Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book 63: Beg For Mercy

Beg For Mercy was a little bit of a departure for me. I haven’t read a thriller in a while. Jami Alden spun a web that at times was pretty predictable but it was still a good read.

Beg For Mercy circles around Megan Flynn who is fighting for her brother’s life. Sean Flynn was arrested for a murder and would be the first person to be executed by the state. Megan lost almost all her friends and good part of her reputation by never stop believing that her brother was innocent despite the overwhelming evidence saying that he was guilty. In her search, she reunites with her former boyfriend, Cole Williams.  Cole was investigating the Seattle Slasher murders which appears to be a serial killer attacking prostitutes with little or no past. When Dev (a child that Megan tries to help), their two cases start to collide.

The book wasn’t bad but it was a wee bit predictable.  I guess early on connection between Club One, Sean, and the slasher murders and even the fixation by the murder has for Megan. It definitely could pull you in and make you want to keep reading so that is always a good thing.

One of the things that did bug me was the lack of showing in most situations. Most things were told to the reader. Especially when it came to the characteristics of people. I would have preferred more showing. Explain why people don’t trust or like Megan due to her belief in her brother rather then tell me all the time.  Just like I would have liked to know more about the roles about the prostitutes that Stephanie hinted at before her demise.

I will have to say, this very much reminded me of the book that was being written by my friend Darla. It was the same formula and that bugged me in a way. I don’t want to read basically paint-by-number book. It’s boring. I would like to think and be challenge when I read something. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book 62: Pale Demon

Pale Demon was the latest book on my reading list.  I was kinda disappointed by it.

Since I had the next book in the Hallows series, I decided to continue on with the series. I almost decided to switch it up but decided I wanted to know what happened to Rachel. Did she finally get her pardon and have her shunning revoked or did she finally get herself more into trouble? Plus how were things going on with Pierce and Rachel?

So I got to find.  Of course things couldnt go smoothly for Rachel. People lied to her. Not to mention she had to take Trent to the west coast via car (since he was on an elven quest and she was banned from flying). Trent decided to unleash KuSox, a genetic demon that the demons were trying to keep locked up underneath the Arch to keep him from destroying the world, as a way to gain leverage over a situation. But unleashing a crazy demon never works out well.  Needless to say, even getting to the conference wasnt easy for Rachel and then for the coven to lie to her, things got even worse.

I will be honest, I felt like the book just gave up midway through. The oomph to the book wasnt there all the way through. Plus I hated how the Pierce/Rachel storyline was just dropped. That was a great plot line from the last book and then non-existent. Sure there was a minor snag when Rachel prevented Pierce from killing Al. But instead of discussing it, she dwelt on it and created more friction then really necessary.

Also in this book, I felt like Rachel was more like a teenager then adult. She was just filled with angst and quick mood changes. Yes, in the first book, she could fly off the handle quickly due to jumping to the wrong conclusion but in this one, she took it to a new level.  So many of her actions, I felt like it was a little contrived..

I enjoyed the book. It was still a lot of fun but compared to Black Magic Sanction. I was left underwhelmed.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book 61: Black Magic Sanction

Black Magic Sanction was one of those rare books where I went from really couldn’t decide how I felt about it for over a third of the book and then found myself really wrapped up in the narrative. I think that starts to show the real pull to the Kim Harrison novel.

I’m wicked behind in The Hollows series. It’s book eight in the series but my first attempt at the series. So there was a lot of stuff that has happened in the past and the universe was a little cloudy for me.

Rachel Morgan’s life basically got far worse then she could have ever imagined. Basically she’s given two options: let the coven take her and give her a lobotomy/remove her ability to reproduce or fight for her life. Pretty easy choice in those terms. Although that does come at a cost, taking on a smut that comes with black magic and really trying to figure out your place in the world. Not to mention, her issues with men really come to play in this book.

Once I figured out the universe, I really got into the book. One particularly special and really well written moment was when Rachel shrunk down to be the size of a pixie to help out her friend Jenks.  It was special in that you could almost feel it happening to you. It’s doesn’t always happen to me to get caught up in the book like that.

The universe in this series is actually pretty cool. You got witches, elves, demons, pixies, fairies and even werewolves (somewhere in the background). Basically the demons and the elves went to war, they enlisted witches to help. After the war, the demons can’t reproduce until Rachel (a witch who can summon demon magic is healed by Trent’s dad an elf) who can potentially be the rebirth to the demon race. Demons area also trapped in the ever-after. Elves are basically in hiding in reality. Witches and pixies are out and known in reality and they shun/abhor any use of black magic. It makes your aura smutty. The coven hates smut yet it’s not beyond them to hire people who make their aura’s smutty.

I like how the characters weren’t black and white in this book. It’s full of grey for everyone. No one is good or bad (okay in this book Brooke really has no real goodness to her aside from her clean aura). It’s almost rare to see that in books. At least someone is pretty two dimensional. So I really applaud Kim Harrison for really playing with the characters and creating so much depth. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book 60: Unseen

Unseen by Rachel Caine was enjoyable but at the same time very unfulfilling. Quite simply I wanted it more.  That doesn’t mean the book was dull or poorly written.

