The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong

Started: February 21, 2010

Finished: February 22, 2010

This is the second installment of the Darkest Powers Trilogy. It picks up right where it left off in first book The Summoning so I don't suggest you to read it if you have not read the first book. With that said, this was a great book! I haven't read a book this fast in a long time.

Chole finds herself caught and locked up by the very people she tried to escape from after the betrayal of the aunt who she trusted. She comes to terms that she is a necromancer able to raise zombies and communicate with ghosts. The next hurdle is trying to control her newfound powers. She was very frustrating in the first book but her character has been improved and her flaws are bearable. However, my favorite character is still Derek and I love how the author expanded on his character. The only complaint that I have, is there is a very expected and predictable twist in the story that questions who can be trusted.

This book doesn't have a dull moment and holds the readers interest throughout. The author did a great job at making the characters likable and believable. In this one, you learn a lot more about their back story and the events leading up to how they all met at Lyle House. The story is very well written and I love the suspense. I absolutely cannot wait to read the final installment: The Reckoning.

5 out of 5 STARS

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Skin Trade - Laurell K. Hamilton

Started: February 14, 2010
Finished: February 20, 2010

This one starts off with Anita getting a human head mailed to her in a box from Las Vegas. Yes, the whole story takes place out of town again, which is odd because so did the last book in the series. Vittorio is behind the gruesome package and despite this being a trap she runs off to Las Vegas to confront him. Edward, Olaf, and Benardo Spotted-Horse are back!

I started reading the Anita Blake series at the end of last year and this is the longest it has ever taken me to read any of the books. It wasn't boring but let's just say it could have been better, but isn't that the complaint for a lot of the books in the this series?

Let's start with the positives. Edward was back and usually she waits longer between books to pull his card so I wasn't expecting him to be in this book since he was just present two books previous. I like that they were reunited with Olaf and Benardo(who hasn't been mentioned since Obsidian Butterfly) Positive #2: She worked with the police and embraced her title as The Executioner. She actually had to so some investigative work. Most of the book didn't revolve around sex. LKH could not write an entire Antia Blake book without sex especially this far into it. I was expecting it to happen the whole time I was reading but it didn't happen until toward the end of the book.

Okay, now to the negatives. Since this is the second book in a row where she is not in St. Louis, there were a lot of characters that readers have grown to love noticeably absent. Jean Claude, Richard, Nathaniel, Micah, and just about everyone else. The only characters we are familiar with who are a presence in the majority of the book are Edward and Olaf. It's not until later that Requiem and the Wicked Truth make appearances.

Highlight below to see spoiler:
This is a definite negative. Marmee Noir is killed but it was definitely in a very anti-climactic type of way. It was very disappointing that Antia and Edward didn't go to Europe and tag team her. In fact, Edward declines the opportunity to kill her which, to me, is very UN-Edward like. I'm just glad that it wasn't Vittorio who killed her. The fact that human made bombs did the trick makes me fell a little better about her demise. Maybe, she found a way to survive and she will make a comeback in the future so Anita can have another wack at it. *crossing my fingers on that one*
Then, she ends up sleeping with the Wicked Truth? Honestly, I don't feel like that was completely necessary. I like the agreement they came to after all was said and done but I don't think they needed to have sex for that to happen.
------------------------------------Spoiler End -----------------------------------

Overall this one was okay. Since she is in Las Vegas, she has interactions with Max, the Master of the City, and his wife Bibiana the queen of the tigers. As you may have guessed, Anita struggles with her internal tigers, which was a little interesting part of the time. Marmee Noir messes with her again for the last time but her last appearance is disappointing. Once the sex begins toward the end, the book looses some of it's edge. The final encounter with Vittorio was both good and bad. Bad how it lead up to it but good that she used an unlikely power to defeat him. It was nice that there was more plot and less of her screaming out her pleasures. I may get the next book in the series but it will be from the library not the bookstore. If it's not available I won't break my neck to get it.

3.5 out of 5 STARS

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The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong

Started: February 9, 2010
Finished: February 13, 2010

The Summoning is about a girl named Chloe who gets put in a group home after seeing ghosts at school. While at the Lyle Home she discovers she has powers along with some of its other members.

