I am a huge fan of the Anita Blake series, and this is my third reading of Obsidian Butterfly. However, it was my first time listening to it as an audI am a huge fan of the Anita Blake series, and this is my third reading of Obsidian Butterfly. However, it was my first time listening to it as an audiobook. As always, Kimberly Alexis brings the story to life. She is a fantastic reader, and she makes each voice unique. As far as I am concerned, she is Anita Blake. Penguin Audio also provides extra special effects and sounds, such as sinister music and gunshots, which add to the suspense of the novel. These are small details that make the book feel like a radio drama, which is really exciting.
What sets this book apart from others in the series is the emphasis on Edward. This is the first book where we get to learn more about his background and home life. There are many fans of Edward, so it was a great idea for Laurell K. Hamilton to finally give us what we wanted in terms of this mysterious character. After all, Edward is a mentor and teacher to Anita. He is the ultimate frenemy. We never know if they are going to work together or kill each other. Their constant bickering can get a little annoying, but, if I had to put my money on one of them, it would be Anita. The rivalry between the two characters continues in this book, and they are quite a few surprises about Edward that many readers will be shocked to discover. There is one scene where Edward calls Anita his soul mate, and, after reading this book, I would say that it is an apt description.
There are many supporting characters that are equally strong as our main characters. My favorites are the ones from Edward's past, such as Olaf and Bernardo. They are complex and have interesting and mysterious pasts themselves. Olaf is especially fun to "play with." I would love to see Anita and Olaf duel it out. The vampires in Obsidian Butterfly are fascinating, and they rely on myths and seemingly cultural practices as part of their power base. It is difficult not to write about all of the supporting characters because there is so much that I want to say. Unfortunately, if I describe their roles too much I will spoil the book for first time readers. So, if you want to discover more about them, pick up a copy and start reading!
On another note, this is the first Anita Blake book that features children as cursory characters. It was an important addition to the plot, but there are also some scenes involving children that can be triggering for those sensitive to this subject matter. Hence, you want to come into the story with the reminder that this is a fantasy/horror genre, and that it is not real. Hamilton's descriptions of these scenes are macabre and traumatizing. It highlights her skills as an author and storyteller.
The plot of Obsidian Butterfly is similar to many others in the Blake series. There are countless victims dying by the hand of an unknown villain. Anita and Edward need to team up to stop this monster. Along the way, there are loads of men lusting after our beautiful and powerful heroine, but she continues to rebuff them as she struggles with her feelings for Jean Claude and Richard, who both make cameo appearances in the book.
What sets the plot apart from the others in the Anita Blake series is the complicated cultural and indigenous mythologies Hamilton includes in the narrative. Some of it appears historically accurate based on my education in this area. The pronunciations of the languages and unusual phrasings were well done by Alexis. I wanted more from Anita as a half Mexican woman, but she is not in touch her with indigenous roots. I would be curious to conduct more research on some of the stories presented to see how truly accurate they are. My big concern is that indigenous historical practices are often demonized and presented as uncouth and violent. These mentalities about the peoples were used as justifications by the Spanish to not only colonize but conquer bodies and land. It also was a push for Christianity to become a major religion in the Southwest. Hamilton does present accurate representations of the Spanish as a type of ignorant villain, but I worry that her overall message is still a binary one. For example, yes, the Spanish were bad for pillaging and raping indigenous women. However, the indigenous peoples themselves are still conducting worse practices even today. The entire situation is complicated by the fact that there is vampire involvement in all these presentations. So, it is just important to remember that this is fiction. To really learn about an ancient indigenous time period, it is best to take a college class. Do not believe every fictional book you read.
Other reviewers complained about misogyny in Obsidian Butterfly. I admit that there are no strong female characters in this book except for the protagonist. At the very end, another woman steps up and takes charge of her family, which is a huge surprise to Anita. The deemphasis of strong women is a result of Anita herself, who is the center of the story and series. She also works in a field that is male orientated, so she often takes on masculine qualities as a survival technique while downplaying what she categorizes as feminine qualities as unnecessary or weak. Hamilton addresses these issues later in the series and provides some strong permanent female characters that rival Anita herself.
