Spare Ammo

Mahala

38 Caliber Reviews

No More Whispering

I read.

           I blog.

                      I dance.

Owned by cats

Ebay

Review- Soul Taker

Okay, Dear Readers, here is the first review of the new year.

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out. 

 

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

 

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

 

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture. ” Amazon

 

138 pages of if not quite hell definitely not heaven. There is a typo in the dedication, the dedication. The author lists DSM Publications as the editor and this man has a lot to answer for, but not as much as the author who has compiled a hot mess of at times almost incoherent, simplistic, predictability.

 

This is a book about angels supposedly but Alexander’s angels, or Angels since she insists on capitalizing the word, are merely badly drawn human characters with wings. There is nothing grand or glorious, fierce or fearsome about these angels, excuse me “Angels”. They are merely Angels because the author says so.

 

If you want angels read Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter series or Thomas E Sniegoski’s Remy Chandler series. These are angels.

So our heroine is Kate, a Soul Taker, which is an Angel who goes around gathering up the souls of the dying. (Remind me to tell you about this amusing little series about a woman who delivers souls to their proper destinations) I’m not quite sure how she does it because it’s never fully explained but when we meet her she’s tired of it. It depresses her. Mind you, Kate wanted to be a warrior Angel but gathering souls depresses her. I wonder what she thought warriors do, tickle their enemies into surrendering?

 

As Kate is wandering around gazing soulfully and sighing her boss happens along and offers her a new position as a Guardian. Of course she accepts it at 3% of the book, so why is it called Soul Taker? Making sense is not a strong point of this book.

 

“I was nearly in tears, found myself lonely, sad, bullied.” Ye-ah. Whatev. Never does she explain this. The girl is over 300 years old and she doesn’t have a friend? And bullied? How? Where? Don’t ask because you will not find an answer here. “I loved my looks, I had only wished that, once in a while, someone would take the time to look behind my mask of pure beauty and try to fathom my feelings, emotions, brains, guts – and whatever else was there.” Cue soundtrack, “Feelings”. “Whatever else was there”? What? Brain matter? Blood? Veins? Hair?A vacuum between her ears? I’ll take the vacuum for a $1000, Alex.

 

Let us just say that her world building has a condemned sign on it.

Back to Kate. She accepts the position and her now former boss introduces her to her new boss or teacher or mentor or something. It’s the archangel Raphael and he dresses like a cowboy. Do not ask why. He’s also a hugger. And not George Clooney. I can’t believe I read this.

 

So he says they’ll be working together for the next 3 or 4 years and we will now stop. The timeline in this hot mess was nonexistent. You can be reading along and suddenly days, weeks, month have passed. But she seldom tells you, you have to stop and figure it out from the text. I think the timeline is well over 18 months but I can’t be certain.

 

So Rafe whisks her away to show her the job which is the only time , how much time I don’t know because to the nonexistent timeline. There’s a night watchman, a castle full of soldiers, two churches, the castle again, a hospital. It’s disjointed, confusing, and unintentionally hilarious. “I nudged the younger man, who suddenly got up, walked over to the others and explicitly declared: “Madame, Doctor- you WILL perform the surgery and do it properly! I, Sheldon Foss III, will fully cover this woman’s surgery and her hospital stay!”  Ye-ah. No. There are a couple more examples of what the author fondly believes shows the inspirational calling of her Angels but they follow in the same overwrought pattern. “He smiled at me with winning charm and asked, with a dark and manly voice as if he was some kind of doctor: “How are we today, Sweetie?” A dark and manly voice? As if he was some kind of doctor? What the hell?

 

“”And still, you’re answering so convincedly.”” Her editor’s name is Don Massenzio.

Now here is something I haven’t seen before:

 

If it looks like the word contemptuously has an attached link, it does.

I had been wondering if Alexander perhaps didn’t speak English but she claims:

Let us continue. So we see her job and then Mr Dark-and-Manly-Voice grabs her. It’s a demon. You would think it would be hard to not write an interesting demon but somehow Alexander manages it. I weep. And here I will recommend R J Blain’s Whatever For Hire, Blain’s Satan is deliciously funny and witty and devious.

Torture ensues, mainly of the reader but a little bit to Kate. She is rescued, damn it. When she wakes up there is an IV in her arm. An angel. I guess divine healing isn’t what it used to be. I hope she has good insurance. When she recovers she rehabs in a fully equipped gym. And once again I ask where? Heaven, earth, fluffy cloud?

 

A good writer can get away with some iffy stuff but a bad writer just makes it light up like neon in Vegas.