This book definitely wasn't what I expected it to be. The beginning tried to show that Chloe was somewhat ordinary and succeeded but the introduction to her circle of friends and random people at her school was a little unnecessary. The author should have kept those to a minimum only including her best friend Kari and leaving out Beth, Miranda, etc. It started off much slower than I would have liked but I really enjoyed the writing and the characters. Chloe is not my favorite because she doesn't seem to catch on that quickly. Her constant denial bordered on annoying without actually crossing that line. There is definite room for all the characters to develop, especially her. I did however love the fact that Chole looks at a lot of situations as if they were scenes from a movie.

My favorite character is the misunderstood Derek. His secluded ways and bad attitude made me want to know what his issues were. The plot was not only good but also executed well. The build up to the supernatural things that take place in the plot was appreciated.

The book eases you into the supernatural stuff and had an exciting ending with a cliffhanger that left the reader wanting more but not disappointed. It was a quick read and I can't wait to read the next one.

4 out of 5 STARS

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Blood Noir - Laurell K. Hamilton

Started: February 5, 2010
Finished: February 8, 2010
I honestly didn't know what to expect before reading Blood Nior. The latter part of the series have been hit and miss with me. Like, The Harlequin was better than say Micah but Obsidian Butterfly was better than Incubus Dreams.--for me.

To no surprise the book starts off with sex, a menage a trois. Jason is sad and Nathaniel and Anita are trying to cheer him up and figure out what's bothering the usually happy Jason. Guess what makes him feel better? The whole beginning of the book was extremely frustrating and boring. The part about Nathaniel needing to convince Anita to go with Jason is too long and drawn out because you know she is going to do it. Anita ends up going with Jason to his hometown so that he can say goodbye to his dying asshole of a father. The whole time they are together they are over-analyzing themselves and each other .. again boring!

Jason apparently looks like a man named Keith Summerland, whose father is governor. This whole premise that people continually get them confused and the whole media attention was, to me, very unbelievable. Just reading that was irritating and unoriginal. Then, Jason going to Lisa's bachlorette party was stupid and LKH could've been more creative when coming up with a way to introduce the weretiger.

However, there is a glimmer of hope toward the end. Anita's inner weretiger emerges and the sex isn't descriptive because she can't even remember it. Richard makes an appearance and proves that the progress made in previous books was indeed false as I knew it would be. Marmee Nior is mentioned breifly and Anita gets to kill people. A lot of the beginning could've been removed and it would not have affected the story. Inversely, the ending seemed rushed and more time could've been spent there to make the story better.

Hopefully the next one is better. I am going to continue with the series only because I have invested so much time in it already being that this is the 16th book and I'm curious to know more about certain aspects of the story. I think that LKH need a new approach because a lot of her writing is repetitive but the ideas are there if only the execution was better.

2.5 out of 5 STARS

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The Harlequin - Laurell K. Hamilton

Started: January 31, 2010
Finished: February 3, 2010

This book definitely exceeded my expectations especially since the last few have been let-downs. Edward is back for the first time since Obsidian Butterfly and he brings Olaf and Peter - who are also introduced in that book.

Since Edward hasn't been mentioned for five books, I wondered what his reaction would be to Anita's ardeur. He reacted in true Edward fashion which was pleasing but he also has had some changes of his own because of his relationship with Donna, Becca, and Peter.

There was a lot of recalling of events that happened in the previous books to bring certain parts up to speed for the readers who skipped the books that were needless to say under par. However if you have read these previous books the recapping can be really irritating. It just makes you want to say "I know, I know get on with it."

Anita is still dealing with the arduer and there are only four sexual encounter described in the book (you know that is good if you've read some the previous ones) but all four were necessary to either save her life or the lives of the people she loves. -isn't that convenient? At least they are not two chapters long. :)

Highlight to Read Spoiler:
I did not like the fact that she had sex with the rat king and the swan king at all. I'm starting to agree with some of the opinions that say she is turning into a whore.
-----------------------Spoiler End ---------------------------------------

There was a lot more action in this book. It has definitely given me hope for the next one. I liked the appearance of both Peter and Olaf, surprisingly. The whole Malcolm not blood-oathing his congregation of vamps comes back in a very negative way. The Mother of Darkness and Belle Morte are back as well. A lot happens in the book and finally the plot outweighs the sex instead of the sex overpowering the plot. She fights some badass vamps and her ruthless side comes back which is a major plus! It seems that any book she puts Edward in is bound to be good just because he is such a good character.

4 out of 5 STARS

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Danse Macabre - Laurell K. Hamilton

Started: January 24, 2010

Finished: January 31, 2010

Danse Macabre was better than Micah but the plot is practically non-existent. There was a lot of sex, usually sex doesn't bother me in a book but a lot of the phrases describing the sex were repetitive and annoying - due to all the screaming. The sex overpowered what little plot that was present in the book.

