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Review: Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene Frost

Once Burned

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She’s a mortal with dark powers…
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

He’s the Prince of Night…
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

I think I know how the heroine of Once Burned, Leila, feels: I don’t really know how I feel about Vlad. He’s scary, he’s handsome, he impales people, he’s sexy. He’s a freaking scary ass, incredibly sexy, horribly arrogant and domineering man…and I decided to re-read Once Burned in honor of the soon to be released movie Dracula Untold. The handsome man on the cover even has a passing resemblance to the actor playing Dracula in the upcoming movie.
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Review: Ciara’s Song by Andre Norton

Ciara's Song

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The wonders and adventures of Andre Norton’s “Witch World” saga have thrilled millions. Now comes a new chronicle about the hidden realms of the Witch World.

Ciara of Elmsgarth is only a small girl when the edict is issued by the Duke of Kars: KILL ALL WITH WITCH BLOOD, AND TAKE ALL THEY OWN.

A greedy mob murders her family, but Ciara is protected by the powerful Lord Tarnoor and his son, Trovagh. Safe in the isolated, siege-proof citadel of Aiskeep, Ciara and Trovagh grow, marry, and raise children.

Then the folly that grips Karsten worsens. Bigotry and corruption lead to crime, civil strife, war, and poverty — and the rise of an evil sorcerer, a black mage on a vendetta to destroy all Ciara has, and everyone she holds dear.

I love this book and the sequel The Duke’s Ballad.

This is one of the few books in Andre Norton’s Witch World series that I feel allow for new reader explanations. It’s also an unusual Fantasy book by today’s standards: It’s mostly a stand-alone, it follows the lives of three generations but it’s under 300 pages. This is one of the strengths of Ciara’s Song, in my opinion.
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Review: Spell of the Highlander (Highlander, #7) by Karen Marie Moning

Spell of the Highlander

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It’s taken him eleven centuries to find the right woman. He’s not about to lose her now.

Jessi St. James has GOT to get a life. Too many hours studying ancient artifacts has given the archaeology student a bad case of sex on the brain. So she figures she must be dreaming when she spies a gorgeous half-naked man staring out at her from inside the glass of an ancient mirror. But when a split-second decision saves her from a terrifying attempt on her life, Jessi suddenly finds herself confronting six and a half feet of smoldering INSATIABLE alpha male.

Heir to the arcane magic of his Druid ancestors, Cian MacKeltar was trapped inside the Dark Glass eleven centuries ago. And when the Dark Glass is stolen, an ancient enemy will stop at nothing to reclaim it. For Jessi, the sex god in the mirror is not only tantalizingly real, he’s offering his protection—from exactly what, Jessi doesn’t know. And all he wants in exchange is the exquisite pleasure of sharing her bed…

I read this book in early 2012 and really enjoyed it!

I flirted with a horrible reading slump during 2012…I’d pick up a book and put it down again. I was tossing books here and there…being very much a slut about my reading but receiving no satisfaction. Meh.

But I was rather interested in this book from the very beginning! Yaaaay!

There’s no need to rehash the blurb. What I can tell you about the book is that there was not a lot of eye-rolling moments. The hero – Cian – was very much an alpha male and the heroine was the typical big-boobed 30 y/o virgin. That part was rather meh for me. Also meh was the constant “insta-lust” that Moning has going on…but I think this will be par for the course with this series.

Other than the things mentioned above, this was a good read for me! The characters were engaging and the story line was interesting. The pages almost seemed to turn themselves…and in this particular reading mood that was hard to do.

4 stars but be aware of the tropes mentioned above. I certainly have plans to read the entire series so…RECOMMENDED! 😉

Also posted at OSgA Book Reviews

Review: The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick *light spoilers*

The Minority Report

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In the world of “The Minority Report,” Commissioner John Anderton is the one to thank for the lack of crime. He is the originator of the Precrime System, which uses “precogs”–people with the power to see into the future–to identify criminals before they can do any harm. Unfortunately for Anderton, his precogs perceive him as the next criminal. But Anderton knows he has never contemplated such a thing, and this knowledge proves the precogs are fallible. Now, whichever way he turns, Anderton is doomed–unless he can find the precogs’s “minority report”–the dissenting voice that represents his one hope of getting at the truth in time to save himself from his own system.

