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Friday, February 22, 2013

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4)-Charlaine Harris


** spoiler alert **

I have decided to give Dead to the World four stars. It is my favorite book in this series. Yeah, I know there are still some serious problems, which I shall address later, but mostly I love Eric, which is no secret. He is great, memory or no memory. He is protective, funny and seems to care about what happens to Sookie more than Bill ever did. I also enjoyed the sub plot of this book where Jason is kidnapped by a were-panther, though I feel this is a Harris stand by. I loved that the Jason plot had nothing to do with the Eric versus Witches storyline. It brought out some new interesting characters.

Now good and bad things that stood out to me the most in this book.

1) Charlaine Harris writes the world’s worst sex scenes :” breasts quivering like puppies wanting to be petted” and “Mr. Happy Ummm in what universe are these sexy time phrases?

2) While there is a thank you in the beginning to Wiccans who helped her with this book, as a Pagan myself, I was offended by her portrayal of magic workers.

3) Sookie, I cannot say enough how much I loathe her character. In this one particularly, even her brother has to look after her best interests because she is too stupid to do so. For Goddess sake, Jason bargains with the vamps to pay her, as broke as she is always complaining she is one would think she would have thought of this herself.

4) Alcide- I truly despise this character. He is just someone the author added to show us that Sookie’s thoughts are almost always sex related and she has something about her that makes every man want to be with her. He is stupid and irritating; he takes back the bratty Debbie Pelt which proves he likes his women either a) dumb and blonde or b) mean and brunette.

5) Once more I had to read Sookie bitching about how vampires cannot marry, but that doesn’t matter cause one hasn’t bothered to ask her yet. She’d be a good wife and good mom, she’d be as faithful as she could be. Wow…. Yes Sookie you sound like such a catch. Barf.

6) There are some ridiculous jumps in this book. Jason is missing, then Sookie brings a poor werewolf who has been hit by a car to the hospital. Because Jason was accused in the first book for murdering vampire banging trailer trash, even though they caught the real killer, suddenly Sookie is accused of being his accomplice. That Jason had Maria-Star locked in a cage at his place apparently and when he went missing Sookie released her and then ran her over with her car….Then took her to the hospital…. Ummmm…. I am not sure what to say about this except, did Ms. Harris need like two pages of filler and didn’t know how else to do it? I do not know if I see real police, real small town police, making these accusations. Especially of a family who practically helped found Bon Temps….. Ridiculous….. Is there a boggart around here somewhere? Ok…there’s my Harry Potter nerd showing lol

7) Now, while I liked the sub plot I had it figured out before Sookie, mainly just because of the horrible writing. She goes to Hotshot and sees some guy coming out a shed who runs away when he sees her. Then there is a panther paw print in blood and Jason’s house even though no panthers live in the woods of Bon Temps. Plus Sookie assumes the Norris’s are werewolves but never bothers to find out what, even though there are a dozen hints. Finally when she bothers to mention it to Sam he fills in the gap that Crystal Norris and her family actually turn into were-panthers and he would have told her sooner if he had known about the paw print…. Ummmm… Plot hole anyone? In a town as small as this one, when Sam even shows up at the search party where everyone knows they may be hunting a panther he still hasn’t put 2 and 2 together? Riiiiiight.

8) Debbie Pelt. While I love Eric taking a bullet meant for Sookie, again, and Debbie getting her just rewards, this is too convenient. With the amount of clean up, forensically it is a nightmare. Bleach will kill DNA but a good CSI team would be able to tell a ton of blood went down, plus they could probably find something Sookie missed. This scene would have worked better somewhere besides Sookie’s house. Also after so many people have broken into her house why hasn’t she installed an alarm system? I know she’s supposed to be so broke…. But pride before a fall and all that.

I super enjoyed the ending to this, Eric back to normal and him sending her a new coat, even if it was horribly ugly, Sookie has bad fashion taste. I mainly love this because Bill is gone through most of it, I get to see Bubba again and Eric is HOT! Happy reading!

Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake 3)-Laurel K Hamilton


** spoiler alert ** I am not really sure where to go with Circus of the Damned, honestly… Aside from it being not really memorable here is what stood out the most

1) Larry- wow there is a TON for foreshadowing to what a d-bag he will turn into. Especially if you have read the REST of this series.

2) Richard- see, I liked Richard at first, it really is too bad what happens to him. Though Anita needs to learn to reel in her judgmental ass faceness. She doesn’t want to date monsters… Says the Necromacing Zombie Queen. I really hate this aspect. And Richard? He knows she is bad ass and doesn’t want protecting but still tries to.

