Casting: Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews

I’m not going to review this series right now. I’ll get to it, but it’s another one that I feel I have to put more heart into in order to do it justice. It’s amazing, and I can’t just blurp out a review because I want to fill some blog space.

BUT — I can blurp out some casting ideas. So here’s me. Blurping.

First and foremost — Kate. What’s she like? Well, she’s striking, athletic, intense. She’s got long, dark hair. She kicks ass; it’s her raison d’être.

I’ve had such a hard time coming up with someone for Kate, but then I saw the execrable Batman vs Superman and Gal Gadot stole the movie as Wonder Woman. I looked at her and immediately thought she’d be wonderful as Kate Daniels. Of course, already being Wonder Woman, she probably wouldn’t accept another kick ass female part, but she’s my Head Kate from now on.

Only Kate would  never wear those earrings. It’s bad enough she’s got long hair that can be pulled out of her head in a fight, she doesn’t need her earlobes shredded as well.

Now on to Curran. What’s he like? Well, he’s powerful, only about 5’10” or 5’11”, but he seems bigger because of his intensity. He’s got short, blond hair. Kate often refers to him as a psychopath.

I used to picture young Dolph Lundgren for Curran, but Lundgren is way too tall. Now I picture Charlie Hunnam.

He’s got a stick! He’s gonna hit somebody!

Now I feel I really need to cast Andrea. She’s a little bit of a tough find because Andrea is a small, blond woman who’s kind of cute/pretty but is extremely deadly. But I’ll give it a shot.

And so I chose Dakota Fanning. I kept seeing her name pop up as I searched, but I dismissed her until I saw this picture. This is a good look for Andrea, I think.

Beautiful, but older than her years in that picture. That’s Andrea. Heck, that’s pretty much all the characters in this series.

I’ll have to come back and do some more casting tomorrow. There are a lot of characters and I’m too tired to manage it right now.

I love the photos of Kate and Curran above. She looks like she’s about to skewer him with a wisecrack for his tough-guy-with-a-stick routine. Ha!

Sweet Dreams!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg

Brandon Sanderson on writing

Keeping with the theme of writing and learning to write, here’s a link to the first video from a class taught by Brandon Sanderson.

Who is Brandon Sanderson? I figure most know, but he’s one of the top fantasy writers in the genre. He was selected to finish the beloved Wheel of Time series and his “Mistborn” world is one of the top favorites of fantasy fans.

He teaches a class on writing and the videos of the class sessions are shared on YouTube. On purpose! That’s pretty amazing. So this is a nuts and bolts education on writing from a world class author.

Here’s the first episode:

Brandon Sanderson – 318R – #1 (Course Overview)

 

Larry Correia on Writing

Larry Correia is hands down my favorite author right now. I have several that are way up there, but he nudges to the top.

I haven’t reviewed any of his books/series here because it’s just too much right now. I’m such a big fan I want to start fresh and make sure I do it justice.

His series are: Monster Hunter International, Grimnoir Chronicles, Dead Six, Malcontents, Forgotten Warrior. He’s also done a bunch of short fiction that isn’t necessarily part of any of the aforementioned series.

He has a blog where he posts a variety of things including political rants and fiskings, updates on works in progress, and writing advice. His writing advice is excellent and he’s great at laying it out there bluntly and without a bunch of self-aggrandizing falderal.

http://monsterhunternation.com/2011/04/14/ask-correia-12-the-writing-process/

And since I’m talking about Larry Correia, I may as well cast a character from one of his books. Hmmm. Who should it be? I know! Agent Franks. Everyone’s favorite psycho.

Eek! Scary guy. Which is fitting. That’s Nathan Jones who is a WWE wrestler, but who also does some acting. I like to imagine he’s about to respond to Owen Pitt mouthing off to him in this pic. I figure that’s the expression he always wears when he engages with Pitt.

If you like reading action, fantasy and fun, read Larry Correia. He’s a total blast.

On that note: good night. Sweet Dreams!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg

Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series: books 1 through 3

I’m just going to start with the first three books since there are a lot in the series so far. I’ll try to get through them eventually.

Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…(book blurb – Goodreads)

This was probably my first kick-ass urban fantasy heroine series. I have to say that I’m really glad this was my first because I’ve tried a lot since then and with the exception of a few really good ones, they can tend to be duds. Briggs does the genre proud and thanks to her and Mercy, I’ve found a few other authors in this genre that I really like.

Mercy is a capable, interesting heroine with a huge heart and incredible courage. She’s immediately engaging. When the action really starts to happen (pretty early on) she lives up to the “kick ass” trope.

