Rosemary and Rue By Seanan McGuire

 

From Amazon.com:  Singer-songwriter McGuire adeptly infuses her debut with hardboiled sensibilities and a wide array of mythological influences, set against a moody San Francisco backdrop. October Toby Daye is half-human, half-faerie, a changeling PI with a foot in both worlds. After spending 14 years as a fish following a botched assignment, she’s desperate to avoid magic, but the dying curse of a murdered elven lady forces her to investigate the killing, with the price of failure being Toby’s own painful death. Toby struggles with court intrigue, magical mayhem, would-be assassins and her own past, always driven by the need to succeed and survive. Well researched, sharply told, highly atmospheric and as brutal as any pulp detective tale, this promising start to a new urban fantasy series is sure to appeal to fans of Jim Butcher or Kim Harrison.

 

For 14 years half-fae October Daye lived as a fish.  While investigating the disappearance of her liege’s wife, she was cursed and turned into a fish.  Her whole life, including her human husband and daughter, was lost.  Shortly after stepping out of the pond, she is trying to rebuild her life…as a human, not fae.  Unfortunately, her old friend and powerful fae, Countess Evening Winterrose, is murdered and binds Toby with her dying words to find her killer.  The curse will kill Toby if she ignores it, so she has no choice but to seek assistance from her former fae friends.  When Toby finds a powerful fae object the Countess was protecting, the murderer comes after her.  Former loves, former enemies and former friends are all sucked into the drama surrounding the murder, all with their own motives in keeping Toby alive.

The Good:  I thought the idea of a binding curse to force Toby to solve the murder was a nice way to toss her back into her old life.  I was hoping Toby was going to be a little more formidable (she gets her ass kicked quite a few times), but her powers were cool anyway. The setting for Rosemary and Rue is San Francisco, a place I have always wanted to visit and now even more so.  There were just so many captivating places to explore in the areas where the human and fae world overlap.  And some creatures like the rose goblins (cat-like creatures with thorns instead of fur) were too cute!  Throughout the novel, Toby has to use her fae powers to entrance people to give her what she wants.  She does this by speaking in rhyme.  I found this part really fun, but at the same time, I took me a while to figure what the hell she was doing.    I felt like Toby’s world was really intriguing, I just had some serious issues with the characters, which I will now discuss.

The Bad:  I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book and cannot decide how I feel about Toby.  I just felt like I couldn’t get her.  She seems to be a good person who helped a lot of people in her former life, but then she has no qualms with hooking back up with her former love\total skeezer Devin.  I thought Devin was just gross, as I would anyone who takes advantage of young people by trading shelter for sex.  She also talks of dreaming of her former pond in what seems to be a fond way, but then she is terrified of being back in water.  In the first third of the book she paints of pretty stark, lonely picture of her life, but as the book goes on; we continue to meet people willing to take a bullet for her.  I can’t decide if this makes her extremely whiney or just stupid.  My other problem with this book is a felt like I was either coming into a series in the 4th or so book, or should be a scholar in all things fae.  There were many references to characters, rituals and magic that were left almost completely unexplained.  I knew that Simon and Oleander were bad guys and that they may have turned her into a fish, but that’s all I learned, and they were never seen in the book.  I still have no idea why you need to release salamanders into a burning building, and it irritates me to have to stop and google things.  Surely googling “arson salamanders” will put me on some sort of ‘to be watched’ list. 

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  Kindlelicious Pet Peeve #1:  Don’t skimp on the sex scenes!!  If I take the time to read about Toby’s multiple love interests, I think I should get to see some end results! Is this too much to ask? Gah!  Anyway, to be honest, in this case Toby’s main love interest was so unappealing I really didn’t care to think about them having sex.  Toby repeatedly talks about how Devin sleeps with all the girls at his halfway home for the half-fae, and I just don’t see how this is anything but creepy. And at the point she decides she wants to have said sex, she is nursing not one but two bullet holes, with one being in her thigh.  Ummmm Ouch? Can someone please explain the logistics of this to me?  At least two much more appealing (and scandalous!) future love interests were hinted at, so maybe we will actually get to see what happens next time around. 

 

The Rating: There were parts of the book I loved, and parts I didn’t, but I think the series might still be worth reading.  6.5

Advertisements

Vulnerable By Amy Lane

From Amazon.com:  Working graveyards in a stop & rob seemed a small price for Cory to pay in order to get her degree and get the hell out of Nor-Cal. She was terrified of disappearing into the aimless vortex that awaited the lost and the young that haunted her neck of the woods. Until the night she actually stopped looking at her books and looked up. What awaited her was a world she had only read about—one filled with fantastical creatures that she was sure she could never be.

And then Adrian walked in—and she discovered that risking your life was nothing compared to facing who you really were. And then falling in love.