3) Feminism- Anita Blake is the worst sort of feminist. The one who doesn’t want her door opened or her dinner paid for. It doesn’t make her a strong woman; it makes her a BITCH. He isn’t being a jerk and thinking you can’t do it yourself chica. HE IS BEING A GENTLEMAN. Barf she bugs me. Okay so you kick ass…. Stop thinking everyone thinks you can’t handle yourself.

4) Jean Claude- Ooookkkkaaaayyyy so Anita is a Necromancer, got it….. But I cannot figure out why he is so into her? She is irritating, tries to kill him and aside from some lustful thoughts, not interested. And honestly? Aside from zombie raising, working out and killing things coffee and penguins has no personal interests and it basically boring.

5) Oliver and his people. This could have been awesome. He is a bad assed villain and his troupe is decent as well. However LKH does not even bring in this great bad guy until page 208 and honestly, he tricks Anita easy and then dies even easier. It is almost too half assed. We have two vampire killings with one rising nastily and it is so back story I wanted to laugh. This book was so all over the place!

6) The end- okay check list. Halloween check Cool costumes check magic check gruesome goreche------WAIT, WHAT?. Yeah you heard me. Anita slugs through meat and flesh ripping Oliver’s throat out and then does the same to Alejandro’s chest. riiiiiiggggghhhhhttt First off, human fingers are not sharp enough and even with three vampire marks, does LKH understand how long it would take and to get to someone’s spine and tear it out? Or get through ribs to the heart? and who stands there while that happens? Are you telling me with three marks she is faster than a million year old vampire? And did she know how much force/pressure and strength you would really need, especially with human fingers? Ridiculous.

So well… that’s it. I didn’t really care for this book. Way to much crap and not enough interest. So what, do you ask, is the reason behind three stars and not two?

One word EDWARD

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse 3)- Charlaine Harris


2016 Edit: I use the word slut in this review, negatively. In the past few years I have changed quite a bit. I try to not judge a woman by how many sexual partners she has had: her body, her business. I also try not to use slut in a negative way . I won't edit the review because it is who I was more than four years ago, but I did want to put in this notation as a warning. I do wish the author had allowed Sookie to embrace her sexual escapades rather than slut shame other women and make Sookie so hypocritical. Thanks.

So Club Dead huh? About on par with Dead Until Dark in how much it sucked. Granted the ERIC/SOOKIE stuff is awesome, he really wants her, blood, body, love and he is pretty good to her. The plot line wasn’t that bad either, Bill gets kidnapped and everyone must go find him. Though in this series there is a lot of kidnapping. Time for Charlaine Harris to step it up a notch, really. This book was hard for me to read, even as a third time re read, mainly because I am intolerant of cheating and this book hit a little too close to home for me. So some things that really stood out.

1) Bubba- I love this character, adore in a cute puppy kind of way. Pretty much one of the best characters in this series.

2) Alcide- can we say d-bag any clearer. Blah, big pussy werewolf. I HATE this character. His sister was more interesting.

3) Sookie- SLUT! And not just a normal slut, but a slut pretending to be moral. Just own it girl friend, your vag likes action and you can’t say no! :P

4) The gravel drive way- Leave it to ERIC to re gravel the drive way because he thinks Sookie should be taken care of. That is so romantic, especially when loser Bill couldn’t even be bothered to think of it, he’s too wrapped up in his sex addiction to Sookie, getting tail from evil vampiresses and his super special vampire “project.”

5) In like the first chapter Sookie drives by the Bellefleur’s big ole house to see all the renovations that Bill has “paid for.” She is bitter about it, but would NEVER ask for money because she doesn’t want to be his “kept” woman. Blech! Who the hell keeps around a boyfriend that won’t take care of you? I mean, at least a little. In my book he owes her, how many times has she been beat up since meeting this loser? At least Edward bought Bella a damn car, and offered to pay for college.

6) Not only does Loser Vampire Bill cheat on Sookie, like hard core cheat, but he also wasn’t even going to be decent about the dump. He pretty much had decided to pay her off like a whore. I mean Eric and Pam have to tell her, “Yeah honey, not only did he lie about where he was…but he was screwing someone else and planning to break up with you.” I mean wow! I know the author was breaking them up to give the plot some punch and make way for the ERIC/SOOKE snog fest that I appreciated….but c’mon, this could have been written much better.

7) Sookie- again- Is really quite full of herself for a young woman wearing a Christmas sweater. If I have to read about her tan once more I will chuck the book at the wall. Also, this is like the fourth time Sookie has mentioned that if she and Bill could get married, but they can’t it’s not legal and then…. It’s not like he’s asked me. Even after she finds out what a cheating bastard he is.

