I don't usually do "reviews" this way, but since my book choices have been eclectic lately I figured I might as well round 'em all up at once. Here goes...also, spoilers ahead!
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I have no idea how that author managed to keep track of everything that happened in this book but he did an awesome job. A few things though...Reading blurbs on amazon and the like before I picked up this book gave me the picture of a guy and female autistic hacker type as his sidekick. When they "revealed" that the hacker is actually a hacker, well, the characters seemed to be much more affected than I was. I had to keep reminding myself that this book was written in 2002 and maybe the title of "hacker" was a little different then. The "hacker," Lisbeth Salander, was such an interesting character and I can't wait to see how she deals with Mikael Blomkvist in the next book. Also, changing the title from Men Who Hate Women may certainly have been the smart choice when it came to marketing and all that rot but in my humble opinion, was the proper title. Some of the crimes described were absolutely horrific and were beyond anything I had read before. Having said that, the crimes aren't what this book is really about and if you like intriguing books that grab you from the start, look no further. Grade: A
Michele Bardsley's Broken Heart, Oklahoma series: A big surprise. I'm not sure why I started collecting these books. Before I knew it, I had the first four sitting on my bookshelf. They were not what I expected, let me tell you. I just figured they were related but uninvolved romances based on vampires in a OK town. They actually were strongly connected and focus on a town of supernaturals. Vampires and werewolves basically bought a town that was dying and made it into a place where "parakind" can live in peace. Well, sort of. It starts when eleven single parents are turned into vampires all in one night. The Consortium (the vamps and wolfies) help these poor folks with their transition since they are the ones who are partially responsible for the murderous rampage of one of their members. This series puts an interesting twist on the origin of vampires that I don't think I've seen before. Grade: B/B+
Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge: From the start this series starter sounded more interesting to me than Pure Blood, Kittredge's werewolves series. Street Magic in set in London and involves a cop and a long-lost sorcerer from her past. Pete Caldecott was infatuated with Jack Winter as a teenager. He sang in a punk band and was her older sister's boyfriend. One night Jack took Pete to a crypt and performed some magic that ended up with Pete thinking Jack was dead. Actually, she blocked out what happened that night and went on with her life, grieving for Jack. Ten years later, she finds out he's alive, he's a heroin addict, and he hates her guts. Pete's investigating the kidnapping of children throughout London and Jack becomes her ace-in-the-hole. Okay, I liked this book. I, too, need a time machine so I can go forth into the future and read to my heart's delight. There were some questions that arose while I was reading it but they weren't that important. Can't wait for Demon Bound, the next Pete and Jack book, to come out so that it might answer some of my questions. Grade: A
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong: As good if not better than the first one, The Summoning. Chloe Saunders discovers that she and many other kids her age were lab rats. The Edison Group, a nefarious number of adults, attempted to breed children that had, hmm, adjusted dna. When their powers manifest they are sent to the group home, Lyle House, that most of the action in The Summoning occurred. This time, Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Tori are on the run after discovering that the Edison Group is murdering the kids they decide are failures. Chloe is a necromancer, Derek is a werewolf, and Simon and Tori are witches. Chloe and Derek get closer but not close enough but it's nice how Armstrong hasn't totally paired all the characters off into couples but it does seem obvious which way they will go in the end. Make sense? Probably not :) Grade: A
It does seem that I give out A grades quite a bit, doesn't it? I'm not really that deep when it comes to criticizing books. Don't get me wrong - I like what I like but I'm not going to tear up a book just for being an easy read. A comparison: I really don't like critics who only like fancy films or books that are considered literature instead of fiction. Don't rip something to shreds without keeping in perspective what you should expect. I always respected reviews that came from Roger Ebert for movies; if he likes something, it's good. Even if it's Eddie Murphy instead of some Miramax-type indie film (I like Eddie Murphy too, sometimes). There's no pretension there. So yes, many people would consider paranormal romances to be beneath them and would grade them accordingly. That's unfair and I don't do it. If I like something, it gets a good grade. Period.
A new feature this month...My Favorite Book of the Month. July's book is Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill. This book rocked!