IN REVIEW: Untouchable by Kresley Cole

Released: January 2011 300 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4516-0005-6

Part of Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole
A novella from the book Deep Kiss of Winter

Previously in this series, we have met all four of the Wroth brothers, Estonian warlords turned vampires 300 years ago. Two previous books follow Sebastian, the scholar, and Conrad, the youngest. We catch glimpses of Nikolai, the eldest brother and army general, throughout the series. In “Untouchable,” we finally meet the smooth talking ladies’ man, Murdoch Wroth, in action. Did I say smooth talker? More like bumbling idiot.

Murdoch becomes blooded (heart beats, libido returns, desire for only his bride, the one who blooded him) by Daniela, the Ice Maiden. His conversations with Danii verge on insulting her. He quickly tries to explain himself, but more times than not, makes it worse.

I can hardly blame him. It’s been 300 years since he’s had the urge to bed a woman. When he finds his bride, she is part Valkerie and part Ice Fey. Valkerie hate Vampires and consider it shameful to consort with them. The Ice Fey need the cold. Their powers thrive on it. Too much heat and they go into thermal shock. A touch by anyone other than their own kind creates searing pain and blistering burns.

Danii happily is the one Valkerie who welcomes a romance with a vampire. That bodes well for Murdoch since he can’t keep his foot out of his mouth or up his a$$. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have a chance. Danii actually likes razzing him about his loss of finesse. The two become very ingenious with ways to pleasure each other without touch. I particularly enjoyed the icicle. I’ll just leave it at that.

We learn early on that Danii is the rightful Queen of Icergard. Even though she does not want the throne, she’s been chased by Icere assassins for almost 2000 years. Murdoch’s blooding increases his need to protect his bride and somehow figure a way to claim her without touching her. Murdoch finds a sanctuary of sorts for Danii. But, while it is blissful for her, it may force them apart. Driving her toward her own kind whom she can touch and him toward his duty hunting and evil vampire and helping his brothers Nikolai and Sebastian look for, and capture their 'Fallen' brother, Conrad. But are his prior commitments really keeping him away from Danii, or just an excuse to stay away?


In Review: Being A Green Mother by Piers Anthony

Released 10-12-87           313 pages
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Format: Hardcover
Finally the story of Orb is revealed along with a major curveball. Thus far each book as interweaved the incarnations more and more and  book five in the series is no exception.  Orb, the aunt of Luna, daughter of Niobe, and mother of Orlene is gifted from birth with the ability to conjure music, this ability later helps her qualify to become Gaea, one of the few incarnations where the candidate must already have amassed near-Incarnation level power to take the position.

Orb has lived an extremely colorful life, between the circus and the rock band, which makes for a really rich story, but her prophesized marriage to Satan and her love for a man named Natasha take center stage as he teaches her things that no other has before him. He teaches her a song that can destroy everything, a song that she needs to be Gaea, one that she has sought her entire life and that knowledge comes with a price. Questions arise about  if she could love evil, and the answer shocks her a little, though it shouldn’t shock readers who have read all of the series. Satan has never come across as evil.

With the series coming to a close, this is the perfect ramp up to the finale.  Piers Anthony masterfully ties the strings of more story arcs while still managing to make the audience desire more. As all the books have been, this one can stand alone, but the reading experience is greatly enriched by reading it in order in the series. Unlike the other novels, in this one Orb does not assume the job until much later in the novel. And the cliffhanger ending is so good and unexpected that I'm not even mad that the novel ended that way.


Because I couldn't resist...

There were literally hundreds of pictures taken during the Salute to Supernatural weekend, and it just didn't seem fair to hog them all to myself. Here are a few more:

Gabriel Tigerman:

Richard Speight, Jr.:

Aldis Hodge:

Clif Kosterman: He came out in this ridiculious hat, but quickly took it off.

Corin Nemec:

Samantha Smith:

The Impala (kinda):

Jared Padalecki and Genevieve Cortese Introducing the Brian Buckley Band:

Gen laughing at the twang in Jared voice.
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles:
Jared, bad hair day... all of Season 3... never.
And Jared's dance moves
Jensen "You fight those fairies"


Day Three of San Francisco Salute to Supernatural

The boys finally take the stage for the final day of the convention. The house was jammed packed, and the boys did not disappoint.

Jared was asked about bad hair days to which he asked " Do I have bad hair days?" and the fan responded with "All of Season 3."

Both were asked about shows that they have to endure because of their wives. Jensen: Real Housewives, Jared: Jersey Shore, though it was more his guilty pleasure than his wife's.

Both Jared and Jensen showed some dance moves. And the teasing continued with questions about Jared and his scarves, (he has 3, and no he doesn't share them with Gen because he's so big and she's so small they'd be blankets on her) and the fact that the boys are man-whores.

