GreyWarden

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 44-46 (74% AND ALL WE'RE GETTING IS MIND-FUCKED!!!))

 

 

Crapter 44:

 

They catch Tedward up on the situation; he automatically believes Rankin isn’t human simply because Anita says so- she’s cool like dat.  They spot Rankin outside; looks like he’s waiting for someone.  Tedward notes he looks like he’d fit in with Anita’s crew.  Anita’s kinda meh, but Nate likes what he sees.  Micah says it’s the first time Nate talked about another man in front of him. 

 

Rankin is slender, like Micah (since when?) and everyone notes that he kind of looks like Mike, too.  Lots of cops around now, so it looks like they found something.  So much activity helps Nate focus on the missing woman, Bettina, and not on Rankin and what he said to him.  Huh?  Soon as he saw Rankin, Nate wanted to get closer, and Rankin wanted Nate to tell him what he’d done, to confess.  Micah could tell Rankin was mind-fucking them, but he couldn’t fight it.  Rankin’s power is like a promise, a tease- being near you guys and touching you is real. 

 

Using Undue Magical Influence or Magical Malfeasance, especially if someone dies, gets you the Death Penalty in every state.   But if he does it in a state without the Death Penalty, he might not get fully charged under the law, so he might not get Death Row. (is it me or this utterly nonsensical?)  They don’t mess around with weres & paranormals; trial & execution are so fast, your head’ll spin.

 

A cop comes over; Anita and Ted flash their badges, so the cop confirms they’ve got something, and it’s pretty bad- sounds like it’s Bettina.  (which would be consistent with none of Anita’s people getting hurt since they all know Denny)

 

Det. Rankin spots them and chews out the cop for talking to them as only Anita & Ted have badges.  Micah observes Rankin wants to attract attention to them.  Tedward steps up to talk to him and the hissy fit continues- in front of the press and everyone with a smartphone. 

 

Rankin turns his attention to Nate, telling him he should confess what he did.  Nate, dazed & confused, agrees.  Anita moves to intervene, touching Rankin’s shoulder, and ends up just as mind-fucked as Nate (sic).   357 pages.

 

(LKH *really* likes using the term “mind-fucked” for some reason.)

 

Crapter 45:

 

Anita panics, but JC helps her break free by letting him through her shields and she feels a kiss- it’s Ru, as her Bride, serving her needs.  Now everyone’s got pics of Ru kissing Anita Blake.  Tedwards arguing with a group of cops, so maybe Anita should go help out.  Problem is explaining what just happened.  361 pages. 

 

Crapter 46:

 

The female cop, Dalton, arguing with Tedward is the local psychic- the only one in the area.  She has enough curves to not look like a boy in a polo and slacks.  Dalton felt the mojo, and not knowing about Rankin thinks it’s Anita’s fault for bespelling people (well, of course, but LKH makes it seem like she’s a dipstick for it).  Anita decides to correct her terminology, calling it a mind-fuck (there it is again!).  Dalton concedes it felt pretty strong, so maybe…  mind-rape?  NO!  No maybe; it was MIND-RAPE!1!  So how can you be so calm about mind-raping an officer, Blake?  NO!  Not me- him; HE MIND-RAPED ME! 

 

Rankin shows up to chime in- yeah, it wuz Anita.  Anita asks Dalton if she’s felt this power before- yeah.  Then it couldn’t have been me since I just got to town!  Hmmm…

 

Rankin slides over to touch Dalton… (to MIND-FUCK HER!!!) and her eyes glaze over.  Anita steps in, moving Rankin away, and keeps talking to Dalton.  Tedward comes to help out, repeating Anita’s point and asking her to check out the boys in the car to see that it’s not them.

 

Anita and Rankin square off; Anita focusing on his chest.  If someone’s gonna attack you, they have to move their center mass first.  That’s where their arms are attached- think about it (sic).  (The More You Know)

 

Rankin tries calling out to Dalton but Anita cuts him off.  She pulls his card, raising her voice loud enough to be overheard that this won’t help them find the other missing woman.  Rankin gets desperate, tries to push past Anita to get to Dalton but she blocks him.

 

It’s already too late for your friend, Blake!  Dammit!- it was Denny!  Nope; but that’s all you’re getting from me!  I’m a Fed!  And your buddies are suspects! 

 

Suddenly, another cop- Capt. Tyburn- shows up, demanding answers from Rankin.  Tyburn’s wife sent him a video- from the INTERNET!- of Rankin yelling at Blake and co., and it looks like you’re playing up to the cameras.  (Damn, that was fast!)   So you and I are gonna have a talk- now!  367 pages.

(Don’t know about y’all, but I’m feeling pretty MIND-FUCKED myself right now)

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 38-43 (70% AND WE HAVE A VILLAIN... KINDA)

 

 

Crapter 38:

 

Aunty Anita has some quality time with Becca.  Anita wonders if Olaf had something to do with the missing woman.  307 pages.

 

Crapter 39:

 

Anita calls Bernardo to let him know Olaf’s here.   Bernardo tells Anita that Peter’s healing faster than normal, and the medical team is asking about his weretiger scars- people who get vaccinated after an attack have a few enhanced abilities, even if their blood tests normally.  Except Peter wasn’t vaccinated… but one of the wererats, Cisco, died in that attack and he bled all over Peter.  The vaccine, like any other, is just a different form of lycanthropy to cancel the other one out.  Yep.  So, maybe his blood acted like a vaccine?- could be.   313 pages.

 

Crapter 40:

 

Anita, Olaf & Becca head back to the elevator and the local sheriff, Rufous Martinez, bumps into them.  Rufous seems ready for trouble.  In the lobby, they run into Nicky; turns out the cops ran Nate’s name and up came his entire record, including juvenile convictions.  The mist of another urine spray reveals Nate’s history concerns the cops, as sexual assault victims can turn into predators.  Plus he’s a Were.  How’d you know that?  Google, dumbass- he’s all over the Guilty Pleasures website.  Olaf notices Rodina & Ru and their new closeness to Anita.  Anita wants to talk to Detective Rankin that Nate’s not the guy.  329 pages.

 

(Now I’ll confess to skimming, but I don’t recall seeing Rankin’s name before, so for it to pop up like this outta nowhere just says lazy writing/lack of editing to me.  I’m not going back to check, but if I’m wrong I’ll be happy to admit it)

 

Crapter 41:

 

Detective Rankin is questioning Nate and the cops won’t let Anita in to see him, so she texts Micah.  They’re not being officially held, but Rankin’s making things difficult.   He doesn’t have a warrant; lawyer up or walk out.  Ok… um, we can’t leave.  WTF?  Dunno- we keep trying to leave… but don’t. 

 

Anita lowers her shields to get in contact with her guyz… but forgets she’s standing near Ru, so as one of her Brides he gets some kind of blowback. 

 

Micah emerges from the room, leading Nate by the arm.  Nate’s not himself, dazed.  Detective Rankin steps into view, and he seems… zexxier than before, though nothing’s different.  He’s got some kind of persuasion or seduction power; Anita runs through a mess of descriptors about him.  They stare each other down.  He knows they know… and they know he knows… and he knows they know he knows… ok, but- what is he?  335 pages.

 

Crapter 42:

Tedward calls to check in, since they’re also still watching Becca.  Topic shift to kids- no way, not now!  Musing about what Rankin is all about.  339 pages.

 

Crapter 43:

They go to the hospital to see Peter.  Wedding plans have to change, which royally pisses Nate off with all the work he put into it.  Speaking of wedding planning, anyone seen Denny lately?  Uh oh.  Someone’s gotta call Det. Rankin, magic or not, since it’s his case.  How ‘bout calling someone else to go check her room?  Great idea; hey- why do we always assume the worst?  Because it’s us, that’s why.  Tru dat.  Guess what?- she ain’t in her room and doesn’t look like she’s been there for awhile.  Crap.  346 pages.

