Yep, my human is still cursed.

The 15th’s gremlins have struck again. This was after reconfiguring the server, giving the system more memory and goodies to help it out, and crippling the send rate to lower the server load.

Did it help?

Nope, not one bit.

Even better, my human can’t figure out how to restart the damned server application that’s responsible for nothing working.

She’s pretty unhappy over this issue, in case you weren’t aware.

So, once gain, we’re working on fixing it.

Maybe this time we can figure out how to make it not suck so much, but it may just involve manually sending mailers to smaller groups of people to make sure the server doesn’t go tits up–or find out what’s going on.

We emailed support. We’ll see what happens.

My human is feeling very discouraged right now, because this should not be happening. Same place as last time, too.

So very frustrating. So very frustrating.

:insert incoherent screams here.:

My human is cursed.

My human has no luck.

Today, her primary computer stopped working. She is very sad, and thanks to holiday timing, it may take some time to be fixed. Fortunately, the machine has a good warranty, so it’ll be repaired without charge. It’s just a matter of taking it into the store.

The male human is going to take care of it, and in the meantime, she will be working on her precious little laptop.

I’m kinda thinking the laptop did it in a fit of jealousy.

In good news, my human had literally backed up everything mere hours before the fatal fall of her imac.

My human is taking this as a hint she should be handwriting everything until the holidays are over.

In other good news, my human’s curse doesn’t extend to my ability to do things like send you amazing missives. The next one will still be on schedule. Even better, I’ll be posting my letters for your enjoyment on my website! (So if you don’t subscribe, you can still check them out!)

Of course, some things won’t be posted to my website. I have to reward my loyal servants somehow!

I am hoping that this is her paying in advance for good luck.

She could use some of that, poor human.

Review: The Lion and the Mouse by Jenny Schwartz

This steampunk romance was a lot of fun. My human has had this book on her kindle for a long time, but finally got around to reading it to me. Some of it is over the top, which my human likes… except the heroine was so virginal it was a little embarrassing for everyone involved. This was a nice change of pace.

I mean, really. It’s time for some blunt human mating ritual content here. This heroine was so virginal she needed a man to explain what arousal was.

Yeah. My human did a full-body twitch over that. I get the whole pure maiden thing. My human does, too. But it was just so… so… so…

We understand the heroine is mousy, but holy lords of steampunk romance, she’s not five. She’s a woman. There are men in the world written. Good looking men in the world, too.

Mousy doesn’t mean completely lacking a libido before achieving sexual enlightenment and become rather… hungry.

Yeah, my human had a bit of an issue with that tidbit. It didn’t stop her from giggling or liking the book, but it drove her right up a wall. It took me almost an hour to get her down from the ceiling. Humans, they can be so unreasonable sometimes.

Review: Shade by Marilyn Peake

I will never be convinced that Galactic Shade Griffin’s mother didn’t hate her. Hippie or not, hatred is the only reason a mother would name her child something that awful. This name, presented with an almost cheerful resentment in the opening of the novel, sets a certain tone for the rest of the book–and makes my human giggle like a maniac.

Your mileage will vary.

Now, amusement over that aside, this is a YA and has everything you expect from a YA, from a full-frontal assault on the realities of bullying and the pettiness of some members of the human race.

And yes, there is plenty of evidence that Shade’s mother harbored a rather unhealthy amount of resentment for her choices in life, one resulting in a daughter.

This is not your normal YA read, and that’s fantastic. While my human found some things about the book that made her twitch, this one is worth taking a second look at. However, adult humans among you–do remember this is a YA. This wasn’t written for you. It was written for older teens facing the crueler elements of their lives.

Sometimes humans forget that.

As the description promises, this book delivers some fairly hard-hitting subjects, so if you have been the victim of bullying, ever considered cutting or other self-destructive behaviors, or have been in drug-addiction situations, this book may hit you hard.

My human made me say that, because this book is worth looking at because it addresses these things with a rather blunt directness while adding in a full spectrum of paranormal trappings.

My human likes when she finds a book that toes the line between YA and the adult world, making it accessible for her without feeling dumbed down for readers who do not need the world dumbed down for them.

Teens aren’t stupid, and this book writes to teens who are, as they do, slowly becoming adults.

And we think that’s a great thing.

It’s just a little hard to read at times.

Review: A Little of Chantelle Rose by Cristina Hodgson

A Little of Chantelle Rose starts with a girl playing an extra who finds out the hard way life in the spotlight is just as awful as people make it out to be. It’s presented as a romantic comedy, but really… I’m not sure what this book is.

This confuses the hell out of me, because my human writes whacky romantic comedies that are about as realistic as the idea of everyone being nice to each other for a change.

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I really don’t know what the deal with this book is. My human wanted to like it, but the opening had a few grammatical and punctuation hiccups that made her squint and tilt her head every which way.

Then she decided she needed to dig a treasure out of a candle because I guess that’s just what perturbed humans do when they don’t know what else to do.

She has finally returned to reading to me. After the initial hiccuping start, it dives into the over-the-top contemporary romance she likes, although it’s… strange. It had humor, which my human liked. It had heartache, which my human does like in small doses. However, it just didn’t pay off in a lot of ways. When my human reads about pre-mating rituals or mating rituals, she wants more of a payoff than sexual gratification. She wants to finish the book feeling a little happier because somewhere in the fictional world, characters found happiness.