My main complaint, as I mentioned, is the violence, which is another point that reviewers write about. It is a specific type of violence that is unique to Obsidian Butterfly. I cannot recall any other book in the series that is graphic in this particular way. So, you just want to take breaks as needed when you hit these scenes.
Finally, the ending was too fast for me. The epilogue was overly neat and tidy. It mentioned characters such as Ronnie and Catherine. To best honest, who really cares about these women? They had no place in the story whatsoever, so why mention them in the epilogue? Hamilton drops these characters as the series continues, so it becomes a moot point. This book receives a slightly lower rating from the other Anita Blake books because of the violence and the disappointing ending. ...more
This Black Dagger Brotherhood book had a lot of potential. As a character in the series, Butch is a strong one. There is a lot of mystery surroundingThis Black Dagger Brotherhood book had a lot of potential. As a character in the series, Butch is a strong one. There is a lot of mystery surrounding him, and many of those points are revealed in this book. There are also a lot of new mysteries that develop about him (The Destroyer) as well as his role in the Brotherhood. I loved all those aspects in this book as well as the emphasis on his friendship with Vishous. Marissa was the weakest point of this novel.
I never really liked nor disliked Marissa when she was first introduced in Dark Lover. She was quiet, meek, and not much of a character. Even when Butch starts to show a heated interest in her, I felt "meh" about her.
In Lover Revealed, we learn a lot more about Marissa-- her privileged upbringing and her relationship with Havers, her brother. For the most part, I appreciated these new depths to her character--it got really boring only knowing her as a 300-year-old virgin. As her character develops, I liked her less and less. She was no better than her brother, and she puts Butch through some ridiculously painful emotions and situations all because she cannot handle a warrior mate. As she gains her own strengths and confidences, she puts Butch down for discovering his own newfound purposes in life. It made me wish Butch had a better partner who complimented his strengths.
What saved this book was the aforementioned background history about Butch, the fight scenes with the Lessers, and the expose on the relationship between Butch and Vishous. I cannot believe how close they are. It was inspiring to see two men so intimate. They share a lot of emotions, and they constantly save each other. There is a quote about the balance between the light and the dark, and the two men epitomize this with their friendship. I want to read even more about their adventures, and I am especially excited about the next book in the series Lover Unbound because it will feature Vishous.
For the audiobook, Jim Frangione performed another excellent title from the series. I enjoy him as a reader, although he performs the male voices better than the female voices. His best female voice is Marissa, but that fact does not make me like her more.
At this time, my favorite book in the series is still Rhage's and Mary's story (Lover Eternal)....more
The premise is promising. The first chapter or two is interesting. Unfortunately, Alpha falls short of attaining an erotica status I associate with auThe premise is promising. The first chapter or two is interesting. Unfortunately, Alpha falls short of attaining an erotica status I associate with authors like C.D. Reiss. Like many reviewers before me, this book is another version of Fifty Shades of Grey. It is equally weak, and I am disappointed that I wasted so much time reading it. When I discovered it was the first book in a trilogy, again mimicking its predecessor, I was shocked. One word came to mind: REALLY? Is another book truly needed in this train wreck of a story? Apparently, yes. The storyline continues to get weirder, at least as described by the book summaries. There is no way I will waste money on the next ones to see what happens between Valentine Roth and Kyrie St. Claire-- both their names equally grated on my nerves as I read.
The story is difficult to talk about without spoiling the "surprise" twists and turns. Some I saw and others I did not -- the porno sex distracted me from the big reveal at the end. Needless to say, this book reminds everyone that nothing is ever free, and everyone has a price -- Duh! Apparently, Kyrie's price was $120,000 and lifetime security for her mother and brother. Oh yeah-- also an endless supply of mind-blowing sex.
