Tempest Rising is the first book in the 'Jane True' series and Nicole Peeler's debut. It's a light read with fun characters and magical creatures.
The...moreTempest Rising is the first book in the 'Jane True' series and Nicole Peeler's debut. It's a light read with fun characters and magical creatures.
The story begins with Jane who's trying to deal with a lot of painful history. Her mother left her and her father when Jane was only six, and the death of her boyfriend who she had known practically her entire life. The only thing in her life that Jane can totally rely on is the ocean and her nightly swims, until one night Jane pulls a dead body from the water, and the life she knows is changed forever.
I liked the aspect of Jane's past as it gave her character and personality the depth she is otherwise lacking. However, her past is frustratingly kept secret from the reader as well as the other characters in the book for a long time, which I thought was unnecessary and became rather annoying. It made me feel I couldn't quite get to know Jane and so I didn't connect with her at all.
Jane's internal reflections are annoyingly incessant. The "virtuous" Jane constantly discussed her life with the "libido" Jane, especially when meeting the lovely Ryu, a gorgeous vampire investigator who has come to her town to investigate several murders.
The continuous bickering with herself was, I'm sure, meant to be humorous but it just didn't work for me. Sometimes these witticisms would be injected at the completely wrong moments, such as the passage below:
"Ryu's other hand was brushing my hair away from my face, and then stroking over my cheek. Then he was supporting the back of my neck as he tilted my face up towards his...
...the tiny pointy tips of two very sharp-looking fangs had just begun to peep out from under hi to lip. Holy Shit! thought the part of me that was trying to remember where i kept our Band-Aids. Meanwhile, the part of me that was really attracted to Ryu was wondering, Does that mean he likes me?"
What was turning out to be quite a nice romantic moment between Jane and Ryu was ruined by Jane's stupid thoughts. This went on and on throughout the entire book and it was tiresome. Funny, witty, characters can't be forced, they either are or are not...
Jane isn't a particularly feisty character either, nor a strong one. She blushes at everything and throws-up a lot! She isn't kick-arse or dynamic and I found her a difficult character to like - to be honest I found her to be a little bland for my taste.
Ryu on the other hand is rather delish. I really like his character and enjoyed his interactions with those around him. He's sweet, handsome, sexy, everything that is pretty standard nowadays with vampires as love interests. And although he's a yummy male lead, there's nothing particularly unique or original about him. And I must say, I am a bit perplexed why his laugh is described as a bark!
Peeler's descriptions for Rockabill are vivid and gives the reader the feeling of a quaint little town full of quirky characters, but then the story moves on to a place called the Compound (not a very magical name is it) where there is no world-building at all. The compound felt cold and I just longed to get back to Rockabill, to the ocean and all the other characters I was introduced to at the beginning but left way too early.
The plot itself is okay, but it didn't rock my world. There are a few twist and turns but for the most part it was pretty predictable and tame with regards to action and suspense.
I much preferred the story when it was situated in Rockabill. It's here that I started to feel cosy - Rockabill is a great little town and it felt magical. I easily imagined the ocean, the cove and Jane's nightly, starlit swims in the water. I also began to like the paranormal characters in the cove.
Anyan is my favourite; a talking dog and so cute! He stays in animal form for most of the book but the suspicions I had about him were confirmed in the last couple of chapters. There's something very mysterious about him and there are moments which allude to him knowing Jane long before she knew him or any of the other creatures, and these are revealed at the end.
I liked Tempest Rising. It's an easy read and even with all it's faults I breezed through it in a couple of days. But due to the fact that I am a very character driven reader, and as I didn't care for Jane, I think this is the main reason I didn't love it.
However, the ending is my favourite part of the whole book and has now made me quite eager to read the next book in the series, Tracking the Tempest. I have a feeling Jane will develop a lot more and maybe into a heroine I can connect with and I hope that what I found lacking in the first book I will find in the second. (less)
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 a...moreI 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.(less)
FALLEN by Traci L. Slatton is a dystopian novel set in a post-apocalyptic world t...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com - 2.5 Star on the blog.
FALLEN by Traci L. Slatton is a dystopian novel set in a post-apocalyptic world that has been ravaged by a mysterious killing mist that has swept the globe.
Our opening scene of the novel describes how frightening the mists can be, with the mist attacking our main character’s daughter, Mandy. We are given a description of how they affect the human body, sending people insane and eventually turning them to sand:
If she moved into it, or if it moved to engulf her, it would kill her. Dissolve her from within, filling her mind with madness before blistering her cells with heat until she ruptured into steam and water droplets. All that would be left of her would be a splatter of water on the ground and a fine beige powder.
Mandy survives this mist because of the arrival of Arthur and his men, who have discovered that the percussion sound of horse’s hooves drives away the mist. This brings us to our main character, Emma, who is the caretaker for eight children she has gathered since the apocalypse hit, with only Mandy being her own.
Emma has been forced to fight for survival, so Arthur’s arrival gives her hope that his camp will be a safe haven for her and the children. In order to secure their safety she enters into an agreement with Arthur whereby she will sleep with him whenever he desires in return for shelter and food for the children.
Upon returning to the all-male environment of the camp it is clear that they need a woman’s touch, and Emma soon makes her mark on their way of life. She proves to be especially useful with her healing abilities that developed since the mists began, and she is not the only character who has developed unique paranormal skills.
Every day they must fight for survival, but supplies are running short and they are running out of towns to ravage. They hit a particular problem when medicine starts to run out, as the man that needs it is responsible for helping to rebuild their technology, trying to get a radio together to communicate with the other surviving regions.
Another problem comes in the form of Emma’s personal life. She is sleeping with Arthur to protect the children, but her husband and eldest daughter are in Canada, one of the few surviving areas of the world. She and Mandy are desperate to rejoin them, but Arthur is unaware that she has a husband and it becomes clear that he won’t take the news well when he finds out, as he is starting to fall for Emma.
As much as the beginning chapter of this book pulled me in, I didn’t particularly enjoy this book, as the plot wasn’t particularly strong and was more about the world building than anything else. Parts of the plot also felt far too convenient, such as one instance where one of the children whose mental age had reverted to that of a four year old due to the trauma suddenly became themselves again after being spoken to harshly.
I also highly disliked the two main characters. Emma is sleeping with Arthur to protect the children, which could be understood given the circumstances, but her feelings for her husband are barely touched on during the novel, with very little guilt being mentioned. Arthur was definitely not a good love interest in my eyes, as he takes advantage of Emma and tries to order her around, going so far as to tell her to wear dresses instead of trousers so it’s easier for him to sleep with her. There was also one sex scene in which I thought that Arthur forced himself on Emma too much, not at all seeming like a romantic connection.
Overall I wasn’t pulled in to this book very much, as I didn’t connect with the characters and didn’t find the plot to be that interesting. I also felt that the writer had included too many characters, as I was starting to lose track of who all the children were, as well as the many male members of the camp. I did like the idea of the mist however, and thought that this was a creative idea for a post-apocalyptic novel.
This book didn’t particularly excite me, as the characters weren’t people I could associate with or feel any sympathy towards. The mists were threatening and the dystopian world was well-explored, but the ending plot twist was predictable and not as exciting as I could have hoped.(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)
Radiant Shadows is the fourth book in Melissa Marr's 'Wicked Lovely' series. It begins where 'Fragile Eternity'...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
Radiant Shadows is the fourth book in Melissa Marr's 'Wicked Lovely' series. It begins where 'Fragile Eternity' left off. However, while Seth features as quite a main character, the story is no longer about Aishlin and the summer court.
The book is about Ani and Devlin, we've met them in previous books but as relatively minor characters.
Ani is Rabbit the tattooist's half sister, and daughter of Gabriel, leader of the hunt. She is a member of the dark court and halfling: half human and half hound.
By contrast, Devlin is half brother-son to the High Queen Sorcha and Queen of War Bananach, created jointly by them and not born. He is a powerful member of the High Court. Known as the Queen's Bloodied Hands. He is ordered, disciplined and importantly, Sorcha's obedient servant.
Devlin first met Ani when she was just a child. When he was ordered to kill her. And for the first time in centuries of obedience he disobeyed a direct order and spared Ani's life. Hiding her survival from his Queen.
Since the events of the last book Sorcha is no longer herself and her imbalance begins to seriously impact the world of faery. Reason appears to have departed from the Queen of Reason and Bananach glorifies in this advantage and her dark malevolence spreads. This book has some important developments for the faery world as all courts struggle to avoid the sinister plottings of the Queen of War, which has some far reaching affects. But primarily it is a love story between Ani and Devlin.
