What a brilliant debut novel. I loved it. The characters, the story, the world... There's lots of action too, wh...moreOriginally posted on Book Chick City .
What a brilliant debut novel. I loved it. The characters, the story, the world... There's lots of action too, which is suspenseful and engaging. I couldn't put this book down and read it in one sitting.
Charley is fantastic – I love her character. She’s sassy, brave and keeps getting herself into trouble. She’s smart, funny, witty, and I love her snark. Charley is a grim reaper who can see and talk to the dead. She’s also the light, the portal to the other side and helps them cross over.
But as being a grim reaper doesn't pay the bills, Charley also works as a private investigator and helps her uncle and the police with certain cases, using her ability to talk to ghosts. Of course most of the police thinks she's nuts, but her uncle believes in her and she's been right too many times for it to be fake.
I loved all the characters in this book, especially Charley’s best friend, Cookie, she is such a hoot. She’s also fun and loyal and I loved her to bits. It’s great to see an urban fantasy heroine have a loyal friend who she can talk to about anything. It’s refreshing since so many of our urban fantasy gals are loners. Don’t get me wrong, I love the loner heroine who’s gritty with a dark past etc, but I must admit it was a breath of fresh air to meet Charley.
There's also Angel, a cheeky boy-ghost who acts as her informant and Mr Wong, a chinese ghost who hovers in the corner of her living room and hasn't moved for years.
Although her uncle knows she can talk to the dead, he doesn't know the full extent of what Charley is. Charley hasn't told anyone about her Grim Reaper status, but she decides it's time to have a least one person in her life that knows. There is a great scene with Charley and Cookie when she reveals who and what she is, and why she keeps disappearing at short notice. I really enjoyed the fact that Charley was opening up to her best friend, but Cookie's acceptance of the whole scenario was a little bit quick. However, now that Cookie know's I'm wondering if she will get mixed up in Charley's world a lot more.
With such a sexy, funny and interesting character as Charley, there undoubtedly had to be a little romance involved. And there is, but not too much which is just how I like it. There are two love interests who are both totally hot but very different in their own way.
Reyes is a dark, sexy, mysterious entity who keeps entering Charley's dreams to seduce her, and materialising when she's in danger to protect her. He's a great character and there's so much we don't know about him - I'm very intrigued.
Then there's Garrett, a handsome policeman who's skeptical about her abilities and who doesn't believe in the supernatural. I didn't particularly like Garrett at first but he definitely grew on me. Their banter is great and I started to feel chemistry between them. He's as stubborn as hell, but a complete match for Charley's sarcastic nature. I'm looking forward to seeing how their relationship evolves.
A fresh new voice in the urban fantasy genre and a must read for any urban fantasy fan. I can’t wait for the next book in this series! (less)
“Fated” is a very clever and imaginative story. It’s quite different from what I usually read, and although I enjoyed this authors previous book, ‘Bre...more“Fated” is a very clever and imaginative story. It’s quite different from what I usually read, and although I enjoyed this authors previous book, ‘Breathers’, I thought “Fated” was much better in every respect.
Fate is disillusioned with his five and a half billion humans. He’s fed up with watching them make mistake after mistake and waste their lives, diverting from the path he has set out for each of them.
However, one day he meets Sara, a human and falls in love. Which means his broken rule #1 – never get involved with humans.
The story takes us through his relationship with Sara, which is touching and funny. I really liked Fate, also known as Fabio when on Earth. He’s endearing even when he scorns his human herd.
I thought the way the author integrated Destiny, Death, Gluttony, Sloth among others, and even God, (known as Jerry), into the story was brilliantly done. They all had personalities which went along with their name.
I loved the whole idea of how Jerry made the universe and how all the planets including Earth came to be, although it isn’t an original idea, it was skilfully composed which had me smiling.
“Fated” is a satirical novel, which did occasionally turn a bit preachy. Some passages where Fate was venting his anger about the stupidity of his billions of humans went on a bit too long. I was also saddened to see that all the humans were portrayed as pretty awful.
There was one particular passage where Fate was in a church and he could see the futures of all the people that were there – he listed them: adulterers, pedophiles, school drop-outs, unhappy housewives. Not one was happy or good or kind. Humanity is bad but surely not that bad!
However, because of what happens to him, which I won't go into as I don't want to give any spoilers, Fate does eventually realise that humans aren’t as bad as he first thought. He begins to understand what it is like to be human, he realises that by being immortal and able to transport at the speed of light didn’t really give him the empathy he needed to understand them. It was touching to see him grow and learn and ultimately see hope.
The ending I didn’t see coming for a long time, but I did eventually begin to have my suspicions. I was really hoping to be wrong, but I wasn’t, the ending is slightly disconcerting and I can’t say I liked it. But as I found with ‘Breathers’, Browne doesn’t write nicely wrapped up happy endings, which actually makes his novels deliciously unpredictable.
“Fated” is a unique and well written novel. It's also funny, quirky, warm-hearted and hugely entertaining, which made this book hard to put down. I would definitely recommend it! (less)
“Fighting To Survive” is absolutely brilliant! It's the second instalment of the 'As the World...moreOriginally posted on Book Chick City. 9/10 on the blog.
“Fighting To Survive” is absolutely brilliant! It's the second instalment of the 'As the World Dies' trilogy by horror writer, Rhiannon Frater. I loved the first book, 'The First Days' but this was even better. It was just so good I couldn't bear to put it down. I read it in two sittings and the story remained with me long after I finished the last page. The action came thick and fast and didn’t let go, but was so wonderfully paced I didn’t feel as though I was constantly trying to keep up.
The characterisation is just amazing, I love Katie and Jenni; they are such great protagonists and all the secondary characters are just as well rounded and all have a part to play in this zombie horror. It’s these characters that make this particular horror novel touching, moving, as well as it being gruesome, suspenseful and horrifying.
There are multiple plots in "Fighting to Survive" but Frater manages to keep everything straight and not allow it all to become a jumbled mess. If fact, I really felt as though I was following Jenni and Katie's lives in almost real time and as each obstacle was presented to them I found myself trying to work out how to fix it with them. It gave the book authenticity, which I loved.
The relationships between some of the characters are deepened. There's also lots of drama, emotional turmoil, for me as well as the characters, and lots of fantastic action. The scenes where the characters enter the hotel to clear it of zombies is honestly one of the most tense scenes I've read. My stomach was in knots for the entire time I was reading it. I was so worried about the characters and Frater does a superb job at keeping the suspense nice and tight and not let it drift, which made the whole thing nerve-racking.
Jenni slips from reality a little further and sees the ghost of her husband, who was actually zombified in the first book. She's losing it but tries to keep it together. Jenni and Katie's friendship is stronger than ever. They are still the main characters, but we do get to know a little more about the other characters especially Travis and Juan.
Katie's sexual attack was pretty horrific, my heart went out to her, but it was warming to see her friends rally around and support her. It was interesting to see how the residents of the fort reacted to this, most were supportive of Katie, but a few sided with the attacker. This frustrated me no end, but I suppose it's the same as in real life. Luckily, the horrid little man got his comeuppance!
With hordes of zombies moaning and shuffling outside the fort's perimeters, there's a lot more to think about than romance. However, there is an element of romance throughout the novel for Katie and Jenni, which was a continuation from 'The First Days'.
“Fighting To Survive” is a horror novel with heart. It’s funny and endearing in places and sickening and gory in others, but always perfectly balanced between the two. This series is a fantastic addition to the zombie genre and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of ‘Siege’ the final book in this phenomenal trilogy.(less)
"The First Days" is the first book in a new zombie series by Rhiannon Frater. Originally self-published all three books in the series are now being re...more"The First Days" is the first book in a new zombie series by Rhiannon Frater. Originally self-published all three books in the series are now being released by Tor US in fairly quick succession. As soon as I heard about this series I knew I had to read it, and squealed with delight when Tor offered me the first book to review - well, you know how much a love the zombies ;)
"The First Days" is an action-packed, character-driven novel and was immensely enjoyable and fun to read. I had difficulty putting it down. The writing also seemed to get better and better as the book progressed.
From literally the first page, Frater pulled me in and never let go. I went on an epic journey with two amazing women and it was scary, funny and exhilarating.
What I loved about Frater's writing was her ability to give her characters life. Her portrayal of Jenni, an abused an beaten wife who watches her husband eat her children alive and Katie, a lesbian lawyer who is nearly eaten by her wife, is just superb. I really cared about these two women.
The plot is fab too. It's not original in the sense that there are zombies and people are fighting to stay alive, as this has been done before, but the author does manage to give it a breath of fresh air by having two females as her protagonists.
Jenni's transformation from a downtrodden victim of marital abuse to that of a gun-toting zombie-killing machine was moving as well as, at times, hilarious. However, although Jenni is definitely unhinged this is shown to the reader through her actions and dialogue - it isn't spelled out to us. We garner all the information we need from the characters themselves and I loved this, it made them more real.