8) The rape scene. Sookie and Bill get trapped in a trunk, he attacks her, first feeding off her and then fucking her. It is not nice and she does not want it. Sure he feels bad but my issue is this. He cheated, he raped her. Why the hell does she let him touch her after this? He brushes her hair, holds her, even kisses her a little and she allows it! More like she’d be traumatized and wish him to hell. Sure she may still be in love with him, but please, it would take weeks if not months and severe therapy to get over her trust issues with him. The fact that she can be comfortable in his presence after everything he’s done just shows the author must not have had anything close to this really happen. It is almost insulting.

9) The end- YAY! Finally Sookie gets a back bone. She kicks both the vampires out and laughs about it. It is the first Sookie-healthy thing she does in the whole damn book.

So I knew I wasn’t going to review this well. It has been one of my least favorite in this series (well until the last like two) but there were some redeeming parts. I still can’t believe how much I used to love this series though. I find it hard to relate to the MC, though they are a fairly fast, fun, easy read.

Pretty Monsters- Kelly Link


** spoiler alert ** Okay so all in all this was an interesting read. I actually started it because on our way back from Cedar City and the Shakespearean Festival my boyfriend SQQQUUUUEEE ahem, he read two of these out loud. So I decided to give the book its due and finish it.

There were stories I liked, ones I didn’t care for and ones I was all, “eh.” The biggest issue I had was that a lot of the stories ended either a) abruptly (I don’t know if the author was trying for scary or what, this was mostly a FAIL) or b) just when things got really good.

A lot of the stories felt like when I was 16 and was on a HUGE writing kick. I must have started thirty stories but only finished 15 of them because I got tired of the characters or bored with the plot line, sometimes I just was unsure how to wrap things up. I, basically, think that Kelly Link suffered from this sort of problem. But then she went HEY! Great idea! I will just put them all in a short story collection and people will think they are brilliant! *muuuuaaaahhhha rubs hands together evilly*

Now the writing I found to be pretty amazing and her descriptions were awesome too. The problem with too many descriptions is that there are too many words and sometimes this is confusing rather than fun. Each story felt quirky and in some places that was great, in others it just added to the confusion and complicated the story.

Let us go on to the individual story critiques.

1) The Wrong Grave An interesting story about a boy who digs up his dead girl friend to get his poetry back. When he opens the grave it’s not his girlfriend and she is wide awake and wants to join him on adventures with her ink colored evil crazy hair. It was told from the point of view of someone who knew the MC. This was clever, funny, dark and creative.

2) The Wizards of Perfil honestly I didn’t finish this one cause it bored the crap out of me. It was about two kids who are mentally linked and can see the future and one gets sold to live with the Wizard of Perfil and be a serving girl. There was also something about a train explosion, but like I said…snnooooozzzzeee.

3) Magic for Beginners Okay I was torn on this one. I wasn’t really sure what it was about, it jumped around and was seriously crazy with way to many random descriptions and facts. Basically it’s about the son of a horror author whose favorite TV show is called the The Library and all kinds of crazy stuff happens there. Then his mom inherits a wedding chapel in Vegas and he gets a phone booth. They got to Vegas (after the boy steals some books and leaves them in the phone booth for a character on The Library ) they see the wedding chapel and then the current episode of The Library comes on and it ends. Uh yeah……

) The Faery Hand Bag Ok this one was brilliant! It was beautiful and colorful and made my mouth water, it was by far my favorite. About an old lady that carries a whole world inside her handbag and hijinks ensue.

5) The Specialist Hat This one is about two little girls who move into a big house with their father after their mother dies. They get a dead babysitter who kills them as well and ends with their father freaking out because he cannot find them. This was really good, but it made my own mommy heart ache.

6) Monster Ummm this one was just kind of stupid. I was bored, but thankfully it was short so I didn’t have to leave and skip it. Plot was simple, boys go camping to see monster, monster eats boys. The End

7) The Surfer Which is just about the lamest title for this story. A boy is forced to go to Costa Rica where his father wants them to join a cult or commune with this guy who saw it when the aliens landed. They wind up in quarantine for a few weeks because a nasty flu is going around killing everyone. In the end they get to see aliens and the story is cut off right when the aliens get there, the reader is left to wonder about…well a lot? When the story starts you are thrown into the middle of a crumbling USA kind of dystopia but with no explanation of why the world is the way it is. No explanation to why versions of the flu are killing everyone and why suddenly Costa Rica is where it is at. whatever IT is But I liked it.

