Monday, June 25, 2012

Book 48: The Judgment

The Judgment by Beverly Lewis was one of those books that was a nice diversion but will likely be forgotten and I wasnt impressed with.

The Judgment  is book two of the Rose Trilogy. It really takes the story and just picks up where book one left off. Hen is hit by the news that Brandon wants a divorce, andRose is trying to figure out her feelings of the heart.  The book also introduces more of Beth and the idea if a Bishop could lead the flock after all the drama with Nick and Chrstian in the first book.

I will have to say, its an easy read and an fairly enjoyable read. Its just simple. Nothing too fancy.

The biggest problem I have with this book is that it feels like a poorly acted play. The characters just never feel real especially if they are male. It just falls flat and fake. If you are pulled in with the characters, a reader can put aside any bad writing. I did it with Twilight and pre-ordered a couple of the books knowing that it wasn
t well written but I was drawn into the characters. I find myself reading a Beverly Lewis books due to the fact while I hate her characters often, her books are only good enough. Instead I get drawn in for wanting to reconnect with my spirituality and a bit of my past.  

Plus I think she missed a major opportunity in the plot lines. I would have loved for someone to be more present in the Bishop plot line. It was more mentioned off to the side and there is a worry that he might be silenced but neither Rose nor Hen were active in that plot line so it wasnt developed as I would have liked.

This book gave me some pause on what I look for in good books. I wouldnt call this one by any stretch of the means but neither have been the last few books Ive read. They have all had their flaws but I think this book came the closest to being a good book. It just had a feeling of a poorly acted play. The characters over emoted at times and were too 2d in others.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book 47: Bayou Moon

 Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews was a mixed bag of tricks for me. It had so much potential and yet it had a lot of issues to it. I really wanted to like it but in many ways I couldnt.

So the title grabbed me with this book. It just seemed really interesting. The bayou is already a bit magical and the same thing with the moon. So I thought this book would make for a great magical story. In a way I was disappointed with the how the title tied didnt tie into my hopes.

It was interesting to see how this book was written by husband/wife team. It’s not often you see a collaboration set into one name.  I will have to say because they unified their names, I had high standards for them. I was expecting a clean book. Clean in the sense of cohesion. I will have to say this book was lacking in that category.

My biggest problem with this book was the cohesion and point of view. There would be so many times I wasn’t quite sure which character was speaking or how a person got from point a to point b. It was just choppy. Because it was so choppy and I was constantly trying to find out where I lost an action (and often didn’t find the action I was looking for), I wasn’t hooked into the book.  One of the perfect examples was when William was locked into a bedroom yet is suddenly outside to talk to Lark. Other times it was just confusing to see who was speaking since there would be point of view changes without white space and sometimes mid-sentence.

Another problem for me was vagueness in terms. I never felt like I understood what Flashing was. Same thing with the difference between the Broken, the Weird and the Mire. The fact I can’t place my finger on the key actions, it’s not a good thing. I can’t just picture the book like I wanted.

I wanted this book to be better. It was interesting.  It had some neat things. I liked the use of magic, a werewolf, and the setting.  But the choppiness and vagueness just killed it for me. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Book 46: Stripped

Stripped: Inside the Lives of Exotic Dancers by Bernadette Barton was clearly a book that had it’s roots in an academic paper.  It was well researched and packed full with information.

I have a love-hate relationship with books like this. I love how it’s well-research and it tends to have different ideas/insights that I wouldn’t normally have had. Yet it’s awful in the way of enjoyable reading. Academia has it’s own style and it’s very dry where more narrative styles are more enjoyable to read.  

I got Stripped since it was one of those books recommended by Amazon based on the books that I purchased from Belle Du Jour and Miss S.  The book was a look at the strippers (not the working girls or escorts like the other two books). Another difference is that this book is researching the American experience rather then experiences in the United Kingdom.

I will have to say it’s interesting that the girls in this book were more anti-sex in their home lives. For the girls that really don’t put out, they are the ones who get turned off by sex. Sure their bodies are displayed and they have to deal some of the worst in clients since they are being purely objectified. But out of all the sex industry fields, I would have thought that they would be the most sexual after work.

Overall I am glad that I read this book as a way to add to my budding idea for a character in a novel I’m writing. But I’m not sure if I will want to read Stripped too often.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book 45: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy by Rachel Mead was a fun distraction that kept me from getting too jaded with the urban-vampire genre. It was just a lively young adult book that was fun, easy to read and a bit cheesy.

Vampire Academy has been showing up as a recommended read for me for quite a while. So it was easily packed in my bag when I knew I would need a second book for a bus trip to Philly.  Im so glad that my friend Andrea sent this book to me.

But as excited as I was to receive this book, I started to get a bit jaded with the vampire literature lately. It just hasn’t been living up to my expectations. Most books have only been so-so. It seemed like as the genre gets more popular, there is more crap to shift through to find good books. That’s what makes some niche markets great, in order to published, you have to be really good.

This book was a bit of fun. It had action, characters with gray in them, good timing to the lulls, and enough desire to want to continue on in the series.

The crutch of the book is about Rose and Lissa’s stay at St. Vladimir’s Academy. They struggle to get through the clichés while they struggle to learn about themselves. They don’t have it easy at school after they ran away and have punishments and classes to catch up on.  If that wasn’t enough Lissa is starting to get plagued by a prankster who keeps putting dead animals in her room and making her question her overall well being.  It was refreshing and well written and I wanted to read as much as I could.

