I didn’t know what to expect when I downloaded Wallbanger. I’d seen a few reviews that raved about it, anOriginally published on www.BookChickCity.com
I didn’t know what to expect when I downloaded Wallbanger. I’d seen a few reviews that raved about it, and others that avoided it completely because it originated from Twilight fanfiction. Having read Twilight, Wallbanger must have been rewritten and edited to an inch of its life, as it is absolutely nothing like Twilight. Everything is different; from the characters and friends, to the whole plot and romance. So, as I was in the mood for a contemporary romance I decided to give this a go.
Caroline Reynolds is an independent women who’s just moved into a new apartment. She’s also a women who has lost her “O” after a calamitous night with an ex-lover. It’s been months. So when her nights are suddenly intruded upon by her next door neighbours late night booty calls, she’s even more irritated. And thus a war ensues between Caroline and her sexy next door neighbour, Simon Parker.
I loved this book from the first few pages and Clayton definitely has a knack for writing funny scenes, especially with regards to the wallbanging – they had me in stitches.
I woke up faster this time, because I knew what I was hearing. I sat up in bed, glaring behind me. The bed was still pulled safely away from the wall, so I felt no movement, but there was sure as hell something moving over there.
Then I heard… hissing?
I looked down at Clive, whose tail was at full puff. He arched his back and paced back and forth at the foot of the bed.
“Hey, mister. It’s cool. We just got a noisy neighbor, that’s all,” I soothed, stretching my hand out to him. That’s when I heard it.
I cocked my head sideways, listedning more intently. I studied Clive, who looked back as if to say, “T’weren’t me.”
“Meow! Oh, God. Me-yow!”
The girl next door was meowing. What in the world was my neighbor packing to make that happen?
Clive, at this point, went utterly bonkers and launched himself at the wall. He was literally climbing it, trying to get to where the noise was coming from, and adding his own meows to the chorus.
“Oooh yes, just like that, Simon….Mmmm…meow, meow, meow!”
Sweet Lord, there were out-of-control pussies on both sides of this wall tonight.
Wallbanger is full of these laugh-out-loud moments. They blended so well with the lovely budding romance between Caroline and Wallbanger *aka Simon*. The way they meet (with Caroline marching over to his place in her little pink nightie to have it out with him about his late night activities, and how they were keeping her awake) is just so cute and funny.
I did wonder if this romance would work for me, considering Simon had three women on the go, but Clayton weaves her funny words with some truly touching moments. Caroline and Simon may have had an instant attraction but it wasn’t love at first sight. Their relationship built from utter annoyance to a great friendship and then beyond. The pacing is excellent and although it takes them a while to get it on, it made everything seem so much more realistic than if they had jumped into bed together straight away.
Simon’s explanation about his lifestyle was good enough for me. All three women he was *ahem* banging knew about each other and because of his job as a photographer he wasn’t home enough to think about long term relationships. This arrangement worked well for him and his ‘harem’. That’s why I could easily get on board with Caroline and Simon falling in love. It’s slow, not rushed, and you see Simon changing his thought process and his lifestyle as he begins to end things with each of the women when he realises he’s has feelings for Caroline.
It’s the same for Caroline in a way too. She doesn’t trust Simon one iota at the beginning. She thinks she’s got him all figured out, but as their friendship grows she learns more about him and begins to see him differently. And the sexual chemistry between these two is smokin’ hot.
I loved how their friendship grew into something more. They watched movies together, cooked together, talked and laughed together, and even texted each other, which leant a hand to some hilarious scenarios. The romance aspect had me melting, with passages such as:
“How thoroughly you own me, Nightie Girl,” he said, leaning in to whisper this part in my ear. “And I know I love you enough to want you to have your happy ending.”
And then he kissed me—Heart was in heaven—kissed me like it was a fairy tale, even though in this fairy tale I had dough sticking to my back and a cat with a pawful of nuts. But that didn’t stop me from kissing him back as though my life depended on it.
There are lots of up and downs and the will they, won’t they scenario had me in knots, but I really enjoyed that aspect as it kept me guessing. I knew how Caroline and Simon felt about each other, but I really didn’t know if it was going to end how I wanted it to.
There were a couple of things that could have been dulled down slightly, one of which was was Caroline’s “O” – most of the time when Caroline talked about it as though it was a living thing was hilarious, but at other times it did get a bit too much, but other than that I can honestly say that I loved this book.
