When I think about Archangel’s Shadows, I can’t help but let out a happy sigh. Janvier and AshwThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
When I think about Archangel’s Shadows, I can’t help but let out a happy sigh. Janvier and Ashwini’s story was just what I needed from these two. Insight into Ash’s hardened edge. The unyielding support of Janvier. A nice dose of Cajun romance amid the snowy landscape of New York.
One of the reasons I love Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series so much is it brings together my favorite genre elements. I’m an urban fantasy girl. I like mystery and action and heroines taking charge. But, if you read this blog with any frequency, you know I also like a heavy dose of the sweet-and-sexy moments. The Guild Hunter series marries these two elements beautifully. We get to see Ash and Janvier on missions, saving lives, trying to track down a murderer, and when they’re in public they are fierce.
…but alone? It gets hot and steamy and Ash is kind of overwhelmed by it. Touch is such a tricky thing for her, but it’s a non-issue with Janvier. And does that man know how to touch. And bite. (Sexy vampire bite scene included in Archangel’s Shadows, you heard it here first!) Their romance is sweet and supportive and selfless. I really couldn’t get enough of them.
Personally, I like when Singh steps away from Elena and Raphael (as much as I love them) to give us new couples finding their mates—and getting better footing on who they are. It’s probably part of why I loved Archangel’s Blade, too. However, this story gives us more glimpses of the other couples. We get time with the other couples and plenty of teases about who might be next. I know you’re all shouting “Bluebell!” right now, but I found myself very curious about Naasir by the end of Archangel’s Shadows, which kind of shocked me. He says something about relationships and their secrets that is beautiful and intriguing and makes me wonder what’s in store for him a few books down the road.
In the meantime, Archangel’s Shadows delivers. High-stakes mystery, insight into both the Tower and Guild side of things, and make-you-weak-in-the-knees romance merge to make one indulgent read.
Silver Shadows is the darkest book in the Bloodlines series to date. It’s also the best. RichelThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Silver Shadows is the darkest book in the Bloodlines series to date. It’s also the best. Richelle Mead has deftly woven painful, deep scenes with breaths of warmth, light and hope.
Longtime fans of Mead’s work will know she tends to go for the gut punch and the tears on the emotional roller coaster. I’ve never been one to really complain about that. However, the balance of light and dark in this novel is, simply, better. Part of that comes from the shift of this series to dual points of view. Adrian, who so long has been besieged by his own demons and the depression brought on by his spirit use, becomes a point of light this time. His chapters are the scenes that let us breathe in this book, and even when he makes mistakes he’s nothing short of a source of hope.
The ending of The Fiery Heart was wicked. If you thought we would escape seeing Sydney in re-education camp, you’d be wrong. She’s in solitary confinement when the novel begins, and her torture—both mental and physical—continues for chapters and chapters. It’s heavy, and painful, but her love for Adrian keeps her whole. She is strong and has become a character you can’t help but admire. She’s grown so much over the last five novels, and you’ll want to rally behind her as she does her best for others even in the midst of Hell.
Adrian has his own struggles, but his top goal is saving Sydney. I didn’t think I could be more in love with Adrian Ivashkov, but Silver Shadows did it. It doesn’t matter that this novel has scenes of torture; it’s a romance through and through. The power of love is a big deal here. It helps us grounded and centered and provides the hope that we can survive.
I “one more chapter”-ed the last 150 pages of this novel. You will, too.
Larissa Ione brings the slow burn in Chained by Night, and I loved it. While her Demonica boThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Larissa Ione brings the slow burn in Chained by Night, and I loved it. While her Demonica books often get dirty quickly, the MoonBound novels are definitely taking on a different romantic tone. And it works.
Much like the first book, we have some category tropes at play. In the case of Chained by Night, it’s a case of mistaken identity alongside an arranged marriage. If you read much historical romance, you may find some interesting choices here. Thanks to the contemporary setting and, you know, vampires, though we don’t have to deal with as much of the impropriety issues there.
Hunter is the leader of the MoonBound Clan of vampires. In order to save two of his own (in the previous novel), he’s agreed to marry the daughter of a rival clan’s leader. Rasha is far from his type. She’s cruel and has beliefs that are the complete opposite of his own. (She’s a big fan of subjugating the weak, for example.) Her twin sister Aylin, however, comes with her to the MoonBound Clan as a decoy against human attacks. She’s one of those her sister considers weak.
Aylin is smart and kind and determined. So, she’s a natural match for Hunter. Too bad marrying her isn’t an option. Rasha wants what’s hers and breaking that treaty will mean war. That doesn’t stop Hunter from spending more and more time with Aylin, and the two end up having to take a mission to save the lives of others. Expect some mega closeness. Sexy closeness.
The chemistry between Aylin and Hunter in Chained by Night was scorching the pages. They both have strong senses of duty and aren’t sure who they can trust. Watching them become closer and open to one another was a great journey. Enough to make me read this 400-page book in a single sitting.
