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review 2020-07-30 19:46
A tiny bit better than the previous book but I will not continue the series
Strategic Vulnerability - Mandy M. Roth


"I'm... fine.
"You don't sound fine.
Because my d!ck is hard enough to hammer nails. All I want to do is sink to the floor and bury myself deep in you."



And that is pretty much what you get with the fourth book in the series. Lots of restraining himself from the male lead and lots of not running away but actually goading him from the female lead.


The main couple consists of:


Wilson, the resident joker of the I-Ops and a wererat. He is the reason I am giving this book half a star more than the third book. Wilson is much more fleshed out as a character and I felt extremely bad for him in the previous books because honestly no one deserves constant bashing like he got. He got captured and was imprisoned in some facility where he is being tortured and experimented on. The I-Ops practically gave up on him (I bet they wouldn't have given up that quickly if any of the other guys went missing but okay, whatever) and if not for the three hormonal ladies that insisted on still searching they might not have found him in the end, which might also have been for the best when I think about it because they were much safer before they were discovered (but I do not wish to get into spoilers, just saying poor Kim).


One more thing that really annoyed me was what has been done with Wilson's character or rather hasn't been done is the shifting itself. All other male leads have shifted or partially shifted in front of their mates. For heaven's sake, even Lance who had minimal time in the first book shifted while banging Melanie. But Wilson doesn't shift in this book, nope, because Wilson is a rat so it might not be a pleasant thought for the readers or something. I, on the other hand, think that is discriminatory and wish it would have been done. Wilson is just as much of a shifter and a good guy as the rest but the author keeps putting him down. It is really aggravating.


And Kimberly or Kim, some sort of Fae. She is a grad student apparently researching some indigenous plants in the rainforest and gets captured by her professor and gets locked up in the same facility as Wilson. She is as well being experimented on and ends up in Wilson's cell. He protects her, she protects him and that's how the story plays out. Her character isn't really that fleshed out as Wilson's but it also isn't all that confusing like Melinda's from the previous book. I do have a thing I am not fully clear on and that is her powers. Kim is at least part Fae and she knows she has strong powers but in several instances she is afraid of using them not to hurt Wilson which didn't sit well with me. It wasn't really explained on why that would happen and if she ever had any previous bad experiences. It was just a plot device to keep them imprisoned for a longer period of time.


Wilson and Kim as a couple work better than I would have thought. Kim actually questions this instant love mate thing and wonders how can she marry someone she only knows for a number of days. Which is definitely a valid point with all of them. They have a good enough chemistry and I wasn't as annoyed this book around because Wilson was the main character.


The problems I have with this book and consequently with the entire series is just the basic premise it seems. In the first and second book it was okay because it was when I encountered it first so it didn't bother me but now it is starting to get on my nerves.



Formula goes:


Female in trouble, male come rescue this woman that we pretend is strong but is nothing without your sexy abs and now we are immediately married because mate means it is fated and you cannot choose whom you love and yeah, bam, instant pregnancy as well.



All heroines are now pregnant, they have all moved in with their well, husbands as it stands, despite knowing them for a couple of days before doing the rest. Like I said, it was fine in book 1 and book 2 but the exact same thing has been repeated now in 4 books in a row without any deviation and I feel like I have read one book four times over.


I will not continue with this series because it seems it has no variety to offer. Female in danger, male saves, insta love, boom baby here, move on to the next couple. Do all female leads have to immediately get pregnant? If the sperm is that potent from all the shifters, how many kids will they have until they die of exhaustion of having too many kids? It's just... a bit too much for my taste.


If you like reading the exact same thing over and over knowing exactly what will happen next, be my guest, there are plenty left but I know when to start something different.

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review 2014-07-27 17:32
The title of the book is misleading
Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton


"I'm afraid of them. It is a very natural human trait to destroy that which frightens us."
"Most people spend their lives avoiding things they fear. You run after them. That's crazy."
He had a point. I closed the door and left him standing in the hot dark.
I raised the dead and laid the undead to rest. It was what I did. Who I was. If I ever started questioning my motives, I would stop killing vampires. Simple as that.I wasn't questioning my motives tonight, so I was still a vampire slayer, still the name they had given me.
I was The Executioner.



The book title.


If you are honest with yourself, I'm sure you will agree with me when I say that the book title "Guilty Pleasures" puts an idea of romance, sex, wickedness instantly into your head. With me, the thought was along the line - a kick-ass human woman + a formidable sexy vampire = a forbidden/sensual romance/sex affair.

But there isn't one. And don't get me wrong. I am not complaining on the lack of those, the story was awesome just the way it was but the title should have been a bit more ass-kicking to accompany the right mood of the book. And the strong heroine.


Plot (even though I'm sure you are familiar with it already).


