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Hit ListHit List by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Another Anita. They are hit-and-miss. I liked this one, although Hamilton had a sever attack of Talking Heads towards the end. The suspense was mounting, the tension climbing, the bad guys were getting closer and all of a sudden the main characters stand around and talk and talk and talk...
I was getting frustrating and close to skipping forward. I stuck with it out of pure stubbornness. Sometimes I do not need several pages of explanations to get what is going on, action is good!
But, still, I enjoyed myself and I will get the next one as well.

Oh, one missed plot bunny: The psychic showed up, was discussed and then totally disappeared. Or did I miss her amidst all the additional talking?



View all my reviews
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Kitty's Greatest HitsKitty's Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Short stories set in the Kitty Norville universe. You could still read them, if you never heard of Kitty Norville before, but this is definitely a great addition if you are a fan.

I did not do a proper count, but I think of the 14 stories maybe only two do not contain a character from the series. Kitty is nicely snarky and sarcastic, as always.

My favourites were the stories centered around Cormac though. You get a look at his early life, when he meets Ben for the first time and the last story of the book chronicles his life in prison. That one is the longest story at about 60 pages and fleshes out his character in a really nice way.

Good fun. It reminded me why I like Kitty Norville so much!

my read booklist with links behind cut for safekeeping )
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Embrace the Night (Cassandra Palmer, #3)Embrace the Night by Karen Chance

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


In another review I read, the main complaint was that this is chicklit. It made me laugh, because I consider a large amount of Urban Fantasy books to be chicklit with fangs. I am often conflicted if I should class them as fantasy or as romance. Just the fact that the main characters are mostly female and have issues with dark, mysterious strangers that they first hate, but then fall madly in love with should be a major tip-off!

Coming across Urban Fantasy with a good, solid plot and a heroine with brains can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Very often the plot takes a backseat to romance and steamy sex. Not that I mind the steamy sex, it's a nice bonus. But I prefer my books plot driven with some suspense, lots of action and well fleshed out characters.

*** Spoiler Alert! *** )
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Stray (Shifters, #1)Stray by Rachel Vincent

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can't say that I REALLY liked it, as I found the main character, Faythe, much too irritating. Think very pampered college student with issues of teenage rebellion.

Take Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1) and replace the strong, female heroine with a whiney girl and you get a pretty good idea what this book is about.

The storyline is pretty entertaining and I will probably get the next book in the series, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that Faythe will mature a little in the sequels.

Several other reviews mentioned that the book is too long and I have to agree. The book is over 600 pages and the action starts about halfway through. I wasn't exactly bored during the first 300 pages, but half that many probably would have done the job.

The other characters stayed a little one-dimensional and the shapeshifting aspects of the story were pretty brief.

So, a tighter storyline, less whining, stronger characterizations and more emphasis on the world-building and this could have been outstanding. As it is, I merely liked it and it has potential...
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The Summer Without MenThe Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis:
"Out of the blue, your husband of thirty years asks you for a pause in your marriage to indulge his infatuation with a young Frenchwoman.
Do you:
a) assume it's a passing affair and play along
b) angrily declare the marriage over
c) crack up
d) retreat to a safe haven and regroup?

Mia Fredricksen cracks up first, then decamps for the summer to the prairie town of her childhood, where she rages, fumes, and bemoans her sorry fate as abandoned spouse. But little by little, she is drawn into the lives of those around her; her mother and her circle of feisty widows, her young neighbour, with two small children and a loud, angry husband; and the diabolical pubescent girls in her poetry class. By the end of the summer without men, wiser though definitely not sadder, Mia knows what she wants to fight for and on whose terms."


Mia's interactions with her neighbour, her mother and her group of octogenarians and with the teenage girls in her poetry class drew me in right from the start, but halfway through the book everybody just seem to be ambling around the pages without any purpose or direction.

Thrown into that mix are Mia's inner monologues and diary entries of her earlier life before and with her husband Boris and the odd discourse on philosophy and poetry. It makes for a very disjointed book and I never managed to get into a nice reading flow.

