I am such a huge fan of Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, that when I heard that she was releasing Hunt, a sOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I am such a huge fan of Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, that when I heard that she was releasing Hunt, a short story starring her younger cousin, Abby, I was eager to jump back into that world. Hunt is brilliant!
Abby is spending some time camping with her friends in the woods, and takes the chance to escape from her friends for a while so she can shift into her cat form - being at college, it's been such a long time since her last shift, and she's enjoying stretching her feline muscles. But when she hears terror filled screams from the camp site, she knows, with her advantages as a shifter, she's their best shot at survival. Despite her remembered fear of when she was locked up and attacked four years previously trying to suffocate her, Abby will do all she can to save her friends.
Previously published in the Chick's Kick Butt anthology, but edited and self-published by Rachel Vincent to bridge the Shifters series to her new paranormal romance new adult Wildcats series, Hunt is a brilliant short story! It's great to immerse myself back into that familiar world, but also cool to have a story from a different perspective. Abby is a great protagonist, and has learnt a lot from Faythe - not just how to defend herself, but also some of the attitude. She's got spirit and courage, and she won't just sit back and let her friends get hurt, despite an order from her Alpha, Jace.
I don't want to spoil the story, but it's quite a horrific one, not just in violence and gore, but in other areas too. Considering Abby's past, the girl has real chutzpah, and the things she discovers... so disturbing. I already love Abby, so I'm seriously excited for Lion's Share! Though I'm a little nervous as these books will be paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy, and I'm not the biggest paranormal romance fan. It's Vincent, though, and I love this world, so I'm sure it's going to be amazing!
A great short story, and a must read for fans want to make the jump from the Shifters series to the Wildcats series....more
When I first heard about Warm Bodies, I was SO eager to read it, because it just sounded awesome. Then I sawOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
When I first heard about Warm Bodies, I was SO eager to read it, because it just sounded awesome. Then I saw the trailer for the movie and wow! Even more excited! So it was quite clear to me I'd be diving right in as soon as it arrived. I did, and I LOVED it!
R is a zombie. He doesn't know how he died, he has no memories of his previous life, nothing. All he knows is his Dead life, stumbling around, almost conversations with a few syllables and grunts with fellow zombies, living in an airport, spending hours going up and down on the escalators in between going to the city to feed. Not that he enjoys it. For R is a conflicted zombie, and hates being the cause of death, but he won't have the so-called life he now has unless he does. On one trip to the city with a bunch of zombies, in the midst of feeding on humans, R lays his eyes on Julie, and everything changes. Instead of eating her, he saves her. And so begins a tentative relationship between Dead and Living.
Warm Bodies is an extremely surprising book. As I said, I saw the trailer before I read the book, so I was expecting comical. Comical I got, R has a unique voice, and although he has trouble speaking out loud, he thinks just like anyone else would, and narrates his story with a comical tone, showing the ridiculousness of a zombie's life. However, Warm Bodies is also extremely poignant. Upon meeting Julie, he starts to question his life, his existence, and develops more of a conscience, and as his feelings for Julie grows, the impossibility of his situation dawns on him, and can be really heartbreaking.
It's also kind of sad because not one person has a great life. Julie has been through, and is still going through, some serious issues herself. Nora, Julie's friend, hasn't had an easy life either. And we also get the story of Perry, a boy R kills and eats. When a zombie eats a human's brain, they get flashes of memories from that person's life. But with Perry, it's like R relives moments of his life, and Perry won't "stay" dead. He keeps coming back to R in his mind to show more of his tragic story. And through Perry's memories, R gets to find out more about who Julie is, and falls not just for present Julie, but past Julie too.
I wasn't expecting Warm Bodies to be as much of a post-apocalyptic novel as it was. There are zombies, yes, and they're killing off the population, but they aren't the only problem. Civilisation as we know it had already collapsed; governments fell, the need to survive at all costs came about, and violent disputes broke out. The whole purpose of life was to survive, not live. And life is difficult.
Despite all this, there moments of light and beauty. There is the comical tone, and there's the moments between R and Julie that are just lovely. Being inside R's head as he discovers he has feelings for Julie is just beautiful, as you watch him metaphorically melt. He's such a sweetie! Such a good, good guy, and I wanted to give him such a hug! There are also moments where something will be said by one of the characters, or thought by R, that I was just bowled over by, moments that really spoke to me, which were just amazing!
At 239 pages, it's a super quick read, but so much happens! There's comedy, romance, action, excitement and some graphic violence! It's a thrilling, exciting and beautiful read, and one I highly recommend! I am more than excited to get my hands on the prequel to Warm Bodies, The New Hunger, which will be published by Vintage sometime in the foreseeable future, and on Warm Bodies #2 once Marion has written it. Seriously, Warm Bodies is now right up there with my favourites!
I'm a huge, huge fan of Karen Chance; of both her Cassandra Palmer series and her Dorina Basarab series, soOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I'm a huge, huge fan of Karen Chance; of both her Cassandra Palmer series and her Dorina Basarab series, so it was an absolute no brainer that I would buy the latest book following Dorina, Fury's Kiss. And as ever, Chance didn't disappoint!
No summary this time. I simply cannot give one without spoiling major parts of the story, because woah, Fury's Kiss is one hell of a ride! The description above will have to do you.
Compared with the previous two books in Dory's series, Fury's Kiss is more of a journey of self-discovery for her. Don't worry, this doesn't take the place of the usual action packed plots we've come to expect from Chance - if anything, Chance has seriously upped her game in this area (more on that later). But there is a lot of focus on her memories, and finding out exactly what happened before her capture. This involves a lot of digging - however, Dory is a dhampir, and as such, there's more than one side of her. So digging in her memory brings her face to face with her vampire side. A side of herself she has been scared of her whole life, because of waking up after knowing the vampire took over, surrounded by a massacre. She really has to come to terms with this other side of her nature, who she thinks of as a completely different person, monster, who shares the same body as her. This in itself is pretty awesome, but we also get to see Dory when her vampire self takes over, rather than not be aware of what happens along with her when she blacks out. This side of Dory is most definitely a vampire, and has so much hatred, but perhaps she's not the complete monster Dory imagines her to be. I will say no more.
As with all of her books, Chance has woven an intricate plot in Fury's Kiss, but I think the plot for this book is even more intricate. Perhaps I'm misremembering just how intricate they can be due to having not read any of her books for quite a while, it's possible. But if someone asked me to tell them exactly what the bad guys were doing and how, with no problem about giving spoilers, I'm not sure I could. It's so tight, and with so many players, when things were being worked out, I had to read over parts to try and keep on top of everything. It's very much involved with vampire politics, and it's so clever, but unbelievably detailed. With skills like hers, I wouldn't be surprised if Chance worked out how to break in to where ever the hell she liked. Working out strategy? Chance has got it down pat.
This, along with Chance's trademark of massive, dangerous action scene after massive, dangerous action scene, there was so much going on in this book! Chance must do some serious planning before she writes her books, because I can't see this book being written by the seat of anyone's pants. It's awesome, it's riveting, and I couldn't put the book down! The action scenes seemed to step it up a notch too, with the level of danger, violence and how-the-hell-is-Dory-going-to-get-out-of-this-one suspense! It's just beyond impressive. It's incredible.
There is one part of this book that had me literally shout out "OH MY GOD!", with a massive grin on my face and squealing with excitement! It's about half a page, if that. But it's going to have huge consequences. The repercussions are going to be so, so good! That, topped with what happened at the end of the book, has me ridiculously excited for the next installment. It's huge! It's going to ripple out and affect everything! And it will rock! Such an incredible book! I'm really excited for Tempt the Stars, the sixth book in the Cassandra Palmer series, and whatever comes next in Dory's series.
