The cover of this book is oddly deceiving. When I first looked at it, I wasn't sure ifReviewed 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. ...more
When I first started reading 'Before I Fall' it reminded me a little bit of a cross betReviewed 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. ...more
I was really intrigued by the premise of this novel. A world where love, also known as amor deReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
I was really intrigued by the premise of this novel. A world where love, also known as amor deliria nervosa, is classed as a disease. Every citizen must undergo an operation as soon as they turn eighteen to 'cure' them. I found the concept both unique and fascinating.
Our lead character is Lena. A young, seventeen year old girl with a mere ninety-five days remaining until she can be cured, and she cannot wait. Dreading the very thought of catching the disease and looking forward to a life of simplicity and conformity.
Of course, we know that this life cannot be for Lena. And just a few months to go until her operation, she meets Alex.
The book is slow at first and takes a little while to get going. This is because the author takes time to set the scene and draw this vacuous society. The world is fully realised, a dystopian future complete with a utilitarian dictatorship, propaganda and mass brain-washing.
At first, it's hard to grasp exactly what a world without love equates to. A lot of the hideousness of it is in the subtleties as much as the vicious punishments for those who do not conform. It simply feels hollow and it took a while for me to fully comprehend the barbarity of it.
The cured are like neutered zombies as though part of their souls, their very life essence has been carved away. People raising children out of duty, only picking them up to clean their cuts when they remember this is something they're supposed to do as a parent. Not something they feel compelled to do because they care. All passions be it for one another, a favourite hobby, even dreaming have been wiped from the world.
It did have one thing missing though. An understanding of how the world ended up here. We're treated to lots of snippets of educational literature at the beginning of each chapter, which adds to the overall rich tapestry of the story:
"Symptoms of amor deliria nervosa PHASE ONE: preoccupation; difficulty focusing dry mouth perspiration, sweaty palms fits of dizziness and disorientation reduced mental awareness; racing thoughts; impaired reasoning skills"
But, there is not one reference to what caused society to declare love an enemy. And this revelation was missed.
Lena really struggles to come to terms with her feelings for Alex, so convinced at first that she is diseased. But, what also makes this book work is the complex relationship she has with her best friend Hana. Hana, the beautiful, wannabe rebel, meets the girl who just wants a safe and predictable life. This adds a interesting dynamic to the story, when the unlikely half of the pair ends up rebelling. Lena's journey is believable, intense and engaging.
As the end drew closer, I was almost frightened to read any further. My stomach weighed down with lead. Could anything good come out of this barren world? I actually thought about putting it down for a while, so afraid was I of what those final pages would say. I should have known there would be a cliffhanger!
I'm going to contradict myself here, but bear with me. This book is imaginative, clever and very well written. The problem is, I'm not quite sure I liked it. But, if that's the case why am I already looking forward to the sequel, knowing I won't be able to resist reading it?...more
I think it's fair to say that 'Perfect Chemistry' isn't an original story. We've read superb stories of star-crReviewed 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! ...more
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Christine Feehan books. I have been a fanReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 5/10 on the blog.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Christine Feehan books. I have been a fan of her for a long time, and to put things into perspective I have read every one of her books. But of late, particularly with her Carpathian books, I feel like they have been losing their way. Then last year I read 'Dark Slayer' and was pleasantly surprised at the improvement in writing and characterisation. Sadly, 'Dark Peril' seems like a step backwards.
The two main characters are Dominic and Solange. Dominic is the oldest of the Dragonseeker lineage, determined to get to the bottom of the vampire plot he has ingested vampire blood in order to infiltrate their ranks as a spy. He believes it to be a suicide mission, but an honourable way to die.
Solange is one of the last surviving women of the jaguar people, she is described a tough, physically scared from her battles and a warrior in her own right. And has dedicated her life to freeing women from her evil father Broderick, who believes jaguar women are only good for breeding and abuses and terrorises them. Solange is intent on stopping her father once and for all even if it means her own death.
The premise of the book is a good one, so I was very much looking forward to this story with two very strong characters. I've also been enjoying that the back story around the darker vampire plot that we have seen in recent books in the series too. But it all seemed to get a bit lost in this book.
I felt like Solange lost all of her toughness and personality as soon as she entered the relationship with Dominic. She went all meek and barely spoke to him at first. I wanted sass and fire between them.
Dominic sensitively decides not to push Solange into sex too soon into their relationship given her past. But, instead we get these strange scenes where he gets her to dress up in these sexy outfits, which seems like an uncharacteristic thing for a battle-scarred woman to do. Then there are scenes when he gets her to relax in and out of a bath while he washes her hair and gently touches her and it literally goes on and on for chapters. And I didn't find it sexy or climactic, unfortunately I just got bored.
This is really the crux of the problem of the book, it focuses far too much on the relationship between Solange and Dominic with endless chapters of nothing much really happening at all at the expense of the plot. There is very little action - only at the beginning and the end and no twists or suspense to keep the reader intrigued. In want of a better word, it was all a bit blah. Which is a shame as I know Christine Feehan can do much better.
Also, while this book is 400 pages long, 60 pages of this is appendices at the end with details of the Carpathian language and healing chants. I do appreciate that this is the 21st book in the series and that Christine Feehan has put a lot of time, research and passion which I commend her for. But this seemed very excessive for a paranormal romance and if I'm honest I looked at it in disbelief, but did not read it at all.
As a fan of this series, I was really disappointed with this book. I felt like it lost its way and I would have liked to have seen a bit more story and action and yes, I know it's a romance, but a bit less of the love story which seemed to go on just too much.
