Reading: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund


After reading and loving the story Foundling by Diana Peterfreund in Brave New Love: 13 Dystopian Tales of Desire, I decided to see what else she had written. After reviewing the offerings, I decided to give the Killer Unicorns series a try.

Yes. I know. You read that right. The Killer Unicorns Series. You, too, can give it a try if you wish. You can find it HERE.

All in all, I loved the book. It took me quite awhile to suspend my disbelief about a) unicorns, b) killer unicorns, and c) unicorns in the middle of Rome, but once I managed it, the book was really fun, thrilling, and a page turner. It read very much as a young adult novel, which is fine since that is the target audience, but I think that anyone with the ability to actively suspend disbelief and embrace something fantastical for the sake of an adventure will enjoy this novel. As I was reading, I was reminded of my youth when reading was the most captivating for me. I still love to read, and I still think that reading is one of the best ways to spend time, but it has been a long time since I was able to read a book with the same suspension of disbelief that I was able to achieve when I was, say, 12 or 13.

This book, when I was able to put my adult disbelief aside, took me to that magical realm of reading that I remember from that age. It was exciting, sweet, silly, and serious at times. The only mild complaint I might have is that the ‘reluctant heroine’ trope was a bit worn out, but it wasn’t as if I didn’t understand the heroine’s reluctance. The requirements for the job of Killer Unicorn Hunter aren’t fun — virginity and probable death? Yeah.


As a reader and writer of fanfiction, I admit that several times I wondered if this book started out as a seed of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction, but I couldn’t draw conclusive parallels between any of the characters. I only think this warrants mentioning because I believe a person who enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and could suspend disbelief to the point of loving that show, could also really enjoy this book.

I haven’t read the second in the series yet, but I look forward to it very much.


And, as a reminder, my book with Keira Andrews, Earthly Desires, comes out tomorrow! It is most definitely not a Young Adult book, but for those of you of proper adult age, do please consider buying it! 🙂

Reading: Brave New Love: 15 Dystopian Tales of Desire


Recently I’ve been on a book bender. Unlike an alcohol bender, where you end up saying all kinds of shit you wish you hadn’t, slurring your words, pointing your finger when you talk, and sometimes puking up your guts, a book bender is more like a calorie-less version of grabbing handfuls of cake and shoving it in your mouth, careless of how it smears on your cheeks and into your eyelashes. Nom, nom, nom, boooooooks! Must consume more boooooooks! Yummy books, with yummy words, oh, God, feed more more!

Give me more!

My book bender began when I was down with a pneumonia/mono double whammy and completely high on some codeine cough syrup that my doctor prescribed for me. All I can say about that stuff is that there were several times I found myself thinking, “Damn good thing that I’m not an addict, because this codeine stuff is the bomb.” I also managed to do things on this cough syrup like get a massive, huge bruise on the top of my foot that was extremely painful and very ugly, with absolutely no memory of doing something to cause it. I also apparently ordered ten Kindle books, and nine actual paper books while doped up on.

I’m not being monogamous at all during my book bender, and I’ve been smashing my face into the pages of books both digital and paper with almost no discrimination lately – Greek myths, fairy tales of Russia, Ireland, England, and Romania, a book about the brothers Grimm, still reading Deathless, still crazy about The Book of Imaginary Beings, and I also picked up a wonderful Adrienne Rich volume of poetry with a poem on page one that packs quite a punch. Nom nom nom, words! Give ’em to me!

Imagine the goddess in this picture is me, and that the puppies are books, and that rather than sitting peacefully with them, I’m devouring them madly, smearing their bookliness all over my face and hands.

One of the books I codeine-ordered from Amazon, I have no recollection of ordering at all, to the point that I half suspect that they just stuffed it into my Amazon box and charged me for it for fun because they psychically knew that I was high on codeine when I placed the rest of my order. The name of that one is Brave New Love: 15 Dystopian Tales of Desire edited by Paula Guran. I have a vague, very fuzzy recollection of thinking to myself, “You know, you should really learn to curtail your words. Your word counts are too high. You should take a crash course in short fiction. Buy a bunch of short stories!” Perhaps this book came from that train of thought? Regardless, I own it now, and in the midst of my book bender, I started smashing the book to my face (symbolically; I don’t need to give myself a black eye from book-love) and nom nom noming on it in tiny snatches of time over the last week.

I just read "Foundlings" by Diana Peterfreund in this anthology. Pretty great story!

I can’t say that the entire book is delicious, but of the two stories I’ve read so far, one is fairly good, and the other was really quite fantastic.

I’ll start with the fairly good and move on to the quite fantastic.

The first was Beserker Eyes by Maria V. Snyder. Set in a future where gene tweaking has left some with a ‘beserker’ gene, teens are held in what amount to prisons until it is determined whether or not they are a risk to society. All in all, the story was engaging enough. Though, I’m assuming in order to meet a short story word-count, there did seem to be some rather sweeping violations of ‘show don’t tell’. I felt that it ended abruptly, and I thought that it made a better beginning to a longer novel than a short story. Perhaps Ms. Snyder will want to explore this universe more. I think that a longer, full-fledged novel that dealt with the events of the short story and the aftermath would be worth reading. Then again, I’m not familiar with her writing, and perhaps she already has done something larger with this concept. Or maybe this was just something she needed to get out, and for her it ended where, to me as a reader, it should have began.

The second story was Foundlings by Diana Peterfreund. In a world where the ‘birther’ movement has gone too far, teenage girls are taken in as soon as they are discovered to be pregnant – ‘for their own good’ and to mitigate risk to the unborn child. In a few short pages, Peterfreund introduces us to this world in a way that is organic, natural, and mostly believable. The relationships between the three characters are compelling and by the end of the short story, I was invested in all of them, proud of all of them, and emotionally moved by all of three of them. It really is a very beautiful story, and I anticipate that I’ll read it again.

I’ll let you know as I continue to read like a glutton if there are other stories in this anthology that might make it worth the cover price. As it is, I don’t regret my codeine purchase. Not at all.

ETA: I have since read The Salt Sea and the Sky by Elizabeth Bear. It was another situation where I felt like the short story was actually the beginning of something more. It was well written and I was curious about the characters, but at the end I was much more interested in what might happen next than in what had actually transpired so far. Still, it was well-written enough to make me look up Elizabeth Bear on Amazon, and I found that she is the co-author of the wolf books that I heard so much about a few years back. I went ahead and bough the first wolf book for my kindle and am pondering buying one of the Promethean Age books, but the $18.99 for the Kindle edition ($24.00 for the paperback) is a bit steep, especially given the book bender I’ve been on, I probably should wait. The wolf book was at least more reasonably priced.