For me, Wallbanger was a fabulous read. It’s funny and endearing, with great characters and a steady, well-paced story. Caroline is the pretty girl next door who’s smart and independent, Simon is the hot, delicious leading man and all the supporting cast of bffs were a terrific addition. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a fantastic contemporary romance, I’m just sad it’s not part of a series. To fill the void, I instantly downloaded the first book in Clayton’s other series, The Unidentified Redhead....more
When I picked up A WINTER FLAME, I was hoping for a really warm, romantic Christmas read, especially after aOriginally posted on www.BookChickCity.com
When I picked up A WINTER FLAME, I was hoping for a really warm, romantic Christmas read, especially after all the rave reviews I’d read when deciding whether to buy or not. Unfortunately A WINTER FLAME wasn’t my cup of tea at all. Both leading characters were very irritating; Eve because she acted like a 12 year old towards Jacques instead of a grown women, and Jacques because he acted like a pompous arse.
Although Eve didn’t like Jacques because she was worried he was a con man, who took advantage of her sweet great aunt, there are ways to portray this other than the childish behaviour Eve displayed at every opportunity. Stomping around grumpily, silly snide remarks that made me roll my eyes. She didn’t even know Jacques but decided who he was before she even got to know him. Not the greatest of traits for any person, let alone the heroine of the story, who I’m meant to like and connect with. This attitude was in contrast with Eve’s past, which was sad, and should have made her more appealing to me, but because of her silly attitude, I didn’t really feel compassionately towards her at all.
Jacques was a bit of a conundrum. I’m sure he was meant to come across as a modern, handsome man, but the way he was written he actually came across as quite old fashioned. In fact he was a bit like the stereotypical father christmas. Always jolly, making jokes, being foolish and humming Christmas songs. His over the top joviality was annoying rather than endearing, and I didn’t find him sexy in the slightest, which was a shame, as that is what I’d prefer to feel about my leading man. In all honesty I can quite understand why Eve disliked him, as I couldn’t stand him either.
The writing is ok but quite basic. There’s no real depth here, everything sort of hovers on the surface and doesn’t go very deep. Having just read a contemporary romance that was excellently written with great emotional depth to the characters and storyline, it was even more obvious when reading A WINTER FLAME that it lacked that special something. This was definitely verging on silly chick lit I thought I’d left behind a long time ago rather than a quality contemporary romance. So, after 150 pages I decided that if I didn’t care for the characters at this point I probably never would.
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy A WINTER FLAME at all. I did read until 150 pages in, hoping it would get better, that I would like the characters and feel something towards them other than irritation, but alas I didn’t. I realise that as I didn’t read the entire book my review can only be about the pages I did read, but my advice would be if you like the typical Chick-Lit then you may enjoy this, but if you’re looking for a quality contemporary romance then I wouldn’t bother....more
KITTEN-TIGER & THE MONK by Carolyn Crane Reviewer: Gemma
Reading shorts in an anthology can be a hit or a miss at times. You either have the short stories, which are part of a series that read like they are deleted scenes and you really need to be up-to-date with that series to have a Scooby on what is going on. Or you have the other short stories, that although they take part in the same universe, the story either concentrates on characters that you meet in the main series, but gives them a bit more screen time or it’s a stand-alone story with the main character is completely unrelated plot to the main series.
For me, on first impressions, this story falls into the character/own story short and thankfully it meant I wasn’t lost having never ready the parent series.
The author manages to give you just enough detail on the world in which this story is set. It comes across as kind of near-future/x-men type of world, where normal people develop extra-ordinary abilities. In this case, our main protagonist is Sophia. She has the ability to wipe and re-write someone’s short term memory. She is in search of a person named The Monk, who can effectively give her a clean slate after some of the more dodgy assignments she has taken. Unfortunatly for her, she has to go through an ex, named Robert, who she really wronged in the past.
Sophia is a very complex character and at first I felt some sympathy towards her as it was clear she wanted out of her current life. The novelty of using this gift to get the outcome you wanted had waned and she wanted to start over.
This changed as you began to delve deeper into her past and especially with what she did to Robert, the supposed love of her life. It was so cleverly done, and though I knew that Sophia’s family wasn’t the pillars of saint-hood, the revelation on how she was involved in their dodgy dealings was still a shock.
I’m glad to see that she was redeemed and that her actions in her past were not down to sheer greed. Also, her refusal to leave Robert to his fate with a group of sleep-walking cannibals that lived underneath a structure called The Tangle, showed that she did truly care for him.
My only real criticism of the short was the fact I couldn’t get any feeling for the character of Robert. Yes, he has a really horrible life, but there was nothing in his character that made me root for him. His sole purpose seemed to be to provide the catalyst for Sophia to change her life. Maybe if it had been a full novel, we would have learnt a bit more about him. For the purposes of this short, it wasn’t desperate, though I do hope that in the novels we will see more of the characters.