Life for Jenni was already tragic before the zombie apocalypse but now it's just downright catastrophic, it's almost laughable. And laugh she does, especially when she's splitting a zombies head in two with a bullet.
Katie's character is great too, and if I had to choose she is the one I connected with the most. She's down to earth, strong and independent. She keeps things together and seems a lot more sane than Jenni.
Katie and Jenni have a lot of scars emotionally and physically and both are traumatised. But they can certainly look after themselves and they both realise they are stronger than they thought, especially Jenni, but I think a lot of her strength is coming from a little craziness and I'm interested to see if she changes in subsequent books, or if this is just how she is now.
The only aspect I didn't like about Katie's character was the sudden change in her sexual orientation - it gets a bit of a shake up half way through the novel and I didn't know about it. I felt as though I had been kept in the dark along with the other characters and I didn't like it. There was no need to keep this aspect of Katie's story secret from the reader and I must admit I felt a bit duped - as I'm sure Katie's friends will when they find out.
The other small niggle I had was as the story moved forward it did become a little too focused on Katie and as this started out as a female duo, I missed Jenni.
However, these are very small annoyances, ultimately "The First Days" had me thrilled, excited, sad and happy as I read the ups and downs of these peoples lives. Characters come and go throughout the novel, but they always leave a lasting memory.
Katie and Jenni fight their way through hordes of flesh eating zombies with a dog and Jenni's step son. They eventually find a group of people who are rebuilding their world, even if it's a smaller and more insular one, by fortifying their town. It's a huge effort but most pitch in.
Although, as with life, there are the stupid ones, the ignorant ones and the thugs who want to rebel against change and what is happening or don't want to believe that they are now living with the walking dead who want to eat them alive. Some think that all the undead need is a little medical attention *idiots*. This attitude bugs me no end and I always relish when one of them gets eaten, just so I can be smug and say "see, not medical attention" ;)
"The First Days" is just SO good. It's a really fab addition to the zombie genre and I can't wait to follow Katie and Jenni's story with 'Fighting to Survive' and then 'Seige' - if you love strong characters, exciting plot and of course zombies then I'm sure you will love this.(less)
'Allison Hewitt is Trapped' is just fantastic. I was absorbed after just a couple of chapters and didn't w...moreI gave this 9/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
'Allison Hewitt is Trapped' is just fantastic. I was absorbed after just a couple of chapters and didn't want to put the book down. Allison is a great character, she's spunky and real - a woman I would like to be if the world was overrun with the undead. She's scared of everything going on around her but she's brave, not afraid to fight and put her life on the line for others.
Allison is locked inside the break room because it's the strongest door in the department store, which means They can't get in. There are also surveillance cameras which are used to keep an eye on what's going on in the store, it's a helpful tool to be able to see where the zombies are, especially when you have to do a food run. Allison is not the only one in the break room. There are five other people who she's sharing the small room with and they are all very different, but all very realistic, personalities.
The relationships between the characters is as close to real-life as you would imagine in such a situation, there's no gun-ho stud with a shotgun over his shoulder, instead it's a skinny chinese guy with broken glasses and a baseball bat. It's a store manager and his golf clubs, it's Allison who's weapon of choice is an axe.
The novel is actually the content of Allison's blog, which she updates regularly, and uses to connect with other survivors. And although I was a little skeptical of this format at first, wondering how the flow of the story would be and how the dialogue would work etc, but I needn't have worried. It's brilliantly written and I couldn't stop myself from reading chapter after chapter - it was very addictive reading.
Eventually Allison and her co-survivors have to leave the break room. Lives are lost, friends are killed and she is longing to know if her mother is safe or one of the undead. I really went on Allison's journey with her and felt every emotion of despair, hope, anger, and complete bewilderment of the circumstances.
From the moment I met the characters in the break room until the end of the novel, which sees Allison far from where she began, it really feels like a long pilgrimage. I could feel Allison and the other survivors become weary, harder, jaded, and their actions and decisions reflect all those feelings. Although Allison does some very bad things I understand why and don't judge her for them.
There is love between certain characters, including Allison but it's written with sensitivity. It's understated romance - there are no sexual scenes and hardly any kissing, it's all shown through Allison's words on her blog and it's believable, tender and heartwarming. There's a lot of heart to this book and I enjoyed it immensely.
'Allison Hewitt is Trapped' is an emotional rollar coaster and the ending was so perfectly bittersweet it brought tears to my eyes. It's a fast-paced read with believable characters and convincing story that will move you and because of this you will Allison, and the other characters, to succeed and survive. This is no ordinary zombie novel. It's fresh and original and I just loved it.
This book is a must read for fans of horror, urban fantasy and zombie fiction. It's a story that stayed with me for many days after I'd finished it, and a book like that stays on my shelf forever.(less)
I absolutely loved this book! I haven't read anything by Larissa Ione before but have read...moreOriginally posted on Book Chick City. Leaning towards a 9/10
I absolutely loved this book! I haven't read anything by Larissa Ione before but have read many raving reviews, so I was really excited to read it and it didn't disappoint.
The characterisation is just brilliant and I loved them all, even the secondary characters. But the main characters, Cara and Ares (War) are just amazing and I fell in love with both of them.
Ares is 'War' and one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse along with his brothers, Reseph who is 'Pestilence' and Thantos who is 'Death', and his sister, Lamos who is 'Famine'. They all have two prophecies that define their destiny: either they are going to bring pain and destruction upon the Earth or prevent it. They have a seal around their neck which they have to protect at all costs or if broken will put them on the path of evil.
Unfortunately, Reseph's seal is broken at the beginning of the book and turns evil, causing death and disease wherever he goes. I'm very excited to read his story when he gets his own book!
When we meet Cara, she has no idea that demons exist until one night a man leaves an injured dog with her, which as it turns out is a Hellhound. Although she doesn't know this at the time, she helps him and cleans his wounds and unknowingly becomes connected with him when he licks her in thanks.
Cara also has a dark secret which she has tried to keep from everybody she knows, but when she meets Ares, she realises that her gift is vital in the world of the four horsemen and isn't seen as strange but as a blessing. I loved this part of Cara and one of my favourite scenes was when she used her gift in the battlefield when three of the Horsemen had to fight their own brother. The vivid descriptions of the fight scenes are just awesome, bloody and exciting.
As well as the amazing action there is a wonderful love story. The sexual chemistry between Cara and Ares is great and the love scenes are pretty graphic and steamy but very well written. As well as the lust that is ignited between them I loved watching their love for one another grow, but there are obstacles in their way which prevent them from being together and which they have to overcome...
The world building is fantastic. I enjoyed the idea that the horsemen could create a portal to different worlds as well as back to their homes. Ares home is a beautiful sanctuary by the ocean and it's where he takes Cara to tell her what she needs to know about the demon world. We also meet some wonderful creatures that are strange but all incredibly cute in their own way.
I also liked the fact that when Ares horse was not needed he would sink into Ares skin as a tattoo, but when called he would appear large, imposing and deadly and also adorable, especially when around Cara. All the horsemen and their horses had this ability.
"Eternal Rider" is an amazing start to a series and I can't wait to get my hands on 'Immortal Rider' book two in the 'Lords of Deliverance' series, and which is Limos's story. I would definitely recommend this book to all paranormal romance fans - I'm certain you will love it!
Also, on a side note - I just LOVE the UK covers for this series - they match the different horsemen perfectly.(less)
Well, what can I say...sensational! 'Last Sacrifice' is the last book in an amazing series, which has, to be honest, left me f...more**May contain spoilers**
Well, what can I say...sensational! 'Last Sacrifice' is the last book in an amazing series, which has, to be honest, left me feeling a little depressed that it's all over. However, Ms Mead gave the ending I had dreamed of. It was emotional, moving, exciting, happy, sad...I loved every word.
'Last Sacrifice' began where 'Spirit Bound' ended with Rose behind bars. She can't quite believe she's in prison and being accused of assassinating the Moroi Queen. Fortunately, Rose gets to see the outside world through her link with Lissa but one day she can't get through - why is Lissa blocking her?
Rose doesn't know that her friends are plotting a plan to break her out of jail, which they do and that's when the fun ride begins. As I found with all the books in the VA series they are emotionally intense, action packed, rollar-coaster reads. 'Last Sacrifice' has it all and it sends you on an adventure with Rose and Dimitri, meeting past characters such as Sonya, Jill and even the evil Victor.
Dimitri tells Rose his only reason for protecting her and leaving Court behind is because Lissa requested it and as he owes Lissa his life, he is indebted to repay her. This hurts Rose, she wants him to want to do it because he loves her, but after his declaration that he doesn't love her any more she makes the decision to bury her feelings for Dimitri and move on, with Adrian.
