Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Author: Amanda (Page 2 of 69)

Quick update

Just a quick post this morning. Real life called, demanding my full attention until later today. But the good news is Battle Wounds is off to the beta readers and, unless they find something really off with it, it will be released Tuesday as planned.

This short story has been a battle, not so much to write but to keep it from turning into more than it is. When I first planned the short, it was with much the same eye as the other shorts in the series. I wanted to give the readers a little insight into Ashlyn Shaw’s background, the events that helped shape her into the person she was when Vengeance from Ashes opened.

What I hadn’t expected was for the threads that have been laid in the three novels to find their start in this short story. That slowed me down because I didn’t want to give away what is going to happen in the novels (in case someone reading the short stories hasn’t read the novels yet). So that took a bit of finessing and, as I wait to hear back from my beta readers, I’m hoping I managed to do it.

Once I get the story back and make any edits necessary, it will be converted and uploaded to Amazon. Then it will be time to finish Nocturnal Rebellion. After that, Victory from Ashes (which will probably be renamed) and so much more. But, for now, I’m off to deal with real life stuff and will hopefully be back with a second post later today.

In case I’m not, have a great weekend and read a book!

Disappointed but not surprised

I’ve never made a secret of the fact I game to relax. I started out as a console gamer but have moved more and more to the laptop for my gaming needs. Like so many others, I’m a big fan of the Mass Effect trilogy. Also like so many fans, I’ve watched with a jaundiced eye as EA took over Origin and “little things” like customer support seemed to falter.

When Bioware and EA announced, finally, the latest installment in the Mass Effect universe, I was hopeful. The ending of ME3 left me a bit skeptical but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I even pre-ordered the game and played the first 10 hours under Origin Access, there were glitches but, overall, the game was satisfactory, especially since I assumed there would be updates before release.

Let’s face it, there is no excuse for the poor facial animations or the return to character animations that often looked like they had been done 10 years ago. Bioware did listen to the critiques and has tried to correct at least some of it. That continued with the latest patch yesterday. Of course, there is still that ghostly white shine in character’s mouths — although it does seem a bit less than before. But it is too little too late and, apparently, even Bioware admits it.

More on that in a minute.

While Andromeda suffers from some “WTF were they thinking” problems, not only with the facial animations but with dialog that often has you wanting to slam your fist through the screen — and let’s not discuss some of the bad delivery of those lines — the combat is fun and engaging. If you can zone out on the rest of it, there’s a game there worth playing.

Now, back to Bioware.

When it was announced that Bioware’s Montreal studio would be developing Andromeda, a number of us wondered if the powers-that-be had lost their minds. The Montreal studio had not developed a game on its own (at least not that I can remember). Sure, it had worked to develop DLC for ME3 but that’s a far cry from developing a full game, especially one of the studio’s cornerstone games.

Then there were the concerns voiced after Dragon Age: Inquisitions came out. Again, a decent game but not really up to what we’d come to expect from Bioware. There have been other missteps as well, enough to wonder what is going on in the company.

Now, on the heels of the release of the latest patch for Andromeda comes word that Bioware has put any further games in the Mass Effect franchise on hold. There’s no official cancellation but there are no plans to begin working on the next game in the series. Worse, at least for those of us who have purchased Andromeda, there is no sign that Bioware is working on story driven DLC for the game.

At least, if it happens, it is doubtful it will come from the Montreal studio as most of the gave devs there who had worked on Andromeda have been shuffled off to other projects.

And that, my friends, makes me wonder again wtf is going on. If you have a game that is so widely anticipated as Andromeda and then is released with as many problems, why in the hell are you rewarding the team responsible and by keeping them on and moving them to other key projects is rewarding them.

Does this spell the end of Mass Effect in any of its iterations? I don’t know. It sure doesn’t look good right now. Worse, Bioware and EA have breached their trust with their customers with this game. There is a level of expectation they have built with us through the previous Mass Effect games and that has not been met. Even with Inquisition, again not nearly as good as the previous games in that series, we got story driven DLC. The studio didn’t abandon the game or its fans — and that’s what it looks like they are doing now.

