I liked Iris in Driving Mr. Dead and, while I didn't find myself loving her a quickly as I did Miranda from that novella, I came to completely adore h...moreI liked Iris in Driving Mr. Dead and, while I didn't find myself loving her a quickly as I did Miranda from that novella, I came to completely adore her in The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires. Iris was good, humorous, a hard worker and wary of vampires. Her healthy uncertainty and fear of vampires was actually what drew me to her. So often in UF/PNR the heroines are so brave and fearless from the get go that they act stupidly. They insist on being part of fights where they stand no chance, ignore warnings from their paranormal hero etc. Iris wasn't shaking-in-her-boots afraid, she was just cautious, smart, and knew when to run or when she was making a dumb choice. She also knew when risking her own life was worth it though. I loved the relationship between Iris and her sister, Gigi.
“Why would I take an unstable, hungry vampire home with me? Do I look particularly stupid to you?” He snorted. “No, which is why you should take me home with you. I already know where you live. While you were running to your car, I looked in your purse and memorized your driver’s license. Imagine how irritated I would be, how motivated I would be to find you and repay your kindness, after I am well again.”
The storyline for The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires was a great one. I've always been curious regarding the contents of human blood in relation to vampires in fiction and why it isn't used more often. After all, most things end up there in some capacity (alcohol, drugs, sugars etc). I think it's a perfect way to attack vampires and would be interesting to see more of. Of course if I saw it all the time I wouldn't have been as excited to see it here... Anyway I was glad to see Harper's spin on it.
“As best we can tell, the vampires in question all suffered a form of poisoning. The compound is like steroids for vampires, on an exponential level. It brings out the worst of our aggressive, territorial behaviors while enhancing our strength and lowering our inhibitions.”
Cal was a difficult character for me to decide what I thought about. At first I found him to be too similar to Collin from Driving Mr. Dead. They were both haughty, stand-offish, only put up with the heroine because it was their only option etc. To be honest I was really disappointed by this. I absolutely loved how funny Driving Mr. Dead was and I didn't want it to be just a formula for this book too. As the novel progressed Cal started showing his differences though and became his own vampire. He loved to start fights with Iris because he found it amusing, he was calculating, he was a lot more vampire-y to me. Cal had been poisoned by bad blood that made him sick and was unhappily relying on Iris. The vomitous shower scene... loved it! I really enjoyed reading about a sick vampire, enough so that I might need to go hunting down similar books. A sick werewolf or zombie would be great.
“Besides, what happened to ‘no emotional attachments’?” I asked him pointedly, though I didn’t pull away. “I’m just a human, after all.” “I shouldn’t have said that.” He hesitated. “I find myself … more attached to you than I previously believed. It’s particularly strange considering I’ve only known you a few days. Perhaps it’s like Stockholm syndrome.”
“Hey, what’s this?” I asked, pulling a copy from the pile. “The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires. A comprehensive guide to safe, loving treatment of the injured undead.” I flipped through the book and found nutrition guides, feeding schedules, an appendix on skin care after minor sunburns. “This would have been useful a week ago,” I muttered. “Wait, he’s injured? Your vampire is injured? Iris, you didn’t pick this guy up while he was hitchhiking or something, did you?”
I loved how this book was wrapped up especially the glimpse of the future between Iris and Cal. Overall The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires was an immensely satisfying, fun read.
The snark! I really liked the narrator's voice. Okay, I'll confess. I loved her voice. Miranda was funny, clever, sassy, and perhaps a touch crazy. Th...moreThe snark! I really liked the narrator's voice. Okay, I'll confess. I loved her voice. Miranda was funny, clever, sassy, and perhaps a touch crazy. That's my kind of heroine! It's a delicate balance that occasionally can result in an obnoxious, over-the-top, annoying character but when done right, they're my favorite. I'm so glad that Harper did it just about perfectly because within the first few pages I was salivating for more. Occasionally Miranda slipped into the too silly but I already adored her enough that I didn't mind.
I squinted at the faded, peeling road sign that marked the fork off Sedgemoore Road. I was pretty sure the bold block letters were painted sometime during the Lewis and Clark expedition.
