Why We Should Keep On Keeping On

I don’t think anyone’s missed it all that much – but surprise, this blog has been pretty sparse this year! I know, you’re shocked. But – I’m not. I’ve had a lot going on, and I’m simply not the type of person that can keep shouldering the pile-on of Things That Must be Done and balance it all and get it all done. You know, where it all looks shiny and quality. Something’s got to give. I’ve talked about this a few times on the blog over the years, but I’ve also tried really hard when posting not to be too much of a downer. Books and reading are not supposed to be sad, bad-mood-inducing, party-pooping piles of crap. And that’s exactly what some people would like for it to be for others.

People like that Kathleen Hale author. If you’re a part of the book blogging community, you know exactly what all that means. Because, fuck her and her knowing she’s “bonkers” and not caring how what she did was wrong. And illegal. And total bullshit. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that one in particular.

I got an email notice from my hosting company that Lurv will be up for hosting renewal in about 89 days, as I’m notified every year about this time. I’ve been contemplating most of this year whether to just shut it down. I pay for the hosting myself, and that’s just one more cost to worry about when I also have other hobbies I like to pay for. What in the heck to do.

I started Lurv as a place to be a safe space for me to talk about books. I started my online life not long after my kiddo was born because I was looking for other book lovers to talk to about books. Will anyone be surprised that I wanted to write books at one time? After all your fake gasping is done, I know, I know! The surprises, they just keep coming! But I fell unsuspectingly in with a pretty bad group headed by a person who was…almost unreal in their approach to bullying writers of a small publisher into silence. People who were new to the whole idea of publishing, some not so much but just wanting to, you know, write some books that hopefully someone would enjoy. Thankfully I got out of that situation and that’s all there is to say about that. And I have been cleansed of any need to write books for a living. That is no longer a piranha-infested pool I want to step into.

Then I met some very cool folks on am Amazon message board, and the idea was hatched to start a reader message board based on our collective love for a certain author’s vampire work. I’ve mentioned it here before in the early days, so it’s no secret. The Phade lasted for about four years before said author’s street team made it pretty much unbearable to keep it open. I met some wonderful people there who I will always remember fondly, but mostly what I remember is how awful this author’s “friends” made something that was supposed to be, like most reader spaces, a safe place to discuss books. I admit it, I gave in.

After that, I thought Lurv would be the answer. At least I could review books, talk about cover art, things like that, and in doing so, stay in a community of people that cares about books and finds joy in discussing them, whether wholly positive, wholly critical, or somewhere in between.

Except, it has become apparent eventually that nowhere is really safe. A blogger is being sued by a publisher for news that the same publisher said about themselves. Authors constantly seem to be attacking reviewers for not liking their books (nothing new, just feels like it’s escalating). Nationally lauded news sources give these kinds of people platforms in which to share their sad, horrifying stories of admitted stalking, garnering mystifying sympathy for them at the same time. It’s, understandably, enough to make any seasoned book blogger wonder: why go on?

I’ll tell you why: fuck them. They think the’re getting what they want…except, they won’t. Fuck them. Don’t give in. Keep reviewing books. Keep talking about them. Write Goodreads (as much as I loath that reader-silencing site now) status updates on how dumb the book is. Or good! Fill reviews with ridiculing GIFs illustrating reactions to books. Or fill them with rainbow-pooping cats and unicorns if you wish. Give a book the finger, or give it a hug. Tell us never to read a book again or tell us we must read it now!!!!! And why. Always why. Because we care. We care about what you have to say. We want to share that with you. There are still plenty of authors, readers, bloggers, booksellers, and publishing workers who genuinely care. Hell, I wrote this because I’m tired of all the drama and my right hand is injured to boot! Because I decided after contemplating for a long while whether it was worth keeping on keeping on. And I have my decision.

Fuck the rest. To tiny little pieces.

Now let’s go read some books and discuss the absolute shit out of them.

ETA: I do want to be clear that I completely understand anyone wanting to steer clear of controversy and keep their privacy intact. You should always do what you, personally, need to do.

REVIEW Three-Fer: The Paradox Series

Fortune’s Pawn blurb via Amazon:

Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.

 

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

 

If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you’d get Deviana Morris — a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

I was turned on to this series by, I believe, @Has_Bookpushers on Twitter, one of the lovely peeps from TheBookpushers.com, and it wasn’t long before the first book itself, Fortune’s Pawn, had me in its grip. I felt like I was taking a gamble at $9.99 for the ebook, even with a sample to read. And at $30 plus tax for a three e-book series, I’m sorry, but it must be completely lovable. And the verdict is…never have I had an ebook gamble pay off so well and so freaking quickly! I’m going to preface the rest of the review with a big old I LOVED THIS SERIES so go out and buy it or library borrow it or Kindle borrow it (if that’s an option) or whatever your preference is and commence being pleased. Continue Reading

Review: The Undead Pool

KIM HARRISON
The Undead Pool (RACHEL MORGAN #12)
HARPER VOYAGER
URBAN FANTASY
february 25, 2014 (KINDLE EDITION)

Blurb via Amazon, which may contain spoilers for previous books:

Supernatural superhero Rachel Morgan must counter a strange magic that could spell civil war for the Hollows in this sexy and bewitching urban fantasy adventure in acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s Hollows series.

Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now, strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering. Rachel must stop this dark necromancy before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and all-out supernatural war breaks out.

Rachel knows of only weapon to ensure the peace: ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils. And no one know better than Rachel that no good deed goes unpunished . . .

The book’s been out long enough, so, spoilers. Potentially. We shall see.

I’ve waited way too long to review this book and have no earthly idea why it’s taken so long because frankly? This book one hundred percent satisfied. If that immediate previous line was enough, that’s all I’d be writing about The Undead Pool in this space, because it’s true. Sure, I might be biased because this has been my number one favorite series since I began reading it several years ago – but whatevs. It’s fact. this book is awesome. Continue Reading

Lurv’s Essential (And Even Longer!) List of Fantasy Movies

Oh, yeah, I’d meant to get this up a while ago but a dinosaur kind of ate my hands and then a talking monkey took my computer and…well actually I’ve just been busy doing non-bloggerly things, I suppose. Like watching seasons 1 & 2 of Dexter! And apparently watching Game of Thrones on HBO screw up the gender dynamics of the books royally (This, I do not totally agree with. At all). And baking things! And sleeping (though not enough)! And attempting a summer garden with two black thumbs! And thinking about starting an actual velvet pumpkin business! Good grief! Also apparently compiling a ridiculously long gallery “list” of favorite fantasy movies. Should be interesting to see what I forgot this time.

In no particular order, these are the fantasy movies I’ve enjoyed most over the years. Some are “serious” fantasy movies (Lord of the Rings, etc.), some are pure campy fun (Big Trouble in Little China, anyone?) and others are pure classics (Big with Tom Hanks – can’t ever watch it enough!). Some are also so incredibly sad I probably won’t ever watch them again – Pan’s Labyrinth for example. It’s like a knife to the heart, but an exquisitely beautiful one, too, visually.

And here it is, folks a visual list, once again, of favorite movies, but this time with a more fantastical persuasion…

Recipe For a Perfect Read

While trying to cull the massive 60+ collection of movie posters for an upcoming Lurv’s Essential List of Fantasy movies, apparently J.R. Ward’s latest Black Dagger Brotherhood book, The King, has hit many shelves and devices. Most of my fellow Twitter reading friends seem to be reading it. Admittedly, I dropped the series quite a while ago. Plenty of reasons cropped up: the absurd slang, the never-ending pop culture and brand name dropping, and eventually the characters themselves no longer did it for me either. If ever there was a plot, I’d need a microscope to identify it. But I did enjoy them back in the day when paranormal romance was the majority of my reading time, and they were a little campy and fun for sure. Absurdity sometimes has its own comical value. Also the sex. Sometimes that was…not absurd.

Just today on Twitter, one of my friends retweeted someone who’d said that after about the first 30% of The King, she was finally able to get into and enjoy the book. Others already seem to share the same opinion. This reminded me that I’ve often wondered what makes a book a perfect read, despite some flaws or a slow beginning quarter third or half. I know I myself have ended up enjoying some books that didn’t start well for me, but I still tend to take into consideration that the first third was staggeringly boring, annoying or plain bad, and this reflects in what grade I give in a review, and it definitely gets a mention. Good ending or not, it’s usually a downgrade.

We see the opinion all the time that complete crap gets published and seems to flourish – so at what point are we not willing to look past flaws and proclaim a book wonderful? At the same time, what do we willingly look past in order to enjoy a book? I think reader reactions are rather fascinating in this way, which may be one reason that, even though I don’t read Ward’s work anymore, I still love to read how people are reacting to her books. Many seem to agree that the slang, brand names and other details are lame and tiring, but they usually also seem to end up loving the book anyway.

What’s your recipe for a perfect read? What especially bad things have you looked past when something especially good came along after? Can you overlook some bad things in a book to proclaim it a perfect read later? Are we simply more forgiving of the books we anticipate the most?

Lurv’s Essential (And Long) SciFi Movie List

I was briefly discussing scifi movies on Twitter with a couple of friends and after noting that I feel Hollywood does a mostly terrible job with the genre, one of my friends expressed surprise at this. She briefly listed some of her favorites, and I had to admit that, sure, there are definitely some good ones. I stand by my sentiment that there are plenty of bad ones, though. Keeping subjectivity in mind, I decided to amass a list of some of my most favorite/notable scifi movies I’ve enjoyed over the years. It’s a big list. A long list. Maybe too long. But at least it’s a graphical list, so yay for the eyeballs.

I don’t feel any of these movies are perfect (what movie could be, except for perhaps the original Star Wars series before they went back and added that ridiculous Haden Christensen to the damn ending of Return of the Jedi whyyyyyyy sob stabby sob) but I enjoy them all for varying reasons. Starship Troopers for its campy, over-the-top-ness. Kirk and Spock saving the whales in Star Trek: The Voyage Home and, hence, humanity. And I love “natural disaster” weather movies, so The Day After Tomorrow gets a mention as well. Don’t judge me. I’ve got my don’t care meter turned up to plaid.

In no particular order…and I cheated and made them all into a gallery (graphical, yo), so yay for space saving! I feel like I’m forgetting something obvious, though. What are some of your essentials/favorites when it comes to scifi movies?

An Essential Fantasy Movie List coming soon!