Considering the fact I’ve been trying to work with Origin tech support all week and finding them just about as helpful as the tree in my backyard, to say I’m leery of buying anything from them in the future is putting it mildly. And that’s a shame since EA and Bioware have been home for several of my favorite gamin franchises.

Here’s hoping Bioware pulls its head out of its ass before it screws up another franchise — in other words, Star Wars Battlefront II fans, beware. Some of those devs from Andromeda are being moved to your game.

Memories and Inspiration

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing Garrison Keillor perform. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really looking forward to the evening. Lake Woebegone was fun — in small doses. This was NOT Lake Woebegone. The was Keillor at his best. For a little more than two hours, he gave a performance that left me gasping for breath and laughing so hard not only was I crying but I swear I might have broken something. There were stories about growing up, dirty limericks and hymns. Yes, hymns. That he managed to get the audience to join in on. A very fun and worthwhile evening.

One that go me thinking and you know what a dangerous thing that can be.

As a writer, I do my best not to draw on my own family for inspiration. For one, no one would believe me. For another, my family doesn’t just carry a grudge, it nurses it, feeding it and letting it grow. So, nope. Not about to write anything one of them might think they have a role in. Nope and nope and nope again.

Yet, as I was talking to a friend this morning, I was reminded of something that happened when I was younger, something that has stuck with me and still brings tears to my eyes and a sense of wonder to my heart. It is something that will, before long, become the basis of a story or, as he suggested, a prompt for an anthology.

My dad was born and grew up in Ardmore, OK. He and my mom met on a blind date. Mom had moved to Ardmore from Tulsa to work at the hospital there. When I was maybe 14 or 15, the three of us took a day trip up to Ardmore to see my grandmother and other members of our family. We stopped on the way to my grandmother’s house to visit a wonderful lady (in the truest sense of the word) my mother knew from her days working at the hospital.

This lady worked in housekeeping at the hospital. She was one of those people who made anyone she spoke to smile and feel better. No matter how hard her life might have been, she made the best of it and never let on that there might have been problems.

She also baked the cake for my first birthday and she loved my mother.

Anyway, Mom wanted this wonderful woman to meet me as a teen. So we parked in front of this small house, really nothing more than a cottage. It was old, like so many homes in Ardmore, but well maintained and you could tell by looking at it that whoever lived there loved not only the house but the neighborhood.

Inside, the house was as carefully maintained as it was outside. It felt like a home, not just a place where people lived. You could almost feel the history in the house, not only of the good times but of the bad. What we didn’t know as we walked through the door was just how bad some of those times had been.

In a place of pride in the front room was a tabletop display case. This wonderful lady showed it to us. Her hand lovingly touched the glass. Inside was a pristine copy of a Look Magazine (or maybe Life) from the Viet Nam War. On the cover was a photo of a GI, obviously seriously wounded, another GI holding him, reassuring him. It was the first of a number of photos that chronicled the death of an American GI in Nam.

That GI was this dear lady’s son.

Her good son.

The son who wrote home every day. The son who had worked hard to graduate with good grades. The son who had promised his parents he would come home and do them proud, helping care for them and his other brother. The brother who was the bad seed. The brother who did drugs and too much booze and who never met a law he wanted to obey.

The son who, one day, quit writing.

For a month, this dear little lady tried to find out if anything had happened to her son. She contacted the Red Cross. She contacted the Army and she contacted the Defense Department. Nothing.

And then, one day after work, she stopped at her mailbox and pulled out her mail. Inside was the latest Look Magazine and she suddenly knew what happened to you son.

That would have broken a lot of us. Me, I’m pretty sure I would have broken and then I would have wanted answers — and blood. But not this little lady. She and the rest of her family mourned the loss of her son. But she also honored him. He died doing what he thought was right — serving his country. Watching her as she told us what happened, hearing the pain and pride in her voice, I learned what grace was that day. This woman who, I would learn later, had suffered so much more than the loss of her son over the years, never let life get the best of her. She continued to give of herself. She put her trust in God and she honored those she loved and lost through service.

