Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Danse Macabre - The Dance of Death or The Anita Series

At least - the death of the Anita series for me. Today's review is of Danse Macabre by Laurell K Hamilton the latest installment in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. I'm not sure how to go about reviewing this particular book. I went into reading it, expecting more of the same she has been putting out, Anita has sex multiple times with multiple men - Anita gets a new power - Anita has some more sex - some one/thing dies. Close but no cigar this time.

I used to love the Anita Blake novels, I loved them when they really were about plot and not sex. I still read them, but will admit that I've become less enamored of them. In this latest Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novel, an all Vampire ballet troop is coming to town for their last stop on tour and Jean-Claude, master of the City of St Louis, has invited several other Masters to come to town to celebrate. Two of the masters Jean-Claude invites he considers friends and if the way they treat Anita is how friends behave, she doesn't even want to think about how their enemies will behave.

Anita may be pregnant, Mommie Dearest (Marmee Noir - The Mother of All Darkness) pays a couple of visits to Anita, Anita needs a new pomme de sang (and all the visiting vamps have brought possible canadits), she has to deal with her lion beast, her men, and herself.

My main complaint with this book was the sex was just TOO very much. Not, too much as in that it was the whole book, but too much as in it wasn't even sexy in this book, in my opinion. Simply TOO MUCH.

Also, the ending was forced, it almost seemed like a kiss off. Like LKH simply couldn't figure out how to end it so she did a pseudo epilogue and I wasn't sure if she did it this way because it may be a while for any more, or if she truly ran out of ideas as to how to end it. There was too much going on in this book, and none of it felt completed. It really and truly felt like half a book, although it weighs in at 483 pages.

It wasn't all bad - in fact, some of it was deeply touching and I thought I'd share one of my favorite parts of the book: We stood barely two feet apart, but it might as well have been a thousand miles. Some distances are made out of things bigger and harder to travel across than mere miles. We stood and stared at each other across a chasm of misunderstanding, and pain, and love.

It was that passage that gave me glimpses of why I got hooked on the Anita series to begining with. The truth in that paragraph and the beauty in which she conveys it, well, it's just amazing.

If you are an Anita fan, you will probably love this book. If you have never read any of the series before, DO NO START with this one.

Take Care

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Snipped In The Bud - A Flower Shop Mystery

No catchy title today - sorry, one just isn't coming to me yet. I'll try harder on the next review. I've been MIA lately, all over bloggerland, my sister came to town and I've been visiting with her and my family over at my parents house and today is my errand day but I loved this book and wanted to share before I got on with today's business.

I just realized that the last two books I have reviewed were books in a series and truth be told, this book - and the two others I will be posting reviews for soon - are also books in a series. I promise, I do read stand alones and will post one soon. But on with the review.

From the back cover: When I swapped the thorny problems of law school for the budding business of my flower store, Bloomers, I vowed that I, Abby Knight, wouldn't be caught dead visiting that hateful campus ever again. But sometimes a girl's got to face down her dragons....

Someone orders a black rose for Abby's old law school nemesis, Professor "Snapdragon" Puffer. But her plans for a speedy delivery are foiled when he catches her putting the bloom on his desk and sends it straight into the trash. Abby flees in terror, only to run smack into Carson Reed, the professor who recently had her arrested at an animal rights protest. After a biting exchange, Abby storms out of the building. But if there's anything she can't stand, it's injustice and bullies. So, even though she knows bad luck comes in threes, she ignores the advice of her sometimes boyfriend, hunk-a-licious Marco Salvare, and heads back in to retrieve her dignity and her flower - only to find the rose now decorating a dead professor, and herself the prime suspect......

(Note:I have to give the person who wrote this copy a virtual high-five. They did an excellent job setting up the book without giving a thing away. And, as you all know, it's a rare thing for me to give kudo's to back cover copy.)

