I feel like I need to preface this review with a caveat - I adored the first 250 pages of Black Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts. Utterly adored it. The last...moreI feel like I need to preface this review with a caveat - I adored the first 250 pages of Black Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts. Utterly adored it. The last third of it, however, was not as good. Allow me...
Sarah Beauhall works as a Blacksmith doing whatever odd job she can get. Stints in the Renaissance Faires have attracted admiration of her swords craft which, in turn, has landed her a job in the movies. Working as a prop manager she attends to all of the weaponry needed for a medieval period drama type piece. When the main actor's sword gets cracked Sarah has to repair it, gaining the attention of one of the Extras - Rolph. Rolph claims to be a Dwarf. He also claims that the sword Sarah is reforging is the legendary Fafnir's Bane from an old Nordic tale. Sarah thinks he's insane, and writes him off.
But things begin to happen to test Sarah's conviction. Runes surface from the skin on her leg and more and more things begin to go wrong. Her relationship with her girlfriend, Katie, falls into jeopardy and the only thing Sarah can do is believe the unbelievable... but is she strong enough to accept everything based on faith?
Like I said, I adored the first two thirds of this book. The dialogue is snappy and the characters are fun to run around with. Sarah's journey makes for an interesting character to read... She's gay and hates herself for it. She was raised in a very religious household and can't seem to get over the notion that anyone who is gay is "unnatural" or an "abomination". This undermines her own self-esteem to such a degree that it threatens her inter-personal relationships with everyone, least of all her girlfriend. This twist on the Urban Fantasy/Damsel-in-Distress romance is dynamic and fresh.
My problem came in with the latter part of the book where Sarah has galvanized herself to accept the quest. Throughout the book we have shifting narratives from first person (Sarah) to third person (anyone who is not Sarah). The third person shifts become confusing in the later part of the book... and somewhat unnecessary. Pitts could just have easily turned all of the third person to first person... or vice versa. I'm not sure that he is a strong enough writer to pull off both with a degree of success... and this book proved it. The first chunk is largely Sarah's part and very engaging.. the rest... meh. Also, the battle scenes were overlong. I grew bored reading them, and began to skim.
I was all interested to see where Sarah went.. so the possibility of reading the sequel Honeyed Words appeals to me on some level. The fact that I didn't even finish this book, however, speaks volumes as for my interest. I think Pitts strength lies in character driven stories... but he sucks at the dismount, to put it bluntly. Maybe in a few weeks I'll see if my curiosity demands it but I don't typically read sequels if the end of the first book was driving me crazy. I would only be reading it for Sarah's relationship. Frankly.
3 out of 5 stars. I really did love the beginning. That alone is worth the read.
I think I'm going through withdrawal. I loved the Elemental Assassins book by Jennifer Estep, and now they're all done! *whingemoan*... at least until...moreI think I'm going through withdrawal. I loved the Elemental Assassins book by Jennifer Estep, and now they're all done! *whingemoan*... at least until Tangled Threads comes out in April... next year. Whinge.
Venom starts out with a bang, or at the very least a beating. Ashland "royalty" Mab Monroe and goons, Jonah McAllister and Elliot Slater, ambush Gin in a parking structure... while she's flu riddled... that's playing dirty! Goon #1 believes Gin murdered his son, Jake... which she totally did, but she'll never let him know that. Fast forward and Goon #2 is terrorizing local Vamp nightclub owner Roslyn, and Gin knows he's going to hurt her, maybe even kill her. When a hit turns personal can Gin keep it together til the bitter end?
I'm sad to see these done. I could have read more and more. However, the three currently published have concluded and I have to deal. There's a lot of quirk to these books that I have come to appreciate... the characters, the food, the atmosphere... wonderful! One thing that annoys me, and this is more of a comment about the current state of all things VAMPIRES in the publishing world now, is this. Why are Vampires so damned... human? Seriously, why are they no longer badass creatures of the night? Roslyn is so weak in this book I consistently forget that she's a Vampire. She cannot stand up to Elliot herself, who, admittedly, is a giant. Literally. But, still? When (or more importantly why) did Vampires become so weak? I keep coming up against this... Vampires who stand in sun and not get burned, who eat human food, who don't necessarily need blood to live, who... for all intents and purposes... are slightly better than everybody else? They are abnormally normal, as it were.
