I used to prefer my world in black and white, a time when my options were either/or and never both/and. It was a simpler – albeit less accurate – worldview. These days, I’m more comfortable with shades of grey, although not all 50 of them. And in moving away from absolute thinking, I’ve learned to hold seemingly contradictory views simultaneously. I understand that extraordinary kindness can coexist with extreme intolerance for stupidity, mendacity and banality. That intelligence in one area is no guarantee of high cognitive function in another. And confidence can coincide with insecurity. All in the same person. The heroine of Shelly Laurenston’s The Unyielding, Erin, is one such person. I’m another.
I’m partially through The Unyielding, the third and maybe last book of Shelly Laurenston’s Call of Crows series. These women warriors are fierce females. I love them and the men who claim their hearts. They are badass to the bone, battling to save the world as we know it. Along the way, naturally, they fight, vanquish monsters and of course…fall in love. Would that my world was drawn in such high relief. There is plenty of fantasy in Laurenston’s work, and also a great deal of truth, as is often the case in my beloved books. The most salient aspect of the Crows—women brought back to life by the goddess Skuld to express their rage and exact revenge—is that they are a team. All for one and one for all. They advance together and defend each other to the death. That’s a team I want to be on. Pick me!
Thank you, Robyn Peterman. Your latest Sea Shenanigans novel, Misty’s Mayhem, made me laugh out loud, while thinking hard about truth in fantasy. In this installment, Misty the Mermaid and Cupid the (demi) god of love, have been boinking for decades – casually of course. No deep feelings here. Cupid has become jaded; he doesn’t believe in love anymore. And, Misty is determined to avoid the slings and arrows of the Archer’s bow.
It’s here. After eighteen and half years, the time has come.
It began when the doctors put a tiny bundle into each of my arms. “Hello,” I whispered to their newborn, old man faces. We were already acquainted, you see – I knew a lot about their personalities from their behavior in utero, but seeing them as fully formed individuals separate from me was a whole different experience. Today, my sons are separating in a new way, leaving me physically, just as they did when I gave birth to them, but roaming much farther afield this time. Turns out, this separation is more painful than childbirth.
I’m still thinking about Dani O’Malley in Karen Marie Moning’s epic story, High Voltage. She haunts my thoughts because she is a great example of someone (albeit a fictional someone) who is “all in.” I’ve written about the elusive state of being all in before because it’s my very favorite state of being. What is it about being all in that I crave with every fiber of my being? I rummaged around in one of the many piles that litter my home office on every available surface to find some thoughts I had committed to paper a number of years ago.
I’m not a Britney Spears fan, but “Piece of Me” rings true about all those who want, or think they want, a piece of me. Images of Robert De Niro asking, “You talking to me?” come to mind. Exhausting. But there is another way to think of this concept; that everyone gets only a piece of me. Which is as it should be.
I just finished my first pass of High Voltage, the latest in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Holy Hell, what an electric ride! There is no way to absorb the whole book in one read. Dani’s and Rhyodan’s high voltage HEA blew me away. There is tremendous depth in High Voltage—at least four or five blogs worth.
I’m deep into the second book in the Call of Crows series by Shelley Laurenston, The Undoing. This is the story of Jace, an aptly named berserker Crow; she gets insanely angry and bad shit happens. To other people. Jace had a hard life and a bad death at the hands of her husband. When she is reborn as a Crow she lets rage be her guide (the mantra of the Crows, who are the harbingers of death for the Norse gods). She’s down with that. Jace lets her red rage shine out of her eyes and scare the ever-living fuck out of her targets. Jace’s after life is sweet. Sure, there are challenges—this is a romance after all and we can’t have smooth sailing to the inevitable HEA—but she’s got her groove on as a Crow, she’s living a life inspired by her goddess. It’s a hella good time.
