Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crime Scene At Cardwell Ranch (B.J. Daniels)

First of all, this book has a character in it named Brick Savage. I’ll give that a minute to sink in.

Brick. Fucking. Savage.

OK. Are you over it? Because it’s been 2 weeks and I am totally not over it. His son? OK? His son who is the protagonist and is on every page? Hudson. Hudson Savage. Affectionately known as “Hud” to his friends.


Apart from GLORIOUSLY named characters, this book ALSO has some of the best/worse similes ever afforded print. Honestly! Here! An example!

The ranch manager was as dried out as a stick of jerky and just as tough, but he knew more about cattle than any man Dana had ever known.

See? I got nothin’ to add to that. It’s a perfect sentence.

Apparently this book is a romance? You’d think with a character named Brick Savage, yes, OF COURSE it’s a romance, but I’m not convinced. It read more like a mystery with vague romantical twinges. This lady (Dana) owns a ranch, but doesn’t, like, do much ranching (is ranch a verb? it is now). She loves the fuck out of this ranch. But instead of ranching, she owns a sewing shop in town with her BFF (the whys of this bizarre departure in business venture is not explained). But OK. Five years ago, she was engaged to this super hot dude (Hud!), and they loved each other like whoa. Dana ends up catching him in bed with her sister (fail!) and he like, leaves town rapidly – immediately! Even though he doesn’t remember anything. And thinks he was drugged. And hates her sister, so really why would he sleep with her ever.

Hud is evidently a rash and dumb man, but if he were not, we would have no book.

Fast forward five years. Dana discovers a human skeleton at the bottom of the well on her beloved ranch, and she is all “wow, this sucks.” Agreed! She has been compelled to sell the ranch because her mother is dead and her greedy, awful, nasty siblings hate ranching and want the money. Her siblings are painted to be complete assholes. Like, so the epitome of Asshole that it’s funny. No one behaves like this. If they did, they wouldn’t make it past 20, because SOMEONE would kill them. That someone might even be god, coming down like an omnipotent fucking hand of justice to smite assholes. Or, something.

Anyway. Skeleton. Right. ALSO inexplicably, the town sheriff (his name is Scrappy … yes) conveniently decides to quit his job that very same morning, and apparently whoever makes the kinds of decisions that call in town sheriffs decides that the best course of action is to call that dude who left town five years ago to come back and be sherriff. Like, as opposed to the great many other, more qualified town cops who would be much better choices.

The whole situation is very “Uhhhhh? OK?”

So ex-BF shows up to inspect the remains in Dana’s well (literally; that is not a double entendre, though it would be an amazing one) and she is all Rage Face and he is all Sorry Face and not a whole lot gets accomplished. The forensics guy, who is also there and accompanied by a great many awesome similes, says the body has been in the well for way long, like 17 years, and Hud is all OMG MY DAD (Brick!) WAS TOTALLY SHERIFF BACK THEN, HE WILL KNOW EVERYTHING. Or he will have done it. Because we, the readers, are made aware that EVERYONE is a suspect. No, seriously, every character in this book other than our rage face heroine and misguided recently returned Hot Sherriff are at some point or another the prime suspects. Overkill, I think. But again … OK.

Other plot points enfold fairly fluidly (someone’s trying to kill Dana! OMG!) and of course everything is related and will be tied up neatly by the end. Our protagonist couple hate each other/love each other/hate each other, and eventually realize the whole reason they broke up (if you count Dude leaving the state as ‘breaking up’) was stupid – this realization actually reeks of the author trying to rationalize what s/he has figured out was a stupid fucking premise and is now backpedaling, but I’d rather that than not actually acknowledging it at all.

There’s some suspense, a LOT of whodunits, a little existential angst, some dreamy romancey bits and like a minor glimpse of sex. It barely counts.

Should you read this? Why not! It’s free at the Kindle store, last I checked. I managed to blow through it in a couple of hours. And the similes really are mind-blowing. This book is not art, and it will not change your life. What it will do is entertain you mildly while your bread is rising or your C drive is being defragmented. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Killing Dance [AB:VH Book 6]

I feel like I start out all of these with “no, really, it gets worse” or “this is the beginning of the end” but … seriously, this one is the absolute last of the Hurtling Rapidly Towards The Cliff part of the series. We’re encroaching on Lock Up Your Daughters Along With Your Will To Live territory. With all speed.

