I finished Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee this week. I asked for it because the main character is a banshee and really, how many times do you use aI finished Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee this week. I asked for it because the main character is a banshee and really, how many times do you use a banshee MC? Or even a half-banshee.
Banshee Charmer is the first in a new Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series. I enjoyed it. It's a short, quick read. It moves fast.
The part I liked best was when Mac uses her scream on the bad guy. ;) Too bad she isn't a full banshee; that guy deserves to die.
Screaming isn't that useful when it comes to detective work. She needs to do it the way non-magical cops do it: with her brains and guts. I enjoyed reading all that.
It is always clear that, Aidan, the male lead and romantic interest isn't telling her everything. It turns out he was lying to her from the beginning. She forgives him for that, accepts him at the end and the book ends there. I don't quite understand how she can do that.
Maybe that's because Banshee Charmer is so short. I am not sure how many pages (I have a kindle ARC from net galley) but I think maybe half the size of a normal sized novel.
Also, lots of times it felt like she was telling us (me, the reader!) very interesting things about the other characters, but I wasn't feeling it when the those characters showed up on page. Maybe this was also a result of the short length; not enough space to show everything I would like to be shown in the characters.
Other than that I would have to say this is a very interesting world (banshees and selkies and incubus and so much more). I like the main character and I think there is a lot potential for future stories....more
It’s pretty interesting, filled with lots of stories and anecdotes. The stories come from all over, from business, science and art.
Basically it says,It’s pretty interesting, filled with lots of stories and anecdotes. The stories come from all over, from business, science and art.
Basically it says, anyone can learn how to use their imagination and be creative. It says the normal beliefs about creativity and the imagination (beliefs all involve the muse) but that instead it’s really different thought processes. Anyone can be imaginative; you just need to know how to think.
It talks about insight and hard work. Apparently all you need is a moment of insight, followed by tons of hard work. It reminds me of Thomas Edison quote: Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. It emphasizes how much work people do after they get their idea. Getting an idea to work isn’t easy or fast.
Insight is basically an idea about something. An idea how to solve a problem, an idea about what the problem is to begin with, a new piece of art.
He talks about insight and the brain. Apparently the brain uses different areas when it’s in the middle of an insight. When you are creating something new (musicians improvising is the example he uses) the area of the brain associated with self-expression lights up and changes happen in the impulse control section of the brain, too. The language and speech production parts of the brain become more active, too. (He compares music notes to words; music patterns need to memorized like nouns and verbs and so on.)
So it seems to me that no self-control plus self-expression plus bone-deep knowledge of basics equals creativity.
No impulse control means you don’t dismiss an odd or dangerous idea the moment it occurs to you. It is easier to be brave, I think. Or maybe that’s foolish. LOL It is easier when you are relaxed. I mean, how many eureka moments do you have when you are tense and thinking too hard? Sometimes you need to do something else and let go.
The bone-deep-knowledge-of-basics thing is more important than it sounds like. You have to be bit of an outsider to the problem. Being an outsider makes it easier to think outside the box. Easier to see the issues sometimes. The outsider bit is why most new ideas come from blending different fields. Different cultures, different ways of thinking.
He says that’s why group creativity is important. People are more creative in groups than by themselves. Apparently group work has been studied - Broadway musical, Pixar, traders. The most successful musicals were the ones with a mix of artists, some new, some who know each other. Pixar forced its people to go to the same bathroom so people from different departments talk to each other. The traders who talked the most with other people were the most successful. (It sounds oddly like networking to me.)
Cities are most creative of all! LOL Despite the internet and how it connects people, nothing can replace the city! It’s how you meet lots of different people, from different places. It makes you more aware of stuff that is different elsewhere. Travel does this, too. That awareness and random conversations with people sparks the imagination, too....more
This book is pretty damn good. A lot better than I expected. I have to admit, I read the blurb and decided it couldn’t be interesting. I mean, the whoThis book is pretty damn good. A lot better than I expected. I have to admit, I read the blurb and decided it couldn’t be interesting. I mean, the whole Aztec blood magic thing. I wasn’t into it.
But it’s really good. I stayed up too late to read this and I really like it. The end is perfect. I did not see it coming, but at the same time, it makes perfect sense. Really. Just the kind of ending I like best.
I have to admit, I wasn’t too crazy about the book when I first heard about it. The idea of an Aztec priest and a murder mystery. I mean, the Aztecs are known for blood sacrifice, human and otherwise. I figured there would be both in the book and I wasn’t crazy about the idea.
But it’s not bad. Yes, they sacrifice animals and the temple keeps a collection of animals to sacrifice. And there are mentions of a new king having to go and gather prisoners for sacrifice to prove himself fit to be king. It’s a little disturbing, but that’s not the focus.
