After her mother dies, Maddie Moore returns to the small coastal town of Lucky Harbor, having inherited an inn from her free-spirited mother. The innAfter her mother dies, Maddie Moore returns to the small coastal town of Lucky Harbor, having inherited an inn from her free-spirited mother. The inn was left to Maddie and her two half-sisters, Tara and Chloe. Having only met her sister's a few times, Maddie feels a little overwhelmed and awkward around them, but after a while the sisters begin to relax and get to know each other.
What a great start to a series. I really enjoyed Simply Irresistible, and sorry for the pun, but it was exactly that, irresistible - I couldn't put this book down. There are some really great characters, fun banter between siblings and a very sexy hero.
Although the inn is in bad repair, Maddie really wants to give it a go, but her sister's don't want any part of it, and just want to get back to their lives. Maddie's vulnerability is very endearing and due to her sad past she's more reserved than she would like to be. She knows people called her "the mouse" but deep down there's a strong gritty determination. Shalvis does a really good job at showing this side to Maddie without it being unbelievable, which made Maddie a plausible heroine. It was lovely to see her blossom, take control and work her sisters around to her way of thinking. What I liked about the three sisters was that they all had a distinct voice and personality. I enjoyed their sibling banter and I am really looking forward to reading the other books in the series to find out Tara and Chloe's story.
The path is never easy though but Maddie does well overcoming her issues. Her past is mentioned but it didn't go on and on about her abusive relationship with her ex, it is just touched upon to give us an idea of what she went through and the reason why she is so meek. I liked that there were only snippets of Maddie's past as it kept the story light and romantic rather than dark and intense.
As well as getting to know her sisters, deciding what to do with the Inn, Maddie also has to resist the advances of Jax Cullen, which is easier said than done. Jax is gorgeous. There's lots of perfect dialogue from Jax that just made me swoon. It was beautiful, heart warming and romantic - and when needed, HOT.
Jax understands what Maddie has been through, and although he is persistent he is also gentle and playful, and of course Maddie can't resist for long. That's not to say this relationship happens easily, it doesn't, and Jax had to work for it ;) Maddie is shy, but cute, and their interactions had me giggling.
I also loved the small coastal town of Lucky Harbor with its two thousand residents, everyone knows everything about everyone else, which led to some quite funny situations.
Although Simply Irresistible is set around Christmas, I wouldn't say it was particularly Christmassy. I don't really like to read Christmas books out of season, but I think this can be read anytime of the year.
A wonderful feel-good story with great characters and a heart-warming, sexy romance. I'm really looking forward to reading Tara's story next in The Sweetest Thing....more
I didn’t know what to expect when I downloaded Wallbanger. I’d seen a few reviews that raved about it, and others that avoided it completely because iI didn’t know what to expect when I downloaded Wallbanger. I’d seen a few reviews that raved about it, and others that avoided it completely because it originated from Twilight fanfiction. Having read Twilight, Wallbanger must have been rewritten and edited to an inch of its life, as it is absolutely nothing like Twilight. Everything is different; from the characters and friends, to the whole plot and romance. So, as I was in the mood for a contemporary romance I decided to give this a go.
Caroline Reynolds is an independent women who’s just moved into a new apartment. She’s also a women who has lost her “O” after a calamitous night with an ex-lover. It’s been months. So when her nights are suddenly intruded upon by her next door neighbours late night booty calls, she’s even more irritated. And thus a war ensues between Caroline and her sexy next door neighbour, Simon Parker.
I loved this book from the first few pages and Clayton definitely has a knack for writing funny scenes, especially with regards to the wallbanging – they had me in stitches.
I woke up faster this time, because I knew what I was hearing. I sat up in bed, glaring behind me. The bed was still pulled safely away from the wall, so I felt no movement, but there was sure as hell something moving over there.
Then I heard… hissing?
I looked down at Clive, whose tail was at full puff. He arched his back and paced back and forth at the foot of the bed.
“Hey, mister. It’s cool. We just got a noisy neighbor, that’s all,” I soothed, stretching my hand out to him. That’s when I heard it.
I cocked my head sideways, listedning more intently. I studied Clive, who looked back as if to say, “T’weren’t me.”
“Meow! Oh, God. Me-yow!”
The girl next door was meowing. What in the world was my neighbor packing to make that happen?
Clive, at this point, went utterly bonkers and launched himself at the wall. He was literally climbing it, trying to get to where the noise was coming from, and adding his own meows to the chorus.
“Oooh yes, just like that, Simon….Mmmm…meow, meow, meow!”
Sweet Lord, there were out-of-control pussies on both sides of this wall tonight.
Wallbanger is full of these laugh-out-loud moments. They blended so well with the lovely budding romance between Caroline and Wallbanger *aka Simon*. The way they meet (with Caroline marching over to his place in her little pink nightie to have it out with him about his late night activities, and how they were keeping her awake) is just so cute and funny.
I did wonder if this romance would work for me, considering Simon had three women on the go, but Clayton weaves her funny words with some truly touching moments. Caroline and Simon may have had an instant attraction but it wasn’t love at first sight. Their relationship built from utter annoyance to a great friendship and then beyond. The pacing is excellent and although it takes them a while to get it on, it made everything seem so much more realistic than if they had jumped into bed together straight away.
Simon’s explanation about his lifestyle was good enough for me. All three women he was *ahem* banging knew about each other and because of his job as a photographer he wasn’t home enough to think about long term relationships. This arrangement worked well for him and his ‘harem’. That’s why I could easily get on board with Caroline and Simon falling in love. It’s slow, not rushed, and you see Simon changing his thought process and his lifestyle as he begins to end things with each of the women when he realises he’s has feelings for Caroline.
It’s the same for Caroline in a way too. She doesn’t trust Simon one iota at the beginning. She thinks she’s got him all figured out, but as their friendship grows she learns more about him and begins to see him differently. And the sexual chemistry between these two is smokin’ hot.
I loved how their friendship grew into something more. They watched movies together, cooked together, talked and laughed together, and even texted each other, which leant a hand to some hilarious scenarios. The romance aspect had me melting, with passages such as:
“How thoroughly you own me, Nightie Girl,” he said, leaning in to whisper this part in my ear. “And I know I love you enough to want you to have your happy ending.”
And then he kissed me—Heart was in heaven—kissed me like it was a fairy tale, even though in this fairy tale I had dough sticking to my back and a cat with a pawful of nuts. But that didn’t stop me from kissing him back as though my life depended on it.
There are lots of up and downs and the will they, won’t they scenario had me in knots, but I really enjoyed that aspect as it kept me guessing. I knew how Caroline and Simon felt about each other, but I really didn’t know if it was going to end how I wanted it to.
There were a couple of things that could have been dulled down slightly, one of which was was Caroline’s “O” – most of the time when Caroline talked about it as though it was a living thing was hilarious, but at other times it did get a bit too much, but other than that I can honestly say that I loved this book.
For me, Wallbanger was a fabulous read. It’s funny and endearing, with great characters and a steady, well-paced story. Caroline is the pretty girl next door who’s smart and independent, Simon is the hot, delicious leading man and all the supporting cast of bffs were a terrific addition. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a fantastic contemporary romance, I’m just sad it’s not part of a series. To fill the void, I instantly downloaded the first book in Clayton’s other series, The Unidentified Redhead....more
When I picked up A WINTER FLAME, I was hoping for a really warm, romantic Christmas read, especially after aOriginally posted on www.BookChickCity.com
When I picked up A WINTER FLAME, I was hoping for a really warm, romantic Christmas read, especially after all the rave reviews I’d read when deciding whether to buy or not. Unfortunately A WINTER FLAME wasn’t my cup of tea at all. Both leading characters were very irritating; Eve because she acted like a 12 year old towards Jacques instead of a grown women, and Jacques because he acted like a pompous arse.
Although Eve didn’t like Jacques because she was worried he was a con man, who took advantage of her sweet great aunt, there are ways to portray this other than the childish behaviour Eve displayed at every opportunity. Stomping around grumpily, silly snide remarks that made me roll my eyes. She didn’t even know Jacques but decided who he was before she even got to know him. Not the greatest of traits for any person, let alone the heroine of the story, who I’m meant to like and connect with. This attitude was in contrast with Eve’s past, which was sad, and should have made her more appealing to me, but because of her silly attitude, I didn’t really feel compassionately towards her at all.
Jacques was a bit of a conundrum. I’m sure he was meant to come across as a modern, handsome man, but the way he was written he actually came across as quite old fashioned. In fact he was a bit like the stereotypical father christmas. Always jolly, making jokes, being foolish and humming Christmas songs. His over the top joviality was annoying rather than endearing, and I didn’t find him sexy in the slightest, which was a shame, as that is what I’d prefer to feel about my leading man. In all honesty I can quite understand why Eve disliked him, as I couldn’t stand him either.
The writing is ok but quite basic. There’s no real depth here, everything sort of hovers on the surface and doesn’t go very deep. Having just read a contemporary romance that was excellently written with great emotional depth to the characters and storyline, it was even more obvious when reading A WINTER FLAME that it lacked that special something. This was definitely verging on silly chick lit I thought I’d left behind a long time ago rather than a quality contemporary romance. So, after 150 pages I decided that if I didn’t care for the characters at this point I probably never would.
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy A WINTER FLAME at all. I did read until 150 pages in, hoping it would get better, that I would like the characters and feel something towards them other than irritation, but alas I didn’t. I realise that as I didn’t read the entire book my review can only be about the pages I did read, but my advice would be if you like the typical Chick-Lit then you may enjoy this, but if you’re looking for a quality contemporary romance then I wouldn’t bother....more
This is an erotic horror short story serial set in a zombie infested world. I didn’t think these two genres would mesh well, but they really do. I lovThis is an erotic horror short story serial set in a zombie infested world. I didn’t think these two genres would mesh well, but they really do. I loved it and will definitely continue the series....more
I started reading Megan Hart a couple of months ago, when I came across her erotic horror serial The Resurrected. I wondered how on earth two such difI started reading Megan Hart a couple of months ago, when I came across her erotic horror serial The Resurrected. I wondered how on earth two such different genres would work, but they really did. This was down to Hart's great writing style which I instantly fell in love with. I'd heard a lot about her erotic romances, so thought I'd try one out.
