Review of Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #1)

Review of Justice Calling of the Twenty Sided Sorcery series. Written by Anne Billet

 

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Image Courtesy of Goodreads.com

Bellet, Annie. Justice Calling. CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014.

 

Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)

“Justice Calling,”  is an absolute treat for lovers of Urban Fantasy with strong female characters. A la Mercy Thompson, Kitty Norville, and my favorite Rachel Morgan. Holla at “The Hallows!”  It is an exciting, albeit too short romp through a new world created by Anne Billet. The protagonist is fun, saucy, and not at all annoying. Something that I have missed in the last few Urban Fantasy novels I have read as of late

 

The summary is as follows:

Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress.

Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers, quiet suits her just fine. Surrounded by friends who are even less human than she is, Jade figures she’s finally safe.

As long as she doesn’t use her magic.

When dark powers threaten her friends’ lives, a sexy shape-shifter enforcer shows up. He’s the shifter world’s judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one, and he thinks Jade is to blame. To clear her name, save her friends, and stop the villain, she’ll have to use her wits… and her sorceress powers.

Except Jade knows that as soon as she does, a far deadlier nemesis awaits.

Justice Calling is the first book in The Twenty-Sided Sorceress urban fantasy series. Readers who enjoyed The Dresden Files or The Iron Druid Chronicles will likely enjoy this series.

Jade Crow, Sorcerous, shop owner, and gamer finds herself in a pickle of a situation. Does she stay or does she run? Does she out herself, and possibly bring ruin upon her future? Can she do all that she needs to do, and not use magic? I think if you are a fan of the Mercy Thompson Series or the world of Kate Daniels this might be a good series for you. Although definitely not as well developed as those worlds, is has the bones of a great series. Good plot points, fun characters, and I have to admit I absolutely love the gamer bent. Me being a gigantic geek myself, I can relate to her quite a bit. I hope that in her later books the author can flesh out the characters a lot more and give us more to read but, great start! Also, Jade has a very cool superpower. She knows every language. That is a superpower for a total geek. I love it!

Things that I don’t dig. Why is it that every Urban Fantasy with a female character needs to have some sort of love angle? No really. C’mon. Not all ladies need to have a love interest. Nor do those ladies need to be saved by the said love interest. Although, props to Anne Billet for letting this lady do the saving. Don’t get me wrong though, I enjoy a good romance now and again, but this particular possible love interest seemed a bit shoehorned. Yes, he is hot, yes he has rippling muscles, yes he turns into a (sexy?) white tiger? Blah blah blah. I think it would have been much more of a compelling character if he was a just a plain normal looking guy. A guy with a particular skill set that led him to the job he is now in (I don’t want to give away to much).  He doesn’t need to speak like a combination of Dolph Lundgren and Daniel Craig to be compelling. At least that’s how I picture him. It makes him much more relatable. How many guys like Daniel Craig have you met in your life? Also, to some extent, there isn’t much of a story. This is more like an introduction to the characters. Which I really like and a very quick problem that they need to overcome. That is fine for me for a start of a series.

Do yourself a favor, read the novella. It is good light fun. Not a barn burner or anything. I don’t think anyone will be getting a Jade Crow tattoos like Twilight and Dresden. But its fun and saucy and thankfully not sugar-coated crap. Read up.

 

 

 

I am Going to Fail Spectacularly

 

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Hi, yall. I am so pretty. Image care of http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/plants/african-protea

My life’s obsession with books and reading is only eclipsed by one thing and one thing only, and that thing is gardening. Maybe books about gardening? (As I stare at the six gardening books I have on my bedside table) My obsession with gardening is only from January until September every year so it is not so bad. Really really, promise. I am one of those people that get giddy when I get new seed catalogs in the mail and instead of buying new shoes or something, I buy a plant. I went practically apoplectic today when I discovered a local nursery had tiny and cheap Japanese Painted Ferns. A plant that I had been looking for for the last 5 months for six freaking dollars.

