Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 21, 22, and 23

A guilty pleasure book: Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Introducing Anita Blake, vampire hunter extraordinaire. Most people don't even bat an eye at vampires since they've been given equal rights by the Supreme Court. But Anita knows better--she's seen their victims. . . . A serial killer is murdering vampires, however, and now the most powerful vampire in town wants Anita to find the killer.
I finally had to stop around book 17 or so (I wouldn't recommend going past book 10), but the Anita Blake series is definitely a guilty pleasure. It's actually more like guilty frustration if I'm being honest. This series was the first one that got me into urban fantasy. In fact, two of the series in the next answer came as a direct result of reading Anita Blake and wanting something similar. The continued deterioration of this series is my biggest disappointment when it comes to books. That's what makes liking the earlier books feel like a guilty pleasure.

Favorite Series: I wanted to list so many books, but I'll have to be satisfied with four.

1. Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Harry Dresden--Wizard
Lost items found. Paranormal investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things--and most of them don't play too well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a--well, whatever.

There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get... interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.
It's pretty impressive when a story can hold your interest for so many books. Butcher has managed to do what Hamilton apparently can't: keep coming up with new ideas and places to take his characters. Another thing I love about this series is the way Butcher ages his characters. Instead of living in a seemingly unchanging bubble, Butcher makes it feel like time is the same in the books as it is for us. It's always a bit odd when you don't pick a series up for a year and everything is exactly as the last book left off. The Dresden files has a more natural feel. I always describe it as a grown up Harry Potter, but it's so much more than that. (Butcher's Codex Alera series was also good.)

2. Rachel Morgan/The Hollows by Kim Harrison
The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves—creatures of dreams and nightmares—has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the "Inderlanders" reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner . . . and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death . . . not to mention her own roommate.
This, along with the Dresden Files, is a book I really look forward to getting a new installment of each year. I'm not gonna lie, when I re-read the first books I get super annoyed with the characters. But I loved them the first time around and I always devour the new book the day it comes out. The series feels like it's starting to wind down and I'm looking forward to seeing how it ends.

3. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective wall. To the south, the King's powers are failing, and his enemies are emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the King's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but also the kingdom itself. A heroic fantasy of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and evildoers who come together in a time of grim omens. The first volume in George Martin's series.
If Hamilton's dwindling inspiration is my first biggest disappointment, then the delay of the last portion of this series is the second. I love that you never know where Martin is going with his story and no characters are safe. This series deserves the hype.

4. Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee - whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not - stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden - a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
It was a toss up between this trilogy and the Hunger Games, but at the end of the day this one wins. The Knife of Never Letting Go is simply amazing and if you haven't read this series then you're crazy. There's just no other explanation for it.

Favorite Romance Novel: I don't really like romance as a general rule but I've read a few good ones. Sticking with the series theme, here are two romance series I like.

1. Gardella Vampire Chronicles by Colleen Gleason
Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil...

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy of hunting vampires, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.
I don't know how but this series wormed its way into my heart. Even though the books are a bit expected, you're all the more happy for it. I also like that this series has a strong plot. They have more plot then the last five Anita Blake books combined actually.

2. Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.
Again, this is a romance series but it also has a good amount of plot. I stopped reading after the third book since things felt satisfying enough for me to stop reading, but I think they were three solid books.


  1. I love the Anita series! I know a lot of people don't like the last few books, but I think that Bullet was definitely one of the best in the series! I can't remember if it's 18 or 19 in the series...

    My friend who recommended Hamilton, also recommended reading "The Hollows" - I need to get around to that!

  2. I LOVED the first ten books. I even kind of liked the first few books where everyone was getting it on. But I absolutely detested Skin Trade (book 17 I think). I wrote a pretty scathing review on Goodreads, but I can't handle the way Hamilton is okay with Blake essentially mind raping people. It's disgusting and the ardeur basically ruined the series for me. Ok I didn't mean to be so harsh! I think it's great that people still like the books, but they aren't for me. (I don't read romance for a reason.) In Hamilton's defense, Guilty Pleasures was published in 1993. It wouldn't make sense her writing or vision for the series would stay exactly the same.

    The Hallows are excellent though. You should definitely check it out!

  3. I meant to say, "It wouldn't make sense THAT her writing or HER vision for the series would stay exactly the same." lol