Dirty was a completely addictive read. From the outset I was immersed in Elle's life. I did find that there was a bit too much sex and not enough plot at the beginning, but about half way through it kicked into high gear and just bombarded my senses and my emotions, and didn't stop until the last page. This was certainly a far cry from the old Mills & Boon I remember sneakily reading when I was twelve years old.
Hart's writing is descriptive and full of emotion, realistic and overall just very well written. The past life of Elle, our heroine, is slowly revealed throughout book. Nothing is ever given away in large info dumps or too soon, which made Elle an intriguing character. It is like a mini mystery: what happened between Elle and her mother, her father, her brother, her ex-boyfriend? So many questions, (although I had my suspicions, which turned out to be true *smug*).
Elle is a complex, broken character, which I must admit is my favourite kind of heroine. I love to see them struggle and grow throughout the book which Elle certainly did. Dan, our hero, is very patient and tolerant. We didn't really get to know him, other than through Elle's eyes, as it's a first person narrative. I think more could have been offered through dialogue as I really wanted to know more about sexy Dan, and his life.
Due to Elle's dark background, Dirty is more than just an erotic romance. It has a lot of emotion that pulls you in and wrings you out. My heart bled for her when the full extent of her past is revealed. Dan does his best to try and win her heart but there are many bumps in the road. I loved their blossoming relationship and hoped they would get their happy ending.
There are two aspects of Dirty that prevented it from hitting my elusive five stars. The first is the use of a popular trope of erotic fiction: lover watching lover get shagged by someone else. This is one of my pet hates. In my mind how can you possibly watch someone you care for enjoy sex with someone else right in front of you? Of course this is just a personal thing, but for me it leaves a bad taste in my mouth and takes away from the romance aspect of the character's and their relationship.
The second is the fact we aren't given too much regarding Dan, as previously mentioned. I wanted to know more about him and his background. Because of this I was a little disconnected from him, even though I liked him a lot. Generally the first person narrative is my favourite perspective, but I will admit that occasionally the lack of background to other characters is a downside. That isn't to say Dan was one dimensional, as he wasn't at all, but I think I would have gained a better connection to Dan if I knew more about him, which could have been achieved if the author used the dialogue between him and Elle as a tool for offering more snippets into his life.
The sex scenes are plentiful, but well done, sexy and erotic. Sadly Dirty does contain my least favourite word (in fact I hate it). I still don't understand why the "c" word has to be used at all. Obviously this is a personal preference, but as I never use this word in real life, find it highly offensive and about as sexy as a potato, as most women I believe, I find it odd that authors think women want to read it in their romance. However, I managed to skim over it this time as the writing and story were just so good and it didn't prevent me enjoying the story - I devoured Dirty in a day and a half.
Dirty is definitely one of the best erotic romance books I've read. I love Hart's writing style as it's full of depth and emotion. Although I had a few issues they didn't prevent me from gobbling it up in a day and a half, which for me is some going! If you love erotic romance, this is a must read....more
As this was only 99p I downloaded it and read it in bed. In fact I read the entire thing in one go as I couldn’t put it down. VERY sexy, VERY explicitAs this was only 99p I downloaded it and read it in bed. In fact I read the entire thing in one go as I couldn’t put it down. VERY sexy, VERY explicit (well, for me anyway) but VERY good. ...more
Ok, so this isn't a scary anthology, but it does contain lots of scary zombies, werewolves and a creepy love scene, so it still fits in with2.5 Stars
Ok, so this isn't a scary anthology, but it does contain lots of scary zombies, werewolves and a creepy love scene, so it still fits in with our All Hallows Eve month, right? ;D
NOTHING ELSE MATTERS by Megan Hart
I've heard so much about this author and have many of her novels on my kindle, but I just haven't got around to reading them yet. When I received Hot & Haunted for review, I was really excited to see that there was a short story from Megan Hart. I was interested in seeing if her writing style was my kind of thing, and I can say with certainty it most certainly was. I loved this story. For one it's about zombies, and two it contains a broken, complex heroine (my favourite kind) and two hot men.
The world-building is really fantastic, and it's really quite original in the world of zombie/post apocalyptic fiction. It's this world and the complex main character that just pulled me right in. When it finished (as it's pretty short) I was craving for more. Luckily I found an ebook serial from the author called The Resurrected that looks as though is set in the same world but with different characters with each story. Can't wait to read these.
Back to Nothing Else Matters. There are about three sex scenes in this short story, and although that may seem a lot considering it's length, they are so intricate to the story and to Liya's character that I didn't feel it was excessive. It even contained the dreaded "c" word, which I hate with a passion, but I loved this story so much that I just didn't care it was there. Whether it would have eventually irritated me if the story was actually a full length novel I'm not sure, but I'm definitely going to read her back list to find out. I just have to decide which one to read first: Another short story, of which I have four or Dirty a full length novel... (4.5/5)
PICK ME UP by Lauren Hawkeye
I enjoyed this story to a point. I can't complain about the writing as it was pretty good. The characters were also well rounded for such a short piece. 95% of the story takes place in a car with a young couple. You think you have them sussed out but as the story unfolds by flashbacks you realise that things are very different indeed.
This story had an almost a traditional feel about it. The kind of creepy stories we used to tell each other when we were kids, minus the sexual content. It's the creep factor and ending of this short that gave me that feeling and I'd be interested in hearing if others felt the same after they'd read it. All in all an ok read. (3/5)
LITTLE RED'S BIG BAD by Saranna DeWylde
Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this story. It was slow to start, and then the lust felt by the heroine for the hero happened too quickly and for no real reason other than he had a good body. I know it's a short story, but things should still be believable. Having read quite a few short stories now, I know it can be done as I've read some terrifically paced shorts. However, I think it was when the heroine was so turned on by just the thought of the hero, she had to pull off the road and masturbate using her iPhone vibrating app.
Miranda clenched her thighs more tightly together, desperate for relief. Above all, Miranda was a practical creature, so she surrendered. She pulled over onto a deserted dirt road, and after being quite liberal with the hand sanitizer, got out her iPhone. She slipped it into the neoprene sleeve and activated the iVibe app before tucking it into her panties with the edge of the phone against her...
There's so much wrong with this for me. I mean, really? She was SO turned on she couldn't wait until she got home, so she had to use hand cleanser, and an iPhone case? What was the point of hand disinfectant when she'd just tucked an iPhone case down her knickers? O_O
Little Red's Big Bad started out a bit slow, the insta-lust happened too quick and was unbelievable and the above scene just had my eyes rolling. (DNF)
Hot & Haunted was an ok read. The first story, Nothing Else Matters by Megan Hart, made this anthology for me, by far, and I would recommend it based on this short story alone (especially as it only costs £0.99). However, by not being able to finish Little Red's Big Bad the overall rating was brought down quite a bit....more
Ok, this is a genre I haven’t read before. In fact the only novel that comes close is Laid Bare by Lauren Dane. But to be honest, DARK SOUL i3.5 Stars
Ok, this is a genre I haven’t read before. In fact the only novel that comes close is Laid Bare by Lauren Dane. But to be honest, DARK SOUL is a completely different kettle of fish. Firstly it’s m/m and secondly the sex scenes are totally out of my comfort zone – but boy, was this book good!
I heard about DARK SOUL and the author from a fellow blogger on Twitter. It’s a raw, dark, intense, and at times uncomfortable read, but this sequence of short stories is also completely addictive, well written with amazing characters.
I was immediately drawn into the life of Stefano and Silvio, but I will say that the plot is limited. Yes, there’s the backdrop of the Mafia, and the take-over by the Russians, but really it isn’t explored in too much detail. DARK SOUL is very much an erotic romance, focusing mainly on Stefano, Silvio and their relationship. This is what made the entire collection absorbing, but also too intense at times. The sexual scenes are explicit, and sometimes verge on the masochistic.
Stefano is a Mafia boss who meets Silvio at a mafia meeting of sorts, and there’s an instant attraction. Although Stafano is married and loves his wife, Donata, he’s always refused to let out the other side to himself. Until, that is, he meets Silvio. That night Stefano finds Silvio and his bodyguard, Vince, fighting. He manages to apprehend Silvio and ties him up, and under the pretence of torturing him for information, Stefano sexually assaults Silvio with his gun only to find out he actually likes it. This was one of many scenes I had difficulty reading, but somehow the author’s writing just kept me reading.
Silvio, who’s an experience killer, is sent to the States to help Stafano in the war against the Russians. There is a story from the view point of Silvio, which I loved. There’s something so dark and broken about him, and there are hints to a troubled past life.
Silvio’s boss, Battista, who ended their relationship based on Silvio’s increasing age, is still pulling Silvio’s strings even though he broke his heart. Battista acts very nice and seems to have treated Silvio well over the years they’ve been together, but their sexual relationship is based on Battista controlling Silvio and some of their times together gave me the feeling that it was really abuse and taking total advantage of Silvio’s vulnerability, especially as he was only a young boy when they first got together sexually.
Things move on between Silvio and Stefano when Stefano is badly beaten by the Russian’s. It’s from this point that Stefano begins to relax his guard and emotions for Silvio, and starts to acknowledge he’s bisexual.
Volume three of the collection was probably the most difficult to read for me. The first story is from the view point of one of the Russians who beat Stefano. He picks up a transvestite prostitute and takes her/him back to their motel where he and the rest of his gang have sex with her. It is consensual sex, but still, it was hard to take, especially when it is revealed who the transvestite is. I had my suspicions but having them confirmed made the whole thing incredibly dark and twisted, and the ending even more so.
