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I've been reading the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton, and also re-reading the Twilight series, but I'm in need of some really good suggestions for book/authors.  I love vampire love stories, and also vamp/wolf/crime/love combos :P   You guys all rock so I'm sure someone can suggest something :D

Thanks in advance

Series: Triplet Witch
Publisher: Berkley, 2009
Genre: Romance
Sub-genre: Paranormal

Read the full, spoiler-free review here.

Allow me to mention straight up that I haven't read the previous two books in the trilogy. It's not my usual choice to dive into a series by picking up the last book, but I had been assured Never Been Witched worked as a stand-alone. And it does, sort of. I could follow the story and the characters well enough, but I was also made aware I was missing pieces. So should anyone find themselves intrigued by this book, I highly recommend checking out the other two first, which will hopefully mean all the references to things having gone on before page 1 here isn't so very distracting.

A lot of the story focuses on the sex between Destiny and Morgan. This had some interesting potential, with him being a virgin and her being more experienced, but since Morgan was apparently able to learn everything he needed to know about sex from books, he manages to last all night his first time. In fact, he frequently pleasures Destiny until she passes out, which makes me think they must be doing something horribly wrong. Certainly it doesn't sound like much fun.

Having come to the series already in progress, I'm hoping the characters were well established in the previous two books. When they're not in bed, they're exploring the ghosts of Morgan's past and Destiny's psychic predictions (which seem to come true with 100% accuracy), and in spite of Morgan being creeped out by the eerieness of the way Destiny's predictions seem to reflect his life, they didn't seem as much the "opposites attracting" as the author wanted me to believe. Certainly not enough to justify Destiny's despair when she realizes she's in love with Morgan but they could never build a life together because they're just soooo very different.

In picking the book out of my TBR pile, I was hoping for something light and fun. Light it definitely was, although while it had its smileworthy moments, it ultimately failed to charm me. Readers looking to indulge in some psychic romance may want to give it a whirl (after reading the other two books), but I think it's really one of those books you have to already be anticipating to get much satisfaction from it.
Book #1
Title: Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
# of Pages: 208
Rating (out of five): 3
Summary of the book: Thirty-three-year-old Jane Hayes, who has a fairly serious addiction to the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice, inherits a trip to Pembrook Park, Kent, England, the location of a resort where guests dress, talk, think, and act in ways that Jane Austen would approve. Refusing to lie about her age, even on vacation in a place right out of Austen's England, Jane finds herself quickly overcoming the obsession with Mr. Darcy that may very well have jeopardized her 13 "relationships" over the years. Left to walk in last to dinner, mildly obsessed with one of the hotel's gardeners, and annoyed by another guest's overeager attempts to bag a man, Jane is eager to return to Manhattan. Then she decides to give it all one more chance, since Great-Aunt Carolyn did see fit to pay for the entire vacation.

Review: Nice quick read to start the year. Something light and easy and something I can say that I can say I am obsessed with, especially since I have watched the BBC version of the P&P several times and have read the book and loved it.

Book #2
Title: Edge of Recall
Author: Kirsten Heitzmann
# of Pages: 416
Rating (out of five): 4
Summary of the book: Tessa is a landscape architect obsessed with labyrinths. She is drawn to the ruins of an intriguing labyrinth; however, to follow her passion, she must work with a man she once loved but who ultimately betrayed her.
Review: Very well done. Even though it was a cheeky, Christian romance book at the end of the book, it was very much a page turner and at times I was spooked out. I was pleasantly surprised at how little the author mentioned Christianity in the book.
Publisher: Medallion, 2008
Genre: Horror
Sub-genre: Paranormal

Read the full (spoiler-free) review here.

As is common for the horror genre, all the major characters have tragic backstories and are generally miserable people before the action even begins. Which, I'll admit, kind of annoys me. I understand trying to set the tone, but I get bored when every single person is so very very miserable... oh yeah, and then bad stuff starts happening. Someone living a happy life has a lot more at stake, y'know?

The man with the failing marriage, the woman still recovering from the psychological damage heaped on by her abusive ex-boyfriend, the chick who's so very lonely but can't get too close to anyone for fear they'll be repulsed by her habit of cutting herself; all the characters are damaged in ways that might have been interesting if the story had been more focused on them, but instead we have a tale about the alien entity that wants to suck out their energy. Character development was awkward, since we see just enough of the major players to see their broken pieces but they never really get a chance to deal with their issues. Instead, they're dealing with freaky cables dropping from the ceiling and trying to strangle or cut them. Which, y'know, is really not the same thing at all.

With the character whinging out of the way, I did enjoy the dark tone, and I'll admit to having been creeped out a time or two. (The malicious cables were an especially nice touch.) The gruesome varieties of death and torture were imaginative and occasionally disturbing, and the book in general has a nice energy to it that keeps the pages turning.

The pacing was awkward. For the first half of the book, all of the mysterious occurances (with the exception of the first disappearance) are so minor the characters either don't take much notice or assume they're imagining things. Then, all at once, the building goes nuts and begins fusing doors and sucking people into the floor in an attempt to create terror and keep the people inside to provide a steady source of fear energy. Instead of a slow build to a natural climax, it felt more like "slow... slow... slow... suddenlyeverythingallatonceGO!"

Really, this is a story that had a lot of potential, but needed some tightening up. With the action and character development a little more evenly spread out and a few inconsistencies cleared up, this would have been a gripping novel. There are some really great ideas here, and it makes me sad that something with such a promising premise ultimately leaves me underwhelmed.
Publisher: Earthling, 2007
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-genre: Contemporary, YA

The Servants came to my attention through all the acclaim it seems to be getting. The book has been nominated for both the British Fantasy Awards and the World Fantasy Awards, which of course made me curious. A book nominated for two major awards should be pretty much made of awesome, so to the library I went for a copy. (You know how it is, my TBR pile just isn't big enough, so I've got to borrow more.)

Clicky for full review!

The characterization in The Servants is incredible. Smith clearly remembers what it's like to be eleven years old and powerless to make changes in your own life, and Mark's emotions and insights ring true on every page. He's frustrated and angry, but instead of coming across as hormonal and irritating, the result is actually quite heart-wrenching. Mark makes for a wonderful and sympathetic protagonist, someone who grows and changes and winds up making things work in his own way.

The plot is intriguing, a series of slow reveals bringing a broader viewpoint to the situation. My one complaint is that the ending is perhaps a little too pat, too tidily wrapped up when the point of the rest of the book is that the situation isn't as simple as it first seems.

The Servants is a powerful, emotional story about a very relatable kid whose frustration will resonate both with the younger set and any adult who remembers what it's like to be that age.
Publisher: Berkley, 2008
Genre: Romance
Sub-genre: Historical

What is with the seafoam green dress? Who outside of the 1970s wears seafoam green? Although I suppose she's not really wearing it, since the instant she takes a breath, that thing is going to fall right down. I'd also like to point out the big, creepy hand in the middle of her back. That this is downright creepy. Actually, the cover says "horror" more than "romance" to me, but I suppose some people are into disembodied hand love. Kinky.

Incidently, why is it called seafoam green? Sea foam is not that colour. Seriously.

And while I'm being picky, Jess has blonde hair and is described as golden, not a rosy brunette. Pah. This book so deserves a better cover.

Clicky for the full review!(spoiler-free)

Fear the power of this book's awesomeness. It will kick you in the head with its greatness, and you will be grateful it did.

I think it's fair to say I loved My Lord and Spymaster and highly recommend it to anyone who likes spies or mysteries or romance. Or ferrets. Or, y'know, just anyone who can read. If you'll excuse me, now, I have to go accost some random strangers and force them to read this book.
Title: Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
# of pages: 422
My rating of the book, F- [worst] to A [best]: A-

Description of the book: When she is abandoned by her alcoholic mother, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years, and learns about Cora's new life, what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.

Review: A nice, quick read. After reading a couple of her books in which I wasn't really impressed with the story, I was somewhat hesitant in reading this book and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and was just as please with the book as I was when I read Just Listen last spring.

Up next: The Waterboy (has to be returned to the library)

17 / 50 books. 34% done!

5805 / 15000 pages. 39% done!
Title: All she ever wanted
Author: Lynn Austin
Genre: Fiction, Christian
# of pages: 400
My rating of the book, F- [worst] to A [best]: B+

Description of the book (from the back of the book): Thirty-five years ago, Kathleen fled her home, desperate to cast off weights of poverty and shame. But an unexpected invitation from her sister unwittingly draws her back to the sleepy New York town, her own daughter in tow.

A trip meant to salvage her relationship with her daughter changes course as Kathleen reexamines her own childhood. But even more enlightening are the stories of Eleanor, her once-vibrant mother, and Fiona, the grandmother she barely knew.

The more Kathleen learns, the more answers she seeks concerning her family's mysterious past. Yet with the past exposed, Kathleen is torn between her need to forgive and the urge to forget.

Review: A nice quick read, especially since its a familiar formula that I have encountered from Austin. While most of the book is well-written, the end of the book is a bit of downer, especially in the last few pages, where it becomes rather formulaic. Overall, it was good.

Up next: The Waterboy by Bobby Ackles

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

5383 / 15000 pages. 36% done!
Just a note to say that genrereviews is having an awesome contest. It's reeeeally easy: clicky on the contest link, grab the book closest to you, flip to page 132, and give me the 7th line. (You probably want to give me the author and title, too, because I'm more than likely to ask.) Yes, that's really it. So go do it! Because the winner gets a free book of their choice from the list of books we've reviewed on the site.

Deadline's July 14, and you get an extra entry for every person you refer over. Tell 'em to say who sent them!

Cross-posted the contest announcement to a bunch of places, so my apologies if you get it more than once.
Title: Secrets
Author: Kristen Heitzmann
Genre: Fiction, Christian
# of Pages: 410
My rating of the book, F- [worst] to A [best]: A

Description of the book: Lance Michelli is on a quest to discover the secrets his grandmother cannot tell. What happened all those years ago, and what is it she so desperately needs him to find? The old villa in Sonoma holds the answers, but it is now owned by a young woman who neither knows nor cares about his mission. But Rese Barret is a force to contend with, and her own impending storm could sweep him up as their sparring creates a fierce and uncomfortable attraction.

Review: This was my third time reading the book and just like the previous two times that I read the book, I really enjoyed it. While it is a Christian novel, I found it to be well written and quite enjoyable. Hopefully the next two books in the series will be equally as so.

Up Next: Not quite sure yet.

15 / 50 books. 30% done!

4983 / 15000 pages. 33% done!