I didn't know who Rose would choose, Dimitri or Adrian, but of course my heart was saying Dimitri. He's been my favourite since the very beginning and belongs with Rose in my eyes. But sometimes authors surprise you and take you down a different path. I won't give away any details but let's just say Ms Mead weaves a wonderful path that twists and turns and leaves you breathless.
There's a bit of a mystery to solve in this last instalment, as well as the usual wonderfully combined romance and action. Who really killed Queen Tatiana and who is Lissa's half-brother or sister? Rose and Dimitri set off to find out the latter while Rose's friends Lissa, Christian and others stay behind in Court to find out as much as they can about the former and clear Rose's name.
Lissa also has her own path to walk and it's a daunting one. She's nominated herself to be the next Queen and at first it was just to help clear Rose's name. But when she has to go through numerous tests she begins to realise that this is her destiny. The ending to Lissa's story is a beautiful one, with Christian still by her side.
There's also a shock in store when they find out the identity of Queen Tatiana's murderer and there's a moment when that person fire's a gun at Lissa and Rose jumps in front of the bullet...my heart was in my throat as at that point I really didn't know how 'Last Sacrifice' was going to end - was Ms Mead playing with me? Of course she was!!
'Last Sacrifice' has you going back and forth, round and round, never fully knowing how the lives of Rose and Dimitri, Lissa, Christian or Adrian and all the other well loved characters would end. But let me tell you it was a great ending, one definitely worth the wait...
'Last Sacrifice' is the perfect end to a wonderful series. I'm happy with the way things were concluded. This series is one I won't forget and will probably read again in the future. If you haven't read this series yet then all I can say is you are missing out on something very special! (less)
'Archangel's Consort' is the third instalment in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh. I adored the first two books and fell ins...more7/10 on the blog.
'Archangel's Consort' is the third instalment in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh. I adored the first two books and fell instantly in love with Elena and Raphael. Although I did enjoy this book, it just didn't measure up to the first two. In fact it felt a bit formulaic; the intense romance, vampire murders, which Elena has to solve by using her tracking ability and lots of hot passionate sex - just felt a bit of a repeat of book two and therefore this book was a little disappointing.
But, don't get me wrong, all these aspects are the reasons I fell in love with this series to begin with, but as with all series, the story and characters all have to move forward in some way. I wanted to see the characters grow further as they just seemed stuck, doing the same thing over and over.
I was hoping that Raphael and Elena's characters would have grown and I wish something had happened that would have changed the dynamics a little. It would have been interesting if some of the other characters, that are included in each of the books, were brought to the fore a little more.
However, you will notice that I still give this a rating of 7/10 despite my disappointment, well that's because the writing is still as lush and descriptive as always, there's still plenty of action, and I just love Elena and Raphael and enjoy everything about them, as individuals and as a couple.
'Archangel's Consort' is a very good third instalment, although a little disappointing as I was hoping for something more. However, this is still an awesome series and one which I will follow blindly and recommend without hesitation - I for one cannot wait for book 4, 'Archangel's Blade'!(less)
I have now read all three books of the 'Downside Ghosts' series in quick succession and I am so glad I did. I don't think I could have waited a year f...moreI have now read all three books of the 'Downside Ghosts' series in quick succession and I am so glad I did. I don't think I could have waited a year for each book to be released. I am already having withdrawal symptoms knowing I have to wait until autumn 2011 for book four, it's well...agonising.
This is such a fantastic series. There's enough kick-arse action to keep urban fantasy fans happy, but with the addition of the most heart-wrenching romance between Chess and Terrible, Paranormal Romance fans will be happy too. These books sit very well in both camps.
In this instalment, we see a lot more of Chess in action. Her job as a debunker has her working with an elite group called the Black Squad - the law enforcement of the Church of Real Truth - and she is having to deal with wraiths as well as ghosts and physchopomps. The pace is very fast and keeps the pages turning and I practically breezed through this book without stopping. I love Kane's fluent writing, the descriptions of the fighting and magical scenes are just superb, and I love the explanations of all the magical ingredients Chess needs to cast her spells.
What is slightly different about this instalment is that Chess has to share some of the limelight with another woman, Lauren. In both Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, Chess is pretty much the only female and it is nice to see her interacting with another woman, even if she does hate her. But for me this is just part of the story in this book, it's not a necessity to have other women alongside Chess as she's a big enough character to hold her own, but it was a fresh change.
Chess's drug use takes a bit of a back seat to the action in City of Ghosts. Although she's still popping pills and needing them to get her through her life, it isn't as intense on the reader as it is in the previous books. She also makes a big decision about Lex and Terrible and we see her growing in strength.
After the ending of Unholy Magic, Terrible isn't talking to Chess, in fact he is trying his best to ignore her and is seething with anger at her betrayal. For this reason Terrible is not present for at least the first 160 pages, although he dips in and out, and I really missed him. But what comes is worth the wait...
Things heat up considerably between Chess and Terrible and I LOVED it - Kane has given these two characters amazing dialogue, which has me deeply immersed in their evolving, complex friendship/relationship that when certain scenes *if you know what I mean* occurred I was completely enthralled. My heart raced, my tummy knotted up... so much anguish, sexual tension and passion - just fan-bloody-tastic! Oh...and the ending....it had me in tears!
Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic stayed with me long after I read them and it was no different with City of Ghosts. There's so many layers from the complex characters to the awesome world building of Downside. It's full of witchy magic, action and romance, I literally couldn't put this book down until I had read the very last word. I could go on and on about these books, they are just so brilliant! If you haven't started this series, you MUST! (less)
After reading and absolutely loving Unholy Ghosts, I was somewhat nervous about reading Unholy Magic. I've been caught out before with a new series, r...moreAfter reading and absolutely loving Unholy Ghosts, I was somewhat nervous about reading Unholy Magic. I've been caught out before with a new series, reading and liking the first book only to be disappointed with the second, but thankfully, this was not the case with Unholy Magic. This book is AMAZING and I am totally in love with this series!
Unholy Magic begins roughly where Unholy Ghosts ended. Chess is still working for the Church of Real Truth as a debunker and popping pills, Terrible is still Bumps enforcer and Lex is Chess' new drug of choice.
To me this book is very character driven, which is one of the reasons I love it so much - you may have noticed that my reviews are character driven too - if I don't like the characters then it doesn't matter whether the plot is good or not, I just won't be able to connect with the book. But I didn't have that problem with Unholy Magic. It has two of the best characters I've read in the urban fantasy genre; Chess and Terrible. However, although this book is very much about the characters there is also an engaging storyline.
I really enjoyed reading about the world Kane has created. Downside is very gritty and dark, where drug dealers and gangs rule, prostitutes and pimps sell you their business and ghosts kill. The ghosts in Downside are scary, evil entities and it's Chess' job as a debunker for the Church of Real Truth to make sure that any claims of ghost sightings or hauntings are legitimate. One such case is given to her by an Elder of the Church for a celebrity who claims there's two ghosts in his house. This part of the story, although secondary to the relationships between the characters, is really enjoyable and we get to see Chess fighting ghosts and banishing them, and using her witchy magic.
In Unholy Ghosts, Chess unwillingly helped Lex with a problem he had and because of this she is now getting most of her drugs for free, which enables her to pop as many pills as she likes, and we see her falling into her addiction even further. The thing with Chess is that she enjoys them. She likes blocking out the harsh side of her life, the memories of her past filled with physical and mental abuse, and losing herself in the freedom the pills give her. Chess understands what is happening but doesn't really want to face her addiction and although she is fairly strong and brave in her job as a debunker, in life not so much. If something doesn't go to plan or if she feels letdown by someone then she leans on her drugs - uses them as a replacement for people. However, even though Chess is a drug addict it doesn't prevent her from doing her job - most of the time.
I heart Chess so much - she is flawed and vulnerable and that's what I love about her, but I can also see strength and determination. She cares about people and desperately wants to help them, even if it's at the risk of her own life. I have a feeling we are going to see Chess grow enormously in future books, there's so much scope for her character and I can't wait to find out how she evolves.
We also learn more about Terrible, which shows him in a softer light and makes him even more loveable. Terrible is so endearing he melts my heart, even though I know he has no qualms about killing someone with his bare hands - I know this and Chess knows this, but somehow it just doesn't matter. Terrible reveals quite a bit about his feelings in this instalment. There's a scene between Chess and Terrible that had my heart pounding in my chest, I just couldn't read the pages fast enough to find out what happened next. I won't go any further but let me just say it's heart-wrenching romance at its best.
Lex is still very much in the picture, although he does take a bit of a back-seat to the growing dynamics between Chess and Terrible. But he's growing on me. I'm still not convinced he's trustworthy, but I like him.
