Razorland…a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

This one almost writes itself.  Usually I make funny (to me) jokes about how these books are turds, etc. etc. But the main character in this series of books is actually called “Deuce.” And she is a girl. Outpost novel  Today’s offering, from the NLS’s magically awesome annotation generator:

Enclave, DB074167:  In a post-apocalyptic future, Deuce, a loyal huntress, brings back meat while avoiding the deadly Freaks outside her underground enclave. But when she is partnered with outsider Fade, she begins to see that the ways of the elders may be horrifically wrong. Violence. For senior high and older readers. 2011.

Outpost, DB075532:  Deuce and Fade struggle to fit in with the organized topside community called Salvation. An excellent fighter, Deuce volunteers her much-needed skills to patrol against the Freaks–but in Salvation, women do not use weapons. Sequel to Enclave (DB 74167). Violence. For senior high and older readers.    2012.

These books, together with any future “deuces” that Ann Aguirre decides to drop on us, make up the groundbreaking series: RAZORLAND.

Remind me never to go to “Razorland.” Please. I realize that I’m going to hurt feelings up in here, but truth be told, science fiction, fantasy, and most especially, post-apocalyptic fiction is not my cup of tea (that is putting it diplomatically).  Now, that being said, I also know that it is a genre that is fiercely defended by it’s fans so I know I’m going to take some flack. But come on, re-read those annotations and pretty much every other annotation for the genre.  They read like goulash for words.  As in, here’s a bunch of stuff we had left-over, let us put it in this bowl and just mix it up, bake it in an oven and hope it comes out okay.

When cataloging any book from the science fiction or fantasy genre I usually have to read the annotations multiple times before I can even begin to figure out what the what they are talking about.  Here are the hallmarks/problems with the genre’s annotations:

  • words are used out of context/time/relevance; loyal huntress, brings back meat, enclave
  • people are named after thoughts, emotions, nouns, adjectives…it’s chaos.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that there are several “Chaos’s” out there between the pages.
  • places are named by putting words in hats and drawing them out.  Or, by Mad-Libs techniques.
  • too many words; why can’t they say something like, This girl lives underground because there are zombies above ground. One day when she is above ground hunting she meets a dude and he makes her question her entire existence.”  Why not?
  • ridiculous premiss that nobody gives a crap about; “…[above ground], women don’t use weapons…”  So what?  I’ll bet they use their MINDS or something.

So you can see why I try to never share sci-fi/fantasy on this blog.  It’s like not even fair and you’d get really tired of hearing me rant.  At my desk each month you might overhear me muttering, “Oh barf, who cares?” So feel free to stop by sometime.

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Anna dressed in overdramatic nonsense.

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

From the NLS annotation:

Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood

Since his father’s untimely death, seventeen-year-old Cas and his Wiccan mom have continued the family trade–hunting down vengeful, murdering spirits. But when Cas goes after ghostly Anna, an unexpected occurrence changes everything. Violence and some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2011.

Let me guess…it’s LOVE isn’t it?  The unexpected occurrence is that Cas has feelings for “ghostly” Anna.  Is she GHOST-ly, I mean, is she sort of like a ghost, or is she an actual ghost?  Wait wait don’t tell me. I’m sure that I’d rather be shocked when it’s all revealed 30 pages in to the 320 page book.

You know, if I were a teenager I would be super pissed that YA classified books almost exclusively have to do with either the supernatural or falling in love–typically both. I know the whys and the wherefores to writing supernatural for young adults; spare me the lecture.  I’m just saying that as a reader of books and a librarian, I’m just wondering if somewhere teens are getting burned out on being constantly bombarded with the SSDD (same shit…).

Anyway, today’s offering is called Anna Dressed in Blood and it is the first book in the…wait for it…ANNA series by Kendare Blake.  Yes, Kendare Blake.  Let’s all make a little offering to the Goddess in hopes that Kendare is her pen-name.  And “Blake?”  Please.  We get it, you’re material pays homage to both the Gothic and the Romantic periods.

Laced with BS

January 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Quick thought.

Today’s entry comes from the book Laced With Magic of the crapity-crap-crap, who-gives-a-crap (Sugar Maple Chronicles) series by Barbara Bretton.

From the NLS Annotation:

Laced with MagicPart-sorceress, Chloe Hobbs, from Casting Spells, discovers that her boyfriend Luke was once married and had a daughter, Steffie, who died two years ago.  Chloe wants to help Luke with Steffie’s spirit but also fears for the town’s safety.  Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2009.

This book was written in a post-Harry Potter world so I’m going to call BS right off.  How is a person going to be “part-sorceress?”  Sorcerers aren’t an ethnicity.  You can’t be part-one.  You are either a sorceress or you are a mortal (or Muggle, if you will).  Period.  And besides, it says on book one that she is the daughter of a sorcerer not a sorceress, so, like, is she part sorcerer, or was her dad, the assumed sorcerer, a transvestite or MTF post-transition?  Get your damn masculines and feminines straight people…this matters.

