Introducing Jamie Quaid

So I was killing time in a bookstore a couple weeks ago, waiting for the hubby and the folks to meet up with me when I stumbled across this book called Boyfriend from Hell. Intrigued by the dust jacket blurb and not knowing how long I’d stay waiting, I picked it up and proceeded to read. I was decently enthralled. It isn’t really a “oh my god, can’t put it down” read but a “Ooh, I wonder what happens next!” read.

Jamie Quaid introduces us to Tina Clancy, a physically disabled and very poor law school student. She’s working in the Baltimore harbor area which, according to back story, had suffered an extreme chemical spill by local baddie chemical company…Acme Chemicals. I was worried at this point that we’d be going a bit Loony Toons, but I was willing to look passed this bit of unoriginality for the promising story.

Tina, also called Justine or Justy depending on who is talking, is working for a man named Andre Legrande (he named himself apparently. And no, I’m not joking). Andre owns most of the lucrative businesses in the chemical spill affected area referred to by the locals as The Zone. She does his books for enough money to make rent and goes to law school during the day.

The thing about the Zone is that it’s weird. Gargoyles move and buildings literally glow in the dark. People can do things that normal people can’t do. And they keep it all under wraps so they don’t get taken off up to Acme to be taken apart bit by bit.

Tina is an outsider in the Zone. She wasn’t born there but she chose to live and work there. She wanted a low profile job and living situation, having encountered a little bit of legal difficulty of her own. Tina has a physical disability brought on by a run in with some on the take cops who pushed her down some stairs. She has uneven legs from having them badly broken. We’re introduced to our female lead as a not perfect person, physically and mentally as she has a bit of a temper to her.

But the Zone, or whatever, has decided to make her one of the boys, so to speak. When her boyfriend Max apparently tries to kill her for no apparent reason, she yells out “Damn you to hell!” and off he goes. The next day, she wakes up to reporters and perfect hair. Apparently, her form of vigilante justice gives her gifts, which are currently manifesting as physical changes. We find out a little later that she as been claimed as a “Saturn’s daughter”. This is apparently a person who was born at a particular time under particular astrological events that aren’t really clearly explained because our heroine doesn’t believe in that stuff.

Eventually it comes out that Max wasn’t trying to kill her but was, in fact, the victim himself. So Tina, with help from her fellow Zonies, has to figure out who tried to kill Max and hopefully how to retrieve him from the depths of hell in the process. And she still has to study for her final law exams and figure out just what is happening to herself.

I liked this book enough to pick up the sequel to it and I’m hoping there’s another one. I also like the fact that while there was some sexual tension going on, there wasn’t actual sex. Like I’ve said before, I have no trouble with sex scenes in books but I hate when the sex becomes the central theme of the book. Jamie Quaid did a very good job for what I can only presume is her first book. Rating: B+/A. Give it a shot.

Aisling

Aisling by Carole Cummings is one of the books I picked up off of my Amazon recommendations list. I’ve found a bunch of good books like this and I’ve found a bunch of meh books like this.  This one was more on the meh side I feel. This had potential but I felt like she started in the middle of a story and it just suddenly ended. Apparently she intended to make at least three of these Aisling books but it just. Stopped. It didn’t come to any sort of satisfactory conclusion. Just one character coming to an epiphany and going “oh shit”. It sort of did a Sopranos on us.

I felt like Cummings had this whole world planned out in her head. And it is an interesting world. She just didn’t do enough exposition to introduce use to this world. She just started talking as if we should all know what was happening and who was who. Perhaps there was a book in this world before this one that I’m unfamiliar with. Still, normally when a book is a second or later in the series, the writer will do a little recap at some point, which didn’t happen here.

Aisling is about a young oracle type man who is on the run from what he sees as a terrible destiny. He’s been lied to and abused since he was a child and all he wants to be is himself. He has no name but he steals someone’s identity papers and calls himself Wilfred Calder or Wil. His running eventually gets him in contact with a constable named Brayden Dallin who is, apparently, a part of his destiny.

So off runs Wil at haste to a little podunk town where the people chasing him finally catch up. They’re hell bent on killing him…but no one ever explains why. It’s some sort of religious zealotry but Cummings doesn’t give much detail at all on why these guys want to kill Wil. So Wil is a sympathetic character to a point but you still kind of want to smack him around when he’s being an arse and you’re not sitting there going “Oh no! Don’t kill Wil!”. It’s more of a “Huh, I wonder what that’s all about?” feeling.

So it was interesting. To a point. But I doubt I’ll be getting the other two. I think I’d have to be really desperate to pick up the next two books. So final Rating: C/C-. Maybe its because it was pretty much straight fantasy and not urban fantasy but I just could not get behind the characters at all.

