OMG it’s been awhile since I did a review, let’s see if I still know how. ;) Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is brought to us from the mind of Seth Grahame-Smith. You may recognize the name from his best-selling novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. You may also recognize the title of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter from a poster if you’ve been to the movies lately, or the trailers that have started to show. The novel was released back on March 2, 2010. Personally I was shocked I thought it had just been release, I’m a little behind can you tell ;). The movie however comes out June 22, 2012, I recommend reading the book first. Flyboy and I didn’t “read” the book we listened to it on our trip home (to Texas) and back. In fact every time we got in the car together we listened to it. (I had to listen to music when we were apart so I wouldn’t lose our spot since we were listening to my iPod, Flyboy on the other hand could listen to his book, The Wheel of Time I think he was on book 6 or 7, he’s relistening to the series since the final chapter/book is supposed to be released this year.) With this being said the major complaint we had may not be an issue when reading the book itself.
Our issue with the book, while listening to it, was the chapters. As the book went along we got use to the layout but at the beginning it was confusing. Abe Lincoln Vamp Hunter is set up like a paper or nonfiction where you have sections and different chapters within each section. The sections seem to follow Abe’s life his “real” life at is and the chapters are a combination of history and a creative imagination. Within the secretions there could be three different narrators: Abe, himself, the “author” who was hired to write the novel and Henry the vampire who commissioned the piece to be written. It works when you get the hang of it. If you’ve read his Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this might be similar, but don’t hold me to that. I haven’t read that one. I can tell you Seth did his homework on Lincoln and he didn’t change much if any “real” life events. He just added a twist that we could/would never suspect.
What do I mean he doesn’t change Lincoln’s life when he made him a vampire hunter? All the events in Abraham Lincoln’s life are mentioned and unchanged. For instance his mother still dies when he is a young boy, though the way she gets sick is not what the doctors said she died from, thought this is explained in the book. He meets Edgar Allen Poe in New Orleans and they become friends. His dislike of his father, him becoming a politician and a lawyer are all in the book. The death of his son and Lincoln’s distaste of slavery are also see within the story. What Seth does change is little things like I said above the cause of Abe’s mothers’ death and other family members. What his father had to do with their deaths. How a vampire saved Abe’s from being drown by another vamp and how the two became friends/allies in the fight against vampires. This Vampire after saving his life teaches Abe how to kill vampires. Seth also changed the reason why slavery was so important in the south. He creates a story from these events that work alongside Abe’s real life.
The cool thing about Seth and how he wrote this story is that from the start we know this is supposed to be a work of fiction, and not just because of the title. Seth has the vamp enter act with a writer in 2010, a writer who hasn’t been published. He’d set aside his writing life not out of want but because life happened. One night the vamp asked this man to write a book for him, based off letters and journals he had, but he wanted it to be a work of fiction with bits of history thrown in. The vamp hands over Lincoln’s letters and journals as research material. The author uses these to create his book – his work of fiction. With a tale of fiction wrapped in tidbits of truth Seth and “his author” create an entertaining story of Lincoln and his life. The story takes us from childhood to Presidency and everything in between. I’d suggest taking Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter for a whirl; I think you’ll be glad you did. Even the movie due out this summer is sure to be a crazy ride. Though the movie, like most based off books, will miss a few storylines I’m sure. Flyboy and I, while listening, had to check IMDB to see who was playing the characters. We were excited by some and sad hat some characters from the book won’t be in the movie. Either way you go I sure you’ll enjoy this novel.
Last year, Amanda Bonilla captivated me with the first in her Shaede Assassin series, her debut release Shaedes of Gray featuring cold hearted, damaged, and lonely Darian making my top 5 favorites for 2011. Now she’s back with her second, Blood Before Sunrise, and I have to say that I absolutely love this series!
I’m completely fascinated by the world Ms. Bonilla has created. Set in Seattle, Fae, Shaedes (creatures of shadows), Lyhtans (creatures of light) Djinns and Oracles all try to coexist with the human populous – and other unknown beasties – in a convoluted and elaborate world in which no one seems to know how to share knowledge, tell the truth or say things outside of riddles.
Darian is a Shaede, able to switch between blending in with the night and her corporeal form. An assassin by trade and mistreated for most of her life, I can understand her standoffish detachment, but it’s her haughtiness that throws me and has me screaming at her from page to page. Darian isn’t a TSTL character by any means, but her arrogance leads her and, more often than not, drags her farther and farther down the wrong path.
It’s this arrogance that propels her in Blood Before Sunrise. After a passing word from the desperate Delilah to save her own skin, Darian becomes obsessed with finding her friend and mentors missing daughter, Brakae. Like many times before, Darian’s assumptions and inability to trust her new found friendships lands her in situations that are far more than she can handle and costs her more than she can bear.
Not a single word or scene is wasted, and the payoff at the end is well worth the journey in this fast-paced mystery-driven plot. With fascinating characters and awesome world building, Blood Before Sunrise is exactly what urban fantasy was meant to be. I can’t wait to see what happens next for Darian when Crave the Darkness hits shelves next year....more
The Taker left off with everything calm and peaceful in Lanny’s world yet there is foreshadowing that the peace is about to be shattered. After waiting a year to find out what danger that I had feared would befall Lanny in Alma Katsu’s second novel in the series The Reckoning I must admit I was pleasantly surprised to find that my wild imagination had not produced any of the scenarios Katsu has come up with.
Suddenly Adair is free and his only thought is to find Lanore (Lanny) and make her pay for her transgression. The time has come for Lanny to pay the price for what she has done and her reckoning is upon her. We can feel the fear and anxiety she is feeling over the inevitability of this reunion as she races across the world trying to keep ahead of Adair. Katsu’s exquisite writing takes us on twists and turns as Lanny has a few startling revelations about what she had thought love was and begins to confront emotions she did not realize she felt. Much like The Taker we are drawn between past and present as Lanny and Adair both remember events from their lives. This effectively helps us to see the person Lanny has been becoming over the past two hundred years as well as how Adair became the tyrant we have come to know him as.
One thing that I immediately enjoyed is the new perspective we gain on Adair. As you can imagine he has been entombed for 200 years and quite a few advances in technology have taken place. It is almost humorous to watch him learn about computers and debit cards. I found myself laughing out loud more than once at his thoughts on modern life. Adair has had two hundred years to think about his life choices and he too has come out a changed man. Many of the profound moments in the book revolve around Adair’s battle between his nature and the new person he would like to be. The changes in him are intriguing and with the stories from his past a different more complex picture of him begins to emerge.
