Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fangs For The Fantasy First Give Away: A signed Copy of Kevin Hearne's Hammered

Hello everyone, I am very excited to announce the very first giveaway on Fangs for the Fantasy.  Regular readers know that the crew here are Kevin Hearne fan poodles.  I can tell you that once you get lost in this series, you will fight the urge to fly to Arizona and ensure that Kevin is seated at his computer writing.  The following is a brief look at the Fangs for Fantasy review of the series.
Hammered is the third book in The Iron Druid chronicles. You can find the review for book one here and book two here.  Paul, Tami and I have officially declared ourselves fan poodles of The Hearne (as my children have come to call him) with good reason.  The Iron Druid Chronicles are the kind of books that you stay up late to finish, and mourn sadly when you reach the last page.  I waited anxiously to get my hands on Hammered, and even stalked Kevin on twitter begging for some sort of spoiler. Yes, I am one of those fans.

Hammered once again centers on Hearne's protagonist Atticus, a 2000+ year old druid and his interactions with various creatures from mythology, Jesus, vampires and werewolves.  In Hexed Atticus met with the Virgin Mary and asked her to tell Jesus that they should get together for a beer and in Hounded that is exactly what they do.  Jesus appears wearing a tie dyed T-shirt in predominately reds, yellows, and greens, with a white peace sign screen-printed on the front of it.  He also wore a pair of relaxed fit blue jeans and classically black Chuck Taylors. Hearne even went as far as to suggest that "Jesus looked like the guy from the Old Spice bodywash commercials".  I dare you to tell me one single place that you can find Jesus described in this way?  What ensues is an irreverent exchange, with Jesus providing fish and chips to a crowded bar, explaining that "miracles are so much more fun when people are expecting them of you," while pounding back 60 year old whiskey. I laughed until my tears poured from my eyes.  

As usual, Atticus' forever naked druid behind is in deep trouble.  To keep a promise he made to Lakasha, he has to go to Asgard to steal an apple.  If that were not enough trouble, he has to return to help Leif and Gunnar kill Thor, who seems universally to be thought of as an asshole of epic proportions.  Despite a warning from the Morrigan and Jesus, that this is a path destined to result in  tragedy, and most likely end of his life, being of the iron age, Atticus finds it impossible not to keep his word.  If I tell you any more than this, I risk ruining the story for you, and The Hearne is far too good to receive that kind of treatment.
Read the rest of the review here

Are you excited?  I am very excited.  I bet you are wondering what you have to do to win this signed copy of Kevin Hearne's Hammered.  Well, it's really very simply.  All you have to do to enter is to follow us on Good Reads, Facebook or Blogger.  Please leave your contact information (gmail) in the comment section and let us know where you followed us.  The contest is open to residents of Canada and the U.S.  The contest closes on August 10th and the winner will be chosen at random.

To Clarify because there seems to be some confusion: To enter this competition you need to Follow us on Goodreads, Facebook or Blogger not 'like'. On facebook click the link and see "follow" at the top - on the main page click on "blog" and then "follow" at the top of the screen. For blogger we have follow options on the right pannel and for Good Reads you need to click on our profile and click the button marked "follow reviews"

This Giveaway Is Now Closed

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: The Hunted by L.A. Banks, book 3 of the Vampire Huntress Legend

So we open up knowing that Damali & her gang are depressed. I'm not entirely sure why they're all depressed – they just kind of are. I think it's because they escaped from the tunnels of hell but Carlos – a vampire who none of them knew – didn't. This also really depresses Damali who expresses this by having a random vampire kill, just because and decides to have a reunion with an old friend, drink booze and spend some time reminiscing and being depressed

We know they're depressed because they spend an awwwfully long time telling us that they're depressed. No, really, this is like 15% of the book here, spent telling us how depressed they are. They might rename the “exposition room” to the “moping room.” I honestly didn't think I'd finish this book because that first 15% was almost impossible to read. Somehow, I managed. I wish I hadn't. This book makes me feel I have to go back and re-read Sunshine, our only DNF review because if I got through this I owe McKinley a second chance!

Anyway, Carlos, has survived! Yay, I guess? He is found by the surviving priesty-dudes and taken to a secret location to recover and be offered a deal – he fights the good fight for 7 years and his soul will be redeemed (because, y'know, nearly dying to save the Neteru and the world? Totes not enough). There then follows page after page of Carlos saying how horny the Neteru makes him and how there's some vampire women out there and they make him horny and zomg so horny and hungry and horny and – for gods' sake Carlos, go get some alone time with your right hand already.

