For me, steampunk books can be a very hit or miss affair, with some books trying too hard to be quirky with...moreReviewed by Gemma for www.BookChickCity.com
For me, steampunk books can be a very hit or miss affair, with some books trying too hard to be quirky with its inventions or trying to be “modern” in a Victorian setting.
Thankfully, TARNISHED isn’t one of these books and to be honest should be tagged more as a thriller set in Victorian England, with hints of steampunk technology. This isn’t a bad thing and is actually a very fun read, as you aren’t bogged down with the inventions.
The main plot is centered around a young woman named Cherry St Croix and the double life she leads. By day she is the eccentric daughter of a deceased madman, but by night she is what is known as a “Collector” or what appears to be a bounty hunter. She also has an addiction to opium, mainly due to a dependency that has grown out of a troubled childhood.
It’s this addiction that drives her to take a dangerous job where someone is murdering Sweets, or prostitutes, and stealing their organs in Lower London. At first it seemed that this could have been a thinly veiled attempt at bringing Jack The Ripper into this world, but as the plot progressed we end up finding out that there is in fact two serial killers on the loose.
For a first novel, it was brilliantly paced with just the right amount of world building, backstory and setting up of future plotlines for the series. The setting is amazing and gives a good idea of what this world could be like.
London has split into two, with the poorer inhabitants living on the ground among the smog and dirt of industry. The well to do citizens have used technology to raise large chunks of the city onto large metal pillars above the smog. To move between the two parts of the city, they use various sizes of airships.
I could clearly see this divided city in my mind, yet it was still familiar. I could almost imagine this as London, with familiar landscapes described. It isn’t too far from the truth, with many of the rich leaving London due to the smog and dirt that has come along with the new industries.
As for the main plotline, Cooper manages to tie it up by the end of the novel, but still leaves one major sub plot hanging in the air. Who is this other collector, who was helping the main antagonist in this book to kill the Sweets and take their organs? He isn’t all that he seems, at least to me. What shakes our heroine is the fact that he knows about her double life. He knows where she lives and how she escapes her house to take the mantle of collector below. It’s unnerving, and leaves the reader wanting to find out more.
An important sub plot is Cherry’s romantic love life. Thankfully the author hasn’t “sexed” it up. (Yeah, I hear you all gasping in surprise at this for you know how much I love a good rustle between the literary bedsheets.) Yet, the complex love square is compelling stuff.
In Cherry’s daily life, she is being courted by two men; one who she is clearly attracted to and the other who she sees as a friend, but we can see that he has feelings for her.
His Lordship Cornelius Kerrington Compton is society’s most eligible bachelor and it comes as a complete surprise that he should be attracted to Cherry. His mother despises Cherry and you can’t help wondering if his intentions are true or if he is trying to annoy his mother. What is even more intriguing is the fact that Compton also seems to be leading a double life. Cherry discovers this when she spots him in one of the opium dens in the slums.
Compton is a mysterious guy and by the end of the book I’m not too sure that he is what he seems. I have even put him on my list of suspects who might be the other collector. Either that or he knows who this person is and that is why he is down in the slums.
The other guy who I think likes Cherry in a romantic way is her friend Lord Teddy Helmsley. The only way I can describe him is that he is very similar to Laurie from Little Women. He has an infatuation with Cherry, but she is oblivious to it.
In the long run, I don’t see either being the match to Cherry. That position, I think, belongs to Micajah Hawke, owner of one of London’s most notorious pleasure dens. He is seductive and dangerous, my type of alpha male. Yet, underneath that hard exterior is a deeply hidden moral code. I’m not going to spoil it, but the scene in question left me with a new found respect for the enigmatic Mr. Hawke.
As for Cherry, I really liked her from the get go. She is a mixture of the feisty female heroine, mixed with the respectable Victorian miss I love to read in my Regency romance books. She would fit so well into any of the novels written at the time and that is attributed to the authors success in capturing Cherry so well on paper.
Her backstory is interesting and in a way has shaped who she has become. We find out very early on that she was orphaned at young age and somehow ended up as pickpocket, thief and acrobat for a circus owner. It is here that her addiction to opium began and if it hadn’t been through a twist of fate, she most likely would have been on the other side of the pleasure dens.
For all her bravado, Cherry is very vulnerable. She knows that she has to keep her respectability, if not for herself then for her staff. She sees them as her family and would do anything to protect them, which is proven throughout the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was such a refreshing read and a great start to a new series. There is so much to this book that it is hard to cram it all into this review. If like me, you are fed up with seeing very modern women in books that are supposedly set in Victorian or any other era, then pick this up! Its fantastic and I could almost see the literary character Sherlock Holmes turning up in this book.
Cooper has created a world that is both plausible and yet holds a bit of the fantastical. It’s both brutal and beautiful. By the end of the book you are invested in all the characters. (less)
Wow! This book is amazing. 'Angels' Blood' had me enthralled from the first page - I loved it! It fits int...moreI gave this 9/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
Wow! This book is amazing. 'Angels' Blood' had me enthralled from the first page - I loved it! It fits into the paranormal romance genre as well as the urban fantasy genre very well, as there are strong elements of both. It's dark and edgy, and so atmospheric.
The main character is Elena, a Vampire Hunter for the Guild. Her ability is to track vampires by their scent. Angel's Make vampires and the contract states they cannot go their own way until a year is up, but some don't want to stick around, Elena is hired to track them down and send them back to their owners.
Elena is very much an urban fantasy heroine, she a fighter, strong and brave. She's also intelligent and stands up for herself even when she's terrified. She has a dark and painful past which gives her the depth I love in my characters. However, we don't get to know everything and are just given snippets of information and glimpses of her past through her memories which she pushes away as they are too painful to remember. I'm looking forward to finding out out what they are, very intriguing.
Elena is also stubborn, even when her life could be at risk. I loved this about her, it gave her a strength I love to see in my heroines.
"You shouldn't look at me in that fashion, Elena." "Why?" she asked, prodded by some heretofore unknown suicidal streak. "Scared?" He leaned a fraction closer. "My lovers have always been warrior women. Strength intrigues me." She refused to let him play with her like this, even if her body disagreed. Vehemently. "Do knives intrigue you too? Because touch me and I will cut you up. I don't care if you throw me off the nearest balcony." He seemed to pause, as if thinking. "That is not how I would choose to punish you. It'd end far too quickly." And she remembered that this was no human male she was parrying with. This was Raphael, the archangel who'd broken every single bone in a vampire's body to prove a point...And while she knew her worth, she also knew that to an archangel, she was, in the end, expendable.
There's a rogue Archangel on the lose and he's causing bloody destruction wherever he goes. The powerful Archangel of New York, Raphael, wishes to hire Elena to track him. She doesn't know if she can as she's only ever tracked vampires and isn't sure if her ability goes as far as detecting the scent of an Archangel, but she takes the job as Raphael doesn't understand the word no.
Raphael is dark and dangerous, mysterious and so sexy you can't help but fall in love with him, even with his terrifyingly brutal traits. When Elena first meets him she feels his strength and overwhelming dominance, but his beauty isn't lost on her either..
She took a deep breath and a step back before turning to face him. The impact hit her like a physical blow. He was... "Beautiful." Eyes of such pure undiluted blue it was as if some heavenly artist had crushed sapphires into his paints and then coloured in the irises with the finest of brushes.
Yes, he was beautiful, but it was the beauty of a warrior or a conqueror. This man had power stamped on every inch of his skin, every piece of his flesh. And that was before she took in the exquisite perfection of his wings. The feathers were a soft white and appeared dusted with gold. But when she concentrated, she saw the truth - each individual filament of each individual feather bore a golden tip.
The plot is action-packed and fast-paced. The mix of action and romance is very well balanced. The romance which blossoms between Elena and Raphael is just wonderful and will satisfy any romance fan. It's intense and beautiful, and I can't wait to see what book two holds for these two.
As well as Elena and Raphael, the other cast of characters are just as brilliantly written. The devastatingly handsome but deadly vampire, Dmitri; the sweet and sexy angel Illium, who Elena has affectionally named "bluebell" due to the colour of his wings; Michaela, a strikingly beautiful Archangel who has a cold and murderous nature and has taken an instant dislike to Elena, which causes a few problems - all are vividly written and are fabulous to read.
This is an amazing book - I loved the characters, the story, the writing - basically everything. I'm so glad it's part of a series, and I already have books two and three in my possession - Yay! If you haven't started this series yet, don't wait as long as I did, go read it now!(less)
I am going to try extremely hard not to gush about this book, but it will be difficult. Truth is, I’m ho...moreReviewed by Kearstie for www.BookChickCity.com
I am going to try extremely hard not to gush about this book, but it will be difficult. Truth is, I’m hooked. I’ve drunk the kool-aid. The world of Broken Elements seeped into my mind, sucked me into its world, and left me with a serious book hangover. If you can’t tell, I was kind of impressed.... Read More...
I was kind of sad, and kind of happy when Vincent's Shifter series came to a end. Sad because,...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 9/10 on the blog.
