'Killing Kiss' is the story of Gabriele, a Seventeenth Century vampire, and a Manchester University student. It...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
'Killing Kiss' is the story of Gabriele, a Seventeenth Century vampire, and a Manchester University student. It is a dark, and somewhat edgy book.
Gabriele is entirely alone in the world since he was accidentally turned into a vampire, and then abandoned by his maker. He lives in the outskirts of society.
To keep his existence under the radar he only allows himself one feed a year. The choosing of each year's victim is an all consuming and important task for Gabriele. He seduces and stalks the woman like the serial killer that he is. That woman always has the same characteristics. She is dark, slim, quiet, reserved and a virgin.
It is very difficult to turn a human into a vampire and no-one knows why one person survives and another dies. So every year Gabriele chooses carefully, and every year devastatingly, she dies. He would know, he has four hundred trophies to remind himself.
This year is unlike any other, he has chosen his prey and has begun stalking her with single minded determination. But, this year something distracts him. A beautiful and curvaceous woman called Lilly, who has every male student on campus panting. Of course she is not Gabriele's type. Gabriele has already chosen the dark haired Carolyn who fits his requirements perfectly.
However, despite hundreds of years of planning and control, Gabriele quickly discovers it only takes one small action to disrupt even the best laid plans. It comes in the shape on a simple spiked drink and suddenly everything changes.
The story is mixed in equal parts with Gabriele or Jay's, as he is known currently, life in the modern day and his reflections of his past. As his thinks about how he became a vampire and his life since. The women he's loved and killed, some even his wives. He takes us on a macabre and occasionally desolate journey.
When I first started the book I struggled to engage with Gabriele. Instead of coming across as a dark, sexy and gothic hero, initially he seems more like a horny, teenage boy. There's something sleazy about his pursuit of the innocent Carolyn that was not only sinister, but made my skin crawl. But on reflection, I think this was perhaps the author's intended effect.
I can't really talk about them without throwing in some spoilers which I'm reluctant to do, but there were a few things in the narrative that made me feel uncomfortable. In particular an unexpected revelation towards the end. But, again even as I think about it, I think this is on purpose. It is meant to set the reader slightly on edge and to break stereotypical moulds. To make this an unusual and deliberately different vampire novel.
This book is deceptively compelling. Like that alcoholic drink you shouldn't like but can't resist having just one more of. It is a purposely different, contemporary horror. And I find I am curious despite myself, to know where the author takes it next.(less)
With her blue hair and black baggy clothes, Philomena, or Fil to her friends is not you...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 7/10 on the blog.
With her blue hair and black baggy clothes, Philomena, or Fil to her friends is not your typical heroine.
Living with her best mate Jim, Fil's life is simple and just how she wants it. She has three great friends and her dream job working as an illustrator for the comic 'Girl From Mars'.
Then one night the sanctity of their foursome and the latest X-Files marathon is rocked. One of her friends had the audacity to go and fall in love. Completely taking the group by surprise the revelation shakes up Fil and the remaining two friends. Will their group ever be the same?
An amusing night and a few too many drinks later the remaining two friends: Fil, Digger and Jim take a vow to never date or fall in love. Thus keeping the group and their lives the same forever.
Then enter a new writer to Fil's most beloved 'Girl From Mars' who decides that it's time the comic had a shake up too and Fil is aghast. The Girl From Mars cannot fall in love too can she? You see, her job is more than a vocation for Fil, as far as she's concerned in many respects she is the Girl from Mars.
I had a debate when I began to write this review about what genre to classify this book as. Officially it's classed as Romance, but at times it very much reminded me much more of a chick lit novel. It clearly has a strong romance story running throughout, but Fil's relationship with her friends and the sub plots surrounding them are equally important as the main love story.
Fil is a really funny character and I loved her rag tag group of X-Files, and Dungeons and Dragons loving friends. Enjoying the fact that this book deliberately avoided a lot of the clichés it could easily have fallen into.
Another important thing to note about this book is don't be fooled by the cool Sci-Fi looking cover. Other than the fact that Fil is an illustrator for a Sci-Fi comic, there is nothing science fiction related about the plot at all. Which I found a bit disappointing.
The book looks at the role of your friends as you grow up and those pivotal moments that change your friendships forever. Everyone can remember your first friend to get a boyfriend, the first to get married and the first to have a child. And while those changes to the group dynamic are irrevocable, true friendships adapt and grow stronger.
This is a really fun book, it's a tongue in cheek romp that good naturedly delights in the somewhat geeky antics of Fil and her friends.
However, while it became evident two thirds of the way through the book I wasn't going to get my wish, I couldn't help but think that Fil had ended up with the wrong guy. And would of loved to see how the book would of concluded if she had chosen her other suitor.
This book is an entertaining romantic comedy that comic book lovers will enjoy.
This book has its bases covered, from the will they, won't they story line, to the romantic love triangle and the much coveted happy ending.
Personally, I was just hoping for a different one. (less)
The cover of this book is oddly deceiving. When I first looked at it, I wasn't sure if...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 7/10 on the blog.
The cover of this book is oddly deceiving. When I first looked at it, I wasn't sure if the book would be for me. As it looked a little bit too YA for my taste. How could I be so wrong?
This book is hilarious! Full on, laugh out loud funny. It's like a cross between Harry Potter and Mean Girls meets Sabrina.
Sophie is a witch. Having never met her father, she has been raised by her human mother and has had no magical education. But when one spell too many goes wrong, she is sent to Hecate (Hex) Hall. A reform, boarding school for magical children. She's never even met another witch before, let alone shape-shifters and faeries.
Hex Hall is like a baptism of fire. Firstly she's nearly attacked by a werwolf and then she's roomed with the only vampire and outcast of the school. If that isn't bad enough, there's the beautiful, coven led by Elodie who seem to have it in for her.
Archer Cross is Elodie's boyfriend and let me briefly say *swoon*. Archer is an interestingly complex character and Sophie can't help her feelings for him although she knows nothing can come of it.
Interwoven amidst the magic fun is a great sinister mystery with pupils falling victim to a malevolent and dark force. Suddenly, Sophie needs to face up to family's past as she begins to realise who she really is.
Sophie is a great character and it's easy to engage and go on her journey with her. You find yourself willing her to succeed. I totally loved Jenna, the vampire obsessed with pink! The alone was enough to endear me to her.
This isn't a complex novel, it's an easy read and maybe at times a little predictable. But all the characters are well rounded and engaging. The mystery was tantalising and kept the pages turning and it had a great twist at the end.
A light, fun read that I read in the space of a day. It is undoubtedly aimed at a young adult audience, but this didn't affect my enjoyment at all. I would say it is a book for all ages. The book had a brilliant ending that left me wanting for more. The second book in the series is already on my wish list. (less)
I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Poison Throne'. The lead character is Wynter. She returns hom...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 7/10 on the blog.
I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Poison Throne'. The lead character is Wynter. She returns home after several years of travelling and succeeding in a man's trade, working as her father's carpentry apprentice. She is looking forward to seeing her childhood friends Prince Alberon, heir to the throne, and Razi the King's bastard son. However, as soon as she and her father arrive at the Kingdom gates it because evident that things have changed in their years of absence, the atmosphere is tense and something is very wrong.
The King, a previously genial and kind man has become a cruel dictator. The King's son and heir, Alberon is missing, declared a traitor, and her dear friend Razi is named the new successor despite his reluctance and public outcry.
The King, unwilling to listen is ruling through fear and violence. The only man he seems to listen to is Wynter's father. But Wynter's father is seriously ill, a condition they must keep secret from the rest of the court.