That just didn’t happen for my human in this book. This one was just… strange. That’s the only word I have for this book: strange.

This book contains love triangles and everything you might expect from a contemporary romance that tries to be something a little different. I can’t say it was good or bad. It’s a book I’ll have to read again to try to figure out just what my human and I missed to make sense of this thing.

Review: Child of the Night Guild by Andy Peloquin

Child of the Night Guild is a disturbing tale full of heartache, telling the tale of a young girl’s transformation into something both more and less than human, captive in a twisted society, where a life is only worth the investment. my human found this deep and disturbing while I thought it was an intriguing look into the darkness of humanity.

My human read this on the heels of a lighter book, and as she’s a bleeding heart, she found this to be a tougher read. If you’re looking for sunshine and cookies, this book isn’t for you. This book is for those who want something a bit harder hitting than the standard fare. It’s also not for the happily ever crowd.

Spoiler alert: It’s not for the happily ever after crowd.

Still, if you enjoy a book with stark realism with a dose of horror and a splash of fantasy, this one might be for you.

I’ll be enrolling my human for some therapy now. She’s a wuss.

This book is classified as a horror for good reason, so plan your reading accordingly so any delicate sensibilities aren’t overly offended.

Review: Soul-Mate by Anna Santos

Soul-Mate makes no secret of its intentions. From the first paragraph, it is very, very clear this is a true mates/insta-lust book, and it has all the inherent issues of these stories. But, like a moth to flame, my human couldn’t help but be sucked in.

This is a late-night read for my human; it’s one of those books that makes no real effort to disguise the true soul mates element of the story. In a way, I find the instant recognition takes away from the pre-mating rituals my human insists on calling dating.

Now, I realize this makes it sound like we weren’t all that fond of the book. Beyond a little over-enthusiasm in the telling department, it’s not a bad tale. It’s just the kind of book my human prefers to read while she’s attempting to become a mermaid through the excessive use of her kindle oasis in the bathtub.

Newsflash, people. My human ain’t no mermaid. She emerged from the tub rather shriveled, though.

Soul-Mate is ideal for those who want to mix unplugging with some paranormal romance we didn’t find breaks the mold and a fun story about dirty little (and big) secrets with enemies out for blood.

Review: Slumber by J.L. Weil

Slumber was such a fun book. My human really liked it.

It’s like this disaster dystopian with drugs and magic that has put much of the world to sleep, but then cool things happens, but I can’t say what, because that’d spoil the book for you humans, and that’d be bad.

It’s like what would happen if Sleeping Beauty had a blind date with the Stand, except it’s not as rotty and full of death plague. It’s more… sleepy.

I’m giving this two paws, a purr, and a tail swish, as it has such an interesting tone and melds a lot of elements seamlessly. The writing had some quirks, but those were easy enough to ignore, as the story was quite entertaining.

As a side note, my human has a hardcore crush on the covers of this setting. The picture frames give it that wonderful fairytale feel, except with a not-so-subtle touch of delightful malevolence.

I broke my human’s website! Bwahahahaaaaa!

My human thought she could appease me with her offering of my very own website.

She was wrong.

Well, not really. My human is just a little bit cursed, and when she switched hosting to a virtual server so I could have my very own website palace, her website was unfortunately hosed. By hosed, I mean, someone got a fire hydrant, pointed it at her domain, and let rip.

It’s gone and screwed the pooch and got rabies for its troubles.

So, I’m not all that sad to announce that my human’s domain, RJBlain.com, now redirects to my website. I was generous and put the redirect to point at her novels. Gotta let her earn the moolah to feed me! (Seriously. If you enjoy my letters and reviews, toss a few pennies in my human’s jar. Buy some of those books she slaves on. I’ve been promised that I receive a percentage of all sales in the form of food and delicious treats.)

My human has lost quite a bit of content from her old site, although she was able to salvage the contestant list for her set of Hearth, Home, and Havoc novellas. She will be picking prizes for those people this week and contacting the winners. She’s very sorry.

(If she had gotten me my own website from the start, there wouldn’t have been any problems in the first place. I’m certain of this!)

In the meantime, here is what you can expect.

First, my human will be rewriting some of her more popular articles, including an updated version of how to hold a pen or pencil without inflicting pain and suffering on yourself. We find this is important.

Second, my human will be creating several pages dedicated to the writing process, how she creates a story bible, and methods of outlining novels. These were really popular on her old domain.

Third, I won’t let her procrastinate much. Promise. I’m going to give her today off to write on the Captive King (Susan Copperfield, second Royal States novel) so she doesn’t cry much over her bad luck.

I get hissy when my human cries (from frustration) over tech that simply refuses to work.

Until next time, folks!

Review: Witch’s Potion by Laura Greenwood

Witch’s Potion was a weird read for my human. She mostly liked it, but she really wished she’d reserved this one for end of day reading rather than start of day reading.

In the morning, my human likes challenging books. In the evening, she wants someone to hold her hand, tell her everything will be okay, and do the work for her. This book would make a good evening reading book for her.

So, your mileage will vary on this one. It’s a novella, it’s light reading, and it’s a bit weird–a little fun, but weird. Overall, I’m giving this one a half purr and a pair of happy kneady paws, no claws, but a little hiss over the telly bits. But that’s because my human read it to me in the morning.

My human is going to read this one again to me when it’s late at night and we’re tired.