Tagged: party

A Doctor A Day – “The End of the World”

Cassandra (Doctor Who)

Cassandra (Doctor Who) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen. Travelers are advised against the use of weapons, teleportation, and religion.

In this episode, it looks like it’ll be a fabulous evening’s apocalypse, but The Doctor and Rose find out that there’s a chance they may be in danger during…

The End of the World
by Russell T Davies
directed by Euros Lyn

“Moisturize me, moisturize me!”

Rose wants to visit the future – The Doctor takes her to the year 5.5/apple/26, five billion years on, the day the Earth will be destroyed by the sudden expansion of the sun as it dies.  Humanity has long since moved on throughout the galaxy, and the death of their homeworld is seen as more of a celebratory experience.  Platform One, a massive force-shielded spacestation is the floating ballroom for a huge party to watch the planet get the finger, and that’s where Rose and The Doctor have landed.  Enjoying the opportunity to hobnob with extraterrestrials, Rose begins to notice that some…THING is wrong on Platform One.  The force fields are brought down, and Lady Cassandra stands revealed as behind a plot to put everyone in danger solely to collect on a massive compensation suit.  As The Doctor says, five billion years later, it all comes down to money.

We’ve seen in the first episode how well the new Who crew can do a story set on Earth, so they chose to impress us quickly and go big with a quick trip into the future.  A wide assortment of wonderful makeup, mechanical effects and CGI provide a solid and believable experience, with no “wobbly sets” as they playfully reference in the commentary and on confidential the occasional cheesiness of the original series.  Davies keeps a good balance of the dramatic and the silly here.  Billie Piper gets some great scenes as she comes to grips with the fact that she hopped into the proverbial car with a total stranger, and stands a severe chance of getting burned over it. Literally.

There’s quite a few first appearances in this episode.  In addition to recurring characters like the Face of Boe and Cassandra O’Brien, it’s the first appearance of the Psychic Paper. Another brilliant little idea to explain how easily the Doctor can get into any situation so smoothly, it’s a tool that’s rapidly become as commonplace and popular as the Sonic Screwdriver.  It’s also the first time a running concept was used clearly – when the TARDIS travels into the future, the Time Vortex is red, when they travel into the past, it’s blue.  When Tennant and Smith take over the role, that color theme carries through to their costumes – check the colors of Ten’s outfits, and Eleven’s bowtie.  And assuming you already know how the season ends, you might notice this is the first mention of “Bad Wolf” – two aliens are chatting, and one mentions that this is “The bad wolf scenario”.

Davies starts another tradition going here as well – spectacular characters who appear once alone yet appear fully formed.  Jabe of the Forest of Cheem is the first person to sacrifice herself to help The Doctor,  She’s also the first to reveal a bit more about the Great Time War. It was mentioned in the previous episode; the war was the reason the Nestene food planets were lost, and The Doctor admits he couldn’t stop it.  But here we learn that the rest of the Time Lords are gone, and his world is destroyed.  The details are yet to come, but it’s a major departure from the previous series.  The Time Lords were always seen as unassailable, undefeatable.  For them to fall shows that no one in the universe is infallible.  And that carries through to The Doctor.  In the new series, he makes mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes put people in danger.  It gives the Companions a chance to save the day, and generally increases the sense of drama: The Doctor will not always have the answer.

Martha Thomases: Nada

I got nothing.

This may surprise you. Here I am, a well-educated woman in the media capitol of the universe, someone who reads a few dozen comics every week, who goes to the movies when she can and stays in watching movies when she can’t.

And yet, I spend an inordinate amount of time playing fetch with my cat, and, when she lets me, knitting. So, on weeks such as this, when no news story catches my attention, I’m stuck treading water.

Which I will do now, with the following random observations:

• The ongoing debate about “fake” geek girls continues, with this, which is hilarious mostly because of the comments. Some boys get really really scared when girls do their own thing, and I find it even more amusing when they try to sound reasonable about their castration fears.