Yet despite all of this, I'm already intrigued by Zacarias who was introduced in this story and know that I'll be reading his story and really cannot wait for Dimitri and Skylar's book, but I beg you Ms. Feehan re-read some of your earlier books and go back to your roots, remind me why I used to love this series so much....more
I have to say as a self confessed bookaholic, there's something super exciting about being able to get my mittsReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
I have to say as a self confessed bookaholic, there's something super exciting about being able to get my mitts on a book before it's even released. It gives me a warm feeling inside ;)
Seventeen year old Ellie is your typical American teenager. Until she begins to have strange dreams and visions and then one night hears unusual noises in the dark. She learns of the existence of reapers. Evil beings that kill and steal people's souls.
This coincides with the arrival of Will, who proclaims to be her very own Guardian Angel. Will tells her that she is in fact the Preliator, a powerful warrior reborn again and again over thousands of years into a mortal's body. And that she is the only person that can fight and stop the evil reapers.
As a teenager she has enough to worry about with her school grades, friends, and Ellie does not welcome this discovery, especially after a reaper causes her to right-off her car.
With her powers awakened, Ellie cannot escape her destiny. What starts with reluctance turns to passioned determination. Reinforced as her visions affect her everyday life as the memories of her previous lives bleed their way into her consciousness.
There seems to be a theme for reincarnation stories lately, as this is the third one I've read so far this year. All with young women as the leads. I have to say I quite like them and in each book have been interested to see how the past affects the present day character.
Some of the best parts of the novel were the fight scenes. There are some fantastic fight sequences. In particular, the final battle on a liner in the middle of the ocean was inspired. And it will no doubt keep you on the edge of your seat.
The love story in the book is tender and engaging. Nothing adds to the edge of a romance like forbidden love and I found my heart squeezing at some of the scenes.
However, despite enjoying many, many aspects of the book I didn't quite love it. Maybe I'm just a little 'YA'd' out at the moment, but at times I found Ellie a little irritating and superficial. It was hard to get my head around her and her parents almost flippant towards money. Additionally, Will was a fascinating character, but I wanted to know more about him, to understand the character behind the boy who has been in his late teens for the last six hundred years.
A good read and without a doubt it was the action packed fight scenes that made the story. I think it's a book YA fans will love, while I do have a couple of reservations it is still one I would recommend. ...more
Nearly sixteen years ago the 'Shift' happened. And every child that has been born sinceReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 7/10 on the blog.
Nearly sixteen years ago the 'Shift' happened. And every child that has been born since can see and communicate with ghosts. The world is divided into two sub sets, post and pre shifters, those who can see & those who can't.
The Shift has changed everything. Ghosts can now testify in their own murder cases. Certain building & rooms in your house have to be 'black boxed' so that ghosts cannot go into them. Red has become the all prevailing fashion statement of the under sixteens. A colour ghosts cannot abide.
Most ghosts are harmless, if not persistently irritating. But there are the ghosts that become Shades - dark, malevolent spirits.
At nearly sixteen years old, Aura is a post-shifter. She's spent her life being able to see, talk to, and wherever possible ignore ghosts. She has an amazing boyfriend - Logan. The night of his seventeenth birthday is supposed to be perfect. That is until it all goes horribly wrong and he tragically dies. Suddenly being able to talk to ghosts takes on a whole new meaning and she prays that Logan will come back to haunt her.
But, as Aura struggles to come to terms with her grief she becomes friends with a new transfer student from Scotland: Zachary. Zachary is kind, understanding and has a rather sexy accent. As her friendship with Zachary grows, she realises that she has to make an impossible decision between the two men in her life. One dead, one alive.
I expected this book to merely be a tragic & haunting, in more ways than one, coming of age love story. But it was more than that and in the final third of the story, the pace changes as we realise a few of the characters have some secrets they haven't been sharing.
I loved the originality of the book, this new ghost ridden world that only children and teens can see was imaginative and interesting. I was intrigued by the mystery of the Shift and what caused it. While we begin to explore the mystery, the story barely scratches the surface so I look forward to discovering more as the series progresses.
This was a surprisingly easy read, and while it was sad and moving, it was written in a way that wasn't over wrought.
A refreshingly different young adult novel, that is sad and at times intense, but never the less enjoyable. The storyline was developed slowly and the second half certainly has more pace than the first. We're given just a few hints of what is to come in the subsequent books. It doesn't reveal much, but what it does give is just enough to leave you wanting more. ...more
Aaron is one of those characters you immediately endear to when you begin reading. Orphaned and having spent hisReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
Aaron is one of those characters you immediately endear to when you begin reading. Orphaned and having spent his life in care, he has finally found a family who loves him and is making a place for himself in the world, doing well at school and hoping for a college scholarship.
But things start to get strange. It's starts with the the dreams, but then inexplicably on his eighteenth birthday Aaron is suddenly able to speak and understand multiple languages, and that's just the beginning. Aaron discovers he is a Nephilim and has an incredibly important part to play in the battle between angels. His destiny is far from what he believed or even what he wants it to be.
This is actually two books, 'The Fallen' and 'Leviathan' which are books one and two in the series. In both books Aaron is the lead and I thought he was a great character. He's different in that he's essentially a good boy, but I liked that. But perhaps because of this or maybe because he finally has a place he feels he belongs, he struggles to embrace his fate. In the second story 'Leviathan' this did get a little frustrating, I just wanted him to grab his sword and kick some evil butt!
There are also places where this book is a touch slow, particularly during 'The Fallen' a lot of time in the narrative was spent setting up the story and building the what is a Nephilim theme. This could have done with cutting and speeding up in sections.
This book did surprise me by being darker and more violent than I expected, especially for a YA. For the most part, I enjoyed the fact that this book didn't pull any punches, but I was a little disconcerted by some events. It's hard to express my problem without giving away the ending of the first book, but I hope I'm not revealing too much by saying I was quite displeased by Aaron's brother's fate.