 

So she recovers and now is moping around when an angel visits and informs her she’s in love with cowboy Rafe. “I grabbed his shirt with both hands as I did never want to let him go again”. Did I mention she had an editor? And he charges for this.

 

“Before I had time to answer two things happened nearly simultaneously. Thunder, lightning followed by the little airplane Raphael had saved falling from the sky”. Thunder, lightning, plane falling, isn’t that like, you know, threethings? Not the first time this author has had a problem with her numbers.

 

“The weight pressed me down, but there was neither nothing nor anyone there.” She gets attacked and faints. A lot. There is a reason for this, the attacking not the fainting, she’s a special little snowflake. You know, one of those characters so special that you just want to vomit. “”I was informed that this very special ability and unique part of personality needs a lot of strength as well as modesty. That’s why no Archangel has obtained it except for Angels with not only the right humble character, but also the will, strength and loyalty to our Creator. This is you, Katie! Our Father has had very disappointing esperience with vanity and envy. He counts on you to not betray him or his gift. Your experience has shown he made the right decision. You are a unique gem amongst Angelkind”” Kate is so, so special.

 

“This Archangel was the teensiest bit intimidating. he had the features of a wrestler, mocha colored skin, nearly black eyes and his wild ebony locks were falling onto his shoulders.” Scary black man? And then, describing another angel: “”You have never seen him joking around as Darth Vader – or wearing Jeans, Flip-Flops, and a pink net shirt, acting as if he was gay.”” I can’t even. I won’t even. You shouldn’t even. Remember this is YA.

 

“”We both might need a coffee – and the best is at my place.” Then several paragraphs later, “”I’m on my way to Aylah’s place to have a coffee with her” And I’m not sure where Kate’s place is because she had a fight with Rafe (she’s “brave” for shouting at him) and she was bemoaning she had no place to go.

 

So things roll boringly along until Rafe informs her she’s pregnant. He has to tell her much like that other angel told her she was in love with Rafe. “The entire Hall was decorated with blue flowers and golden tresses.”  Hair? Angels decorate with hair? Oh, A.J., that word does not mean whatever the hell you think it does. Did you know she had an editor? Oh, the flowers and hair were for her wedding, a little something that the Archangel who didn’t want to tell her he loved her while her teacher because he didn’t want her to feel pressured because of his position sprang on her without so much as a by your leave. He did gift her a beautiful new dress so I guess that makes it okay. Afterward Rafe tells her he wanted to legally bind himself to her and, and, angels. Legally bind? Sounds like they had a ceremony at City Hall. These. Are. Angels. Or at least the author wants us to believe they are.

 

“And even though Raphael treated me like a raw egg from time to time,” The deathless prose!

 

So basically Kate wanders through this “book” being told all the major things she should be able to figure out if she had half a brain, has a baby, keeps getting attacked by demons and the Devil, is a special little snowflake, and dispenses rainbows and uplifting words of wisdom at the drop of a purple pen.

 

“”And we both fathom, no matter how many women there were, ‘the one’ was not among them. The one who will touch you, hug and kiss you, full of love and dedication and any time of the day, she was not one of them. And still, love will find you! Your lady of heart will meet you when the time has come.””

Gives that endorsement the side eye.

 

So I recommend Singh or Sniegorski or Blaine and just leave this shambles of a “book” alone. Here endeth Part I. You remember my post about second chances, well now, that is Part II.

 

Second Chances

I'm ba-ack, sorta. In view of the whole Kathleen Hale debacle you might think this is about her but no, it is not. Yes, Virginias, there are other authors out there trying to come back with their previous outrageous behavior intact. And no, I'm not telling you who it is just yet. 
 
I'm trying to read 50% of the wretched book and it's a hard slog. So watch this space. I had so hoped for a better outcome but, well... 
 
 

I believe in second chances. I think almost everybody deserves one. Contrary to what some people believe I will give someone the benefit of the doubt almost every time and I struggle when it becomes apparent that the second chance looks to be in vain.

 

I wanted this one to work, I thought it would but it looks like the path traveled before will be the path traveled again. I guess if you can surround yourself with enough people that tell you you did nothing wrong and all those people who “attacked” you, who “harassed” you, who pointed out your missteps and mistakes were just being “mean” and “jealous” then you can move comfortably ahead down that same path towards the inevitable.

 

I admired your restart, your dedication to what you built, but maybe the red flags were there in the timeline. You have worked hard but for what end? 

 

No self-awareness, no professional growth, no fucking clue.  

Book review soon.

Ammie Come Home 12%

Ammie, Come Home - Barbara Michaels

I'm busy but trying to squeeze in a book or few. One of the things that I noticed on this reread is that Ruth and pat are only in their 40s and 50s and I have always pictured them as older. Not sure why unless it was how Michaels had Ruth describe herself. She made her sound much older than she is or maybe we just see 40 -something as not that decrepit now?

