Archive | December, 2007

The Charon Covenant by Brenda Munday Gifford

30 Dec

Favorite lines: “I can’t believe you can be so calm. It’s not only your wife in there somewhere, but now they’ve locked us up like criminals. What does it take to get you angry.” (p. 55)

Ms. Gifford had a great concept when she began this book. The premise is that people on earth have caused the planet to become unlivable and some of the surviving humans have set up a new civilization on the moon.  A few generations later and humans are living under the authority of the Circle.

The Circle is made of old government leaders determined to create a better society and avoid the mistakes of the past. The problems arise when a couple gives birth to a son and are later told he died. Not believing the doctor who told her the child died, Dara Drew begins demanding to see her child. When that request is denied, she begins a quest to find out what or who is in charge of the many negative changes on the moon.

As I said, I enjoyed the idea behind the book. There were several technical things that irritated me though. The first thing that bothered me was the typos. For example, “her father past away.” My next problem was the paragraph  that began in third person and jumped to second person before flowing back to third person. I also think that the chapters should be broken up differently.

There are three major couples in the book: the Drews, a doctor and his girlfriend, and the Sands. Throughout the book the story flips randomly (from paragraph to paragraph) from one couple to another. So, I may be following the Drew’s conversation in one paragraph and then (with no warning) be reading about Mr. Sand wanting to talk to Mrs. Sand. It is controlled chaos.

I don’t read a lot of science fiction. I tend to stick to romance and fantasy books right now, but I can’t honestly say that I’d recommend this book. I say that not because the story was horrid, but because it is not a cleanly finished product. Read other blogger’s opinions here and here.

Dictionary

22 Dec

Yes, I’ve stolen this idea from Ilona Andrew’s. Thanks! Pretty wild result, huh? So what are you?

Scooper —

[noun]:A master of storytelling
‘How will you be defined in the dictionary?’ at QuizGalaxy.com

Blood Angel by Justine Musk

21 Dec

Favorite Line: “But I could fall in love with her.” (p. 45)

Jess Shepard is a painter who has been having weird dreams that encourage her to paint the same boy over and over again. 

Ramsey Doe was found covered in blood as a child. Now he’s a teenager, much older than his age with a belief that he is different.

Ashka is the female determined to get both of them. The world will tremble beneath her feet is she has her way. Only there are people who will fight her. They will risk it all to see to it that Ashka is banished once again.

Blood Angel by Justine Musk is a nice change of pace for me. It is a quick and enjoyable read. It isn’t very deep, nor is it superficial and fake. There is a very light romance thread woven into the tale of good versus evil.

My one issue is that while Jess is an interesting character, I wish she had been explored more in depth.

This book could have been a blood bath. It could have gave many gory details in most of the scenes, but Ms. Musk does a good job of keeping the gore to a minimum. It wouldn’t have added to the story and she didn’t use it, leaving this reader quite appreciative. I really hate sex and gore that are thrown in for added pages or shock factor.

This book is labeled as horror, but it felt more like urban fantasy to me. I never became frightened or horrified by anything in it. I think I might just need to look up what the definition of horror as a genre is to grasp the connection.

Overall this book was nice and I’ll be passing it off to my best friend who enjoys Dean Koontz and Stephen King and see what she thinks about it. Have you read it? What do you think?

The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn

20 Dec

Favorite Lines: “Running my tongue up and down the length of his fangs seemed to have the same effect as my hand on his erection.” (p. 276)

Kismet Knight is a Denver psychologist who has had a brilliant idea that will make her a best selling author. She is going to cure people who think that they are vampires. She soon meets an 800 year-old vampire and a whole new world begins to open for her. Still thinking that vampires are nothing more than delusional humans, she wearily treats them until she is attacked by two vampires and forced into a world of darkness.

Kismet seems to be in heat. One moment she’s hot for one guy the next moment she’s after another man. It was irritating and appeared to be purely sexual. I’ve got no problem with her playing around, but I just don’t believe that a woman is going to go from ready to jump a man for sexual satisfaction to feeling that same way towards two other men (at one point). Now don’t get me wrong. I mostly enjoyed the book, but her inability to make up her mind was distracting.

I found the old vampire, Devereux, to be quite appealing. There was nothing about him that I didn’t like or would like to see changed. The FBI agent is another matter. I guess his dogged approach to vampires could be viewed as cute, but he constantly chose them over any and every body else. I can’t imagine wanting to be with someone like that.

The story opens up with a girl seeking counseling per her family’s demands, but I don’t feel any sense of closure with that story line. Sure Ms. Hilburn ended the story line, but I’m not satisfied. Nor am I satisfied with the conclusion of the story. It feels forced. The story goes from extreme action to *twiddling my fingers* ho-hum. It is a sudden and drastic fall in action that cleanly wraps up a messy situation.

That said, the story was a nice twist on an interesting genre. Vampires exist and as it is explained have good and bad vampires just as humans do. The mythology doesn’t really come into play, but I did like the idea of stroking fangs being a sexual kind of foreplay. I will read the next installment of this book.

(Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I really like the cover. The picture of the man is matted but there is a trial of blood dripping from the corner of his mouth that is shiny.)

