opinion and school board decision. He has to go back to his strange family home. He’s really not keen on the idea. His mother’s house is straight out of an episode of Hoarders. But there, lives a group of feral cats. And there’s a white one, just like the cat in his dreams. What could it mean?

Why were his brothers and grandfather discussing him in secret, thinking him to be asleep? And what’s up with his brother’s wife? Why does she hear bizarre music, and forget things?

I bought this book a few weeks ago, and it’s been sitting in my ‘To Be Read’ pile. I loved Holly Black’s novel “Tithe” as a teen, and decided to give this series a look. I am waiting on the rest of the Morganville Vampires Series to arrive in the post, and although I wasn’t keen on beginning another series when I had not finished that one, I decided to give this a read. It was not disappointing. I liked Cassel’s character, he reminded me of Holden Caulfield. The story was an intriguing one, and I stayed up very late reading. The world of the Curse Workers is much like ours, but everyone gets around wearing gloves so as not to get worked (think Rogue in X-Men). I think it would be pretty cool to be a worker, though the blow back does sound awful. I am looking forward to reading the other two novels in this series.

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