Oh boy, where to begin.... I've enjoyed Heather Graham's books in the past as the fun brain candy they can be, sadly this wasn't one of them....more1.5 stars
Oh boy, where to begin.... I've enjoyed Heather Graham's books in the past as the fun brain candy they can be, sadly this wasn't one of them. I can't say it's a terrible book, but it's far from good. Everything is just so lifeless, the characters, the mystery plot, the romance, everything was lame and weak. Which brings me to the dialogue which is clunky and often awkward. At one time, Nikki, the main character, had just come from her best friend's funeral and is now at the after-service gathering, where she proceeds to remark to another friend that she and her boyfriend are good for each other. What? How? Who? Who does that? How could you even think of anything else at a time where you're crushed at your friend's death? Totally strange and was one of many instances that took me out of the book. The romance, oh the romance. We get these two supposedly perfect people who both have the personality of a wet rag on a good day, aren't very bright, more so on Nikki's end, don't know each other, never seem to have any conversations, and definitely have no (none! nein! zilch! nada!) chemistry together. Oy vey. Looks really aren't everything. Okay, so the ghosts are a bit more interesting but that's not enough to save the book. Come to think of it, they were actually more alive than the living characters. Ha! Too bad the book wasn't told from their view.
I had issues with the constant PC (politically correct) references throughout, mainly when someone would use the horrific, scarred-for-life-if-uttered I-word. *whispers* Indian.Sarcasm Alert! OMG, did someone just die? I'm so sorry, I meant Native American! Talk about annoying, there were at least three instances of that, one especially stupid. Believe it or not, but there are actually those who prefer to be called (American) Indian rather than Native American.
I don't know if Ms. Graham was going through something or if this was a rush job or what, but this was one boring book filled with boring people who lead boring lives where boring situations may or may not happen, all of which leads up to an absolutely dumb ending to the book's lame plot. It's so dumb I don't even want to think about it anymore. The only thing saving this from one star is that I didn't hate the book, it just didn't inspire me to care one way or the other about anything or anybody in the story. Thumbs down.
Originally Reviewed: October 4, 2012 Received: Digital copy borrowed from my library(less)
Marketed as a paranormal romance, A Blood Seduction is much closer to the genre of urban fantasy with strong romantic/lusty elements (there is only on...moreMarketed as a paranormal romance, A Blood Seduction is much closer to the genre of urban fantasy with strong romantic/lusty elements (there is only one instance of "doing the deed" and that is very close to the end of the book). Quinn Lennox is the lead, and while she might not be the usual kick-ass heroine usually drawn upon in this field, she is far from the weakling I've seen others refer to her as. Face it, she was in way over her head, there's no way in hell she could ever be a contender against these vampires, at least not in this particular book. Heck, I bet the indomitable Buffy would have had trouble. She could be smart and she made the occasional dumb move, who hasn't? I like the fact that she isn't perfect. Okay, she has to be saved, a lot, and she doesn't have the most memorable personality, but this is only the beginning of the series and there is plenty of time for her to grow and come into her own. I rooted for her all through the book. I wanted Quinn to save her brother Zack and his friend/potential girlfriend, Lily, I wanted her to be able to use her magic, and I just wanted her to succeed and become even stronger as a person.
The world is well drawn, mostly on account of it being a magical copy of Washington, D.C. circa 1860, but with some modern conveniences thrown in as well. Okay, so I did groan at the name Washington, V.C. (Vampire City), it is a bit cheesy, but luckily it was usually called either Vamp City or V.C., which both fit the atmosphere of the book much better. Parts of the city are abandoned and decaying, others a thriving compound for the different vampire families, called a kovena. The vampires themselves are killer, quite literally. Gone are the pantywaists of recent ilk, we're going back to basics (mostly) here. Not only do they feed on blood, but some also have to feed on either fear or pain as well. They go from zero to sixty in about a second, have super strength, mind control, slaves who adore them (called slavas), and boy, are they are mean. But hey, it's just in their nature, they can't help who they are, except maybe for the love interest and possible future heroes depending on how the series goes. For those who are fainthearted, this ain't the book for you. There are numerous disturbing scenes that depict torture or gore, I can handle it, but not everyone can. Ye have been warned.