I was kind of sad, and kind of happy when Vincent's Shifter series came to a end. Sad because, well, it was the end, and happy because it was nice to see all the threads come together. So I was very excited to see she had a new adult, urban fantasy series out.
'Blood Bound' is entirely different from her Shifter books, set in a completely new world and actually introduces some new concepts and supernatural beings which was quite exciting. Our heroine Liv is a blood tracker, give her someone's blood and she can track them down. This story is set in a world where the city is run by two supernatural mafia bosses, each of whom have supernatural beings bound to work under their command.
Years ago, when she and her friends were twelve and too young to know any different, they swore a blood oath to always come to the aid on one another should it ever be needed. Liv hasn't seen her friends for years, but when Anne turns up and compels her to not only help and kill her husband's murderer, but work with the ex-boyfriend she never quite got over, Liv quite literally has no choice. It's do it or die.
I found myself very angry with Liv's friend Anne at the beginning of the novel for forcing to not only do something against her will, but commit murder. If she was a true friend she would simply have asked. Liv is one fierce heroine, and everything in her rebels against doing something against her will. It took me a little while to warm to Liv's ex-lover Cam too, for the same reasons as he was complicit in Anne's compulsion.
Liv is determined and strong willed to the point of destruction, but very complicated too. She keeps a lot of secrets in the story and makes you wait to find out about them as well!
One of the things that was slightly strange with the writing style was the changing point of views. The story is written in the first person, but is narrated by two people - Liv and Cam. It would alternate quite regularly, even mid chapter, so that there were several occasions when I had to rewind and work out who was actually narrating. But it did make me warm to Cam after his shaky start.
The story is made up of lots of component parts. From the role of the mafia bosses, the murder mystery, the new supernatural world which made a fascinating change, and the slightly painful and broken relationship between Liv and Cam. Which actually surprised me by growing on me and leaving me desperately routing for them to be able to get together again by the end.
This book is so clever, Vincent weaves so many different threads throughout the book, pulling it together at the end like a fine symphony you can't help but sit back and be impressed at how she doesit. I personally think her writing style has definitely improved since her last series.
I am very excited about this new urban fantasy series! A hero and heroine with guts and determination, and clever and inspiring new supernatural world and a plot that leaves you on the edge of the seat. This is well up there as one of my favourite books of the year.(less)
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 f...moreI 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! (less)
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, r...moreAfter 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.(less)
Firstly, I disagree with the Goodreads summary. Miriam isn’t trying or maybe she did for about 2-3 senten...moreReviewed by Melanie for www.BookChickCity.com
Firstly, I disagree with the Goodreads summary. Miriam isn’t trying or maybe she did for about 2-3 sentences on page 1 and then she promptly returns to her unlikable, chaotic and danger prone-self.
MOCKINGBIRD starts a year after we left Miriam after the end of book one. She is working as a checkout girl in a touristy store in Long Beach and hating her trailer park lifestyle. Louis is still in the picture but only barely as he continues to travel the country truck driving. Marion has tried to be good but only in the sense of curbing her psychic abilities by wearing gloves. It only takes a few paragraphs before she is drawn to back into need to touch people to see their deaths. She admits she is an addict – a death addict. Her palms itch to reach out to make contact and her breath catches in her throat as she allows her obsession to take control. Miriam shows all the hallmarks of an addict and these scenes make the reader a tad uncomfortable and uneasy. It isn’t long before Miriam gives in to her addiction and is back with full on visions of the death of anyone she comes into contact with.
Wendig really ramps up the horror in this novel when Louis takes Miriam to ‘read’ the death from a friend Katey, of who is a teacher at an all girls school for juvenile delinquents. Miriam sees not only visions of Katey’s death but also those of several girls in the school. Each girl is tortured and murdered by a serial killer and Miriam is determined she is going to to put a stop to it. The murder is particularly barbaric and ritualistic. These scenes describing Miriam’s visions are particularly chilling and her journey to find the killer is much more graphic than similar scenes in the first novel.
Wendig uses birds throughout the novel both as symbolism and to advance the plot. Crows and swallows are prominent despite the mockingbird used in the book’s title. Crows are a feature and Wendig uses them to deliver prophecy and warnings to both Miriam and Louis. He exploits the mythology of crows as a symbol of death both in the murders and as a portent for Miriam. There is one particular scene with a crow and Louis that made me feel rather ill reading it. I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling the macabre scene. Ghost Louis makes an appearance in this novel but under a slightly different guise. He has been largely replaced by other ghostly images and again, by a crow. Wendig works this imagery well into the story and it heightens the ‘creep’ factor considerably. He also uses poetry and mythology as subtext to the plot including the poems The School of Broken Dolls and The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot, as well as, the Greek myth of Philomena. This myth is used to explain the significance of the swallow in the murders and in Miriam’s vision. The use of mythology is in sharp contrast to the harsh and vulgar Miriam, but Wendig makes it work.
Miriam’s journey takes her back to her hometown. She is reluctant to visit her mother due to the sad memories of her past but finally drums up the courage to visit. She is surprised to find that her mother has moved away leaving her uncle in the family home. It took a lot of courage for Miriam to face her mother and the memories of her sad, harsh, childhood. Wendig, uses these scenes between Miriam and her uncle to bring out more of Miriam’s past and to give the reader a sense of why she is so self-destructive. You are also given the sense that Wendig has more to say about Miriam and her mother. Perhaps in book 3?
Miriam was very unpleasant in parts of the novel especially to Louis, and there were points in the novel when you actually wondered if she was the good guy. There were fewer opportunities to sympathize with her than there were in the first novel but somehow you still wanted her to win in the end. Wendig ends MOCKINGBIRD with a little cliff hanger just to tease the reader for next book in the series.
MOCKINGBIRD is not a comfortable read and this is down to Wendig’s portrayal of Miriam in this second book. I had to pace myself reading this book and couldn’t read it before bed because it was so gritty, macabre and in some points down right gross. I said that Blackbird wasn’t for the faint hearted and MOCKINGBIRD is definitely not for the faint hearted or anyone with a weak stomach. However, saying that it is an excellent read. Wendig has a unique writing style and successfully weaves symbolism and mythology into a modern setting. (less)
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 and...moreAfter 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!(less)
'Archangel's Consort' is the third instalment in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh. I adored the first two books and fell ins...more7/10 on the blog.
'Archangel's Consort' is the third instalment in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh. I adored the first two books and fell instantly in love with Elena and Raphael. Although I did enjoy this book, it just didn't measure up to the first two. In fact it felt a bit formulaic; the intense romance, vampire murders, which Elena has to solve by using her tracking ability and lots of hot passionate sex - just felt a bit of a repeat of book two and therefore this book was a little disappointing.
But, don't get me wrong, all these aspects are the reasons I fell in love with this series to begin with, but as with all series, the story and characters all have to move forward in some way. I wanted to see the characters grow further as they just seemed stuck, doing the same thing over and over.
I was hoping that Raphael and Elena's characters would have grown and I wish something had happened that would have changed the dynamics a little. It would have been interesting if some of the other characters, that are included in each of the books, were brought to the fore a little more.
However, you will notice that I still give this a rating of 7/10 despite my disappointment, well that's because the writing is still as lush and descriptive as always, there's still plenty of action, and I just love Elena and Raphael and enjoy everything about them, as individuals and as a couple.
'Archangel's Consort' is a very good third instalment, although a little disappointing as I was hoping for something more. However, this is still an awesome series and one which I will follow blindly and recommend without hesitation - I for one cannot wait for book 4, 'Archangel's Blade'!(less)
**Warning this book contains a few spoilers for previous books in the...more**spoiler alert** Reviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. Rating 9/10 on the blog.
**Warning this book contains a few spoilers for previous books in the series. If you haven't read them yet I recommend heading down to your nearest book shop, you won't regret it!**
I think it's fair to say that 'Alpha' is probably my most anticipated book of the year. I've been desperate to know how it all ends. So when the lovely Book Chick City offered me an early copy for review, I jumped up and down in excitement. Any other books I was reading, momentarily forgotten.
The story takes off where 'Shift' ended. The Werecat council is in disarray, corrupted by the evil Calvin Malone. Three Prides alone stand against his malicious campaign for power. At the heart of rebellion is Faythe's father and the South-Central Pride.
In a pre-emptive move, Calvin has charged Faythe and her two lovers with treason. While Faythe stands to be de-clawed, Marc and Jace are up for execution. They can no longer wait to move, civil war amongst the werecats is unavoidable, the outcome will inevitably be bloody, painful and tragic.
The fight has begun and with it lies the future of the South-Central pride and it's time for Faythe to face her destiny.
The love triangle between Faythe, Marc and Jace continues with almost unbearable intensity. In fact, at one stage I almost couldn't take it and found myself having to flick forwards to have just a tiny sneak at the end. I was terrified that Faythe was going to make the wrong choice.
About half way through the book, the tears threatened and if I'm honest I found myself sniffing more than a couple of times. Rachel Vincent's writing style is captivating, and you get pulled into the story and the characters. You laugh, cry and rage with them as if you were part of the story itself. There were times when I wanted to smack Faythe over the head or at least give her a good shake. Then on other occasions I found myself furious at the hideous events. It's the type of book that wrings you dry with emotion.
