I was really excited about reading Fallen, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and I just had to have it! Luckily I received an ARC, thanks to Random HouI was really excited about reading Fallen, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and I just had to have it! Luckily I received an ARC, thanks to Random House Children's Books. This is another book that has had a lot of hype recently and, as with Hush Hush, it had a lot to live up to. I have read negative as well as positive reviews, so I went in with a completely open mind, and I wasn't disappointed.
The story starts out a little slow at the beginning and not a lot really happens in the way of action until half way through the book. The days Luce spends at Sword and Cross reform school, where she has been sent after an incident with a fire, which killed her ex-boyfriend, does become a little repetitive and drawn out and all I really wanted was the story to get going. But I think the author was trying to set the scene, give us some really well developed characters and lots of suspense before revealing all. In retrospect, I liked this approach as sometimes a story can move along quickly but then have no depth at all.
There are many characters in Fallen, all of which I think are really well rounded. Even those that are not the main focus still have their own story and you feel they are all central to Luce's life. Although none of the characters are particularly 'dangerous', there is a darkness about Daniel and Cam that is subtle but definitely there. As each character grows and a little more is revealed about them, you realise that there is more to each of them which is not necessarily what you first thought. Nice twists and turns kept my interest and I was very intrigued as to how this book would pan out. The atmosphere is dark and edgy too and each detail of Luce's surroundings is described well and at times I really felt as though I was there.
Luce herself is a nice character. She is interesting and I think she will develop into quite an intriguing female protagonist. Sometimes she is quite witty and feisty, but at other times she can be a little slow on the uptake. But overall, I'm looking forward to seeing how she develops and deals with the revelations which occur at the end of Fallen.
Cam and Daniel, who are the two main love interests for Luce, are both delicious. They are very different from each other and at first I wasn't quite sure who was the good guy and who was the bad guy. As I got to know Daniel, I began to like him more and more and could completely understand why Luce is so captivated, and almost hypnotised, by him. He is gorgeous, and a very sexy fallen angel, *move over Patch!*
The story does take time to get going and is definitely a slow burner, but I think it is well worth the wait, so be patient. The ending is exciting, albeit a bit rushed; maybe a few pages from the beginning would have been better used at the end. I was left with a few questions, but that's okay, as I know there's another book coming, and I can't wait! Fallen is a brilliant read and has set the scene for what I hope will be a very exciting series.
I gave this 9/10 on my blog, but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
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
What a great first book to a series - I really enjoyed this, I couldn't put it down it was so good. I was expecting**warning - may contain spoilers**
What a great first book to a series - I really enjoyed this, I couldn't put it down it was so good. I was expecting something a little more 'young' adult (along the lines of the House of Night series) but instead the characters are all quite mature. The book itself is written with more of a mature tone than other YA books I have read, and I much prefer this style of writing. I think it helped that one of the characters was twenty-four years old.
There are two types of vampire; the Moroi who are 'good' vampires and who are alive. They have the ability to use magic, wielding the four elements of air, water, earth and fire. The other type is a Strigoi, these are evil and although both types need blood, Strigoi kill while taking it.There are also Dhampirs who are half Moroi and half human. They don't need to drink blood to survive but because they have faster and better reflexes than the Moroi are instead trained as their Guardians. The academy is where the Guardians train, graduate and get assigned to a Moroi to protect.
'Vampire Academy' begins outside of the school with Rose, the main protagonist, and her best friend, Lissa, who are on the run. Something happened at the academy that frightened them both and so they decided to run away. Unfortunately they are being hunted and have to keep moving, until one night they are captured by the academy's guardians and brought back to the school. This is the first time Rose meets Guardian Dimitri Belikov. There's an instant attraction between them and it's this relationship that makes the book great for me.
Surprisingly, I also liked every single character. It's quite unusual for me to like every character but in Vampire Academy I did. Even those that are annoying and hateful I still enjoyed reading about.
Rose is conceited and somewhat arrogant at times, but I didn't mind. Although she thought she was hot and boys were 'crazy' about her, she's also very loyal, bold and feisty. I thought she brought a great sense of courage and determination to her character. Rose is a guardian in training and is hoping to be Lissa's guardian when she graduates. What I also liked about this book is it showed the Guardians in training. I liked that it didn't shy away from the fact that Dhampirs aren't as strong or as quick as Strigoi. We get to see how much Rose has to train to be strong, fast and quick-thinking. She spends hours each day honing her craft, which is where she falls for Dimitri - and who wouldn't!
Dimitri is swoon worthy. I love his character and I also like the fact that he's in his twenties, which means he shows a lot of maturity instead of the typical school boy hangups I find so tedious sometimes in young adult literature. I can understand why Rose succumbs as Damitri is a Guardian too, but stoically so. He is nicknamed 'the God' and he shows why in everything he does. He becomes her role model as well her friend. Rose's crush on him grows into something much more and she knows he feels the same way, but there are many factors, as well as age, that keeps them apart.
Rose's friend, Lissa is a lovely character. She's a Moroi Princess and is very sweet natured. She relies heavily on Rose to protect her. Lissa also has the ability to heal, and when she brought Rose back from the dead after a fatal accident they are now bonded. This means that Rose can feel all the emotions of Lissa - unfortunately it's only one way. But because of this their friendship is deep and meaningful.
The other characters are also just as well-written and perfectly well rounded and the story itself kept my interest from beginning to end. It's fast paced and exciting and the climax at the end I really didn't see coming (and that doesn't happen very often).
'Vampire Academy' is one of the best young adult books in the paranormal genre I've read. There are strong female characters and a great storyline with a plot that is immensely intriguing. I would highly recommend this book to all paranormal fans in a heart-beat. Why it took me so long to start this series I don't know, but I'm so glad I've started it now. It's brilliant and I'm completely hooked!!...more
I was quite skeptical, as well as intrigued, when I was sent "Warm Bodies" to review. I would never hav Originally posted on my blog: Book Chick City.
I was quite skeptical, as well as intrigued, when I was sent "Warm Bodies" to review. I would never have imagined putting "zombie" and "romance" in the same sentence. I assumed the putrid decomposition of flesh and the eating of brains would have been a bit of a turn off.
After reading the first page I didn't know whether I would be able to take this book seriously: a zombie romance? And with quotes like these... "My friend 'M' says thie irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can't smile, because your lips have rotted off. "
"None of us are particularly attractive, but death has been kinder to me than some. I'm still in the early stages of decay. ..." ... my lips were twitching with suppressed laughter. But after only a few more pages I wasn't laughing any more, other than from the brilliant intentional dry sense of humour which was scattered throughout the book.
"Warm Bodies" was a total surprise. I didn't expect it to be so heart-warming or to love the hero as much as I did considering he's a brain munching zombie. I knew going in that this was a book about zombie romance, but it's not in the 'paranormal romance' style. It has a bittersweet edge - along side the sweet endearing thoughts of "R" there's lots of wonderfully descriptive detail on zombies eating humans, which was completely disgusting but I loved it all the same. I was right there with "R".
The reader stays inside the mind of "R", the hero of the piece, and I say 'hero' because that's exactly what he is. He does eat people, yes, and he shuffles along with only one thought and that's to munch his way through humanity, but things begin to change for "R" when he meets Julie. Unfortunately their meeting comes at an unfortunate moment, after "R" bites down on the skull of Perry, her boyfriend.
Nobody knows what caused the dead to rise. But "R", who remembers nothing of his former life before becoming one of the living dead, has glimpses of the lives he kills when eating their brains. Memories of his victims flicker by in his mind and he treasures them. But after meeting Julie, and eating Perry, things begin to change.
With each bite of cerebrum, Perry comes alive in "R's" mind and "R" sees Perry's life from childhood until the very moment he dies. He also sees Julie as part of Perry's memories and for some reason when he comes back to reality and sees her crouching and shivering with fright against the wall, he doesn't devour her but instead takes her hand and leads her back to his home.