Another story is about incest. Silvio’s brother comes back from the French Royal Legion a broken man, although we find out that both him and Silvio were broken early on in their lives by their father in the snippets we are given into their pasts. I’m not a fan of incest in my books and it’s probably one aspect of literature I find difficult to read, and usually avoid at all costs.
With that in mind I didn’t like reading about Silvio and his brother, and having their sexual relationship described in such detail. But this is a personal thing and you may not be effected by it. Personally I could have done without it, especially as there was so much else going on with Silvio and Stefano, as well as all the other guys Silvio beds throughout the book, that it really didn’t need incest thrown into the mix as well.
I will admit to feeling a little let down by the end of this collection as I was hoping for a show down between Stefano and the Russians. Instead the ending I got felt like an easy way to end the story. I also felt that Stefano’s wife, Donata, excepted Stefano’s bisexuality way too easily, and she was too excited to get involved in a three way with Silvio and Stefano after just a couple of weeks of finding out about Stefano’s affair and his new-to-her sexual orientation.
I wish this aspect was developed further as for me it all happened too quickly and made this last batch of stories feel rushed compared to the others, and gave an unrealistic element to the conclusion.
I found it difficult to pick a rating as there was so much about DARK SOUL that I loved but also much that shocked me and made me squirm. However, there were many things that kept me reading, but mainly it was Stefano, Silvio and the writing. I loved the characters and their relationship. I enjoyed their struggle and intensity. Voinov’s writing is great, it flows well and pulls you in from the first page. But for me I think that there were too many scenes that made me uncomfortable and I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I found that I could just about cope with the violence of some of the sex scenes at the beginning, but after a while it all became a bit too much. This is obviously a personal thing and not a criticism of the author.
However, I’m glad that I read it – I’m always open to reading different genres and broadening my reading experiences. I’ll definitely be looking to read more from this author, (I’ve heard from Smexy herself that Soldiers is just pure crack) but maybe not just yet. I need to catch my breath....more
KITTEN-TIGER & THE MONK by Carolyn Crane Reviewer: Gemma
Reading shorts in an anthology can be a hit or a miss at times. YouJoint Review - 3.5 Stars
KITTEN-TIGER & THE MONK by Carolyn Crane Reviewer: Gemma
Reading shorts in an anthology can be a hit or a miss at times. You either have the short stories, which are part of a series that read like they are deleted scenes and you really need to be up-to-date with that series to have a Scooby on what is going on. Or you have the other short stories, that although they take part in the same universe, the story either concentrates on characters that you meet in the main series, but gives them a bit more screen time or it’s a stand-alone story with the main character is completely unrelated plot to the main series.
For me, on first impressions, this story falls into the character/own story short and thankfully it meant I wasn’t lost having never ready the parent series.
The author manages to give you just enough detail on the world in which this story is set. It comes across as kind of near-future/x-men type of world, where normal people develop extra-ordinary abilities. In this case, our main protagonist is Sophia. She has the ability to wipe and re-write someone’s short term memory. She is in search of a person named The Monk, who can effectively give her a clean slate after some of the more dodgy assignments she has taken. Unfortunatly for her, she has to go through an ex, named Robert, who she really wronged in the past.
Sophia is a very complex character and at first I felt some sympathy towards her as it was clear she wanted out of her current life. The novelty of using this gift to get the outcome you wanted had waned and she wanted to start over.
This changed as you began to delve deeper into her past and especially with what she did to Robert, the supposed love of her life. It was so cleverly done, and though I knew that Sophia’s family wasn’t the pillars of saint-hood, the revelation on how she was involved in their dodgy dealings was still a shock.
I’m glad to see that she was redeemed and that her actions in her past were not down to sheer greed. Also, her refusal to leave Robert to his fate with a group of sleep-walking cannibals that lived underneath a structure called The Tangle, showed that she did truly care for him.
My only real criticism of the short was the fact I couldn’t get any feeling for the character of Robert. Yes, he has a really horrible life, but there was nothing in his character that made me root for him. His sole purpose seemed to be to provide the catalyst for Sophia to change her life. Maybe if it had been a full novel, we would have learnt a bit more about him. For the purposes of this short, it wasn’t desperate, though I do hope that in the novels we will see more of the characters.
VERDICT: I really enjoyed this short and it was a great insight into the series. In a few short pages, Crane managed to cram in a hell of a lot of story and plot development. So much so, I think this series may go on to my wish-list. 3.5/5
VIXEN by Jill Myles Reviewer: Laura
I knew my slightly sheltered self was in trouble within the first few pages of picking up this story:
Miko jerked the door open, about to snarl something unpleasant through the screen. [...] Every hormone in her body went on instant alert. Both men were gorgeous…
I suddenly realised this was going to be no ordinary romance! I wouldn’t really class myself as an erotica fan. I read romance, but for me that is about the love and the happy endings, they have to have a good story and the sex scenes are a bonus of the chemistry and spark I’ve enjoyed along the way.
VIXEN was more erotica than romance. And well as you might have guessed from the quote it was about two guys (Sam and Jeremiah) and one lucky lady (Miko). The story was short and sweet (and filthy!!). There was some actual plot with were-fox Miko needing protection from fox hunters, but much of it was about them flirting and the build up to the big *ahem* climax.
The sex scene was well.. erm, phew, yes well, *fans oneself*! Rather raunchy to say the least! But Miko’s a were-fox and they need more then one man to keep them happy, so everyone was happy! It caused me amusement and blushes in equal measure.
VERDICT: This was a fun and sexy book, perhaps not a genre I would particularly read again, I think I prefer monogamous relationships. But it made for an entertaining evening read. And I might even be tempted to pick up something by this author again. 3/5
THE BLUSHING BOUNDER by Meljean Brook Reviewer: Carolyn
This is the first piece of writing I’ve read by Meljean Brook, and I liked it. It did feel as though it was part of a larger work but for the most part it was engaging, the characters had surprising depth for such a short story, and the steampunk world was intriguing.
In this world, humans are called Bounders, and Hordes are infected with tiny machines they call bugs. These bugs were used by the Horde to control everyone in England until a revolution.
Temperance is our leading lady who’s fallen in love with a gentleman she met in the park. Unfortunately Temperance is terminally ill with consumption and has decided to live out her remaining months/years in a sanatorium. On the morning of her departure her gentleman friend, Edward Newberry, grabs her and kisses her passionately in the presence of her family and passers by in the street. Of course, this may be an alternative America, but when it comes to being ‘a lady’ things haven’t changed much and kissing in public by anyone other than your husband is not the done thing! Temperance is forced to marry Edward.
Temperance and her new husband, Edward, move to London where social etiquette is more relaxed, and Edward is a police constable. After a few weeks and much thought, Temperance comes to the conclusion that her beau kissed her with the purpose of securing her inheritance, and with a broken heart resigns herself to living her last remaining years unhappily.
However, one night she witnesses a murder and things change between her and Constable Newberry, and there’s also a chance of a cure for Temperance, but it would mean being infected with the bugs…
Brook manages to pack a lot into such a short story. I will admit to being a little confused at times and having to read through certain paragraphs more than once to let this new-to-me genre sink in. Steampunk, as with most genre, has its own jargon, and I found it interesting but harder to get into than I would say a PNR or UF. This is probably why it felt it was part of a larger body of work, but the combination of romance and mystery within a steampunk world was a really great mix and one I would definitely like to investigate more.
VERDICT: Brook has a great writing style which I liked and I enjoyed meeting the characters. I would definitely read more from this author. THE BLUSHING BOUNDER is a taster to Brook’s steampunk romance series, The Iron Seas, but can be read as a stand alone novella, but only just. 3.5/5...more
This is a short story prequel to Carlson’s full length debut novel, Full Blooded, released this coming September from Orbit. I was really looking forwThis is a short story prequel to Carlson’s full length debut novel, Full Blooded, released this coming September from Orbit. I was really looking forward to reading BLOODED as I’ve seen some excellent reviews and comments about it, and I’ve also been major excited about Full Blooded ever since I saw it in Orbit’s upcoming books catalogue.
Jessica McClain is our heroine, a nineteen year old dealing with the fact that she is the only female and human in a pack of wolves. Not only that be she cannot shift, making her a freak in the eyes of all the other pack members, combine all this with a prophecy that says she’s evil, and her life pretty much sucks.
The opening is an action packed scene with Jessica fighting a much larger pack member for hierarchy. This is my kind of urban fantasy! Bloody action, snappy writing and snarky heroine. The action scenes are very well written and I could feel every bone crunching punch and bloody split lip.
There are a few other characters we are introduced to. Jessica’s twin brother, Tyler, who’s a werewolf, and Nick, her best friend and werefox, who was adopted into the pack years ago. I’m intrigued by these characters and wonder if Nick will be a love interest in subsequent novels.
Jessica is also at loggerheads with her father, the 500 year old Alpha of the pack. She wants to leave the pack as she doesn’t feel safe there any more, but her father wants to keep her close. With the pack getting more and more hostile towards Jessica, leaving may be the only option…
I am left with a few questions though that I hope will be answered in Full Blooded. Why is Jessica the only female? And why is she the only human? And if no females are born then how do the wolves procreate? Do they use human women to bear their pups?
For such a short novella, Carlson manages to give the story depth and the characters individual personalities that are instantly likeable (or unlikeable in certain instances) and has a great writing style. I really enjoyed this snippet into Jessica’s world, and now I’ve had a taste, I can’t wait to read Full Blooded.
Although short, BLOODED is a great little taster to what I hope will be a fab new urban fantasy series....more
The Autumn series by David Moody continues with Purification. It's a great instalment. This series is getting better and better and I'm really enjoyinThe Autumn series by David Moody continues with Purification. It's a great instalment. This series is getting better and better and I'm really enjoying it. The tension, suspense and horror is still prevalent as the zombies continue to evolve into something even more terrifying.
The opening scene is fantastic. The underground army is plotting to go up into the world and push back the thousands of zombies that have accumulated above the underground bunker. The vents, which are keeping the soldiers and civilian's alive are being blocked by the growing number of zombies. After a few attempts at trying to secure the vents and clear the zombies, they decide to try and push back the zombies even further and all hell breaks lose.
This battle scene is just brilliant. Although the zombies aren't particularly hard to deal with individually, the are a terrifying force when grouped together in their thousands. It was so exciting and horrifying all at once. What was a relatively safe place is now over run and the remaining survivors have to fight their way out.
Once secure in a building away from the hordes, Michael, Emma and the others are dumbfounded when a helicopter lands outside the building they are hiding in. This is the beginning of something new and to realise there are others out there scares and excites them. They are told other survivors are safely contained in an airport where they have a small plane as well as the helicopter. With slight trepidation they decide to join the new survivors at the airport. Once there they learn that these survivors will eventually head out to an island they've found and are happy for Michael and his group to join them.
We meet lots of new characters, as well as continuing to follow Michael and Emma (my favourite characters). Their relationship has moved on (luckily in the way I had hoped) but are finding it difficult. But being in a larger group of people, new faces and a new, more secure home, they all begin to feel hope again and make new friends, but of course this doesn't last for long...
Another brilliant instalment from David Moody. As with the previous books in the Autumn series, I couldn't put Purification down. This series is a fantastic addition to the zombie genre. If you haven't read it, then seriously, go pick it up, you won't be sorry....more
This was an interesting read, and my thoughts on it are a little paradoxical.
On the one hand the writing is not the best I've read. It's very repetitiThis was an interesting read, and my thoughts on it are a little paradoxical.
On the one hand the writing is not the best I've read. It's very repetitive, certain words and phrases are used way too much. But on the other hand I really liked the characters of Ana and Christian Grey. The story hooked me in from the first chapter and I found it compulsive reading. It was very addictive. I've heard that this began as Twilight fan fiction, but I can honestly say I couldn't see any resemblance. The story, the characters (which are more complex than Bella and Edward in my opinion) and the writing were all very different.
Ana may be innocent with regards to sexual relationships, having never really been attracted to anyone enough to just give up her virginity. But when she meets Christian Grey, she feels a strong connection to him and finds him totally H.O.T. She's then pulled into a sexual world that most people wouldn't or couldn't understand or want to be a part of.
Christian is a dark, tortured hero. These are the kind of hero's I like best. However, although I do like him, I have the same problem as Ana - why is he turned on by hurting her? It's something I've never considered before - being of the 'vanilla' variety, but he is intriguing. I'm very interested to see where this relationship is going and how their characters grow. Will Christian put aside his darker needs and let himself fall in love with Ana?
Ana was also much more animated than Bella. That's why I find it difficult to see the comparison. Ana is also very up front in how this lifestyle makes her feel and they battle it out with the contract, trying to take each others needs into consideration.
I haven't read BSDM before, and I found I squirmed on occasion - but that's because I don't see myself as the submissive type. But I loved how Ana had trouble with this too. She isn't a naturally submissive personality and so found everything he asked of her difficult to deliver. I do think you have to be pretty open minded to read it.
I also don't agree with other reviews I've read which state that everything that was done to Ana was against her will. This wasn't the case in my opinion. Ana weighed everything up in her mind and made her own decisions and choices. The ending was abrupt but I was proud of her.
This is a very intensive, character driven novel that consists not much more than just Ana and Christian and their bedroom antics. However, the characters are complex and interesting enough that I was compelled to read it, and did so in less than 24 hours. I am now starting Fifty Shades Darker....more
I found White Horse very interesting but irritating at first. The format is a little off putting with "Now" and "Then" being used throughout to tell tI found White Horse very interesting but irritating at first. The format is a little off putting with "Now" and "Then" being used throughout to tell the story of the present and the past, with very short passages between each one, which interrupted the flow of the story. Then there was the 'jar'. One of the most intriguing aspects to White Horse and one of the most frustrating.
A mysterious jar turns up in Zoe's apartment, with no note and no reason. And whereas you or I might just throw it in the recycling bin without too much thought, Zoe leaves it in the middle of her room, looks at it, discusses it with her friends and even has therapy because of it - I found this difficult to understand. I wanted to know what the jar was all about, but at the same time not knowing irritated me and I just couldn't understand Zoe's actions.
So, after the first 80 pages or so I was ready to give up.
And then the unforeseen happens. White Horse switches from a possible did not finish (DNF) to one of the most surprising reads of the year. What was at first annoying becomes the driving force of the novel and the reason for the unrelenting pace. It was now the reason I didn't want to put the book down. I was fascinated, perplexed, captivated. What's wrong with the world? What's the meaning of the jar? Why has all this happened? And who is Swiss? Thankfully we are rewarded answers to these questions at the end.
The world is a very desolate place. The worst traits of the human race is prevalent; rape, murder, selfishness.There are many disturbing scenes such as incestuous rape, abortion and suicide. Everybody we meet seem to be beaten down or have the worst traits of human kind, which made this a very dark and depressing book to read.
The main character, Zoe, isn't much better, thinking only of herself until she meets Lisa, a blind young English woman who Zoe saves from an existence of continuous rape by her father. Although the world is a depressing place, Zoe begins to meet inspirational people on her journey to find the man she loves and the father of her unborn baby. These people care, still human with the best traits. It must rub off on Zoe as she begins to grow as a character, helping others along the way, being selfless, kind and compassionate.
Very slowly we learn that the world was exposed to a disease called White Horse and now humans are mutating, changing into something else, or die. They aren't described very much until the end of the book when you begin to get more of an understanding of what those who are infected have become.
The Swiss, a man who attaches himself to Zoe and Lisa on their journey hurts them physically and mentally. He's a totally vile human being and has no morals, no sense of right and wrong and no lingering humanity. But when we finally find out Swiss's own story, it's completely unpredictable, although a tad unbelievable and even slightly cheesy compared to the rest of the novel.
The ending feels complete and doesn't lend itself to a sequel, but being part of a trilogy there's obviously more to come. I'm looking forward to finding out what that is.
A brilliant debut, White Horse surprised and delighted me. It's wonderfully written with complex characters and visually descriptive prose of a post-apocalyptic landscape. What started out as a contender for the did not finish pile, found its way to my pile of best books of 2012. I can't wait for the next book in the series....more
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy makingOriginally published on www.BookChickCity.com
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy making out, Ashley feels something’s on her, and at first she’s angry as she thinks it’s Matt getting a bit carried away, but when she shoves Matt off her and he shines a light to see what the problem is, they find a half eaten woman rolling around on the ground, wanting to chomp down on Ashley. They make a run for it but the last thing Ashley remembers are Matt’s screams.
When she wakes up she finds herself in a makeshift med ward, and soon learns that a virus is causing the dead to walk. She also finds that one of her lecturers from university and her assistant Gabriel, have not only survived but are actually part of the team helping to contain the disease.
After Ashley has healed sufficiently she learns that she’s actually a ‘wild card’, which means she’s immune to the virus. Because of this they ask her to join their team, along with a few other ‘wild card’s’ they’ve come across, to help clear the area and rescue any survivors. Thus ensues lots of action, zombie brain splattering, suspense and fab character interaction with a dash of sexual tension.
PLAGUE TOWN is such a fun read. Full of zombie munching, gory entrails, sassy heroine and a hero you ‘love to hate’, but soon end up just loving. The descriptions of the zombies are great, and worthy of any horror novel. They are gory and detailed, just the way I like ‘em.
The world Fredsti has created is fantastic, very visual and realistic. The dialogue is very smooth and I was completely immersed in the characters and their lives. There were a few scenes that made my hairs stand on end, which is great, exactly what I want when reading a book such as this.
“In here!” Lil joined me and banged on the front door. We watched as zombies peeled off from the steady stream wandering past and staggered to join the ever-increasing crown in front of the store. I glanced at Lil, and could tell from her set expression that she was scanning the crowd for a familiar face.
One I hoped she didn’t see.
“Maybe we should–” I stopped short as the zombie that used to be Annie suddenly let go of the gate and veered off to its left, pushing through the crowd with what almost seemed like a sense of purpose.
“Okay, now that’s just weird.”
“Do you think she remembers the back door?”
A chill ran up my spine.
Ashley, the main character, is a firecracker; feisty, sassy and not afraid to get into the thick of it. She deals with what life throws at her with ease, sometimes a bit too easily, but I did like her for it. Ashley’s love interest and mentor, is Gabriel. When we first meet him, before the virus and zombie outbreak, he was an absolute pig. He acted superior and talked down to Ashley and tried to embarrass her whenever possible, but as the story moves along, he thaws out and becomes a sweet guy, but also doesn’t lose that hard edge. There’s also a twist to his character I saw a mile off, but it is a good one.
I loved the first sexy scene between Ashley and Gabriel. There had been a bit of sexual tension between them but the intensity of Gabriel’s feelings which showed in this scene shocked me as much as it did Ashley. Did he let the side down by acting like a jerk a little later, yep, but the lead up was sexy and hot.
I gasped in shock. Without warning, his hands tightened painfully on my upper arms and he pushed me up against the wall, his body pressed against mine. His eyes darkened so much I thought I must be imagining it.
My breathing quickened as his hand shifted from my arms up to my face, fingers twining though my hair. Anger and desire warred in his gaze. Heat coiled in my stomach even as fear shuddered up my spine. I tried to shake my head, but his fingers held it in place as he muffled any protests by covering my mouth with his.
Fingers massaging my scalp, he slowly increased the intensity of the kiss, his tongue entering into play as he tilled my head back and slip it in.
I felt like I was following along in a dance, being led by someone who knew the steps much better than I did. I discovered that I was content to follow, matching the pressure of his lips with mine, letting my tongue play with his as he pressed his body into me, emphasising the move with a low, throaty sound.
He was definitely packing heat, and it wasn’t his sidearm.
