Archive for February, 2011

Two times more reviewy than the average review: A review of Lucy Snyder’s ‘Spellbent’ and ‘Shotgun Sorceress’

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 28, 2011 by jezzywolfe

Today, my brother regarded me with awe as he said, “Wow. You are really obsessed with ferrets.”

Spellbent (Look! There's a cute ferret on the cover!)

Which is what it all boils down to. Anything I dive into, be it project or past-time, is always done with more compulsion and dedication when it somehow involves ferrets. So I wasted no time in jumping into Spellbent the evening I received it. Because despite the fact that I read very little fantasy and stated openly that it was not usually my genre of choice… there was a cute little ferret on the cover. Yes, I am that obsessed.

But let it be made clear –  you do not have to be a fuzzy fanatic like me to appreciate Spellbent. If the presence of a ferret was the only entertaining aspect of the book, I still would not have been able to read it. I tore through Spellbent as quickly as one of my favorite Nicci French books, and that’s fast. It was easy to get into and easy to follow. Thoroughly enjoyable. All things I rarely ever say of fantasy. Because fact is, most fantasy I’ve read takes place in other worlds, other centuries. The heroes are characters that are often not human and not people I can identify with, and that makes it harder for me to follow. I probably sound simple-minded when I say that, but the quickest way for me to lose myself in any book is to see myself as the heroine. In most fantasy books, I cannot. In Lucy Snyder’s novels, I can. This isn’t Tolkien and his world of Middle-Earth; this is modern-day Ohio. The book is woven with a very practical approach to magic and how it affects everything, from the economy to the government to the average working talent and their interactions with the mundane around them. All explained in ways that even I can understand. No easy feat, believe me.

Jessie Shimmer is a young woman still learning the extent of her magical abilities when her whole world is turned askew. In Spellbent, she suddenly finds herself on the run, trying to save her love from a hell with roots that run far deeper than she could’ve imagined. And faithfully accompanying her is a rascally ferret familiar, Palimpsest. He is unusually dignified for a fuzzy, and I was highly amused by an early description of his voice… a Canadian librarian. (I kept imagining Joel Sutherland portraying Pal in the heavily CGR’d movie adaptation. So how about it, Dreamworks?) And most importantly, Snyder’s description of ferret mannerisms were fairly accurate. With the only exception being a description of Pal’s excrement, which had been described as a small warm pellet. I wish that were true of ferrets, believe me! But Pal is a magical familiar, not a born fuzzy. So for argument’s sake, that was magical poo, and therefore correct.

Shotgun Sorceress. One word: HOT!

Ferret fanaticism aside, Spellbent is a fantastic series starter. I was very eager to see how it would be followed up. So as soon as I was able, I got myself a copy of the second Jessie Shimmers book, Shotgun Sorceress. Tore through that even faster than I had Spellbent. The second book picks up promptly where the first leaves off. Jessie is now facing the repercussions of her actions in the first novel. Once again she is on the run, and this time finds herself exiled in the most no man’s land of no man’s lands… Texas. (No offense to actual Texans intended, I promise.) With Pal once again at her side, she harnesses her growing arsenal of powers to save the town from a vicious evil that even she has a hard time resisting. And I can’t forget the little devil kittens. Almost as cute as ferrets, except they were kittens. And of course, devils. They managed to be somewhat comical creatures, while being pretty creepy at the same time.

I kinda want one now.

I really don’t want to divulge more of the plot than necessary. The point is to get you thinking, ‘Holy hellfire, I have to read those books!’ To sum them up without spoiling anything, both Spellbent and Shotgun Sorceress are highly entertaining and fast paced. Full of sizzling naughtiness… particularly Shotgun Sorceress. There’s plenty of humor and sarcasm, as well as elements that appeal to the closet romantic in us all – longing, desperation, and the hope that true love always prevails in the face of adversity. But don’t worry, this is no Harlequin Romance. This is fantasy at it’s best, complete with a cute ferret turned odd ‘spider weasel bear’. Seriously, can you possibly ask for more than that?