My first impressions of Collin... I found him immensely amusing but couldn't for the life of me see him as the love interest. In fact, if Miranda hadn't occasionally mentioned his appearance and her physical attraction to him, I would picture him in my head as Lurch from The Addams Family (super tall, pale, no facial expression or sense of humor - completely unsexy right?). Once the book starts heating up my original un-receptiveness to him as the hero didn't matter. YUM!
I was pleasantly surprised by how funny Driving Mr. Dead was. It reminded me of the earlier Stephanie Plum novels (by Janet Evanovich) which I absolutely love. Everything that can go wrong does in hilarious ways to poor Miranda and Collin ends up suffering for much of it - which may or may not have led to several serious cases of the giggles. Whenever Collin is personally affronted by circumstance I had to laugh.
Driving Mr. Dead was an absurdly humorous, charming and addictive read. I absolutely cannot wait to continue on with The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires. My only regret in reading Driving Mr. Dead is that I didn't save it for a long car ride or something of that nature.
Atticus O'Sullivan, the last of the Druids, knows better than most that witches aren't trus...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 5 stars.
Atticus O'Sullivan, the last of the Druids, knows better than most that witches aren't trustworthy and usually mean trouble. So when he finds himself under magical attack there's no reason not to suspect it's the doings of the local witches despite the nonaggression treaty they have in the works. It turns out things are much more complicated because said local witches were attacked as well and lost one of their own. Malina needs Atticus to hunt down the new witches in town who seem very familiar to him while somehow finding time to fight off Bacchants, rogue demons, as well as a tall priest and a short rabbi.
I adore Atticus and everything but I've really come to love many of the minor characters. I was so excited that they all made reappearances in Hexed even though some of them that I'd previously liked showed some pretty nasty colors. I like how every aspect of the book is ever evolving. The minor characters are never just hanging around backstage waiting for Atticus to call on them. They're all active and changing. Even the less than desirable changes in a few characters was enjoyable to see because it made them even more realistic.
I love that things briefly mentioned in Hounded made an appearance in Hexed. I'll have to pay closer attention to see what pops up from Hounded and Hexed in Hammered and any later books. It's really important to me when reading a series that the books tie together and don't feel like separate stories with the only thing in common being the same characters. That's often why I read series novels back to back because I want that one experience and amazing extended immersion. The Iron Druid Chronicles thus far, while I have read them back to back, are truly a series and not just Law & Order episodes. I've read them back to back solely because I need to, I'm chomping at the bit to know what happens next and if I attempted reading anything else, I wouldn't be able to give it my full focus. Reading Hammered (book three) was day three of my own personal Iron Druid Chronicles marathon. I'm already going crazy now that I have to wait for books.
Overall I thought this was a wonderful followup from Hounded. I loved every aspect of Hexed even more than the first, other than the continued manwhoring of course. Although I have to admit that I foung it at least a little interesting because it's a fairly unique hero character trait. There was more history and pop culture in this one that I noticed, and picked up on anyway, which I always find fun. I'm so glad this was continued from the previous book. And why I honestly give this book the best rating, Oberon continued to be nothing more than amazing.(less)
Stan Markowski, as one of the detectives on the Occult Crime Unit, has seen his fair share...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 4 stars.
Stan Markowski, as one of the detectives on the Occult Crime Unit, has seen his fair share of supernatural crimes. He carries a gun loaded with silver bullets and always has a stake on hand, just in case. When a bust goes wrong and Markowski suffers a haunting loss, it's just the beginning of terrible things in Scranton. His latest case is a lot more dangerous and could mean the death of some of those closest to him as well as those of the whole city.
I've read a lot of urban fantasy. I love the genre and what it brings to the table. When I picked up Hard Spell I was expecting the usual elements and formula that I know and love, I definitely wasn't expecting any surprises, good or bad. Gustainis managed to shock me not only once but several times. It turned out that it was absolutely wonderful experiencing something new. One of these surprises involved an aspect of Stan Markowski that you simply never ever see in urban fantasy. It blew my mind and I loved it. I don't want to spoil anything but I also want to make it clear what it was. It was a relationship thing. I was caught completely off guard by it not only because I've never seen it in urban fantasy but also because it was meant to be a complete shock. I think it added a really interesting and complex twist to his character, especially when I thought I had him completely figured out.
