I don't tend to buy multiple copies of the same book, my shelves are close to collapsing as it is and it seems pointless to waste space on duplicates. There are a few exceptions to that rule though & I think Shadow and Bone must be the book I own the most copies off.
What girl doesn't need 4 copies of one of their favourite books though? Well OK, you're right, none of us do, but how was I supposed to resist the pretty new purple cover?
Especially when you throw in the fact that this has exclusive extra content! I didn't reread the whole book but it was worth buying this version just for the letter from Mal to Alina. It was perfect getting to see some of his thoughts after Alina first discovers her powers & I love him more than ever now :o)(less)
Thoughts before reading: Modern retelling of Oliver Twist where Twist is a street artist and a freerunner? Hell yes, sign me up!
Thoughts after reading:...moreThoughts before reading: Modern retelling of Oliver Twist where Twist is a street artist and a freerunner? Hell yes, sign me up!
Thoughts after reading: I was really excited to start this modern retelling of Oliver Twist but unfortunately it just isn't working for me. I honestly think it's a case of me and the writing style not gelling rather than it being a badly written book though. There isn't anything in particular I can point to and say this is why I don't like it so I would hate to put anyone off giving it a go.
In fact I may even give it another try at some point just to see if I can connect with it better the second time around.(less)
I'm going to warn you in advance that this isn't going to be a proper review - it's going to be a rant about all the reasons why I think this is the w...moreI'm going to warn you in advance that this isn't going to be a proper review - it's going to be a rant about all the reasons why I think this is the worst book I've attempted to read this year. This will include swearing and it'll probably include spoilers but since I only managed to force myself to read the first 91 pages I can't see that I'll be able to give away anything major. Either way you continue reading this at your own risk!
Let's start with the main characters. When I pick up a book told from a female point of view I want to read about a strong, independent girl who knows how to stand on her own two feet. I don't mind if she makes mistakes as long as she learns from them but I do need her to have a brain and be prepared to use it. Unfortunately Britt is everything I hate in a main character. She is spoilt, selfish and incredibly stupid (I'll get to my reasoning for those statements later). She talks about how well independent she is but she won't even fill up her own car at the garage because she doesn't want her hands to smell of petrol. Perhaps petrol pumps are different in America but I've been filling up my own car for about 15 years now and I've never once found that my hands smell of petrol afterwards. What the hell is she doing? Does she shower in the stuff?
Then you have her best friend Korbie. This really is a case of dumb meet dumber and I was ready to strangle the pair of them by about page 40! I love reading about supportive friendships in my novels, best friends who have each others backs and who look out for each other. Let's get something perfectly clear, if your best friend is constantly putting you down to make themselves feel better, if your best friend lies to you and doesn't tell you when she knows your boyfriend is cheating on you (I don't care if your boyfriend happens to be her brother), if your best friend does all of these things then you know what? She is NOT your friend. In fact, you'd be better off considering her an enemy and finding someone new to hang out with. If, after all that, you decide to stick with her then I hate to say it but you deserve everything you get! Britt herself makes all these observations about her friendship with Korbie and yet she still chooses to follow along in her friend's shadow for lord only knows what reasons. If possible Korbie is even more shallow, spoilt and stupid than Britt and trust me that really is saying something.
Britt has been planning a back packing week with Korbie for months (although how spending a week in an expensive cabin and going on daily hikes counts as back packing I'll never know!) and says she is prepared for anything but as they are driving up the mountain they are caught in an unexpected storm that reduces visibility and makes driving dangerous. Does our heroine pull over and stop like a sensible person? No, she lets Korbie goad her into continuing to drive in dangerous conditions, on a fucking mountain no less, when she can't see more than two feet in front of her. This was the point when I really started to hope that she'd drive the car off the edge of a cliff and the book would unexpectedly end after 40 pages. When the torrential rain turns to snow and they are eventually forced to stop at the side of the road they just start making even stupider decisions. What do you do when you're trapped in your car in a major snow storm? Bear in mind that you have a car full of camping equipment, clothes and food that will keep you warm and fed until the storm has passed or help arrives. You have also driven hours into an isolated mountain range and have no clue where you are or if there are any cabins nearby. You can't see any lights in the distance, the snow is already deep and you have no compass or way of getting back to the car if you get lost. So which option do you choose - stay in the semi warm, and definitely dry, car or head out into the great unknown with no idea if you'll be able to find help or just end up turning into a human snowman? Yes, I think it's fair to say that our moronic main characters choose to wander aimlessly just in case they can find help. Yes, my eyeballs did hurt from rolling around inside my head by this point.