You all probably know by now how much I love Jeaniene Frost's novels, and the Night Prince series is no exceOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
You all probably know by now how much I love Jeaniene Frost's novels, and the Night Prince series is no exception! Twice Tempted is just as awesome as I've come to expect from Frost!
Vlad has kept his distance from Leila since her psychic abilities began playing up when he surrounded her in his aura to save her from an explosion. Leila worries that her faulty abilities mean he's no longer interested, and worry about what this means for a future, until Vlad makes a shocking announcement. Vlad is proposing! Unfortunately, Leila is mistaken, and realises that's never on the cards for her and Vlad, that he'll never feel for her how she feels for him. Humiliated and hurting, she decides to leave and go back to her old life as a carnival acrobat with Marty. But when a bomb blows up her former trailer, it looks like someone wants her dead, and Vlad is looking like a possible suspect.
Oh, Vlad! I do love him. He is just so complicated when it comes to his feelings. He may act cold and distance, but there's so much going on underneath the surface! You know, I didn't think it possible, but he's even more arrogant in this book, and I found it so surprising! Because the Vlad we know from the Night Huntress series is always pretty jokey and flirty, I've always assumed his arrogance was half joke - sure there was some there, but he didn't take himself too seriously. Although in some ways that may be the case, his arrogance is mostly real. Yet his arrogance is warranted really; he's Vlad the impaler, he's conquered many an enemy throughout the centuries of his life, he's been through such terrible ordeals, yet he always comes out on top. Why would he believe any different? And he is over 500 years old, so he has certain old fashioned ideals, and with his arrogance, he can sometimes seem a little unreasonable, but Leila is well up for the challenge of teaching him the error of his ways.
Twice Tempted felt a little different to other books I've read by Frost. It felt less action packed - note the emphasis on "felt". Looking back, there are quite a number of suspense-filled, thrilling action scenes, yet when I think of the book on the whole, it felt more of a quieter book, a more emotional one - yet not exactly depressing or overly sappy. It must be the every day emotional issues of the book, and they, for me, seemed to outweigh the danger. But when things were resolved, it did seem to happen kind of quickly. Possibly a little too easily? Maybe.
Really wasn't much of a fan of the sex scenes in this one. People enjoy what they enjoy, and that's fine, but these ones kind of made me feel a little uneasy. Probably down to personal preference, but I really didn't enjoy reading these scenes. I don't want to spoil anything and say why, but yeah, not my bag.
But otherwise, an amazing story! So looking forward to the third book in the trilogy to see what happens next!...more
I absolutely love this series, and Jeaniefe Frost is one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, so of courseOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I absolutely love this series, and Jeaniefe Frost is one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, so of course I was going to read Up From the Grave. The seventh and final book in the Night Huntress series is just as action packed and as exciting as we've come to expect, but there was something missing in this one for me.
Life has been pretty quiet and peaceful for Cat and Bones lately, and Cat's come to enjoy it. But when the Don's ghost pays her a visit to say her old team mates and friends have gone missing, Cat will put aside her peaceful life to find out what's going on. Turns out Madigan, Don's replacement, has been conducting experiments on her friends behind the scenes. He wants to create a species that are human, vampire and ghoul all at once to create an unbeatable army for humans. Knowing neither vampire nor ghoul will let something like that slide, Cat and Bones are racing against time to stop Madigan and save her friends. But revelations throw a spanner in the works, and Cat discovers more than she bargained for.
Up From the Grave is a really sweet novel. As I said, there's excitement and danger throughout, and some of the things Madigan has done are atrocious. You're still on the edge of your seat, dying to know what happens. But you can feel it's the end of the series as you go along. Cat comments frequently about how she misses the peace they had, and wanting to go back to that. There's also several instances of Cat truly realising what she wants from life, and that's to spend it with Bones. She accepted how she felt about Bones a long time ago - they're married now, even - but I think in Up From the Grave she discovers just how deep her feelings go, just how much she loves him, and what her life would be without him - nothing. There's also a time or two when we get similar comments from Bones. There's a very strong feel that their life together is more important than anything else, which is part of the winding down of the series. They're going to focus on their own little world when everything has calmed down.
Cat and Bones mentioned things that had happend in previous books quite a number of times. This was probably meant to be a nod to the series ending - showing how far Cat and Bones have come, and the things they've gone through together - but I didn't always remember what was being discussed. There have been two Prince of Darkness books since the last Night Huntress Novel, and a few Night Huntress World books interspersed between the others. It's been a long time since those other Night Huntress books came out, and I simply couldn't remember what they were talking about, but there wasn't enough recap to jog my memory. So sadly, most of the references went over my head.
I did find Up From the Grave kind of predictable in places, though. There were some extremely emotional times in this book, but there were always hints as to what would happen, so I couldn't get as anguished as Cat, because I didn't believe what was happening. I think the predictability is what let me down a bit; I knew what was coming for certain parts of the books, and so although it was exciting and had me on the edge of my seat, I wasn't surprised. And the big, big reveal? Really obvious. So obvious. I couldn't work out how things are as they are, but I gathered really on what the outcome would be. It was just glaringly obvious. And although it fits in with the plot completely, it feels a little too conveniant. It seems like Frost decided how she wanted the series to end for Cat and Bones, and then wrote a story to fit that, one that works, one that's plausible and completely in vein with the other books, but still feels a little... self-gratifying? Or maybe a little too generous to the characters? I don't know, but I'm dubious about it. Not only has the series ended, but it's ended wrapped up in a pretty ribbon too. It's not necessarily a bad thing to do - serious kudos to Frost for creating a great story to get this ending without it seeming like an after thought, "Oh, and by the way..." - it was just surprising that Frost chose to. With all that Frost has put her characters through, it just seems a little out of character for things to be so nice and neat. It left me thinking, "Really?"
On the whole, not the best in the series, but still a pretty good book. A nice way to end the series, even if it I have some misgivings about it. I still consider Frost to be one of my favourite authors, and I'm super excited to read more from her in the future!...more
Being the huge Jeaniene Frost fan I am, I had to get this book when it was released. I was especially lookinOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Being the huge Jeaniene Frost fan I am, I had to get this book when it was released. I was especially looking forward to reading it not only because it's another Frost book, but because it's Vlad's story! Vlad is one of my favourite characters from the Night Huntress series, but we never saw enough of him for my liking, so I was so happy that he now has his own book. And it's amazing!
What I was surprised about, although this is Vlad's story, it's told entirely from Leila's perspective. This may not be that surprising considering the Night Huntress series is told entirely from Cat's perspective, but I assumed, as all the other spin off novels - those in the Night Huntress World series - had dual narration, that Once Burned would too. I guess that as it will be a series in it's own right, and we'll have more books about Vlad and Leila, it's going back to one narration. I was slightly disappointed as I was so looking forward to getting into Vlad's head, but really, once you're engrossed in the story, it hardly matters.
Leila kind of reminded me of Cat when we first met her in Halfway to the Grave. She's not a vampire, she's completely human, but after an accident with a downed cable line, she can now channel electricity, tell a person's darkest sin just by touching them, and sometimes see their future - not only that, but she can also see memories left on objects. Trying to make the most of a life where she has to always be on alert so as not to touch anyone, everything goes wrong when she is kidnapped. Having heard of what she can do, someone wants her to find out where a certain dangerous vampire is, and where he will be in the future.
Despite the crap she's had to deal with, and her horror over being kidnapped, she's quite gutsy. No, she's not automatically a badass, but she's smart, and she knows her power more than anyone else. What's a few lies about what she can or can't do if it's going to keep her alive and useful? Not only that, but she's not afraid to stand up to one of the most dangerous vampires going, and not cowering just because of who he is - like she forgets she's talking to Vlad the Impaler!
