BIRTW: Vol 38, Oct 22

Oct 24, 2017 | Books I Read

Twist by Dannika Dark | Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler | How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks


Twist (+ 1/2 of Impulse)

Author: Dannika Dark

Series: Mageri #2 (#3)

Tags: paranormal romance, ragtag team, scrappy newcomer, secret supergenes, vampires, shifters, mages, nice guy triangle, Stockholm Syndrome, kidnappapalooza, rapey

Format: audiobook

Rating: meh.


I finished the 2nd book, but only got through half of Impulse, the 3rd book, because it was returned to library. Probably won’t pick it up again because: meh.


So, I LOVED the Seven Series by Dannika Dark. (By the way, stripper name, much?) I was excited to move on to Dark’s other stuff, now that I’ve finished the Seven Series. This one is a spin off, in the same world as those hottie wolf brothers in Austin.

It’s not, like, super great.


I will admit that I started on the second book, so I may have missed some important character development. However, by the time I finished the second book, I was already kind of sick of the main character.

You see, the problem is that the Seven series is an ensemble cast, plotted out so that each of the seven books focus on the seven brothers. I love those kinds of books. Then you get a fun bouquet of various archetypes. Sassy! Straightlaced! Dark! Rock Star! Smart! Silly! You don’t have to focus on the meager character development when THERE WILL BE A NEW, DIFFERENT CHARACTER AROUND THE CORNER! Hooray, what fun! It’s like picking out your underwear. What character shall I wear today??

Well, now I have one to choose from. Silver, a scrappy new Mage, is trying to figure out the ins and outs of the Breed world, while still trying to stay alive, what with all the big baddies running around.

She’s scrappy, like the first girl in the Seven series, and… that’s pretty much it.


Lack of female characters is a doozy. Dark writes character ensembles that are distinctly sausage fests. Which is fun, in it’s own way. But since Silver is the main character, this sausage fest is 100% about her, which is kind of gross. There’s the smart mouthed British mage that she has a FWB relationship with, a moon puppy old-friend-turned-new-Mage-peer named Adam who has a huge Nice Guy crush on her, her hottie-yet-platonic mentor, some other hot guys, a young boy… Just so many. So so many. And this is not even counting her love interest, a fiercely territorial cheetah shifter.

The ones that aren’t her love interest are subsequently paired off, but the series should be called “Silver and Her Hottie + All Her Castoffs.”

I really like that she can have a variety of relationships with men, but how ever many bonus points Dark earns, she loses them all and then some during the Nice Guy Love Triangle with Adam.


OMG. Adam. I want him to die tragically so hard. No, dying would give him too much credit. Just fade away.

“And then Adam pouted off into a corner. The corner ate his body and his man-privilege floated away on a strong gale, never to be thought of again.”

End scene.

That’s what I want to happen.


He’s just all sorts of icky. They’re friends, but he wants to be more, but he won’t ask her, and they establish that they wouldn’t be a good couple, but he still looks at her with moon puppy eyes and gets jealous if any guy comes near her.

I mean, keeper, right?

IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU, in the 3rd book (Impulse), he is terribly scarred on his face while trying to save people and will now be scarred literally forever, so he’s throwing a MAJOR hissy fight, and bedding some girl who is using him who just got out of an abusive kidnapping situation, all the while STILL making moon puppy eyes at Silver and getting jealous even though they are both ostensibly in relationships.


Ughhh, oh God, get your whiny Man Pain away from me! I’m so sorry you are going to live forever with super cool healing powers and a chance to change many lives, all the while sporting (cosmetic, not painful or debilitating) facial scars.

They don’t really go into detail, so I’m just visualizing a hotter Two Face.

Is it worse than Two Face? Because Two Face got a lot of tail.

Twice as many, in fact.


Silver meets her Mr. Right by way of kidnapping. He kidnaps her. She lets him in the house even though he’s a total stranger, just because he gives her a bullshit story. Jeeeez.

Logan is a Cheetah. I’m sorry, you probably said that wrong in your head. Logan is a CHEE-Tahh. The narrator really puts emphasis on that T sound, so that she sounds like she is trying to do a stereotype Native American accent.

And weirdly, the Cheetahs are the Apex shifters of this world. They keep to themselves, they have better tracking abilities than every other species. They treat their women REAL nice, and they never break a promise.

Did I miss something? Are cheetahs that cool of animals?

I don’t know that much about IRL cheetahs. They are super weird looking if you look at them too long. Way too lanky in bulky in weird places. The only fact I can bring up in my head is that they can only run super duper fast for like 90 seconds, and then they have to stop or they will explode.

Or something.

Definitely not the first choice when I think of an apex predator.


