Jul. 22nd, 2009 09:06 pm
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Just finished...Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) by Jeaniene Frost

From the back cover:
"Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father; the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership. In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner; are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her new found status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat."

It took me two weeks to get through this -- including skimming over the last 100 pages. I am still trying to figure out what I did not like about it. It just did not grip me. I did not connect with the characters. Bones stayed one-dimensional. I did not like the mother. The plotline did not interest me. The bad guy was just a blank.She definitely didn't have me staked in five seconds flat.
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ReadingA Lick of Frost (#6 of the Meredith Gentry series) by Laurell K Hamilton

From Amazon:
"Princess Meredith NicEssus of the Unseelie Court finally reaches an elusive goal in Hamilton's seductive sixth Meredith Gentry paranormal romance (after 2006's Mistral's Kiss). Half-human, half-faerie, Meredith is a former L.A. PI whose current full-time job is trying to get pregnant—trying at least three times a day, in fact, mainly with her devoted retinue of sex-starved guards—to insure her ascendancy to the Unseelie throne of night. Unfortunately, her bedding schedule has been interrupted by Lady Caitrin of the Seelie Court, who claims she was raped by three of Meredith's guards. Meredith must protect her faithful retinue from the terrible wrath of her uncle, King Taranis of the Seelie Court, and defend herself from the dangerous desire Taranis harbors for her. Hamilton depicts Meredith's erotic adventures in her usual breathless, overheated style, but also reveals a deeper glimpse into Meredith's introspective side as she reflects on her favorite lover, Killing Frost, whose strange fate finds her re-evaluating the costs of being a future queen."

Deeper glimpses? Not sure. I mostly read these books for the sex... ;-)

I am not exactly sure why I keep reading it--besides of the sex I mean. Pure stubbornness, most likely. I just want to see what happens next. The storyline is pretty far fetched, but I still buy into it more than into the magic described in Stolen (see my previous review). Also my imagination gets a great workout, trying to picture the outlandish looks of all of Merry's bed companions. I even pre-ordered the next book, Swallowing Darkness, on Amazon. It's supposed to be available here in November.

Which brings me to another topic. I have been surfing the BC forum a bit and have also scooted around on BookMooch and LibraryThing and noticed--not sure where exactly it was--that quite a few people seems to heavily dislike Amazon. Someone even described them as hell-spawn or something equally demonic. Why is that? Here is a question for my friends:

1) Do you order from Amazon? Why do you or why don't you?

2) Where do you get most of your books?

3) What do you do with your books, when you have finished reading them?

I obviously have thoughts on why Amazon might be perceived as the devil, but I am keeping them to myself for now. I want to see your answers first.
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ReadingStolen (#2 of Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstong

From Amazon:
"When two desperate witches lure part-time journalist and full-time werewolf Elena Michaels into a carefully laid trap, she quickly learns that her perceptions about humanity are based on some fundamental flaws. In Kelley Armstrong's supernatural thriller, Stolen, the world is populated with vampires, demons, half-demons, magical shamans and other supernatural races living anonymously among the human population--a concept that Elena has a hard time accepting, just as she struggled with her own lupine identity in Armstrong's remarkable debut, Bitten."

I read Bitten two years ago and have had Stolen on my shelf ever since. I liked bitten, but obviously not enough to immediately read the next one. It's been too long to remember, why I wasn't totally convinced by the story. Something was there in the back of my mind. I did not like Clay and the relationship between him and Elena left me with a lukewarm feeling at best.

When I started Stolen, I was therefore pleasantly surprised, how much I did like it. However, I disliked Paige a lot. Ok, that was probably the point. I don't think the character was supposed to be all that likeable at first. But it put me off a bit. What I also did not like so much was the use of magic towards the end of the book. It's a supernatural novel, so there is bound to be some magical elements. They just did not feel real, if that makes sense. It felt like an easy way to drive the story ahead.

So, it was not bad, but I am not totally convinced either. To put a further damper on things, the third book of the series is told by Paige and presumably features heavily on her brand of magic. I put Dime Store Magic on my BookMooch and BookCrossing wishlists, maybe I will get it at a later time if I should run out of more interesting stuff to read.
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Book NookLaurell K Hamilton, Skin Trade (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #17)

Anita ends up in Vegas -- slightly strange, as I just read a Kitty Norville novel set in Vegas, also including vampires and weretigers. Is Vegas the place to be at the moment or are my favourite authors borrowing ideas from each other?