To Hell and Back by Lilith Saintcrow

19 Dec

Favorite Lines: “The Devil doesn’t believe in killing you, if you can be made to serve.” (p. 1)

To Hell and Back is the final installation of the Dante Valentine series. Dante has faced many challenges in the previous four books all preparing her for her final fight…with the Devil himself. The book picks up where book four left off with Dante going into Hell. Six months later she is back in the human world, bloody and lost and with no idea of what has happened to her or where she has been.

Despite her final words to Jaf in the last book, he immediately comes to her aid. The two are joined by the rest of the crew from book four and lock themselves in a final battle against the devil.

Betrayal and trust issues arise as they have throughout the series. Ms. Saintcrow has kept her characters true to form. The Dante in book five is similar to the Dante of book one, but she has grown much. Her life has taken its toll on her body, soul and mind leaving her with huge problems at a horrible time. In book one she was tough as nails, fast forward to book five and she is vulnerable but still able to kick butt.

Dante’s moods are crazy. One minute she’s talking to someone, the next she’s contemplating cutting them into bits. It takes a strong person or demon to deal with such craziness. I appreciate Jaf’s ability to deal with Dante’s many mood swings. He understand her in a way that I think no human could and it saddens me that Dante cannot seem to grasp the true nature of their relationship. I guess she really doesn’t want the closeness after the track record she has. Her guardian, lovers and friends were all killed, she was mentally raped and she was raised in a hell hole. It makes sense that she’d have issues, but it’s still sad.

I’m going to list the order of books from my favorite to least favorite. If you’ve read the books do the same in the comments.

  1. Book 2 (Dead Man Rising)
  2. Book 5 (To Hell and Back)
  3. Book 1 (Working for the Devil)
  4. Book 4 (Saint City Sinners)
  5. Book 3 (The Devil’s Right Hand)

The 13th Reality by James Dashner

18 Dec

Favorite Lines: “Edgar watched from the upstairs window in the hallway, his emotions torn between fascination at the miniature fat man that seemed to have struck up a friendship with his son, and his sadness that Tick was involved in something very strange and had failed to tell his own father about it.” (p. 122)

Atticus Higginbottom is fascinated when he begins receiving riddles that promise a life altering experience. He is a smart 13 year-old boy, who happens to be the school bully’s favorite pet project. Despite the abuse he suffers at school, he thrives in his home environment with a loving family.

Tick, as Atticus is known, soon finds other kids on the same journey and begins to make friends, something he did not have before the riddles came. He is challenged mentally, emotionally and physically with the riddles and the dangers associated with them. Tick discovers that there is much more to his life than he ever imagined and is ready to join the adventure of a lifetime.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first installment in James Dashner’s newest series. I love the idea of multiple realities existing and the possibilities the ‘what ifs’ allow. For example, what if everyone was super sized? What would the world be like? What if technology were much more advanced? What kind of creations would be possible?…

The family dynamic is wonderful as well. I love the interaction between the family members. The trust involved and the true depth of understanding between father and son and husband and wife is well written. I can’t think of another book that takes such complex issues and writes them in a manner that children can pick up on without sounding like a preacher preaching.

The book uses a variety of ideas and a large vocabulary that teaches without sounding pompous or educational. I think this is an excellent book for kids. It is entertaining and enlightening at the same time. Kids will find themselves learning about things they never knew interested them and they won’t even realize it. If this is any example of the rest of the series, I’d say Dashner has a winner.

The 13th Reality releases in March of 2008. You can pre-order it here.

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

16 Dec

Favorite Lines: “My free hand swung in an arc to land on the ass she was admiring. With a glare, I gave it a big squeeze, using the last of my control not to shriek, You like that? Look who’s got it!” (p. 236)

Catherine Crawfield is a product of rape. Her father, who happened to be a vampire, raped her mother and five months later she was born. 22 years later, she is stronger than other girls and much deadlier. Add to that a psycho mother who lives to hear about the vampires she has killed, and you’ve got the makings of a strong vampire slayer.

One night while out on the hunt, she is captured by master vampire, Bones. He gives her a choice, work for him or die.

Bones trains Cat in combat and how to be better prey for the night hunting vampires. He also teaches her to accept herself and come to terms with the fact that being half vampire is not all bad.

Before I share my opinion of this book, I want to thank Leslie. If it weren’t for her guarantee that the book got better, I would have thrown the book and never finished. I also wouldn’t have considered reading another book by this author.
The story is very Buffy/Spike. A slayer and an Englishman vampire, combatants that unwittingly draw closer to one another while killing other vamps. Their relationship is predictable and often left me groaning in disbelief.

Now on to the different characters. I hated Bones in the beginning. He is over the top and the English style curses about made me quit reading the book. He says,”blimey, bullocks, bleedin’ bit…” and an endless stream of “English” swear words excessively in the first half of the book. It is extremely annoying.

Cat does what ever she can to kill the undead. Her mother makes her feel like she has no other choice and it has proven to be the only way mother and daughter have connected in 22 years of life together. Their relationship is damaged and shows (to me) that children love their parents even after years of neglect and abuse. For while her mother never physically abuses her, she is emotionally abusive.

The story as a whole is not the best I’ve ever read. I did enjoy the last 40% of the book. The action picked up and maintained great pacing and the story line improved dramatically. This last stretch is also the reason I’m even considering reading the next book in the series. I expect to read less of the “Englishness” associated with Bones and a little bit about Cat’s father. If I don’t get those two things, I will not read another installment of this series.