Ashley and Gabriel do have one other hot scene, unfortunately this isn’t handled as well as the one above, in my opinion, which is a shame as they totally get it on and it’s what I’d been waiting for since their first connection. The reason is, I have a thing. It may just be me but I can’t stand it when people snog first thing in the morning without cleaning their teeth, or, as in this instance, kiss after throwing up. It’s just icky. And it’s all I think about while the scene is unfolding, and I’m unable to enjoy it.After finding out Gabriel’s secret, Ashley is so disgusted she rushes to the bathroom and throws up. She rinses her mouth out but that’s it. In bursts Gabriel and one thing leads to another. The first thing I didn’t like is the above mentioned sicky mouth, but also the fact that it was all too rushed. Why did Ashley and Gabriel have to get it on then and there. With the enormous revelation I would have thought Ashley would have been a little bit more miffed and needed some time to mull everything over.
There’s an AMAZING action scene near the end of the book and I would have much prefered Ashley and Gabriel to have waited until after this scene. I think it would have been much better, but then… I’m not the author.
One of the other ‘wild cards’ I loved is Lily. She’s a really sweet character. At first she seems a bit naive and shy, but put a pickaxe in her hand and she turns into a zombie killing machine. She reminded me a little bit of Jenni from Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy in that she becomes a little nuts with everything that is going on, and to cope she goes out with guns blazing pulverising zombies whenever she can.
One of my favourite scenes was when Ashley and Lil head out on their own to go back into the zombie infested town to rescue Lil’s two cats Doodle and Blinkey. I love animals and I know that I would have to do everything in my power to save them and I loved that this is what the characters in this book decided to do too. It was heart-warming and sweet. The love Lil had for her pet’s was really sweet. She couldn’t concentrate on what she was doing without knowing they were ok. Once they were safely with her and Lil and Ashley were safely back at the UNIT she slept.
I opened the door.
“Lil?” No answer. She wouldn’t have bolted, would she?
Gabriel came in behind me.
“What is it?” he asked. “Is she okay?”
I pointed to the bed where Lily had collapsed, giving in to exhaustion. Blinkey was draped around the top of her head like a furry halo, Doodle curled in the crook of her arm…both cats purred loudly and the contented smile on Lil’s face – even in her sleep – brought tears to my eyes.
“Yeah,” I said quietly. “She’s okay.”
There are lots of secondary characters and they all had distinctive personalities. I didn’t become lost in the sea of names as I have done with other novels. They all added their bit to the story and I ended up liking them all, hoping they would all survive.
Other than one or two aspects, I think PLAGUE TOWN is a great zombie book. I really enjoyed it and Ashley is a fantastic heroine. I can’t wait to see how she grows in subsequent books. Fredsti is now on my auto-buy list and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Zombie Nation....more
The opening of Autmun: The City brings us back to the city where the story started in book one, hence the title. We meet new characters and see how chThe opening of Autmun: The City brings us back to the city where the story started in book one, hence the title. We meet new characters and see how characters from the previous book are doing, as well as the introduction of the army who have been held up in a bunker just outside the city.
New characters Jack, Donna and Cooper are all great, but it was also really good to get back to Emma and Michael who were my favourite characters in the first book, Autumn.
What I’ve found even more evident in this instalment is Moody’s very cinematic writing style – it’s as though each book could be an episode in a TV series and each book just gives you that little bit more of the storyline, but each having a self contained story within.
There’s much better characterisation in this instalment, with a lot more depth of emotion. I’m not sure if it’s because I began reading this straight after reading Autumn but I really started to get to know and care for the characters. The few niggles I had with Autumn weren’t a factor here, and I enjoyed Autumn: The City from beginning to end.
The zombies are still as creepy and now they’re decomposing and getting more violent. Although these zombies are the traditional slow, shuffling kind, they are different in that they rip apart there own kind as well as humans, but don’t eat flesh (well in this instalment anyway). However, this could all change as the zombies evolve further.
There’s fantastic tension and the suspense just builds and builds and doesn’t let up. I couldn’t put this book down and as soon as I’d finished I grabbed for the next book in the series, Autumn: Purification.
Autumn: The City is a great second instalment, much better than the first in my opinion with better characterisation and more depth. I can only see this series getting better with each book, as I follow the characters and get to know them better, as well as seeing how the zombies evolve. If you haven’t started this series yet, then I would urge that you do. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed – a great zombie read....more
This is a "DID NOT FINISH" (DNF), which is why I haven't rated it.
“Coveted” is my first DNF (did not finish). I’ve always made a point of pushing on to the bitter end, even if I wasn’t enjoying a book, even if the book was unremarkable or unimaginative. But there are so many aspects to this book I didn’t like, I made the decision that this time I wouldn’t put myself through it. Hence the DNF.
The blurb about this book really piqued my interest – it states: ‘…inventive and funny new take on the ever-popular urban paranormal genre‘ and ‘Charlaine Harris meets Janet Evanovich‘ (two of my favourite authors). It also says ‘If Stephanie Plum were a werewolf, she’s be something like Nat‘ – umm, no she wouldn’t. The writing nor the characters are anything like Charlaine Harris (Sookie) or Janet Evanovich (Stephanie).
To begin with the main character, Nat Stravinsky, is not a particularly likable character. I wanted to like her I really did. On paper she has everything I love in my heroine, but as I read on I realised she just wasn’t it. Even with all her problems, Nat isn’t very interesting and she comes across as pretty selfish and judgmental.
“…I had an unexpected visitor from New York, Heidi the mermaid stopped by… Every time I saw her, I expected her to look like the legends in books. Long blonde hair, pale, translucent skin. But with bronzed skin, dark red hair and light green eyes, this mermaid in black boots wouldn’t inspire anyone’s bedtime story.”
Really? She sounds inspiring enough to me!
The other instance where I saw this was when she went on a date with Quinton, a work colleague. I understand that being a necromancer and having zombie’s following you about doesn’t make for a very romantic hero, but this guy was nothing but nice to her and yet she just blew him off, even though she was the one who asked him out! Then when he saved her life from a pack of werewolves, all she could think about was herself.
I love characters with quirky personalities, problems, flaws and fault’s. They all make the characters more real and relatable. Anything that fleshes out a character and gives them a wonderful backstory hooks me in every time, if done well of course – Chess Putnam from Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts comes to mind. But in “Coveted” Nat’s condition was just over done. Every page described her obsession with hoarding christmas decorations, and how her house was rammed with boxes filled to the brim with all these little ornaments she called her ‘friends’. She also has a problem dealing with untidiness and nearly had a fit when her friend made her a batch of cookies in her kitchen. This could have been humorous and endearing, even poignant, but there was no depth to Nat’s condition. Nothing she said stirred any emotion within me and it is this aspect to Nat’s personality that I felt wasn’t executed very well and was therefore unconvincing.
But it wasn’t just Nat that had a mental health problem. Everyone I read about seemed to be a neurotic mess. As well as Nat’s obsessive compulsive disorder, her friend Aggie, a high ranking werewolf, is bulimic and has problems with her weight, Abby, a muse to authors, thinks everyone is after her, which makes her fearful and paranoid, and Heidi, the mermaid friend mentioned above, suffers from anxiety and phobia of dark places, preventing her from entering the ocean and seeing her family.
Heidi raised her face to the sun. “So glad to be farther inland. I get the blotchies when the full moon approaches. The tides kick my ass. “Blotchies?” [Nat] She [Heidi] pulled up her tank top to reveal light blue dots that resembled hives along her ribs. Most likely her body’s reaction to anxiety.
Nat isn’t a particularly strong character either. She constantly mentions how she isn’t worthy of Thorn’s affections and basically comes across as a bit of a drip, a wet blanket… Listening to a character self-deprecating incessantly doesn’t make for fun reading. The attraction between Nat and Thorn just wasn’t there for me. They had been an item five years previously and he had just come back into town. Although he left Nat without explanation, she acts like a love sick teenager, hanging on to his every word and their dialogue felt forced and unnatural.
There is no complexity to Nat (as there is with Chess), and if my heroine is going to be given flaws and vulnerabilities, then I must believe in them, or have some sort of emotional reaction to them other than just irritation. Such conditions as Nat’s has to be expertly dealt with for it to be successfully integrated into a genre such as paranormal romance, sadly it wasn’t in this instance.
“Coveted” did not capture or retain my interest. Take away the numerous paragraphs detailing Nat’s OCD and there wasn’t much left to read about. After 110 pages of neuroses, awkward dialogue, non-existent plot and uninspiring romance, I’m afraid I had to call it a day....more
I was really looking forward to reading "The Greatcoat". I was hoping it would be an atmospheric, romantic ghost story, and although very dif2.5 Stars
I was really looking forward to reading "The Greatcoat". I was hoping it would be an atmospheric, romantic ghost story, and although very different, written with the same richness and depth as 'The woman in Black' by Susan Hill (my favourite ghost story of all time). Unfortunately, it didn't really deliver.
"The Greatcoat" is a ghost story set in Yorkshire during the Second World War and the 1950s. It's a strange little novella in that to me it didn't have much of an atmosphere at all, which is what I expect from a ghost story. It wasn't eerie or creepy. I did, however, think the author managed to capture the essence of Yorkshire quite well and I could visualise the house and street where Isabel and Phillip lived.
Isabel and Phillip are married and move into a house with a rather grouchy landlady. Phillip is a doctor and is working long hours, leaving Isabel alone for long periods of time. The house is cold and one evening Isabel finds an old greatcoat, which she uses to keep warm, and thus begins the ghost story...
I felt that all the characters were very superficial, especially Isabel. They didn't have any depth to them and I didn't get to know them at all. Isabel's husband Philip and her lover (and ghost) Alec, were also a bit on the flat side and rather uninteresting. I didn't care about them, which made the reading of this novel slightly hard going. The character that did pique my interest was Mrs Atkinson, the landlady.
The romance between Isabel and Alec just didn't capture my imagination or my heart and unfortunately I didn't become emotionally attached to either of them. Half the time I didn't know who Isabel was and so I couldn't fully invest in their relationship.
