The final book in Kimberly Derting’s Pledge trilogy is a thrilling conclusion. I was immediately swept up into it and powered right through. It was pr...more The final book in Kimberly Derting’s Pledge trilogy is a thrilling conclusion. I was immediately swept up into it and powered right through. It was pretty much what I wanted with a few surprises along the way.
* Spoilers for those who have not read The Pledge and The Essence *
Charlie has become the Queen of Ludania but at a high price. Her psyche was bonded with Sabara’s and she has done her best to minimize her insistant demands. After a gathering of Queens at a yearly summit goes awry Charlie is lucky to get back to Ludania intact. But someone has not made it back and thanks to a messenger from another Queendom that someone’s life is at stake. Charlie decides to offer herself in lieu of the hostage and ventures into enemy territory with two of her closest comrades in order to finalize the deal. It’s only anyone’s guess if she will see the people that she loves again.
If the second book, The Essence, is largely character development then this book is all plot. The Offering grabs you by the throat and never lets go. The slow pace of the second book was completely absent in this one. I was sucked into the action and could not put the book down until the final moment. There’s a tension to this book that I have learned to appreciate from Derting’s writing and she pulls no punches with her storytelling.
There were one or two things that I would have changed character interaction-wise, but other than that I thought this was a fabulous ending.
Keeping Her is a book in Cora Carmack’s Losing It series. I’ve gotten on quite a New Adult kick lately and this is one of the better series in the gen...more Keeping Her is a book in Cora Carmack’s Losing It series. I’ve gotten on quite a New Adult kick lately and this is one of the better series in the genre. This is a fun novella set between books one and two about Garrick and Bliss, the two characters from Losing It.
Bliss Edwards cannot believe her luck. She is not only involved but also engaged to Garrick Taylor, her smooth talking British lover and former theatre teacher. The two are quite happily dating and living together when Garrick proposes a trip to London to meet his family. The story starts on the morning of the plane trip when Bliss’s frazzled nerves have overtaken her good sense. What follows is a sweet and simple story about first impressions and new possibilities peppered with Carmack’s telling spunk and wit.
This series has a charm to it that I can’t resist and this novella is no exception. It’s short and sweet, but it’s also a fun look at a possible “what-if” moment between the two characters. Suddenly their future is uncertain and it’s a great moment for both the characters and the reader. I enjoyed it. And I recommend it.
And I can’t wait to read Finding It, book three in the series. I’m pumped now.
Emma was in an accident that has robbed her of her past. While convalescing she is introduced to Declan Burke, her charming and handsome husband whom...more Emma was in an accident that has robbed her of her past. While convalescing she is introduced to Declan Burke, her charming and handsome husband whom she does not remember. Declan is devoted and attentive but Emma is still having a hard time adjusting post-trauma. Haunted by disturbing dreams Emma turns to painting; easily creating lush seascapes that lull her into a false sense of security. When Emma's recovery is deemed acceptable she is sent home to the mountains with Declan. The two fall into an easy partnership with one another but something is off. Emma's dreams still undo her; dreams of the WTC and of a man named Noah. She begins to wonder if her dreams are only that or if they could mean the destruction of her entire world.
This book redefines the phrase "trophy wife". Archetype poses several frightening views of a possible future were women are bought and sold like merchandise. Every mandate about what they do with their bodies is strictly regulated by men. As such a woman's body does not belong to her. It belongs to her husband and he is within his legal rights to do whatever he wants with his property. It is a grim outlook of a future that could someday become reality.
Archetype is a dazzling debut, a very sharp book. It has such a dignified air to it, a beautiful poignancy in the writing. But the beauty is a skin deep mask threatening to expose itself at any moment. Beneath the surface is a haunting, corrosive tension that eats the reader alive. It makes the reader nauseous in the best possible way.
This is one of those books that seeps into your consciousness. It breeds discontent. It forces one to ponder the possible "what if?"… What if this book was true and this grim outlook implied a probably future for women? What if this is what our genders have to look forward to... the selling of sex in the most literal way.
Finding It is the third book in Cora Carmack’s Losing It series. It’s a departure for the series as it’s not about Bliss, or Bliss’s unrequited love,...more Finding It is the third book in Cora Carmack’s Losing It series. It’s a departure for the series as it’s not about Bliss, or Bliss’s unrequited love, Cade, but instead about her best friend, Kelsey. For me this is my favourite book in the series, so far.
