Sunday, November 29, 2009

Book 47: Succubus Heat

The 4th Succubus book is much of the same-- demonic politics, sex, coffee, sex, unrequited love, sex, moral ambiguity, sex, and books, now with cats. I like most of those things. At the end of the previous installment, Seth and Georgina broke up-- she didn't want to have sex and drain his life force, she was afraid of him growing old and dying. Oh, and then he started screwing someone else and gave the whole lame ass line about how he didn't mean to and it just happened. That line is now, and always will be, total horseshit.

Fresh from her breakup with Seth, Georgina's attitude is so bad that she is put into timeout by her demonic boss. In other words, Jerome sends her to Vancouver as a spy for a rival demon, Cedric. While Georgina is on her evil commute, Jerome is summoned. With his powers bound, all of Jerome's minions are stripped of their abilities. It's an interesting plot twist that allows Georgina and Seth to finally boff like bunnies. Dirty, dirty bunnies. Even though Seth has a girlfriend. And Georgina has a boyfriend. Between mattress dances, Georgina has to do some snooping around to find out who bound Jerome, so she can free him before Hell appoints a new Evil Boss. Better the devil you know, I guess. I did call the binder, by the way. EARLY. It was not quite as apparent at whose behest that was done.

I did enjoy this book, but my enthusiasm is definitely waning for the series. I would like to see this limited to 7 books. Seven is a nice symbolic sort of number. There have been hints all along that Georgina, despite her deal with the devil, can some how be redeemed. I am a big believer in redemption, so I would like to see that happen. In all the Faustian, Soul Selling stories I've read or seen, the deal is presented as final. I don't buy it. I don't buy "Once Saved, Always Saved" and I don't buy the flip side of that either. So THERE.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Final Stretch

There are 5 weeks left to the year and I have 6 books left to read. As I am taking the last week of the year off from work, I would say I have a 70% chance of completing the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. This has probably been the year I have thought the most about what I am reading, what I have read, and what I am going to read. My brain is full. I do happen to have 6 books out from the library so if I don't make it, it's not for lack of books.

This year, I have at last learned to set aside sucky books! That only took 33 years from when I learned to read. I have felt a certain pull to read only books I might then find worth writing about. This is not a normal consideration. I think I am about done with the endless parade of series in the genre fiction I read. It is damn hard to find mystery novels, particularly period mystery novels. I am partial to the first half of the twentieth century.

I have decided to really ruthlessly weed out my shelves. There are a lot of books in there I felt I ought to read as they are classics or would improve my mind. I just don't have the space for things I ought to read. Or for things I'll never read again. Or for things the public library has. I shall probably drop the culled titles at the library for their fundraiser. It's easier than dealing with trading them at used bookstores. My house is just not getting any bigger and the chaos is pretty out of control.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book 46: Six Suspects

Vicky Rai had it coming to him. He's a corrupt, rich playboy who has escaped justice on more than one occasion. When this novel opens, he has just been shot at a party he threw to celebrate his acquittal on murder charges, charges he escaped by exploiting a corrupt system. The police find six suspects-- six attendants with guns at the party. The opening chapter is told by a journalist who has vowed to find the truth. No one should commit murder without paying the price.

The novel tracks each of the Six Suspect through the circumstances and choices that brought them there. Fate is capricious and unkind in this book. The pacing though is great. I was up much later than usual on a couple of nights due to this book. There is just not a good place to stop until you hit the end of a character's path.

I did not whole-heartedly enjoy the book. The American character, Larry, was poorly drawn. His poor grammar is supposed to show he's ignorant, but the errors Larry makes are not consistent and a couple of the words he uses are distinctly English instead of Texan. Maybe it's a translation problem. Additionally, Larry is so painfully stupid that it really strains belief. The character possessed by the ghost of Ghandi was more believable. Well, until a twist on that at the end that was off-key.