Anyway, after convincing the priesty-dudes that he's scary (and he is, we know this because interminable pages are spent discussing this) Carlos is released into the world to preserve his soul, contact Damali, dodge the vampire council which want him to join them as one of them since he's a big bad Master, avoid his vampire brides (each Vampire Master has several extremely powerful female vamps as PAs). He also has to re-establish himself as the biggest baddest vamp in town which involves lots of posturing and show downs. Oh and find some thing that is killing people in Brazil. For some reason. I kind of lost the why in between the angst and the sex and the angst and the drama and the angst. There's quite a large, important story reason which is interesting – but it's lost in all the endless pages of crap you have to wade through. Oh and the big bad in Brazil is a woman who is horny for Carlos and she wants to have evil sex with him. And she makes Carlos horny. Really horny. Which makes Damali jealous and sad because she can't do evil sex. And she's also horny. And Carlos is horny and angry and hungr........ ooops, fell asleep on the keyboard for a second there.

What? It's hard to follow the plot when your brain is screaming for you to put the book down.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Summer Knight by Jim Butcher, Book 4 of the Harry Dresden Files

Harry Dresden returns in a much more epic tale of battle and mystery in which the fate of Chicago – in fact the whole world, rests.

Epic. I do like me some epic, I does. And we have meta-plot! In the last book, Harry Dresden started a war to protect the woman he loved and to stand up to the cruelty of the Red Court of vampires. Due to his actions the Red Court declared war on the White Council, the ruling body of wizards, a war that now covers every part of the world and concerns the White Council greatly as important wizards fall in battle. The Council has come to town and Harry's detractors are eager to end the war by sacrificing Harry to the vampires.

But there is a way out – the White Council has approached the Summer and Winter courts of the fae to gain allies and free transport through the Nevernever. Harry, as the newly appointed emissary of the Winter Court can secure his life – and the White Council's alliance – by solving a mysterious death. It's only as he investigates, he realises far more is at stake than one death, perhaps more than the war between the wizards and the vampires, for the Summer and Winter courts stand poised for war - and this war could devastate the world. And if that weren't complicated enough, an old flame comes back to haunt him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Season Three Promotion for The Vampire Diaries

September 15th is the big day The Vampire Diaries.  Will Stefan be really bad this season?  Will Elena find that she loves Damon and Stefan? Hmmmm which bad brother wins?

Thoughts on Season Seven of Buffy The Vampire Slayer

It was a long journey, but I have finally come to the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I am going to miss sharing this experience with my twitter family and your often challenging remarks.  Out of all seven seasons, I would have to say that this was among my least favourite.  I believe that the show peaked between seasons  4-6.  I loved the character development of Willow and Spike, but as for Buffy herself, her selfish irritating ways, were only surpassed by Dawn.

Okay, I was not enthused with Spike having cognitive difficulties throughout most of the season.  I know that Whedon thought he was covering his ass blaming it on the woo woo, but really enough already.  When we consider that almost every second word coming out of Buffy's mouth is the word lame, it was just another sign of the disableism that has plagued the show from the very beginning. Also, can we possibly be more trope filled than neurologically atypical equals violent?

This episode also brought us the dueling mothers.  Spike was triggered by a song his mother sang to him and Principal Wood, was desperate to get revenge for the murder of his mother.  They ended squaring off in a battle and Spike declared that his mother loved him, and that Wood's mother chose the job over him.  So much for the supposed feminist slant of Buffy.  The treatment of Wood's mother suggests that one cannot possibly be a good mother and have a job. It is further problematic that the White mother was cast as ultimately loving, though she is the one who said hateful things to Spike after he changed her.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fangs for the Fantasy podcast, Episode 25

This week we discuss the latest episode of True Blood as well as Suzy McKee Charas's book Vampire Tapestry

True Blood - and why I can't get behind all this pro-GBL praise

Ok, I love True Blood. No, really. I watch it every week as soon as I can and never regret doing so (well hardly ever).

But I see so much jumping and squeeing about it being the bestest thing ever for all its GBL portrayals and I have to hmmm... because I'm not going there.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it's better than most. Where most programmes rarely have any of us portrayed at all – and if we do we have maybe 1 token, stereotyped insert. True Blood with Lafayette, Jesus, Pam, Tara, Naomi, Nan Flannigan, Russel Edgington, Talbot, Sophie-Ann and even Eddie had a whole stable full of GBL people. It's immense and really really rare outside of niche shows that are meant to distinctly target us.

So, why aren't I leaping for joy and backflipping over True Blood's GBL representations? Because quantity does not equal quality. Just having a GBL character – or having a gazillion GBL characters – doesn't make a show a wonderful font of equality. The quality of those portrayals matter – the stereotypes, the tropes upheld also matter. And there's such a lot problems with the portrayals that many of them annoy me, frustrate me and generally do not get shiny gold stars.