Love actually becomes a bigger theme in The Reckoning and we begin to see a little more about love lasting an eternity. Some of the characters from the previous book are revisited as well as a few new ones. Nothing is as it appears to be and Katsu continues to shake up your understanding of what has happened. Sometimes we believe what we have been told because we want to believe the story rather than face the truth.
The Reckoning will leave you wondering what new revelations will be unearthed about the main characters in the final installment. Can love last an eternity? Are some things beyond redemption? What makes Adair immortal? The character growth is so complex and so rich in this installment I personally can’t wait to see what lies in store for Lanny and Adair....more
Back in 2006 I was completing my first year of work at the city library. One day, as I was straightening the shelves, I noticed a very seductive looking cover. A candle and red smoke danced around the silhouette of a young lady with an arched back and flowing hair. I was intrigued. Little did I know that a grand love affair was about to be set in motion. The title of this book was Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur.
The Riley Jenson Guardian series introduced the world to characters like Riley and Rhoan, Quinn and Liander, and Dia and her adorable daughter Risa. Throughout the Guardian series little Risa demonstrates great power that readers just know will develop into full-blown greatness as she grows into adulthood.
The Dark Angels series is a spinoff of the Guardian series and follows the life and times of Risa, who is now an adult with great powers that she has learned to harness and use. The first book in this series is Darkness Unbound.
Risa Jones may be referred to as a half-breed by her peers, but she has the best of both worlds when it comes to powers. Her mother Dia is a genetically enhanced lab-created werewolf with psychic powers and her father is an Aedh, a being that appears to be an angel and aids in the transportation of souls to the afterlife. Risa has a touch of the psychic powers, the sex drive of the wolf, the ability to transform into invisible energy, the ability to walk the grey fields to seek out the dying, and the scariest of all—the ability to see the reapers.
While she would much rather focus on the business she runs with her friends Tao and Illianna, Risa is roped into searching the grey fields for the soul of a little girl in a coma. But what she finds there is beyond horrific. The little girl’s soul did not simply move on, it was ripped from her by an unknown creature.
But this is the least of her worries. A reaper is following her in an attempt to track down her father who has hellacious plans for the control of the gates to hell. Can Risa solve the mystery of the soul stealer and stop her father from wreaking havoc on both the grey fields and the world of the living?
Darkness Unbound is a wonderful introduction in the world of Risa Jones. This novel contained all the elements a reader desires in an Urban Fantasy novel. Action, suspense, terror, sex, love, humor, you name it. The plot is original and the characters are endearing. Old favorites from the Riley Jenson Guardian series make appearances. We bump into Riley, Quinn, Liander, Rhoan, and even Director Hunter.
This novel exceeded my expectations beyond belief. I was nervous to read a spinoff series since the Guardian series is one of my all-time favorites. But Keri Arthur did not let me down.
Darkness Unbound is so wonderful it manages to rival Full Moon Rising. Arthur’s writing style sucks the reader into the book, grabbing them in the first sentence of the book and holding on tightly until the last. Once again, Keri Arthur proves that she is one of the best in the world of Urban Fantasy writing....more
Full disclosure! #1 – I tend to love books set in the South and most especially in South Carolina. #2 – I luvs me some ghost hunting! #3 – I am a big fan of Southern Gothic writing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern...
Amelia Grey, “The Cemetary Queen”, has been hired by The Daughters of Our Valiant Heroes to restore Thorngate Cemetery in the town of Asher Falls, SC. The Thorngate project gives Amelia the chance to leave behind her beloved Charleston and the memories of a recent break-up and haunting that have left her heart broken & insecure. A remote town located in the Upstate, Asher Falls is full of folklore and local secrets – the kind that no one wants to talk about. Before her project ends, Amelia will learn more about herself, the townsfolk, and just how far someone will go to preserve their legacy.
I am having a full on love/hate relationship with this book.
What I love:
THE KINGDOM is set in the Carolina Upstate. The premise that Amelia Grey can see ghosts. A creepy town full of locals who are mysterious and secretive. Several intriguing story lines that build in a really suspenseful way.
What I don’t love:
An un-believable premise about how the town came to ruin. An anti-climactic ending. Ghosts who don’t do much of anything.
Stevens has a gift for building suspense. She takes great care in creating detailed imagery and palpable tension in her scenes. In this series, her character, Amelia, can see ghosts and is deathly afraid of attracting them for fear of a creating a psychic bond which would leave her – drained? It seems as if the first book in the series actually gives one a more specific account of what happens if a ghost becomes interested in you but in The Kingdom my impression is that a ghost need only say “Boo” and our heroine would fall apart.
The Kingdom harkens back to great Southern writers like Faulkner especially ABSALOM, ABSALOM - whether by design or coincidence – I really do not know. In both cases a family patriarch, Pell Asher in THE KINGDOM, is willing to do anything to protect the family legacy. Asher has sold off a portion of the town to the government to build a reservoir and in the process cut the town off from the highway. Wait! What? This is so unlikely. No business person would ever agree to a deal like this. This became the second strike against the credibility of this story.
The reservoir is constructed by flooding a cemetery. Creepy! But the most we get out of this wonderful premise is a bunch of bell tolling. :-(
Much like ABSOLOM,ABSOLOM Asher’s sons find themselves trapped in their father’s dream of glory and part of its demise. As Asher’s personal fortune dwindles because of his terrible business decisions, his lust for heirs grows out of control.
Before the book is over, the reader will be introduced to troubled teens, psychics, shape changers, witches and mountain magic – oh – and a dog. Our fragile heroine spends most of the time telling us how wonderful she feels inside a cemetery, as long as it is on hallowed ground, because the ghosties can’t reach her there. Which is weird because I would expect to see ghosts in a cemetery not just randomly around town. This really threw me for a loop. When she is not in the cemetery, or hiding from ghosts, Amelia is trying to solve the mystery of a young woman who died under mysteries circumstances at Asher Falls.
