June 30, 2012

Review - Kiss the Dead

Kiss the Dead
Laurell K Hamilton
01 June 2012

When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…
But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…

My response...

This series has been a pain in the butt in recent years, and after being a faithful follower since the late 90's, I have been reluctant to read the last few.  So, instead of pre-ordering, I reserved a copy from my local library.  Yesterday I picked up my book and when I got home I was still a bit reluctant to read it.  Thank God I did!

KtD was so much like her earlier books, that apart from 2 or 3 sex scenes, it was like reading Anita at her best.  I think it was because of the involvement of RPIT, and Anita being back to her Marshal-ling ways.  We find Anita chin-deep in vampire trouble again, only this time it seems to be aimed at her.  The storyline is complete, not jumping here and there, and once again it is set in St. Louis.  No flying for this Vampire Executioner.  I liked the fast pace of the story, and like a most of the recent books, it's set over a few days, not weeks.

For those on Team J-C, he does have a few scenes with Anita and Asher.  But don't get me started on Asher... he was a total dick this time round.  I don't want to give it away so I won't tell you what happens, but lets just say that J-C, Anita and everyone else, have reached the end of their tethers with the pouty vampire.  His latest actions have serious consequences for him, and possibly set up a new story arc.

Micah and Nathaniel are prominent fixtures, and surprisingly Richard only gets a mention once or twice.  It was nice not to have to go through all the angst of the self-hating Richard.  Anita has a new twist to her powers, and there is a new Marshall in town.  Marshall Larry Kirkwood (Anita's one time trainee) is back and boy is he a pain in the arse... both him and his wife are.  Det. Arnett, that obsessive man-stealing cop is back.  She's still ragging on Anita about her relationship with Nathaniel, and has a real grudge against Anita.  I foresee this only getting worse - if I was Anita I would want to knock her on her arse after their latest confrontation.  I was pleased to see that Dolph has settled down - he's almost back to his old self! - and what can I say about Zerbrowski?  He's still the same guy we've always know.  Oh, and for all those wondering, there is no Ted cameo.  Sorry :D

So, after being disillusioned with this series, I will wait for the paperback and add it to my collection.  And while it wasn't up to the classic Anita (pre-ardeur), it was refreshing to not be skipping pages as Anita was off boffing one of her harem.  If LKH keeps that side of Anita's life in the background (perhaps mentioned, but not in full on chapter sized details) I'll be a happy camper again.  If you liked Narcissus in Chains then you'll probably enjoy this one too.

June 27, 2012

New Kannon Dupree:Timestalker book

Heads up for all the Kannon Dupree: Timestalker fans.  The third book is due out later on in the year (yeah!) and it sounds like a good one...

Coyote - A Kannon Dupree: Timestalker Novel
Rhonda Roberts

Release Date: 01 September 2012


A fabulous new TimeStalker novel.

A missing diary holding dark secrets, a lost Spanish royal treasure and a serial killer operating in the Wild Wild West...

Kannon Dupree, the time travelling detective, is hired to go to New Mexico in 1867 to find the missing diary of a Wild West hero. Disguised as a bounty hunter, the chase takes Kannon from gunfights in Old Santa Fe, across hostile territory in the middle of an Indian War, via a mysterious convent of nuns banished to die in the desert and into an ancient pueblo city on a cursed mesa sacred to Coyote, the trickster god.

But what she doesn′t know is that the diary holds a spine-chilling secret that someone in the present may be willing to do anything to hide...

June 26, 2012

Audio Books

Yes, I admit it.  I am a proud listener of audio books.  As a nearly-qualified library technician, I find that this is a format that is still thought of as an old person's book, but if you find a book with a good narrator, then it's amazing how much you can enjoy listening to them.