No, you can’t.

I’m giving Lucy Snyder’s Spellbent and Shotgun Sorceress 5 out of 5 fuzzies each. Cause that’s how I roll.


You probably think this is just a random blog post, but actually it’s a very informative post on the top authors stacked on my bookshelves.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by jezzywolfe

My bookshelves have gotten dusty. REAL dusty. And the only books I buy anymore are usually books I order online, because the book stores are really starting to bore me. Last time I went to a B&N, I only managed to find the Lucy Snyder novel that I went in search of. Couldn’t find Braunbeck, Straub, or Shannon. And I was so annoyed that I couldn’t find any of them that I totally forgot to look for some Nicci French. Maybe I’m being unrealistic to hope that a bookstore really can carry a little of everything, cause apparently they can’t.

And what’s worse, they did not have a single book on ferrets. None whatsoever. What the hell?!

But back to the point. Because I haven’t been purchasing a slew of books, I have small piles of books that haven’t made it to my bookshelf as of yet. So today I decided to dust said shelves and make room for my newer books.

Major time fail there. I still have small piles of renegade books that have yet to find a cozy respite amongst the others.

But while I was dusting and rearranging, I realized something: For a horror writer, I actually own very little classified horror. I’ve often said I’ve never read a lot of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love horror. But when I do a head count on the authors I have read most dutifully, a good number of them haven’t been horror at all.

So the following are the top ten authors on my bookshelves (as determined by the volumes of titles I own.) Also affectionately known as “The Shelf Hogs”. (Clicking on the author’s names will take you to their websites, by the way!)

1. Barbara Michaels (26 titles)   Supernatural Thriller

First book I read by Barbara Michaels completely hooked me. It was ‘Houses of Stone’, which was set not too far from where I live. All her books have common elements – mysterious forgotten rooms in old attics or basements, long buried family histories and secrets, and the supernatural presence of ghosts. I purchased every book I could get my hands on, although she has three titles that I still do not own. She also writes under the popular pseudonym of Elizabeth Peters, but I’ve never read any of those titles. I’ve contemplated it, though… I haven’t seen any new Michaels’  releases in quite some time.

If you love a good creepy ghost story, check her out!

2. Christopher Pike (25 titles)  Young Adult Horror

Mr. Pike was my first fiction addiction. I’ve always loved to read, but once I caught wind of his books, I had pretty much a one track mind. I saved my allowances for his next releases and bought each of them as soon as they hit the shelf. As I got older, I lost track of his publications, but I still have all the books I purchased as a teenager. Even though I can’t remember the last time I read them, they always have a place of honor on my bookshelves. (For the record, I should have 26 of his books as well, but I loaned one out years ago and never saw it again… le sigh.)

Still enjoy YA fiction? He was a founding fictioneer. Go get you some! He writes adult fiction, too.

3. V.C. Andrews (23 titles)   Suspense/Thriller

I almost hate to admit I have so many of Andrew’s books. Her’s was probably the first adult fiction I’d ever read. I remember sneaking into my brother’s room when I was a child and stealing his copy of Flowers in the Attic. In fact, I believe I still have his books. The covers are falling off now, but I’ve never replaced them… LOL. I haven’t purchased and Andrews books in some time because I feel they’ve grown quite formulaic and are now geared more towards the YA audience. Which is fine, I suppose. But originally her books were far more r-rated, and those were the books I grew up on. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t be telling you that.

She passed away fairly early in her career, ironically, but a ghost writer carries on her name to this day. My collection is namely her older stuff. For the most part, all still readily available if you’re interested!

4. Teresa Medeiros (14 titles)  Romance

So I was looking for something new to read, and there in the nearby drugstore was a small selection of New York Times bestsellers. And that was when I decided to give Teresa a shot. What the hell, right? Well, as you can see, I gave her lots of shots. Fact is she is my favorite romance author. There are a lot of great women writing romance, and in my opinion she’s at the top of her game. Her books are exciting, funny, and entertaining. And while I haven’t purchased much in the way of romance in quite some time, chances are when I go looking for fictitious loving, I’ll be checking in to see what new goodies she has.