Halfway through the book I am still struggling to tell the various characters apart, because I do not feel any connection with them. I caught myself skimming paragraphs in search of a plot and so, halfway through the book, decided to give up and move on to something else.

Reading next:
Stray (Shifters, #1)Stray by Rachel Vincent
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Midnight Sun Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

25% into the book, tossing it. Edward's inner monologue is excruciatingly boring. I hope when I am 80 my inner landscape is going to be more evolved than that!

Book Nook

May. 16th, 2011 01:20 am
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Forgot to post this one...

Dead ReckoningDead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked it better than Dead in the Family. It had more of a plot and at times was even fun. Ultimately there was not a lot of substance and I found the relationship with Eric as well as the ending of the book unsatisfying. The series might have run its course, there does not seem much left to tell. Maybe Charlaine Harris can prove me wrong with the next book...
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I just transferred my Kindle account from amazon.com to amazon.de. I noticed the German mirror site a few days ago, not sure how long it's been there. I hope I won't regret it. There seems to be a lot of content in English. All my settings moved as well, I just lost my Kindle wishlist. But I didn't have too many books on it, so it was a quick job to find those books again and create a new ebook wishlist. So far, so good.

I just pre-ordered Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris. Delivery date 3rd of May. I hope I can get it straight away at midnight... The price finally dropped from an outrageous 23 dollars something to slightly over 16 dollars. In the German Kindle shop I save a few cents, but that'll probably vary with the exchange rate. The ebook is 1 Euro more than the paperback. I can live with that!

***

Finally finished last night, just in time for Sookie:

Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake, #3)Sovereign by C.J. Sansom

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Mysterious things are afoot in the town of York. A conspiracy of major proportions is tucked away somewhere.

As usual with Sansom, the story is alive with the sounds and smells of Tudor England. Descriptions are excellent. It's easy to get immersed into his world, you can almost feel, taste and especially smell it.

Page 122: "We walked to Stonegate as the sun rose up and the city came to life, keeping under the eaves as people opened their windows and threw the night's piss into the streets."

There is a surprising amount of swearing going on for historical novels.

When I read his books, it always makes me sad to contemplate how many beautiful things Henry VIII destroyed with his dissolution.

I keep jumping back to the computer to read up on historic events and characters mentioned in the books, it's always a very educational experience for me.

The whole question of succession regarding Richard III, the princes in the tower and the War of the Roses has always confused me a lot and now I get something else confusing thrown into the mix.

Some further reading that contains spoilers -- I suggest not looking at this until you have read the book:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_IV_o...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_%...
http://www.york.ac.uk/ipup/projects/york...

The last 200 pages dragged on a bit for me. At times Sansom's books seem to be a little too cosy, until the next twist hits you and the plot moves back to nail biting suspense.

***

Gave up:

A Taste of Crimson (Crimson City, #2)A Taste of Crimson by Marjorie M. Liu

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Giving up on this one. I made it to page 80 with several stops and starts.

I do not like the vague SF setting. It bothered me already in the first book -- it's hinted at, but not really explored and somehow it feels confined and claustrophobic to me. I know, sounds stupid, but I don't know how else to explain it.

And that the two main characters suddenly decide that they are soul mates and in love with each other after they have just met and barely exchanged any words -- it could work and it has in other books I've read -- here it just feels silly.

Not for me. Perhaps it would have grown on me after another 100 pages, but I'd rather read something I enjoy from the start...
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The Awakening & Other Short StoriesThe Awakening & Other Short Stories by Kate Chopin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

37% into the book, I give up. It was interesting in the beginning, but now it just bores me. I know, it is supposed to be an important feminist novella, but snoooore.

***


Last weekend I started this one....

A Taste of Crimson (Crimson City, #2)A Taste of Crimson by Marjorie M. Liu


I worked late every day and I had to play a lot with my new toys, but still-- I should have made it further than page 49. The first book was ok. Perhaps I should have a rule of thumb--if the first book in a series is only "ok", don't get the next one...