• As nearly as I can tell, the most famous knitter in comics is Martha Kent, who unravelled the blankets she found in Kal-El’s rocketship to make his costume. Since The New 52, I haven’t seen this story, so perhaps it is no longer canon. In any case, it’s a lot of work to knit a costume like that, presumably on rather small needles, and in the round, since we never see any seams. Is that why we don’t see her knitting again very often?

• When my cat permits, I’ve been watching the revamped Doctor Who on Netflix. I’m late to this party, and I’m only halfway through Season 4, so I have nothing particularly new to say. It’s a fun show, but I don’t entirely feel the fanaticism that so many of my friends enjoy. To me, the best part (aside from the cheesy special effects, which are one of my favorite things about British television) is the sheer glee the characters have about being alive.

• I hate the hype around the holidays, and therefore don’t pay much attention to Black Friday and the attendant promotions. Still, I’m rather encouraged that comic book publishers and retailers are getting on the bandwagon. It suggests that comics are mainstream enough to make the “fake geek girls” meme even more irrelevant.

• The season finale of NBC’s Revolution had the homoerotic undertones of a bowdlerized 1950s Tennessee Williams movie. The hero and the villain were friends since childhood, but now they are separated. The villain wants the hero back, and there are many long, smoldering looks between them. These looks last so long, in fact, that I started to notice that, in a society that has no power, and everyday living is a struggle for survival, these men have time to color their hair. The women not only color their hair, but also pluck their eyebrows. Even the fat guy, the shameful nerd, has highlights. If the revolution ends up being televised, at least they’ll be ready for their close-ups.

Ye Editor apologizes for the late posting of today’s column. He was probably drunk or something.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman




A Review of The New Adventures of Richard Knight

by Andrew Salmon

(Disclaimer: Andrew Salmon writes for Pulp Obscura) 

When Pro Se Press got together with Altus Press to create the Pulp Obscura line, it was a match made in Heaven. As Altus gave rabid pulp fans top-notch collections of forgotten heroes from the Golden Age of pulp, Pro Se wrangled together a bevy of New Pulp’s finest authors to create anthologies containing new tales featuring these forgotten heroes – the perfect melding of past and future.

Submitted for your consideration is first release in the Pulp Obscura line: The New Adventures of Richard Knight.With Altus’s first collection of original Knight tales comes this first volume of new Knight stories by some of New Pulp’s best. And it does not disappoint.

But first a little background. For those of you who don’t know, Richard Knight was a 1940s pulp hero in the rich playboy by day, ace pilot and secret spy designated Q by night. Created by Donald Keyhoe, Knight and his trusted assistant Larry Doyle worked for General Brett who gave them strange cases featuring science-fiction elements solved with espionage, aerial escapades and two-fisted action. A fine introduction by Tommy Hancock provides all the information you’ll need before diving into the tales themselves.

In The New Adventures of Richard Knight, we get six brand new adventures to add to the original canon. New Pulp scribes Josh Reynolds, Barry Reese, Terry Alexander, I. A. Watson, Frank Schildiner and Adam Lance Garciado the honors this time out and the result is a mixed bag of pulp goodies.

Reynolds gets things going with Hell’s Hands, a tale featuring aerial pirates threatening European skies. There is a lot of great action in this first outing and the villain is well drawn. For all its merits, the tale does suffer from a little too much character set up since the tale wraps up without giving us a true look at the villain. I can’t help thinking that Reynolds has plans for this baddie which will play out later. All well in good, but the absence of sufficient details in this story lessens one’s enjoyment of it. The story more than makes up for it with its lightning pace and great action sequences and is a great way to get this party started.