Vlad! Oh, Vlad! He drove me bloody mad! He is just as amusing as he is in the Night Huntress series, but my god, is he arrogant. Most of the time, it's just funny, but the rest of the time? God, I wanted to slap him! Of course Leila is interested in him, of course she wants him, of course he will have her. It's like he can't comprehend any other option. He's not just arrogant when it comes to Leila, but that's what made me so mad. Yet... he can be surprisingly lovely. In his own way, he genuinely cares, and he has the moments where he is the most sweetest, most perfect guy (even if slightly old fashioned)! He's just so brilliant! In lots of ways, Vlad is a mass of contradictions. When it comes to his enemies, or anyone who displeases him, event his own people, he is ruthless. His idea of punishment for something that wasn't exactly someone's fault is just horrific. Yet, when no-one's done anything to displease him, he's a nice, normal guy. And when it comes to Leila, he's sweet and lovely, very protective, says he's selective with who he sleeps with, and seems to be quite sensitive, and then goes and says he will never love her. And how he acts at the end of the book! Oh my god! I still love him, but sometimes he disgusted me and infuriated me - but what can you do, when he's the most powerful vamp in history? But I think this all shows just how awesome a story this is and how Frost is such a brilliant a writer, that I went through so many emotions. I do think Leila will be able to take him down a peg or two, though. And the chemistry between the two of them is just amazing! I'm really looking forward to seeing how their relationship progresses in the second book.
Once Burned is just as actioned packed as we've come to expect, and in some instances, possibly even more so. There's a whole new level of twisted when it comes to the violence, but it's just so exciting! And the cliffhanger ending! The mystery of this story did seem slightly similar to that of Eternal Kiss of Darkness, but in the very basics, and on the whole is quite different. Once Burned is a fantastic addition to the stories set in this world, and I am so looking forward to the sequel in the Night Prince series, Twice Tempted....more
When I heard about God Save the Queen, I thought it sounded awesome, so picked it up quite quickly. What I dOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
When I heard about God Save the Queen, I thought it sounded awesome, so picked it up quite quickly. What I didn't realise was just how awesome this book was going to be!
I don't even know where to start, but I think I should address the description above first, as it's slightly misleading. Other than the fact that this book contains paranormal creatures, there is no magic. And even with the paranormal creatures, that's more down to biology than magic. But to the story. This isn't a story about Queen Victoria, despite what the title suggests. She is a character in the book, but she's not the main character, or even an important secondary character - this book is all about Xandra. Xandra is a halvie - half human, half paranormal creature, in her case, vampire - and is part of the Royal Guard after years of training. She is badass, and she's only 22 - sorry, I mean two and twenty. She is extremely loyal when it comes to her family, so when her younger sister, Dede, goes missing, Xandra is determined to find her. But her sister's whereabouts isn't the only thing she discovers...
I really can't tell you more than that. Right from the very beginning, we're thrust onto a roller-coaster of twists and turns, lies and deceit, and a conspiracy. Something is up, but neither you nor Xandra can work out what they hell is going on. You have no idea who Xandra should trust when she is told something different by each person she meets, when people are holding out on her, and things she thought were so for most of her life turn out to be the complete opposite. What starts off as a search for a loved one ends up becoming a search for the truth on a much larger scale, with political intrigue and questions concerning herself. They say when you don't know who to trust, trust yourself, but how can you do that when you're not entirely sure who you are?
Despite the paranormal world Xandra lives in and her job, God Save the Queen is more a mystery than an action-packed novel. There are a number of fights and squirmishes scattered throughout the novel, but this story is more about using your head and your smarts more than your fists and your Bulldog revolver. Kate Locke is simply amazing, because you're constantly kept guessing as to what is really going on. I had several theories going on, but it never all really clicked into place for me until one page before it did for Xandra. It's absolutely thrilling to never really know what is going on, or who to like. Despite the lack of lots of action which I'm used to in an urban fantasy, I was constantly excited by this novel and eager to see where things led.