Snipped in the Bud is the fourth book in the Kate Collins Flower Shop Mystery Series. I have been following the series since book one Mum's the Word . And I have to say, they just keep getting better. It seems that Collins is finally hitting her stride with Abby and I am very excited for the next release. Something that hasn't happened before. Yes, I have bought every one of the books, but none of them were ones I remembered release dates for, Snipped has changed all of that.

Abby Knight is the 26 year old owner of the small flower shop "Bloomers". At only 5'2" she's a shorty with a big heart and flaming red hair. She's also a meddler. Abby likes to see justice served and loves to fight for the little guys. Naturally, her tendency to meddle often finds her in the middle of murder investigations. Usually she's fighting to clear some one else's' name, but this time, Abby needs to clear her own name before she winds up in jail for murder.

Abby's world is filled with people that love her, the two women who work for her - Grace and Lottie, Marco Salvare - the hottie owner of Down The Hatch a bar and grill just down the street from Bloomers, her mother - who loves to create works of "art" (you should read about some of the so called art this woman creates), her father - an ex cop who was shot in the line of duty only to suffer a stroke during surgery, her roommate Nikki - childhood friend since forever, and her cousins Jillian - who has severe marriage issues.

The cast makes for laughs, not ones that have you LOLing, but ones that have you smirking from start to finish. And although Abby knows they mean well, she tends to get just a tad annoyed with them sometimes. The thing is, the way Collins has crafted these books, written in the first person, you too, start to feel Abby's victories, disappointments, and even her lusts. I just love Abby Knight.

So, for a fast fun read, pick up Snipped in the Bud right a way. You do not need to read the first three books in this series to follow along, but trust me, as soon as close the book, you'll be heading to your local bookstore to find the other three. They are so addicting.

Take Care

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Janet Evanovich - Twelve Sharp(er Than the Rest)

Hi, it's me, Chair-Dee again. I want to thank Dee, cause she has now made it possible for me to blog over here whenever I want! She even changed the name to include me!! I'm pumped. As I explained over on my solo blog Lip Service , my nickname is Dee and that is why it is Dee & Dee. Also, if you want us to review one of your favorite books or a book that you have personally written, let us know, we'll read it and give a review. Please note: we will be honest but never cruel.

Now that the intro is over, on with the review. On June 20th, Janet Evanovich released book #12 in the Plum Series titled Twelve Sharp. I am an avid reader of the Plum Series so I went out and bought this book the day after it was released. It was read (red ) in less than 4 hours. What can I say? These books are so funny and fast paced that I have no choice but to gobble them up. If - like me -you are a spoiler slut (and this review doesn't give you enough of a fix) then by all means head on over to the Cherry Forums and look at the Book Discussions and you will find a thread dedicated to this book and also a thread that is dedicated to the rest of the series (just in case you have yet to discover the Fun of Plum).

In Twelve Sharp Stephanie Plum - Bounty Hunter Extraordinaire - is back on the job at Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, and if this was a review for any of the books 2-11 I would simply be able to say "and mayhem ensues" - not that that's a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all, the Plum books are always guaranteed laughs with a touch of mystery. You could buy the book and pretty much know that Stephanie was going to be turned on by Ranger, fight her feelings for Joe, deal with her wacky grandmother, take flack from her mom for not being the "normal woman" the burg is famous for turning out, get her car blown up, and by sheer dumb luck get the bad guy. But, with Twelve, Evanovich actually shows some character growth with Steph, her family is not as big a focus, and Steph is actually driving the same car from scene one to the end.

Twelve starts with the bonds office being short handed. Ranger isn't doing captures much any more, and Vinnie has been writing more bonds than usual. FTA's (Failure To Appear) are piling up and Steph and Lula need to bring them in. Problem is, there are too many. So, while Steph and Lula go after a pervert, a menopausal woman, a car thief, and an arsonist/attempted murderer - Connie advertises for a new Bounty Hunter and Ranger heads to Miami for personal business. Plus, besides helping Steph catch the bad guys - Lula joins Sally Sweet's new band "The What" as singer and gets Grandma Mazur to sing back-up!