Isabel's narrative was difficult to follow as it alternates between her true self and someone else entirely. I think I have an idea what the author was getting at, but ambiguity is not to my taste. There's also a fair amount of repetitiveness with Isabel doing and saying the same things again and again. The structure of the story is also irritating as it jumps about far too much, which made it feel disjointed.
Although I didn't particularly enjoy "The Greatcoat" I continued reading with the hope that the ending would make all the preceding pages worth while, but sadly the ending was abrupt and obscure.
Unfortunately "The Greatcoat" wasn't what I expected, which was disappointing, and the writing style wasn't to my taste. I couldn't connect with the characters or their relationships with each other. However, this is just my personal opinion - you may love it!...more
Autumn is another series which started its life as an online serial. This seems to be an increasing theme happening in zombie fiction at the3.5 Stars
Autumn is another series which started its life as an online serial. This seems to be an increasing theme happening in zombie fiction at the moment. Both the excellent As the World Dies series by Rhiannon Frater and Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux also began their life online.
What I found really compelling about this novel is the fact everything unfolds in what feels like real time. From the very first day when the virus hits we follow the few survivors through their disbelief, anger and fear. It was refreshing to get a complete story rather than just be told that a virus caused the walking dead, but to actually live it alongside the characters as it happens was chilling.
Moody has a brilliant way of building the suspense and tension. At first the virus spreads and the descriptions of hundreds of thousands of deaths was completely terrifying and is one of the best openings I’ve read.
Another noise behind her made Emma look back over her shoulder. The other shopper had collapsed face-first into a display rack, sending loaves of bread, rolls and pastries crashing to the ground. He lay on his back in the middle of the aisle, coughing, holding his throat and writhing in agony.
Outside, there were bodies everywhere. Emma stumbled onto the street, shielding her eyes from the blinding sun. Hundreds of people had fallen around her, and every face she looked into was ashen, each person’s lips bloodied and red. They had all suffocated.
The few survivors then watch as two days later many of the decomposing bodies rise up again. As the story moves forward the zombies who are at first completely harmless begin to change…
There are many different characters we follow, and we view the world through their eyes in a third person narrative. Personally, I much prefer a first person narrative as it’s easier for me to really connect with the characters. I think this is because I get to hear their introspective thoughts. Because this is all third person, I didn’t get to know the characters as much as I would have liked, but I did enjoy reading about them.
The aspect I did have a problem with was that this seemed to be a world without any knowledge of the word zombie or what it symbolised. A world without zombie fiction or movies. And I say this because when the dead started to rise, not one character mentioned zombies, when the dead came at them in hordes, decomposing and yet animated, still nobody mentioned zombies. I appreciate that some authors may prefer not to use the “z” word, trying to create something new, but to me it felt a little strange, as though I was reading about a parallel world but one that had no knowledge of zombies what so ever.
However, I can honestly say that even with the few niggles I had with Autumn I found it very difficult to put down. By the midway point, I was invested in the characters and their story and wanted to know what they were going to do, how they were going to survive and why did all this happen. The climax was heart in throat stuff and I couldn’t wait to pick up book two.
Autumn is a really good zombie novel with a refreshing style that had me captivated. A few issues here and there, but overall a great read and one I would recommend to horror and zombie fans alike. There are lots of questions left unanswered, but that just leads us nicely onto book two, Autumn: The City....more
I love Cecelia Ahern. Her books are filled with warmth, wit and intelligence. THE TIME OF MY LIFE is a beautifully written, contemporary story with aI love Cecelia Ahern. Her books are filled with warmth, wit and intelligence. THE TIME OF MY LIFE is a beautifully written, contemporary story with a pinch of fantasy and a sprinkling of magic. It’s poignant and thought-provoking as well as funny and light-hearted. As with all of Ahern’s novels, THE TIME OF MY LIFE had me captivated and I didn’t want to put it down. This was definitely a fabulous holiday read.
It’s an original and heartwarming tale of life and how we take it for granted. How we plod through our existence without really taking note of who and what is around us, getting increasingly introspective and isolated from society, and fundamentally, family.
Meet Lucy, our heroine. She is a very likeable character with a great, snarky personality. An ordinary girl with an ordinary job, a small unassuming apartment, a knackered old car and a stray cat that she’s somehow adopted. Her life is filled with going to work, seeing her friends, and family dinners. A seemingly normal life, just like most of us. But although from the outside Lucy’s life seems full to the brim with friends and family, what’s really going on within is a sad tale of misunderstandings, family drama, and a broken heart.
The format of the book starts with Lucy telling us about her life. But as she’s telling it, it sounds utterly perfect, until she utters the last sentence: “ok, I lied.” This happens quite a few times and so we begin to get the feeling that Lucy lies a lot. To her family, to her friends, to pretty much any one she meets. It’s a habit, and she can’t seem to break it. But Lucy doesn’t really notice she’s doing it any more she’s been doing it for so long, basically since the moment her boyfriend left her three years ago. The story of Lucy’s life is given to us slowly and we begin to understand what she’s all about.
There is also a little romance, that is hindered by Lucy’s ex and we see her struggle with old and new feelings. Most of us girls have been there and I could relate to Lucy and what she was going through. In fact most of Lucy’s life I could identify with, and that’s what made THE TIME OF MY LIFE so readable and the characters so likeable.
As for Life, he was a little different to what I was expecting. For a start it was a “he” and thought that Life would be the same gender as the character, but this just gave the story a nice twist. I did think when beginning this book that I would find it difficult to believe that Life was a person and that the world knows that sometimes people get a letter from their life requesting an appointment. But after a while I just accepted it and sank myself into Ahern’s gorgeous prose. Life is actually a great character. The banter between Life and Lucy is at times hysterical and at other times moving.
Lucy’s friends are a great bunch, and you can see that they care for her very much, but as with everything else in her life, Lucy keeps them at arms length. Some of the scenes with Lucy and her friends reminded me of the film Bridget Jones, the characters have the same quirky nature that makes you love each and every one of them.
I’m not going to go into detail about the plot or storyline as there’s so many twists and turns along the way I don’t want to spoil it, but suffice to say, the book was a delight to read.
Another great read from one of my favourite authors. Warm, funny, witty and oh so clever, THE TIME OF MY LIFE is a treat and I would urge you all to read it....more
SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED is the second book in Madeleine Roux’s Zombie series, and as with Allison Hewitt is Trapped I was drawn into the sto3.5 Stars
SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED is the second book in Madeleine Roux’s Zombie series, and as with Allison Hewitt is Trapped I was drawn into the story from pretty much the first chapter. There’s a fair amount of action, emotional and romantic elements, and of course zombies.
However, it did take a while for it to feel like a zombie book. There isn’t much zombie action until at least 100 pages in and even then it is only small pockets of zombie action. I wish there was more. Allison Hewitt is Trapped is full to the brim with zombieness, and combined with the human aspect, was perfectly balanced. Unfortunately SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED isn’t quite so balanced, and therefore didn’t rock my socks off. However, it was still a really good read.
Sadie is looking after her nephew, Shane, since her sister, Kat and her husband were killed. He’s everything she’s got and she feels the weight of this on her shoulders and takes bringing him up seriously. In a world full of zombies, you’d think that the united fear and loathing of these creatures would pull everyone together, but you’d be wrong. There are still evil people doing evil things and unfortunately she finds out she’s dating one of them. He kidnaps her nephew for cash and tries to sell him to another couple while their town’s borders are breached with thousands of zombies. Luckily Sadie and her friend manage to find her nephew, where upon they all board a small boat to escape the ever growing zombie horde and head out to sea.
Sadie’s worry at being a good ‘parent’ plays on her mind a lot, which I found endearing at first. But she constantly proclaims how bad she is at it and keeps apologising to her nephew for being such a failure. This got irritating after a while. As well as not being good for her nephew to hear, she doesn’t do anything particularly wrong and so I couldn’t really understand where she was coming from, and I found myself just getting annoyed at all her self declarations of bad parenting.
Shane is very quiet and hardly speaks. I thought it was down to losing his parents, the zombies etc and that we would see his character grow as the story moved along, but it didn’t. He doesn’t engage in much conversation, with Sadie or the others in the group, although he does enjoy looking at the drawings Sadie’s does for him. However, he doesn’t really act like a young boy and most of the time sits about staring. The descriptions of his actions, facial expressions and mannerisms made me feel that maybe he is slightly autistic.
Sadie wasn’t as strong a character as Allison Hewitt. She isn’t very consistent and is all over the place. One minute a frightened women who relies on others to protect her and her nephew, and the next minute acting like Lara Croft, brandishing a bow and arrow and heading off into unknown forests to look for food only to, predictably, come upon a few zombies.
There is also a bit too much repetition too. There was a lot of Sadie goes to sleep only to be woken by something bad. I think I counted four times this technique was used and for me this is too much.
There is a lot right with this book too. There are a few really good stand out characters, and the romantic element, although not as moving and poignant as Allison Hewitt, is nice. The action scenes that are present are fast-paced and exciting.
There is one particular scene that is really chilling. Sadie is taking a much needed bath in the Sea, she is enjoying it until the inevitable happens:
“Okay,” I said after less than a minute of splashing around, “I need to get out…. preferably now, before the blood freezes in my veins.”
The railing above me was awfully quiet. I glanced up. Andrea was gone, nowhere to be found. She had taken Shane with her. “Son of a bitch,” I shouted. “This isn’t funny! Andrea! Andrea? Shane?”
There was a commotion on the other side of the boat, shrieking and screaming and the sound of arms beating the water. My heart sank like a lead ball to my numb little toes.
Something was in the water.
