I’ve been thinking about starting Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for a while and after a couple of prompReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
I’ve been thinking about starting Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for a while and after a couple of prompts from some book blogging friends, decided to buy one as an audiobook. I actually wasn’t quite sure what was the first book in the series and have since found out that The Warlord Wants Forever is not the first book, but a later written prequel novella.
The story follows Myst, a Valkyrie who sets herself up as a bait against an evil vampire and lands herself in the dungeons just as another legion of vampires are invading. As the castle becomes conquered by Vampire General Nikolai, Myst becomes his captive.
With the help of her sisters, Myst escapes but leaves Nikolai with a condition that leaves him in a permanent state of arousal which only she can slake. For five years Nikolai hunts for her, mad with lust, until his finally tracks her down and takes her as his captive. Taking possession of a magical waist chain Nikolai can now force Myst to do whatever he commands.
Here’s the thing, if it wasn’t for that damn waist chain, I probably would have enjoyed this book. But its presence made me very uncomfortable. The control and arrogance with which Nikolai dominates Myst completely detracts from the love story. I found it hard to believe anyone can fall in love with a man who takes away her freedom of choice. Nikolai justifies it because he’s frightened Myst is going to leave him again, but by doing so it appeared to take away any balance between them.
That’s without commenting on the layer it added to the sex scenes. Nikolai could command Myst to orgasm, to pleasure herself, he even commanded when she should sleep, ugh it was just all a bit grim if I’m honest. Ok, Myst enjoyed herself and the scenes themselves were actually very sexy. But, and for me it was a huge BUT, it wasn’t rape, but the fact of the matter is, if Nikolai didn’t have the chain commanding her behaviour Myst would not have had sex with him. She might have got into it as chemistry over took her, but Nikolai took away her free will and the whole business made me very icky. Who on earth wants that from their relationship?
Of course, as you would expect, Nikolai discovers the error of his ways by the end of the novel and they get their big happy ever after. But I honestly found it hard to believe that a two thousand year old Valkyrie would fall in love with a man who treated her with such disrespect.
On the positive side, what I did enjoy from the book was the setting and premise. The Valkyries themselves were entertaining, I found I was intrigued by many of the characters introduced and their different back stories. They were funny and tough and contrary. Myst herself was quite a kooky character, with her fascination of shiny things and with nail polish. I liked the concept of good and bad vampires and the combination of supernatural, quite old fashioned beings, mixed into the modern world. Nikolai would have been an awesome, sexy, alpha hero if it wasn’t for his control issues. An ex-general notorious for his conquests in the past, a handsome legendary warrior. There’s really not much not to get your heart racing. The audiobook was well produced and had two narrators a man and women reading Myst and Nikolai’s respective parts which worked really well.
This could have been a really great, sexy book if it wasn’t for that damn waist chain. It just spoiled much enjoyment of the story for me. I have spoken to friends that are fans of the Immortals After Dark series an they have urged me not to let The Warlord Wants Forever put me off the rest of the series and that he rest of the books are much better. So I will be giving A Hunger Like No Other a go, I did like the concept of the book and setting so I can only hope things improve!
Savour the Moment is book number three in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet. The story follows baker and wedding cake makiReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Savour the Moment is book number three in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet. The story follows baker and wedding cake making extraordinaire Laurel McBane. Laurel’s past has been coloured by her father’s behaviour in childhood, which plummeted the family into poverty following problems with the IRS and nearly shattered her dreams at the same time. With the help of her friends she made her way through culinary school, to become a superb baker and a partner in their joint wedding business Vows.
The series is about four women who jointly run a premium and well renowned wedding business. So far we have had the stories of Mac the photographer and Emma the florist. Roberts has obviously done a lot of research into each of the areas she’s writing about and Laurel’s vocation is no exception. The storytelling around Laurel’s cake making is rich and detailed, but I found it interesting and not overdone. As with previous book I did find her acronyms hard to keep up with, we had MOB (mother of the bride), BOB (brother of the bride), MOH (maid of honour), you can see where this is going and sometimes it got so confusing as I was mentally trying to keep track of what each meant.
Laurel’s love interest was Del, brother to Parker the wedding planner of the group, her best friend and subject of book number four Happy Ever After. Del is a lawyer with a very wealthy upbringing and very connected. But he’s not a lawyer in a slimy way, he’s caring, debonair and a gentleman. But his wealth and upbringing do make him leagues apart in some ways from Laurel. Which does end up being quite an issue for Laurel to overcome. With the emotions of her past and it’s poverty she’s desperate not to seem a money grabber and pay her own way.