I did not read book 1, THE RESTORER, and after speaking with other readers, my recommendation would be to read this series in order as the events in book 2 seem to build upon book 1. This might explain why I felt lost at times as to the significance of certain references. Most of all, I felt underwhelmed by the book. In an era where the paranormal is incredibly popular in mass culture and you can find a paranormal investigator or ghost whisperer on every cable channel, this book failed to deliver a real reason to be afraid of the dead. Instead – Stevens gives you many more reasons for being afraid of the living.
This book immediately made me think that Amelia Grey is a heroine from another era. I could easily see this book being set in the sixties or seventies and Amelia would easily fit in an Ira Levin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary... or David Seltzer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Omen type novel. She is part of that class of paranormal heroines who laid the way for the kick butt ultra empowered heroines of today’s PNR/UF novels....more
I do love discovering new series with new premises especially when they come along just as your stuck in a booOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I do love discovering new series with new premises especially when they come along just as your stuck in a book rut wishing you had something new and exciting to read. It was thanks to my friend Bama that I discovered Inhale, the first in the Just Breath trilogy.
Here we are introduced to the world of wyldlings (humans) elementals and sentinels… a world where fire, air, water and earth are what makes the different elementals tick and in this case, the problems created when fire decides it’s just a bit too hungry and starts to invade human dreams, causing nightmares that in some cases, even lead to deaths. Enter the sentinels, super humans who can control dreams and manipulate Elements to either defend against or attack Elementals with Elemental magic. A Sentinel’s purpose is to maintain the balance and protect the wyldlings…or at least are attempting to do so.
Zoe a marine biologist specializing in whale research has finally gotten the opportunity she has been waiting for – a position in Australia leading a research team that could mean a major promotion and an escape from an annoying ex who happens to be her boss. She has a lot to prove but it might be a lot easier if she didn’t hear voices – the whales talking to her …and then there’s her panic attacks and the extremely strange dreams she’s been having.
Gavin Cassidy is a musician and sentinel without a cause. Ever since he lost his partner his control over his elements has been nil – just like his ability to write new songs. But then he’s called in to protect one wyldling – Zoe.
With fire trying to take over the dreaming, elemental leaders being killed off and changes coming to the ranks of the sentinels, Inhale introduces a fascinating new world with vivid imagery and almost poetic descriptions and let’s not forget sensual… Gavin and Zoe spend most of the book meeting in the Dreaming and well, things get interesting, very interesting. Sadly though Zoe is in danger in the Dreaming and in the ‘normal’ world. Some of the enemies are known – like a vindictive fire elemental named Scarlett, while others remain in the shadows.
I really did enjoy this book but at the same time I felt like I was missing something. The world of Inhale was beautifully presented but I wished there had been a little more background information. I realize that as a first book in a series there is always a lot to put on paper and some things get rushed so I hope this means that the second book in the series will clear things up on that front.
I also have to say that at some point in the book I really, really, wanted to find out more about Sinnder – the mysterious fire elemental. So much so that it took over the book from my perspective. That actually means I and seriously looking forward to read the next installment… with high hopes that Sinnder gets a more central role.
All in all Inhale was an intriguing and well written introduction to a new PNR/UF series; one I am looking forward to reading more of....more
FAIR GAME is the third book in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. This series includes characters and thOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
FAIR GAME is the third book in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. This series includes characters and themes from Briggs’ popular Mercy Thompson series.
In FAIR GAME, the werewolf population in the USA is coming to terms with the fall out from having publicly revealed their existence to the human race. Bran Cornick, The Marrrok, head of all werewolves in the USA, and his enforcer Charles, his son, have been overwhelmed managing their werewolf brethren under the increased scrutiny of the media. The stress has weighed heavily on Charles and Anna, his wife, begins to fear for his emotional and mental well being.
Anna is a rare form of werewolf, an Omega wolf, able to calm those around her and intuit emotional disturbances in those around her, as well. Concerned for her husband, Anna approaches The Marrok and begs for his release from his enforcer duties but faced with an outbreak of werewolf attacks in Boston there is no chance of Charles being relieved of duties. Instead, Bran assigns Anna to go to Boston with Charles to assist the FBI in investigating the grisly string of attacks. Before long, they will uncover a larger plot that will bring the balance between the fae world and the human world into a collision course.
I enjoy Briggs’ work – it’s clean, well plotted and low on hystrionics. She uses a light touch even with difficult scenes and generally is known for not being too sexy. Briggs’ work is full of fae references and folklore, FAIR GAME is no exception and that is perhaps my concern with this novel. In her past novels, Briggs’ shines when creating tension among her characters usually because the characters are so at odds. In FAIR GAME, the differences between Charles and Anna are almost two dimensional and cartoonish. Charles is stoic to the point of catatonic while Anna is so emotionally wound up she could win an Emmy for best actress in a soap opera.
Briggs over indulges in writing the angst between Anna and Charles. Charles’ tortured psyche is literally under attack by the ghosts from his past and unfortunately – I never really bought into this. His reluctance to find any way to communicate his plight with Anna for fear that she would also be haunted didn’t work well for me because I couldn’t embrace that there really was a threat.
Briggs has written a truly disturbing series of crimes perpetrated by a group of villains displaying a complete lack of moral fiber. The crimes were distasteful and could make it difficult for some readers to make it through the book or the ending.
I found the judicial trial at the end of the book and its outcome hard to fathom. And I readily volunteer that I am clueless as to how Briggs will choose develop the fae schism in her next books.
The final scenes in the book have a direct effect on the Marcy Thompson series so be forewarned....more
OMG…If you like/love the Hollows you can’t miss A Perfect Blood. Mrs. Harrison has taken Rachel past Pale DemonOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
OMG…If you like/love the Hollows you can’t miss A Perfect Blood. Mrs. Harrison has taken Rachel past Pale Demon and into her new life. In Rachel fashion the hard way is the only way to go. Thankfully she has friends there to help when she falls. A Perfect Blood has us seeing new dynamics within the “Hollows” series and we can start to see the possible end in sight. No you don’t know what’s going to happen. You can just see things starting to come to an end. There are still twist and turns, as there always is, and I’m sure we’ll have more in the further. But we know Mrs. Harrison is going to finish the series either at book 12 or 13 and with us on book 10 it’s only fitting that we start to see idea’s that will take us to the finish line.