When Wynter is reconciled with Razi she is introduced to his new companion and best friend Christopher. Aside from his promiscuity, Wynter is suspicious of Christopher and Razi's relationship. Razi's deep, unquestioning trust of Christopher gives Wynter cause for concern.
This is a story of dark secrets and dangerous political games. Amidst violence, fear and games she really doesn't understand Wynter is left with some very difficult decisions. How can she choose between her dying father, her best friend and saving the Kingdom?
The plot of the story is very difficult to explain both because it is very detailed, but also for fear that I may give too much away.
What really makes this book is the characters and their relationships with one another. Wynter's warm and loving relationship with her father, her deep bond with Razi and her confusion and desperation to help those she cares for. Wynter is a determined and brave heroine you cannot help to admire. Each of the characters are complex and rounded. With as many flaws as they have strengths and this is what makes the story so engaging.
One thing to note, is that while I know this book is the first of a trilogy, it is most definitely written as one of three and does not stand-alone on its own. You finish the last page ready to grasp for the next book. It is also advertised as a young adult novel, but despite Wynter being a teenage girl, it reads very much like an adult story.
This book sucks you in with its rich characters and intrigue. The 512 pages whizz by at the speed of a much shorter book. It's not what I would call action packed, the lure of the story is the mystery as to what has caused the darkness that is spreading through the Kingdom, and at the heart of it the love and friendships that fight to survive. (less)
'Original Sin' is a black and white tale of good versus evil. The main character is Moira, the daughter of Fiona...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
'Original Sin' is a black and white tale of good versus evil. The main character is Moira, the daughter of Fiona, a dark and powerful black witch. Seven years ago, Moira escaped her mother's evil coven and found sanctuary in The Order of St Michaels, a worldwide group of monasteries dedicated to fighting evil.
Despite escaping, Moira has never found peace. Trained by the monastery to be a warrior, she is a dedicated servant to their fight. The problem is the daughter of a powerful witch, is also a witch. And magic and the use of magic of any kind is evil and corrupts. So Moira has never found acceptance from St Michaels with the exception of from one elderly priest: Father Phillip. Leaving her very alone and often frustrated and angry.
But St Michaels needs Moira, Fiona's coven has been growing in power its evil spreading. They are performing some of the darkest rituals and releasing some of the most powerful demons and magic from the underworld, and Father Phillip believes that Moira is one of the few people that can stop her.
As part of their mission, The Order take in young orphaned boys often with a calling to the greater cause, and train and nurture them. Be it as a warrior, a demonologist or a priest. There is a calling for them all.
Rafe was one of these boys, a man now, he is yet to find his calling. The monastery in Santa Monica where he lived was attacked by the coven several months ago, and everyone in it was killed except him, leaving Rafe in a coma ever since.
As the book opens the coven are performing one of their most deadliest rituals yet, and unleash a terror onto earth that hasn't been seen since Adam and Eve were alive.
I have to confess I struggled with this book. The premise of the novel seemed fantastic, and I was really interested in reading it. But there were three really big problems with it for me.
The first is the characterisation and the number of characters. The book is written in the third person, which isn't a problem at all. But, it swaps character point of view very regularly, more than once a chapter. If this had been between two or three characters or even four this would of been fine, but it was so many characters that it became very difficult to keep track, particularly at the beginning. Because of this the plot became a mash of characters, that made it a very confusing read. It also means that the characterisation even for the main characters was quite shallow and a lot of assumptions seem to have been made.
While Moira is definitely the main protagonist and is the most rounded of them all. There are at least seven other characters that take up the narrative regularly and this excludes various perspectives from people in the town who take up the story just once or twice.
You don't get any real understanding of who they are which makes it very difficult to identify with them. Moira is often quite terse & snappy and her dialogue switches rapidly from inquisitive to churlish without any explanation as to why, meaning the flow of the dialogue is not as good as it could be. I wanted to understand Moira, but I found that I just couldn't.
Two of the other main characters are Anthony a demonologist who is in a relationship with the local Deputy Sheriff Skye. Anthony has been raised by St Michaels and wholly distrusts and dislikes Moira because of her past. But Anthony and Skye lead to my second criticism the book, which is its reference to past events. Anthony and Skye are as important as main characters in the novel as Moira. They met and fell in love when Anthony came to help after the monastery in Santa Monica was destroyed. This event is referred to regularly in the novel and has such importance to the narrative that it feels like this is the second book in the series and you've missed the first. I kept wondering what exactly had happened and why. How had such an unlikely couple as Anthony and Skye fallen in love and how had Rafe ended up in a coma. While this is explained loosely, it felt like parts of the story were missing.
In fact in parts I got so confused as to what was going on and at the lack of explanation as to why characters were feeling or behaving in a certain way, that if I'm honest if I had not committed to review this book, I would have probably given up on it.
Finally and thirdly is the love story. I liked Rafe, Moira's love interest, probably the most out of all the characters. But, while I have not gone and taken count, at a guess I would say that Moira and Rafe were in no more than ten chapters together (there are forty one in the novel overall). So there was little time for the author to build any chemistry between them let alone a smouldering love scene. I have seen this book classified as a paranormal romance, personally I don't think it's really a romance at all and think it is more likely to appeal to horror and fantasy fans.
The most frustrating thing for me though, is that this book has so much potential. If the author could have cut half the characters out, fleshed out the main ones and took her time to tell the story in two books instead of one, then this could have been a brilliant book (or two).
I think it's important for me to say that while I have been quite critical of this novel, if you look on Goodreads this book has received some very mixed reviews. It has incited a real diversity of opinion from people loving it and giving it five stars out of five, to people really disliking it. So while it was not for me and I don't intend on finishing the series, you may very well disagree.
This is a book with a lot of potential. But it never really gets off the ground and becomes lost in web of far too many characters who don't have enough time to develop. As a result the plot becomes muddled which consequently means you don't engage or feel connected to the main characters.
I also missed my shades of grey, the concept of magic was too black and white for me. All magic cannot be evil now can it? (less)
When I first started reading 'Before I Fall' it reminded me a little bit of a cross bet...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 7/10 on the blog.
When I first started reading 'Before I Fall' it reminded me a little bit of a cross between the films 'Groundhog Day & 'Mean Girls'.
At the beginning, I didn't like Sam very much at all. She was one of those girls at school who was more concerned about appearances than substance, and her friends were equally as shallow. They were more obsessed with how many red roses they would get on Cupid's Day, as a show of their popularity, than the true meaning of friendship.
It seemed somewhat fateful that after a party and one episode of drink driving too many, that Sam's life ended in a horrific car crash.
Then, as the pages began to turn, I realised that this was the point. I wasn't supposed to like Sam at first. As she began to relive each day, she also began to grow as a person. And with each new day, Sam begins to realise that her life is not as good as she thought it was.
At first her choices are selfish and evolve around her desperation & frustration as she tries to alter its inevitable course. But, each day brings with it a new discovery and soon Sam's choices become more about everyone else, than herself.
Surprisingly, despite Sam living the same day seven times, the book doesn't get repetitive at all. Each time she makes different decisions that twist the story in new & at times quite unexpected directions. As the book develops and Sam begins to grow, the more I began to see her as misguided and began to like her. So that when the seventh and final day arrives, I turned each page with anticipation, wondering how she was going to get the guy, save herself and avoid some of the less than pleasant events.
When the novel reaches its crescendo your desperation mirrors Sam's. The day whizzes by and despite having lived it with her six times before you have no idea how it's going to conclude. The ending of the book is beautiful and eloquently written. I won't spoil it for you, but be warned there's a good chance that tissues will be required.