As the book begins, Devlin has not seen Ani in the years since he spared her life. But, sent on a mission to protect Seth by his unbalanced Queen he encounters her in a club. The chemistry between them is tangible, and while Ani has no idea who Devlin is, he's never really understood why he saved Ani and is inexplicably drawn to her.
In my opinion, this is by far the best book in the series. I sat down one evening to make a start and before I knew it I'd read 175 pages. Melissa Marr has a beautiful and captivating writing style. She draws the vision of her characters and worlds which sucks you in brilliantly.
On the surface of things the love story between Ani and Devlin could easily have not worked. It's not largely mentioned, but Ani is very much a young adult at 16, while Devlin's significantly older than her. Yet as the story progresses they both go on what I would class as a 'young adult' journey.
Being a halfling, Ani is frustrated with being pushed to the outskirts of the faery. Yet having the power to feed on the emotions & touch of both mortals and faery, her power is unheard of and it becomes quite clear she is no mere halfling. Because of this Ani is confined and protected by her father and the dark court and she chafes at the restrictions. She is desperate to prove to them all that she is a woman and no longer a child and can look after herself. While Devlin is struggling to escape the controlling influence of his sisters. Learning that he can have his own sense of identity and his own relationships while remaining true to himself.
I really like Ani and Devlin as a couple as they were so different. Fate obviously plays an important part in their lives, it is clear as all the threads begin to close that from the very beginning they were meant to be together.
As the book reaches its climax there is a big twist. However, for me it wasn't entirely unexpected, and I wondered from about a third of a way in if something similar would happen. But it didn't take away from my enjoyment of it at all.
This book really was superb and I could barely put it down, but I do have a couple of criticisms.
I would of liked to have seen a flashback to the time that Devlin spared Ani's life to fully understand the reason for that decision and what he was feeling at the time, it felt to me liked it lacked some explanation.
Additionally, having read the previous three books, I found it a touch frustrating that while Seth was an important character in the book, and some events happen that will change his life at least for the moment, irrevocably, there was virtually no mention of the love triangle that had me so hooked in previously.
This is a fantastic fourth instalment to the 'Wicked Lovey' series, and the best so far. Marr has cleverly interwoven the plots of the each of the books as the series builds to its sinister conclusion.
Technically if you haven't read the first three books in this series you could read this as a stand alone novel, but my recommendation would be to read them first in order to fully enjoy the depth of the story.
I am very much looking forward to discovering what happens next, but I do hope that Seth and Aislin take the helm once more. (less)
I have a weakness for a good paranormal romance novel. I like a strong handsome hero and a be...moreReviewed by Andrea for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
I have a weakness for a good paranormal romance novel. I like a strong handsome hero and a beautiful heroine who cuts him no slack. This novel has all that and more.
Many paranormal romance authors are now trying to move away from the usual vampires and werewolves in the hopes of creating something different. Lisa Renee Jones has done that with “The Legend of Michael”.
Michael is one of a group of soldiers injected with alien DNA to make them faster, more indestructible and the perfect weapon. All the soldiers have the ability to wind walk--to fade into the wind and travel great distances without being detected. Michael is different, he has more affinity than most for the wind, and he feels the darkness inside him slowly growing.
Cassandra Powell is the daughter of the General who injected the soldiers in the hopes of making a super soldier, and she’s being called in to help evaluate the soldiers a year into the program. Cassandra literally walks into Michael her first day on the job and there’s instant attraction, much to her father’s despair as he’s not sure how the alien DNA is evolving.
Some of the other soldiers have bonded certain females, and none of them really know what that means, Cassandra knows the dangers going in, but she’s as attracted to Michael as Michael is to her. She’s not a weak character, she’s a self proclaimed army brat and is used to working with dangerous men. Being bonded to Michael doesn’t scare her as much as it probably should.
The start of their fledgling relationship in all the DNA evolution uncertainty has real promise, the characters were introduced and the world set. And a great world it is. The premise is scarily believable and I was looking forward to seeing how Michael and Cassandra’s relationship progressed when Jones skips six months ahead.
I felt a little cheated even though I understand the need to skip into the future to where the action would be happening. Especially in a story so plot heavy. Yet I feel that this ‘hole’ in their early relationship; where readers usually read on with bated breath as their protagonists fall in love, have misunderstandings and discover everything about each other, took away my connection to them.
From this point on it became more plot centric than character centric, which isn’t a bad thing, as I’ve said before the plot is really interesting and really well thought out.
The plot certainly needed to move ahead those six months to show the problems and evolution of the new soldier race without getting caught up in every monotonous detail. This was the turning point in the book, where the soldiers break away from the army and everyone has to choose a side.
Has Michael picked the right side? Cassandra doesn’t believe so. She believes he’s betrayed her and their country. As a reader I should be feeling her pain. Feeling the heartache along with her, but I found myself more concerned with the ongoing war than what was happening to them personally.
This is definitely a paranormal romance novel with a difference. Usually the plot centres around the romance, but here I’d say the plot and the romance are equal partners.
It’s action packed, exciting and I found myself thinking about this novel even when I wasn’t reading it.
There is another jump of two years, but this didn’t jar quite as much as the first one; it helped immerse me into their world rather than pull me out of it like the first jump did. Maybe because it wasn’t quite so early on and I knew the world and characters better.
I’m not saying I didn’t like Michael and Cassandra; I just wanted more insight on them. Michael is a gorgeous, dangerous angst ridden man who doesn’t believe he’s a man any more, and Cassandra is a strong beautiful woman who won’t let him destroy her life whether he leaves her or decides to stay. We skipped over them just as I was getting to know them, and I just wanted…more.
I guess I’m just greedy!
Overall this was a fun read with interesting characters, hot sex scenes, and a plot that was well thought out and will keep evolving through any other books Jones will write in the series. I think each book she writes will get better and better and the world will become even richer. It’s definitely a series I’ll keep reading.(less)
One by Conrad Williams is about one mans journey to find his son following an apocalyptic event. The United Kingdom is a scorched and desolate place,...moreOne by Conrad Williams is about one mans journey to find his son following an apocalyptic event. The United Kingdom is a scorched and desolate place, covered with a glittering dust, rubble and corpses.
The book is broken into two parts and the opening first few chapters are just pure brilliance. The pace was fast and the characters vivid. It wet my appetite for what was going to be something special, or so I thought.
After the first few intense and profound chapters the pace slowed to a virtual stop. The main protagonist, Richard Jane, realising that an extinction level event had taken place, begins his journey to London on foot to find his son. The journey to London is at least two thirds of the book, and goes on for far too long. It is this section of the book that, for me, didn't really work. I found it difficult to connect with Jane and although this book is written in the third person narrative, we didn't get to hear the voices of any of the other characters. It would have worked better if the narrative was in the first person, then maybe I would have been able to identify with the main character more.
When Jane and his two companions finally get to London, the second part of the book begins. It jumps a decade into the future and in my eyes begins the best part of the novel (other than the beginning). However, as with pages preceding there are more questions than answers, and Williams leaves us hanging on to find out what happened to the world and to his son. It was frustrating rather than a page turner. I am all for keeping the reader in suspense and anticipation but this was too much. It was just plan frustrating and so became annoying.
The most tangible aspect of One was Jane's love for his son, Stanley, and his relentless search for him against the hard truth of reality. The visual imagery that Williams gives us of the post apocalyptic world is vivid and realistic, and this is something Williams does superbly throughout the book. Jane's memories and thoughts about his son are touching but unfortunately, although understandable, become monotonous and too sentimental - a quote from the book where Jane is thinking of his son, "I miss you so much. Do you know, there's a little Stan-shaped hole right in the middle of my heart? Maybe there's a Daddy shaped one in the middle of yours..." I'm sorry, but am I reading a horror novel??
There are many excellent scenes in the book and one of my favourites is where the women are giving birth. I wont give too much away but it is horrific, nauseating and just what a horror novel should be. The creatures, called the Skinners are pretty foul and probably as close to zombies as Williams wanted them to be.
As I read through the chapters there were remnants of The Rising, by Brian Keane and I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson, but unlike both of these horror novels, this novel didn't really keep my attention. I understand that Williams was trying to keep his story fresh and not rehash old ground, but it lacked the tension and the despair of I Am Legend and the gut wrenching terror I felt when reading The Rising, and it certainly didn't give me nightmares, which for me, is a requisite when reading horror.
However, what I really like about Williams is his writing. It is very edgy, very raw and very British, and after all the negative points I have made about this novel, it hasn't put me off from buying The Umblemished, which won the International Horror Guilds Best Novel award. Maybe I will like this one more. I will let you know!
This is the first novel by Lucy Diamond that I have read and I thought it was a fantastic read.
I really liked the characters: Georgia, career minded,...moreThis is the first novel by Lucy Diamond that I have read and I thought it was a fantastic read.
