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Anna Erishkigal's blog

"I put my heroes through hell..."

Like a feel-good Guideposts story ... only hilariously blasphemous...

Polly! - Stephen Goldin

I find organized religion to be deeply offensive to what I *KNOW*. Polly, however, tickled my funnybone, with a deeply irreverent take on God not seen since Alanis Morrissette played god in the movie Dogma. This story was like reading one of those funny, feel-good stories you find in Guideposts magazine, only instead of scripture, this story is hilariously blasphemous to the teeny-tiny confines organized religion has tried to place around so vast a being as God.

I can't tell you how many times I giggled as the protagonist (Herodotus ... or 'Hero') navigates his way out of personal tragedy into a Kafhaesque situation where you ask yourself if he died and went to heaven, hell, or some purgatory deeply reminiscent of the Twilight Zone. Polly is irrational and funny, and as she drags Hero in and out of various situations, it will lead you to a much more empowered viewpoint of the Dude Upstairs.

If you are a religious person who believes that God truly makes wagers with the devil and tells people to go slit their son's throats to make burnt offerings, then is not the book for you.

4 Perfect Points

An Orwellian tale of the darker side of human nature.

King of Rats - Gregory Carrico

I love me a well-crafted bad guy, especially when a story helps you relate to a scumbag and then, in the end, when they get their comeuppance, you actually feel a little sorry for them. This is a quick, cathartic read, recommended for anybody who is having a bad day because of some scheming real-life 'rat' and could use an evil little pick-me-up with a Ha-hah!!! at the end.

King of the Rats is a short story which, in the styles of Franz Kafka and George Orwell, uses animals as a metaphor for the human condition. It successfully blends the animalistic social traits of rats, which are social creatures always vying for dominance over their pack, with the social traits of humans, both as pack animals and as individuals. Mentally substitute your humans of choice for the characters in this story (politicians? people you know? those social-grubbing 'momistas' in the PTA?) and forever more you will picture them with little gnashing teeth and graspy little claws 3:-)

A well-crafted tail [*snort ... get it ... tail*] with a surprise twist at the ending, you will be mad, glad, and sad to see how this story ends.

5 Greedy-Grubbing-Grabbing Rat-stars!!!

Too much chatter, too many plot holes

Highland Fire - Hannah Howell

I wanted to like this book more than I did. Generally I like a good historical romance and some of the worldbuilding was excellent, but after a while I kept finding myself annoyed.

The way the characters kept talking back and forth, talk talk talk talk, aggravated the heck out of me. More action, less talk next time please? The use of Scottish dialect seemed realistic to me (who speaks maybe 6 words of Gaelic in real life), but at some point it felt like I was trapped in a nonstop writing exercise instead of an actual book that had a plot.

After the first time when (view spoiler), you'd think they'd be smart enough not to do the same thing again. But no...

The heroine's worry about her 'gift' was realistic at first, but then it went on and on and on (and on and on and on and on and on...).

And the confrontation by Jeanine in the cow barn, and she didn't blurt that little tidbit out? Nope. Not buying it. Someone like her, that would have been the first words out of her mouth.

Mungan? With Una? Nope. Just ... nope. That whole 'ransom' subplot could have been handled w-a-y better.

And they'd bring their women into battle? In that time period? No way. Uh-uh. Didn't buy it. Couldn't believe it.

It wasn't a bad book. It was cleanly edited, but there were multiple things that kept knocking me out of the story. I hate to leave a not-so great review, but I didn't leave this book with a warm fuzzy feeling like I expect from a romance novel, and truth be told, by the big 'I love you' at the end I was pretty much skimming. Sorry :-(

Sweet Sci Fi Romance

Operation Earth - Maria Hammarblad

Overall I enjoyed this book, even though it didn't quite seem to find its footing as either hard science fiction or a sweet romance. The lead character, Rachel, was a bit annoying as she seemed a little too naive and willing to become an alien collaborator with no second thoughts and too blase about the entire thing (that willing suspension of disbelief). On the other hand, once that premise was accepted, viewing an alien invasion through the eyes of somebody who supported them was rather interesting and quite different from the usual kick-butt heroines you see in science fiction today.

I did enjoy Peter very much, though, and the world that was built with the alien spaceship and the reason the Ancients were rolling out a plan of assimilation. When Peter ran into trouble with the resistance, the story got page-turningly interesting and I ended up staying up late at night to finish the book.