I found the way they approached their relationship slightly oddly pragmatic. It was quite similar to the approach Jack and Emma took in Bed of Roses, they were both obviously trying not to damage the friendships the group shared but it was all so sensible. They kind of agreed to see how it goes and definitely no sex for a certain period of time. I was at least relived that Laurel caved in with some spontaneity. This is meant to be crazy, sexy true love after all, not a contractual agreement.
As with the previous two books in the series, I very much enjoyed reading about the friendships the group shared, but particularly the four women that form the quartet. Each book has made me want to sign up and join their business and be part of their group. Of the four, Laurel is a fun character all funky and prickly and while Parker is the tough cookie, Laurel is the spitfire.
I think this book suffered a little but from middle book syndrome, it was slightly slowing going in parts. It was still a good, solid story, but lacked just a teeny bit of sparkle, it did still deliver the lovely happy endings in a bottle that we all rely on Roberts for.
A good, solid contemporary romance. I have enjoyed this series, with its themes of sisterhood and friendship. Laurel herself was spunky and fun and Del made for a good hero. I still think Mac and Carter’s story in Vision in White was the best, but I did still enjoy submersing myself back in the Vows’ wedding world.
Bed of Roses is book two in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet, following four best friends who run a wedding planning busiReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Bed of Roses is book two in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet, following four best friends who run a wedding planning business. Book two is Emma’s story, the florist of the group. Emma’s a very different lead to Mac in the previous installment. She is light, fun, sexy and romantic and I found I liked her very much. She is my kind of girl, warm and kind-hearted. She likes to date, but she’s completely waiting for her knight in shining armour to woo her.
Our hero is Jack, one of the quartet’s best male friends and a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy. Emma has also had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. Perhaps not such a great combination, but the couple agree to see where things take them. You can all predict where this story goes, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not an enjoyable ride.
Just as Vision in White, Bed of Roses is about female ties and strong friendships. All four women live in a giant house together that they use for their wedding business and I quite fancied packing up and moving in with them. And it’s these friendships and the community around the women that is my favourite part of the books. Their genuine love and warmth for one another and how each of their lives interconnect.
As always, Roberts delivers a cosy, traditional romance. As I thought with Vision in White, I still think her paranormal or suspense romances are more thrilling, I felt like I was waiting for an earth shattering moment that didn’t occur. I could of at least had a car crash or a pregnancy scare, but no, this is a gentle story, quite simply about love and friendships.
I enjoyed this book, I don’t know if I would say I loved it. In many ways I felt like it was a flip on Vision In White, instead of Mac, the girl being the commitment phobe, it was the man – Jack. It was less intense as Emma had a lovely family, rather than a b*tch mother. But there was also a scene where all of Emma’s friends intervened and banned Jack from the house, without even telling Emma that he had visited because they thought it was for the best, that got my back up a little. Friends are there to be there for you, not make decisions for you. But at the same time this intervention did very much stick with the theme of girlfriends doing anything for one another, even if it was a bit misguided.
I do however plan to continue with the series as I find I want to see each of the girls get their happily ever afters. I’m particularly looking forward to Parker’s story, the super-efficient, unruffable wedding planner. I hope there’s plenty of ruffling! Sadly I have to wait until book four!
If you’re looking for a warm, gentle romance this series is probably perfect for you. It’s not my favourite of Nora Roberts’ books, but it was well written, with strong themes of friendship, centred around four great women. Jack and Emma made for a lovely couple and it’s always good to see a man humbled and come to his senses!
I am fast becoming a rather big fan of Kristin Cashore’s writing. You could be forgiven for thinking that book two iReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
I am fast becoming a rather big fan of Kristin Cashore’s writing. You could be forgiven for thinking that book two in her Graceling Kingdom series would have the same world building we’ve already seen in Graceling. But, Cashore has cleverly crafted an additional rich and exotic world layered onto the clever landscape she has already depicted. I think it’s also fair to say if you really don’t need to have read Graceling to pick this book up. They could both quite happily be viewed as two separate stand-alone stories. I actually kind of wish there was more overlap, perhaps we will see this in Bitter Blue, the third book in the series.
Fire, our heroine lives in the Dells and she is the only living human monster. Monsters are vividly coloured, compelling and utterly beautiful version of normal animals, with mind control abilities. Think magenta horses, turquoise and gold tabby cats or bright green raptors.
Fire is a monster woman with red, gold and magenta hair, she hates that she’s stunningly beautiful, that some people lose their minds when they see her, wanting to possess her, to marry her, or there are those that would just prefer to kill her. She hates that she can control people with her mind, and every time she goes out she has to have a guard as animal monsters simply want to eat her. Or perhaps even worse than all of this, is the dark and cruel legacy her monster father has left before her.