So what could/would Mrs. Harrison do to prepare us for the end to come? She could do a lot and she did it with grace and stayed true to her characters. This is why I love Mrs. Harrison, she doesn’t jeopardize her writing for what people want. She shows their growth, their strengths, and weaknesses. With that said I’ll get on with it.
A Perfect Blood brings back some of our favorite characters (not dead) and some new ones, good and not so good. If you’ve read the first five chapters that HarperCollins posted than you know who I’m talking about. If you haven’t I’ll clue you in… Rachel now has a bodyguard thanks to Mom and Dad aka Takata. They think she needs someone to protect her/ keep her out of trouble. Though I think we can all agree that “trouble” is Rachel’s middle name. She is always getting into it with or without help. Her bodyguard, Wayde, is a Were who worked for her father as security. Wayde has a hard time controlling Rachel, as if anyone could and it leaves us with some pretty good banter.
Besides the introduction of Wayde we learn about a hate organization called HAPA. HAPA is a human hate group who want to eradicate Inderlanders. Being human and reading about HAPA made me wish I was an Inderlander. Even though HAPA doesn’t like magic or Inderlanders they aren’t opposed to using it. The magic they use is demon magic and so the I.S. wants to pin the crimes on Rachel if she doesn’t help them find the criminals. It’s a catch 22, with Rachel’s butt in a sling. Thankfully Rachel is smart enough to bring in the FIB. It’s the first time both groups worked together.
With a run on you never know what’s going to happen. We have a lot of people in this book and it’s action packed, similar to book one Dead Witch Walking and White Witch Black Cures.This one though has Rachel with more friends at her back to help and some enemies. And she needs them since she is cut off from the ley lines still. The bracelet Trent made her at the end of Pale Demon is still on her wrist, as she decides what she wants to be, or who. It’s not an easy decision for Rachel to make. There are a lot of good and bad issues one both sides.
Another decision Rachel has to make is getting her Pack tattoo. She has a hard time going to the tattoo artist until she is forced into it. Wayde and David are the ones that force Rachel into it and getting her there by force is quite funny. The tattoo’s description sounds really cool and it made me what a new one. Rachel even gets a special tattoo that’s slightly different than the one the rest of the Pack has. David too has a slightly different tattoo though his doesn’t look like Rachel’s but since they are both Alpha’s they get special ones. Having the tattoo gives Rachel another group that will protect her if she needs it. She now has three groups that would fight for her. It was so happy when I read that she had so many friends to aid her and “Inderlanders” that supported her.
A Perfect Blood has other highs and lows that are heart breaking as well. No, no one dies, at least no one we know. But some situations are sad, while others make you want to cheer. Having the good with the bad might be why this is such a great book, we feel everything Rachel is feeling. You want everything she wants. There are also other funny parts especially as Jenks cures more in this one. He takes Tinker Bell’s name in vain many times in this book and I love it. We also see his interactions will Belle which are both funny and heartening. He shows some real depth in this book as he’s moving way from the heartache of losing Matelina. It’s not just Jenks who is growing in this book both Rachel and Ivy do as while as they have to make difficult choices. We even see some growth from Trent and Al, which is shocking, though Trent started his grow in Pale Demon. It is within the growth that I think we can see where Mrs. Harrison might take us.
Mrs. Harrison can’t release book 11 soon enough. I know it’s going to be a year before the next one and than hopefully we’ll have two more books after that. I don’t think she’ll have everything tied up by twelve so my figures are crossed for thirteen, plus that’s just a witchy number. ;) I can’t wait to see where Kim goes from here and I can only hope my idea’s on what I think I’m seeing is the true journey. A Perfect Blood met and beat all my expectations. Granted my expectations when dealing with The Hollows is always high. I’m grateful it was a wickedly written novel. Kuddos Mrs. Harrison....more
This book made me insane. Oh, it was surely a happy ride and I’d stand in line to go again, but it was without a doubt pure, emotional insanity. I said, about the last book, that Stacia Kane had ridden me hard and put me away wet and it’s true here, too. I feel like the junkie, coming back for more after being wrung out so hard, but I just can’t get enough of this series. For a long time I thought book #3 in the series was my favorite but I do believe this one is now. It might go down as the book I most love to hate in the series, too. There was a lot of emotional dichotomy in this book for me, a lot of emotional extremes.
I’ve been standing up for Chess against the folks who knee-jerk react against her drug abuse since the beginning. I’ve encouraged people to see beyond her drug use to the person behind it. I have to own that I’m tired of her drug use and the self hatred and negative mind talk; and I just want to smack her, and shake her, and smack her again and scream in her face and tell her to grow the fuck up. I’m sick and tired of being patient with her and watching her hover on the border of self-destruction and the annihilation of those around her who care about her (even though she’s so fucking great she always manages to pull it out). There. I said it. I feel so much better. I feel like I need to be going to Al-Anon meetings over my love of Chess. My co-dependency has resurfaced and I am making excuses for a relationship whose chaos I would not tolerate in meat-life. In short, I am completely sucked in!
So, by now you’re thinking that this book is nothing but negative, right? I’ve made it sound as though it’s all bad and you don’t think you could possible stand to listen to Chess mind-fuck herself through it all? Well, Chasing Magic is hands-down the most romantic, most action-packed, and most thrilling of all the books in the already superb Downside series. If you opt out of this book just because I bitched about the stuff that’s driving me nuts with Chess then you’ll miss all the good stuff and there is so much of it that you’ll want to roll around in it like a cat in a patch of cat nip. When I say “good” I don’t necessarily mean “feel good” but it’s good never the less.
We’ve never seen Terrible quite so tender or so effusive. There are so many wonderful moments that if Terrible wasn’t on your romance top hits list before he will be after this book. He’s also never been quite so adamant about putting his foot down and laying down some boundaries while still respecting Chess’ right to choose, and I say “about damned time!”
We’ve never gotten quite so much insight into Bump. But I’ll let that unfold by itself.
I’ve always felt a dichotomy for Lex. I empathized with people who liked him and thought he was charming and cared about Chess and understood that he was not to be trusted, but thought that because he cared about Chess he should be cut some slack. Let me tell you that I read this book two months ago, I’ve had time for it to stew. When I read this book I decided that I didn’t just hate Lex, I loathed him. I waited to see if I would still hate him after it stewed for a while. I still hate him. You may not. I do. I didn’t hate him until this book, and that’s even after he again saved Chess’ life, and I hate him for a scene in this book that he spends with Chess – not for what he tries to do to Terrible (although that doesn’t put him on my fan-girl list, either).