Miracle of miracles they actually manage to find a cabin after walking through the snow for over an hour. The cabin is occupied by two hot guys (because obviously our plucky heroines wouldn't trust them if they were ugly!) so no matter what kind of creepy vibes they are giving off Britt and Korbie not only waltz straight in like they own the place, they also start bickering over who gets to call dibs on each guy. Trust me if the author had had "bad guys in here" in skywriting across the top of the cabin it still couldn't have been more obvious that something terrible was about to happen! I'm not even going to pretend to forgive Korbie for wanting to cheat on the boyfriend who is supposed to be spending the week with them - especially when she justifies it by saying:
"So we aren't forever. What's the point of being completely loyal when I know our relationship is going to end?"
My response to that is what's the point in being in a relationship when you're happy to cheat on your partner?
The part that REALLY got me though was Britt's thoughts on finding the cabin and meeting the guys:
"I tapped my cup to his, grateful to have found Shaun, because for a minute there, I'd thought I was going to have to save myself. Instead, I'd wandered into the protective care of a sexy older man..
You know what? Fuck you Britt. Fuck you and your reliance on a man to rescue you. Fuck you for not being capable of looking out for yourself and for putting yourself into this situation in the first place.
I could go on and on about why I hated this book but I think I've already made it clear enough. This is without a doubt the worst book I've attempted to read in 2014 (in fact I'd probably go so far as to say it's the worst book I've picked up since I started blogging at the beginning of 2010 and considering I've read over 1,000 books in that time that really says it all.(less)
I have been absolutely addicted to Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy ever since I discovered Daughter of the Blood and after the h...moreBuddy read with Aly
I have been absolutely addicted to Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy ever since I discovered Daughter of the Blood and after the huge changes at the end of Heir to the Shadows I couldn't wait to start Queen of the Darkness. This book was everything I'd hoped it would be and then some and I didn't want to put it down for a second. I can't believe how much I've come to love these characters and I'm was so incredibly invested in their stories that I desperately needed to know what would happen to them all. I'm going to assume that if you're reading this review you've already read the last two books so although this review will be spoiler free for Queen of Darkness I will be discussing events in previous stories. If you don't want to see these spoilers then look away now but before you go I will tell you that the Black Jewels trilogy is one of the most complex, compelling and utterly addictive fantasy series that I've discovered in a long time and if it's one you haven't started yet then you're seriously missing out!
Still with me? Well, in that case I'm going to assume you're already an Anne Bishop fan and high five you for loving the series as much as I do! At the end of Heir to the Shadows we saw Jaenelle claim her territory so that she was able to protect her Kindred friends. Jaenelle now has a court of powerful Queens, Warlords and Kindred who would all do anything for her but she takes that responsibility seriously and will protect them with her life if needed. I have loved seeing Jaenelle grow into her power, she really is an incredible character and after so much suffering in her life she has now become a strong and confident young woman. I actually feel very proud of everything that she has achieved and I couldn't wait to see her figure out how to deal with the enemies who have done everything they could to destroy her.
