Rhiannon Frater can be a bit twisted, which is a good thing. I don't know if I enjoyed Pretty When She Dies as much as I did The First Days, but it de...moreRhiannon Frater can be a bit twisted, which is a good thing. I don't know if I enjoyed Pretty When She Dies as much as I did The First Days, but it definitely kept my attention and ended up being a fairly quick read. This is one of the better vampire books I've read and I would absolutely recommend it to fans of that genre. (less)
The Immortal Rules is a dark, violent, edge of your seat, up all night kind of story. And it is hands down the very best book I've read all year. I re...moreThe Immortal Rules is a dark, violent, edge of your seat, up all night kind of story. And it is hands down the very best book I've read all year. I read and loved Kagawa's Iron Fey series, but The Immortal Rules is even better. I mean, the first line of the story starts with a public execution, and it just gets darker from there. I was 9 pages in when I knew this book would make it to my favorites list.
The world that Kagawa has created is terrifyingly brilliant with an almost post-apocalyptic or dystopian feel. The US has been decimated by a disease that almost destroyed the human race to the point that vampires, who had before hidden among humans were alarmed that their food source was being wiped out and so created cities where they ruled and kept the humans penned in like sheep under the guise of "protection". Because outside these walled cities among the ruins of other towns and cities were inhabited by mindless scavenging "rabids" which are essentially vampire zombies. Yes, I said Vampire Zombies. So the vampires protected the humans from these things as well as provided food and necessities to the registered and in return for this protection, the humans were required to give a quota of blood every couple weeks. Those unregistered humans were not required to give blood, but they also were not given food and the penalty for stealing is death. The majority of the humans live in what is called the Fringe, outside the walls of the inner vampire sanctum, but inside the walls of the city itself and out of reach of the rabids.
The main character, Allison, was basically a street urchin, living in abandoned building, eating garbage, bugs, rats or anything just to stay alive. Allie's bravery, loyalty, and wit quickly endeared her to me. She seemed to be always struggling with a balance between self-preservation and the need to protect those she cared about. Kagawa certainly wasn't kind to her, this poor girl, throughout the story gets the crap kicked out of her both physically and emotionally as she attempts to hang on to her humanity. While Allie was a kick-ass main character, everyone in the story had a depth and background that made the entire story just come to life. I was drawn so deeply into this story that there were several times that my husband spoke to me from right in front of me that I didn't even notice him standing there. (He so loves when I do that :P)
And yes, there is a bit of romance between all the blood and starvation. Vampire Zombies be damned, teens will insist upon falling in love, no matter how hopeless it seems. In this situation, however, the romance was absolutely fitting. It built so slowly from them beginning to trust one another based on their actions, then coming to understand one another's differences. It added yet another poignant element to the story and it definitely worked, despite their differences and despite how impossible things may seem.
The writing was stellar, flawless. Kagawa effortlessly built this bleak and frightening world populated with terrifying creatures, a broken society, and a heroine with a strength built on years of pain and disappointment and yet a capacity to love that almost defies that world she grew up in. I don't know what I was expecting when I picked up The Immortal Rules, but I know I had no idea I would be so completely blown away by this incredible story. If you haven't read this yet, you should do so immediately.
When I first saw the title a while back, I had first thought it would be some ridiculously campy, cheesy vampire book. But then the movie previews cau...moreWhen I first saw the title a while back, I had first thought it would be some ridiculously campy, cheesy vampire book. But then the movie previews caught my attention and made me reconsider. And since I've decided to watch the movie, I of course, had to first read the book.
AL:VH was so much more than I was expecting; rich in detail, the story quickly drew me in and I was hooked. The story was interspersed with newspaper articles and speeches that I assume are actual historical fact that gave it all a bit of frightening plausibility and also had me pausing the audio to google random details to learn a little more.
While I loved Abe's character, the vampires were one of the biggest surprises for me. These are not your run of the mill, bite your neck and drink your blood kind of vamps. These were some of the most frighteningly vicious vampires I've encountered in fiction. This book was certainly a lot more bloody and violent than I anticipated, even after watching the movie previews. Also, the authors ideas of how slavery was affected by vampires was horrifyingly brilliant, the stuff of nightmares, but effective.