How many of us can say we’ve done the same?

This one memory, a visit of less than 2 hours, made a permanent impression on me. It is something I have told my son, more than once. It is something I hold close now that he is in the military. She is long gone now but I know she continues being a guiding light to others, just as she is to me and mine. The memory of her shines on and, in that, she continues to live on, continues to serve and to love.

She was and is an example of what any of us can be. God bless her.

The derp is strong with this one

Yesterday, my friend Nicki linked to an online “letter of resignation” by Jacob Dorman. You see, Dorman was so very upset and worried and traumatize (my words) by the fact that KU was going to allow concealed carry on campus that he was ending his employment with them. That’s his right. His reasoning, however, had me rolling my eyes and laughing out loud. You see, he’s apparently convinced that allowing concealed carry on campus will cause more problems than it will solve and crime will escalate as a result.

Riiiiight.

First of all, he completely ignores the deterrent factor concealed carry has. Sure, there are instances where it hasn’t worked but there are also instances where it has. Just last week, it worked in Arlington, TX. Okay, not in a classroom but in a restaurant. A man walked in, started causing a commotion and, when the manager tried to get him to calm down, he murdered the manager. A customer, who was carrying concealed, pulled his gun and shot the perp. It was later learned the perp had come armed with two guns and two knives. How many lives did that customer save and all because he was carrying concealed?

There’s another argument Dorman and those like him fail to take into account. When you have signs posted all over saying a school — or church or anywhere else — is a gun-free zone, you are simply telling those who are inclined to cause harm that they can do so in that location without fear of someone having the means to stop them. Take away that safety — safety for them and not for those going to school there — and you have a deterrent in place because the perp won’t know who might pull a gun and defend herself and others present.

The other thing Dorman and others like him fail to consider is we have no way of knowing how often this is what’s happened. After all, most potential murderers don’t walk into the police station or call a reporter to say, “Gee, you know, I was going to go into John Doe Elementary School and shoot the place up but decided not to because the teachers can carry concealed.”

But, as you read the Dorman’s “resignation”, you see the real issue. He points out that, because Kansas is a small state, it has to recruit from out-of-state and all those wonderful liberal profs who don’t believe in guns won’t want to come to KU because — gasp — someone might actually have one. Gasp!

All I can say is that all my relatives who went to KU and were proud grads are shaking their heads — and in a few cases, rolling in their graves — and saying “good riddance”. The fact that Dorman has already secured employment at an out-of-state college shows he had to have been looking long before he submitted his outraged letter. Frankly, his histrionics reminds me of a few of the professors at the University of Texas last year when our state legislature voted to allow concealed carry on our college campuses. Yes, there are ways for the colleges to opt out — just as there are in Kansas (at least I assume there are in KS). But these poor darlings were so traumatized by the possibility someone might LEGALLY carry a weapon, they had to leave the university.

Hey, guys, here’s a little truth for you. Most of those who decide they want to shoot up a classroom don’t worry about if they have the legal right to carry their weapons. However, how many of them will think twice if they know someone else might also be carrying a weapon, someone willing to use it to keep them from hurting anyone?

See what Nicki had to say about this over at the Liberty Zone. She’s linked to some data that puts the lie to some of Dorman’s allegations. Check it out.

Monday Morning Thoughts

Coffeeeeeeee . . . .

Yep, it’s going to be one of those days. At least I have the short story figured out and ready to push through to final edits. I also figured out how to get from Point A to Point D on the next book in the series. Of course, that has to come after I finish Nocturnal Rebellion and send it off to my beta readers.

In the meantime, as I was reading the paper this morning, inspiration hit. There was a story about a 90+ year-old woman on her final cross-country driving trip. The story itself was engaging and reminded me of my cousin Clarice. — full of life and wanting to live it to the fullest until she drew her last breath.

But it was a picture of this feisty little lady that caught my eye and sent Myrtle the Must into overdrive. She was sitting at a table on what looked like an outdoor patio for a shop or cafe. Her head was thrown back and she was laughing. There was a twinkle in her eye with more than a hint of devilment in it. You knew she had just managed to zing someone and loved it.

Making the picture even better was the youngish man sitting across from her laughing with her. Despite the probably 60 or more years difference in their ages, they had connected and were probably getting into trouble together. It’s an image you don’t see every day and it made an impression.

And this woman, Miss Norma, suddenly sprang fully formed in my mind as part of the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe. Whether it will be part of the fantasy side or the “normal” side, I don’t know. All I know for sure, is Miss Norma will be the inspiration for a character in the series. Well, to be honest, the character will be a mix of Miss Norma and Cousin Clarice, and probably my grandmother who was born either 100 years too early or 100 years too late.

Now to go make some notes, enough to satisfy Myrtle so she doesn’t decide I need to write that story right NOW! Then it’s off to finish the short story and move on to the next project.

Until later. Have a great Monday!

Some weekend thoughts

Yay! It’s the weekend. That means time to do more remodeling and writing and editing and . . . wait, that sounds like what the week has been like. I thought weekends were for putting your feet up and relaxing. Hmmm. Maybe I’m doing this weekend thing wrong.

Or not. You see, I enjoy the remodeling stuff and the writing. The editing, not so much. At least not when I’m editing my own work. But that’s the life of a writer. You do what you have to do. The way I make it work is breaking the tedium of editing up with things I like to do — like painting and ripping out cabinets, etc.

Still, that doesn’t mean I won’t have some real fun this weekend. Hopefully, you guys are as well.

One of the things I do is play video games. Anyone who’s followed this blog for long knows I’m a fan of the Mass Effect series. Bioware pushed the genre forward wit the original trilogy. Yes, they screwed the pooch with the original ending of the ME3 and the extended ending didn’t do much to correct the problem. But it was still one of the best game series I’ve ever played.

So, when Bioware announce Mass Effect: Andromeda, I greeted the announcement with both pleasure and trepidation. I was pleased because I loved the original trilogy so much. I worried because of how they mucked up the ending. When you spend three games making choices and being told those choices will have an impact on the ending of the game only to find out they don’t, not really, well, you lose some trust in the game designers.

The initial reviews of the game did nothing to reassure me, even though I’d played the first 10 hours pre-release as part of the Origin Access program. Yes, the facial animations were wonky. Yes, some of the voice acting leaves a lot to be desired. But there were strong points that countered those negatives. As long as you weren’t looking at the faces, or at least not focusing on them, the game looked gorgeous. The battle system is a lot of fun. I like being able to switch between profiles and change combat styles in the middle of battle. I don’t like being limited to only 3 powers but you get around that with your favorite profile builds.

But, having now played through the game and spending a few hours back with ME2 and ME3, I know what I’ve been missing with Andromeda. I miss the connection with the main character and the sense of urgency you have in the original trilogy. In it, you know you are fighting for the survival of not only Earth but the entire Sol System. The Reapers want you dead and yours dead. It is a fight for the survival of your species and that urgency isn’t ever forgotten.

Yes, Andromeda is a fight for survival as well but that sense of urgency isn’t there, not yet at any rate. It might show up in the next game. I hope so.

Ryder, whether you play as male or female, isn’t the kick-ass hero that Commander Shepherd was. That’s played up and, in a way, I like seeing Ryder grow from someone who was basically supposed to fill a support role to being the Pathfinder. But there are so many questions left unanswered, questions I hope the game devs answer in the upcoming DLC and sequel. If not, Bioware has well and truly screwed their fans.

All that said, Andromeda is a fun game, especially if you can set aside your experience with the original trilogy and just play the game for what it is.

Now, in case you would rather read this weekend than game, here are a couple of books that have come with recommendations from friends. I haven’t had a chance to read them yet but I trust those who recommended them.

The first is Division One: A Small Medium at Large, by Stephanie Osborn.