Take the Janet Evanovich series Stephanie Plum.  I enjoy the books, I re-read them on a regular basis.  However, once I'd listened to the audio book, To the Nines (read by Lorelei King) I was hooked.  There is just something about the way Ms. King reads them that seems to make it funnier.  I just love her interpretation of Lula.  So, having listened to #9, I haunted my library for any other Plum books they had on CD.  I have bought some as well (1-4, 11, 15, 17) and have ordered a few from other libraries (5, 12 and 14).  Now all I have to do is track down 1-3 in unabridged form.  I really thought that when the movie was released, plus a re-release of the book, that the audiobooks would also be re-issued... but alas, only the abridged version was {grrrr}

Here's a list of the audiobooks I've got so far...

  • One for the Money
  • Two for the Dough
  • Three to Get Deadly
  • Four to Score
  • High Five (library)
  • Seven Up  (library)
  • Hard Eight
  • To the Nines
  • Ten Big Ones
  • Eleven on Top
  • Twelve Sharp (library)
  • Lean Mean Thirteen   (library)
  • Fearless Fourteen (library)
  • Fingerlickin' Fifteen
  • Smokin' Seventeen
  • A Kiss of Shadows
  • A Lick of Frost   (library)
  • Mistral's Kiss   (library)
  • Swallowing Darkness   (library)
  • Divine Misdemeanors (library)
  • Guilty Pleasures
  • Micah   (library)
  • Blood Noir (library)
  • Dark Light - Jayne Castle
  • Double Cross - James Patterson
  • Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews
  • Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  • Naked in Death   (library)
  • Ritual in Death   (library)
  • Indulgence in Death   (library)
  • Possession in Death
  • Chaos in Death

Okay, that's quite a few, but I have them loaded on my iPod that's docked on my bedroom's alarm clock, and instead of listening to the radio at night sometimes I just press play and fall asleep listening to whichever book starts.  They are also great for having on while I'm studying as I find that the talking doesn't distract me like songs would (I start singing along and there goes the studying!).  They are also great for longer car trips as well.

June 24, 2012

Explosive Eighteen

Explosive Eighteen
Janet Evanovich

"Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photo—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated."

I found myself a little lost at the beginning with SP storming back from the airport.  It was one of the odder openings, but after she hits Trenton proper and ends up chin-deep in trouble again I felt like I was back in the groove.

However it was the mystery of the abrupt departure from Hawaii, a tan line on her ring finger and her two beau's being left behind that I found myself being drawn to, not the mysterious photograph and the dead guy on the plane (who really didn't have anything to do with the story after the first few pages).  I know that seems odd, but all the secrecy surrounding Hawaii and what happened there - with little hints dropped here and there like breadcrumbs - was just distracting.  Once I found out what happened regarding Morelli/Ranger and the ring mark, I was way more interested in the crimes at hand.  

Beware - in this installment, there isn't a huge Ranger presence, and even Morelli is more on the backburner compared to past books.  I do like the fact that Ranger and Morelli have had their bust up, but did it have to happen in Hawaii where it only gets told in a by-the-way manner?  That was huge!  We fans have been waiting for this inevitable clash since Book 1... and when it did happen it wasn't even part of the story!

Apart from that huge detail, nothing much has changed in the Burg.  Vinnie's still running his bail bond business from Mooner's van while his business premises are being rebuilt.  Grandma Mazur is still a lovable nut, and Lula is just as crazy as always - just wait till the love potion fiasco - while Morelli and Ranger are still interested in SP.  However, Morelli still doesn't know about the reason's for Ranger being there with SP, so there seems to be a more serious conversation that needs to be had in the future.  After 18 books I think the storyline regarding this love triangle has reached a point where a choice has to be made soon.  We don't want it to go the way of other great series where SP just keeps bed-hopping and ends up with no one.

So, all in all, what did I think?  I thought that Explosive Eighteen was a fun read.  I enjoyed it more than the last few books where it has been all about the blowing up of cars, falling in garbage and finding dead bodies left, right and on your sofa.  The ending is funny, and I could see what happens next as a great opening for Notorious 19.