VERDICT: I really enjoyed this short and it was a great insight into the series. In a few short pages, Crane managed to cram in a hell of a lot of story and plot development. So much so, I think this series may go on to my wish-list. 3.5/5
VIXEN by Jill Myles Reviewer: Laura
I knew my slightly sheltered self was in trouble within the first few pages of picking up this story:
Miko jerked the door open, about to snarl something unpleasant through the screen. [...] Every hormone in her body went on instant alert. Both men were gorgeous…
I suddenly realised this was going to be no ordinary romance! I wouldn’t really class myself as an erotica fan. I read romance, but for me that is about the love and the happy endings, they have to have a good story and the sex scenes are a bonus of the chemistry and spark I’ve enjoyed along the way.
VIXEN was more erotica than romance. And well as you might have guessed from the quote it was about two guys (Sam and Jeremiah) and one lucky lady (Miko). The story was short and sweet (and filthy!!). There was some actual plot with were-fox Miko needing protection from fox hunters, but much of it was about them flirting and the build up to the big *ahem* climax.
The sex scene was well.. erm, phew, yes well, *fans oneself*! Rather raunchy to say the least! But Miko’s a were-fox and they need more then one man to keep them happy, so everyone was happy! It caused me amusement and blushes in equal measure.
VERDICT: This was a fun and sexy book, perhaps not a genre I would particularly read again, I think I prefer monogamous relationships. But it made for an entertaining evening read. And I might even be tempted to pick up something by this author again. 3/5
THE BLUSHING BOUNDER by Meljean Brook Reviewer: Carolyn
This is the first piece of writing I’ve read by Meljean Brook, and I liked it. It did feel as though it was part of a larger work but for the most part it was engaging, the characters had surprising depth for such a short story, and the steampunk world was intriguing.
In this world, humans are called Bounders, and Hordes are infected with tiny machines they call bugs. These bugs were used by the Horde to control everyone in England until a revolution.
Temperance is our leading lady who’s fallen in love with a gentleman she met in the park. Unfortunately Temperance is terminally ill with consumption and has decided to live out her remaining months/years in a sanatorium. On the morning of her departure her gentleman friend, Edward Newberry, grabs her and kisses her passionately in the presence of her family and passers by in the street. Of course, this may be an alternative America, but when it comes to being ‘a lady’ things haven’t changed much and kissing in public by anyone other than your husband is not the done thing! Temperance is forced to marry Edward.
Temperance and her new husband, Edward, move to London where social etiquette is more relaxed, and Edward is a police constable. After a few weeks and much thought, Temperance comes to the conclusion that her beau kissed her with the purpose of securing her inheritance, and with a broken heart resigns herself to living her last remaining years unhappily.
However, one night she witnesses a murder and things change between her and Constable Newberry, and there’s also a chance of a cure for Temperance, but it would mean being infected with the bugs…
Brook manages to pack a lot into such a short story. I will admit to being a little confused at times and having to read through certain paragraphs more than once to let this new-to-me genre sink in. Steampunk, as with most genre, has its own jargon, and I found it interesting but harder to get into than I would say a PNR or UF. This is probably why it felt it was part of a larger body of work, but the combination of romance and mystery within a steampunk world was a really great mix and one I would definitely like to investigate more.
VERDICT: Brook has a great writing style which I liked and I enjoyed meeting the characters. I would definitely read more from this author. THE BLUSHING BOUNDER is a taster to Brook’s steampunk romance series, The Iron Seas, but can be read as a stand alone novella, but only just. 3.5/5...more
This is a short story prequel to Carlson’s full length debut novel, Full Blooded, released this coming September from Orbit. I was really looking forwThis is a short story prequel to Carlson’s full length debut novel, Full Blooded, released this coming September from Orbit. I was really looking forward to reading BLOODED as I’ve seen some excellent reviews and comments about it, and I’ve also been major excited about Full Blooded ever since I saw it in Orbit’s upcoming books catalogue.
Jessica McClain is our heroine, a nineteen year old dealing with the fact that she is the only female and human in a pack of wolves. Not only that be she cannot shift, making her a freak in the eyes of all the other pack members, combine all this with a prophecy that says she’s evil, and her life pretty much sucks.
The opening is an action packed scene with Jessica fighting a much larger pack member for hierarchy. This is my kind of urban fantasy! Bloody action, snappy writing and snarky heroine. The action scenes are very well written and I could feel every bone crunching punch and bloody split lip.
There are a few other characters we are introduced to. Jessica’s twin brother, Tyler, who’s a werewolf, and Nick, her best friend and werefox, who was adopted into the pack years ago. I’m intrigued by these characters and wonder if Nick will be a love interest in subsequent novels.
