Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Darkness Bread, Stella Cameron

So, after I finished Shadow of Night, I had to pick a book to distract me. I happened to be on vacation, so my choices were limited. As I said in the review of Shadow of Night, all I wanted to read was the third book of that series. I didn't have that, so I chose this one.

I'm repeating all this because this book had an uphill battle. This is a book from the Chimney Rock series which focuses on a pack of werehounds. The werehounds have been dying out, along with all the other shifters. The females are dying during pregnancy with their children. The first book of the series, Darkness Bound, explains all this. I read it pre-blog, so it's not reviewed, but the basic idea is the leader of the pack, Niles meets and falls for his mate, Leigh. Sean, the main character of this story is Niles' second in command and plays a large part in protecting Leigh. We discover Leigh is a particular race that is thought to have no magical abilities, but actually just has very rare ones. The idea is that these rare abilities would allow them to carry children for the werehounds (don't worry, I'll come back to this one in Feminist Corner).

During the first book, we also meet Silkywidden, a mysterious cat. Well, she is also a shifter, and part of the same race as Leigh. She and Sean have fallen in love while acting as go betweens for Leigh and Niles in the first book. This book starts with the necessity for a decision: Can Sean and Elin (Silkywidden) be together? Niles is concerned because Elin is fey. She's not, but she's not telling anyone that because she wants to make sure Sean wants her, not just her possible reproductive abilities (again, I'll come back to this, patience). See, Elin was kidnapped as a baby and raised by the fey Queen. Niles is worried Elin is a spy for the Queen - and to be fair, the Queen does want her to do that. She's refused. Leigh already suspects Elin's true origins, and she sees the love between the two, so he's firmly on their side. Niles is harder to convince. In the first book, they encounter a traitor among the hounds, this seems to put them all in a distrusting mood.

Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness


Obviously, I liked it. And I was devastated when I finished that I have to wait an indefinite amount of time. In fact, all my other books looked boring - all I wanted to read was book 3.

To catch up anyone who hasn't read my review for the first book, A Discovery of Witches and this one are part of the All Souls Trilogy. I'm not surprised at all this book won the 2012 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy.

At the end of the first book, witch Diana and vampire Matthew escape into the past in an attempt to find a teacher for Diana and keep the council, the group that ensures the agreement keeping the species/races separate is kept, from attacking again. This book starts as Diana and in 1590.

Matthew is Matthew Roydon, an actual historical figure little is known about, and is friends with many other historical figures such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlowe, known as Kit. Kit is actually not a fan of Diana. He's jealous of her really, as Matthew loves her, not Kit. Most of these friends, including those I just mentioned, are part of the School of Night. Through the book, Diana, a historian, gets to meet many other figures Rabbi Loew, Queen Elizabeth, even Emperor Rudolf.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Possession in Death, J.D. Robb

This one is 31.5 in the Eve Dallas series, falling between Indulgence in Death and Treachery in Death. I didn't review Indulgence here, obviously, so as a quick recap Eve investigates a series of murders. She discovers they're a part of a game (literally) between two rich dudes (think the Koch brothers) for a bet of $1.

This book starts right after she leaves one of the murderers after interrogating him. She's distraught at the waste of life. For no other reason the "entertainment." She arrives home just in time to entertain her friends (her family really, though not by blood) at a BBQ - a great scene.

As she's driving one of her guests home, she sees an old woman covered in blood. The woman is a gypsy and Eve unknowingly makes a pact with her. Eve agrees to find the woman's granddaughter, a ballet dancer - she doesn't seem to care much who killed her lol.

Anyway, the woman's...essence? in Eve's head causes Eve to see and talk to ghosts. She also starts taking on the woman's characteristics, such as speaking Russian like a native and getting the woman's ankle tattoo. She of course saves the day in the end.

This was probably the most supernatural of the books so far. There have been some elements in previous stories, but this was almost primarily about paranormal abilities and Eve's abilities in the vein. Still, good 'ol Eve rejects anything she can't explain, which leads to some interesting rationalizations.

Another short and sweet quickie.

Possession in Death, J.D. Robb

World War Z, Max Brooks

No. I'm not reading it because of the movie. It's been on my list for a while, though the movie was an impetus not to wait anymore. The book is always better than the movie, and I find I'm not as excited to read something after I've seen the movie.

I did enjoy this book, though I found it to be a tad depressing. Not surprising, given the subject matter. What I did not expect was the format. I didn't realize until I bought it that it was an "oral history." It's written like a history book, a collection of survivor accounts, not a novel. Now, this is not really my thing. As you've gathered if you've read my other posts, I like characters and character development. That doesn't really work with this format. That being said, I was still riveted.

Plus, I think the format makes it more possible the movie will stand up against the book. See, there's no one Brad Pitt character that carries through the whole book. There is one person who gets 3 entries in the book, but nothing as consistent at what appears to be in the movie – if previews can be believed. And the name on IMBD is not one I recognize from the book. But I think that's going to make it better for the movie. There are fewer expectations for the character and the plot. They'll be too different to compare them. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Wolf Gift, Anne Rice

I always feel like I should be more excited after an Anne Rice than I am. It's not that that I dislike her books; I just don't feel drawn to them. And it seems like I really should! I love all that supernatural stuff – vampires and the like. Somehow, the reality just never lives up to my expectation.