One of the things that I was most excited about was seeing her reunited with Daemon. I missed his presence in the last book but I understood why that distance was needed, he has suffered enough though and it was time to see both of them find a way to happiness. Daemon has finally found his way out of the Twisted Kingdom and taken his place at Jaenelle's side as her consort but it is a role in name only as the two of them struggle to communicate their wants and needs to each other. I really enjoyed seeing someone as experienced as Daemon so unsure of himself, he loves Jaenelle so much and is terrified of putting pressure on her but as inexperienced as she is she has no idea how to make the first move. It was great seeing Saetan, Lucivar and the others help the two of them work through things and I loved seeing them all spending time together building or rebuilding their bonds. Things between Saetan and his sons are incredibly complicated but we get to see them slowly get to know each other and learn to trust themselves.
Jaenelle is the most powerful Witch born in thousands of years and she can feel the evil that is trying to destroy all three realms. She knows what has to be done to stop it and she knows that she will pay the ultimate price but that is something she is willing to do to protect the people she loves. Her friends aren't quite so willing to let her bear that cost though and they are determined to find another way. The love that all of these characters have for her is absolutely heart warming but I've also thoroughly enjoyed seeing the friendships build between them as individuals and getting to see some of my favourite characters find love and happiness in their own right.
I don't want to say too much more about what happens in this book because I think it's much better if you can enjoy the journey for yourself. I will say that I absolutely loved every minute of this book. This entire series has taken me on an emotional roller coaster, one where I've both laughed and cried. There have been times when I was so mad that my blood was boiling and others where I felt emotionally drained and exhausted but I have also fallen in love and met some of the most fantastic characters - ones who will stay with me for years to come. I can absolutely guarantee that this is a series I'll return to again in the future and I'm glad that I've still got some short stories set in the same world to devour before the journey is completely over. I may be a fairly new fan of Anne Bishop but I'm now a die-hard one and I can't wait to discover more of her books!(less)
Daughter of the Blood may have been an incredibly dark and at times shocking story but I loved every minute of it so although I had...moreBuddy read with Aly
Daughter of the Blood may have been an incredibly dark and at times shocking story but I loved every minute of it so although I had to brace myself beforehand I couldn't wait to continue reading Jaenelle's story in Heir to the Shadows. I was expecting an intense read when I picked up this book and I wasn't wrong but I was also pleasantly surprised to find it isn't quite as dark and disturbing as the first book. Although this sequel wasn't quite as painful to read it does still contain scenes of mental and physical torture so I should probably warn anyone new to the series that you need to prepare yourself for the worst. I'm not trying to put anyone off because it's a FANTASTIC series but if you don't know what to expect you'll end up getting quite a shock! You also need to make sure you read this series in order, the world building is detailed and complex, there are a lot of different characters to keep track of and they have all had significant growth just in the first two books. You'll be completely lost if you pick up the books at this point and I would hate to see people to ruin the series for themselves.
As much as I enjoyed Daughter of the Blood I loved Heir to the Shadows even more, I can't tell you how grateful I am to already have my hands on the next book because as soon as I've finished writing this review I'm diving straight back into the world Anne Bishop has created! I just can't wait any longer to discover what happens to all of my favourite characters next. I don't think I have it in me to write a review that will fully explain what an amazing book Heir to the Shadows is or just how much I adore this series but I'm going to do my best in the hope of convincing you to read it for yourself.
At the end of the previous book we saw Jaenelle suffer the worst kind of physical and mental torture imaginable, it actually hurt my heart thinking about everything she went through and it's the kind of thing that no woman should ever have to deal with - let alone a 12 year old child. It was hard to see how Jaenelle would survive, let alone come out of the ordeal mentally stable but I had underestimated the amount of love and faith her friends and adopted family have and they pulled together to help her through. It takes 2 years for her mind to heal enough to return to her body but Saetan never loses faith in her. She has blocked the memory of the event that nearly killed her but she is still a very different girl to the Witch we met in the beginning. She is much more wary and finds it hard to fully trust even the people she was closest to before, she is also angry and has much less control over her temper. It takes a long time and the help of some very close friends before she starts to emerge as the fun loving and friendly girl she used to be but even then there will always be lasting effects from her trauma.