If you want something light-hearted with little depth and lots of sex, this is the book for you! I enjoy those types of books myself, but I could not get past the ridiculous premise, narrative holes, and terrible writing. For instance, there was a lot of repetitive points about how Valentine was a god among men; he was stunningly beautiful with his Aryan blue eyes and blonde hair. I just get tired of the reminders, as if the author had nothing new to add to her story. We get it. Valentine is perfection, and Kyrie is lucky to have him.
There are some racial undertones that disturbed me as well. The few people of color who were mentioned were either criminals or the housekeeper for our mysterious billionaire. I was uncomfortable with how bodies of color were disposable characters. Class distinctions were emphasized between appropriate poor, like white Kyrie struggling to survive with decent, honest labor, and low-class Mexican thugs who probably survived through illegal activities. The emphasis on class might reflect city life, but I cannot even remember where the story begins. Meanwhile, the housekeeper is a lonely Mexican woman who is so happy to finally have a friend in Kyrie. She praises Kyrie and defends her boss, as any employee would. He is a good man despite his strange tendencies of stalking and ownership. Kyrie falls into a comfortable position of power as an unwitting white savior for Eliza.
Most of the supporting characters are inconsequential. There is Harrison, a general jack of all trades kind of employee, and Kyrie's best friend, Layla. Layla intrigued me, and I believed in their friendship. I actually wondered more about Layla and her life choices than I did about Kyrie.
The ideas about an alpha male were promising, but they really go nowhere in this book. I am sure Jasinda Wilder saved those juicy tidbits for the later novels. Still, I found myself wanting to analyze the characters with a psychoanalytic lens, especially in terms of Greek mythologies. Ideas of ownership, giving oneself completely to another who takes control from you, is an alluring concept. It leaves the owned in a state of blissful submission. When you do not have to think, someone else thinks for you. It is especially fruitful if this someone else is an individual who you trust to have your best interests at heart. Suddenly, you are granted a life that many wish for but never attain-- a carefree existence. Gone are the daily stresses of having to make difficult choices, many of which become hard life lessons. Instead, one can focus on passion, sex, and other baser needs. Wow! This is so tempting, but I definitely think it can only exist in the fictions of our minds or perhaps if you find yourself with a billionaire with unlimited funds and transportations to take you around the world.
The relationship between Kyrie and Valentine was "meh." There was a lot of passion, which eventually leads to love. However, I was not a believer. I did not see either character demonstrate their love through their actions. Valentine does have a pretty way with words, which Kyrie constantly questions: "Who talks like that anyways?" She explains it away because Valentine is British and maybe the British have a certain flare with words. Valentine's language contrasted nicely with Kyrie's vernacular potty mouth. Surprisingly, Valentine puts up with her derogatory language skills despite the fact that numerous characters point out that he does not like people to curse around him. Could this be an example of Valentine's love for Kyrie? Like a proper boyfriend, he accepts her uncouth faults. I kept thinking how much fun Wilder could have with her characters if Valentine started a swear jar for Kyrie. Force her to put a buck in every time she curses, and that will show her who truly owns her.
As for the author herself, I do not know a lot about Jasinda Wilder . I did enjoy her afterward. She sounds like a lovely person who really respects her fans and wants to please her readers. Her genuineness, and the desire that I wished I had liked this book for her, bumped the rating up from 1 star to 2 stars.
The cover art and presentation of the book, and the later books in the trilogy, are simple but beautiful. I love the splash of color on each cover, especially this dark red. It hearkens to memories of my wedding. My dress had a splash of deep red on the train. In fact, it was the cover art that first drew me in. Bravo with your presentation, Wilder!
Read Alpha for a jaunty romp. There are not a lot of sexual experimentations, but there are plenty of sex scenes to keep the book bouncing. If you attempt to find depth or a stronger story, you will be sorely disappointed, and not in an achingly good way.
I am a big fan of Amanda Quick. I practically own all of her books, and I am slowly buying them as multiple formats: Audiobooks, ebooks, and either paI am a big fan of Amanda Quick. I practically own all of her books, and I am slowly buying them as multiple formats: Audiobooks, ebooks, and either paperback or hardcover print copies. My favorite Amanda Quick novels are her earliest ones, such as Desire, Dangerous, or Seduction. Scandal is another favorite. I really enjoy Emily and Simon's unique story.
