Wonderful Occasions

Some of you may or may not have noticed that I didn’t post on Friday like I usually do. That’s because Mhari wasn’t feeling so well on Thurday due to back issues, and we went to a late night visit with Dr. James to get things corrected. Thanks to James, she’s better.

But it meant that I worked from home on Friday. And as is usually the case when I break patterns, I didn’t remember to post on Friday and once I did rememember, I really didn’t have anything to say, much like some of my other recent weeks.

Well, today I have something to say. I want to thank my wife, Mhari, for her love and care on this the occasion of our 2nd wedding anniversary. I really wanted to do something more special than our dinner out at Red Lobster (sort of our traditional ‘occasion’ dinner – about twice a year). But for one reason or another, things conspired and here we are with just the joy and happiness of being together. And that brings a big smile to my face all by itself.

I love my wife. I love her more than chocolate. I love her more than cheese. I love her more than lounging around with a full tummy in a sunbeam. I am so happy to be spending this life with her.

Life is special every day I spend with her.

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Mhari Lindhaven, with all my love!

BlahBlahBlah Ginger BlahBlah

All the usual things have happened in the usual ways in the usual order this week. There was work stress (lots of it at times) and there was pleasant times as well, usually shared in the wonderful company of my wife, Mhari.

We watched Kung-Fu Panda this week (last night, in fact). We found it good. It managed to disperse the drained mood that stress had generated. And the movie was followed up by a phone call from my good buddy Whyaylooh. Those combined to make a day much better.

The other positive thing this past week involved my sleep and dreams. I appear to have done better in sleeping through the nights without too many times waking. One of those nights I dreamed about a housecat that had come to share the bed while I slept. She slept, in my dream, on my pillow and her purring soothed me. That sense of soothing has stuck with me for the other days of the week except when the work stress has chased it away. It’s nice.


Happy Birthday RathaCat!


In the sad, but touching department, today, there is this story today on how Pixar granted a girl’s dying wish


So… there we have it. My blog entry for the week. I will end it with this nice video called ‘Civilization’, which, according to a post on Boing Boing is by an artist/director by the name of Marco Brambilla for the elevators in the Standard Hotel in NYC.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5082155&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Civilization by Marco Brambilla from CRUSH on Vimeo.

Book Review: ‘Deady Desire’ by Keri Arthur

Deadly Desire by Keri Arthur

The first thing I need to let you know about this new book by Keri Arthur is that it is the seventh book in a series, the Riley Jensen, Guardian series. As such, you really, really need to read the first six books before this book should be on your plate, as there’s a lot that happens in them that you need to know before some of the things in this book will make full sense. That being said, this volume in the series doesn’t have any major advancements on the subplots, and only a little in Riley’s personal development both personally and in her relationships.

The Riley Jensen, Guardian books are set in Australia sometime in the not too distant future. Vampires and werewolves are known to exist and are a part of society. They even have their own branch of law enforcement that deals with ‘supernatural’ crimes. If the crimes are committed by humans against humans, that’s a matter for the standard cops. But when it is a ‘supe’ that is the victim, and especially when it is a ‘supe’ that is the perpetrator, that’s where the Directorate becomes involved.

Riley Jensen is part of The Directorate. When the series started she was just the sort of executive secretary cum police detective that worked for the head of the Directorate. But over the course of the books, she becomes a Guardian, which is to say she’s authorized to use deadly force against other supernaturals that are breaking the laws of the land. And she’s able to do this because of her unique 1/2 vampire, 1/2 werewolf ancestry. You’ll have to read the early books to find out how someone can be ‘half’ vampire, but she is. So is her brother, who is a Guardian for The Directorate before she even becomes one.

Werewolves in this world are slightly different than expressed in other ‘urban fantasy/paranormal romance’ books. When it gets close to the full moon, werewolves get lusty and rambunctious. It’s only on the night of the full moon that the need to really wolf-out and run and hunt. And even when it’s not near the time of the full moon, werewolves, as well as some of the other weres, have a reputation as being rather over-driven by sex, and loose in their morals.

Over the course of the books, Riley has a number of events, relationships and adventures. In this book she’s sort of settled down in her relationships and is in a good one with her vampire lover, Quinn. It’s nearing the time of the full moon and someone is using one or more zombies to murder women, while on another front rich successful vampires are being murdered rather gruesomely. So Riley is but on both these cases and crosses the path of a rogue werewolf bounty hunter from a prior adventure by the name of Kye Murphay.