I blame Stephenie Meyer. Completely. Blasphemy... yes... but it stands. I loved her books (mostly).. I hate her impact on the more frightening literary characters ever conceived. It's downright shameful that this is what we are saddled with now in our Horror/Paranormal/Supernatural writing. I think this is why I'm currently rereading Dracula... to remember why I love the mythos so desperately bad to begin with. I'm not getting what I want out of most other Vampire writing these days.
Ok. I'll stop bitching. However, even with that rant attached I have to give this a 5 of 5 stars. I loved it (with one exception, which I have less of a problem with Estep with and every problem with the publishing industry at large).
I read most of Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep in one day. I really love this series, though numerous online reviews panned this addition in the Element...moreI read most of Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep in one day. I really love this series, though numerous online reviews panned this addition in the Elemental Assassins books. Why no one liked it completely baffles me. I adored the premise of this book and I laughed the whole way through it. It's most entertaining.
Gin Blanco has retired from the Assassin business following the death of her foster father, Fletcer Lane. She inherits his home, his business (a barbecue joint called the Pork Pit), and a nice chunk of change. Retirement at 30 is sweet, but Gin grows bored and craves excitement. Two incidents two days in a row at the Pork Pit find Gin in circumstances she thrives in. First millionaire badboy, Jake McAllister, decides to (try to) hold up the restaurant. Next, a mysterious young woman comes in asking for the Tin Man, Fletcher's old moniker when he was an Assassin. Both of these incidents lead to events that forces Gin out of her languid retirement (yay!) and introduce new people into her piecemeal band of family and friends.
This book is too much fun. I found it a very natural progression of the story from book one. Of course Gin would react to Fletcher's death by retiring. She's mourning. This makes sense. Like I said earlier I have been reading reviews with many upset folks pooh-poohing this particular book and I find them all absurd. I did not find this book boring. It's quite fun and does a lot to open up Gin's character as well as many of the others. I love Finn and the Dwarf sisters, Jo-Jo and Sophia. I love some of the newbies also. It's hard to pick a part in this book that I disliked. Maybe I'm just not a joiner?
I wonder if it boils down to the fact that there is less sex in this book? Granted, there was only one actual sex scene in book one. However, Gin's rampant bawdy imagination well made up for the lack. I blame her tamed down libido on the fact that lusty object-of-desire, Donovan Caine, doesn't make many appearances in this book. When he is there he makes them count, but overall he is very much not there. I think the feeling of calm that pervades the book only adds to the feeling of ennui, and that works within the confines of the story. Boring, no... just complacent. Gin is not a woman to be complacent too long though. I view this book as the proverbial calm before the storm. Which makes me wonder what in God's name she is going to do next?
5 out of 5 stars. This is quickly becoming one of my favourite Urban Fantasy series.
So, one night former bounty hunter Evangeline Stone wakes up naked on a morgue slab in someone else’s body…and then things get weird. Evy has three da...moreSo, one night former bounty hunter Evangeline Stone wakes up naked on a morgue slab in someone else’s body…and then things get weird. Evy has three days left to find out who killed her, why she resurrected, and…more importantly, bring them to justice. After three days she will die once again, this time no coming back.
Thus begins a fast paced journey that finds Evy ransacking her new body’s apartment (one recently suicidal Chalice Frost), encountering Chalice’s roommate and best friend, Discovering who gave his soul for her, and more importantly why. This debut novel by Meding is original, poignant, action packed, and unlike anything I have read before. Meding gets huge points on that score alone. Some of the “Magic” system in this book bothered me, and I really can’t say why. I think spell casting sequences get over explained very easily. But still, this inventive storyline earns Meding a 4.5 stars from me. I can’t wait for the next one. (less)
The coven of moral and ethical standards has targeted Rachel Morgan as a black magic using witch, who may or may not be a demon as well. While dodging...moreThe coven of moral and ethical standards has targeted Rachel Morgan as a black magic using witch, who may or may not be a demon as well. While dodging attempts on her life Rachel's kessons with Al increase, though she still doesn't know how to jump a ley line. Meanwhile Pierce has been made flesh owing to a borrowed body, Ivy has started seeing someone knew, and Jenks is. more or less, the same. But all of the coven's harrassments stir up questions within Rachel about her own identity. Clearly she is not merely a witch...but a demon? Is that possible?
I feel fortunate to have read this early. It's a great read... particularly one part in the middle that would spoil the book for you were I to explain it. Suffice it to say... oh...my...god.... if you have been following (and loving) the Hollows series this is one of the best turning points for one of the best characters in the series. This book made me cry, it was that compelling. And the writing surrounding that plot point...brilliant, and sad.