Emily is a more likeable character than Simon, who was always a little rough around the edges for me. I keep reminding myself that he is a dragon, and dragons are impenetrable. Yet, Emily finds a way through his tough skin to touch his very heart and soul.
The book touches on issues of gambling and suicide. I was frustrated that not all the supporting characters understand that gambling is a truly devastating addiction that affects many. It is true, though, that you cannot help those who refuse to admit they have a problem. Emily and Simon save who they can and, in the process, bring their families closer together to heal past hurts and sins.
Anne Flosnik narrated the audible version of the book. I seek her readings of Amanda Quick's novels first because she captures the voices and emotions the best.
Even with some slightly deeper and darker topics, such as the gambling addiction and suicide, the book is a lighthearted romance. If you seek a fun read with a happy ending, this is the book for you. ...more
**spoiler alert** I wanted to like Wrong. The audible preview was very cute, and the narrator Erin Mallon did a fantastic job with the voices. I enjoy**spoiler alert** I wanted to like Wrong. The audible preview was very cute, and the narrator Erin Mallon did a fantastic job with the voices. I enjoyed the quirky writing and jokes as I rarely read romance novels with so much humor. By the time we reach the gynecologist scene, my rating dropped. This trend continued as the book progressed, especially at the lack of development for the antagonist Gina.
First, there is not enough character development for me. As far as I was concerned, Sophie was a child throughout the entire book. She started off young and immature, which was fine. I expected nothing less from a twenty-one year old virgin. However, I expected her character to change as the story progressed. I thought she would start acting older, especially as she was in a relationship with a man practically twice her age. This does not happen until the epilogue.
In general, all the characters were one-dimensional. They had no depth. Just because the genre is romantic comedy does not mean the characters can be flat. Other reviewers mentioned the similarities with Fifty Shades of Grey, and I concur. To some degree, E.L. James' writing was better purely because the author developed the characters across three books. As Wrong is a standalone novel, I am left wanting.
The next portions will contain spoilers. Beware if you have not read the book.
S P O I L E R S
I was determined to give this book a 2-star rating. I appreciated Jana Aston's efforts with her first book. Plus, I really enjoyed reading this book with my best friend. My feelings drastically changed as I found out more about Gina.
Gina is the villain, or as close to a villain as the book will allow outside of Luke's snobby family. Gina was a terrible antagonist because of the propaganda this book promotes. First of all, Gina is a successful heart surgeon. She is a beautiful career woman who should be really confident about her capabilities. If anything, she represents a role model for inspiring young women who want to become surgeons. Instead, the author paints her as a bitter, ex-fiance who will do anything to get Luke back, even become his patient because she apparently cannot have children. Gina terrorizes the young protagonist, who is an accounting undergraduate major. Gina is unstable and crazy. Why does Luke even continue to talk with her? Well, maybe because this is not high school where we cannot speak with an ex-partner. After all, we are all mature adults....except Sophie.
Jana Aston reveals that Gina and Luke broke up because she got pregnant from Luke. Rather than keep the baby, she had an abortion. How dare she! How dare she decide what she wants to do with her body! How selfish of her. And, of course, like any woman who has an abortion, she cannot have children now.
These plot holes and inaccurate understandings about a woman's choice to choose pregnancy reveals a very Christian narrative. The woman who has an abortion is unstable and evil. The woman who chooses to have her child lives happily ever after. Even Luke, in the epilogue, exclaims over how Sophie chose to have it all-- a career, loving relationship, and a family. Suddenly, Sophie is super woman with two young girls and a third child on the way. She has it all, right? Oh yeah, what does she do for a living again, Luke? I must have missed where she works when you were getting all giddy over the possibility of another child. Even with her third child, Sophie cannot track her own menstrual cycle.