"R" lives in an aeroplane at an abandoned disused airport with many other zombies, they call their gathering a 'hive'. They are also organised by another creature called the 'Boney's' - they are not nice! The zombies are also hunted by the few remaining humans, one of which is Julie's father. Julie and a few thousand other humans live in a stadium and have done for many years. It's a community where children are born with soldiers protecting the parameters. Not much of a life, but survival all the same.
There's a surprising amount of action in "Warm Bodies" and the story moves at an exciting pace. And when Julie and "R" become friends something miraculous happens and everything starts to transform for zombies and humans alike. The story ends a little ambiguously for my taste, but there's hope and the promise of new beginnings.
I devoured this book and enjoyed it from beginning to end. It's quite somber, but contains delicious bittersweet moments that we can identify with regarding our own humanity and mortality. This book wants to make you think about who we are, what we are and what a gift life is and how we shouldn't take it for granted. As well as lots of brraaaaaaains - nom nom! ;) ...more
'A Discovery of Witches' is an incredibly atmospheric novel where each page is full of lavish detail thatI gave this 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
'A Discovery of Witches' is an incredibly atmospheric novel where each page is full of lavish detail that was obviously painstakingly researched. It's a huge book, which took me a long time to finish compared to other paranormal romances. This is due somewhat to the large amount of detail, but it is no reflection on the quality of writing, which is wonderful.
Each sentence has been lovingly crafted and although this isn't a quick read by any means, each page was a pleasure to read. The research of science and alchemy is immense and gives the book a richness that for me was hard not to like, even if at times it made for slower reading, but then I was in no rush.
I especially loved the descriptions of the old university libraries, it was sumptuous and I could imagine I was actually there, able to smell the musty leather and hear the soft rustle of pages that so often accompanies old libraries and ancient books. The opening scene is one of my favourite passages in the entire novel.
As well as witches and vampires, I really enjoyed having different otherworldly creatures throughout the book too, and although Diana is a witch she's also very human with regards to her emotions. Diane is fiercely independent which I loved and I admired her for the passion she had for her work.
All the characters are well-rounded, believable and true to their personalities. However, I did find that with so much world-building and the laying of foundations, I couldn't connect as much as I would have liked with the two main characters.
The romance between Matthew and Diana is pretty intense, but then the entire book only spans just over a week, and a lot happens in such a short space of time. However, although they are in love there are still secrets between them and they have a lot to learn about each other.
I liked Diana and Matthew but at times I found Diana frustrating that she wouldn't use her witchy powers due to fear and irritated with Matthew for constantly wanting to protect her - it felt suffocating rather than romantic.
In times of danger, I wish they would just stand side by side and fight, equals in every way. I much prefer a woman who can protect herself and isn't afraid to use whatever she has at her disposal to defeat her enemies, this Diana does shine through near the end of the book but it's only a glimpse, maybe there is more to come in future books, as 'A Discovery of Witches', I'm very pleased to say, is the first in a trilogy.
'A Discovery of Witches' is a delicious, sumptuous read, full of mystery and intrigue and three-dimensional characters. The rich descriptive prose leaves you excited for the next novel in this epic series. I can't wait to find out what the alchemist book holds for the future of Diana and Matthew and all the witches, vampires and demons of the world. A highly recommended read!...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
As a a fan of the thriller genre I was really looking forward to reading this book. I had never read anything by Lisa Scottoline before either so I waAs a a fan of the thriller genre I was really looking forward to reading this book. I had never read anything by Lisa Scottoline before either so I was also intrigued and excited; I like discovering new authors, and I wasn't disappointed.
Look Again pulled me into the story from the first few pages. The plot was fact-paced and each chapter ended with a tiny cliffhanger that kept me guessing. For the first half of the book I couldn't put it down, and I couldn't turn the page fast enough to find out what happened.
However, as I read on I realised that the only character I was likely to interact with was Ellen. The story did include other minor characters, and I enjoyed reading about them, but it wasn't enough. I felt the book lacked depth. The writing is light and easy and, although it managed to keep my interest, was not up to the standard of other writers in the same genre.
However, this does not detract from the fact that this is a great read. I liked the protagonist, Ellen, she is warm and earthy and I could sympathise with her predicament. The passages describing Ellen's feelings regarding her son and the dilemma she faced were heart-wrenching. I liked the inclusion of a love affair with Marcelo, it would have been nice if it was written about in more detail, as the relationship happened a bit too quickly.
Although the other characters do not feature in the book very much, what I did get to read I liked. I wish Ellen's friend, Courtney, wasn't written out in the first couple of chapters, as it would have been nice to have more interaction between the characters. It was a bit of a one character story.
On the whole, Look Again is a really enjoyable read. With a fast-paced plot and likeable characters, it had enough to keep my interest until the very end and I finished the book in two days. I would definitely recommend it, especially to those who love the genre.
I have a bit of a soft spot for historical romance since I began reading the genre last year, but I'd never read one of the most loved authors withinI have a bit of a soft spot for historical romance since I began reading the genre last year, but I'd never read one of the most loved authors within this genre. I have heard from many sources that Quinn is a wonderful writer and now having read a novel I couldn't agree more.
"Just Like Heaven" is brilliantly written and just so witty. It's sparkly, lively and funny. The writing is smooth and the dialogue realistic, so much so I didn't realise how many pages I had read before I realised I had nearly finished the book. I literally couldn't put it down.
The characters are endearing and lovable, with substance and heart. Honoria is a sweet character, she's caring and trusting. Marcus is a complete gentleman who pretends to be brooding when in fact he has a charming sense of humour and is totally adorable. In fact there isn't really one character in the entire novel who is disagreeable.
Honoria and Marcus have known each other since they were children, when Marcus became best friends with her brother Daniel. The prologue sets the scene of when they were children and then chapter one moves forward to the current day.
Daniel has fled the country due to a duel gone wrong, Honoria is searching for a husband and Marcus is now Lord Chatteris with a large estate and healthy bank balance.
Before Daniel leaves he makes Marcus promise to look after Honoria, which he does, by chasing away all potential suitors. On one particular occasion there is an accident (which I won't go into as it's hilarious and don't want to spoil it for you), and Marcus hurts his ankle. Of course things go from bad to worse when Honoria has to leave him to go and fetch help. It starts pouring with rain, Marcus's ankle swells to such an extent his boot has to be cut off, where upon his butler cuts his leg while doing so, and Marcus catches the flu.
While taking care of Marcus, Honoira realises she loves him and, when not in the throws of fever, Marcus realises he's in love with her, but neither let on to the other about their feelings.
The supporting cast of characters are just as well written and I loved each of them. The quartet consists of Iris, Daisy, Sarah and of course Honoria. They play as a quartet and are utterly dreadful and know this themselves, which is why they are dreading the traditional Musicale that they put on each year. I really enjoyed the light-hearted bickering between these characters and it was a great distraction from the romance. It balanced the book well.
The only aspect I didn't like as much as the rest of the book were the last couple of chapters. It was rather rushed. Honoria and Marcus have a sensual moment, Daniel returns from abroad, Daniel and Marcus fight, Marcus threatens to punch a man who's not been nice to Honoria, and then he pops the question! All in the span of a few pages - phew!
However, the true ending is sweet and satisfying and just what you would expect from an historical romance, so if you love HEA then you'll love this.
"Just Like Heaven" is a wonderfully light and witty historical romance full of delightful characters. A real treat....more
I gave this book 5/10 on my blog but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
After reading Some Girls Bite, which I really enjoyed and thought was a greatI gave this book 5/10 on my blog but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
After reading Some Girls Bite, which I really enjoyed and thought was a great debut, Friday Night Bites is a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping to see the characters grow a lot more, relationships moved to the next level, more action. Instead I got a rather lack lustre tale.
Merit has moved into the Cadogan House and is reluctant to leave her best friend and roommate Mallory, not to mention having to be in close proximity to Ethan Sullivan, her vampire master and maker, who she loathes and lusts after in equal measure.