Richard Knight and the Stones of Heavenby Barry Reese is next up. In this yarn, Knight goes up against a group of artifact-hunting Nazis bent on created a death ray for nefarious purposes by collecting the six stones of Heaven and harnessing their strange power. Most of the action takes place on the ground, rather than in the air, but the tale moves well and is an enjoyable traditional pulp actioner that would not be out of place in Knight’s original run. Good writing and clear characterization are on display here as well, making for a fun read.

Terry Alexander gives us The Bapet, a tale with traditional horror elements as a small town is terrorized by a supernatural creature. All the makings of a good, scary action tale. However it doesn’t quite gel here. It’s as if Alexander is fitting Knight and his supporting cast to an existing plot rather than The Bapet reading like a true Knight tale. The result is a somewhat engaging read with gore and scares aplenty yet feels somehow out of place.

The Hostage Academy by I. A. Watson is another strong entry in this collection. The death of a senator in a plane crash barely crosses Knight’s radar but when the love of his love, Benita, meets a similar fate, then it’s time for this Knight to go on a crusade. Strong characterization highlight this very personal mission of Knight’s and emotions run high as the airman tries to solve a compelling mystery in his search for vengeance.

Fear From Above by Frank Schildiner has Richard Knight going it alone in an intriguing adventure slightly hampered by its wordiness. The strange disappearance of the crew of a ship out of Jack London’s The Sea Wolf leads Knight on an adventure that sets itself apart from the norm. Some great action and vivid description make for a rousing adventure in the air, on the ground and on the high seas.

Crimes of the Ancients by Adam Lance Garcia is my personal favorite in this fine collection. It starts with a bang and the pace does not let up. A character-driven tale, it features Knight going toe-to-toe and quip-to-quip with a former love interest. The plot is never fully explained but given that classic pulp tales generally featured the simple Good vs Evil plot to begin with, it’s interesting to see a detailed breakdown of the situation Knight finds himself in being left to the readers. It’s as if Garcia is saying to pulp fans: “You’ve read enough of these great action yarns, you already know what the story is here.” Although the banter did get annoying in spots, this new approach to a traditional pulp tale, the ending in particular, left a pleasant taste in this reader’s mouth after closing the book.

The New Adventures of Richard Knight is sure to please pulp fans, old and new, as well as any action junkie. It’s available in print and as an ebook so they’ve got your preferred method of reading covered. If you’re a fan of action fiction, then this book is for you. Don’t miss it!

John Ostrander’s Unsolicited Advice

I think we can all agree at this point that the DC New 52 gambit has been a success. Whether you like or dislike some, all, or none of the offerings, you have to agree that commercially and financially it’s worked which, from DC and Warner’s viewpoint, is what they wanted.

I haven’t been keen on all the changes. For example, I think Superman not having the red trunks looks weird. Superman hooked up with Wonder Woman and not Lois is just wrong, in my book. Thing is, these are not my books and aren’t meant to be. I’m in my sixties; DC’s demographic has to be for those younger than me and more diverse than an old white guy.

In the same mode, the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, has opened to great reviews (and I really want to see this one) and, by all accounts, has paid tribute to the past while paving the way for the future. That’s smart. You keep faith with old fans while reinvigorating the franchise.

Which brings me to the recent elections. As we all know, the Republicans lost the race to the White House as well as a few House seats and didn’t get control of the Senate, which they expected to do. They were certain they were going to unseat President Obama. They’ve taken to whining about the results and some of their spokespeople, like the noted political thinker Ted Nugent, claim their guy lost because of the “takers.” (I’m hearing that often enough to make me think it’s now an official GOP talking point.) Guys, this echoes back to Romney’s comments about the 47% in that clip that probably went a long way towards losing him the election. Do you really want to hit that nail on the head again?

The idea of my giving unsolicited advice to the GOP may seem a little odd. After all, I’m a well-known liberal commie pinko who was solidly and loudly behind Obama in this race and Democrats in general. However, I was raised Republican and have several Republican politicians in my pantheon of politicians I like, such as one time Illinois senator Everett McKinley Dirksen and former Illinois governor Richard Ogilvie. I even voted for some Republicans on the local level in the last election – on purpose. I think the Republic is served better by having functioning Republican and Democratic parties. I don’t think the GOP, if it continues down the road its on, will be a major functioning political party in about a decade. Maybe less.