Riley’s lusts flair, danger crests, and the hunt is on for the killers or those behind the killers, all the while repeatedly stumbling across Kye, who seems to be after the same people she is, and isn’t backing off when told.

All in all, it’s a good addition to the series. It does progress her relationship with Quinn a little, and there are revelations related to Kye that will have to wait for another book to be fully resolved. Nothing is every truly easy in Riley’s life, even when they are going well.

This book lightens up a little on the amount of sex that has been in the series, turning more to the story as the focus, which seems to be doing good things for the writing. If you have read the other books in the series, this is a must read. If you haven’t read the other books, but are interested in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genre and like things lusty but with a stronger focus on the story then on the sex, but still with sex as a strong part of a strong female lead character, then this set of books will be for you. I’ve enjoyed every book in this series, and while this one was not the best of the seven books so far, it’s still quite good.

I just wish the US release had used the UK cover found on Keri’s website, which I have placed below, as this volume of the series is less a romance, and more the paranormal adventure with romance thrown in, and the UK cover conveys that much better.

Book Review: Spellsong Cycle Books 1-3 by L.E. Modesitt, Jr

It’s taken me a while to get to this, but I have been meaning to share this wonderful series with those of you that read my reviews. I’ve read the first three (3) of these novels and liked them quite a bit.

The Soprano Sorceress (1997) by L.E. Modesitt, Jr

In this, the first book of the series, we meet Anna Marshall, a singing instructor and small-time opera sinner from most recently of Iowa, USA. And a young man by the name of Daffyd, searching for revenge upon the sorcerer that has recently killed his father, has a spell cast that is fishing for a powerful sorceress from the ‘Mist Worlds’ to his world of Erde.

Anna has recently lost her daughter, is on the rebound from a marriage that has ended poorly, has been dealing with Iowa State University music department politics and wishes she were anywhere but there. Her wish combined with the summoning spell from this other world, opens the door to make the summoning spell move her between her ‘Mist World’ of Earth, to Erde.

On Erde, Anna discovers a world out of Fantasy or Fiction. It’s a world of feudal powers and states, magic, and wars. A world almost completely controlled by men and their violent ways. (Though there is a country out there controlled by women that is quite influential in trade.)

Daffyd wants Anna to destroy the sorcerer Lord Brill, who killed his father for ‘humming’ during the building of a fortress through his magics. Daffyd, as was his murdered father, are ‘Players’ for Lord Brill. Players are the musicians that backup powerful singers, as singing is how magic is done in the world of Erde.

Anna is swiftly embroiled into the struggles of this new world and finds herself the target of assassins and seems to be destined to become another pawn in all the struggles. But she’s having NONE of that, and proceeds to discover than her singing talents and skills make her, after just a little discovery one of the most powerful sorceresses the world of Erde has ever seen.

This book shows the time from her arrival, to meeting Lord Brill, to helping Lord Brill in a battle against Dark Monks, and on to the capitol of the land of Defaulk and begins the story of her rise in that land and how her arrival will change it and all of Erde, forever.

The Spellsong War (1998) by L.E. Modesitt, Jr

This book picks up almost right where The Soprano Sorceress left off. But the now Lady Anna has to deal with the repercussions of what she had to do at the end of the first book as she tries to take the reins of the land of Defaulk and get it on the road of recovery. She has to worry about threats from both outside the boundaries of her new homeland, and those within.

Defaulk has always been a land ruled by it’s 33 Lords, by MEN, and here she is, a woman, going about CHANGING things. There is plenty of strife, plenty of intrigue, and and time and again Lady Anna is forced to use her powers and skills in ways that she is not in the least proud of.

In this book we learn more of the two types of magic in Erde. There is ‘Clearsong’ which seems to encompass all things NOT living, like weather, stone, metals and the like, and ‘Darksong’ which deals with things Living or once living… like clothing, wood, and people and people’s conduct, thoughts and loyalty. Clearsong has easy to pay prices, like making you hungry, always hungry, draining you of energy. Darksong has a Higher price, doing much worse to you the more you make use of it. Each successive use of Darksong has a greater price. And Lady Anna keeps having to resort to Darksong again and again.

This book also starts the relationship in detail between Lady Anna and what is to become one of her most staunch supporters, Lord Jecks. What starts as simple friendship grows in this book, but never quite becomes ‘more’. And by the end of this book, Lady Anna needs that support more than ever before.

