Green Eyed Demon is a major improvement over its predecessor. I laughed, I cried, I sniggered at the dirty, filthy orgy. Yes, you read correctly.
WhatGreen Eyed Demon is a major improvement over its predecessor. I laughed, I cried, I sniggered at the dirty, filthy orgy. Yes, you read correctly.
What made this so good other than Giguhl's rib-crackingly funny comments, was Sabina's growth. She's been through hell and is having to adapt quickly along the way. It's a rocky road. She makes mistakes. She gets knocked down but she always, always picks her wounded ass back up and lives to fight for another day.
Her fierce determination in protecting those she loves gives her pause. She loves? When did that happen? She's a kick-ass emotionless assassin. Since when did she love anyone, or have anyone to love her? She questions her identity. She was an assassin but who and what is she now? All this leaves her vulnerable and confused. She does her best to cope but the pressures of her sister's kidnapping, her homicidal grandmother and her undefined relationship with Adam, get in the way.
Speaking of Adam. The title refers to Sabina's jealousy regarding him and Giguhl. Her family. Hers. No one elses. They're there when she needs them: in battle, for advice and for a shoulder to cry on. The most useful advice comes from Giguhl (it's all that Oprah he watches) who tell her to seize the day because there may not be a tomorrow.
Sabina has so much to accomplish that she's advised to make a To Do List which went:
1. Perform voodoo ritual on evil owl. 2. Find out who sold us out to the anachronistic Caste vampires. 3. Make amends with lesbian werewolf. 4. Rescue twin. 5. Murder grandmother.
Anyway, this is fast-paced with lots of action, a little romance and tons of laughs. However, I can't give it 5 stars for one major reason which is difficult to explain without spoilers but I'll give it a shot. But you have been warned.
There were two characters that were near death. One was healed with the help of 3 very powerful mages but the other, only one for an injury that I would assume given the magic rules, would be impossible to "heal". Plus, the circumstances in which they were injured meant that person should be dead. This didn't sit well with me which is why it's taken me so long to write a review. But I can also see it from the author's point of view. This character was important and needed to survive but wanted to keep the "everyone thinks they're dead" angst (which was excellent by the way. It produced a highly emotional action scene).
I've never taken to Sabina's overly optimistic and wishy-washy sister so I was pleased she "suffered". I don't wish for her to be jaded, she just needs a bit more reality in her world view to make her more likeable.
The excerpt from the next book was intriguing. 114 days without violence, huh? Sounds dull. Not for long, I bet!...more
After a brilliant and very useful recap of Inside Out, this only got better. It found it's footing immediately and ran like the wind to the closing liAfter a brilliant and very useful recap of Inside Out, this only got better. It found it's footing immediately and ran like the wind to the closing lines.
It was so jam-packed with action, betrayals and trickery I was exhausted just reading it. It wasn't simple either. I'm impressed Snyder could fit so much in (including technical detail) and I could still follow her throughout. Something I couldn't do with the first book.
I never knew who to trust. That seems to be a real theme that Snyder just loves to play with. I don't know how Trella managed what with getting injured, drugged or knocked out every five minutes and having to deal with the difficult relationships with her mother and her boyfriend. Time was a real factor, she never had enough of it but she somehow triumphed more often than not.
There was very little skimming this time around. Snyder was economical with words yet she still managed to fill many, many pages, more than I expected and I never got bored. Unusual for me with YA. The only real downside was no sexually explicit content even when it would've made sense with what should've been a very steamy shower scene, dammit! F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G.
Talking of frustration, Trella's stubborn reluctance in taking on the responsibility of leadership and leaving it to others -ugh! I was so desperate to reach into the book and throttle her and take the reins myself. Everything was falling apart and she was doing NOTHING! It was all her fault. Maybe not but she could've prevented some things or at least coordinated responses to them more efficiently. I'm so glad she learned from her mistakes.
Anyway, things were all nicely wrapped up. Perhaps a little too quickly (I wanted to know what crimes the Outsiders committed to be kicked out of Inside) but by then I was tired and just wanted to put the book down to catch my breath so I didn't care too much. I'm guessing this is a duology, I could be wrong but it ended perfectly so I'm not expecting another instalment. Oh, and I'm assuming Trella got the top spot at the end, in more ways than one. Wink, wink....more
Lillie is a bitter woman used and abused by her husband and considered an outcaste by society which finds itself needing her to help with the increaseLillie is a bitter woman used and abused by her husband and considered an outcaste by society which finds itself needing her to help with the increase in ghostly activity which sometimes poses a risk to the living. When her husband dies in a car accident and his corpse comes back to kill her, somehow she's implicated in his death and has to find a way to exonerate herself as well as dodging further attempts on her life.
Lillie's bitterness colours her perspective. Her terrible experiences with her husband has her seeing men in a negative light. She's also incredibly suspicious of Thresher's interest in her because of her outcaste status as a Talent. Everyone avoids her except those that see her as a trophy lay, a walk on the wild side. And now that she's a widow she's even more attractive because we all know widows are in need of physical touch. She was a likeable character in need of a real friend that isn't afraid of her and can accept her as she is. Thresher seemed to fit the bill though I would've liked to have seen more of him.
In some ways, the Talents are similar to the Animators in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. Both are capable of raising zombies although the opinions on this by the main characters from each series as well as the laws governing them are completely different.
