Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

A Night in the Lonesome OctoberA Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodness gracious, I am super late writing this review.  My schedule just exploded after the middle of October, and I had no time. Because it's been nearly a month, I don't have the best memory of all the plotlines. But I promised I would write a review for every book I read, so better late than never, and my review will be of the more general sort.

I was fortunate to find this at my library and it fit very well thematically into my October Scare Fest reading.  I enjoyed it overall.  It's an odd little book, no question about it.  I would consider it a bit of a pastiche to the famous literary figures of Dracula, Frankenstein and his monster, Sherlock Holmes, Merlin-type druids, and the Wolfman. I rather enjoyed that about this book.  What I loved the most is that the narrators are the familiars, or animal companions of the human (or humanlike characters).  They all strike up a strange sort of friendship driven by mutual interest and that old adage that drives too many middle grade friendships, especially among girls:  better to be friends with someone than to have them as an enemy.

The story's chapters are broken down into each one representing a day in October.  They are getting ready for some very important magical event that will have seemingly profound consequences. It sort of reminded me of the Highlander movie where the various characters are pairing off against each other, but this was more of a semi-good versus evil sort of standoff. Just my take. Forgive me if I am way off here.  I didn't quite understand all of that, but I don't think it was as important as the unfolding paranormal mystery as various human (or humanlike) characters start to be picked off, one by one. The main character is a dog, who is the familiar of a male wizard.  He's an endearing narrator.  I liked how he plays dumb dog when necessary, but he's not the average canine (I truly feel some dogs are incredibly intelligent, so don't assume I'm picking on dogs here).  I liked his wry and atypical friendship with a cat, who is the familiar of a witch. Along with the fact that their humans are striking up a courtship that may not end well if they end up choosing opposites sides. There is also a bat, rat, snake, and owl character.  I'm sorry I don't remember all their names.  I do remember the snake's name was Quicklime, so go figure.  Strangely enough, the humanlike character who was most developed was Larry Talbot.  Classic horror movie buffs will recognize that name as that of the Wolf Man. He did have the tragic vibe of the character in the movie, but he was quite likable.

This book isn't that deep. I mean it's a short book and probably has some hidden meaning, and I think a very prominent satirical tone that some readers will pick up on immediately.  It's not super scary, it's a bit.  Enough to make for a nice Halloween read. 

I'd say this one is worth tracking down if you can find it at your library. Unfortunately, it's out of print. 

A good read for this time of year. And fun for animal lovers like myself.

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Friday, November 08, 2013

First Strike by Pamela Clare

First Strike (I-Team, #5.9)First Strike by Pamela Clare
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

With this being such a short story, it's not necessary to write an expansive review. Instead, I will just give a few quick thoughts.

I am glad I read Striking Distance first because this novella feels more like a backstory that I was happy to get after the fact. If you read this first, you'll still be okay. You'll just want to dive right into the full-length follow up on Javier and Laura.

I will be honest and I say I not a big erotica fan at all (I can only count maybe two authors I read in that genre, Shannon McKenna and Lisa Marie Rice), but despite that fact, I enjoyed this book. I feel that Pamela Clare is very good at writing fulfilling romantic stories with sex that adds to the story and doesn't detract. This novella doesn't really have more sex in proportion to her books, but it just feels that way because it's short and the focus is on the sexual interactions between two strangers who decide to share a no-strings attached weekend. I don't find hook up stories that appealing (I'm a HEA, love and commitment girl), so it was great to realize that I could enjoy the interactions between these two people because I cared about them. Clare does a good job of facilitating the reader's involvement in their story.

Readers who love hot and steamy sex will definitely enjoy this novella. You could see that there was a meeting of two equals who knew what they wanted sexually and weren't afraid to go for that, despite the risks of getting caught. Along the way, they might have just discovered they wanted more. For readers who aren't into the kinky stuff, you'll be fine. I'm definitely not into non-vanilla sex in my romances, and this was well within my comfort zone. It's a bit more descriptive than Clare usually gets, but only a bit.

I'd give this 4.5 stars. I'll pretty much read anything by Pamela Clare, because she does write such enjoyable stories and manage to make a 60 page novella about a fling feel like a lot more than that. Kudos to her for that.

Thanks to Ms. Pamela Clare for the opportunity to read this novella in exchange for an honest review.

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