Jessica is also at loggerheads with her father, the 500 year old Alpha of the pack. She wants to leave the pack as she doesn’t feel safe there any more, but her father wants to keep her close. With the pack getting more and more hostile towards Jessica, leaving may be the only option…
I am left with a few questions though that I hope will be answered in Full Blooded. Why is Jessica the only female? And why is she the only human? And if no females are born then how do the wolves procreate? Do they use human women to bear their pups?
For such a short novella, Carlson manages to give the story depth and the characters individual personalities that are instantly likeable (or unlikeable in certain instances) and has a great writing style. I really enjoyed this snippet into Jessica’s world, and now I’ve had a taste, I can’t wait to read Full Blooded.
Although short, BLOODED is a great little taster to what I hope will be a fab new urban fantasy series....more
I have read and really enjoyed the first three books in Moody’s Autumn zombies series, so I was really looking forward to reading HATER. Although it’sI have read and really enjoyed the first three books in Moody’s Autumn zombies series, so I was really looking forward to reading HATER. Although it’s not a zombie novel, I wanted to delve into another Moody book as I love his cinematic writing style, and I find that I can get into and read his books pretty easily. The fact that HATER was a holiday read (while in the Lake District with the rain pouring down outside the window) I thought it would be the perfect read.
After the first chapter, I knew that HATER wasn’t of the same calibre as the Autumn books, I found it harder to get into and when put down there wasn’t that need to pick it up again. Having said that, HATER isn’t a bad read. I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. The tension I enjoyed so much in the Autumn books isn’t as profound and the characters aren’t as likeable. In fact the characters in HATER are downright unlikeable, until the very end.
Danny is a husband and father to two children. They live in a block of flats in an apartment too small, but it’s all they can afford. He has a job he hates and a boss he dislikes even more. So, to him his life is pretty crap. One morning while on his way to work he witnesses an old woman being beaten and stabbed by a young man, with seemingly no provocation. It is just the beginning to hundreds of similar attacks that take place.
I liked Danny, for the first couple of chapters, but then his whining kicked in. He is all ‘woe is me’ and I found that hard going after a while. This guy had a family, a job and money coming in, albeit not a lot of it, but it irritated me that the author didn’t offer us something that showed Danny’s appreciation for at least his wife and his children. This changes somewhat near the end of the novel, so I’m looking forward to this aspect to Danny in subsequent books.
Lizzie, Danny’s wife, is just as bad. They seem to argue all the time, I never see any tender moments between them or their children, which made this family a little depressing, but maybe that was the authors intention. As the violence increases to the point where people are too scared to leave their homes or go to work, I was hoping this would bring them together and we’d see the love they have for one another, but if it was there it was very subtle.
The story is pretty original, but it didn’t really give me a sense of foreboding or suspense. I understood that anyone could turn a Hater, but I didn’t get that hair raising feeling, but the thought that it could be a member of your own family was unsettling. What the story may have lacked in tension, was full of gruesome imagery. Moody uses his incredible talent for action, and the violence feels very real. Some of the passages are quite harrowing…
There’s a scream. Christ, it’s a bloody horrible sound and it cuts right through me. People stop moving and look around for the source of the noise. I can see a woman on the ground just behind me. She’s lying in the middle of the aisle covering her face with her hands. I try not to stare but I can’t help myself.
Someone shuffles out of the way and I can see that there’s a child attacking her. A girl of maybe eight or nine, no older, is virtually sitting on top of her, punching her and pulling her hair. Jesus, in one hand she’s got a tin of food and she’s using it to batter the woman. She lands the tin on her forehead and it immediately swells up in a bloody red welt. The woman is screaming and crying and… and bloody hell, she’s shouting out the girl’s name. Is she being beaten by her own daughter?
For a fraction of a second I think that I should help her but I know that I can’t. None of us can risk getting involved. Everyone seems to have come to the same conclusion. Everyone is shocked by what they can see but on-one does anything to help. People cautiously edge forward and work their way around the fight to get out of the building as quickly as they can and I keep walking with them. The woman’s out cold now but the kid is still pummelling her face. She’s covered in her mother’s blood…
The one aspect I LOVED about HATER, which I cannot talk about as it’s a real spoiler, I didn’t see coming until it was on top of me. This amazing twist in the tale is my favourite part of the novel. It really turned everything on its head and gave HATER a much needed boost. I’m excited to see how the story evolves from here.
HATER isn’t the best book I’ve read by Moody, but, as usual, he offers us lots of action and violence, and brilliant cinematic writing. The twist in HATER was the best part of the novel for me and one of the most unpredictable twists I’ve read in a long time. I’m now very intrigued to read Dog Blood. ...more
I love Cecelia Ahern. Her books are filled with warmth, wit and intelligence. THE TIME OF MY LIFE is a beautifully written, contemporary story with aI love Cecelia Ahern. Her books are filled with warmth, wit and intelligence. THE TIME OF MY LIFE is a beautifully written, contemporary story with a pinch of fantasy and a sprinkling of magic. It’s poignant and thought-provoking as well as funny and light-hearted. As with all of Ahern’s novels, THE TIME OF MY LIFE had me captivated and I didn’t want to put it down. This was definitely a fabulous holiday read.