8) The Constable of Abal This one I was a little torn on. A girl and her mother collect ghosts, then the girl’s mother; Zilla kills a constable and they run away. The little girl Ozma keep his ghost in her pocket and feeds him blood. They finally get to another town, her mother becomes a cook and makes Ozma dress like a boy. Ozma hates it she wants to go back to ghost keeping and thieving, blackmailing, all the things they did before. Finally we discover Zilla is a death goddess who returns to wherever Gods go. The constable is given new life, after drinking Ozma’s blood and eating magical fruit, and falls in love with Ozma and they live happily ever after.

9) Pretty Monsters Yeah so this one I cant even tell you what it was really about because I was so damn BORED that I skimmed it, skipped through and then moved on to the next one. Something about a sleepwalking girl who falls in love with an older boy and some girl who has to be home each night for dinner and along the way werewolves.

10) The Cinderella Game yeah what was the POINT to this story? An evil step sister and a boy playing Cinderella…. There was blood and mischief and was basically forgettable

So like most anthologies it was pretty hit or miss. Oh well, onto the next!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vlad - Carlos Fuentes


** spoiler alert ** Ok, this is going to be brutal… So fair warning. I hated this shit. It is the first novel I have EVER given 0 stars to.

1) This book is supposed to be a version of Dracula taking place in Mexico… I was super intrigued… I mean I read that dumb ass book where it was teeny boppers with cell phones retelling Dracula… How much worse could it get?

2) So much friggin worse!!! This novella was 112 pages long. ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE! The story didn’t even start until I was half way through the damn book.

3) I had to spend at least five pages on hearing about the MC and his sex life with his wife, including a rather nasty description of her vagina and their combined public hair YUCK

4) I had to spend another two pages hearing the MC drabble on and on about how once you are married and having sex with a woman you can no longer ask her if the sex was good because eventually she will get tired of hearing about it…. Blah blah blah blah how do you know if the sex was as good for her as it was for you? DRIVEL

5) Dracula was just… well nasty, every description of him was unpleasant and nothing like he is really supposed to look. I know this was supposed to be horror but nothing in this novel scared me, it just grossed me out. Apparently his ears are shaped like bat wings and he cuts them off every day….And wears fake hair….

6) The ending was seriously rushed. Everything wrapped up in the last maybe five or ten pages and made no sense.

7) The author called bats BLIND RATS for this statement alone I dropped the rating. They are not blind and they are not anything like rats. Do some fucking research you ass hole.

8) Uh…. Good point- The writing style was good… The author is a fairly good writer, the characters, storyline and conflict all sucked.

9) I couldn’t connect with ANY of the characters. AT.ALL. They didn’t inspire love, hate, sympathy… Nothing. Half the time I was just like, “Is this fucking over yet?”

10) And here is the big kicker and the huge SPOILER ALERT There is a scene where the MC’s daughter is playing in the back yard with a child vampire and they lift up their dresses and put live squirrels down the front of their panties!!!!! WTF. I couldn’t even figure out how this was relevant to the story. Then the man servant comes out and starts sucking the nipples of the child vampire and the MC stands there sickened but doing NOTHING. My mind can barely wrap around the images this book gave me. They were disturbing and only thrown in for an ick surprise factor and nothing else.

Do not read this book. In fact boycott its very existence. I will be putting this piece of trash up for sale on amazon asap. And it’s a Dracula novel… I usually keep them, even when they are bad… But this one… no way.

The Laughing Corpse- Laurel K Hamilton


** spoiler alert ** Okay so Laughing Corpse…..
Still about a 3 star book. I enjoyed the zombies, the Animators Inc stuff. I liked that there was no sex, barely anything between her and Jean Claude (though it was funny when she had to eat her words and ask him for help lol). I liked the comedy club and Anita being really upset about her penguins getting gore on them. All the in-between stuff and even the crime plot with the evil wheel chaired villain and bad guy Voodoo priestess was pretty awesome.
LHK knows how to write an interesting posse for her MC characters. Or at least she did, new books, not so much….. But it is Anita that in this day and age I have a problem with. She totally gets on Manny’s case about the Human Sacrifice thing even though Manny was a different person and it was twenty years ago. Cut him some slack?! And does Anita every apologize for being a bitch after she does it ( who CARES about why) nope, nada. How often do we even see this Oh-So-Important character again (the man who taught her all she knew?) ? Like barely at all.
I think if they are not a paranormal character LKH just feels no use for them and they drop out of the series without even a decent goodbye scene Except Ronnie, whom she turns into a bitch which SUCKS Seriously by the end of the series how many human normal friends does Anita have: Three, Dolph and their relationship status changes like the wind, Zerbrowski, and Edward not exactly normal.
So yes, again I have to say as a grown up woman I find that Anita herself is the BIGGEST problem in this series. She is judgmental, has bad fashion taste, is morally righteous, throws away her female friends like toilet paper and has low self esteem that is really forced just to make the reader like her and sympathize with her….it’s ridiculous….. OMG!!! I think she and Sookie Stackhouse must be twin sisters separated at birth! BARF.
Without this character, or if we changed her up a bit (while yes I do appreciated the feminist output in this series it feels almost unnatural and some of it just makes Anita a bitch and stupid) this series would be pretty damn awesome.