I absolutely loved meeting some of the friends that she'd spoken of in the previous book but that we hadn't been introduced to. We knew she visited lots of people besides Saetan, Daemon and Lucivar but now we get to meet her Kindred friends for ourselves along with the other young witches and warlords she has met over the years. Jaenelle draws both people and animals to her, they feel her power and know that she is the longed for Witch who has the ability to bring peace to the realms but that isn't the only reason they care for her. Jaenelle has no intention of setting up a court or taking over the duties of running a territory but she is still incredibly protective of the people she cares about and will use the power she was born with to keep them safe no matter what it costs her.
One of the characters who nearly broke my heart in the first book was Lucivar, every time we saw him he was either being tortured or being forced to watch someone else suffer and his POV made for some uncomfortable reading. I badly wanted to see him escape and find some happiness so I was absolutely thrilled with how things progressed for him in this book. He is finally reunited with his father Saetan and he is at Jaenelle's side like the protective older brother he's always wanted to be. Jaenelle needed men around her who had no interest in her sexually and I loved her interactions with both Lucivar and her adopted father Saetan. Their family dynamics are difficult at times because they all have reasons to distrust each other but there is such a sense of love between them and that really shines through in every conversation.
The one person missing from the family reunion is Daemon and although I understood his absence I'll admit I missed him because he doesn't play such a big role in this part of the story. Daemon is the one who saved Jaenelle's life but mentally throwing himself into the abyss to reach her cost him dearly and now he's paying the price. Daemon's memories of what happened to Jaenelle are vague and now he's not even sure if she's dead or alive. Worse still, he can't remember what caused her injuries and he is terrified that he did something to hurt her. His anguish over her possible death and the role he may have played in it have caused him to lose his mind and now he is walking in the Twisted Kingdom completely lost and alone. The only person who has the power to reach Daemon and bring him back is Jaenelle but when she blocked the memories of what happened to her she also blocked out the time she spent with Daemon. The most important question is will she remember who he is in time to save his life?
I've already said that this story isn't quite as dark as the first one but that doesn't mean things are all plain sailing and there are still plenty of enemies out out there making plots against Jaenelle and her family. I was glad we see some people start to get what they deserve but others like Hekatah and Dorothea are still plotting and getting ready to cause more trouble. In a lot ways the focus of this story is Jaenelle's recovery and seeing her build a network of close friends and allies that I think she will need on her side in the next book though. This instalment almost feels like the calm before the storm and I have a feeling things are going to go downhill fast for our favourite characters as the series continues in Queen of Darkness. I just hope Jaenelle and her allies are strong enough to face whatever is about to be thrown at them.(less)
The cat is out of the bag and Cassel now knows he is a Worker, he also knows that his brothers have been manipulating him for years forcing him to do...moreThe cat is out of the bag and Cassel now knows he is a Worker, he also knows that his brothers have been manipulating him for years forcing him to do unspeakable things and then tampering with his memory so he won't remember what he has done. He still doesn't have his memory back but he has a pretty good idea of what he was forced to do and it doesn't sit well with him. His relationship with his older brothers is more rocky than ever and it takes everything Cassel has got just to act normal around them, his mother is out of jail and up to her old tricks and the girl he loves has been cursed to love him so there is no hope of pursuing any kind of relationship with her. Yes, Cassel's life pretty much sucks right now and that was before one of his brothers was murdered and the government decided to try and turn him into a snitch. Now Cassel is in a very difficult position, he doesn't want to join the Zacharov crime syndicate but that doesn't mean he wants to become a police informant either. Unfortunately neither side is giving him much of an option & it's going to take all of Cassel's wits just to stay alive and out of trouble.
As much as I loved White Cat I think I enjoyed Red Glove even more, the story is really cleverly woven together and it is difficult to see how Cassel will manage to keep himself out of prison. He is forced to deal with his crazy family members and it seems like everyone wants something from him, his mum wants him to help with her latest cons and his brothers see him as an easy route into the syndicates. The only family member I trust to have his back is his Grandad but he has been kept in the dark about so many things that Cassel can't really turn to him for help. It has been great to see Cassel slowly building his friendships with Daneca and Sam though, he has come to trust them both and finally starts to open up a little and share some of his secrets. It's great to know that he has a couple of people who have his back, he is in desperate need of some allies considering all the things he has going against him right now.