I really liked the characters: Georgia, career minded, selfish and sharp-tongued comes to realise there's actually more to life than work when her nan falls ill and she meets handsome Owen. Alice, sensitive and naive eventually fights back with the confidence of a mother protecting her child, even if it's from the man she thought she could never do without, and Katie, once bitten twice shy, lands the guy of her dreams but nearly loses him until she realises that not all man are the same. Three women. Three lives. And I loved them all. I could connect with each one of them on so many levels, which made each of their stories more believable and totally absorbing.
I enjoyed how periods of their pasts were woven throughout the present, as it gave the characters more depth and helped to understand them better. It was well written and kept my attention until the very end. The ending was fairly predictable, but I didn't mind. I cared about these women and wanted them to have a happy ending.
This book shows how three very different women can be the best of friends. It is about family, friendship, love and forgiveness. If you love chick-lit and want a feel-good read, then this is the book for you. Brilliant!
Confessions of a Duchess is the first book in Nicola Cornick's 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy and it is quite different from other historical romance...moreConfessions of a Duchess is the first book in Nicola Cornick's 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy and it is quite different from other historical romance novels I have read. It's not particularly light reading as I felt there was a slight sombre tone to the book, however, there are a few fun elements and a certain amount of humour injected throughout.
Laura is a widow, a dowager Duchess, who has decided to live on her own with her young daughter in a small rundown cottage in the village of Fortune's Folly. Her husband didn't leave her much money so she is not a wealthy widow, but she's fairly happy and takes pleasure in watching her daughter grow.
Dexter works for the government as a spy and has been following and trying to capture Glory, a highwaywoman who is taking from the rich to give to the poor, Robin Hood style. The identity of the highway woman is revealed to him later in the book, and although it surprised him, I could see it coming a mile away. But the revelation was fun all the same and I really enjoyed this aspect to the novel. Dexter is also penniless and is burdened with providing for his family, so he sets off to Fortune's Folly to try his luck and land a wealthy wife.
There are a few little sub-plots that lighten the tone, such as the introduction of an ancient tax law ordering all unwed ladies to pass on half their fortunes to the owner of the village, which leads to some funny scenarios, but overall I felt as though both Laura and Dexter were full of melancholy. There is quite a lot of sexual tension between Laura and Dexter, having already been lovers years before, and I wanted them to be together, as I knew together they would be much happier.
Unfortunately, Laura has two, very big, life changing secrets that she can't reveal to anybody, especially Dexter and this is what is keeping them apart. Dexter can feel this obstacle between them, but, as a typical clueless male, decides it's because she's a heartless, cold woman, rather than just looking a little deeper. Of course, as the novel progresses these secrets are revealed...
The one major criticism I have with this book is the constant expression of lust. I get that this book is a romance but it is in the thoughts of Dexter incessantly. Every time he saw Laura his thoughts revealed how much he wanted to ravish her and how much he needed her. I get it, Dexter is in lust/love with Laura, I don't need it rammed down my throat, it became tiresome and unfortunately spoilt, what is essentially a very good read, just a little bit.
Overall I enjoyed Confessions of a Duchess. The characters are vivid and, for the most part, believable, the descriptions of the village and lifestyle is described well and I liked the plot and other storylines that ran alongside it. I will certainly be reading the next instalment in 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy, Scandals of an Innocent, I just hope the hero's thoughts are not constantly in the gutter! I would recommend this book to other historical romance readers. (less)
SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman is a YA fantasy novel set in the mythical human kingdom of Goredd, where a pe...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com
SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman is a YA fantasy novel set in the mythical human kingdom of Goredd, where a peace treaty of forty years enables the human and dragon kingdoms to coexist without the need for war, with each race respecting the legislation.
However, in typical fashion this peace is not as stable as it could be, and when a royal prince is murdered the dragons are instantly blamed by several groups. This mainly arises out of lack of understanding as most humans don’t trust the dragons, particularly the ones that live in Goredd in their human forms, called the saarantrai. Likewise, the dragons don’t understand human emotions, as they don’t allow themselves to make any emotional connections and any who find themselves developing such feelings have their minds purged by the dragon Censor Office.
Into this unstable peace comes Seraphina Dombegh, an exceptionally talented musician who works at the court of Goredd’s royal family. Her existence is even more unstable than that of the kingdom, as she struggles to hide her true nature from everyone she meets, meaning she can never get close to anyone. Seraphina’s terrible secret is that she is half-dragon and half-human, her draconic mother having committed the crime of falling in love with her human father. As a result, she has silvery scales upon her left arm and back which she must always keep hidden.
Believed to be the only one of her kind, Seraphina is taught by her draconic uncle, Orma, who unwittingly appears to have formed an emotional family bond to her despite dragon law. He teaches her about locking her overwhelming emotions away in her mind, in order to prevent the onset of visions left to her by her mother, as dragons can pass memories through the generations. As a result, the reader is given an insight into Seraphina’s mind ‘garden’, which is filled with other individuals whom she believes to be a product of her imagination, but who start to appear in her reality…
Seraphina is an amazingly strong main character, with her first person narrative providing the basis for the majority of the novel. I was a little doubtful about her perspective to begin with, as the prologue wasn’t overly strong, but I ended up growing to love her. Her emotional struggles drive the novel forward, as she faces a never-ending battle to keep her true self hidden from those she meets, and to protect her uncle Orma from suspicion. She displays both dragon and human traits at times, and it is often like she’s trying to prove to herself as much as everyone else that she isn’t a monster. I also loved how protective she is over Orma, and how unprejudiced she is towards dragons, often defending dragons against accusations.
Seraphina builds up a relationship with the engaged royal cousins Princess Glisselda and Prince Lucian as she helps to uncover the truth behind the plots to sabotage the peace treaty, but will they still accept her if they know what she really is? She becomes attached to Lucian in particular after undertaking a couple of investigative missions with him, as he is the bastard of Glisselda’s aunt and knows how it feels to be outcast from society. He was a really intriguing and philosophical character, but his investigative nature means that it is constantly dangerous to be around him for fear of what he may discover about her true nature.
I loved the plot of this novel, as it constantly took me through a series of twists and turns that I really didn’t see coming. Seraphina’s heritage gets explored along the way, and I loved her growth as a character as she became more confident in herself. At the end of the novel I had my suspicions about what would happen, but the book completely went against everything I expected and I was really surprised. I’m hoping for a sequel, as I really want to know what Seraphina will discover next!
SERAPHINA is a wonderful book that dragged me into its fantasy world and wouldn’t let me go. The main character’s internal struggles were beautifully detailed and full of emotion, and the plot kept me guessing right until the end and wasn’t the obvious ending I was expecting. Here’s hoping there’s a sequel some time soon!(less)
Burned is the seventh installment to the House of Night series and the last one in the series for a while. It is in the same format as Tempted in that...moreBurned is the seventh installment to the House of Night series and the last one in the series for a while. It is in the same format as Tempted in that the point of view changes with each chapter, which I really like. This time we hear mostly from Stevie Rae and Stark, but Aphrodite, Rephaim and even Kalona are present too, as well as Zoey, but she doesn't play as much of a role as in the previous books, although she is still the main focus.
After the sad events that happened at the end of Tempted, which I won't go into as it will be a big spoiler to those of you who haven't read this series yet, Zoey is in the Otherworld, and Stark, as well as all her friends, are trying to find a way to reach her and bring her home.
The most interesting, and my most favourite aspect of Burned, is Stevie Rae and her connection with Rephaim, the bird-man, son of Kalona. This connection intensifies through out the book and both are confused by it and what it means. I really enjoyed this relationship and every time the story moved away from Stevie Rae, I found that I missed it and couldn't wait to get back to it. Stevie Rae also has to deal with the Red Fledglings who haven't decided between good or bad and also comes face to face with Darkness itself, with unforeseen consequences.
Aphrodite is still having her visions and although we only get to see the world from her point of view in three chapters, we do see the Aphrodite we know and love, but who is now fully integrated into Zoey's circle, and she's liking it too. Burned is also much more about the boys and we get to learn more about Stark and Rephaim. There are quite a few passages about warriors and guardians, which seemed to go on a touch too long for me, but it was nice to get the view from a guys perspective.
Burned feels more mature than the other books - each character has grown quite a lot, especially Stark and Stevie Rae. The story is exciting and continues to be completely addictive but Burned definitely has a different feel to it than the previous books in the series. Another really good edition to the House of Night series and I am SO looking forward to Awakened... I just wish I didn't have so long to wait!