Teen Wolf: Episodes 5-8

Unlike True Blood, there really isn't much about Teen Wolf that requires an in-depth analysis each week, though it is an interesting show when it steps away from the teen angst.  At this point, we have learned that the Alpha not only wants Scott to join him, he wants Scott to kill off his friends.  Allison senses that Scott is lying to her after he conveniently throws Derrick under the bus to explain why a creature is stalking them in the local highschool.

Stiles remains Scott's ever present side kick; however, he had no problem taking time out to get all creepy when he comes across Lydia in a drugged state after a meeting with the alpha.  A note to all men big and small: unless you are helping a woman, interacting with her in a way that can in any way be understood to be sexual while she is drugged is WRONG.  I know that they have constructed Stiles to be one of the good guys, but even good guys cross the line.

We also have an ongoing problem with the way Allison is referred to. There's a lot of discussion about how she affects Scott - does she make him weak, does she make him strong, does she make the wolf hard to control... and Allison gets lost as a person in the middle of this - it's all about how she affects Scott, right up until she dumps him for keeping so many secrets.

And for episode 8 Renee and Sparky decided to chat while watching together - it usually gets us more snark

Review of Vicki Pettersson's The Scent Shadows: The First Sign of the Zodiac

I know that some will argue that this book does not fall into the category of urban fantasy, because it does not involve, fae, vampires, werewolves, or any of the other usual suspects; however, I am going to call this urban fantasy, because it takes place in Las Vegas, which is an urban setting. I know that this is  thin ground to stand on, but I am going to nonetheless. 

The Zodiac warriors actually have powers and special weapons assigned to them based on what astrological sign they are born under.  Joanna, the protagonist, is The Archer because her mother was a warrior of light and her father a warrior of the dark, and she shares her birthday with her parents.  Her birth and ascension was foretold in their mythos, which btw can conveniently found in comic books written about them. Joanna refers to herself and the other agents of light as super heroes. 

The story is actually quite intense and the world building quite subtle.  I really do believe that Pettersson did a wonderful job writing the first book in this series.  From early on we learn that Joanna was raped at 15 and left for dead in the desert. Her mother for reasons unknown leaves town, never to be heard from again.  Joanna now only has her younger sister Oliva and her father Xavier.  Of course, the relationship between Xavier and Joanna is contentious, and finally we learn that he is not really her biological father. No, her real father is the Tulpa, the leader of the dark forces. The Tulpa is a being who was specifically brought into being through deep meditation for years by a man seeking to create his own religion.  Xavier quickly disinherits Joanna when he learns the truth of her parentage in favor of his daughter Oliva. Unfortunately for Olivia, she will not have long enough to be her father's heir, as she is murdered by Ajax, an agent of the dark forces.

Monday, July 25, 2011

True Blood: Me And The Devil

Am I the only who thought that True Blood was absolutely awesome last night?  Okay, first let's start with Tommy committing parenticide.  I know that it was violent but honestly it really gave me a sense of relief.  I really, really, really, did not want to see Joe-Lee in those yellow drawers again.  The story line with Sam's parents was irrelevant last season, and I am so glad that it was nipped in the bud early in this season.  From this event, we also learned that Sam is a murderer twice over.  I am unsure of where this dark side is leading to, because Ball created a back story for Sam, that is completely the opposite of the books.

Arlene and Terry decide to have their home blessed to scare away the evil. I for one am sick of the sins of the father routine that they have been using with the baby.  I was also upset to see that the house was blessed with sage, because this is a direct appropriation from First Nations culture. When we consider the harm that Christianity has done to Native Americans, this appropriation was absolutely horrible.  If that were not enough, Arlene called Lettie Mae and her new husband, "you people."  When they asked what she meant, she answered that she was referring to their religion.  Their easy acceptance of Arlene's response made them look ridiculous.  I really think that Ball could have taken this scene so much further, but maybe this is a sign that at least in the case of Arlene, he intends to follow the books and have her involved in a religious anti-vampire cult he decided to let it go.  

There Tara sat on the couch pouring her heart out to Sookie, and yet in Sookie's basement Eric was asleep for the day.  I am so glad that Tara told Sookie off. With the exception of organizing Egg's funeral, what has Sookie ever done for Tara?  This is a one sided relationship if ever I saw one.  Instead of going after Tara, Sookie stayed to soothe Eric.  As much as I love my kick ass Nordic vampire, the truth of the matter is that he has done terrible things to Sookie and her friends.  When she said to him that she always saw good in Eric, I have to admit that I gagged.  It's amazing what one can convince oneself of when hormones are involved.  I will say that I appreciated the kiss between Sookie and Eric, as well as Eric's low hanging shorts.  You're a tease Allan Ball, a super tease.