 

 

Today in the mail I received a teeny tiny packet of protea seeds that I ordered from a dealer in Quebec.   Protea is a type of flower that looks like a Hibiscus and a pincushion had a baby, then spray painted it neon. It is all spikes, and color while being delightfully and garish and tacky. I freaking love everything about proteas. If I had a spirit flower it would probably be them. Here is the kicker. They are ridiculously and stupendously difficult to grow. Sunset magazine says that if you don’t have perfect soil and perfect climate, and perfect gardening practices; give up and enjoy cut flowers. I am never one to shy away from a challenge. CHALLENGE! I throw down my shears and hoe in the face of such a farce of a seed. It will not beat me!

 

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Ohhhh king Protea, you are one sexy bitch.

 

(it totally isn’t going to grow)

But, I will try and it will be a unique and fun experience. Proteas along with the Black Magic Rose are the two Unicorns that I have always wanted to try and grow, succeeding doesn’t really matter. I’ll add updates as this experiment goes along. I think it will be a damn success story if I can get one seed to germinate, like at all. Here goes nothing.

 

I built a Thing. It’s Spicy.

 

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I actually have that quote painted on a board and hanging above my new spice rack, I think that It combines my favorite things, science fiction, and cooking. Only about 1 in 40 people who have seen it know where it comes from so all my smug coolness of it is really only in my head. Garbgeek.com

We decided not long ago that we needed a spice storage solution to the million spice jars that I have in the kitchen. No joke, but I think I have close to seventy. I like to cook, and that requires a lot of different spices. Garam Masala to Chinese five spice, I have quite the collection and before you ask I have used them on a least one dish at some point in the past.  I make killer tea eggs with the Chinese five spice.

A previous solution we had been using utilized the spice holder Bekvam from IKEA just hanging by its lonesome on the wall. It got ridiculous with all the spice. It was almost like a shrine to IKEA. Plus,  they are hard as hell to hang. IKEA totes itself as being easy to build and hang, but I call BS on it. Most of the stuff I have gotten from IKEA has been difficult and required a youtube video to get together.

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Not my hack, but you get the idea. This times 10. 

I had gone through a teal phase with them, then a coral phase. The spice holders were a bevy of different colors by now. Much to the chagrin of my husband, it looked like the seventies threw up in my kitchen.

This is what I did. I took all the myriad of spice racks I had and some scrap wood. screwed them all together. Tried to get it true, then painted it. Voila! Insta-spice rack. The wood I screwed it together with was kinda warped, and the spice shelves are not perfectly level. But it is off my counter and hanging beautifully up. Obviously, this isn’t as a tutorial. I kinda winged it. You get the idea.

 

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Here it is in all its glory. Be awed. Be Amazed. Be jealous. Make one yourself. 

 

One of the things I am going to do in the future is to do a background on the spice rack. The periodic table of spices appeals to my inner geekiness. Also, having it organized and a spot where I can find them easily is a must. Baby steps. They are off my counter.

Book List Poster

 

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The fact that I now can buy a poster to hang in my room that allows me to scratch off books that I have read fills me with an insane amount of glee. I found it on Amazon for a cool 15.00. Worth every penny. It now hangs in my bedroom in all it’s scratched off glory. I have so much work to do.

Also, sorry I have posted much since last week. My family is battling the plague, myself included and I have not been able to think let alone type or read. I’ll get into the swing of things soon.

Review of “The Thing Beneath the Bed (The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss”

First and foremost, an honest disclaimer, This is not a kid’s book. It is delightfully wicked fun, but In no way shape or form should you read this to your unsuspecting child. Unless of course, you are a bit of an asshole. In that case, read on. I had the fortune of hearing a live reading of this by Mr. Rothfuss himself a few years ago.

 

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

You would think by the sweet saccharine pictures that there was nothing menacing underneath it all, but oh god you will see. I don’t want to give it all away because of spoilers.

The fun part of this book is once you finish it, go back and reread. See what you missed. It is hilarious what we readers gloss over. Try to get your hands on a copy of this, it is out of print I’m afraid. The library has a few copies. Do it. I would give it six stars if I could.

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Rothfuss, Patrick. The Thing Beneath the Bed. Subterranean Press, 2010.