Hard Spell has a gritty, almost noir feel and tone to it. I really enjoyed that because I haven't come across it in urban fantasy before despite detectives being a prevalent theme. I couldn't help but picture Markowski in a trench coat and fedora with a cigarette... and everything was in black and white. There was violence, a lot of it and it wasn't overly graphic but it was enough that if you have a weak stomach, you'd probably want to steer clear. It wasn't violence for the sake of violence though, again it had a noir quality about it that made it more like a cynical detective sharing the hard truths of his everyday life.
The beginning of Hard Spell, while I enjoyed it, is much slower and more information/background based than the rest of the book. It's a fairly long introduction period too and is not a good representation of the meat of the book. I was actually unsure if there was even going to be a main plot at first because the summary didn't mention one and I wasn't familiar with Gustainis' writing. Never fear, however, because there very much is a plot, a very dark and ominous one. Once I was introduced into the true storyline, I couldn't stop reading (and not just because there aren't chapter markers, that took some adjusting to). The ending, once you get past the gory, cringe-worthy bit, was utterly perfect. Loved it, couldn't have imagined a better ending for Hard Spell. It fit perfectly. I can't wait to see what the sequel brings us.
Hard Spell is the police procedural of urban fantasy, not a case and some fantasy elements used to lightly veil a romantic plot. There's often a fine line between paranormal romance and urban fantasy, this is without a doubt a true urban fantasy.(less)
Atticus O’Sullivan hasn't lived to be a 2,000 year old druid by causing trouble with other...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 5 stars.
Atticus O’Sullivan hasn't lived to be a 2,000 year old druid by causing trouble with other mythical beings. He just wants to run his bookstore and teashop in peace, go for hunts with his faithful Irish worlfhound and maybe spend time with a few friends. Too bad for him a Celtic god with a vendetta against him is finally closing in and making a peaceful life, what with all the Fae trying to kill him, a little difficult.
I haven't read many urban fantasy series with kick ass male main characters. Atticus just happens to really take the cake because he's also completely unique in the urban fantasy world as a druid. Not only that but he's also got all of the characteristics I look for and love in female main characters as well as a few of his own that I adored. If a wonderfully unique main character and interesting plot hadn't already won me over, Atticus's friendship with his Irish wolfhound would have. Being an animal lover, this totally had me squeeing and wishing more fantasy or urban fantasy included animals. Even if Atticus had been the worst protagonist in existence, I still would have read the book for Oberon.
I really enjoyed the history and mythology worked into the story. Some of it I was familiar with and thought was wonderfully used in the story. Others that I weren't familiar with, I enjoyed learning about without being taught. Nothing was used like a lesson, it was all seamlessly worked into the story. Anyone living under a rock might think Hearne was clever enough to make it all up, it's that good. When he's actually clever enough to recraft it into something new.
Invincible and truly immortal heroes and villains always have me wary. Often times I'm left feeling that the action was more like a play or one of those traps set up by Joker or Penguin to catch Batman, all show with no chance of real harm or downfall. I was a little hesitant beginning Hounded, what with all the god/goddesses plus ancient Atticus. I was pleasantly surprised with the realness of the danger though and never felt that any of the 'villains' were incapable of ending him. I don't usually like it when power increases and increases because then there has to be a point where nothing can stop you, but I loved how that increase of power was balanced in Hounded.
I am in awe of Hearne's abilities as a storyteller. First off, he has a humungous cast of characters yet every one had life and felt real, none of them were simply props to move the plot along (this happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves). Secondly, his plot was intricate and massive too. There were several times when I was stunned that I was only part way through the book. Lastly, I have to say that Hearne's use of language amazes me. Everyone talked so differently and distinctly. It must have been hellish keeping everyone straight with how they spoke, word use etc.
If you enjoy the urban fantasy genre even a little bit, Hounded is something you absolutely must read. It's too much fun to miss out on.(less)
Review originally posted on Bitten Books and given 4½ stars.
Never would I have expected historical romance to blend so well with steampunk and the par...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 4½ stars.