The novel pulls no punches, it is violent, painful and gut wrenching. But, at the same time it's perfect. Rachel Vincent has ended it just the way you would like her to.
It's one of those books you cannot bear to put down. I virtually inhaled the words, the pages spinning by so fast I barely had time to come up for air.
I have one comment in that I would of liked it to go on for a little bit longer, or at least have an epilogue. Things concluded a touch too quickly and a little too abruptly for my satisfaction. This reduced my rating from a ten out of ten, to a nine.
A phenomenal end to what has now become one of my favourite urban fantasy series'. Rachel Vincent is an immensely talented writer, who is without a doubt one of my favourites. As much as I enjoyed this book, I cannot help feeling slightly sad that it's all over. But, if like me, you have loved Faythe's story, I don't think you will be disappointed with its conclusion. (less)
'Married with Zombies' is such a fun book! The main characters, Sarah and David, are married, and while there is a zombie apocalypse unfolding around...more'Married with Zombies' is such a fun book! The main characters, Sarah and David, are married, and while there is a zombie apocalypse unfolding around them, they still argue about the issues that had them in therapy to begin with, and because of these two characters, 'Married with Zombies' gives a slightly original slant on the usual characters offered in zombie fiction.
However, that's where the originality ends, this book is full of zombie fiction cliches, but you know what, I didn't care. This is such a great read because it is pure entertainment. I giggled at their quibbles and yet there is still enough substance and depth to make me care about both these characters. There's also enough disgusting viscera and brain munching to keep me happy with regards to action and it's a fast-paced read.
It begins when Dave and Sarah are on their way to see their marriage therapist and notice that the roads aren't as busy as usual. But they don't think much about it and continue bickering. When they arrive at their therapy session they wait outside the room. After waiting for what seems like ages, Sarah opens the door to find Dr Kelly munching on her previous clients.
The first thing I noticed was that Dr. Kelly's eyes were no longer blue. Now they were red with huge pupils that didn't seem to focus on anything in particular, even when she looked right at us. Her skin was a greyish tone, sickly and pale and...dead-looking, honestly. Except for her mouth, which was covered with a black substance that clung to her lips and teeth. Her chin was bright red with blood and sticky with flesh from the fresh meal she had just devoured. "Um, Dr. Kelly," I said, hardly able to breathe. "Dr. Kelly, are you okay?"
From there chaos ensues and Dave and Sarah find themselves in a zombie infested world where they have to fight, kill and steal to stay alive. It's the same old story I've read many times within this genre, but it's wrapped in snappy dialogue and contains two very interesting, fun characters.
There are a few other characters throughout the book but they are fleeting acquaintances. Mostly, Dave and Sarah have to pull together to survive, and they begin to surprise themselves at what they're actually capable of.
I shook off my surprise and started booking it across the parking lot again. One of the zombies broke toward us and caught up to us pretty easily since we were slowed down by Dave's injury. I pushed my husband behind me and did the thing you always see at some point in zombie movies. I went all kung fu on his zombie ass.
They soon begin to work as a team and although this is a story about a married couple with zombies, there's still enough action to keep the story moving along at a perfect pace. It's also narrated by Sarah, who's funny and brave - I like her a lot. Dave's great too but for me Sarah is the star.
'Married with Zombies' is a wonderfully entertaining read. The writing is witty, the characters are warm and funny and the story is suspenseful and exciting. The slight twist on the typical hero and heroine of zombie fiction makes this is a refreshing read and I highly recommend it to any zombie fan.(less)
*Warning - while this review contains no spoilers for this book, it does for the first book in the series*
I really enjoyed 'Hex Hall', the first book in this series, so was really looking forward to 'Raising Demons', known as 'Demonglass' in the US. (On a personal note I'm curious as to why the two different titles for the UK and US?). The story pretty much picks up not far along from where the first one left us. Sophie is still reeling from her discovery that she is not in fact a witch, but a demon and the boy she had desperately fallen for was in fact a spy for an agency that are intent on killing her.
The setting of the book moves to the UK as Sophie finally meets and goes to stay with her powerful father, striking a deal to take best friend Jenna with her. Being English, I always find different countries/author's perceptions of what life is like here interesting, thankfully other than a few large words added to Sophie's father's vocabulary the book didn't slip into any awful clichés. And I loved the setting of the large, beautiful, British mansion.
On her arrival Sophie meets Daisy and Nick and immediately knows that they are demons too. But demons can only be made and not born, and the spell to make one is meant to have been lost years ago, which leaves many concerning questions.
As the story is such an easy read you could easily dismiss it as perhaps slightly and predictable. But it really isn't. There were a couple of plot turns that I did not see coming in the slightest. It was well written and perfectly thrilling.
Jenna had to be one of my favourite characters of the story, I actually would have loved to see more of her. How can you not love a vampire with an obsession for all things pink? Do you think if I ask nicely enough she might get a spin off?
I thoroughly enjoyed 'Hex Hall' for its wit, and while this book is definitely still funny, Sophie has some fab lines, the tone itself is darker and more intense in 'Raising Demons'. The pace is fast and it's an addictive read.
There seems to be a real trend in young adult books for love triangles. I know we could blame 'Twilight', but I loved it, so I shall refrain. And while we didn't see one in 'Hex Hall' this changed in 'Raising Demons'. I actually think that the story would have been better without one. The forbidden love angst was plenty to keep my on the edge of my seat, without throwing in another potential love interest. But while it made me frown a little, it didn't detract from my enjoyment.
The book had a bit of a killer ending, if you loathe cliffhangers, you might want to wait until book three is released.
A fab second instalment to the series, which I personally think was slightly better than the first. But perhaps because I enjoyed the slightly more sinister tone. I can't wait to see where the next book takes us. (less)
Wow, I didn't see this book coming - "Kitty's House of Horrors" is a pretty depressing instalment due to the sheer number of dead bodies, but it's als...moreWow, I didn't see this book coming - "Kitty's House of Horrors" is a pretty depressing instalment due to the sheer number of dead bodies, but it's also one of the best. It's jam-packed with action from practically the first chapter and doesn't let up until the last page.
Kitty is invited to participate in a reality TV show full of supernaturals. As Kitty is quite fond of the lime light and revels in publicity for her show, she agrees. When she enters the house, which is situated in a gorgeous cabin miles from anywhere, she meets the other contestants. I was wondering how the book would read without her love interest, but I didn't miss her Alpha mate one bit!
It was great to see a few characters return from previous books, such as Tina a psychic and paranormal investigator, who we first meet in 'Kitty Raises Hell'; Jeremy a TV psychic who Kitty works alongside in 'Kitty Goes To Washington'; Odysseus Grant a true magician who Kitty meets for the first time in 'Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand' during her trip to Las Vegas.
There were many others in the house too: Lee, a were-seal; Anastasia, Gemma and Damian, two vamps and their human servant; Jerome, a werewolf and pro wrestler; Ariel, Priestess of the Night, talk-radio show host; and last but not least, Conrad, a human and a disbeliever in all that is supernatural.
After the introductions everyone settles in. What I noticed more than any other novel is that Kitty likes to ask lots of questions of others, but when someone asks her a question she gets annoyed. I must admit that Kitty did irritate me a little in this instalment. She puts herself out there and then wonders why people think she's an expert, she roles her eyes and gets annoyed when people look to her, but always places herself in danger - she's in danger of becoming a martyr and I didn't really like seeing that side of her. However, with such great writing and fast-paced storyline, this was a small niggle I could handle.
After a few days Kitty begins to have suspicions about some of the other participants, beings to create conspiracy theories and one morning the contestants wake up to find that the producers and staff of the show have left, there's no electricity and the phones are dead. As Kitty leaves the cabin to try and find out what's going on, she finds the first body...
However, there was a big leap of faith on my part with regards to the believability of the plot. A house full of werewolves, vampires, magicians, psychics, were-seals (who can be surprisingly violent as it happens, and have very sharp teeth) are being hunted by three mortal men. Yes they have guns, silver bullets, explosives and silver tipped arrows, but surely the fast moving vamps with their hypnotic eyes could have snuffed them out in a matter of minutes?
Despite these few niggles I thoroughly enjoyed this instalment - it was a very entertaining and exciting read. This series seems to get better and better with each novel. I really appreciate Vaughn's easy writing style and punchy storylines and her characterisation is second to none.
A great addition the the Kitty series and one of the best in my opinion. I can't wait to read the next book 'Kitty Goes To War', I have no doubt it will be a bumpy, but enjoyable ride.(less)
"Dead Until Dark" is the story of waitress Sookie who has what she refers to as a 'disab...moreJOINT REVIEW - Originally posted on www.BookChickCity.com
"Dead Until Dark" is the story of waitress Sookie who has what she refers to as a 'disability', she can read people's minds. Because of this disability, she struggles with personal friendships & relationships and rarely dates. Nothing worse than knowing what your date is thinking of you!