The boys entertained themselves and the crowd with a catchy little beat of the banging of their mics, much to the dismay of the sound guy, but normal Jensen and Jared antics when they're together.

And they wrapped up their session by auctioning off items that Jared had lifted from the set, but for a good cause. The first items up for auction from Jared's klepto acts were a watch from the third season and a chair back, and the second auction was the name plates from their trailer from an upcoming episode. All proceeds went to the 5 Gyres, an organization trying to bring attention to and tackle the trash islands, one of which is twice the size of Texas.

Brock Kelly aka Young Dean Winchester came onstage a little late. Jensen and Jared ran over in time for both their session and the autographs, not that the fans were complaining. There are a couple of guest spots coming up, but nothing big yet. It is pilot season after all and Brock seemed hopeful.

Richard Speight, Jr. wrapped up the convention, and even though he had been on stage the day before, he still had plenty to keep us all entertained until the end. From his Snoop Dog stories from when they filmed the Pepsi commercials to buying tickets for Ice Dancing with Misha, to fan questions about his eyes, which are whatever hazel is, he never missed a beat. And the perfect ending to the weekend, Richard's Trickster snap.


The Brian Buckley Band and The Supernatural Saturday Night Celebrity Dessert and Cocktail Party

Up on the 32nd floor of the beautiful Westin St. Francis Jared Padalecki and his wife Genevieve Cortese introduced the Brian Buckley Band for the night's entertainment. Brian is an old friend of Jared's and Supernatural has a very loyal following so the introduction was bound to happen. But the band is actually good, very good. As Jared stated "Music is the only medium that inspires all other medium," and just listening to him gush about the band you can certainly see his genuine enthusiasm, which was not wasted.
Jared and Genevieve stayed around for a little while after the show where Gen was happy to take pictures and autograph a few items, even though she was not on the schedule for the weekend.

When asked why she wasn't a part of the convention, she seemed to think that some fans might have it in for her. But there was nothing but love in the room that night.

Once Jared and Genevieve left it was time for the last event of the night: the Saturday Night Celebrity Dessert and Cocktail party. This is the one part of the entire convention that there was really anything to complain about.

Earlier during the autograph session Richard Speight Jr. had asked my if I was enjoying myself, to which I answered "I'm trying." So he says "Tell Uncle Richard what's the problem." "I'm waiting for drinks and chocolate cake." And he promised there would be both.

But low and behold there was no chocolate cake, so Uncle Richard did not deliver. There was ice cream, served in a cold room. Not nearly as much fun, but a little one on one time would make up for it right? Wrong. Uncle Richard likened it to speed dating. The stars only got about 3 and 1/2 minutes per table. Not much time when there are 9 other people sitting with you.

But when I brought up the cake Richard jokingly said that "Uncle Richard was lied to as well. That's it, no Christmas card." Why I lost my Christmas card privileges because of the lack of cake? "Because we have a very dysfunctional family." I'll take that answer, entertaining as always.


Salute to Supernatural Day Two

Day two of Creation Entertainment's Salute to Supernatural was jammed packed, a total assault to the senses, with the absence of one of my favorite angels, who dropped out of the line up, being only slightly felt.

They opened the day with a fan favorite Richard Speight, Jr, who of course was both Gabriel and the Trickster. He was beyond delightful, sharing about his time on the set. And no, the writers did even tell him that he was the Archangel Gabriel, although he did love that twist of the story.

Richard is also known for his work on Band of Brothers, in which he played Skip Muck, and he shared a very heartfelt story about filming. The movie did more than just let the world know the story about Easy Company, it brought closure to not only Muck's family, who never knew how he died, but also to Muck's girlfriend at the time.
And now there is monument in the small town of Tonawanda, New York dedicated to Muck, as well as the Niland brothers, which Saving Private Ryan was based.

Richard easily sweeps the crowd under his spell, and tickles their funny bone even as he tells the tale that nearly brings the tears. His impersonations of both himself and Tom Hanks were hilarious, but didn't distract one bit.

If you're not a Twixter, as Richard calls his twitter followers, you should be. He's almost as fun online as he is in person. And he does answer fans.

Next up was Aldis Hodge, which many may remember as the back-stabbing Jake Tally on Supernatural. He's currently on Leverage, which he got just as many questions about.

He took a little flack from the audience for the way he shanked Sam during "All Hell Breaks Loose" in the second season, but he was a good sport about it. Going as far as to say that he would do it all over again, and if Jake had come back he would have taken revenge on Sam and killed him again.

He followed those blows with a show of some dance moves, and shared that he has a pair of yorkies, Basil and Bella.

Clif Kosterman came out next. He was Tiny in the episode "Folsom Prison Blues." In the episode he got to kick the crap out of Jensen, which he really enjoyed and now he protects both boys in real life. Anyone having seen either Jensen or Jared in real life know neither of them are tiny, but Clif is there as he put it "to take a punch."