The day after Ranger leaves for Miami Steph is confronted by a crazy woman claiming to be Carmen Manoso, Ranger's wife. She says Ranger up and left her over night and she is going to stick to Steph like glue until she gets her hands on Ranger. What we find out is really happening is that some one is trying to take over Ranger's life. He wants to be Ranger and in order to become him, he kidnaps his daughter and hunts Steph.

When Ranger gets back to Trenton he is in hiding while he tries to get his daughter back safely and get this fake-Ranger off the streets. He enlists Steph's help and moves in with her. If, like me, you are a Babe - THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!!!!! We learn a lot about Ranger. This book should have been titled - Ranger's Story.

Oh man, I want to say so much about this book, but I really do not want to spoil your fun. So, to sum up, I will say, Twelve Sharp has shades of One For the Money in that it is a much darker (not as zany and larger than life as the others). Stephanie grows up some, she is starting to think more and take matters into her own hands. With Twelve, Evanovich struck the perfect balance of comedy and suspense. If you haven't read it yet, GO GET IT NOW!!!!!


Something happens for Lula where Tank is concerned.

Stephanie realizes her love for ?????????? (sorry can't give that away ;) ) But I will give you this little book from the book :
"We have unfinished business," Ranger said.
"We always have unfinished business. Just out or morbid curiosity, how would you define your role in my life?"
"I'm dessert,"he said.
"Something that gives me pleasure, but isn't especially good for me?"
"Something that could never be the base of your food pyramid."
See, here's where I was in trouble. Dessert was the base of my food pyramid!

And finally - One of the two men in Stephanie's life is shot in front of her.

Just go get the book! It is the best Plum yet!

Take Care

Friday, July 07, 2006

Kim Harrison Has Charity Charmed!!

Wow! Just - Wow! I'm blogging on Dee's Book Blog!!!!!!!! I am so pumped to be here and (I'd be lying if I didn't add) just a tad nervous. After all, Dee does great book reviews and I have a LOT to live up to if I don't want to let ya'll down. Dee is a very busy lady these days and she's invited me to do some reviews for this lovely new blog she has. I do some book reviews on my own blog (yeah, I know, I haven't done any in a while) but I don't get near the hits the fantabulous (can you tell I want to be invited back?) Dee gets so I'm a bit giddy inside with the excitement of reaching a new audience.

Dee and I met through the JCF and have become friends. Cherries are kinda like that. We have much in common - reading being one of those things. And while we have similar tastes in most books, I thought I'd give review a book that's a bit different from the books Dee normally reviews.

If all goes well, I have two other books to review, all of them released in June, so if you haven't had a chance to get them yet - or you were simply unsure whether or not you would like them - maybe my reviews will help you decide.

Okay, I think I've stalled enough. So without further ado - (drum roll please) first book review for Dee's blog!!!!

by Kim Harrison

(Back Cover Copy)

The evil night things that prowl Cincinnati despise witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan. Her new reputation for the dark arts is turning human and undead heads alike with the intent to possess,
bed, and kill her - not necessarily in that order.

Now a mortal lover who abandoned Rachel has returned, haunted by his secret past. And there are those who covet what Nick possesses - savage beasts willing to destroy the Hollows and everyone in it if necessary.

Forced to keep a low profile or eternally or suffer the wrath of a vengeful demon, Rachel must nevertheless
act quickly. For the pack is gathering for the first time in millennia to ravage and to rule. And suddenly
more than Rachel's soul is at stake.

Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore the books of Kim Harrison. I have been following her books set in the Hollows since her debut DEAD WITCH WALKING . She has created a world so believable that you are not simply reading her books - you are living the lives of her characters as well. Let me also say that I'm as big a fan as the next girl when it comes to snappy, attention getting, suspenseful back cover copy. What I am not a fan of is back copy that misrepresents the actual text in the book it was meant to describe. In fact, that's the reason I tend to not read the back cover copy of most books. I also know that most authors have no say in what is printed on the back of their books, so I will not hold this misleading back cover copy against Harrison. So, I thought I'd explain the book by taking you through the points in the back cover copy.