Living in a small Southern town, Sookie is a mix of endearing naïveté, strong morals and a good share of guts and determination. Working at Sam's bar, she is waitress, and takes pride in her work. Her relationship with her grandmother, whom she lives with is lovely and written with real, believable warmth. And her promiscuous and selfish brother, while infuriating at times is still engaging.
I agree, all the characters are interesting and quirky. I especially love Sookie - she's a warm, down-to-earth kind of gal and not the type of urban fantasy heroine I'm used to reading. I really like the TV show, but I must say I like the books more.
If you watch the TV series, you will notice the distinct absence of best friend Tara in the book, in fact she's not even mentioned. While Sam and fellow waitress Arlene are important friends, Sookie does not have a best friend in the book. This adds to her overall isolation and loneliness, brought about by her telepathic ability.
Then enter vampire Bill. Bill's mind is delightfully and blissfully blank and Sookie is immediately fascinated. But with the arrival of Bill, the town suddenly becomes the victim of a serial killer and young women keep turning up dead. Before she knows it, Sookie ends up caught in the middle of the deadly game.
I must admit I was put off reading this series basically because of the TV show. I do enjoy 'True Blood' but I've never really got on board with Anna Paquin and I was worried that this would rub off on the books. When I started "Dead Until Dark" I did unfortunately see Paquin as Sookie, but after about fifty or so pages, the Sookie of my own imagination started to push through and I began to enjoy the book a lot more. In fact I had difficulty putting it down.
I read the first three books in this series years ago and for some reason didn't get around to reading the subsequent books. Unlike Carolyn, I read them before 'True Blood' hit our TV screens, so I wasn't put off by the TV show. But as I started re-reading them I couldn't help make a few comparisons as I wrote my review.
I really enjoyed the southern setting and the way that everyone spoke - I'm a big fan of the southern drawl anyway, so it just made this book even more enjoyable for me. The fact that Sookie is just an ordinary girl (apart from her supernatural abilities), working in a bar as a waitress, making an honest living rather than a gun-wielding, martial arts expert, gave this urban fantasy a fresh twist.
"Dead Until Dark" is an easy read. Charlaine Harris has a unique writing style, which I really enjoy. She often focuses on the detail, but in a way that adds richness to her story rather than coming across as tedious.
There isn't much to fault with this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had just have one tiny complaint, I did feel that Sookie and Bill fell in love just a little bit too quickly. I could understand it from Sookie, but maybe not from a several hundred year old vampire.
CAROLYN: "Dead Until Dark" is a fun and entertaining urban fantasy. It's pretty light compared to some of the other UF series out there, but it's still definitely worth a read. Harris has a great relaxed writing style that made this book a quick and easy read, as well as hard to put down. The characters are great and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
LAURA: A fun and even delightful supernatural mystery set in a small town in the deep South. Sookie is a refreshing and charming lead character. She's not your normal tough, ass-kicking urban fantasy heroine, but I actually loved her even more because of it. As for the TV show... I much prefer the book! :-) (less)
There's something about Sookie that just makes me smile. The telepathic waitress who is...moreJOINT REVIEW - Originally posted on www.BookChickCity.com
There's something about Sookie that just makes me smile. The telepathic waitress who is dating the town's local vampire. She is so genuinely warm and wholesome and the last person at all you would expect to end up with a vampire. But it's these qualities that make the books so engaging.
I've read three of Charlaine Harris's series and her writing has a unique, quirky style to it. But they're also funny, laugh-out-loud so at times. The second book is similar to the first in that at the core of it is a supernatural mystery, with Sookie once again playing the unwitting sleuth.
Although the TV series, ‘True Blood’ does keep some of the aspects of the book, there are many differences. Therefore, it was easier for me to read “Living Dead in Dallas” without drawing too many comparisons, I tried to keep them separate and read the book on its own merit. Reading it this way is actually much more enjoyable. I do like the TV show, but I’m not sure on some of the castings therefore I would rather imagine the characters, especially Sookie as my imagination intended.
However, as with the first book, ‘Dead Until Dark’, I found this a wonderful, easy read. Harris has a great writing style that’s witty and charming and I read this book with relish. I'm with Laura on Sookie, she's is a fabulous heroine. I love her warmth and wholesomeness, but she's also quite feisty, which is a definite plus.
Sookie's relationship with the vampires continues to grow, when Sookie is attacked by a Maenad she & Bill have to turn to them for help. But nothing in life ever comes for free and before she knows it she is on her way to Dallas, rented out by Eric to help the vampires there with a missing vampire case. In typical Sookie style, her favour comes with a condition, that the vampires do not kill anyone she helps to bring to justice. As Carolyn says this is part of Sookie's feistyness that you can't help but love her for.
The book does dot about quite a bit as there are two stands to the story. We have a murder mystery at the beginning, when Sookie discovers the dead body of one of her co-workers. Then Sookie's attack and visit to Dallas, followed by her return home when the original murder mystery gets picked up again.
We are introduced to 'The Fellowship of the Sun' an obsessive, anti-vampire church who I can only imagine will continue to have significance as this series progresses.
Sookie’s ‘abilities’ of listening in on people’s thoughts is hired out by Eric to vampires in Dallas. Sookie and Bill, once there find themselves mixed up with The Fellowship of the Sun, a cult of vampire haters. There’s a few twists and turns that keep you wondering, and new characters and supernaturals are introduced.
As with ‘Dead Until Dark’, there’s enough intrigue to keep the pages turning and although Sookie isn’t the typical kick-arse urban fantasy heroine, she uses what she has to her benefit, including her sassy southern mouth.
“Living Dead in Dallas” is somewhat darker than the previous book, but it’s still a fairly light read. There’s something about Harris’s writing that makes these books addictive reading without having to go into too much detail.
I'm with Carolyn these books definitely make addictive reading. Harris's writing style cleverly mixes a lightness with the dark undertones you come to expect in urban fantasy.
This book introduces new species and characters. I had a real chuckle at Bubba, the mentally challenged vampire who used to once be a famous rock star. But above them all, I'm fast becoming an Eric fan, *swoon* and I do hope Sookie ditches Bill for him. While I enjoy the romance between Sookie and Bill, I am beginning to find him a little bit boring. Kind of like the equivalent of vampire slippers.
There is a truly superb scene when Eric attends a sex club with Sookie to 'protect her' that will make you want to laugh and fan yourself all at the same time.
Fans of the TV series will notice similarities between this book and the second series. But the TV show also diverges quite significantly in parts. But this means it's very easy to enjoy both. I love the TV show, but so far I love the books even more. Carolyn references the casting of the series earlier and it's a really interesting point. Paquin and Moyer are not how I imagine Sooke and Bill to be at all, however, I think that Skarsgard is superb as Eric. Or maybe I just have an Eric fixation! ;-)
Sookie is by far my favourite character, and so she should be being the main character and narrator. She’s sweet, naive at times but endearingly so, but she also has a strength that shines through and makes me smile fondly. I would love to befriend Sookie.
Next in line is Eric. Yummy Eric *sigh* I’m not usually into blonde guys, but I do like the bad boys so I am drawn to him. I know there’s a sensitive side to him too which makes him all the more alluring. Bill is a little stiff for my taste even if he is tall, dark and handsome. There’s just something about Eric’s humour that gets me. I’m hoping that something happens to Bill so my favourite character can get it on with my second favourite character! Sorry, Bill...
LAURA: As good, if not better than the first book. This series will appeal to fans of both murder mystery and supernatural genres. It's a quick read, you could easily get through in a day. I love the mix of dark, supernatural mystery, with romance and warm humour.
CAROLYN: A great instalment to the series. I'm crushing on Sookie and Eric and hope things go in the direction I want it too in subsequent books. An easy read with great characters combined with mystery and romance makes "Living Dead in Dallas" a definite win!(less)
When I began reading “Club Dead” I did wonder if now three books in it would continue...moreJOINT REVIEW - Originally posted on www.BookChickCity.com
When I began reading “Club Dead” I did wonder if now three books in it would continue holding my interest, especially as these books are quite light, although they do hold some serious issues. But “Club Dead” held my attention throughout and I found myself loving Sookie even more than I did in the previous book. It was also nice not to have so much Bill. Although I enjoy his character it was great to see Sookie interact with other men, especially the werewolf and, of course my favourite vamp, Eric.
I wasn't nervous about picking up "Club Dead" at all, I found it was great to be submerged back into Sookie's world again and this series only seems to be getting better. It combines humour with sexiness, all tied up in a supernatural mystery. I also enjoy the fact that these books are very different from other urban fantasy novels and Sookie isn't a tough, gun totting heroine, but she's got guts and I love her anyway.
In this installment we see Sookie getting tougher and definitely braver. But without losing her lovely Southern charm and flawless manners. One scene just sums it up for me, when Sookie has been badly injured and waiting for a strange vampire to heal her, even then she does not forget to be polite. She just makes me smile.
"How de do." Good manners would make you welcome anywhere, my gran always told me.