Overall, I liked the plot and was surprised by the tense and scary, well-written showdown which I loved but as a woman also found quite unnerving. I also loved the gentle ending with Lillie and Thresher.
However, the beginning was undefined. I wasn't sure where the beginning was in fact and there was an information overload in an attempt at world-building which if I hadn't been intending to review this book I would've given up quite early on. Perhaps if there was a prologue or something, it would've been easier to take in all the facts. The writing was shaky to begin with but gradually improved. With some editing this could easily be a four-star read....more
This book, with an eye-catching cover, got off to a bumpy start but about halfway through it picked up.
Allegra travels to Scotland when a DeddflowerThis book, with an eye-catching cover, got off to a bumpy start but about halfway through it picked up.
Allegra travels to Scotland when a Deddflower or Bleeding Rose, a harbinger of tragedy is found to be growing on the shore of a loch. She's called in to investigate in order to prevent whatever disaster is about to befall the small village.
Allegra was likeable but Casper the guardian angel stole the show. He's tortured soul and mystery man all rolled into one plus he's a golden hunk of a warrior trying to atone for his wicked past so he can get into heaven. What's not to love? Which is exactly Allegra's problem. Casper isn't allowed to fornicate. It's forbidden, part of his punishment for his sins against women in life. She has a hard time with this and even tries to spend time with an interested handsome man who also happens to be her employer on this case. The romantic element isn't resolved so perhaps there will be a sequel.
The plot wasn't as tight as I would've liked and as a result I lost interest a few times and put the book down a lot to begin with. There was also very little background on Allegra's life both personally and professionally. Casper was actually the most well-rounded character.
Overall, this was a light read with some interesting titbits of mythology and a nice little impossible romance....more
I was strongly reminded of the Psy/Changeling series, one of my favourites, by Nalini Singh especially the first book Slave to Sensation, when readingI was strongly reminded of the Psy/Changeling series, one of my favourites, by Nalini Singh especially the first book Slave to Sensation, when reading Tempting the Enemy. The Sibile are comparable to the Psy, they believe themselves to be the superior race with incredible psychic abilities and look down on humans and shifters who in this have been hunted by humans almost to extinction.
At the beginning I was worried this was going to be love at first sight, or in this case scent but I was wrong. It's lust at first sight mostly due to Jade going into heat in Pale's presence but luckily for her he was a gentlemen and could control his urges around her unlike others who wouldn't hesitate to rape her, but it turns into a slow seduction instead as Pale and Jade work together to catch a savage and elusive serial killer.
I really enjoyed this and I'm hungry for more. I want to follow the new pack's progress and watch the forthcoming attack and subsequent human war on the Sebile, I only hope Jalla and Sage survive that conflict. Sequel please? Pretty please?...more
The Sevenfold Spell is an original but very adult take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. It may seem a bit confusing at first but everything is explaThe Sevenfold Spell is an original but very adult take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. It may seem a bit confusing at first but everything is explained and revealed as you go. Although this is a "re-telling" it still fits within the constraints of what makes a "fairy tale". This is not a novel or a full length story so please don't judge it as one.
I will warn that this book contains a lot of sex but it doesn't diminish the story. It's part of the tragedy that is Talia's life. I couldn't help but think of her as the Ugly Duckling even though this wasn't based on that story. I constantly felt sympathy for her situation and her loneliness. I'm pleased to say that this book was as good as it's beautiful cover. I loved the twists on the original story and the way the tale ends with the usual but much deserved happily ever after....more
The Lesson: Never put on any ancient necklaces when you don't know its history.
Ignoring this rule could change your life forever. Luckily for Toni alThe Lesson: Never put on any ancient necklaces when you don't know its history.
Ignoring this rule could change your life forever. Luckily for Toni although her old life as a self-reliant thief is over she gains a family in Amethyst, the dragon she's now been merged with and a sexy geek who in helping her has become her "minion" much to his chagrin.
This was an easy read, the writing flowed and the three main characters were likeable in their odd but endearing relationship as a threesome....more
The short length of The Panther's Lair impeded my enjoyment of this story. There wasn't enough time for the characters to properly fall for one anotheThe short length of The Panther's Lair impeded my enjoyment of this story. There wasn't enough time for the characters to properly fall for one another and read as "love at first sight" which I'm not a real fan of. Also the plot involving the ex would have gone a lot smoother if the book had been longer. Other than that the writing was good and humorous in places. If you're a fan of Moira Rogers or Shelly Laurenston then you might enjoy this....more
A brilliant 4 or even 5 star unexpected "horror" of a beginning and the events surrounding that, which slipped with the romantic relationship.
After BA brilliant 4 or even 5 star unexpected "horror" of a beginning and the events surrounding that, which slipped with the romantic relationship.
After Braden assumed the worst and dumped his traumatised (and tasered) lover in the trunk of his car Beth hates him, as did I and then all previous chemistry between the characters plus his personality disappears. He just becomes man-she-must-eventually-wind-up. He falls into the background becoming scenery as Chase comes to the foreground whose personality was much more stimulating. I was very interested to know more about his past and his thoughts on Braden's sister.
I was hoping Beth would switch her attentions to Chase -Mr. Calm and the family's soldier and protector, but I got the feeling Braden's sister was falling for him. The only reason I believe she came back to Braden was because of his wonderfully welcoming family, he was just a bonus.
The things that stood out for me were horrific elements, Chase, Beth's PTSD and her struggle to cope with and accept her wolf, and the confrontation at the end. It's a shame the romance wasn't as well defined and described....more
Touch of Power may be mildly similar to Poison Study which does bring in an element of predictability but it doesn’Please, Sir. May I have some more?
Touch of Power may be mildly similar to Poison Study which does bring in an element of predictability but it doesn’t feel repetitive. This world is far larger and more complex than that of the Study trilogy.
Avry has been in hiding and on the run for 3 years and she's tired of it. After people blamed the spread of the plague on healers, they're captured and executed whenever they're found. However, Avry can't stop herself from healing fatally ill children and each time she does she must move on in case the child's parents turn her in, though this time the sickness she's assumed overcomes her and she's captured. While in prison awaiting execution she's approached by a man called Kerrick who breaks her out so she can heal his "friend".
Unfortunately this friend is hundreds of miles away and with a bounty on her head the journey is dangerous even with Kerrick's men accompanying them. When Avry is informed of who she's to heal, she refuses because it's a prince accused of inhumane crimes. Assuming his illness, the plague, would mean certain death for her. Sacrificing her life for a child is one thing, they're innocent but for a cruel and powerful man -no. Kerrick reacts badly, punishing her until she changes her mind. She's too stubborn so they try to change her mind in other ways while they travel.
On the journey she gets to know each man, saving her hate for the mysterious Kerrick. They teach her survival and fighting skills so she can defend herself. Along the way they begin to understand more about the plague, it's link to the sentient network of huge human-eating venus flytrap flowers and the healer's guild. They also encounter a real madman, Tohon, who can influence and read thoughts and emotions using it to gain more territory and power. His experiments are nightmarish and genocidal. Politics and intrigue ensue. There are many fighting for power in the game of thrones kings in this post-apocalyptic fantasy.
The hundreds of miles Avry & co travel, and on foot, makes my feet ache in sympathy. I thoroughly enjoyed the world-building and Avry's journey spanning about 6 months. I loved the high level of detail involved and the intricacies of the characters' magical abilities. I laughed at the Men in Black moment when Avry shouts “Eat me!” to the mutant plant. In fact, I did a lot of laughing. Avry and her merry men grow to be a tight-knit family who jump at the chance to tease, compete and help each other. I was sad when a character died but I have a feeling we’ll see them again though I’m worried about how they’ll be changed by the experience. I wish I had a Papa Bear and friends like these who'd die for me if need be, and vice versa.
Kerrick and Avry's relationship develops and evolves slowly as he learns how to handle his emotions. His desperate 2-year search for a healer and Avry's stubborn refusal turns him into an unlikeable man but with the persuasion of his men he pushes back his anger and gets to know Avry and comes to understand what makes her tick. He shares his skills with her and they come to find they can share and enhance each others magic, something they never thought possible. I enjoyed their slow-burning combustible chemistry, Kerrick's jealousy and finally his realisation that not every woman is like his ex Jael.
And can I just say I love these covers! It’s rare when I want both. One shows pure grit, determination and “power” (LEFT). The other, the delicate yet beautiful effect a “touch” can have (RIGHT).
I definitely look forward to the next installment of this series. Bring it on!
***Thank you to Mira Books for the ARC supplied via NetGalley for an honest review***...more
What would happen if the supervolcano at Yellowstone erupted? Ashfall attempts to answer that question by following Alex, a typical 15-year-old boy froWhat would happen if the supervolcano at Yellowstone erupted? Ashfall attempts to answer that question by following Alex, a typical 15-year-old boy from the day his world falls apart at home alone while his family are over a hundred miles away visiting his uncle to his quest to be reunited with his family.
What about a supervolcano erupting is so devastating? Ash. Lots and lots of toxic ash. It covers fields, pollutes the waterways, inhale too much it can kill both animals and humans. It's consistency is so fine it can stick to everything, in small amounts slippery to walk on and once mixed with rain can become like thick mud and when it dries it can harden like concrete. It can be so heavy, the pressure on a roof can bring down a building. Travel becomes almost impossible. No air traffic, trains and cars. Walking is the only option. (Or skiing. Cross-country skiing works, too.) Amenities like electricity and communications are down other than a few radio broadcasts. Civilisation has been brought to a standstill.
Apart from the first quarter of the book which was slow and somewhat boring, that all changed once we met Darla. She brought a much needed spark to this book as an intriguing, prickly, independent and resourceful farm girl who's not afraid of a little blood (understatement!) with the mind of an engineer and a MacGyver-like ability to repair and create things out of anything. Basically, she's awesome and definitely someone you want on your side in a crisis. She's one of many strong women in the book.
I loved Darla but I also loved the effect Darla had on Alex. He learns a lot from her -techniques on how to find and prepare food (those scenes may turn meat-lovers vegetarian, you have been warned), that survival can mean doing things that pre-apocalypse you'd judge people for but not now, and (view spoiler)[how to love someone so much they'll die/kill for them. (hide spoiler)] He starts the book as a sheltered city boy, a nerd, a naive 15-year-old with a black belt in martial arts and ends it about 6 months later, a man of 16, hardened by what he'd seen and done. His generosity and compassion were remarkable, could be considered stupid, but still, he didn't abandon his humanity, his morals, when it really counted. Alex even makes a very mature decision that fully grown adults wouldn't.
Luck. Mullin balances this quite well. In pre-apocalyptic life luck plays a role but now luck is everything. Alex's journey means his life is always in danger, he suffers as do those around him but he's also quite lucky. Some of his clouds have silver linings, like meeting Darla. If he hadn't been injured they'd never have met and he would be dead.
It could be argued that at times Alex is too lucky although I wouldn't say that because although the situation is bleak there is hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. I didn't come away from this book feeling depressed despite the subject matter. There's plenty of deep, dark reality: people die in both passive and violent manners, there's the constant feeling of uncertainty. That safe feeling we take for granted no longer exists. The main characters learn from others' experiences as well as by trial and error so it all feels realistic. And there's a bit of humour too.
Alex encounters a great many people and situations: those that are coping, predators, victims, cannabalism, sickness, rescue centres, towns that work together, the religious, etc. They paint a shocking, desperate and vivid picture of what a cataclysmic disaster can do to a western civilisation. Although I do think this is very USA-specific, well it has to be since the supervolcano is at Yellowstone but the availability of guns and the government rescue centre and military responses weren't erm, practical. It's diabolical that the military would care more about politics and money when food is so scarce, their lack of compassion was astonishing considering their main role is to protect the people instead of (view spoiler)[imprisoning and torturing them through neglect. (hide spoiler)] Only in America(?).
As for the wider world, it was really strange to see Chinese humanitarian missions granted permission to help the US. And this:
"The vice president concluded his remarks with strong words for 'those nations whose hoarding and profiteering cause the collapse of the international grain markets.' He pledged to use the full force of the United States to insure an equitable..."
Yeah, the US has become a third world country overnight I'm sure they have a huge influence on the world now. /sarcasm
Two things I really like about this book:
The teenage boy thinks about sex, in a YA book. The teenage girl is older than the boy.
They're probably really strange things to pick up on but I've read quite a few books where the boys have pure non-sexual thoughts and are always, always older than the girl, sometimes by centuries. This is a very welcome and refreshing change.
I'm quite surprised by how much I liked Ashfall, how many times I uttered an "oh my god", "eww" and "oh no!", worrying about how they were going to get out of this or that scrape. I was rooting for Alex and Darla the whole way, hoping they'd survive with as few physical and mental scars as possible, and make it to their goal.
I started this book 60 miles away from home, not the best time, and I wondered what I would do if tragedy struck right then, and my first thought was to get out of the city. Londoners can be scary at the best of times I certainly don't want to get caught there in a crisis. I'm not sure how I'd fare on a journey like Alex's and how it would end for me. Starvation? Suicide? Murder? Would I make it home? Would you?
*Warning: This book contains strong violence, animal slaughter and human suffering.
'What kind of girl cuddles with a cute rabbit she name Buck one minute and the next smashes its skull with a hammer to scoop out its brains?'
'Something about brains and milkshakes didn't compute. Had I wondered into a bad zombie movie?'
'I knew I'd regret leaving Darla, but my family mattered more than some girl I'd just met and barely knew.'
"And I'm not an idiot. And this is getting old. I know you've probably got ash in your panties, but do you have to take it out on me?"
"I...look, it's not logical, but I feel safe with you. I should be freaked out by the dead guy in the room behind us, but I'm not. I know I'd be safer in Worthington, but I didn't feel that way when I woke up that morning and you weren't there."
"When you followed me out of Worthington, that was my real birthday present."
"As it happens I only volunteered to be a camp prostitute. I didn't have to go through with it. But so what if I had? So what if I screwed every motherless guard in that godforsaken camp?" "I don't-" "Would that have made me less of a woman in your mind? Less of a person? Just one of those girls, the easy ones, the ones the high-school cliques gossip about and call sluts? Is that the kind of boy you are, Alex? Is that the man you want to be?"
***Many thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.***["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Firefly with a paranormal twist. Better than Break Out, Deadly Pursuit continues from where BO we left off.
Al, the small teenage boy, turns out to beFirefly with a paranormal twist. Better than Break Out, Deadly Pursuit continues from where BO we left off.
Al, the small teenage boy, turns out to be Alexia High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting Life, the 24 year old woman. Suffocating from boredom and lack of control over her high profile life she escapes, disguises herself as a boy and ends up on the spaceship El Cazador.
Both the Collective (people who've taken the expensive immortality treatment Meridian) and now the Church (believe in immortality of the soul which goes to heaven when they physically die) are chasing the crew for the recapture of Jon the werewolf assassin and the return of the High Priestess.
Despite her deception, the crew immediately defend Alexia. She's one of them and they're not going to hand her over if she doesn't want to go. Jon, on the other hand, is wanted for an unknown reason, pointing to a conspiracy so they're not giving him up after they were hired to risk their lives breaking him out of prison until they get some answers.
Alexia is instantly attracted to Jon. Unfortunately her disguise worked only too well, looking like a scruffy child. Her innocence is compounded by the fact that she's a virgin who's lived a sheltered life, and Jon doesn't do virgins. He's a rough, tough, manly 6ft 4 werewolf to her doll-like 5ft 1. He'd break her. But she knew what she wanted and was determined to experience as much of life as could before she was forced to return to her duty so the predator became the prey. Poor man, he had no chance. At least he has a new pack now i.e. the crew and a buddy in Rico despite him being a vampire.
Similarities to Firefly (Rico is Mal with fangs and a lust for blood) and the introduction of shapeshifters, my favourite supernaturals, meant I quite liked this. However, I'm slightly uncomfortable with how Alexia, seconds after being almost raped and killed on two occasions, jumped her mate-to-be's bones. That struck me as wrong since she was beaten and manhandled. I doubt I'd feel up to it if I was in her shoes.
Tannis is next to be matched up with her crush Callum Meridian, the man who first took the immortality treatment and has been transformed by it. They're hired as his bodyguards in the next book.
***Many thanks to Entangled Publishing for providing the ARC via Netgalley for an honest review.***...more
Super strong opening chapters with a premise similar to TV’s Dollhouse which although interesting, threw up more questions than answers.
Starters shineSuper strong opening chapters with a premise similar to TV’s Dollhouse which although interesting, threw up more questions than answers.
Starters shines the spotlight on a section of society which is sometimes overlooked or given the least respect but which will in future be the most powerful: the old. One day there will be fewer young people to support the ever-increasing number of elderly citizens, and here we can see how things could change in their favour.
Starters are under 19 years of age, those just starting out in life and Enders are the elderly. The generations inbetween have all died after biological warfare prompted the vaccination of the vulnerable –the old and the young, leaving those in the middle to die prolonged and agonizing deaths.
From the technology available I would guess we’re about 50 years in the future in a post-war America. The reasons for the war aren’t given. All we know is that Pacific Rim countries were involved and that America used an EMP weapon on them and they retaliated with a biologically engineered disease –game, set, match.
The age gap creates a huge gulf between the Starters and Enders. Old legislation addressing the increasing aging population means anyone under 19 cannot work and the large numbers of unclaimed minors whose family have died are unable to legitimately provide for themselves. Orphanages are basically workhouses with inmates treated as prisoners; no one wants to end up there. Squatting and thieving is how most get by, dodging the child-catching Marshals whenever possible. Adoption or fostering seems non-existent. Enders don’t care about Starters unless they’re family. I find this surprising because many Enders would’ve lost children, relatives. Some may be the last members of their families. Hasn’t loneliness spurred any to seek adoption?
The story follows Callie, a Starter, who lost her parents to the war. She has no grandparents and is forced to care for her 7-year-old brother by herself with a little help from Michael, a boy who used to live down the street from her pre-war. They’re currently squatting in an abandoned building practically starving. She can’t bear to watch her sick brother lose any more weight so she visits the not so ethical or legal, Prime Destinations, a place which rents out the bodies of teenagers to Enders who pay large sums of money to feel young again. If she does this she’ll have enough cash to pay for a home and medical care for her brother for the next few years.
For obvious reasons Callie’s reluctant to do this but she has little choice. Unfortunately things don’t go quite to plan, Callie suddenly wakes up in a nightclub instead of the lab and finds out the renter of her body wishes to murder someone. Scared, she pretends she’s her renter to safeguard her payment and attempts to stop her renter from committing this crime which will no doubt lead to her own execution.
Along the way she encounters other renters taking full advantage of their new temporary bodies and think nothing of stealing the lives of the body’s original owners. They take the old adage ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ to heart. These privileged Enders are selfish and greedy. The predatory gleam in the eyes of those at PD were quite creepy, eyeing up the young like they’re cattle for slaughter, salivating at the thought of inhabiting their supple bodies and smooth, wrinkle-free skin. *shudders*
These Enders aren’t your average old people. They live to 200 years old and appear to have no health problems due to advances in medicine, odd because not all Enders are rich and the last time I checked medical care wasn’t free in America so how come none of them appear hampered by age. Sure, some have wrinkles (and others get cosmetic surgery) and watery eyes but no problems running or experiencing a full working life.
Carrie also finds herself spending time with a handsome and rich teen, Blake. Her Prince Charming. Whenever she’s around him the urgency of her predicament, racing-against-time to stop the murder, fades into the background. A day out horse-riding with him and she forgets her responsibilities and starts comparing herself to Cinderella, wondering if the girl from the fairy tale ever considered telling her prince she’s a fraud. I never understood Blake’s appeal considering the over-familiar way he behaves, acting like they’re closer than the strangers they are. And Callie’s ambiguous relationship with Michael –are they more than friends? Even at the end it isn’t clear. Is a love triangle on the horizon?
Reading about how vaccinating the old and young from something so deadly implies this is the wrong course of action generally. Yes, the elderly are an invaluable source of knowledge, wisdom and experience but in a situation where you have limited resources and a serious biological threat, is protecting the weakest to the detriment of the strong really the right decision to make? In this case it left children without parents, manual labour is carried out by those children because the elderly were either too frail or simply felt they were above such work.
The plot is interesting if slightly predictable and the characters are quite thin, I didn't feel particularly attached to any of them. I did have some problems understanding the technology either because we’re given names of something but not what it does or because something we all ready have has been rebranded e.g. Z-mail a.k.a. e-mail, Zing a.k.a. text message –took me a bit to figure that one out. The focus of the book is on the very rich and the very poor Starters but we don't get to see those in the middle, nor do we see any poor Enders. The last page was intriguing but I'm not sure if I'll read the sequel for one reason: the possibility of a love triangle. The rest I believe will be developed and improved upon but I can't abide love triangles.
***Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.***
I'm torn. There are some brilliant aspects to this book but it was dreadfully slow. I dragged myself through because after figuring out the Meet Joe BI'm torn. There are some brilliant aspects to this book but it was dreadfully slow. I dragged myself through because after figuring out the Meet Joe Black angle I was curious to know if it would end the same way. It didn't. Actually, it took an unexpected yet not unwelcome turn that may not be liked by the masses.
Abbey is excellently portrayed. Her predicament: the ever-present crushing guilt over her mother's death, the growing distance between her and her father, and her misplaced obsession with Nate (the jock who has an obsession of his own with mountain climbing) resulting from her inability to deal with her guilt, wallowing in it instead of moving on with her life. So she imagines this fictitious romantic relationship with him to help her deal with reality. It comforts her. Yes, it's sort of creepy. She was one step away from becoming a full-on stalker but I understood her crush and empathised.
Her only company was her best friend Tanner but she hadn't revealed much about her mother's death and how she felt about it to him. He had his own hang-ups. He'd also been in a tragic accident but he hadn't been so lucky; he was paralysed from the waist down and in a wheelchair. I enjoyed reading Tanner's POV, witnessing how he was treated by others, how his relationships had suffered and the difference in how Abbey treats him. Without pity. She understands how it is for him without even asking.
'Being loners might have drawn us together out of necessity, but it was our friendship that had made us strong enough to come out the other side.'
The story is all about Abbey's transition. Realising that she's tired of being unhappy, of pretending, lying and hiding. She wants to live. It's a great message and I liked the method in which it was conveyed, reminiscent of Riders of the Apocalypse. Love, and the selfish versus the altruistic needs, wants and decisions we make based on that love were also expertly demonstrated. FYI, love's a bitch.
"Dealing with guilt and grief doesn't leave much room for anything else. I know about that dark stuff, but one day if you're really lucky, you get tired of feeling bad all the time. It's like a curtain opens and light comes in. First, it's only a sliver. Then more."
However, it's not all smooth sailing. Besides being slow I really struggled to remain interested whenever we joined Nate's dangerous climb up the mountain. Since seeing Cliffhanger as a child I never even contemplated doing something so unnecessarily hazardous. Rescue teams must love those guys. Anyway, when the Angel of Death does his Joe Black thing to Nate I cringed at his interactions with Abbey. Perhaps it was realistic given her crush but the way she sort of accepted not-Nate's behaviour was uncomfortable to read. I wanted her to push harder when she called him on it, which would've sped up proceedings.
Death had been dealt a bum hand, poor guy. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. As powerful as he was he couldn't control everything and he wasn't perfect. He made mistakes. The mythology surrounding Death was intriguing. He's sort of a swallower of souls, holding them inside him for safe-keeping until the day he's the last one to die. But each soul changes him, for better or worse and this is what prompts him to make contact with Abbey. The ravens were a nice touch -suitably eerie.
As for the romance, well this is tricky. How much to say? There are three potential boyfriends, I guess. One from Abbey's past, her present and future. And the most obvious is not the guy Abbey chooses, and I'm glad of this. Some might not be pleased but just this one aspect makes On a Dark Wing unique, for multiple reasons. The resolution at end was well done. I can definitely see people reacting in that manner to such an extraordinary situation although the lead-up to the climax was a little ludicrous.
Would I recommend this to anyone? Well, I didn't hate this book and I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading it. In fact, I might warn them it's slow but I'd encourage them to read to the end because I think the effort just might be worth it.
***Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with this ebook.***...more
That Thing At the Zoo is a good size dark urban fantasy prequel novella introducing a character whose physical appearance I can picture perfectly. RarThat Thing At the Zoo is a good size dark urban fantasy prequel novella introducing a character whose physical appearance I can picture perfectly. Rarely can I say that, I'm mostly left with a vague overall impression but Mr. Deacon Chalke is a man that cannot and will not be ignored. He's an intimidating 6'4 and 300 pounds. Think WWE star with no hair and lots of tattoos. This guy looks like he could cause trouble and with a classic muscle car complete with a 4-corpse trunk full of weapons, he's equipped to deal with it. Reminds me of a certain beloved Impala belonging to a pair of monster-hunting brothers on TV. Loved that show.
Bottom line: Deacon Chalk, occult bounty hunter, is a total badass. He could kick Harry Dresden's butt easy-peasy. And that brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.
You may actively avoid meeting Deacon on the street or a dark alley but he's not the thug his appearance advertises him to be. He's a man still reeling from, and is haunted by, personal trauma. Monsters murdered his family and now he hunts those dangerous to humans. He's not the "tough guy" cliché often expressed in movies where the hero ultimately gets over his tragic loss by kicking some lame villain's butt then settles down with a waitress he just happened to encounter along the way, completely trivialising the effect his past had on him. No, Deacon has full-on flashback panic attacks he tries desperately to stifle and hopes no one notices his distant, pained silences as he experiences a post-traumatic stress episode. These lapses in concentration aren't professional and are downright inconvenient when hunting deadly nasties but he has no control over when they occur. You feel for his anguish, knowing that if he wasn't a Catholic he would rejoin his family in death.
The side character I'm most eager to get to know is the priest:
I don't know what his life was before becoming a Catholic priest, but he can shoot like a sniper and knife fight like a convict. He has my back anytime I need it, whether that means tending bar at Polecats [strip club] or two steps behind me, shotgun in hand.
The writing style is reminiscent of pre-controversy Anita Blake. Gory and gritty. Visceral. No one is safe from being ripped apart and carelessly tossed aside without dignity.
Although it's obvious this has been written by a debut author, I've found something I've been missing from UF of late: a real sense of darkness without the distracting focus on angst-ridden romance (is it really necessary every...single...book?). There's nothing but the characters, plot and the danger around the next corner to occupy the reader -what a relief. My only real negative is the lack of contractions i.e. can't, won't, etc. which in my opinion, slow the pace and jar the reader out of the story. I'm also surprised Deacon so readily disfigured his tattoos to get some blood to "chum the waters" so to speak. I thought tattoos were treasured permanent works of art but it was emergency so I'll let it go.
When it comes to non-full-length prequels authors aren't usually interested in making a concerted effort to give readers an accurate taste of what's to come, with a few exceptions like this. Next up, Blood and Bullets.
Favourite Quotes 'Rednecks are part of the South, and even when they don't look like much, they usually turn out to be tough as leather and full of skills that save your ass.'
"What the fuck are you doing?" "Putting this thing in the back of my pants like they do on the TV."
'I found Dr. Critter trying to hold off the [spoiler removed] with a bullwhip and an office chair.'
***My thanks to the author for the ebook in return for an honest review.***...more
The Immortal Rules reinvents the tired vampire genre by adding a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world with zombie-like rabids waiting in the shadows to tThe Immortal Rules reinvents the tired vampire genre by adding a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world with zombie-like rabids waiting in the shadows to tear you to pieces. Kagawa has also brought back the vampires of old as soulless killers who've allowed themselves to lose all semblance of humanity, are allergic to sunlight and can only drink blood. True monsters. None of that sparkly, namby-pamby stuff. This mashup of popular genres works, primarily because the world and plot are complex and the main character isn't stupid or emotionally dense.
Sixty years ago the Red Lung virus wiped out billions of people, reducing the vampires' food source. One master vamp presented himself to the human scientists to help in any way he could, providing them with other vamps as test subjects in order to find a cure. The unfortunate result was rabids -vampires warped by the virus, overcome by their predatory instincts are now violent zombies with only basic intelligence and whose bite spreads the virus further. In repsonse, master vampires created walled off cities which hold the remaining humans like prisoners, forced to work and donate blood to their undead masters and in return they receive food. Unregistered humans who don't wish to live as blood slaves survive by squatting in empty buildings, stealing food, trading on the black market and defending their territory from other groups. A tough life and one that our main character leads.
Everyday was a struggle against starvation for Allie and her small group of Unregistereds, within which were stark contrasts between self-sufficiency and well, the exact opposite. Despite being physically capable Stick is fearful and weak, disgustingly so. He's a parasite feeding off Allie, literally. She goes hungry to feed him, cares for him, fights his battles. Pity and his assumed loyalty seemed to be the only reason he was allowed to mooch. I despised Stick's lack of backbone. Not once did he make an effort to be brave.
As you can tell, Allie has a bit of a soft spot for those in need but she also possesses common sense, she's a survivor -one who tries not to let men distract her or bring her down. There's a goal and she will attain it. By any means necessary. She's not afraid to kill in self-defense but she is afraid of losing compassion, of letting her predatory instincts take over and thereby stripping her of her humanity, her morals. Allie’s adamant she won't become like the vampires she's always despised who treat humans as cattle. She strives to better herself and others in any way she can and hopes to one day have the strength and skill to somehow change the status quo, to perhaps free humans from the stranglehold of vampires. Kanin's philosophy of moderation, and choice and treatment of his victims made him an ideal sire and mentor for Allie. He was brutally honest and practical, teaching her vampire history and how to become a samurai (she's of Japanese descent) with her newly acquired katana.
Allie's journey after she's forced to flee the city is an intriguing one but also mildly worrying when she meets the sickeningly nice human guy with "love interest" tattooed on his forehead. Zeke is part of a small group of travellers seeking the elusive human-run city, Eden. Is it real? Is their leader nuts? Joining them was obviously a bad idea but she was lonely and these people obviously need help hunting food, fighting off rabids and hiding from some vengeful vampire. Keeping her undead status under wraps and her hunger in check she gets to know everyone, feeling especially protective of the children who instantly trust her. When the cat's out of the bag, I loved the fact that Allie doesn't let her injured pride lead to vengeance or abandonment. Luckily for them, she cares for the group from afar which led to some much enjoyed action, death and destruction. The last few pages were full of awesome. A stoic and visually beautiful ending.
I can’t fault the writing style. There were moments when I swore I was watching a movie instead of reading, times like these:
My coat snapped behind me as I flew over the water, and the raiders’ eyes bulged as I soared from one side of the catwalks to the other.
There were also a couple of eerily appropriate Bible verses:
“’Again, I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed-and they have no comforter; and power was on the side of their oppressors-and they have no comforter.’”
