Raylene Pendle,vampire and thief,is sick of taking silly jobs,such as stealing back homemade “naughty” videos that people regret making,and she’s ready for something exciting. Raylene gets her wish in the form of a card she receives in the mail,at her home,and with her name on it. Knowing that only a few people have this info,she’s instantly intrigued. She suspects it’s a fellow vampire,and her suspicions prove to be right on target. What she doesn’t count on is her client,Ian,is not only a vampire,but he’s a blind vampire,and this case will lead her to a clandestine government program that uses vamps (and possibly other supes),as test subjects to get to their sources of power. With the help of Ian,his human assistant,Cal,and a drag queen that calls himself Sister Rose,Raylene confronts a power beyond anything she could have imagined,and an evil that might threaten her very existence.
First off,I’m a Cherie Priest fan through and through,and I was VERY excited to start her new urban fantasy series. I’ll admit,it took me a while to get into,but I think it’s because Bloodshot is very different from her other novels. We take some time to get to know Raylene,who’s all “me,myself,and I” bluster,but underneath,there’s actually a very vulnerable girl in there,which,for a vampire,is very,very refreshing. Raylene prides herself on being prepared for everything and also for not getting attached. We see some of that vulnerability in her reluctant affection for a street urchin,Pepper,that lives in a storage building that Raylene owns,along with her teen brother. Raylene may be tough (she kicks serious,serious ass),but she’s attached to that little girl,and will go to just about any lengths to protect her (even her snotty brother). When Raylene meets Ian,she’s horrified at his condition and at his dependence on his human assistant. Raylene doesn’t trust ghouls,who in her experience only use vampires for one thing,which is to eventually be made vampire. Her research also leads her to Sister Rose,who’s sister was also one of the subjects involved in the Bloodshot program. A little about Sister Rose:Sister Rose,out of drag,is also a Cuban hottie named Adrian,who,I admit,I have a crush on,and Raylene isn’t immune to his hotness either. However,her real attraction lies with Ian,and I think she’s not only drawn to the man himself,but also to his vulnerability,and there’s a hint of possible romance to come (fingers crossed). If the first half took a bit to warm up,the second half hits full throttle almost immediately,and made me go from “like” to “love”. Even if you’re feeling a bit “vamped-out” with the influx of fang-centric stories lately,don’t pass this one up:it’s not your usual vampire cuisine,and if you haven’t discovered the wonderful Cherie Priest,it will make a fan out of you. Absolutely not to be missed! ...more
Deuce was born in an enclave deep underground, and has been trained to be a Huntress. After her naming ceremony, she is paired with Fade, and older boy who is rumored to have been born topside. When news that a neighboring enclave has been wiped out by Freaks, humanoid mutants that menace the enclave’s borders, Deuce and Fade are sent to investigate. What they find is a slaughter unlike any they’ve ever seen, and questions that could alter their entire existence.
After standing up for a friend that has been framed for hoarding, Deuce and Fade are exiled to Topside, where Deuce will discover strength she never knew she had, and learn to rely on her growing bond with Fade. Once Topside, Deuce learns that not everything the enclave Elders taught was true, and Fade remembers what it was like to live aboveground. Among the gangers and roving bands of mutants, Deuce and Fade must fight for survival…and hope. Enclave is told from Deuce’s first person POV, and she is a tough, pragmatic, and smart heroine. I loved rooting for her as she fought through the many dangers thrown her way. Fade is a strong, quiet hero, and a perfect compliment to Deuce. Ann Aguirre’s descriptions of a burnt-out, ruined America are chilling, and Enclave is a wonderful novel of post apocalyptic survival and the bonds of friendship and love. Among the many recent dystopian releases, Enclave is a standout! Highly recommended! ...more
17 year old Madison Avery is dead. Bummer. Killed on prom night by a dark reaper named Kairos, she manages to steal his amulet (a source of his power), thereby keeping the illusion of a physical body, and, more importantly, allowing her to keep her soul. She is guided by Barnabas, a “light reaper”, as he tries to train her in the duties of a reaper. Complications ensue when Kairos comes looking for his amulet, and her prom date’s life is threatened in the process. Along with prom date Josh, and her new guardian angel Grace (charming, scene stealing, and limerick singing), she must stay one step ahead of the persistant Kairos (who has good reasons for wanting his amulet back) and a beautiful but deadly dark reaper named Nakita, find her body, and keep her friends safe in the process. All in the day in the life of a dead girl, right?