***


This might be the touch of death for Crimson City.... The next Sookie was in my mailbox this morning:

Dead in the Family  Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris


I am now debating the next book with myself. I could get it as a regular paperback in a month or wait for a year to get the mass market paperback for half the price. The Kindle edition costs a ridiculous 23 dollars. Do they not want people to buy ebooks or what is the deal here?

Book Nook

Mar. 20th, 2011 01:35 pm
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River Marked (Mercedes Thompson #6)River Marked by Patricia Briggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do you call Urban Fantsay without an urban setting? Is it just Fantasy? Because in this one Mercy and Adam are running around in the wilderness and get wet a lot in rivers.

Good suspense, straight forward story, lots of action. It wasn't breathtaking, but a good, solid read. Interesting detour into Native American Folklore.

Sending this one out to a BC friend.

Book Nook

Mar. 13th, 2011 08:07 pm
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As Lie the Dead (Dreg City, #2)As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You should read the first book, Three Days To Dead, before starting this one. I think you will be lost otherwise. The world portrayed here is not too complex, but definitely different enough. The second book does not supply a lot of explanations of the structure of book's society.

The book's premise is the same as for the first book--three days to achieve something seemingly impossible. I wonder if the third book does the same? Which would be boring.

I liked the first book a lot, I struggled with this book. There was just as much action and some interesting new characters. I have not figured out yet why this book did not grip me as much.

I did not like the odd chapters going back in time. The information in those chapters was nice to have, but not necessary to keep the plot going. They felt a little pointless. And the gifts of the humans as well as the shapeshifters seem a little perfunctory, as if the Urban Fantasy setting is just sideline of the story. Which makes no sense even to me, as the shapeshifters are the driving force in this. I am still mulling it over. If I figure it out, I'll let you know!

Book Nook

Feb. 17th, 2011 02:47 pm
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Industrial Magic (Women of the Otherworld, #4)Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very good, I think I even liked it better than Dime Store Magic. The books seem to be getting better with every one. Good plot, no strange endings dangling anywhere, suspenseful, straight forward, nice amount of action. Characters are well fleshed out and believable. I had fun!

I'll be happy to give this book away, just let me know if you want it.

***

Le Tour Gourmand - Ein kulinarisches Reisetagebuch von Bad Ischl bis PekingLe Tour Gourmand - Ein kulinarisches Reisetagebuch von Bad Ischl bis Peking by Christoph Wagner

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I dumped this book after 20 pages. It was irritating. The author was building endless sentences, that meandered along senselessly. Maybe he was trying to look smart, I don't know. Authors writing in German have a tendency to do that. I guess German is a perfect language to stick on another comma and yet another sentence and another comma and... repeat ad infinitum. It's one of the reasons why I dislike reading novels in German so much.

Book Nook

Feb. 5th, 2011 11:54 am
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The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, #1)The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

*a little spoilery*

I didn't like it and I'm trying to figure out why. It has all the usual ingredients of Urban Fantasy. Strong heroine has something pivotal happening to her, turns into Superwoman and proceeds to kick some ass, with some porn thrown in.

It lacks the usual critters, there are no vampires, werewolves, other shifters or witches of any kind. It's good against evil or rather light against dark. Here is where she started to loose me. What are the evil dudes actually doing that makes them so evil? There is mentioning of some criminal activity, but it's just run-of-the-mill kidnapping and burglary (I think, it's all fading rapidly from memory--this could actually have been fun if she had elaborated on it). Surely for that you do not need to be an evil hell spawn.

Where do the bad and good guys come from, why are they fighting each other... Somehow it all seems so purposeless. Even the superbad Tulpa, evil boss of the dark, was just meh.

And in every town are 12 warriors for the Light and 12 for the Dark forces... Really? Isn't that a bit silly and overly contrived? Oh, and the moment where I rolled my eyes and started the speed-reading to get through this quicker: Comic books as manuals on how it all works.

I just thought the premise of the book and the plot were silly, sorry. Other people thought this book was great, so don't let me stop you...