Unseen is the third book in the Outcast series and this book does a fair amount of set up for the Weather Wardens books.  I knew Luis and Cassiel from Total Eclipse (the final book in the Weather Wardens series). So it was nice to see a book where they are the main characters.

Luis and Cassiel are ordered to bring Ibby (Isabel) to a school for the children who escaped from the Church/Pearl.  At first they were a bit resistant but then after a trip to an exotic pet store, Ibby realizes it would be good for her to go the school.  Once they arrive at the school, Cassiel and Luis learn that they have to fight Pearl head on to really save the children. Cass decides to leave the school to take on Pearl by herself and that means trying to infiltrate the Church.  On her way to meet up with the church, she realizes that there is a traitor at the school yet she can only warn Luis of the danger.

Cass (Cassiel) is a great character. She’s slightly alien in the fact that she’s a former djinn who is living life as a mortal. She still has access to magic but she does have to rely on Luis to help feed power to her.  Plus this book shows her motherly side. She is highly protective of Ibby (Luis’ niece) and does a great job of trying to do what she thinks the right thing is. Even if that brought up differences between her and Luis.

The book did leave me filling unfilled. The action was mostly wrapped up but at the same time it had a major cliff hanger.  There is a good chance, I will revisit Total Eclipse and man do I want to get my hands on the next Outcast book so I can see what happens next.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book 59: Poor Little Bitch Girl

Poor Little B itch Girl by Jackie Collins was a great distraction while I rode the train to work. Its just a light book that was fluffy like cotton-candy and yet really enjoyable like a reality TV show.

I grabbed this book off my bookshelf since it seemed like it would be fun read.  That was exactly what I wanted it to be.  This is one of my first books by Jackie Collins. I will have to say there is a reason she hasnt been out of print. She hits a lot of readers sweet tooth.

Poor Little Bitch Girl in a way combines several of my favorite TV shows into a fun book. It has the personality of Veronica Mars, Diary of a Call Girl, Sex and the City, and any of the Real Housewives shows.  The book has a couple different story lines going on. Annabelle Maestro is a New York madam who just got outted and she just learned her super-star mother has been shot to death. If one disaster wasnt enough for her, she gets to deal with two and drive everyone nuts around her. Then there is Denver Jones a lawyer hired to defend Annabelles father which quickly devolves into an assistant position where she has to fetch Annabelle. Carolyn Henderson has  exciting news to tell her best friend Denver but before she can tell Denver the news, she is kidnapped. To finish it out, there is Bobby Santangelo Stanislopoulos. Hes super rich, friends with Annabelles boyfriend and stands a chance to get the club of his dream.

Each chapter would focus on person and would usually give the chapter from their perspective.  I found myself liking Bobby and Denver the most from a personal perspective. They were the most relate-able and likeable. Annabelle was the most interesting by far but she was hardly likeable. She was cold and needy. But its like your least favorite Real Housewife, Annabelle provides great entertainment. Carolyn was just sweet but naive, living in her own world. From time to time, I would question why she was in the book so much whenever one else was to together. Living a completely different life and was in DC while everyone else was more together in LA or New York. Fortunately things were tightened together at the end of the book.

Since this book was not a literary piece by any means, Im not going to talk about it in those terms.  Sure there are moments where the book can go snarky and more editorial. But this is a fun light read. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, its quite enjoyable.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book 58: Operation Kronstadt

Operation Kronstadt by Harry Ferguson tells the world about the early MI6mission in Kronstadt. This mission was an amazing intelligence success and showed real heroism by the men who participated.

Operation Kronstadt was one of the first major attempts to get intelligence in the Soviet Union.  The British would run CMBs between Terrioki, Finland and Kronstadt which was one of the armed fortresses guarding Petrograd.  This mission was dual prong in the end, to attack the fortresses and to help get Paul Dukes out of Soviet Russia.

Operation Kronstadt was an easy read and it seemed to really have a hold on the history. It realized that the mission was both really successful in areas and had a lot of problems. The problems included many of the classic intelligence problems over the years: trusting the wrong people, betraying your cover, lack of supervision, and etc. The mission successes were very important especially the intelligence that Paul Dukes was able to gather in Soviet Russia and sinking a couple Soviet ships. Plus it allowed the CMBs to really got a lot of work.

Its not often that you get to see both the operational successes and problems. This book reminds me of Main Enemy by showing intelligence by the intelligence operations in a certain part of the globe and really placing it in time.  It was one of the first books that Ive seen that showed the immaturity of the MI6 program.  

Book 57: Star Trek Greater Than The Sum

Greater Than the Sum was a book that filled in so many holes in the Star Trek chronology for me.  It was a pretty good book.There was a couple problems but overall it was strong.

This book takes place just prior to the Destiny series.  This book really lays into the place the current Enterprise-E crew.  Picard is ordered into a nebula to prevent alien technology from falling into the Borgs hands. The Borg were starting to evolve their tactics where they were slightly more deadly than before since they were starting to anticipate peoples attacks. So the last thing the Federation wanted was for potential slip stream technology from the Borg.