Chess suffers a loss in this book that is very real and ongoing. It’s something that she’ll have to deal with on a regular basis and it’s poignant and, in my estimation, very telling about how strong she really is. It’s an extremely hurtful thing to her, but she rolls with it and finds a way to keep on keeping on even though it hurts. It’s the kind of hurt all of us can relate to in one way or another, I think.
As I write this I have no word about whether or not there will be any more books in this series. The last I heard there might be one more in the U.K. but there were no known plans for further publishing in the U.S. According to Goodreads the paperback and Kindle publishing is Del Rey and the ebook is Random House Publishing (in case you might like to write an email expressing your support) although I have not been able to further verify any of this so please don’t hold me or anyone else to that and I am certainly not suggesting an email writing campaign.
All I know is that Downsides Ghosts is one of my most favorite urban fantasy series. Even when I hate it, I love it and that’s a very difficult thing to get from me as I am not the sort of person who enjoys being teased. I will watch with baited breath hoping that Stacia Kane finds a way to continue publishing whether it be through conventional publishing methods or not. As long as there is more to read in this series I will be there with bells on to read it, particularly if it’s half as good as Chasing Magic.
And with one final shot let me now thank Stacia Kane personally for never having written a cliff hanger in this series. Few things make me feel more respected by an author and this is at the top of my all time favorites list....more
A Blood Seduction hooked me right from the start with a different twist on the whole vampire trope, and I couldn’t put it down.
The protagonist, Quinn Lennox, knows she’s different, but after her mother dies and her father remarries she suddenly becomes an outsider in her own home.
When her baby brother comes along, she’s supposed to stay away from him so of course, she makes him the focus of all her love and attention. Years later when his girlfriend vanishes, Quinn is determined to help him find her, and in the process, the two of them embark on a terrifying journey through a strange dimension filled with vampires.
I’m fascinated by the different breed of vamps that populate the pages, especially Arturo, but I doubt he can be trusted. He appears to develop real feelings for Quinn, but then does or says something that negates them, and I’m right back to square one. Do I trust him or not?
Some of the horrendous acts performed on the humans were hard to read, but since the vamps feed on pain or fear, the acts fuel the progression of Quinn’s attachment to Arturo. By the last chapter, I was convinced Arturo really loved her only to have that certainty blasted out of the water. Now I’m on the fence and don’t know which way to turn.
The world building is wonderful, and I could visualize it as I read. The vamp hierarchy is interesting and contributed to my on/off appreciation of Arturo. Since few truly care for her, Quinn is fiercely protective of those she loves, and that could end up becoming her strength or her weakness. I’m curious to see how that plays out.
Yes, it was a bloody, violent, emotional book—that’s what made the vampire world so horrifying to imagine. It also gave Quinn a reason to fight back, and I can see where her ability to discover and hone her own talents will make or break future events.
Minor spoilers, possible... I've actually searched the internet on how best to describe Pamela Palmer's A Blood Seduction. Some refer to it as a paranormal romance, others as urban fantasy romance, others still as dark urban fantasy romance, but let me make this clear: A Blood Seduction is not a romance. Far from it, in fact. I personally think it would be best described as a horror.
Quinn Lennox, along with her half-brother Zack, fall down the "rabbit hole" into a parallel universe of Washington, D.C. circa 1870, aptly named Washington, V.C. or Vamp City. Everything in this alternate reality is exactly as it would have been back then except in disrepair... and filled with blood thirsty fiends. Though, it's not just neglect ripping this city apart, the magic holding it together is breaking down and letting the human world seep through its cracks bringing with it sunlight to brighten a world in perpetual darkness. After Quinn gets captured by Arturo shortly after her arrival, he soon discovers a secret about her that he hopes will save his world from being destroyed.
I have to hand it to Ms. Palmer, from the very first page, I was sucked into her world, compelled to keep reading even though every part of me was screaming for me to stop. Her world is harsh, violent, sickening and terrifying. I don't think I ever enjoyed one moment. Her vampires are the epitome of terror. Not only do they feed on blood, but the majority feed on pain, fear, and pleasure. After years of honing their skill, most take just as much delight in the chilling acts that they perform as the release given to them by it.
To feed, the vampires make slaves of the poor souls that they stole before their magic started failing or ones unlucky enough to fall through one of the many wholes between the two worlds that have now started popping up all over Vamp City. These humans are nothing more than cattle, no, lower if that's possible, rats to them. They think because they glamour them, nothing they can do will affect them, but most of what we see through Quinn's eyes.. you just can't come back from that. I found in some places it was hard to keep the nausea from rolling up at the things being described - This is definitely not one for the faint of heart.
It’s hard when reading a book not to look for that ray of light. That small glimmer of hope. You want, or need, a reason to fight, but in Vamp City, it isn’t just crushed, it’s obliterated. The vamps are so strong and adept that it magnifies how powerless the naïve and directionless Quinn is throughout the whole book, how she fumbles her way through, never making plans, and always relying on others to save her. To make matters worse, I found myself silently screaming at her repeatedly for making the same mistakes over and over and over and over – like with Arturo.
Normally, I root for the anti-hero. He has always been my favorite. Is he good or bad? Can he be saved? Never before have I ever wished so much for a heroine to grow a pair and kill the hero. This is a first for me. Arturo has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Every time Quinn starts to trust him, he shows her another reason why she shouldn’t have. He’s a snake, a liar, playing on Quinn’s vulnerably and loneliness. The crux is she knows this! But lets him continue to get close to her so he can do it again all because of the burning desire that rears up every time she gets close to him! Sex? Or survival? Sex? Or survival? Hmmm… I pick survival, but that’s just me.
A friend of ours described A Blood Seduction perfect for me – it polarizes the reader. On one hand, this book will have you ranting and raving, shocked and appalled, or just plain irritated by the shear helplessness. On the other, Ms. Palmer seduced me, kept me reading, and fighting for Quinn. Her world building was fantastic and her writing keeps you in abject horror, but you’ll continue to read until that very last page. I think fans of Laurell K. Hamilton will find it to be a perfect fit, especially those intrigued by Queen Andais like myself. I’ll be reading the next in Pamela Palmer’s Vamp City series....more
Try as I may, it is almost impossible for me to review this book without mentioning some details from previousOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
Try as I may, it is almost impossible for me to review this book without mentioning some details from previous books in the series and after 12 installments, can you blame me? So, just in case you haven’t read the earlier Sookie adventures, consider this a warning of possible spoilers.