The GOP used to have a lot of moderate members but, since becoming in thrall to the Far Right and the Tea Party, the moderates were purged and continue to be purged. It used to be that Republicans, while having their own beliefs and philosophy, could concede here and there in the interests of getting something done. Not anymore. Now it’s all ideology and how “true” they are to Conservative Principles as defined by Fox News, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, and Grover Norquist.

Mitt Romney defined what it meant to be Republican. In a time of recession and economic hardships and Occupy Wall Street, they made their standard bearer a member of the 1% and a venture (“vulture”) capitalist. At a time when the fastest growing demographic bases are minorities, they nominate the whitest white man they could find. When women are an increasingly important part of the electorate, they make a stand against abortion a part of the party platform with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother.

The GOP might consider the examples of both DC and the latest Bond movie to see how they can reinvent and reinvigorate their brand. Yes, they might alienate some of their base but that’s always a problem when you make changes. A basic truism for comic book companies – every time you change an artistic team on a book, especially one that has been long established, you know you’re going to lose some readers. The trick is to bring in more readers with the change than you lose. The same is true politically. These days, a GOP presidential candidate has to cater to the Far Right in order to get nominated. But to get elected they have to appeal to the center which is more moderate and that’s tricky to make work without losing your base. Ask Romney. But, as DC and the Bond franchise have both shown, it can be done and, in fact, should be done every so often.

The GOP started as a radical party full of abolitionist lefties before getting co-opted by Big Business. Under Teddy Roosevelt, they were “progressives,” which is now a dirty word among Republicans. Embrace what is best from your past, welcome those who are not just old white males, and re-invent yourselves.

If James Bond can do it, why not you?

MONDAY: Mindy Newell


REVIEW: The Brothers McMullen

Few made a bigger debut in the 1990s than Edward Burns who wrote and starred in The Brothers McMullen, which remains a quiet classic, often overlooked. These days, he is perhaps better known for his run on HBO’s Entourage, playing a version of himself. Thankfully, he continues to be a creative force, continuing to appear in and make movies. Still, his first offering is worth a look and thankfully, 20th Century Home Entertainment has given us a new Blu-ray edition as part of their Signature Collection.

What makes his first movie so powerful is its storyline and sparseness. Working on a shoestring budget, the film lacked a large production crew, shooting on location without permission while his mom made lunch for whoever was on set that day. It was guerilla shooting fueled by passion and it all shows on the screen. As a result, you’re forced to focus on the characters and story and there’s plenty here.

At the funeral for his father, Finbar “Barry” McMullen (Burns) says goodbye to his mother (Catharine Bolz), who will be returning to Ireland. We then jump ahead five years to see that Barry and his brothers are all dreaming and struggling. Jack (Jack Mulcahy) and his wife Molly (Connie Britton), still living in the McMullen family home, are straining as she wants to start a family and he’s resistant to the notion (igniting an affair). Then there’s serial dater and would-be screenwriter

In an ironic touch Patrick (Mike McGlone), the most devoutly Catholic of the Irish brothers, is dating Susan (Shari Albert), a nice Jewish girl whose father wants to shower them with an apartment and give the man a job. Marrying her has Patrick scared. Barry is a serial dater and would-be screenwriter who is ending his latest relationship with Ann (Elizabeth McKay), leaving him homeless.

We pick up on the occasion of Molly’s thirtieth birthday party and then we follow the next eight months of their lives and it’s never short of fascinating as events force the three brothers to once more be living under the same roof, with all its ghosts and memories. In time we come to understand that the boys are mostly worried about recreating their parents’ loveless marriage, raising a cold family largely in caused by their father’s alcoholism. The cycle may be broken when Barry begins seeing Audrey (Maxine Bahns).