I want Sophie to be happy. I like that she gets everything she wants. With a romance novel, the reader expects a happily-ever-after. I do not like that Sophie's happy ending is at the expense of women who choose to have abortions. As far as I am concerned, Jana Aston needed a different villain, or at least a different reason for Gina to be as "crazy" as Sophie implies. Pragmatically, I cannot see a successful heart surgeon as a jealous rival to an ungraduated college student whose major is accounting. I am sorry, but you cannot compare an accountant with a heart surgeon. And, six years ago when Gina was pregnant, I imagine her career as a surgeon would have ended with the birth of a child. Yet, the reader never gets to see Gina's perspective except through the filtered lens of Sophie and Luke, who both have reasons to paint her in a negative light.
In general, the dynamics between the two women promote the usual girl on girl villainy we see in books and entertainment. I am tired of this same old story. Women hating on women rather than supporting each other. As I mentioned earlier, Gina is a strong and successful woman. Women account for 19% of all surgeons in the United States. We are sorely underrepresented in this field, so why villainize one of the few representations we have of women in this field in such a non-developed manner?
Also, what even happened to Gina? After she discovered that Sophie was pregnant and that Luke was staying with her, Gina slinked away. There was no resolution between her behaviors toward Sophie and no confrontation between Luke and Gina. They still work in the same hospital. Seems like they will continue to run into each other. If Gina was indeed sick, then I hoped she received the help she needed. I would not want that heart doctor operating on me.
There are no strong female role models in this book. Sophie spends the entire book trying to not turn into her mother, who she definitely sees as a whore for sleeping with a married man. After all, having an affair with a married man is a sin. Sophie's mom got her comeuppance when she tragically died young. Sophie never forgives her mother for these past sins, and the whole reason she is afraid to have a baby is because she does not want to be her mother. It takes her half-brother, Boyd, to point out that Sophie is nothing like her mom. After all, she is not having an affair with a married man. She came to her future husband an unspoiled virgin, and, now, she comes with her own inherited trust fund.
Sophie, you have nothing to worry about as a new mother. Conveniently, you are set for life thanks to your half-brother Boyd and your father's trust fund. Plus, you have a rich doctor that wants to marry you and have a family with you.
The scene with all the baby socks in Luke's office was supposed to be endearing. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect for me. Luke planned to have a baby with Sophie before she got pregnant. All his talks about being safe were ridiculous because he was biding his time until Sophie was ready. Sophie claims that she was diligent with her birth control, so, again, how did she get pregnant? That was never revealed, but it seems like Luke let something slip so he could have everything he wanted that Gina denied him. He knew Sophie was young and impressionable. As her first and only sexual relationship, it was a sure bet that she would willingly marry him when the time came. Sophie never considered an abortion, even though children were not in her plan at this time. None of her college friends recommended an abortion. In the end, Sophie was the good girl. She did what Luke wanted, and, as a result, she got everything she wanted. Poor Gina. If only she had considered what Luke wanted. Maybe they would be married instead of Sophie.
The moral of the story: Insert vague Christian ideals to stress to women how to live their lives. If you are chaste, do everything your man wants (or make his pleasure your number one concern), and keep any pregnancies, you can have everything you want in life. Sexual affairs with married men are bad! Abortions are bad! An abortion can make it harder to get pregnant when you are finally ready (although this is never confirmed by Gina because she just disappears). In the end, if you do not act like a "good girl," society will see you as unstable-- crazy even! You will sacrifice the happily-ever-after and perfect relationship that every heterosexual woman wants....more
I do not remember the last time I read a mystery/thriller, so I was pleasantly surprised by Max Allan Collins' What Doesn't Kill Her. The book startsI do not remember the last time I read a mystery/thriller, so I was pleasantly surprised by Max Allan Collins' What Doesn't Kill Her. The book starts off with a gruesome crime that kept me riveted until the end. I highly recommend that you do not read this book late at night like I did. It not only kept me from sleep as I tried to solve the mystery, but it also caused nightmares. Collins' writing is vivid and realistic, so I often felt like I was with Jordan Rivera and her friends. I was part of the crime solving team.
