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San Francisco

Joe and I took a quick trip to San Francisco last November and I am just now getting around to sharing a few photos. Joe was there for work and while he was in the conference I explored the Mission district. The REAL reason I went was to see the 10 year anniversary show for the Matches' album, E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals. ;-)

I have found that my second trip to places are usually much better than the first. I know what to expect and what I want out of the visit more than I possibly could without having been there before.

Sunshine by Robin Mckinley


Sunshine is different from many of the books I usually read for many reasons, but the most basic of them is that this is a stand-alone book. After all the series I read, especially lately (the Hollows followed by Jane Yellowrock), this is a nice change of pace. I don't have to worry about how I'm going to fit 10 more books on my already-overflowing shelves or how I will find the time to read those 10 books that I can hardly put down long enough to shove some food in my mouth or collapse on the bed after another night staying up too late to read.

After this book was recommended to me by a friend and the crazy cat lady bookstore owner of my neighborhood used book store, I picked Sunshine up at Powell's when I was there last September.

Sunshine is about Rae ("Sunshine" to most), a 25-year-old baker who lives in a world post-Voodoo Wars, where humans and the "Others" fought. Humans won, for now. Anyway, she ends up getting kidnapped by vampires and meeting the other abductee, Constantine. They enter into cahoots to escape and wind up forming a closer bond than either of them ever expected, much less one they didn't know could ever exist. It's the first time anyone knows of where a human and a vampire have any sort of relationship that doesn't involve death or blood sucking.

The biggest issue I have this this book would be the tangents that the narrator goes on much too often. They are in the most awkward places. For example, she will be asked a question that prompts more background into their world and instead of answering the question then giving background, the narrator goes into background for a page and a half then answers the question. By that time I don't even remember what the question was and I have to go back to look. This happened often enough to be annoying. On the technical side, there seemed to be either too many or too few commas in any given sentence. It didn't make for fluid reading and was pretty distracting.

Even with these issues, I very much enjoyed this book and found it difficult to put down. The world building is done well and while I don't feel there are unanswered questions per se, there are things that were left open. Since we know there won't be a sequel, it may make for some great fanfic.

4/5 Stars

Sex Criminals Vol. 1


I love unique story lines! In this comic, Suzie discovers that after sexy times (alone or with someone else) she enters "The Quiet," where time stops for everyone around but her. This allows her to get away with pretty much anything. When she first discovered the ability, she mostly used it to yell and scream when she needed to let some anger go.

Later on she meets Jon, a one-night-stand turned boyfriend, who also has the ability to enter The Quiet, though he calls it something totally different (read it and find out!). They hatch a plan to rob a bank to save the library Suzie works for and they end up discovering even more people with their unique ability. The people they meet end up being enforcers for The Quiet so people who don't have the ability don't find out about it.

Sex Criminals is a really fun read. Sure, the material is questionable to some people but I think if that doesn't bother you then you will find that it is done in a tastefully and hilarious way. Chip Zdarsky has done an amazing job as the artist- it is definitely one of the most colorful (ha, with writing and art) graphic novels I have read.

5/5 Stars

2014 Books Read - Round 4

She looks kinda bookish, right? Must be the glasses. A mural on Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Quite late, I know. But I say better late than never! Onward...

42. Ever After by Kim Harrison

#12 in a series, read round 3's post as to why I'm not reviewing each book.

43. The Witch with No Name by Kim Harrison

44. Saga Vol.2

Saga is amazing. Wonderful. Fabulous. Moving. Go buy it.

45. Saga Vol. 3

See above.

46. Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah

This book takes you through different regions of France with stories and recipes to accompany. I listened to this on audio book and I really enjoyed it.

47. Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger

The third book in the Finishing School series. Oh how i love Gail Carriger and everything she writes. I highly recommend any of her books.

48. Sudden Backtrack by Kim Harrison

A Hollows short following the series finale that gives the demon, Al, the last word.

49. Horned Hunter of the Night by Alexandra Chauran

This book is about a girl discovering a witchy side to herself. Overall, I really enjoyed the audio book version and the story really drew me in. I have two main things to mention:
1. I'm not much of a reader of erotica so some of the scenes and descriptions were a bit much for me- not bad! Just not the sort of thing I usually listen to and enjoy. I prefer a more subtle approach.2. I found it strange the abruptness in which Diana is accepted with her new group of friends (being vague-spoilers!) and the level at which she was accepted unbelievable, even in the realm of fantasy.Despite these two minor details, I was hooked pretty early on and I would not only like to read more about Diana but also more from the author.