Speaking of the love interest, Arturo "Vampire" Mazzo, he was, well, certainly mysterious. Due to his unswerving allegiance to his master, Cristoff (who I pictured as (view spoiler)[a 25 year old Lucius Malfoy played by Jason Isaacs, with a black goatee: (hide spoiler)]), Arturo would turn his back on Quinn, yet the further on the harder it was for him to do so. His loyalty was being tested because of his feelings for her. Just to make things clear, this is a messed up relationship, some may not like that, but I thought it added a dose of reality and interest to the circumstances. Sure I felt like Quinn was an idiot at times to be attracted to this untrustworthy vampire, especially the very first scene that just didn't work for me in context, but overall the relationship works for the book. My absolute favorite relationship is the sibling one between Quinn and Zack. I thought the author did an awesome job conveying just how much Zack means to her. Basically he is everything to her and all she has. Her father may be alive but he was never there for her, he always sided with her stepmonster (Zack's mother) instead of his firstborn. Creep. Anyway, despite her stepwitch's hatred of Quinn, Zack adored her from the time of his birth, and vice versa, he's always been there for her, even when she was being punished, and after high school he even moved to D.C. to be closer to her. It's really a sweet and respectful relationship. She'd do anything to save him and she tries like hell all throughout the book, which doesn't always work out so well. To me that shows Quinn is strong. It's not weakness to keep fighting in adverse situations, it's strength of character to keep going even when losing is more likely.
This is definitely the start to a series, and while there is an end to the book, there is still much to be told. In the fates of Vamp City, Quinn's sorcery, the relationship between her and Arturo, plus much more I don't want to give away. I'd recommend that if you're looking for a romance to go elsewhere, but if you're a fan of evil vampires, darkness, don't mind abnormal relationships, and just want to have a bloody good time, then what are you waiting for?!
Originally Reviewed: September 20, 2012 Received: Amazon Vine["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT introduces Charley Davidson, the Grim Reaper who also works as a private investigator. She's a smart-ass, chaotic, accident-p...moreFIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT introduces Charley Davidson, the Grim Reaper who also works as a private investigator. She's a smart-ass, chaotic, accident-prone, knows exactly who she is, and has some serious attitude -- she'll never win Miss Congeniality, but Charley also has heart and humanity. I like her, she has enough depth to sympathize with and enough grit to make me root for her, while showing the right amounts of strength and vulnerability to be realistic. If I had to choose a grim reaper and it was between her and Callie Reaper-Jones from Amber Benson's series (Death's Daughter), I'd definitely pick Charley. And did I mention she names her "unmentionables"? Of which I found hilarious, although maybe not everyone will.
There are two major plot lines involved within the covers: the murder of three lawyers and how it ties into an innocent man and the mysterious entity who steams up Charley's dreams with some hot, hot action (and isn't as stalkerish as it sounds from the description). While the former seems to become an afterthought by the end, it ties up rather nicely, even if it's rather abrupt in comparison to how it's paced at the beginning. Though it is the other plot that is the more intriguing of the two and kept me reading so I could find out what happened next. I'm happy with how it ended and the author did a good job leaving me wanting to know more. The writing is capable, even if there was some redundancy of certain phrases and words, but it got better the further into the story I got. The book is bursting with sarcasm, which I love, and there's rarely a passage that doesn't have one snarky little morsel included. I hope future entries in the series will expand some of the other characters that are glossed over, but overall, this was a blast to read. If you're looking for a fast, fun piece of brain-candy, look no further, pop into this for a sweet treat. Also, kudos to whoever chose the cover, it captures the book perfectly. 3.5 stars(less)
Wow, this was a real disappointment. The title was great, and I'll probably never use the term doppelganger ever again, but the story didn't live up t...moreWow, this was a real disappointment. The title was great, and I'll probably never use the term doppelganger ever again, but the story didn't live up to it. As opposed to the first book, Disappearing Nightly, the humor was nearly nonexistent, the energy and zip lost, the new characters didn't add much and weren't very interesting - heck, even Esther and Max were boring, and the plot just wasn't that good. A hundred pages could have easily been shaved off and they wouldn't have been missed, especially with the mostly boring, redundant blathering that went on between the three main characters (Esther, Max and Lucky). So there were a few good points, mainly Lucky and Nelli, but overall the book meandered too much and took its sweet time getting anywhere; by the two-thirds mark I just wanted it to be over already. Everything was explained over and over again with each new suspect, I felt like it was being spelled out in excruciatingly slow details, in case the reader was too much of an idiot to figure anything out for themself. I hope, hope, hope that this is just a sophomore slump and the next book will be better. Also, keeping Lopez out of the magic loop will get old fast, so hopefully the author introduces it to him by the fourth entry.(less)