I found Merit difficult to like in this book - she's quite shallow at times, which is evident from the onset with her rather judgemental, if not a little bitchy, opinion of her gym instructor:
"Although I loved to dance, hip thrusting under Barbie's bubbly instruction and ever-bouncing bosom involved too little actual dance and too much cleavage. I needed to respect my dance master. Respect wasn't exactly the emotion Barbie inspired."
Really? Now, I know that this is probably meant to be light-hearted and in jest but it didn't give me a warm feeling about my heroine.
I also didn't get to know any more about Merit than what I was told in the first book - there's no real background to her, nothing in her past that makes her interesting. It's all in the "now" and the only interesting thing is that she was made into a vampire, but even the animosity and anger she so rightly felt towards Ethan for converting her without her consent (even if it was to save her life) is now gone with the bite of burger & fries:
"Thank you...because if I hadn't been changed, I couldn't eat this incredibly unhealthy food."
Some of Merit's snarky dialogue, which should have made me chuckle, didn't, and what was meant to be funny didn't really work and felt forced.
Ethan is an interesting character and there are moments when I think there's something quite special about him, but it's fleeting. He hasn't moved on in any way since Some Girls Bite. He's still grouchy, aloof, and not in the sexy, mysterious way.
The relationship between Merit and Ethan is also static and hasn't developed in any way. There's still a fair amount of sexual tension between them but it's all a bit dull, although the delicious scene in the library nearly made up for it - but not quite.
I really liked Morgan, Merit's other love interest. He was warm and sweet and said all the right things, that is until the second half of the book, when he became jealous and possessive - but then Merit was kind of leading him on. Flirting and kissing while wanting to be with another isn't cool and I can understand where Morgan is coming from.
Merit's best friend and upcoming sorceress, Mallory is being sent away to hone her skills. I like to think of Merit having some friends but it's a shame Mallory's character isn't fully developed and feels a bit surplus, as though she's there just to flesh out what is basically a fairly thin plot, a plot which contains much of the same as Some Girls Bite: Ethan is betrayed by one of his own. There are moments when things liven up and my interest piques but it soon fizzles away.
All in all, Friday Night Bites isn't a great second book. It doesn't include much romance, excitement or really that much of a storyline - there's no snap, crackle & pop! I was bored and disappointed. I just wish there was either more romance or more action because in Friday Night Bites there's neither.
Although I didn't particularly gel with any of the characters and found the plot to be lacking, the author does have an easy writing style that I like. I pray that things move on considerably in Twice Bitten, the third book in the series, otherwise it will be the end of the road for me and Merit.....more
I gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City - but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
I don't usually read books in this genre any more, but I wiI gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City - but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
I don't usually read books in this genre any more, but I will always make an exception for Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series. I adore Becky Bloomwood. She's a character I find hard not to like with her scatty personality and her inability to walk by a designer store without making a purchase. It was this aspect to Becky's character that made me pick up the first book in this series, The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic, as I could identify well (a bit too well!) with Becky and her retail therapy issues. It also cemented Becky as one of my favourite characters.
Mini Shopaholic is basically in the same format as the other books in the series: Becky using every excuse in the book to keep shopping and up to her elbows in secrets, and fighting to keep those secrets from coming out, but of course everything goes horribly wrong.
In this instalment we see Becky as a mother, raising her two year old daughter, Minnie, who is slightly wayward and becoming too fond of materialistic items like her mummy, with her husband, Luke. Becky is still the same fun, vivid character but motherhood has not helped her become more economical. In fact, she now has excuses to shop more by buying items for Minnie. Some of the scenarios are just so funny they had me giggling out loud. Minnie is cute as a button and Luke is as patient as always.
Becky is also trying to plan a surprise birthday party for Luke, without spending any money...which of course leads to complete fiasco and a book which reads like a screwball comedy. There are many more humourous situations and a strew of events that had me shaking my head with affectionate disbelief at what Becky was saying and doing. There's also the usual great dialogue and prose, which is incredibly smooth making Mini Shopaholic a very easy, fast read.
Mini Shopaholic is a wonderful escape from real life and a total roller coaster ride - this book is never dull, and although it occasionally borders on the ridiculous, I just can't help but love it!
There is nothing new here - we have seen it all before in previous books - but I didn't mind, it was like slipping on a comfy pair of slippers and it felt great. I love Becky Bloomwood with all her manic, self-destructive quirks. Sophie Kinsella is still at the top of her game and for me still the best in the genre....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 first read 'The Woman in Black' back in 1990 - I loved it then and I still love it now. I re-read it especially for my 'All Hallows Eve' event and II first read 'The Woman in Black' back in 1990 - I loved it then and I still love it now. I re-read it especially for my 'All Hallows Eve' event and I'm so pleased I revisited this amazing book.
The eeriness of the story is combined with delicious descriptive prose. This is what I love about Hills' writing. She's able to describe the world surrounding her characters with such detail I could actually be there, smelling the morning dew, feeling the biting wind on my skin, sensing the fear that grips Arthur Kipps that fateful day...
Her writing mesmerises me and I cannot bare to put her books down, and I've read many, all with their own uniqueness, but none, for me, come close to the darkly atmospheric 'The Woman in Black'.
The reader is pulled into the story with teasing snippets as we learn about Kipps' ghostly past. We first meet him in old age as he sits around a roaring fire on Christmas Eve with his beloved family. But the experiences of his past still haunt him so he decides to exorcise them by writing about them in detail and this is where we, the reader, learn what those experiences were which have caused him so much anxiety and many sleepless nights.
Kipps takes us back to when he was a young junior solicitor working his way up the ladder, when one day his boss gives him the responsibility of attending the funeral of a client. Little did Kipps know that this assignment would change his life forever. He takes the trip to Crythin Gifford, a small place in the country, sparten and desolate surrounded by marches and cold November fog.
The village folk greet him well until they hear he has arrived for Mrs Drablow's funeral and tend to her estate and he's baffled by their reaction. But after one night in Eel Marsh House, Kipps begins to understand as he's scared beyond all imagination. Although I knew how it ended, as this is my second reading, it's still shocking and sad.
This is one of my favourite books - it's a brilliant old-fashioned ghost story packed with bone-chilling suspense. Everything is written in wonderful detail and you're pulled into the story from the very first page. A fabulous read - I can't recommend it enough! ...more
This is a modern retelling of Macbeth, with Natalie Hargrove obsessed with being crowned the next Palmetto PrincessReviewed by Jo for Book Chick City.
This is a modern retelling of Macbeth, with Natalie Hargrove obsessed with being crowned the next Palmetto Princess. She has always been popular, and works hard to maintain her position as 'Queen Bee' in school. Her handsome boyfriend, Mike is not very interested in becoming Palmetto Prince, but to Natalie he must, and she'll take care of anyone who stands in his or her way.
This sounded like a really interesting premise to a book, and I was excited to read it. Having read Lauren Kate's 'Fallen' and not being very impressed I was curious to see how her debut book, now being reissued, would fare.
Natalie is a very unlikeable character, and the reasons behind her actions are totally unjustified. Her boyfriend Mike felt flat and weak, and he was almost being used as a puppet by Natalie. The only character I kind of liked met an early demise! I suppose Natalie is supposed to be disliked anyway, but after reading her backstory I wondered if the author meant for us to feel some sort of sympathy and understanding for her. I felt none at all.
The writing for me was not very good either. It was bland, and felt too safe. Natalie could have been a really multi-dimensional character, the tagline mentions 'Cruel Intentions' so I was expecting a Sarah Michelle Gellar type of twisted, nasty and well, cruel character. We get a weak carbon copy.
The reason I kept on reading until the end was so I could properly review this book for Book Chick City. If I wasn't, then I don't think I would have even finished. The ending again, it felt like we were supposed to feel sad and I only felt happy I had finally finished. I know this probably sounds mean, and I really don't mean to! I just could not get on board with any aspect of the book.