What if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was right all along, and Harry Houdini really DID do his illusions, not through sleight of hand, but via noncorporeal means? More, what if he could do this because…he wasn’t human?

Ari Ho’d’ni, Glu’g’ik son of the Special Steward of the Royal House of Va’du’sha’ā, better known to modern humans as an alien Gray from the ninth planet of Zeta Reticuli A, fled his homeworld with the rest of his family during a time of impending global civil war. With them, they brought a unique device which, in its absence, ultimately caused the failure of the uprisings and the collapse of the imperial regime. Consequently Va’du’sha’ā has been at peace for more than a century. What is the F’al, and why has a rebel faction sent a special agent to Earth to retrieve it?

It falls to the premier team in the Pan-Galactic Law Enforcement and Immigration Administration, Division One — the Alpha One team, known to their friends as Agents Echo and Omega — to find out…or die trying.

Next up is Tanager’s Fledglings by Cedar Sanderson.

When the starship’s captain died midway through a run with a cargo of exotic animals, the owner gave first mate Jem one chance, and one choice. The chance: if he successfully runs the trade route solo, he’ll become the new captain. If he fails, he’ll lose the only home he’s ever known.

And the choice? He’s now raising an old earth animal called a basset hound. Between station officials, housebreaking, pirates, and drool, Jem’s got his hands full!

Finally, because what sort of author would I be without promoting one of my own titles, we have Witchfire Burning.

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

 

TGIF

The title says it all.

Not that I’m taking the weekend off. There’s remodeling of the bathroom to do and writing — lots of writing — and somewhere along the line, I’d like to sleep. But it’s Friday and that has to count for something. Right?

So, let’s get a little housekeeping out of the way before I forget it. Battle Wounds, the next short story in the Honor and Duty series, will be published a week from Tuesday. If I remember correctly, that will be the 16th. Since it’s a short story, I’m not putting it up for pre-order. But I will make an announcement when it is uploaded and then when it goes live. So keep checking here and on Facebook.

Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s a link to a short snippet from Battle Wounds.

What else?

Oh, another book recommendation (and I will have more tomorrow). If you are a fan of space opera, you need to check out Sarah A. Hoyt’s latest entry into her Darkship series, Darkship Revenge. This is one of my favorites in the series.

After winning the civil war in Eden, Athena returns to her calling, collecting powerpods with her husband Kit. Now weeks away from Earth, she goes into labor. To make matters worse, a strange ship attacks Athena and Kit’s Cathouse and kidnaps Athena’s husband. That ship is called Je Reviens. It’s a named steeped in history—and not the good kind of history.

Hot on Kit’s trail, Athena discovers that you shouldn’t name a ship Je Reviens unless you intend it to return. The genetically modified Mules are back, and they have a plan to prevent themselves from being exiled ever again. And if the Mules win, the best thing humanity can hope for is slavery.

The worst is death.

While a bio-engineered plague wreaks havoc on the forces of liberty, Athena must risk herself, her husband, and her child for the survival of humanity.

The Mules may be about to find out what revenge truly is: one angry mother.

 

 

It’s almost the weekend

Before I do anything else, as a sf/f writer, I guess I ought to say “May the Fourth be with you.” If you are a Star Wars fan, TBS is running the first two trilogies back to back today. Episode 2, Attack of the Clones, has just started. So, if you haven’t seen the movies for a while and if you like Episodes 2 and 3, get yourself over to TBS now. Me, I’ll be waiting until the original trilogy.

While I’m on it, OMG, what was Lucas thinking with the scene where Padme arrives on Coruscant at the beginning of the movie. Just as one of her guards turns to the other “guard” to say he guessed he was wrong to think anything bad would happen, everything goes BOOM! The supposed guard, her features oh-so-conveniently hidden by a helmet, jumps up and runs in the direction of the now bombed out ship. Does she draw a weapon? Nope. Does she look around to make sure there wasn’t a second wave attack about to happen. Nope. Does she do anything before the attack or after to make anyone with an ounce of sense think she is actually a guard, oh hell no.