I am a HUGE Kim Harrison fan, and she didn’t disappoint me with her first installment of her YA series! Just like with the Hollows , the action moves right along, and her characterizations are great, especially the wonderful Grace. Madison is a lot of fun, and it’s interesting to see how she handles her rather unique set of circumstances while dealing with the normal problems of teen life, such as fitting in and finding your place. Josh provides the romantic interest, but it doesn’t distract from the story, instead providing depth and fun diversion. I loved Harrison’s seraph/angel mythology and her rip roaring action sequences, and her exploration of free will and fate will get you thinking! This was a quick read, and I was never bored (I devoured this one in one sitting). Madison is not to be missed! ...more
Madison is the new dark timekeeper. Her job is to save souls by taking a life before the person can choose the dark path. Madison, however, doesn’t believe in fate, she believes in choice, which goes against everything the dark reapers stand for. Barnabas switched sides to stay and help Madison, and she also has the help of the beautiful, dark angel Nikita, who is now her protector.. The problem is the seraphs aren’t too sure that Madison’s approach to reaping is the way to go, and she’ll have to prove herself. The only way she can do that is to get to the person first, before they are reaped and talk them into taking a different path. She sees her chance in her next scything, who (after a prank gone wrong) is fated to release a virus into the computer system of a hospital, causing multiple deaths. Unfortunately, everything is not what it seems, and with Madison’s unhoned timekeeping skills tripping her up, finding the real culprit is much easier said than done.
Honestly, I didn’t enjoy Early to Death as much I did Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery 1), but I did enjoy it! Madison’s guardian angel, Grace (and her hilarious limericks) is back, as well as Barnabus and Nikita, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters. Nikita is a perfect specimen of beauty, yet her self consciousness and her desire to be liked and to fit in is endearing, as is her growing affection for Madison, who she’s sworn to protect. Josh, Madison’s (hopeful) love interest from book one is absent for most of this one, and it didn’t go unnoticed, so I’m hoping Ms. Harrison has some great plans for him in book 3. We also met the new Light Timekeeper apprentice, Paul, who looks to be a fun addition to the cast (and who may not be quite what he seems.) Madison still struggles with choice over fate, and her desire for choice gets increasingly harder when she sees just what the baddies are capable of. These books certainly do make you think about a human’s ability to change their ways and take the right path, and Ms. Harrison is on top of her writing game, as always. I’ll look forward to joining Madison and the gang again in Book 3, Something Deadly This Way Comes, out later this month. ...more
Detective Felix Donovan is having a bad time of it. High profile men are being murdered in gruesome ways, and he has no leads, other than he’s sure that a violent gangster that calls himself The Roman has to have something to do with it. A vigilante that calls himself the Ghost is taking crime solving into his own hands, and a rich playboy is fighting the ghosts of his own violent past. Ghosts of Manhattan opens with a bang, with the Ghost violently taking care of a bank robbery in progress, killing most of the thugs and sending one back with a message to give to his boss, The Roman, of course. Ghosts of Manhattan takes place in an alternate New York of 1926 and has got a noir feel to it that I liken to the pulp stories that were so popular during the 30s. The Ghost is an interesting character, but clichés abound. There’s the rich, jaded playboy, disillusioned by the trappings of wealth and struggling with a painful past, the beautiful chanteuse that’s hiding a secret, the harried detective with the weight of a city on his shoulders, and of course, the mysterious mob boss that’s behind the wave of violent crime. There’s plenty of action and a fun scene involving biplanes, but some things felt a bit forced, and some of the descriptives were rather gross, when they really didn’t need to be. There’s nothing startlingly original in Ghosts of Manhattan, but it certainly wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t great, and I kind of wanted it to be great. I’m constantly on the lookout for the next good steampunk romp, so maybe I had my hopes up too high for this one. It certainly fit the bill as an “in between book”, you know, the light read that’s sometimes nice between more meaty books. If you like noir adventure with some steampunk elements, you’ll probably enjoy this one. It’s a quick read, and certainly worth a go....more
Jake Hatcher is a man with a problem. A special military operative, he’s been wrongly imprisoned, and on the day of his release, finds out his brother has been killed; a brother he never even knew existed. This mystery begins a journey for Hank that will take him into the darkest heart of man, and beyond.