There were areas where it got a bit slow and tedious but never to the point where I was ready to walk away from the book. I'm glad I decided to read this and I'm really looking forward to the movie and hope that it lives up to the book. (less)
This series was such a light and entertaining read and I absolutely fell in love with it. I thought Jane's sarcastic wit was smartly done and more oft...moreThis series was such a light and entertaining read and I absolutely fell in love with it. I thought Jane's sarcastic wit was smartly done and more often had me laughing out loud instead of cringing and skipping ahead which I find myself doing with most "humorous" dialog in similar books. I had to remove a star because it violated one of my book pet peeves, at the end, the villains spill all their nefarious plans in a Scooby-ish "And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids" kind of info-dumping, loose end tying rant. Other than that, this series was uninterrupted fun. Definitely one of my favorite vampire reads! (less)
I liked Kristi Cook's debut novel Haven. Haven seemed to be a combination of a lot of elements that I really liked from other books. The MC Violet has...moreI liked Kristi Cook's debut novel Haven. Haven seemed to be a combination of a lot of elements that I really liked from other books. The MC Violet has a gift, although it doesn't seem like much of a gift to her since she has absolutely no control over how it affects her and while she just wants to fit in, her "gift" continues to make her stand out and not in a good way. When her step-mother decides to move to NY, Violet thinks that maybe things could be different. She feels drawn to Winterhaven, a private school, where she hopes she can finally find a place for herself. Turns out that Winterhaven is hiding some secrets as well, such as, all of the students there are "gifted" in one way or another, and some of the students just may not be what they seem at all. While Winterhaven's classes are just normal acadamia and don't really address the student's special abilities, Violet has a tutor that trys to help her gain some control over her gift, or at least learn how to utilize it more effectively. In the mean time, Violet is thrilled to find herself part of a lively group of girls and even drawing the attention of the most mysterious boy at school. Just as Violet thinks that she's finally found all that she's been hoping for, things seem to veer far off course and she finds herself part of some prophetic paranormal showdown and nothing is what she thought it was.
I really enjoyed reading about the school. Winterhaven and the students were what fascinated me most about Haven. The different gifts and the ways in which they were used was really well thought out and intriguing. I thought that the characters were likable enough but could have had a bit more depth. I was a bit disappointed about Violet's love interest Aiden, but that is only because I didn't expect Haven to go in that direction and that wasn't really the kind of book I wanted to read. There was, of course, the immediate obsessive attraction, boy sees girl, boy can't stay away even though he tries to for her own sake. Those were the few eye-rolling elements for me. However, the plot was entertaining and kept me involved in the story.
While I would not describe Haven as a fast-paced page turner, it moved along at a steady enough pace to prevent me from wanting to put the book down. I liked the characters but wanted to understand them a little more. The plot was interesting if not entirely original, there were some unusual twists here and there. Overall, I think this was a solid debut novel from Kristi Cook and I look forward to reading more from this author. (less)
Another amazing adventure in the The Night Huntress series, this third book in the series certainly kept my heart pounding. Bones was as entertaining...moreAnother amazing adventure in the The Night Huntress series, this third book in the series certainly kept my heart pounding. Bones was as entertaining as ever and I absolutely love how the relationship between him and Cat continues to develop. The wit, humor, and overall personality of these two characters is what keeps me enthralled with the Night Huntress series. I will say that the author managed to scare me half to death in this book (not funny Ms. Jeaniene!) and the plot kept me wanting more. When starting a Jeaniene Frost book, I already know that I'll be up all night with it! In "At Grave's End" Cat and Bones once again are facing obstacles that could tear them apart, possibly forever. This time in the form of Patra, a centuries old vamp with a vendetta and an army of vampires, ghouls, and humans who think she is a goddess. Patra makes no "bones" about using the foulest, most forbidden magics against Cat, Bones, and their friends either. Dracula himself cuts an impressive figure, sarcastic, blunt, and arrogant, he seems to goad Bones past all endurance, while Cat seems to have a certain fondness for him. And he was certainly able to be there as a friend when Cat most needed one. Tate continues to annoy me to no end. I don't feel a bit sorry for him. He isn't even a character I love to hate, I just don't like him. But with all the other amazing characters to love on in this series, I can easily forget about one that irritates me. Tavia Gilbert once again does an incredible job narrating these books. I know that I would still love the paper version of the books, and have them on my Christmas list because I want them on my bookshelf! Gilbert brings something so extra special to her narration and to the characters that before I "read" the series in book format, I definitely want to finish the entire series as well as the Night Huntress World series in audio. Regardless how I read them though, this is a series that I will hate to see come to an end! (less)
Tavia Gilbert did an amazing job narrating Halfway to the Grave, she brought to life the personality of each of these amazing characters. Generally speaking, I normally don't enjoy paranormal romance. After reading a couple of books that were recommended to me, I was forced to rethink my position on the genre. I think my issue was not with paranormal romance, I was simply reading the wrong books. Halfway to the Grave was a perfect mixture of romance, excitement, and an exhilarating plot.