And that is just one example of what’s wrong with Episodes 1 – 3. Bad dialog, worse acting from leads and more and, as far as I’m concerned, Lucas took the fun out of the franchise. Okay, I’ll admit, watching Yoda fight was fun but more in a funny ha-ha way than in a “oh, wow, that’s cool!” sort of way. For all its problems, for all the fact it was much too derivative of Episode 4, A New Hope, The Force Awakens was more fun for me than any of the so-called prequel films.

Moving on. . . .

The airlines just can’t seem to help shooting themselves in the foot. Between American Airlines announcing it was cutting leg room two inches in some rows on their new jets to Delta seemingly tripping over what customer service means, they both made it to the news yesterday.

For those of you who don’t think losing two inches is much, I’d like to remind you the 26 inches they are now aiming for, iirc, is measured from the seat back, not from where your butt hits the seat. So you are measuring the ENTIRE seat cushion as part of your leg room. Thing about that. For anyone over 5’5″, I’m betting the loss of those two inches is going to matter a great deal. I know the last time I flew, my knees almost touched the back of the seat in front of me. The thought of losing those 2 inches and then the person in front of me reclining their seat — nope, nope, nope.

Then we have the Delta situation. A family was flying home from Hawaii with a one-year-old and a two-year-old. An older son had cut short his trip and returned home earlier. The two-year-old was in the seat that had been purchased for the older son. So, yes, the family had bought and paid for the seat but the ticketed passenger was not present.

Their tickets, including the son’s, were scanned and the family was allowed to board. Afterwards, a flight attendant supposedly approached them and said they needed to give up the seat because the flight was overbooks. The father did not agree to do so, at least not initially. Things apparently escalated and the flight attendant told the father he had the option of getting off or he and his wife would be arrested for violating federal law and the kids placed in foster care.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that would piss me off to no end. When asked what they were supposed to do if they go off the plane because there were no other flights out that day, the flight attendant told him it wasn’t her problem. He’d have to figure it out on his own. Riiiiight. That’s the way to win over customers.

Instead of being arrested and having their kids put into foster care — any parent’s nightmare — the family disembarked. The next day they returned home, after supposedly paying $2,000 to do so. Delta has announced they will be reaching out to the family to find out what happened.

Remember, this happened only days after airline officials were on Capitol Hill assuring Congress they were going to work harder on customer service. Riiiiight.

Finally, we saw social media in its finest, and I use that term with my tongue firmly planted in cheek, last night. Word hit that Buckingham Palace had called everyone in for a special meeting. The call was placed around 0300 hrs, London time. No word was released as to why the meeting was called. But that didn’t stop folks from speculating. I saw everything from it meant Prince Philip had dies to the Queen to Prince Charles was finally going to step aside for Prince William to who knows what else. Hell, it wouldn’t have surprised me any to see someone speculating that the Palace was announcing that Princess Diana really was haunting the Royal Family.

So what was the announcement? That Prince Philip was officially retiring. The man deserves it. He is, iirc, 94 and has been in poor health. Nothing earth shattering and nothing that shouldn’t have been anticipated. But my oh my, those who just knew what the announcement was couldn’t wait for confirmation. They had to be out there showing just how much they didn’t know.

I guess I should end with the note that I have a guest post up over at According to Hoyt. If you have a chance, wander over there and leave a comment.

Later!

 

A Review and a Few Thoughts

First of all, apologies for not getting back to the blog yesterday — and for whatever the heck happened to the theme selection. Somehow, even though I pressed the “activate” button, it didn’t happen and instead of the blog reverting to the current theme, it stayed with a theme I was considering, one that does NOT accept the header size it tells you it needs. So, for close to a day, I had a really, really odd looking site and didn’t know it because I’d gone off-line.

Now, as to why I didn’t get back to the blog. Between the hot water fiasco Monday and several other things that happened, I had to step back from the internet and social media. Of course, the fact I also had the newly released copy of Cold Reign by Faith Hunter might have had a little something to do with it and that’s where the review comes in.