The writer gives all the characters Aztec names. There is a lot about the gods, what sacrifices each like, what offends them, the other temples, about the government. How the king becomes king and the politics surrounding both (both meaning the temple and the government). I don’t know how much of it is real and how much is made up out of whole cloth, but I loved it. World building is one of the things I love most and this was pretty fantastic.
The main character has personal issues – issues with his brother, his father, his choice to become a priest instead of a warrior. Despite a lifetime as a priest, he’s still struggling with all of those issues. Due to someone else’s political muddling, he became the High Priest of his order. It’s a role he still needs to grow into. He’s not exactly leading it at the beginning.
I thought he was a woman at the beginning, too. LOL Well, it’s written in 1st POV and it has the feel of a lot of urban fantasy novels so . . . yeah. I thought he was a girl. Most urban fantasies are written from the female POV so I think I might be forgiven.
Despite the Aztec world, the lack of sex, it feels a lot like urban fantasy to. But if you associate urban fantasy with a paranormal version of our world, instead of the other elements, this one might feel more like traditional fantasy to you. IMO, it’s a most wonderful mix of the two.
The most memorable part for me was when our hero discovers the first villain of the piece (a pawn, more like, who allowed herself to be used unto death) gives herself to another temple rather face immediate death. The temple will prepare her and drown her as a sacrifice to their goddess. Their goddess likes her sacrifices to be drowned and not killed in some other way. ...more
The Siren Depths is the third in the series and I think it’s probably my favorite in the whole series. It might be confusing without reading the previThe Siren Depths is the third in the series and I think it’s probably my favorite in the whole series. It might be confusing without reading the previous books.
The word is gorgeously described and very, very imaginative, just like in the first book. And it just keeps getting better. I love it. I love the characters, too. The main character, Moon, finds the family that abandoned him when he was born. Apparently he’s the spitting image of his father. ;)
Moon was born a consort in a winged, matriarchal race. Consorts are the only males that can breed with a Queen. There are rules to govern the behavior of Consort. But Moon, having grown up in the wild, never learned any of the rules. Indeed, he never knew the name of his race until half way into the first book.
Because of the rules governing the life of a consort, Moon is forced to go back to his family. The relationship rules are kind of complex, IMO. But explained because Moon is an outsider. (I think trying to explain the rules to the reader if the main character were not an outsider would very, very difficult.)
Because of the life Moon had (he has been wandering the world ever since he was a child, always hiding, always ready to move on) trust is difficult for Moon. Very, very difficult. There is lots of action, lots of drama, but Moon’s insecurity about his place always pops up. He even says something like that to his new-found mother: if the Fell treated me well and told me I belonged with them, I would have.
The Fell are the enemy, and very, very different from his own people. Any physical similarities are misleading. It highlights how Moon felt in the first book and though he has learned to trust a little, he still has a long way to go.
The one thing that is clear to me at the end of this book is that Moon will never, ever be like a normal consort of his people. He can pretend for a few hours maybe, but in the end, he will always do something no other consort would ever do.
His Queen accepts that, which is just as well.
I don’t know which is my favorite scene in this book. There are so many good ones, I just don’t know. Nothing stands out for me right now. Definitely worth reading, but after the first two in the series. I am pretty sure I will re-read this again. I will figure out then which scene I like best. ...more
I enjoyed this. Two guys recognize each other from school - it's good. I wish it had been longer. I wish Damien had a better self-esteem, but that's pI enjoyed this. Two guys recognize each other from school - it's good. I wish it had been longer. I wish Damien had a better self-esteem, but that's part of that the character, and I am thinking there is room for a future story where Tim helps him with that....more
Hit Lit explains or attempts to explains what American bestselling books have in common. It talks about 12 books:
1. To Kill a Mocking Bird by HarperHit Lit explains or attempts to explains what American bestselling books have in common. It talks about 12 books:
1. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. 1960. 134 editions, over 140,000,000 copies sold. 2. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious. 1956. 10, 670, 302 copies sold. 3. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. 1966. About 30, 000, 000 copies sold worldwide. 4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. 1936. Close to 30, 000, 000 copies sold in the 1990′s. 5. Jaws by Peter Benchley. 1974. By 1975, more than 9, 275, 000 copies sold. 6. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. 1992. About 50, 000, 000 copies sold worldwide. 7. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. 1984. 5 to 6 million sold. 8. The Godfather by Mario Puzo. 1969. By 1975, over 12, 000, 000 copies sold. 9. The Firm by John Grisham. 1991. Spent 47 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. 10. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. 1971. Four years after publication, 22, 702, 097 copies sold. 11. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. 2003. 81, 000, 000 copies sold. 12. The Dead Zone by Stephan King. 1979. King’s first novel to break into year-end top ten.
