It's very hard to like a book when you hate the main character. Joseph O’Loughlin is a shining example of everything I despise. He is self-centered, wIt's very hard to like a book when you hate the main character. Joseph O’Loughlin is a shining example of everything I despise. He is self-centered, whiny, deceitful, unprofessional and weak. In short, he’s a lying, cheating bastard.
Postmodern fiction is full of antiheroes, but most of them have one redeeming quality you can hold on to. Joe has none. Robotham stripped him of anything a reader could like. The only thing left is the fact that he has Parkinson’s desease. I’m ashamed to admit there were times when I thought he deserved it.
The killer was pretty much clear all along, but his reasons weren’t, and that kept me guessing the entire time. I must have changed my mind a million times. The twist ending came as a bit of a surprise – I knew there was a second killer, but I had no idea who it was.
This would have been a solid four-star book for me, except that there were times when I couldn’t concentrate on the mystery because I was busy imagining hundred different ways to hurt Joe O’Loughlin! That’s also the reason why I won’t be reading the rest of the series. I just can’t force myself to spend another minute with the man.
(view spoiler)[I was SO angry with Joe’s wife for taking him back in the end! She should have thrown his self-indulgent ass out! Not only did he cheat on Julianne, but it was his stupidity and cowardice that got poor Elise killed. (hide spoiler)]
Read-along adventures with 365andMe are always so much fun! Thank you! We should do it again real soon. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The city of Scranton, Pennsylvania abounds with supernatural beings of all sorts – vampires, werewolves, ghouls, wizards and the occasional demon. OfThe city of Scranton, Pennsylvania abounds with supernatural beings of all sorts – vampires, werewolves, ghouls, wizards and the occasional demon. Of course, with all this magic out in the open, the ‘live and let unlive’ policy the city is so proud of doesn’t always work out very well. There are witches who use black magic, a vampire is likely to bite an unwilling victim (especially if he thinks he can get away with it) and goblins have developed a liking for bank robberies and meth. The Occult Crime Unit, where only the best and the craziest detectives can find their place, was formed to deal with such cases.
My name is Markowski. I carry a badge.
When a wizard turned vampire gets killed in the most gruesome way, detective Stanley Markowski and his new partner are called to investigate. Normally Stan wouldn’t lose much sleep over a dead vampire or ten, but this case feels like the beginning of something much larger and far more dangerous. As it turns out, the vampire was the keeper of an incredibly dangerous book called Opus Mago. Here’s how the leader of the supernatural community explains it: Making use of the spells contained in the Opus Mago would be similar to what a friend of mine once said about studying the work of the philosopher Hegel: one must be highly intelligent in order to do such, and profoundly stupid to wish to. It would seem that one such person has arrived in Stranton and it’s now up to Stan and his partner Karl to stop him or her while there’s still time.
Whenever I discover an exciting new urban fantasy series, I feel like a child on Christmas morning. Thanks to Justin Gustainis, I’ve opened my presents early this year! I have to be honest here: I was a little skeptical when I requested Hard Spell. I thought it might be ok at best, but I never even considered the possibility that it would be this good. A male author and a male protagonist are very uncommon in urban fantasy – that’s why the quality of this book makes me even happier. Gustainis did everything right: his world is just dark enough to make you worry about the characters, there are enough funny moments to break the tension, and the plot doesn’t drag for a second!
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. 4.5 stars
Not many authors can scare you to death by eliciting vivid, gruesome imagery and,Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. 4.5 stars
Not many authors can scare you to death by eliciting vivid, gruesome imagery and, at the same time, take your breath away with sheer beauty of their prose. I never expected Kendare Blake to be one of those authors – that’s why her book took me completely by surprise. It was very different from what I thought it would be. When I choose a book based on a beautiful cover and an intriguing title (and yes, I really AM that shallow), especially one that none of my friends have read, I usually end up disappointed. Anna Dressed in Blood undoubtedly looks amazing and has a memorable title, but the most interesting part is right where it should be – between the covers.
