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Deadlocked

    After Dark Review: DEADLOCKED

    Previously published on Fiktshun After Dark…

    Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12)
    Author: Charlaine Harris
    Published: May 1, 2012
    Publisher: Ace
    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    On Goodreads…

    With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

    Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

    ***

    HOW IT RATES…

    THE LONG…

    Deadlocked is the twelfth book in author Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires or Sooke Stackhouse series. Once again trouble lands right at Sookie’s door in the form of a dead girl. Well, not technically her door, but her boyfriend, Eric Northman’s.

    While Eric was the last person to be seen with her, there are any number of suspects. From Felipe de Castro or his entourage who are visiting, to Mustapha Khan, who just so happens to be conspicuously absent when the police show up, to any of Eric’s or Sookie’s enemies. And there are always plenty of those.

    Trying to find out who the killer is means figuring out the motive behind framing Eric. Is it to drive Eric and Sookie apart? To get Eric out of the picture to get to Sookie? To cast doubt on Eric’s ability as Sheriff? Or is it part of a much more elaborate and sinister plot?

    Deadlocked is a quick read, although the pace doesn’t really pick up until the very end. And while this twelfth book in the series moves the story along, ties up a number of loose ends and answers several questions that have been begging for them, it doesn’t bring the same level of excitement to the story as some of the earlier books in the series. And it seems to wrap up some of the storylines too neatly and conveniently.

    This installment in the series did scale back the violence, although there was some. It eliminated all but the briefest sexual encounter. And it once again had very few scenes with of one of the more exciting characters in the series, Eric Northman.

    More than anything this book felt as if it was winding the series down, moving it toward its conclusion. Even some of Sookie’s musings envisioned endings to many of the characters’ stories in a perfect world. And it took the story in a direction that may please some fans of the series and upset others, depending on just how they want Sookie’s story to end.

    Appearances, albeit brief, are made by some longtime favorite characters in the series. New obstacles to Sookie and Eric’s happiness are introduced. And happy endings are given to some of the many characters in the world and unhappy ones to others.

    With a few surprises, a few “Oh Sookie” moments, and an ending that will leave readers on edge as they wait to find out where this series will conclude, Deadlocked is a necessary, if not electrifying, installment in this series.

    So, what more can I possibly say about Deadlocked?

    I’m caught somewhere between it being just “okay” for me and a “liked.” I liked getting answers, even if they’re not the ones I want. I liked that the plot was moved along. And I liked when the pace picked up at the end.

    I just didn’t feel connected to the story. And I didn’t have fun reading it. The mystery didn’t have that quality that kept me riveted as some of the earlier ones did. I found myself more annoyed with Sookie than anything. I felt things were too conveniently wrapped up and I just didn’t care about how things ended for some of the characters.

    But more than anything I just missed Eric and Pam. My two favorite characters in the series. For the third book in a row I didn’t feel Eric’s presence. Whether that was the author’s intent or not, I can’t say. But it just feels as if he’s being pulled away from the story. He’s no longer the Eric that is always there for Sookie. Stopping by for a quickie doesn’t count.

    And his involvement in this story was negligible, even though it was about a girl found dead at his doorstep.

    While I understand trying to wrap up a story and close all loopholes, I felt as if some characters were brought back into the story for no logical reason other than to say goodbye. Some of whom I already thought I’d said goodbye to for good.

    I enjoyed Deadlocked more than Dead in the Family, but a bit less than the previous book in the series, Dead Letters. And while I will definitely take this series to its conclusion, no matter how heartbroken I know I’ll be about the direction this story seems to be headed, I will probably stick with re-reading just the first nine books in the series as I’ve done four times already.

    …AND SHORT OF IT

    Not enough Eric. While the author may have other plans for good ol’ Sookie, it is hard to see such an important character in the series play such a minor role in this book. Especially since the frame job surrounds him.

    Not enough excitement. While I admit that the violence was escalating in a rather shocking way in poor Sookie’s life prior to this book, there didn’t seem to be that much going on here. Even with a murder, an underhanded plot and a huge cast of characters.

    Not enough heat. While the scenes don’t have to be the steamy kind of hot, there should have been some heat. From somewhere. But there was just no fire or passion in any of the exchanges between any of the characters. The one brief booty call was rushed and not at all sexy. And without any intensity in the glances or fiery arguments, there just wasn’t any real spark.

    A nerve-wracking conclusion. Well, the ending certainly delivers. It created that twisty knotty feeling that was missing throughout this read. The way things left off will make many readers very nervous about what to anticipate in the last book. The last ten percent of the story was exciting. And the ending will definitely keep readers guessing about what’s to come.