I have not read any of these books. I cannot say if what he says about them is true. Really, I ought to read a few just to see if I agree with him. I even teased this book yesterday.
He says all of these books have 12 things in common.
1. An Offer You Can’t Refuse: page-turner 2. Hot Buttons: something people can’t help but argue about. 3. The Big Picture: sweeping backdrop 4. The Golden Country: a lost Eden, the true homeland the MC has lost. 5. Facts: He says people want to learn about other stuff from novels. I don’t agree. 6. Secret Societies: secrets about the ocean, about the bedroom, conspiracies and groups no one else knows about. 7. Bumpkins vs Slickers and vice versa: people move back and forth from the country to the city, from the city to the country 8. God: the characters have doubts about god and religion. 9. American Dream/Nightmare: rags to riches, and conversely, riches to rags. 10. Mavericks: rebels, loners, misfits, trailblazers, free spirits, nonconformists, bohemians. characters who are slightly out of step with their world. 11. Fractured Families: characters are missing some part their family. parents, siblings, children. 12. Juicy Parts: sex.
An Offer You Can’t Refuse is basically good stuff that keeps you turning the page. It’s speed, tension, danger and characters you are in love with. It’s something dangerous going on with the character and you can’t look away because you want to know what happens next. It’s everything that makes you turn the page. This, I have no problem with. He also talks about how these books are movie-friendly. They are high-concept. Basically, that’s when you sum up the drama of the book quickly. It helps the marketing, he says, and word of mouth, too.
I suppose it makes sense, but I am not sure I like the idea that for a book needs to high-concept in order to succeed.
I don’t agree with the facts thing. He says people want to learn from novels. Learn about other people, other ways of living, things like that. Like how live in a small town, how you live in a large city, gossip. I don’t agree. I mean, there have been plenty of bestsellers that you can’t learn anything from. He says you learn stuff about gods and feminism, Mary Magdalene and the Hebrew alphabet from The Da Vinci Code. And he says the number of books that have shown saying Da Vinci Code is wrong is just proof of that, but I don’t know. The Hunt for Red October is apparently filled with stuff about submarines and government protocols for this, that and the other.
A writer’s research should be good, but it’s hard to believe facts are a factor in bestsellers. They add details and they are important. But people don’t read novels to learn. Do they? I mean, I don’t. Someone tell me I am not alone.
Also, I do recommend this book. It’s pretty interesting. Also, I got it as an ARC....more
The Serpent Sea is a fantastic fantasy. It’s world-building is original, the most original I’ve seen in a long time. The characters are good.
The SerpThe Serpent Sea is a fantastic fantasy. It’s world-building is original, the most original I’ve seen in a long time. The characters are good.
The Serpent Sea is a sequel to the Cloud Roads and it’s not the kind of sequel that’s easy to read without reading the previous book.
In the last book, Moon, our hero, an orphaned young man, has spent his life going from one groundling community to the next, always hiding, always trying to fit, never revealing that he shift forms. Then he discovers he is Raksura and born into a high caste. Moon is born a consort. (Consorts are fertile males with black scales.) Sheningans follow, including the sister queen claiming Moon as her consort.
The matriarchal nature of Raksura society is clear in the last book. It is even more obvious in The Serpent Sea. In fact, consorts are like trophy wives. I didn’t realize this in the last book. But Moon’s consort status was less prominent in it.
That is Moon’s personal conflict. He is who he is. He’s taken care of himself for long as he can remember. He doesn’t like fights, but he’s doesn’t back away from them, either. He’s likes hunting and apparently consorts don’t usually hunt. Fight, either.
He doesn’t know how to behave like a consort. He hasn’t been trained to it; he didn’t grow up in a colony and he’s never really known other Raksura. He knows nothing about their society, about the hierarchy and the roles of different castes.
Consorts don’t challenge queens, which he does while visiting another court. She insulted him; he insulted her right back.
In fact, that was my favorite scene. Jade, his queen, had to fight the other queen. The other queen said something like, I will take you after I defeat her. He was all: You try, I’ll rip out your guts. The other queen was stunned, because consorts just don’t say things like that. I loved it. And it’s not even because he spent a lot of time among the more patriarchal groundling races. That’s just who he is.
One of the other characters is also a solitary male and he’s an example of why everyone is wary of Moon. Most solitaries are apparently are odd and not to be trusted. Truthfully, I felt the other solitary male could have been better explained. But this isn’t a huge weakness. Him and his actions are a plot point and sometimes it felt like the plot was the only reason he was there. Still. It’s not huge.
There are external, quite exciting conflicts, too. The part where they are eaten by a leviathan is really nice.
The end feels complete. There is supposed to be a third book next year, The Siren Depths, but it might star a different character. Maybe even a different race. This world is complex enough to write dozens of books, each featuring different characters, different races, a different element of the world.