This is probably more of a 3.5 star book, mainly due to the slow start that didn't build up until close to the halfway point. I almost stopped reading...moreThis is probably more of a 3.5 star book, mainly due to the slow start that didn't build up until close to the halfway point. I almost stopped reading because it hardly featured the main cast, Angel (duh), Doyle and Cordelia, in that first half. Luckily that was rectified later and it ended up being an enjoyable read. The characterizations were fine; they didn't seem off, but they weren't particularly on either. Even though I'm not big on cult storylines, what twists there were made up for that fact so I didn't mind it so much. The end was somewhat abrupt, but it did end on a high note so that's a mark on the pro list. All in all, a good and entertaining entry in the Angel book series.(less)
So far my opinion of the Angel continuation is much higher than the Buffy graphic novels. The plot is a lot more engaging and makes some sort of sense...moreSo far my opinion of the Angel continuation is much higher than the Buffy graphic novels. The plot is a lot more engaging and makes some sort of sense, (most of) the artwork really grabs me, and I just enjoy them a whole heck of a lot more. I enjoyed reading what happened to everyone immediately 'after the fall' into Hell and liked the different feel to each story. This had the Trifecta of Angel-y goodness: it had drama, it had action, it had humor! *singing: "It had style, it had grace, it had Gwen give good face." LOL Clearly I am insane.* And I giggled even more at Brian Lynch's 'ramblings' at the end, which includes a drinking game for anyone interested. I especially loved the continuation of titles, and I'll share the first one so I don't muddle up an explanation: Angel: After the Fall: First Night: Curse of the Black Pearl. How can I not laugh at that? Remember, if you have your own logo, you've really gotten somewhere. :D(less)
While at first (in the first four pages) it seemed that the character of Tammy Jo Trask would be a good one, that was quickly proven to be a false not...moreWhile at first (in the first four pages) it seemed that the character of Tammy Jo Trask would be a good one, that was quickly proven to be a false notion. To put it quite simply, she was a helpless moron. Now, I don't expect a MC to be invulnerable or a genius, but I would still hope for someone who can think and act for herself. As if her ex-husband with benefits is an Alpha of the worst kind isn't enough, he also belittles her just about all the time and tells her what and what not to do. But that's okay because he comes to her rescue and shows an occasional kindness. Excuse me? That makes his emotional abuse alright? I don't think so! And Bryn (whose name seems female to me), her other love interest, isn't much better. He is also derogatory towards her and orders her around, so basically he's just as big a jackass as her ex. To make matters even worse, Bryn is on this list, that was written ages ago, of people the Trask women cannot fraternize with, and Tammy doesn't even question why. She just accepts everything she is told, and all she's says about the list is that it has "something to do with the family being destroyed for all of eternity." Mmm-hmm, likely. Ever heard of family feuds or women scorned? Now I'm not saying it's not totally impossible, but how can I like or respect a character who doesn't look into things herself and let's people (re: men) treat her the way they do? And I don't care how sheltered someone is, how can Tammy not know what a red light district is? There is a difference between sheltered and stupidity, and Tammy Jo doesn't even straddle the line (most of the time she's on the side of stupid). Now, to be fair, she does do some things on her own that aren't always moronic, but for me, that's all trumped by her numerous negative attributes.
Onto the plot, which is pretty convoluted to say the least. Finding her locket is supposed to be the main storyline, but it quickly gets lost in the midst of zombies, werewolves, and who-knows-what? because I couldn't take anymore and stopped reading on page 180. What little so-called humor came across mean-spirited and close-minded and made me cringe more than once. Also, all the terms of endearments were very annoying and distracting to read, especially when it wasn't used in the dialogue. Honestly, I know it's a small Texas town, where they might use sugar, honey, sweetie, etc. more than, well anywhere, but it seemed overdone and far-fetched. Still, if only Tammy had been more sympathetic and had more qualities that I admire, I might have made it to the end. While I did read the last chapter or two and it looks as if she may have gotten a little better by that point, it's way too little, too late for this reader. How Mercutio puts up with her is beyond me, because cats are smart and regal creatures (the majority anyway :P). Good luck to future readers out there, maybe you won't have any problems with what I did, but I'd advise anyone who finds what I mentioned annoying, to skip the book then. (less)
Horror, Romance, Mystery, Urban Fantasy? None of those really, though it falls under the UF genre.