I suspect Allie will one day provide that comforter.
And there's the better known: “’though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’” A very literal valley of death.
I can take a guess where things will go from here. (view spoiler)[I expect at some point Kanin and Zeke will meet for the express purpose of sharing knowledge to find a cure to the virus, whether that will be in Eden, I don't know, considering it's a vamp-free zone. I am slightly anxious about the future potential for lovestruck pining but I'm hoping her focus will be on rescuing Kanin before the torture reduces him to a ravening beast. And obviously Allie’s vampire brother will reappear at the most inopportune time. (hide spoiler)] I’m curious enough to find out what happens next to read the sequel.
I frowned, utterly confused. What kind of vampire killed four people, had a cryptic conversation with a street rat, thanked the street rat for talking with him, and then walked off?
'I was dying. I was dying, and this stranger-this vampire- was offering me a way out. Die as a human, or become a bloodsucker.'
‘Will you choose to become a demon with a human face, or will you fight your demon until the end of time, knowing you will forever struggle alone?’
“I’m good to go,” I said, holding my sword. “I don’t have anything except this.” It was kind of sad, really. That I’d lived in a place for seventeen years and had nothing to show for it but a sword and the clothes on my back. And they weren’t even mine.
“And like I said, if the tent falls on you in the middle of the night, don’t panic. You’ll get used to it. No one really worries about keeping things erect around here, and...Wow, that sounded bad.”
‘A large bed sat against the wall beneath a broken window, curtains waving gently in the breeze. On the worm-eaten mattress, two adult skeletons lay side by side, the remains of their clothes rotted away. Between them was a much smaller skeleton, being held in the arms of one of the adults, cradling it to its chest.’
“Allie, you’re a beautiful, exotic-looking vampire girl with a katana. Trust me, if anyone is going to attract attention, it’s not going to be me.”
***My thanks to Harlequin for the ebook via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Fast-paced, compelling and deliciously gory, BUT deus ex machina, predictability, repetitiveness, and lovey-dovey mushiness brought The Eternity CureFast-paced, compelling and deliciously gory, BUT deus ex machina, predictability, repetitiveness, and lovey-dovey mushiness brought The Eternity Cure down. Honestly, Jackal is the main reason my rating isn't lower.
Jackal is akin to Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries in that their pragmatism takes priority over their humanity "when he suspects he is on the losing end of a bargain" and their annoying yet charming personalities add a comedic element to proceedings; it's never dull when they're around. And yes, despite being a self-serving antogonist with flexible morals, I really like Jackal. If he'd dispense with his need to raise his own vampire army and evilly rule over the humans, I think he'd make an appropriate suitor for Allie. He certainly isn't afraid to call her on her bullshit:
"And I'm getting a little tired of your holier-than-thou act, sister. You're not a saint. You're a demon. Own up to it."
Elena's Allie's repetitive mantra about keeping her humanity, leashing Kanin's homicidal instincts and heeding Zeke's warnings grew tiresome. Zeke, in spite of being tougher than he was in The Immortal Rules and able to kill if he has to, he's still a bleeding heart. Sometimes the only logical answer is to kill. (view spoiler)[Stick should've been killed. Pathetic though he is, he's too much of a danger to remain alive. (hide spoiler)]
The evolving romantic relationship between Allie and Zeke is admittedly standard illogical paranormal YA fare:
'Maybe I was being naive. Maybe I was being deliberately blind. Most likely I was being incredibly stupid and endangering his life.'
Obviously I completely understand why Allie wants to hold on to Zeke: his humanity keeps hers in line and he fully accepts her for who and what she is, but not only that, finding someone with similar inclinations among the vampire population may prove difficult because vamps like Kanin seem to be an exception rather than the rule.
'I was just aware of one thing: I could not lose him. Zeke had seen the monster at its worst and was still here. He dared to get close to the demon, knowing it still Hungered for him, craved his blood and his life, and he wasn't afraid. For the rest of my existence, if I lived to see the end of this world, there would never be another Ezekiel Crosse.'
Perhaps this says more about Zeke than Allie. By cosying up to his natural predator he puts himself in the running for a Darwin Award, i.e. it's an incredibly stupid thing to do. Anyway, their alone time is cringe-worthy rather than sweet and romantic. This is definitely something that the author has to work on.
Deus ex machina: Three characters in peril(view spoiler)[: Kanin, Zeke and Jackal (hide spoiler)] had me admiring Kagawa's big brass balls to kill off one or all of these characters ... until they're all miraculously saved (view spoiler)[by Eden's experiments on Zeke saving both him and Kanin, and Sarran's uninfected blood stash for Kanin's crippling hole through the stomach (hide spoiler)]. Compared to the debut, The Eternity Cure is all bark and no bite which is rather disappointing.
And the end, I saw that coming miles away. I'm not sure if I've just inferred this but I'm pretty sure (view spoiler)[Zeke's a vamp now. After all of the talk of his remaining human and he should have a choice etc., it was inevitable (hide spoiler)]. This, if true, will make Book 3 interesting, though I expect a Stefan-like (The Vampire Diaries) split-personality response.
Despite my dissatisfaction with the final scenes, I look forward to seeing more of Jackal and Eden and its inhabitants as they respond to Sarren's threat.
*My thanks to Harlequin for the eArc in return for an honest review.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more