 

That Time When The Captain Danced Tunak Tunak Tun

My wedding was an extravaganza. It is so seldom one gets to use a word like an extravaganza, but there you go. We had ducks, swords, pirate flags, books and Indian dancing. So the definition is apt. How did we get all these ideas/things crammed into a wedding… INGENUITY. The Captain (my husband) and I took things that we loved and created a mishmash of themes. I love books (obviously) and rubber ducks; he loves pirate stuff, swords, and Indian dancing. Specifically Tunak Tunak Tun by Daler Mehndi. It was quite the party.

Just so you know what I am talking about. Daler Mehndi in all his gloriousness. The man who helped The Captain land me. 

(Commence ecstatic dancing and jumping down while butchering Hindi lyrics at the top of my voice)

Sing along.

Tunak tunak tun 
Tunak tunak tun 
Tunak tunak tun 
Da da da

Tunak tunak tun 
Tunak tunak tun 
Tunak tunak tun 
Da da da

Tunak tunak tun 
Tunak tunak tun 
Tunak tunak tun 
Da da da

Tunak tunak tun 
Tunak tunak tun 
Tunak tunak tun 
Da da da

Dholna vajje tumbe vaali taar 
Sun dil di pukaar 
Aaja kar layieh pyaar 
Sweetheart, the strings of the instrument play

No conceivable idea what this song means. I could look it up.. but I think that ruins the effect for me. I feel like it is about rainbows and dancing and how the sun is pretty, and we are going with that. The Captain introduced this song to me when we started dating and I learned about his questionable musical tastes. I even kept dating him after that. Questionable being polka music, klezmer music, and Swedish dance pop. Don’t even get me started on the Tuvan throat singing. Which he can do by the way. He was inspired to learn how to do it by the masters.

At our wedding, The Captain wanted to do the Tunak Tunak Tun dance with his groomsman and I made that shit happen. I talked to the DJ before the wedding and made sure that he had bought the appropriate version of the song so The Captain and his merry men could get out there and boogie.

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Let me paint a picture for you: The room is hot and sweaty.  Multicolored lights hang from the ceiling are slowly panning down to fall on four dapperly dressed men in tuxedos.The man in the center of the group is wearing a black tux and white tie. He is quite tall and has a live edge sword strapped to his thigh. He is the hero of this evening. His men standing to the left and right of him are also dressed in tuxes. At the far end is a very large man, almost 7 feet tall. He has a 3-foot battle ax strapped to his back; He is best of The Captain’s men. He is currently wearing my garter on his head.  They are visually nervous, but not the captain. The Captain is always cool.  A hush falls over the crowd as the lights dim. The four men are standing very still, heads pointed to the ground waiting… waiting for something. A war? A Fight? A need for tree chopping.   When the crowd on the edges of the floor could not take the waiting any more fore they boil into a frenzy of anticipation and adulation, this happened. TUUUUUUNNNNNNAAAAAKK TUUUUUUUUUUUNNNN. All in unison the men look up with steely gazes, the lights lift and begin to swing back and forth across the crowd.  You would think that Elvis had entered the building by the frenzied glee pouring off of crowd (myself included). We all shout TUUUUUUUN and begin to jump up and down.

 

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Ladies are on the outside cheering ourselves hoarse.

The Captain in the center of his men like the absolute commander that he is. He begins to shake his hips, and finger dance. Women swoon, dogs howl, parents cover their children’s eyes.  He plays a pretend harp with his body while swaying to the sweet Hindi felicities blaring out of the speakers. The crowd wants more! The Captain looks at me, and I melt. “Oh captain my captain.” He gyrates his hips some more, plays the pretend harp, finger dances.  I felt faint. I swear, and I know I am not alone in this if the ladies of our party could get our knickers off we would have to throw them at them. I am sure someone threw hotel keys.

 

Then it ends and the world is a cold, dark, cruel place again. That Daler Mehndi wrote a hell of a party song. It has been almost ten years and family and friends still talk about The Captain getting out there and dancing. My bold brave captain.

But First, Fifty Teas.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. C.S Lewis

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Every year I set out to learn something new. I’ll be damned if I don’t have some personal growth every year of some sort. Besides, life is short or long depending on how you look at it; I am going to try to eeek out every experience I can before I die.

This process is really a hit or miss process.