I'm also impressed by the street-speak, or as Kane puts it, "Down-speech". I think it takes a very talented writer to pull-off accents, but Kane does just that. It's different to anything I've read before but it gives the gangs of Downside a very distinctive and original flare.
For me, Unholy Magic has the precise combination and balance of everything I love about the urban fantasy genre: action, romance, complex but likeable characters and world building. I adored this book so much from beginning to end - just perfect.(less)
What a great first book to a series - I really enjoyed this, I couldn't put it down it was so good. I was expecting...more**warning - may contain spoilers**
What a great first book to a series - I really enjoyed this, I couldn't put it down it was so good. I was expecting something a little more 'young' adult (along the lines of the House of Night series) but instead the characters are all quite mature. The book itself is written with more of a mature tone than other YA books I have read, and I much prefer this style of writing. I think it helped that one of the characters was twenty-four years old.
There are two types of vampire; the Moroi who are 'good' vampires and who are alive. They have the ability to use magic, wielding the four elements of air, water, earth and fire. The other type is a Strigoi, these are evil and although both types need blood, Strigoi kill while taking it.There are also Dhampirs who are half Moroi and half human. They don't need to drink blood to survive but because they have faster and better reflexes than the Moroi are instead trained as their Guardians. The academy is where the Guardians train, graduate and get assigned to a Moroi to protect.
'Vampire Academy' begins outside of the school with Rose, the main protagonist, and her best friend, Lissa, who are on the run. Something happened at the academy that frightened them both and so they decided to run away. Unfortunately they are being hunted and have to keep moving, until one night they are captured by the academy's guardians and brought back to the school. This is the first time Rose meets Guardian Dimitri Belikov. There's an instant attraction between them and it's this relationship that makes the book great for me.
Surprisingly, I also liked every single character. It's quite unusual for me to like every character but in Vampire Academy I did. Even those that are annoying and hateful I still enjoyed reading about.
Rose is conceited and somewhat arrogant at times, but I didn't mind. Although she thought she was hot and boys were 'crazy' about her, she's also very loyal, bold and feisty. I thought she brought a great sense of courage and determination to her character. Rose is a guardian in training and is hoping to be Lissa's guardian when she graduates. What I also liked about this book is it showed the Guardians in training. I liked that it didn't shy away from the fact that Dhampirs aren't as strong or as quick as Strigoi. We get to see how much Rose has to train to be strong, fast and quick-thinking. She spends hours each day honing her craft, which is where she falls for Dimitri - and who wouldn't!
Dimitri is swoon worthy. I love his character and I also like the fact that he's in his twenties, which means he shows a lot of maturity instead of the typical school boy hangups I find so tedious sometimes in young adult literature. I can understand why Rose succumbs as Damitri is a Guardian too, but stoically so. He is nicknamed 'the God' and he shows why in everything he does. He becomes her role model as well her friend. Rose's crush on him grows into something much more and she knows he feels the same way, but there are many factors, as well as age, that keeps them apart.
Rose's friend, Lissa is a lovely character. She's a Moroi Princess and is very sweet natured. She relies heavily on Rose to protect her. Lissa also has the ability to heal, and when she brought Rose back from the dead after a fatal accident they are now bonded. This means that Rose can feel all the emotions of Lissa - unfortunately it's only one way. But because of this their friendship is deep and meaningful.
The other characters are also just as well-written and perfectly well rounded and the story itself kept my interest from beginning to end. It's fast paced and exciting and the climax at the end I really didn't see coming (and that doesn't happen very often).
'Vampire Academy' is one of the best young adult books in the paranormal genre I've read. There are strong female characters and a great storyline with a plot that is immensely intriguing. I would highly recommend this book to all paranormal fans in a heart-beat. Why it took me so long to start this series I don't know, but I'm so glad I've started it now. It's brilliant and I'm completely hooked!!(less)
I really enjoyed I Am Not A Serial Killer and I wondered how Mr Monster would compare, being the second book in the series. Well, I can tell you that...moreI really enjoyed I Am Not A Serial Killer and I wondered how Mr Monster would compare, being the second book in the series. Well, I can tell you that I certainly wasn't disappointed, far from it. I enjoyed it every bit as much as I did the first book, maybe even a little bit more. This series is just so good! I gobbled up this installment in practically one sitting.
Mr Monster is dark and contains many mature themes. John is having a harder time keeping Mr Monster in check, certain lines are crossed and some are almost non existent, especially with a disturbing incident with a cat... very upsetting Mr Wells!
Many of the rules John sets up for himself, such as not to hurt animals and not to look at people for too long in case he becomes obsessed etc, are broken. There was a decisive moment when 'John Cleaver' was taken by 'Mr Monster' and his thoughts become full of torture, knives and pain. But even in the throws of all these mixed emotions of anger, rage and anguish John keeps showing his true nature, which, to me, is basically good.
John wants to help people and save them from the demon. I saw a caring side, even if he was imagining dark, disturbing thoughts at the same time! It was because of this I sometimes found it difficult to see John in a 'serial killer role' due to how much I sympathised with him and his constant internal struggle, and although some lines were definitely crossed, I still couldn't help but like him.
The supernatural theme is continued when another demon is torturing and killing people, young girls this time, and as with I Am Not A Serial Killer, John sets out to catch and kill him. As I found with the first book, the inclusion of a demon gives the story a feeling of fantasy and therefore slightly detracts from John's role as a potential serial killer. Without the demon I think John would have been a far scarier and more menacing prospect.
However, there are moments that had my skin crawling. John thinks a lot more about hurting people and it does lend to some uncomfortable reading but at the same time is so gloriously compelling, you just have to keep reading.
I'm very intrigued to see where the third book in this series will take John. He was fifteen in the first book, sixteen in this book, so I'm guessing he will be seventeen in the third? At that point in John's life I would assume that his sociopathic tendencies would be much more difficult to control and would begin to take hold, and because of this I worry that my fears for John Cleaver will be realised.
Mr Monster is another fascinating and engrossing read from Dan Wells and keeps you completely engaged until the very last page. How Well's manages to make a young man such as John Cleaver so likable even while he thinks of stabbing people, is a testament to Well's writing talent.
I am rooting for John, so much so that I am almost reluctant to read the next book in fear of what I may find, but then that's what makes it so exciting. Will John use his dark nature for good, killing demon's and becoming a true hero or will he allow Mr Monster to flourish and become a fully fledged serial killer? I have a whole year to wait...
I gave this book 9/10 on my blog but Goodreads still doesn't off half stars!!(less)
'Frostbite' is the second book in Richelle Meads' Vampire Academy series and it is just as good as the first. Things...more**warning - may contain spoilers**
'Frostbite' is the second book in Richelle Meads' Vampire Academy series and it is just as good as the first. Things begin roughly where the first book finishes.
I did find Rose a little bit whiney in this book, but she redeems herself at the end by discovering a few things about herself and those around her. She matures. She also loses a very close friend to the Strigio that affects her deeply and makes her grow up quicker than maybe she would have. Her relationship with Dimitri is still simmering and it's still fun to read. Dimitri brings a mature edge to the book which I love and breaks up the bouts of teenage angst, which is a little more evident in this book.
However, Rose is still full of independence and determination and I love this about her. She also has to deal with her best friend Lissa dividing her attention and giving her boyfriend Christian half of it, which makes Rose jealous and the realisation she may not ever be able to have the same with Dimitri upsets her.
Rose also has to contend with the return of her mother. I understand Rose's anger and resentment towards her mother. She hasn't seen or heard from her in five years and Rose is mad, seething in fact, and I don't blame her.
Dhampfir women either stay at home and raise their children (and sometimes succumb to becoming a 'blood whore') or become Guardians. In the case of Janine Hathaway, she became a world-renowned Guardian and one of the best. Because of this Janine had her own Moroi to protect and therefore couldn't bring up her child.
Although, I understood Janine's motives, I felt as though Rose's feelings were pushed aside and even her friends couldn't see it from her point of view. There was really no reason why contact had to end completely for so many years. There is email and mobile phones!
Rose finds it hard to articulate her feelings towards her mother and so becomes hostile and says things in a childish way. However, by the end of the book Rose has learnt a lot and she begins to see things from her mother's point of view as well as her own.
The tension is high and the pace fast in 'Frostbite'. There's quite a bit of action too which I really enjoyed. Lissa and her relationship with Christian is also heating up, much to Rose's discomfort having found that she can dip in and out of Lissa's mind without much control as to when and finds herself in a compromising position on occasion....The relationship between Rose and Dimitri is also deepening even though they still believe they can't be together *sigh*
'Frostbite' is a great second instalment and I can't wait to continue the series. I'm also falling for Dimitri big time...(less)
Wow! This book is amazing! I read it so quickly (well, for me anyway), I honestly couldn't put it down I was so abso...more **warning - may contain spoilers**
Wow! This book is amazing! I read it so quickly (well, for me anyway), I honestly couldn't put it down I was so absorbed in the story. 'Blood Promise' is a total rollar-coaster ride and I loved every minute of it.