In the first book 'Dead Until Dark' the focus was very much on Sookie’s home town of Bon Temps. In 'Living Dead in Dallas' she took off to Dallas, which was lots of fun. In this instalment, Sookie takes another trip, this time to Jackson, Mississippi to try and find Bill who’s gone missing. She has also found out that he has been unfaithful although I had my suspicions if this was true, I found the answer at the end of the novel...
The writing is just so wonderful, I can’t seem to stop reading once I’ve started and the supernatural mystery element is so well done, I never really know what’s going to happen, and it also balances well with Sookie’s love life.
As the story centres around Sookie travelling to Mississippi to rescue a kidnapped Bill, you don't see very much of Sam or Sookie's friends in Bon Temps, but we are introduced to some fab new characters, most notably the introduction of werewolves. Alcide, the werewolf Eric assigns to protect Sookie when Bill goes missing is certainly very yummy, and there's an interesting amount of chemistry bubbling away between him and Sookie.
Just as Carolyn says the writing is wonderful, Harris is a very talented lady. This book has plenty of action, poor old Sookie seems to get injured a lot in this series. But lots of humour too. I enjoyed the return of Bubba, the mentally damaged vampire who used to be the South's most famous popstar and also has a thing for cats (don't ask!).
As mentioned by Laura, there is a new character addition in the form of a yummy werewolf, Alcide. He’s such a great character, and just for a moment I wanted Sookie to let down her guard and give in to the temptation to be with him and forget all about stiff ole Bill. But then I remembered I wanted her to end up with Eric *I love me some Eric* and although I very much liked Alcide, I like Eric more.
We get to see a real soft side to Eric and it melted my heart, I can’t think why Sookie hasn’t been swept off her feet by him. I really love Sookie and Eric’s banter though, it’s funny. Sookie is a feisty chick even with a very old vampire who could snap her in two with just two fingers, but I love seeing her mouth off in her cute southern way - I can totally understand why all these men fall for her.
I am very disappointed in Bill. His betrayal of Sookie cuts deep and I’m not sure how she’s going to come back from this. In just a few months her life has been turned upside down, she’s been beaten, nearly raped and fed upon violently, and yet she tries to keep chipper and not give in to self-pity. She really didn’t deserve Bill’s treatment of her, and I for one hope this gives her the reason to forget Bill, and give Eric a chance!
It looks like we both fell a bit for Alcide *quickly fans oneself* ;-) I like that we see a marked change is Sookie's attractiveness in this book. While I've always believed her to be very pretty, she's been a bit of a pariah amongst human men who are frightened by her abilities. In this book there's the potential for not only a love triangle, but a love square and that's without including Sam who isn't really in this book. Sookie's a popular lady! But with her usual polite demureness, Sookie is charmingly baffled by this, rather than letting it go to her head.
As Carolyn said, Bill went down in my estimations in this book, in fact I felt like he needed a bit of an ass-kicking! There is one scene I'm not actually sure I can forgive him for. And Sookie was perhaps a little too polite about it all. But in the long term it didn't matter as I just fell in love with Eric a little bit more. And you get to see a lot more of him in this book - hurrah! I hope in book four she realises just how super hot he is!
CAROLYN: This series is consistently great. "Club Dead" was a fab read from start to finish. I love the relationship dynamics and I just can't wait to see what happens next!
LAURA: Once again a fantastic book, I have long been a fan of Harris's quirky writing style, having read two of her other series aswell. I whizzed through "Club Dead" in no time at all. If you're a fan of the TV show you'll see a lot of similarities between that and the plot of series three, but be warned it's also markedly different in places too. (less)
Meriwether Storm, daemon summoner extraordinaire, is one of the most satisfying, well-render...moreReviewed by Kearstie for www.bookchickcity.com - 4.5 Stars
Meriwether Storm, daemon summoner extraordinaire, is one of the most satisfying, well-rendered, beautifully driven characters I have had the pleasure to read about in a very long time. And that praise is putting her in some very good company, my friends.
Meri’s parents were brutally murdered when she was young, leaving behind a legacy of power and vengeance that has been driving their daughter since the day she found them, puddles of little more than blood. She has taken up their mantle as a Daemon Summoner, living outside the control of the Corporations, which took over when the government fell. Meri is very good at her job, and is nearly covered with the marks of the daemons she’s summoned and overpowered. But she lives every day with one simple truth: all summoners eventually meet their match. There’s a good reason that there’s no such thing as an old summoner.
Before Meri meets her inevitable fate, she is determined to find and take justice on her parents’ killer. When she receives an offer that seems a little too dangerous, even for her, she’s ready to turn it down, until she finds that the reward is worth the risk: they are offering the name and summoning details of her parents’ killer. And so Meriwether Storm is swept up into a job that will leave her more changed than she could have ever imagined.
Bundy has built a world so intriguing, and characters so likable, that they suck you in, rock your world, and leave you panting for more when it’s over. Oh, and her sex scenes are like that, too.
Azimuth, the leading man in our story, is closed off and distant at the beginning, but as you learn more about him, you can’t help but understand why Meri falls for him. I thoroughly enjoy that Bundy allowed Meri to start with attraction, and then move on to lust, before jumping into love with Az. It made the relationship read as more organic and believable than many similar pairings in the genre. And the fact that Az was the only one who never gave up on Meri really kept me invested in him during the times that their relationship wasn’t at the forefront of the plot. I really loved their dynamic, and was rooting for them throughout the story.
Despite my love for Azimuth, I was extremely happy that Bundy chose to make their growing relationship just a part of the story, instead of at the center. No, Meri got to keep her mojo in this book, and I think that’s what kept me so enamored. She doesn’t forget who she is, or what her goals are. Her need for vengeance doesn’t disappear because Azimuth is sex on a stick (oh, and he so is). Her life flipping around doesn’t keep her down long, and she has no desire to listen to anyone trying to keep her on the sidelines.
It’s Meri’s strength of will and sense of self that truly drive the story, and are really what make her such a formidable foe for the daemons. Even when the fighting is in her own brain, you know that Meri stands a fighting chance. Have I mentioned how much I love her?
I also really enjoyed the secondary characters in this book. They each had their own special traits and quirks, and were well fleshed out. Bundy’s character building is really just superb.
Now, you may be asking yourself why this glowing review didn’t land The Daemon Whisperer a well-deserved 5-star rating. It almost did. But I couldn’t overlook a few things that really irked my nerves, and therefore had to downgrade to 4.5 stars.
First, there were a lot of editorial mistakes in the copy I was given of this book. It speaks very highly of the beautiful story writing that I was able to ignore the spelling and grammar mistakes, because there were many. But hey, it happens to the best of us, right? Second, there was a name change about 2/3 of the way through, and I did not like it. At all. It threw off the consistency, and I did not think that the name fit the character as well as the original name, which I loved. I’m trying to be vague here, to not give anything away, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it. Which you hopefully will, because the book is awesome, regardless of my nitpicks.
And my final complaint is that I get the feeling that the next book in the Liminals series WILL NOT BE ABOUT MERI. Growl. Have I not waxed poetic enough about how much I love Meri and company? These characters wormed their way into my heart, and there is room for so much more story there! I will be exceedingly sad if book two doesn’t at least catch us up on what my favorite characters are up to.
The Daemon Whisperer, despite its flaws, was a solidly enjoyable story filled with kickass characters and a vibrant backdrop of politics, daemons, sex, and intrigue. Sometimes all at the same time. In short, I loved it. A lot. Go buy it. I’ll wait.(less)
LAURA Sookie’s off on her travels again in ALL TOGETHER DEAD this time she heads off to a...moreJoint Reviewed by Laura & Gemma for www.BookChickCity.com
LAURA Sookie’s off on her travels again in ALL TOGETHER DEAD this time she heads off to a vampire summit in Queen Sophie-Ann’s entourage. Which meant there were lots and lots of vampire politics. The book was definitely a step up from Definitely Dead, and I enjoyed it much more. There are some great twists and turns. Sookie’s love life seemed to take a bit of a back seat, there were some developments but not as much as I had hoped and I’m afraid to say Quinn is starting to bore me a little now.
I do miss the Bon Temps characters when Sookie’s away and this is two books in a row now. But at least their first part of the book is set at home. Amelia is a rather cool houseguest and welcome addition to the regular cast. There were the beginnings of some very interesting plots with her, in particular an unusual love interest that could make for great entertainment!
GEMMA After Dead to the World, ALL TOGETHER DEAD is my second favourite in the series. True, a lot of the Bon Temps crew are missing, but for me, this book gives a much better understanding of how vampire politics work. The main streaming is apparently a facade to how ruthless the Vampires can be. Poor Sookie is thrown into it big style. A fish out of water and far from home.
As for Quinn, he is also cooling off for me. He started out pretty interesting and I kind of rooted for him to be with Sookie, but now I’m not too sure. He seems to be as deeply in bed with the vampires as Sookie is, but not in a good way. I’m not sure of his motives and I can see it all ending in tears before the series ends.