One year I set out to learn everything I could about whiskey. I still don’t know my ass from my elbow when it comes to most whiskeys. However, I did learn quite a bit and sampled 27 different varieties till my impending motherhood put the kibosh on drinking. I would consider the whiskey drinking a bit of a miss only because of the kid but I did discover that I am indeed a 76-year-old British man deep down inside complete with tweed hat. You may call me Edmund Nigel Rickwillow III.

This is all a roundabout way to talk about my Tea challenge of 2013. Fifty teas in 365 days. No duplicates. Holy shit! How am I going to do that? With great joy and furious vigor that’s how. Annoying amounts of vigor

Typical household conversation while on the quest:

Hey, honey I heard there is a tea shop that mixes their own teas a short fifty-mile drive from here.”

“It will be fun!”

“Yes, it will. Don’t 

make that face.”

“Sweetie, please don’t hide in the bathroom. C’mon we are going on an adventure!”

71KVRzZ8OFL._SL1500_Annoying amounts of vim and vigor! Hell, even I annoyed myself. But, I love to talk exhaustively about my current mission/goal that totally isn’t obsessive. Yes, it is still cool. Please be my friend. ahem.

Here is what I discovered. I think in the same way wine is very much up to the user’s palette so too is tea. Yes, there are flavors out there; blends, mixes, regional variations that impart greater richness to the flavor profile. Again much like wine. However, if you are someone who can not tell whether the tea was picked in rainy season or sunny, that the person who picked it wore gloves and there was dew present on the tea. Who gives a shit! The most wonderful part of tea I think, I only speak for me, is that it is a hug from the inside out. It feels good in your hands, it feels good in your mouth, it relaxes the soul and gives you a hug. That is what it is all about and frankly, I think we all need more hugs. Internal and externally. I’ve attached my exhaustive list of tea I tried below. Some were very good, some tasted like satan’s asshole.

Teavana English Breakfast served cold. Only had it hot. Yummmy
Peach Tea by Stash. Serious yum. Mixed it with regular
I had a delicious English bmr-tea-1reakfast at cafe brief across from the library. Researching the brand
sweetheart valentines day tea by Bigelow. Bleh. Cannot stand red-hot candies and this is reminiscent of them complete with red food coloring…
Teavana Lime tea
white chocolate tea from Bigelow. Kills my sweet tooth craving for chocolate. But it is not really sweet.
St. Dafour organic black cherry tea
adagio peach oolong
bengal spice celestial seasons tea is delicious. I adore cinnamon tea and this is perfect non-bitter tea
Teavana – Kona Pineapple pop. YUMMY!
Teavana – wild orange blossom. Way to bitter for my tastes
Teavana – Blueberry bliss
Teavana – Citrus Lavender sage
Teavana – Opus rouge
Teavana – Strawberry rose champagne
Teavana – Maharaja Chai Oolong
stash – decaf chocolate hazelnut
Red Leaf Tea Company – Maple matcha
Peach Apricot – The Tao of Tea at the Portland Chinese Garden
Mint lime Mojito – Zhena’s Gypsy Teas. I own this tea but never had it hot. Total meh
Lemon Zinger by celestial seasons. Yummy lemon. Going to try iced.
Teavana Wonderberry chocolate truffle. This I liked a lot. But mark deemed it from Satan’s Asshole.
Tao of Tea Vanilla almond
Teavana – salt caramel tea
Teavana – Banana foster
Teavana – Peach tea
Strawberry Cream Tea Teavana – Too much hibiscus
Spiced vanilla chai blend – teachaiate
Vanilla tea from Camilla tea
Cinnamon tea from Camilla tea
lychee tea from Camilla tea
berry tea from Camilla tea
berry almond amaretto from Teavana
pineapple tea from Teavana
lime cola tea from Zoomdweebies.com
samurai chai mate from Teavana
maharaja chai mate from Teavana
dragonfruit devotion from Teavana- Yum from April
berry kiwi colada from Teavana
Peach Tea from Teavana
constant comment
house tea from Dragon tree
apricot creme from Thea.
Scottish breakfast tea
Twinnings Irish Breakfast
Tazo cinnamon spice tea
Tazo Organic Iced Green Tea
Teavana – Strawberry Sangria
Teavana – Fruit Bomba