This book truly vivid setting that completely draws you in. The world building is complex, rich and engaging. Even now, there is one scene where Fire rides out on her horse to save a group of soldiers and I can see it in my mind’s eye with almost cinematic quality.
The prologue actually began with Leck, a prequel to the cruel and evil King we meet in Graceling, and I found myself a little disappointed at first. Thinking to myself, we’ve met this baddie, we’re done with this baddie, I want a new one! But in actually first, as soon as I was over my initial irritation, once again Leck does most effectively wear his wicked crown. Thankfully, Fire also delivers with it plenty of additional villains to keep you entertained.
If I’m honest, I think I preferred Katsa from Graceling as a heroine, and I found I couldn’t help comparing them. But Fire did really grow on me, her sense of right and wrong, her repeated self-sacrifice, and the affection she feels for those she calls friends, even when those friends are not always kind to her demonstrated her a real strength of character. She became a solid heroine in her own right.
In addition, Cashore has created a rich array of characters, each so completely three-dimensional their flaws as important as their nicer qualities. For example, Archer, Fire’s best friend is one of these, he is noble, brave and full of love, but at the same time grumpy and impetuous. It’s also interesting to watch how Fire’s mesmerising beauty and mind control abilities play into these relationships. Where does the line between love and infatuation lie?
The love story was a real slow burner, and I mean real slow burner, have patience until the very end kind of one. But I think it would be hard for anyone not to fall for the brave, dedicated, honourable general that is Brigan. By the end I found I did want to see more of the two of them together, and that their scenes were just a touch too short for my satisfaction.
Technically, as Fire is 17, this is probably viewed as a YA novel. But as the rest of the characters were in their early 20s, and each had such huge responsibilities – a King, a general, warriors, a military strategist, the King’s sister responsible for running the kingdom, I think it’s fair to say that this is definitely on the older side of YA and not really a problem for me who generally steers clear of them.
Another great book from Cashore and for audiobook fans, also a well narrated story. I think I loved Graceling slightly more, but I think this is more to do with Katsa being awesome rather than due to any deficiency in Fire. I would recommend fantasy fans most definitely add this series to your reading list if you haven’t already.
OMG! Mr. Brett how could you leave us with an ending like that?! Argh! A whole year I've got to wait to find out what happens too, a whole year! I can't take it! BUT..... Despite the truly evil cliffhanger (and you all know just how much I hate them, if you don't then read here), the fact Renna drove me round the twist, clearly Arlen and Leesha are incapable of making any decent decisions in their love lives and the characters do far too much spitting for my liking, I'm still giving this book a MASSIVE five stars. Quite simply because Brett is an amazing storyteller. This series is what epic fantasy is all about. It's phenomenal. There were passages where I literally found myself with goosebumps on my arms.
Ok, so let's rewind. The Daylight War is book three in Brett's Demon Cycle series set in a world where at night, demons rise from the core and kill and eat people. Their only protection is wards which people paint on their homes and pray they don't fail. Legend decrees that one day there will come 'The Deliverer' a man who will help humans fight and defeat the demons.
By book three we have two contenders for the title of Deliverer, the humble Arlen Bales, and Ahmann Jardir, ruler of the Krasians. By now, mortal enemies after Jardir's brutal betrayal of Arlen in The Painted Man. The stories are as much about the characters surrounding Arlen and Jardir as they are about Arlen and Jardir themselves and the journey's each of them make.
As we saw in The Desert Spear, Brett takes characters you thought you hated and cleverly sets about changing your mind. The first part of the story is told from Inevera, Jardir's ruthless and manipulative first wife's point of view. She's like a Middle Eastern Lady Macbeth. I was never a fan, but the telling of her childhood and her journey to become the woman she is now was intriguing, painful and cleverly woven. I saw Inevera in a totally different light. I might not like her, but I found myself begin to empathise with her and respect her. This is part of Brett's talent, he makes you engage with the villains until you're not really sure if they're villains at all.
Then, as the lives of the different characters begin to overlap more and more, we have an interesting development for violinist and jaungler Rojer. Inevitably we see more of his musical talent, but most importantly there is a very surprising romantic development for him. I thought it was honestly going to be disaster, but it ended up being funny, romantic and one of my favourite parts of the book. The ins and outs of the relationship was quite humorous, fascinating and tender.
The main focus of the story is preparing for the new moon and the epic battle we all know is coming. We watch as the characters prepare for the rise of the mind demons, demons who can only walk the earth for three days a month when the moon is at its darkest. Terribly powerful and clever demons who are determined to crush the resistance that Arlen and Jardir have started. The systematic countdown in the narrative until these epic battles adds drama and tension to the narrative.