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 33-37 (61%- PLEASE MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN!!!)

 

Crapter 33:

 

Donna’s all pissed that they now have a case on her wedding trip- even though it’s really not theirs- so much that she gives Tedward the full name treatment: Theodore Magnus Forrester.  She’s surprised Anita didn’t know it; Tedward explains even the therapists explained that was the point of having different lives- sharing them with different people.  Who’d a’ thunk it?

 

Anita has a KEEN INSIGHT that while they love each other, both of them are starting to get tired of this kinda crap.  Donna’s lashing out at everyone, even Bernardo, since if he hadn’t fucked the girl this might not have landed in their lap.  Bernardo reminds Donna that’s none of her business, and Tedward agrees, which shocks her.  Then he goes Edward (or Batman, depending on your POV) on her and asks why’d she have to tell Dixie about him and Anita after making him swear not to tell anyone.  Well… I’m a woman… and I had to talk to another woman about it- right, Anita?  Nate chimes in that Anita don’t do that shit.

 

Tedward reminds Donna that Dixie’s still threatening to tell Becca.  Well, she promised she wouldn’t.  Yeah, like she promised before- you know what that could do to how they see me? 

 

Everyone else, including Anita, takes this as their cue to leave but… since Anita always has to be the focus, Tedward piles on with Anita won’t be Aunty anymore, either.  Now it’s time to pile on Donna for not thinking things through- does she put the kids or her own feelings first?  That’s it- Dixie can’t be in the wedding.  260 pages.

 

 

Crapter 34:

 

Back at the pool Peter and Dixie seem to have been involved in some kind of tussle.  He’s got her in a hold while she’s screaming and carrying on & he’s got deep scratches on his hand and thigh.  Nicky & Bernardo pin her down, and of course, it’s all because Dixie was gonna go tell Becca about the kind of Daddy she was getting.  Peter’s pissed- all the girls were playing together and looking so happy (cue rainbows, My Little Ponies and Care Bears).

 

The kid deserves the truth-how could you do that to me-blahblahblah

 

To grind Donna down even further, her own son steps up to chastise her for telling Dixie about this.  How dare you!  If you don’t like it, then do better.   Now Donna starts wangsting again about Tedward not sharing some things with her, only Anita; even Peter knows better than this shit.  Micah (!) asks if Anita were a guy would you think he was cheating with her?  No!- but it’s always ‘Anita this, Anita that’ with him whenever he gets home.

 

Once again, Anita has a KEEN INSIGHT into the situation: the danger, excitement, horror and thrill of the job are the things they share, and what he keeps separate.  (In short, all the common sense shit any soldier, cop, etc, would)

 

Donna echoes that KEEN INSIGHT- because that’s exactly what Tedward told her.  Micah asks why she didn’t believe him?  Because it’s bullshit- they protect people; violence is just necessary to do it.  Wow, Tedward- you did tell her truth.  Wouldn’t have asked you all to lie if I hadn’t tried the truth first.

 

Donna wants to know if they’re still gonna work the case; we’re not working- we got questioned, is all.  But if they ask you to work, you will. 

 

I love ya, babe, but I’m getting tired of this crap all the time.  This is a no-win scenario.  I always win- except when it comes to you.  I let you win, a lot.  I want to be there for you and the kids.  You say you believe that I’m not physically cheating, but now I’m emotionally cheating and I’ll give in if you push hard enough.  Not this time.

 

Peter and Donna start crying.  Tedward touches Peter’s shoulder; Peter grabs his arm to keep him from pulling away.  Tedward asks Donna how she wants him to look at her.  Like you still love me, like we’re a family.  We are, but Anita and I are BFFs- that’s what being BFFs means: an emotional connection.  (Duh!)

 

Ok, you win- I won’t be insecure about Anita and you can help on the case if you want to.  Tedward, Donna & Peter are standing together now; Dixie complains Donna can’t ignore the affair just because she loves him.

 

Ru asks what’s wrong with this woman?  Micah moves closer to Anita; Bernardo maneuvers himself between Dixie and the family.  Something’s wrong about the look on Dixie’s face, and she keeps saying Donna can’t take him back.  Lucy steps up to get her attention and manages to steer her back to the hotel.

 

Everyone wonders what the fuck just happened.  Peter says maybe it has to do with her hubby, Ray, who cheats.  He’s friends with their son, and kids know what’s going on.  Donna notices Peter’s leg wound; Dixie stabbed him with a fountain pen and a piece broke off in his leg.  It’s bleeding pretty good (wonder why no one noticed that this whole time?).

 

Peter wonders if his mom asked Tedward to give up Anita (wasn’t this kid paying attention?) and why.  Donna confesses that part of the reason she wanted Tedward to split from Anita is, of course, because she’s soo purty and bootiful and zexxy and she looks like she knows how to have hawt zexx. 

 

(I’m exhausted from reading all this shit) 281 pages.

 

 

Crapter 35:

 

Before going in the ambulance with Peter, Tedward tells Anita to keep Dixie away from Becca.  Dixie, btw, is hysterical that she hurt Peter.  Cops come to investigate the matter; urine all over the place.  289 pages.

 

 

Crapter 36:

 

Tedward informs everyone Peter’s in surgery.  Anita’s looking after Becca- and a little irked that the kid’ll soon be way taller than she is- who managed to hear some of the shit Dixie was saying.  Aunty Anita actually has to supply definitions about monogamous  and polyamorous to an eleven-year old girl. 

 

Anita takes Becca back to the room to change; Becca wants to wear her pink dress and asks Anita why she doesn’t wear pink.  Not really my color.

 

A deep voice from behind says he’d love to see Anita in pink.  Anita pushes Becca into the room and turns to see Olaf standing there… and Becca greets him as Uncle Otto!!!  293 pages.

 

(Have to admit- didn’t see that one coming.)

 

 

Crapter 37:

 

Turns out ol’ Uncle Otto got invited to the wedding.  Becca notices the tension, asks if they’re gonna fight.  Olaf promises not to if Anita does. 

 

Does Tedward know you’re here?  Nope; got invited by the bride- she wants us guys to mend our friendship. (So how’d she know how to find him?)  Anita has another KEEN INSIGHT that when you can’t be Batman to your fiancée, you can’t explain the Joker to her.  The look on her face makes Olaf laugh- a deep, rumbling sound that would’ve been zexxy on anyone else.

 

Last I heard from you, you said you were gonna stay far away from me.  Nope; it said only until I could handle being a werelion so your zexxy vampire ways wouldn’t affect me.  How long you been here?  Not long but long enough.  You waited for everyone to leave!  Well, duh. 

 

They rehash the pool scenario; Anita finds herself agreeing with Olaf that if Peter doesn’t survive, neither should Dixie.  Olaf is surprised Anita would help him kill her.  I never said that- I know her.  WTF difference does that make- does it make it harder?  Nah, not really; just she’s got kids and all- she’s a person to me.  Meh- for me, the more I know makes things easier; more damage in less time.  Strangers can be cool when all you want is blood and pain, but sometimes ya just gotta make them feel it on all levels.   Now see- we were having a moment, and you ruined it.  Sorry Anita- you always knew what’s up; I gotta be me.  Only because Tedward told me all about you before we met… and then you wanted to kill me when we did.  That was because, well- you’re a woman; what’s a woman doing working with us?  Plus Tedward would’ve killed me if I killed you- doesn’t mean I didn’t wanna bang you, tho.

 

So Tedward’s what stopped you?  Yep; now I read Sherlock Holmes.  …uh, what…?  Means I like the way he treats women.  You’re the only girl for me, Anita- no one else makes me NOT wanna get… carried away like I usually do.  I’m flattered (seriously- whatever it took to keep him in check).  You should be- you’re my Irene Adler.  So do I call you Sherlock now?  Cool- pet names; like a real couple!  303 pages.