Anyone that knows me, will know that I adore dogs. So it was a real bonus for me that Aaron's dog Gabriel played such a big part in the story. I loved the fact that they could talk to one another and Gabriel's part was written by someone who also lives with a food obsessed pooch like myself! :-) I would go as far as to say that Gabriel was my favourite character.
If you're a person who likes lots of romance in your books, then this book may disappoint a little. While there is the beginnings of a love story, it was a very minor part of the novel. Although I do have my own suspicions of how the story may develop in subsequent books in the series.
In summary this was a good book, I loved the angels and the mythology interwoven into the narrative. I thought Aaron was a great character, with a lot of potential and I fell I love with Gabriel, the talking dog. Where can I buy one?! There were a few sections that perhaps weren't quite to my satisfaction, but don't let that put you off reading this book because the rest of the story by far made up for it....more
I have to confess to being quite a closet Christine Feehan fan. I've read nearly all of her Carpathian books anReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
I have to confess to being quite a closet Christine Feehan fan. I've read nearly all of her Carpathian books and every one of the Sea Haven series. It's no secret that they can be quite formulaic and dare I say it, a little bit cheesy! But when you're looking for some escapism and indulgence, they're perfect.
'Waterbound' is a new series, which is a spin off from her Sea Haven books. Although, a lot of the characters are mentioned and pop in the narrative, I don't think you need to have read them before picking up this one.
Rikki is a sea urchin diver. She is scuba diving for urchins, when a giant, unexpected wave hits. Underwater she becomes disorientated. Out of nowhere she sees a man in the sea. Obviously thrown over board, he is in normal clothes and has no breathing apparatus. With no choice but to try and save his life, Rikki shares her air with him and drags him onto her boat.
But, Lev is a ruthless man with many secrets. Saved by Rikki he has no idea who he is. But when his first instinct is to kill Rikki and steal her boat he begins to realise that he may not exactly be a very good person.
Despite his tendency for violence, Lev is inexplicably drawn to the different and charming Rikki. I loved Rikki. She's unusual for a romance lead because she's autistic. This made the love story different and engaging, and added an interesting dynamic to the book.
Additionally, Rikki is one of six sisters. Not sisters by blood, but as the series suggests, 'sisters of the heart'. Women pulled together by friendship and circumstance. Who all met whilst attending a specialist grief counselling group. We meet each of the sisters briefly in the novel and while we are told each of them has a paranormal gift. We only discover Rikki's in this book. But, the brief glimpse of the relationship between them all is compelling, and I look forward to learning more about each of them in their own stories.
For those of you who have read the Drake sisters' stories, you will recognise the surname Prakenskii. It is of course the surname of Joely's husband Ilya. And also, a sinking boat and a large wave may ring some bells. Yet, despite the obvious connections, very little is done with them in the story. Which made me wonder why they had been drawn in the first place.
This aside, I have a couple of comments on the story. Firstly is that the beginning is very slow moving. I loved the fact that despite his ruthlessness, Lev was very gentle and patient with Rikki. And because of her autism the romance needed to grow slowly, but at times it crawled a little too slowly.
The second is the action. There are two sinister plots shrouding Lev and Rikki's story. Both of which are grown throughout the book, the tension carefully developed. Then comes the ending and it's all over simply too quickly and easily for my satisfaction. I wanted the edge of the seat action to be drawn out for longer, or even better laced into the narrative earlier in the book.
Despite some reservations, I still did enjoy this book. If you're a Feehan fan, I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you haven't tried any of her books, and fancy a sweet and while I say it affectionately, yes somewhat cheesy romance then give it a go. ...more
If you loved the first book in this series 'Perfect Chemistry' then without a doubt you're going to fall for thiReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
If you loved the first book in this series 'Perfect Chemistry' then without a doubt you're going to fall for this one too. The plot itself is pretty similar, bad boy falls for good girl. But this time with no star-crossed lovers quality.
Like his brother before him, Carlos is descending into the dark world of drugs, violence and gang crime. With an attitude the size of a small planet, he can't see what's wrong with his lifestyle. He's putting food on the table and preventing his mother from working like a slave. When his brother and Mum insist he moves to Colorado, enrol back in school and make a fresh start for himself, he's of course immediately resistant and inevitably falls straight in with the wrong crowd.
Kiara, is a good girl. I liked her more than I liked Brittany from 'Perfect Chemistry', she is a less conventional heroine. Her love for over sized t-shirts, shorts and hiking boots, the fact she doesn't even own a pair of high heels and her favourite past time is renovating old cars. She also has a stutter. All of this adds a touch of difference to her character.
I read this book pretty quickly, in about two days. It's a fun and engaging read. The romance between Kiara and Carlos develops at a nice pace. I liked the fact that beneath the tough, cocky exterior Carlos has a soft, vulnerable centre. Which allowed for some lovely tender moments.
This book is also surprisingly funny too. I shall just say look out for the gay Frisbee scene. :)
An issue I did have was that the ending does get wrapped up pretty quickly. There was more focus on the relationship between Carlos and Kiara and because of this things are tied up a little too easily for my liking. It felt like, ok they're in love now, now we need to find away to resolve this problem (not wanting to give too much away), which of course had been a huge part of the storyline.
It is interesting seeing Alex and Brittany again, two years on. While I know this was Carlos and Kiara's story, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of them. But I did certainly like seeing a wiser, more mature Alex.
I'm usually a fan of epilogues. I sometimes think if I could live in a Disney movie I'd be in heaven, I adore happy endings! But unfortunately Simone Elkeles can't seem to get the tone of hers right. The epilogue went beyond cheesy, and I hate to sound mean, but to pretty ghastly. My advice.... skip it.
Despite the too easy wrap up I had fun with this book. Made up of great characters and with a romance that is very easy to get swept up in. Carlos is as dark, wild and handsome as his brother.