I'm not quite sure why TEMPEST RISING is categorized...moreHorror, Romance, Mystery, Urban Fantasy? None of those really, though it falls under the UF genre.
I'm not quite sure why TEMPEST RISING is categorized as horror (fantasy - yes, horror - no), as there is nothing horrific at all about the book, except maybe a little bit of violence. The book was slow to start and, sadly, it never really got very far, and ended up more boring than not. The world building was good, and learning about the different species was interesting, but most of it was, at best, just okay.
The character development was next to nil. Jane starts off decent enough, could be fairly witty, but as the book progressed she became less likeable and her inner monologue started to grate on my nerves. Even though she's had some tough experiences, overall she came across as rather juvenile and I wasn't very impressed with her. And how many 'duh' moments could one person possibly have? Yes, she's new to the 'supe' world, yes, she doesn't know all there is to it, but c'mon, use some smarts girl, it's not that hard to put two and two together. So now it comes to Ryu. Oh, Ryu, ye of no personality. You may be hot, but that's all you have going for you. Talk about a flat character, he was pretty darn boring, which was unfortunate because he took up a big part of the book, and I just plain didn't like him. I got pretty sick of Jane and Ryu going at it like rabbits all the time, which would have been better used by giving him some much needed personality. Along with that, maybe an explanation of how Ryu's Japanese (I'm guessing because of his first name and almond eyes) and who also just happens to be a baobhan sith, which is a type of female vampire, from Scotland at that. The most interesting characters were Anyan, and the town pariah's (that's Jane) many friends, both human and non. How a social outcast has so many friends is beyond me, but you know Jane is despised by her woe-is-me attitude and the two people who hate her. Despite what she thinks, I highly doubt the town revolves around her.
Some of the author's descriptions are confusing and I had to reread them to 'get' it. How can something be both squat and tall (pg. 216), pray tell? I'm still pondering that one. Also, the descriptions and analogies could be really odd, and not in a good way, more in a 'where in the world did that come from?' and 'what the heck?' sorta ways. Like what was up with Ryu's laugh? Barking like a seal, giggling like a choking Pomeranian, and whatever other weird ways he laughed. I'm sorry, but that's not very attractive, but I guess it was supposed to be funny and endearing. Editing problems arose when I couldn't figure out if a certain creature was a goblin or gremlin (there is a difference). I finally figured it out when goblin edged out gremlin for the lead. A mistake dealing with the Porsche's trunk was another minor detail that I picked up on, but most people would probably miss it. I only noticed because I've wanted a Porsche since I was ten. :P
The end does show some promise that Jane might actually get some grit, being a half-selkie is a nice change from the supernatural usual after all, and Ryu just might not be featured as much. So, even with all the problems I had with the book, which did unfortunately top what I did like about the book, I probably will check out the next book in the series.(less)
I have to say, this was bloody awesome! The style was there, the characters, the vibe, it all felt like Angel. Season eight of Buffy feels a bit 'out...moreI have to say, this was bloody awesome! The style was there, the characters, the vibe, it all felt like Angel. Season eight of Buffy feels a bit 'out there' as far as the plot goes but this actually is a continuation of the series, and even though it didn't start right where the show (and action) left off (although, I think volume two of After the Fall does), it did a great job getting back into a groove. Not to mention the artwork is fabulous and the whole look of the book is beautiful. Great job, I hope the others in the series hold up as well.(less)
Enh. The plot sounded good, and it could have, but it just didn't quite get there for me. And I know Angel is over 250-years-old, but we don't always...moreEnh. The plot sounded good, and it could have, but it just didn't quite get there for me. And I know Angel is over 250-years-old, but we don't always need flashbacks, at least not the overabundance of them that were used in this book. There were actually shows, many shows, in the series that didn't have a one, shocking as that may sound. I'm really starting to dislike flashbacks now. The characterizations were generally good, although a few times I had the thought: "Angel would never say that." But overall, when it got back to 'present' times, it was fairly interesting. And it was nice to have Doyle back again. A decent book, but not great.(less)