The world building for God Save the Queen is just brilliant! There is science! Yes, science! Not hard to understand science, but an actual credible explanation for the existence of vampires and werewolves in the Aristocracy, all because of the plague! And it makes perfect sense! Though, if some people have some trouble understanding it, it's explained brilliantly at the end of the book - all genetics and biology! Then there's the world itself. It's London, England this year, but not the London we know. Due to the paranormal Aristocracy, certain events in history didn't happen, and because of this, 2012 in Queen Victoria's reign is very different. Women still wear corsets and dress in ball gowns for royal events. There is technology, but it's very different from out own; people can ride around in horse-drawn or motorised ones, or their version of cars and motorbikes. You will recognise mobiles, computers, even fax-machines, but they're very different from our own with different names. Even CDs and DVDs have their own cylindrical counterparts in this world! There's no clockwork, so it's not a steampunk novel, but this topsy-turvy modern-historcal London makes for a fascinating read.
There are so many other things I could talk about, but I would come close to spoiling the book, so I'm going to leave it here. Basicially, God Save the Queen is a fantastic, intriguing, exciting paranormal mystery that will have you turning the pages faster than Xandra can run - and that's saying something! I cannot wait for the sequel, The Queen is Dead, which is released in February 2013. This was completely unputdownable, and every bit as gorgeous as the cover!...more
Being such a huge fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy and Bloodlines YA series, I was eager to try out heOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Being such a huge fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy and Bloodlines YA series, I was eager to try out her adult series too, thinking, as everything else she writes is amazing, her adult novels must be too. I wasn't wrong!
Storm Born is full of the kind of action one would expect from an adult urban fantasy. Being such a kick-ass shaman that banishes spirits, elementals, and other Otherworldly creatures, Eugenie's schedule is always full. But around the same time she gets a job to try and resue a teenager who was abducted into the Otherworld, the "people" of the Otherworld start seeking her out personally, attempting to rape her, and her already maxed out schedule is pushed to the limits, not only trying to save others, but also herself. There is never a moment when the excitment ebbs, especially once she learns about her past and the prophecy!
I haven't read a book about fairies/fae/gentry in quite a while, so it was nice to revisit the folklore, though it wasn't what I was expecting Storm Born to be based about; yes there is a fairy king, but there's also a shape shifter, I thought there was going to be all manner of paranormal creatures. However, most of the paranormal creatures in this book are gentry in one form or another, or creatures that come from the Otherworld - the gentry's world. I love how novels like this tackle some other fictional world, and add that high fantasy feel to an urban fantasy novel. The beautiful, medieval feel of the Otherworld contrasts so well with the world we know.
Eugenie has two love interests in this novel; Kiyo, a kitsune (fox shape shifter), and Dorian, King of the Oak Land in the Otherworld. There is instant animal attraction between Eugenie and Kiyo, but there is something about him I just don't like. Considering how little time they spend together out of bed, I just didn't believe that their feelings went beyond love. He was just far too possessive and protective for my tastes, and he lied and hid things too. I just don't trust him or like him. Dorian, however, is awesome! He is so funny and flirty, and just completely charming! Ok, so he has his own agenda, but the time he spends with Eugenie, to me it was obvious his feelings are genuine. I found it surprising yet clever how Mead used Eugenie's sex life in Storm Born. It wasn't just Eugenie and whoever she happened to be with at the time was horny, but it was also a way of Eugenie exploring herself further, and finding out who she is. She has so much control over her life, but does she always want to be in control? Yes or no? Not just in bed, but in all areas of her life. And those questions continue being asked throughout the story.
There were are a number of shocking twists in this book that I didn't see coming! And what a cliffhanger! I am so looking forward to the second book in the series, Thorn Queen! An awesome novel, I am am eager to read more!...more