With a tagline promising, 'Cruel Intentions meets Macbeth', it was a disappointing read and a struggle to finish and I didn't really care enough what happened to the characters. I know Lauren Kate has a huge following for her 'Fallen' series but I just cannot seem to like her writing or stories. Perhaps I'll give them another go. ...more
There aren’t enough young adult fantasy novels, so I was really excited when I received thisReviewed by Andrea for Book Chick City. 9/10 on the blog.
There aren’t enough young adult fantasy novels, so I was really excited when I received this book to review. For one, it looks like it could be just as at home in the adult section of a book store as it could in the young adult section, and secondly the blurb gave me enough information to be intrigued. I really was not disappointed in “Huntress”.
Taisin is a gifted student, studying to become a Sage. She has powerful sight and can see into the future. She sees Kaede in her future, and doesn’t understand the feelings she had when she watched the vision of Kaede fade into the distance.
Kaede is the daughter of the chancellor to the king, and has no gift with magic whatsoever. She only got into the school because of her father, and although she excels at the practical, she knows she will never be a Sage like Taisin. In fact, if her father has his way she will be married off as soon as she finishes her studies.
Taisin knows her vision is related to the change in the seasons, or the lack of change. This coincides with an invitation for the king to visit the fey; an invitation like that hasn’t been given in centuries, and so Taisin and Kaede journey with the king’s son, Con to visit the fey, and find out what the weird creatures that keep appearing are, and if they have anything to do with the unchanging seasons.
Taisin remembers how she felt towards Kaede in her vision and tries her hardest to stay away from her. If she is to become a sage then she has to be celibate; there is no room for love in her world. But they are drawn together slowly, gently…
First of all, this is a fantasy novel that explores magic, the fantastic, and what could happen if the atmosphere changed so abruptly. Crops stop growing, food becomes scarce, people start to panic. The love story is secondary, but no less important. It adds depth, and character to both Taisin and Kaede. You can’t help but root for them, and hope against all odds that they can be together.
The fact that they’re both women is almost inconsequential. That makes this novel even better. I admit, I have a weakness for LGBT novels; mix that with the fantasy genre and I’m in my element. I had no idea that this would be, not only a fantasy novel, but also lesbian interest. It’s all very subtle and tastefully done, and done in such a way where the sex of the characters isn’t as important as the love they feel.
This aspect of the novel could have easily taken over; it could have been sensationalised and even classed as lesbian fiction instead, but I’m glad it’s not. I’m glad that the sexual preference of the characters didn’t overtake the plot, at the same time I almost wished there was more of a hint of it on the blurb of the book, so to appeal to those in categories that are often overlooked.
So, if you want to read a brilliant fantasy novel full of magic, fey, with a brilliant world and a great plot, where the main characters happen to be the same sex--and fall in love with each other--then this is the novel for you.
I really love that a YA novel outside of the norm has been published by such a well known publisher and treated like, and given the same amount of attention and backing as more run of the mill novels. This needs to happen more often!
I was looking forward to reading this novel from the offset, it’s thoughtful, understanding and it slowly builds in pace, it raises issues such as same sex relationships in the safety of a fantasy novel, and it’s hard not to feel the love growing between them. Taisin and Kaede are easy to identify with and I couldn’t help but love them, and worry about them. I only found upon finishing it that it’s the prequel to Ash, but it definitely stands strong alone, and I urge anyone to read it whether they’ve read Ash or not....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
After reading and absolutely loving Unholy Ghosts, I was somewhat nervous about reading Unholy Magic. I've been caught out before with a new series, rAfter reading and absolutely loving Unholy Ghosts, I was somewhat nervous about reading Unholy Magic. I've been caught out before with a new series, reading and liking the first book only to be disappointed with the second, but thankfully, this was not the case with Unholy Magic. This book is AMAZING and I am totally in love with this series!
Unholy Magic begins roughly where Unholy Ghosts ended. Chess is still working for the Church of Real Truth as a debunker and popping pills, Terrible is still Bumps enforcer and Lex is Chess' new drug of choice.
To me this book is very character driven, which is one of the reasons I love it so much - you may have noticed that my reviews are character driven too - if I don't like the characters then it doesn't matter whether the plot is good or not, I just won't be able to connect with the book. But I didn't have that problem with Unholy Magic. It has two of the best characters I've read in the urban fantasy genre; Chess and Terrible. However, although this book is very much about the characters there is also an engaging storyline.
I really enjoyed reading about the world Kane has created. Downside is very gritty and dark, where drug dealers and gangs rule, prostitutes and pimps sell you their business and ghosts kill. The ghosts in Downside are scary, evil entities and it's Chess' job as a debunker for the Church of Real Truth to make sure that any claims of ghost sightings or hauntings are legitimate. One such case is given to her by an Elder of the Church for a celebrity who claims there's two ghosts in his house. This part of the story, although secondary to the relationships between the characters, is really enjoyable and we get to see Chess fighting ghosts and banishing them, and using her witchy magic.
In Unholy Ghosts, Chess unwillingly helped Lex with a problem he had and because of this she is now getting most of her drugs for free, which enables her to pop as many pills as she likes, and we see her falling into her addiction even further. The thing with Chess is that she enjoys them. She likes blocking out the harsh side of her life, the memories of her past filled with physical and mental abuse, and losing herself in the freedom the pills give her. Chess understands what is happening but doesn't really want to face her addiction and although she is fairly strong and brave in her job as a debunker, in life not so much. If something doesn't go to plan or if she feels letdown by someone then she leans on her drugs - uses them as a replacement for people. However, even though Chess is a drug addict it doesn't prevent her from doing her job - most of the time.
I heart Chess so much - she is flawed and vulnerable and that's what I love about her, but I can also see strength and determination. She cares about people and desperately wants to help them, even if it's at the risk of her own life. I have a feeling we are going to see Chess grow enormously in future books, there's so much scope for her character and I can't wait to find out how she evolves.
We also learn more about Terrible, which shows him in a softer light and makes him even more loveable. Terrible is so endearing he melts my heart, even though I know he has no qualms about killing someone with his bare hands - I know this and Chess knows this, but somehow it just doesn't matter. Terrible reveals quite a bit about his feelings in this instalment. There's a scene between Chess and Terrible that had my heart pounding in my chest, I just couldn't read the pages fast enough to find out what happened next. I won't go any further but let me just say it's heart-wrenching romance at its best.
Lex is still very much in the picture, although he does take a bit of a back-seat to the growing dynamics between Chess and Terrible. But he's growing on me. I'm still not convinced he's trustworthy, but I like him.
I'm also impressed by the street-speak, or as Kane puts it, "Down-speech". I think it takes a very talented writer to pull-off accents, but Kane does just that. It's different to anything I've read before but it gives the gangs of Downside a very distinctive and original flare.
For me, Unholy Magic has the precise combination and balance of everything I love about the urban fantasy genre: action, romance, complex but likeable characters and world building. I adored this book so much from beginning to end - just perfect....more
'Red-Headed Stepchild' was such a fab read! It's the first in the 'Sabina Kane' series and what a fantastic start. I was pulled into Sabina's life fro'Red-Headed Stepchild' was such a fab read! It's the first in the 'Sabina Kane' series and what a fantastic start. I was pulled into Sabina's life from the get-go and I liked her immediately.
Sabina Kane is an assassin, which means she's one tough cookie. She fights hard and enjoys it, but to do this she has to sacrifice her personal life and do the bidding of her grandmother, the head of the Dominae, to the point that she will kill even her friends. She's also a 'half-blood' - half vampire and half mage. This is a difficult place to be as both are on the verge of war...with each other. Sabina's sassy, snarky attitude is just perfectly written and exactly how I like my urban fantasy heroines.