After my small annoyance with Rose and Lissa in 'Shadow Kiss', 'Blood Promise' bounces back and gives me everything I wanted from the characters and from the story itself. This is by far the most exciting instalment in the series so far. It really is that good!
Rose has left the academy in search of Dimitri to end his suffering after being turned. Her heart hurts for leaving Lissa behind and the fact they didn't leave on very good terms niggles her. But she leaves anyway and travels to Siberia with the hope of setting Dimitri free from a life as one of the Undead.
On her travels to Siberia, Rose meets lots of new people; Sydney, an alchemist, Abe, a mysterious man who comes to her aid and Dimitri's family. It was nice to see where Dimitri came from and Rose was welcomed with open arms into the family. Each character is as interesting and intriguing as the original 'cast' and it was actually quite refreshing to be given a new set of characters.
There was only one thing I was waiting for the entire time I was reading this book - the moment that Rose would come face to face with Dimitri. With each page that drew me nearer to that moment just increased my level of tension and anticipation.
My heart broke when Dimitri was bitten, but the fact he wasn't totally gone, even if he was a Strigoi, gave me hope of seeing him again...and I did. So did Rose (obviously, as this is her story..ahem).
When Rose meets Dimitri for the first time since he was turned her emotions go wild and although he's not her Dimitri, he's still there in front of her and it was just heart-wrenching. I felt each one of her conflicting emotions and I understood all of them. The sexual tension between Rose and Dimitri is still dominant, even as a Strigoi, and was electrifying.
Because of this, and her hesitation to kill him, he captures her. They spend time together, with Rose as Dimitri's prisoner. Dimitri wants to turn her so they can be together for eternity. He begins to drug Rose my biting and drinking her blood leaving her in a drug induced state for days and Rose becomes an addict. Things get very blurry and complicated for Rose and she's almost convinced that being with him, even as a Strigoi would be better than not at all.
But lots of things happen and she comes to her senses and escapes. The fight scenes between Rose and Dimitri as he tries to prevent her leaving are intense and moving, especially when she finally drives a stake through his heart and leaves him for dead.
She returns home, but after only a few days back at Court a letter arrives for her, signed off with a D!!!! This book was just so amazing. I lapped this instalment up in just a few hours - the hubster was a book widower while I was reading it, I just couldn't stop.
There is something really very special about this series and one which has become an instant favourite. This series will remain on my shelf forever! (less)
I gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City - but leaning much more towards an 8/10 than 6/10, which is why I rated 4/5.
**warning - may contain...moreI gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City - but leaning much more towards an 8/10 than 6/10, which is why I rated 4/5.
**warning - may contain spoilers**
'Shadow Kiss' is the 3rd book in the 'Vampire Academy' series, and although it's my least favourite in the series so far, I still loved it.
However, as with 'Frostbite', I found Rose to be a little bit whiney. When I first met her in 'Vampire Academy' I didn't feel this at all. Rose and her best friend, Lissa, were living in the real world amongst humans and had to grow up pretty quickly to survive on their own. Rose showed a lot of maturity for her seventeen years and it was refreshing.
Unfortunately, being back at the academy for a few months has turned Rose into a very petulant teenager, and annoyingly so. She's definitely a spirited character and her snarkiness is what I love so much about her, but in ‘Shadow Kiss’ it verged more on the side of 'brat'. This was a bit disappointing as Rose was coming into her own quite nicely, and after killing her first Strigoi and losing a close friend I thought this was a bit of a setback in her character development. There is a lot more teenage angst in 'Shadow Kiss', which did get a bit tedious at times.
Rose also begins to keep secrets, which I really didn't like or to be honest understand as she knows her best friend Lissa would support her through anything. I kept rolling my eyes in wonderment at why she wouldn’t share these secrets with Lissa, but Rose continued to keep her feelings for Dimitri under wraps as she did with many aspects of her life.
Despite this, Rose really comes into her own when she's fighting - there are a lot of action scenes with Rose and others fighting especially when it's the Guardians field experience, a part of their training they have to pass to graduate and become fully fledged Guardians. And when the academy is attacked by Strigoi, Rose puts herself on the front line and shows her true nature: a fierce and loyal guardian. This is the Rose I love.
Rose has a few personal issues to deal with too. She’s feeling things that she doesn't understand and seeing things that can't be real - can the shadows really be ghosts or is she going crazy?
She can also sense when Strigoi are near by a feeling of nausea that comes without warning, which although annoying is very useful. A friend comes back from the dead to help Rose, which was a nice farewell to the character.
Lissa is also showing a bit of immaturity...she's quite selfish, especially at the end of ‘Shadow Kiss’ when Rose has to leave to find Dimitri. There is no understanding from Lissa at all. I realise she doesn’t understand the full extent of Rose's relationship with Dimitri but her reaction is still a selfish one.
The other characters such as Christian and Adrian are great characters and a pleasure to read. Christian is as snarky as Rose and I love their banter. Adrian is funny and I like his one liners, he makes me chuckle.
Rose and Dimitri become very close in this instalment (yes!) and things begin to heat up between them. They totally admit their feelings and they show their love for one another in a cabin in the woods.
However, from moments of utter bliss of being with each other in the cabin, Rose and Dimitri are set upon by the undead, and this is where the story becomes even more thrilling.
I will say one of the things I love about Mead's writing is that she doesn't shy away from tough subjects. In ‘Vampire Academy’ and ‘Frostbite’ she touches on self-harm and deals with it well. With regards to love, relationships and sex she brings a sophisticated tone to the text and each character thinks about such things before diving in. However, in 'Shadow kiss' I felt this dwindled by the inclusion of unprotected sex. I understand teenagers don't want to be talked down to but even in adult books protection is discussed in a way that fits in with the sexual scene.
And although intimate scenes aren't described in detail, this is a YA novel after all, I did think that skimming over something like this wasn't right. After so carefully crafting a story which delivered the message that sleeping around wasn't cool, but a deep loving relationship was, I am disappointed it wasn’t tackled and instead left two characters having unprotected sex. Not cool.
However, this in no way diminished my enjoyment of what is an exciting and amazing young adult paranormal novel. It's snarky in places and sensitive in others. The sexual tension is fantastic and all the characters are wonderfully rounded - I love them all.
The ending to 'Shadow Kiss' is the best aspect to this novel. My heart was in my throat and I am not embarrassed to say I shed a tear - I couldn't believe the twist (although I sort of saw it coming). Why did this have to happen!?
There is also no stopping my full-blown obsession for powerful, delicious, complex Dimitri...which is why the ending was so hard to bear...*sniff*
Richelle Mead has created a series I am growing to love more and more with each book. I cannot read the next book fast enough! All I can say is: if you haven't started this series yet, then do - it's fantastic! (less)
I Am Not A Serial Killer gives a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of a fifteen year old boy on the verge of possibly becoming a serial killer. It d...moreI Am Not A Serial Killer gives a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of a fifteen year old boy on the verge of possibly becoming a serial killer. It delves into the human side of what it's like to have dark, murderous thoughts and how to keep them in check.
I was surprised at how much I liked the main protagonist, John Cleaver. Wells has created a character that I sympathise with rather than fear and I'm certainly intrigued to find out what kind of person he grows up to be. John is completely aware of his unnatural feelings and behaviour, which he refers to as Mr Monster. He knows who he is and who he doesn't want to become. His character also made me question whether this is how all serial killers started out and would I have liked them too. However, the issues John Cleaver has as a possible sociopath/serial killer are chilling.
John visits a therapist on a regular basis talking through his disturbing thoughts. He also has a list of rules to prevent him from becoming the serial killer he thinks he is. Rules to not stare at someone for too long as he may become obsessed and begin to stalk them; say nice things to people even if he's thinking otherwise; not harm animals etc. These rules make him feel in control even if sometimes he ends up breaking them.
John enjoys helping his mother and aunt in the mortuary, working with the dead bodies, examining them, touching them. He's very inquisitive but most importantly it keeps him calm. His mother is worried about him as well as a little fearful, but as this is a first person narrative we don't get to hear what she is thinking, but through John and the dialogue between them, we get to feel her emotion and feelings of helplessness and confusion.
There are strong visual scenes, especially with the desctiption of how a body is embalmed, so if you're not used to this kind of thing then just be warned it isn't for the faint hearted and certainly has the 'ick' factor. As the book suggests, a strong stomach is essential.
The story is great and there is an element of fantasy with the inclusion of a demon, although I think this book would have worked equally well without the demon and in many ways may have made it even darker. I thoroughly enjoyed following John's process to catch and kill the demon, but It's the human side of the story that interested me the most. I really enjoy reading and watching anything to do with serial killers. Jack the Ripper being my favourite. I find these kinds of people fascinating and monstrous in equal measure.