There is a pregnancy scare that I don't think was very believable given the situations she always seems to be in. Richard is back and he continues to struggle with his regular issues. In this book he does try but again it's not believable that he will actually change.

I thought that she, Nathaniel, and Damien were a triumvirate? She focuses mostly on Nathaniel (i guess because he is one of the many "boyfriends" she has) but Damien is not really a presence. He is only there when she needs him to calm her or she's sucking his life force. I figured that he would be more of a character once that happened but I guess i was wrong.

One of the major disappointments was that she did not work on a police case or even raise a zombie. I kind of thought that was her job! Another let down is no one dies or gets killed plus the book wrap-up sucked. I expected more action with Jean Claude inviting all the Masters of the City to St. Louis but it fell short. It could have been better but what I did read outside of the sex was okay enough to make me want to know more. This book was disappointing in many ways but I will read the next one just to see if there is more plot. Despite the fact there wasn't a lot happening in this book there are some new developments.

I heard The Harlequin takes the series back to when there was less worry about sex plus Edward is back! He is like her savior card because most fans seem to like him, I know i sure do!

3 out of 5 STARS

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Tricks - Ellen Hopkins

Started: January 18, 2010

Finished: January 25, 2010

I'm a fan of Ellen Hopkins but this is not the best I've read from her. It's about five teenagers whose lives are indirectly connected; a lot more subtle than the characters from Impulse. Some connections are not even realized until there is only 100 pages left in the book. I read it waiting for the connections to happen and was a little disappointed. These five people have really messed up lives ... some of it is caused by themselves while others were based on circumstance. This book deals with love, family, sexuality, acceptance, sex, and of course drugs. It pushes it's characters as far as they can go. This is one of the most depressing books I've read in a while. I understand why she wanted to tell these stories and I applaud her work but I just felt sad after reading this one. I like how Ellen Hopkins is very poetic in her writings and it's supposed to invoke emotions but after completing this book I was down for a couple of hours. The best parts of the book were the poems that introduces each character's chapter.

This book is beautifully written but depressing. Also, confusing at first to distinguish between the characters but it gets easier as the book progresses. If you put it down don't be surprised if you have to backtrack in order to remember what has happened. I suggest this to be read by a more mature audience.

3 out of 5 STARS

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The Luxe - Anna Godbersen

Started: January 11, 2010
Finished: January 18, 2010

I bought this book when it first came out in hardcover without reading it because I thought the cover was pretty. Once I got it home, it pretty much sat on the shelf for over a year ... sure I picked it up a couple of times and only got to chapter 4 before I'd put it down and something more interesting caught my attention.
I just moved to a new apartment and I stumbled across it while unpacking and finally decided it was time to read this book.

I found The Luxe surprisingly good ... way better than I thought it would be. There is a whole lot of drama happening. I like how the points of view changes so you understand more intimately where the characters are coming from. It was a little confusing in the beginning to keep up with who was who and who was in love with whom but as I continued to read it became more and more easier to distinguish between them. I really liked how she used letters, diary entries, and clips from gossip columns to introduce the chapters. If you like love triangles and drama then you probably will like this books too.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the sequel: Rumors.

4 out of 5 STARS

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Micah - Laurell K. Hamilton

Started: January 9, 2010
Finished: January 11, 2010

This is Book #13 in the Anita Blake series and my first book of 2010. I'm not sure exactly where to begin in describing the book without giving away some of the details being that I am 13 books in. This is one of those books where you have to know something about the series. It would be too time-consuming for me to backtrack this much so I'm sorry this is my first book post.

I just started reading the Anita Blake series a couple of months ago. I really enjoyed them. Now, I must say that I am beginning to agree with some of the reviews I've read .. as the series progresses it loses the plot and focuses too much on sex!

I was interested to know more about Micah since he is definitely not as discussed as say Richard or Jean Claude. This book was very disappointing. It's the shortest of the books to date. I think that if she was going to elaborate on Micah's background it could have been more creatively done and a lot more interesting (especially if she is going to make a whole book out of it!) This book could have been incorporated into one of the many others in the series. Micah must have been an afterthought, like she continued with the story and decided hey maybe I should put a little more of Micah in it ... why don't I just make a short story out of it. A straight three chapters is Anita and him having sex. The part where she raises the zombie and actually does her job is okay but it also falls short.

The worst of the Anita Blake series.

1out of 5 STARS

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