The world building is fascinating and it’s clear that Briggs put the time and effort into the little things. This is where many authors fall down. They get the broad strokes of a world, but they forget the minutia and the mundane that actually bring the world to life for the reader. This tiny little building blocks make a huge difference down the line and authors who forget them or just don’t care about them often run into trouble.

The Mercy Thompson series is populated with intriguing and fun characters that drew me in right away. And the males are hawt. Shoooo. Adam? Gimme.

But I digress. This is not a romance novel. This is urban fantasy with a romantic thread. You get hints of romantic interest in this book, but that thread is not the main concern in the story. And even though some characters have a “hotness factor” it doesn’t mean they’re cardboard cutouts. There’s depth and there’s story and world development. It all comes together to make a satisfying read.

Most of my friends have already read this series if they like urban fantasy so I’m not telling them anything new. But those who are interested should seriously jump in.

I’m giving it four beans. Why not five? Why the missing bean? Because the culmination of the mystery is kind of … “what the? … really? … he couldn’t think of any other way to accomplish that? … seriously?” It’s fairly convoluted and, ultimately, contrived. But everything up until then is so well crafted that it’s still a joy.

Rating: 30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg

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Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews

I bought this book when the Kate Daniels series went on sale earlier this week. It was not on sale but it’s only about $3.99, so I figured I’d grab it too. Glad I did.

Dina runs a bed and breakfast in a small Texas town. Something has been killing her neighbors’ dogs and she wants to know why the local werewolf isn’t doing something about it. After playing coy and calling her crazy, said werewolf – Sean Evans – gets involved where Dina can see him. Which is good because he’s hot when he’s not peeing on all the trees.

The villain turns out to be very nasty, Dina’s inn turns out to be very specialized, and the world is not at all what we think it is. The world building and mythology in this new series is unique and compelling and the characters are very enjoyable.

This story was presented as a freebie serial online and after it was completed the Andrews team took it down, cleaned it up, and self-published it. I deliberately waited for the published version although I know the serial was very popular. They’re working on the sequel now and I’ll wait for that one to be available in ebook form as well. But I’ll definitely buy it when it comes out because I need to know what happens next. It didn’t end on a cliffie, but there are still some things in the overall arc that aren’t tied up and may not be for a few books.

Rating: 30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg

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Driven, by Eve Kenin (aka Eve Silver)

In the harsh Northern Waste where human life is worth little, ice trucker Raina Bowen has learned to keep her eyes open and her knife close at hand. She’s spent her life on the run, one step ahead of the megalomaniac who hunts her. All she wants is to stay out of trouble and haul her load of grain to Gladow Station–but trouble finds her in the form of a sexy stranger called Wizard. He has the trucking pass she needs, and she has to drag him out of a brawl with the very people she’s trying to hide from in order to get it. She may have rescued him, but Raina’s not foolish enough to see Wizard as anything close to helpless. He’s hard and honed and full of secrets–secrets that may destroy them both. As they race across the Waste, trying to outrun rival truckers, ice pirates, and the powerful man bent on their destruction, Raina’s forced to admit that trouble’s found her. And this time, there’s nowhere left to run.

Found this book because of Book Bub’s sale alerts and thought the blurb looked pretty good. So, so happy that happened!

Raina Bowen drives a high-tech big rig through the post-apocalyptic Siberian wastelands. The New Government Order is supposed to secure a safe and peaceful existence even in this crummy, frozen region, but cronyism has actually secured a ridiculous amount of power to one man. The man who wants to torture Raina to death.

Raina meets Wizard when she “saves” him from her nemesis’s ugly minions. She’d been there to meet him anyway for some finagled documentation, but the actual meet includes a rescue and confused intent. And thus our adventure begins.

Eve Silver AKA Eve Kenin says in the author’s note at the end of the book that the show Firefly was a big inspiration for this world. Considering I’d thought that many times while reading, she did a good job of harnessing the same feel of the characters and the place. Being a big Firefly fan, that’s a huge plus for me as a reader. And they’re truckers! That’s a new one for me, but it works splendidly.

Raina is beautiful and Wizard is hot. They’re both damaged and a bit strange and their chemistry is clearly not something either of them has ever experienced before. It’s totally believable in the story as well as refreshingly different from the typical romance path.

I’m already starting on the next book thanks to my inability to avoid sample chapters at the end of books. There’s also a deleted scene included at the end of the main text that’s pretty darn smokin’.

I don’t know if it’s on sale anymore, but it’s definitely worth the read. My one actual story complaint is that the villain is A Very Bad Man. Meaning, he’s just crazy, evil bad. He has one basic motive, but one doesn’t have to be so Terribly, Terribly Bad and Evil to accomplish it.

I definitely liked this one for a new-to-me Romance/UF series.

 
ETA: Oooops! I forgot to add the bean rating. I’ve been away a long time, bear with me. I give this one:  photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg