Sunday, May 30, 2010

White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows, Book 7)

Back cover summary:

Kick-ass bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan has crossed forbidden lines, taken demonic hits and still stands.  But the death of her lover struck her harder than she ever thought possible.  She won't rest until his murder is solved and avenged.  But a new predator is moving to the apex of the Inderlander food chain--and now Rachel's past is coming back to haunt her. Literally.

Review (warning spoilers!):

Hmmm. For sure White witch, black curse is not the best book in the Rachel Morgan series but it is definitely a must read for fans.  What I didn't like about this book was that it felt contrived.  It's like Kim Harrison had run out of ideas and so she started inventing stuff (fantasy of a fantasy).

Here is a list of what I did not like about this installment:

1.  Ivy gave her wish from the leprechaun to a banshee? Yeah, right. This was the wish from the very first book that she was so secretive about. 
2. Pierce.  I don't like Pierce.  He absolutely had no chemistry with Rachel.  I agree with Jenks about his creepiness.
3.  Marshall gave up on Rachel too easily.  It's like Kim Harrison got tired of him suddenly then decided to get rid of him in the next page.
4.  The big reveal about Kisten's death.  Really?  I was saluting her before for having the guts to kill a major character off but the big revelation about why he died is just not good enough.  It was too senseless, too wasteful.

Now, this is what I liked:

1. Al.  I love Al.  He is hands down the most interesting character in this book, even more interesting than Rachel herself.
2. Trent.  He appeared only at the end but it was interesting.
4. No more Marshall.  Good riddance.
4. The flashbacks.  I love Rachel's flashbacks as her mind recovered from forgetting about Kisten's death.
5. Kisten's death.  I liked the "how he died" in contrast to the "why he died".  I liked that he remembered loving Rachel and that he tried to save her killing himself in the process.  If he died for a better reason, it would have been great dramatic moment.

I am addicted to the Rachel Morgan series and this installment  was enough to make me come back for more!

Rating: *****

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Charlaine Harris on Penguin's Project Paranormal

I found this interview of my favorite author, Charlaine Harris, on Penguin's Project Paranormal. Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows, Book 6)

Back cover summary

In the Hollows, where the natural and the supernatural co-exist--not always peacefully--desperate times often call for unorthodox measures.  But bounty hunter-witch Rachel Morgan did the absolutely unthinkable to save the lives of her friends:  She willingly trafficked in forbidden demon magic.  And now her sins have come home to haunt her.

As Rachel hunts for the truth behind a terrifying murder, the discovery of a shocking family secret is about to throw her entire life to question.  And the long-lost ancient knowledge she seeks resides in the demonic ever-after.

But there are some lines that should never be crossed--like the one Rachel Morgan's stepping over...again!

Review (warning spoilers)
The outlaw demon wails picked up after the death of Kisten in a A few demons more. I think this is the best book in the Hollows series so far.  The characters that I love so much in this series are all at their best and there were even a few who became quite a revelation in this installment.

As you may have guessed, the outlaw demon is Al and he is giving everything he's got to get Rachel. In the background, there are the elves (Ceri, Trent, and Quen), the truth behind Rachel's parentage, and  the quest for Kisten's killer to complicate matters.  In this book also, we finally see the ever after and some progress in the relationship of Rachel and Trent.

I loved Al in this book!  It's impossible to know what he will say or do. He is such a complex and unpredictable character but at the same time he manages to be charming and funny.  A very good demon by definition.  I can't wait to see how his character develops in the next books considering his relationship with Rachel also evolved big time in  The outlaw demon wails.

Rating: ***** 


Monday, May 17, 2010

Tempest Rising

Back cover summary

Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society.  During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.

Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures that are terrifying, beautiful, and deadly---all of which perfectly describe her new "friend", Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.

It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries ; and whatever you do, never--ever--rub the genie's lamp.

Review (warning spoilers!)

Written from the point of view of the heroin, Jane True, Tempest Rising is the first novel in the "Tempest" series by Nicole Peeler. Every element of what I like in a good fantasy book is present in Tempest Rising: A heroin who has a sense of humor, a handsome love interest, an interesting make-believe world full of strange creatures, and a dramatic location.  I really don't know what my problem is because I did not find Nicole Peeler's Tempest Rising a very interesting read.

I found the romance between the leads flat, out of place and annoying.  I frequently skipped through them. The heroin, Jane True, is a hybrid between Ally McBeal, Harry Potter, and Sookie Stackhouse.  Where Ally McBeal is charming in a self-depreciating but "comes out the winner all the time" way, Jane True is just plain self-depreciating.    Sookie is loveable as a perky, and sarcastic " I am hiding my superpowers" waitress, Jane True is simply a perky whiner.  Since I have no idea what Harry Potter is actually thinking, Jane may have more in common with him.  Both were out of place in the human world and found more acceptance in fantasy land.  What makes Sookie and Ally effective is that women can identify with them.  How they talk to themselves in their heads is sometimes exactly how we talk to ourselves in our heads.  Unfortunately, I don't talk to myself like Jane True. Ally and Sookie are similar because their intelligence and strength of character always eventually save the day. Jane True is more concerned about her libido than saving any day. She comes out whiny in an air-headed sort of way.   What I can commend though is the author's knack for describing food.  I swear, I had to get a midnight snack after reading about what Jane and Ryu were having for a picnic by the beach.

I saw a lot of good reviews for Tempest Rising in Amazon, so I guess my problem with this book is due to personal tastes.

Rating: **** 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dead in the family (Sookie Stackhouse Book 10) - Charlaine Harris summary

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place . . . or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives . . .

Review (warning spoilers!)

I waited a year for this book. Am I satisfied? Not so much. There was no plot. Halfway through the book I found myself bored. I have never been bored with a Sookie Stackhouse book before. I usually treasured every word and savored every moment of it. With this book, I was shocked to see that after 7 chapters (out of 14), nothing was happening. The story picked up only after chapter 9. I did love the beginning (before the actual chapters started) when  Sookie was shown recovering from the events of "Dead and Gone". I loved the fact that a lot of things that were left unanswered in book 9 which probably kept a lot of Sookie fans awake at night for a year were answered. After that the book became blah.

The story was all over the place. Sometimes I didn't see the point of a storyline. For example, I really didn't see the point of Eric's lecture about vampire politics. That was so boring, out of place and unnecessary. Even Sookie thought it was useless. Weird. All the characters were just hanging around doing nothing. There was no binding element. There were a lot of plots that were started but left unresolved. It's like Charlaine Harris had a story in mind when she started writing the book, then changed her mind in the middle about what she wanted to write. The book felt so incomplete like it's missing half the pages. 

Sookie was so aggressive in this book. She was in a very murderous mood. She wanted all her enemies dead. I read a comment in Amazon saying that Sookie was channeling Anita Blake. I agree. In fact, Eric was also channeling Jean-Claude. He was a little bit out of it. I guess it's only apt that Sookie will evolve as a person considering she has been through a lot but Eric should be more true to his Viking/Vampire self.

What I did love is the fact that Sookie and Eric are finally together (hayy, swoon). I love that they are communicating, sharing, and loving each other. Even if the dynamic of their relationship was a little bit off in this book, it was good enough to fill my heart with joy. In the next book, I would love to see them defeating Victor Madden making Eric the King of Louisiana.

The happy ending for Bill seemed so forced, so unnatural. Charlaine Harris is cleaning up her overpopulated fantasy land again. Maybe happy endings are better than killing everyone as in "Dead and Gone.

There were also some inconsistencies. In the other books it was said that fairy blood is toxic to vampires even if it is so irresistible to them. The last scene of the book have Eric drinking fairy blood without any side effects.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

For a few demons more (The Hollows Book 5) - Kim Harrison

Back cover summary

Despite dating one vampire and living with another, Rachel Morgan has always managed to stay just ahead of trouble...until now.

A fiendish serial killer stalks the Hollows, and no one living in or around Cincinnati--human, inhuman, or undead--is safe.

A ancient artifact may be the key to stopping the murderer--a mysterious relic that is now in the possession of Rachel Morgan, fearless independent bounty hunter and reckless witch. But revealing it could ignite a battle to the death among the vast and varied local supernatural races.

Rachel's been lucky so far. But even she can't hide from catastrophe forever.

Review (spoilers!)

I love Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series. I have to admit that I dreaded to read "For a few demons more" because I knew that Kisten would die. I started it and then put it down after a few chapters then waited a week then restarted. I really did not want to get to the page where Kisten dies.

I have to admit though that Kim Harrison wrote it in a way that even I had to admit that it was time that he makes an exit. It broke my heart but I survived. It is very seldom that an author can pull off the death of a beloved character without messing up the story.

"For a few demons more" is fast paced and page turning. The romance between and Rachel and Kisten was just enough to make your heart break when he dies. Thankfully, there is not so much of Ivy and her lust for Rachel. That's the part I don't like so much about this series. Sometimes I think that the author made a mistake of making Ivy female. Like Rachel, I guess, I am also not made that way. If Kim Harrison made Ivy's character male, I imagine that the series would be more popular because it will make such a fine love story.

Two of my favorite characters in the book are Ceri and Trent. I am glad that they were prominent in this new edition. The scene when Ceri first met Trent was priceless.  As Ceri implied, Trent's character may be in for some evolution. I am hoping a little bit for a Rachel-Trent romance.

I am absolutely looking forward to read the next book to see how Rachel handles Kisten's passing and how she would grow from it.

Rating:  ***** 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Goodbye Twilight, hello Sookie

I am so over Twilight and Edward! I am now so addicted to the Sookie Stackhouse Novels and of course Eric Northman!
I got interested in the Sookie Stackhouse novels or the Southern Vampire Mysteries because of the HBO series "True Blood". I did not like "True Blood". I found it boring even though they made it very gore. The novels are a big revelation! The writing is sharp, funny, and witty and the stories are fast paced and action packed. Charlaine Harris' characters are interesting and endearing. The novels are truly addictive!

I am now one of a few million people people wanting to know what will happen to Sookie and Eric. Obviously, I am an Eric fan! The talent of Ms Harris lies in making readers curious, she is a mystery writer after all. Not that she is not a good romance writer, when you think about it, the Sookie and Eric thing is just a side dish in the novels' plot lines but I don't think anyone who have read this series could take it for granted or forget about the shower scene in "Dead to the World "(book 4, hayyyyyy) and the witty exchanges between Sookie and Eric. Priceless! The fact is, after reading 9 books, I am still on pins and needles about book 10! I just can't wait to sink my fangs into it!

My only fear about this series is that Charlaine Harris will drag the series on until it gets boring. She will release book 10 in May and apparently there will be 3 more after that. Seriously, I don't know if I can wait that long to find out if Sookie and Eric will be together or if I can handle it if they don't get together! The problem is with 14 books to follow (released every year, so 14 years!), there's a lot of time and emotional involvement on the readers part not to get a satisfying ending. Unfortunately for me, there is only 1 way to satisfy me.

Anita Blake

I started the Anita Blake series because it was always coming up in my recommendations in Amazon.  Their software thought that since I have read and liked Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I would also like Anita Blake.  So, did I like it?  Yes, I liked it but it didn't release inside myself the same amount of passion the Sookie Stackhouse series did.  I don't dream about it at night.  I don't think about it all day.  I prefer Eric to Jean-Claude.  Jean Claude's ass always needs to be saved by Anita (Eric's ass is another story...hmmm). He is supposedly a strong and powerful vampire but he just sits and waits for Anita to save him.  At least Sookie and Eric save each other alternately.  Anita has a very strong character which is almost irritating.  She just needs to be right all the time (she reminds me of myself =)).  I find a lot of characters irritating.  Richard, ex fiance of Anita, whines too much for me.  He is too conflicted. It drags on and on and on.  There are times when I am tempted put the book down because he irritated me too much.  I hate whiners both in books and in real life.

Will I continue reading the Anita Blake series? Maybe. Let's see.  The last books got a little bit too weird for my tastes.   I like the first 7 books then it went downhill from there.

All in all, I think  Anita Blake is an okay series to read to pass the time in between the Sookie Stackhouse novels.

Update- January 26, 2009

I can't continue reading this series.  I am irritated with it.  The last book I read was Book 7: Burnt Offerings and I can't continue reading Blue Moon.  I can't stand Anita and Richard.  I want to throw the book out.  I have the rest of the books (I bought it in advance) but I can't continue.  I read the synopsis for the rest of the books in wikipedia and I don't think I can go on reading.  I don't like the way the story developed.  Oh! why did Laurell Hamilton destroy the story of such a promising series?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Crazy over Twilight

I was not at all interested in "Twilight" until last Sunday.  I knew about the book but I thought that I was too old for the teenage vampire crap.  Don't get me wrong, I love vampire books and movies (well, some of it).  I have a collection of "The Vampire Chronicles" by Anne Rice.  Throughout my teenage years and early twenties, I was in-love with the Vampire Lestat.  My fascination with vampires is my guilty secret.

Not knowing how to survive a 9-hour flight from Philadelphia to Zurich, I took action.  I decided to read "Twilight" because I thought it would be  an easy read.  I finished the book about an hour before we landed and I went out of the plane addicted.  Like a vampire that thirsted for blood,  I needed to get the rest of the books.

After reading the entire saga (in 2 1/2 days), it can be confirmed that I am thoroughly infatuated with Edward Cullen.  Sigh.

Photo from www.

Even though I have several issues with the story, like how a  91 year old vampire can have issues about premarital sex, the story of the "Twilight Saga" (keeping in mind that they were written for teenagers) is engrossing.  The books are very addictive because Stephanie Meyer did two things very well, first was her characterization of Edward and second how she developed Edward and Bella's love story in Twilight and New Moon.

Seriously, even though the books read very simply, Meyer was very successful in making  readers fall in love with Edward.   As I read Twilight, I felt like I was going through the process of falling in love with him like Bella. I felt it in my heart.  Vice-versa in "New Moon", I felt the agony of a broken heart (it was just like I remembered it) as Edward left Bella.

Eclipse was okay.  It was not a love story anymore.  Somehow, Meyer had to kill off Victoria.  Victoria could have been developed more as a character.  I would have loved to know more about her. Finally in Breaking dawn, Bella and Edward consummated their relationship (after marrying, of course)and Bella was turned into a vampire.

I also read a draft of Midnight Sun which I got from Stephenie Meyer's website.  Okay, it is unfinished but I hope that if she does finish it, she will develop Edward's character better.  It's good that he is mysterious in Twilight but in Eclipse he should be deeper and more sensible because Midnight Sun is from his perspective.

I think the movie is terrible.  It completely missed the best part: it failed to develop the part where Edward and Bella fell in love.  Robert Pattinson's acting was awkward although I have to admit that he resembled  how I imagined Edward to look like.  Kirsten Stewart is too rough to be Bella. Bella should have been more feminine.  Maybe "New Moon" would be better considering that the director is different.  Let's hope so.  It is sad to see a good story massacred.

Well, I don't know until when my "Twilight" fascination will last but for now, I have to admit, I am crazy over "Twilight".