In many ways DEADLOCKED showcases the true strengths in Charlaine Harris’ writing. Despite all the suitor wars (Bill Lovers, Eric Lovers, Sam Lovers etc…) at it’s core the Sookie Stackhouse books were quirky mysteries where some of the characters just happened to be supernatural. Somewhere along the way, whether it was the readers who got caught up in the supe craze or the authors intent, those paranormal elements began to out shine the mystery that is (and always has been) the foundation to each book.
In Bon-Temps, Sookie has settled into her new responsibilities at Merlottes as “part-owner” with her best friend Sam Merlotte. Despite being tired from work, she makes time to go out to ladies night at her cousin Claude’s strip bar, Hooligans, with her friends Holly, Kennedy, Michele (her brother Jason’s girlfriend) and the very pregnant Tara. The fun evening out quickly becomes an evening of surprises for Sookie when an unexpected person is seen stripping at the club and then afterwards at her home with an even more unexpected visit from her grandfather, Niall.
Niall’s appearance at Sookie’s home is awkward as ever, especially since her cousin Claude and great-uncle Dermot (who Niall considers a traitor) are living there. But, Sookie forces Niall to face Dermot and discuss their differences. In doing so, the possibility of a curse being put on Dermot becomes likely and Niall takes Claude back to Fairy to investigate the charges.
The following evening Sookie is strongly encouraged by the lone-were, Mustapha (Eric Northman’s daytime man) to go to a “party” where King Felipe is in attendance at Eric Northman’s home in Shreveport. Once there she is once again faced with visual knowledge that she, in a very “Scarlett O’Hara” fashion, had previously tried not to think about. But, instead of whining about the situation or running away from the problem, Sookie takes charge and deals with things in a rather mature manner. When the dead body of one of the party guests shows up on the lawn and Mustapha is missing, Sookie begins to investigate with the help of her ex-lover Bill Compton. The more they uncover, the more it appears Eric is being framed but the list of motives is long and all the details seem too complex for some of the usual suspects.
Of course, there are other issues adding to the conflicts. Eric is still in negotiations with The Queen of Oklahoma over the proposed marriage between them set into motion by his late maker. And if that wasn’t enough Sookie is having issues with Sam’s girlfriend, the were Jannalyn, who just happens to also be the second in Sookie’s one-time possible flame, Alcide Herveroux’s pack.
I admit, this is a tough book for Sookie and Eric. So many things seem stacked against this favorite couple. No character is perfect in this series and I think that is what allows readers to relate to the characters making these books strike a chord with so many different people. Even with all the turmoil, Sookie repeatedly says over and over that she is in love with Eric and loves him . . .
There is so much that goes down in this book. Charlaine Harris seems to be tying up all those loose ends. So often when author’s of long running series attempt to conclude their story certain things can feel rushed and unnecessary but this is not the case with DEADLOCKED. Readers will be delighted to see Mr. Cataliades and Diantha pop in at a perfect moment, questions about Barry the bell hop (LDID & ATD) answered, Quinn make a cameo on a special day with some big news of his own, Alcide finally atoning for some bad choices and growing up, The Fairy story-line directly dealt with, more of Sam, the Cluvial Dor’s purpose, Jason mature and stable, and Bill in a good place in his existence.
Even Sookie feels like she is in a better place than she has been in the last few books. She goes out with friends, visits people, tans and daydreams like Sookie of old but that’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of tough times and sad moments, just that the character’s growth is evident.
The writing in DEADLOCKED was improved and at times even poetically beautiful. As in these passages:
I woke up to a summer day that mocked me by being beautiful. The downpour had washed everything, cooled the air, and renewed the green of the grass and the trees. The delicate pink of the old crepe myrtle was unfurling. The cannas would soon be open. (Chapter 9)
Loved ones, friends, acquaintances had been mown down by the Grim Reaper. So I was no stranger to loss and to change, and these experiences had taught me something. (Chapter 9)
Not only was there real emotion conveyed in the text, but at times it felt as if Harris was really enjoying her characters, even poking fun at some of the tired behaviorism’s of various characters in a “Laugh out loud” scene between Eric, Pam, Bill and Sookie something that I haven’t really seen since the earlier books. All these things combined to make reading this book a real treat and left me nostalgic for earlier books, wishing I could re-read them all again from a first time perspective.
With everything that is answered in DEADLOCKED there are lots of surprises and revelations that leave so many possibilities that will keep fans guessing all the way to May, 2013....more
Jessica McClain: Blooded is Amanda Carlson’s first offering in the urban fantasy genre. In this very short noveOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Jessica McClain: Blooded is Amanda Carlson’s first offering in the urban fantasy genre. In this very short novella, only about 50 pages, we’re introduced to the world of Jessica McClain and her fight for survival in a pack that will no longer tolerate her existence. As the first female, and human, born to a race of werewolves where bloodlines are only passed down through the males, Jessica is an anomaly that breathes truth into an old myth of the Daughter of Cain bringing fear, panic, and rage to the pack that her father, the Alpha, can no longer control.
In this prequel to Jessica McClain series, Ms. Carlson brings to the table a strong, witty heroine who will go to lengths to ensure her own survival and a premise that promises to be enormously entertaining. If Blooded is just a taste of what is to come, than I for one am eagerly awaiting Full Blooded when it hit shelves this September....more
I’m pretty sure my squees of excitement could be heard blocks away at the invite sitting prettily there in my iOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
I’m pretty sure my squees of excitement could be heard blocks away at the invite sitting prettily there in my inbox. I actually had no idea that there was a story in the works from Jocelynn Drake, but I’m so glad to have been selected to read an early copy, because quite frankly, I’ve been missing this series something fierce since it’s ending in Burn the Night last year.
For those of you who don’t know, Bound to Me is a short novella of only 100 pages set a couple centuries before Mira’s adventures in the Dark Days series. Available only in ebook from HarperCollins, fans will get one more look back into the past of the Fire Starter.
