If you’re like me, you’ve avoided reading Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. The idea of the novel seems positively laughable, a cheeky piece of gimickrIf you’re like me, you’ve avoided reading Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. The idea of the novel seems positively laughable, a cheeky piece of gimickry designed to cash in on the vampire craze. I once thought the same thing and I could not have been more wrong. This is a brilliant bit of fiction, darkly thrilling and completely engrossing. Waiting so long to read it was one of my bigger book mistakes - thank goodness I read it before I saw the absolutely terrible film. The movie shares the title, but it’s significantly different from the book and not in a good way, either.
Had Thomas Lincoln been a man of a more stalwart nature, his son might never have become the sixteenth President of the United States. Thomas, however, was neither ambitious nor stalwart and he did nothing to prevent his wife’s death at the hands of a vampire money lender. Indeed, as Mr. Grahame-Smith indicates, it could be argued that Thomas virtually handed his wife over to the vampire who killed her. It was this, his mother’s death and his father’s failure to protect her, that led Abraham Lincoln to a career as a vampire hunter. And it was this singular career that propelled him into his extraordinary life in politics. Without vampires, or more correctly, without his abiding hatred of them, Mr. Lincoln might have remained a humble midwest farmer or a small town lawyer. But with the vampire menace threatening the very fabric of a blissfully ignorant nation, Abraham Lincoln rose to become the greatest President America has ever known.
There are so many ways this novel could have failed, could have been reduced to a one-line joke. It is a testament to Mr. Grahame-Smith’s skill and imagination that Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter not only does not fail, it succeeds brilliantly and on every level. At it’s core, this novel is a better than average biography of the President, albeit with some fangy extras thrown in. It is entirely due to the author’s extensive research, inventive plot and not inconsiderable skill with the written word that - were it not for the the implausibility of vampires - it would be very difficult to separate fact from fiction in this outstanding novel. Don’t make the same mistakes I did: read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter as soon as you can, but don’t waste your money on the movie....more
Emer Morrissey,pirate captain and scourge of the Caribbean, was on the brink of true happiness when she died on a Jamaican beach. After a short, diffiEmer Morrissey,pirate captain and scourge of the Caribbean, was on the brink of true happiness when she died on a Jamaican beach. After a short, difficult life filled with violence, cruelty and deprivation, Emer had been reunited with her one and only true love, Seanie. Just as Emer prepared to leave piracy behind and begin a life with Seanie, the French bastard who had been obsessed with her since the day she crossed the Atlantic caught up with the young couple and suddenly everything slipped through Emer's grasp. Seanie killed and Emer dying in the sand, but not before being cursed to live 100 lives as a dog. One hundred lives in the bodies of dogs before returning to a human form. One hundred lives with all of her memories intact.
A little more than three hundred years later, Emer is reborn in 1972 as Saffron Adams, the youngest of five children and the last great hope of her parents. Alfred and Sadie Adams are not the most successful of people and they certainly aren't the best of parents. Emotionally scarred by their pasts and resigned to living on the edge of poverty, Saffron's parents float from one addiction to another, content in their miserable lives. To them, young Saffron seems like a gift from heaven. Her incredible genius (gained through one hundred and one lifetimes of memories) seems to Saffron's parents a guarantee of her future success. Alfred and Sadie long for the day when she can become a practicing physician and take on the burden of the family finances, But Saffron has other plans. As soon as she graduates from high school she means to head to Jamaica and dig up the treasure of jewels she and Seanie buried there long ago. With Seanie dead for more than three centuries, wealth is a cold consolation, but it IS a consolation. It seems, however, that even after 300 years, fate still has a few twists to throw her way.
The Dust of 100 Dogs was A.S. King's first published book and while it has flaws, it also has instances of pure brilliance. The novel is composed of three interwoven story-lines: Emer's (human) life history; Saffron's struggle with her parents' expectations and her eventual journey to reclaim Emer's legacy; and the concurrent modern story of Fred Livingstone, a troubled, abusive Englishman living on the Jamaican beach where Emer's treasure is buried. Emer's story is the most compelling and also the most beautifully rendered. Although hers was a life filled with violence and loss, her spirit was indomitable and she proved herself a survivor over and over again. The earliest part of her story - her early Irish childhood through the Cromwell-led invasion and conquest of Ireland - is particularly moving and magnificently told. On the other hand, Saffron didn't really start to exist for me until a little more than halfway through the book, when she arrived in Jamaica. Up until that point, all of her thoughts and her narration, even in the modern story, seemed to be Emer's and I was surprised the first time she referred to Emer as a separate person.