The Drama:  Cory works at a Chevron in middle of nowhere Northern California, while trying to get her college degree and leave her small town.  While working the night shift, Arturo the elf enters her world, touches her, and enables her to see the rest of the supernatural community around her.  Arturo’s friend, a gorgeous vamp named Adrian, sees through her tough chick Goth looks.  Cory cannot understand what Adrian sees in her, but takes a chance on him anyway.  Then, the murders start.  Were-cats are being viciously murdered all around Cory, so Adrian takes her to his home, where she meets Green.  Green, a high elf, and super hot sex healer, welcomes Cory into their home and unleashes Cory’s mysterious powers.  The three, Cory, Adrian, and Green struggle with new powers and new feelings, while trying solve their friends’ murders. 

The Smut:  WARNING: SMUTTY SPOILERS  Vulnerable offers up one of the most complicated relationships I have dealt with in this genre.  Adrian and Green have been in love for…well ever, and secretly hope to find someone who can love them both.  Cory is a 19 year old virgin whose life is turned upside down by recent events.  I struggled with the idea of Cory’s first love being for two people, not because I am against it, but because there are just so many what-ifs.  Cory is thrust into a house full of hot elves and vamps at 19; I would have been trying to bang everyone in the house too! But is that love? After a few weeks?  Hmmm…  But don’t let my questions fool you, the smut in this book was different and I enjoyed the hell out of it.  I am really struggling not too give much away, but let me tell you: Adrian + Cory + Green + Magic = Extremely Exciting Topiaries.  …And I will leave it at that.

The Ranty Rave:  By my normal shallowish standards of what makes a good book, I should have hated this book.  It’s dark, deep, and has very little humor (besides previously mentioned topiaries).  I had to reread sections multiple times to understand WTH was going on, and I was unsure if that was because of the writer, the editing or the HORRIBLE Kindle edition.  (Kindle rant: This was the worst book I have encountered on Kindle in terms of typos and errors.  There were literally random numbers everywhere.  Hard to swallow when paying almost full price for a book.)  This book left me depressed with several unanswered questions about Cory and her powers. Cory was a little too close to lowest-self-esteem-on-Earth Bella Swan for my tastes, but towards the end she started to kick some serious ass, which made me very happy. That being said, I loved it.  I loved the characters, the plot, the moodiness, the settings and the smut.  It’s not a happy book, but since I have friends who actively seek out the saddest books they can find, I know there are those who will love that about it too.  And besides, not every book can be about slutty foul-mouthed demons, right?

Rating: 8 for the book, but I cannot recommend the Kindle edition.

Rules of Hotness for the Twenty-Tweens

As if I couldn’t love Karen Marie Moning more, she went ahead and posted pics of her leading men (http://www.karenmoning.com/characters.html).  I LOVE this idea, but it got me thinking about how my mind’s eye sees UF\PNR leading men.  I quickly realized that the more I read from this genre, the more I ignore physical descriptions and make up my own.  Why is that you ask?  Cause there is an epidemic of outdated hotness plaguing the genre!!  So I thought I would lay some ground rules for what us modern chicks see as NOT hot these days.

  • Hair longer than mine is not hot!!  Why, oh why can we not leave Fabio and his minions in the eighties??  I mean seriously, a man with hair down to his butt is just not sexy; I don’t care if he looks like the cast of 300 from the neck down…the hair just ruins it for me.  And how can I take my beloved super prick leading men seriously if their hair gets stuck in their mouths as they mock my intelligence?!  Oh, don’t even get me started on long CURLY hair. ICK.  Now, I realize that everyone develops different mental images of characters as they read, but if you are like me, you pull on images you already have stored somewhere and go from there.  That being said, can we not stop and take a look around us??  Dudes with really long hair typically ride Harleys and have pot bellies (well, here in the south they do anyway).  You wouldn’t see a ZZ Top video on VH1 classic and think “you know he looks like that sexy lion shifter from that book I read.”   This is what I see when authors describe super long haired shifters, weres or most other supernatural creatures:

Hotness FAIL.  But I like to think of myself as an open-minded gal, so I will make an exception…Elves.  Thanks to those quirky Kiwis for giving me plenty of mental images of sexy long haired elves.  This I can work with:

This I cannot:

  • Why all the red?  Sorry to all my gingery friends, but let’s be honest with ourselves, how many hot red-heads do you know?  Let’s think about some famous red-heads…Lindsey Lohan…Shaun White…David Caruso…Pippi Longstocking.  Okay, okay, I’ll give you Nicole Kidman circa Days of Thunder…but on the whole red hair with freckles is average at best.  Strawberry blonde, doable.  Black\brown with red highlights…better.  Blonde, black or brown…yes please!  Exception:  Highlanders.  I can forgive a lot of things if muscles and plaid gift wrap kilts are involved.
  • The Lurch factor.  Since when did 6’8 and above become hot?  Has no one watched the NBA lately?  Super tall people look…well…strange.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Dark Hunter series, but the multiple references to Acheron being  nealry as tall as Yao Ming was a turn off.  Plus he had that damn long hair!!! At least it wasn’t red.  Sigh…

What I am currently working with:

Blondish Leading Men

Brunette Leading Men

Leading Men with Black Hair

 Thoughts?