'Original Sin' is a black and white tale of good versus evil. The main character is Moira, the daughter of FionaReviewed 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? ...more
This is one of those books that I have had sitting on my ereader for quite a while now but havReviewed 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. ...more
We've waited two books to meet him, so much that I wondered if we ever would. But, book three in this trilogy isReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
We've waited two books to meet him, so much that I wondered if we ever would. But, book three in this trilogy is finally about the alleged traitor, Prince Alberon. Once again the story is more about lethal political games than it is about action, as Wynter and Alberon's half brother Razi try to get to the bottom of the split in the kingdom and prevent an all out war between father and son.
Prince Alberon is not quite how I expected him to be. We have seen him thus far only through the eyes of Razi and Wynter, which has been slightly rose-tinted and filled with childhood memories. The grown up Alberon is a mixture of nobility and bravery, but at the same time spoilt and impetuous. And I wasn't able to gel with him the same way I have with other characters in the books. There were times when I felt like giving him a good slap!
At last, and most importantly we finally discover what the feared 'bloody machine' is that King Jonathan and Wynter's father have done everything in their power to hide. The revelation shocking to our three main characters, but perhaps more disturbing is Alberon's plans for it.
Wynter, Razi and Christopher arrive in the camp accompanied by the Merron, Christopher's people. But after the events of the last book their relationship with Razi is shaky. And yet despite those shocking events, I still could not help but like most of these strange people, with their ancient habits and traditions and wanted them to get the new beginning they were so desperately seeking.
Prince Alberon's camp is made up of numerous political envoys from different nations and the relationships between them are tentative at best. But when the hideously violent Loup Garous arrive, the same people that enslaved and mutilated the man she loves, Wynter is suddenly very fearful for the future. It seemed that Alberon the boy she had once loved like a brother, was no longer a person she knows or understands.
For a lot of the book I had absolutely no idea how it was going to end. I got to about three quarters of the way through and I still had no idea and began to get worried that things weren't going to get tied up as nicely as I would have hoped for a trilogy. The ending seemed to come out of nowhere and totally took me by surprise. It's an explosion of edge of your seat action and horror. Then it all ended as abruptly as it started. But, never fear there is an epilogue, which in a one word summary was lovely.
This has been a fantastic trilogy. The lure of the books has to be Celine Kiernan's amazing characterisation. These were people I loved, feared for and cared about. Wynter was such a fabulous heroine and at the same time while still brave and determined, very different from heroines seen in a lot of stories at the moment. Don't be put off by the less action scenes, because the political games and revelations are as thrilling and definitely keep those pages turning....more
It's no secret that I have a love of the classics. The Brontës reaching the top of my favourites list. In fact,Reviewed 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....more
This has to be one of the best Anita Blake novels I have read in a long time. Fans of Jean-ClReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
This has to be one of the best Anita Blake novels I have read in a long time. Fans of Jean-Claude, Micah, Nathaniel and co. may miss their total absence. But I actually enjoyed the change & the absence of complicated relationship discussions. For the most this book was just Anita, Edward and lots and lots of guns! Oh yes....!
It does help that Edward has to be one of my favourite characters of the series. The fact that his and Anita's relationship is platonic is just so refreshing. I would class 'Obsidian Butterfly' as one of my favourite of the series, when Anita enters into Edward's world. I also like how their friendship has developed in this book, from more than just work colleagues with admiration from each other's skills, but genuine friends.
There are some scenes that took me back with pleasure to Hamilton's early writing. One particular in the woods, just Edward & Anita stranded with darkness approaching, had me rubbing my hands together in gruesome, violent anticipation.
The Harlequin play a very important part in this novel, and it's great to get some baddies that pose a serious challenge to Anita and Edward. We get some real monsters and proper edge of your seat action scenes.
About three quarters of the way through, the tone of the book changed with the arrival of bodyguards from St. Louis. Let's face it, it was quite remarkable that Anita was 'allowed' to travel without them anyway. But while it annoyed me a little, and the whole police politics around their arrival took away from the story, they definitely add to the big showdown at the end so I won't complain too much ;-)
Side note... Am I the only one that cannot abide Nicky? He is like a simpering, wet puppy who fawns unattractively over Anita. What I don't understand is why this tough, uncompromising woman, who let's face it can have any man she chooses puts up with it? Can he meet an unpleasant end somewhere please Ms Hamilton?
Then there's Olaf, I do hope we get a book with a big, bloody showdown between him and Anita, the man so has it coming! And I just know it will also be edge of your seat stuff. Bring it on!
This is definitely the best Anita book I've read in a long time and it's really got me excited, I hope this is the start of things to come. I don't mind the relationships with all the men, although I wish there were a few less. But I love the action scenes, because Hamilton does really know how to write them and give you the proper chills.
RATING: 7/10 - Very good, would definitely recommend...more
'Divine Darkness' is a compilation of short stories from four popular authors in the paranormal romance genre. TReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
'Divine Darkness' is a compilation of short stories from four popular authors in the paranormal romance genre. There has been a trend for compilations of this nature for a while and for the most part I've avoided them. There's a sceptical part of me, that thinks that they're a bit of a marketing ploy. I also often struggle with short stories and find myself wanting a bit more detail and depth.
But I took my sceptical hat off, and sat back to enjoy my reading. I've read books by two of the authors before - Gena Showalter and Maggie Shayne, but not the other two. So this gave me a chance to see if I would enjoy the other two author's writing styles & stories. I've wanted to pick up a P.C. Cast book in particular, for a while.
The first story of the book is by PC Cast and is obviously from one of her developed series. It tells of a healer who ends up falling for an enemy soldier. It has a fantasy setting and not having read any of the other books, I wasn't fully aware of the rules or background of the story. It did feel a bit rushed, with the characters meeting on one day and falling in love in the next. That being said, however, the story intrigued me. I very much liked the two leads and wanted to learn more about them and the setting captured my imagination. As a consequence the first book of this series is now on my wish list.
