Crimson Death (Anita Blake,Vampire Hunter #25) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Book Description:

Published: October 11, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake learns that evil is in the eye of the beholder…

Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from…a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer.

Ireland.

Review –

After I read Serpentine (#26) I realized that I hadn’t read #25, Crimson Death, so I looked on OverDrive and it was available so I borrowed it and drove right in.  Having read Serpentine, I knew that some VERY bad things were going to happen.

In Crimson Death vampires aren’t supposed be living in Ireland, but it seems something strange is going on across the ocean with dead bodies turning up with tiny holes in their necks. Even worse, whatever is going on isn’t good for Anita’s vampire servant, Damian. He’s suffering badly with night terrors and sweating blood, leading Anita to suspect that his old master could be responsible. Determined to learn the truth, she teams up with Edward in Ireland to hunt down those causing trouble before any more bodies turn up.

Ever since book #10 of this series, Narcissus in Chains, which I may have re-read soon, I’ve been getting more and more annoyed by the relationships Anita has with her men. There are just too many for me to handle,(and keep track  of) and quite frankly, I think Ms. Hamilton is beginning to focus too much on Anita’s relationships and not nearly enough on the investigation side of things when it comes to her job in hunting rogue vampires and shape-shifters or raising zombies.

However, in saying that, every time I read one of Ms. Hamilton’s Anita Blake books, I find myself totally captivated by what Anita needs to do to ensure the safety of humans and those supernatural that are doing the right thing. With this book, readers are taken on quite the adventure with Anita heading to Ireland, and although it takes quite a few chapters for her to get there – since those that are already hunting the rogue vampires (besides Edward) seem reluctant to accept her help – I could not stop listening once she starts investigating.

The dialogue was intense due to the investigation; what happens to Anita and her triumvirate in Nathaniel and Damian; what is happening to Damian with his nightmares and blood sweats (which was a little spooky); what Anita needs to do to figure out who is breaking vampire rules and the ever burning questioning of whether her powers as a necromancer will work in Ireland. Moreover, I liked that Anita finally began to find peace with her triumvirate and worked hard to make it work because she needed Damian, if she was ever to survive what she faced.

I really liked the introduction of characters readers have never met until this book. The fae; the vampires and their animal to call that they were up against, and the people Edward was working with. Anita had to prove herself and faces some tough challenges from each of them. Can she work with Edward and the team he’s currently working with in Ireland? Will the Fae give her grief over her abilities or will they accept her help? The tough challenges Anita faces, especially towards the end of this book are hard, yet the way she overcomes them certainly proves she’s still one of the best vampire hunters.

Overall, this was a good (almost great) book with an ending that brought tears to my eyes because of what happens to one of Anita’s men and with her, yet she’s tough and proves it with how she uses her powers to take down her enemy. I would recommend Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton, if you enjoy strong heroines that hunt vampires but doesn’t have an easy time when it comes to relationships.

Loved it!

Serpentine (Anita Blake,Vampire Hunter #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Book Description:

Published: August 7, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Vampire hunter Anita Blake has managed to overcome everything she faces. But this time there’s a monster that even she doesn’t know how to fight…

A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita’s fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it’s the first trip she gets to take with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it’s not all fun and games and bachelor parties…

In this tropical paradise Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowout within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse–her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There’s a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that’s rendering those around her helpless in its thrall. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret–if she survives at all, that is…

Review –

Since the meaning of the word “serpentine” is “of or like a serpent or snake” I expected this twenty-sixth  installment of the Anita Blake,Vampire Hunter series to be about snakes, but I was very disappointed because the “snake cursed people” were more of a second thought.

A huge chunk of Serpentine is focused of the interpersonal dynamics of longtime relationships — between lovers, friends, colleagues, and enemies. If you prefer more action than character development, you might not enjoy this particular story as much.

In the first few books of this series, I always thought of Anita Blake as a paranormal female Sam Spade. Anita lives and works in a world that is more often gritty than full of hearts and rainbows, and she is a detective, warrior, and survivor all rolled into one. In Serpentine, Anita has a full plate. What ideally should be a fun vacation with loved ones for a destination wedding, turns into more work than playtime. The last few chapters of Serpentine are perhaps more of the action and adrenaline-rush that fans of this series are accustomed to, but overall it is very much worth reading.

Serpentine is a wild destination wedding-palooza — with snake people, a meddling bridesmaid from hell, and a sociopath or two. The last few chapters of racing to stop a killer are entertaining, but also relieve some of the tension from all the relationship drama. I look forward to reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s next book in this series.

The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan

Book Description:

Published: November 26, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

When ballet dancer Clara Campbell arrives in New Orleans, lonely and homesick, she is immediately captivated by the story of Windisle Plantation and the tragic tale that is said to have transpired beyond its gate. Legend has it that it is abandoned by all living souls, but to Clara’s great surprise, it is not a ghost she hears through the stone wall surrounding the property, but a flesh and blood man. A scarred stranger with a pain deeper and darker than the churning waters of the Mississippi river that flows beside his self-imposed prison.

The ruined man behind the wall hides himself from the world. The last thing he expects is to find a friend in the selfless girl who speaks to him through the cracks in the rock. The girl who keeps returning week after week. The girl who makes him wish for things he has long since given up on. The girl who strikes both fear and hope within his wounded heart. But there can be no future for them, no life beyond Windisle, for no one knows better than him that monsters only live in the dark.

The Wish Collector is the story of shame and triumph, of loneliness and love, and the miracle of two hearts connecting despite the strongest of barriers between them.

Review –

“Amongst the city streets of New Orleans you’ll find Clara Campbell, a ballerina. She just arrived to this mysterious and magical city, still trying to find herself and she pursue her dreams. She hears a legend of an abandon house and a love that ended in tragedy making her curious and wanting to know more. The talks of Windisle Plantation lead her to a wall and ultimately to the stranger behind the wall. The Wish Collector as she called him. A enigmatic and dark man hiding behind the fence of the property she is so curious about.

They’re both lonely for very different reasons and she begins a weekly visit to the man behind the weeping wall. They strike up an unusual friendship. Build a delicate companionship. Their story is equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming.

The man who deemed himself undeserving and broken beyond repair and the girl with a heart of gold and a spirit that shines off the pages take a journey that will tear them down and lift them up as they uncover all the secrets of the plantation and their hearts too.

A fairy tale dust mixed with New Orleans’s dark magic and mystery of present and past will keep you pulled in till the last page. I was mesmerized, enchanted, completely put under the spell of this unique plot with exquisite story-telling that made this book fascinating and engrossing.”schemexygirlbookblog.com

Loved this book!   Five stars.

Elevation by Stephen King

Book Description:

Published: October 30, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences.

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

Review –

Mr. King’s new novella Elevation  is a change of pace in a few ways. It’s a quick, satisfying read, as opposed to his more epic (though still satisfying) recent works like Sleeping Beauties and The Outsider. And there’s still a weird, unnatural situation (it is Stephen King, after all) but with an undercurrent of humanity and tolerance in the face of modern social strife at the core of resident Scott Carey’s odd tale.

It’s a feel-good tale with a definite whiff of the bittersweet, so no one should worry he’s turning into Nicholas Sparks or Richard Paul Evans. (Again: Stephen King, remember?) This is just the sign of a master simply elevating his own legendary game yet again.

While it was not a five-star book for me, I still very much enjoyed listening to Mr. King read his latest book.