And besides, who cares whether or not her dad wore dresses.  If she does magic (or witchcraft) then she is a sorcerer or sorceress–she can’t be only “part” magic.  You either are of your aren’t.  No “parts.”

Thanks, that’s all.

Some things do not bear repeating…

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

…and yet, I’m going to any way. Mainly with the intent that I won’t have to look at crap like this any more. One of my pet peeves is books with historical anachronisms. Two situations in historical novels are the biggest offenders: dialogue and women protagonists. Malice of Fortune
One such offender, in a sea of many such, is a book called The Malice of Fortune.  From the NLS annotation:

Italy, 1502.  Damiata, former mistress of Pope Alexander’s murdered son Juan, is sent to Imola to investigate who was behind his death.  There, she meets and enlists the aid of Niccol Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci.  Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2012.

Damiata is a woman.  And she’s officially, or unofficially, investigating a murder.  Presumably she meets with some level of cooperation as an investigator.  Please, I am sick of this need in modern literature for there to be more positive female rolls IN EVERY GENRE AND PERIOD OF LITERATURE.

My belief becomes seriously unsuspended when a writer just stuffs a female into an historically inappropriate roll.  I’m sure if I read the forward or afterward that Michael Ennis has some explanation about how one woman, in one corner of the world, in 1502, was actually a private investigator–they always manage to dig up one as an example.

I’m all for strong and empowered female characters, and I really enjoy post 19th century women detective novels, but it seems so patronizing when they shove these square pegs into round holes.

Anyway, we get it–women are important in all periods of history–and I mean that…for centuries, women had their place…was it right, or was it wrong?  I think that our history bears that keeping women in their place was wrong, but, that being said, let’s stop re-writing history in novels…it’s hard enough getting a straight deal out of a grade school history book without littering Barnes and Noble’s shelves with this malarkey.

Good Lord; What the Hell?

June 18, 2012 1 comment

A quick post in a new category I’m going to call, Good Lord; What the Hell?  Mainly because when I read the annotation, I said, out loud, “good lord–what the hell?”  From the NLS Annotation:

Night of the Living Dummy II cover

Good Lord; What the Hell?

When Amy brings her ventriloquist dummy out to entertain her family on Sharing Night, its head falls off.  Amy’s father finds another dummy in a pawn shop.  But Amy soon realizes why the new dummy is called Slappy when it hits her father! As Slappy gets meaner and meaner, Amy’s family refuses to believe she is not responsible.  For grades 4-7.

Some things are just not okay to write novels about.  R.L. Stine’s Night of the Living Dummy II probably illustrates this rule completely.  I have not read the book, having given up R.L. Stine books about 23 years ago. 

For some reason (probably mild hysteria) I’m reading the exclamation point at the end of “…when it hits her father!” as comedic, as in LOL! that dummy just came to life!  But that is just not possible as ventriloquist dummies are anything BUT funny, and are, in fact, the most terrifying subject that anyone could possibly come up with.  Except maybe skittering babies.  Okay, skittering babies are actually my number one fear in terms of the statistic possiblility of occurance.  If a ventriloquist dummy tried to attack me I would do one of the following (preferably all):

  1. throw it into a fire
  2. kick it in the head and/or
  3. stomp on it
  4. separate its head from body, and then its limbs from said body, thus rendering it physically neutral
  5. dispose of it by sealing it in concrete

Now, let’s say that a skittering baby (SB) is coming right for you.  First of all, it’s likely that you won’t even realize it because babies are very short and therefore very sneaky.  Also, the lighting will probably be very dim or low because SBs tend to move faster in the dark.  I think that when put in direct light, an SB will make a brief attempt at looking and acting “normal” in an attempt to lull you into a false sense of confidence.  However, turning the lights on bright will only get you so far because as soon as you change your focus, an SB will attack.  It’s proven.  Any way.  What can you do to survive a skittering baby attack?  YOU CAN DO NOTHING!!  Because they’re BABIES for goodness sake!  What the hell!  You can’t kick them, throw them into a fire, shoot them, stab them.  You’re basically f*cked.  The SB is going to bite the crap out of your feet, ankles, and calves and all you can do is just hop from foot to foot and try to stay upright.  And, God help you if they are hunting in a pack.  Wild Kingdom anyone? 

Back to R.L. Stine’s masterpiece.  According to Slappy the Dummy’s Wikipedia article, this evil doll makes appearances in NINE books for kids.  You know, in my day, we didn’t need to go to the well 9 times before we knew that shit was poison.  We watched the Twilight Zone’s season 5, episode 29 Caeser and Me ONCE and that was enough.  Nine books of Slappy getting meaner and meaner?  Good lord, what the hell?

The Troubleshooters* Series; ft. Everything. *with 10% more stuff you don’t need!