When the fight scenes do inevitably arrive they are chilling and compelling. I found the scenes in The Hollow with Arlen much more sinister than with Jardir. But both were great. For the Hollow scenes, they literally had me on the edge of my seat and visually I could see every moment clearly, the fear of the Hollowers is palpable with the unrolling horror. It had a cinematic quality to it.
As I inferred in my first paragraph, I did have some issues with this book and first and foremost this has to be with Renna. Good God that woman is annoying, what on earth does Arlen see in her? She is stroppy, undisciplined, rude and spoilt. I spent most of the scenes hoping she would find herself killed by the demons she liked killing a little too much. And if I never hear her saying I love you Arlen Bales again it would be too soon. Plus who refers to their partner with their surname like that? I do hope she reaches a painful demise.
Then there is Leesha. That woman has no taste in men whatsoever. Goodness me she went from one car crash to another. As in The Desert Spear I found myself completely frustrated with her choices and some of them seemed so impulsive and not like the careful and strategic thinker she is in normal day to day life. At the same time my heart did ache for her and she is far from naive about the position she's in, I also found the scenes when she realises Arlen and Renna are betrothed genuinely sad.
Despite me being frustrated with these characters and their choices, oh and the spitting, did I mention the spitting? Ugh, gross habit, which all of these characters seemed to do a lot more regularly to show their displeasure or insult another. Yuk! Anyway, despite these irritations, I could still appreciate that just because the characters weren't behaving the way I wanted them to, that this was still great writing. Layers and layers of it cleverly woven together as Arlen and Jardir's stories and battles become unravelled piece by piece. As a reader I could appreciate that I might not like the way the story was going and the choices the characters made on occasion, but I also understood it was going that way for a reason.
Of course, there is the scene we have all desperately been waiting for. That moment when Arlen and Jardir finally meet once more. When Jardir realises that Arlen is still alive and the ultimate battle of who is the true Deliverer really begins. If you want to know, I'm afraid you're going to have to read it yourself ;-).
I could write so much in this review, there are characters I haven't even got around to mentioning - Abben, the Dama'tings, the Hollowers, the relationships between all of the characters are richly portrayed and three dimensional. Quite frankly, this book is fantastic.
I will add a small footnote to this review as this was an audiobook, that The Daylight War has a new narrator, he was good, but not quite as good as Peter Joyce, I'm not sure why they changed him?
A truly superb book that fantasy fans everywhere should read. I have seen Brett compared to George R. R. Martin, I haven't read the Game of Thrones books, so I can't comment, although the TV show is awesome. What I do know is that this book gave me genuine goosebumps, his character portrayals are excellent, his plotting immensely clever and battle scenes epic. I did debate marking the book down from 5 stars because there were a few irritations, and of course that hideous cliffhanger. But how can you markdown goosebumps?
The thing about Nora Roberts is that she knows how to write about happy endings. Delicious, chocolatey, gooey happinReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
The thing about Nora Roberts is that she knows how to write about happy endings. Delicious, chocolatey, gooey happiness and contentment. I’ve read a lot of her books and sometimes they perfectly match my mood and give me a much needed moment of escapism.
VISION IN WHITE is the first book in her Bride Quartet series, following four best friends who have set up a wedding planning business. I’d seen many good reviews, so bought it as an audiobook.
The storytelling was immediately easy to sink into, even if the narrator’s accent took me a little while to adjust. Our heroine Mac, is a wedding photographer and a commitment phobe. With a wreck, serial monogamist and manipulative b*tch of a mother, the reason becomes quickly clear. Enter slightly geekish, English teacher Carter and you’ve got an unusual match and the beginnings of a lovely romance.
The banter between Mac and Carter is great. Carter is slightly bumbling, which just makes him cute. Alpha male lovers might want to look away here! Mac is direct, assertive and creative, with a rather marvelous shoe shopping skill. The backdrop of her photography work was interesting too. Giving a deeper insight into her character as you watched the way she treated her customers, and you could see the creative picture Roberts drew in these scenes.
The relationship between Mac and her three friends who run a wedding planning business together is refreshing, I loved the theme of sisterhood and friendship in the book, which was as important as the love story itself. Roberts has a real talent for writing characters, while she was obviously setting up stories for the remaining three books in the quartet, I felt as if I got to know the other three women and their journeys and look forward to picking up their books.
VISION IN WHITE is a simple story, there is no magic, no mystery, nothing but romance and wedding planning. And I have to admit I missed this, the second half of the story seemed a little slow and I felt like the story missed a climax, a pivotal life and death moment. I felt like I was waiting for it, only to be a little surprised to discover I’d reached the end. It’s not that every book I read has to have as supernatural element, but I felt like the story need a bit more of a kick to finish it.