'Before I Fall' is a really well written and moving book. It's a poignant tale of how life can end all too soon and about understanding the impact of your behaviour on others.
It's one of those books that when you turn the final page you have to sit back and let it all sink in.
My one criticism would be as I didn't like Sam at first, it does take a little while to get into, but persevere as it is worth the read. (less)
This is a paranormal romance with a real difference, in fact it has quite a fantasy feel about it. School teache...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
This is a paranormal romance with a real difference, in fact it has quite a fantasy feel about it. School teacher Shannon Parker gets much more than she bargained for when she buys a vase at an antiques sale. Suddenly she finds herself transported to another universe where she is a goddess. A goddess that also happens to be a bit of a b*tch too.
I loved the originality of this book, the new world with goddesses, magical powers and mythical creatures. But also the twist of Shannon being transported into this world and only her handmaiden knowing that she's any different.
Shannon is a fun and determined character, she embraces her new life and all of the responsibilities this includes. The plot takes a little which to take off, the whole antiques buying thing was a little too long, but once it got into its swing I was absolutely hooked. Shannon soon discovers that life as a goddess is not all gorgeous clothes, beautiful jewels and luxuries. With the threat of war and a small pox outbreak, as well as the bizarre need not her to do a topless ceremony every two weeks (I'm not quite sure what that was all about), the story is engaging and the baddies perfectly, hideously creepy.
The other big part of the book is of course the romance. When I first started reading, I was slightly nervous about it. The hero is a centaur - top half man, bottom half horse, and for a while the mind boggled! I'm sure you know what I mean! But thankfully I needn't have worried, it all worked out fine. Actually by the end of the book, I quite fancied a hot centaur of my very own, even if he did have a weird name - ClanFintan.
One thing that slightly annoyed me was Shannon's habit of referring to her friends as 'girlfriend', this may be a culture thing, as it's not really an English turn of phrase.
There were some superb characters in this book, and Shannon's real world friends and family were cleverly written into her new reality, although often with a twist. The impact of Rhiannon's selfishness (the goddess Shannon had swapped place with), often making Shannon's job a difficult one. But they are written so well you become engaged with many of their fates and not just of Shannon and ClanFintan's.
The book is not simply a romance, in fact the impending war with the vile Fomorians, and the reality of their brutality does add a nice horror edge that I very much enjoyed.
A really fantastic book, I loved it and was sad when it finished. I hope to be able to read the next two in quick succession. Shannon was a great, witty heroine and ClanFintan the perfect, chivalrous hero any girl would want."Divine by Mistake" is a fab mix of romance, fantasy, paranormal and horror. (less)
This book is worth reading for the fantastically imaginative setting alone. Set in the future...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
This book is worth reading for the fantastically imaginative setting alone. Set in the future when the world has been consumed by the oceans. People live in cramped high rise blocks on the limited land available, lucky to have two rooms per family. But there are some that choose a very different life entirely and decide to live the 'darklife' and make their homes at the bottom of the sea.
Now, if you like me think that living at the bottom of the sea means a life in oppressive submarines, think again. Kat Wells' under sea world is magical and vividly drawn. With homes built from jellyfish style structures, liquid gel that means people can dive without the risk of decompression sickness, electricity and entire farms and rural wildlife surviving in this new world, as well as dangerous deep sea creatures. It really is fabulously clever.
Ty has lived on the ocean's floor all his life. At fifteen, he was the first child to be born and live his entire life under the sea. But there are rumours that this new life damages children, giving them a 'darkgift', a new supernatural ability. Which has made topsiders suspicious of darklifers and other people reticent to try this new life for themselves.
Then, during a dive Ty meets Gemma. Gemma is a gutsy topsider searching for her missing brother. But the more Ty and Gemma begin to investigate and look for Gemma's brother, the more they begin to realise things are really not what they seem in this new world.
This book has a nice element of drama to it. With an underwater outlaw group raiding homesteads and submarines, a small murder mystery, as well as the dangers of the deep. It's actually a really absorbing read.
As Ty is fifteen, I would say that this book is on the younger side of YA. But it's pitched really well, with just a small romantic element. Ty is grown up and brave for his age, and a really engaging main character. As this is slightly on the younger side, I probably would not have picked this book up ordinarily if it had not been sent to me for review, which would have been a real shame, because I really enjoyed it. But more than anything I just loved the deep sea world.
A great book with a spectacular world setting that will appeal to adults both young and old. This is one of those books I would love to see translated into film, because of its cinematic quality.(less)
I think it's fair to say that 'Perfect Chemistry' isn't an original story. We've read superb stories of star-cr...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
I think it's fair to say that 'Perfect Chemistry' isn't an original story. We've read superb stories of star-crossed lovers before. Ultimately in Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' and of course 'West Side Story'. But this didn't matter to me. In fact, after the first two chapters I was hooked.
Brittany is your high school princess, the girl every other girl wants to be. Beautiful, rich, the head cheerleader and dating one of the hottest guys in school. Raised by a mother obsessed with perfectionism, she knows what it means to create the ultimate image. Wearing the right clothes, going to the right places, not having a hair out of place or a smear in your make-up.
But scratch beneath the surface and you will see her life is far from the perfect image she has created.
Alex is not a guy that most mothers would like their daughters to bring home. Following his now dead father's footsteps he has been lured into gang life as a misguided way to protect his family. Now he's in deep, on the threshold to a spiraling life of crime and violence.
Then one day, their chemistry teacher reassigns everyone alphabetically and much to their distaste Alex and Brittany have been put together as lab partners. Initially sparks fly, and when Alex's fellow gang members bet him he can't bed Brittany, ego gets in the way and before he know it his beloved motorbike as well as his reputation end up on the line.
As Alex begins his mission of seduction, things don't go quite to plan. As he starts to get to know Brittany, he begins to see the girl beneath the veneer. The girl who is fed up of being perfect and the girl who desperately loves and cares for her disabled sister. As he unwittingly begins to fall for her, he begins to question everything in his life and a very small part of him dares to dream.
The story is told with alternating chapters from Brittany and Alex, which gives you insight into each of their feelings and experiences. It grabs you right from the get go and it's one of those books you just can't put down. The chemistry between Alex and Brittany sizzles and the love story is one of those that hits you right in the solar plexus.
Alex is ruggedly handsome, the bad boy that every girl could easily fall for. Brittany is at times naive, but there is something pure and shining about her love for Alex.
This is a well written story about hope, dreams and love. Yes, it is at the core of course a love story, but it also tackles teen issues, the problem of social disparity and the circle of gang life in America. This is a book I would most definitely recommend.
One tiny, tiny thing and I was forewarned about this from a fellow reviewer. I'm not a big fan of the epilogue, it was slightly heavy on the cheese factor.
While this book won't win any awards for originality, I loved it! Alex and Brittany capture both your heart and imagination from the start. I can't wait for the next! (less)
Willow is a moving and poignant young adult novel. When I first read the back cover, I...more Reviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 7/10 on the blog.
Willow is a moving and poignant young adult novel. When I first read the back cover, I wasn't sure how I'd react to the subject matter and was concerned about how the author would handle the issue of self harm. But, to my surprise the book captured me from the first page to the last.
Willow is a confused and grief stricken teenager struggling to come to terms with the death of her parents in a car crash. Making her grief even more complicated is the fact she was the one driving when they died.
The book takes off seven months after their death. Willow is living with her older brother David, his wife Cathy and their new baby Isabelle. The move means she also at a new school with few friends and due to circumstances money is also tight, requiring Willow to work in order to contribute her share towards the household bills.