Never would I have expected historical romance to blend so well with steampunk and the paranormal. Cindy Spencer Pape accomplishes not only that in Steam & Sorcery, but she also creates a full, rich plot, scorching hot romance, and lots of lovable characters. Despite being a quick read, Steam & Sorcery has all the elements I hope for in longer novels and the book never felt rushed or confusing.
Sir Merrick was a wonderfully unique hero. I loved reading about a magical knight taking on five magical, or equally hazardous, orphans. It was always humorous to hear his thoughts on the rag tag family they became and I couldn't help but fall in love with him considering how sweet he was to each of them. The plot was centered around Sir Merrick's secret organization and the possible disaster a steampunk machine could cause by giving vampyres the illusion of humanity. It was just as fun to read about him with the kids as it was when he was completing a mission or trying to avoid Caroline. Caro is another very unique character. I don't want to say much on that as the discovery and what that's about is integral to the plot. Caro is the most obvious deviation from a realistic historical (besides the paranormal and steampunk) as she's very forward thinking. I don't think this took away from the book's credibility and it certainly didn't diminish my enjoyment. Just because Miss Dorothy, Nell, Wink, Tommy, Piers and Jamie were secondary characters didn't make them any less fleshed out or lovable. Dorothy was the cliched matchmaker. I didn't mind her in this role at all though, in fact she brought something new to the role. The orphans... they completely won me over. I could read a twenty book series on them and never get bored.
When I began this book, I expected it to be like a typical romance; heavy on the build up, a few love scenes then suddenly the plot threatens to separate them. Steam & Sorcery is nothing like that typical mold. Instead, the storyline and the romantic aspects worked as one to deliver a wonderful book. I loved both of them. This is definitely an adult book, yum, but I think even nonromance readers would enjoy it. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!(less)
To her great displeasure Maia Woodmore finds herself and her sister under the guardianship...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 4 stars.
To her great displeasure Maia Woodmore finds herself and her sister under the guardianship of Dimitri, Earl of Corvindale. He is rude, cold and worst of all, one of the only people who knows about the incident that could destroy her upcoming marriage with scandal. While Maia is battling Corvindale at every turn, she's also about to find out that she and her sister are in grave danger from ruthless vampires determined to kidnap them to entrap her brother. Dimitri couldn't be more annoyed. Up until the arrival of the Woodmore sister, he had spent his days quietly researching ways to break his covenant with Lucifer. Since Maia's arrival he's not only had to fight off other vampires to keep the Woodmores safe, but he's also had his sanctuary disrupted with open curtains during daytime and rearrangements of his library. Dimitri has his own painful secrets and no matter how much Maia pries or helps out, they will remain buried.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Vampire Dimitri starts at about the same place in time that The Vampire Voss did. I was expecting The Vampire Dimitri to pick up where the other left off. I enjoyed reliving a few scenes from the previous book in new POVs and seeing some of what was left out of the book. However, these scenes left more like outtakes since they often had gaps in time between them and much was left out that was included in the first book. I think these scenes won't make nearly as much sense if you haven't read the first book. Once the book gets caught up to the end of The Vampire Voss, the book runs much more smoothly.
I really struggled with the first half of this book. I hated Maia in the first book and my hatred transferred over to this one. Every time she opened her mouth I wanted to stuff a sock in it. About midway through, I began going back and forth practically every page on whether I found her amusing/likeable or whether she still made me want to toss her off a bridge. If you make it this far, there is a huge beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. Maia gets unbelievably better. In fact, by the end of the book I adored her and found her mouth endearing.
I loved Dimitri. It didn't matter how brooding or emotionless he got, I always enjoyed his character. Many of this thoughts and actions made living with Maia in the first half of the book bearable. He was of much the same opinion on the surface as me, “Maia should not be seen or heard.” There were several times when I had to laugh at how Dimitri dealt with her.
I thought the ending to this book was even better than the first's and I loved the ending in the first book. I liked that they were similar but unique enough to keep things interesting. I can't wait to see what The Vampire Narcise brings!(less)
This book was an absolutely brilliant blend of the best aspects of historical romance and p...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 5 stars.