A lovely, gentle romance with a gooey, warm, happy ending that is guaranteed to make you smile. While the ending added that extra something, I very much enjoyed Mac and Carter’s story and will be definitely be reading the rest of the quartet. There is a reason why Roberts remains such a phenomenally successful author, because she knows how to write books you love to read and characters you could imagine yourself being friends with.
The DEVIL OF THE HIGHLANDS is a fun, laugh-out-loud, historical romp. I’ve come across Lynsay Sands books before witReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
The DEVIL OF THE HIGHLANDS is a fun, laugh-out-loud, historical romp. I’ve come across Lynsay Sands books before with her paranormal romance Argeneau series. So decided to give this audiobook a whirl.
It’s a light read, perfect for by the pool or a sunny afternoon in the garden. Evelinde our heroine is a calamity, or very unlucky, or both. Cursed with an evil stepmother, who arranges her marriage to ‘The Devil of Donnachaidh’. The name says it all does it not? She is in despair over her upcoming nuptials. Of course we know this is a romance and we know all will end well, but the misunderstanding does give us a hilarious opening.
Throughout the book Evelinde seems to find herself in the most bizarre and funny situations. I chortled away at each one and eagerly awaited the next. Cullen has everything a tall, dark and brooding hero requires. Including a distinct inability to communicate. At first his bellows of ‘wife!’ whenever Evelinde did something wrong irritated me, but by the end this soon turned to amusement when she started responding with ‘husband!‘ in equal tones.
The romance is accompanied by a murder mystery, with the two previous lairds and Cullen’s previous wife having died during suspicious accidents. When Evelinde finds herself the victim of a few near accidents herself, she sets about to discover who the murderer is. I had my suspicions as the plot developed, but it kept us all on a merry dance right until the very end. I do like it when I can’t guess the culprit myself and the mystery had plenty of twists and turns.
The writing itself was a bit flawed. Yes it’s most definitely funny and the murder mystery was well written, but there were errors such as Evelinde responding to questions with ‘aye’, when she was English and not Scottish that niggled a little. The narrator also read the story in a Scottish accent although she was clearly not Scottish herself. I got used to it in the end, but each time I turned it on it bugged me for the first ten minutes or so. The accent wasn’t bad, but at the same time it wasn’t right either.
A funny historical romance perfect for those days when you want a story to cheer you up and give you something to escape in. This is the first in a trilogy and I am very tempted to pick up the next one, as the book has a funny ensemble of supporting characters and I would quite like to see some of the others get their happy ending too.
I’m not really a huge fan of the ‘chick-lit’ genre. Having fallen out of love with the ‘my life is a disaster, I weaReviewed for www.bookchickicty.com
I’m not really a huge fan of the ‘chick-lit’ genre. Having fallen out of love with the ‘my life is a disaster, I wear giant pants and have an awful love-life’ theme. I did however, used to really love them. And while I no longer read them, Sophie Kinsella has always been an exception to this rule. Because her books are just so immensely funny. TWENTIES GIRL has an added bonus for me, in that it also has a supernatural twist.
The book itself didn’t get off to a great start. It was slow going and took me a while to get into it. Lara, our heroine also looked to have all the facets that I find irritating. She’s lying, she’s crying over her ex, her job is a disaster, and then when the lying extends to a ridiculous situation with the police I started to cringe.
But, I hadn’t yet prepared myself for the effect of Lara’s 105 year old, great aunt Sadie. We first meet Sadie at her funeral. She returns in ghost form on the hunt for a beloved, missing necklace. Much to Lara’s dismay, who seems to be the only one that can see her. But she doesn’t return as a wrinkled, 105 year old woman. Oh no, she returns as a 23 year old, in all her twenties, flapper girl finest. And this is where the book takes off.
The banter between Lara and Sadie is absolutely hilarious. Quite frankly, Sadie is outrageous, from her ability to force people to do anything she wants them to, to her wild demands and whirlwind impact on Lara’s life. One scene where she gets Lara to go on a date wearing exactly what she wants, in full twenties costume, and repeating everything she says, is so funny I descended into full on, loud, belly-laughs.
I did struggle with Lara at times, but she had very much grown on me by the end of the novel. The plot with her ex-boyfriend however, was very irritating and needed wrapping up much more quickly than it did, and elicited more than a few sighs of frustration from me. But the eventual love story was delicious and well worth the wait.
I think that listening to this book as an audiobook enhanced my enjoyment of the story. The narrator really ‘got’ Sadie and the accent and intonation she created for her seemed to make things so much funnier.