Damnable is a wonderful debut novel, and Jake Hatcher is my kind of hero! In a sea of kick ass, tough chicks, he’s a male hero to root for! Wisecracking, resourceful, and tough, I had a blast following Jake as he battled zombies, half-human, half-demons, and his own growing feelings for a certain beautiful woman. I loved the author’s unique take on heaven and hell, and the creatures that inhabit them. Add to the mix Demetrius, a truly nasty villain that loves a good torture chamber, the mystery of Jake’s brother, plus a dash of romance, and you have a fun, fast-paced read! I couldn’t help thinking that Damnable just about has something for everyone, however, with Schwaeble’s talent for description, the violence may make you squirm a little. That said, I never felt that anything was gratuitous. If anything, it appealed to the horror fan in me, and gave us a picture window into the villian’s twisted psyche.
The novel switches from third person view between Jake and Demetrius, and the only complaint I have is I would have loved to have Jake’s passages be first person. Although, Schwaeble makes up for this with fun asides of Jake’s funny, sarcastic train of thought.
Damnable won the 2009 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel, and it shows! It’s a testament to the author’s talent when he can make an over-the-top plot seem believable and make us sympathize with a hero that has such a shadowed past, but we do, and for me, that makes it a successful story. If you loved Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger, or Nelson DeMille’s John Corey, then you’ll love Jake! I know I do, and I’ll follow him anywhere! 5/5 ...more
At the tender age of one, Modo is rescued from a traveling freak show by the mysterious Mr. Socrates, who takes him in and raises him to be well read and knowledgeable in the fighting arts. Deformed and never knowing his mother and father, Modo comes to rely on Mr. Socrates, the kindly housekeeper, Mrs. Finchley, and his fighting instructor, Tharpa, who was also taken in as a child by Mr. Socrates. At age 14, Modo is taken into London (his first time outside of his rooms), and given his first “assignment”: to survive on his own. Mr. Socrates assures Modo that he will find him when the time is right, and, terrified, Modo sets out alone. Six months later, after discovering he has a talent for finding lost things, he sets himself up in a modest room upstairs from a pub and begins taking on clients under the name Mr. Wellington. Modo has another talent too. He can transform himself, for hours at a time, into someone completely different , escaping from the hunchback and hideous countenance that has haunted him his whole life. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Octavia Milkweed, also an agent for Mr. Socrates, he’s drawn into a shadowy world of conspiracy, kidnapping, and murder.
