Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Hey kids! 

I hope you're all enjoying whatever holiday you celebrate. As the holiday's are typically chaotic, so too are my reviews. I'm still reading though, have no fear, but don't expect to see anything new for for a while. 

I will see you all in 2014!!   

Strindberg's Star, Jan Wallentin

This is a Swedish book translated into English. It takes place in Europe as the main characters travel around in search of the truth.


Ok, so our main character, Don, is arrested for the murder of a diver who found a body while diving in a mine. The body is perfectly preserved by some trick of the mine, so it's super old, and appears to be the victim of either an accident or a suicide. So, there's no crime there. The diver, however, took a few things from the cave where he found the body, got caught up in the notoriety, and never told anyone about them. He invites Don up to take a look, since Don is a symbology expert.

Don obviously finds him dead, hence he's arrested.

Oh, Don is also a prescription drug addict.

Eva, is his lawyer. This is where I think maybe some plot points are lost in translation. Don is in interrogation and Eva just shows up and volunteers to be his lawyer. She says she was in the station for another reason and heard about him. I admit I thought it was weird to begin with, but what do I know from Swedish police procedures?

Don gets out of the local station, but only as a transfer by the Swedish federal (?) police. They take him to the home of a German. A home that's part of the embassy, so technically part of Germany. The German tells him a fantastical story about the real reason for the 1897 Andree Expedition to the North Pole. He claims they were actually searching for the location indicated when an ankh found by the diver is combined with the still missing Egyptian star. A mystical location.

When it becomes clear the German's aren't going to take "I don't know" for an answer, Don and Eva escape. This starts the adventure to find the star and clear Don's name. Or does it....

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark

OMG. So. Bad!

This is the first Clark I've ready, but I've heard her name more than once. She's supposed to be a great mystery writer, so I thought I'd  try her out.

What could go wrong?

I could not dislike this more.

Ok, in all fairness, there are elements of this I did like. It kept me guessing, for one thing. One big thing. Gotta like that.

It's just not enough.

Ok, so Mariah's father is killed over a parchment he believes, and is, a letter written by Jesus. We're not talking about Jesus' words written by his disciples. We're talking in his own hand.

Mariah's mother has alzheimers and the police think she killed her husband because he was having an affair. He was, but she definitely didn't kill him.

He'd gone to his friends for authentication of the letter and one of them wanted it for themselves.

And there's always the horrible mistress, she could have done it. And she is horrible.

I had a strange sense of deja vu with this one. Again.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Altar of Eden, James Rollins


I'm a fan of Rollins, particularly his Sigma series, but I've gotten a little...bored with Sigma. I still like it and I'll keep reading it, but the past few books have just been a bit...melodramatic? Unbelievable? No, I don't like unbelievable. All the stories are fairly fantastical. I can't really put my finger on it. Melodramatic is probably the closest.

Anyway, the point is, this was like old school Rollins. The characters are interesting but they don't take over. There's a good balance between the story and the actors in it.

Though, I could totally see Sigma wanting to snap these two up. Maybe if they did, we'd see them again. We could take some focus of Gray and the books would start moving again....

Anyway, so, here we have Jack and Lorna. Jack is a border patrol agent, and Lorna is a veterinarian.

Sounds kind of mundane, huh?

Well, Jack finds a ship full of strange animals and calls in Lorna. They grew up together, she and his younger brother were high school sweethearts. Over the course of the book, we find out that the brother died and Lorna was blamed, but Jack was party to the car accident that killed his brother too. See, Lorna was being attacked while the brother was passed out, Jack busted in and saved her. Without understanding the whole situation, he told her to drive. She crashed and the brother died.

They've kept the secret of what really happened all these years. Stupidly.

While the interactions between Jack and Lorna are great, what I like best is the actual progression of the adventure.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dark Series in Reivew

So I tweaked it a little, but the chart shows all our combos with the books they're in. It's pretty much the same chart that's in the books.

OK, so where shall we start?

Despite the terrible covers and the mostly terrible titles, I mostly liked the Dark series. Is it a favorite? Nope. Not even a favorite romance. However, it's close. There were just a few things, small by themselves, that bring it down.

If I was comparing it to another series, it'd have to be the Troubleshooters series, mostly based on the structure - that kind of ever expanding circle of friends and family. Unfortunately, it's just not as good. Granted Troubleshooters isn't paranormal, but you'd think that'd give the Dark series more to work with. Instead it's the basics are the same every time.

This is my first complaint: at times, it was really repetitive. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't binge read, but I did. We're talking language and overall themes. "Sinful mouth" came up a lot. And just the descriptions of sex. And then there's the basic premise of male Carpathian meets human woman. Something horrible happens, then they fall in love. It's not like I don't like the formula, but it does seem to be a formula. It definitely gets better in later books, though.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dark Storm, Christine Feehan

I didn't know what was next, but this was certainly not even in the running.

We meet another ancient. Dax ran off the fight a vampire named Mirto. They were pretty evenly matched, so they were sealed in a volcano by Arabejila, Dax's friend.

The kicker? She's also Mitro's lifemate.

So, remember those questions and theories I had in my Dark Predator? Well, this just makes it all more confusing.

OK, Mitro is a psycho. Legit. Entitled. Always thinking he's better than everyone else, just no one can see his genius.

Dax is a hunter who has a talent for seeing someones darkness and predicting who will turn vamp. He and Arabejila's family were friends.

Arabejila had very strong earth powers. Mitro hated her because he believed lifemates made the men weak. He ends up killing her family before running off. He tries to kill her, but can't quite kill his lifemate. Instead, he does something worse: he binds her.

So, as we know, being physically separated from ones lifemate is very difficult. Meanwhile, the lifemate can typically feel/experience the things the lifemate is going through. So, all the horrible things Mitro does, Arabejila knows. He makes sure of it.

Riley and her mother, Arabejila's descendants, are traveling the Amazon to ensure the volcano with Dax and Mitro inside stays sealed. They don't know about Dax and Mitro, but they make the trip every year.

This year, it is not going well.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dark Predator, Christine Feehan

This one was weird.

We finally get Zacarias' story, but it raised a few questions.

So, at the end of Dark Peril, the vampire coalition was going to test their attack plan for the Prince, against the De la Cruz family. After that, Zacarias was going to end his life feeling his brothers were ok without him.

We start here at the end of the battle, the good guy having won, of course. Zacarias decides to leave to go die, not even bothering to heal his wounds. His brothers try to stop him, but he's determined. He leaves to go "home," suddenly determining that home is the estate in Brazil. If you'll remember Dark Peril took place in Brazil. That's where the vamp attacked and injured the woman Zacarias saved.

So of course that's who saves him. Against his will.

So, he gets there, and he sees Margaurita, the woman he saved, riding her horse. He doesn't immediately know who she is. Watching her makes him happy, gives him peace, so he decides to sit out in the sun watching her and waiting for death. She sees him as he's starting to smoke, literally, and drags him inside to his lair.

He. Is. Pissed.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dark Peril, Christine Feehan

Well, that's a fail. I predicted Zacarias and Solange, but nope. Dominic and Solange.

During Dark Curse, Dominic ingested vampire blood loaded with the parasites used to identify members of the conspiracy to overthrow Mikhal (Dark Prince). The plan was to infiltrate the group, find out what's up, pass the information, then take as many vamps with him as possible. The Dragonseeker family has never had a member turn vampire, so Dominic figures he has the best chance to take the blood without turning vamp quickly, as well as killing himself before turning.

Now we find him in Brazil, on his way to a big vampire meeting. Once he gets the info, he'll follow the plan: take as many with him as possible.

Solange is still fighting the good fight against the jaguar males, but she's worn out. Jasmine is safe and pregnant, Juliette has Riordan (Dark Hunger), all she has is her fight. And she's finally found her ultimate target: her father. So, we've heard that the jaguars are dying out because the men won't stay with the women; it's not in their "nature." This has caused more and more of the women to find love with humans. Some men have decided the way to save their species is to forcibly mate (read: rape) with the "pure blood" jaguar women. The idea isn't just to save their race, it's to purify it.

And we all knows that idea always ends badly.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dark Slayer, Christine Feehan

Sigh, I was really disappointed in this one.

Possibly because I've been waiting for it for so long. See, even though this is book 20 of the Dark series, it's the first one I bought. I found it in the bargain bin and mistook it for the first in the series. So, maybe that's why I just didn't find this one that great - I'd been anticipating for too long.

I liked it generally, but not when I looked closer.

Let me fill you in what going on...

Meet Ivory Malinov. We first learned about her in Dark Possession. She's the only sister of the Malinov's, and the only Malinov not a vampire. She's been thought dead all this time, but she's been in hiding.

This is my first complaint. I'm just not really clear on why she's in hiding. I mean, I get it a little. OK, so we know she went to Xavier's school and was betrayed by the Prince's oldest son. Now we find out she was turned over to vampires who literally chopped her to pieces. Alive. They kept her alive so she'd feel the most pain possible. Keeping her alive also gave her a chance to heal, though. And she does. It just takes 300 or so years. By the time she can leave the ground, he brothers have decided to become vampires.

So, I kind of get why she might not be welcoming to other Carpathians. She feels betrayed by the Prince and by her family. But the Prince dies. And the De la Cruz family was basically her family. It just seems odd that she'd rather just hide out. I guess there was just too much trauma. I donno. I just didn't think the decision made much sense. And when she meets Mikhal and see he's a good person she still doesn't want to go back. When she finds out the De la Cruz family is ok and misses her - mourns her - she still has no interest. Even seems to resent them. I just don't get it.

Then there's Razvan.