Cassius Theseus Lowood grew up in an unconventional family. His mother is a white witch and his father was in the business of killing the dead for the second time, at least until one of the ghosts he was hunting murdered him in the most gruesome way. In Cas’s world, dead people often don’t want to leave the place where they died, especially if they were victims of a violent crime. Instead, they stay behind as monstrous echoes of their former selves – most of them seeking revenge for the horrors they experienced. When Cas’s father died, Cas inherited his duties and his powerful athame. He’s been moving all over the country and killing ghosts since he was 14 years old. But he’s never run into a ghost as powerful as Anna nor did he ever try so hard to understand what drives a dead person to murder innocent people. Anna is different in every way. She was killed in 1958. while walking to the prom in her beautiful white dress. When her throat was slit, blood covered her entirely, thus earning her the name Anna Dressed in Blood. Someone cut her throat, but that’s an understatement. Someone nearly cut her head clean off. They say she was wearing a white party dress, and when they found her, the whole thing was stained red. That’s why they call her Anna Dressed in Blood.
Ever since her murder, Anna’s been tied to the house she grew up in. Twenty seven people have tried to enter, and none of them came out alive.
Nothing is black and white in Anna's story: she is both a killer and a victim, a horrible monster and an innocent girl – and just when you think you figured her out, she turns around and does something completely unexpected! Her entire personality changes as quickly as her appearance which forces Cas to doubt every single choice he made since the beginning of his hunt.
I don’t usually watch horror movies and I always do my best to avoid horror novels, (view spoiler)[Oh, so what? I live alone and I scare easily. :D (hide spoiler)], but black witches, white witches, people trapped in walls, Voodoo, athames, ghost hunting, cursed objects, a strong male protagonist and unexpected developments made me very happy that I decided to read this book. I really hope it gets the attention it deserves. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A fair warning: this review contains mild spoilers because writing my rant without them was next to impossible. Proceed at your own risk.
The Sookie StA fair warning: this review contains mild spoilers because writing my rant without them was next to impossible. Proceed at your own risk.
The Sookie Stackhouse series is dying a slow and painful death. Everybody knows it. Charlaine Harris knows it. She knew it even before she signed the deal for the last three books. What’s more, everyone who’s been following the series closely can pretty much tell when she stopped caring. What started off as entertaining and steaming hot (albeit poorly written), is now similar to a diseased and dehydrated animal, just waiting to be crushed by an oncoming car.
So now that we’re here, mourning, let’s make a list of Charlaine Harris’s sins, shall we?
• She wrote no less than ten books going in one direction, only to change course rapidly and unexpectedly in book eleven, thus disappointing countless fans all over the world. • She created one of the hottest, most intriguing male characters in urban fantasy (and in general, ahem), and then she turned him into a monster I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Oh my. No cookies for you, Charlaine. • Every alpha male that ever showed up in the series was (and is) attracted to Sookie. While I may believe that she’s pretty and likable, I fail to see what makes her quite so special. The list is pretty long: Bill, Quinn, Alcide, Sam, Eric and many others, including her cousin and her great-uncle – barf. Also, once they fall in love with her, they never stop pining after her. Never. She ruins them for all other women. • Harris’s overly simplistic writing didn’t bother me back when her books were actually entertaining, but now that her plots are getting weaker with each book, her writing weaknesses are also showing a lot more than before. • She is prone to describing ridiculously meaningless details of her heroine’s everyday life. Case in point: Sookie spends exactly 10% of Deadlocked filling out IRS forms, and another 5% making sweet potato pie. I kid you not. At least now I have the recipe. • Sam. It’s pretty clear by now that Sookie is going to end up with him. He is the guy who’d failed to notice that he was dating a homicidal maniac (she wasn’t as secretive as all that) until a completely random stranger warned him about it. In my opinion, Sam needs to grow a spine before he becomes a serious love interest, and I don’t see that happening. • In one of her many interviews, Harris said that the bond between Sookie and Eric is her biggest regret. The way she chose to get rid of that bond was ridiculous at best. • Faeries. I don’t think I need to elaborate. Everything went downhill when Sookie’s heritage was discovered. Her great-great-grandfather freaks her out, she describes him as both creepy and scary, she saw him no more than five times total, and yet she insists that she loves him. Because he’s beautiful. And a prince. Duh. • Monkey sex and ice packs. Enough said.
This was my very first urban fantasy series. It’s what got me hooked to what later became my favorite genre in the world. That’s why watching it bleed to death right in front of me hurts like hell. It really should have ended with book 8. After that, it just went from bad to worse.
You are more than welcome to contribute to the list in comments. I’ll add some of your comments to the actual list, together with your name, if you want.
