Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Death's Daughter by Amber Benson

It's been awhile since I posted a book review, but then again, I haven't been reading like I usually do. But after finishing this book, I just had to let everyone know how fabulous it was!

For those of you that don't know, Amber Benson is a talented actress/writer/filmmaker. She is probably best known for her portrayal of Tara Maclay on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but has written and made some great Indie films as well. She also co-wrote the Ghosts of Albion series with Christopher Golden. As far as I know, Death's Daughter is her first solo novel.

I found this book in the paranormal romance category at the store, but I feel it crosses alot of genres. It could be considered fantasy or chick lit as well. It's written in first person, which makes it more fun in my opinion.

For the last few years, Calliope Reaper-Jones has been living under a self-imposed Forgetting Charm, because she didn't want any part of the family business. What she did want was a glamorous career in New York City and the opportunity for a normal, mortal life. But then her father's Assistant, a faun named Jarvis, shows up and cancels out the Forgetting Charm to let Calliope know that her father and sister have been kidnapped.

Now Calliope is expected to find her father, and fill in for him in his absence at Death Inc. - as The Grim Reaper. But in order to save her family's name and become the temporary personification of Death, she has to fulfill three tasks set forth by the Company Board to acquire three objects of power. And the quest to save her family, the business, and her life - turns out to be an adventure to remember!

Let me just say that this book hit the ground running and didn't stop for one second! Calliope's normal life gets turned completely upside down when she finds out her father and sister have been kidnapped, and she's none to pleased about it!

Jarvis is a great contrast to her flighty, self-involved inner monologues. The two spar alot, but you can tell that they genuiniely care about each other despite the verbal warcraft.

There were so many great things in this book! Death as a corporate entity itself was funny, and the fact that other Gods and Goddesses served on the Company Board was cool. Wodin, Persephone, and Kali (the Hindu Goddess of Destruction) make appearances. Kali in particualr is essential to the story, being sarcastic and snotty to Calliope while helping her out at the same time.

One of the "objects of power" Calliope must acquire is one of Cerberus's pups. As you can guess, she must go to Hell in order to get the pup. In fact, Calliope spends quite a bit of time in various sections of Hell, another way this book was interesting and funny. She meets the Devil himself, as well as his protege, Daniel. Daniel wants to be the Grim Reaper, so the tension between the two of them is tight. Calliope seesaws between wanting to kiss him senseless to wanting to punch him in the gut. Actually, she ends up doing both (among other things).

There was never a dull moment in this book. So many great characters to make the story come alive for me - I had a hard time putting it down. Gods, Goddesses, Hellhounds, Demons - all either trying to help or hinder Calliope in her quests. She crosses planes of existence, travels through memories, gets sucked through wormholes, and explores the many sections of Hell in this book. All while being exceptionally funny and sarcastic. I laughed out loud more than once at the quips in the dialogue or the inner monologues.

All in all, one of the absolute best books I've read in awhile. Anyone who loves fantasy, humor, wit, and the paranormal should pick it up. You won't be sorry!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blogging Blues

So, here it is, Wednesday again. My day to blog - to be witty, relevant, and entertaining.

And here I sit, staring at the computer screen - waiting for inspiration to strike.

No lightning. No flash of brilliance. No lightbulbs appearing over my head.

Just empty space, glaring back at me, daring me to come up with an idea.

My life tends to go through cycles regarding my creativity. Sometimes I read relentlessly, then I will crochet or cross-stitch until my hands cramp. Or I have even been known to write until my fingers go numb. When I was writing Second Chances, the story flowed out of me in a steady stream, and I wrote practically every day until it was finished. It was like it was meant to be written.

But now, I struggle to give words life, and instead find myself wandering off to occupy my mind elsewhere. It's like I can't find that zone again - that place where the story that's in your head finds it's way to your fingertips like magic, creating the world on the page that you see in your mind for everyone else to see. I'm getting little spurts of that place, but it fizzles and dies before any real progress is made.

I'm beginning to feel that I might not find that place again, and I'm troubled by that prospect.

Granted, I do have a full-time job that deals me alot of stress, and bills to pay, errands to run, etc. But most writers do. And I can't help but feel that I'm just making lame excuses for being unproductive. And I really don't want to be lame.

But I'm struggling as a writer these days. I need to rediscover that joy that made me write Second Chances with such zeal and determination.

Trouble is, I really don't know how to do that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Sun Will Come Out...TODAY!

I've been as gray as the rain-laden clouds in the sky lately, so I didn't expect today to be any different. I figured the sun had decided to take an indefinite leave of absence.

But today, I woke up to...sunshine! YES! No rain - no gray skies - just sunshine, wind, and the day off from work!

So, my hubby and I decided on a road trip to Florence, KY. It's not a long drive, a little over an hour. He grabbed a few of my favorite cds, and we rolled down the windows, cranked up the music, and took off!

We had lunch, hit the mall, and of course - a book store.

I got a talking Doug The Dog from The Disney Store (from the new movie, Up) to add to my plush collection. (see my collections album in my photos on Myspace to see what I'm talking about) I picked up the next Broken Heart Book as well. I swear, books are like crack to me. I have no resistance. I also bought a Sims video game for my DS, and a Twilight t-shirt. You know, frivolous crap you never really set out to buy, but decide that you can't live without?

A fun, relaxing, bright, sunny, wonderful, happy day.

Did I mention it was sunny? (LOL)

Hope you guys had a great day too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Enough, Already!

I'm one of those people that is very sensitive to the weather. Bright, beautiful days cheer me up. Gray, colorless days get me down. This winter and spring have been particularly blah in my neck of the woods. I have been waiting expectantly for the hot, sunny days of summer.

But what do I get? Hazy, humid days interspersed with downpours. Driving home from work last night, in 30 minutes I drove through dark skies, sprinkles, downpours, lightning shows, and thunder claps.

And today - more of the same. The skies lighten up for a bit, then grow almost black and release a torrent of water to gray out the day.

So my mood is as gray as the sky outside. And the sinus headache from the changing barometer doesn't help. And when I'm gray and blah - I either refrain from turning on my computer alltogether, or end up staring at it, thinking horrible thoughts of destruction.

What I manage to write reflects my mood, and ends up being blah and boring.

Summer, sun, please come and shed some light on my mood and my words!

I am truly sick of the rain.