 

61 % in and still no movement towards the plot.  This is worse than Bullet!  All I can say is I’m damn glad I have to get ready for work.  I don’t even have any words for this shitshow.

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 25-32 (51% and... NOTHING!!!)

 

 

Crapter 25:

 

Heading back to the room, Nicky feels the need to mention that every Master who had Brides fucked them; he asked all the Harlequin about it once they got back from Ireland. Just saying.

 

Donna comes rushing towards them, crying.  Nate tries to give her a hug, but fuck that- all men are fucking liars! (What now?)  Did Donna find out about more of Tedward’s Batman side?

 

(I guess LKH wrote a lot this when the Justice League movie was out because she keeps referring to Tedward personas as Batman/Bruce Wayne.)

 

Once alone, Donna asks Anita if she knew Tedward had been married before. Turns out that back when  Tedward was a young buck in the Army he hooked up with some woman who only wanted the security and benefits attached to a military spouse.  (As a vet, I can say it happens all the time).  Carol, the aforementioned Frankie’s wife, said she was glad for Tedward’s improved taste in women from when he was eighteen.   She referred to these types as… "dependatpotamus".  (oh, so that explains their presence in the book!)

 

Anita soothes; it was decades ago and Older Tedward would simply put it down as a mistake by Younger Tedward and add to the list of things not worth mentioning.   List of things?- what list, there’s more?  Oops- it’s compartmentalization; you separate the stuff in your mind so it doesn’t affect anything.  So that’s how you guy roll?  Yeah- we’re cool like dat.

 

Donna asks Anita if she’s mad about not knowing.  Nah, he’s my BFF.  But I’d tell my BFF about something like that.  You’re BFFs are all women; it’s different with men.  Yeah, but you’re his work-wife.  Yeah, but you’re his real wife; you and the kids are his real family- that’s what makes him happy.  So if you knew Tedward wanted a family would have gone after him harder?  Huh?  Sure, you guys aren’t having an affair, but something’s there.  Nope; I’m not a homebody- once I used to be, but not anymore. 

Now it’s all about Nicky, JC, Micah, Nate… blahblahblah. 

 

Tedward shows up and suddenly Donna’s completely over the whole thing.    Anita muses that Tedward does look pretty good, all buff and lean, but they should just stay friends.  She thought Carol was being mean about the first wife’s weight (how that overshadows his being married in the first place, I don’t know…)  Hey, I was eighteen, it lasted six months and she took everything; forget it- I did.  Crisis averted.  206 pages.

 

Crapter 26:

 

Anita steps into the hall into a battle of bridesmaids- Denny & Dixie.  Denny- who’s on Team Anita- is still trim, athletic, keeps in shape and looks great.  Dixie- who’s not- is slim, but doesn’t work at it so she looks ten years older.

 

Lucy, Donna’s friend and business partner, tells Dixie to stop being a bitch and asks Anita if she knew about the first marriage.  Dixie, natch, doesn’t believe her since men always tell their mistresses everything.  Cut that shit out.  Why?- I see the way you two look at each other!  Tedward admires and respects Anita, that’s all.  No man respects or admires a woman until he fucks her! 

 

Denny reveals Dixie’s looking to tell Peter and Becca that Anita & Tedward are zexxing.  Peter knows but Becca doesn’t, so leave her alone.  I’m trying to save my friend from a big mistake; she won’t forgive him lying about the first marriage so the wedding’s off anyways.  Nope- they’re off having makeup sex right now.  Anita notes how much this pisses Dixie off and adds why should she lie when the truth hurts Dixie more?

 

I’m gonna tell Becca- then there won’t be a wedding!  Leave the kid alone!  Well, Donna thought Anita would be ok as long as she had other dick here so she’d at least leave Tedward alone for the week!  (This goes on and on)

 

Anita slips back to Justice League references that all Dixie knows of Tedward is Bruce Wayne/Clark Kent.  She didn’t want to see Batman/Superman.  212 pages.

 

Crapter 27:

 

Bernardo’s still down by the pool, trying to pick a bimbo for the night.  Anita tells him about the first marriage and what Dixie’s trying to do.  He’ll be the one to tell him once they come back down.  219 pages.

 

Crapter 28:

 

Anita finally runs into Peter, Donna’s son, who’s fast approaching Cynric territory.  Anita notes that Peter looks so much like his real father, whose photo Donna keeps in the living room, and it must be creepy seeing that.  Rodina starts flirting with Peter, who goes through lots of odd responses to it.  Turns out she was doing it to make Peter feel better, which would make Anita happy… (oh For Fuck’s Sake- really?)  226 pages.

 

Crapters 29-31:

 

Wangst.  Sex.  Wangst & Sex.  Anita *might* be open to the possibility of anal sex.  Tee hee.  240 pages.

 

Crapter 32:

 

Someone’s at the door, disrupting the afterglow.  It’s a cop.  In the midst of the usual pissing contest it’s revealed that one of the bimbos, Bettina- whom Nate decided to become FB friends with and Bernardo ending up banging, has suddenly gone missing.  254 pages.

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 20-24 (TAKE ONE FUCKING GUESS!!!)

 

Crapter 20:

 

Four pages of wangst.  161 pages.

 

Crapter 21:

 

Anita observes that the dockhand, Roberto, looks more like a Chad or a Ken to go with a Malibu Barbie; Hispanics come in more colors than people realize. (The More You Know)

 

(Since LKH literally can’t think of shit else, she drops a ridiculous contrivance out of the sky to try and kickstart things.)

 

Micah gets a call from Christy, the wife of one of the snake guys in the pics, that he’s pissy drunk in some bar and trying not to shift (Raise your hand if this makes no fucking sense to you, either).  Even Nate remarks on how stupid this is (but not so stupid it didn’t get written into the story, anyway).  Plus Christy’s pregnant and on bed rest, but called everyone else who could get to him then remembered they were all arriving today, so…

 

Micah adds that Andy- guess that’s his name- was drinking as a form of self-medicating; a good buzz can help keep them from shifting.  Doesn’t work for any other shifters, but seems to help these guys; just that Andy got shit-faced.  He’s gone from functional alcoholic to full blown.  And in case this wasn’t contrived enough, the snakes they shift into are poisonous yet not indigenous to the island, so there’s no anti-venom handy. (Why these people don’t have their own ready supply, I’ve no idea)

 

A few goodbye kisses and Anita, Micah, Bernardo, Nicky and Bram are off to the rescue.  166 pages.

 

Crapter 22:

 

Barely noon and the bar’s already full, which somehow surprises Anita.  She takes a moment to remind everyone that JC’s marks make her poison-proof, so she’ll do the heavy lifting if need be.   Bernardo doesn’t like snakes, so- whatever.

 

They get Andy to stagger out and into the SUV without incident; Anita sitting next to him.  Halfway into the ride Andy snaps up, dazed & confused, wanting out and reaching for the door.  Bram pins one of his arms on one side and Anita gets the other- next thing you know it’s like a bunch of snake cans from Let’s Make a Deal!  Even Anita gets freaked out! 

 

The snakes seem independent of each other, each focusing on different targets.  Anita punches Andy out- Nicky observes that if he’d been human she’d have broken his neck- and the snakes retreated back into his body. 

 

They dump him onto the boat; Bernardo remarks that the guy they all just met has burned his bridges with them.  Too bad Christy can’t see Andy for what he is.  173 pages.

 

Crapter 23:

 

They pass Andy off to his pissed off cousins; Nate texts he’s already lounging by the pool at the hotel, but they can tell he’s upset about work interrupting their vacation.  Funny how Christy reached out to friends & family and they all left her hanging about Andy.  Rather take the risk of all getting exposed than keep going after him (again, am I the only one here?).  Bernardo thinks they shouldn’t keep running off to save people from themselves all the time and concentrate more on their own happiness.  Maybe; let’s go talk to Nate.  178 pages.