This book is exceedingly violent. Rape, torture, child abuse, animal abuse, drug abuse and the horrors of 17th century warfare are all described fairly graphically. Bearing that in mind, The Dust of 100 Dogs is probably NOT a Y.A. novel in the traditional sense, although mature teens (particularly those 16 or older) should handle it fine. Having mentioned the violence, though, I feel it is important to note that these horrible acts are native to the tale being told. The times, as well as the histories and the psychological make-ups of the characters involved are the root of the violence and it never feels as if it is gratuitous or extraneous. In fact, the only parts of the novel that DID feel false and tacked on were the eight homilies - examples of 'doggie wisdom' - interspersed throughout the book. To me, these "Dog Facts" were disruptive and felt like a mechanical contrivance used solely to remind the reader of where Emer's consciousness has been for the past three hundred plus years.
So now we come to what is always a difficult question. Would you recommend this book to others? For me, the answer is yes, but I wouldn't hand it over to just anyone. Overall I liked it, there were many parts I loved, but I recognize that not everybody would feel the same way. In fact, I am sure there are many people who have read this book and hated it. It's that kind of book - one that will provoke a strong response and have you thinking about it long after you finish reading it. I thought it was wildly original and disturbing and wonderful and (occasionally) disgusting and a whole host of other adjectives I won't bother to list. Perhaps the best part of reading The Dust of 100 Dogs (besides the brilliant slice of Irish history) was the introduction it provided to A.S. King. She is an author of immense talent and passion and I expect her subsequent novels will be brilliant.
Meena Harper is having a really crappy day. First there was the girl on the subway, the one with the ridiculous plastic butterflies on her shoes. TheMeena Harper is having a really crappy day. First there was the girl on the subway, the one with the ridiculous plastic butterflies on her shoes. The girl who is going to be dead by the end of the week. That's Meena's gift, you see, though it's more of a curse to her way of thinking. When she looks into someone's eyes, she can see when and how they are going to die. And the plastic butterfly girl is going to die soon, and violently. Even though she was already late to work, Meena gave the girl her card, tried to warn her. It's the least she can do and the only way she can live with this sucky talent. Then she rushed off to work, which she shouldn't have bothered to do because her day just keeps getting worse and worse. The sponsors of Insatiable, the soap opera that Meena writes for, have decided that what the show really needs to boost the ratings is a vampire story line. And if there's one thing Meena hates, it's the current craze for vampires - the monster misogynist bastards.
The day goes from entirely crappy to completely bizarre when Meena takes her dog out for a walk and gets attacked by a swarm of bats. Attacked and then rescued by a tall, dark and sexy stranger, that is. And just when she's sure she'll never see him again, Meena discovers that her bat battler is actually Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day Romanian prince and the cousin to her neighbors. Lucien is everything Meena has ever wanted in a man and better still, when she looks at him she gets absolutely no hint of impending death. Actually, she gets no hint of death at all and apparently, there's a reason for that. Meena's dream man has his own dark secrets and they're about to swallow Meena's life whole and threaten everyone she loves.
I've read some very positive reviews of this book and I've also read some that are hyper critical. It's the latter I don't understand. This book is fun, people! It's not meant to be world-changing or life-affirming or anything other than pure entertainment. It's F-U-N. You want to have fun, don't you? Meg Cabot books are sassy, witty and laugh-out-loud funny. They are also incredibly well-written, although she doesn't always get enough credit for that. With Insatiable, Ms. Cabot has taken the craze for vampire fiction, mixed in a plot that is truly soap-opera worthy and created a novel that's humorous and exciting and also slightly ridiculous. Meena is a snappy heroine who does remarkably well with all of the crazy things that get thrown at her over the course of a few days. Lucien might be a 'good' vampire, but he's still a vampire - with all the darkness, mystery and mayhem that implies. Throw in an out-of-work brother, a ruggedly handsome (yet oh so annoying) vampire hunter and a cast of crazy, quirky friends, neighbors and creatures of the night and you have a truly enjoyable read. ...more
“Everything was a disaster. Now, in one night, Meena had not only slain one ex-boyfriend who’d turned out to be a vampire, but she had another one in “Everything was a disaster. Now, in one night, Meena had not only slain one ex-boyfriend who’d turned out to be a vampire, but she had another one in her bed. She couldn’t imagine how things could possibly get worse, unless her brother walked into the apartment, found Lucien Antonescu there, and called Alaric Wulf, who would undoubtedly launch an all-out military assault on the place that would include smoke grenades and possibly tear gas.” - from Overbite
Six months have passed since the cataclysmic confrontation between the Palatine Guard (the Vatican’s secret army of demon-hunters) and Lucien Antonescu (eldest son of Dracula and ruler of all demon life on the mortal side of hell) in Manhattan’s St. George’s Cathedral. Meena Harper, who lost her job and her apartment shortly after she started dating Lucien, has decided to make a clean sweep of things. She’s starting her life anew and she never thinks about the Prince of Darkness anymore. Okay, that’s a lie. She thinks about him all the time but she does try not to miss him. Meena - thanks to her eerie psychic ability to tell when someone is going to die - has started a new job, with the Palatine Guard no less. It’s an uphill battle, but she’s trying to convince the members of the Guard that not every demon is irredeemable. She’s firmly convince, for instance, that there is still a lot of good in Lucien Antonescu and that he still possesses his mortal soul. Predictably, Meena’s sometime partner and sort-of friend Alaric Wulf is the most vociferous opponent of her theory.