I Am Not A Serial Killer is easy to read without being simplistic and flows throughout each chapter really well. There isn't a dull moment anywhere and the action is consistent enough to keep you turning the page, but John Cleaver is the star. An interesting and likable character with a dark side that keeps you completely engrossed in the story. Although it's a fairly dark and sinister tale, it's not morbid and has a fair amount of humour to lighten the tone. I Am Not A Serial Killer is a fantastic read and one that I highly recommend.
I actually gave this 9/10 on my blog, but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.(less)
'Archangel's Kiss' is the second book in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh, and after absolutely loving the first book in the series, 'Angels'...more'Archangel's Kiss' is the second book in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh, and after absolutely loving the first book in the series, 'Angels' Blood', this one had a lot to live up to. I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint. I loved it. The prose is just as lush as the first book, Elena and Raphael are still fantastic characters and the world-building just as vivid.
However, I did feel as though the balance between urban fantasy and paranormal romance was slightly out of kilter. The first half of the book definitely sits in with the latter genre as there is a lot of sex, verbal adoration, basically lots of lovin's! Don't get me wrong, I love the romance between Elena and Raphael but I felt for the first half of the book I was a bit saturated with it and it did get a bit repetitive. But the second half of the booked kicked into high gear with lots of action, suspense and Elena back in the role she fits so well, that of the kick-arse chick. I was worried she was turning into a love sick puppy but her fighting personality won out - yay! I do adore the relationship between Elena and Raphael, it is swoon-worthy and very intense, but I'm pleased it didn't dominate the entire book.
The story picks up a short time after 'Angels' Blood' ended and Elena's friends are wondering if she's dead or alive, or more accurately one of the undead, as in vampire. But nobody is telling them anything and they are becoming increasingly frustrated. They decide to break into where they think Elena is being held, but once they set eyes on what she's become they can't believe their eyes...
There's a big learning curve for Elena and she needs her friends and Raphael to help her through, especially when she is invited to a ball by the eldest of Archangels. Raphael is worried as this could be the perfect opportunity for others to kill Elena for real and so he instructs his most loyal and dangerous vampire to train Elena in the fighting skills she will need if an attempt is made on her life. Unfortunately for Elena she's still weak from the transformation, but Dmitri does not go easy on her.
Apart from what's going on in Elena's personal life, she is asked to help when there's a new bout of fresh vampire kills, and one of the angel children is kidnapped and found brutally beaten to the point of death. Elena has to use her abilities to track the scent of the killer and it leads to an unexpected source.
We get more of a glimpse in to Elena's painful and horrific past. She begins to lean on Raphael more and more to give her strength and support. Her memories of her past are throwing up all sorts of visions about her mother and father. The more that is revealed the more I want to know. Elena is a complex character and she is fast becoming one of my favourite heroines.
There is a lot going on in 'Archangel's Kiss' and I lapped up every word. This is a wonderful series with gorgeous prose, fantastic characters and the world-building so vivid I could be living along side Elena. Elena and Raphael are becoming two of my favourite characters as well as one of my favourite couples. A great addition to the series!(less)
After the amazing emotional rollar coaster of 'Blood Promise', this 5th instalment did slo...more**warning - may contain spoilers** (9/10 on Book Chick City)
After the amazing emotional rollar coaster of 'Blood Promise', this 5th instalment did slow things down a little bit, but only for the first half of the book. It begins slowly with Rose and her friends settling in to life after school. They are out in the real world and as fully-fledged Guardians are now awaiting their assignments.
However, things are not running smoothly for Lissa and Christian and Rose is still reeling after her encounters with Dimitri, but the lovely Adrian is there to help her through it. Things between these two are getting a little more serious and Adrian plays a much bigger role in Rose's life.
Other than 'Shadow Kiss', Rose has been a fantastically strong female character. She's determined, loyal and a fighter, and in 'Spirit Bound' she's no different. Occasionally her mouth runs away with her and she sounds a little bit petulant, but I've come to expect that of Rose. It's not a sign of immaturity anymore, it's just who she is. She speaks her mind and doesn't care who she's speaking it to, even the Moroi Queen.
As with all the books, I'm just waiting for the entrance of Dimitri...Dimitri, Dimitri...*sigh* This man is just gorgeous. It really doesn't matter whether he's Dhampir or Strigoi, he's captured my heart completely.
When the time arrives and Dimitri is back once more (which takes nearly the first half of the book - far too long in my opinion), it's with a bang. Lissa wants to help Rose, especially after all she's been through with regards to Dimitri and her time in Siberia and shows a lot of determination and courage as she devises a plan with her boyfriend, Christian to bring Dimitri back from the Undead to the living. When Rose realises what they are planning it worries her as neither really have any experience with Strigoi. This is where the book really picks up and starts breaking my heart all over again.
I absolutely love all the interactions between Rose and Dimitri and they have truly become one of my favourite literature couples. And although I like Adrian, who's sweet and funny, he just doesn't come close to Dimitri and I'm a little worried where he fits in to Rose's life now Dimitri is back....I'm a little afraid to read 'Last Sacrifice'...
Richelle Mead can do no wrong in my eyes, so far this series has been exceptionally good. I cannot wait to read 'Last Sacrifice' - I just hope it ends the way I want it to...(less)
Wow! This book is amazing. 'Angels' Blood' had me enthralled from the first page - I loved it! It fits int...moreI gave this 9/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
Wow! This book is amazing. 'Angels' Blood' had me enthralled from the first page - I loved it! It fits into the paranormal romance genre as well as the urban fantasy genre very well, as there are strong elements of both. It's dark and edgy, and so atmospheric.
The main character is Elena, a Vampire Hunter for the Guild. Her ability is to track vampires by their scent. Angel's Make vampires and the contract states they cannot go their own way until a year is up, but some don't want to stick around, Elena is hired to track them down and send them back to their owners.
Elena is very much an urban fantasy heroine, she a fighter, strong and brave. She's also intelligent and stands up for herself even when she's terrified. She has a dark and painful past which gives her the depth I love in my characters. However, we don't get to know everything and are just given snippets of information and glimpses of her past through her memories which she pushes away as they are too painful to remember. I'm looking forward to finding out out what they are, very intriguing.
Elena is also stubborn, even when her life could be at risk. I loved this about her, it gave her a strength I love to see in my heroines.
"You shouldn't look at me in that fashion, Elena." "Why?" she asked, prodded by some heretofore unknown suicidal streak. "Scared?" He leaned a fraction closer. "My lovers have always been warrior women. Strength intrigues me." She refused to let him play with her like this, even if her body disagreed. Vehemently. "Do knives intrigue you too? Because touch me and I will cut you up. I don't care if you throw me off the nearest balcony." He seemed to pause, as if thinking. "That is not how I would choose to punish you. It'd end far too quickly." And she remembered that this was no human male she was parrying with. This was Raphael, the archangel who'd broken every single bone in a vampire's body to prove a point...And while she knew her worth, she also knew that to an archangel, she was, in the end, expendable.
There's a rogue Archangel on the lose and he's causing bloody destruction wherever he goes. The powerful Archangel of New York, Raphael, wishes to hire Elena to track him. She doesn't know if she can as she's only ever tracked vampires and isn't sure if her ability goes as far as detecting the scent of an Archangel, but she takes the job as Raphael doesn't understand the word no.
Raphael is dark and dangerous, mysterious and so sexy you can't help but fall in love with him, even with his terrifyingly brutal traits. When Elena first meets him she feels his strength and overwhelming dominance, but his beauty isn't lost on her either..
She took a deep breath and a step back before turning to face him. The impact hit her like a physical blow. He was... "Beautiful." Eyes of such pure undiluted blue it was as if some heavenly artist had crushed sapphires into his paints and then coloured in the irises with the finest of brushes.
Yes, he was beautiful, but it was the beauty of a warrior or a conqueror. This man had power stamped on every inch of his skin, every piece of his flesh. And that was before she took in the exquisite perfection of his wings. The feathers were a soft white and appeared dusted with gold. But when she concentrated, she saw the truth - each individual filament of each individual feather bore a golden tip.
The plot is action-packed and fast-paced. The mix of action and romance is very well balanced. The romance which blossoms between Elena and Raphael is just wonderful and will satisfy any romance fan. It's intense and beautiful, and I can't wait to see what book two holds for these two.
As well as Elena and Raphael, the other cast of characters are just as brilliantly written. The devastatingly handsome but deadly vampire, Dmitri; the sweet and sexy angel Illium, who Elena has affectionally named "bluebell" due to the colour of his wings; Michaela, a strikingly beautiful Archangel who has a cold and murderous nature and has taken an instant dislike to Elena, which causes a few problems - all are vividly written and are fabulous to read.