Dead Ever After? No, thank you! (Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I’ll read it.)
And so ends yet another series. Darn. I really wanted more of this one.
I can’t decide if Laura Anne Gilman is better at worldbuilding or character buAnd so ends yet another series. Darn. I really wanted more of this one.
I can’t decide if Laura Anne Gilman is better at worldbuilding or character building. The idea of Talent, people with the ability to control electric current, the new generation of witches and wizards; and fatae, the non-human magical creatures, is too good not to be explored in detail, which is why Gilman had two loosely connected series set in this universe. While I never made it past book two in The Retrievers series (not because I didn’t want to, but because I can’t seem to find the time), I’ve been following her Paranormal Scene Investigations series closely, stalking the poor woman, pestering her on Twitter and doing other things I’m too ashamed to admit here and now. It’s her fault, though. *points finger accusingly* You can’t write characters like Bonnie, Venec, Ian, Sharon, Nicky, Pietr and Nifty and expect not to be stalked and begged for more.
The PUPs have a lot to deal with in Dragon Justice, even more than usual. A serial killer has been killing male Talents for the last thirty years, and he appears to be human, not fatae. An untrained storm-seer saw both Ian Stosser and Wren Valere dead in the near future. An unknown Talent is gathering young girls into a coven in Central Park for an unknown purpose. And, most delicious of all, Ben Venec and Wren Valere go against each other, him tightening the security of a museum, and her trying to “retrieve” (by which I mean steal) an item from it, to Bonnie’s never-ending amusement.
Once again Gilman brings her two series together: Wren Valere showed up shortly in Tricks of the Trade while Bonnie was apartment-hunting, but she played a much more significant role in Dragon Justice. I must say that I was very excited about seeing these two heroines work together, although to me, The Wren is far less familiar than Bonnie. I also enjoyed the scenes with their two love interests, Ben Venec and Sergei Didier, especially when they started growling at each other.
If I understood correctly (and really, my attention span is not that short), there will be no more books set in this world. Two e-novellas from Danny’s perspective will be released in 2013. After that, we’ll really have to say goodbye to this world. Gilman is working on a new series I know very little about for now, but I’m definitely curious about that project. ...more
It’s no secret that I am an obsessive person. I like my world in neat little drawers, where everything has its own place and its own name and there’sIt’s no secret that I am an obsessive person. I like my world in neat little drawers, where everything has its own place and its own name and there’s no clutter, confusion, or a single unnecessary item. Hi, my name is Maja and I’m a control freak. Can we still be friends? Therefore, my huge love for Brenna Yovanoff’s books is a bit of a surprise, even to me. She’s an author whose books can’t be properly placed or categorized. Not only is Paper Valentine cross-genre, it combines so many different elements that it’s almost impossible to assign a label to it. It’s infuriating and beautiful at the same time. Oh, and also… it’s kind of magical.
Paper Valentine is a book about a serial killer. It is a book about the loss of a best friend to a long and horrifying illness. It’s about a girl trying to understand herself a bit better. It is about ghosts, hauntings and very strange Ouija boards. It’s about a strange romance between two even stranger kids. But most of all, it’s about things said, and those left unsaid.
The quiet, subtle romance was exactly what I expected from one of my favorite authors. There was this lovely, undeniable, magical understanding between Hannah and Finny that wasn’t flashy or instantaneous at all. And really, who wouldn’t like a guy named Finny Boone? Only Brenna Yovanoff can come up with a name like that and really pull it off – she is the reigning queen of weird and unforgettable character names. Finny himself is just as memorable, though. The only other character who spoke so little but left such an impression also came from Yovanoff’s magical factory. She has a talent for writing silent types and I love her for it.
Hannah takes quiet to a whole new level. Her mind is always racing, but her mouth stays firmly shut. I liked that about her, her ability to keep her thoughts to herself even when other people would probably explode, even when the silence would become awkward and stiff. For his part, Finny isn’t exactly talkative either. His silences are eloquent, but they’re silences nevertheless. To anyone other than Hannah, he’s just a weird, problematic guy, not someone a mother would want to see her precious daughter date, but to Hannah, he is exactly the kind of person she can relate to, talk to, even through a long stretch of silence. When so few words are spoken, a lot of things get communicated differently and the reader ends up with much more useful things.