Meena’s life has always been a little odd. It was no picnic growing up as the ‘you’re gonna die girl,’ especially in high school. But things are no longer odd, they are spinning out of control. Lucien Antonescu is back in the forefront of her life, showing up just in time to save her from a newly-made-vampire ex-boyfriend who was intent on getting a taste of Meena’s special psychic blood. Meena wants to believe that Lucien is okay, but he is different somehow. To her he appears sick and weakened and Meena isn’t sure what she can do to help him.
Meanwhile, dozens of tourists have disappeared from the city and neither the NYPD nor the Guard can figure out why. Maybe Padre Calienté - Father Henrique Mauricio - can lend a helping hand. Assigned to the newly refurbished St. George’s, Father Henrique earned a reputation for top tier demon hunting in his native Brazil. It’s a shame that Meena doesn’t trust the charismatic young priest but then again, neither does Alaric Wulf. His instincts, at least, are usually sound. Meena is going to have to work fast to uncover the sinister forces at work in New York because whoever is behind the escalating disappearances seems to be working his way up to her.
Overbite is quite a bit shorter than its predecessor, Insatiable, but that volume has a lot of background and scene-setting whereas this sequel sticks to the action-driven plot. Once again, Ms. Cabot has managed to blend her trademark humor with romance, mystery and paranormal shenanigans to produce a well written novel that’s also a whole lot of fun to read. From what I can gather, most of the less positive reviewers of this book were unhappy because they didn’t like the way things turned out for Meena, but I liked the ending just fine. Together, Insatiable and Overbite are the perfect escapist reads for a lazy day....more
From the popular Young Adult author Melissa de la Cruz, Witches of East End is a perfect summer read. Original, romantic and filled with intrigue, theFrom the popular Young Adult author Melissa de la Cruz, Witches of East End is a perfect summer read. Original, romantic and filled with intrigue, the story will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
North Hampton is an unremarkable old town on the northern and eastern most tip of New York's Long Island. So unremarkable, in fact, that most people never realize it exists. And it is in this close-knit community that the women of the Beauchamp family - matriarch Joanna and her two daughters, Ingrid and Freya - live and work. While they have travelled the world and lived in dozens of places, the Beauchamps have called North Hampton home for four centuries. Not a long line of the Beauchamp family, mind you, but these three particular Beauchamps. For four hundred years. The Beauchamps, you see, are immortal. They are also witches.
Sadly for Joanna, Ingrid and Freya however, they are witches who are no longer allowed to practice magic. Caught up in the Salem Witch Trials, the trio have been punished by the White Council for exposing their magical talents before humans. And so they have lived ordinary, mundane lives for centuries with their magic so long unused that they no longer realize how much they miss it. Until Freya secretly makes a love potion. It's a small slip, really. A minor infraction. But when no one from the Council seems to notice, both Joanna and Ingrid decide to defy the restriction as well. And all three of them are agreed: it not only feels good, it feels right. The Beauchamps are no longer willing to deny that side of themselves.