It’s an original and heartwarming tale of life and how we take it for granted. How we plod through our existence without really taking note of who and what is around us, getting increasingly introspective and isolated from society, and fundamentally, family.
Meet Lucy, our heroine. She is a very likeable character with a great, snarky personality. An ordinary girl with an ordinary job, a small unassuming apartment, a knackered old car and a stray cat that she’s somehow adopted. Her life is filled with going to work, seeing her friends, and family dinners. A seemingly normal life, just like most of us. But although from the outside Lucy’s life seems full to the brim with friends and family, what’s really going on within is a sad tale of misunderstandings, family drama, and a broken heart.
The format of the book starts with Lucy telling us about her life. But as she’s telling it, it sounds utterly perfect, until she utters the last sentence: “ok, I lied.” This happens quite a few times and so we begin to get the feeling that Lucy lies a lot. To her family, to her friends, to pretty much any one she meets. It’s a habit, and she can’t seem to break it. But Lucy doesn’t really notice she’s doing it any more she’s been doing it for so long, basically since the moment her boyfriend left her three years ago. The story of Lucy’s life is given to us slowly and we begin to understand what she’s all about.
There is also a little romance, that is hindered by Lucy’s ex and we see her struggle with old and new feelings. Most of us girls have been there and I could relate to Lucy and what she was going through. In fact most of Lucy’s life I could identify with, and that’s what made THE TIME OF MY LIFE so readable and the characters so likeable.
As for Life, he was a little different to what I was expecting. For a start it was a “he” and thought that Life would be the same gender as the character, but this just gave the story a nice twist. I did think when beginning this book that I would find it difficult to believe that Life was a person and that the world knows that sometimes people get a letter from their life requesting an appointment. But after a while I just accepted it and sank myself into Ahern’s gorgeous prose. Life is actually a great character. The banter between Life and Lucy is at times hysterical and at other times moving.
Lucy’s friends are a great bunch, and you can see that they care for her very much, but as with everything else in her life, Lucy keeps them at arms length. Some of the scenes with Lucy and her friends reminded me of the film Bridget Jones, the characters have the same quirky nature that makes you love each and every one of them.
I’m not going to go into detail about the plot or storyline as there’s so many twists and turns along the way I don’t want to spoil it, but suffice to say, the book was a delight to read.
Another great read from one of my favourite authors. Warm, funny, witty and oh so clever, THE TIME OF MY LIFE is a treat and I would urge you all to read it....more
This was an interesting read, and my thoughts on it are a little paradoxical.
On the one hand the writing is not the best I've read. It's very repetitiThis was an interesting read, and my thoughts on it are a little paradoxical.
On the one hand the writing is not the best I've read. It's very repetitive, certain words and phrases are used way too much. But on the other hand I really liked the characters of Ana and Christian Grey. The story hooked me in from the first chapter and I found it compulsive reading. It was very addictive. I've heard that this began as Twilight fan fiction, but I can honestly say I couldn't see any resemblance. The story, the characters (which are more complex than Bella and Edward in my opinion) and the writing were all very different.
Ana may be innocent with regards to sexual relationships, having never really been attracted to anyone enough to just give up her virginity. But when she meets Christian Grey, she feels a strong connection to him and finds him totally H.O.T. She's then pulled into a sexual world that most people wouldn't or couldn't understand or want to be a part of.
Christian is a dark, tortured hero. These are the kind of hero's I like best. However, although I do like him, I have the same problem as Ana - why is he turned on by hurting her? It's something I've never considered before - being of the 'vanilla' variety, but he is intriguing. I'm very interested to see where this relationship is going and how their characters grow. Will Christian put aside his darker needs and let himself fall in love with Ana?
Ana was also much more animated than Bella. That's why I find it difficult to see the comparison. Ana is also very up front in how this lifestyle makes her feel and they battle it out with the contract, trying to take each others needs into consideration.
I haven't read BSDM before, and I found I squirmed on occasion - but that's because I don't see myself as the submissive type. But I loved how Ana had trouble with this too. She isn't a naturally submissive personality and so found everything he asked of her difficult to deliver. I do think you have to be pretty open minded to read it.
I also don't agree with other reviews I've read which state that everything that was done to Ana was against her will. This wasn't the case in my opinion. Ana weighed everything up in her mind and made her own decisions and choices. The ending was abrupt but I was proud of her.
