Archive for July, 2011

Paranormal Books and Series: Best to Worst

I like when people make lists of the paranormal books that they’ve read, sorted by loves and hates.  I love the genre so much right now that I’m forever looking for more in the hopes I’ll find some new fandom to obsess over.

The thing is, it isn’t necessarily enough to check out posts of recommendations, because one person’s 5 star favorite might be my idea of empty, meaningless drivel.  That’s why I like the complete list, so I can see which side of the fence my favorites (and least favs) fall on, and thereby whether or not I have compatible taste.

So here’s my list, in case anybody is looking for one.  It’ll be a work in progress that gets edited from time to time.  Books on my first list are my favorites that I consider buy-worthy and rate between 4 and 5 stars on Goodreads.  The second list are books that I still consider entertaining, mostly rated between 3 and 4 stars.   If it falls under Comfort Food, that means the plot is probably fairly predictable or possibly derivative but will pass the time if all else fails.  Obviously with the last category, I’m just trying to get you to save your money for something better—no matter how sexy the cover might be.

Before you begin, you should note that I am essentially a fan of urban fantasy and I generally try to avoid paranormal romance, which I think is just regular romance wearing vampire teeth and a cape.  That kind of stuff generally falls under “Comfort Food” if it makes this list at all.

The BEST:

Adult:

  1. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series, (only 1-9, mind you), by Laurell K. Hamilton
  2. Rachel Morgan, The Hallows Series, by Kim Harrison
  3. Mercy Thompson Series, by Patricia Briggs
  4. Song of Ice and Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
  5. Otherworld Series, by Kelley Armstrong
  6. Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Series, by Charlaine Harris
  7. Kitty Norville Series, by Carrie Vaughn (*book 10 just dropped from a 4 star rating to a 3…concerned about possible series decline)
  8. Anna Latham, Alpha and Omega Series, by Patricia Briggs
  9. Eric Courtney, Void City Series, by J. F. Lewis (1st book incredible, think I’m done after the 2nd though)
  10. Odd Thomas Series, by Dean Koontz (don’t be scared off by his other fare, this is a standout series)

Teen:

  1. Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
  2. Claire Danvers, Morganville Vampires Series, by Rachel Caine
  3. Clara Gardner, Unearthly Series, by Cynthia Hand
  4. Darkest Powers Series, by Kelley Armstrong
  5. Jenny Thornton, Forbidden Game Trilogy, by L. J. Smith
  6. Elena Gilbert, Vampire Diaries (can only swear for 1-4), by L. J. Smith
  7. Bella Swan, Twilight Saga, by Stephanie Meyer
  8. Shari Cooper, Remember Me Trilogy, by Christopher Pike
  9. Nightworld Series, by L. J. Smith
  10. Kaitlyn Fairchild, Dark Vision Trilogy, by L. J. Smith
  11. Tamsin Greene, Once a Witch and Always a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough

The Pretty Good:

Adult:

  1. Alex Craft Series, by Kalayna Price
  2. Joanne Baldwin, Weather Warden Series, by Rachel Caine (Gets better with time…)
  3. Merit, Chicagoland Vampires Series, by Chloe Neill
  4. Harper Blaine, Greywalker Series, by Kat Richardson (Liked the first 2 a lot, the 3rd…eh)
  5. Anton Gorodetsky, Watch Series, by Sergei Lukyanenko
  6. Riley Jenson, Guardian Series, by Keri Arthur
  7. Chess Putnam, Downside Ghosts Series, by Stacia Kane
  8. MacKayla Lane, Fever Series, by Karen Marie Moning
  9. Victoria Nelson Series, by Tanya Huff
  10. Meredith Gentry Series, by Laurell K. Hamilton (at least the first bunch)

Teen:

  1. Clary (Clarissa) Fray, Mortal Instruments Trilogy, by Cassandra Clare
  2. Luce (Lucinda) Price, Fallen Series, by Lauren Kate
  3. Rose Hathaway, Vampire Academy Series, by Richelle Mead
  4. Madison Avery Series, by Kim Harrison

The Comfort Food:

Adult:

  1. Sophie Garou, Tales of an Urban Werewolf Series, by Karen MacInerney
  2. October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire
  3. Dark Hunter Series, Sherrilyn Kenyon
  4. Cat Crawfield, Night Huntress Series, by Jeaniene Frost
  5. Georgina Kincaid Series, by Richelle Mead
  6. Cassandra Palmer Series, by Karen Chance
  7. Joanne Walker, Walker Papers Series, by C. E. Murphy
  8. Joanna Archer, Signs of the Zodiac Series, by Vickie Pettersson
  9. Luna Wilder, Nocturne City Series, by Caitlin Kittredge
  10. Sisters of the Moon, by Yasmine Galenorn
  11. Sabina Kane Series, by Jaye Wells
  12. Atticus O’Sullivan, Iron Druid Series, by Kevin Hearne
  13. Harry Dresden, The Dresden Files Series, by Jim Butcher

Teen:

  1. Liza, Bones of Faerie, by Janni Lee Simner

The Library if You Must:

Adult:

  1. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (10 & beyond), by Laurell K. Hamilton
  2. Jaz Parks Series, by Jennifer Rardin
  3. Faythe Sanders, Shifters Series, by Rachel Vincent
  4. Diana Tregarde Series, by Mercedes Lackey
  5. Carpathians Series, by Christine Feehan
  6. Betsy Taylor, Undead Series, by Mary Janice Davidson
  7. Lily Yu, World of the Lupi Series, by Eileen Wilks

Teen:

  1. Nora Grey, Hush, Hush Series, by Becca Fitzpatrick
  2. Wendy Everly, Trylle Trilogy, by Amanda Hocking

Doctor Who: Nobody Told ME About “A Good Man Goes to War”! (SPOILERS)

I have no idea how I missed the fact that there was a 7th episode of Doctor Who in the first half of the sixth series.  I honestly thought that this half  ended with that drastic Amy’s-not-here-she’s-giving-birth-somewhere-cliffhanger.  As such, I wasn’t that impressed with the idea of sticking the juicy bits I’d been panting for on the end of a mostly unrelated two-parter.  Yet here I am, months later, mad late, finding out that the series that started with the biggest bang I’ve yet to see ended with the same kind of fireworks.

Seriously…how did I miss this?

The point is, for no reason at all other than extremely painful boredom, I checked which episodes were in my BBC on demand and the count did not match the one in my memory.  Curiously I clicked on the one that didn’t belong and there it was—a storyline I knew nothing about.  Why am I bothering you with this?  I just want those of you who have seen the ep to understand that my mind was already going “WTF” on repeat before I even pressed play, and then I was treated to that chaotic beginning.  I was shouting questions at my TV like:  “What’s going on?!”   “What’s she doing here?!  Didn’t she die?”  “Hey, I know that guy!  Why do I know that guy?!”  Stuff like that.  Mad fidgety and whatnot.

Fans of the Rory-and-Amy ‘ship (one of which I now emphatically am) get a sweet gut-wrenching  moment right away.  If you’re as faithless as I am, you got tricked AGAIN into thinking Amy was talking about the Doctor when she is telling the baby about the one who has lived hundreds of years and is coming for them.  “They call him The Centurion,” she tells her baby, and my heart swelled as they showed this fierce new Rory fighting his way to them.  He was right; she always knows he’s coming for her.  And at last, he’s revealed as the father, all uncertainty left behind. I’m sure there had to be plenty of smarter viewers than I am who knew the Doctor would never have done that without the confirmation.  Like I said, I’m faithless!

For the rest of the episode, I loved the tension and speed, and of course it’s always fun to see the Doctor at the top of his game.  Yet Matt Smith gives plenty of  moments that reminded me strongly of Ten in Journey’s End, when Davros shamed him for supposedly turning his friends into weapons.  Smith has come so far in such a short amount of time…while I don’t agree with Moffat’s tweet (yeah, following him now…what can I say, the series is getting good!) that he’s the best at being “old”, I do think he’s getting much better at it.  Maybe I have a harder time because he looks so young or this is just another result of my initial disconnect with Series 5, but I never for a second questioned that either Eccleston or Tennant was over 900 years old.

(BIG SPOILERS NEXT, can’t help myself, not gonna try, run away, run awaaaay!)

Moving on to the serious stuff.  I was wondering how Amy’s kid could be part TimeLord if the Doctor wasn’t the Baby Daddy, and it was neatly explained by conception en route through the Time Vortex.  Works for me!  Except we found out that aforementioned TimeLord baby is in fact our own River Song, and that is just craziness.  The best kind of pretzel-shaped little twist, this finally explains why he would trust her as he has no other companion, if you look at it from the point of view that he finally has another TimeLord (if only part) and (unlike Jenny the generated anomaly)  she comes from his two best friends.  It makes sense.

The Doctor seems to think so, too.  His attitude shift was immediate from the wary distrust we’ve been seeing for 1.5 series’ to anticipatory excitement for the relationship that’s still his future.  The last few minutes between the Doctor and River are absolute sweetness. (The part where he says, “and you and me…?” and then makes kiss noises at her….could he be cuter?)

Questions for the next half: 

Is Rory’s life up for grabs again?  I couldn’t help but notice the scene where the Sontaran dies and Rory tells him he’ll survive because he’s a warrior, but the Sontaran corrects Rory…because he’s just a nurse.

Yeah?  Well, so is our Rory, and he better not be going anywhere.  You hear me, Moffat?!  *shakes fist*

Also, while I am clearly on board for River’s identity, I will need to know what kind of half-TimeLord she is.  We’ve seen the TimeLord mind in a human brain, which doesn’t work (poor Donna Noble); we’ve seen the TimeLord brain in a human body, which works except for the regeneration process; but this is something new and I’d appreciate some explanations.  River can regenerate, as demonstrated at the end of the second episode, but she made no such attempt when she died for Ten.  When the Doctor starts to die outside the Tardis, he still begins the process there, so why didn’t she?  Can she look into the Time Vortex?  In other words, which parts are TimeLord and which human, and why does it work, and why does it let her down in the end?

The question I know for sure will be answered is the most haunting one:  why would she ever kill her love?  Plus, if he dies with that face, doesn’t that mean he never regenerates into the next Doctor?  By rights he’s got 2 more to go, and that’s if he doesn’t find a way around the rules.

This is a fantastic episode to be slapped upside the head with (as I was).  I’m also glad that I only have to wait until the end of the Summer to see the rest.  On time.  As intended.