I did call the culprit in the book a lot sooner than if it were truly a crime story. This is really more of a social commentary.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Book 45: Manhunting

Normally, I like Jennifer Cruisie. She writes some of the only funny contemporary romances out there. Also? No Goddamn Vampires. Yay. This one. . . meh. I think there was just too much attention to career angst. She's in mergers and acquisitions at daddy's firm, but longs for the days when she was just a small business consultant. Apparently she has a metric assload of money. He used to be an accountant or some such but started a hotel with his brother but he's finally getting bored in his semi-retirement. He manages the groundskeepers for the golf course. It's all first world bullshit. These are not problems I relate to. Somehow, I doubt anyone is writing romance novels featuring software testers on the brink of being outsourced. There's a bunch of really ridiculous feeeeeeeeelings stuff about baggage from past relationships. Not nearly enough sex. Also there is fishing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book 44: Don't Get Too Comfortable

David Rakoff has compiled some thoughtful essays in here. There are also snide essays and funny essays. On the Snark-O-Meter I would nestle him between Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris. I liked the essay about his visit to Martha Stewart Omnimedia the best of them all. The Log Cabin Republican essay was also a good one, though not as thoughtful as when Joel Derfner went to Ex-Gay Camp. I really, really found the fashion essay to be a mean spirited and boring drag. Not that kind of drag.

I finished this book over 2 weeks ago and just didn't feel like blogging about it. I think that writing is taking the fun out of reading. IT'S LIKE HOMEWORK. Only I won't get a degree when I'm done.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Book 43: Ghosts of Belfast

Sooner or later, everyone pays. In Ghosts of Belfast, by Stuart Neville, Gerry Fegan is haunted by twelve ghosts. All of them died at Gerry's hands, when he fought as a terrorist for Irish independence. He has been followed by them for years. The ghosts, all of them, dog Gerry's steps and keep him from sleep. When he drinks himself down, they plague his dreams. Gerry tries first to help the mother of one of his victims by revealing where her son's body is hidden. The boy is not appeased. After many long years, the ghosts have settled on a payment-- Gerry must kill the men whose orders he followed.

The pacing of this book is taut. The time line of it all skips back and forth from present to past. I am glad to say that Neville does it in a way that keeps the story clear. I actually spent 2 hours in the bath with it today because I couldn't bring myself to set it down. There is a little side romance, which I suppose is thrown into all the hard boiled books for some reason or another-- draw in the lady-readers? Humanize the protagonist? I don't find the later reason necessary, for the record. Neville has drawn a complex character who is both human and inhuman. Gerry has enough pangs of conscience without this need to be protective of Marie and her daughter. He lost his mother's love and fell away from faith due to his dealings in murder. The conclusion of this one was pitch perfect. The lone spoiler was on the flyleaf-- "This book is the first in a series." That is about as necessary as Hamlet Part Two.

For my international readers,(hahahahahah!) this is published in the UK and Australia under The Twelve. It is also reviewed by Adrian McKinty in his blog, which is linked in the sidebar. I thought I had certainly read of it first at his blog, however, since he just reviewed it last week and I had a hold on this at the library I now have no idea where I first heard of this book. Too bad really, I owe someone a thanks.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Book 42: X-Rated Bloodsuckers

Another installment in the Felix Gomez Vampire Detective series. NO SPARKLING ALLOWED! Felix is a badass. I like that about him. He does his usual ass kicking in this book.

Felix goes out to LA to investigate the murder of a porn star at the behest of her best friend (another porn star). He is also sent on a secret mission by his Vampire Overlords to make sure there is no overt collusion between vamps and humans. The pacing was brisk. Interspersed among the many action scenes, Felix is really grappling with what it costs him to be a Vampire and the kinds of relationships from which he is cut off. There are a couple of fun minor characters. Happily they don't all get killed off either. While I am a bit tired of the whole vampire romance series thing that seems to be going around, I do like this series. It's not maudlin about the blood sucking. Felix does not angst about his immortal soul. He is playing the hand he's been dealt. Like a grown up instead of a 17 year old drama king.

Spoiler Alert:

I found the very last part of the book a bit unsatisfying. Much like the Baker Street Letters, there is a big finish about 30 pages before the end of the book. Personally, I prefer that mystery novels get wrapped up promptly after shit blows up or vampires get staked and left to shrivel in the sun. It seemed crass and somewhat materialistic in the book as well as BSL that the big show was a real estate-money making scam and the loss of human life was an afterthought. A fictional bait and switch.