Saturday 31 July 2010

DIK Challenge Review - The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn

My DIK reading challenge book for July is The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn. This was a pick of Lea's. Now I guess it had to happen sooner or later but I really didn't get on with this book. Sorry Lea. I feel bad because I know you must like it else you wouldn't have it as one of your picks. But my thoughts are below.

The Vampire Shrink tells the tale of Denver pyschologist Kismet Knight. Kismet doesn't believe in the paranormal, preferring to believe that everything has a rational explanation but when a new client introduces her to the vampire subculture pretty soon she's in over her head. In the midst of a murder investigation Kismet realizes she has feelings not only for vampire Deveraux, but also for an FBI profiler. However, she's also the target of a killer, so her schedule is pretty full up.

What I liked:-

Beautiful cover. Would definitely make me want to pick it up in a bookstore and read the blurb.

I also think the premise was a good one.

However, the major problem I had with the book was that I didn't like Kismet. Always a stumbling point for a first person novel if you can't get on with the protagonist.

Why didn't I like her. The character is constantly telling us what's happening, she's overly aware. Every time I started to sink into the story she'd say or think something that would knock me out of it. She's also pretty up herself.
"Having such fair skin was a blessing most of the time, because I always appeared younger than I was..."
Hmmm. Who looks in a mirror and thinks that about themselves? So unfortunately she comes across as fake - more like an actress playing the character of Kismet rather than Kismet herself.

Also and this isn't a fault of the book as such. But Kismet is always noticing when her nipples get hard. Now I challenge anyone to read The Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaire - by Tumperkin, Carrie Lofty, Carolyn Jean, Ann Aguirre, Kate Rothwell and Lisabea. And then take any character who is constantly noticing when her nipples get hard, seriously. I don't think it's possible.

Then once I'd got TUTGB in my head I couldn't get it out. So lines like
"His lap was filled with a large erection."
Struck me as funny when I'm not sure they were meant to. Or if they were meant to I didn't get that they were meant to. And within the first 50 pages she's already got three guys after her. Basically she got on my wick.

Kismet also contradicts herself, says things she couldn't possibly know - commenting on a woman she's only just met she says - she always seemed on the verge of laughing out loud. You've only just met her, how can you possibly know that she 'always' seems on the verge of laughing out loud.

So this one isn't for me. But if everyone liked the same books the world would be a very boring place. The Amazon reviews seem pretty divided as well, so I think this is one you'll either love or hate and I fall into the latter category.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Winner of the...

Let's Talk Comfort Reads is


She posted the ninth comment (from people who wanted to be in the giveaway) and the number chosen at was 9.

I also now have loads of books to check out when I start buying books again. (I am making a serious attempt this year to get my TBR pile back under some kind of control).

Apologies for not posting the winner yesterday by the time Monday evening got here I'd got a stinking migraine and went to bed.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Let's Talk Comfort Reads

These are books that might not be your number one best reads ever, but when you're feeling a little down, which books do you reach for? Which books cheer you up?

Here are three of my comfort reads:-

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I first read this book last year and almost immediately appreciated why so many people regard this as their comfort read. There's something incredibly satisfying about Elizabeth and Darcy's story. I'm looking forward to reading the remaining Austen on my shelf.

My remaining two picks are both short stories.

The Prince of Ebon Rih by Anne Bishop (from the Dreams Made Flesh anthology). Anne Bishop's Black Jewels books are probably my favourite books to dip into when I have a spare moment, with TPoER topping the list. It was so disappointing to read the main trilogy and not know anything about how Lucivar and Marian met and fell in love, so this short story really feels like a gift. It's got angst, humour, sex and a kindred wolf - I don't think you can ask for much more. :)

Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs (from the On the Prowl anthology). I love the beginning of the Charles and Anna series (so much so I have the limited edition from Subterranean Press on my bookshelf). My favourite moment being when Anna first takes her life back into her own hands by phoning Bran. She's been made to feel like she's nothing but she still finds the courage to do the right thing.

So what are your comfort reads? I have a copy of Dark Protector by Alexis Morgan to give away to one poster to this thread. Winner to be chosen by random number at on Monday.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

Luck in the Shadows is the first in the Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling. It opens with Alec of Kerry being freed from prison by his cellmate Seregil of Rhiminee. Seregil is not who he appears to be, and not who he pretends to be either. But he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice and Alec agrees despite not perhaps knowing exactly what he's letting himself in for. Before long the two of them are up to their necks in trouble, plots and betrayal and this is only the beginning.

It's not often I read more traditional fantasy, I guess I'm stuck in something of an urban rut, but I really loved Luck in the Shadows. One of my favourite things is when you open a book and rather than reading a story it feels like your catching up with friends.

So basically the kingdom is in peril from an unknown threat, but does the danger come from within or without. In a world of secrets, spies, liars, forgers and thieves, how do you know who's telling the truth.

This is very much the first book in a series, plans are set in motion, mysteries are discovered but it quickly becomes apparent that this is only the tip of the iceberg. There is more than one plot and more than one player. I love that the intelligence of the reader isn't insulted, not everything is spelled out, there are mysteries that are obviously going to unfurl over the course of the series. I admit to not always being 100% sure of what's going on - but that's what re-reads are for. :) I also think it accurately reflects the state the characters find themselves in.

Alec is only 16 and something of an innocent (though not for long in Seregil's company) and he acts as a 'window' for the reader into the world of Skala, Mycena and Auren. He's very enthusiastic about the Fae and excited about the possibility of seeing dragons and centaurs. As Nysander says of him :-
" is always refreshing to meet someone as ingenuous as yourself. So many who come here expect revelations of mythic proportions - ...They have no awe left in them for the little marvels. All their wonder has turned to appetite."
Seregil is more of an enigma, it seems every thing we learn about him opens up more questions. He has some magical ability but not enough to be a wizard. He's a thief and a quick thinker. And sometimes he's a little obtuse when it comes to other people's feelings. Seregil doesn't always understand why Alec is upset with him and Alec can't always explain. The two of them end up getting frustrated, very realistic behaviour in a developing friendship. But eventually they come to an understanding.
"There'll be times I choose not to tell you something, but I won't lie to you. That's a promise and there's my hand on it."
One of my favourite parts of the book is the intrinsic nature spell that Nysander casts on Alec and Seregil revealing their inner animal spirit. In fact I think all the transformation spells were little highlights in the story - especially the owl and the brick. :)

At the end of the story I'm left wanting to know what's going to happen next - be warned there's something of a disturbing cliffhanger. But I think wanting the story to continue is one of the best feelings you can have about a book. :)

* - I don't think this has been one of my best reviews. But I found it a very hard book to review, it's something of a minefield, there's so much I don't want to give away. I'd love to share and gush but perhaps the best thing to say is that if you like fantasy and haven't read The Nightrunner series yet, maybe you should give it a try.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Persuasion (2007)

Very disappointing. :(

The most important scene in the book - where Captain Wentworth writes the letter - isn't there. All that repressed passion and emotion is replaced by a scene of Anne running all over Bath trying to find Captain Wentworth.

And at the end Captain Wentworth has bought Kellynch for Anne as a wedding present. Did I miss something? I thought Kellynch was entailed.

Not a version I would recommend.

Sunday 4 July 2010

Winner of Challenge Update Giveaway...Updated


I redrew the draw(?) :) And random.number org picked 6. LSUReader was the 6th posted to the thread. So I have a copy of Basket of Wishes waiting to be posted to you. :)