Anita Blake is an animator and a vampire hunter. Her job consists of raising the dead (zombies) so she could question them on matters of intimate/family or legal matters. She is one of the best in her job and the fact she's got the looks to go with it only helps in gaining the clients. The number of her vampire kills has reached 14 and she has gained a nickname, "The Executioner". All of her vampire kills had a court order to legalize their murders for those vampires have committed serious crimes and that was the only way to stop them.


When Anita declines a job offer from Willy (a newly undead) to loo into the recent vampire murders she sets in motion a series of events that will only drag her deeper into the supernatural world. Through threats, violence and extortion Anita is finally forced to take the job. It's not like she didn't want to help but the bad experiences with vampires had made her skirmish about working closely with and for them.


The one who made her take the job was a thousand years old master vampire Nikolaos, a female psycho crazy vampire that had the looks of a young child in her early stages of teenage puberty. Looking like a blond angel she was composed of the vile of the demons. The one who suggested Anita to Nikolaos was none other than Jean-Claude, a vampire she long feared and admired.


As everyone started to threaten and pressure Anita she had another problem at hand. Jean-Claude has managed to give her two out of four marks needed to become a vampires "human slave". Now, she couldn't even get a good night's rest since he started to invade her dreams.


On top of all that commotion, another person demanded something of her, a fellow coworker Edward who was known as "The Death". He wanted to know the location of the Nikolaos and he was willing to kill for it.


Not like Anita didn't had many attempts on her life so far... and she will only get more...





Damn, this was good.


No sparkling vampires, no vegetarian ghouls or sex-as-the-main-motive shit. Good old hardboiled detective fiction with supernatural elements. Violence is as it is, bloody, messy, loud and stinky.


I should have read this sooner, but I'm glad I didn't. It came as a special treat now when we are swarmed with this new model depressive fancy sparkling vampires. This definitely reminded me of the good old days when vampires killed and they were tough as they get.


Anita, the main female character is a good fighter and a good person. Her ability of raising the dead was used to help people and she lived by that code. She hated injustice. Also, she often expressed her concern for her immortal soul. She is a young woman in her twenties who is lucky to be alive in her line of work. Besides raising the dead, she also puts undead where they came from - in the ground.


Despite being described as tough and a fighter, she also has different sides to her. Her fears of being touched or charmed by a vampire, her fear of needles, her loneliness, collecting stuffed penguins and wearing casual clothes even to the hottest of parties, feeling guilty if something happens to the people she knows. Anita has many layers and I have a feeling that I only scratched the surface.


She also has many flaws, one of them being too sure in herself. Which has almost cost her - her life. And even though this was sometimes frustrating this character has so much potential that I'm almost certain that all of her flaws will recede with the progression of the storyline.


One of the best positive sides of Anita is certainly her dark humor. You either like it or you don't.


"There is nothing like waking up the morning after a good beating. It's like a hangover that covers your entire body."


"I would have to spend the afternoon shopping. I hate to shop. I consider it one of life's necessary evils, like brussels sprouts and high-heeled shoes. Of course, it beat the heck out of having my life threatened by vampires. But wait; we could go shopping now and be threatened by vampires in the evening. A perfect way to spend a Saturday night."


Jean-Claude is a fascinating character. Firstly, because he is one of those old types, he knows how to wear silk and lace while being completely integrated into modern society and still being as masculine as hell. Secondly, because he only appears at the beginning and the end of the story yet he leaves such a great impact. And thirdly, because he had the palpable, massive power which affected everyone around him.


The rest of the characters were also unique, perfectly described and used. If I started describing all of them I wouldn't have enough space so I will leave it at the two most important ones.


The book is a mixture of mystery, horror, urban fantasy and supernatural with the abundance of supernatural creatures. The world building is excellent, an alternate history presents a world where the supernatural creatures live among humans just as they always did and the laws protect them as well as humans.



Why I WON'T stay with the Series.


I loved "Guilty Pleasures" and I know if I continue reading I will read the rest of the twenty books. But! Everyone advised me not to read past the tenth because that's when everything turns sour. Everything becomes about sex, there is threesome, animalistic then we have 7 consecutive boyfriends and all she does is whine about them. And she never takes responsibility. Also, the usage of language and the style of writing just go bland and tasteless. All in all - mainstream, author is giving out what sells the best.


I have no intention on reading the ten books and abruptly stop with no definite ending or reading through it all and risk having my heart broken.


Just to be clear, I am no prune, I do like sex in my books and different kinds of it. But when I get attached to a character I like for her to have one or two big loves in her lifetime. Whoring around and constant changes of boyfriends and sex partners is just too stupid and meaningless. Not to mention how much the storyline suffers from it. No more horror/mystery and a kick-ass heroine but a who is on my nail today to do list... what's the point in reading twenty something books on this crap?


I'll just cherish this unique experience and move on to something truly worthy.

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