Monday, February 6, 2012

Love wins again

Just a quick little post here, not book related but real-life romance related.

Today I was honored and delighted to attend a baby shower for a friend and colleague at work. I've known him for five years now, and he is one of those people who just makes you smile. His love for the subject he teaches just shines through and students can't help but be inspired to learn. He's from China and is so passionate about intercultural exchange and promoting understanding. I just love him. :-) Anyways, until recently he has been pretty quiet and understated about his private life, but in the past year, I've been happy to see him become more open and comfortable with us all. He married his longterm partner last year, and in about a month, they will be welcoming twin babies into their lives. It's been a long process of planning, saving money, getting legal advice, finding a surrogate, etc. but soon they will be the biological fathers of two little babies, one boy and one girl. To say they are excited is putting it mildly.

Celebrating with them today made me happy. Happy that they can be themselves openly, recognize their relationship with the title of marriage, be supported by their community, and start their own family. These are things that most of us take for granted but these basic rights are denied to many in our country. Love is bigger than all of us, and I think we should rejoice in it where we find it. Congrats to my friend and his husband, and I can't wait to meet the babies!

Monday, January 16, 2012


In my quest to squeeze all the good reads I can from my local library, I have been pleased to see that at least someone on their purchasing staff is aware of J.R. Ward (sadly, they are also under the impression that what we need is more Danielle Steele in the collection as well, but I digress). In any event, during my pre-holiday stock up, I grabbed this recent entry in the Fallen Angel series, also known as the not-BDB-series-yet-featuring-BDB-cameos-and-slang series. I don't know any other writer that uses phrases like a "cup of wakey wakey" or has bad-ass tough guys drop phrases like "abso" in place of absolutely. Seriously. Who says that stuff? But bizarrely enough, I still find her books eminently readable. I can't stop turning the pages. So she's doing something right.

This entry finds our angel/hero Jim Heron back in Caldwell (hrm, who else do we know who lives there?) to fight another round in the war of souls against the demon Devina. His angel buddies Eddie and Adrian are still backing him up and helping him to get up to speed on the rules and tricks of the supernatural trade. The story revolves around Thomas "Veck" DelVecchio, Jr., a cop who happens to be the son of a famous serial killer. When he finds himself on the scene of a murder but with no memory of what happened right before he got there, he's investigated by Sophia Reilly, an officer from Internal Affairs, and oh yeah, she happens to be a hottie and a hard-ass. Match. Made. In. Heaven. (how's my ward-speak?) Veck isn't sure whether or not he committed the murder. He's always felt like he has a shadow waiting inside he his father's son?

It's pretty much impossible to summarize the plot without either writing a helluva lot or giving away lots of spoilers, but suffice it to say that Veck and Reilly's story intersects with Jim, Devina and the rest of the gang with mayhem, blood and spirit possessions going down like you might expect. And there were a few twists that I didn't expect either.

As far as the romance angle goes, it seems like so far in this series the couples fall pretty hard for one another in a matter of a few days. It's not quite the BDB "fated mates" type thing, but definitely a strong and swift attraction. What I liked about this particular book was that Reilly was that rare female character who actually did come across as sensible and smart. She's also realistic. She is attracted to Veck and can acknowledge that without getting overly emo or denial-y. I like it when a modern woman in a novel set in the contemporary era is allowed to own her sexuality. So kudos to Ward for improving on the "females" from that other series.

All in all, I had mixed feelings when I finished the book. It a fast read because the action just keeps on moving forward, and the characters were well drawn, I felt. The camaraderie between the angels is a little reminiscent of the brothers but not quite as vibrant. But on the plus side the homoerotic subtones are there and they don't feel subtle or apologetic as in that other series. I guess in the end, it is hard to read this series without making comparisons to the BDB whether you want to or not. And in that regard it doesn't stand on its own, imo. Still...eminently readable. I'll be there for the next outing.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Working on my Moning backlist glom to supplement my recent read of the Fever series. First up, The Immortal Highlander. I blasted through 50 pages yesterday morning before work and finished the rest in the evening. Romping good times with fae and humans and lots of sexy bad-boy but not overly brooding hero. I like Adam Black. He's morally kind of ambiguous, has done a lot of mischievous and even bad stuff in his past, but he doesn't seem to have done them out of malice. More like curiousity, self-centeredness and arrogance. This book finds him dumped in the 21st century without his fae powers, turned into a human by the queen of the Fae for pushing her buttons one too many times. Oh and he's invisible to humans, so he can't interact with anyone. Anyone except a sidhe-seer, those humans who have the "gift" of seeing the Fae. What are the odds that our heroine is a sidhe-seer? Anyone, anyone?