”It’s not okay,” I whisper, and I don’t just mean his cigarette burns or his hand, but all the catastrophes and the tragedies and the bad, brutal things that happen all the time and everything that makes Finny so quiet. Every awful thing that’s ever happened in the world.
I love that Yovanoff wrote about a real issue without turning Paper Valentine into an Issue Book. I dread issue books, they make me feel claustrophobic and depressed, but Yovanoff wrote about anorexia without making me feel suffocated or overwhelmed. She even went so far as to try and explain the hows and whys of it, but she never stepped onto a podium and started preaching. It was just a natural part of the story. Yes, Hannah had a best friend and yes, that best friend died of anorexia six months prior to the beginning of the story, but the illness itself never took center stage, and neither was it taken lightly or disrespectfully.
Then I cross to the bed and sink down onto the rug, pulling the sheet with me. On the floor, with the sheet over me, I sit with my knees pulled up and my head on my arms. My heart is beating in huge spasms, but under the sheet is safe, like I’m the ghost and Lillian is the real live girl.
Even though I’m pretty good at guessing these things, I remained clueless about the serial killer until the very last minute. Looking back, there were quite a few little warning signs, but I got so caught up in Yovanoff’s gorgeous writing and Finny Boone’s wide shoulders that I failed to notice any of them.
While Paper Valentine doesn’t quite reach the literary and emotional heights of The Space Between, it’s still a book you’ll be proud to own. I know I am.
After a promising start, The Book of Blood and Shadow turned out to be my biggest disappointment in 2012. I never expected to have to struggle to finiAfter a promising start, The Book of Blood and Shadow turned out to be my biggest disappointment in 2012. I never expected to have to struggle to finish this book. In fact, when I ordered a copy, I was pretty certain it would find a place among my favorites, but the more I read, the more disappointed I became. I’ll start with the good…
Characters and relationships are Wasserman’s strong point. I loved getting to know Nora, Chris, Max and Adriane in the first part of the book, loved finding out how their friendship developed, adored reading about Max and Nora and those first months of their relationship. It was all incredibly convincing, the slow falling in love, the realization of differences between a best friend and a boyfriend, Nora’s constant questioning of herself and her place in the group, and that moment when she needed to choose whose number to dial in time of trouble. There were so many layers and complications between these four people, and all of them came from great understanding and experience.
It was easy for me to connect with Nora. She squealed when she got a Latin dictionary for her eleventh birthday; when she was sad or lost, she consoled herself with endless declinations and conjugations… in short, she was a linguist at heart, which made her all the more dear to mine. In addition, both our lives were divided into two periods by a huge event and I was able to recognize how, through Nora’s situation with her brother, Wasserman offered her astute understanding and portrayal of a family devastated by grief.
The premise itself is where it all went wrong. It was just too farfetched – the idea that two college boys and one high school girl could discover something a very determined secret society and hundreds of scholars couldn’t, that the said society was willing to kill for the knowledge, but not research all available texts, Elizabeth’s letters included. The codes were too easy to decipher, the riddles were something a child could solve, everything was just a Google search away and finding the pieces of this precious, mysterious machine proved to be almost effortless. I’m not sure if Wasserman couldn’t do better or if she simply dumbed it down for her targeted young adult audience, but either way, I felt almost insulted by the simplicity of it all.
If I were a Czech citizen, I would be unbelievably angry about the way Wasserman described Prague. What she wrote may very well be true about some god forsaken village in the middle of nowhere, where the communist mindset is indeed still very much alive and hygiene is not high on the list of priorities, but Prague is a beautiful city that combines centuries old culture and modern ways, a city that has moved forward considerably in the last twenty years, and her version of it is simply unfair, or at least outdated. If that’s how she sees Prague, I don’t even dare imagine how she would describe Zagreb, or heaven forbid, Sarajevo. Her words were both inaccurate and rude.
The writing suited me, she has a great feeling for rhythm and punctuation and a talent for using short sentences to emphasize her very dry sense of humor. I do hope that Robin Wasserman’s next project will be a nice contemporary YA (or better yet, New Adult), about growing up, falling in love and finding your place instead of another mystery-adventure-The-Da-Vinci-Code-wannabe novel that simply won’t work, just like this one didn’t. Characters and relationships is where her strengths lie, and everyone should just stick to what they do best.