Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Reckoning
Author: Charlaine Harris
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #11
Publisher: Recorded Books
Release Date: 5/3/2011
Length: 10 hours, 23 minutes
Format: Audio CDs
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal
Challenges: 2012 Audiobook Challenge, 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge
Source: Library
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★☆

With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover, Eric Northman, and his “child”, Pam, are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot – which is much more complicated than she knows.

I was much less disappointed with this one than Dead in the Family. The whole time I was thinking, “now this is what I’ve been waiting for.” The last book was short and kind of boring. I had no interest in all the family: Eric’s maker and Bill’s “sister.” Thank god that’s pretty much over. So here’s what I got from this book: there’s some relationship drama with Eric, I adore Pam, there’s a death plot (what’s new?), I’m kind of starting to like Bill again, Sandra Pelt is dangerously annoying, and the fey are up to something. Also, Alcide can be really dumb, but hilarious.

Now, to get into these things in depth. I thought I would be upset about the relationship drama, and, at first, I was. The thing is, Eric and Sookie are already together so they’re kind of boring now (aside from all the killing and near death experiences). It’s just that when you want two people to end up together in a story and they do, the story ends shortly after. This was is still going so I’m sort of bored. Plus, Bill was kind of sweet in this one. He’s obviously still seriously in love with Sookie, but he’s too good a man to even say anything to her about it. He doesn’t want to force his feelings on her and that’s definitely more than I can say about Eric. He’s been after her since he first saw her. Now, Pam? She showed a whole new side of herself and it made me love her even more.

Sandra Pelt = a whole lotta crazy. That’s all. I think Charlaine Harris has an outline she goes by for all these books. There was that moment, after the huge conflict was resolved and it felt like the book was going to wrap up. I kept thinking “Okay, where is it? Where’s the surprise conflict that always comes right at the end?” It didn’t take long for it to happen and it was exactly what I thought it would be. If you look and the essentials, all of these books are exactly the same. The differences are usually who Sookie is dating, what the major conflict is, and which minor character has it out for her. I’m not exactly complaining. I’m just making an observation.

Johanna Parker did an amazing job, as usual. I’ve never been fond of her voice for Eric, but her Sookie voice is spot on. She’s the reason I prefer to listen to these books.

I am interested to see what will happen with the fey and Sookie’s relationships. I’ll keep on reading! I recommend this one if you’ve been following along so far. It’s one of the better ones.

 

Previous books in this series:
Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone
Dead in the Family

The Devil’s Elixir by Raymond Khoury

Title: The Devil’s Elixir
Author: Raymond Khoury
Narrator: Richard Ferrone
Series: Templar #3
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Release Date: 12/22/2011
Length: 11 hours, 38 minutes
Format: Unabridged Audio CD
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Challenges: 2012 Audiobook Challenge
Source: Publisher. Thank you!
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★

What if there was an herb, previously lost to history in the jungles of Central America, capable of inducing an experience so momentous it might shake the very foundations of Western civilization? What if powerful forces on both sides of the law got wind of that herb, and launched a violent, uncompromising pursuit to be the first to exploit it?

And what if FBI agent Sean Reilly and his girlfriend, Tess Chaykin, were, unknowingly, the only two people who could keep the lid on this existential Pandora’s box, one that’s capable of destabilizing the world?

What a book to break me into a new genre. Okay, I admit I’ve read a few crime thrillers, but it was always because they were getting amazing buzz and sometimes I can’t walk away from that. It was also before I got launched headfirst into the YA genre and the blogging world. This is the first time a crime thriller has made me say, “I might really love this genre.”

I barely know where to start. I guess there’s nothing too remarkable about this book, aside from the fact that it’s my first real foray into crime thrillers. For that reason, I’m floored and this book will always remain a favorite. Also, I MUST read the rest of his books. Actually, I think I’ll listen to them because I found I enjoyed the narrator once I got into the book. More on that later. For now, let me give you the top three reasons this audio book was awesome: thrilling plot, likable characters, and a great narrator.

Maybe I’m just a rookie in the whole suspense thriller genre, but I totally did not see some of that coming. I mean, I figured out some of it, but not the big revelations at the end. It’s kind of funny actually, because I don’t think it was that difficult to work out. I just wasn’t getting it. Either way, I loved the plot twists and the way the story progressed kept me hooked. I was already telling other people about it before I finished.

Admitedly, I was not into this when it began. There’s a little epilogue about this old monk or something who discovers this drug and I was beyond confused. I just needed to get into the groove. I was also wary of the narrator because his voice didn’t seem like a good fit. Enter Sean Riley. Now, this guy is why they chose this narrator. He was the perfect voice for Sean. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. He has a scratchy, low voice that works perfectly for cop or FBI characters. He even did some nice voices for some of the other characters. There was a very good distinction between the male voices and the female and child voices. That is a must for a narrator in my book. So bravo to Richard Ferrone!

Seriously though, Sean Riley was awesome. I loved him immediately and I’m eager to read the previous books he’s in. I liked Tess too, but Sean was the one I was really interested in. I guess that’s good since he’s the main character. Some of the other characters are a little more complex. I thought I knew them: that they’re pitiful or a little crazy, or totally evil. As the story progressed and I saw how they fit into the puzzle of the plot, it became harder to throw them into love or hate categories. Well, not all of them. There are defintiely some hatable characters.

Bottom line: if you’re into crime thrillers, this is great one. If you’re not into them, maybe you should pick this one up and try it out. It’s certainly got me interested in the genre.