He grabbed my arm and spun me around into a choke hold. "If you wanted foreplay, you just had to ask," he whispered in my ear. By adjusting my weight, I managed to flip him over my shoulder easily. His body hit the ground like a sack of potatoes drenched in too much cologne. He lay still for a moment, shocked by the impact. I placed the heel of my boot against his neck. "You need to learn some manners," I said. "And while you're at it, try a breath mint."
However, although Sabina is a loner her character development is evident as the story progresses. In her fight to eliminate the enemy, in the form of vampire villan Clovis, Sabina meets a few people on the way who change her life. She begins to realise that having friends isn't such a bad thing and it was great to see her grow and become fond of them all.
'Red-Headed Stepchild' is definitely an urban fantasy but it also has a lot of humour. I usually prefer my UF to be on the darker, grittier side but with this book there are so many really well written light-hearted moments that I couldn't help but love it.
Most of these moments come in the form of a demon-cat, 'Mr Giggles', who is in fact a huge Mischief Demon called Giguhl, who was sent to kill Sabina. Unfortunately he doesn't succeed and instead becomes Sabina's familiar. To disguise himself to the outside world he transforms himself into a cat, and then for some unknown reason cannot transform back. It gets even funnier when Sabina tries to use magic she's never used before to turn him back into his very large, powerful imposing demon self, only to remove all the fur from Giguhl's cat body, to his utter embarrassment, revealing shiny wrinkled skin!
These moments were great and had me smiling and chuckling to myself. Having said that, if they weren't included it wouldn't have influenced the plot as the demon's role doesn't impact Sabina's mission. Also, I wasn't sure about this amount of humour in my urban fantasy at first, but only a short way into the book I was so enjoying Ms Wells' writing and the witty dialogue she used between the demon and Sabina that I couldn't imagine this sub-story not being there.
The other characters were also very well-rounded. Vinca is a sweet faery, more correctly a nymph. She's sweet and bubbly, but not as innocent as she looks as Sabina finds out when they go for a drink together...She's Sabina's first real 'friend' and it takes some getting used to, but Sabina soon warms to Vinca's peppy nature.
Clovis, on the other hand, is vile. He's the vampire villan who wants to rule over all the dark-races and he immerses himself in this role. I didn't like him one bit and I felt all of Sabina's disgust when he drinks from her. She's been sent by her Grandmother - who is an evil piece of work, I might add - to assassinate him, but while on the mission she discovers many unknown truths about her vampire family that leave her reeling and unable to fulfill her mission.
Now we get to the hero hottie, Adam - one word...Yum! Adam is a powerful Mage who has been sent to deliver Sabina to the mage family she never knew. Adam is a great character, just yummy, and delicious, and have I mentioned yummy? There is lots of sexual chemistry between Sabina and Adam and it begins with the love/hate kind - my favourite. They argue and fight and pretend they dislike each other immensely but it's obvious these two are hot for each other. Despite the fact there is this romantic aspect to 'Red-Headed Stepchild' it doesn't dip too far into the paranormal romance genre and feel it's still firmly within the urban fantasy camp.
I really loved this book! With such great characters, an exciting story with a fast-paced, action-packed plot, and a hint of romance, 'Red-Headed Stepchild' is a must read for any urban fantasy fan....more
After reading the first two books in fairly quick succession and really enjoying them both, I was so pleased to receive a review copy of the third andAfter reading the first two books in fairly quick succession and really enjoying them both, I was so pleased to receive a review copy of the third and latest instalment in the brilliant 'Sabina Kane' series by Jaye Wells.
As with all the 'Sabina Kane' books this one begins with a fast-paced action scene, which pulled me in to the story from the first page. Sabina and her team, consisting of Giguhl and Adam, are on route to find Maisie, Sabina's twin sister.
Adam is still the scorchingly sexy mage, Giguhl is still his snarky lovable self and Sabina continues to be the fantastic kick-arse chick I met in Red-Headed Stepchild. She's also feeling more for Adam, well, who can blame her, but unfortunately, she's still not sure if she should let herself fall for him - she doesn't do love, does she? But while Sabina is questioning every emotion and action, Adam is taking metaphorical cold-showers as sexual frustration oozes from every pore.
The relationship between Sabina and Adam moves along at a snails pace - it's still complicated and Sabina is still holding back. Some of her decisions later in the book are questionable and she had me frowning at her in disapproval, but at the same time I understand where she was coming from.
I loved this book, it's fast-paced, edgy. There's plenty of action, and the banter between Sabina and demon-cat Giguhl, which I loved in the first book but found lacking in the second, is back!
"Is this gonna take long?" Giguhl said. I frowned at the demon. "Why - you got somewhere else to be?" He shot me a bitch-please look. "No but I'd like the record to state that getting shot in the ass still isn't fun." He shifted around to show me his left ass cheek where his black sweat pants now featured a perfectly round bullet hole. I couldn't see any blood in the dim light, but I could smell it. "Sheesh, G, again?" Adam said. "Yes, Mr. Perfect, again. Lucky for you bitches I'm a fast healer."
For those of you who've read the previous books will know what this refers to but hopefully the rest of you will just capture the fabulous snarkiness - I really enjoy this kind of dialogue between characters, when done well, and Ms Wells writes in brilliantly. It also lightens the tone but not too much as this is still a nicely dark urban fantasy.
There's lots of fab action throughout the book and there's a bit of a showdown between Sabina and her evil vampire Grandmother. However, finding Maisie is not that easy, of course. There's lots of ups and downs on the way. Sabina, Adam and Giguhl are now a pretty good team, although sometimes Sabina forgets that and occasionally slips back into loner-assassin mode, as she's not used to having friends and 'teammates', it does freak her out a little bit but deep down I think she's actually liking it. Sabina is growing as a character very well.
Maisie also has a bit of a tough ride in the instalment, but as I found her a little sickly sweet in The Mage in Black, it was satisfying to see her act a bit more like Sabina, even if it was forced upon her by the torture inflicted by her Grandmother.
There are a few new additions to this instalment: a feisty werewolf, a drag queen called Cleopatra Pussy Willow, a voodoo priestess, who's human no less and gorgeous, which causes a touch of jealousy from one killer-assassin...tee hee.
This series is truly fab. I really didn't want to get to the end of this book as I now have to wait ages for 'Silver-Tongued Devil' the next instalment...I can't wait! I love this author and this series - a great urban fantasy I would definitely recommend!...more
This is my first book by Katie MacAlister and I can't say I liked it. I am so disappointed as I'd heard t I gave this 3/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
This is my first book by Katie MacAlister and I can't say I liked it. I am so disappointed as I'd heard that MacAlister's books are funny and very entertaining. Sadly, 'Love in the Time of Dragons' was neither. In fact I thought it was pretty terrible. It's not particularly well written and it's not well structured either - it's a mess.
'Love in the Time of Dragons' is very confusing, mainly due to the 'mind time travel' or 'dream sequences' and there are also numerous characters present as well as the two/three main protagonists. The first few chapters were sort of entertaining but it very quickly lost all appeal.
Tully Sullivan is a present day woman learning magic. She's also married to Gareth and a mother to nine year old Brom. A few times a year she goes into a 'fugue' like state and while she lays sleeping for a few weeks, her mind travels back in time to that of Ysolde, a seventeen year old girl.
Most of the time when Tully goes back to Ysolde it's mid page, sometimes mid sentence without warning and I'm left wondering what the hell is going on, who is who and who's saying what!
The only way I could differentiate between the two was the fact that seventeen year old Ysolde and twenty-something Tully are like chalk and cheese, with Ysolde being the more interesting of the two. She has spirit and she's feisty. Tully on the other hand let's her husband call her a "stupid bitch" without as much as a pause in the conversation to slap him one! Although, now I know that this was only added so I would dislike Gareth and therefore certain things could happen between Tully and her real love interest Baltic.
After a while Tully is told that she is the reincarnation of Ysolde and a few more chapters in Tully becomes Ysodle and there are no more 'fugue' episodes. Tully accepts this without question and no further explanation is given.