One of the things I enjoy most is when I find a book that contains characters that I would want to know, that I would want to hang out with. I was so happy to have found this in this first novel in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. Although Cat, the heroine, is the strong female character that I always look for in novels that I read, it was Bones, her vampire boyfriend that stole the show for me. Biting sarcasm, dominant masculinity, and his own brand of integrity made his character stand out to me.
I thought that the Frost's writing was brilliant, setting up scene after scene of nail-biting suspense, not to mention some truly heart pounding sex scenes, that successfully brought this story to life. My highest compliment to this book is that before I turned the last page, I had already bought the rest of the series that are available and am planning to finish them all before starting on anything new.
I've read so many reviews about this book, and I'm so glad that I followed the recommendation of a couple people who have similar tastes as me to read this. I would certainly recommend this series not only to fans of paranormal romance, but also to fans of urban fantasy that haven't found paranormal romance to be to their liking.
Rating: 5 - I can't wait to read the rest of the series. (less)
From the book: "Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarr...moreFrom the book: "Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarrabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire."
Soulless by Gail Carriger is a fun and quirky book right from the first paragraph. My first foray into steampunk transports me into an unlikely world of gadgetry, flamboyant vampires, authoritarian werewolves, not to mention a preternatural minx with devilish wit and impeccable fashion sense as well as a penchant for getting herself into awkward predicaments. Alexia Tarabotti is a dynamo that literally leaps off the pages, armed with her parasol and her cunning intellect, ready to face down rude vampires and overbearing werewolves, and anyone else who gets in her way.
Carriger's writing paints a vivid picture of Victorian London populated with supernatural, preternatural, and ghostly residents. Soulless is entertaining from start to finish, each of the characters were original, the plot was fast-paced and exciting, and I found myself laughing or gasping out loud several times throughout the audio.
I want to add here somewhere that I'm generally not a big fan of vampire/werewolf romance so I was a little hesitant to follow MadScientist's recommendation to read Soulless as an introduction to Steampunk. I'm SO glad that I did though. I was thrilled with the unique way Carriger brought her characters to life. Lord Akeldama, rove vampire, head of a harem of handsome drones, and owner of an impressive rococo themed home is one of Alexia's closest friends and and his peacockish ways was a source of hilarity for me. Lord Maccon, Earl of Woosley, alpha werewolf and head of the B.U.R. is alternately besotted and annoyed with Alexia's antics. Listening to those two bickering between kisses was another thoroughly enjoyable highlight. One of my favorite aspects was the fashion which was a frequent topic of discussion. Bustles, corsets, gaudy feathered hats, and glorious confections of taffeta and ruffles almost makes me wish I lived in that time period.
This review is for the audio book from Audible.com narrated by Emily Gray. Emily Gray was a wonderful narrator and did an amazing job of bringing these outrageous characters to life.
I want to thank MadScientist for recommending this book, and I, in turn, would recommend it to anyone else who wants to know about Steampunk.
Overall, I would rate this a 5, this series will undeniably become one of my favorites.(less)
I kind of liked the story, but the writing seemed a bit disjointed at times. The dialog was just kind of off, like trying to explain the plot through...moreI kind of liked the story, but the writing seemed a bit disjointed at times. The dialog was just kind of off, like trying to explain the plot through conversation in a way that just didn't feel real. I hated the way Drina did the whole "let me fully explain my every motivation, your previous history with Damen, and other random information as I'm attacking you" thing. But, again, I liked the story. I've read the reviews where this was compared to Twilight, and I can see some similarities, but the way that it differed was in that Ever was not obsessed with Damen to the point she felt her entire existence was dependent on his being with her. And there were many other differences too, of course. I may at some point read the second book in the series in the hope that the writing style improves, because the story itself is interesting and it kept me reading it regardless of the flaws. (less)