This is a very intensive, character driven novel that consists not much more than just Ana and Christian and their bedroom antics. However, the characters are complex and interesting enough that I was compelled to read it, and did so in less than 24 hours. I am now starting Fifty Shades Darker....more
LAURA It was with eager anticipation that I opened my copy of SACRIFICReviewed by Carolyn & Laura for www.BookChickCity.com - 3.5 Star on the blog.
LAURA It was with eager anticipation that I opened my copy of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC I’d read all three in the series back to back last year, my love of the series growing with each book. Chess and Terrible are such unorthodox characters, that each time I enter their lives I want to applaud Kane on her guts to be different and her vivid characterisation.
Maybe I was just too excited to pick it up, but it actually took me a while to sink back into. The Downside speak which had seemed so natural before took me a while to get back into its rhythm. I was desperately eager to see more of Chess and Terrible after the events of City Of Ghosts and it seemed I was going to have to be left waiting. Waiting, longer than I hoped to be honest with the narrative focusing initially on Chess’s investigation rather than the love life that had me eagerly turning pages before. It wasn’t what I would call a slow start, but at the same time it was a start that left me wanting.
CAROLYN I also read the first three books back to back and loved them all SO much. After City of Ghosts I couldn’t wait to get my hands on SACRIFICIAL MAGIC. But like Laura, when I eventually received a copy and began reading I found it difficult to sink back into the Downside world, speak and characters, and yes, even Chess and Terrible. It took me until about half way through the book to finally find my rhythm. I will admit that my first thoughts were, ok so this is a bit of a let down.
The reason being is that Kane left me totally spent and in bits after City of Ghosts, and I suppose I wanted to literally begin this book where the last one ended. Instead I got Chess, doing her job, getting rid of ghosts, with no real thoughts on what had happened previously. It was as though Kane had purposefully decided not to mention Chess and Terrible, and make us wait. And wait we did… I also had a few issues with Chess that I just couldn’t shake off as I read the book.
LAURA Once more Chess is torn between her job for the church and her complicated relationship with her drug dealer Bump. Left investigating a dark magic ritual murder for Bump and a haunting in a Warehouse in the other side of town, and of course Lex’s father Slobag’s territory. She knows it could cause her a whole world of trouble. The different elements in Chess’s life seem to be becoming more and more disparate as she desperately tries to juggle her job, her addiction, her love life and her friendship with Lex. It was exhausting watching her do it and at times oh so painful.
The mystery element of the plot was great, I cannot fault Kane’s writing here. It was tight, twisty and kept me guessing. There were times I had no idea how it was going to end and the suspense and ghosts were chilling. Just like Chess’s life it also really crystalised the difference between life in Downside and the Church. There are developments in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC that will also have shocking consequences for the rest of the series.
CAROLYN Kane’s writing is tight and descriptive, and keeps me on my toes, whether with the mystery aspect to the plot or the relationship dynamics. The mystery is great as always, but this time I felt as though it was definitely the focus of the novel rather than the characters and their relationships. Not a bad thing as this is categorised as an urban fantasy, but considering Chess and Terrible were such a huge part of the first three books, I did feel as though this novel had taken a different turn, which is probably why I felt a little cheated when we didn’t get much of Chess and Terrible until later in the book.
LAURA I’m really not quite sure what happened to Chess is this book. We all know she has problems, her addictions a part of what makes this series so appealing and unusual. But she seemed to lose sense of herself. She became whiny and full of self doubt. I wanted to give her a good old shake. At one stage she went on a complete kamikaze ride of destruction leading to a brutal scene between her and Terrible I could hardly bear to read. Oh it was so painful. But at the same time it really didn’t need to happen. I think Kane was trying to demonstrate just how volatile and on the edge Chess really is. She is a drug addict for a reason is she not? But I hate to say it, but she just ended up irritating me. I hope after the final scenes of the novel that in the next book we can see a new, wiser Chess.
CAROLYN As previously mentioned I had a few issues with Chess, especially with regards to some of the decisions she makes. With everything that has gone on between Chess, Terrible and Lex, I thought she would have the sense to stay away from Lex for a bit. But the moment she chooses to agree to see Lex in his bedroom, I knew that things wouldn’t end well. Nothing happens between them, but Chess feels she needs to tell Terrible to keep things out in the open. There were pages of Chess thinking and analysing, and instead of getting an insight into Chess, she just annoyed me. The way she acts is desperate, which I suppose she is, but I wanted her to have grown a bit more, gotten a little stronger, it is book four after all.
I could have forgiven her for going into Lex’s bedroom, as nothing happened, but then she goes and does the most stupid thing when Lex kisses her by surprise – she kisses him back!!!! OMG Chess! You have Terrible. HAVE. Don’t throw it all away! I know people are attracted to other people sometimes when they are in relationships, but the fact Chess’s relationship with Terrible is new and exciting and HOT, why on earth would she feel the need or even want to kiss Lex. This disappointed me. Chess disappointed me. And I hated it.
