Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

I debated for quite a while before finally picking up this book the other day at Walmart.  I've read the entire Twilight series three times, so I thought I had everything figured out and didn't think this book could possibly add anything to the series.  You'd think I would have learned my lesson after reading Midnight Sun.

I was able to start and finished The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner in a single morning, partly because it's not a long book (178 pages), but mostly because Stephenie Meyer's writing style is easy to read and she keeps me interested.

As I was reading Eclipse, I had my suspicions about Victoria and the Volturi, and this book confirmed those suspicions, which just gives me another reason to dislike those Italian vampires.  It's apparent that Edward is also suspicious of the Volturi's intentions when it comes to the Cullen clan.  And when Bree realizes her fate, she "tells" Edward everything she accidentally found out about the Volturi's visit to Victoria.

If you have read Eclipse, reading this novella is a lot like watching Titanic.  Ms. Meyer tells Bree's story in a way that makes you like the newborn vampire, and when Carlisle offers her a chance at a new life, you want her to join the Cullen clan.  So, even though you know exactly what is going to happen, it's still an upsetting shock when it does.

If you're a fan of the Twilight Saga, you owe it to yourself to read this little book.

Up Next:  The Ten-Mile Trials

Friday, June 18, 2010

Black Dagger Brotherhood: Lover Mine (Book 8)

After hearing about John Matthew more and more during each of the previous 6 books of the series, we finally get to read about his story in Lover Mine.  This book begins just a few weeks after the previous book ends.  Xhex is still missing, and John Matthew vows to find her and bring her back.  We not only get to learn more about John Matthew, but we also find out a lot more about Xhex's past.

There are so many stories going on in this book that it's hard to decide which one(s) to cover in a review.  So, I'll say this:  if you're a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, you owe it to yourself to read this latest installment.  There's a lot more to the book than just John Matthew, Xhex, and Lash's fate.  We get a look back to Darius' life before and during the beginning of his time in the Brotherhood and we find out what happened to Xhex's former lover (the Brother Murhder).  We meet the Bloodletter's daughter and Quinn starts to face some repressed feelings.

Overall, I was a little disappointed in Lover Mine. We had new characters and new story lines thrown at us, and while a few stories were told, there are some that are left open.  I'd love to read more about Payne & Vishous, I'd like to see the Blay/Quinn/Saxton issue resolved, and I felt the Murhder sub-plot that was thrown in deserves more attention than it was given.  J.R. Ward definitely left many openings, and I hope that she lets us in on all the little secrets.

Up Next:  The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Black Dagger Brotherhood: Lover Avenged (Book 7)

I have to say, Rehvenge is not a character I paid much attention to.  He's a half-vampire/half-sympath who owns and operates the club, Zero Sum, where the Brothers like to hang out.  He's a pimp and a drug dealer.  He's also Bella's brother, and the one who the glymera tries to hire to assassinate Wrath.

Unlike the other books, where I read about the brothers, but skimmed over the lesser sections, I found myself doing the opposite in Lover Avenged.  The book is supposed to be Rehvenge's story, to let us get to know him and watch how he falls in love with Ehlena.  I found their story to be quite boring, for the most part.

I wanted to find out how Lash's story unfolds.  Once he becomes a half-vampire/half-lesser, he goes on a mission to destroy the vampire world.  He begins by murdering, and ordering the murders, of the glymera families.  As he begins his plans to go after the Brotherhood, Lash realizes how much easier his task would be if he could align himself with the sympath colony.  After visiting the sympaths, he decides to bring home a little souvenir.

The Brotherhood receives an email threatening to expose Rehv as a sympath, and if the Brother's don't turn him in, the fact that they knew about Rehv will also come to light. In order to keep his secret, he fakes his death and goes to the sympath colony.  When Xhex and Ehlena find out Rehv is still alive, they make a plan with the Brothers to rescue him.

The rescue mission is almost a success, and their failure sets up the storyline for the next book.  This was definitely better than the previous two books in the series.

Up Next:  The Black Dagger Brotherhood: Lover Mine (Book 8)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Black Dagger Brotherhood: Lover Enshrined (Book 6)


Lover Enshrined is supposed to be Phury's story, and I guess, in a way, it is.  As with my review for the previous book, I am having a hard time writing this one due to the disappointment.  Phury's story is just kind of...blah.  We follow him as he kicks his habit, and tries to begin he duties as the new Primale.  When he arrives to complete the ceremony, he sees that the Chosen, Cormia, who was picked for the ceremony, is terrified.  He decides to bring her back to the mansion with him so that she can get to know him, and help alleviate her fears.  At some point, and after much inner turmoil, he falls for Cormia, which brings on a whole new set of problems.

For me, the best part of the book was the John Matthew sub-plot.  Lash catches John Matthew, Blay, and Quinn after a training session, and tells JM that he knows all about what happened in the stairwell years before.  With the animosity that has been growing between the two, it's no surprise how John reacts to this.  He and Lash begin fighting, but when Lash pins John Matthew against the wall, Quinn jumps into the action, and the consequences are severe.

Although I found Phury's story line to be a bit lacking, J.R. Ward does keep me wanting to find out more about Lash's fate.

Up Next:  The Black Dagger Brotherhood: Lover Avenged (Book 7)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Black Dagger Brotherhood: Lover Unbound (Book 5)

I have to admit that by the time I started this book, the series had begun to grow on me.  I am no longer forcing myself to finish the series just because I had added the whole thing to my list.

Of all the Brothers, Vishous is my favorite, so I was excited to read his story in Lover Unbound.  Vishous is the go-to guy in the Brotherhood.  He's in charge of the security systems, computers, tattoos, and making the daggers each Brother carries, each one made specifically for the hand that holds it.  With his amount of intelligence, wit, toughness, and talent (not to mention his unconventional personal preferences), you know that his shellan will have to be someone who is as remarkable, and as accepting, as he is.

Given all the build-up V had recieved in the previous books, I had high hopes that this would be the best in the series thus far.  I was quite disappointed.  While there were some interesting moments as we learned about Vishous' past, his journey with Jane felt like it was just thrown together.  With all that V had experienced, I find it quite unbelievable that he felt very little (if any) inner conflict when it came to falling for Jane.

I'm too disappointed with the book to try telling you what happens without spoiling the book, so below is the jist of what happens:


Vishous mistakenly brought into human hospital.  Brother's come to get him, and he insists that they take his doctor, Jane Whitcomb.  

Vishous is furious when he finds out the Scribe Virgin is his mother.  He hates her, especially when he learns he is to be the new Primale (after he had fallen for Jane).

Jane's new neighbors turn out to be lessers, but the brothers don't realize it until it's too late.  Jane is shot and killed by the lessers right in front of V, but the Scribe Virgin turns Jane into a ghost (who is usually transparent, but can turn solid when she wants to) as an attempt to show her love for Vishous.

Phury is kicked out of the Brotherhood because of his addiction, and offers to take Vishous' place as the new Primale, which sets up the story for the next book.


I found the story to be quite disjointed, which just made the poor grammatical editing and product placement even more annoying than usual.  If you're a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, I would recommend reading Lover Unbound, since it is a part of the series.  Just don't expect much.

Up Next:  Black Dagger Brotherhood: Lover Enshrined (Book 6)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Android Karenina

Android Karenina is the latest mash-up the good folks at Quirk Classics have laid in our hands.  A few summers ago, I forced myself to read all the way through Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.  While there were some parts of the book that I flew through, I had to remind myself that it would be better to finish the book than jump in front of a train, myself.

It pleases me to no end to say that Ben H. Winters' version of the classic is much more entertaining.  As Anna tries to decide between her husband, whose face is half covered by a mechanical device, social standing and her lover, she is being targeted by the anti-government terrorist group, UnConSciya.  Lucky for her, the ever-faithful Class III Android Karenina is always there to soothe her whenever she's upset or compliment her whenever she needs a bit of an ego boost.

Being androids don't stop the Class III's from having human emotions, which makes following their lives as interesting as following the humans, thus making this book all the more enjoyable. 

It is a bit slow in the beginning, and can be a little overwhelming trying to remember the human characters who have 3-4 names each, and the androids who are written as their Class/Function/Model (example: II/Governess/D145).  The Class III's are less confusing as they are often looked upon as members of the family, and are given nicknames.  If you can get past the name confusions and the snail's pace at the beginning, Android Karenina is a wonderful book to keep you entertained this summer.  Tolstoy's 19th Century Russia in Mr. Winters' hands is, without a doubt, a steampunk classic.