Masque of the Red Death -Bethany Griffin

** spoiler alert ** My favorite Edgar Allen Poe tale is Masque of the Red Death, one of my favorite horror movies is Masque with Vincent Price playing Prince Prospero, one of the best villains, ever. In my personal opinion.

So when I saw there was a YA retelling of this my heart skipped a few beats. Any one who knows me know I love a good retelling, fairy tale, famous story or historical event. But this book was a bit of a let down.

First I do want to mention that the imagery in this book was brilliant, astounding and breath taking. It was the plot line and the characters that made it fall flat for me. Ms. Griffin’s descriptions of the clothing, buildings, masks and society had such color it was a pity that many of her characters were one note and that the plot was failed where it could have been a beautiful steampunk, disturbing story of debauchery and death. which the author was TRYING for

So here we go:

1) Araby- the MC- is a depressing, immature, suicidal, poetry reading emo with no real personality. She betrays her family for some guys she’s never really spent time with and just makes one wrong decision after another. I could not relate to her pitiful my brother died years ago, I’m gonna get drunk and inject drugs into my system every chance I get, Oh woe is me! attitude.

2) Love triangle-SICKSICKSICKSICK to DEATH of love triangles, or foursomes etc…etc… In real life moody, not so pretty girls with no personality do NOT get more than one boy. I mean even HOT girls don’t have more than one eligible bachelor following them at a time, usually. Granted novels are supposed to distract you, take you away…But I am SICK of this trend. Stupid Twilight, stupid indecisive Bella. Stupid LKH and her horny whorey characters. I blame you for this.

3) Elliot- I like Elliot, I always enjoy a good hot sociopath with an agenda. However even Elliot, who we gets loads of details about comes across as fairly one dimensional. He is the hero, in a anti-hero kind of way. Like Batman, dark and willing to do what normal good guys won’t.

4) Will- You WANT to like this character. He’s the awesome hero! The normal one, he’s working menial labor to take car of his little brother and sister. But he betrays the MC in the end and while she still loves him (speaking as a woman who has BEEN betrayed it pretty much kills the love right out of you.) he winds up a douche bag, (even if he was forced to do so). However if I read the next book we’ll probably see more of him, maybe he’ll redeem himself. He didn’t want to betray her.

5) Father and Mother- I really liked these characters. Her father is distant and seems to not care about her but his minimal presence actually is pretty powerful and gives him the feeling of a larger character, the scientist, the fighter. And the reader gets a feel of how much he actually LOVES his selfish daughter. Araby’s mom, while at first she reads as weak the reader finally realizes that she is a survivor…And then their dumb daughter betrays them and puts their life in jeopardy.

6) April- This is a weird character for me. She disappears not even half way through the book and while Elliot and Araby are worried about her, she just shows up and then at the end you finally find out where she went. In a movie her part could be cut out.

7) The bad guys- Prospero was not nearly the sick, sadistic, indulgently grotesque villain he could have been. Rev. Malcontent is just lame, he’s a threat always in the back ground, but doesn’t come out until 30 pages before the end in a big BANG. These villains could really have been worked better.

8) Post Apocalyptic/end of civilization crap- I am tired of this genre, almost as much as I have tired of vampires, angels, zombie, mermaids, and fairies. I wanna see more witches, were creatures, demons and creative retellings that don’t touch what has already been done 1000 times over.

9) The plague- This shouldn’t even be called The Masque of the Red Death when the Red Death doesn’t appear until the end and the whole book focuses on the Weeping Sickness. Sure it will be important later, but if you are going to give something a title that inspires scenes of multi colored rooms, pleasure-seeking parties and the appearance of death himself, you should really have the Red Death be the main fear.

10) The end- The end was the best part and is the reason I will probably read the sequel. However, I care more about the minor characters than the main ones and this is a problem.

So three stars mainly because the imagery was amazing, that idea was pretty good and I am interested to see where she takes Dance of the Red Death.