This is an amazing book - I loved the characters, the story, the writing - basically everything. I'm so glad it's part of a series, and I already have books two and three in my possession - Yay! If you haven't started this series yet, don't wait as long as I did, go read it now!(less)
This is the first book in the Spellman Series and I absolutely loved it. I found it refreshing and funny and although the Spellman family is bizarre,...moreThis is the first book in the Spellman Series and I absolutely loved it. I found it refreshing and funny and although the Spellman family is bizarre, weird and bordering on completely insane, I simply adored this dysfunctional family.
Isabel, who is the main protagonist and tells the story from a first person narrative, is such a great character. She's strong, feisty and a teeny bit nuts. Brought into the family business, a private detective agency, and the life of a PI at the age of twelve meant that Isabel's teenage years were far from normal. She didn't help the matter by becoming a delinquent, and, with the help of her best friend Petra, causing complete havoc. From knocking over garbage bins on bin night and being hauled down to the police station, at the embarrassment of her father, who used to be a police inspector, to re-landscaping a neighbours back garden with a pair of garden scissors.
Isabel rebels against her family, and this is in part a coming of age story, and although most of it is told in a series of flashbacks by Izzy, aged twenty eight, it really gives you an insight into her past and that which molded her into the person she is today. Izzy is also the complete opposite to her perfect, grade-A student brother, David, and so thinks that to keep the equilibrium, she has to be at the other end of the spectrum: not so perfect and a complete pain in the arse. Isabel's sister, Rae, is also a fantastic character. With witty retorts and an edge to her personality beyond her twelve years, Rae is funny and endearing.
Isabel is a very smart cookie, although sometimes she has a skewed outlook on life, like lying to the new man in her life, Daniel, by pretending to be a teacher. From changing the way she dresses to more 'teacher-like' and rushing to a school to intercept him, when he is popping by to take her to lunch. Izzy knows this is not the best way to impress her new man, but thinks it's better than the alternative... knowing that she is a PI and worse, meeting her family.
The writing is very clever and flows well. At times it is so fast-paced I could barely keep up. The story is great and gets even better with the introduction of the Snow Case and the mysterious disappearance of a boy called Andrew Snow. We then got to see Isabel doing her job: sleuthing. But when she decides that her family and her job are interfering with her having a 'normal' life, madness ensues. The Spellman's follow each other, bug one another's rooms, listens in on each other's phone calls and interrogates each other, which ends the story on a climax that's satisfying and part of which is also rather sad.
Isabel is a quirky character but immensely likable, as were the other characters in the book, even David, who could be a pompous arse at times. To have Isabel as a friend would be a riot and life would definitely not be boring.
The Spellman Files is a fantastically fun and light-hearted read, but by no means fluffy. There is substance here and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Spellman's Curse, and finding out what other mischief Isabel and her family can get themselves into.
I gave this 9/10 on my blog as Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars.(less)
I actually give this 9/10, but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!
I'm so excited about this book - I LOVED it! I haven't read an Urban Fantasy this go...moreI actually give this 9/10, but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!
I'm so excited about this book - I LOVED it! I haven't read an Urban Fantasy this good in quite a while. I've read the first in Kane's 'Megan Chase' series, but she's come on leaps and bounds since then, Unholy Ghosts is just so much better in every respect.
The writing is perfectly paced, I didn't get bored once and everything slots together at the right time. The plot is just brilliant and had me engrossed until the very last page - I didn't want to put this book down!
The characters are fantastic, very well rounded and completely believable. Chess is everything I want in my urban fantasy heroine: kick-arse but flawed, vulnerable and complex. I have a feeling she's going to be one of my favourites within this genre (with Anita Blake at no. 1 at the moment).
Chess is a witch and a ghost hunter, with a serious drug problem. She's constantly popping pills to get her through the day. In fact she has different pills for different situations and choses accordingly. Obviously I don't condone the use of drugs but sometimes life is too difficult for some people to handle and Chess is one of them - using drugs to get through life, and that's why I have so much sympathy for her. I loved the rawness of Chess, she's real and vulnerable with a past that gives me full understanding of why she pops so many pills - to forget. A past full of physical and mental abuse, shipped from one foster home to another. I liked her from the get-go. Kane has created one hell of a heroine.
So now I've talked a little about Chess, let's get on to the guys. I have not met a character like Terrible in any other urban fantasy book. He's not the typical dreamy looking, squared jawed hunk, but a rugged, built like a brick house, rough and ready dude with a crooked nose that's been broken too many times to count. Doesn't sound very attractive does he. But the way Kane reveals his personality through his actions and dialogue is just superb, and well, I just fell totally in love with him myself! He's as complex as Chess, with a dark past to match. In fact they have a lot in common. I really enjoyed their developing relationship and I can't wait to see where it's going in subsequent novels.
There's also another guy on the scene, Lex, a leader of a rival gang. He is described as a gorgeous male and Chess can't but not like the look of him. And I don't blame her, but for all his charm there is something untrustworthy about him and I have my doubts. But with Terrible, I feel he has Chess' back and her best interests at heart. He shows his loyalty many times throughout Unholy Ghosts and it has cemented his fate in becoming one of my favourite hero's in urban fantasy.
Terrible is Bump's top enforcer and doesn't flinch at the prospect of killing someone in cold blood. They are thrown together at the request of Bump, who Chess owes several thousands pounds, to find out what is haunting his airport and whatever it is, he wants Chess to fix it. The world building is spot on. I could smell and see everything described. The world is quite a sombre place and Chess lives where drugs are rife and life is hard. Her only real home is the Church. But the Church of Real Truth isn't like any religion we know today, but almost a dictator that holds the fear of ghosts over the heads of the living. If they do not follow them and do as they wish then they will release all ghosts upon them and they will die. I'm intrigued to find out if the Church of Real Truth are the good guys or the bad, but at the moment I don't trust them.
All supporting characters are also vivid and not one of them felt unrealistic or surplus to the plot, from the young boy looking for help to the terrifying Dreamthief. Unholy Ghosts is a gritty, fairly dark urban fantasy, but this is fine with me as it's my favourite kind!
I think I have squealed enough about this book, so let's just finish by saying that I cannot wait to read the rest of the series - I've heard it gets even better! Unholy Ghosts is a brilliant addition to the Urban Fantasy genre and I can't recommend it enough! (less)
Wow, this book is outstanding. I couldn't put it down! As someone who is in her thirties, I wondered whether this book would be too young and the writ...moreWow, this book is outstanding. I couldn't put it down! As someone who is in her thirties, I wondered whether this book would be too young and the writing immature, but this wasn't the case at all. This is an intelligently and sensitively written story about two friends, Callum, a white-skinned nought and Sephy a dark-skinned Cross and their relationship as they grow up. How society and the prejudices around them moulds them into people they don't really want to be. It's a story filled with tragedy and sorrow but also love and friendship. The story is narrated by both Sephy and Callum alternating with each chapter and allows us to see their very different worlds through their eyes.
As a teenager this book would have rocked my world! As much as Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and The Colour Purple by Alice Walker did as an adult. The frustration and anger felt at the injustice of prejudice spawned from just the colour of a persons skin never left me while reading this book. The black and white racism issue is tuned upside down and the dark-skinned Crosses rule over the white-skinned noughts and treat them like inferior beings. It shows how inequality and prejudice can force people into roles they do not want to be in and actions they don't want to take. This is a seriously thought provoking book and sometimes harsh as the two worlds of Sephy and Callum collide. It is at times heartbreaking, but even with all the sorrow the story is incredibly well paced and I was pulled along with each chapter.
The content is brutal, but it has to be for the story to be authentic. It is also honest and doesn't hide from the fact that the consequences of racism and prejudice can create evil in the form of terrorism. A tale of race and equality, never patronising to it's target audience and giving us no answers to a world that's unforgiving and cruel. The ending is powerful, beautiful and devastating and I cried like a baby.
What can I say that I already haven't said. This is a remarkable novel; brilliantly written with complex characters, moving and thought provoking, full of pain, love and passion. I absolutely loved it and can't wait to read the rest in the series. I highly recommend this book!(less)
When I began reading “Club Dead” I did wonder if now three books in it would continue...moreJOINT REVIEW - Originally posted on www.BookChickCity.com
When I began reading “Club Dead” I did wonder if now three books in it would continue holding my interest, especially as these books are quite light, although they do hold some serious issues. But “Club Dead” held my attention throughout and I found myself loving Sookie even more than I did in the previous book. It was also nice not to have so much Bill. Although I enjoy his character it was great to see Sookie interact with other men, especially the werewolf and, of course my favourite vamp, Eric.
I wasn't nervous about picking up "Club Dead" at all, I found it was great to be submerged back into Sookie's world again and this series only seems to be getting better. It combines humour with sexiness, all tied up in a supernatural mystery. I also enjoy the fact that these books are very different from other urban fantasy novels and Sookie isn't a tough, gun totting heroine, but she's got guts and I love her anyway.