Here’s one thing I’m now damn certain of: being chased by water zombies around a boat can turn a landlubber like me into Michael fucking Phelps on steroids. I didn’t look back, knowing I might catch a glimpse of one of the undead coming for me…
Each of my clumsy strokes was punctuated with a girlish squeak of hysteria. A thin rope ladder swung back and forth, just a few yards ahead. Moritz, bless his heart, was already over the edge of the ladder, waiting for me to get close. He was just in time. Something unnaturally strong tugged on my ankle, hard, nearly pulling me under.
After a while at sea, and a few scary moments, the survivors find themselves an island. They are not alone… Things move along at a much better pace from this moment and there is even an interesting mystery element that I actually couldn’t work out, which was refreshing. New characters are introduced, and so is Sadie’s love interest. There’s a couple of predictable, stereotypical characters too, including the bitch from hell, a glamour puss, and the weak one. But there are also rivalries and jealousies, as well as tender moments, so all in all an interesting bunch.
Although I had a few issues with SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED and didn’t find it as compelling and emotional as Allison Hewitt is Trapped, overall I really enjoyed it. I hope there will be more to come from Madeleine Roux and her Zombie series....more
**Warning – may contain spoilers, read at your own risk!**
“Siege” is a bittersweet end to an amazing trilogy. Frater isn’t afraid to shock her readers by killing off certain main characters. This book was littered with the bodies of characters I’d come to know and love.
The Fort and it’s residents have to deal with so much, from the violence of the military and government, to thousands of zombies descending upon their beloved home.
As usual there’s plenty of action, which moves the story along at a high pace. I really enjoy Frater’s writing style and she always manages to pull me into her zombie world from the outset.
There isn’t as much of Jenni and Katie in this instalment as in previous books as we get to see the world from the perspective of many of the secondary characters as well. Although I enjoyed reading about the other characters, I did miss Jenni and Katie and wish the book had more from their view point. However, each character is so interesting it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book.
There are, however, two aspects of “Siege” that didn’t sit well with me. The first one was the introduction of ghosts. I realise this is a novel about zombies, but I need to believe what is happening to my character’s and the world which surrounds them. Frater does this beautifully. However, the ghost aspect of the plot didn’t really work for me. What was possibly just a sign of Jenni’s madness in the previous novels became reality in this one and it gave the story a slightly unrealistic, and dare I say it, silliness, which made me uncomfortable, as I love this series SO much.
The second aspect was a life-changing incident that although didn’t shock me, as I had my suspicions it was coming, it did sadden me to the core. One of the main characters dies!! It wasn’t that this particular character died that upset me, as I think it was a gutsy and brave decision by the author, but that the character made the choice to die even though they had loved ones back at the Fort who depended on them, and it just seemed so out of character. I really want to go into my reasons more but it would be a huge spoiler, so I’ll refrain.
The pace picks up speed as it reaches it’s conclusion, lots of tension, action and suspense. And the death of certain characters linger.
I can still visualise the Fort in detail, the surrounding countryside littered with hungry zombies, the residents of the Fort, and of course Katie and Jenni.
Although there doesn’t look as though there will be any future instalments featuring these two amazing, strong female heroines, they have made such an impression on me that I will remember them for a very long time indeed.
I’m very sad to say goodbye…
A bittersweet end to an amazing trilogy – I’ve loved these books, the characters, the world, and Frater’s exciting writing style. Definitely three of the best zombie novels in the genre today and a series I would recommend without hesitation....more
"Royal Street" slowly sucked me in. The first 100 pages did take a while to get going, but the tension building as well aJoint Review - 3.5 Stars
"Royal Street" slowly sucked me in. The first 100 pages did take a while to get going, but the tension building as well as the inclusion of a real life natural disaster was cleverly done.
Set in New Orleans just as hurricane Katrina is about to hit, many chapters are prefaced with a real-life news headlines from the disaster. This should of made me feel uneasy, but I thought it was an interesting and powerful writing technique. This combined with the inclusion of the local's belief that Katrina was going to amount to nothing gave me chills.
"...the weather guys always freak everybody out and then the storms pass us by."
Then, after those first 100 pages though, I was totally addicted! It was one of those books where I just NEEDED to know what was going to happen next! As a consequence, I found myself sneaking in pages when I shouldn't have been. Obsessively devouring the pages until I ended up finishing it in less than a day.
Our heroine is Drusilla Jaco (DJ) a junior wizard and deputy sentinel for New Orleans. In the opening scene we see her tricking notorious ghost and rogue pirate Lafitte back to the beyond. Which set up very quickly some great characterisation. As well as plenty of supernatural creatures, Johnson also writes in some clever 'real-life' ghosties including Jean Lafitte, Louis Armstrong and Marie Laveau. She certainly has a sense of humour.
"Royal Street" is a really well written debut. I enjoyed Johnson's writing style, it's smooth, easy to read, and I loved the descriptions of New Orleans. I totally agree with Laura in that the descriptions of hurricane Katrina and the devastation she caused were excellently written and I could see, smell and hear everything through Johnson's words.
I found for the first few chapters I zoomed along and thought they were very exciting and pulled me into the story with ease.
And with an opening such as this, I was definitely intrigued.
A secluded Louisiana bayou. A sexy pirate. Seduction and deceit. My Friday afternoon had the makings of a great romantic adventure, at least in my theory.
Nothing about the pirate looked safe. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had dark-blue eyes and a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth as he watched me set two glasses and a bottle of dark rum on a rickety wooden table. A tanned, muscular chest peeked from his open collar, and shaggy dark hair framed a clean-shaven face. A jagged scar across his jaw reminded me the so-called gentleman pirate also had his ruthless side.
Ok, so who's with me in thinking this pirate sounds sexy and dangerous? Perfect combo!
I was hoping for the same with this novel... thinking this could possibly be one hell of an urban fantasy. However, after a while the pace started to lag and "Royal Street" lost all its momentum.
The story read like a supernatural mystery. As DJ returns to New Orleans post Katrina devastation, she is set the task of finding her missing mentor Gerry and also becomes involved in what looks like a Voodoo serial killer case.
Having only watched the devastation of Katrina through my TV screen, it was gut-wrenching and poignant watching it retold by a writer who had witnessed the events first-hand. Even if it was wrapped up in an urban fantasy novel.
As she's only a deputy, against her wishes and much to her consternation DJ gets assigned an FBI partner - Alex. This is where things started to get interesting! Alex is a whole load of yum, as his cousin Jake whom we meet shortly after.
There is chemistry between them in spades and plenty of snappy banter.
' "The fight wasn't over," I said through gritted teeth. "I'd have won it." Probably. "Right," he said. "And something just flew past your window. It was oinking." '
The mystery is paced nicely, I certainly didn't have time to get bored! Mixed in with the spicy chemistry and some painful self discoveries for DJ the book really is a page turner. It also pulls together some strong and powerfully portrayed emotion, from grief and tragedy to jealousy and attraction. I felt each in the pit of my stomach. Which is all accentuated by the fact that DJ is an empath.
I agree with Laura, in that the mystery aspect to the story was good. There was a little twist I didn't see coming with regards to DJ's mentor and boss, Gerry. I liked the twists and turns along the way, which kept me reading.
I also liked the addition of DJ being an empath as well as a green congress wizard ('the geeks of the magical world, hell on rituals and potions but always last to get picked for wizard dodgeball, so to speak'). It gave her depth that she would have otherwise lacked.
Ah yes there was a definite geekish quality about her, which is always a good thing in my opinion! It was actually the characters that made this story for me. DJ is a great heroine. I wasn't sure if at first I was going to find her a bit lacking in the butt-kicking department. I wanted her to have some slightly better powers, her ritual magic seemed to be lacking on the cool side. But as the book develops I fell for her ingenuity, sense of honour and resilience.
I thought I had become bored of love triangles, feeling that with recent trends particularly in YA, they had been done to death. So this one totally took me by surprise and I loved it! Both heroes are dark, handsome and broody yet individual in their own way. I also found that, again to my surprise, I didn't have a favourite. It gripped me in a way that I was desperate to see how it concludes, my heart breaking for the guy who doesn't succeed. Sadly I think I may have a few books to wait yet!
Interestingly, like Carolyn I did fall for Lafitte and his super dark sexiness, but I was more drawn into the Alex and Jake love story. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about a human/ghost love story.
After such a great opening with the cheeky, undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, who also oozed sex appeal and fun, I was anticipating a wild ride, well in the romantic department anyway. Unfortunately, Lafitte, wasn't actually in the book very much at all and I felt that one of the most interesting characters wasn't given enough page time.
When Alex, a hunky FBI agent, was introduced I thought, I can see a potential love triangle happening - a sexy agent and an undead pirate makes it very interesting indeed, but then along comes Jake (Alex's cousin). For me, this is way too many potential love interests in a first book of a new series. I can just about deal with a love triangle, but a love square - overkill.
That being said, all three men are gorgeous ;)
DJ is a witty, interesting, and occasionally, feisty character, with an intriguing backstory. So with such great characteristics why didn't I love her? Well, she just didn't stand out enough for me. With so many strong urban fantasy heroine's in the urban fantasy genre, I felt she wasn't strong enough a character. Along with a slow pace there's also not enough action - I was hoping that DJ and Alex would kick some serious butt, but unfortunately nothing much happened.
Also, DJ's relationships with Alex and Jake are formed far too quickly. Within a matter of days both men are vying for her attention and DJ is undecided which of the two guys she likes the most. And that's not forgetting the sexy pirate (who I seriously hope has more of a role in the next book).
Lastly, I just have to mention Charlie, DJ's magical staff that follows her around, I hope we see more of him, (it?) too ;)
Overall I absolutely loved this book. I was very close to giving it a 9 and I plan to buy book two as soon as it's released. There's nothing more exciting than a new series that completely hooks you in! "Royal Street" will be going on to my favourite urban fantasy shelf.
Oh and I forgot to mention the staff, I want to see more of Charlie too! ;-)
RATING: 8/10 - Brilliant, couldn't put it down, leaning towards a 9
"Royal Street" was an enjoyable read, although not a stand out urban fantasy for me. There's potentially a great cast of characters, especially with rascal pirate, Lafitte, which I hope will be further developed in 'River Road' the next book in the series.