LAURA Yep, I’m with you Gemma I think there are tears ahead for Sookie and Quinn, especially with the unexpected development revealed at the end of the book. That certainly took me aback slightly. Sookie seems to be developing a slightly ruthless streak! But also it’s clear she does not know Quinn quite as well as she thought she did.
I was struck by how naive she was in this book though. Despite warnings from her friends and fairy godmother, she does look ahead to the implications of the Sophie-Ann comprehending just how powerful her gift could be to the Queen. I find I am slightly afraid for Sookie’s future after ALL TOGETHER DEAD.
The story is under-pinned by its usual mystery. There is a murder and a bomb plot that makes for a spectacular, edge of your seat finale. The best I think we’ve seen so far in the series. But there was one thing that just kept on bugging me… The unclaimed suitcase Sookie was asked to collect. The suitcase started to drive me bonkers! Why did noone check the damn thing?! Surely it’s danger was obvious!
GEMMA Sookie is gaining a bit of a back bone in this book. She seems to be realising how dangerous it is turning out to be entangled with the vampires and their complex politics. It did kind of show a darker side to Quinn that took me completely by surprise. After the incidents with Sookie, Alcide and Debbie Pelt, I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies at all. True, it was to save Sookie, but the ramifications will be felt in the long run.
What really got me was the fact that Sookie did ignore all the warnings from her friends and her fairy godmother. Its like she is blinded by her loyalty, for a the lack of a better word, to Bill and Eric. True, they both have held her heart but I’m wondering how much of this is due to the blood bond between each pairing.
The Bomb plot was one of the better ones I have read in the series and I really didn’t know who was behind it. I even had it pinned on some of Sophie-Ann’s accusers at one point. It was cleverly woven, except for the suitcase as you said. It was also a nice touch to pull in the real-life events of Hurricane Katrina. The fact that its devastation was not swept under the carpet and we saw how weak Sophie-Ann’s position was, spoke volumes about how the vampires will attack and try to conquer.
I’m on tender hooks to find out where the story will take us next and who has survived the bomb blast.
LAURA I think Quinn’s actions in this book will ultimately lead to the demise of his and Sookie’s relationship. I don’t think Sookie will be able to deal with its implications. Relationship dynamics seemed to changed fast in the book too. As much as I was annoyed with Bill there was a sadness at the fracture between him and Sookie. I’m not even sure about how things changed between Eric and Sookie in ALL TOGETHER DEAD either. Although I am still rooting for them to get together, the growing blood bond between them as Gemma mentioned seems to be altering the chemistry they share.
Then there’s Barry the Bellboy who makes a return, not as a love interest thankfully, although he does admit an interest. But a telepath for a rival vampire. While Sookie seems excited at the potential of a friendship he just proves himself to be a bit of an idiot and a coward. Back in Bon Temps friendships have shifted too with Arlene, Tara and Jason making decisions that could make Sookie even more isolated from the human world. In general quite a few of Sookie’s friendships and relationships are rapidly changing while others are off kilter.
Due to the setting of the book, if I had one major criticism it would be that there were too many characters in this book, I found it a little hard to keep track of who was who and this did make the mystery plot a little confusing. Although the bomb plot really was a good one.
GEMMA I agree with Laura; there are WAY too many knew characters to keep track of in this book. Plus I found that there were some characters who were just getting interesting, only to be killed off or assumed to be dead at the end of the book. I think there could have been an interesting conflict between Eric and this other character, had they not met the ‘True Death’.
What I really found interesting, was the apparent change in Sookie’s loyalty. She is really bedding in with the vampires now and the fact that she has been helping Sophie-Ann is a turn up for the books, especially due to her cousin Hadley’s death.
I’m still pretty open on who I think Sookie will end up with, but I agree. Quinn is not going to be on the shortlist. While both Eric and Bill have their own baggage, Quinn just has something about him that I ended up not liking. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but he just seems bad news.
It was nice to see the return of Barry the Bellboy, but the fact that he is working for an opposition group of vampires had me suspicious of his motives in befriending Sookie. I mean, Sookie trusts this guy over her friends who warned her not to go? Really?
I must admit, I didn’t pay very much attention to the goings on in Bon Temps as I was busy trying to figure out who was behind the bomb plot. Even by the end of the book I was still a bit confused. Don’t get me wrong, I did like the twist.
LAURA Despite my few issues with this book, did I mention the suitcase? I think this book was definitely a step up from Definitely Dead. The bomb plot gave us a thrill-ride climax at the end and there were some interesting developments with key characters in the book. Sookie is growing up and might even be developing a bit of a ruthless streak, but time will tell on that one. Bring on book number eight, although I do hope it’s set in Bon Temps.
GEMMA I agree with Laura on this. ALL TOGETHER DEAD is a big step up from Definitely Dead. This is my second favourite book in the series, after Dead to the World, the plot in this much more tightly written. It’s a turning point for Sookie and it begins to show what she will do in order to survive. Sookie is trying to rely less on the vampires, knowing how deep she has already got herself into their politics. Here’s to book eight….
If you want a little taste of what the Deacon Chalk series is all about, it’s definitely worth giving SPIDE...moreReviewed by Laura for www.BookChickCity.com
If you want a little taste of what the Deacon Chalk series is all about, it’s definitely worth giving SPIDER’S LULLABY a try. It’s a novella that takes place between Blood and Bullets and Blood and Silver, but to be honest I think you could easily pick it up as a stand-alone. There are a few references, but nothing that would spoil things for you.
The story evolves around one of my reluctant favourite characters. I say reluctant, because as a terrible arachnophobe, I still find it hard to believe I’m reading a book about a were-spider (I’m even glad I had it as an ebook, as I even find it hard to look at the cover!). Yes, that’s right a spider as big as a human, even the idea makes me feel a bit nauseous. Given the rather tongue-in-cheek name of Charlotte, you’ve got to love Tuck’s sense of humour. But dare I say it, Charlotte is rather cool, in an understated chic kind of way. Eight gross legs and all.
The plot theme is familiar to what we’ve seen in all the books to date. Bad guys do something very bad, often affecting someone Deacon cares for, roll on lots of blood and violence, and lots and lots of guns. And of course, the bad guys deservedly get what’s coming to them. But it’s far from a tired format. It’s slick, it’s dark and occasionally a touch of subtle, black humour.
When Charlotte’s egg sac of spider babies *shudder* are kidnapped, along with a dancer from Deacon’s club, you know without a doubt he won’t stop until he gets them back. Of course being were-spider babies you don’t want them hatching without mummy present or things could get decidedly hmmm carnivorous, yes I think that deserves another *shudder*.
There is something almost comic book-esque in Tuck’s writing style. The action is quite cinematic, pulling you right in and depicted in such a way you have a very vivid picture of what’s happening and in particular what a certain character looks like.
This novella is almost non-stop action, barely giving you time to come up for breath. Deacon is a bad-ass with a tender side. He fights because he cares, almost too much. Which makes him not only a great character, but one you want to get to know, to peel beneath the layers.
Tiff makes a big appearance in this book. Emerging from the naive girl she was in Blood and Bullets, to become a fighter at Deacon’s side. The love story between them slowly being hinted at. I just don’t know if I quite get her though, there is something that makes it hard for me to connect with her. And I have to admit, I find it irritating that Deacon refers to her as ‘little girl’ albeit as an affectionate term of endearment.
A great read for urban fantasy fans, Deacon is fast finding his place amongst other monster fighting heroes. Buckle up for the ride because it’s going to get bloody! And yikes there are spiders, hundreds of them in fact. I need to read a romance now so I don’t have nightmares .(less)
“Grave Witch” is an amazing first book to a series. I loved all the characters, the world-building and wri...moreOriginally reviewed on www.BookChickCity.com
“Grave Witch” is an amazing first book to a series. I loved all the characters, the world-building and writing style. It was my kind of book and I really enjoyed it.
Alex Craft is a witch who uses ‘grave sight’ to speak to the dead and hover between the corporeal world and the world of the dead. She’s headstrong, sassy, interesting and very independent. She doesn’t get on well with her father, who absolutely hates that she uses magic, and a sister who looks like she’s getting into something that’s way over her head and asks Alex for help. Thus creating a fast-paced mystery aspect to the novel that combined brilliantly with Alex’s personal life.
The guys in her life (and potential love interests) are also great… and very hot! The first is Death, delicious and mysterious, who pops in and out of her life unannounced, especially when she’s in trouble, and Falin Andrews, a detective who’s working on a case she’s involved with. What I love about this relationship is its love/hate aspect – my favourite kind
Death I liked pretty much instantly, but Falin was a slow burner. But after many enjoyable head-butting sessions with Alex, Falin grew on me, and I was very happy when their frustration with each other moved to the bedroom!
The plot is fairly intricate Alex dealing with dark magic and murder, but Price’s writing flows effortlessly. This is the kind of writing style I love. It’s descriptive, full of depth and warmth, easy to visualise and very easy to read.
Although “Grave Witch” doesn’t end on much of a cliffhanger, there are a few little twists, and certainly leaves you with the need to grab a copy of ‘Grave Dance‘ immediately.