Finally, we get to see just what it was about one of my favorite sub-characters. I always wondered just what it was that kept Mira looking so fondly towards Valerio, besides his smoking good looks. Caught up in a love affair, Mira travels with Valerio to track down her own kind, among others, and deliver death as the enforcer for the Coven. Though, this arrangement is not without its entertainment as the pair of them travel throughout Europe leaving death in their wake.
In this short, Valerio and Mira go to the home of her maker Sadira, Madrid, to track down a Warlock murdering vampires, but while they’re there, Mira uncovers the real truth behind the Covens request.
Appealing to both new comers to the Dark Days series and longtime readers alike, Bound to Me, is a perfect addition to the rich world Jocelynn Drake has created. While I was both completely heart broken and thrilled that Ms. Drake ended the series when she did, I must admit that visiting Mira again has been nothing less than fabulous.
ETA: Bound to Me will becoming to paperback May 1, 2012: Amazon...more
Alma Katsu has released a brilliant eShort story The Devil’s Scribe that gives you a little more insight into Lanore (Lanny) the heroine from The Taker. We are immediately taken back to the year 1846 when it is shocking for a young woman to be alone in a bar at night, yet Lanny sits having a drink. Why does she not care what others think about her and why has Lanny returned to Boston after 20 years? Lanny tells us “I’d been fleeing my past, trying to outrun the terrible thing I’d done all those years ago. I was learning, however, that one never really escapes from one’s sins; they will demand your attention if you try to ignore them.” We are swept along wondering what this young woman could have done that is so terrible.
It is a delightful turn of events that Katsu has decided to use Poe as the one to push along Lanny’s story. With his keen sense he recognizes a story that he must tell in Lanny. Poe introduces himself to Lanny as the Devil’s Scribe, stating that “he preferred to write tells of intense darkness”. With this admission we are taken along the journey as Lanny returns to the source of her fear. Perhaps it is because he is a stranger Lanny doesn’t feel threatened and opens up a little about this terrible transgression she has committed that keeps her up at night.
Brilliant and enchanting, in this story Katsu has given you just enough information to leave you longing for more. If you haven’t read The Taker yet, this story will draw you in and leave you with questions that can all be answered in The Taker. It is also an excellent way to acquaint you with Katsu’s writing style and get a small taste of what to expect in her books. How exciting that it is being released in Trade Paperback on March 27th! If you have already read The Taker this short story gives you just enough new information about Lanny and will have you anxiously awaiting The Reckoning. I highly recommend this enchanting eShort story....more
If you’re looking for a good laugh, you’ve come to the right place. J.B. Lynn has given us the next Stephanie Plum in the form of Maggie Lee.
What’s a girl supposed to do when an accident leaves her sister and brother-in-law dead, her tiny niece Katie in a coma, and the insurance isn’t enough to cover the expenses? As a claims representative for Insuring the Future, Maggie doesn’t make the kind of money needed ensure her niece has the very best care, so she has to figure out how to cover the costs before the hospital turns Katie over to another facility. She also has to take care of Katie’s very small anole lizard named Godzilla….God for short. Oh, yeah, he talks. At least, he talks to Maggie.
After being rudely accosted in the hospital hallway by a sleazy jerk, Maggie decides to give him a piece of her mind and follows him into a patient’s room only to discover that he’s smothering the patient. She does the only thing she can think of—hits him with a plastic chair—thereby preventing a murder. She later learns the man was Alfonso Cifelli, son-in-law to mob boss Anthony/Tony Delveccio. (Delveccio is a twin. Their not-too-bright mother named them Tony and Anthony and Maggie has no idea which one she’s dealing with.) The person she saved turned out to be Anthony/Tony’s grandson…Alfonso’s son.
Anthony/Tony makes her an offer: Kill Alfonso and he’ll pay her one hundred thousand dollars—enough money to keep Katie right where she is. But since Maggie has no skills and only a week to do the job, Anthony/Tony arranges a meeting with someone who will train her. That someone turns out to be police detective/hitman Patrick Mulligan.
The path of the story is never straight, never what you expect, but always darkly funny. Maggie’s three weird aunts, incarcerated father, and mother in the loony bin make it seem she’s the only sane person around. But after talking to God (the lizard), she begins to doubt her own sanity.
The secondary characters are as bold and quirky as Maggie Lee. You’ll fall in love with her co-worker, Armani Vasques, who gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘smart ass’ and Paul Kowalski, who may or may not be a dirty cop. Fifty-something Aunt Leslie, who’s usually higher than a kite, is twin to Aunt Loretta, the sex kitten.
This dark comedy is great entertainment, and I hope Lynn plans to make this into a series, because I can’t wait to read more....more
Sins of the Angels is first in Linda Pointevin’s Grigory Legacy series with a fresh new look on Angels and Demons; good and evil. Alexandra Jarvis is a homicide detective in Toronto, Canada working a particularly gruesome serial killer case where the body count is high, but the savagery and depravity is higher.
Fighting demons from the past become a struggle for sanity when Alex meets her new partner, Jacob Trent. From their very first meeting, Alex recognizes something in him that she just cannot let go, but the tormented Angel has his own mission. The tenuous relationship hangs by a thread as they scour the streets looking for their suspect only to realize that he’s already found them.
One of my favorite scenes for a multiple of reasons, but mostly because it shows the intense struggle that both Alex and Jacob Trent (Aramael) are going through:
Alex jerked her hand from Trent’s arm, but too late.
Energy jangled through her, unstoppable, unfettered.
Making her see again that which could not be. A man who looked as shell-shocked as she felt, and who was possessed of wings rising from his back.
Magnificent, powerful, golden wings.
Panic twisted in Alex’s gut. She stumbled backward, recoiling from Trent – and from her own reaction. She did not see wings, and she sure as hell didn’t feel myriad of emotions woven into the brief touch they had shared, either here or in the office. Didn’t feel those emotions vying for attention, each as improbable as the one before, all underlined by utter confusion.
“Detective Jarvis – “
At the sound of Trent’s voice, the wings rising beyond his shoulders disappeared. Alex blinked, swallowed, and felt cold fingers of dread brush against a mind that terrified her with its sudden fragility.
No. Not that.
With careful movements defined by their very deliberateness, she took the keys from her pocket and replaced the cell phone in its case at her waist. Then, with equal precision, she locked away the image of a winged Trent with the memories and the gut-congealing fear with which she’d lived a lifetime.