Then we had to go through all the anxiety of having to tell Terrible, again, but this time it’s about something that did happen – the kiss, and how sorry she is.. yadyada. I’m not sure I could trust her again if I was Terrible. I get that she’s messed up. She’s had a shitty past and she has to take drugs just to get through each day. But she’s an adult now, and the choices she makes are hers alone. I’m looking forward to the day when she realises that. I’m looking forward to seeing Chess tell herself NO to another pill. To being strong, to knowing and believing she’s worth something, deserves Terrible’s love, and not keep on self-sabotaging her relationships because she thinks it’s only a matter of time before it ends anyway *breathes*
LAURA Oh yes don’t get me started on the whole Lex thing! Why oh why did she keep going back to him?! Argh! I had more than a few teeth grinding moments. As I said before Chess did seem to be on a bit of a self destruct mission in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC. It was evident she did not believe she deserved happiness, so set about destroying all chances of that herself. Will we ever see a clean Chess? I’m really not sure we will. But there were times reading the book where I thought to myself if the romance ends up going the way it seems to be I’m going to be very tempted to throw the book out the window.
However, there were some lovely, tender moments. Chess and Terrible are a thrilling couple, when they are working together I love them so much. I love that Terrible accepts her for who she is drugs and all. They are unusual and goose shiveringly good. But there just did not seem to be enough of them together in the book. I know it’s not a romance series, but their relationship really is the core of what got me addicted to Kane’s writing. I kept flicking through pages with a frown thinking when are we going to see more of Terrible? The book focused a little too much on Chess’s investigation and not enough on the romance in my opinion.
CAROLYN There are a few sweet moments between Chess and Terrible, I agree, unfortunately they are too few and far between for my liking. Their unique relationship has me totally captivated. When they are together I forget everything around me and I’m totally absorbed in their lives, even when it’s a train wreck. They are also a couple I haven’t come across before in any other urban fantasy series I’ve read, which makes them all the more special and exciting. I can’t wait for more Chess and Terrible in Chasing Magic.
LAURA There were times when Chess did drive me a little crazy in this book, but I’m still a big fan of this series and would definitely recommend it to urban fantasy lovers. Chess and Terrible are unorthodox, infuriating, exasperating, but… completely absorbing. I do hope we see a bit more of them in Chasing Magic.
CAROLYN As with all preceding books, SACRIFICIAL MAGIC had my emotions all over the place. Kane has an emense talent at pulling my heart in all directions. Terrible is such a sexy untraditional hero, and I love that he loves Chess for who she is, drug addict and all, it’s just sad that Chess can’t see that too. Their romance, however, is one of the most intense, stressful but beautiful I’ve ever read, and although I have some issues with Chess in this instalment, she and Terrible are still two of my favourite characters and couples in urban fantasy fiction, and this series is still one of the best. ...more
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy makingOriginally published on www.BookChickCity.com
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy making out, Ashley feels something’s on her, and at first she’s angry as she thinks it’s Matt getting a bit carried away, but when she shoves Matt off her and he shines a light to see what the problem is, they find a half eaten woman rolling around on the ground, wanting to chomp down on Ashley. They make a run for it but the last thing Ashley remembers are Matt’s screams.
When she wakes up she finds herself in a makeshift med ward, and soon learns that a virus is causing the dead to walk. She also finds that one of her lecturers from university and her assistant Gabriel, have not only survived but are actually part of the team helping to contain the disease.
After Ashley has healed sufficiently she learns that she’s actually a ‘wild card’, which means she’s immune to the virus. Because of this they ask her to join their team, along with a few other ‘wild card’s’ they’ve come across, to help clear the area and rescue any survivors. Thus ensues lots of action, zombie brain splattering, suspense and fab character interaction with a dash of sexual tension.
PLAGUE TOWN is such a fun read. Full of zombie munching, gory entrails, sassy heroine and a hero you ‘love to hate’, but soon end up just loving. The descriptions of the zombies are great, and worthy of any horror novel. They are gory and detailed, just the way I like ‘em.
The world Fredsti has created is fantastic, very visual and realistic. The dialogue is very smooth and I was completely immersed in the characters and their lives. There were a few scenes that made my hairs stand on end, which is great, exactly what I want when reading a book such as this.
“In here!” Lil joined me and banged on the front door. We watched as zombies peeled off from the steady stream wandering past and staggered to join the ever-increasing crown in front of the store. I glanced at Lil, and could tell from her set expression that she was scanning the crowd for a familiar face.
One I hoped she didn’t see.