    MY FAVORITE BITES…

    I’d loved two vampires. Bill had broken my heart. Maybe Eric was on the way to doing the same thing.

    ***

    I began to think I was spoiled. There was no such thing as boring sex with Eric.

    I wondered if he’d dance for me, if I asked him nicely. I was having a very pleasant fantasy about that when Claude reemerged on the stage, still in his spangled tights and boots.

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #70

    Below are the YA books coming out this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of May 1st-May 7th that I have pre-ordered.

    ***

    Black Dawn by Rachel Caine will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by New American Library (NAL), the print edition is 384 pages.

    Black Dawn is the twelfth book in author Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series.

    ***

    I just keep falling farther and farther behind on this series! I think I have to have a Morganville Vampires readathon just to get caught up. I absolutely love this series and I keep buying all the books with the hope of reading them and yet I haven’t been able to. Must remedy that.

    I miss Claire and Shane and Michael. And I want to head back to Morganville to find out what adventures they’ve been on, what enemies they’ve had to face and what has changed since I last visited.

    Even though I’m not caught up on the series, I still can’t wait for Black Dawn to download to my Kindle on Monday Midnight. And yes, I did take a peek at the description. And yes, I think this one sounds amazing. It promises that “…intrigue, romance and nail-biting suspense” will be taken to new heights. I’m already intrigued and I love all of those things.

    I really hope to catch up on the series through this latest installment before the next book in the series, Bitter Blood, is released later this year.

    Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in all formats.

    Published by Simon Pulse, the print edition is 416 pages.

    Shine is the third and final book in the Shade trilogy by author Jeri Smith-Ready.

    ***

    I had the chance to read Shine just a little bit early and I tried. I really, really tried. But I’m absolutely terrified of how this series is going to end. Just having read the beginning had me all tied up in knots with worry.

    I’m horrible at reading series ending books. I’m almost never ready to say goodbye to my favorite characters. And I really, really don’t want to say goodbye to Logan Keeley. Shine will be downloading to my Kindle and I hope to muster up the courage to read it shortly after release, but I may try to prolong the inevitable for just a bit longer.

    Although I really want to find out about Aura’s past. I want to know more about the Shift. I want to see just what happens to Zach. And I want to find out just what the description means when it says that Aura will have to betray her own heart.

    I have heard this book is absolutely amazing by everyone who’s read it. So, if I can prepare myself for heartbreak, tears and an exciting but incredibly nerve-wracking read, I will be adding Shine back onto the pile in May.

    Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 464 pages.

    Sweet Evil is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and is one of my original picks.

    ***

    I can’t believe it’s finally here! Sweet Evil will be releasing on Tuesday, which means I’ll have my eBook available to re-read on my Kindle on Monday Midnight. Though I really hope to receive my print copy on Tuesday, too.

    Sweet Evil was my most anticipated 2012 debut and having read it (twice) and reviewed it, I already know just how awesome and well worth the wait it is. Anna Whitt and Kaidan Rowe are the characters to meet. She’s just so good and he’s just so very, very bad. And their story is wicked, addictive, exciting, nerve-wracking and riveting. All those things and so much more.

    As I have already spotlighted Sweet Evil for my Book Watch post I won’t go on and on and on and on. Though I really, really want to. But I will just say that this story about children of the fallen is so very different and tantalizing and utterly fascinating. And I can’t wait to read it again.

    Insurgent by Veronica Roth will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 544 pages.

    Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent series by author Veronica Roth. The third book in the series, as yet untitled, is slated for release in 2013.

    ***

    I had the great fortune to read Insurgent just a bit early thanks to Jaime and Patricia of Two Chicks On Books, who loaned me their ARC. I’m still recovering. Still. And I will be for quite awhile.

    I have the eBook pre-ordered to download from Amazon but I may have ordered a print copy to help free Four also. I guess I’ll find out on Tuesday.

    This follow up is absolutely amazing. I don’t think the author could have done a better job building upon her characters and her world for this sequel. As I have already reviewed it, I won’t continue to ramble too much. But yes, war is looming as the description promises. Yes, it is a “thrill ride.” And yes, there are most definitely “heartbreaks” and “twists.” Oh those twists. They’re killer.

    I can’t wait to re-read Insurgent when I get my finished copy. I’d love to sneak it in later this week if I can somehow find the time. Because I am not quite ready to say goodbye for another year until book three’s release.

    Destined by Aprilynne Pike will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 320 pages.

