This book has reinforced my theory that the only motivation I have for continuing this series is the amount of time I have invested to date - an...more*sigh*
This book has reinforced my theory that the only motivation I have for continuing this series is the amount of time I have invested to date - and yes, I am completely aware of the gaping flaw in that logic.
As with the last book, there is absolutely no progress or resolution to be found here. This is just another installment in an episodic series, with a standalone suspense plot that is resolved over the course of the book with the obligatory action scene at the end. In other words, same old same old.
There is nothing wrong with the writing as such, it is easy to read and entertaining for all that nothing much is happening, but could we please, PLEASE, have some growth, development and progress to sustain us?
This book was my sole reason for starting the Chicagoland Vampires series. Here I was, hanging out on Goodreads with no interest in reading this serie...moreThis book was my sole reason for starting the Chicagoland Vampires series. Here I was, hanging out on Goodreads with no interest in reading this series, when Wham! This one is released and there are updates galore: Shock. Horror. Anger. Dismay. Hmmmm - sounds like my kind of book!
Well, while I still can't necessarily say I'm a fan of the series, the pay-off with this book was worth it. Even though I knew something big was going to happen, even though I spent the whole book waiting for "it", I was still totally and utterly floored. Holy cow that was...... it was so...... I still have no words.
I absolutely love that the author could shock me so completely and leave me totally stunned, staring at the page in disbelief. Especially given I'm not a big fan and I was half expecting it. Good stuff. That said, this may well spell the end of the series for me. I can't see any possible way of the author resolving this to my satisfaction.
Sure, it's fantasy, any anything can happen, but that doesn't mean I'll swallow some lame and convenient "fix". Hopefully Neill has another surprise in store, but it will need to be a good one.(less)
While this is a solid entry in the series, it didn't quite have the magic of the previous couple of books. I am hoping against hope that that's not be...moreWhile this is a solid entry in the series, it didn't quite have the magic of the previous couple of books. I am hoping against hope that that's not because Kate and Curran have finally gotten their relationship together.
I found myself thinking of Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series when I was reading this one. And not in a good way. I loved the first few books of that series, but, now that Cat and Bones are together (as are Kate and Curran), the series has become a little episodic (as was this book). The writing is still good in both series, but I don't want to feel like I'm watching a TV series where each episode resolves a crime (or some such) with very little overarching plot. It's early days for this series, so my fingers are crossed.(less)
I think I may have to buy this series and do a re-read. I enjoyed the fourth installment in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, but I also felt li...moreI think I may have to buy this series and do a re-read. I enjoyed the fourth installment in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, but I also felt like I missed out on some aspects because of my hazy recollections of the supporting cast.
Cat and Bones are, of course, unforgettable. But the interactions between them in Destined for an Early Grave left me wishing I could remember more from the times in previous books when their love was all-conquering and they were happy together. But then again, that would probably have made me more disappointed in their behavior this time around.
Vlad, well I didn't remember much of him at all - not even who he is until it was mentioned! I really liked him in this book, so that makes me want to go back and 'meet' him again. Mencheres and Ian I also only had vague recollections of. Spade a little more so. They all managed to intrigue me here.
Sadly, I did remember Cat's mother Justina and Rodney. Given how things turned out with these characters, maybe I would have been better off if I hadn't.
Even though I couldn't remember all the characters and events from previous books, I really enjoyed this one because of the way Frost writes - snarky dialogue abounds! It makes me wonder whether, if I do a re-read of the series, I will like it more or less than now.(less)
Pardon me while I have a little rant. If you’re going to do a spin-off series, then it should be able to be read independently of the original series....morePardon me while I have a little rant. If you’re going to do a spin-off series, then it should be able to be read independently of the original series. Otherwise, it’s not really a spin-off series now, is it? It’s just all part of the one same series. You should NOT be able to spoil either series by not reading the spin-off series in between books of the original series, and vice versa.
Although Frost’s Night Huntress World series is supposed to be a spin-off, it really isn’t. It doesn’t just compliment the original series, it’s actually just the SAME FREAKING SERIES. So if you don’t read them strictly in order (and by that, I mean the spin-off books MUST be read in between specific Night Huntress books), then the Night Huntress World books will be completely spoiled, and the Night Huntress books wont make any sense.
It’s pretty damn rude of a writer to force readers to start and continue a second series just so they know what the hell is going on in the first one. VERY BAD FORM, no matter how enjoyable the books. Because readers don’t deserve to have MAJOR spoilers just because they don’t anticipate or expect that it is critical for the two series to be read in a very specific order, here it is (so far):
In other words, don’t read this one until you have read the first two of the Night Huntress World “spin-off” series. OK…. So that ended up being a bigger rant than I had anticipated, but it really p*sses me off. So much so, that I have very little energy left for an actual review, but let me just say this:
I enjoyed This Side of the Grave, but it was very episodic. By that, I mean that it was exclusively plot driven with no character or relationship development to speak of, and the plot itself didn’t have a lot of relevance or impact outside of this particular book.