“Maybe we should–” I stopped short as the zombie that used to be Annie suddenly let go of the gate and veered off to its left, pushing through the crowd with what almost seemed like a sense of purpose.
“Okay, now that’s just weird.”
“Do you think she remembers the back door?”
A chill ran up my spine.
Ashley, the main character, is a firecracker; feisty, sassy and not afraid to get into the thick of it. She deals with what life throws at her with ease, sometimes a bit too easily, but I did like her for it. Ashley’s love interest and mentor, is Gabriel. When we first meet him, before the virus and zombie outbreak, he was an absolute pig. He acted superior and talked down to Ashley and tried to embarrass her whenever possible, but as the story moves along, he thaws out and becomes a sweet guy, but also doesn’t lose that hard edge. There’s also a twist to his character I saw a mile off, but it is a good one.
I loved the first sexy scene between Ashley and Gabriel. There had been a bit of sexual tension between them but the intensity of Gabriel’s feelings which showed in this scene shocked me as much as it did Ashley. Did he let the side down by acting like a jerk a little later, yep, but the lead up was sexy and hot.
I gasped in shock. Without warning, his hands tightened painfully on my upper arms and he pushed me up against the wall, his body pressed against mine. His eyes darkened so much I thought I must be imagining it.
My breathing quickened as his hand shifted from my arms up to my face, fingers twining though my hair. Anger and desire warred in his gaze. Heat coiled in my stomach even as fear shuddered up my spine. I tried to shake my head, but his fingers held it in place as he muffled any protests by covering my mouth with his.
Fingers massaging my scalp, he slowly increased the intensity of the kiss, his tongue entering into play as he tilled my head back and slip it in.
I felt like I was following along in a dance, being led by someone who knew the steps much better than I did. I discovered that I was content to follow, matching the pressure of his lips with mine, letting my tongue play with his as he pressed his body into me, emphasising the move with a low, throaty sound.
He was definitely packing heat, and it wasn’t his sidearm.
Ashley and Gabriel do have one other hot scene, unfortunately this isn’t handled as well as the one above, in my opinion, which is a shame as they totally get it on and it’s what I’d been waiting for since their first connection. The reason is, I have a thing. It may just be me but I can’t stand it when people snog first thing in the morning without cleaning their teeth, or, as in this instance, kiss after throwing up. It’s just icky. And it’s all I think about while the scene is unfolding, and I’m unable to enjoy it.After finding out Gabriel’s secret, Ashley is so disgusted she rushes to the bathroom and throws up. She rinses her mouth out but that’s it. In bursts Gabriel and one thing leads to another. The first thing I didn’t like is the above mentioned sicky mouth, but also the fact that it was all too rushed. Why did Ashley and Gabriel have to get it on then and there. With the enormous revelation I would have thought Ashley would have been a little bit more miffed and needed some time to mull everything over.
There’s an AMAZING action scene near the end of the book and I would have much prefered Ashley and Gabriel to have waited until after this scene. I think it would have been much better, but then… I’m not the author.
One of the other ‘wild cards’ I loved is Lily. She’s a really sweet character. At first she seems a bit naive and shy, but put a pickaxe in her hand and she turns into a zombie killing machine. She reminded me a little bit of Jenni from Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy in that she becomes a little nuts with everything that is going on, and to cope she goes out with guns blazing pulverising zombies whenever she can.
One of my favourite scenes was when Ashley and Lil head out on their own to go back into the zombie infested town to rescue Lil’s two cats Doodle and Blinkey. I love animals and I know that I would have to do everything in my power to save them and I loved that this is what the characters in this book decided to do too. It was heart-warming and sweet. The love Lil had for her pet’s was really sweet. She couldn’t concentrate on what she was doing without knowing they were ok. Once they were safely with her and Lil and Ashley were safely back at the UNIT she slept.
I opened the door.
“Lil?” No answer. She wouldn’t have bolted, would she?
Gabriel came in behind me.
“What is it?” he asked. “Is she okay?”
I pointed to the bed where Lily had collapsed, giving in to exhaustion. Blinkey was draped around the top of her head like a furry halo, Doodle curled in the crook of her arm…both cats purred loudly and the contented smile on Lil’s face – even in her sleep – brought tears to my eyes.
“Yeah,” I said quietly. “She’s okay.”
There are lots of secondary characters and they all had distinctive personalities. I didn’t become lost in the sea of names as I have done with other novels. They all added their bit to the story and I ended up liking them all, hoping they would all survive.
Other than one or two aspects, I think PLAGUE TOWN is a great zombie book. I really enjoyed it and Ashley is a fantastic heroine. I can’t wait to see how she grows in subsequent books. Fredsti is now on my auto-buy list and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Zombie Nation....more