I’ve just finished The Unleashing, the first book of Shelley Laurenston’s Call of Crows series. I love Shelley Laurenston. She has a deeply disturbed mind and she publishes at the speed of light, so I have a plethora of paranormal romances to enjoy. Heaven. This series explores the world of the Norse pantheon and their mortal servants. The Crows are women brought back to life by the goddess Skuld to be the strike team of the gods. They are the harbingers of death and a more diverse group of fiercely independent women I’ve never seen. I’d sign up immediately if it didn’t involve getting murdered first. The whole death thing is a dealbreaker for me.
As I finished Shelly Laurenston’s The Mane Squeeze the intensity of Gwen’s descent into hell—otherwise known as “what if?” disease—struck me. Before her star turn as a roller derby babe, Gwen is wracked with visions of all that could possibly go wrong and all the disastrous consequences of said outcomes. What if she gets hurt and can’t finish the match? What if she lets the team down? What if, what if, what if? Sounds like hell to me.
I’m laughing my way through The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston. I needed something light and distracting to offset all the emotion of the last couple of weeks, and I’m enjoying the lions and tigers and bears. Oh, my. Especially the bears—who shift into large, gorgeous hunks. Yep, it’s definitely working for me; takes my mind off the fact that I’m no longer a high school mom. And I had a birthday stuck in the middle of the graduation festivities, so I’m feeling old as dirt. Luckily, I’m not too old to enjoy a hot, sexy bear shifter and his tough-as-nails hybrid mate, in this case a tigon—half lion and half tiger. From Philly. Doesn’t get any tougher than that. Except maybe an uber-diva from Manhattan. Apparently, we have a lot in common.
I’m two thirds of the way through Dark Queen, the latest Jane Yellowrock novel by Faith Hunter. By this outing, Jane has assumed many titles including shapeshifter, skinwalker, Enforcer, Blood Master (of her very own clan of paranormals and humans) and Dark Queen. I think I’d like to be a dark queen. Or a warrior queen, or pretty much any kind of queen for that matter, but I digress. One thing about queens is all the ceremonies and rituals that attend royalty.
A new Thea Harrison novella is always a cause for celebration. A novella based on Dragos and Pia requires a ‘sick day’ curled up on my couch. Planet Dragos delivers. Ms. Harrison announced it’s the last Pia and Dragos story. Crushing. So, I’m putting off re-read and making plans to savor a second helping down the road. When I’m in a book desert. Or a funk.
I wasn’t going to write about The Thief again, as I’ve moved on to the new Thea Harrison and Faith Hunter books… but I couldn’t resist. Life has imitated art recently. I’ve had to get up close and personal with anachronistic idiots who haven’t gotten the memo about modern women. Bottom line up front: I am not a princess and I don’t need saving. I’m a queen and I got this shit handled (to quote a Twitter meme). But why in the 21st century is this shit still on women’s ‘to do’ list? This queen has more important shit to handle.
I’m just finishing The Thief by J.R. Ward. Yes, I know, I read as slowly as my mother-in-law eats. Coupled with my lack of Kindle time, let’s just say I will not set any land speed records. I don’t care; the minutes I spend with my books are precious: I’ll take what I can get. Luckily, one Ward book is always good for several blog posts.
I’m reading J. R. Ward’s latest Black Dagger Brotherhood book, The Thief. There are those who gave up on the series after the end of the original Brothers’ stories. These people are fools. I’m loving me some Jessica Bird and no one can stop me. Except maybe my boss. He frowns on my reading at work. Go figure.
I love Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, and his author, Kevin Hearne. I love them even though the series’ end, Scourged, left me somewhat cold. Things did not turn out as well as I’d hoped for Atticus; fate caught up with him and he was required to pay his karmic debt. He’d made a lot of enemies over the years, and many of them came home to roost. Atticus had to pay for his hubris, his willful ignorance and his refusal to back down once he set himself on a path. Kevin Hearne implied that Atticus got what was coming to him but that with time, it might end up making him a better man.
I just finished Burn Bright, the latest in the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs. It is a story about werewolves and the fae. It’s about good and evil. And love. Primarily, it’s about love. What does it mean to love someone? To cherish them? Do we take the good with the bad? Or do we ascribe to the cafeteria definition where we take what we like and try to leave or change the things that don’t work for us?