The second, is Gena Showalter's we meet a sultry vampire Zane who is being held captive by a tribe of supernatural amazon women. They have captured a group of powerful men and then begin to battle to decide who will mate with whom in order to produce the strongest children. But Zane has a long lost love, Nola who is being punished and exists invisible to everyone, she can only watch as Zane is tortured. Nola needs to break her curse in order to save both herself and the man she loves. This book is a light, paranormal romance written very much in the style Gena Showalter is known for and fans will enjoy, even if the scenes of the women fighting over the men did make me cringe a little.
Maggie Shayne writes the third story, named 'Voodoo'. The name says it all, it is a tale of voodoo magic. Holidaying with her sister in New Orleans, Tessa becomes plagued by strange dreams and fascinated by their handsome tour guide. But as the dreams turn to hauntings and her fascination with the handsome guide leads her to do some research into the local history, Tessa discovers something about herself she could never have imagined. The second two stories of the book are certainly better than the first. Maggie Shayne managed to pack a nice amount of tension into a small amount of pages, an enjoyable short story.
The phrase saving the best until last definitely applies here. I've never actually heard of Rhyannon Byrd so I wasn't sure what to expect from her story. Set in the 1800s, it tells of warrior Rhys who has been assigned along with his troupe of soldiers to protect Alia and her father. Since his assignment began, Rhys has admired Alia from afar since, knowing that he can never have her. But a deadly betrayal changes all of their worlds upside down and Rhys and Alia must work together to save her father's critical work. A riveting read, filled with believable chemistry simmering between Rhys and Alia. I definitely want to read further books from this author.
Despite my skepticism, for the most part I enjoyed this book. I did feel particularly with the first two stories that they would have worked better fleshed out with some more detail and as longer stories. I was expecting more from PC Cast, but it gave me enough of a flavour to want to read more of her books and I think I'm officially now a Rhyannon Byrd fan. So, perhaps the marketing did its work after all ;-) ...more
'Killing Kiss' is the story of Gabriele, a Seventeenth Century vampire, and a Manchester University student. ItReviewed 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....more
Affliction is book 22 in the Anita Blake series, and it’s a series I have a love to hate relatReviewed by Laura for www.bookchickcity.com - 3.5 Stars.
Affliction is book 22 in the Anita Blake series, and it’s a series I have a love to hate relationship with. I’ve nearly given up on it a couple of times, but there is something quite compelling about Hamilton’s writing. The last couple of books before this one have been an improvement, I really enjoyed Hit List, then felt that Kiss the Dead took a bit of a step backwards. But, the good news is that Affliction is undoubtedly one of the best books in the series in a long time.
Hamilton seems to really have made an effort to refocus the writing, we see a lot less pages on Anita’s love life and a lot more on the police investigation and bad guys. The lovers are still there, and still reasonably irritating, I do like some of them, but I just find that there are too many, it’s ridiculous. The first 100 pages or so of the novel was quite slow going and could have really done with some editing, but once the story got going, it really got going.
The best way I can describe Affliction is Anita Blake does the zombie apocalypse. Yes, think multiple, crazy, flesh eating madness versus Anita and Edward with a serious amount of fire power. The action scenes were utterly compelling, this is where Hamilton really knows how to write. I couldn’t get enough of them and looked forward to the next zombie killing fest with macabre glee.
The action was well paced, and the police investigation was thoroughly enjoyable. As the scenes got darker and darker you just knew they were going to need Anita to save the day and zombies are what Anita does best. In these sections the was less focus on Anita’s personal life and she also had a lot fewer bodyguards to hide behind too, so we get to enjoy plenty of scenes where Anita gets to kick arse all by herself. Hurrah! More please Ms Hamilton, more!
The parts I found rather irritating were the sections were Anita seemed to demand that everyone accept who she is. How many people discuss their personal/sex lives at work? Very few surely? But every time Anita is on a new job it’s like she has to force it down their throats. Why not be mature and refuse to discuss it and move on to the job at hand? Instead there are numerous tedious conversations about how many lovers Anita has and how everyone is prejudiced against her, ugh. I don’t mind so much people being nervous of Anita’s supernatural abilities and close relationship with the vampires, that suspicion is understandable. But it’s when she forces everyone to accept and discuss openly in a professional setting that she has multiple lovers that I find myself losing patience.
My last criticism is one I’ve had of several of Hamilton’s recent books in this series and it’s the ending. At 567 pages, this was by no means a small book, there was plenty of time for the story to be fully explored, but I felt like the final climax was all over disappointingly too quickly. I wanted a bit more bloodshed, more of a battle and yes more injuries! Overall the beginning needed cutting and the finale expanding.
It does feel in this review that I am whinging a lot. There are still plenty of frustrations, but please if you take away anything, take away that this is the best book in the series for a long, long time. We see lots of police work, lots of action, guns, battles and Anita doing what she does best. I think on my rough count there are only 4 sex scenes and Hamilton has most definitely pulled back on the sex and relationships and reverted back to what she does best.
If you’re an Anita fan who has been like me, losing heart with this series, then give Affliction a go and it will remind you why you fell in love with Anita in the first place. There are still issues with the writing, yes far too many ridiculous lovers, but it’s good. It’s about time we saw Anita versus the zombie apocalypse and Hamilton gives us plenty of gory action scenes to revel in. I hope Hamilton continues along this line of the focus and brings this series back to its heartland....more
'Arson' is a deep and moving book about Arson Gable, a seventeen year old orphan who liReviewed 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.