3.5 Spaceships!

Nice little feel-good Christmas story

Christmas at Ravencrest, A Dark Hero Christmas Short - Lily Silver

I realized after I got about two chapters into it that this is a SEQUEL novella to A Dark Hero, which I have not read yet, so the amount of backstory in the first chapter left me struggling a bit until I realized this was a sequel.

Yeah ... I know ... it states it clearly on the writeup ... but I downloaded it to my Nook quite some time ago and didn't read that disclaimer before diving into it on the road...

Okay ... that was the bad. Here's the good. I devoured this nice little feel-good short story in about the time it took for my kids activities and I think I smiled the entire time I read it. The characters were well-developed, I felt like I was actually transported back in time to the colonial-era West Indies, I could feel the heat, and I could feel the heroine's frustration at trying to plan a traditional Christmas dinner in a strange, tropical land (fish and mango for Christmas, anyone?) Except for a bit of 'huh' the first chapter (before I realized I'd read the books out-of-order), it was a charming Christmas story. Having not read the first book, it felt like being invited along to a friend's family Christmas gathering.

I have procured A Dark Hero, the precursor story to this book, and may revisit this story after reading it as I suspect I would enjoy it much better that way.

4 Christmas Turtles

Classic hardcore military scifi

Glory Main: A Story of the Sim War (The Sim War Series #1) - Henry V. O'Neil, Vincent H. O'Neil


Picked up this book at a science fiction convention. I have a soft spot for hardcore military science fiction, and this book did not disappoint. The first chapter was a wee bit choppy getting into the protagonist's head, but then it worked and what a ride! The characters felt real, and its depiction of survival on a harsh, enemy-infested alien world worked, and the big coup d'etat at the end was also gritty and realistic like a good military scifi novel should be. There is a surprise twist at the end which I will not spoil, but it was a great twist. I had my suspicions early on, but the peppering of hints was subtle so I was not certain until the very end.

Great book! 5 Starry Spaceships

Save a horse!

Love By Design - Liz Matis



I tend not to like romance books where the two love interests start out expressing their interest in each other by antagonizing one another right out of the starting gate, so I've deducted half a star. If some guy talked to me like that, I'd be like "later, dude..." However, once the 'design' part of the underlying HGTV-style 'Love by Design' home remodeling show starts and there are legitimate -reasons- for those sparks to fly, this book takes off into a light-hearted, fun, and terribly saucy read that will have you flipping the pages and giggling at odd, random moments that will leave the people around you wondering, 'what ... is that woman with the e-reader daft in the head?' It took me a couple of chapters to warm up up to the two main characters (and those chapters were thankfully brief), but once it took off, it was a fun ride (literally 3:-) ).

Save a horse!!! 4.5 stars...

A succinct, straightforward guide to planning out a fight scene for YOUR type of novel

Writing Fight Scenes - Rayne Hall


As a martial artist with moderate proficiency in three separate weapons (four if you include guns), and also a LARPer who LARPS in costume with weapons, I didn't think there would be a whole lot more this book would add to my existing knowledge, but I found it to be a succinct, straightforward guide to planning out a fight scene for YOUR type of novel (contemporary, fantasy, thriller, historical, etc.) and it covered a ton of things I had never considered before outside the context of my own genre.

This book appears to be deliberately set up to work well as a reference manual to go back to after you have read it to apply to whatever work-in-progress you may have. Do you need a fight scene between a non-skilled, female protagonist in a magical, historical-style setting? Against a larger opponent? A male? Perhaps simply a cad ... or is he out to kill her? What weapons would such characters use? This book is set up so you can easily go to the table of contents, find the information in the sub-headings, refresh your memory, and select your dream-dirk for your heroine to pull out of her leather bodice. Will her clothing help her or get in her way? What problems would such a lass encounter in a fight? It's all here. With no extra wordiness.

If I was to mention any detractor for the book, it's that there are no written examples of fight scenes themselves. I would deduct half- to a full-star for that, but then this book had links to numerous YouTube videos with live-action fight sequences, so I would ADD an extra half- or full-star for those alone, so I will be still averaging this out to a five-star review.

Review of A True and Perfect Knight

After finishing up an intensive month of work and the holidays, I was in the mood for some nice, easy-reading simply for an escape (kinda like craving candy corn). There's nothing better to accomplish that end than to dive into a legacy romance-novel binge. A True and Perfect Knight caught my eye.


When reviewing a romance novel, it's fair to keep in mind that these are written to escape. I wanted a couple of hours of romance and feel-good fluff. I got it. I actually learned something about Welsh history I didn't know before. I spent $4 for this ebook and feel I got my fluffy money's worth.