As well as coming to terms with their parents death, Willow and David struggle to come to terms with the shift in their relationship. From brother and sister, to guardian and ward. This shift seems to have irrevocably altered it, which wrapped up with their grieving combines to push them further apart.
Submerged in terrible grief, guilt and loneliness, Willow finds an outlet that enables her to survive: her razor. She lives from one cut to the next, only able to feel she can breathe again when the blade penetrates her skin.
There is no escaping that Willow's illness is shocking and when you first begin reading even makes you feel a little uncomfortable. Perhaps what becomes more uncomfortable is that after a while you begin to identify, just a tiny bit with Willow as you begin to understand her suffering.
The book is undeniably dark and doesn't shy away some very difficult issues, but at the same time it does not become too intense.
The main reason for this is Guy. To put it simply, Guy is lovely. A bright, caring and charismatic boy who inadvertently discovers Willow's secret. They are both horrified at first, but little by little as their connection grows, Guy begins to teach Willow to live again.
Willow has not only forgotten who she is, but how to communicate and live in the outside world. She has shut it all out, because it's easier to harm herself and focus on that than it is to deal with her own emotions. Guy forces her to look outside herself, to remember what it's like to enjoy the small things and what it's like to have friends.
This is what makes the book so eminently good in my opinion, how the narrative combines moments of real darkness with that of hope.
Willow aims to demystify the stigma and misconception around self harm. At first it is a first quite baffling why anyone would chose to disfigure and hurt themselves in this way, but as the book progresses you, like Guy, begin to come to terms with who Willow is.
This book really is beautiful. A surprising choice of word perhaps given the subject matter, but out of the agony and suffering blossoms a love story that is about acceptance and loving a person for who they are despite their flaws.
****Next caveat only includes a small spoiler****
I have one small caveat to my review and that is a small frustration that at no point in the book did Willow and Guy turn to anyone for help. I would have liked to have seen Willow seek professional help or at least tell an adult about her problems. If the book had been about an anorexic sufferer I think the approach would have been different, and this shows perhaps a little naivety in the writing. Given the audience that this is aimed at, it's important to show that asking for help is not a demonstration of weakness.
**** End ****
Willow is about intense grief, mental illness and ultimately redemption.
Don't be put off by the difficult subject it explores, while I'm not expert on self harm, I believe it is handled exceptionally well by the author.
The overall message of this book is one of hope. While we all might suffer terrible things in our life, we must never forget ultimately that there is still joy to be had in living it. (less)
This is the fourth in a series of spin-off books from the Supernatural TV series. It ta...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 5/10 on the blog.
This is the fourth in a series of spin-off books from the Supernatural TV series. It takes place in the fifth series and is a filler between episodes. The beginning of the book says that the novel takes place after the episode 'Changing Channels' (episode 8 of 22).
I'm a huge fan of the TV show, well Dean alone need I say anymore! But like with Buffy before it, one of my previous spooky TV favourites, I've never really been tempted to read any of the spin-off stories. Which left me wondering what I'd been missing.
It's worth saying that the author has without a doubt assumed the reader has watched the TV show. However, I haven't read any of the previous three books in the series, and didn't feel feel like I'd missed any of the storyline because of this. For those unfamiliar with the show, it follows two brothers, Sam and Dean, who travel about America slaying demons and evil, supernatural beings.
The story is split into three parts. It begins with fallen angel Castiel warning Sam and Dean that the Heart of the Dragon has risen again, then we're quickly transported back forty years to 1969 and the dragon's first rising.
The first part of the books tells the story of Sam and Dean's grandparents Samuel and Deanna (yes really) and their mother Mary, a teenager at the time, who are called to China Town to investigate a slew of supernatural murders and end up facing the Heart of the Dragon. The hippie setting of the story is fun, but I found the first part of this book slow. I didn't really engage with Samuel and Deanna that much and if I'm honest I found Mary quite irritating.
The second section takes place twenty years later when Sam and Dean are just children and their father John, a man obsessed with revenge. He regularly abandons them as he obsessionally hunts demons and fails to come to terms with his wife's death.
It was interesting to get some insight into Sam and Dean's life as children, their strained relationship with their father and the impact this had on them. John is a man consumed with single-minded determination and regularly sacrifices his children's well being to banish both his own and the real life demons. Bobby (another demon hunter and character from the TV series) makes an appearance as the put upon friend and surrogate father to the brothers and I enjoyed seeing this warmer side of him.
Then the book takes us up to the present day and the part you've been waiting for - Sam and Dean's section. While Samuel and Deanna and John went up against the Heart of the Dragon, they only succeed in banishing it, and as it rises again forty years it's up to Sam and Dean to complete what their family have been unable to do and destroy it completely.
There are some genuinely good bits of the story, particularly the Japanese legend and the young Sam and Dean, but a lot of it was quite slow going.
The biggest thing is I felt that the book missed the humour that I love in the TV shows. We all love the relationship between the two brothers and it was very much skimmed over or there was just not enough of it.
All in all I would summarise this book as OK. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. The author tried very hard to recreate the setting of this much loved TV show and while he nearly achieved it, I don't think it quite got there either. (less)
It's no secret that I have a love of the classics. The Brontës reaching the top of my favourites list. In fact,...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
It's no secret that I have a love of the classics. The Brontës reaching the top of my favourites list. In fact, I did my final project for my English Degree on the novels of the three Brontë sisters.
I've seen the trend for horror rewrites in my local bookshop and I've warily avoided them. Odd seeing as I love classics, romance and horror alike, it should have been a great mashing of worlds for me.
So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I picked up this book to review. Worried that the introduction of zombies would somehow detract from the beauty of the original.
'Jane Slayre' is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek rewrite of 'Jane Eyre' and in many places was almost a recount of the original.
For those of you who haven't read the 'Jane Eyre'. In a quick nutshell, it is the story of orphan Jane who goes to live with her aunt and cousins, the Reeds, a selfish and unkind family who treat her with disdain. Eventually, Mrs. Reed sends Jane to boarding school and she enters into the cruel and barren world of Lockwood Institution. Much of Jane's early life is about suffering and endurance. At eighteen she escapes and finds employment working as a governess for the taciturn, but oddly charismatic Mr. Rochester, with whom she falls in love. However, the course of love does not run smooth and this is a gothic tale with a dark secret. Jane is a tough and beautifully humble woman who more than deserves her happy ending.
This version, of course has some very notable changes. The Reeds are vampires, Lockwood is overrun with Zombies and Rochester's wife is a werewolf. All written in with a sense of fun and a nice amount of delightful ghoulishness.
The author has kept very true to the original text. So much so in fact that I had to pull out my copy of 'Jane Eyre' to compare some passages. The only thing I really noticed is that there have been a few changes to make it more readable for a modern audience. For example:
Original: "You are afraid of me, because I talk like a Sphynx."
'Jane Slayre' edition: "Are you afraid of me?" he asked, his brow arching. "You think me a monster?"
As you can see the affect is cleverly, very subtle.
There are some genuinely amusing moments. The vision of Jane out for a quiet evenings stroll where she whips a stake out from beneath her skirts to slay an unbeknownst vampire did make me chuckle.
The book has been written with obvious deep affection for the classic. But, maybe I'm a purist, but part of me would hate for people to read this version instead, or least before they pick up the original.
'Jane Eyre' is magical and wonderfully dark in its own right. But the darkness in the original is born of human behaviour which in many aspects is more cruel than the acts of the undead.