This was just a delightful steampunk adventure! Combining elements of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Hunchback Assignments takes its readers on a romp through a gaslit London full of treachery, secret societies, evil scientists, and clockwork monstrosities. Modo is an endearing character, and Octavia is a spunky delight as our heroine and Modo’s crush. If you like your adventures with 19th century flair and Dickensien touches, you’ll love this book. In The Hunchback Assignments, Arthur Slade has created a world that I’ll look forward to returning to time and time again! ...more
I’m a huge Kelley Armstrong fan, and I love her Otherworld series, so I was curious to see how her new YA series would be! The novel begins a prologue in which Maya’s best friend, Serena, dies in a mysterious drowning in the local lake. An accident is one thing, but Serena is an accomplished swimmer, and when Maya jumps in to save her, she feels something trying to pull her under as well. We pick up again a year later, with Maya still trying to get over Serena’s death, and also help her other best friend (and Serena’s ex-boyfriend), Daniel, cope with it as well. Soon strange things begin happening in her tiny town, and questions of Maya’s birth begin to surface. Then there’s the sexy new guy, Rafe, who may be more than he seems…
The Gathering took a while to build up, which is fine, since it’s the first in a series, and I always appreciate a good back story so that I don’t feel out of the loop as the novel, and the action, progresses. The small town that Maya lives in, Salmon Creek, is a town owned by a wealthy family, the St. Clouds. The people that live there work in the drug research facility and their families are provided with housing and schooling. This added an element of mystery to the story, because you’re never quite sure if the research is completely legitimate. Maya is adopted, and the only thing she knows about her birth mother is that she is of Native descent. She has a special affinity for animals, and her Dad is a park ranger, so she also helps rehab and release injured wildlife. The story is told from Maya’s point of view, and she’s a suitably strong and sarcastic heroine, vulnerable at times, but also intelligent and more than capable of thinking on her feet. Most of the novel is spent unraveling the mystery of Maya’s origins, but the author has added enough action to move the story along nicely. Her best friend Daniel, who’s very protective of Maya, seems to have abilities of his own, and Rafe is one of the more intriguing teen love interests to come along in a while. Teens, and adults (especially fans of the Otherworld series) will find much to love here. There’s plenty of material to cover in future novels and after finishing The Gathering, you’ll want to go back to Salmon Creek for more! I know I do! ...more
Toby Daye,fae changeling and Knight Errant is having a bad day. She is called to the knowe of Lily,an Undine that’s been there for Toby many times,and who she cares deeply about. Lily is ill,and no one knows why. Never mind that the Undine almost never get sick. Toby vows to find out what’s happening to Lily,but duty pulls at her from all sides,and while she is attending a ball at her liege,Sylvester’s court,another fae falls ill,but this time Toby thinks she knows who is behind it. Oleander,her old nemesis,has blown through,and Toby should know,since she can smell her rather unusual scent of oleander and sulfuric acid. Oh,how I hate Oleander. Evil has a name folks,and hers is it. The thought of Toby getting the chance to possibly wrap her hands around her neck certainly kept me turning the pages. Actually,I’m not sure who I hate more,Oleander,or Rayseline,Connor’s wife and Sylvester’s daughter. I think it’s pretty even. What follows is a race against time to find out what is causing Luna and Lilly’s illness,save their lives,and also thwart what seems to be a rather involved attempt to frame Toby and see her dead. She’ll need the help of all of her friends,and that’s one of the most enjoyable things about these books. I adore Toby,but the wonderful cast of characters that Ms. McGuire surrounds her with make the series an absolute joy. May,Toby’s Fetch,now lives with her,and is sort of the bright and colorful side of Toby,which,considering she’s the harbinger of Toby’s death,is always entertaining. Tybalt is also around quite a lot in this one,much to my delight. Tybalt,King of the Cats,is the ultimate bad boy,and he and Toby have always had a rather interesting relationship. Strong hitns that he may feel more than just friendship for Toby abound,and his gruff loyalty,not only to his cats,but to Toby,adds depth and meaning to an always (seemingly) tenuous relationship. Connor,Toby’s childhood love and Rayseline’s husband (for political reasons),is also always in the peripheral,and their chemistry is warm and sweet. Love triangle,anyone?
Seanan McGuire’s Faerie is a fascinating world that I never hesitate to return to. The characters are luminescent and leap off the page,and each faerie world has a life of its own. Court intrigue and machinations abound,loyalties are tested,and mad Faerie Queens and murdurous villians run amok. Toby is a strong,tough,heroine,with an unfailing sense of goodness,and Late Eclipses will reveal quite a few revelations about Toby’s past,and who she really is. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this one,and will probably be moving right along to One Salt Sea. This series is absolutely not to be missed!...more
Wild Magic by Ann Aguirre:Pearl, an uppercrust socialite in an age of steam and clockwork, discovers a door to Faery, and through a handsome fae named Pick, the secret of her own magic. Loved this one. (4)
Under Amber Skies by Maria V. Snyder-A young girl in wartime Poland discovers just what her father’s clockwork inventions are about, and the family secrets that may get her killed. (5)
The Vast Machinery of Dreams by Caitlin Kittredge:In the city of Lovecraft, where dark magic seethes and Elder Gods reign, a young writer falls in love with a beautiful girl that feeds on dreams…and may not be a girl at all…(4.5)
Tick, Tick, Boom by Keirsten White: Catherine, the daughter of an baron of industry has a penchant for building things that go boom. In her efforts to stop unfair labor practices, and those that further them (such as her father), she meets a man that makes her lips tingle, and will turn her world upside down. (5)
Rude Mechanicals by Lesley Livingston: Quintillius Farthing, a disillusioned thespian counting the minutes until his Uncle’s failing theatre closes, finally meets his perfect Juliet, a beautiful clockwork girl with copper filament hair and metallic skin. But will her Juliet be too realistic? (4)
The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe by Frewin Jones: A rather disturbing tale of an evil man that kidnaps a mermaid and takes her as his wife. When she dies in childbirth, he raises the girl, Silka, shackled in a cage, telling her stories of how he will seek his true love in the big city. Around the time of her 15th birthday, Silka eats her father, breaks out of her shackles, and goes off to see her true love. During her journey, she meets all manner of men with less then honorable intentions, so she eats them too. Then she meets a thief named Toby, who teaches her a better way to live. Like I said, rather disturbing, but also sweet and probably one of my favorites of the bunch. (5)
Deadwood by Michael Scott: It’s 1868, and the independent Martha Burke sets out to search for her brothers who have disappeared after seeing work in the mines. On an airship, she meets the charming JW. When their airship makes an unscheduled landing in Deadwood, it will take all of their wits to get them out of Deadwood. (4)
Code of Blood by Dru Pagliassotti: In 1815 Venezia, a young girl that commands air elementals will do anything to save her grandfather and her city. (3.5)
The Clockwork Corset by Adrienne Kress: 16 year old tomboy Imogen recognizes her growing affections for her childhood friend, but what will she do when he is called away to war? Why, join up, of course! (4)
The Airship Gemini by Jaclyn Dolamore: Siamese twins and freak show performers Faith and Patience, are once again performing on the Gemini airship. When a powerful magician offers to separate them, and uses the fate of their dearest friend as leverage, can they possibly refuse? (4)
King of the Greenlight City by Tessa Gratton: In the City of Light, a boy that can fly and a girl intended for another fall in love, but will it be their undoing? (3.5)
The Emperor's Man by Tiffany Trent: Corporal Reed, of the Imperial House Guard, is charged with keeping Princess Athena safe in the magic filled woods during the Hunt, and he will find out a truth about Athena that will change his life forever. This was a magic and wonder-filled story! (4)
Chickie Hill's Badass Ride by Dia Reeves: Welcome to 1961 Portero. Join Chickie Hill and Sue Jean for one hell of a ride. Time travel, otherworldy creatures, and as the title suggests, one badass ride are the order of the day for a town that sits just this side of normal. (5) ...more
This book was just plain fun! Shiarra Waynest is a human P.I. in a world of Others (vamps, weres, mages, you name it), who is asked by a very powerful mage to locate an ancient artifact. The problem is, this artifact might be in the hands of one of the most powerful vampires in the world. I really liked that Shia was human, and is understandably terrified at being in a situation that she feels is way beyond her expertise. It was a breezy read, and I was glad that most things wrapped up in the end, at the same time leaving plenty of material for the next book, especially regarding a certain very sexy vamp (and an equally sexy were)! I'm most definitely looking forward to Taken by the Others!...more