I’m sure that didn’t make any sense, but get used to it! Because nothing will going forward. No. Nothing.

The book kicks off with … wait for it … some fucking dude (in case you hadn’t gathered, they all start out with ‘some fucking dude’). Only this dude is not interested in Anita’s zombie raising services, as he too has read the past five books and realizes that mostly that entire premise has been abandoned like a dumpster baby outside of a Paris, Texas senior dance. So, some dude and some dude’s minion talk to Blake about, whatever, finding a cure for vampire cancer or something, and she’s all “Yes, I will help you, because this fucking books needs SOME kind of plot point other than my angsty bullshit relationships and magical vagina”  Rest assured, Some Fucking Dude AND his minion both have stupid names. You don’t even need to know them, because they will both be dead and forgotten by the end of the book, and grossly neglected during the middle bits.

At some point after some other random and inconsequential shit involving vampire pregnancies, Robocop calls Blake to tell her that someone tried to hire him to assassinate her for $500K, which I feel is a reasonable sum of fictional money to end the most repugnant fictional character ever created. But what do I know. Robocop may be immune to the magic of the vagina, but is not immune to the general infatuation of love/euphoria surrounding Blake, so of course he does not take the contract. Stupid Robocop. Naturally this plot point develops immediately, and Blake has a gun fight maybe 30 seconds later with a hitman who clearly sucks at his job.

Then, like, werewolf stuff happens. I don’t know. Whenever I have to try and explain the werewolves, my eyes glaze over. There’s so fucking many of them, and they’re all obnoxious. Richard is still struggling to be SuperWolf of the pack, there are still sadistic and murderous werewolves who continue to do sadistic and murderous things, and it’s all rife with drama and horror. Someone's brother gets raped or tortured or both on camera, because the Evilwolves (E-wolves? Were-vils?) think  wereanimal snuff porn is a lucrative industry (which seems like it's probably a fair assessment) and Blake is all THIS IS WRONG, I WILL TALK ABOUT MY GUNS AT IT. Or, shake her vagina at it, or whatever the fuck she does.

Actually, I just saw this on the Wiki page for this book (if you seriously thought I was re-reading it for the purpose of this recap, you clearly don't know me at all), and it fucking killed me in its perfect simplicity:

The Killing Dance is also a turning point for the series in several other ways:

  •  Anita has accepted being Jean-Claude's "declared human servant" at the beginning of the book.
  •  Anita and Richard form a vampire triumvirate with Jean Claude, accepting the first three "marks". In addition, Jean Claude and Richard announce that they are allies within the supernatural community. Taken together, these changes make it impossible for Anita to completely separate her life from Jean Claude or Richard.
  •  Anita kills the werewolf lupa Raina and the wereleopard leader  Gabriel in self-defense, resolving some unsettled conflicts from The Lunatic Cafe.
  •  Richard becomes the Ulfric, or leader, of his pack.
  •  Anita and Jean-Claude become lovers.
  •  Richard eats Marcus

Um, YES. All of that happens. It is the last bit, the eating of Marcus, that really eeks Anita out and sends her into the undead arms of JC, and they fuck like bunnies in a bathtub* which surprisingly is the first appearance of actual fucking in the series. I hope you enjoy it, because that is all you will have for next thirteen books. That's right. Thirteen ** books about supernatural fucking. You read it here.

To clarify (...ahahahaha), Raina & Gabriel are the evil sadists who rape/torture/maim/kill for giggles, so of course Anita had to righteously gun them down. But of course you have not heard the last of Raina, who decides to, like, live forever in Anita's head or something, because Anita is MAGICAL IN CASE YOU HADN'T GOTTEN THAT YET, OK.

Oh also, this is where Richard decides he hates everything and everyone, including himself, and is all SUPER ANGST. I mean, he was definitely angsty before, but now you kind of just want to punch the closest living thing every time someone even mentions his name.