However, CheeTahs are at least way more interesting than Mages. Omg hella boring. They are basically immortal X-Men. No hilarious mating rituals, no cuddly animals to turn into. They are just humans. And then there are a whole bunch of rules, and passage rites, and a council…



If anything, I’d go back for Logan, but they are a couple by the end of the second book, so why bother?

Romance, Dark. I like Romance.






The Parable of the Sower

Author: Octavia Butler

Series: Earthseed #1

Tags: post-apocalyptic fiction, religion, cult, mind fuck

Format: audiobook

Rating: um…yay?


Whoa. What did I just read.


Okay, dear readers, this is not a romance, which means (you guessed it) it’s a book club book. However, this one was my pick, so I have no excuse to complain.

I’m not complaining. I really liked it.

Just. Whoa.


This book is so many things and not so many things I just don’t know where to start.

Kinda scifi, but not really, set in the future, but not distant future, in a US where the financial world has officially collapsed. The main character is a girl growing up in this new, primal world, in a walled-off cul-de-sac of an LA suburb, a community that has come together to defend their homes when no one else will. Lauren’s community is attacked, and she finds she must go her own way in the world.

At the same time, some other things are going on with Lauren. She has “Hyper Empathy Syndrome” where she physically feels the pain that she sees in others. Also, she is developing her own religion. It’s called Earthseed and the premise is “God is change.”

Fascinating stuff.


I’m gonna break this down and deal with the post-apocalypse stuff first.

It’s Mad Max. It’s a zombie book without the zombies. It’s a survivalist novel, and book about the fragility of man, community, civilization.

The premise is not really original. It’s what she does with it that is so different from everything else I’ve read.

To compare: I read the book The Dog Stars a while ago and hated it so much omg. We follow a white dude on his journey to survive a post-apocalyptic world. There are lots of flowery scenes about the joys of fishing, a faithful dog, a crotchety yet avuncular old man, a hot chick who dotes on him. The book ends with the dog dying, a classic pull on the heartstrings when you’ve got nothing else to show.


Why? And this is something I complain about ad nausuem..



I HATE supporting characters that don’t live, only support. I HATE the blase attitude Fiction 101 main characters embody, the “nothing really matters so I’m going to stare at these dust motes in a patch of sunshine and say something pretty about them.”

Things matter.

PEOPLE matter.

I believe that literature should be used as an exercise in empathy. Where else can you put yourself in the shoes of someone you’ve never met, who is completely unlike you? So I take it as a PERSONAL AFFRONT (I know, calm down, Wendy) whenever the supporting characters have only one purpose to Further The Magical World That Is The Author’s Ego.

Which is why I have such problems with reading/watching/listening to Dude Fiction (i.e., fiction written by men for men with men as characters and women and minorities as cute little cut-out paper dolls).


But, you know. To each their own.



This book is… I can’t believe I’m saying this… a zombie novel if the characters were treated with empathy. They live in a community, not a vacuum. They are human. They are fallible. They are smart and stupid and good and bad and all things in between. This is a world where racism still exists, it’s still a point of tension, on top of everything else. These people must kill, must do what they need to do to survive, and yet they still feel. It’s not a fun game to take someone’s life.

Zombie movie is to Parable of the Sower as “what would bring to a desert island?” is to “imagine yourself so hungry you have to eat a putrid fish.”


I love it. And… it’s almost too much. I get overwhelmed easily by emotion and empathize too quickly, so the stark, yet present way that Butler writes still has me a bit shell shocked.


So not, like, a fun book. But good. And interesting.


I really liked her relationship with the guy she meets. I also liked how racism was dealt with. So much honesty.


The first half of the book was in the col-de-sac community, mostly centering around the small town life and the religion she is building. It got kind of preachy here, and throughout, but it’s such an interesting concept.

Lauren’s Earthseed religion is that God is not a person, a deity, a religion, an embodiment or anything. God is change. Change is the only constant, so change is the one thing you can believe in.

Very interesting and paradoxical. I have a theory that humans can’t actually conceptualize change, and even the most ethereal of our concepts are more like snapshots in time than a changing whole. What is language other than defining the constantly changing world around us? Even shades of gray are still multiple (shades) of a thing (gray).

An argument, too, can be made for religion being the constant in a changing world. Tradition, rituals, values, morals, concepts. They are there when nothing else makes sense.

So isn’t making change itself a religion a form of anti-religion?

Fascinating stuff.

I also agree with her boyfriend when he says that Earthseed will itself change, most likely into a religion that is easier to conceptualize and will therefore be the opposite of what she started out to make. She doesn’t deny it.

People can’t live in state of ambiguity all the time. It seems, however, a noble goal to try.





How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire

Author: Kerrelyn Sparks

Series: Love at Stake #1

Tags: vampires, cheerful vampire romance, humor, dentist, telepathy sex

Format: ebook

Rating: yay!

Check out the latest Getting Lit episode to learn more!


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