The end of the book also delivers are rather lovely and unexpected mystery, which I really enjoyed. I knew the missing necklace would have some greater importance, but I would have no way guessed what. The setting was in London, which is always nice for me to sink into, as a woman who reads genres that are written by mainly American writers, I do love a fabulous British backdrop. The ending was just lovely… funny, romantic and heart warming all at once.
While TWENTIES GIRL does have a bit of a poor beginning, I would urge you to bear with it, it’s a hugely entertaining, laugh-out-loud, romantic comedy with a ghostly sidekick. Or perhaps a ghostly heroine, depending on how you want to look at it. Kinsella knows how to write comedy, and write it really well. The only books of hers I haven’t picked up are her Shopaholic books, and I’m thinking I really must as I love all of her other novels. This is a great, light, funny read I would definitely recommend.
Atticus and Oberon are back with aplomb. I do think that Oberon is one of the best urban fantasy sidekicks out thereReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Atticus and Oberon are back with aplomb. I do think that Oberon is one of the best urban fantasy sidekicks out there! I just love the relationship between him and Atticus and the way they can speak mind to mind. This time it's not Celtic Gods picking fights with Atticus, it's witches, and we all know how much Atticus likes witches! (if you haven't read the first book, a lot trust me! )
There are some super evil German witches for Atticus to contend with this time. Which requires him calling in some reinforcements in the shape of lawyer vampire Leif and Indian witch Lakasha.
Once again Hearne delivers some absolutely cracking one liners that will leave you chuckling away. If they're not from Atticus or the aforementioned superb Oberon, they are probably from Atticus's delightful old lady widow neighbour. And Atticus trying to modernise Leif's speech caused more than a few chortles.
Atticus now has Granuaille as his apprentice, which adds a new dynamic to the Atticus and Oberon mix. I do like Granuaille, but I wished Hearne had done some more with her in this book. I feel like she's become a bit of sex object, although there is perhaps potential for romance later on in the series, I think she could have been developed so much further.
Atticus just works for me as a hero, I love how genuinely clever he is and that it is often his intelligence that gets him out of trouble rather than sheer luck or brawn. Don't get me wrong he can wield a sword big time when he needs to, but he is a fast, strategic thinker. Although he does seem to have some rather strange sexual encounters.
This book is a fun romp that mixes humour, action and brilliant characters that are drawn so well they are almost living and breathing. The grand finale did not have the same pizzaz as it did in 'Hounded'. There is a good fight and plenty of drama, but it didn't seem to grab me as much. I think to a certain extent it is setting up elements of the story in preparation for the next book. But, that certainly doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, 'Hexed' still has the un-put-downable quality of 'Hounded' and at times I even think it was funnier.
This series works really well as an audiobook, helped by one of my favourite audiobook narrators Luke Daniels. It really is very well produced and executed, a good series to try if you've not given listened to an audiobook before.
'Hexed' does not have quite the same spark as 'Hounded', but it is still filled with Hearne's excellent and witty characters and is now on my auto-buy list. And I'm already excited about 'Hammered', Atticus versus Thor... Bring. It. On! ;-)
'How To Marry A Millionaire Vampire' is quite a mixed book. On one haReviewed for Book Chick City's Audio Book Sunday Feature
(6 out of 10 on the blog)
'How To Marry A Millionaire Vampire' is quite a mixed book. On one hand there are some very funny scenes that had me chuckling away, even if at times it border-lined on the silly. It is also compromised of some fantastic characters. Aside from our two main characters, you have a security team made up of highlander (yes all in kilts), vampires. Gregori, Roman's head of marketing and his mother to name just a few. And Sparks characterisation itself is great. But there were also quite a few things wrong with it for me.
The story is around dentist Shanna Whelan who is in the Witness Protection Programme on the run from the Russian Mafia. Shanna also has a phobia of blood. Vampire Roman had a bit of an 'accident' biting something he should have (I won't spoil it for you as it's quite funny), and needs a dentist asap before he heals fangless.
Roman happens to turn up at Shanna's surgery just in time to rescue her from a mob hit and saves her life. Then discovers a big problem, he can't use mind control on her. So with her life on the line and the threat of being a one-fanged vampire, Roman takes her under his protection.
The vampire world Sparks has created his hilarious, from vampire cuisine blood, vampire tv, the fact that all vampires are not suave, brave and gorgeous, but geeky, scared, and as flawed as humans. It's a comedy as much as it's a romance. Roman is a great character, the handsome, wounded vampire genius. And Shanna is gutsy and brave, if a touch annoying at times.
But there were things that did not work for me. Firstly, the author does seem to have a fascination with the phrase 'God's Blood'. At one stage I decided to try and count how many times it was used is one chapter, and then quite frankly gave up. It's almost every paragraph and I did get to the stage that it seriously, seriously irritated me.