I'm sorry. This is the best I can do.

If you care, like, really give a shit about this book, the Wiki is very informative and written straight-forwardly. Please. Be my guest.

* fuck like bunnies while in a bathtub, not fuck like bunnies who are in a bathtub

** there is one, somewhere in the middle, that eschews the fucking in favor of ripping off Queen Of The Damned, which ... OK

Thursday, April 21, 2011


My ability/desire to plough through books (trashy or other) waxes and wanes with no discernible pattern, so, suffice to say, I have not been reading a lot.

What I have been reading is The Mercedes Thompson Series, which is kind of like AB:VH but without all the rage-inducing miasma of suck. It’s about this lady who fixes cars and turns into a coyote. And was raised by werewolves. And gets into shit, like, a lot. Her vagina is not magical, which has become my top priority when being introduced to any protagonist in any work of fiction (or um, I guess non-fiction as well). There is no fucking; some implied romancey bits, but a WIDE departure from orgies every twelve pages. Refreshing! A story can be worth following without graphic sex! WHO KNEW.

Obviously everyone knew. And don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place for graphic sex. The world would be a duller place without it. But the entire premise of your book should 1) not rely solely on fucking, because that makes it porn, and lets call a spade a spade, shall we, and 2) not count on fucking to get you out of a plot hole, because thinking that people will forget the illogical clusterfuck you’ve just given us because of the whirling dervish of dicks and tits we now have to deal with is, frankly, insulting.

ANYWAY. Hello, tangent stick.

I realize I owe a recap of whatever godawful soul-numbing AB:VH book is next on the roster, and I’ll get there. Eventually. I swear.

Snuggles and kisses.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF (Designated.Ugly.Fat.Friend.) is the first novel by Kody Keplinger. She was 18 when this was first published! How exciting!

Bianca Piper is a senior in High School and her friends are very pretty. She HATES Wesley Rush (our requisite Hot Guy with a Bad Reputation). At some teenager-club, Wesley tells Bianca the she is the Duff in her group (see above) and if her (very pretty) friends see him talking to her, they will see that someone is paying attention to their (homely) friend and think he is all sensitive and then they will have sex with him because they will be overcome with gratitude at his chivalry.* This makes Bianca feel not-so-great about herself and then her home life starts falling apart. One day, overcome with (extreme!) emotion, she has hate-sex with Wesley because Escapism. While Bianca and Wesley have secret hate-sex that turns into secret maybe-not-hate-sex, Bianca’s home life continues falling into the crapper, she discovers that Wesley’s home life is also crappy and maybe he is not such a bad guy after all, she starts falling for him, cliché, cliché, cliché…moral, The End.

The dialogue is well done, but stylistically, the rest of the writing wasn’t always so great. It was occasionally stilted and a little awkward (like “I have a thesaurus and I am going to USE it” kind of thing) but I’m confident that as Ms. Keplinger continues writing, this will fix itself. My big problem is that there were so many Real Life Themes covered that I felt like I was being hit in the head by The Hammer of Harrowing Experiences. Low Self-Esteem! Divorce! Alcoholism! Neglectful Parents! Promiscuity! Pregnancy Scare! I liked that Bianca figured out eventually that EVERYONE feels like the Duff, at least sometimes, but it came off a bit like WHAM! HAVE A MORAL! Here, have TWO! Oh, wait! Here’s ANOTHER! That is not so nice. On a positive note, I thought it was great that teen sex wasn’t demonized and Bianca and Wesley used protection every time they hooked up (the sex bits are allusive rather than explicit). I have read a lot of novels where adults forget to do that, so it’s refreshing to read portrayals of people being (at least partly) responsible when it comes to sex. Also good, her friends aren't portrayed as shallow or vain despite being the potential plot trap of pretty=vapid and Bianca herself is a bit of a smart-mouth.

Overall, there was a lot of potential here and I’ll try more by Kody Keplinger, but I think this one can be skipped. I would like to recommend it, but the ending was so trite that I felt more than a little let down. For a first novel, it’s decent but there’s definite room for growth.

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

*This does not sound like a reasonable plan, but what the fuck do I know?