When Tully learns that Baltic (Ysolde's lover) has also been reincarnated she doesn't remember him, or have any feelings for him. But then things change literally over night. Tully suddenly loves Baltic! Passionately! Which of course means ripping each others clothes off (even though Tully is married I may add). Tully does try and stop all the shenanigans due to the fact she's married but doesn't quite manage it. They may not have sex but they do practically everything else. And because she didn't allow Baltic to have sex she offers to please him as compensation! Isn't that nice of her... although this is also cheating on your husband me thinks!
Baltic is the only character I remotely liked *and it was remote* - he is on the side of Neanderthal but he's quite funny in places, but sadly this is overused and becomes tiresome.
I also felt as though I was dumped mid series. Despite the fact that this is the first in a new spin off from the author's dragon series, I got the feeling that I needed to have read the other books to understand this one a little better. The mention of dragons and powers by the characters was as if they were talking about the weather. I didn't have a clue if their world was known to the world at large or a secret or if the magical world was the actual world. See - confusing! Although, to be honest, there wasn't much world-building at all which is probably why it was so ambiguous.
This book tries to be funny - it fails. The banter between Tully and Baltic is forced and irritating. The romance is non existent and the sexual content left me feeling uncomfortable rather than hot and bothered. Their banter is childish rather than humorous, which towards the end was mostly about Baltic being jealous of the fact that Tully might like to watch a bit of man on man action - it just went on and on...
Also, on a few occasions, Tully's son Brom kept looking at his mother's 'boobs' and then talks about her nipples... well, this just left a bad taste in my mouth. I realise this was during the incessant banter between characters and was meant to be comical, but it just didn't work for me.
'Love in the Time of Dragons' is pretty awful in my opinion with not one really interesting character. The sexual content is cringe-worthy, rather than hot and romantic, and the plot is very confusing and weak. Because of these faults I can't really recommend it.
However, I have heard that some of the authors other books are great and very entertaining, which I hope is true as I already have a couple on my shelf - but I definitely won't be picking up the next book in this series....more
I actually give this 9/10, but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!
I'm so excited about this book - I LOVED it! I haven't read an Urban Fantasy this goI actually give this 9/10, but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!
I'm so excited about this book - I LOVED it! I haven't read an Urban Fantasy this good in quite a while. I've read the first in Kane's 'Megan Chase' series, but she's come on leaps and bounds since then, Unholy Ghosts is just so much better in every respect.
The writing is perfectly paced, I didn't get bored once and everything slots together at the right time. The plot is just brilliant and had me engrossed until the very last page - I didn't want to put this book down!
The characters are fantastic, very well rounded and completely believable. Chess is everything I want in my urban fantasy heroine: kick-arse but flawed, vulnerable and complex. I have a feeling she's going to be one of my favourites within this genre (with Anita Blake at no. 1 at the moment).
Chess is a witch and a ghost hunter, with a serious drug problem. She's constantly popping pills to get her through the day. In fact she has different pills for different situations and choses accordingly. Obviously I don't condone the use of drugs but sometimes life is too difficult for some people to handle and Chess is one of them - using drugs to get through life, and that's why I have so much sympathy for her. I loved the rawness of Chess, she's real and vulnerable with a past that gives me full understanding of why she pops so many pills - to forget. A past full of physical and mental abuse, shipped from one foster home to another. I liked her from the get-go. Kane has created one hell of a heroine.
So now I've talked a little about Chess, let's get on to the guys. I have not met a character like Terrible in any other urban fantasy book. He's not the typical dreamy looking, squared jawed hunk, but a rugged, built like a brick house, rough and ready dude with a crooked nose that's been broken too many times to count. Doesn't sound very attractive does he. But the way Kane reveals his personality through his actions and dialogue is just superb, and well, I just fell totally in love with him myself! He's as complex as Chess, with a dark past to match. In fact they have a lot in common. I really enjoyed their developing relationship and I can't wait to see where it's going in subsequent novels.
There's also another guy on the scene, Lex, a leader of a rival gang. He is described as a gorgeous male and Chess can't but not like the look of him. And I don't blame her, but for all his charm there is something untrustworthy about him and I have my doubts. But with Terrible, I feel he has Chess' back and her best interests at heart. He shows his loyalty many times throughout Unholy Ghosts and it has cemented his fate in becoming one of my favourite hero's in urban fantasy.
Terrible is Bump's top enforcer and doesn't flinch at the prospect of killing someone in cold blood. They are thrown together at the request of Bump, who Chess owes several thousands pounds, to find out what is haunting his airport and whatever it is, he wants Chess to fix it. The world building is spot on. I could smell and see everything described. The world is quite a sombre place and Chess lives where drugs are rife and life is hard. Her only real home is the Church. But the Church of Real Truth isn't like any religion we know today, but almost a dictator that holds the fear of ghosts over the heads of the living. If they do not follow them and do as they wish then they will release all ghosts upon them and they will die. I'm intrigued to find out if the Church of Real Truth are the good guys or the bad, but at the moment I don't trust them.
All supporting characters are also vivid and not one of them felt unrealistic or surplus to the plot, from the young boy looking for help to the terrifying Dreamthief. Unholy Ghosts is a gritty, fairly dark urban fantasy, but this is fine with me as it's my favourite kind!
I think I have squealed enough about this book, so let's just finish by saying that I cannot wait to read the rest of the series - I've heard it gets even better! Unholy Ghosts is a brilliant addition to the Urban Fantasy genre and I can't recommend it enough! ...more
Wow, this book is outstanding. I couldn't put it down! As someone who is in her thirties, I wondered whether this book would be too young and the writWow, this book is outstanding. I couldn't put it down! As someone who is in her thirties, I wondered whether this book would be too young and the writing immature, but this wasn't the case at all. This is an intelligently and sensitively written story about two friends, Callum, a white-skinned nought and Sephy a dark-skinned Cross and their relationship as they grow up. How society and the prejudices around them moulds them into people they don't really want to be. It's a story filled with tragedy and sorrow but also love and friendship. The story is narrated by both Sephy and Callum alternating with each chapter and allows us to see their very different worlds through their eyes.
As a teenager this book would have rocked my world! As much as Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and The Colour Purple by Alice Walker did as an adult. The frustration and anger felt at the injustice of prejudice spawned from just the colour of a persons skin never left me while reading this book. The black and white racism issue is tuned upside down and the dark-skinned Crosses rule over the white-skinned noughts and treat them like inferior beings. It shows how inequality and prejudice can force people into roles they do not want to be in and actions they don't want to take. This is a seriously thought provoking book and sometimes harsh as the two worlds of Sephy and Callum collide. It is at times heartbreaking, but even with all the sorrow the story is incredibly well paced and I was pulled along with each chapter.
The content is brutal, but it has to be for the story to be authentic. It is also honest and doesn't hide from the fact that the consequences of racism and prejudice can create evil in the form of terrorism. A tale of race and equality, never patronising to it's target audience and giving us no answers to a world that's unforgiving and cruel. The ending is powerful, beautiful and devastating and I cried like a baby.
What can I say that I already haven't said. This is a remarkable novel; brilliantly written with complex characters, moving and thought provoking, full of pain, love and passion. I absolutely loved it and can't wait to read the rest in the series. I highly recommend this book!...more
The Other Countess is Edwards' debut novel and I am really impressed. It's such as sweet book with really likeable characters and superb dialogue. It'The Other Countess is Edwards' debut novel and I am really impressed. It's such as sweet book with really likeable characters and superb dialogue. It's never condescending to its target audience and passages of descriptive detail are done beautifully. I really got a sense of the time period and enjoyed it so much I wanted to learn more about Queen Elizabeth 1st and her reign.