With its lush and vivid setting I'm tempted to call 'Trade Winds' a beautiful book. Set mainlyReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
With its lush and vivid setting I'm tempted to call 'Trade Winds' a beautiful book. Set mainly in Sweden, but with parts of the story told in Scotland and China in transports you through both time and cultures in 1732. I know next to nothing about Sweden, but I got a strong sense that this book was well researched and the author paints a distinct vision of each setting the book takes place in. I particularly loved the parts in China.
The heroine is Jess van Sandt a woman who has been raised in Sweden. Her now deceased father had been a forward thinking man, and with no sons to pass his business to had taught and encouraged Jess to be a part of it. But when her mother remarries, her new stepfather assures Jess that the business is now his, and her father's Will left her with nothing but a dowry for her marriage.
Jess is a determined and intelligent women and knows that something is amiss and desperately tries to get to the bottom of her stepfather's subterfuge. Wanting nothing more than the right to what she legally believes to be hers.
Living in the modern world, with a career of my own, it's easy to forget what it used to be like for women in the past. To not be able to own your own property and be entirely dependant on the men in your life. But this book really did make me think what it must have been like. I admired Jess's wits and courage and fumed at the injustices against her.
As a hero, initially you could be fooled into dismissing Killian as a bit of a gambler and a rogue. But peel beneath the surface and you'll find he's a very complicated man. A man that's determined to prove himself. Disinherited by his Grandfather, he seizes the opportunity to travel to Sweden and apprentice to Jess's stepfather to learn a trade and prove himself.
The love story isn't instantaneous, or a clash of lusty wills as you sometimes see in romances. It's Killian's dislike of injustice that draws him to help Jess, rather than some nefarious or romantic purpose. But just as Jess does, you slowly become charmed by him.
However, this book is more than a love story, the epic journey to China adds a real sense of adventure, and of course it really was an epic journey in those times. There's more than one villain to keep you on your toes and I found the history and Far Eastern culture fascinating.
There are four things that really make this book work. The beautiful setting, the obvious historical research coupled with the adventure and love story. This isn't what I would class as a fluffy romance, it's a rich and engaging novel with a romance story at the heart of it....more
This book is worth reading for the fantastically imaginative setting alone. Set in the futureReviewed 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....more
'The Crowded Shadows' takes off where 'The Poison Throne' had left us. With Wynter, leaving her dying father beReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
'The Crowded Shadows' takes off where 'The Poison Throne' had left us. With Wynter, leaving her dying father behind in the corrupt court to embark on a dangerous and lonely quest. She must travel through the dangerous and bandit infested forest, a solitary, young women as she tries to track down the exiled and believed traitorous Prince Alberon, who was once her dear friend. Her hope in finding him is that she may get to bottom of the darkness that is seeping through the Kingdom and save her friends.
As I begin this review, I'm not quite sure where to start. This book really wasn't I expected it to be at all. It takes you on a remarkable journey. Wynter is such a brave and eminently likeable heroine. A mixture of strength and diplomacy, yet vulnerable at the same time. In fact all of the characters are magnificently well rounded. My heart was in my mouth as Wynter travelled on her own, terrified that something was going to happen to her and fracture her lovely innocence. So it was with a huge sigh of relief when the book welcomed Razi and his companion Christopher back into the fold.
Travelling through the forest together on their journey to find Alberon, the trio encounter the ruthless and terrifying Loup-Garous. We learn more about Christopher and his time as a slave, a prisoner of this terrifying wolf clan. With nowhere to turn, they end up taking refuge with the Merron.
The plot is quite intrinsically complicated and keeps you guessing at all times. The Merron are an ancient and superstitious tribe. But Wynter and Razi have one thing on their side, Christopher's adoptive father was Merron, and he was raised in their culture and he understands their strange and dark traditions.
You spend a lot of the book feeling as puzzled and confused as Razi and Wynter are. As Christopher tries his best to manoeuvre his friends through the ancient Merron ways without them getting hurt and the Merron getting offended. It soon becomes evident that the Merron are part of the ever growing political web that is surrounding the Kingdom and they cannot afford to alienate them. But their culture is shocking and tests the trio's friendship to its limits. There are scenes in this book that will absolutely make you gasp.
The three main characters continue to be at the heart of the story, governed by their friendship and loyalty to one another. I wasn't sure about the blossoming love story between Christopher and Wynter at the end of the last book, but my feelings changed in this one. Their tenderness for one another was warm, sweet and captivating.
A lot of the initial story development from 'The Poison Throne' was put on hold, we learn nothing of the ominous 'bloody machine' and it looks as though we're going to have to wait for the third and final book to get those much needed answers and to meet Prince Alberon. But while this should have been frustrating, it really wasn't. This book had an important part to play in the overall journey and development of both the characters and the story.
I've seen this trilogy often classed as a young adult novel, but it really doesn't feel like one to me despite the fact that Wynter is only fifteen years old, she comes across as much older. Also this is definitely a part of a trilogy and not a stand alone novel.
I really enjoyed this book. Celine Kiernan is a very talented writer and she builds her stories cleverly and with obvious passion. The first two books of the trilogy so far have been well crafted together. It's also quite unusual for me to be looking to the end of a trilogy without a clue as to how it's going to end and I can't wait! ...more
'The Spirit Rebellion' takes off where just after 'The Spirit Thief' with Miranda returnReviewed by Laura for www.BookChickCity.com - 7/10 on the blog
'The Spirit Rebellion' takes off where just after 'The Spirit Thief' with Miranda returning to the Spirit Court to report her failure to apprehend Eli, and her defeat of the evil enslaver. But political games are afoot at the Spirit Court and before she knows it, Miranda is accused of working with the thief for her own ends and in serious trouble. It looks as though she really needs to capture Eli this time in order to clear her name.