Jordan Rivera was a strong protagonist. I liked that she was a badass heroine who was a survivor. Despite a terrible tragedy and violation to her body, she uses her anger to not only help herself but others who were victims of similar psychopaths. She relies on herself first and foremost. There are hints of a romance, but they do not overwhelm the progression of the story. The hope for a normal life, or at least a normal relationship, are kept in the shadows of possibility because the book is not about that. It is about vigilante revenge and discovering the truth behind a madman's motive to murder.
Jordan has a hodgepodge of supporting characters in her quest for vengeance. She meets them at her Victim's Support Group. Afterward, they go to a local coffeeshop to sleuth as they try to hunt down the perpetrators of their respective crimes. They quickly find commonalities in their own stories of pain. Are they hunting a serial killer that connects them in ways they cannot even image? You will need to read the book to find out!
Mark Pryor is the young high school almost sweetheart to Jordan. He never forgot what the monster did to Jordan's family, and now he hunts the same person as she does, although he is restricted by the law. The dynamics between the friends is riveting and even a little humorous. Despite their ten-year absence from each other, they connect on a deeper level. One of my favorite scenes is when Mark becomes an unofficial honorary member of their Victim Support Group. Their sleuth group reads like an adult version of Scooby Doo. Their different theorizing and personal investigations quickly lead them to new insights about what really happened.
The killer is an active character in the book. There are numerous chapters where the point of view switches to the killer's. The thoughts are italicized, and the reasons behind the killer's crimes left me reeling in horror. The final scene between the killer and Jordan is not one to miss. She trained the past ten years for such a confrontation, and author Max Allan Collins foreshadows what this confrontation will be like when Jordan takes down three muggers near her apartment complex. Let's just say that she is a capable fighter.
As for the reveal, I was about 75% of the way through the book before I finally guessed the identity of the killer and fully grasped the insane reasoning that justified all the actions perpetrated against others. I like it when mysteries are not easily solved, so this book succeeded for that stringent requirement.
The ending was bittersweet. I both loved and hated it. There is not enough closure for comfort, but there is still hope. Despite its darkness, What Doesn't Kill Her offers the reader hope that people can come back from broken spaces.
Overall, this novel would adapt well as a Hollywood film. I look forward to reading more by Max Allan Collins. If you are lucky enough to pick up this book, which is actually a very quick read, you will not be disappointed. It has mystery, horror, suspense, action, and even a little romance. It delivered a punch from the first chapter to the very last that will surely leave you breathless....more
The Killing Dance is my all time favorite Anita Blake novel. The only book that rivals it is the first one, Guilty Pleasures. What I love about this bThe Killing Dance is my all time favorite Anita Blake novel. The only book that rivals it is the first one, Guilty Pleasures. What I love about this book is the relationship between Anita and Jean Claude. I have read this book at least three times, and I often revisit the bathroom scene with Anita and Jean Claude. It is well-written, and I feel the angst, love, and tensions between these two people just learning to trust and love each other.
Simultaneously, I start to dislike Richard in this novel based on how he treats Anita. It is interesting to reflect on who he is as a person compared to how he progresses in the later novels, especially in terms of Asher. Richard's character is too one-dimensional in this book.
The fight scenes between some of the villains, such as Marcus, Reina, and Gabriel are not something to miss. Anita is a strong woman that kicks ass no matter how much the odds are stacked against her.
My most recent reread was with the audio book via audible.com. Kimberly Alexis is an amazing reader. She does all the voices so well, and the music productions during some of the high-tension scenes makes me feel like I am listening to an old-fashioned radio show.
Any fan of the series, or even newcomers, should give this book a try. You will not be disappointed. It represents Laurell K. Hamilton at her best, and it sets up storylines that will occur in later books, such as an adventure with Edward.
On a side note, I love the title. It is very fitting, and the reader will find out why as they learn more about the history of Richard's pack. Even on this third reading, I found myself surprised by some of the outcomes at the end of the book. Hamilton is a master of suspense, romance, and fantasy. This is an exciting read that you do not want to miss....more