Gabrielle was raised to fear and hate the Fae, so when she runs into Adam, she distrusts and does not want anything to do with him. Well, except for that she secretly does because HELLO, gigantic, muscled, HAWT beautiful man!!!! But no no no, he's Fae, do not want! (inner conflict, we haz it). Adam starts off wanting her because she's the only person who can see him and talk to him and he needs a conduit to help him track down a way to get in touch with the Fae queen and remove the curse. And then he's attracted to her. And then he falls for her...MINE! They spend the majority of the book doing this dance of back and forth as he tries to get her to see him for who he really is (ie. through his actions towards her not from hearsay from the big Bible of sidhe-seer lore in which he is labeled as teh ebil) and she tries to keep from liking him. AS IF!

Near the end there is some gratuitous previous series couples revisiting (oh hai Daegus and Drustan and wives and kiddies), but it allows us to get to Scotland. Och aye. And then some action involving actually evil Fae. And then the wrap-up where Adam has to choose between his immortality and true love. It's all quite nicely done, with a dollop of simmering sexual tension throughout the book culminating in a three or four day marathon of nom nom nom in a Scottish castle. Who wouldn't want that? S'rsly.

If I had to grade this book as a stand-alone, I would give it a solid B+. While it's interesting to go into it knowing more about the Fae, the queen, the druids and all that stuff, I think it would work just as well on it's own by the force of Adam's personality and the romantic chase between him and Gabrielle.

Bottom line: if you see a hot Fae prince, don't automatically run away in fear. He may be worth sticking around for.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What the mailman brought

Oh yesssss, my pretties! I have been looking forward to this book ever since I read the first in the series. Love me some Elizabeth Hoyt. And I've been intrigued by Mickey O'Connor since his dastardly appearances in the previous books. What is it about those amoral pirates? Again with the bad boy intrigue. hmm. I am really curious to see how the author redeems him because one gets the feeling that he's not had a pretty past nor a very upright moral code. Hoyt's writing has almost always "worked" for me, ever since the Raven Prince, so I trust her to weave the story and make me a believer.

Even though I want to dive in and devour this in one day, I am going to torture myself by saving it for later. Library books have to be read and returned. Right now I'm 50 pages into The Immortal Highlander, aka Adam Black's book. I seem to recall he was something of a naughty antagonist in some of the earlier books, but again, who doesn't love an anti-hero, right? Another bad boy! I'm sensing a trend.

And right on spotify music queue (newest addiction!) starts playing Sexyback. lmao.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Once a year (or so) I post


So being as this is a new year, I guess was bound to start thinking about things I had neglected and nothing could be more neglected than this poor blog. I log in to find that, lo and behold, the last time I posted anything was on this same date. Just, um...two damn years ago. lol.

Rather than get all guilty and make resolutions that I can't and won't stick to, I guess I'm just going to use this space as an occasional free-flowing online journal rather than a review site. I still read a lot but I don't have a big book buying budget and tend to get stuff from the library, paperbackswap, and snag any free kindle deals that look worth the effort. So I can't really comment on the latest hot trends, but whatevs. Books are books and I like reading them. Since I have to write a fair bit now in my "real" life (moar grad school!), I can't promise actual reviews or any coherence. It makes it too much like work and ergo procrastination ensues.

Anyways, on the book front....I spent the last week going through the entire Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Yay library! And yay on waiting to read a series in which each book ended in a cliffhanger. Going through the story in one go was definitely entertaining. I don't think it would been nearly as much fun dragged out. That said, it was a pretty good story, albeit a little repetitive. I can see why there are those who are pro/anti Barrons. Mark me in as a pro-Barrons. What can I say? I like them growly, taciturn, and assholish sometimes. Probably it's the fantasy that the hard-shell guy can and will be saved by the love of a good woman, and all that. I read the first four books within two days and then listened to the last one (Shadowfever) on audiobook. All 20-odd hours of it. Sometimes I dig (narrator) Phil Gigante and sometimes he's a little over-the-top for my tastes, but I have to say that his Barrons definitely worked for me. Yum!

Another holiday library find was Nalini Singh's Kiss of Snow. Which was totally yummy even if the will-they-or-won't-they sexual tension between Hawke and Sienna was dragged out just a wee bit tooooo long. This is a series that I had written off after the first book but have since come around on. Having spent the entire series waiting for Hawke's story, it was delicious when it finally arrived. No regrets here. In fact, I may have to reread it before returning it.

Speaking of the library, I just got an email that they have some of the Moning highlander books waiting for me to pick up. Cuz there is nothing like glomming a backlist once you get going on a series. Going to head over right now and snag them.

So that's what's up chez sula for the moment. Stay tuned or don't. I'm hoping to not wait another two years to post again. :)