So, an end to my gushing. A five stars to Ms. Harrison, and happy reading to all of you who will purchase this when it comes out next Tuesday. You will love it.
...and I just caught up on Kim Harrison! Whee!!!...Cue withdrawal....sigh. (less)
I *heart* revenge dramas... seriously, you don't understand... like a big old 50 gallon barrel worth of heart. There's always something very compellin...moreI *heart* revenge dramas... seriously, you don't understand... like a big old 50 gallon barrel worth of heart. There's always something very compelling about them. That said, when I picked up Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep I was immediately sucked in.
Gin Blanco is 30 and works as an assassin. When she was 13 an elemental killed her entire family, leaving her on the streets to fend for herself. Guilt riddled, scarred, and traumatized she barely survives until she meets Fletcher, owner of a local barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Fletcher sees a child in need and takes her in. He teaches her the family business, which has little to do with his secret sauce recipe and everything to do with killing people for pay.
17 years later Gin Blanco is called the Spider, and she kills people. And someone has just killed her Father.
This book had me from the first line and didn't let go. It's terrifying. It's thrilling. It's heartfelt.
It's hella sexy... damn. I usually don't go in for such tension but woo... This book is hot. Typically, I need a little plot with my porn to rationalize reading such cheesy sex scenes. The sex was not cheesy, or unnecessary. My rule of thumb... if there's a sex scene in the first 100 pages it's not the book for me. This adhered to the rule. Not that I am a prude, mind...far from it... I just don't like reading sex dialogue.
It's also a great cast of characters and (yay!) a great plot. Plot in spades! Plots abound! I can have my porn and eat it too.
I think I am starting to wane on the Dark Days series by Jocelynn Drake...alas, 5 books in and I am losing interest. It's unfortunate and true, but I...moreI think I am starting to wane on the Dark Days series by Jocelynn Drake...alas, 5 books in and I am losing interest. It's unfortunate and true, but I only seemed to glom onto the highest highlights into this book, Wait for Dusk. Well, it's mid-series. It's to be expected...but something happened in this book that I have been waiting for since the beginning and I only half paid attention when it occurred. Tragic. Truly.
It's not a bad book, honest it's not. I'm just growing weary at this point. It's formula - Vampire lady, immortal "human" protector, Danaus... gorgeously atmospheric setting... fight with the Naturi. Rinse Repeat. Fine and good, but I just shotgunned through the most recent two books, and two in a row at this point I guess are not a good thing. Two in a row becomes pedantic and repetitive anymore.
In Wait for Dusk Mira has taken a seat on the Coven as an Elder. Very shortly after the Coven sends her to Budapest to remove a Naturi threat. Mira immediately enrages the local vampire populace by taking over as the Keeper of Budapest...and Danaus has become fascinated with one of the Vampires' human pets. This dredges up bitter feelings of jealousy in Mira, who has recently named Danaus as her consort in Venice. And such, and such...etc. etc.
Like I said, it's not a bad book... I'm just running out of steam. Now that THE THING I have been waiting to happen has happened I'm not sure how much more I have in me to commit to these books. I'll give it one more for sure... Burn the Night comes out July 15, 2011... I have to at least give it one more book as a rule whenever I start to notice attention lapsing. However, for now, I will give this a (tentative) 4 out of 5 stars. I'm sure it's just me.
It's been a while since I've read Jocelynn Drake... and this book proves it. Pray for Dawn is a great story that suffered from a bit of catch-up from...moreIt's been a while since I've read Jocelynn Drake... and this book proves it. Pray for Dawn is a great story that suffered from a bit of catch-up from the last three books, which I read over a year ago. That and the fact that the POV suddenly shifts from Mira to Danaus can possibly account for the confusion.. but I digress.
A daughter of a high ranking senator is found dead, and Mira and Danaus have to find out why. Tied up in all of this is an age old war between Mira's people, Danaus' past, and the Naturi... there's a lot going on here. But, when you're a badass Vampire, and Vampire Hunter, you can pretty much move mountains.
It took a while to warm up because, like I said, we are finally reading Danaus' perspective... which is a bit... stoic. And cold... and meticulous. I mostly enjoyed the scenes with Mira... I miss her. A lot... even though she is present. I miss her mind and her wit. I want to get back to it. Danaus is just too robotic and martinet for me.
That said, I am very much looking forward to Wait for Dusk, which I have in my greedy little hands and am very ready to dive in to. As for Pray for Dawn... 4 out of 5 stars. Not bad, but on to Mira... I hope.