Stacking the Shelves (16) Dragon*Con Edition

This would be Stacking the Shelves, the Dragon*Con edition.  I say it’s the Dragon*Con edition for a couple of reasons.

The first is simply because I was at Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend, and didn’t do a Stacking the Shelves post.  Romance at Random started their Labor Day Blog Hop, and Reading Reality was a participant. There’s still plenty of time to enter, so hop on over to the post and take a look at the giveaway.

About Dragon*Con. Downtown Atlanta looked like it had been invaded by aliens. I’ve been to big cons (Chicago holds three a year) but nothing like this. 50,000+ fen is a lot of fen. (For those unfamiliar, fen is the collective noun for science fiction fans)

While I did go to a couple of media tie-in events (any Mythbusters fans in here?) there were a bunch of authors I wanted to see. Mercedes Lackey and Katherine Kurtz in particular. I’ve been reading both their signature series since Arrows of the Queen and Deryni Rising, respectively. It was awesome to see them in person.

And great to meet authors whose books I have reviewed, like James R. Tuck. He was terrific, and I think even remembered my review. I’m pretty I’m going to finally review Blood and Silver this week. Damn it was good.

Speaking of his reading, he had all his friends who were authors also read from their books, so I picked up Delilah S. Dawson’s Wicked as they Come from her at that panel. And started it immediately, finished it and reviewed it this week. Decadently delicious.

So what delicious books have you added to your stacks this week?

For Review:
When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek #2) by Brenda Novak
Wife for Hire by Christine Bell
Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire edited by Mitzi Szereto
The Scientific Sherlock Holmes by James O’Brien
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
All He Ever Needed (Kowalski Family #4) by Shannon Stacey
Racing With the Wind (Agents of the Crown #1) by Regan Walker
The Cowboy and the Vampire by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd
Forge (Thrall Web #1) by T.K. Anthony
Spice and Smoke (Bollywood Confidential #1) by Suleikha Snyder
Spice and Secrets (Bollywood Confidential #2) by Suleikha Snyder
Babylon Confidential by Claudia Christian
Clean (Mindspace Investigations #1) by Alex Hughes (print)
Operation: Endgame (When the Mission Ends #1) by Christi Snow
A Date with Death (1Night Stand) by Louisa Bacio
Forty Shades of Pearl by Arianne Richmonde
Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed (Sons of Sin #1) by Anna Campbell
Rapture (Bel Dame Apocrypha #3) by Kameron Hurley

Interview with a Jewish Vampire by Erica Manfred (free)
My Vampire Cover Model by Karyn Gerrard
The Lost Night (Rainshadow #2, Harmony #9) by Jayne Castle
Wicked As They Come (Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson (print, signed by the author at Dragon*Con)
Thieftaker (Thieftaker Chronicles #1) by D.B. Jackson (print, signed by the author at Dragon*Con)
Intentional Abduction (Alien Abduction #2) by Eve Langlais (free to Dragon*Con attendees!)

On My Wishlist #1

I give in!

Instead of buying more books to add to the ever-growing TBR piles and electonic ion storms, I’m joining On My Wishlist, a terrific meme that’s hosted by Book Chick City.

So instead of putting it on my Nightstand and buying it, I’m listing it here and saying why I want it. It doesn’t even have to be a new book. I just have to want it.

So not at problem! My problem is that I want to read more books than I have hours in the day.

Crystalfire by Kate Douglas
DemonSlayers #4
April 3, 2012
Kensington Zebra
Paranormal Romance

This is book four of the DemonSlayers series. I loved books 1, 2 and 3 (Demonfire, Hellfire, Starfire). Any time a sword talks back, and it’s snarky, I’m laughing. (Swords with attitude are fun, if you don’t believe me, read Mercedes Lackey’s Tarma and Kethry books in the Valdemar universe) But I’m also a pushover for romances and fantasies that cross over from a magic universe to ours.

Worldsoul by Liz Williams
June 6, 2012
Prime Books LLC
Science Fiction

This one had me at the opening of the description. I’ve got to find out what’s going on. Besides, I love Liz Williams’ Snake Agent/Detective Inspector Chen series, even if (ahem) I’m not caught up. I have The Iron Khan and haven’t gotten around to it yet.

What if being a librarian was the most dangerous job in the world?