A fantastic start to a new urban fantasy series – great writing, great characters, great world-building. What more could you possibly want?(less)
"Blood Bound" is a fun, action-packed read with a great story line. I really enjoyed this instalment. Mercy is c...moreOriginally posted on Book Chick City.
"Blood Bound" is a fun, action-packed read with a great story line. I really enjoyed this instalment. Mercy is creeping up my list of best urban fantasy heroines – she’s feisty but not cocky, she’s sassy but not annoying. I love the fact she’s a coyote and not the typical werewolf or vampire too.
There’s lots of twists and turns and lots of different plot lines that really kept me engaged. Mercy's vampire friend, Stefan, requires her help and draws her into a complex situation.
Stefan has gone missing along with Adam and Sam and Warren has been violently beaten and is in a really bad way. As usual Mercy finds herself in the thick of it and sets out to find them, along with vampire Andre, while others take care of Warren.
There’s also a newly-made vampire containing a demon on the lose and it’s causing deathly havoc. It murders several people and nobody can kill it. It’s having a negative effect on the werewolves, who are all becoming a bit more growly with it in their town.
I really feel as though I'm following Mercy through her life. We get to be with her when she’s eating breakfast, what she’s going to wear and while she's working on a car in her garage, as well as all the supernatural shenanigans she has to put up with. I thought this would become increasingly annoying, but in fact it’s becoming one of the aspects I love about this series. I really get a feel for who Mercy is and I’m feeling more connected with her with each book I read. I hope it continues.
The only aspect I would say that the author hasn’t got quite right yet is the romance. There are a few more Mercy thoughts in this instalment than there were in the first book and so I know a bit more how Mercy is feeling about Adam, but Sam is still a bit fuzzy. In fact in this book she’s kissed by three men! She’s a popular girl!
Of course it is always great to have scenes with Adam and Sam and I like them both a lot. I do feel as though I’m leaning towards Adam with respects to Mercy’s love interest as I know his liking her comes from his heart and not from the fact that Mercy can possibly produce live young, which is how Sam sees her. Although, things are clarified a little with regards to Sam and his feelings towards Mercy at the end of this book, which leaves me guessing.
"Blood Bound" is a fabulous second instalment in this series, which is fast becoming a favourite. Mercy is coming into her own and I'm loving her character more and more. I would definitely recommend starting this series if you haven't already! (less)
Warning: may contain spoilers for Blood of the Pride #1
Claws Bared is the second in the Blood of the Pride series. It picks up a few weeks after the first novel. Rebecca Desjardin is still dating Brandon and trying to get her head around the pride starting to interfere in her life after she was cast out. Cases have been slow and just as she is starting to get desperate a call comes in from her estranged pride directing her to another pride. They want her to investigate the murder of a male club dancer by one of their members.
Becca continues to be a great character. She is still damaged and still finds it difficult to trust. She has Bran now but being in a relationship is not something she is used to and part of the interesting elements to this story is Becca working out how relationships should work.
Whilst investigating the murder she meets Trace Bryson a local cat shifter who makes it clear that he would like to get to know her better, he comes across as an Alpha character with some of the want-take-have mentality and arrogance that seems to permeate these characters. Having said that I liked his character and I liked the way he made Rebecca evaluate her own position and gives her ego a boost.
Bran shows up to help her investigate and again there are tensions between the Pennscotta pride and Bran as a human with knowledge. There are a number of moments where I was cheering him on for using his brain and for having the guts to stand up against people far more powerful than him and look them in the eye. But there were also times where he was close to being a bit of an Alpha pain in the butt and somewhat controlling.
The mystery is supposed to be the central strand of the story but it pales in comparison to Rebecca’s emotional journey. She still feels raw for being exiled and I like that one investigation does not make her forgive and forget. She still can’t shift but the more I think about that the more it seems that it’s a psychological issue and she still has a lot more healing to do.
Jess, Becca’s Pride leader, is still hard as nails, and the relationship between her and Rebecca is fraught. As a character she is powerful, strong and appears to like parachuting Rebecca into cases at will. Becca’s resentment is completely understandable; I can’t wait to see how things develop between them. Jess will have to make amends at some point.
Like Blood of the Pride, Claws Bared is an absorbing look into the Rebecca’s world. I love how strong she is and how she doesn’t make ridiculous decisions for the sake of the plot. There is a good balance between the main story and subplots, and I am really rooting for Rebecca as a character. This series is really shaping up to be compelling, and one of my favourites. Definitely worth checking out.(less)
Eugenie Markham is half human and half faery and is still trying to balance her life of two worlds and two lovers. Now she is the Thorn Queen of Thorn...moreEugenie Markham is half human and half faery and is still trying to balance her life of two worlds and two lovers. Now she is the Thorn Queen of Thorn Land and life is getting more difficult as she is spending more time in the Otherworld. Her powers are getting stronger and more deadly. But is this what she wants?
Thorn Queen is the second book in the Dark Swan series and having just read the first, Storm Born, I was able to drift straight back into the story with ease. The writing is easy going and the story grabs you from the first few pages. As with the first book the worlds described are vivid and the characters are well rounded and likable. There is plenty of action, in the bedroom as well at out of it, as well as lots of suspense. Eugenie grows into her powers more, although she is still uncertain if she actually wants them.
Thorn Queen is a bit more serious than Storm Born, there are a few humourous touches but not many. It is slightly darker too, but this only adds more depth to the story and I found myself becoming further involved with Eugenie's character and subsequently liking her more and more.
Eugenie is a terrific heroine; feisty, strong and sexy too. I look forward to reading more about her as the series progresses. I definitely recommend this book. It's a really great read!(less)
I have heard a lot about this author, mainly from Natasha (Wicked Little Pixie) via Twitter, who rated this book 5/5. So, I thought I would read it my...moreI have heard a lot about this author, mainly from Natasha (Wicked Little Pixie) via Twitter, who rated this book 5/5. So, I thought I would read it myself and see what all the fuss was about - it sounded like a really fun book too. And it most certainly was!
How to describe Amanda Feral... bitchy, snarky, vulgar, foul-mouthed, smart (arse), sexy and totally zombelicious! And dare I say it after all that... likable. Although Amanda is a zombie, through no fault of her own, it doesn't stop her from being utterly fabulous and determined to keep strutting her stuff - makeup, designer clothes and a cocktail in hand are absolute must haves! Unsurprisingly, after getting to know her, Amanda takes the knowledge that she is one of the undead in her stride and isn't too concerned that she now has to eat people - well, a girls got to eat!
Some may find the humour in this book not to their tastes but I loved Amanda's character and although she can be a total bitch, she can also be a loyal friend, as her determination to find her missing friend showed, albeit reluctantly. She enjoys gossiping and sipping vodkatinis with her supernatural friends, Wendy (a sister zombie); Gil (a gay vamp) and Liesl (a succubus) in the trendiest night spots and all as bitchy and snarky as each other!
There is a plot to Happy Hour of the Damned - Amanda turns pseudo-detective and sets out to find her friend Leisl, who sends a 'Help!" txt message before disappearing. But what transpires is something completely innocent as well as more sinister. And although I did enjoy this part of the book, for me it was all about Amanda. Amanda is the reason I rushed out and bought book two! *I has me a 'Manda crush ;)*
Henry mixes urban fantasy with his obvious comedic talent as well as a smattering of visceral horror. Readers who read urban fantasy but not horror will find some scenes a little gruesome and gory (lots of braaaiinns and well, the rest of the body - waste not want not!). Personally I loved it, but I am a bit of a sicko ;)
Happy Hour of the Damned is a fun and entertaining read as well as being absolutely hilarious. Yes, it does get a little rushed at the end with maybe too much going on but Henry's timing is superb and Amanda's witty, snarky comments had me chuckling and giggling to myself and occasionally laughing-out-loud.
I can't get across enough how wickedly good this book is... so you will just have to read it for yourself - I can't wait to read the second book in this series, Road Trip of the Living Dead (look out for the review soon!).
I actually gave this 9/10 on my blog but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!(less)
'Archangel's Kiss' is the second book in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh, and after absolutely loving the first book in the series, 'Angels'...more'Archangel's Kiss' is the second book in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh, and after absolutely loving the first book in the series, 'Angels' Blood', this one had a lot to live up to. I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint. I loved it. The prose is just as lush as the first book, Elena and Raphael are still fantastic characters and the world-building just as vivid.
However, I did feel as though the balance between urban fantasy and paranormal romance was slightly out of kilter. The first half of the book definitely sits in with the latter genre as there is a lot of sex, verbal adoration, basically lots of lovin's! Don't get me wrong, I love the romance between Elena and Raphael but I felt for the first half of the book I was a bit saturated with it and it did get a bit repetitive. But the second half of the booked kicked into high gear with lots of action, suspense and Elena back in the role she fits so well, that of the kick-arse chick. I was worried she was turning into a love sick puppy but her fighting personality won out - yay! I do adore the relationship between Elena and Raphael, it is swoon-worthy and very intense, but I'm pleased it didn't dominate the entire book.