I gave this book 7/10 on my Blog but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars.(less)
It is no secret that I loved 'Avenger's Angel' and because of that I purchased "Always Angel"...moreOriginally posted on Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
It is no secret that I loved 'Avenger's Angel' and because of that I purchased "Always Angel" the day it was released. It has many of the aspects I loved about 'Avenger's Angel' from the great writing to intriguing, sexy characters.
"Always Angel" is very short, too short in my opinion, and because of this there's not much plot. It's not a self-contained story as there's no real beginning, middle and end. It's more of a prologue to the main series. In the summary above it states that it 'introduces' the reader to The Lost Angels, well I'm not sure it does. None of the four Archangel's who are in the main series feature and the protagonist is one we never meet at all in the first book in the series.
We do get to see a little more of the naughty Samuel though, which I really enjoyed as I love Samuel. And we see the Archesses but from afar and only from the view point of Angel.
Angel is the main character and I liked her a lot. She's interesting and has cool abilities such as being able to change her appearance and transport to different parts of the world. I didn't really get to know who she is or what her role is with regards to The Lost Angels, but what we do know is that she's keeping an eye on the Archesses and she has a relationship or connection with Samuel that is never fully explained...
"Always Angel" gives me the feeling that there's a much bigger story to be told, which is very exciting and I hope Angel's story is developed further and all the questions about the Culmination and Samuel will be answered. *Oh I do hope Samuel gets his own book!*
We are also introduced to a few more supernatural characters such as Hesperos or 'The Nightmare' as he's known, an incubus king who wishes to know what Angel is hiding *so would I* and tries to seduce it out of her with overwhelming feelings of lust and sex, but so far she's resisting...
Although there are many questions left unanswered and mysterious characters you meet but never really get to know, "Always Angel" definitely creates a feeling of "I want the next book NOW!"
I'm not sure if readers who haven't read 'Avenger's Angel' will benefit from reading this first as it may leave them confused and frustrated more than anything, but I would definitely recommend reading it, especially to those who have already delved into the world of The Lost Angels with 'Avenger's Angel'.(less)
When Angela is turned into a vampire against her will, her only thought is to run. The love of her life hates va...moreOriginally posted on Book Chick City.
When Angela is turned into a vampire against her will, her only thought is to run. The love of her life hates vampires so instead of confronting him and seeing that hate in his eyes, she decides to leave everything she knows and head out on her own. But when her friend is kidnapped, Angela has to go back to the one place she never thought she'd go again.
When alpha werewolf, Knox sets his eyes on Angela after ninety years, his feelings come rushing back. He never knew why Angela left and had never really got over it. When the head of her vampire family demands her return, Knox realises he can never let her go again and decides to fight anyone to the death who ties to take her away.
In such a short novella everything has to happen at lightning speed but the author does a wonderful job at keeping it as believable as possible. It's such a well contained story that I believed every word, which was helped by the great pacing.
The main characters, Angela and Knox, are fab. Angela is my kind of gal - feisty, independent and passionate. Knox is a born leader, slightly arrogant, but expected for an Alpha, and also very sexy. I loved that Angela was a woman who could take care of herself and that Knox had a caring side. They complimented each other brilliantly.
There are a few sensual moments but nothing really too explicit, which I liked. It made their coming together more real for me and my heart fluttered a little at their rediscovered love.
"Destined Mate" is a lovely, well written novella. I really enjoyed it and didn't want it to end. In such a short novella it's bursting with action, passion, heat and great characters. A very enjoyable bite-sized paranormal romance. (less)
I absolutely love anything Regency, and when I read the summary for 'It Happened One Bite' I was very much looking...moreReviewed by Jo for Book Chick City.
I absolutely love anything Regency, and when I read the summary for 'It Happened One Bite' I was very much looking forward to getting stuck into this Regency vampire tale.
The story opens with our heroine, Blaire's Mum casting a spell on the hero, James. A vision has forewarned that he will be a danger to her daughter and so like any good Mum she and her coven puts James into a cursed sleep.
Twenty years later, Blair is all grown up and after discovering a sleeping man in her brother's newly inherited castle, she awakens James from his magical slumber. Blair is a 'Battle Born' witch and whilse she thinks she can handle anyhting, this is one situation that might be over her head! But James is the perfect vampire gentleman and vows to protect her.
There is a mystery here, we find out James has had two vampires looking for him for many years, and the other mystery is why Blair's Mum imprisoned James into a slumber in the first place. We know it's because of a vision but we don't find out until the end.
The characters are very likeable, and their is a good strong chemistry between the two leads. Blair is very feisty, and can create fireballs from thin air - how cool is that?! James really is a gentleman, and his vampire side is really endearing rather than the stereotypical Alpha Vamps we know (and love) already.
I really enjoyed this, but the conclusions of the mysteries felt somewhat lacking. While it reads at a good pace, there were a couple of places that seemed to drag too. One of the main things for me though was while I really liked James, his friend that appears in here almost stole the show from him! But I do think when we come to read his book it will be brilliant! This was my first Lydia Dare romance, but I know it will not be my last because I enjoyed her writing and the whole story was very heartwarming.
A romantic and endearing story. The characters journey is really lovely to read and to experience, and their love and romance is very heartwarming and gave me warm fuzzies! I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!(less)
When I first approached Leontine with the proposal of a double dare, I was a little nervous. Her taste i...moreOriginally posted on my blog: Book Chick City.
When I first approached Leontine with the proposal of a double dare, I was a little nervous. Her taste in romance books is pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum to mine, but that’s the reason I wanted to do the double dare with her - to broaden my horizons.
Leontine offered me three choices: LAID BARE by Lauren Dane, A FOSTERED LOVE by Cameron Dane and HOLDING THE CARDS by Joey W Hill.
After having read their synopsis on Goodreads, I decided to go with Laid Bare by Lauren Dane. I cracked this book open with apprehension and knew, just by the first line, that this was going to be an experience!
First line: "Music, raw and hard like sex, pulsed through the speaker stack..."
I will be totally honest, my initial reaction after the first few chapters was “Gaaaahhhhhh” *blushing profusely* “Oh. My. God” *did the author really just use that word* and “Don’t think this book is for me”...
Ms Dane takes no prisoners when it comes to the scorching erotic sex scenes and I found myself squirming uncomfortably on my usually very comfy sofa. I’m more of an old-fashioned romantic and for someone who has never read erotica before, let alone m/m/f, I can honestly say I was truly out of my comfort zone.
I can’t say I got used to all the naughty words, but after a while the characters and their story took over and I found myself completely taken by surprise at how much I enjoyed this book and I gobbled it up in practically one sitting.
The story begins ten years in the past when Erin, a rock chick guitarist, and police officer, Todd, are itching to get to know one another, even though they aren’t each other’s usual type. One night Erin makes the first move and there begins a passionate fling between the two. Erin is completely comfortable with her sexuality and knows what she wants. Todd on the other hand holds back, scared to reveal his secret erotic needs, to the point where he’s too afraid to continue the relationship and they part ways.
Flash forward ten years to the present day and things are very different. Erin is a shadow of her former self due to an incredibly painful experience which continues to haunt her, and the free spirit she once had is gone.
Todd on the other hand has come to accept who he is. After a failed marriage, divorce and change in career, he now knows what he wants and needs. He’s more self-assured, especially in the bedroom, and when he bumps into Erin unexpectedly in the cafe she now owns, he shows it by ravishing her the very same night they meet, and this is where their relationship takes off for the second time.
Laid Bare is chock full of sizzling sex and I did find it a little overwhelming at times. I would have preferred less sex and more story, but with that said, this is a story with many layers, complex emotions and characters that are well-rounded and loveable - especially Todd *hubba bubba*
I really liked the relationship between Erin and Todd. They have a respect for one another that is sweet and I loved that it was so evident especially as their sexual relationship is based on D/s, with Todd being the dominant and Erin the submissive. This side of Todd’s nature begins to grow stronger the more he’s with Erin, he feels alive and totally himself for the first time in his life. And because Erin fully admits to how much she likes him taking control, I was comfortable with this aspect to their relationship.
As Todd and Erin find deeper love and security with each other, they decide to bring Todd’s oldest and dearest friend, Ben, into their bedroom. Although he is introduced at a good pace, I couldn’t get to grips with the introduction of Ben, even though he’s a total hottie. I was so deeply immersed in Todd and Erin’s journey that I felt Ben was an outsider and I was reluctant to let him in. I was hoping he would be just a casual addition to Todd and Erin’s ever growing sexual dynamics, but he wasn’t. Although both Todd and Erin said they loved him, I felt sorry for him - he still felt like the third wheel to me.
But my favourite part of the book was the story of Erin, which touched my heart - what heartache she had to endure. I really enjoyed watching her grow from a scared victim to someone in complete control of her life, and to see her freeness of spirit return was inspiring. I think Ms Dane did a wonderful job at describing Erin’s emotions.