Overall, the performances are spot on and it’s refreshing to see Britton early in her career at a time she is shining on ABC’s Nashville.

This is well worth a second or third look and thankfully the Blu-ray transfer of the 16mm film is pristine. The disc comes with a commentary from Burns, honestly revealing the trick she used to get this film made while still working for Entertainment Tonight. Culled from previous versions is Fox Movie Channel Presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman (14:26) which reminds us this was the first release from the Fox Searchlight label. The Signature case includes a glossy insert with production notes about the film.

Mindy Newell: Trust Me, This Is About Comics. Really.

There’s a lot of hogwash being said by Republicans these days concerning women. Legitimate rape. (What the hell is that?) A woman has the ability to shut down her ovaries if she doesn’t want to get pregnant. (Gee, I wish I had known that.) Contraception should not be covered by health insurance. (But Viagra and other anti-erectile dysfunction drugs are.) A mother’s life is no longer at risk when pregnant, so an abortion to save her life is not necessary. (Placental abruption, preeclampsia, eclampsia, peripartum cardiomyopathy and other cardiac problems, thromboembolytic disease, diabetes, seizures, bleeding disorder, genetic disorders.) A woman has no right to equal pay for equal work. (She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Invisible Woman, have you checked your paychecks lately?) Women in binders. (Nobody puts Baby in a binder.)

I personally cannot understand any woman voting the Republican ticket right now. Which got me to wondering…

What side of the aisle do some of the women of comics sit on?

Lois Lane: Journalistic integrity is her middle name. I imagine Lois being a frequent guest on MSNBC, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, as well as having guest-hosted SNL more than once. She’s also friends with Joan Walsh of Salon.com, Maureen Down and Gail Collins of the New York Times, Candy Crowley and Christine Amanpour of CNN, not to mention Andrea Mitchell, Katie Couric, and Rachel Maddow. Voted for Hillary Clinton in 2008, proud of Hillary’s work as Secretary of State, and a strong supporter of Barak Obama. Decision: Registered Democrat.

Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel): Hmm, this is a tough one. Given her Air Force brat upbringing and her own service in the United States Air Force, the natural inclination is that Carol is a staunch Republican, as the Republicans have long been believed to be the stronger party on defense. However, Carol’s heroes are Amelia Earheart, Jacqueline Cochrane, Geraldlyn Cobb, Sally Ride and now Colonel Jeannie Flynn Leavitt, the first female fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and I can’t see her being behind the Republicans these days because of their stance on women and women’s rights when it comes to equal pay for equal work. And I’m positive she doesn’t want anyone sticking an ultrasound probe up her vagina if it’s not medically necessary. Still, I’m sure she’s voted Republican in the past. But I think she also admires Obama’s tough stance on terrorism and his ability to quietly and efficiently green-light the hunt for Bin Laden, which resulted in his (good riddance!) death; and although I think she’s confused about what happened in Libya (just like the rest of us), she knows that fuck-ups happen. Decision: Independent.

Susan Storm Richards (Invisible Woman): I’m sure Susan, along with her husband, is heavily invested in technology in the market, and I’m betting the Richards (not to mention the entire Fantastic Four team) lost mucho dineros in 2008 when the market crashed. Still, I bet her hubby sits on the boards of some of the major defense contractor industries, such as General Electric, JPL, and Boeing. Still, while her husband may be strongly pro-Wall Street and a staunch Republican, I’m thinking they have a marriage like James Carville and Mary Matalin, only in reverse, with Susan, with her strong feelings about women’s rights, especially equal pay for equal work and pro-choice advocacy, working behind the scenes for Obama, throwing fundraisers and donating money. Decision: Democrat.

Wonder Woman: This one is easy for me, since I believe Wonder Woman is firmly against abortion. Not that she can vote, since she’s only got a green card (I presume.) Decision: Republican.

Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk): Jennifer is a lawyer. She’s probably met Elena Kagan and Sandra Day O’Conner, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she knows Gloria Allred, Judge Judy, and Nancy Grace. I’m thinking she believes in the idea of the Constitution as a living document, able to mature and grow, so she’s s definitely not a fan of Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, or Robert Bork. Chief Justice Roberts’s decision on the Affordable Health Care Act as constitutional probably surprised her as well as everybody else, knowing his legal record. I’m thinking that she believes Roe vs. Wade is now the de facto law of the land, so she would never work for a client who wants to overturn it, though I’m not sure if she’s pro-choice. I think she hates the way the Tea Party, which has been absorbed into the Republican Party, quotes the intents of the Founding Fathers as if they were there. She thinks Sarah Palin is a joke and feels sorry for John McCain, who ruined his long and honorable career by picking her as a running mate. (She would have voted for him otherwise.) Has voted Republican in the past, but leans Democrat these days. Decision: Registered Independent.

In closing, there’s terrific video over at Jezebel.com that I recommend every woman reading this to watch – and pull up a chair for the man (or men) in your life. It’ll make you laugh…

And think.

Oh, and for the record, I’m a registered Democrat.

As if you couldn’t guess.

TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten Watches Green Arrow

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis… We hope.




Following the tremendous success of its first online promotion party with Shindig, Pro Se Productions proudly announces its next Promo Party for upcoming releases!

October 27- From 2:00 PM- 3:30 PM EST


Professional Author Barry Reese is perhaps best known for his seminal New Pulp Creation, The Rook! Join Barry as he discusses all things Rook to promote the re release of The Rook Volume 1 as a Pro Se Productions Special Edition! Giveaways, readings, and more! Also, Join Barry Reese as well as concept creator Jim Beard to talk about the all new MONSTER ACES anthology featuring great heroes against classic monsters out in time for HALLOWEEN!!

Get your mike ready and your webcam, too (if you have one) and enjoy the fun!

To RSVP, go to www.shindig.com/event/prose2 and sign up today!


The name’s Malone. Melody Malone.

Coming soon from BBC Books is a new Doctor Who tie-in e-book entitled The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery featuring a very pulp-inspired cover. The cover also appears in The Angels Take Manhattan episode of Doctor Who, airing September 29 on BBC and BBC America.

Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) reads a Melody Malone Mystery in The Angels Take Manhattan.

Press Release:

BBC Books are to release a special book inspired by this weekend’s episode, The Angels Take Manhattan. The Angel’s Kiss is a 112-page novella written by Justin Richards, and is the first book in the range to be published that has been written from the perspective of one of the show’s characters.

Melody Malone not only runs her own agency, she also happens to be the author of a successful series of novels, featuring one Melody Malone.

The book will only be available electronically beginning October 4th, a few days after the episode’s premiere.

Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) recognizes some familiar characters in Angel’s Kiss.

About Angel’s Kiss:

On some days, New York is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

This was one of the other days…

Melody Malone, owner and sole employee of the Angel Detective Agency, has an unexpected caller. It’s movie star Rock Railton, and he thinks someone is out to kill him. When he mentions the ‘kiss of the Angel’, she takes the case. Angels are Melody’s business…

At the press party for Railton’s latest movie, studio owner Max Kliener invites Melody to the film set of their next blockbuster. He’s obviously spotted her potential, and Melody is flattered when Kliener asks her to become a star. But the cost of fame, she’ll soon discover, is greater than anyone could possibly imagine.

Will Melody be able to escape Kliener’s dastardly plan – before the Angels take Manhattan?

The e-book will be released October 4, 2012 via digital stores.

Monday Mix-Up: Seasons of Love… in Klingon

Monday Mix-Up: Seasons of Love… in Klingon

Rachel Bloom’s performance at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention last year. She was at the convention because her song “Fuck Me Ray Bradbury” was nominated for a Hugo award, and this is her performing at a party late that night:


Of course, the Klingon year is 384.2 days long or 553248 minutes, not the 525600 from the original lyrics. I have no idea if this was taken into account during the translation of the song.