Clif was tight lipped about nearly everything, although he did reveal in the upcoming show where the Winchester boys are in the "real world" he's not playing himself.
Corin Nemec was next and not nearly as unpleasant as his character Christian Campbell, in fact he was very pleasant. He spoke a little about current projects including one about Sand Sharks. Which he said "Doesn't take itself too seriously." And I should hope not since it is about killer sharks in the sand.

The last Supernatural guest of the day was Samantha Smith, who of course was Dean and Sam's Mom, Mary Winchester. She was wonderful.

She also shared a little about upcoming projects, a bathroom remodel, the ghost in her house, and how she always gets cast as "mom" but really sees herself as a kick ass Lara Croft.


Day One of San Francisco Salute to Supernatural

The When: January 14-16 2011

The star's of Supernatural making their way to the Bay Area for the first time? Needless to say there was excitement in the air, but they didn't just draw out those from Northern California. No, Supernatural has super fans, as the recent TV Guide fan chosen cover win is any indication. They came from all over the world, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, among others. And they were given plenty of opportunities to get close to their favorite stars, from autograph and photo sessions, to VIP and backstage passes with private Q and A sessions.

Bottom line, if you paid for admission, you were rewarded, and the more you paid the more you received. See, Creation Entertainment run their conventions a little different than others, and it's not a bad thing. The price can be higher, but the experience is richer, more intimate. The stars are more relaxed, hell, the fans are more relaxed. Having virtually no lines, and no early mornings may be a part of that.

Day One brought Gabriel Tigerman and Charles Malik Whitfield, or to Supernatural fans Andrew Gallagher and FBI Agent Victor Henriksen.

Gabriel came out and delighted the crowd first. He was incredibly funny, and witty, and still a little upset about the way they killed Andy, saying "He went out like a bitch." Which pretty much summed up his death.

But he did love the horror movie homage of his death, with the blood being thrown against the wall. He wasn't able to throw out any spoilers, his character being dead and all, but he's ready to step back into the role when and if he's ever brought back. Anyone else dying for a little more Andy time?

But he did share that although he was allowed to drive the prized Impala, he wasn't allowed to go more than like 5mph, and that he's a little sad he wasn't able to keep the van with the barbarian queen on it, though I'm sure his wife doesn't share that sentiment.

And his last little tidbit for us. Yes, he has read fan fiction, even some that featured Chad Lindberg as his love interest. Although he'd love to work with Chad again, he didn't quite picture it that way.

Next up was Charles Malik Whitfield. I wish I could say something memorable about his time on stage, but I couldn't get past all his gum smacking. Note to future speakers: When your audience actually gets up to comment about your gum instead of asking a question, spit it out! Don't pause in your smacking, only to continue on. I'm sure he is charming, but I wasn't a fan of his character, and all the gum chewing was just plain annoying.

And that wasn't his only faux pas of the night. There is a right and wrong way to take or make a phone call on stage, just ask Aldis Hodge or Samantha Smith, but Charles failed on that account too.

Creation wrapped up the first night of their convention with a karaoke party, which is always a hit. All I'll say is if you're ever at one and Richard Speight Jr. is at it, get up and sing Love Shack with him and you won't be disappointed.


In Review: Wielding a Red Sword by Piers Anthony

Released 9-12-86
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Format: Hardcover

Book four of the Incarnations of Immortality series brings the story of War. Mym, the latest incarnation interconnects the current incarnations as a whole more fully. As a young prince he runs away from the marriage proposed by his father and joins the circus where he meets the lovely Orb, who was in the prior book. He’s dragged back home to marry the princess, Rapture, whom he falls in love with. After becoming War, Rapture becomes more independent and Satan seizes the opportunity to insert a demoness in War’s life, though War comes to love both the demoness and the princess, thus gaining Satan nothing.
Satan continues to scheme, even going as far as to trap Mym in hell, and still it is not enough. Through cunning, and ultimately giving Satan exactly what he wants Satan crumbles.  Piers Anthony again writes a strong story integrating the fantastic Miyamoto Mushahi’s famous treatise as Mym’s mantra with memorable characters. Satan is again shown as not necessarily evil, sure there is scheming but ultimately heaven and hell, life and death, all are a delicate business, and Satan is just the manager of one side. Luna Kaftan is again at the heart of his schemes, and all he’s doing is preventing her from ascending to a political position.
The character of War, Mym, is well rounded and easily likable. Anthony is good at crafting characters in which the reader can easily get behind and root for, even if they don’t fully hate the antagonist, Satan. Although the plot was good, the lead up to Mym actually taking the office of War was overly long. Still, once Mym steps into War’s shoes, the story picks up pace, and the cunning he shows is very fun. It’s a good installment to the fantastic series.


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