 

 

I’m still trying to decide how I feel about this read. On one hand…the story has a pretty fast pace that makes it easy to read. On the other hand…the ending is rather abrupt and did not feel satisfying. I have to wonder if the fact that I saw the Tom Cruise Minority Report flick made the story “less-than” for me. The differences in the story vs the movie are pretty vast – you can see the framework of PKD’s “The Minority Report” in the movie but Minority Report has a drastically different storyline while still maintaining the same basic plot: Anderton being accused of murdering someone he doesn’t know.
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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin *spoilers*

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

GRRM is…an incredible writer. He manages to jam a lot of things and a lot of emotion into few words (when he wants to).

GRRM also seems to be a big fan of rape. I’m NOT saying that he has/wants to/dreams of raping someone personally…but he damn sure seems to be unable walk away from any opportunity to rape someone in prose. *rolls eyes* And that shit makes me upset. I don’t want to hear any BS about “realistic” either – these are GRRM’s authorial decisions and nothing more.

So. “The Ice Dragon” is the story of Adara and her family. Adara was born during a very cold winter and her mother died in child birth. Adara was “full of winter” – she could be outside and barely feel the cold, unlike her siblings. Adara was not just physically cold, she was emotional cold as well. She didn’t smile, didn’t cry and rarely showed emotion. Adara could play with ice lizards when others could not – the body heat that other people created would melt and kill the ice lizards. Adara also had an Ice Dragon. Made from ice with the breath of pure winter, Adara’s ice dragon would come to her in the winter…extending each winter year after year.
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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: Stable of Dragons by Peter S. Beagle

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

I’ve been working my way through a Romance anthology, Hot Alpha SEALs, and I was starting to get burned out. Too many “meh” novellas in a row. I decided to try to mix it up a bit and start on a different (Fantasy/Sci-Fi) anthology: Wings of Fire. I’ve had this book on hold for quite some time now so this is a good time to start. I have pretty decent hopes for the entire anthology – this is the second anthology I’ve bought that has been edited by Jonathan Straham (the first was Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery with Lou Anders).

The first story in Wings of Fire that I’ve read is “Stable of Dragons” by Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn). “Stable of Dragons” is a poem. A very interesting and yet exceedingly odd poem. Only a few pages long with slightly unusual formatting, “Stable of Dragons” tells of a man who owns a barn full of dragons. There’s a twist to the poem that I don’t want to spoil but it totally surprised me and thus required a higher rating than the 3-3.5 stars I had originally planned to give.

Coursera: Online Games Week 2

This week in Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative

This week the class is going to dig a little deeper into Tolkien, the social aspect of MMOs and take a look at one of my favorite epic poems: Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.

Readings
– J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring (complete novel)
– Robert Browning’s poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”

Gameplay
This week’s in-game activities ask you to explore (or if you are a more experienced player, help others to explore) the social world of LOTRO. You have two options for completing the in-game assignment:

1. If you are in one of the four Coursera kinships, participate in the games planned for Saturday, July 26, 2014. Take a screenshot of yourself and some of your kin mates at the games.
OR
2. If you are not a member of one of the Coursera kinships, you should join a kinship and have a conversation with another member of the kinship in /kinship chat. Then travel to your kinship house and take a screenshot of yourself in front of or inside it. If your kinship does not have a house, travel to one of the housing areas on your own and explore. Find an interesting place to take a screenshot of your character in the kinship area.

I’ve started watching (well, listening) to the videos for this week already. I’m SUPER excited about Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came! I first ran across this poem in college and I even got a chance to study and discuss it one-on-one with a professor. Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came was also Stephen King’s inspiration and muse for his magus opus: The Dark Tower series (which was originally titled series titled “Wizard and Glass.”

I have to admit – I’m a little behind. I haven’t completed all of the readings and gameplay for last week as of yet. O_O I need to get on it as I have some assignments to turn in.