“We have another body,” she said. “Staff Roberts wants us at the scene.”
Set in third person multiple povs, Sins of the Angels is a roller coaster of a ride sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. I just could not stop reading until I reached that very last page. My heart was racing through the twist and turns, broken with surprises and left aching by the end with a promise of retribution. With only minor flaws, Linda Poitevin writes a beautifully vivid and sometimes all too real story that readers of Jeannie Holmes Alexandra Sabian series is sure to love. Now, if only Sins of the Son, Grigory Legacy 2, were releasing tomorrow instead of next week....more
Kitt: When Suz found out that I got an ARC to Jenn Bennett’s second in her Arcadia BelOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Kitt: 3 Stars Suz: 3 Stars
Kitt: When Suz found out that I got an ARC to Jenn Bennett’s second in her Arcadia Bell series, Summoning the Night, she down right viciously attacked me to get her grubby little hands on my precious. Of course, being the fabulous, golden heart creature that I am, I couldn’t just let her pout in the corner could I? That’s right; I couldn’t, because no one puts Suz in the corner.
Suz: You sound a little bit like Johnny from Dirty Dancing, Kitt. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” “Oh, Kitt!” ;) But seriously, Kitt – I really loved the first Arcadia Bell book and when I heard that you had an ARC of the second I found myself squeeing like a fangirl. It was a bit embarrassing, really. But I really enjoyed the first one. The world Jenn Bennett has created around Arcadia Bell is pretty compelling and draws me in. I wanted to go back there and see what was cooking.
Kitt: You squeeing like a fangirl? I almost don’t believe it. Almost. Because I know where you’re coming from and think I’d have to agree. Ms. Bennett’s world truly is a fantastic, fresh new angle on magic. Arcadia Bell is a magician who can kindle Heka through electricity, and after Kindling the Moon, we now know about her Moon Child powers too. But it isn’t just her world is it? Her charming characters have this way of completely stealing the show. Who would of thought that a thirteen year old motor mouth could be so entertaining?
Suz: Isn’t that the truth? You know I’m not a big fan of the kiddies, Kitt. It’s not that I dislike kids; I’m just one of those people who does better when I can “awww” from afar and carry on with my day. Even so, it’s the kid’s show in this book, for sure. I don’t mean to take anything away from the rest of the characters, they all reached out and grabbed me one way or another, but that kid redefined “endearing brat.”
Kitt: I know what you mean! But oh we’re skipping ahead, aren’t we? Summoning the Night begins only two months after Cady’s tragic brush with reality. Everything is going swimmingly with her job and her new found relationship with Earthbound demon, rare book collector and rich photographer, Lon Butler. That is until the head of the Hellfire Club, Ambrose Dare, asks them both to look into the case of missing teens and a cold case serial killer, the Snatcher, from the early 80s.
Suz: I gotta tell you, Kitt, I really don’t like that guy, Ambrose. In the first book he was just alluded to as the power behind the throne, so to speak, of the Hellfire Club, and the person who would fix the ills the club had been up to. Turns out he’s a real piece of work in his own right and I’m thinking I’m going to get plenty of opportunity to love to hate him in the future, too. Just a hunch.
But Lon, I think, is a new kind of dreamy that we don’t see very often in romantic leads. He’s not super hunky, but more of a later-hippy-throw-back who kept his decent looks. You’re a bit younger than me, Kitt, so that might not be up your alley, but it brings back memories for me! *eye wiggle* Combine that with his other, supernatural characteristics and his near infinite patience and it’s a pretty attractive package to me in an unconventional way. Although, I could probably do without the mustache.
Kitt: No, I get the appeal – he’s rich, charming with all the right amounts of laid back that some heroes seem to have an allergy to, but I have to admit, he’s not really my type. There’s something about him that didn’t quite resonate with me at first. Also, the mustache! Throws me every time and I have no idea why. Though, the more I see him on the page the more I’m warming to him.
I have to admit that this story brought on a complete state of confusion for me. I understand Cady’s power, but I don’t understand why she would be asked to help find these missing kids. Ok, well maybe not why she was asked, but more like feelings that maybe this story was brought on too soon in the series. Nothing about her seems like the appropriate person to ask and her skills rank somewhere near junior league detectives. Before Kindling the Moon, she was just magician fugitive bartender, and now in Summoning the Night, she still is. Not to mention, that Cady seems to be moving backwards from the self-assured women we saw in the first in the series. What did you think of the plot, Suz?
Suz: I agree there seemed to be holes in the plot and you’ve mentioned one of them that was confusing. I half expect to find out in a later book that Ambrose has some inside information from Cady’s magic society that we haven’t been privy to yet, but I suppose that’s just me trying to fill in the blanks.
For me, however, her moving backwards as you suggest, was the most frustrating. I could have dealt with it had it been a personal growth arc that was book length, but it’s looking like it’s going to be her cross to bear in the long haul and I find that pretty infuriating. She’s acquired tons of magic she’s afraid to use just because she prefers to “not think about it right now” and she puts herself and everyone around her at risk because of it. Again, this is something that when it first appeared in this book I frustratingly thought it had to be a book length personal growth arc but when we reached the end of the book and it was not only unresolved but perhaps in worse shape I have to admit I was disappointed.
Kitt: Same here. Seeing Cady continue down the path of ignorance is just going to make things worse in the end, not only for her new found family, but for readers as well. Summoning the Night started out well enough. And it does have all the action, mystery with a smidgeon of romance that I look forward to in my urban fantasy’s, but I honestly was hoping for more than I was given. Maybe we’ll see a little more personal growth from Cady in the short story, Leashing the Tempest, when it release’s this December.
Suz: Oh! See, I didn’t know there was a short coming out in the same year. That’s a bit of salve on my confusion and helps me lean more to wait-and-see. Bottom line for me is that I loved the first one, was so torn with duality about the second one that it ended up feeling unfinished, even though it’s not, so I could only give it a middlin’ rating. However, the world is so original, the way the magic works and the characters interact is so interesting and genuine, and Cady started out with such a bang that I’m going to continue to follow this series and see where it goes, hoping that Cady finds her figurative cojones soon. I’m chalking this one up to a sophomore slump because I think the foundation is essentially still pretty solid. ...more