The Dead begins a year before The Enemy, when adults first begin getting sick, turning into zombies and devouring human flesh. The sickness strikes anyone 16 and older, and suddenly, the children must fend for themselves and fight for survival in a land ravaged by the dead and unspeakable danger. They will make their way to the city, and fight for their lives, and the lives of their friends, against horrible odds. And London is burning…
I loved The Enemy, and expected The Dead to be just as good. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, and was even more impressed by the fact that the author didn’t rehash the same story lines as the first. There’s a completely different cast of characters, with unique personalities and stories all their own. However, The Dead is really Jack and Ed’s story, above all others, and their friendship will not only give you hope, but break your heart. Ed is the popular boy, and life is has always been easy for him. He’s handsome, the girls like him, and he makes friends easily. Not so much for Jack. While not unhappy, Jack has a large birthmark on his face that makes him self-conscious and has a temper that gets away from him sometimes. Jack and Ed are the standouts in the story, but a great supporting cast rounds the story out wonderfully. There is plenty, and I mean plenty, of gore and zombie battles to please the die-hard zombie fan (blood! and pus! and bodily fluids, oh my!), and should also appeal to teen boys and reluctant readers, not to mention zombie lovin’ gals like me! The author really doesn’t let up! I ended up devouring this book in a day, and it’s a pretty hefty read at almost 480 pages! You won’t notice the length though, because you’ll want to follow these kids’ journey to the very end. Ultimately, zombies aside, it’s a novel about hope where there seems to be none, bravery in the face of blinding fear, and the lengths that friends will go to in order to protect each other. Well written, terrifying, and pulse pounding, The Dead is a zombie saga you won’t want to miss! ...more
After Deacon Sorcha Faris' husband and partner, Kolya, is gravely injured after a devastating geist battle, she is paired with young Deacon Merrick Chambers. They are sent by the Arch Abbott to the village of Ulrich, where a geist infestation is devastating the villagers. Along for the journey is pretender to the throne, Raed Rossin, who carries a dark secret that has the power to kill, or possibly save, them all.
Geist was more pure fantasy than I'm used to, however, Philippa Ballantine has made it extremely accessible to this reader, and I suspect the same for fans of urban fantasy. There's a bit of everything in Geist: ghosts (lots of ghosts), sword fights, plenty of magic slinging, pirates, possessed sea creatures, and delicious romance! Great world building and intriguing characters round out a rich, entertaining read! I'll be eagerly awaiting Spectyr, the next installment in the series!...more
4.5 stars 16 yr. old Hailey Tarbell lives with her Grandmother in the small town of Gypsum, Missouri.You may also read my review here: Banished Review
4.5 stars 16 yr. old Hailey Tarbell lives with her Grandmother in the small town of Gypsum, Missouri. She lives in a section dubbed Trashtown, and is considered even lower than the town’s poorest kids. Her grandmother deals drugs, and the people that come in and out of Hailey’s house are, well, unsavory, to say the least. Hailey looks forward to getting out of Gypsum, taking Chub, her 4 yr old charge, with her, and starting a life somewhere far away, when something happens that will change her life forever.
Hailey is one of the Banished, a group of people with very special powers, and she will soon learn the secret of her power, and her family, in Sophie Littlefield’s wonderful YA debut. I read Banished in one sitting, it was that good! Hailey’s world is gritty, violent and terrifying, but always there is a speck of hope, just waiting to be discovered, off in the distance. When Hailey’s Aunt Prairie comes to claim her, more secrets are revealed, and an even bigger threat is looming. Someone wants to use her power to a horrible end, and it’s a race against time to stop a plan that’s beyond evil. Hailey is a strong heroine, and I rooted for her from start to finish. Plenty of action will keep you glued to the pages, and hints of possible romance along with an intriguing mystery add depth to the story. Don’t miss the next book in the series, Unforsaken, due in October!...more