That said, I enjoyed Frost’s writing again, and it was nice to see Cat and Bones’ relationship back on track and Cat continuing to mature. Oh, and for what it’s worth, I didn’t at all find chapter 21 to be the new chapter 32 – not even close – so temper your expectations there.
It’s great to hear that Vlad will be the star of the next “spin-off” *cough* book, because he outshone Bones in this one.
Another great instalment in the BDB series. This was as much (if not more) V's book as it was Manny and Payne's - and that was just fine by...more4.5 stars.
Another great instalment in the BDB series. This was as much (if not more) V's book as it was Manny and Payne's - and that was just fine by me. I love Ward's writing, and thank goodness the lesser storyline stayed firmly in the background.(less)
This was a 3.5 star read for me. Not 3. Not 4. 3.5. I hear that the series keeps on getting better, so I'll round this down and give myself room to mo...moreThis was a 3.5 star read for me. Not 3. Not 4. 3.5. I hear that the series keeps on getting better, so I'll round this down and give myself room to move.
Since I am one of the few people left on the planet who hadn't read this one, I won't do a full review, just briefly cover a few of my thoughts.
Magic Bites suffers a little from being the first book in the series. Ilona Andrews has created a complex world and one I struggled a little to keep straight. I settled into it as I read further, but I'm still not sure I understand everything. Whether that is the fault of the author, the piecemeal way I read this, or my own feeble brain I couldn't say.
Still, I feel I only achieved a basic understanding of the whole tech/magic fluctuations; and I certainly didn't get enough insight into the Guild/Order/People factions, and who the players are in each. I'm sure this will come as I read further into the series.
Kate Daniels is a protagonist who I ended up enjoying. Go figure! She is mouthy and brash - traits that usually don't work for me (hello, Merit), but I didn't mind it from Kate because she has a firm grip on her reality. She is realist - she knows her limits, she makes mistakes and she admits to being scared, but she just keeps going and does the best she can. There is mystery surrounding her which provides a good pull for the reader and I'm looking forward to discovering her secrets.
I've heard much about the Kate/Curran partnership, which was my reason for finally reading this book, and while I can see great potential in Curran's character, I didn't find him overly endearing in this one. And that's a good thing. It will be nice to learn more about him and watch his character evolve in the readers eye.
There's quite a bit of horror in this one, which I wasn't expecting, but also didn't mind. I really, really appreciated the author's take on vampires. Let's face it - her version of a vampire is much more likely than the hot, sexy vamps we usually see and it added some gritty realism to the book.
Although this instalment didn't quite meet my expectations given the buzz this series receives, I'm relieved to hear they get better and I'm looking forward to learning more about the world and seeing the development of one of urban fantasy's favourite couples.
Darkfever is a perfect example of why I seldom DNF a book, even using the ‘100 page rule’.
I love Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, so I was real...moreDarkfever is a perfect example of why I seldom DNF a book, even using the ‘100 page rule’.
I love Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, so I was really looking forward to finally starting her Fever series, particularly after seeing all the positive talk and reviews over the years. So imagine my surprise to find this, the first installment in the Fever series, less than enjoyable - at least to start with.
Being Urban Fantasy – and this is definitely not Paranormal Romance - Darkfever is written in first-person. This is not my favourite narrative, but it usually doesn’t affect my enjoyment of a book, providing I like or can relate to the protagonist on some level.
And right there was my issue. I did not like MacKayla Lane’s voice at all. She came across as a shallow, superficial, immature, petulant, selfish, self-centered dimwit. I was not able to relate to her sole purpose in life being focused on how good her tan was, and whether the Ice Princess Blush nail polish on her manicure and pedicure was perfectly matched with her baby pink twinset.
I also didn’t like the conversational style of writing, although I must give credit where it is due – the author did mange to effectively portray what a bimbo Mac was. Unfortunately I didn’t appreciate it as it served to annoy me rather than enhance the reading experience.
What I did like, and what kept me reading, was the story being told. The boundry between the Fae and mortal worlds is beginning to crumble and Fae are wreaking havoc. Mac receives a posthumous voicemail message from her recently murdered sister, which sends her on a quest to Dublin in search of something called the Sinsar Dubh.
Once there, it is not long before Mac realizes that her life as she knew it is over. And while this is obviously not good news for Mac, it is great news for the reader. When Mac discovers what she is – a sidhe-seer (one who can see through the glamour cast by the Fae) – and is forced to enlist the help of the mysterious, enigmatic Jericho Barrons to make sense of it, the story really picks up, and Mac is forced to focus on something other than cosmetic choices and color-coordination.