Laid Bare is a story with a happy ever after, but I’m not sure it’s my happy ever after. I continued to struggle with the three-way, constantly worrying about Ben. However, it was a very satisfactory ending where Erin and Todd were concerned, and I read the last word with a contented sigh.
I’m not sure this is a genre I could read in great quantities, but I have definitely had my horizons broadened and I was so taken with Ms Dane’s writing, and now rather intrigued with this genre, that I have bought book two in the Brown Sibling’s series, Coming Undone. (less)
Stepping back into Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalker series was like putting on an old, comfy pair of slippers that you just found hiding under the bed. Sure they have a hole or two in them but you stick your feet in them and ahhh… heaven! I have missed reading about the men and women that have been turned into paranormals by the ever weirder Whitney and it was really good to get back into them with the newest book in the series, SAMURAI GAME.
The main man is Sam “Knight” Johnson. This chap seems to be pretty much everything that you might want in a man. He is uber intelligent, having multiple degrees in molecular biology, biochemistry, astrophysics and nuclear physics. Add to that he is totally capable of looking after himself as well as pretty much anyone else that needs a hand! He has a great sense of humour too!
No way in hell am I kicking this fellow out of bed, I may even move over and give him some extra room!
Azami-Thorn Yoshiie is a young woman, taken by Whitney (a brilliant, albeit ever so slightly (read totally) touched in the head, scientist who has managed to mess about with peoples DNA creating paranormals) from an orphanage in Japan as a baby. He experimented on her until she was eight, and then, having no further use for her, returned her to Japan, to the seediest streets in Tokyo, where the local paedophiles and sexual predators were ready to pounce on her.
Mamoru Yoshiie and his two adopted sons, Daiki and Eiji had been there to see her being dumped and took her home. Here, under her new fathers instruction, Thorn became Azami, a Samurai warrior, and brilliant scientist. Her goal in life? To wipe Whitney from the face of the planet, using the skills her father taught her.
I really really like Azami. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I took to her more than I did the other women in the Ghostwalkers series, perhaps it’s the quiet understated way she goes about things. Slipping in and out of situations, quietly finding ways to work towards her ultimate goal. I find myself wishing I could meet her as I found her to be a very fascinating character.
SAMURAI GAME takes us further into the warped world that is Whitney and his work, showing us more evidence of his depravation, and total lack of humanity where his children/experiments are concerned.
In the whole scheme of things (I am waving my hands to show you encompassing the whole storyline!) SAMURAI GAME doesn’t take you too much further along into the plot of Whitney and what he is doing/where he is going, rather it is about the people surrounding him and the web that he has created in order to protect himself and his project. Azami is determined to create a few holes in his web, and is willing to go through just about anyone to do so.
As ever, Christine Feehan has described her world well, and where as lately I have found this to be overly done, in SAMURAI GAME she seems to have reigned it in a bit, without detracting from the feel of the characters, and the situations they are in. In short it was a pleasure to read, allowing me to picture everything in my mind clearly, without boring me, making me skim paragraphs…all except for the bedroom scenes…which were still a tidge wordy.
For me the only downside to this novel, which is a failing for me in most paranormal romances, is that it ended on a bedroom scene. I know they make wonderful bedroom music together, that the world moves for them both, and that his engorged member slips firmly into her rippling sheath, milking his seed from him. I want to know what’s gonna happen next!! Outside of the bedroom! Give me a cliffhanger (not a totally out of the blue one mind you… fussy…me??? never!) rather than a bedroom scene please!
I enjoyed SAMURAI GAME, a lot. I am still desperate to know what the maniac Whitney is going to do next, and how the Ghostwalkers are going to manage to eradicate him. I am just eager to see how it all finishes, but I am sure there are plenty of other Ghostwalkers that need pairing up before we get to find out the end game.(less)
Well, what can I say - absolutely fabulous! I read my first Brenda and Effie book by Paul Magrs last month and absolutely loved it. With Hell's Belles...moreWell, what can I say - absolutely fabulous! I read my first Brenda and Effie book by Paul Magrs last month and absolutely loved it. With Hell's Belles being the fourth book in the series I thought that it would loose some of the story's zest as so many sequels in series do, but this is better than the last. I just loved it!
Margs has such an amazing talent. His writing is so clever as although there are many plot twists and turns they all read smoothly and easily, there is no confusion as to what's going on. We are introduced to many characters throughout the book but each character has a unique voice and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them all. Two of the main characters, Brenda and Effie, are retired old ladies!
I honestly didn't think that reading about two old ladies would be my thing. I have to connect and be able to relate to the characters in some way to really enjoy a book and reading about two retired old ladies did initially make me a little apprehensive. But after reading Conjugal Rites, I absolutely fell in love with Brenda and Effie, and I had no problem connecting with them. It was the same with Hell's Belles. They are just so funny, quirky and warm. And don't think for a minute because they are old they can't fight their own battles - Brenda and Effie can kick-arse with the best of them - well, they have to, being the guardians of the hell mouth!
I also love Robert, Brenda's other best friend, who finds love in Hell's Belles with a guy called Michael. They meet each night to have moonlit rides on an enchanted settee, but as expected, nothing is as it first seems. Penny, a new resident of Whitby, is also falling for a guy called Michael, but he's seeing the evil Mrs Claus, who is thoroughly enjoying his attention. As always there a funny goings on in all the lives of the Whitby characters, which makes each one so interesting and intriguing.
A secret, that was alluded to in Conjugal Rites, is revealed in Hell's Belles and I'm excited to see where Magrs takes this part of the story. I also have a sneaking suspicion that the character of Penny will be back with her own revelations in book five!
This is a totally unique story with original characters. Deliciously written with enough action to keep you turning the pages. Magrs has you jumping back and forth between characters but instead of it being annoying and confusing it made it exciting and I was totally absorbed. This is a comedy too but with a dark edge. With vampires, monsters, zombies and demons. Wonderful story. Superbly executed.
I actually gave this 9/10 on my blog but Goodreads doesn't allow half stars!
Eugenie Markham is half human and half faery and is still trying to balance her life of two worlds and two lovers. Now she is the Thorn Queen of Thorn...moreEugenie Markham is half human and half faery and is still trying to balance her life of two worlds and two lovers. Now she is the Thorn Queen of Thorn Land and life is getting more difficult as she is spending more time in the Otherworld. Her powers are getting stronger and more deadly. But is this what she wants?
Thorn Queen is the second book in the Dark Swan series and having just read the first, Storm Born, I was able to drift straight back into the story with ease. The writing is easy going and the story grabs you from the first few pages. As with the first book the worlds described are vivid and the characters are well rounded and likable. There is plenty of action, in the bedroom as well at out of it, as well as lots of suspense. Eugenie grows into her powers more, although she is still uncertain if she actually wants them.
Thorn Queen is a bit more serious than Storm Born, there are a few humourous touches but not many. It is slightly darker too, but this only adds more depth to the story and I found myself becoming further involved with Eugenie's character and subsequently liking her more and more.
Eugenie is a terrific heroine; feisty, strong and sexy too. I look forward to reading more about her as the series progresses. I definitely recommend this book. It's a really great read!(less)
EARTH GIRL by Janet Edwards is a young adult sci-fi adventure which is set hundr...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com - 3.5 Stars on the blog.
EARTH GIRL by Janet Edwards is a young adult sci-fi adventure which is set hundreds of years in the future, portraying a vision of mankind’s future.
In this world Earth is no longer the main planet for the human population, as humans have migrated to a whole host of other discovered planets, each with their own class systems and rules. For example, there is the prestigious Alpha sector, sexually open Beta, moral Gamma, and a whole host of other planets within these sectors.
The occupants of these planets are referred to as ‘norms’ as they are free to portal to other worlds as they please, and can live on any of the planets available for human inhabitation. Then we have our main character, Jarra, who is ‘Handicapped’ as she is one of the few people whose immune system won’t let her live anywhere other than Earth. As a result of this there is prejudice between the norms and the Handicapped, with the norms thinking they are superior to the ‘apes’ on Earth.
Jarra is a typical victim of this prejudice, whereby her off-world parents had a baby that couldn’t survive on their planet and sent her to Earth. As a result, she has grown up with a certain amount of bitterness against the ‘norms’, determined to prove that she is just as good as they are.
This bitterness, coupled with her love of history, leads her to choose a history course at an off-world university, as the first year of all history courses are carried out at dig sites on Earth. She chooses University Asgard, and forms a false identity for herself as a Military child, which will give her an excuse for her background knowledge about dig sites and the Earth environment.