Kelsey is trying to figure out what to do post-graduation. She is in a personal slump and needs some excitement before resigning herself to the future her family has in store for her. To that end she has decided that drinking her way across Europe on her Father’s dime might be just what she needs. Somewhere in Budapest during an ordinary night out she meets Jackson Hunt, a former military now gentleman-at-leisure. There’s a spark between them but Jackson is hesitant to pursue Kelsey. Kelsey, always game for the next adventure, travels to Prague where she encounters Jackson again. Now the real adventure truly begins as the two learn to discover who they really are, and where home really is.
There’s an undertone to this book that I really identified with, a melancholic tone to Kelsey’s core. She’s far more than just the average rich party girl. There’s a troubled past festering beneath her fragile surface. The same goes for Jackson, tormented and haunted, he hides his demons under a smooth veneer of order. But each offers the other a challenge; the great unknown.
Carmack’s writing has finessed itself since the first book. I was relieved that this was not another girl-drinking-her-way-into-awkward-love books like Losing It. I loved that book but I was afraid upon initial impression that this book would be a rehash. Not so, and a pleasant surprise. Instead we get to jaunt around Europe with this couple while they slowly become one another’s heart and home, and it’s a beautiful journey. Both are deeply wounded individuals and both learn that with one another they might begin to heal, but only by bringing themselves to the edge of their limits.
Tremendous. Easily one of the best New Adult series out there.
The Trap is easily one of my most anticipated books of this year. The first book, The Hunt, was my favourite book from last year. Period. This year I...more
The Trap is easily one of my most anticipated books of this year. The first book, The Hunt, was my favourite book from last year. Period. This year I read the sequel, The Prey, and was equally overwhelmed. The Prey managed to not only meet but exceed my expectations. It’s bold, it’s terrifying, and it’s memorable, and I’ve been telling customers for six months that The Prey has the scariest vampire scene in it that I have ever read.
This week The Trap blew both of those books out of the water. And, with that, Andrew Fukuda cements himself into that rare pantheon of authors I have read who penned a perfect trilogy… as well as a firm footing in my autobuy list forever.
* Spoilers for those who have not read The Hunt and The Prey *
The Trap picks up immediately after the events in book two. Gene and Sissy have fled the Mission in a train with Epap, David, and the surviving mutilated rescued girls. When the train stops the evacuees finds themself facing down new horrors as well as a new path. Bound to face his past, Gene is determined to survive at all costs. He has to. He and Sissy are the only hope to save the Hepers from the Duskers.
And they cannot fail.
I cannot even begin to describe what a joy it was to be back in this world. This book is one of those rare reads that enthralls the reader from open to close. Fukuda swaps his trademark chills and terror for a new angle; a creeping, disturbing tautness that provokes shudders as well as gasps from the reader. I found the scenes to be more gruesome, more grotesque, and, if possible, more frightening than in the previous books. There’s more of a sense of lingering unease than anything in this book but it works better than outright panic. I feel that Fukuda had to amp up the ante with this book. And he did it with style and a skill that I can only shake my head at. The scenes in this book… yeah. If you weren’t a fan of book two rest assured that book three brings everything back home.
With a vengeance.
There is a new twist to Fukuda’s writing. He branches out and writes this book from other characters’ points-of-view. We still follow Gene for the most part. His narrative is told in first person. The secondary, and tertiary, narrators are told in third person… and you will be amazed to see who they are. I thought it would be a jarring change but it’s not. It continues the momentum from the first two books and carries it until the tumultuous end.
I am in awe by this book. I am so glad that Fukuda went here. And, by the same measure, I am glad that the trilogy is at an end, because I cannot wait to see what he does next.
The Undead Pool is the twelfth book in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. It is the penultimate book in the series (supposedly). I’ve been reading th...more The Undead Pool is the twelfth book in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. It is the penultimate book in the series (supposedly). I’ve been reading these the last few years and I am at the point where I am ready to let the series go. And, with this book, even more so. This was not my favourite of the series. Not even close.
On an otherwise ordinary security outing with Trent, Rachel’s magic misfires. This starts a chain of events of other magical mishaps throughout Cincinnati. Before Rachel knows it there is chaos and mistrust everywhere. A separatist group of Inderlanders known as the Free Vampires start attacking human citizens and things quickly devolve. Tensions run high between the non-magic and the supernatural and the possibility of unrest is high. Can Rachel get tot he bottom of this before all of the Hollows is compromised?
The last few Hollows book have been going downhill for me. There’s a specific character arc that Harrison has been aiming Rachel and company at in this series and it was finally realized in this novel. I have never been a fan of this direction and it’s frustrating to see it occur. This one thing severely hampered my ability to enjoy this novel. Even when there was a brief implication that it might go another way I began to perk up only to have my hopes dashed utterly. I read the whole book in a pique, irritated with Rachel, irritated with myself, and irritated with Harrison in general. I cannot imagine a more frustrating direction for Rachel. As a result I skim read the latter hundred pages of the book.