Another part of the plot I really disliked, was the concept of vampire mind sex. I've mentioned before how I particularly dislike the consummation of a relationship via a dream sequence, but this seemed even worse. The ability to have sex with multiple partners all at the same time, was a bit grim really. There was a course a scene of vampire mind sex between Shanna and Roman, and one stage he had about ten pairs of hands on her in intimate places, which came across as a bit creepy rather than sexy. Also, don't get me started on Roman's harem (yes he had one)...
The plot itself is a bit of a jumble and seemed to dot all over the place, and branch off into all sorts of different areas, trying to fit in too many things for one novel. Almost as though the author had too many ideas and perhaps should have kept some back for the next book. The audiobook was narrated by Suzanne Cypress, who was a great narrator. Creating different tones, voices and even convincing Scottish accents for each of the characters.
'How To Marry A Millionaire Vampire' is the first book in an eleven book series, so I can only imagine that the author's writing gets tighter and these issues get smoothed out. It certainly has a lot of potential as a series, Sparks' characterisation and humour really do make this book, and despite the few flaws it's an amusing and entertaining read. ...more
I have to begin this review by stating just how much I loved this booReviewed for Book Chick City's Audio Book Sunday Feature
(9 out of 10 on the blog)
I have to begin this review by stating just how much I loved this book! I think it could very well be my favourite urban fantasy of the year so far. It's strange I tend to often stick to female lead characters in my books, but after reading 'Hounded' I think that's probably very shortsighted of me.
Atticus is a Druid, don't be fooled be his youthful appearance. He's not in fact 21, but 2100 years old. But Atticus hasn't survived this long by being the toughest and baddest around, no Atticus has lived this long by being very, very clever.
Unfortunately Atticus has also upset an ancient celtic God and been on the run from him for most of this time too, hiding a very powerful and dangerous sword from him. And it looks like Atticus's time may just about be up.
This book is so well written, it's pacy, imaginative, but best of all it's packed full of fantastic dry wit. Sometimes the wit is quite subtle and it sneakily catches up on you, causing a belated chortle. In fact overall this book is absolutely hilarious. It's shame I listened to it as an audio books otherwise I could quote some stunning one-liners to you.
Atticus is a great hero, while he is powerful, it was his cunning and intelligence that really made me like him, as he manoeuvred through situations through brain not brawn. But equally important is just how cool he is, the kind of coolness that comes about without that person even trying.
I also have to mention Atticus's awesome sidekick, Oberon the Irish Wolfhound. Who can communicate with Atticus mind to mind, which is handy as he can share with Atticus his obsession with French poodles and his dream of becoming like Genghis Khan. His latest hero of choice. And of course I mustn't forget the sausages!
Humour aside there also some superb action scenes, sword fights ahoy! Showing while he can be clever, Atticus can also kick some serious butt when required. The characters of this book are well thought out, mixing Irish myth into the story. As well as Irish Gods, you've got werewolves, vampires and witches. Plenty of supernatural species to keep you busy.
The narrator of this book was Luke Daniels, I've listened to a couple of books narrated by him and he is fast becoming one of my favourite audio narrators. He totally sucks you into the story and grasps the essence of the character he is portraying. Making this a really entertaining audiobook.
Quite frankly I defy you not to like 'Hounded'. It is without a doubt being added to my favourite urban fantasy book list. And I shall be purchasing the subsequent instalments very, very soon. If you love urban fantasy, it's a must-read.
I'm not usua**spoiler alert** Reviewed for Book Chick City's Audio Book Sunday Feature
(1 out of 10 on the blog)
*Warning this review contains spoilers*
I'm not usually one for sweeping statements, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to go with it here. This has to be on the list as one of the worst contemporary romances I've read. I will put a caveat and say that some people on Goodreads have given it 4 or 5 stars so this is my personal opinion, but it was sheer grit and determination that I persevered until the end. I've read a few Diana Palmer books before and I've found them a fun and cosy.
This is the story of FBI agent Kilraven and sweet and quiet dispatcher Winnie. Winnie has had a soft spot for Kilraven for a long time, but having lost his wife and daughter in a shoot out relating to a crime he was investigating, Kilraven does not want to settle down again.
My biggest problem with this novel is that the plot was both confusing and had a lot of holes in it. The murder mystery element of the story gets incredibly confusing. There are lots of characters and sub plots running which makes it very hard to keep track. I ended up getting a little lost as to who was who, and who was a suspect.
Then there were the general plot holes. For example, I found it quite remarkable after in the early chapters Winnie comments on how much she and her estranged mother look alike, so much so that her father used to beat her for it. Then when it turns out that Kilraven has been friends and worked with her mother in the FBI for years, he is stunned to find out she is Winnie's mother. Additionally, Kilraven's brother, also in the FBI, is in charge of the investigation into her wife and daughter's murder. What about personal interest? And there are lots of incidents like this, that just do not add up.
While this book was a contemporary romance, the story would have been much better suited as a historical. Firstly, let's take the reason Kilraven and Winnie 'have' to get married. During the course of the investigation, they will be staying alone in Winnie's family home in the Carribbean. As Winnie is a virgin, Kilraven does not want to sully her reputation by staying with her. So his solution to this problem is to marry her. Of course he then adds that they can then have have a dirty weekend together and then he can just divorce her afterwards! Despite knowing that Winnie has the total hots for him too. Despite my moral objection to Kilraven's view of using and discarding Winnie. Do people really think about women's reputations like this anymore?
Then, while discussing his problems with ex-wife, Kilraven's expresses how upset he was that his wife wasn't a virgin on their wedding night. I can take the fact that in a romance that more often that not the heroine is a virgin is this is part of the formula, and actually I usually find it quite sweet. But, let's face it this is the 21st century and the author needs to treat her readers like modern women.
In terms of the characters, I found Winnie sweet and I very much liked her, but I actually ended up entirely disliking Kilraven, finding him to be a cold and selfish person. Putting aside the implausible reason as to why they had to get married. The very reason he thought it would be acceptable is pretty ghastly. Then let's look at the sex scene itself. Kilraven ends up hurting Winnie so much during their consummation that she cries all the way through it. But this is ok because he hasn't had sex for seven years and couldn't help himself and you know, he made up for it afterwards! Ugh, at this point I did actually shout at my iPod.
The narrator to the audiobook was male. I'm not sure how I feel about male narrators to romance books, or whether I just did not engage with this narrator. But he certainly didn't help with my overall problems with the book. The falsetto voice he used for the female characters was very odd.
I do hate giving negative reviews to books as I am conscious that this is someone's livelihood. But I'm afraid my advice here would be to save your money....more
In 'The Spirit Thief', Aaron has created a clever world where every thing in the world hasReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com (7 out of 10 on the blog)
In 'The Spirit Thief', Aaron has created a clever world where every thing in the world has a soul. Be it the wind or a singular piece of wood. Every item has a soul and a will of their own. Which is where wizards come in. Wizards or spiritualists can talk to the spirits, a good wizard treats spirits with respect and takes spirits into their service via a contract. A bad wizard takes away a spirit's will and forces them into servitude.
The story is of two main characters. The cheeky and wildly charismatic Eli, who also happens to be a wanted thief and Miranda the spiritualist charged with tracking him down and apprehending him.
Both characters are polar opposites, with Miranda being a total stickler for the rules and Eli very much enjoying flaunting them to see just how much he can get away with. Eli is such a fab character he's witty, cheeky and clever and despite the fact he is a notorious thief and a bit of a rogue, I loved that intrinsically he was still a good person.
Eli is like that friend of yours who despite the fact is always up to mischief and drives you a bit crackers, yet you still can't help but like him. His mission is to increase the bounty on his head to a million gold coins and he glories in his notoriety. So what better way to increase this than to kidnap a King and hold him to ransom? Eli's madcap plans are just hilarious and I couldn't help but delight in that fact that he charmed himself through most of them too.
However, I really liked Miranda also, disciplined, honourable and determined. It's her essential goodness that makes her who she is, and the banter between her and Eli never fails to amuse. Of course, when the real baddie comes into play you know the inevitable has to happen and they're just going to have to team up for the greater good.
We never really get to the bottom of what drives Eli, why he is so obsessed with increasing the bounty in his head and I think we'll have to wait for subsequent books in the series to really understand him.
The sidekicks in the book are also an interesting combination. Eli has Josef the expert swordsman and Nico a young girl with a demonseed inside of her and Miranda has a ghost-hound, a giant dog who can jump buildings and run faster than a horse is the best way I can describe him. All great characters in their own right. I found I wanted to learn more about them, particularly Josef and Nico.
A part of me was hoping for a sneaky, unorthodox love story between Eli and Miranda. But in retrospect I can see now that it wouldn't have fitted in with the overall tone of the book. I think I'm just too much of a romantic at heart!
The book is narrated by Luke Daniels, who I've mentioned before in my reviews as one of my favourite narrators. He always manages to get the tone of the book and the voices for the characters in such a way you can fully imagine them.
This book isn't really gritty or dark, it's more of a light, fun adventure story. But it's well written with great characters. I also think it would appeal to YA fans....more