I know she recently had a new release… maybe I’ll be checking that out. Good times! Like a fun love story? Then you should check her out, too.

5. Richie Tankersley Cusick (12 titles)  Young Adult Horror

Let me tell you, if she’d had as many titles out as Pike when I was a teenager, she would have given his books a real run for the shelf space. I lost count of how many times I read every single one of her books. I even re-read one of them recently as a nice stroll down memory lane. As with Pike’s books, her’s will always have their place of honor on my shelf.

Should you stumble across any of them, grab them! Very thrilling!

6. W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O’Neal Gear (9 titles)  Suspense/Thriller

Wow, what can’t I say about this pair? The Gears are just flat out impressive. Their extensive educations and careers afford them a bottomless well of wisdom from which to draw on. Every single book of theirs that I’ve read so far (and I say so far cause they have a TON of titles that I still have yet to grab) has been amazing. Each one takes a detailed look at the lives of the native people that inhabited North America from the past hundred years, to way back in the days of the cavemen. And while they’re teaching you so much about these people that disappeared so long ago, they are entertaining you with these gripping, edge-of-your-seat plots that barrel you through the pages like you were reading a brochure. Uh, what I’m trying to say is these books can be long, but they are never a long read. And don’t worry, I will have many more of their titles to add to my shelves. Because they never disappoint.

If you love a little anthropological lesson with your fiction, PLEASE give them a try. Their books are pure WIN!

7.  Heather Graham (8 titles) AND  8. Shannon Drake (8 titles)

It is not lost on me that it is highly ironic that both #7 and #8 are the same author under different pen names. Until today, I was unaware that I own exactly the same amount of books for this fiction churning double dynamo. And while I’m fairly certain that Shannon Drake focuses on more historical romance, Heather Graham writes a variety of genres. The older Heather Graham books I own are romance as well, but I recently received her three newest, and they look more like suspense thrillers to me.  I’ll be checking them out soon and then I’ll know for certain.

Regardless of whether your buying a Shannon Drake or a Heather Graham, make no mistake. You’re in for a good time!

9. Nicci French (6 titles)  Suspense/Thriller

The fact that Nicci French appears at nearly the bottom of my list does not affect that fact that she’s actually one of my top overall favorite authors. I’ve had a hard time finding her other books in the bookstores, so I’ll be looking for her more online. The element of psychological terror that is woven into all her novels is like chocolate to me… I can’t get enough of it. I should probably mention that Nicci French is actually a pseudonym for a pair of writers from the UK. Cheeky! So just know when I say ‘her’, I really mean ‘her and him’. Which sounds weird. But probably less weird than if I referred to Nicci French as a ‘they’.

Point is this: Nicci French makes my top three list of very favorite authors. I highly recommend French novels to you all. Highly, highly, highly.

10. Tess Gerritsen (6 titles)  Suspense/Thriller

Tess is another crime writer, but she’s recently made a huge splash when TNT picked up her characters for the hit show, Rizzoli and Isles. I adore her books, and so far every one that I’ve read has been a hit. But I don’t watch the show as much, only because sometimes I recognize bits of the plot lines from the books, and some of the details have been switched for TV showing. It throws me off a bit. Don’t get me wrong, the show is fantastic. But her books, let me tell you, are fantastic magnified and multiplied! I have many more of her books to acquire, and I will, don’t you worry. Tess is a very intelligent woman, and it shows in her characters. I have much love for her novels, and as a writer she is someone I look up to.

Buy her books! Right now! Well, unless it’s really late when you read this. In which case… buy her books tomorrow!

So those are the top ten shelf hogs. Runners up are Dan Brown, Poppy Z. Brite, Kat Martin, and the late Olivia Goldsmith (a horribly tragic loss, she was).  It would not take much for any one of these authors to move up into top ten shelf hog status.

So, all things considered, is it any wonder I refer to myself as the anti-horror horror writer?