Darksong Rising (1999) by L.E. Modesitt, Jr

While the focus of the first two books in this series focused mostly on the threats to Defaulk and Lady Anna from outside Defaulk, this book brings things more within the borders of that country. Lady Anna has to deal with more of the Lords of Defaulk that just can’t seem to get it through their heads that a woman Can lead the country and Will lead the country wither they like it or not… for the good of ALL the country. That’s not to say that all the threats to her and the country are just from within. Those without still threaten, but unlike in the first two books, she doesn’t have to make any journeys outside Defaulk to deal with them.

This book also deals with, as the title implies, more Darksong. By not Lady Anna understands the risks, and does her best to keep away from Darksong as best she can. But her opponents are not doing any such thing, using the evil of Drums and their use in enhancing spellsong that drives armies into a frenzy and can make them nearly unstoppable… and again, she has to deal with them from her ‘own’ people in a civil uprising almost in her own back yard, and in fighting the ambitions of a spoiled and evil young man in his goals of conquest.

Central to all three of these books is Anna’s sorrow from being taken from her home world, and more importantly from her two remaining grown children, especially her remaining daughter. Time and again she tries to scry and otherwise communicate with her living daughter back in the ‘Mist World’ of Earth. These attempts always have strong consequences to her and is very detrimental to the mirrors through which she views ‘home’.

Anna is a strong woman, but she is also forced to make moral decisions and wield powers that she really, really would prefer not to have to make use of. She abhors violence but finds herself having to learn how to defend herself, and has to use her powers to cause great losses of life, both to specific persons wishing her or someone near to her harm, and to the armies of those that wish to conquer the land of Defaulk. And the damage sometimes spills over onto innocents that had no say in being present where they were, and only were tying to live their lives. Anna almost constantly is waging a war within her self against depression from what she must do, and the damage that her use of powerful energies does to herself physically. Magic always comes with a price.

Some out in the reviewing public seem to totally misunderstand some of the themes present in the books. Defaulk, as a feudal land, still not yet into any form of industrial age, is a very man-centric society, women are strongly under-respected, under-valued. It’s a rough world, with rough ways. The places where religion are present in our world’s history seems to be filled just with the ‘worship’ of the ‘harmonies’ rather than any divine spirit or being. There is a far off land, strong of sea power, which holds it’s women as ‘chattle’ and keep them in chains. These far off lands would love to take over all of the continent that Defaulk is a part of.

The world of Erde is rich and well thought out. And Modesitt’s storytelling weaves things very, very well, using the standard first person past tense for most of the story, but switching to third person present tense when giving the view of places and people outside of Anna’s direct story and knowledge. It’s a little jarring the first time it happens, but you get used to it over time. And those glimpses elsewhere gives the readers perspectives that they wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see.

If you can’t already figure it out, I liked these books. I’ve tried my best in the review above to not give the stories away, yet still give enough of a taste so you can make your own decision about reading them. There’s two more books in the series I have yet to read, they are The Shadow Sorceress released in 2001, and Shadowsinger released in 2002. I have them, I’m just waiting for the right time to return to the world of Erde and the land of Defaulk to find out just what Lady Anna, Regent of Defaulk, is up to now, and how she’s going to deal with the ongoing threats to the realm.

Scribble…

Hi. I’m Jethric’s blog. Jethric and Mhari (Jethric’s wife of almost 2 years) did things this week, as usual. Mhari read books, played City of Heroes, exercised on the stationary bike, and watched TV. Jethric read books (fewer than Mhari did), played City of Heroes (less hours than Mhari did), exercised by doing lots of walking, watched TV (slightly fewer hours than Mhari did) and went to work each day.

Mhari and Jethric both finished watching the first season of True Blood and now are wishing they had a time machine so they could watch the 2nd season. Jethric finished reading the latest Anita Blake book, and started the latest Sookie Stackhouse book.

Jethric has reviews planned for the first three books in L.E. Modesitt, Jr’s Spellsong Cycle; Deadly Desire by Keri Arthur, the 7th Riley Jenson Guardian book; and Skin Trade, the 17th book in Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.

Otherwise, Jethric is working hard and doesn’t seem to have time for a first person, regularly scheduled blog posting this week, he is submitting this third person one in it’s stead.
 
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