Eli, Josef and Nico are trying to get Nico a new coat before her demon seed takes over. But on their return when the wealthy Duke of Goal has set up posters advertising his impenetrable citadel, Eli cannot resist the bait. Ok, so it's a trap, but he's Eli Monpress, he won't get caught... Right?
This book continues with light hearted humour of the first. Yes Eli's arrogant, cheeky and reckless, but he's also charismatic and charming and you can't help but love all of the antics he gets away with. We find out a little more about his past, with a prologue giving us insight into his parentage and we also get to meet his foster father, an equally rampant thief. But I still feel like we haven't scratched the surface of what makes Eli tick. We also learn some more about Josef and Nico, I find the bond between them in particular quite fascinating.
The beginning of the book darts about at first until all of the threads finally come together. But this does make it a little slow occasionally. Once again we get a serious baddie, and as soon as that baddie is realised you kind of know how the story if going to go, but at the same time you're grinning as it does so. It's the characters that make the book, Miranda is as fab as Eli, even if they are total opposites. She reminds of the head girl at school with her affinity with rules and drive to always do the right thing. I do very much enjoy the magical world that Aaron has created with all living things having a soul and personality, it adds some interesting twists to the plot.
The narration of the audiobook is picked up my Luke Daniels once more, an excellent narrator. I also like it when the same person continues with the series as you become use to their style and portrayal of the characters.
A light, fun adventure with fab characters and a great fantasy world. If you're a fantasy fan, it's not a series you'll regret picking up.
Captain Gabriel Huntley has returned to England after years of serving abroad in the army. With no remaining famReviewed 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. ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Poison Throne'. The lead character is Wynter. She returns homReviewed 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. ...more
'The Heir of Night' is the first in a new four part fantasy series. The Derai live on the edgeReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
'The Heir of Night' is the first in a new four part fantasy series. The Derai live on the edge of the world, charged with guarding 'The Wall' against the ancient and terrifying Swarm. A ferocious, demonic race.
The Derai are an uncompromising people, ruled by tough rules and routine. But their task is such a hard one, they dare not deviate from the way of life that has been followed for hundreds of years. For, legend claims that if the House of Night falls, the rest of the world will follow. Victims to the Darkswarm.
Thirteen year old Malian is the Heir of Night, daughter to the Earl of Night and as his only child and successor is destined to rule the Derai after his demise. A daunting task for any child to comprehend, but Malian embraces her future with relish, longing for adventure.
By contrast our other main character is Kalan. Kalan is from a noble warrior family, but when is family discovered he has magic they disowned him, turning him over to be trained as a priest of the Temple of Night. For in the Derai magic and warriors do not mix.
This is a book about destinies, bravery and hard choices. When after years of silence the Darkswarm rise again, it becomes evident that the Derai are no longer strong enough. A lot of the old ways and magics have been lost with time. And suddenly the fate of both a race and the world may potentially rest on the shoulder sof two children - Malian and Kalan. But they are surrounded with suspicion, untrained and in terrible danger.
The first few pages take quite a bit of concentration, as there is so much world building and past to take in. It was one of those books where you occasionally have to pause as reread the previous paragraph in order to make sure you have understood it correctly.
I really engaged with the characters. They are complex and intriguing. Take Malian's father as an example, a tough and scrupulous man, strict to the point of brutal. He makes decisions that you can't quite comprehend and yet is softened by his love both Malian and his non Derai girlfriend Rowan.
Those of you that struggle with dream sequences, may struggle with this book as there are a lot of them. As Malian and Kalan discover the ability to enter the dream world and converse with legendary warriors of the past and mythical beings. A lot of the plot moves forward through these passages.
My one big criticism of this novel, is that it very much feels as though it's setting up the rest of the story and subsequent novels. It's about setting the scene and while still enjoyable, did feel slightly incomplete.
An interesting and promising start to a new fantasy series. With great characters, I really enjoy stories about destinies and look forward to seeing who Malian and Kalan become. I also have teensy hopes of a potential love story there too....more
It's no secret that I'm a huge Kelley Armstrong fan. I was hooked since I picked up my very copy of 'Bitten' andReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
It's no secret that I'm a huge Kelley Armstrong fan. I was hooked since I picked up my very copy of 'Bitten' and then had to run to the shops to buy 'Stolen' immediately after. For those who haven't read any of her books, they follow women with supernatural powers, the books are a series, but often have different lead characters.
This book follows powerful, young witch Savannah. Savannah's been in in the series since the second book, but she's always been a child or more recently, a teenager. So it was with great anticipation than I opened the crisp front cover looking forward to her first story as an adult.
Savannah has been left on her own running the Paige & Lucas's supernatural detective agency. Desperate to prove that she's responsible & can manage her own cases without their supervision, she jumps at the chance when a new case comes in.
She finds herself investigating the murders of three young women in a small town. But a six foot, motorbike riding, young woman arriving in town is bound to be noticed and she find herself the attention of unwanted attention from several different parties. Cue, local rednecks, a resentful and incompetent local sheriff, a local commune and town bad boy and you've got all the key ingredients of a small American town murder mystery.
Savannah is the daughter of dark (and dead) witch Eve who has had a couple of books of her own. Raised by good witch Paige, she is a nice mix of Paige's morals, with some of Eve's darkness thrown in, which means she's not against crossing the line when she needs to. I loved her sass and determination and her mixture of compassion and bullishness
Now, historically everyone of Kelley Armstrong books have also included a great love story and it was not what I expected it to be in this novel. I waited for the arrival of half-demon Adam with baited breath, knowing that Savannah has been desperately in love with him for years. But this was danced around without any real development. I guess I'm just going to have some patience on that one!
For those who haven't read any of the other books, there are quite a few references to past characters, but for the most part you could pick it up as a standalone novel. I think as Savannah is so young, it will appeal to YA fans too.