Reviews: “Fangtastic” and “Bad Blood” by Lucienne Diver

Summer’s singing its last karaoke and the flash mobs of Gangnam Style have come and gone for the nonce. But back-to-school, be ye student or mentor, doesn’t have to mean the fun’s over—just shifting gears. So let’s go to Tampa with Gina, BF Bobby, and her vamped-up posse for adventure #3 in Lucienne Diver’s [[[Fangtastic]]] (Flux, trade paperback, $9.95/$11.50 Canada, $3.44 Kindle, ages 12 & up, Jan. 2012). Wassup? A lot. Heat, humidity, steampunk geeks, government spooks gone…well…even more spooky, death, mayhem—and vampires, of course! Pretty much Buffy on X—so Diver maintains her signature style. The first in the series is still my fav, and I’m not feeling that Tampa plays a crucial role in this story (could be any hot city), but those are minor points in what is otherwise another successful outing full of chic twists and turns that keep things entertaining. I may not always agree on a few details of how she gets there, but I like where she’s taking the series. The focus here is the steampunk club scene full of wannabe vamps and the Feds assign Gina and her crew to infiltrate the true vamps who run the clubs behind-the-scenes so she can investigate a string of club kids murders—but who’re the real big bads? Gina’s really beginning to wonder and doesn’t like what she finds out along the way and she does something about it. This is Gina coming more into her vampy own and raising the stakes (pun sort of unintended…wink) and Diver doing some deeper world building with lots of bells-n-whistles, new minions, and the addition of some surprise superpowers—with which I’m not yet entirely on-board, but I’ll roll with it through next book. There is enough grit and wit in this installment to keep adults engaged, as well as plugged-in co-eds. So take a fabulous spin. And stay tuned for book #4, Fangtabulous, come January, just in time for winter break.

When you’re done clubbing with the kids in Tampa, how about a romantic trip to the beach, the spa—the police station with hot Detective Armani!—with a few gods and goddesses in LA? This is where Diver’s adult urban fantasy romance based upon mythical characters comes to life in [[[Bad Blood]]] (Samhain, $14 trade paperback, $7.96 Kindle, June 2012). And her typically sharp and snarky voice is in full evidence here, but darker than in her Vamped series and with a bit more romantic spice, and appropriately so for the mature audience this is aimed at—right between the eyes. Here we’ve got a freakshow family that is, literally, part circus and part PIs, and the newest working gal, since her Uncle Christos’ disappearance, Tori Karacis, is up to her eyeballs in murder, gore, silicon starlets, Circe, Apollo, Hermes, Hephaestus, mermen, perhaps even Zeus and Poseidon, and a whole lotta WTF?! It is Hollyweird, after all. Blood is thicker than muck, so it seems. And, of course, the bad guys cheat!  But I won’t serve up any spoilers save that this all adds up to impending California style DOOM! Let’s just say that the tale contains the typically hot tidbits of the tough gal’s softer side and her having to choose between two impossibly hot men who totally want her, of course (I did say fantasy) and who are competitive with each other, plus wacky grandma Yiayia over the phone—the only family member who actually makes a sort-of appearance besides quirky quotes at the head of each chapter, which is sort of disappointing. And you don’t really see much of Tori’s circus skills—hope that’s remedied in subsequent books in the series. Those complaints aside, it’s an amusing ride with all the romance tropes to keep those genre fans happy, enough who-done-it on the frothy side to keep the mystery fans engaged, and of course there are the supernaturals to hook the fantasy crowd – everyone’s invited to the party and the Tarrantino-level fantabulous ending! The entertainment? It’s all in the blood, natch! Crazy in the Blood ($4.24 Kindle…in print 2013)…next in the series.