Now, I don't claim to be a Rice aficionado, definitely not. I've read The Witching Hour, the first book in the Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy. Frankly, I was not a fan – clearly, since I didn't read the other two. I always planned on reading the others. In fact, I think Lasher is on my Goodreads list. See, it's always been in the plan. Although, a friend of mine has read all of them and says the first was the best by far. Not exactly the kind of comment to get you to read the others, huh? Especially if, like me, you didn't really like the first one. I should clarify that I liked most of it. It's just that by the end I was incredibly irritated with the characters. I don't even remember all that much why (it's been several years), I just remember the feeling of irritation.

I have liked a couple of her more recent books though. If you're a fan, you know that Rice has recently gone through a transition of sorts. She was raised Catholic, but for much of her life had a crisis of faith, let's say.  Recently (in the past few years), she has rediscovered her faith. I'm obviously paraphrasing and if you want to know more about it, I'm sure you can find articles, interviews, or even a blog by the woman herself. As part of this, or due to this, or as homage to this, she wrote books about the life of Jesus. I found these to be very good books and would recommend them to anyone, even if you're not particularly religious. Maybe that's because my expectations were so different from what I'd expected from her other books. (As a side note, this expectation works against Rice as well. I tried to get my mom to read the Jesus books – she was having none of that!)

I don't even really enjoy the movies I've seen based on her work. Again, I always feel like I'm missing some secret that makes it so exciting to so many others.

Anyway, my point is that I never feel as good about her books as I feel like I should. I mean, she's the master of this kind of book, right?! So, I should love them! And yet… 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Expats, Chris Pavone

I have no idea how to write this review. Normally, I don't think about the review while I'm reading the book. I did with this one. Sure I have opinions as I'm reading. I even discuss them while I'm reading, but I don't actively think "what am I going to say," while I'm reading. Here, I just wasn't sure what I would write about. Was I enjoying it? Did I hate it? Was it just one of those books I don't really enjoy till the end? That's happened before. I've been reading a book, thinking "this thing is terrible," until the last 10 pages. I can't not finish a book.

But I didn't hate this book. I can't say I liked it that much either. Ok, the premise here is a CIA agent, Kate, who quits her job and moves to Luxembourg with her family when her husband gets a job offer. Shortly after moving, she meets Julia and Bill Mclean. Shortly after that, she begins to believe the Mcleans are not who they claim to believe and that her husband, Dexter, is hiding something from her. Something big. She's right on all accounts. The Mcleans are undercover FBI agents working with Interpol to investigate Dexter for stealing 50 million Euros. And he's guilty.

Exciting right? Former spy, married to a thief, being investigated by the FBI. It's got all the makings of a suspenseful drama. But it's not. It's not a book I couldn't put down. In some cases I decided to play Sudoku on my phone instead of read. Unheard of!   

Saturday, June 1, 2013

When the Storm Breaks, Heather Lowell

Sigh. Where to begin. Well, as you can see, the title is a bit cheesy. It pretty much sets the tone of the whole book. Even the back is cheesy: "A serial killer has one obsession...HER."

The core plot is pretty decent, it the execution that fails miserably. It's set in Washington, DC. The main character, Clare, is at her friends dating service late one Friday night. Her friend, Afton, has nagged Clare into giving the method a shot. Clare leaves to catch the bus back to her Georgetown home, and stumbles across a murder.

She runs. The killer pursues. She manages to get enough of a head start and finds a club in Dupont Circle. It's in the basement of a building, and it's pouring rain, so she slips and falls on the steps, knocking herself out. Some club patrons find her and call 911. Among the patrons is a doctor, who takes care of her until the cops and EMTs get there. While they're waiting, Clare comes to enough to mumble and shout some things that, while fairly incoherent, give the doctor some idea that there might be a murder nearby. The cops investigate and find the body.

When Clare wakes up in the hospital, she can't remember much about the evening, just some vague impressions. One, is the killers "cruel smile." Two, that she'd seen him in photo recently. The cops end up thinking maybe he's another member of the dating service. So, she wouldn't know the killer if he was right in front of her, and he's out to get her.

25 Signs You're Addicted to Books

Buzzfeed recently had a post that fits right in here. Check it out and let me know what you agree or disagree with. Enjoy! 

Bloodline, James Rollins

Another one from one of my regular series. The Sigma series is kind of like Di Vinci Code meets….G.I. Joe.

Sigma is the covert arm of DARPA. Already a cool idea, right? The organization is super secret, some parts of the government not even knowing they exist and even fewer knowing what they do. They recruit former military/special forces/special operations and retrain them in scientific disciplines. Most of the operatives tend to be a bit of problem children while their in the military. It's kinda that cliché about the kid who gets in trouble in class because he/she is too smart and too far ahead of the other kids.

I've actually been getting a little bored with the series, but not anymore. Sigma's nemesis is a shadowy criminal organization called "the Guild," the secret in all secret societies. Up until recently, I was totally on board, but in the last book or so, I was getting a little sick of it. I was ready to beat the Guild and move on. I would have been mightily disappointed if Rollins had tried to drag it out for more books. Luckily, I didn't have to be!