Worldsoul, a great city that forms a nexus point between Earth and the many dimensions known as the Liminality, is a place where old stories gather, where forgotten legends come to fade and die—or to flourish and rise again. Until recently, Worldsoul has been governed by the Skein, but they have gone missing and no one knows why. The city is also being attacked with lethal flower-bombs from unknown enemy. Mercy Fane and her fellow Librarians are doing their best to maintain the Library, but… things… keep breaking out of ancient texts and legends and escaping into the city. Mercy must pursue one such dangerous creature. She turns to Shadow, an alchemist, for aid, but Shadow—inadvertently possessed by an ifrit—has a perilous quest of her own to undertake.

The Seduction of Phaeton Black: Paranormal Investigator by Jillian Stone
April 1, 2012
Paranormal/Steampunk/Erotic Romance/Urban Fantasy/All of the above???

This is the one that got away at the Public Library Association Convention March 14-16. The cover looks so incredibly cool. And I tried to convince the folks at the Kensington booth to just let me have the display copy to review, but they weren’t having any of it. (I did cart away oodles of review copies, this was my only turndown).  Now I want to find out if the book is half as good as the cover.

There’s an additional thing on my wishlist that is not a book. We came back from the conference last night to discover that there’s a water pipe wonked out in our subdivision. We have no water. So the biggest thing on my wishlist today is for the plumbers to fix the pipes!


Beauty and the Werewolf

Beauty and the Werewolf is Mercedes Lackey’s latest visit to the Five Hundred Kingdoms. As always, the adventure is well worth the trip.

The Five Hundred Kingdoms is a land where “The Tradition” that invests, or perhaps infests, traditional storytelling has taken on a life of its own, to the point where the tropes actually have the power to force people to conform to those stories.

But sometimes it doesn’t work. Cinderella can only become Cinderella if there is a Prince of the right age to rescue her. Otherwise she’s a drudge forever. In the Five Hundred Kingdoms, those who can see “The Tradition” at work, and outwit it, become either mages or Fairy Godmothers. The first book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series is The Fairy Godmother, and is well worth reading. Elena is definitely not a traditional fairy godmother!

Beauty and the Werewolf is a trope bender. It starts out as another Cinderella. Bella has two stepsisters, and her stepmother is a little vain and a little foolish. But Bella took her stepsisters under her wing, and Bella manages the household quite successfully. She is not a drudge. She is not abused. She avoided the Cinderella trap.

Bella visits Granny out in the woods, and stays late enough that she has to come home through the woods after dark. Bella’s already had two run ins with Eric, the Gamekeeper, and they’ve both been distasteful. Eric is a nasty piece of work. He victimizes any women he meets, knowing that most women are of a lower station that he is. Bella is a wealthy merchant’s daughter, and he can’t treat her the same. I thought the story was leaning toward Red Riding Hood, with Eric as the Big Bad Wolf. He was just right for it.

Then Bella got bitten by a werewolf on the way home from Granny’s. It turns out the werewolf is actually the local Duke. He’s been suffering under a curse for the past few years, becoming a werewolf every month since he turned 19. He wasn’t bitten. The Godmother can’t figure out who cursed him. But now that he’s bitten Bella, Bella has to stay in his castle with him, until they figure out whether Bella will also become a werewolf. And guess what? Eric is the Duke’s Gamekeeper. And his illegitimate brother. And his only contact with the outside world. And a jerk.

With the help of an enchanted mirror, Bella and the Godmother are able to see what “The Tradition” wants her to do. Most of those stories involved some pretty sad endings for Bella. “The Tradition” doesn’t care about the people, it only cares about fulfilling the story. But while Bella was busy protecting herself from Eric the jerk, she was also helping Duke Sebastian research his curse. Bella and Sebastian spent a lot of time together while Bella learned about magic and Sebastian just got to enjoy having someone else around besides Eric the jerk.

So Bella may have been thoroughly protected from the story of “The Rake’s Reward” but she was not in the least armored against “Beauty and the Beast”.

Escape Rating A: This story rides on whether or not you want to spend time with Bella. I did. Bella is very managing. She manages her family, she manages her time, she manages her life. Getting bitten is probably the best thing that happens to her, and possibly them. She gets a vacation!

I’m serious, in a way. Once she and her father are able to communicate, she is able to enjoy herself. She is also in a position to take a look at her life, and make some real discoveries. Learning about “The Tradition” is a real eye-opener. It’s been trying to manage her exactly the way she’s been managing her family. She doesn’t like it at all.

There is a lovely nod to the Disney movie, without being cloying. There are invisible servants. They don’t talk, but they can move objects, and some the loyal servants who were cursed with Sebastian. Very nicely done.