Her plan is to reveal herself as ‘Handicapped’ when she’s proved herself to the ‘norm’ students, as she wants to shock them and change their prejudices about those who live on Earth. However, when she meets the class her perceptions start to change, and is her battle really against the ‘norms’, or against herself?
Jarra was a really great main character, as there is so much going on in her life for the author to delve into, such as her relationship with the ‘norms’ and her feelings regarding her parents. She almost takes on a new life in creating her Military persona, which did get a little frustrating at one point in the book, as the truth being revealed to her classmates is dragged out too long for my liking.
A lot of the drama in this book does come from typical young adult sources, such as finding out the truth about her parents, and suffering a dilemma over whether or not she should become involved with ‘norm’ Fian. I think it was written in such a way that older readers shouldn’t be put off, as I quite liked Janet Edwards’ writing style.
However, this book does have its problems, and for me the main problem was the plot, or lack thereof. Although Jarra’s life is detailed in great detail, it feels like the book is always building up to some big event, but nothing big really happens. Less significant scenes, such as the historical digs, are given a wealth of detail, which was good the first couple of times but began to get a little repetitive towards the end. Then there are big life events for Jarra that are described in only a few sentences and feel like a wasted opportunity.
Overall, I did really enjoy this book, as despite the excessive description of history and adolescent dramas the author has built up a very convincing futuristic world, and it is very easy to see through Jarra’s eyes. Her relationship with Fian is built up slowly, and is different to the instantaneous love that seems to be seeping into young adult fiction. I really liked how this was different to current books, and would recommend giving it a read!
I thought this book was refreshingly different to anything I’ve read before, and I really liked the author’s vision of Earth’s future. Her world is detailed so thoroughly that you can become lost in the future, and I really liked the main character’s internal struggles with her identity. However, it felt like the book was building up to a big event that never really came, with a lot of important moments described in a few sentences whilst other less important ones took a whole chapter.(less)
"Deadworld" is a rollercoaster of an urban fantasy book with characters that have so ma...moreReviewed by Gemma for www.BookChickCity.com - 9/10 on the blog.
"Deadworld" is a rollercoaster of an urban fantasy book with characters that have so many issues, even Freud would have been lost in helping them. It's one of those books that you realise you have been reading for nearly two hours, without any breaks and you're still dying to find out more!
Before starting "Deadworld", I was expecting the usual run of the mill paranormal romance, where the big brooding alpha male would end up saving and falling for the tough as nails female, who ends up as putty in his hands due to the usual plot devices that are thrown into the growing market of books in this genre. But by the end of the prologue, I was eating my words and scolding myself for judging the book by its cover, as this is most definitely an urban fantasy.
The first chapter is creepy and unnerving due to the fact you only have the name of a boy who has run away from home due to his parents fighting. By the end a sense of dread washes over the reader, only to see the brutal outcome in chapter two.
It's from here we are introduced to the main characters.
Jackie Rutlidge, who the series is named after, is an FBI agent, who to be honest has so many issues ranging from a troubled past, to a serious drinking problem that results in her making very dubious choices, in both bed partners and dealing with a troublesome work colleague. She isn’t your typical lead female and I found myself really feeling pity for her. She put me in mind of Salander from “The Girl…” Trilogy by Steig Larson. In fact both Jackie and Salander could be long lost sisters due to how much emotion baggage they both carry.
The only difference is that Jackie has the emotional support of her partner and best friend Laurel, a medium who can sense the dead. She too has her own personal demons that come to the surface through the progression of the story. Laurel is Jackie’s moral compass and she tries her best to keep Jackie grounded. For a secondary character, Laurel is very well developed and you end up sympathising with the fact that she is fighting a number of feelings in order to keep Jackie as her friend. What I thought was a really brave move by the author, was having Laurel coming out as a lesbian in a way which is both ballsy and heart wrenching.
The awkwardness between both characters is neither forced nor is it brushed under the carpet. For the rest of the book we see how this revelation has changed their friendship. An excellent example of this is the introduction of a love interest for Laurel, in the shape of the male leads partner Shelby.
Out of all the characters, Shelby seemed the most out of place for me. Sure she is strong and tough, much like Jackie, but at times she seemed to be there only for convenience and added little to the plot. I think the author was trying to make her the equivalent to Nick, or hero, as Laurel was to Jackie. Sometimes it was a hit, sometimes a miss, though it didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.
On the subject of Nick, I loved his character. You can tell that he is at the end of his rope, ready to throw it all in and give the villain of the story what he wants if it will end the guilt he feels over the casualties that have resulted in their 100 year cat and mouse game. He is a guarded and distant character, though when I found out why he was this way, it really brought a tear to my eye.
The plot is tightly bound and I never found myself waning over it. The tension is wracked up as we realise that the villain is speeding up his timetable and we witness his next victims demise. One victim had me really going “OH MY GOD!” only due to the fact that I didn’t see it coming at all.
By the end of the book, you have been put through the wringer. There are casualties and the showdown at the end leaves our characters having to deal with some life changing results. You don’t feel that it will be concluded in the next book. In fact I didn’t even know that it was part of a series till I checked Amazon. NOTE:- DO NOT READ THE SYNOPSIS FOR BOOK TWO AS IT HAS A MAJOR SPOILER FOR THIS BOOK!
I must mention that there is the beginning of a romance between both Nick and Jackie, but due to the events in the book it doesn’t progress very far. I think this may be the slow building relationship that will develop over the next few books, but both Nick and Jackie will have to overcome their own pasts before they can truly get together. Think of Castle and Beckett (Castle the TV show is even mentioned in the book) or Booth and Brennan from Bones.
On a final note, I didn’t know that the author was male. This shouldn’t be an issue, but what surprised me was how he managed to capture the female psyche so well. Duncan is now on my must read list and I have ordered both book 2 and 3, as well as the origin story of Nick called 'Blood Justice'.
"Deadworld" was a surpise hit for me due to the fantastic plotlines, complex characters and edge of your seat tension. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a bit of a change from the usual urban fantasy, or fans of Jim Butcher and M. L. N. Hanover (The Black Suns Daughter series). For a first book in a series it is one of the best I have read. (less)
Unfortunately, “Bitter Black Kiss” failed to live up to other books in the paranormal romance genre I've re...moreReviewed by Gemma for www.BookChickCity.com
Unfortunately, “Bitter Black Kiss” failed to live up to other books in the paranormal romance genre I've read. There is not enough back story to show why the characters are the way they are.
The main comparison is Charlaine Harris’s 'Sookie Stackhouse' books, with the modern setting and a paranormal race out in the open. In this case, it's Lycans/Werewolves, instead of vampires. However, while Harris manages to create characters you care what happens to, Clay fails to do so.
Nicky Riley, the main character, has clearly been through some sort of traumatic experience, but you're never given good enough reasons why her actions are rather ill thought out and she doesn’t seem to question what is happening. Clay doesn’t give you anything in order to empathise or sympathise with her.
There is an incident where I sat astounded at Nicky’s blatant acceptance of a clearly corrupt and questionable character. He had already drugged and attempted to rape Nicky, but when the chips are down, she takes his side.
Brody Dunn, the male protagonist, lacked common sense, especially when going after the local mobster. He charges in like a bull in a china shop, which for an ex-cop, seemed out of character. Things, such as evidence and alibis, seem to go out of his mind, giving the mobster enough in order to set him up time and time again.
The romance between Brody and Nicky is based on what can only be described as an animal attraction. Though the bedroom scenes are rather steamy and well written, it isn’t enough to make the book a must read.
The only promising part of the book was that of the Wild Hunt, the one night of the year where the local pack is free to let their wild natures free. It is brutal and fast paced, throwing you right in the middle of the action. You can feel how everything is on a knife edge and could go either way. I found myself caught up in the action, only to be taken out of it sharply when Nicky and Brody went and hid in a cottage to escape the pack.
The outcome of the book was abrupt and though the plotlines were tied up, something was missing. I don’t know what it is, but whether it was because I didn’t feel emotionally involved with the characters or the fact the plotlines were too cleanly tied up, I’m not sure. All I know is that by the end of the book I didn't feel frustration or relieved that I had finished it.
Clay shows a knack for writing excellent confrontational scenes between characters, however the lack of any sort of empathy to the characters or an engaging plotline means I wouldn’t out this author on my 'Must Read Pile'. If she manages to master these aspects, I'd maybe consider picking up another one of her books.(less)
“Hungry Hearts” looked and sounded like a fun zombie read – I love zombies, *as if you didn't...moreOriginally posted on Book Chick City. 5/10 on the blog.
“Hungry Hearts” looked and sounded like a fun zombie read – I love zombies, *as if you didn't know* ;)
Looking at the cover I thought this would be about Rick and Sally, their relationship and how her being a zombie would change all that. In a way it was, but not in they way I imagined it. Plus there was the additional plot line with the serial killer, which didn’t add anything to the story really, other than as filler.