50. A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

This was my first read by Laurell K. Hamilton. It is about a princess who is hiding from her family among humans. It's a decent read. It wants to be a sexy book, but it was mostly talking about sexy times instead of actual sexy times right up until the end of the book. I listened to this in audiobook format and did not like the narrator. So far I do not have a desire to read more in this series.

51. The French Women's Diet by Susan Kieran-Lewis

I love reading anything to do with French lifestyle so this book was definitely for me. It's your general French "diet" book but it well-written and has some fresh perspective. I recommend if you're in to this type of book.

52. Saga Vol.4

I die.

53. Shutter Vol.1

What an excellent graphic novel! I plan on writing a longer post about this soon. Keep an eye out.

54. The Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull

Yay, my second favorite author! This is the second book in Mull's new series, the Five Kingdoms. I listened to this one in audiobook format and absolutely loved it. Even though the target audience for this book is middle school, I love these stories so much. Remember when I went to meet him and was the oldest one there by like 15 years who wasn't a parent?

55. Rat Queens Vol.1

Another wonderfully dreamy graphic novel. As with Shutter, I'm going to write a full post for this one soon.

56. Sweet Tooth Vol. 1

Sweet Tooth is the first graphic novel I was kind of disappointed with. I am glad I borrowed it from the library. It is about this mentally challenged (seemingly-is he?) boy with antlers. His dad has protected him his whole life but then one day his Dad dies. Eventually he ventures out of his cabin and goes on the run. Meh. I'll probably borrow the rest from the library eventually but I am in no rush.

57. Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

 YAY YAY YAY I love this series! I wrote a whole post on it here. I listened to all 8 books currently out in less than two months.

58. Blood Cross by Faith Hunter

59. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies Graphic Novel

Another graphic novel I was disappointed in. This was very hard to follow visually and...textually? The artist made the girls look like bimbo porn stars with huge lips and weird eye makeup that does NOT fit the setting. I do not recommend this book.

60. Edgar Allan Poe Graphic Novel

This is a collection of select short stories and poems with each one drawn by a different person. It was pretty neat but mostly underwhelming.

61. Woman with Dark Horses by Aimee Parkison

I was so excited to finally read this. Aimee Parkison was one of my creative writing teachers at UNCC. I absolutely loved her and her class and for whatever reason I had this book forever before I finally read it. It is a collection of short stories. I love the way they read, the descriptions, and the stories up until the end. At the end of each story they just kind of...stop. I feel like these are really great stories but I don't feel like I am literary enough to grasp the meanings of the endings. I feel like there is something great hiding here and maybe I will understand them someday. Not all of the stories were like this, but most of them.

62. Pretty Deadly Vol.1

I absolutely did not like this story. I was attracted to it because of the artwork, which really is beautifully done. It's the story I have an issue with. It jumps back and forth a LOT and there is no indication when it does so, making it severely confusing. At the end of the story I didn't even care because I didn't understand it anyway.

I can't believe I read 62 books in 2014! Way, way, way past my goal of 30 books. I am looking forward to doing individual reviews for 2015 rather than the larger quarterly reviews. Plus "quarterly" makes me think of work and I'd rather not.

Previous posts here: Q1, Q2, Q3.

The Jane Yellowrock Series


I bought Skinwalker in December when Audible was running a sale. It sounded like a neat idea: Jane is a skinwalker (shifts into animals) of Cherokee descent who is called to New Orleans on a job to hunt a rogue vamp who has been terrorizing the city.

Along with the great premise, the supporting characters bring this world to life.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect to me is that Jane has the soul of a mountain lion, Beast, living inside of her. When Jane shifts into Beast, the story becomes from her point of view and Khristine Vham (the narrator for the audio books) does SUCH an amazing job vocally that I just don't know what words will give her performance justice. I hear her in my mind saying "stupid humans" or "kits" and I am instantly back in the story. I have tried to tell people about how she reads Beast but if you aren't familiar with the story it doesn't translate well and I end up feeling really silly.

This world has such character (read: a lot of French words and names) that I feel it really helps to listen to the story to get the pronunciations, but on the other hand I feel like I am missing out by not seeing certain names or phrases. I just find myself wondering what some things look like on the page. I may end up buying a mass market copy just to flip through. This site lists many of the names in the stories and is a good find.

I like this series even more than I did Kim Harrison's The Hollows, which is saying a lot. I think this is because it is a newer series; I felt like a lot of things in The Hollows were dated and cheesy. And for what it's worth, the Yellowrock books have less sexy times than the Hollows books.

I have finished reading all 8 books that are currently out in this series and am now listening to Cat O' Nine Tales, which is a compilation of short stories about different characters in the series. The back story is great. Dark Heir, book 9, is scheduled to come out in April.
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