I really liked Ellie, her full title being Lady Eleanor Rodrigues of San Jaime. She's soft and gentle, and yet a feisty young lady and doesn't take kindly to insults, regardless of the persons rank and is determined to stand her ground and defend herself as best she can. She's unfortunate to have an alchemist for a father, who is more interested in trying to turn metals into gold instead of being a father to Ellie. They are pretty much penniless and spend many months and years sleeping in barns or a friends spare room.
Will, the Earl of Dorset, is an interesting character but I didn't like him so much at the beginning as he's rather cruel to Ellie, aged twelve, and her father. However, deep down it is because his father has just died, which he believes to be the fault of Ellie's father and his alchemy practises, hence his hostility. He is also only fourteen and now head of his family's estate and fortune, and all the burdens that come with such a responsibility.
What I enjoyed most about Will was seeing him grow as a person, watching him work things through in his mind and coming to realise that his words and actions are spiteful and how, against his pride, he eventually apologises to Ellie when they met again in the future.
When Ellie and Will meet again four years later he doesn't recognise her, so they flirt and play and you get a real sense of their growing love for one another. Of course, things don't run smoothly and Will eventually finds out who she is. I was hoping for more passion as the writing itself seems to be aimed at the higher age bracket in the young adult market, but the romance is so sweet that the lack of passion didn't hinder me from finding this book an absolute treat.
I am very impressed with this debut. I loved Edwards writing style, and although everything happens at a fairly slow pace throughout The Other Countess, not once did I wish away the pages. The writing is beautiful and the characters are so vivid that I loved every word. I will definitely be reading the sequel, The Queen's Legacy, which is to be released sometime in Spring 2011, but until then I urge any fan of historical fiction or romance to read The Other Countess! ...more
Ruined is marketed as a ghost story and it is a story about a ghost, but it's not what I expected. It's not scary, or spooky or spine-tingling. It's jRuined is marketed as a ghost story and it is a story about a ghost, but it's not what I expected. It's not scary, or spooky or spine-tingling. It's just about a girl who happens to be a ghost. The plot is quite good and we are introduced to Rebecca, who is the only person (or so she thinks) that can see the ghost, Lisette. They form a friendship, but behind it there is a secret which Rebecca slowly unravels and discovers the truth.
Rebecca is a nice girl, but we don't really get to know her, and it's the same with all the other characters. We are given glimpses of their personality, but then they just fizzle out and go flat. They are not really developed enough for my liking.
It is a nice easy read, as the writing is fairly simple, but I did find it a little hard going at times, as it is quite slow paced and there isn't any action in the book to help move the story along. The atmosphere is non-existent, although I did get an essence of New Orleans, but the graveyard, which Rebecca frequently visits isn't eerie or chilling. I wasn't riveted by this book, but I did want to find out about Lisette, how she died and how Rebecca was tied up in it all.
During the last few chapters things do pick up when the truth is finally revealed and there is a potential murder and sacrifice. But then, it ends, just as it begins to get interesting.
Overall, this is a nicely written book, but not outstanding. It did keep my interest but didn't grip me. If you are looking for a scary ghost story, this isn't the book for you, but if you want an easy read with a mystery twist, then this may be the book you're looking for....more
"The First Days" is the first book in a new zombie series by Rhiannon Frater. Originally self-published all three books in the series are now being re"The First Days" is the first book in a new zombie series by Rhiannon Frater. Originally self-published all three books in the series are now being released by Tor US in fairly quick succession. As soon as I heard about this series I knew I had to read it, and squealed with delight when Tor offered me the first book to review - well, you know how much a love the zombies ;)
"The First Days" is an action-packed, character-driven novel and was immensely enjoyable and fun to read. I had difficulty putting it down. The writing also seemed to get better and better as the book progressed.
From literally the first page, Frater pulled me in and never let go. I went on an epic journey with two amazing women and it was scary, funny and exhilarating.
What I loved about Frater's writing was her ability to give her characters life. Her portrayal of Jenni, an abused an beaten wife who watches her husband eat her children alive and Katie, a lesbian lawyer who is nearly eaten by her wife, is just superb. I really cared about these two women.
The plot is fab too. It's not original in the sense that there are zombies and people are fighting to stay alive, as this has been done before, but the author does manage to give it a breath of fresh air by having two females as her protagonists.
Jenni's transformation from a downtrodden victim of marital abuse to that of a gun-toting zombie-killing machine was moving as well as, at times, hilarious. However, although Jenni is definitely unhinged this is shown to the reader through her actions and dialogue - it isn't spelled out to us. We garner all the information we need from the characters themselves and I loved this, it made them more real.
Life for Jenni was already tragic before the zombie apocalypse but now it's just downright catastrophic, it's almost laughable. And laugh she does, especially when she's splitting a zombies head in two with a bullet.
Katie's character is great too, and if I had to choose she is the one I connected with the most. She's down to earth, strong and independent. She keeps things together and seems a lot more sane than Jenni.
Katie and Jenni have a lot of scars emotionally and physically and both are traumatised. But they can certainly look after themselves and they both realise they are stronger than they thought, especially Jenni, but I think a lot of her strength is coming from a little craziness and I'm interested to see if she changes in subsequent books, or if this is just how she is now.
The only aspect I didn't like about Katie's character was the sudden change in her sexual orientation - it gets a bit of a shake up half way through the novel and I didn't know about it. I felt as though I had been kept in the dark along with the other characters and I didn't like it. There was no need to keep this aspect of Katie's story secret from the reader and I must admit I felt a bit duped - as I'm sure Katie's friends will when they find out.
The other small niggle I had was as the story moved forward it did become a little too focused on Katie and as this started out as a female duo, I missed Jenni.
However, these are very small annoyances, ultimately "The First Days" had me thrilled, excited, sad and happy as I read the ups and downs of these peoples lives. Characters come and go throughout the novel, but they always leave a lasting memory.
Katie and Jenni fight their way through hordes of flesh eating zombies with a dog and Jenni's step son. They eventually find a group of people who are rebuilding their world, even if it's a smaller and more insular one, by fortifying their town. It's a huge effort but most pitch in.
Although, as with life, there are the stupid ones, the ignorant ones and the thugs who want to rebel against change and what is happening or don't want to believe that they are now living with the walking dead who want to eat them alive. Some think that all the undead need is a little medical attention *idiots*. This attitude bugs me no end and I always relish when one of them gets eaten, just so I can be smug and say "see, not medical attention" ;)
"The First Days" is just SO good. It's a really fab addition to the zombie genre and I can't wait to follow Katie and Jenni's story with 'Fighting to Survive' and then 'Seige' - if you love strong characters, exciting plot and of course zombies then I'm sure you will love this....more
When I first received this book to review, I read the synopsis and thought it was going to be about fantasy and magic, but what I got was so much moreWhen I first received this book to review, I read the synopsis and thought it was going to be about fantasy and magic, but what I got was so much more.
The story begins in 1985. One bitterly cold night, Margaret quinn, a widow, who lives alone and still mourns the loss of her child; a daughter, who ran away a decade earlier with the boy that she loved, opens the door to find Norah, a small bespectacled girl, frozen and shivering with a battered suitcase leaning against her legs. Margaret takes the girl in, but who is she and what is her purpose?
The second part of the book flashes back to 1975 and tells the story of Erica, Margaret's child, and Wiley, a boy who is obsessed with the Angels of Destruction, a group of radicals, and decides to join their revolution. It reveals how love is at times blind and how it can sweep you along with things you have no control over. Part three returns to 1985 and is about forgiveness and hope. The two parts preceding are now entwined and come together in conclusion.
This book is expertly written. There is fantasy and magic, but it's subtle and weaves its way through the story leading the reader to believe, without question. However, for me, the story was more about love and loss, grief and forgiveness. It is haunting and melancholy without sentimentality. The mystery behind Norah, Una and the man in the camel-haired coat is never really revealed, but the hint of angels influences us in who we believe them to be. The true essence of the story does have an ending, which is very moving.
This is not a quick read, but then I wouldn't want it to be. The story demands the pace to be slow to coincide with the sorrowful atmosphere.