Anyway, the action is good, the usual mayhem, sex and violence takes place. I enjoyed this a lot -- which is great, as the whole series felt a bit tired in the last few books. Either my tastes have changed or the books feel perkier again. I will definitely get the next book. A bit more of Jean-Claude would be nice, pretty please!

I think I will read a Kelley Armstrong Novel next. I haven't gotten far with that series at all. I read Bitten about 2 years ago and have had Stolen on my bookshelf since then as well. So, finally picking it up! Making a little lunch now and then will get started...
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From Dead to WorseFrom Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire #8) by Charlaine Harris.

Finished another Sookie Stackhouse novel. Number eight, I think... Not as good as the last one. It somehow felt like a go-between. It wrapped up some loose ends from the last novel and started some new storylines. Felt as if Charlaine Harris just used this to connect the dots. It was still entertaining, but felt a bit scattered.

I just pre-ordered the next one, Dead and Gone, via Amazon. Delivery in May 2010... Kitty's House of Horrors and Mercy Thompson #5 should be delivered in February 2010... Amazon Prime will be my downfall!
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Reading mattersBlood Noir (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #16) by Laurell K Hamilton.

This is the 16th book in the series. The books have changed a lot over the years. They started off as your run-of-the-mill vampire hunter novel, tough heroine, nasty bad guys, lots of sleuthing, crime busting, general fighting and monster slaying. Eventually the books lost more and more of those standard items, the characters went through lots of changes in the process, it got more gory and more sexual as time wore on. Lots of fans didn't like that and stopped reading at some point. Others came to it later and some die-hard fans like me just stuck with it, despite lots of bitching about the amount of sex and the lack of plot in some of them. I have been with this series for so long, I just don't want to miss what happens to Anita. I already ordered the next book, number 17.

Blood Noir does have a plot and the usual heavy smothering of sexual encounters. The gimmick of the doppelgaenger in this one was a bit lame in my opinion. It worked for the plot, but can we expect people to really be so stupid that they repeatedly don't get it? I am not convinced. I missed Jean-Claude in this one. He is my favourite character besides Anita. And I could have done without Richard. I really, really do not like him. And I wish Hamilton would kill him off already. But I guess that's really a no-go with him being part of the triumvirate with Anita and Jean-Claude. He is just such an idiot, I just groan as soon as he appears on the page. I like Nathaniel and Jason is growing on me. This book gets an 8 out of 10 from me. Maybe even a 9. Better than the last 2 instalments. I am actually looking forward to Skin Trade, the next title in the series.
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Northern Lights 147/365Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials #1) Review:
”Lyra's life is already sufficiently interesting for a novel before she eavesdrops on a presentation by her uncle Lord Asriel to his colleagues in the Jordan College faculty, Oxford. The college, famed for its leadership in experimental theology, is funding Lord Asriel's research into the heretical possibility of the existence of worlds unlike Lyra's own, where everyone is born with a familiar animal companion, magic of a kind works, the Tartars are threatening to overrun Muscovy, and the Pope is a puritanical Protestant. Set in an England familiar and strange, Philip Pullman's lively, taut story is a must-read and re-read for fantasy lovers of all ages.”

Reading extract can be found here.

This is the adult version of Northern Light, which is published as Golden Compass in the US. No idea what makes it Adult, I haven't read the original version.

I bought the book after I had seen the movie “The Golden Compass”. I liked the movie a lot. My interest had been piqued after I had heard that people in the US had complained about the controversial religious undertones of the movie. I had also read somewhere that it was unlikely that the other two books of the trilogy would be made into movies because of that. Which is a shame, I’m sure it would have been entertaining. I am assuming that the people that had complained are not book readers, otherwise Philip Pullman would be on lots of banned books lists in the US. Although maybe he is. That’s not exactly a difficult achievement.

Anyway, book… The movie is a very close adaptation. Two events that happen at the end of the book, have been moved further forward in the movie and the actual ending of the book is missing completely – I guess too much would have been left dangling.

I did not like the book more or less than the movie. It was a close draw. Lord Asriel in the movie was a more likeable character and the voice of Ian McKellen is hard to replace in writing.

Would I recommend the book to others? Yes.

Will I buy the second book of the trilogy? Maybe. It is on my wishlist. Despite this being the adult version of the book, it felt a bit too much like Young Adults for me to enjoy it completely.

The book is up for grabs, let me know here or on BC, if you want it. If more than one person is interested, I will turn it into a bookray. The JE is here


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