New Release! Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror

Reblogged from Gregor Xane:

This should be good for at least a few squares on your Halloween Bingo cards.

  

Available now in Kindle and paperback editions.

 

I've got a story in this called "The Uncle Taffy's Girl." I hope you like it.

 

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU



Paperback Editions also available at: Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Coming October 6

 

  

 

Brian Bilston's first book of poetry will be released on October 6 at various places including Amazon. It is listed there now but pricing information is unavailable.

A Great Reckoning On Sale Now

Screenshot (8887).png

#1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny pulls back the layers to reveal a brilliant and emotionally powerful truth in her latest spellbinding novel.

 

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.


Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.

 

And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.

 

Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.

 

The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.

 

For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning. -Amazon

 

“Penny writes with grace and intelligence about complex people struggling with complex emotions. But her great gift is her uncanny ability to describe what might seem indescribable – the play of light, the sound of celestial music, a quiet sense of peace.” ―New York Times Book Review

 

If you haven’t read Louise Penny you should, start here:

 

Screenshot (8888).pngWinner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

 

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter. Still Life introduces not only an engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces—and this series—with integrity and quiet courage, but also a winning and talented new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.- Amazon

THIS!

In front of my local grocery 8/8/16

Rogue Alpha- Not The Pick of the Litter

[reblogged from 38 Caliber Reviews]

 

 

Hello to you all, Dear Readers, I have a very special treat for you. We'll file this under If I Have To Suffer So Do You.

 

I've been reading a lot of totally forgettable ebooks lately and by forgettable I mean in 24 hrs I can't remember a single thing about the book forgettable. The great thing about self publishing means that a lot of good, solid books that traditional publishers would pass by can get published and the bad thing is a lot of books that should languish in locked desk drawers also get published. This book is one for the locked desk drawer.

 

Screenshot (1589)Here it is. This one falls into that "I'm going to write the kind of book that I want to read" category. I can understand that except once written do they have to foist them on the rest of us? And worse than the foisting is the number of readers who think someone's personal fantasy is the bestest book evah.

 

Even more depressing is that this is not her first book and it won't be her last. At least she seems able to spell.

Meet our heroine, Laura Prince, she's spending the summer deep in the woods of my home state of Michigan (the reason I bought this). She's working on her degree and studying an illness in whitetail deer.

 

She's out late one evening chasing down a microchipped deer when she meets a big, black wolf. He walks towards her, she walks towards him.

 

"I moved toward him. I don't know why I did it. Some rational part of my brain told me to scream, to run, to find the biggest stick I could and throw it at him. But, the wolf kept coming toward me. Something seemed familiar about him, absurd as I knew that was. He bared his teeth and let out a low, vibrating sound that seemed to penetrate my skin and warm my blood.

I put a hand out. ..."

 

Ooooo-kay. You are in the woods. A big wolf appears. He walks towards you. He bares his teeth and makes a "low, vibrating sound". Of course the most natural thing in the world is to walk towards him and stick out your hand. Not. But this is White's personal masturbatory fantasy book she wants a heroine that's TSTL and insta-lurve.

 

Don't get me wrong, insta-lurve does not always have my eyes rolling but it has to be done with a certain amount of, well, something that's missing from White's writing. But I guess since the wolf seems familiar and that low, vibrating sound makes her blood warm instead of freezing it in her veins it makes it totally fine to- wait for it- pet the wolf.

 

This tender first meeting of Our Hero and Our Heroine is rudely interrupted by gunfire.

Awwww. Enter a villain, the professor running the study Laura is participating in. You know he's a villain because White seems to lack much subtlety or nuance in her writing. I will give her credit for not equipping him with a cape and a mustache that he constantly twirls but that is the end of it. Professor Flood is a smirking, condescending, arrogant asshole who tries to tell Laura the wolf was really a coyote. Don't worry, Dear Readers, he gets worse.

 

And we are at 6% read. More to follow.

 

Screenshot (6831)

Meow

Reblogged from Yodamom Finds her Force:

 

I've had to dip my toes into political waters this morning, well, more like a political mud puddle. I will now take a 4 hour shower. More at a later date.

 

 

Happy 4th

 

Don't Tread on Me-ow

50 Questions (and 50 Answers)

1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

Closed otherwise the cats reorganize and I can't find a thing.

2. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

Out so Diego can crawl in..

3. Have you ever stolen a street sign before?

No, but I was given one as a birthday present.by a coworker.

4. Do you cut out coupons and never use them?

Almost never.

5. Would you rather be attacked by bears or bees?

 

I'd really rather not.