Point 1: The evil night things that prowl Cincinnati despise witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan. - Aside from being a bugger to read - that statement is somewhat true. Most despise her - some want to control her and her powers.

Point 2: Her new reputation for the dark arts is turning human and undead heads alike with the intent to posses, bed, and kill her - not necessarily in that order. -Rachel does use some demon magic in this book. The circumstances she faces require her to. As far as having a "new reputation for the dark arts" - Phooey! She has no new reputation and she is turning no new heads. In fact, the people who know what she has done were already looking her way in the first place. Rachel struggles in the book - she faces challenges that her simple earth and ley line magic can't help her with. So she uses magic that no other witch can, and since it is black and she is a white witch, she has qualms with it. But any new attention she gets is not because of her new "charms".

Point 3: Now a mortal lover who abandoned Rachel has returned, haunted by his secret past. - Um, No. Actually Nick doesn't return - anyway, not the way the cover copy suggests. He has taken Jax (Rachel's pixy partner Jenks' son) and turned him towards a life of crime. When Jenks decides to travel north to find his son, Rachel goes so that she can keep Jenks safe (this is where one of the demon curses comes in). After they find Jax, Rachel and Jenks discover that Nick has been captured by the Weres because he has something they want and he isn't giving it to them. Nick is greedy and the phrase "haunted by his secret past" is just wrong. To say Nick was haunted implies that he has changed and the past is coming back to bite him in the arse. Nick hasn't changed and his greed is what has gotten him in this situation. And although Nick has broken Rachel's heart ten ways to Sunday she still goes on a rescue run to save him. After all, he has saved her life before, or did he really?

Point 4: And there are those who covet what Nick possesses - savage beast willing to destroy the Hollows and everyone in it if necessary. - Kind of. I can agree with the first half of this statement. The Weres want an artifact that they had hired Nick to steal for them. Several packs have joined forces in order to claim this artifact and they are not acting like "normal" Weres. The second half of the statement I take exception to. This line makes it seem as if the action takes place in the Hollows and a huge war is ensuing. The action in the book does not take place in the Hollows. So, while we can assume the Weres are willing to follow them any where to get the artifact, that statement is severely misleading.

Point 5: Forced to keep a low profile or eternally suffer the wrath of a vengeful demon, Rachel must nevertheless act quickly. - HUH? I had to re-read that line a lot for it to make any kind of sense. Also, it doesn't fit. Perhaps it would be better suited on the back of Every Witch Way But Dead but with this book, it just doesn't belong. Aside from the demon curses Rachel twists and the mentioning of her scars - the demons do not appear in this book.

Point 6: For the pack is gathering for the first time in millennia to ravage and to rule. - The packs, plural, are gathering for the first time. To rule - not some much ravage. I wonder if whoever wrote this copy read the book?

Point 7: And suddenly more than Rachel's soul is at stake. - Um, well duh! I just cannot even justify this last statement.

This was a good book. Ivy and Rachel make some HUGE changes in their relationship. Jenks and Rachel make amends and Rachel does a lot of self discovery. If paranormal is your cuppa, I definitely recommend this as a read. I suppose it could be a stand alone without much difficulty but to fully understand some of the references made, it would help to read the other books.

My only real complaint with the book is that the copy editing on this was very poor. A lot of typos and poor punctuation. When I came across these mistakes, it took me a while to get the pace of the book back. Enjoy the book though, I know I did.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank Dee for allowing me to post a review. And I would love to do a few more if she'll let me!

Take Care

Note from Dee: Charity did an EXCELLENT job on this review, and I think I'm going to have to change the name of this blog to include her here. Please take the time to tell her that you read this review, ok?