Casino Infernale

*SPOLIERS* Oh Simon R. Green, how I love thee. Green brings back his secret agent Eddie Drood in Casino Infernale, the latest in the Secret Histories arc. Like the rest of the Secret Histories books, this title is also a play on a James Bond title. Which is fitting considering that Eddie Drood’s alter ego is Shaman Bond. And Shaman Bond is the one who has to do the heavy lifting in this book.

In a previous book, Eddie and his lady love Molly Metcalf killed Crow Lee (The Most Evil Man in the World. He doesn’t always drink beer but when he does…). Apparently Crow Lee has left some sort of Inheritance (yes, capitalized) to whoever can find it first. Considering the man was called The Most Evil Man in the World, whatever the Inheritance is (no one knows), it isn’t anything good. People and various organizations around the world are already making trouble trying to find it.

So the Droods call in a Summit of the major players in the supernatural world. Only representatives from the UK show up, all of which appear in other books by Green: The London Knights, the Crowley Project, the Carnacki Institute and the Nightside (love Dead Boy).  The problem is, with so many major players in one place, they have to find a suitably neutral place. That place? The Martian Tombs. Natch.

So everyone there decides that the Crow Lee Inheritance is too dangerous to just be out there, but they can’t decide what to do about it. Until the Armourer (official Drood representative to the Summit) suggests breaking the Shadow Bank at the Casino Infernale. So anyone of you lot who have seen Casino Royale with the delectable Daniel Craig will recognize this basic plot bunny. Eddie gets the nom to break the bank because he’s the only one at the Summit who basically has the balls and the practical know how to break the bank at a casino.

What he doesn’t know when he agrees to do this at the Summit is that the family has to take away the one thing that makes him a Drood, his torc. The Casino Infernale has ways to see Drood armour (yes, I’m usuing the British spelling as the writer is British and I’m a total anglophile) and it is just too dangerous to send him on this mission as a Drood. So, naked in a sense but not completely defenseless, Eddie (now as Shaman Bond) and Molly go to the Casino Royale to gamble their way to the top.

They have, of course, some very nice little toys from the Armourer: a chameleon card deck (exactly what it sounds like), Eddie’s repeating Colt revolver (never runs out of bullets. It’s magic!) and two little black disks that when combined open anything. There’s a catch to this breaking the bank thing though. The Shadow Bank doesn’t deal in money really. They deal with souls. And when Shaman Bond arrives on the scene, he finds that his newly discovered parents who were supposed to be helping him pave his way in had actually bet and lost his soul. Way to go mom and dad!

But through a combination of luck, nastiness and trickier, Eddie and Molly keep winning, racking up the souls until they get invited to the Big Game (yes, capitalized). Do they make it to the end? Does Eddie get his soul back?  Read it and find out! Because seriously, Simon R Green couldn’t have been any more on with this book if he was a light switch. It was awesome! And there is definitely going to be another book because there are unanswered questions. And they said there would be on the last page. 😉 Rating: A+++ Seriously. Read it.

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Okay, so I’m a mega-Trekkie. I was born a Trekkie to Trekkie parents. I’ve seen every episode of every series (Enterprise excepting because we Shall Not Speak Of It) and every movie. So naturally the hubby (not a Trekkie, but willing to indulge my geekiness) and I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness on opening weekend. I loved it. I adored it. And not just because I absolutely adore Benedict Cumberbatch. Well, that certainly doesn’t hurt. 😉

At any rate, I was poking around a local bookshop a couple weekends ago and found the novelization of the movie. Normally I don’t go for the novelizations of movies because they never quite seem to catch the awesomeness of the movie. This is not to be confused with good books that are turned into meh or worse movies (Bourne books, I’m looking at you).

At any rate, the novelization of Into Darkness was written by Alan Dean Foster, who as written tons of Star Trek books and other novelizations. From the off I was sucked into the story even though I’d just seen the movie a couple weeks ago. It was amazingly good. I could really picture the scenes in the movie as he wrote them. I don’t want to put in too much detail because the movie is still relatively new and there might be the odd Trekkie or movie goer who hasn’t seen it.  But if you like Star Trek, I would really recommend giving this book a read. Rating: A+

Mod Type Post

So I just wanted to say that I encourage comments if you’re so inclined to leave one. However, please be aware that I do reserve the right not to approve your comment. If I think you’re trolling me or others, I’ll delete your comments. I don’t like trolling and even with the relative anonymity of being online, I get embarrassed easily. Or upset, depending on the comment.

Also, I am reviewing books here. If I don’t like a book, I’m going to say it and I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’m generally positive in the books I review, or at least ‘meh’. However, if I read a book that I find absolutely awful, I will state as much and I won’t pull my punches. You are under no obligation to agree with me but please, be civil in your disagreement. The last review I wrote was much nastier than most because the book was a steaming pile. However, if you look at my previous posts, you can see that most of them are not like that. And remember, you can stop reading at any time!

Thank you and on with the show! 😉