6. Do you have freckles?


No.

7. Do you always smile for pictures?

Very seldom.

8. Do you ever count your steps when you walk?

Only if necessary.

9. Have you ever peed in the woods?

 

No.

10. What about pooped in the woods?

No.

11. Do you chew your pens and pencils?

Ick, no. Pencils and pens are cat toys at my house..

12. What’s your song of the week?


This week anything by Garrison Keillor

 

13. Is it okay for guys to wear pink?


Absolutely.

14. Do you still watch Cartoons?

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

15. What do you drink with dinner?

Coke or water.


16. What do you dip a chicken nugget in?

The cat's dinner bowl, I don't like 'em.

17. What’s your favourite food?

Bacon.

18. Were you ever a boy/girl scout?


Yes, for a while I was the only Brownie at my school so I was attached to the Girl Scout troop.

 

19. Would you ever strip or pose naked for a magazine?


Yes.

20. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?

No, not yet..

21. Favorite kind of sandwich?

Bacon cheeseburger with tomato.

22. Best thing to eat for breakfast?

Bacon.


23. What’s your usual bedtime?

 

Whenever I fall asleep.

 

24. Are you lazy?

Yes!

25. What is your Chinese astrology sign?

Snake.  Hith.

26. How many languages can you speak?

English and German, with a smattering of Yiddish and Greek.  I tanked in French class.

27. Do you have any magazine subscriptions?

NO. Never again.

28. Are you stubborn?

And proud of it.

29. Are you afraid of heights?

Yes, I have an inner ear thing.

30. Do you sing in the car?

 

Yes, better there where no one can hear me and run off screaming.

31. Do you ever dance in the car?

No.

32. Ever used a gun?

Yes.

33. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?

Does that music video I was in in January count? If not, not since dancing with the troupe.

34. Do you think muscles are cheesy?

Not if within reason.

35. Favorite type of fruit pie?

Huckleberry.

36. Occupation you wanted to be when you were a kid?
 

Astronaut.

37. Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes, I've seen two, felt one, and live with an entity on my upstairs landing.

38. Ever had a deja-vu feeling?

More than once.

39. First concert?

I don't remember but the one that comes to mind is Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders. I had a lovely phone conversation with Julie Thunders.

40. Nike or Adidas?


Whatever fits and feels comfortable.

41. Ever take dance lessons?

Tap, ballet, modern, flamenco, near and middle eastern. Taught the last and performed.

42. Regularly burn incense?

Not anymore.

43. Who would you like to see in concert?

Sir Paul.

44. Hot tea or cold tea?

Neither, it makes me nauseous.

45. Tea or Coffee?

Coffee, hot or cold.

46. Can you swim well?

No.

47. Are you patient?

 

At times

 

48.DJ or band at a wedding?

DJ

49. Which are better, black or green olives?

mmmm, olives.

50. Would you rather live in a fictional world or the real world?

 

I think I'll stick with the one I know.

 

44% Death & Detention

[reblogged from 38 Caliber Reviews]

 

I am really enjoying this book. David is offering D&D in five episodes, the first being free. After reading it I bought the book.

 

In the affluent town of Augustine, being picture-perfect means everything. Which is why the powers that be are so willing to write off a troubled teen’s suspicious death as an accident.

But when seventeen-year-old outsider Prudence Mallory finds an anonymous letter that makes her classmate’s death look like a homicide, she can’t turn away from the mystery. -Amazon

 

Two sentences that do not do justice to Prudence. She is simply, for me, the best 17 yr old heroine I have read in a long time. Mind you, I am only at 44% but Prudence has not disappointed.

 

Prudence is no stranger to what happens when doing the right thing makes you the pariah, she’s done that and is still there. She knows that her digging into the “accidental” death of a classmate isn’t going to make her popular but she believes that justice for Anna is more important than being invited to the right parties- or any parties.

 

She can wield a mean can of coke, she has a bright pink scooter and a cell phone. She knows when a dumb idea is dumb but if that’s her only idea she’ll make it work out- somehow.

 

Oh, Prudence Mallory, I love you.

Currently reading

Mystery of the Haunted Mine by Gordon D. Shirreffs
Progress: 114/252pages
Sidonia's Thread: The Secrets of a Mother and Daughter Sewing a New Life in America by Hanna Perlstein Marcus
Progress: 107/248pages
OFF-TOPIC: The Story of an Internet Revolt by G.R. Reader by G.R. Reader
The Alien Artifact by Victor Bertolaccini
Roseblood (Roseblood Series #1) by Emily Shore
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
Roses in Winter by Leslie D. Stuart
Sunspots by Karen S. Bell