We start to see a transformation in Mac borne by necessity, and we finally get to see that she does have some underlying substance and grit. The world the author created is fascinating and detailed, the storyline tense and riveting, the characters rich and diverse.
Barrons is a fascinating character, and the author did an excellent job of keeping us guessing as to who (or what) he is, and how the reluctant and wary partnership between he and Mac will develop. Definitely a reason to keep going with the series right there.
There was no romance at all in this one, but the author did drop some hints that may or may not amount to something in future books. I’m intrigued by this and by the world created so there is no doubt that I will be continuing this series.
While Mac did not have a complete personality transplant, and we still have references as to whether Revlon will be discontinuing the Iceberry Pink nail polish which perfectly compliments Mac’s short pink silk skirt and clingy pearly top, which perfectly showcase Mac’s toned, sun-kissed legs and full breasts, these manage to become almost amusing rather than irritating, and a book that started off on such shaky ground still manages to get 4 stars (but only just and that's probably too generous!)
While these books have a connection to the Highlander series, it is not necessary to have read them first – although I highly recommend that you do so because that was an excellent series.
Edited to add: Having just finished Bloodfever, a far more enjoyable read for me with a 4 star rating, my thoughts about my original rating for this one being too generous have been vindicated. I am revising the rating to 3 stars with encouragement for readers to continue the series past this book.(less)
Shadowfae is the debut novel from Australian author Erica Hayes, and I see potential.
Hayes has created a complex and detailed world where fae, demons...moreShadowfae is the debut novel from Australian author Erica Hayes, and I see potential.
Hayes has created a complex and detailed world where fae, demons and vampires run amok in Melbourne, largely unbeknown to mortals due to their glamour. Her descriptions of these creatures were not unnecessarily detailed, but sufficient to spark your imagination, particularly the colourful, half-mad fairies with their quivering wings and magick potions available for the cost of a memory.
But this is not a happy world for any of the inhabitants, nor for the reader. It is dog-eat-dog (or vampire-eat-fae, as the case may be), where only the cruel and devious survive.
Jade is a succubus, 140 years into her thousand year thrall to demon lord Kane. Her life is misery incarnate. Even the compulsive pleasure she gains from fulfilling her needs through rapture - seduction and sex - is brief, clouded and overcome by self-loathing and resentment.
What has always been a necessary evil becomes unbearable when Jade meets incubus Rajah, who shares the same bleak fate as Jade - compelled to follow the wishes of Kane by seducing on his order and stealing souls through climax. For the first time in 140 years, Jade feels genuine attraction toward the sweet and kind Rajah. How can she continue life as a succubus under Kane's rule now that she has seen the potential of love.
Jade and Rajah are both desperate for freedom. There may be a way, but it will be difficult, and the method is such that only one of them can achieve it...
I felt like a dispassionate observer for the most part while reading this novel. The writing is spare and compelling to suit the dark world of the author's creation, but it was never able to move me to enough to engage on an emotional level. I couldn't even say that the novel was depressing, because I just didn't care enough to find it so.
Rajah was a wonderful character, however Jade lacked insight and self-awareness. She was, for the most part, weak and I didn't find her worthy of Rajah's attention. The villains were dastardly but often one-dimensional, never quite fully realising their potential for compelling evilness.
The character I most enjoyed was Luna. Even though he was one of the 'bad guys', he had a complex and engaging personality and I would have liked to learn more about him.
I enjoyed reading a novel set in modern day Melbourne, where I knew all the locations mentioned and could easily visualise the settings - the Italian restaurants on Lygon St, trams rattling down Swanston St, the murky brown water of the Yarra River and the blue neon light on the Arts Centre spire. However, for a reader like me who often likes their stories on the darker side, Shadowfae was just too cold for my taste and I am not likely to read further in the series.(less)
Ho-hum for the most part. This was again a very episodic installment. Call me crazy, but in a series I’d like to see an overarching plotline – somethi...moreHo-hum for the most part. This was again a very episodic installment. Call me crazy, but in a series I’d like to see an overarching plotline – something that has been glaringly missing from this and the previous book.
One Grave at a Time did work up to a quite spectacular action sequence which nearly made me bump the book up by another star, but then we didn’t actually get to witness the coup de grâce of the whole plotline, with the culmination happening between the end of the last chapter and the start of the epilogue. Seriously?
Even more disappointingly, there was such a golden opportunity to create some memorable, sigh-worthy moments and see some of the old Cat and Bones. But…. Nothing. Back down goes the rating.
This was still a reasonably enjoyable and entertaining book but, sadly, I think the best of this series is long past. (less)