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I hope everyone had a happy Valentine’s Day!

Now that it’s Friday, I’m going to be recommending the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.  This series has an awesome main character who has some sharp wit and sarcasm, and who also does Judo.  It’s one of my go to series when I feel like reading something, but am not necessarily in the mood to start something new.  Anyhoo…here it is:

Book 1: Guilty Pleasures

This first book is totally awesome, and might be my favorite in the series.  The main character, Anita Blake, like I mentioned above, is tough, sarcastic, and fun.  Not only that, but this book introduces my two favorite characters: Edward (a.k.a Death), and Jean-Claud, plus some creepy villains.  All in all, a great start to the Mentalist meets Supernatural kind of series (although, I think Guilty Pleasures might have come out before both of those shows).

Book 2: The Laughing Corpse

The first couple of times I read this book, I didn’t love it as much as I loved a lot of other books in the series.  This time, I actually liked it more.  The positives: this book has some of the creepiest villains in the entire series.  The creature that is commiting the murders is as scary as any creature I’ve read about in any book, granted, I have yet to read any H.P. Lovecraft.  The negatives: the totally awesome Edward is not in this book at all, and Jean-Claud has very little face time, too.  It also feels like the mystery is solved fairly early,  and it’s more about gathering the evidence to prove it.

One of the things I liked more about this book this time around is that Anita Blake does some serious growth (if that’s what you can really call it here), and she takes a big step in the direction of becoming one of the “monsters.”

Book #: The Circus of the Damned

This book I had the reverse problem to than I had for the Laughing Corpse, I actually loved it a little less this time around.  That’s not to say for even a second that I didn’t still love it, just that this time around there were a couple of things that sort of bothered me.  Anyways, moving on to the positives: Edward is back and as cool as ever, plus Jean-Claud plays a sizable role.  This particular installment is more hard core vampire action, rather than horror, but it does have a creepy scene right in the middle of the book.  The negatives: here you finally get to meet my least favorite character, Richard.  He doesn’t seem so bad if you haven’t read the rest of the series, but going back through it you’ll realize that he’s pretty darn selfish.

Also in this book, Anita is a little too spiteful, and it can be a little annoying.  And finally, there is a wee bit of a plot-hole that I never noticed until this read through.  But, to end on a positive note, there is an awesome climatic conclusion to this book, and some real character growth, and not just the monster growth.

Book 4: The Lunatic Cafe

Where the last book dealt with more of the vampire community, this book deals with the shapeshifters, and the were-animals.  The positives: I believe it was in this book where I decided that Edward might be my favorite character.  The end was sort of what did it, and I laugh out loud every time I read it.  It makes me wonder sometimes if I’m a tad morbid…nah.  The negatives: there is a lot of Richard time, and it’s in this book that I start losing some patience with his character.

This one is a little longer than all the previous books, and at times it does drag a little, but it’s still a fun, and fairly quick read.

Book 5: Bloody Bones

Yay, no Richard…well, mostly.  This book has more horror elements in it than a lot of the other books, and some of the most scary vampires in the business.  It also brings up the fae with a creepy twist.

The positives: as I mentioned earlier, Richard has a very small, 2 page bit part, where as Jean-Claud plays a major role.  Here you finally learn something about Jean-Claud’s past, and it ain’t pretty.  Also in this book the line of what separates people from the monsters starts to get really blurry.  The negatives: the only negative was that there was no Edward.  However, this book is, in my opinion, one of the darkest books in the series.  If you like the darkness, great!  If you don’t, well there are a couple of scenes about two thirds of the way through that are totally worth reading for.  Not only that, but this book pretty much is non-stop action and tension.

Book 6: The Killing Dance

The only book in the series so far that is not named after a location.  This book is a pure action book with barely any horror elements.  It is also constantly reminding you through out that Edward is awesome.  The positives: lots of action, plus a scene steamier than any romance novel I’ve ever read.  Trust me on this.  😉

The negatives: besides Richard’s rather sizable role, the only other negative I can think of is how much it makes me want to skip the next two books in the series and go straight to Obsidian Butterfly.  The Killing Dance is one of my favorite books in this series with all it’s tension, humor and action.  The only two books I like better are Guilty Pleasures and Obsidian Butterfly.

Book 7: Burnt Offerings

After the awesomeness of The Killing Dance, this book feels a little like a let down, or a filler episode.  Yeah, you still have non-stop action, and you meet characters that are important later on the series, but the big bad guys aren’t nearly as intimidating as they should be.  Not only that, but the mystery felt a little flat without a dead body or two to go with it.

Book 8: Blue Moon

Here’s another book not named after a location.  Blue Moon is sort of like Bloody Bones, but with Richard’s back story.  The positives: there is, as always, a lot of action, and this book develops characters that were newly introduced in the last book.  The negatives: there is an entire scene that I feel is unnecessary.  And in total honesty, this is my least favorite book in the series.

This book steps far from the formula that worked so well in the earlier books.  Anita doesn’t do any zombie raising, nor does she really have much of a mystery to solve.  Heck, she doesn’t even see a body at a crime scene until around page 300.  It still does have all the action and humor in it, bit it’s just missing a lot of it’s charm from the earlier books.

Book 9: Obsidian Butterfly

I looooooove this book!  It’s a toss up between this one and Guilty Pleasures on which one is my favorite.  For this book, we’re back to the whole murder mystery formula, but now we’re on Edward’s home turf.  There is no, or almost no romantic drama here.  It’s a pure mix of horror, mystery, and some good old fashion shoot ’em up action Die Hard style.

The positives: there is a lot of Edwards time, and you finally learn a little about his past, and the life he lives when he’s not causing more trouble to Anita’s already crazy life.  Besides that, this book has more than enough action and horror to keep you turning the pages.  Even if you haven’t read all the other books in the series, I highly recommend this one.  The negatives: it is one of the more gory books.  But hey, don’t let that stop you from reading it.

Well, that’s the end of my book recommendation.  If you read this series, and you decide to go past Obsidian Butterfly, continue at your own risk!  My recommendation for the series ends here.  Also, if you do read this series and have trouble getting through either Burnt Offerings or Blue Moon, I do strongly recommend you still read Obsidian Butterfly.

Happy reading everyone!  I’m on to some lighter MG reading now, and am totally open to any recommendations.  🙂