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it....more
I have now read all three books of the 'Downside Ghosts' series in quick succession and I am so glad I did. I don't think I could have waited a year fI have now read all three books of the 'Downside Ghosts' series in quick succession and I am so glad I did. I don't think I could have waited a year for each book to be released. I am already having withdrawal symptoms knowing I have to wait until autumn 2011 for book four, it's well...agonising.
This is such a fantastic series. There's enough kick-arse action to keep urban fantasy fans happy, but with the addition of the most heart-wrenching romance between Chess and Terrible, Paranormal Romance fans will be happy too. These books sit very well in both camps.
In this instalment, we see a lot more of Chess in action. Her job as a debunker has her working with an elite group called the Black Squad - the law enforcement of the Church of Real Truth - and she is having to deal with wraiths as well as ghosts and physchopomps. The pace is very fast and keeps the pages turning and I practically breezed through this book without stopping. I love Kane's fluent writing, the descriptions of the fighting and magical scenes are just superb, and I love the explanations of all the magical ingredients Chess needs to cast her spells.
What is slightly different about this instalment is that Chess has to share some of the limelight with another woman, Lauren. In both Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, Chess is pretty much the only female and it is nice to see her interacting with another woman, even if she does hate her. But for me this is just part of the story in this book, it's not a necessity to have other women alongside Chess as she's a big enough character to hold her own, but it was a fresh change.
Chess's drug use takes a bit of a back seat to the action in City of Ghosts. Although she's still popping pills and needing them to get her through her life, it isn't as intense on the reader as it is in the previous books. She also makes a big decision about Lex and Terrible and we see her growing in strength.
After the ending of Unholy Magic, Terrible isn't talking to Chess, in fact he is trying his best to ignore her and is seething with anger at her betrayal. For this reason Terrible is not present for at least the first 160 pages, although he dips in and out, and I really missed him. But what comes is worth the wait...
Things heat up considerably between Chess and Terrible and I LOVED it - Kane has given these two characters amazing dialogue, which has me deeply immersed in their evolving, complex friendship/relationship that when certain scenes *if you know what I mean* occurred I was completely enthralled. My heart raced, my tummy knotted up... so much anguish, sexual tension and passion - just fan-bloody-tastic! Oh...and the ending....it had me in tears!
Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic stayed with me long after I read them and it was no different with City of Ghosts. There's so many layers from the complex characters to the awesome world building of Downside. It's full of witchy magic, action and romance, I literally couldn't put this book down until I had read the very last word. I could go on and on about these books, they are just so brilliant! If you haven't started this series, you MUST! ...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
'A Brush of Darkness' is the debut novel by Allison Pang. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy (after adding it to my wishlist - mostly because'A Brush of Darkness' is the debut novel by Allison Pang. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy (after adding it to my wishlist - mostly because of the awesome cover) and I'm happy to report it was a fun read. However, I did have a few issues...
Although this is marketed as an urban fantasy, it's a bit misleading in my opinion. This book is much more paranormal romance. Most of the book is taken up with the relationship between Abby and Brystion. Lots of sensual, heat filled pages. Although I enjoyed it, it wasn't what I was expecting or promised from the synopsis on the back cover. This is not urban fantasy in my eyes nor is it 'dark'. It does dip a little unicorn hoof into the UF pool at the end of the book, but mostly it's very much to do with the sexual relationship between the two main characters.
Also, unfortunately for me, and this is my problem and mine alone, it contains dream sequences - and I really dislike dream sequences - they are a pet peeve of mine in literature. I find they can be far too obscure and I get annoyed and frustrated, so it was with great dismay when I find that Abby is a 'Dreamer', which means there are many pages filled with dreams. Other readers may find this aspect of the book enjoyable, sadly I did not.
The plot which surrounds Brystion and Abby is intriguing, although at times confusing, especially with regards to The Crossroads, but it builds to an exciting conclusion, which for me was the best part of the book. The aspect where creatures are being kidnapped and trapped inside paintings was well written and very imaginative.
The characterisation is pretty good too and the world surrounding these characters is interesting, and I loved the bookshop where Abby works. There are many supernatural creatures in 'A Brush of Darkness' such as demons, angels, vampires, and incubi, which makes for a varied and fun read.
The two main personalities are likable. Brystion is an incubus and so obviously this leads to lots of sexual scenes, sexual innuendo which was funny at times but slightly too repetitive. Abby is an ok heroine but she's not particularly kick-arse, until the end when she does find a bit of back bone. The other main character is a little unicorn. When he first arrived on the scene I loved him, with his little legs and tiny body and silky soft main - so cute... until he started humping Abby's leg and sniffing her knickers!
The aspect to Abby I liked the most was her backstory, which is one of pain, anger and self-blame. An accident sees her mother killed in an awful manner and Abby recovering from a coma leaving a metal plate in her skull and a permanently damaged knee which prevents her from dancing. I feel her pain, sadness and disappointment and there was one passage in particular that moved me considerably and tears pricked my eyes. I love it when my heroines get a strong and detailed background.
Overall, 'A Brush of Darkness' is a fun entertaining read. Ms Pang is a promising new author, her prose brings the world and characters she creates to life and I will definitely watch out for future titles - and after reading this ending though, I'm hoping 'A Brush of Darkness' is the first in a series!...more
This was an interesting read, and my thoughts on it are a little paradoxical.
On the one hand the writing is not the best I've read. It's very repetitiThis was an interesting read, and my thoughts on it are a little paradoxical.
On the one hand the writing is not the best I've read. It's very repetitive, certain words and phrases are used way too much. But on the other hand I really liked the characters of Ana and Christian Grey. The story hooked me in from the first chapter and I found it compulsive reading. It was very addictive. I've heard that this began as Twilight fan fiction, but I can honestly say I couldn't see any resemblance. The story, the characters (which are more complex than Bella and Edward in my opinion) and the writing were all very different.
Ana may be innocent with regards to sexual relationships, having never really been attracted to anyone enough to just give up her virginity. But when she meets Christian Grey, she feels a strong connection to him and finds him totally H.O.T. She's then pulled into a sexual world that most people wouldn't or couldn't understand or want to be a part of.
Christian is a dark, tortured hero. These are the kind of hero's I like best. However, although I do like him, I have the same problem as Ana - why is he turned on by hurting her? It's something I've never considered before - being of the 'vanilla' variety, but he is intriguing. I'm very interested to see where this relationship is going and how their characters grow. Will Christian put aside his darker needs and let himself fall in love with Ana?
Ana was also much more animated than Bella. That's why I find it difficult to see the comparison. Ana is also very up front in how this lifestyle makes her feel and they battle it out with the contract, trying to take each others needs into consideration.
I haven't read BSDM before, and I found I squirmed on occasion - but that's because I don't see myself as the submissive type. But I loved how Ana had trouble with this too. She isn't a naturally submissive personality and so found everything he asked of her difficult to deliver. I do think you have to be pretty open minded to read it.
I also don't agree with other reviews I've read which state that everything that was done to Ana was against her will. This wasn't the case in my opinion. Ana weighed everything up in her mind and made her own decisions and choices. The ending was abrupt but I was proud of her.
This is a very intensive, character driven novel that consists not much more than just Ana and Christian and their bedroom antics. However, the characters are complex and interesting enough that I was compelled to read it, and did so in less than 24 hours. I am now starting Fifty Shades Darker....more
This is a wonderful, light, fluffy read. It was the first real 'chick lit' book I ever read and it got me hooked. The character is vivid and fun, andThis is a wonderful, light, fluffy read. It was the first real 'chick lit' book I ever read and it got me hooked. The character is vivid and fun, and I can identify well (a bit too well!) with Becky Bloomwood and her retail therapy issues. I love the use of the present tense and first person narrative, I think it works brilliantly. I have now read all, except one, of Sophie Kinsella's books, which are all in the same vain, and they are fantastic reads within the 'chick lit' genre....more