Book 44: Forgotten History (Star Trek Department of Temporal Investigations)

Forgotten History by Christopher L. Bennett is the second installment of the Department of Temporal Investigations. This book takes a look at some of the Original seriess journeys through time and their own departments history.  This book is bleh to me.  

This is the first book in a long time where I really went this book is well written, seems to use the characters well but I couldnt get hooked into the plot line. I just wasnt compelled to keep reading it. In fact I actually started this book before Lords of Misrule but it was easy to pick up the other book first even though both were in my purse. It was when I kept it as the only book to read, I read it.

Forgotten History is the second book in the Department of Temporal Investigations. I havent read the first book in the series. In many ways I love jumping into a series at any point and see if it could just get the story without having all the back history. I believed that this was a great book to jump into since it can stand alone.

In many ways this book is much more of an Original series book. It stars Kirk, Sulu, Scotty, and that ilk much more then the Department of Temporal Investigations (DTI) cast book. It felt like that the DTI made cameos. Very important cameos to the plot but cameo roles never the less.  I think Christopher L. Bennett did a great job of capturing the voices of the classic Trek members.

My biggest fault with this book was that it was very fragmented and the plot wasnt driving the reader. It was more of highlighting a few of the TOS journeys to the past while the DTI crew also saw how some of their history was created. There were neat things in the book: interviews about time travel philosophy with the Enterprise crew, realizing your hero doesnt always live up to the idol you made him out to be, a throwback to the Trouble with Tribble-actions episode, and playing with the different ideas of time travel.  It was fragmented and poorly knitted together. 

I couldn't fall in love with this book. It was only so-so. I need a book to grab me and just lmake me want to read it. This one failed to do so. It wasn't poorly written. It just wasn't special. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book 43: Lords of Misrule

I was completely underwhelmed by Rachel Caine’s Lords of Misrule. There was a lot of potential to the book but it never fully lived up to them.

Every author has a book where they just don’t meet your expectations. They either phone it in, they use a novel to set up the next book in the series, or the book wasn’t properly edited. This book seemed to be a mix of the first two problems: a little phoning it in and a lot of rushing to get to the next book.

Lords of Misrule did one of the things that I absolutely hate. The back of the book totally blew the entire story.  I’m all for teasers and pulling in the readers but the cover was a bit much. Mentioning things that happened in the final chapter is crazy.

Lords of Misrule really felt more like a short story that just grew long. I will admit, I got introduced to the Morganville vampires through short stories collections.  The pacing was off. At times a little too extended and other times it just too fast.

The characters were also more like 2 dimensional characters rather than fully fleshed out characters. The best characters in my eyes were vampires who made more of cameo roles: Theo’s family, Myrimn and Michael.  The main characters I actually kinda hated. I thought Claire was petty, Shane was only half there, Eve was meh, and Monica was described as so awful but it was never really shown in the book.  And I don’t buy into the idea that if a series is a young adult series, the characters can be a little less developed when compared to adult fiction.  The fact I couldn’t connect to the characters was tough to believe since in other Rachel Caine books, that’s been her strength and I really liked the short story I read from the series.

Another problem with the book, there was too much talking about actions and not enough showing. It felt like that every time something major happens, it's only talked about or was going on in the fringes. Things really were heated up and we were being told that but the reader wasn't actually shown it. They never knew what was going on with the different vampires as they disappeared, how the humans are really trying to deal with the vampires, or most importantly how the fighting between Amelie and Bishop was really happening. Instead Claire wasn't in the actual midst of those things except for the twister and even then it gets rushed. 

Although the way Lords of Misrule ended and the teaser first chapter to book six, I want to read what happens next in the series. So the book wasn't all bad since it didn't make me say I will never read the Morganville Vampire series. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Book 42: Strange Brew

I was hoping for more with the Strange Brew collection edited by P.N. Elrod.  While it compiled some of my favorite authors from the paranormal/urban fantasy, there was something almost lacking. But there were some good stories in the mix as well.

I love a good story collection. It gives you more especially if it uses characters from series you already love. This is what Strange Brew did. It had stories from Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs and Rachel Caine. Most of these stories even pulled from their different hit series.

I guess my biggest problem with this book was my two expectations weren’t fully met. I was hoping for some great magical stories and great character development in some of the stories that I knew the characters from the series. In the end, sometimes it felt like the magical aspects were forced into a bit of a whole and the characters weren’t as rich as I would have liked.  It was much more of a vampire and werewolves try to go magical story collection.

My favorite stories came Rachel Caine (no surprise for the people who read my blog since I enjoy her work quite often), Faith Hunter (a bit of a surprise for me since I’m not super familiar with her work but she gave me the types of stories I was hoping for) and Jenna Maclaine.  They were all good and rich and fun.  Also will say I liked the Caitlin Kittredge story but it was okay, felt like I needed more background.

My least favorite was hands down the Jim Butcher story. I want to like the Dresden Files stories but I never end up liking them. I have so many guy friends who love them and yet for another female friend and myself, I just can’t find anything that I truly like or stands out.

Then there were the stories from Patricia Briggs and Charlaine Harris. I think for Patricia Briggs, she does better in a full novel situation and with Charlaine Harris, she is a bit hit and miss.