If you enjoy Urban Fantasy and you haven’t yet read the Jane Yellowrock series, do so. Cold Reign is the 11th book in the series and while it could be read without reading the others, there’s a great deal you would miss. I can’t say that about a lot of series, just as I can’t say I stay with many this long. That makes the series, and this book, something special.

For those who aren’t familiar with the series, Jane Yellowrock is a Cherokee skinwalker. For the most part, the series takes place in New Orleans. There are vampires — who most definitely do NOT sparkle. There are weres. There are witches. There are other supernats as well, Onorios, of which we are only just beginning to learn some of what they can do.

Unlike so many books/series that claim to be UF but are really, at best, paranormal romance, this is true UF. That’s not to say Jane doesn’t have a “honeybunch”, as she calls her lover. But that doesn’t define her and the book most definitely is not a series of sex scenes tied together with a flimsy plot. In actuality, the fact Jane can trust enough to allow someone into her life is something she’s had to work on from the beginning of the series.

And that is why I like the series so much. Yes, the plots of the various books have been good. Some have been better than others, but that’s something you always get in a series, any series. But the strength of the series, to me, is in the character development, not just with Jane but with other characters as well. That is especially true in Cold Reign where we see Alex, aka “the kid”, growing up and coming into his own.

Okay, to the book. A number of plot threads that have been woven throughout the series begin to be tied up in Cold Reign. Leo, the Master of the City (and a pretty good chunk of the rest of the United States) is a master manipulator and, as with any old vampire, his plans have plans and they, too, have plans. The European vamps, who would really like to reclaim Leo’s territory because of all the “cattle” (humans), also have plans within plans and those plans include deceit and betrayal. In the middle are Jane and her expanding “family”.

Writing a review about the book without giving spoilers is next to impossible. Let’s just say that I had already guessed the identity of one of Leo’s betrayers. The identity of another caught me by surprise. I’ll be honest, I think that could have been handled better. There was a feeling of lacking with that particular sub-plot because we never really saw it happening on-screen, nor did we see the reveal when Leo finally discovered the betrayal. All we saw was the after-effects and that was third-hand.

As with most of the series, this book starts off with a bang. If you read some of the reviews on Amazon, you’ll see some folks don’t like the lull that follows. Don’t let that mislead you. That lull is necessary. Not only for the resolution of the story but because it gives us more insight into Eli, Alex’s brother and another of Jane’s “family”.

I’ll admit, I sometimes tired of reading how Jane stepped into the ankle deep, or higher water. But that, too, was part of the story. New Orleans was getting pounded by rain that is later revealed to be part of a magical attack on the city (and I’ll say no more about that).

It is clear the series may be ramping up toward the big finale and, while I will be sad to see it end, I’d rather that happen than for it to become one of those where it should have ended books earlier. So, this is very much a book I’d recommend. Great action, a plot that will keep you guessing, the return of a couple of characters we haven’t seen for awhile and some closure for Jane with one of them. Even better, it left me wanting more and wishing it wouldn’t be at least a year before the next book comes out. (assuming normal traditional publishing schedules).

So, if you enjoy UF, get this book and set aside several hours to read it. I promise it is well worth the time and the money. (and, fyi, it is reasonably priced not only for traditionally published e-book but for a new release at $7.99)

Please tell me it’s no longer Monday

Yesterday was not a great day. One hot water heater replaced. One smartphone decided to go on the fritz. Carpet still soggy. But today will be better. Why? Because the carpet won’t be getting any soggier. The smartphone will be replaced later today — or hopefully it will be an easy fix.  As for the carpets, well, the wet vac is about to come out to play again. Once all that is done, I’ll be able to sit down and hopefully finish Battle Wounds. (In case you missed it, here’s a link to the short snippet I posted yesterday.) Better yet, Cold Reign by Faith Hunter is out today. Yay, new reading!

I’ll be back later, hopefully around lunchtime, with a “real” post. In the meantime, check out my entry at Mad Genius Club.

Until later!

Page 2 of 69

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén