Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sandra Brown: Lethal

The most recent book from Sandra Brown enters into a world where one individual has the ability to corrupt many, even those in high up positions in all forms of law enforcement and government.

Honor was expecting to spend a quit day with her daughter Emily, when Emily informs her that there is a strange man in the front yard. Honor is quick to act to see if the man needs help, only to discover herself and her daughter to be his prisoner. But this is no Chance meet Coburn has specifically chosen Honor, but Honor does not know why. Coburn is a killer, he is accused of killing seven men at where he used to work but Honor is forced to go where he Coburn and the is on the run. Honor soon realizes that Coburn is not the only one that she has to be scared of, there is more than one person that wants her dead, very influential Book Keeper.

I'm at a loss on how to review this book. While I did enjoy the book I have found that Brown likes to follow a very similar formula when writing her books (and really why not, she is very successful with what she does). But it seems like her books have an a+b=c mentality especially after reading the Witness a few months ago. I think that this formula leads to predictability and lack of overall enjoyment of the book, as if you have read a Brown book before you already know some things are going to occur. So while I was entertained, I feel that this book it was lacking in originality.

The main characters are typical of most Brown book, a strong main female character who is somewhat head strong, protective, but looking to fall in love and a strong male character who is attractive, over protective and doesn't want to commit to anyone (as I said a+b=c formula).  However, I did like the introduction of Emily who brought out the protective instincts in Honor. Emily was also a handful for a man like Coburn who has never been around children and wants even the scary man to kiss Elmo good night. Some of Emily's antics made me laugh and her character was refreshing at times.

I think my favorite character in the book is Diego who is not a main characters. I would have liked to read a book that just feature Diego. Diego is something that was a little different in a Brown book and was a nice side story within the novel itself. Diego is one of the Book Keeper's assassins who has recently found something to live for other than killing. What is funny is really the book could have been written without Diego it would have had the same result. I think this shows my overall lack of investment in the two main characters and their story.

I find that Brown's sex scenes within her newer books are broaching on erotica. While I do not mind them every once in awhile, I prefer them to be short, not as detailed or as prominent in the book or plot.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and it was able to keep me some what entertained and I really wanted to find out who the Book Keeper was, I think that is what kept me going and entertained in this book. However, I did expect more from a Sandra Brown book. I think if you like Sandra Brown books you will enjoy this one, it follows a similar formula to some of her other books. I think that if you have never read a Sandra Brown book I would start some place else, The Witness for example is one of her books that I really enjoyed.


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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Amanda Bonilla: Shaedes Of Gray

In her debut novel Amanda Bonilla introduces the reader to a new world where the light and dark may not be what you expect.

Darian was made, loved and then left by her creator Azriel. Darian needed to learn how to survive on her own and with her unique skills of a shaede becoming an assassin was the perfect fit. As far as Darian has known she is the last of her kind or of any paranormal creature as she has never met another. But then a hit goes wrong, Darian is plunged into a world she knows nothing about. All of a sudden there are other individuals on the same playing field as her and her next target may be her final job. Darian is never one to turn down a job or leave one unfinished but this next one could end up being her last as there are others who would like to see Darian disappear permanently.

When I read the first few pages of this book, I thought that I had accidentally picked up a paranormal romance by mistake. The book starts off with some sexual tension and past romantic encounters that I was not expecting occur at the very beginning and I thought about putting the book down. However, I did not and I am glad that I continued to read as I did enjoyed the book in the end. The novel does have some dark and gritty edge to it, but not enough for me to forget the romance aspect that was throughout the book.

 I loved the world and new paranormal "creatures"  that Bonilla created. I really really liked that she introduced something new into the paranormal genre. I have never read about Shaedes or Lyhtan before and it is just refreshing to read something new. Shaedes have the ability to slip into darkness of night or the shadows of the day making them invisible, basically going from solid into a shadow. Very interesting talent and the Lyhtan who are the enemies of the Shaedes have the opposite ability. They are able to disappear in the light of day, which is good because they are not beautiful like the Shaedes, Lyhtans are ugly beast-insect type creates. Shaedes also have other talents but they were not a elaborated on as the slipping into/becoming a shadow and I am interested to learn more about what Shaedes can do.

I liked Darian as an interesting character, but within her character is what I disliked most about this book. I found that Darian was too Man-Crazy for me. I do not know how many times one has to read about how good Tyler looks or how Xaniers' voice was very seductive. In my opinion I think that the story and plot would have been better without the constant man neediness but yet having Darian state that she did not want a man in her life. It is this constant battle that Darian has which distracts from the dangers that are occurring around her and makes her more vulnerable to her enemies. Other than her constant thoughts about some men, I  liked the rest of Darian's character. She is strong, adaptive and not as annoying as I have found other female characters within the paranormal genre. Bonilla did enough in giving Darian the ability to speak her mind and protect those around her but not in a bitchy or  know-it-all way. I also enjoyed that Darian makes fun of herself and her winning personality, made me laugh a few times.

This is a good debut novel. I think those who like a paranormal novel that has a mixture of romance and action will really enjoy this book and find it as a great debut. Although Bonilla brings something new and different to the paranormal genre, I think readers who do not like romance in their paranormal books, may want to skip this one as the romance is present in almost every scene and plot line within the book. I will read the next book in the series because I am interested in knowing more about the Shaede world as I found this the most interesting aspect within the novel and just hope the romance aspect is not as overpowering in the next book.


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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Leslie Tentler: Edge of Midnight

This is the third book in Tentler's Midnight series, however, each book has been written as a stand alone and I did not find that I was confused or missing anything that occurred in previous books as this is the first Leslie Tentler book that I have read. In this novel Tenlter explores what happens when one of a serial killer's victim is able to escape and his obsession of continuing to complete his collection.

Mia Hale is a crime reporter for the Jacksonville Courier but Mia is about to experience the abductions she has been reporting on first hand. She is kidnapped by the serial killer known as the Collector. But somehow Mia is able to escape out of his realm alive, however, she has no idea how her memory after the initial kidnapping is blank. FBI agent Eric MacFarlane has been pursuing the Collector for a very long time and he has a personal vendetta against him as well. He believes that Mia is the key to finding the Collector but by using Mia he is once again putting her in danger. But as far as the Collector has is concerned Mia has always been his and he will stop at nothing the get her back.

This book was a pretty good read and was able to hold my attention from the beginning. I enjoyed Tentler's serial killer and Tentler's depiction of his family and life. The reader is able to see the factors that helped create Allen into the Collector. I see the Collector as an individual very similar to Casanova from Jame's Patterson's Kiss the Girls, though I appreciated that Tentler's Collector was more about about power, control, and not about sex. I think that Tentler did a great job of allowing the reader to see glimpses into the torture that the Collector inflicted on his victims but not too much that people would be disturbed. The main form of description comes through Mia as well as the state of the bodies when they are discovered.

The main interesting topic within this novel is the use of drugs in order to induce hypnotherapy to recover lost memories. I think that this is unique in books that I have read and the could very well be something that the military is trying to accomplish. I liked that Tentler was not afraid of adding something new to the genre and trying a new way of using a victim to uncover clues that could lead to the killer.

There was a little bit too much romance/sex scenes for my taste in books, but those who enjoy the combination of some thrills and romance will enjoy this book. I also found the interaction between the two main characters a little bit of a cliche now of days, FBI agent and victim falling in love is nothing new in these novels. There was also nothing very original about the main characters themselves that drew me in or get me emotionally invested as to what happens to them and this may be the flaw of writing a stand alone story. But for me the characters were just there interacting with the plot. I often find that authors will shelter their main characters too much and it leaves the story feeling flat. However, this is one aspect of Tentler's characters that I did enjoy was that she was not afraid of letting them suffer or get hurt.

Although there was a bit too much romance in this book for me and I was not able to connect to the characters as mush as I would like, I did enjoy the overall story of the book (and really it is easy to skim or skip over the sex scenes). I think that Tentler has a create mind and it shows in her ideas throughout the story. I think those who like their Thrills and Romance mixed together in a book will have a winner with Tentler. I would read another book by Tentler, probably from her Midnight series as I want to see what other type of serial killers that she has come up with as I think this is where she excelled the most within her novel.


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