There were a couple of disappointments with this book, it didn't feel quite supernatural enough for me. There was of course magic, but it really more like a murder mystery than the complex supernatural world that I've come to enjoy in Armstrong's books. But, the mystery is undoubtedly a good one and kept me guessing until the end.
Secondly, it felt more like half a story than a whole one. Things were left very open at the end and I can only assume that there is a sequel on the way. But the ending seemed a touch rushed and unfinished because of this.
This book is written with Kelley Armstrong's pacy, page turning style that is one of the reasons I'm such a fan. If I'm honest, it's not as good as some of her earlier books, not enough magic and exploration into the supernatural world. But, never the less I enjoyed it and if you're a fan I'm pretty sure you will too....more
This isn't a sweet or even an easy reading romance. Set in Afghanistan, Kaylea Cross addressesReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
This isn't a sweet or even an easy reading romance. Set in Afghanistan, Kaylea Cross addresses some of the harsher realities of the Iraq war. With the treatment of hostages, torture and barbaric deaths included, to the plight of the people living there and the everyday struggle for survival amidst poverty, terrorist rule and brutality. So this may not appeal to some romance readers, but fans of military romances and stories with a bit more grit in them will undoubtedly like this story.
I got slightly muddled with the order of the books in the series, thinking this was the first book, but it isn't. While there were some references to events in the previous book, it didn't affect my enjoyment at all.
Our two lead characters are Sam (Samarra) and Ben. Sam is a civilian communications expert for the CIA and Ben is an ex-army ranger working on the team she is on. The book opens with Sam believing she is being followed either by a terrorist cell or the CIA, panicking she flees for her life and sets of a sequence of events that means that people in her team believe her to be a traitor.
When Sam's cousin, the person she cares most about in her life is kidnapped by a terrorist group she has to return to her team and prove her innocence and help save her cousin's life. Sam is in a very difficult position, her team and Ben continually question her loyalty throughout the book. Whenever something goes wrong during the rescue mission, it is Sam's integrity that is interrogated. A bitter pill in any circumstance, but even more so during a burgeoning romance.
'No Turning Back' is pacy, engaging romance. The chemistry between Sam and Ben is electric. But there is also some great additional characters in the story. I in particular liked Ben's brother Rhys, and can already see his story being set up for the next book, which I very much look forward to reading.
Despite enjoying this book, I had a few issues with the plot. For example, at the beginning of the book when Sam believes her apartment is bugged she goes to Rhys and Ben for help. But, when she thinks she is being followed she decided she can no longer trust them and runs, leaving her a woman on her own, with no military training in Afghanistan? Hmm.
Then there was the reason she has to accompany them on the mission. She jets dragged up the Afghanistan mountains, through an Al Qaeda hot zone, again with no training (she doesn't even know how to fire a gun!), inevitably barely able to keep up and I wasn't really sure why she needed to be there. Other than of course for the developing romance between her and Ben.
Finally, Sam had no qualms declaring her love for Ben, and I don't have a problem with one of the characters confessing their love and then we have to wait for the other one to catch up, but she kept saying it! She'd say it and then he'd say nothing and then a few hours or a day later, embarrassingly she'd say it again. I mean .... would you? Say it once then keep your pride in tact until it's reciprocated... surely? Or am I just cynical?
Plot misgivings aside, this really is a great suspenseful and gritty, military romance. I haven't come across Kaylea Cross before, but I will be reading more of her books in the future....more
*Warning - while this review contains no spoilers for this book, it does for the first book in the series*
I really enjoyed 'Hex Hall', the first book in this series, so was really looking forward to 'Raising Demons', known as 'Demonglass' in the US. (On a personal note I'm curious as to why the two different titles for the UK and US?). The story pretty much picks up not far along from where the first one left us. Sophie is still reeling from her discovery that she is not in fact a witch, but a demon and the boy she had desperately fallen for was in fact a spy for an agency that are intent on killing her.
The setting of the book moves to the UK as Sophie finally meets and goes to stay with her powerful father, striking a deal to take best friend Jenna with her. Being English, I always find different countries/author's perceptions of what life is like here interesting, thankfully other than a few large words added to Sophie's father's vocabulary the book didn't slip into any awful clichés. And I loved the setting of the large, beautiful, British mansion.
On her arrival Sophie meets Daisy and Nick and immediately knows that they are demons too. But demons can only be made and not born, and the spell to make one is meant to have been lost years ago, which leaves many concerning questions.
As the story is such an easy read you could easily dismiss it as perhaps slightly and predictable. But it really isn't. There were a couple of plot turns that I did not see coming in the slightest. It was well written and perfectly thrilling.
Jenna had to be one of my favourite characters of the story, I actually would have loved to see more of her. How can you not love a vampire with an obsession for all things pink? Do you think if I ask nicely enough she might get a spin off?
I thoroughly enjoyed 'Hex Hall' for its wit, and while this book is definitely still funny, Sophie has some fab lines, the tone itself is darker and more intense in 'Raising Demons'. The pace is fast and it's an addictive read.
There seems to be a real trend in young adult books for love triangles. I know we could blame 'Twilight', but I loved it, so I shall refrain. And while we didn't see one in 'Hex Hall' this changed in 'Raising Demons'. I actually think that the story would have been better without one. The forbidden love angst was plenty to keep my on the edge of my seat, without throwing in another potential love interest. But while it made me frown a little, it didn't detract from my enjoyment.
The book had a bit of a killer ending, if you loathe cliffhangers, you might want to wait until book three is released.
A fab second instalment to the series, which I personally think was slightly better than the first. But perhaps because I enjoyed the slightly more sinister tone. I can't wait to see where the next book takes us. ...more
Radiant Shadows is the fourth book in Melissa Marr's 'Wicked Lovely' series. It begins where 'Fragile Eternity'Reviewed 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. ...more