 

Previous books in this series:
The Last Templar
The Templar Salvation

Double by Jenny Valentine

Title: Double
Author: Jenny Valentine
Series: N/A
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: 2/21/2012
Length: 256 pages
Format: Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK | ePub
Rating:★★★★★

When the sixteen-year-old runaway Chap is mistaken for a missing boy named Cassiel, his life changes dramatically. Chap takes on Cassiel’s identity, gaining the family and friends he’s always dreamed of having. But becoming someone else isn’t as easy as he hoped–and Chap isn’t the only one hiding a secret. As he teeters on the brink of discovery and begins to unravel the mystery behind Cassiel’s disappearance, Chap realizes that he’s in much deeper danger than he could have imagined.
After all, you can’t just steal a life and expect to get away with it.
Award-winning author Jenny Valentine delivers an explosive mystery where dark secrets, betrayal, and loss pave the way for one teen’s chance at redemption.

Double is a brilliant young adult thriller, a rare thing to find. It was so much more than I expected. When I first read the synopsis, I thought “that could be good” and I was yearning for something new. It’s easy to get bogged down by all the paranormal and dystopian books in the YA section. It was so nice to read something totally different that will still appeal to a young audience.

The mystery surrounding Cassiel’s disappearance is immediately gripping. Chap, as he calls himself, doesn’t care what happened to Cassiel. He just knows he’s stealing the life Cassiel left behind. Chap is pretty mysterious himself. He’s not even sure who he is. The book is full of suspense and keeps the reader on the edge as Chap pieces the truth together. It’s full of shocking and dangerous discoveries that put Chap in a more frightening situation than he bargained for.

I can’t really go into much without giving things away. Trust me, you don’t want that. This book is made of suspense and dishing out spoilers would just ruin everything. Just know that I loved it, and I recommend it. It’s a pretty quick read and it will suck you in before you know what’s happened.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Title: A Million Suns
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #2
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 1/10/2012
Length: 390 pages
Format: Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Sci-fi, YA
Challenges: N/A
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK | ePub
Rating: ★★★★★

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to enact his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that’s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

I recommended Across the Universe to a friend of mine after I read it. She never could get into it and eventually gave up. I, however, was totally riveted. After she gave me the book back, I worried that I had just been crazy or excited because it wasn’t my normal type of book. Anyway, I’ve been slightly self-conscious about my loving of the book ever since (stupid, I know). So I was a little wary when I picked this one up. I mean, it’s been over a year since the last one and I’ve been having some issues with getting into second novels lately. what if I suddenly realized why she didn’t get into the book, and this one was disappointing? It seems stupid to be this anxious over reading a book, but 1. I take reading seriously, and 2. I’m exaggerating, a little.

So, now you’re like, “Laura, seriously, just tell me about the freaking book!” Okay. It was AWESOME. It was just as awesome as the first one. Now instead of feeling insecure about my taste in books, I think it’s time to accept that my friend is a quitter. She almost never makes it through the books I give her, and I read good stuff! Anyway, I devoured this book in a day. I think I read one chapter of it one night before bed, then woke up and read the whole book the next night. I couldn’t get enough and I’m so sad that I have to wait a whole year for the final one.

So, here are some great things about this book, and I’ll try not to gush too much. I had no trouble whatsoever getting back into the book. There were things that I couldn’t quite remember from the first one, but Beth Revis throws in those details in such a way that it isn’t noticable that she’s reminding me. Amy and Elder have my hearts in their hands. I love both of them so, so much. They both have a lot to deal with and they have some issues they need to work out between each other. I occassionaly had a hard time deciding who I agreed with because they both have good reasons. The plot is so awesome! That’s what really grabs me in these books. I have to know what’s going to happen next. I have to know who’s behind the crazy things going on aboard Godspeed. I have to know how things will turn out. There is no choice. I need to know! And I love that feeling.

Bottom line: read this trilogy. It gripping and so much fun! And there’s no need to worry if you’re not a sci-fi fan. I’m not really either, but I couldn’t get enough of this book.

 

Previous books in this series:
Across the Universe

Dead To You by Lisa McMann

Title: Dead to You
Author: Lisa McMann
Series: N/A
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: 2/7/2012
Length: 243 pages
Format: Paperback ARC
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK
Rating:★☆☆☆☆

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle… at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable…

This is the first book by Lisa McMann I’ve read. I was a little excited because I know the Wake trilogy was really popular. After reading the synopsis, I was in. I love these kinds of story lines because there’s so much to take in. I feel like they’re really rewarding. I really wish that this book felt that way at the end, but it didn’t. I enjoyed 90% of the book, but when I read the last chapter the ending events totally erased everything I had enjoyed about it.

I’m trying to say this without spoiling it for anyone who plans to delve into anyway. So, don’t fear spoilers. I’m not going to tell you what happens. All I’ll say is this: it was predictable and it shouldn’t have been. Granted, I might feel this way because I’ve read a few books with a similar sort of mystery, like You by Charles Benoit or Double by Jenny Valentine (which comes out in the states next month). They’re all centered around one event or revelation that the whole book builds up to. With the two previously mentioned book, I didn’t see it coming so I enjoyed them. This one? I had a feeling about the ending throughout most of the book. And I really didn’t want it to end that way. The whole time I was hoping that it wouldn’t turn out that way, praying to myself that the ending would be more original than that. But it wasn’t, and it ruined the whole thing for me.

I think if you don’t usually read mystery/suspense books or aren’t very familiar with the genre, you might like this book. Who knows? It’s just my opinion. I just had a major feeling of “been there, done that” when I finished this book. Except the books I read previously were had more original endings. I kind of hate this review because I hate to say anything negative. I don’t think I would have been half as disappointed if I hadn’t enjoyed the most of the book. Now, I just feel like I’m rambling.

In short, this was disappointing because of its predictability. I’m not giving up on Lisa McMann though. I still plan to read the Wake trilogy, at some point.

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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