 

Crapter 24:

 

Everyone’s at the pool, including Tedward- who’s been working out and now has rock-hard abs.  Micah doesn’t think most of the dancers at GP have abs like that. *oy vey*

Tedward and some guy named Paul dive into the pool and begin swimming.  Rodina snaps that Anita, Donna and all left the men unsupervised for too long, so now they’re having a swim meet against the young bucks.  Tedward pops out of the pool and quips it was either this or a Fight Club.  Besides, swimming’s one the few things that negates a Were’s strength & speed (The More You Know!).  Anita notices that Tedward’s accent keeps slipping in and out, which isn’t like him.

 

On the other side, Nathaniel & Ru emerge in speedos, surrounded by a bevy of beauties.  They hit the water, to the delight of many, and race to the other end where a tall, lean man with the skin color of black coffee- so dark it was hard to see the muscle tone, but it was there (sic).  Meet Lt. Col. Muhamad Franklin, aka Frankie- one of Tedward’s oldest friends.  He declares Nate the winner; the boys emerge and are immediately claimed by bouncing bikinis.

 

Rodina points out that Ru’s good at playing off of whomever he’s with, but he’s doing it too well with Nate, so someone’s gotta claim him soon or she’ll be forced to do it.  Micah ain’t gonna do it; Anita’s stubborn, but it’s either that or incest squick.

 

So Anita goes over, and intuits that Nate’s upped his flirting because he’s mad at them for leaving him.  Anita’s not sure what to do; Micah steps up and sticks his tongue down Nate’s throat.  The bikinis don’t know how to respond to that.

 

Rodina tells Ru to kiss Anita; he says she has to want him to.  The bikinis are still clinging onto him; they’re here for their friend’s wedding, too.

 

Pffft- this is taking too long: basically, a pissing contest between Anita & her menz vs the other wedding party as to who’s gonna kiss who, blahblahblah.  Anita tongues down Ru, then almost forces the bikini clinging to him who’s not into girls into a lezbean kiss, which pisses her off.  Anita’s Ardeur starts to rise and Micah has to step in to calm things down.  196 pages.

 

 

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 14-19 (STILL NOTHING!!!)

 

 

Crapter 14:

Anita’s feeling all jellus and betrayed by Nate’s affection for Melanie; as a Bride, Rodina feels it and blows up Anita’s spot. Bram decides to get them some privacy to deal with this, so they step into a side room with a bunch of guards hanging out.

Roll Call: Pepita, aka Peppy- butch Latina. Roger Parks- some guy. Claudia. Pride. Anita wonders why all the new faces keep popping up; Claudia explains each animal group gets to bring in whomever they want, and lately they’ve been bringing in people who can help out in a fight. (Ok, but that doesn’t mean they get hired, just that they’re part of the clan. And just because they’re Weres doesn’t mean they’re up to the challenge. This is more stupidity).

Hey- Anita actually makes that point…

(I don’t know how to feel about that)

According to Claudia, JC doesn’t really care so long as there’s money to pay them, and there is. They just don’t really have anything to do. And yeah, it doesn’t mean they’re all that.

Claudia didn’t push back too hard because, well… Nate informs Anita that since Ireland when she absorbed whatsherface Anita’s leveled up… and so has everyone bonded to her. Now JC’s sooper-dooper zexxier than he’s ever been and, well- Claudia wasn’t inclined to upset him. Even Pride doesn’t want to be alone with JC- he can’t trust himself.

(For the love of Cthulhu, I need a fucking drink!!!)

This doesn’t bother Anita too much, since it’s the hoodoo that’s got them thinking so much about JC; she’s ok with folks not lusting after her because of magic.

(Wait, what? The lack of self-awareness here is staggering.)

They decide not to tell JC about it unless it becomes a problem. Anita, Micah & Nate tumble off to bed; just before dawn, JC comes to join them in a puppy pile. 128 pages.

Crapter 15:

Time to fly to Florida for the wedding! But a last minute dispute between two furry groups means Jake & Kazzim get to take JC’s private jet to go deal with it (…why…?), so Anita & Co. have to take a commercial flight to Key West and limit the number of bodyguards they bring (...why…?).

Roll Call: Anita, JC, Micah, Nate, Nicky, Bram, Rodina & Ru. (Again- WHY? Apparently any other bodyguards that have been with them for years and might even have some connection to Edward are mysteriously unavailable.)

Seems the nearest airport to Key West can’t handle big planes so the bucket they all have to squeeze into triggers Anita’s aviophobia- that’s a Fear of Flying to you- and a joke about having to be drugged like Mr.T on the A-Team (FYI- the character was called B.A. Barracus.). Screw it- I’m Anita Blake! 134 pages.

(None of this bullshit makes any fucking sense! JC can’t just rent a private plane to accommodate them?!? What am I saying?- I’m sure this shit’ll be shoehorned into affecting the plot at some point.)

Crapter 16:

Welcome to the Conch Republic, aka Key West. Everyone’s so laid back here that there’s a good chance someone blew off work to go fishing or something, so just relax everybody. In an off-hand remark, Micah lets out that the snake people live on Kirke (which I’m gonna presume is close by). And surprise!- Bernardo Spotted-Horse is here to pick them up! 139 pages.

Crapter 17:

Bernardo- tall, dark & handsome- and dressed in a loose shirt and shorts so Anita immediately knows he’s carrying two guns. So cool, this Anita person. Plus the only way JC would slack on the bodyguards is because folks like Bernardo, Edward and others would be around. (This is what a lack of editing does for you).
Nate gives him a bro hug that says,”see- we’re not Gay!” *headdesk*

Here we get a clumsy, unedited Four Horsemen reference (Anita= War, Edward= Death, Bernardo= Hunger) that someone forgot to re-edit, and he’s formally introduced to Micah. Rodina and Ru try to pass as younger folks but Bernardo wasn’t buying it, so now they’re both academics. 143 pages.

Crapter 18:

Kirke is officially Kirke Key, so they have to take a boat over… once everyone except Nate gets their guns & knives strapped on, that is.

Anita speaks to Rodina & Ru about that weird act they just put on. They’d spent so many years as spies, it was natural for them to find a part to play. Screw that crap- you’re bodyguards! Yeah- but we have the advantage if we keep up the act. So you’re just being annoying? Nope- we really have doctorates; once we spent a lot of time in this one city and got our degrees; so long as everyone thinks we’re weaklings, we have the edge. Fine- we’ll do it your way. 148 pages.

Crapter 19:

Driving along in Kirke Key, the water looks ssoooooooo blue! Too bad JC can’t see like this. More relationship wangst. Bernardo finds out R&R are Anita’s Brides, asks if they’re in the rotation. Nope, but we would if she said so. More moping about their being Brides and missing Rodrigo; this makes Anita unhappy which is almost physical to them… but to Rodina it hurts sooo good! Helps to soothe the loss.

Anita doesn’t like all the kinky talk in the car. Why?- Bernardo’s hot; doesn’t he know how you get down? Anita avoids the question, so we’re stuck with more rehashing of the whole Rodrigo/Domino thing. *sigh* 157 pages.

(Literally a third of the way in AND STILL NOTHING HAS FUCKING HAPPENED YET!!!)

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 12 & 13 (Still NOTHING)

  

 

Crapter 12:

 

They make their way through the Circus of the Damned to see the Melanie the Lamia, cutting through the line.  Some new guard at the tent doesn’t recognize them, so after a pointless minor square off and even more pointless infodump and mindless narration they go in.

 

FYI- for some stupid reason, no one gets it that lamias are Greek, so the décor is Mediterranean; all folks seem to know about mythological snakes is Medusa, so they switched up to avoid confusion.  (Why bother with all this crap?  Don’t fucking ask me.)

