There aren’t a lot of positives to two and a half days of migraine forced bed rest. Anyone who gets them knows that migraines are a bitch, and the drugs they put you on aren’t much better (I’ve been getting them since I was just a wee lass on a pretty regular basis). There was a very happy positive to this attack of the brain pain, though!
Every once in awhile you get the migraines without the pain. Sure, there’s the dizziness, nausea, fainting episodes, slurred speech…but without the pain, you can be slightly functional, even if walking or engaging in any semblance of a conversation that makes sense to anyone not drunk off of meds is impossible (see? try to figure out what I just wrote). And that is exactly what I had. Course, I thought I was dying until my doc told me it was simply a symptom-less migraine (excuse me, but I just passed out in your waiting room ten minutes ago! Symptom-less, my ass!). So I have gained a new love for life now that I know it is not a tumor…only to be imprisoned on my couch!
When I wasn’t sleeping and becoming that crazy cat lady all of us introverts fear will be our future (can I help it if my cat was my only company for much of this adventure?) I’ve been catching up on my reading! Usually all I can do is moan in a dark room when I’m being migrained, but without the horrible pain, I could read a bit. My bridal shower saw lots of nerdy, delicious gifts coming my way, and one of those gifts is the first four novels of the Jane True series.
I had slowly made my way through book one, Tempest Rising, last week, but had given up being able to read the rest until after my wedding (also known as the sucker-of-happy-anime-watching-and-book-reading-time) had finished rearing it’s taffeta covered head in three weeks. Just kidding! I hate taffeta!
But as horrible, horrible luck would have it, I’ve spent the last 72 hours or so stuck on a couch alternating between sleeping, having philosophical, long winded, and sometimes weird conversations with my cat (“raise your right paw if you are a human stuck in a cat’s body!”), and making my way through the last three very enjoyable novels – Tracking the Tempest, Tempest’s Legacy, and Eye of the Tempest.
And can I just say, “Hello, Nicole Peeler, goodbye gut-wrenching boredom!” First of all, the cover art! Gah! It is hand-drawn, people! That’s right, no photographs of faux serious faces staring out at us. Bleck, I despise photographs of real people on covers. Uh, hello, if I wanted to see a real person, I’d watch a movie. Sheesh. But back to the cover art gush! The art was done by Lauren Panepinto, Art Director at Orbitz. It’s not hand drawn in the slightly odd looking cherub face way of Tamora Pierce’s first set of Alanna novels. Oh, no, this sports an adorable, manga-esq artwork with lots of rich colors, flames, and exactly the sort of character art that says, ‘look, I put real artistic thought into this!’, but is cartoon enough to leave some imaginative wiggle room. God, but I do love me some good urban fantasy cover art. Especially since it doesn’t really exist. Until now!
Okay, about the story. First of all, there is smut aplenty! The first novel had me thinking that sexy time was all to be found in the plot, but Ms. Peeler surprises with a female character that is strong willed and learns from her mistakes in lovey land. And the men she does are seriously hot. And the sex scenes all made downtown in Ronnie land turn into the red light district. Yes, I totally just made myself giggle lewdly. But if it is smut you are after, smut you shall have with these books.
For those of us who enjoy a good story as much as the smut, there is also much of that on display. As always, I am drawn in by a plethora of lovable characters and villains of circumstance. Emotional connections and bravery abound in these novels, with a heroine that just makes it work. Jane True is the type of character that you love to have the story told through. I giggle at least once a chapter at the quirky and fun humor Nicole Peeler exudes through her main character, usually through conversations that Jane True’s libido has with her virtue. No, really, there is much commentary from the libido.
Of course, there’s all that supernatural B.S. that us fangirls have come to crave in our novels. And never fear, there are fangs and shapeshifters galore in the love triangles, though Peeler does an admirable job of making her works interesting and different from other urban fantasy novels in all the right places.
Oh, and this is important: Nicole Peeler can actually write well. I assume this revelation was met with a gasp and an exclamation of ‘What?! An urban fantasy writer that has debuted in the last few years that has a capacity for the written word? Shocking, I know, but I put her skillzzz right up there with Gail Carriger, Jim Butcher, and Kim Harrison. Of course, I did read the Jane True novels while in a migraine and drug induced stupor, and I am still slightly high as I write this epic, babble-tastic review of awesome, so take it with a grain of salt.
I doubt I could be that off in my assessment, though. If there is one thing I know, it is my fiction writers, dammit. And while I may have read and enjoyed the Twilight series, I was never under the impression that Stephanie Meyer has any breathtakingly amazing literary prowess other than the ability to finish a story and fill it with the proper mix of teenage angst and unrealistic romantic expectations to zone us out. She’s like the schwag of Y.A. and fantasy literature. You take what you can get in between Harry Potter movies. And apparently migraine days make me say mean things.
Seriously, though, I make a very strong suggestion for the reading of the Jane True novels. Much man flesh, mythological creatures, and strong female characters are to be found in these little gems of novels. In fact, I just got done ordering book 5 on Amazon. Since I can’t drive to the bookstore. Intense debilitating disabilities won’t keep me from my readin’! Kablam, mother effers! Or something.
Rock on and live strong, and remember that geeks always find the silver lining! Mine is that my cat it cute, and while I may be having fainting spells and taking a serious chunk out of a paycheck that was desperately needed (ah, sick pay, you are but a dream), I still was able to read.
*Note: I may have made up the thing about geeks and silver lining, but it sounded good at the time. I have to go. My cat needs me.