This book was an absolutely brilliant blend of the best aspects of historical romance and paranormal romance. I love the masquerades and other parties, gentlemen's clubs, forgotten propriety and general atmosphere of historicals. Gleason fit those all in seamlessly with my favorite paranormal aspects; a dark, cocky vampire hero, heart racing plot, seduction and especially the heroine's discovery of another world. This is the first historical paranormal romance I've read. I was expecting the different halves of the book to clash and stand out from one another. Instead, everything flowed wonderfully and I was left completely immersed in a supernatural regency England. I would definitely recommend this to any readers familiar with one genre and looking to try out the other, you won't be disappointed.
Not only was this new England as pleasure to read about, but I also fell completely in love with Angelica and Voss. Often times when the hero starts out as a rake, he doesn't remain in character after meeting the heroine which many readers find frustrating including myself. Gleason did an amazing job keeping Voss true to himself, allowing him to grow and not torment the reader too much while doing so. Angelica was a dream come true to read about. I adored her. She was funny and unbelievably caring. She wasn't weak but at the same time I felt she was very true to the time period.
I have very few complaints about this book. First off, I hated Chas and Maia and I think we were supposed to like them, especially since the sequel features Maia. I found her annoying and obnoxious. I liked Chas until he actually appeared in the story, then he became an inconsiderate, self righteous jerk. Maybe the reader is meant to feel this way, because I certainly don't see anything redeemable about him. Several pages from his 'POV' lead me to believe otherwise though. I really trudged through those pages though, definitely didn't need a love scene for a character I hated. My last, very minor issue, was with the prologue. I actually enjoyed it after I got a few chapters in, but I was very confused at first and that through me off. I'm not sure a reader who picked up the book in a store who reads the first few pages is going to get a feel for how the book really is.
Anyway, the negative aspects of this book were easy for me to ignore since the rest of the book was absolutely amazing. The masquerade was perfect. I haven't read anything so heart pumping and delicious in ages. The entire book could have been confusing and poorly done, and I still would have loved it just for this single scene.
To end this review, I want to briefly touch on the conclusion of the book, without spoiling anything of course. The last few chapters literally made me squeal. I loved it. The ending was deeply romantic and I've never encountered that type of solution to the blood lust issue before.(less)
Jeaniene Frost is a master craftswoman and This Side of the Grave is her best book yet. I'm...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 5 stars.
Jeaniene Frost is a master craftswoman and This Side of the Grave is her best book yet. I'm always blown away by her phenomenal world building but it's her characters that steal my heart. I devoured this book and am already eagerly awaiting the next.
Cat is always so much fun to read about but it was especially fun to see how much she'd grown and how far she's come in this one. There were lots of references to previous books and many characters made returning appearances which gave us so much extra insight into Cat. I love how funny she is. She manages to be hilarious and lighten to book up without making it silly. In this book she was working towards showing her loving and caring side as well which I thought was very well done. Some of the scenes were a little depressing but Frost always took care of us in the end, thankfully! I'll admit that I teared up quite a bit.
Bones was better than ever! I'm so glad there wasn't a repeat of last book with relationship angst, I was so worried about that. Bones is probably my favorite vampire ever and this book cemented that. Everything I love about him was encompassed into this book; his bad ass side, fun and playful side, loving and devoted side, etc. Cat is a very lucky girl. I was so glad to see a return to his training Cat, I loved that in the first book.
One of my favorite things about this book was all of the returning characters. I was most excited about seeing Vlad who played a larger role in this book, yay! I freakin' adore him. He's the perfect 'best friend' for Cat. He's always funny and intense but I thought he was on his A game for this book. Lots of clever lines and I loved his turn for helping Cat learn. We saw the secret government crew several times briefly. Wow does Tate grate on my nerves... This book was a turning point for him so I think we can expect the next book to be very interesting. There were lots of others popping up, Fabian was another one that stood out though. He got a chance to shine and I'm really glad he put the vamps in their places. Loved his interactions with Cat too.
The plot for this book is one of my favorites for the series. Very well done and paced. In previous book, some of the battle scenes got a little drawn out or there was just so much going on that I felt overwhelmed, that didn't happen with the book. Everything was perfect. I can't wait to see where the next book takes us!(less)