This is a well written fun rewrite that will entertain horror fans. If you're a fan of the other mash ups then I don't think you'll be disappointed. It just wasn't quite my thing.(less)
I read 'Crux' the first book in this series back in January and really enjoyed it, but 'Crossroads' was even bet...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
I read 'Crux' the first book in this series back in January and really enjoyed it, but 'Crossroads' was even better! Although this book focuses on two new main characters - Nick and Derek, the storyline continues on from 'Crux' with all of the same characters, so I would recommend that you read it first.
Nick is the equivalent of werewolf royalty, daughter to the ruling alpha she is expected to marry for political gain and produce heirs. It is a fate she has spent most of her adult life running from, relocating to New Orleans and running a bar instead.
Derek has watched Nick from afar for years, fighting his physical attraction to her. Since he was bitten by a werewolf two years ago he has struggled to control his wolf and come to terms with his new life. In werewolf society a bitten wolf is viewed as inferior. But just as Derek and Nick are finally ready to admit their feelings for one another, Nick's life gets thrown upside down with the arrival of her twin sister she would do anything to protect, and some shocking news.
This book very much sits on that line between paranormal romance and urban fantasy, it is darker, grittier and tougher than a romance which is part of the reason why I think I enjoyed it so much.
The attraction between Nick and Derek is so tangible and so believable that from the start I was fully sucked in and engrossed in their story. About two thirds of the way through I couldn't see how they could possibly end up together and the pages whirled by as I willed the book to give me that happy ending. But that happy ending doesn't come without a price, there are some shocks and sorrows along the way that makes the story all the more engaging and left me with a ball in my throat. Although I did read this book on holiday, I finished it in less than a day.
The romance between Nick and Derek is, well, steamy would perhaps be an understatement! This is fuelled by their mating instincts as two wolves, but it felt right and added to the growing love and wild passion between them that they had both tried to ignore for so long. It also adds to the desperation as the extent of the trouble Nick's sister is in becomes apparent and looks as though it will drive them apart.
This is a fantastic book and a really exciting new paranormal romance series. If this is a genre you love, then I would recommend you pick up both 'Crux' and 'Crossroads' when you next get the chance. I can't wait for 'Deadlock'!(less)
Just like the first book in this trilogy, 'Futile Flame' is a dark, dark tale of obsession. Wh...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
Just like the first book in this trilogy, 'Futile Flame' is a dark, dark tale of obsession. While the book begins and ends with Gabriele and Lilly our main characters from the first novel, this is Lucrezia's story.
I found Lucrezia slightly aloof in the first book, but her tale is a bitter and terribly painful tale of survival and in the end I enjoyed it far for than Gabriele's. There are lots of elements in this book that does at times make it uncomfortable reading. With scenes of abuse, incest, rape, violence, murder and gore be warned it is not for the squeamish. But despite the difficult elements explored in this book it was very readable and un-put-downable, even, in certain sections.
Lucrezia's story opens in sixteenth century Rome, set in the Vatican. The daughter of a corrupt Pope, she falls victim to her brother's macabre and brutal seduction. Lucrezia is so terribly innocent that her journey from abused young girl to woman is a painful one. This is a relationship that ends up defining her very existence, and one even in immortality she is unable to escape.
The narrative is a turbulent ride, you cruise from watching Lucrezia the victim, to Lucrezia the stalker, vampire and murderess. Perhaps one of the least savoury parts was Lucrezia's change from rape victim to rapist herself. But the clever nature of the writing is that there is something compelling and seductive about witnessing this transformation. Interestingly, despite the dark nature of the vampire, at the heart Lucrezia still wishes to be a good person.
The relationships in this book are at best strange, the revelation at the end of book one about Gabriele and Lilly is addressed and when Lilly discovers it, she doesn't appear to be in the least bit bothered. I found I struggled more with this than reading the scenes of incest between Lucrezia and her brother.
Of course, the whole point of Lucrezia retelling her story is to find out who the demon stalking Gabriele and Lilly is. And the last chapters of the book take a very unexpected turn. There is little I can say here without giving away too much, but it does move the story into a place you could never guess it would go, it's also quite surreal. I'm not quite sure how I felt about it, it felt perhaps a little too far fetched for me. Yes, I know I'm reading a book about vampires! But, I think the scenes will become more defined and hopefully make more sense in book three.
I do have to comment on a quote on the back cover of this novel: "Recommended for fans of the Twilight saga." Other than the fact that this book is about vampires, it is in no way like 'Twilight', in fact I believe it is totally unsuitable for a young adult reader.
This trilogy is a different twist on the vampire story. Vampires are put firmly back in the horror genre, they are a species to be feared and are above the normal rules of society. Despite some of their horrific acts, you are seduced and absorbed into their lives. A book I would definitely recommend to horror lovers.
I'm very much looking forward to finding out how it all ends in 'Demon Dance'.(less)
Radiant Shadows is the fourth book in Melissa Marr's 'Wicked Lovely' series. It begins where 'Fragile Eternity'...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
Radiant Shadows is the fourth book in Melissa Marr's 'Wicked Lovely' series. It begins where 'Fragile Eternity' left off. However, while Seth features as quite a main character, the story is no longer about Aishlin and the summer court.
The book is about Ani and Devlin, we've met them in previous books but as relatively minor characters.
Ani is Rabbit the tattooist's half sister, and daughter of Gabriel, leader of the hunt. She is a member of the dark court and halfling: half human and half hound.
By contrast, Devlin is half brother-son to the High Queen Sorcha and Queen of War Bananach, created jointly by them and not born. He is a powerful member of the High Court. Known as the Queen's Bloodied Hands. He is ordered, disciplined and importantly, Sorcha's obedient servant.
Devlin first met Ani when she was just a child. When he was ordered to kill her. And for the first time in centuries of obedience he disobeyed a direct order and spared Ani's life. Hiding her survival from his Queen.
Since the events of the last book Sorcha is no longer herself and her imbalance begins to seriously impact the world of faery. Reason appears to have departed from the Queen of Reason and Bananach glorifies in this advantage and her dark malevolence spreads. This book has some important developments for the faery world as all courts struggle to avoid the sinister plottings of the Queen of War, which has some far reaching affects. But primarily it is a love story between Ani and Devlin.
As the book begins, Devlin has not seen Ani in the years since he spared her life. But, sent on a mission to protect Seth by his unbalanced Queen he encounters her in a club. The chemistry between them is tangible, and while Ani has no idea who Devlin is, he's never really understood why he saved Ani and is inexplicably drawn to her.
In my opinion, this is by far the best book in the series. I sat down one evening to make a start and before I knew it I'd read 175 pages. Melissa Marr has a beautiful and captivating writing style. She draws the vision of her characters and worlds which sucks you in brilliantly.
On the surface of things the love story between Ani and Devlin could easily have not worked. It's not largely mentioned, but Ani is very much a young adult at 16, while Devlin's significantly older than her. Yet as the story progresses they both go on what I would class as a 'young adult' journey.
Being a halfling, Ani is frustrated with being pushed to the outskirts of the faery. Yet having the power to feed on the emotions & touch of both mortals and faery, her power is unheard of and it becomes quite clear she is no mere halfling. Because of this Ani is confined and protected by her father and the dark court and she chafes at the restrictions. She is desperate to prove to them all that she is a woman and no longer a child and can look after herself. While Devlin is struggling to escape the controlling influence of his sisters. Learning that he can have his own sense of identity and his own relationships while remaining true to himself.
I really like Ani and Devlin as a couple as they were so different. Fate obviously plays an important part in their lives, it is clear as all the threads begin to close that from the very beginning they were meant to be together.
As the book reaches its climax there is a big twist. However, for me it wasn't entirely unexpected, and I wondered from about a third of a way in if something similar would happen. But it didn't take away from my enjoyment of it at all.