In this installment we see Sookie getting tougher and definitely braver. But without losing her lovely Southern charm and flawless manners. One scene just sums it up for me, when Sookie has been badly injured and waiting for a strange vampire to heal her, even then she does not forget to be polite. She just makes me smile.
"How de do." Good manners would make you welcome anywhere, my gran always told me.
In the first book 'Dead Until Dark' the focus was very much on Sookie’s home town of Bon Temps. In 'Living Dead in Dallas' she took off to Dallas, which was lots of fun. In this instalment, Sookie takes another trip, this time to Jackson, Mississippi to try and find Bill who’s gone missing. She has also found out that he has been unfaithful although I had my suspicions if this was true, I found the answer at the end of the novel...
The writing is just so wonderful, I can’t seem to stop reading once I’ve started and the supernatural mystery element is so well done, I never really know what’s going to happen, and it also balances well with Sookie’s love life.
As the story centres around Sookie travelling to Mississippi to rescue a kidnapped Bill, you don't see very much of Sam or Sookie's friends in Bon Temps, but we are introduced to some fab new characters, most notably the introduction of werewolves. Alcide, the werewolf Eric assigns to protect Sookie when Bill goes missing is certainly very yummy, and there's an interesting amount of chemistry bubbling away between him and Sookie.
Just as Carolyn says the writing is wonderful, Harris is a very talented lady. This book has plenty of action, poor old Sookie seems to get injured a lot in this series. But lots of humour too. I enjoyed the return of Bubba, the mentally damaged vampire who used to be the South's most famous popstar and also has a thing for cats (don't ask!).
As mentioned by Laura, there is a new character addition in the form of a yummy werewolf, Alcide. He’s such a great character, and just for a moment I wanted Sookie to let down her guard and give in to the temptation to be with him and forget all about stiff ole Bill. But then I remembered I wanted her to end up with Eric *I love me some Eric* and although I very much liked Alcide, I like Eric more.
We get to see a real soft side to Eric and it melted my heart, I can’t think why Sookie hasn’t been swept off her feet by him. I really love Sookie and Eric’s banter though, it’s funny. Sookie is a feisty chick even with a very old vampire who could snap her in two with just two fingers, but I love seeing her mouth off in her cute southern way - I can totally understand why all these men fall for her.
I am very disappointed in Bill. His betrayal of Sookie cuts deep and I’m not sure how she’s going to come back from this. In just a few months her life has been turned upside down, she’s been beaten, nearly raped and fed upon violently, and yet she tries to keep chipper and not give in to self-pity. She really didn’t deserve Bill’s treatment of her, and I for one hope this gives her the reason to forget Bill, and give Eric a chance!
It looks like we both fell a bit for Alcide *quickly fans oneself* ;-) I like that we see a marked change is Sookie's attractiveness in this book. While I've always believed her to be very pretty, she's been a bit of a pariah amongst human men who are frightened by her abilities. In this book there's the potential for not only a love triangle, but a love square and that's without including Sam who isn't really in this book. Sookie's a popular lady! But with her usual polite demureness, Sookie is charmingly baffled by this, rather than letting it go to her head.
As Carolyn said, Bill went down in my estimations in this book, in fact I felt like he needed a bit of an ass-kicking! There is one scene I'm not actually sure I can forgive him for. And Sookie was perhaps a little too polite about it all. But in the long term it didn't matter as I just fell in love with Eric a little bit more. And you get to see a lot more of him in this book - hurrah! I hope in book four she realises just how super hot he is!
CAROLYN: This series is consistently great. "Club Dead" was a fab read from start to finish. I love the relationship dynamics and I just can't wait to see what happens next!
LAURA: Once again a fantastic book, I have long been a fan of Harris's quirky writing style, having read two of her other series aswell. I whizzed through "Club Dead" in no time at all. If you're a fan of the TV show you'll see a lot of similarities between that and the plot of series three, but be warned it's also markedly different in places too. (less)
There's something about Sookie that just makes me smile. The telepathic waitress who is...moreJOINT REVIEW - Originally posted on www.BookChickCity.com
There's something about Sookie that just makes me smile. The telepathic waitress who is dating the town's local vampire. She is so genuinely warm and wholesome and the last person at all you would expect to end up with a vampire. But it's these qualities that make the books so engaging.
I've read three of Charlaine Harris's series and her writing has a unique, quirky style to it. But they're also funny, laugh-out-loud so at times. The second book is similar to the first in that at the core of it is a supernatural mystery, with Sookie once again playing the unwitting sleuth.
Although the TV series, ‘True Blood’ does keep some of the aspects of the book, there are many differences. Therefore, it was easier for me to read “Living Dead in Dallas” without drawing too many comparisons, I tried to keep them separate and read the book on its own merit. Reading it this way is actually much more enjoyable. I do like the TV show, but I’m not sure on some of the castings therefore I would rather imagine the characters, especially Sookie as my imagination intended.
However, as with the first book, ‘Dead Until Dark’, I found this a wonderful, easy read. Harris has a great writing style that’s witty and charming and I read this book with relish. I'm with Laura on Sookie, she's is a fabulous heroine. I love her warmth and wholesomeness, but she's also quite feisty, which is a definite plus.
Sookie's relationship with the vampires continues to grow, when Sookie is attacked by a Maenad she & Bill have to turn to them for help. But nothing in life ever comes for free and before she knows it she is on her way to Dallas, rented out by Eric to help the vampires there with a missing vampire case. In typical Sookie style, her favour comes with a condition, that the vampires do not kill anyone she helps to bring to justice. As Carolyn says this is part of Sookie's feistyness that you can't help but love her for.
The book does dot about quite a bit as there are two stands to the story. We have a murder mystery at the beginning, when Sookie discovers the dead body of one of her co-workers. Then Sookie's attack and visit to Dallas, followed by her return home when the original murder mystery gets picked up again.
We are introduced to 'The Fellowship of the Sun' an obsessive, anti-vampire church who I can only imagine will continue to have significance as this series progresses.
Sookie’s ‘abilities’ of listening in on people’s thoughts is hired out by Eric to vampires in Dallas. Sookie and Bill, once there find themselves mixed up with The Fellowship of the Sun, a cult of vampire haters. There’s a few twists and turns that keep you wondering, and new characters and supernaturals are introduced.
As with ‘Dead Until Dark’, there’s enough intrigue to keep the pages turning and although Sookie isn’t the typical kick-arse urban fantasy heroine, she uses what she has to her benefit, including her sassy southern mouth.
“Living Dead in Dallas” is somewhat darker than the previous book, but it’s still a fairly light read. There’s something about Harris’s writing that makes these books addictive reading without having to go into too much detail.
I'm with Carolyn these books definitely make addictive reading. Harris's writing style cleverly mixes a lightness with the dark undertones you come to expect in urban fantasy.
This book introduces new species and characters. I had a real chuckle at Bubba, the mentally challenged vampire who used to once be a famous rock star. But above them all, I'm fast becoming an Eric fan, *swoon* and I do hope Sookie ditches Bill for him. While I enjoy the romance between Sookie and Bill, I am beginning to find him a little bit boring. Kind of like the equivalent of vampire slippers.
There is a truly superb scene when Eric attends a sex club with Sookie to 'protect her' that will make you want to laugh and fan yourself all at the same time.
Fans of the TV series will notice similarities between this book and the second series. But the TV show also diverges quite significantly in parts. But this means it's very easy to enjoy both. I love the TV show, but so far I love the books even more. Carolyn references the casting of the series earlier and it's a really interesting point. Paquin and Moyer are not how I imagine Sooke and Bill to be at all, however, I think that Skarsgard is superb as Eric. Or maybe I just have an Eric fixation! ;-)
Sookie is by far my favourite character, and so she should be being the main character and narrator. She’s sweet, naive at times but endearingly so, but she also has a strength that shines through and makes me smile fondly. I would love to befriend Sookie.
Next in line is Eric. Yummy Eric *sigh* I’m not usually into blonde guys, but I do like the bad boys so I am drawn to him. I know there’s a sensitive side to him too which makes him all the more alluring. Bill is a little stiff for my taste even if he is tall, dark and handsome. There’s just something about Eric’s humour that gets me. I’m hoping that something happens to Bill so my favourite character can get it on with my second favourite character! Sorry, Bill...
LAURA: As good, if not better than the first book. This series will appeal to fans of both murder mystery and supernatural genres. It's a quick read, you could easily get through in a day. I love the mix of dark, supernatural mystery, with romance and warm humour.
CAROLYN: A great instalment to the series. I'm crushing on Sookie and Eric and hope things go in the direction I want it too in subsequent books. An easy read with great characters combined with mystery and romance makes "Living Dead in Dallas" a definite win!(less)