June 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Book 16 in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series is on it’s way to an NLS library near you!  What does this mean?  I have no idea.  I’ve never even read any of these books.  But, I feel comfortable telling you what I already know I don’t like about them.  Too much!  As in, there are just too many things going on in the annotation for Breaking the Rules.  As in, Suzanne Brockmann has too many letters in her name!  As in, naming a series the Troubleshooters series is also, just, TOO MUCH.  Too many letters!  Too long of a word.  Too ridiculous.  From the NLS annotation:

cover art for Breaking the Rules

Izzy Zanella helps fellow navy SEAL Danny Gillman and Danny’s sister Eden–Izzy’s estranged wife–rescue their gay brother Ben from their abusive stepfather.  Ben’s new friend, sixteen-year-old Neesha, also needs their aid after escaping kidnappers and eight years of forced prostitution.  Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. 

 

Is this for real?  So, according to above 50 words, Breaking the Rules, in 528 pages (too many pages!), covers the following concepts:

  • Navy SEALS
  • siblings
  • marital problems
  • homosexuals
  • abuse
  • stepfathers
  • teenagers (am I right?)
  • kidnappers
  • prostitution

Obviously that is TOO many bullet points for one novel!

So, Izzy Zanella is a boy?  I just pictured him as a her until I read about “Danny’s sister Eden–Izzy’s estranged wife–” and I was like, wha-huh?  And this is book 16 in the series.  So these two Navy SEALS have been running around in these convoluted suspense novels 15 other times? 

Now, I’m not sexist (yes, I am) but I’m a bit dubious of a woman writing a book about Navy SEALS and not having it be a romance.  This is mostly why I assumed that “Izzy” was a girl.  For those of you not in the know romance novels in which good looking, dashing, daring, Navy SEALS get the girl have a HUGE following.  So, when I see a Navy SEALS novel about two SEALS in a sweaty adventury suspense novel with no romance, I’m going to assume gay subtext.  But then when I see that a woman has written the many adventures of this dynamic duo, I’ve got to pause.  Either there IS gay subtext (I believe they call it “slash” in the fanfic world), or Suzzaanne Brockkmaann is just writing crappy “suspense” novels that are really just romance vehicles. 

Somebody who has read this series about Batman Izzy and Robin Danny comment here and let me know?  Romance?  Honest suspense?  Overly convoluted story lines?  Gratuitous sex, violence, and strong language?  Inquiring minds want to know…

On Annotations: Oh. My. Goodness.

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Sandra; Ms. Brown if you're nasty.

Wow.  It’s that time of the month again: cataloging time!  And, boy-oh-boy, this one just begged to be made fun of.  Actually, upon reading the annotation, my initial response was, “well, that could have been worded differently.”  This week’s offering is a romance novel by Sandra Brown called Tempest in Eden.  From the NLS annotation (brace yourselves people):

When divorced artist’s model Shay Morrison, who poses nude, meets her new step-brother, minister Ian Douglas, he makes clear his disapproval for her lack of modesty.  Annoyed, Shay decides to seduce him–only to fall in love.  Explicit descriptions of sex. 1996

Oh my goodness’ sake.  I’m assuming that Shay and Ian are adults, or let’s just say, I’m really hoping that they are adults.  As such, is it really fair to refer to them as step-siblings at this point in their lives?  The annotation refers to him as her “new” step-brother, and in the vernacular, I take for granted that “new” refers to them being introduced recently.  And, as adults, they really aren’t necessarily brother and sister; “step” or otherwise.

If you check out the description of this title on the Amazon link it simply says:

This novel follows the growing relationship between Shay Morrison, a nude model for artists, and Ian Douglas, a conservative minister who disapproves of her lifestyle but cannot resist her.

So, for once, I have to lay the blame with the person at NLS who entered this record.  You really should have thought about adding a few words to your description.  I mean, I’ve seen much longer annotations, so I know you all aren’t paying by the word.   A very simple, and easier to palate, wording could be “…meets the son of her mother’s new husband…” and you take all of the “ick” factor out of this novel.  I forgot to mention that; my issue with this annotation is all about the “ick” I felt after my “oh my goodness” reaction.

This unfortunate annotation just goes from bad to worse in the course of one wordy sentence followed by an equally idiotic short sentence.  We’re told immediately, and without preamble, that that nasty little nude model Shay is going to seduce her step-brother.  Okay, forget the “ick” factor; this is so wrong it’s starting to feel right.   I’m not gonna lie; the fact that Sanctimonious Ian is a minister only makes things hotter.  What’s that Sandra Brown?  Explicit descriptions of sex?  Yes please!

Before I get completely off track and set this laptop on fire, let me point out the really offensive part of this poorly written annotation.  Prior to the laptop-melting dirty parts, I originally thought that there was a divorced artist whose model, Shay, was in the process of meeting her new step-brother and…  I was like, what does this damn divorced artist have to do with this book?  Huh?  Wait, did that just use the words seduce, step-brother, nude, and explicitOh my goodness.