    Destined is the fourth and final book in the Wings series by author Aprilynne Pike.

    ***

    I hated saying goodbye to the Wings series by Aprilynne Pike. I hadn’t known that Destined was the last book in the series when I first added it to my reading pile. But I am happy to have the finished copy scheduled to download to my Kindle to join the first three books in the series this week. I just wish there were a few more books as I’m sad to see this series end.

    This has been such a magical series. And Destined is no exception, though it was much more action-packed than the earlier books. Which I loved. I was fortunate to get an ARC through a trade, which I just had to read and review early because I just couldn’t wait to find out how this series ended.

    As I have read it and can’t guess as to what might happen with Tamani, David and Laurel and just what Avalon’s fate is, since I already know what happened, I will simply reveal what I can about Destined….

    It’s bittersweet. Definitely bittersweet. There is loss. There is heartbreak. There is action, action and so much more action. And there’s an ending that wraps things up without any real loose ends. I thought it ended perfectly. But tormenting? Oh yes. The entire read puts your emotions on one huge roller coaster. And the ending, well… I’ll leave that a mystery.

    I agree with the description that it’s a “stunning conclusion” and I can’t wait to re-read this entire series in the near future.

    Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online to pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Ace, the print edition is 336 pages.

    Deadlocked is the twelfth book in the Southern Vampires series by author Charlaine Harris.

    ***

    I’m sneaking in a non-YA title into the post because I am such a fan of this series, though I don’t always list my non-YA book purchases on the blog. But I am so excited this next book in the Southern Vampires series is releasing this week I just couldn’t help myself.

    I will be reading Deadlocked on release day when it downloads to my eReader because I have to find out just what happens next with… you guessed it… Eric Northman. Especially since he seems to be in some trouble in this next installment with a body turning up in his yard.

    I’m even more worried that Sookie and Bill seem to be teaming up to solve the crime. Very, very worried, actually.

    I can’t wait to find out who Sookie’s newest enemy is, or if it’s an old enemy that’s come back into the picture. I can’t wait to see where things go with Sookie and Eric and I hope, hope, hope that nothing rekindles between her and Bill.

    This series has gotten a bit darker with each book, so I can’t wait to find out if this one is even more grim. And I will most definitely be devouring it this week.

    Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 400 pages.

    ***

    I am so curious about this book. I first heard about Wanted when I was offered a copy in a trade. And even though I haven’t yet read the ARC, I still decided to pre-order it for my Kindle. Because it sounds awesome.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever read a story about a teenage bookie. And I most certainly have not read one that has elements of a Robin Hood story thrown into the mix. I can’t wait to meet Michal, the bookie who goes against her better judgment and places a bet. A losing bet which pushes her to crime in order to repay it.

    This book sounds dark, it sounds exciting, it sounds thrilling. And I can’t wait to check it out this month.

    Revived by Cat Patrick will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 352 pages.

    ***

    I received an early copy of Revived as a gift from another blogger. I thought I had all the time in the world to read it, but apparently I didn’t. I haven’t yet read it and with release date right around the corner I may end up reading the Kindle version I have pre-ordered instead.

    I think this story sounds absolutely creepy, though I have a feeling it will also be quite thought provoking. A government manufacturing a drug that will bring people back from the dead is totally creepy and it gives me the chills. And just knowing that the main character, Daisy Appleby, has been Revived several times in the past few years makes me a little bit horrified for her.

    I can’t wait to find out what the bigger picture is and whether morality will win out in the end. I’m not too hopeful, but I am curious. And I’m dying to find out just what will happen to Daisy who’s had to reinvent herself time and time again.

    I really hope to read this in the coming weeks, though I haven’t decided whether or not to read the ARC or the finished copy.

    ***

    Body & Soul (The Ghost and the Goth #3) by Stacey Kade

    Pub. Date: May 1, 2012

    Published by: Hyperion Books for Children

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3) by Kristin Cashore

    Pub. Date: May 1, 2012

    Published by: Dial

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    ***

    This is the second of three huge release weeks in a row. I don’t know how I’m going to make a dent in my TBR pile if I continue adding this many books each week. While I only have eight books pre-ordered, the two books of note I’ve mentioned in this post are books that I will be buying, I just haven’t pre-ordered them.

    Fortunately I have read a few of the books releasing this week. The only problem is that while they’re not technically TBR, a couple of them are books I want to re-read. So that means the pile is still pretty high.

    Maybe I should take a short break from making any new bookish purchases. Though I don’t think it’s a very realistic goal for me. I suppose I’ll just have to read faster….

    ***

    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!

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