Unfortunately, there are other forces afoot in the isolated town. Things are not as they should be in North Hampton. Signs and portents of a growing evil are appearing everywhere. Two of the Beauchamps neighbors, an older couple out for an evening walk, have been viciously attacked. Dead Ospreys are appearing on the beaches. Ingrid notices a strange, silver-colored mass lurking at the core of many of the town's inhabitants. Then a young girl disappears after drinking one of Freya's love cocktails and a prominent citizen is found hanging. Suddenly the Beauchamp women are receiving a lot more attention than is safe for them, and it's attention of a decidedly suspicious bent. They'll have to use their powers to find out who or what has brought evil to North Hampton ... or they'll be reliving the horrors of Salem.
Never having read any of Melissa de la Cruz's Young Adult novels, I wasn't sure what to expect from Witches of East End. I hoped for something light and fun, something good and different, but I feared I might find something like the cookie cutter paranormals that are so popular in Young Adult and Romance literature these days. So for me, this book was a very happy surprise. It's well plotted and well written and the characters - many of them Norse gods and goddesses living in the modern world - are interesting and believable. Witches of East End is clearly intended for an adult audience, but I believe many of Ms. de la Cruz's younger fans (particularly those 15 and older) will enjoy the book as well. The epilogue makes it clear that a sequel is in the offing and I find that I am quite looking forward to it. This is a book I can heartily recommend....more
I love historical romances, particularly those set in the Regency period. I also have a weakness for shape-shifter stories, so giving A Certain Wolfis I love historical romances, particularly those set in the Regency period. I also have a weakness for shape-shifter stories, so giving A Certain Wolfish Charm (the first novel in Lydia Dare's Regency Werewolf trilogy) a try was a no brainer for me. I probably would have liked the book even if it had been merely mediocre, but I was delighted to discover that it was so much more than that. Ms. Dare has a real talent for story-telling; just a few pages into the book I was totally hooked. The plot is intriguing and the paranormal aspect is a completely natural part of the landscape (albeit a secret one). Best of all, the characters were all fully-developed and true -to-life.
Miss Lily Rutledge has never been more exasperated with a man than she is with Simon Westfield, Duke of Blackmoor and she hasn't even laid eyes on him in six years. At nearly twenty-four Lily is firmly on the shelf as far as marriage prospects are concerned but she has absolutely no regrets about what put her there. After the death of her adored sister and her brother-in-law six years ago, Lily volunteered to raise their son, Oliver York, Earl of Maberley. No child could be more beloved and, until very recently, Oliver has been both sweet and obedient. In the past few months however, both Oliver's personality and his physique have undergone startling changes. He has grown immensely, eats enough to feed a good-sized family and has become downright surly. Lily is extremely concerned about Oliver and she has written a number of letters to Blackmoor - who happens to be the boy's guardian - asking for his advice and assistance. Letters, Lily is furious to note, that the Duke has clearly not bothered to read since the only response she receives is money. It's obviously past time for a more direct approach.
An infamous rakehell, Simon Westfield is not a happy man. His werewolf nature drives him in ways that he's sure would horrify polite society and that's without ever giving in to his baser animal instincts. Every time the full moon approaches, Simon quits London and heads to Westfield Hall, his secluded Hampshire estate. Once there Simon can relax and give in to the changes that inevitably come in the nights surrounding the full moon. That is what he fully intended to do this time as well. He has no interest in entertaining Miss Lily Rutledge who, much to her own unknown peril, has arrived on his doorstep unexpectedly for the express purpose of discussing his ward. It is simply not safe for her to be here, so Simon dumps her unceremoniously back into her carriage and tells her to return to Maberley Hall forthwith. It's only after Lily's departure that her words seep into Simon's brain. Oliver York is obviously approaching his first transformation as a Lycan, which means Miss Rutledge will be in even greater danger at Maberley.
Simon is determined to take Oliver in hand and to help the lad learn to control his werewolf nature. He sends for the boy and, with his brother Will in tow, sets out to fetch Miss Rutledge back to Westfield Hall. Once he has them both under his roof, Simon intends to tell Lily that her services will no longer be required. Perhaps he'll even provide her with a dowry so she can settle down and raise some children of her own. But Simon hasn't reckoned on Lily's fierce determination not to be parted from her nephew, nor has he anticipated his own intense longing to make Lily his own....more
Sydney Somers writes some of the best paranormal romances around. I love the Pendragon Gargoyles series - with sexy shifters, strong women, interestinSydney Somers writes some of the best paranormal romances around. I love the Pendragon Gargoyles series - with sexy shifters, strong women, interesting stories and a very complete world of magic, what's not to love....more