This book really was superb and I could barely put it down, but I do have a couple of criticisms.
I would of liked to have seen a flashback to the time that Devlin spared Ani's life to fully understand the reason for that decision and what he was feeling at the time, it felt to me liked it lacked some explanation.
Additionally, having read the previous three books, I found it a touch frustrating that while Seth was an important character in the book, and some events happen that will change his life at least for the moment, irrevocably, there was virtually no mention of the love triangle that had me so hooked in previously.
This is a fantastic fourth instalment to the 'Wicked Lovey' series, and the best so far. Marr has cleverly interwoven the plots of the each of the books as the series builds to its sinister conclusion.
Technically if you haven't read the first three books in this series you could read this as a stand alone novel, but my recommendation would be to read them first in order to fully enjoy the depth of the story.
I am very much looking forward to discovering what happens next, but I do hope that Seth and Aislin take the helm once more. (less)
In 'The Spirit Thief', Aaron has created a clever world where every thing in the world...moreReviewed by Laura for www.BookChickCity.com - 7/10 on the blog.
In 'The Spirit Thief', Aaron has created a clever world where every thing in the world has a soul. Be it the wind or a singular piece of wood. Every item has a soul and a will of their own. Which is where wizards come in. Wizards or spiritualists can talk to the spirits, a good wizard treats spirits with respect and takes spirits into their service via a contract. A bad wizard takes away a spirit's will and forces them into servitude.
The story is of two main characters. The cheeky and wildly charismatic Eli, who also happens to be a wanted thief and Miranda the spiritualist charged with tracking him down and apprehending him.
Both characters are polar opposites, with Miranda being a total stickler for the rules and Eli very much enjoying flaunting them to see just how much he can get away with. Eli is such a fab character he's witty, cheeky and clever and despite the fact he is a notorious thief and a bit of a rogue, I loved that intrinsically he was still a good person.
Eli is like that friend of yours who despite the fact is always up to mischief and drives you a bit crackers, yet you still can't help but like him. His mission is to increase the bounty on his head to a million gold coins and he glories in his notoriety. So what better way to increase this than to kidnap a King and hold him to ransom? Eli's madcap plans are just hilarious and I couldn't help but delight in that fact that he charmed himself through most of them too.
However, I really liked Miranda also, disciplined, honourable and determined. It's her essential goodness that makes her who she is, and the banter between her and Eli never fails to amuse. Of course, when the real baddie comes into play you know the inevitable has to happen and they're just going to have to team up for the greater good.
We never really get to the bottom of what drives Eli, why he is so obsessed with increasing the bounty in his head and I think we'll have to wait for subsequent books in the series to really understand him.
The sidekicks in the book are also an interesting combination. Eli has Josef the expert swordsman and Nico a young girl with a demonseed inside of her and Miranda has a ghost-hound, a giant dog who can jump buildings and run faster than a horse is the best way I can describe him. All great characters in their own right. I found I wanted to learn more about them, particularly Josef and Nico.
A part of me was hoping for a sneaky, unorthodox love story between Eli and Miranda. But in retrospect I can see now that it wouldn't have fitted in with the overall tone of the book. I think I'm just too much of a romantic at heart!
The book is narrated by Luke Daniels, who I've mentioned before in my reviews as one of my favourite narrators. He always manages to get the tone of the book and the voices for the characters in such a way you can fully imagine them.
This book isn't really gritty or dark, it's more of a light, fun adventure story. But it's well written with great characters. I also think it would appeal to YA fans.
'Arson' is a deep and moving book about Arson Gable, a seventeen year old orphan who li...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 7/10 on the blog.
'Arson' is a deep and moving book about Arson Gable, a seventeen year old orphan who lives with his Grandmother and has the ability to create fire with his mind.
Living in remote America, other than his job in an ice cream parlor, Arson lives in relative isolation. That is until the Pheonix family move in next door, and suddenly Arson's near empty life is awakened. Enter Emery, a scarred yet gutsy girl, who feels safer wearing a mask over her face when she greets the world.
Emery challenges the way Arson lives his life. Forcing him out of his current existence, from a trip to the bowling alley, to volunteering at the local hospital. All small steps that force him to connect with the local community. And as Arson begins to connect and inevitably fall in love, he begins to start to come to terms with his troubled past and present.
Arson's ability aside, at the root of this novel is a coming of age story about two teenagers both damaged in some way; one emotionally and the other physically.
It also tackles the complexity of family relationships: what it means to love and hate someone all at the same time. As well as difficult issues facing many young adults such as abuse and alcoholism. Arson's relationship with his elderly Grandmother is painful, as is Emery's with her dysfunctional and breaking parents.
For a long time throughout the novel, I wondered what the purpose of Arson's ability was, as it felt like nothing more than a manifestation of teenage angst. If the author had given Arson a box of matches instead, I believe it would of had about the same impact as his pyrokensis on 90% of the novel. And as the book neared its end, I wondered how on earth all of the threads were going to come together.
Then came the conclusion. A compelling, horror filled ending that left me thinking – where on earth did that come from. It seemed to come out of nowhere as though the author had tried to tie the threads together a little too fast. It was shocking and ended on a cliffhanger that leads me to believe there must be a sequel to come.
'Arson' is extremely well written book, packed with stunning imagery. It was dark, intense and at times disturbing. Its navigation through some very difficult issues means that it wasn't always an easy read, but is compelling never the less.
My one small wish is that Vega had taken a little more time to build the ending as I think it would of had more of the impact he was hoping for.
I was so looking forward to reading this book. Hooked as soon as I read the back cover....moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 9/10 on the blog.
I was so looking forward to reading this book. Hooked as soon as I read the back cover. Thankfully 'My Name is Memory' did not disappoint.
It tells the haunting love story of Daniel and Lucy. For centuries Daniel has lived with a gift. A gift that he calls 'the memory'. He remembers every single one of his past lives right up to his very first in 541AD. He has been poor, he has been wealthy, he has suffered, he has been lucky, he has lived in many different countries and amongst many cultures. But in each of these lives, one thing remains true. He loves Lucy.
This love has consumed Daniel, affecting all of his decisions in nearly all of his lives. However, despite this overriding passion, they have only had two lives in all of these centuries where they were ever had the small chance to be together. The first when Lucy was Sophia, the abused wife of his brother. The second when she was Constance, the nurse who cared for him as a soldier on his death bed in the first World War. Until now their love has been both doomed and unrequited.
One of the most heart wrenching lives for me was when Daniel was a young boy and Lucy an elderly woman. His devotion to her even then unquestionable.
This story begins with Lucy and Daniel in high school. While Lucy finds Daniel fascinating, she has no idea who he is. Daniel sees this life as the first ever where they possibly stand a chance of being together, so desperately tries to be patient and keep his distance. The main story follows Lucy and Daniel through high school and college, but is interspersed with Daniel's fascinating recollections of some of his past lives.
Daniel is utterly compelling throughout the book, and I engaged with his narrative far more than Lucy's at first. But Lucy really comes into her own in the second half of the novel, growing as a character. It is easy to forget of course that why they are of a similar age, Daniel has many years of maturity on her and this is cleverly portrayed. The book builds slowly, layering up the story carefully and with passionate intensity. Because of this it is more about the love story and the relationship between Daniel and Lucy than any true action.
However, in the last 100 pages things take a sinister turn. While his talent is incredibly rare, Daniel is not the only one with 'the memory'. Just when happiness might be in his grasp, and age old enemy comes looking for his ultimate vengeance.
I finished this book with a gasp, incredulous that the the author could leave me that way. I've heard that this book is the first in a trilogy and I desperately hope so, already longing to read the next instalment!