Plainly speaking, the writing is good but the pace is a little too slow, the book a bit too long, and there's a plot too many.
There are two main plot lines which run alongside each other. One is Rick and the other is Daryl, the serial killer.
Rick is a policeman, who finds his wife murdered in their home, not by zombies but by human hands. Unfortunately, she returns as a zombie. Not being able to deal with her death and zombieness, Rick decides to try and find a cure.
Rick sedates her with morphine so she wouldn’t bite, he discovers that by injecting the drug through her eye seems to work, and bandages her up so to others she just looks injured rather than a zombie. I could understood this reaction and could get on board with it as Rick was filled with grief. However, the author takes the reader down a route which I really didn’t like. There were little hints that it was coming and I kept thinking please don’t go down that route. Unfortunately the author did.
Rick decides to have sex with his wife! Sex with his wife who’s decaying, bloated and dead. Why the author had to go down this path I don’t know but it was absolutely disgusting and made me see Rick in a completely different light. Up until that point I had been sympathetic to his plight and understood his actions, but after that I just couldn’t see him any other way than a complete sicko! Honestly, what normal man, even in grief would have sex with a dead person, and not just dead, but decaying and heaving with maggots?? *shudders*
The reason for the zombie outbreak is a little vague. Throughout the story people believe it's in the bite, but it seems that with some people they come back from dying without a bite, old corpses in graveyards rise up, Sally who was murdered by a human comes back as a zombie. There are suggestions the outbreak was due to human involvement, which is why Rick decides to go and look for the 'scientists' who may be able to cure his wife, but no real explanation was given.
Daryl is on the cusp of becoming a serial killer. He’s been stalking Sally and targets her as his first victim. We don’t get to see him in action with Sally, but he does give us glimpses to his actions when he uses his memories to turn himself on. This character is vile and completely evil. His thoughts and actions are repulsive. Even when it's revealed that he was a victim of incest with his mother and bullying I felt no sympathy towards him whatsoever.
The ending was a little ambiguous too - the last paragraph (not the epilogue) we see the world through Sally's eyes as a zombie, as well as her 'thoughts' and it ends on a note that suggests she is aware, but it doesn't go into any detail and just ends, which was unsatisfying.
I really believe the story of Rick, his zombie wife, Sally, and their journey together could have been enough to keep me interested if the author had fleshed it out a bit, without having to include the serial killer aspect *or the vomit inducing sex scene*. It was just too much and I felt it was unnecessary.
“Hungry Hearts” definitely sits within the ‘horror’ genre as it is pretty horrific. There are scenes which, if you are not used to reading this kind of novel, maybe shocking to you, so you have been warned! For me there were moments which I really enjoyed and others that I really didn’t – would I recommend it? Only to diehard horror fans I think.(less)
There's nothing like a Christmas book to get you feeling all festive! I always make sure to try and read at leas...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
There's nothing like a Christmas book to get you feeling all festive! I always make sure to try and read at least one each year. This is a book from Harlequin's Intrigue collection, which is one of those books you pick up and pretty much know what you're going to get. A will they, won't they story line and a nice, cosy happy ending.
Two years ago Lara inherited a butchers from her Uncle and fell for the bad boy baker next door Reid. An impulsive and passionate night later, Reid's missing, presumed dead in a fire and Lara is left pregnant with twins.
The book begins two years later. Single mother Lara has grieved for the loss of her children's father and is trying to move on with her life. However, unbeknownst to her Reid is very much alive and far from being a baker, he is in fact an undercover agent responsible for bringing down terrorists.
With a crazy twist of coincidence, Lara is out for her first date since the twins birth, at the same restaurant Reid is meeting an informant. Things spiral out of control and Reid ends up saving Lara's life but his act ends up putting Lara and the twins in danger.
Reid had never meant to let Lara know he was still alive, but when their children are kidnapped they must work together to save them. Reid is quite single-minded, believing that Lara and the boys are better off without him in their lives. But as the chemistry between he and Lara sizzles they both have to admit their feelings for one another.
Admittedly the premise of the book is a little silly and a couple of times I found myself rolling my eyes. It's not really that believable, but if you can embrace the silliness and enjoy the story it's mostly quite a fun read. In fact, it may even give you a bit of a giggle at some of the scenes. Plus, we all like to see a man who believes that love and a family aren't for him get proven wrong!
I was a bit disappointed given the title, that there was not more Christmas in it! I think there were about roughly five or six references. I was looking for lots of festive cheer and maybe a visit from Santa, but I think maybe I'm just a bit crazy about Christmas! :-)
Ok, so this is far from the best romance I've ever read and the storyline is quite implausible. But if you want a fun story with a (slightly) festive theme, then grab a glass of wine and snuggle up. (less)
Kit Berry; you need to write something sedate, where the characters are never in troubl...moreGuest reviewed by Andrea for Book Chick City. 9/10 on the blog.
Kit Berry; you need to write something sedate, where the characters are never in trouble, nothing bad ever happens and love triumphs over all, because my nerves can’t cope with so much worry and heartache!
I went from wanting to read this constantly to wanting to do a Joey from Friends and put it in the freezer where it wouldn’t be able to hurt me anymore. “Shadows at Stonewylde” jumps thirteen years ahead from where 'Solstice of Stonewylde' left off. Yul is now a man in his prime, he’s successful in Stonewylde and out of it, he’s married to Sylvie and as in love with her as ever, they have two young daughters, and on the surface it seems like they’re doing a brilliant job of running Stonewylde and treating everyone as equals.
But beneath the surface there are cracks. Sylvie became seriously ill after her second child and even though she’s better now Yul has taken over all the running of Stonewylde and she again feels like an outsider with no place there anymore.
Yul’s baby sister Leveret is now fourteen and if anyone remembers from the previous novels, two of her brothers would torment her and make her cry. This has not changed, but now the torment has gotten worse and not even her mother or Yul believe her when she tells them.
My heart bleeds for Leveret and I don’t think I’ll ever forgive Yul for not believing her and looking out for her when she needed him. It’s as if history is repeating itself and he is treating Leveret with the distain and anger he himself was treated with at that age.
The only light in her life is Magpie, a boy she grew up with who has the mind of a child. He’s abused by his mother and her family, the two old crones who caused Sylvie so much pain in the past, and even though the rest of the community knows he’s not looked after properly and Leveret has told them how they beat him, they still turn a blind eye to the abuse.
This made me so mad; the reason Yul and Sylvie fought and worked so hard was for nothing. I was and still am angry on Leveret and Magpie’s behalf.
The cracks of Stonewylde become bigger as the rift between Sylvie and Yul grows, and as the cracks got bigger so did the ones in my heart.
“Shadows at Stonewylde” is a great continuation of the Stonewylde series, though I was a little disappointed because I wanted to see first hand how Sylvie and Yul coped with the pressures of Stonewylde and of becoming its leader at such young ages. I wanted to read about all the boring stuff, like how Yul learned to read and write, how the villagers took to the new changes, if Sylvie could ever have a proper relationship with her father.
This doesn’t mean I was disappointed in "Shadows at Stonewylde", on the contrary it sucked me in and made my heart hurt even more so than all the other novels put together. Probably because I am now so invested in the characters that when they do something wrong I feel it, when they hurt I hurt too.
This is obviously the first in a new series of Stonewylde novels, the magic, intrigue and darkness that made the other novels so unique and interesting is still there, but even more sinister. There is something brewing and only Leveret and Sylvie seem to think it has anything to do with the old Magus.
I would have scored this book a 10/10 but evil mastermind Kit Berry has yet again left this novel on a cliff hanger, so I docked a mark--why I found this so surprising I don’t know, but I am now going to go around for weeks worrying about Leveret and wishing Sylvie and Yul would talk to each other and sort out their problems. Then there’s the discontent in the village…
I hope you’re typing away at your computer Kit Berry, because I need to know what happens next!
I had a hard time reading “Shadows at Stonewylde”, not because I didn’t like it, but because I liked it too much. It hurts to know that the past trials and tribulations from the previous three books are slowly unravelling here and the characters I’ve come to love so much are unhappy. I was expecting a more upbeat novel where the characters are working together to make Stonewylde a better place and instead I got a novel where everything is disintegrating around them. Pain has never felt so good. I like to be surprised. It’s rare that a series of books affects me so much, but when it does it makes me remember why I love to read.(less)
This book is very different from the usual vampire novel in that the vampires are neither beautiful, sexy supernatural beings or complete monsters. In...moreThis book is very different from the usual vampire novel in that the vampires are neither beautiful, sexy supernatural beings or complete monsters. Instead they are pasty, skinny, sickly vampires with no supernatural powers and who have to feed off Guinea Pigs and wear sunglasses so their eyes don't hemorrhage, even in artificial light.