Book Nook

Jan. 28th, 2011 01:45 am
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On the ProwlOn the Prowl by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally caved in and got the precursor to the Alpha & Omega novels. My excuse is that I wanted to try out my new eReader. And as expected I really liked the first story, although I already roughly knew what to expect from the story. I guess that is the nice thing about book series. You make friends and it's familiar and nice to meet them again.

The second story by Eileen Wilks was pretty good as well. Interesting idea of the borders between realms breaking down and talents emerging. The heroine should appeal to fans of Patricia Briggs or Carrie Vaughn. There were some odd changes in tenses a few times, throwing me off. But the plot and characters made up for it.

I read two books in the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance, so the world in the third story was not new to me. The story was ok, but did not really captivate me. Until the ending, that was unexpected and fun. But all in all the story lacked a red thread. The ending didn't feel as if it belonged.

Story number four was supposed to be great for fans of Laurell K Hamilton, if the blurb is to be trusted. But believe me, Anita Blake this was not. Neither early nor late Anita. The style felt antiquated and stuffy, the sex was lacklustre, it felt like a summary of another book and you were fiercly hit over the head with an ad for the next book in the series. I skimmed this very quickly.

So, #1 was nice and comfortable, #2 might be a potential new author for me. #3 was ok, but nothing great. #4 did nothing for me.

(PS: Read as a .pdf on the Sony Reader Touch)

***

In other new my WLAN router arrived today! Took me about an hour to set it all up. The stick was plug and play, very simple. For the box I followed the instructions on the CD and ended up with the router plugged in between the modem and the PC. Some head scratching followed and some swearing at the screen, then I unplugged the whole thing and connected the router to my modem and it worked 5 minutes later. I happily pulled that nasty network cable from above the footboard and around my kitchen door. Much better! I need to buy something to plug up all the holes the nails left behind.

My iPhone is insanely fast connected to the net by WiFi and I could finally register my Kindle. Downloaded a book preview from the Kindle store and it was pretty much instant delivery. I'm a happy camper! I really like the Kindle. But I'm pretty sure I will keep the Sony as well. The glare is a bitch, but I realised that .pdf-files display much better on the Sony. Plus I found some sites were books are cheaper than on Amazon.

Book Nook

Jan. 16th, 2011 12:11 pm
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Claimed By Shadow (Cassandra Palmer, #2)Claimed By Shadow by Karen Chance

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I liked it, although I lost my drive a little in the second half of the book. The first half had a lot of action and humour and I could not put it down. There were some quirky ideas that I really liked. I'm not sure why the second half of the book did not draw me in as much. It just didn't seem as suspenseful anymore, although there was still plenty of action. I was definitely struggling a little with the last 100 pages.

My favourite parts of the book are the ones were she shifts into the past. Playing with the timeline has always interested me.

Someone else commented that this was a sex-driven plot and while it is true that she does what she does to get rid of her magical attachment to someone else, there is not a lot of sex in this book and I have read others that were a lot more graphic.


Reading now:

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, #1)Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay



Book Nook

Jan. 2nd, 2011 04:51 pm
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Dime Store Magic (Women of the Otherworld, #3)Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I did not like Paige very much in the previous books, so this ended up sitting on my shelf for over a year. She was as annoying as I remembered in the first half of the book. But I liked the plot and the action picked up nicely in the second half, so I tried to ignore her more stupid personality traits. The book ended up being fun.


Irresistible Forces (Kimani Romance)Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


A free Kindle download. So predictable that I could summarize it after reading the first chapter and was almost spot-on. I skimmed after the first few chapters. Shallow and uninspired, it was painfully boring. Really? If I had paid money for this, I would not have been happy.



Books I've read in 2010 )

The list is pretty pathetic. One of my two New Year resolutions is to read more in 2011.

Book Nook

Dec. 18th, 2010 04:12 am
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Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, #1)Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Very entertaining. What a pleasant surprise! Feels a little like early Anita Blake, when those books still had a plot. Likeable heroine, interesting gift with lots of potential for future storylines. Suspenseful. I will definitely pick up the next in the series.



View all my reviews

Bored!

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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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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