People have drawn comparisons between it and 'The Time Traveller's Wife' which is one of my all time favourite books. There are certainly similarities in the soul-consuming love that both books depict. I would say it you loved the first then you will love 'My Name is Memory' also.
This is a poetic and beautiful love story that will make your heart ache. I loved this book and it has quickly propelled itself into one of my favourite books of the year so far. (less)
Captain Gabriel Huntley has returned to England after years of serving abroad in the army. With no remaining fam...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
Captain Gabriel Huntley has returned to England after years of serving abroad in the army. With no remaining family he has nothing in his pocket save a letter from a friend inviting him to Leeds to make and honest living, settle down, marry and have a family.
But Gabriel is restless after years of travelling the world and fighting for his country. He does not know how to fit in to English society, let alone how to go about courting a delicate, Victorian lady.
However, fate intervenes and on his way Gabriel discovers a man being brutally beaten. The man is seriously outnumbered Gabriel cannot bear bullies and rushes to help him. But he's too late and cannot stop it as the man is fatally stabbed.
Gabriel cannot refuse a dying man's wishes so when he requests Gabriel passes on a gravely important message before he knows it the course of his life is irrevocably altered. He finds himself the keeper of a bizarre, encrypted message, in possession of an unusual compass on a ship on his way to Outer Mongolia. Knowing only that he must find a man called Franklin Burgess.
Thalia Burgess has spent most of her life living in abroad. She is more at home wearing a Mongolian del than a corset and bustle. She's not one to live by the rules and decorum set by society. When Captain Huntley arrives with a grave message she knows that her injured father is not well enough to do what is necessary. So she embarks on the dangerous quest on her own with no more than her faithful servant Batu for company.
When Thalia realises she is being followed it is not long before she discovers it is the noble Captain intent on protecting her on her mission. But she protects a sacred, ancient secret. How can Gabriel protect her and not discover the truth?
I can't reveal the full premise of this book as it would spoil it for you. At the beginning the reader is as much in the dark as Gabriel which adds to the overall mystery and intrigue.
When I picked up this novel I expected it to be a standard romance, but it is much more that that. While romance is integral to the story, this is a book about magic, intrigue, and bravery. It is essentially an epic adventure across Mongolia and China as the main characters battle against large odds to fight for the greater good. Which culminates in a spectacular finale involving a rag tag group of unlikely heroes and Shaolin monks all working together.
This book is superbly written and while I'm certainly not a expert in Mongolian culture it is clear that that the author has researched her subject very well. It is the small inclusions as to how the Mongolians lived their lives back in the 19th century that adds to the richness of the narrative.
The main characters are well rounded and three dimensional and avoid many of the clichés that romance characters often fall into. I in particular loved Captain Gabriel Huntley who is a great mix of nobility and strength while at the same time unpolished. The archetypal rough diamond.
If I had one small criticism it would be that at times the narrative is a little slow moving, but just as you're beginning to get frustrated the pace picks up once more.
This is a fun, adventure that complements a warm and unconventional love story. (less)
'In Enemy Hands' was a little inconsistent for me. I swung between enjoying it and getting frustrated with the p...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
'In Enemy Hands' was a little inconsistent for me. I swung between enjoying it and getting frustrated with the pace. Set in the future, Moon is a scientist working on a ground-breaking project to re-animate dead stars. But, most of the Galaxy is controlled by the brutal and uncompromising Republic where failure would mean death, or even worse exile.
Moon is assigned the extraordinarily clever Srin Flerovs as her research partner. So intelligent is Srin, that he is the equivalent of a human computer. But Moon soon discovers that the Republic's reign has no bounds. After they realised nearly twenty years ago that they could no longer control Srin, they began chemically erasing his memories every forty eight hours. And this has been his empty, cyclical life ever since.
The premise itself is a clever concept. Not the sci-fi setting or even the omnipotent dictatorship, but the way the Republic control Srin. It raised not only ethical issues, but added an interesting twist to the budding romance between him and Moon.
For a lot of the book I found Moon quite naive. For a very clever woman, she seems to miss a lot of what is going on around her. But she did have the endearing quality of wanting to always see the best in everyone and everything. But it was Srin that stole the story, from the complexity of his condition, to his switch between happy-go-lucky to brooding intelligence.
The sexual chemistry seemed to ebb and flow, building and then dissipating as though it was never there. I think this was because of Srin's disappearing memories. There was one scene that comes to mind with Moon. Now, how to put this delicately.... when she relieved her own sexual tension, *ahem*. I don't believe I'm a prude, but the whole thing seemed to come out of nowhere, there just wasn't enough budding sexual tension in the narrative to make it work and the whole scene made me cringe and quickly flick the page over.
There was a lot of scene setting in the book, details of Moon's past, the science experiment, her relationships with other members of the ship's crew and this did slow things down. Then came 'the great escape' which was crammed into a few chapters in the end.
However, the last few chapters did have lots of great pace and adventure, but unfortunately they were just too short. I wonder if this is the beginning of a new series, because there is no way the ending can be considered in any way a conclusion.
An inconsistent novel with promise. I did have a lot of problems with it, but for the most part I enjoyed the story. Srin was a fantastic, charismatic hero. But I wonder if this might have been a better novel focusing on his predicament, with the romance just being a small part of the story.(less)
When you pick up a book called 'Always A Bridesmaid', you pretty much know what you're...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 5/10 on the blog.
When you pick up a book called 'Always A Bridesmaid', you pretty much know what you're going to get. At 144 pages it's a short book and I read it all in one sitting in the space of a couple of hours.
The book tells the broken love story of Bree and Troy. Nine years ago, they were desperately in love and engaged to be married; true soul mates. Then Troy accidentally got Bree's best friend Meg pregnant and thinking he was doing the honourable thing eloped and married her, devastating Bree.
Fleeing her home town, her family and past, Bree has not been home since. Not even returning for the funeral when when Meg was killed in a horrific car crash four years later.
Now her sister is getting married and Bree returns home to help with the wedding, meaning that Bree has to face her past and finally come to terms with it.
The premise of this book is a bit of a tough one to reconcile with. Simply because as the reader you too have to forgive Troy for his mistakes in order to become fully engaged in the story. I did find myself thinking would I forgive him if I were in Bree's place. To my mind Troy's was a huge betrayal and I had to put this to one side in order to read the book.
Despite their flaws both Bree and Troy are likeable characters. You feel their sadness and pain for their mistakes and at the beginning wonder how they will work through them to reach the ultimate happy ending.
Essentially, this book is as much about forgiveness as it is about love, and as it develops you do find yourself forgiving Troy as you begin to understand his regret and personal suffering for everything he has put Bree through. And watching Bree you know that she will never truly happy without Troy in her life.
Surprisingly for a romance there is barely half a sex scene in this book, this didn't necessarily bother me as I didn't think the story needed it, but this may disappoint some readers.
Also because it was only 144 pages long, there were parts where I wished the author had taken more time to tell the story.
Some more background detail around what happened in Troy and Bree's past would of helped with the story development, but this was not included. You never find out exactly what happened with Troy and Meg, to understand truly why Troy cheated.
There were a couple of convenient jumps forward in time that were needed in order to move the story along in such a short novel. But because of this some of the more complex developments were skirted over, which I actually found dissatisfying. I wanted to understand why the characters had made certain decisions and what they were thinking and feeling at the time. It also meant that some of the sub plots surrounding Bree's sister's wedding were very under developed.
Finally, everything was a little too easy in the end. While I do expect and enjoy that in romances everything is tied up nicely when it concludes, I do need that ending to be realistic and it just seemed incomplete and rushed.