Micah realizes Nate hasn’t seen the pics of the snake people yet, so they take a moment.  Melanie catches sight of Anita and voila!- resting bitch face… but she warms up when she sees Nate, who turns on the charm; she retorts that maybe he prefers darker-skinned women (ya know- cause Anita’s all pasty and shit) and feels him up a little, so Micah moves in to give Anita a comfort hug.  Nate and Melanie are so at ease together it makes Anita wonder if the concept of fuck buddies existed back in Ancient Greece.  *headdesk*

 

Anita watches Melanie move to the couch, amazed that a woman with the lower half of snake can… move like a snake (ok- are we getting punked here or something?).  Micah tries to show Melanie the pics on his phone, but she’s more interested in his engagement ring- the one he got from Nate- and asks if it’s all true.  Looks like she cares more for Nate than she let on. 

 

Melanie asks Anita why she’s not wearing her ring (who fucking cares?!?); she replies it’s only for formal occasions.  She’ll show it if Melanie looks at the pics.  Melanie was going to anyway, so it’s a win-win.  111 pages.

 

Crapter 13:

 

Melanie asks why they’d think she knew anything about this shit.  Well… you’re Ancient Greek and all, so we just wondered; they want to break the curse.  If it’s a curse, there’s no cure- just another spell.  And curses back then were aimed at one person, maybe a tribe or a city.  If the gods wanted to wipe out a family, they’d just do it- no messing around. 

 

Anita asks if she ever personally saw it done; Melanie reminds Anita that she was worshiped as a goddess once, and knows what they’re like.  Tensions rise; Nate calms things down by reminding Melanie that Anita freed her from her master (Anita always has to win, no matter what). 

 

We didn’t think these folks were lamias, just that there aren’t a lot of snake shifters in the world.  Yeah, like you know every type of feline out there.  Anita notes that her temper’s usually worse than this- maybe she’s been to THERAPY, too? 

 

Ok, sorry to bother you; we’re leaving.  Melanie gives Nate a kiss on the cheek.  116 pages. 

 

Is it me or couldn’t this have been done with a phone call or texting?

 

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapter 11 (I... don't know what to make of this shit)

 

 

Crapter 11:

 

Anita & Micah let Nicky & Bram know they’re leaving, so Nicky brings along Stunt Doubles #23567 & #39876, aka Rodina and Ru.  (Hope someone knows who the heck they are, because I damn sure don’t.) Oh ok-  they’re twins who used to work for Mommy Dearest who were in the last book and their other brother, Rodrigo, got killed in Ireland after he’d killed Domino.  Anita recalls she’d had to mind-fuck the three of them (her words) to turn them into Brides, like Nicky, so Rodrigo could free her to kill the bad guys.  Every time she sees them, she remembers those moments.

 

Nate shows up and he and the twins share a friendly squeeze; turns out he’s been requesting them.  Rodina thinks it’s because they’re like victory trophies to him.  The way he looks at her after saying that makes Anita think there’s a little something going on here.  Ru says being Nate’s trophies is better than being Anita’s Funeral Dirge; she can’t look at them without remembering what happened in Ireland.  What the fuck?- I lost one of my many boyfriends; yeah, well- we lost our brother.  *mic drop*  Yeah, well- sorry if you’re missing him.  IF?!?  He. Was. Our. Brother- He died saving you; we had a bond that was unimaginable.  Yeah, well- it’s not, because I got a taste of it when I mind-fucked you and took you over.  Besides, first he killed Domino and made me drink his blood, so I dunno what you want from me.  Ok, well- he could be cruel sometimes, but he gave his life for redemption.  No, he gave his life after I flipped the three of you.  Yeah- we still don’t understand how that happened.  Simple- your Master wasn’t strong enough to block me. 

 

Anita muses on how drinking Domino’s blood gave her the Tiger Powers she’d been after since Bullet (can’t believe I remembered this shit) by fulfilling the Tiger Clan Prophecy; she can’t get past the fact that if Rodrigo hadn’t done that they’d all be dead. 

 

Nicky & Bram show up to break the tension.  Anita steps away to brood and try some techniques of getting in touch with her beasts that she’s learned in THERAPY!  What’s odd is the first to pop up is a male lion, not her lioness, and the two are clashing.  Rudina and Ru think it’s because Anita’s got both Mommy Dearest and Moroven inside of her amping things up.  And don’t forget what happened in the graveyard after Lover of Death died.  Face it, Anita- you’re our new Evil Queen; there’s YouTube videos of you raising that army of zombies in Colorado…

 

(HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN?  WAS THERE A BUNCH OF FANBOIS WITH THEIR PHONES OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT GRAVEYARD?!?)

 

No, I’m not.  Yes, you are.  No.  Yes.  Uh huh.  Uh uh.  You’ve got the power and you use it.  I use it to save lives.  Whatever; you’re rolling deep in it.  But I do good things, so I’m ok.  Well… maybe, but that’s boring.  I’m in love with three of the men standing here.  Nah, that just makes you a whore.  So being good is what Christian, Muslim, Jewish definitions say?  (OH COME ON WITH THIS BULLSHIT!!!)  Yeah, isn’t it?  Well, GOD says I’m ok- so there!  No way- God doesn’t approve of this stuff!  Yep, sure does- I pray and my stuff still glows around undead, so I’m all good.  Wait- this can’t be right; you sex everybody and raise zombies…  Yeah, and GOD thinks it’s cool, so zip yer lip!

 

Ru’s totally flummoxed; if Anita’s not EBIL, she won’t let them do the kind of stuff Rodrigo did... you know, for laughs.  Ru hopes Anita falls from Grace so she can get back to having some fun.

 

Btw- Nate wants to talk to Melanie first so he can sweet talk her before they interrogate her.   101 pages.

 

I’m… not entirely sure what all just happened here.

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 7-10 (Still Nothing but Filler)

 

 

Crapter 7:

 

Anita and Nate open the door to see JC & Micah are lounging in the orgy-sized tub.  Nicky bows out to give them all some alone time.  That’s it.  Seriously.   59 pages.

 

Crapter 8:

 

Anita’s distracted from JC by Nate getting naked; JC teases her for staring at “dat ass”.  (Nope, not kidding)   Typical wangst from Anita- she’s just so, so lucky to have all the hawt menz.  In the midst of JC undressing her, Anita asks Micah if he’ll talk to Melanie the lamia about those people in Florida… oops- it’s been weeks and he never thought of that!  *facepalm*

 

Way to kill the mood, Micah- we’re all naked in the hot tub and you’re talking business.  Yeah, plus JC’s gotta go to a meeting soon.  Sorry, guys- how ‘bout I make it up to everyone?  *wink wink*  71 pages.

 

Crapter 9:

 

Sex.  Power, Anita and JC all spill.  77 pages.

 

Crapter 10:

 

Anita, Micah & Nate crawl into bed to watch JC get dressed.  He’s wearing his engagement ring- I won’t bore you with the details.  But trust me, it’s all so, so zexy.  Heck, even his thigh-high boots have diamonds in the garters.

 

Micah’s admiring the show as well, so it’s time to wangst about being attracted to men.  Back in the day JC did as he was ordered, but didn’t get into it until he met Asher.

 

JC reminds them about talking to Melanie; she’s thousands of years old, has never been human and pretty arrogant, so take some backup.  Nate decides to come along, since he used to bang her… wait, what?  Uh yeah- before Nate hooked up with Anita he was screwing Melanie for protection.  Anita’s a little creeped out by it all.  Anyways, the sooner we talk to her the sooner we can come back and fuck some more.  Well, when you put it that way…   85 pages.

 

Almost 100 pages and literally nothing's happened yet.  Same old, same old.

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapters 3-7 (Nothing but Filler)

 

Crapter 3

Anita quickly stumbles into Nate, whose got more dresses for her to try on.  He’s recovering from the hair torture in the previous book and has a ponytail for now.  They had planned on torturing and killing him in front of Anita, but she escaped and killed them first- so there! 

 

There’s two bodyguards- Millington- a former Navy SEAL, of course and Custer, aka Pud.  But look- here comes Nicky Murdock (she finally came up with a last name for him!) Long infodump about Nicky’s appearance, they all heard the argument, Tedward’s been teaching Donna some moves, wedding stuff, blahblahblah.

 

Anita keeps tripping over the hem of the dress; Nicky offers to carry her.  Nate chimes in , but Anita’s firm and as they walk back to meet the rest of the bridesmaids Anita trips and falls, flashing everyone.   34 pages.

 

Crapter 4:

Donna & Dixie are all peaceable now; giving thumbs up or down to Anita’s dress choices until settling on one.  Nicky notices it’s getting late; Dixie’s confused but Donna (!) explains they need to be out of town by sundown or Obsidian Butterfly will break a foot off in Anita’s ass. (so much for keeping secrets)  Dixie talks some shit about Anita and Vampires, then Tedward shows up snarking about JC being Anita’s Snow White to put a halt to the bitchiness. 

 

Or at least he tried to, because Dixie just won’t quit.  She can’t even let Tedward & Donna enjoy a little PDA without snapping about it.   Nate flashes a smile at Anita, and Donna snaps that it’s her and Nicky left out in the cold.  Subtle.  Tedward explains Nicky’s on duty so he can’t snog Anita right now, then infodumps their relationship status; Dixie’s shocked- is anyone not banging Anita?  And they don’t care that she’s gonna marry other people but not them?  Dixie can’t let shit go and finally tells Donna she’ll be there for the wedding but when Donna finds out Ted’s the cheater Dixie thinks he is, she’ll hold Donna’s hand just like when Frank died.  41 pages.

 

Crapter 5:

There’s only a week to go and Donna needs to decide whether to keep Dixie in the wedding or not.  45 pages.

 

Crapter 6:

Back to St. Louis; infodumps about new & different weres performing at the Circus.  Anita thinks she has an idea about Micah’s snake case.  Everyone’s got new call signs and code names for security; Anita couldn’t decide so Nate picked Kitten for her.  His is Robin- as in Batman.  JC has Renard and Micah has Wolverine (go figure). 

Mile long stairs down below the Circus… JC’s orgy-sized bed… Nate can hear them in the bathroom and smell the lavender bubble bath… Nate notes all the new guards around them; Anita’s mad she didn’t mention it sooner and with everything going on feels like things are slipping out of her control.  Lots of kisses make everything all better.  56 pages. 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Flog- Anita Blake: Serpentine, Chapter 2

 

Crapter 2:

 

Donna, the bride-to-be, sneaks up on Anita, making both her and her tits jump.  *sigh*  Anita realizes she’s a little edgy- probably because the dress has no place to stash weapons- like her Sig Sauer .380 ™.  At least Nicky’s there to guard the door. 

 

Inane conversation with Donna reveals the wedding’s in Florida, after all.  Donna gets all quiet when she notices Anita’s scars for the first time, so you know what that means- INFODUMP!1!  Now Donna’s sorry she’s making Anita wear something that reveals all her work-related injuries; Tedward has some too, ya know- this goes on for 3 pages.  Anita isn’t aware of some of them, because she’s never seen Ted naked.

 

Now things have slowed to a crawl, you know what’s next- HATER TIME!  Meet Dixie- one of Donna’s bridesmaids, who would be attractive if she didn’t spend so much time not.  She calls bullshit on Anita not having gotten her some Ted, but she actually came to let them know the tailor has another appointment coming up.  Donna tells Anita she doesn’t have to wear the dress, which Dixie takes as an opportunity to be a bitch and snap that she’s glad Anita’s getting kicked out of the wedding.  No- the dress isn’t that big a deal, plus the tailor couldn’t make a dress to match Anita’s curves anyways.  *sigh*  Now Dixie wants to know why Donna’s being so nice to a woman who’s fucking her fiancé; it makes Anita a whore and Donna stupid.   

 

(ya gotta be fucking kidding me with this shit!!!  Only took 25 pages!)

 

 Turns out Donna always thought they were fucking, but she was wrong so it’s all good now.   Dixie counters that even Donna’s therapist thought so- only because Donna thought so.  But you said Ted told you they were!- only because I wouldn’t marry him until he admitted to it!  So he lied to you!- only because I made him!  Anita said so, too!- because Ted asked her to back him up!  Who the hell lies about something like that? (I agree!)- Ted was buying time until he could explain things to us… now Donna’s face is all aglow with the pure radiant light of her love for Tedward.  Or maybe a Stepford Wife or a Scientologist- can’t really tell.  (But it’s pretty hard to argue with Dixie’s reasoning).

 

Dixie thinks this is the most insane crap she’s ever heard.  Ted manipulated them into thinking he’s ok and Anita’s not his side slut.  Anita warns Dixie about calling her a slut or a whore, but Dixie’s persistent and can’t believe Donna’s  gonna get married with Ted’s mistress in the wedding party!  Anita figures Dixie was one of the Mean Girls back in high school.

 

Anita takes a step forward; Donna says no- Dixie doesn’t realize you won’t fight like a girl.  Bring it, bitch; and why are you defending the woman fucking your fiancé?  I’m protecting you from her!- gtfoh, she’s five foot nothing, I got this!  Anita notices Donna’s been working out to get ready for the wedding.  Dixie rushes in; Donna does some hand moves to take her down while Anita does that Sherlock Holmes thing Robert Downey Jr. did in the movies- analyzing all the different ways to finish the fight.  Donna lets Dixie know that if she could take her down, Anita would annihilate her.  Dixie start cussing & bailing that Donna deserved to get cheated on; Donna sends Anita off to find a different dress while she deals with Dixie. 

 

I haven’t read the last two books, and I gotta say I haven’t missed this shit at all!  This chapter was a complete fucking waste of time.  28 pages.

SPOILER ALERT!

Anita Blake: Serpentine- Chapter 1

 

Ok- let’s get started.

Crapter 1:  Anita’s trying out dresses in a bridal shop in Albuquerque; since she’s the Best Man/Person for Tedward she gets to wear black because all the guys in the wedding party are in black tuxes and plus even Donna admitted the taupe color of the bridesmaid dresses really looked bad on her.

 

She’s talking to someone named Micah Callahan on the phone (who? Never heard of ‘im!) and she’s nervous because her new smartphone is probably smarter than her (that’s me, but it is implied in the text).  An infodump on Micah and we get to find out he’s working on a case for his Furry Coalition that’s bothering him (?) and the clients… sorry, shapeshifters… are finally allowing him to share info with her, what with being the law and all.

 

Anita turns to see if anyone’s within earshot; just that little movement makes her big ol’ funbags pop out (well, that escalated quickly) and after giving it some thought she comes to the conclusion that she’ll…  just stand still.  Shapeshifter is one of those words that makes folks uneasy when they hear it, and there’s no guarantee of privacy here, so let’s just call them clients, ‘k?  (This takes about 1 ½ pages)  [Or you could just hold off this entire conversation til later, but what the fuck do I know?]

 

Oh, and apparently Nathaniel’s here; he got mentioned since Micah wants him to take some pics of Anita spilling out of the dress before it gets altered.  Plus with Micah and Anita being so busy- and Nate doesn’t have jack shit to do other than trail after Anita- they haven’t see each other much so Nate’s been getting all the smexy times.  And since Micah’s clearly forgotten, Anita reminds him that Nate’s their shared boyfriend/fiancé and Micah’s gonna marry him just like she’s gonna marry JC.  No other girls or guys allowed in the mix, tho- that would just make things weird.

 

Micah feels crowded with all the sharing, cross-marrying and whatnot.  This just goes on and on and on about relationships and shit until LKH remembers there’s a plot that needs advancing so Micah sends Anita a picture from the case he’s working on.  The young man’s right arm’s been transformed into a snake-like appendage, complete with a head that has kitty-cat yellow eyes, but with slitted pupils.  Anita, having already forgotten Micah’s involvement, thinks it’s all Photoshop.  Next picture is of a guy whose left arm looks like Medusa’s hair or a hydra.  Micah tells her it’s a family of shifters, all the changes tied to the moon’s phases at first, but can become permanent.  

 

Last pic is of a man whose entire right side of his torso is a bouquet of snakes, including one sprouting from his neck, and green scales on the right side of his face.  Anita one ups Micah and asks if the changes eventually take over the entire body; dunno, didn’t think to ask (Guess we’ll save that tidbit for later).  It’s more like a curse; they retain their own minds but the snakes seem separate from them- like Alien Hand Syndrome, acting independently of the body.  There’s no melding of man and beast; all they get is flashes and impulses about biting and attacking things, their own minds getting less and less coherent over time until finally...  FYI- those three are all related as father, son & uncle.  It manifests differently in women- like a curl of hair or a single snake growing out of their chest.

 

There’s a knock at Micah’s door; the witch that Anita’s friend recommended (?) has been consulting with the Furry Coalition on this and they want to hit it from all angles- science, magic and shifter.  Turns out the family has Greek ancestry, so there’s that.  They’ve even tried amputation, but it grows back- not even burning the stump like in the myths works.  They haven’t sought outside help because of all those pesky Varmint Laws.

 

Micah has Jake and Kaazim (?) with him; maybe they know something since Queenie, their former Harlequin mistress, was ancient as fuck and lived in Greece.  Anita asks if they’ll meet any of the victims when they all come down for the wedding.  Micah says yes, because the island is so small.

…wait, what now? 

 

It’s never said exactly where Micah is- there’s a few throwaways about being ‘down here’, but not where that is.  Or where the wedding is supposed to happen.  All we know is Anita & Nate are in New Mexico and Micah is off somewhere else.   And this is the HC version.

 

More relationship BS; time for I Love You/I Love You More/I Love You Mostest- but without Nate this time, which is a little weird to Anita.  Now Anita’s wondering if Micah might be tired of all the sharing.  God Help Us All.  18 pgs

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Review: Cinderella, Necromancer by F.M. Boughan

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Ellison lost her mother at an early age. But since then, her father has found love again. He's happy and doesn't quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her mean daughters. When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father's mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her freedom. Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother and stepsisters' every whim and fancy. Stumbling into a chance meeting of Prince William during a secret visit to her mother's grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival. But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince once more? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother? As Ellison's power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, she will have to decide whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.

***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***

 

What’s Good: How about the opening line for starters- “Blood. The blood of my enemies drips down my forearms, fleeing the confines of the spaces between my fingers, traveling toward freedom on the cold, stone floor.” Got your attention, yet?

 

This is a very imaginative twist on the fairytale. Everything old is new again in this one. There’s a few homages to the classic version of the tale, but ain’t no fairy godmothers floating around here. Nope- what comes to Ella’s aid is far more disturbing and best left undisturbed. Author F.M. Boughan cites researching historical texts and grimoires on necromancy, and it shows. Well done!

 

The necromancy comes into play as part of the struggle between Heaven and Hell, the forces of Good vs the armies of Evil. Ella’s struggles with what she’s doing and why are valid and believable. As her power grows, she thinks she’s come to terms with the price of it, but then she realizes that price is greater than she’s willing to pay. But will she be strong enough to do so anyway?

 

There’s several twists on the tale that’ll keep you involved; it’s like a full-on rendering of the original Brothers Grimm version- you know, with the sisters cutting off parts of their feet in order to fit the glass slipper and whatnot. Often gory and gruesome, this one ain’t for the faint of heart.

 

What’s Bad: Ella’s also a bit of a dunce. The author does a good job of putting you inside Ella’s head and making her feel like a vibrant, three-dimensional character, but too many times in the story she never bothered to question anything or stop to consider the consequences of her actions. She’s got a book of demonology/necromancy in her hands, but never bothers to read any further than what she needs to get what she wants yet always wonders about the dangers of abusing such power… maybe ya ought to flip a few pages ahead and find out???

 

She’s constantly skulking about the house trying to sneak around her new stepmother and siblings trying to learn things, only to bump, bang into or trip over something, leading to another Steve Erkel moment, “…oh, did *I* do that?!?” After a while you can pretty much see when they’re coming up.

 

There’s a few WTF moments in the plot that threaten to derail things. The night Ella’s father disappears he gives her something before he leaves- literally placing it in her hand. Does she look at it right away?- no. When does she look at it? Right after she sneaks out of the house in the dead of night, crawls under the locked main gate, runs all the way through the village to her mother’s grave, calls out to her mother’s spirit, meets a mysterious stranger who protects her from some Things That Go Bump In The Night, and sees her back to the village. Only after she’s safely home again after all that does she actually OPEN HER HAND to see what it was her father gave her. *facepalm*

 

The disappearance of Ella’s father made almost as much sense as all that did. For storytelling purposes he had to be out of the picture, sure, but… his reasons made no sense. It’s the usual “I had to leave to protect you” nonsense, except that he’s the one who created the problem in the first place by marrying Celia and knew full well what was going on, so clearly the best solution was to leave a bunch of people- including his own children- who’ve no idea about any of it at the tender mercies of some seriously malicious individuals and hope for the best. *double facepalm*

 

What’s Left: an entertaining, if flawed, work that you’ll enjoy reading. If all the Fairy Tale Re-imaginings are starting to get stale to you, this one’ll be a bit of fresh air.

SPOILER ALERT!

Review: Ariella's Escape by Carolee Croft

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Ariella had always believed that the life of a warrior should include indulging in wine and men whenever they were on offer… And in Chaldea, the capital of the old empire, they certainly were. … Especially the man she finds in her bedchamber, a slave provided by her hosts to entertain her in any way she wishes.

 

But when betrayed and surrounded by enemies in a strange land, there is only one man she can trust—the slave who was meant only for her pleasure but is much more than he seems.

 

Demetrius had been captured in battle at the age of 15, and slavery was all he had known in his adult life. When his chance for freedom comes along, his fate is bound to the noble warrior maiden whose voice and body he cannot resist. Duty calls him to return to his kingdom, but the journey will take him places that will change him forever.

 

Together, they make their way through a den of thieves and an enchanted elf forest, but the biggest danger of all may be their fiery attraction to each other and the secret that will draw a dividing line between them.

 

***Disclosure: I was provided a free copy in exchange for a review.***

 

This was an odd book. It definitely belongs in the Erotica Fantasy Romance category, even though it's not billed as such, which hurts it because if you knew that going in, you wouldn't feel so let down by it all.

 

What's Good: a female protagonist who swings a two-handed sword, rules her own lands and gets to make use of a sex slave while on a diplomatic mission? Heck yeah- I'm in! But that initial encounter at the start of the book is as good as it gets. The reasons behind the assassination attempt were interesting, showing a deeper game than some of the players knew they were involved in. But it needed more development, more to invest you into it.

 

What's Bad: where to start? How about the stilted, overly formal way everyone speaks all the time? All that was missing was a few doses of 'yea, verily' and we'd have Shakespeare.

 

Or the ridiculousness of the sexual situations? Ariella gets to bang Demetrius while visiting the castle- fine. But an innkeeper who wants a live sex show in exchange for room and board... and protecting them from the soldiers chasing them? Not buying it.