I hated seeing how distraught he is over his relationship with Lila, he cares about her so deeply but now that his mother has cursed Lila to love him he is unable to trust her feelings or act on their mutual attraction without feeling incredibly guilty. It's quite disturbing that his mother doesn't even see what she did wrong and that more than anything shows just how twisted her abilities are. I thought things between the two of them were handled really well, I loved that Cassel was honest with Lila about what had been done to her and I was glad that he didn't take advantage of her. It was sad to see them so far apart though and I really hope they can find some way through it in the final book. It's difficult because I do have trouble connecting to Lila at times and her goals seem so different to Cassel's but I feel that after everything they've both been through they deserve some kind of happy ending. I'm just not sure if they can find it together or not.
Red Glove is a brilliant book, one that focuses on the murder of Cassel's brother and who was behind it but there is so much more to it than that. There are some fantastic twists and I enjoyed getting to continue exploring the world Holly Black has created. I eat up anything about the Workers and the consequences they have for using their abilities, I always prefer when magic has a price and that is definitely the case here. It's rare that I pick up the final book in a trilogy without even a vague idea of what to expect but I honestly can't even guess at what is in store for Cassel in Black Heart and that makes me even more desperate to read it.(less)
Ben has had a thing for Reese ever since he saw her at a party 3 years ago, he's seen her at many family events since then and his feelings have just...moreBen has had a thing for Reese ever since he saw her at a party 3 years ago, he's seen her at many family events since then and his feelings have just grown stronger but there has always been something getting in the way of him making a move - the little fact that she was already married. When he found out that she was getting a divorce and moving back to the area he went out of his way to make sure they'd be able to spend time together and he's determined to finally make his move. Reese is shocked when she realises her new landlord and the guy living next door is Ben, she hadn't expected to see him again and had no idea that he was interested in her. After her ex Reese is wary of letting another man into her life but when Ben makes it quite clear he's looking for fun not a long term relationship she can't resist the chemistry that flares between them.
Take Me Under is the first book in the Dangerous Tides series and it was a quick, fun read that I was able to finish in a couple of hours. Overall I'd say I liked both of the main characters but there were things about them that irritated me. Reese has spent years being belittled by her ex-husband and is very down on herself, she doesn't feel sexy or attractive and has no idea what Ben could possibly see in her. While I could understand where she was coming from I did find it a little frustrating that she had such a low opinion of herself and it didn't quite ring true that she would be able to jump into bed with Ben quite so quickly considering her previous experiences. I was also annoyed with the way Ben kept telling Reese that he didn't want a relationship but then getting irritated with her for refusing to let him spend the night. He was giving her so many mixed signals that it wasn't surprising that she didn't have a clue how to react to him!
This book has a LOT of sex and that isn't something I'd usually complain about but here I did feel that it took away from the main story a little too much. The suspense side of the story could have been so much more interesting if they had spent more time trying to figure out what was happening rather than going at it like bunnies. Reese was being stalked and spent a lot of time feeling like someone was watching over her shoulders but it didn't stop her getting down and dirty with Ben outside where anyone could be watching them and that didn't vibe for someone who was as alpha and possessive as Ben. I'm not sure if it was partly because there was just so much sex but I also found some of the terminology used and conversations they had were crude and cringe worthy rather than a turn on. It's not often that I find myself skimming over the sex scenes but that happened more than once here.
The story wasn't all bad and I was pleased with the way things turned out in the end but I do think it could have been a lot better. I did like the side characters though and I'm curious enough about Ben's brother Alex to want to try the next book in the series. If you're looking for a hot beach read with a dominant, dirty talking alpha hero then it would definitely be worth giving Take Me Under a try.(less)