I wasn't sure if I liked this take on the vampire or not. I usually enjoy reading about the sexy vamp or the cruel vamp. However, as I read through the chapters I began to like the characters and this original vampire story. It's quirky, humorous and quite witty. The characters are a completely odd bunch and argue with each other like a normal family. Of course, they're not family, but members of a therapy group that they all attend every Tuesday night. But you get the sense that they are close, even if they are mightily grumpy and think they hate each other.
This is definitely a fun read. It especially picks up when Nina, Dave and Father Ramon travel to cobar to find the slayer that killed a member of their therapy group. When they get there they find a lot more than they bargained for - enter the sexy young werewolf and two nasty thugs with guns...
I did find the structure of the book a little odd. It opens up with Nina narrating in the third person only to switch to the first person after a couple of pages. At the end of the book it leaves you with the notion that the entire story was written by Nina as a memoir but there was no indication of this at the beginning of the book. In fact at the start we were hearing Nina's thoughts on her novel (as she writes vampires novels). It wasn't confusing, just unnecessary. It felt as though the author didn't know how to begin or end the book. However, the middle section was great and I enjoyed it a lot.
I gave this 7/10 on my blog but couldn't on Goodreads as doesn't offer half stars.
Noelle Keane has been a leading scientist in D.C for 6 years. Within her lab anci...moreReviewed by Vickie for www.BookChickCity.com - 4.5 Stars on the blog.
Noelle Keane has been a leading scientist in D.C for 6 years. Within her lab ancient artifacts are tested for age and authenticity. Her latest challenge, the Sudarium of Oviedo (a piece of cloth supposedly used to clean the face of Christ after His crucifixion). Given to her by aging archeologist Gabriel she tests the material and discovers that it did indeed cover the body of a human in the approximate year 33. Noelle is a total non-believer where all things holy are concerned but understands the imporance of such an artifact to those people out there that do believe. Even so she is not particularly impressed when Gabriel insists that she has a security detail accompany her to return the cloth to its original home in Spain.
Farran De Clare is a Templar Knight, and part of that security detail (much to his annoyance). He has no wish to be escorting this woman and her cloth, instead much preferring to be fighting against the demons continually plaguing the earth in an attempt to weaken his brethren, turning them into Dark Knights. When he realises that Noelle is his seraph (a woman descended from angels, destined to return the light to a Templar Knight, undoing damage caused by killing Azazels demons) he refuses to pledge his loyalty to her, and will give his oath in name only, doing his duty for the Knights the only way he believes he can. In refusing to pledge his loyalty he makes life really difficult and causes Noelle to remain blind to the truth that surrounds her.
Once again Claire Ashgrove’s Knights Templar have had me ignoring everything around me, pulling me into a world where demons and knights collide, and where honor and duty are above all else. I am truly enjoying the story-lines and feel as though I am actually learning a little something along the way (never a bad thing in my opinion) about an intriguing part of history.
Noelle is a stubborn mare! I like her and I understand her reticence but she doesn’t half make life difficult. The fact that she is an atheist is at the heart of her .. and whereas initially its her glasses that link you to the blindness part of the …. it turns out its her total lack of enthusiasm for all things holy that makes her blind. Spurned by males throughout her life it comes really hard when the man that claims to be hers wants her to pledge her life to him, and yet will not do the same in return, adding to her stubborn streak.
Farran…ahh Farran… I have never wanted to run someone through quite as much as I do you. Yes, you have issues from the past, but my goodness you surely know how to hold a grudge. Once bitten, twice shy and all that, but if the man upstairs wants you to be with a particular woman, surely you are going to have a little faith? What do you mean NO?????? No, I am no nuts, this is exactly what I would say to Farran. If I thought Noelle was stubborn, then Farran is the definition of stubborn and his picture would be in the dictionary if I looked the word up. He expects so much of Noelle, and yet will not bend despite it being his duty, opting to anger the archangel in charge rather than pledge his loyalty to the once person that can save his life.
IMMORTAL SURRENDER engaged me from the outset. Once again the Knights Templar have wooed me with their honorable ways, their beautiful language, and of course their fit bodies (I am but a mere wench after all). I am really not sure why but IMMORTAL SURRENDER didn’t enthrall me quite as much as Immortal Hope despite the fact that I enjoyed it immensely. I don’t know if its because Farran was such a stubborn ass, or perhaps because I couldn’t picture the uber important Sudarium of Oviedo (totally my own fault as it is a genuine relic which I didn’t realise, and I could have googled it), although using the Shroud of Turin instead would probably of been a bit much. I am really looking forward to reading the next installment, Immortal Trust, and am hoping that its going to be Lucan’s turn as the poor fellow is getting very close to turning into a Dark Knight. (less)
SUNRISE AT SUNSET by Jaz Primo is an urban fantasy novel featuring vampires, but...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com - 1.5 Stars on the blog.
SUNRISE AT SUNSET by Jaz Primo is an urban fantasy novel featuring vampires, but is more strongly focused on the romance between the two main characters, Katrina and Caleb.
The book opens with a prologue that takes place in Caleb’s childhood, in which the naïve child unknowingly saves the life of vampire Katrina, who then wipes his memory of her. However, she is eternally grateful to him for showing her that there is still some good left in humanity, and watches over him as he grows. So far this seems fairly acceptable, as she sets him up with a college fund and fixes it so his mother secures a better paid job.
After this, the book starts to tread the line between creepy and stalkerish obsession. Katrina enrols in a night class of Caleb’s in his first semester as a history lecturer, and begins to pursue him as a lover. She watches over him intensely, even looking through his windows into his apartment in some instances. (Surely I can’t be the only one thinking it’s creepy to watch this child grow up and then stalk him?)
He fell asleep some time after 1 am, completely unaware of a lone figure peering in at him through the sheer curtains of his living room from the fire escape.
Caleb soon becomes infatuated with the mysterious Katrina, and even after she reveals her vampiric secret he is quick to come to terms with her true nature. However, it frustrated me that when she reveals herself to him, her age is never a concern to him. It almost becomes a comical guessing game for him throughout the book, but is never seen as an issue in their relationship, despite the fact she is hundreds of years older than him.
Throughout the majority of the book, this romance is the only plotline going on, as little else is actually explored. The other plotline involves Alondra Vargas, a past vampire acquaintance of Katrina’s who is out to settle a century-old vendetta by taking Caleb. However, this plotline is wrapped up in the middle of the book when Katrina calls on the help of vampire friends, Alton and Paige.
I won’t mention this plotline too much considering the romance takes up most of the book, as I have a lot to say about this so-called ‘romance’. When Alondra appears on the scene, Katrina takes Caleb back to her house and places him under house arrest, not allowing him to leave, have internet or phone access or even open a window. I could understand a certain degree of her protectiveness, as with Caleb being a human he is no match for a vampire opponent, but Katrina takes it to obsessive levels.
Her character may be strong and independent, but I just couldn’t connect with Katrina at all. She is obsessed with Caleb’s safety, but the way she treats him is painful to read, as it felt like domestic abuse with him not being allowed to do anything for himself. When she tells him that she’s a vampire she also gives him rules to follow, and one of these is that he must never ask to become a vampire himself. I found this to be further torture for Caleb, as Katrina is dating him whilst knowing that it will only be for a limited time frame. She even makes him take vitamin supplements to replenish his blood after she drinks from him, and giving him healthy water instead of coke.
Considering the way Katrina treats him, I ought to feel more sympathy for Caleb than I did, as his character is quite likable at the beginning, with his passion for history and learning. However, I started to lose respect for Caleb as a character when he didn’t put up much of a fight to Katrina’s house arrest or her rules. His father used to abuse him, and to me it felt like he’d walked straight from one abusive relationship into another without holding on to any of his self-respect.
Overall this book really wasn’t what I was expecting to read after seeing the blurb, as it was built up to be a gripping urban fantasy but was instead a twisted vampire-human romance. The author’s writing style was very long-winded, with the majority of chapters being over 30 pages long, and these started to drag as my reading went on. I also disliked the way Katrina constantly refers to Caleb as ‘my love’, as this is a particular pet hate of mine, especially when it was used repeatedly whenever she spoke to him. I think it’s safe to say that I have no desire to pick up the next book in this series.
I didn’t really enjoy this book as I felt that the plot was pretty non-existent, with the book focusing purely upon the relationship between Katrina and Caleb, and little else. This would have been bearable if I’d liked the couple, but their relationship doesn’t seem healthy as Katrina is far too possessive over her human mate and I didn’t enjoy reading about them.(less)