'Always A Bridesmaid' is a short and sweet love story, but it does have some problems. I think if the author could have taken more time to write this story it would of been so much richer, allowing the reader to understand the characters more and to help overcome the difficult background. (less)
At 47 pages this is more a novella than a book. Kes is a vampire from the future where planet Earth has been destroyed by an evil vampire called Nikolai. Escaping to the past with her family, they are intent on preventing this horrific disaster.
Kes believes the only way to do so would be to kill Nikolai and cannot understand why her parents are reluctant to. But the more she begins to watch Nikolai in the past she realises the while he may be a cruel man in the future, in the past he is actually the opposite. Is it fair to kill a man for crimes he is yet to commit?
Nikolai is a sixteenth century Lord intent on doing the best for his people. But, he finds himself becoming enchanted by a beautiful woman who seems to be following him and haunting his dreams. Unable to get her out of his mind, he knows he must learn more about her.
The timeline on this story is a bit mind boggling and to be honest even after reading it I'm not sure I could fully explain it to you. Simply because I'm not quite sure what happened where and when. It jumps around so much and refers to so many different events, as well as at some points there are two of the same people existing in the same time and place. I struggled to get my head around it all. It may be that this novella is part of a larger series which may clarify a lot of this confusion, but this is the first book I have read by this author.
I also felt that the relationship between Kes and Nikolai lacked integrity. Firstly there are the times that Kes visits Nikolai. There are times she sees him in her dreams, times she accidentally astral projects to him and times she unwittingly visits him in the flesh. All of these visits became a bit of a jumble and slightly bizarre. I actually had to reread a section a couple of times as I was not sure if they had truly consummated their relationship or if it was 'just a dream'.
However, one of the biggest problems I had with this story were the decisions the characters seem to make. Let's take the point when Kes's opinion of Nikolai turns from that of evil villain, to lover and then to love of her life. This all seemed to happen in the space of about three days with no real explanation behind this change of mind. In addition, Nikolai is portrayed as a caring and noble overlord. Feeding the poor from his personal stores, taking sick children into his castle to nurse them to health. Then he falls in love with Kes, a vampire and runs off leaving his land and people into the care of his elderly groom. This didn't seem to me to be the decision of a caring Lord?
On a personal note, the story was very much on the erotic side of romance which is not really to my taste. The language was very evocative which I did not enjoy. But besides this it got immensely repetitive. The same phrases seemed to be used every time which unfortunately got tiresome.
It seems as though the author tried to achieve too much in such a short space of pages. I actually don't mind reading novellas and often enjoy them. I just didn't get on with this one.
I found this book very confusing and struggled to engage with the main characters. Interesting concept of time travelling vampires, but it just did not make it for me. I'm afraid I would not recommend it.(less)
I read 'Everyone Loves A Hero' by Marie Force last year and really loved it, so I was r...moreReviewed by Laura for www.BookChickCity.com - 7/10 on the blog.
I read 'Everyone Loves A Hero' by Marie Force last year and really loved it, so I was really looking forward to picking up 'Fatal Affair'. It's a different genre, romantic suspense and it's also the beginning of a new series following Detective Sergeant Sam Holland and Nick Cappuano.
Nick, best friend and chief of staff to Senator John O'Connor, walks in on him one morning to find he has been brutally murdered. Sam is the lead detective placed in charge of the case, but she also happens to be a woman Nick had a one-night stand several years ago. A night they both still think about years later.
This is a great romantic suspense, it pairs together both elements nicely with two strong, likeable characters. I really liked both Sam and Nick. I enjoyed the fact that Sam and Nick were equal partners. Sam was far from a damsel in distress needing her hero to come and rescue her. She is intelligent, brave and confident in her own right. This didn't mean that Nick was weak or lacking in hero-appeal, far from it.
The mystery/suspense of the story kept me guessing until the end. I kept changing my mind on who the culprit was as I was reading and just when I had it figured out, I'd change it again or the story would throw another twist at me. In the end I got it completely wrong and this is just how it should be. The supporting characters were also superb. I developed a real soft spot for Sam's partner Freddie and wanted to see more of him. Sam's father is also a fascinating edition. I hope both characters are explored further in subsequent books in the series.
As much as I did enjoy the book, there were a few problems with it too. At times this book felt like it was the second in a series and I missed the first. I've whinged a little before about books where the hero and heroine have got together before the novel has started. And then the book continually refers to what has happened in the past without even letting the reader actually see it. I wish we could have a prologue to experience that giddiness and passion without it being referred to all the time. I found it quite frustrating. But it wasn't just the romance element where I felt I was catching up on. Sam had a big crime scene that went wrong in the past for which she was still testifying in, which also impacted the greater story.
Nick went along with Sam to nearly all of the crime scenes relating to the Senator's case and I found this very odd. I understood it was good from a plot point of view, but in real life I cannot imagine it would ever be allowed. So it needed a bit of stretch for me as the reader to make it believable.
There some elements of the story that were missed in the conclusion. I can't tell you what they are without giving away some spoilers, but I finished the book thinking well what happened with that and that. Perhaps Marie Force intends to pick them up in the next book, but they felt missed rather than add intrigue for the next instalment.
Despite some of my problems with some of the story elements, I still really enjoyed 'Fatal Affair'. I'm fast becoming a big fan of Marie Force and look forward to reading more of her books. (less)
This is one of those books that I have had sitting on my ereader for quite a while now but hav...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
This is one of those books that I have had sitting on my ereader for quite a while now but have never quite got around to reading it. Then as soon as I started it, I wondered why I'd left it so long as it was thoroughly enjoyable. Moira Rogers is the name for a writing team of two ladies, Bree and Donna, in their words: "a former forensic science and nursing student obsessed with paranormal romance and ... a computer programmer with a passion for gritty urban fantasy." And a great writing team they make too.
Our heroine is Mackenzie, a frightened woman on the run from a crazy stalk who claims they are destined to be together. A man that wherever she runs to seems to eerily be able to find her. His pursuit of her is violent, unrelenting and terrifying and she has nowhere left to turn.
Ending up in New Orleans, working in a bar, she has stumbles upon a supernatural underground she didn't even know existed. As her crazy stalker's behaviours escalates it appears that she needs to find out about her past and where she fits into this world.
This book is like a cross between a paranormal romance and an urban fantasy novel, kind of sitting on that wavy line between the two genres. There's darkness, horror, mystery and preternatural creatures as well as a warm and sexy romance. The action in the book keeps the pages moving and there are enough plot surprises to keep you guessing.
While Mackenzie is frightened and vulnerable, there is a tough core to her which made her likeable. It would have been very easy to make her a simpering female overwhelmed with her supernatural discovery, and I'm so glad this wasn't the case. Scared yes, but willing to stand on her own two feet and learn to fight too.
There was something about Jackson I just couldn't help but like. A rugged, supernatural PI, with a nice hint of gentlemanly manners. He accepts Nici's request to investigate Mackenzie as a favour, but protects and helps her out of honour and of course as the book progresses a growing attraction between them.
This book has created a world of supernatural beings which were rich and fascinating, and I felt as though we hadn't really scratched the surface of where the story could take it. The politics and the hierarchy system of the shape shifters alone left me intrigued and we were introduced to many characters I would like to read more about. I would go as far as to say the secondary characters were as interesting as the two main leads.
A great book that will appeal to shape shifting fans. If you're not normally a romance fan, but love urban fantasy, I would urge you to give this a go as I think you will enjoy it. It's a romance book with a bit more grit in it and a great start to new series. (less)