Greater Than the Sum also brought back Hugh. It was a fun to see him return with his friends. This brought in the other theme to the book: making babies. The Liberated (Hughs resistance fighters) wanted to reproduce.

The book could be dry at sections but that does seem to be expected whenever reading a Christopher L. Bennett.  But he does a great job with the characters for the most part. Tyrs (TRyssa) always seemed to act way too immature for a Star Fleet Officer. But it was great seeing the relationship issues between Crusher and Picard. It was also good to see Geordi trying to interact with the crew. Although at times it seemed like the females on the ship were trying to take his friendship for flirtation a little too quickly.  Really liked seeing Guinan again. Her guidance was perfect. I never quite get enough of Guinan.

Overall, I liked this book. It was great to see the set up for Destiny. It really helped to explain some of the gaps with the Borg on why they went much more violent against the Federation in the next few books.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book 56: Kitty Steals The Show

Kitty Steals the Show was the book I’ve been waiting for all summer.  This book didn’t disappoint either. It was enjoyable and breezy and sets up a major conspiracy.

The Kitty Norville books have been my favorite werewolf series for a long time. Kitty has been a great series and each book release has been highly anticipated. Especially since the book releases are now being spaced out to one a year. Which I will say honestly is a good thing for the series. It’s allowing for better storytelling and less phoning it in. But it kills the fan girl in me since I have to wait a year instead of six months. On the plus side, she’s having more books published throughout the year.

Kitty Steals the Show brings the series to a great crossroads and brings back old favorites while introducing a new character that I would love to see more. The long game is approaching right when the world is at a crossroads of ideologies of those who accept paranormal species and those who do not.

I enjoyed the balance of the book. It had a lot going on and could have easily fallen apart or seem schizophrenic like my last book. Instead it was tightly honed. The biggest problem was the Kitty never seemed to be exhausted from her escapades with the vampires/werewolves and the conference until the last day.  But she had enough adrenaline going through her, it made it easy to keep going.

It was great to see Luis again. He was a fun character. It’s been several books since we last seen the were-jaguar.  It was great to see the way he played with Kitty and she would blush at the thought of them hooking up again even though she was now married.  That was nice character revisit.  Just made it more lifelike.

There was the all necessary pun of an American Werewolf in London. Which made me giggle, especially when the werewolf herself groaned at the pun on her radio show.

Biggest downside, at times I wasn’t fully enthralled with the book. I could pull out of it from time to time. It wasn’t like the first couple books where I pulled all nighters to finish up the book since I couldn’t put it down.

Book 55: Minion

Minion by L.A. Banks was one of the biggest disappointments that I’ve read in a while. I really wanted to like it but there were just too many flaws for me to truly enjoy it.  

I’ve read a few stories by L.A. Banks and tend to enjoy her work quite a bit. I love the use of strong feminine roles. It’s one of the major reasons I love the paranormal and science fiction genres. It gives me positive role models to aspire to. So I was expected to see more of the same.

I hated the use of Ebonics. I typically do. I think it makes a person sound so unintelligent. Especially when about half the time, they prove they can speak very intelligently. So when they start talking so street, I get pulled out of the narrative every time. For a good portion of the book I’m fighting to stay inside the narrative.

At times I felt like that the book has schizophrenia. It was just simply all over the map. At least the fact they were a band, could be explain why they were traveling the US. But the rest of book was a little too much. It really needed to be tightened up. Either focus on reaching vampire killer puberty, the demon vampire hybrids, or the vampire hierarchy structure.  Doing all three was a little too much.

But the biggest let down was how I couldn’t connect with the characters. They were just not doing it for me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Book 54: Hunting Ground

Hunting Ground was another one of those impromptu purchases which I wanted to have something light and enjoyable to read that wasn’t on my shelf already. Patricia Briggs’ books have always been so enjoyable and this book has lived up to those expectations quite well.

Hunting Ground is the second book in the Alpha and Omega series.  It takes place a little bit after the first book but it’s not so far forward as some of the short stories I’ve read in the same timeline. The Marok is hosting a conference where the werewolves from around the world (although really just Europe) are coming to hear why the Marok wants to bring the werewolves public. Charles and Anna decided they should represent the North American werewolves instead of Bran himself. As with most things in books, the conference doesn’t go as planned and they have a mystery on their hands.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a nice progression of both Anna and Charles’ characters. I like seeing them grow and enjoy each other. Plus Anna is just a neat character. I love the idea of an Omega, a wolf who is not actually submissive or aggressive but something in the middle. This book continues to build on that idea since Anna isn’t weak and could be incredibly strong when she needs to be like in the hunt or when she was attacked by vampires.

I also enjoy how the book plays on the Arthurian legends. It’s fun to see how it was intertwined without being too hokey. Arthur (the chief British werewolf) would claim he was a second coming of Arthur and he had Excalibur. A lot of people would put that off as crazy talk. Yet there is a lot more then just crazy talk. It was neat to see how it was woven together with parts of a ‘real’ Arthurian legend. I don’t want to say too much since it would spoil the story but I liked how it was done.