It was with eager anticipation that I opened my copy of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC I’d read all three in the series back to back lJoint Review - 3.5 Stars
It was with eager anticipation that I opened my copy of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC I’d read all three in the series back to back last year, my love of the series growing with each book. Chess and Terrible are such unorthodox characters, that each time I enter their lives I want to applaud Kane on her guts to be different and her vivid characterisation.
Maybe I was just too excited to pick it up, but it actually took me a while to sink back into. The Downside speak which had seemed so natural before took me a while to get back into its rhythm. I was desperately eager to see more of Chess and Terrible after the events of City Of Ghosts and it seemed I was going to have to be left waiting. Waiting, longer than I hoped to be honest with the narrative focusing initially on Chess’s investigation rather than the love life that had me eagerly turning pages before. It wasn’t what I would call a slow start, but at the same time it was a start that left me wanting.
I also read the first three books back to back and loved them all SO much. After City of Ghosts I couldn’t wait to get my hands on SACRIFICIAL MAGIC. But like Laura, when I eventually received a copy and began reading I found it difficult to sink back into the Downside world, speak and characters, and yes, even Chess and Terrible. It took me until about half way through the book to finally find my rhythm. I will admit that my first thoughts were, ok so this is a bit of a let down.
The reason being is that Kane left me totally spent and in bits after City of Ghosts, and I suppose I wanted to literally begin this book where the last one ended. Instead I got Chess, doing her job, getting rid of ghosts, with no real thoughts on what had happened previously. It was as though Kane had purposefully decided not to mention Chess and Terrible, and make us wait. And wait we did… I also had a few issues with Chess that I just couldn’t shake off as I read the book.
Once more Chess is torn between her job for the church and her complicated relationship with her drug dealer Bump. Left investigating a dark magic ritual murder for Bump and a haunting in a Warehouse in the other side of town, and of course Lex’s father Slobag’s territory. She knows it could cause her a whole world of trouble. The different elements in Chess’s life seem to be becoming more and more disparate as she desperately tries to juggle her job, her addiction, her love life and her friendship with Lex. It was exhausting watching her do it and at times oh so painful.
The mystery element of the plot was great, I cannot fault Kane’s writing here. It was tight, twisty and kept me guessing. There were times I had no idea how it was going to end and the suspense and ghosts were chilling. Just like Chess’s life it also really crystalised the difference between life in Downside and the Church. There are developments in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC that will also have shocking consequences for the rest of the series.
Kane’s writing is tight and descriptive, and keeps me on my toes, whether with the mystery aspect to the plot or the relationship dynamics. The mystery is great as always, but this time I felt as though it was definitely the focus of the novel rather than the characters and their relationships. Not a bad thing as this is categorised as an urban fantasy, but considering Chess and Terrible were such a huge part of the first three books, I did feel as though this novel had taken a different turn, which is probably why I felt a little cheated when we didn’t get much of Chess and Terrible until later in the book.
I’m really not quite sure what happened to Chess is this book. We all know she has problems, her addictions a part of what makes this series so appealing and unusual. But she seemed to lose sense of herself. She became whiny and full of self doubt. I wanted to give her a good old shake. At one stage she went on a complete kamikaze ride of destruction leading to a brutal scene between her and Terrible I could hardly bear to read. Oh it was so painful. But at the same time it really didn’t need to happen. I think Kane was trying to demonstrate just how volatile and on the edge Chess really is. She is a drug addict for a reason is she not? But I hate to say it, but she just ended up irritating me. I hope after the final scenes of the novel that in the next book we can see a new, wiser Chess.
As previously mentioned I had a few issues with Chess, especially with regards to some of the decisions she makes. With everything that has gone on between Chess, Terrible and Lex, I thought she would have the sense to stay away from Lex for a bit. But the moment she chooses to agree to see Lex in his bedroom, I knew that things wouldn’t end well. Nothing happens between them, but Chess feels she needs to tell Terrible to keep things out in the open. There were pages of Chess thinking and analysing, and instead of getting an insight into Chess, she just annoyed me. The way she acts is desperate, which I suppose she is, but I wanted her to have grown a bit more, gotten a little stronger, it is book four after all.
I could have forgiven her for going into Lex’s bedroom, as nothing happened, but then she goes and does the most stupid thing when Lex kisses her by surprise – she kisses him back!!!! OMG Chess! You have Terrible. HAVE. Don’t throw it all away! I know people are attracted to other people sometimes when they are in relationships, but the fact Chess’s relationship with Terrible is new and exciting and HOT, why on earth would she feel the need or even want to kiss Lex. This disappointed me. Chess disappointed me. And I hated it.
Then we had to go through all the anxiety of having to tell Terrible, again, but this time it’s about something that did happen – the kiss, and how sorry she is.. yadyada. I’m not sure I could trust her again if I was Terrible. I get that she’s messed up. She’s had a shitty past and she has to take drugs just to get through each day. But she’s an adult now, and the choices she makes are hers alone. I’m looking forward to the day when she realises that. I’m looking forward to seeing Chess tell herself NO to another pill. To being strong, to knowing and believing she’s worth something, deserves Terrible’s love, and not keep on self-sabotaging her relationships because she thinks it’s only a matter of time before it ends anyway *breathes*
Oh yes don’t get me started on the whole Lex thing! Why oh why did she keep going back to him?! Argh! I had more than a few teeth grinding moments. As I said before Chess did seem to be on a bit of a self destruct mission in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC. It was evident she did not believe she deserved happiness, so set about destroying all chances of that herself. Will we ever see a clean Chess? I’m really not sure we will. But there were times reading the book where I thought to myself if the romance ends up going the way it seems to be I’m going to be very tempted to throw the book out the window.
However, there were some lovely, tender moments. Chess and Terrible are a thrilling couple, when they are working together I love them so much. I love that Terrible accepts her for who she is drugs and all. They are unusual and goose shiveringly good. But there just did not seem to be enough of them together in the book. I know it’s not a romance series, but their relationship really is the core of what got me addicted to Kane’s writing. I kept flicking through pages with a frown thinking when are we going to see more of Terrible? The book focused a little too much on Chess’s investigation and not enough on the romance in my opinion.
There are a few sweet moments between Chess and Terrible, I agree, unfortunately they are too few and far between for my liking. Their unique relationship has me totally captivated. When they are together I forget everything around me and I’m totally absorbed in their lives, even when it’s a train wreck. They are also a couple I haven’t come across before in any other urban fantasy series I’ve read, which makes them all the more special and exciting. I can’t wait for more Chess and Terrible in Chasing Magic.
There were times when Chess did drive me a little crazy in this book, but I’m still a big fan of this series and would definitely recommend it to urban fantasy lovers. Chess and Terrible are unorthodox, infuriating, exasperating, but… completely absorbing. I do hope we see a bit more of them in Chasing Magic.
As with all preceding books, SACRIFICIAL MAGIC had my emotions all over the place. Kane has an emense talent at pulling my heart in all directions. Terrible is such a sexy untraditional hero, and I love that he loves Chess for who she is, drug addict and all, it’s just sad that Chess can’t see that too. Their romance, however, is one of the most intense, stressful but beautiful I’ve ever read, and although I have some issues with Chess in this instalment, she and Terrible are still two of my favourite characters and couples in urban fantasy fiction, and this series is still one of the best. ...more
Although Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison has been out in the US for some time now, its UK release from Piatkus was 3rd of May 2012. If like me, you loveAlthough Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison has been out in the US for some time now, its UK release from Piatkus was 3rd of May 2012. If like me, you love a paranormal romance that has a great meaty story along side great romance and fabulously hot, sexy scenes, then you're in for a treat. Dragon Bound is just brilliant - I didn't want to put it down or for the story to end.
One thing I will add is that although I love the UK cover, I don't like the use of a brunette model, as Pia is blonde. I do hate it when covers don't match the story or characters - a big pet peeve of mine!
Pia Giovanni is half-human and half-Wyr and has been protected for most of her life by her mother. She was taught to blend in with society so nobody knows what she is. But after being blackmailed by her ex-boyfriend and stealing from Dragos Cuelebre, the most powerful Wyr dragon, her life has been turned upside down and she goes on the run. Unfortunately for her (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), she doesn't get very far and is caught by Dragos.
This is the story of their journey but also contains a little mystery as well. The world building is really great and I enjoyed being in the world of the Wyrkind. As well as the gorgeous Dragon, there are also other supernaturals such as dark and light Fae and goblins (who are horrible creatures), which gives the world a richness that was easy for me to completely immerse myself into.
Pia and Dragos are complex characters, which as a character driven reader is just heaven. Pia is strong but vulnerable, sometimes acts on impulses that get her into trouble, but I loved that about her. It made her more human. Although through her internal thoughts and her dialogue you could hear she was terrified of Dragos at first, thinking that he is going to kill her, she still has fire in her which makes you admire her. Sometimes she tells Dragos off like a little boy and it was so endearing and funny. Many times she brought a smile to my lips.
Dragos reminded me of the Beast in Beauty in the Beast. Very gruff at first and slightly confused by this beautiful woman. He doesn't know what to say or how to act, it just makes you fall in love with him, even when he's being obnoxious and difficult.
But as their relationship grows so does Dragos. Pia helps him understand and to become more patient and compassionate. To think before acting, and to say please...
Raveled around their very intense love affair a rageing war is imminent. Wyrkind has sparated from the Fae and the Fae King has a powerful dislike of Dragos which is totally mutual. There are a few twists and turns, one being Pia and Dragos captured by goblins. There is a scene where Pia is beaten terribly and it really pulls at the heart strings, especially when she's still a trooper and doesn't just curl up and wait to die but fights for life instead.
A really fabulous start to a new paranormal romance series, which I cannot wait to continue. Wonderful characters with a strong but vulnerable heroine and a sexy as hell dragon, this is a book you definitely do not want to miss!...more