Beyond the annoying character arc this book drove me a little insane. I wanted to enjoy the Free Vampire plot but I found it boring and predictable. So, overall, this was a very weak book.
That said, there’s only supposed to be one more book and I have to know how Harrison ends it all. So, I will be reading book thirteen and hoping that Harpercollins does not extend this series beyond that. I’ve gotten through that many books I have to know how this one ends. But I am not happy going into it. That much is certain.
I got a chance to read the latest book in the Elemental Assassins series early and I all but jumped on it. Heart of Venom marks the ninth book in the...more I got a chance to read the latest book in the Elemental Assassins series early and I all but jumped on it. Heart of Venom marks the ninth book in the series. All I can say is that I am amazed by this book. I think it’s one of the strongest in the series and I was solidly entertained. Brava Jennifer Estep, brava.
All Gin wants is a girls day off with her friends, but there are forces working against her. When a morning at Jo-Jo Deveraux’s spa goes awry Gin must call on her assassin persona, the Spider, to do the dirty business. Sophia Deveraux has been abducted by a cruel and brutal man from her past and only the Spider can save her, but can she save herself once the tables are turned on her?
This is such a rough book, but it’s the best book for all of the character dynamics involved. As Estep has written the series she has developed a kinship within the pages of the key seven or eight characters… and this is where that kinship really comes to fruition. Wills are broken and vows are challenged as this book goes on… and then there are the Deveraux girls. Both have the hardest thing that has ever happened to them thrust in their faces again. The trials that they undertake really center them as a main component of this series. The Deveraux girls have always been my favourite characters in the series, especially Sophia, and this book in particular is such an incredible ode to her. Wow, such an incredible tribute.
And then there is our main heroine. Gin herself is coming along nicely character development-wise. In the beginning of the series she was all hard edges and bad attitude. But by now Estep has rounded off all of her sharpness yet still manages to maintain her brutality. This is also a great book for Gin’s personal relationships with Jo-Jo and Owen. I love to watch what happens with their family.
5 out of 5 glowing stars. If it weren’t for Tangled Threads, which is still high in my esteem, I would outright declare this to be the best book of the series. So much love.
For Darkness Shows the Stars was among my top ten favourite books last year. Diana Peterfreund has proven herself again and again with me. I adored he...more
For Darkness Shows the Stars was among my top ten favourite books last year. Diana Peterfreund has proven herself again and again with me. I adored her Killer Unicorn series and I adore this one as well. It is no surprise that its sequel, Across a Star-Swept Sea, is just as incredible of a read as the first book is.
While not a direct sequel Star-Swept Sea is a companion book to For Darkness… It takes place in a different part of a world ravaged by Reduction, a brain malady that brought civilization to a halt. There is little left of the world, but in New Pacifica the people thrive. Two islands, Albion and Galatea, are in peril as a drug induced uprising threatens to upset the order of things. One islander steps up to meet the challenge, the Wild Poppy, New Pacifica’s infamous spy.
What the people do not know is that the Wild Poppy is actually bombshell socialite Persis Blake, a native of Albion, in disguise. Persis hides her wit and ability under cosmetic tedium and her gorgeous facade. She fixates on clothing and makeup and generally dissuading people from realizing who she is. But her nation’s Queen, Isla, has a task that may be beyond her skill. An important revolutionary from the neighbouring island of Galatea, Justen Helo, has demanded sanctuary and Isla has to hide him. What could be more perfect than having him masquerade as Albion’s leading it-girl’s new lover?
Sound familiar? Well, that would be because it’s a retelling of another book some of you may have read – The Scarlet Pimpernel. Myself, I have not had the chance yet. However, reading this makes me want to jump headlong into it. I adored this book. Both the tone and the setting are rich and evocative. Peterfreund has world build a nation that feels like Hawaii, and I am sure that is the intent (the hints that this is Hawaii in the future abound). Persis is so multi-dimensional that she is a delight to follow. And Justen could not be a better foil for her. There is also Andrine, and Isla (whom I loved) and a host of other characters, including one genetically fabricated mischievous sea mink named Slipstream.
This is one of those books where everything works, and it works beautifully. Peterfreund is nothing but consistent. I cannot begin to convey how much I enjoyed this book. Also, how much I am looking forward to another book in this universe. I hope that Peterfreund continues in this vein. She could write five more books set in this universe and I would be exceedingly happy. Her retellings are top notch!