The story picks up a short time after 'Angels' Blood' ended and Elena's friends are wondering if she's dead or alive, or more accurately one of the undead, as in vampire. But nobody is telling them anything and they are becoming increasingly frustrated. They decide to break into where they think Elena is being held, but once they set eyes on what she's become they can't believe their eyes...
There's a big learning curve for Elena and she needs her friends and Raphael to help her through, especially when she is invited to a ball by the eldest of Archangels. Raphael is worried as this could be the perfect opportunity for others to kill Elena for real and so he instructs his most loyal and dangerous vampire to train Elena in the fighting skills she will need if an attempt is made on her life. Unfortunately for Elena she's still weak from the transformation, but Dmitri does not go easy on her.
Apart from what's going on in Elena's personal life, she is asked to help when there's a new bout of fresh vampire kills, and one of the angel children is kidnapped and found brutally beaten to the point of death. Elena has to use her abilities to track the scent of the killer and it leads to an unexpected source.
We get more of a glimpse in to Elena's painful and horrific past. She begins to lean on Raphael more and more to give her strength and support. Her memories of her past are throwing up all sorts of visions about her mother and father. The more that is revealed the more I want to know. Elena is a complex character and she is fast becoming one of my favourite heroines.
There is a lot going on in 'Archangel's Kiss' and I lapped up every word. This is a wonderful series with gorgeous prose, fantastic characters and the world-building so vivid I could be living along side Elena. Elena and Raphael are becoming two of my favourite characters as well as one of my favourite couples. A great addition to the series!(less)
'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...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 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.(less)
This is the first in the new Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead, author of the incredibly successful Vampire Academy and Succubus novels.
Eugenie Markh...moreThis is the first in the new Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead, author of the incredibly successful Vampire Academy and Succubus novels.
Eugenie Markham (aka Odile) is a head-strong and independent character who is instantly likable. The opening few pages quickly sucked me into Eugenie's life as a Shaman with humour and combat as she fights to banish a spirit from a haunted running shoe! This book is full of action and for the most part the plot is fast-paced and when one fight ends another one begins or passion ensues with one or the other of her lovers. The portrayal of the different worlds she travels in and out of are vivid and realistic.
Her love interests: Kiyo, a sexy shapeshifter and Dorian, a bondage-loving Fairy King, are well written with love scenes giving just enough detail to tantalise without being too explicit. The only criticism I have is that the romance between Eugenie and Kiro occured too quickly. It would have been nice to get to know Eugenie first without her being in a relationship so soon in the story. The affair with Dorian, however, flourished at a much slower pace and when they eventually got together it was more satisfying.
This is urban fantasy at it's best. Strong female lead, magical lands, sexy and a plot that twists and turns until the very end, leaving you longing for more. I enjoyed this book immensely and I am really looking forward to reading more. A great start to a new series. Highly recommend it!
"Deadworld" is a rollercoaster of an urban fantasy book with characters that have so ma...moreReviewed by Gemma for www.BookChickCity.com - 9/10 on the blog.
"Deadworld" is a rollercoaster of an urban fantasy book with characters that have so many issues, even Freud would have been lost in helping them. It's one of those books that you realise you have been reading for nearly two hours, without any breaks and you're still dying to find out more!
Before starting "Deadworld", I was expecting the usual run of the mill paranormal romance, where the big brooding alpha male would end up saving and falling for the tough as nails female, who ends up as putty in his hands due to the usual plot devices that are thrown into the growing market of books in this genre. But by the end of the prologue, I was eating my words and scolding myself for judging the book by its cover, as this is most definitely an urban fantasy.
The first chapter is creepy and unnerving due to the fact you only have the name of a boy who has run away from home due to his parents fighting. By the end a sense of dread washes over the reader, only to see the brutal outcome in chapter two.
It's from here we are introduced to the main characters.
Jackie Rutlidge, who the series is named after, is an FBI agent, who to be honest has so many issues ranging from a troubled past, to a serious drinking problem that results in her making very dubious choices, in both bed partners and dealing with a troublesome work colleague. She isn’t your typical lead female and I found myself really feeling pity for her. She put me in mind of Salander from “The Girl…” Trilogy by Steig Larson. In fact both Jackie and Salander could be long lost sisters due to how much emotion baggage they both carry.
The only difference is that Jackie has the emotional support of her partner and best friend Laurel, a medium who can sense the dead. She too has her own personal demons that come to the surface through the progression of the story. Laurel is Jackie’s moral compass and she tries her best to keep Jackie grounded. For a secondary character, Laurel is very well developed and you end up sympathising with the fact that she is fighting a number of feelings in order to keep Jackie as her friend. What I thought was a really brave move by the author, was having Laurel coming out as a lesbian in a way which is both ballsy and heart wrenching.
The awkwardness between both characters is neither forced nor is it brushed under the carpet. For the rest of the book we see how this revelation has changed their friendship. An excellent example of this is the introduction of a love interest for Laurel, in the shape of the male leads partner Shelby.
Out of all the characters, Shelby seemed the most out of place for me. Sure she is strong and tough, much like Jackie, but at times she seemed to be there only for convenience and added little to the plot. I think the author was trying to make her the equivalent to Nick, or hero, as Laurel was to Jackie. Sometimes it was a hit, sometimes a miss, though it didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.
On the subject of Nick, I loved his character. You can tell that he is at the end of his rope, ready to throw it all in and give the villain of the story what he wants if it will end the guilt he feels over the casualties that have resulted in their 100 year cat and mouse game. He is a guarded and distant character, though when I found out why he was this way, it really brought a tear to my eye.
The plot is tightly bound and I never found myself waning over it. The tension is wracked up as we realise that the villain is speeding up his timetable and we witness his next victims demise. One victim had me really going “OH MY GOD!” only due to the fact that I didn’t see it coming at all.
By the end of the book, you have been put through the wringer. There are casualties and the showdown at the end leaves our characters having to deal with some life changing results. You don’t feel that it will be concluded in the next book. In fact I didn’t even know that it was part of a series till I checked Amazon. NOTE:- DO NOT READ THE SYNOPSIS FOR BOOK TWO AS IT HAS A MAJOR SPOILER FOR THIS BOOK!
I must mention that there is the beginning of a romance between both Nick and Jackie, but due to the events in the book it doesn’t progress very far. I think this may be the slow building relationship that will develop over the next few books, but both Nick and Jackie will have to overcome their own pasts before they can truly get together. Think of Castle and Beckett (Castle the TV show is even mentioned in the book) or Booth and Brennan from Bones.
On a final note, I didn’t know that the author was male. This shouldn’t be an issue, but what surprised me was how he managed to capture the female psyche so well. Duncan is now on my must read list and I have ordered both book 2 and 3, as well as the origin story of Nick called 'Blood Justice'.
"Deadworld" was a surpise hit for me due to the fantastic plotlines, complex characters and edge of your seat tension. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a bit of a change from the usual urban fantasy, or fans of Jim Butcher and M. L. N. Hanover (The Black Suns Daughter series). For a first book in a series it is one of the best I have read. (less)
Already Dead is exactly what I was hoping for: gritty, edgy and dark, and I was pulled into Joe Pitt's life from the very first page. Joe is a vampyre...moreAlready Dead is exactly what I was hoping for: gritty, edgy and dark, and I was pulled into Joe Pitt's life from the very first page. Joe is a vampyre and a paranormal detective of sorts, and is investigating deaths by zombie and the disappearance of a young girl after being hired by her mother who desperately wants her found. As the investigation moves along, both cases come together in a satisfying conclusion.
Joe doesn't give off great vibes at the beginning of the book, and he's even slightly unlikable, a bit of a sleazy character, with a sad and unsavoury past. But after a while I started to like him. He's actually a good guy who's just trying to get by, living his life as he wants to live it. Although sometimes it gets him into trouble.
Joe's world is that of rival vampyre gangs, which divide New York City. Joe belongs to neither, a rogue vampyre, preferring to stay neutral and only taking jobs from the rival clans when it suits him. This is treading dangerous ground, as each clan wants him to join them, and Joe knows it's only a matter of time before they make him choose.
There's also a side of romance with the addition of Evie, a human woman with her own problems, especially with her health. She isn't aware of Joe's 'disease' and he's not sure he wants to tell her. And yet the very thing that makes him a vampyre could save her life. We see a sweeter, gentler side to Joe when he's with Evie and I look forward to seeing how this relationship develops throughout the series.
Huston doesn't use quotation marks, although each passage of speech is separated with a dash. I thought this would cause confusion when I first started reading, but each character is so distinctive that I had no problem recognising who was talking.
Vampyrism is caused by a Vyrus and zombies are made by the transference of a bacteria which needs to feed on brains to survive, so there's enough lovely brain gorging to satisfy even the most diehard zombie fan.
Already Dead is a unique take on the vampyre story and a brilliant read. It's raw, atmospheric and has a very urban feel to it. If you love vampires and zombies then I'm sure you will love this book. But be warned this isn't the run of the mill urban fantasy, it's quite different with it's noir fiction style, but it's one I would recommend in a heartbeat. I can't wait to read the rest of this fantastic series.(less)