 

Or all the @$$ pull magicks that sound like they came from an all-night D&D session? Ariella happens to possess a magic crystal that creates a yellow-brick road that lets ride over the castle walls...? And that she's descended from a line of legendary magical warriors- a lineage she never knew about- so now she's also the Chosen One? Gotta be kidding me.

 

And that Wild Hunt-style thing with the elves... no, none of it made much sense and just felt like page filler. *smdh* The idea behind the prophecy is kinda interesting, but clumsily handled. It reminded me of a 90's anime called X- where two people were destined to be at opposite ends of a prophecy. And no matter which path one of them decided to take the other would have to automatically oppose them. Because reasons. That's pretty much what's going on here.

 

What's Left: what started out as an interesting fantasy adventure with a strong female lead that devolved into some kind of teenage hormone fest that's pretty much off the rails. Not that it can't be salvaged, but I don't see that happening.

 

2.5/5 stars

SPOILER ALERT!

Wonder Woman: Warbringer- Book Flog, Chapter 12

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Chapter 12:

 

Diana and Alia bond over some geeky moments; Di confesses that on the island they’ve been keeping up with the outside world. *funny it’s never explained how, though*

 

Nim- Poornima Chaudhary- arrives.  Plump and wearing open toed laced up boots, a sparkly smock dress, one side of her head shaved and whatever remained falling over one of her eyes, one ear full of studs.  She’s FIERCE!!!  *and a caricature straight from Central Casting* Nim starts going on about Alia’s big adventure… until she catches sight of Diana.

 

Everything’s Ok- Nim’s here to save the day!  Alia said she needed clothes- Nim whips out a measuring tape and they start shopping online, still chatting a mile a minute about anything and everything- including how Alia’s such a jinx and she doesn’t get along with most of Alia’s other friends and they do better on their own.  Diana wonders if Nim gets along with Jason, causing her to wonder if Di’s got a thing for him.  FYI- Nim does; used to steal his dirty t-shirts.

 

Jason comes by with some last minute instructions and to let them know that Theo, their godfather Michael Santos’ son (whom Alia happens to have a thing for), will also be there.

 

The clothes arrive- time to drop in metaphors about armor, etc.  Nim moans about how Alia always chooses the least attractive thing she can get away with, usually in black.  Another bonding moment when Nim shares a story about in prep school for Macbeth both of them and the only other non-white girl were chosen as the three witches.

Alia steps out, all glittery in gold scales, like a warrior wearing armor.  159 pages.

 

*** I’ll take a moment to point out here that while both Jason and Alia are descended from Helen’s line, it’s all been about Alia.  Nothing’s been said about what Jason might be- and no one’s asked. This. Is. Stoopid.***

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Wonder Woman: Warbringer- Book Flog, Chapters 9-11

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Chapter 9:

 

Uh… I don’t know where to start.  Try the beginning, jerk!  Di interjects with the short version; to Alia’s surprise, Jason doesn’t look so cynical.  How’d you say you know all this again?  It’s a legend among my people.  Who’s your people?  Nevermind that.

Mom & Dad had references to this Warbringer stuff, including haptandrai- from almost every country.  Yeah, so?- they were scientists, after all.  Di asks Alia how she’s so doubtful after all that’s happened.  There’s gotta be an explanation, even if science hasn’t found it yet.  Jason explains that’s what they were looking at- the science of it all.  They traced the Keralis line all the way back to Ancient Greece, every offshoot of Helen’s bloodline, tracking the Warbringers, thinking they could make a difference when Alia’s time came. 

 

What?!?- you believe this?  Look around: soldiers everywhere in the city, bombings, civil wars, stuff’s going on all over the world right now.  **Tell me this don’t sound just like the frakkin’ movie!**

 

You’re saying this is all my fault, I did this?!?   No, but… But it’s because of me?  Yeah, you’re procatalysia= she who comes before the world dissolves.  Alia’s stunned, suddenly remembering all the shocking outbreaks of violence that happened in her life.  Warbringer.  Haptandra.  Precatalysia.  Monster.  Me.

 

Jason, you believe this about me?  Yeah, I do; Mom & Dad were working on this a long time, thinking some good could come out of it.  But you knew people would come to kill me for this.  Yeah, but it’ll be ok; wars come and go, but humanity survives- so will you.  And I’ll be here to protect you, sis.  Diana objects, wanting to get her to the Greek spring.  Never heard anything about some magical spring in Greece- no way.  Wait- you believe I’m causing wars around the world but not in a magical spring that can stop it?  Too risky.  It’s my risk to take.  Nope- I FORBID…  Don’t even go there, bro; we only got one shot at fixing this and we’re gonna take it!  No way- I promised Mom & Dad… Di squares up, daring Jason to stop them.  Alia, you’re a minor; you can’t make these decisions!  Sez the guy who got drunk on eggnog and danced to Turn the Beat Around in our aunt’s wig!

 

We agreed never to mention that again…

 

We have to try!  Mom & Dad would want me to try!  Yeah, they would- ok, then.  We’ll take the company jet.  Hey- you guys got an airplane?  Wow, you really want to get on an airplane, don’t you?  My guys will protect Alia.  No way- I got this!  No way- appreciate the help, but she’s my sister.  I say Diana comes along; she saved my life and kicked your butt.  Fine.

 

Hey, Di… if we don’t make it to the spring in time- promise me you’ll kill me?  129 pages.

 

Chapter 10:

Driver picks them up out back and Diana’s all into that new car smell.  Mmmm… Corinthian leather.  Jason notices this; Alia explains they don’t drive where Diana’s from- practically Amish.  Amish with combat training, more like it.

 

They have to make an appearance at a company gala first- WHAT?!?  It’s for the company: even with their godfather Michael Santos running things, profits have slowed and now that Jason’s of age he needs to do more.  So it’s a show of strength for the board members.  Besides, anyone after Alia thinks she’s dead or at least not in NYC, so by the time word gets out they’ll be long gone, leaving the bad guys looking for them in the city. 

 

Diana objects, and Alia agrees.  Her I understand, you just don’t want to wear a fancy dress.  Plus if it wasn’t safe, I wouldn’t even suggest it.  True dat- he’s real uptight.  No- I’m cautious.  Yeah, he seems high strung.  Only because I get jumped by WNBA players in hotels.  Back and forth- more zexy tension between Diana & Jason.

Diana’s first real elevator ride to their penthouse gets her a little claustrophobic.  It’s a penthouse. 

 

Jason only wants an hour for the party, then they fly right out to Greece.  Alia wants to bring her BFF Nim.  While she calls her, Jason steps to Diana, wanting to know who she really is and what she wants.  All I want is to do what’s right- maybe you should stop bullying Alia!  I don’t… All you ever do is tell what to do; maybe try listening for a change.   She’s not ready for the world!  Who’s fault is that?  Stay outta my way or else.  Or else what?  I’ll end you!   Diana laughs in his face; he has no idea what she’s already dealt with just to get here.   **This really reminded me of a scene from the original Thrawn trilogy when Sera threatened Han Solo and he almost laughed in her face as she clearly had no idea what he’d already been through!**

 

What’s so funny?  You- you’re pretty enough, but don’t get carried away.  Pretty enough?  139 pages.

 

Teh zexual tenzion- iz stoopid.

 

Chapter 11:

Nim’s on her way, just don’t mention anything about Warbringers around her.  In their parent’s study, Jason breaks out the Warbringer files for Alia.  **For some dumb reason there’s a clumsy sexual reference about the meaning of Haptandra inserted into the conversation that I won’t even mention.**

 

There’s charts, references and files on every know Warbringer and how long major conflicts lasted in their lives… and that the conflicts ended when their lives did.  But wars still went on without them, right?  But how much worse would they have been if they’d lived?  Nobody should have to bear this burden, Alia. 

 

146 pages.