Chained by Night better focuses on the vampires and their lore than the woes of the human side, which was more the focus of Bound by Night. There are still some interesting revelations there—mostly secrets revealed—but the novel is free of having to set the world building and only thrives in the openness to explore its characters.
Be prepared to stay up all night with Chained by Night. You’ll be ready to hear Hunter saying, “mine,” before you know it.
Every time I finish one of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines novels, I clamor for the next one. The FieThis review was originally posted on Vampire Book Club
Every time I finish one of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines novels, I clamor for the next one. The Fiery Heart isn’t an exception. No, for those who read the Vampire Academy series, I say: Remember when you finished Shadow Kiss and you needed Blood Promise in your hands with every fiber of your being? Yeah, that’s the end of The Fiery Heart.
The Fiery Heart indulges in the connection between in Adrian and Sydney. Hell, it relishes in it. As a reader, I found myself damn-near languid after their interactions and yearning for their stolen moments. They finally admitted their feelings for one another in The Indigo Spell. But with Sydney’s little sister moving in and bringing along piles of Sage and Alchemist baggage, it’s difficult for the two to enjoy their relationship. Their meetings are stolen moments. They text on special cell phones. And they are so in love it hurts.
Why am I harping on the romance angle? Other than the fact it’s smoking hot and just—gah—so good? Fine. This is the first time I’ve read a book by Mead (and I’ve read them all) that read like a romance novel. The main focus of The Fiery Heart is Adrian and Sydney’s relationship and the goal of them being together. To make this even clearer, we spend half the novel in Adrian’s head. His points of view were brilliant and insightful. He continue to struggle with the consequences his spirit use, but wants to be a better man for Sydney. Look, the short story here is you’re going to swoon. And maybe cry. Mostly swoon, though.
The book isn’t all steaminess between these two. We also have big progress on the magical front, on working to break the tattoos that force Alchemists to behave and even on the spirit use against Strigoi. Pretty big strides there, but I just can’t spoil that for you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t admit the ending is wicked. Good wicked. It’s what needs to happen for this journey to move forward correctly. There are so many possibilities as to what might happen next and I need answers. In the meantime, I’ll be happy I devoured The Fiery Heart. It was by far my favorite book in the Bloodlines series and Vampire Academy fans will probably put it in the same league as Shadow Kiss, which is definitely an epic compliment.
I am in perpetual awe of Julie Kagawa. Every book I’ve read of hers is better than the last andThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
I am in perpetual awe of Julie Kagawa. Every book I’ve read of hers is better than the last and The Eternity Cure is no exception. She takes heroine Allie to some dark places in this latest book, but anything else would have cheapened the experience.
Allie’s character arc continues to develop beautifully as she truly understands what it means for her to be a vampire and fights to balance that with maintaining her humanity. Zeke continues to be her source of good here, and it isn’t just that he’s human, but that he sees the good in her. There’s a great juxtaposition between the way Allie behaves in reaction to Stick and her emotions when Zeke is with her. I’m not just talking about romance here, but about the way another’s faith in you can make you into a better person.
Characters are in real peril in this one, and as a reader I was never certain anyone would make it. The plot twists were devious enough to catch me off guard and the staging done well enough to make think, “Oh, God, she’s actually going to do…”
I adored The Immortal Rules, but I promise you The Eternity Cure is even more brilliant. It gave me what I really needed in this journey: huge emotional development, answers about the world Allie grew up in, down-and-dirty fight scenes and some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve read in some time.
I’ve been stingy with the five-star ratings of late (picky, picky, I know), but The Eternity Cure deserves a perfect score from me. Expect this one on my Best of 2013 list....more
There are few books I enjoy more than the ones that do something fresh. Despite the blurb on thThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
There are few books I enjoy more than the ones that do something fresh. Despite the blurb on the cover for The Hunt comparing it to The Hunger Games, Andrew Fukuda’s debut is remarkably creative and engaging.
The concept, when distilled sounds direct: Vampires are now the dominant species on Earth. Humans—called hepers—have been labeled extinct. They aren’t. The government has a few kept in secret to raise morale. They’ll employ a lottery system to see which lucky people get the honor of hunting down these kept hepers.
Make that more complicated by having the novel’s hero be human. He’s not one of the government’s hepers, but a human living in secret. He pretends to be a vampire (in the novel always just called “people”). He hides emotion. He shaves the hair from his arms, douses himself in hand sanitizer and the like. He takes on the tics of the vampires—neck cracking and wrist scratching. He fakes it. It’s worked, too. Only now there is going to be another heper hunt and he’s been picked to hunt down and kill his kind.
What elevates this novel for me is the brilliant way Fukuda makes his protagonist see himself and the world. He lives by these rules to fake being a vampire, to survive. He hates the vampires, but at the same time he’s been indoctrinated into their beliefs. Even when he sees the hepers kept in a secluded dome, he doesn’t feel immediate sympathy for them. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t equate them with himself at all. He’s free, a survivor. The vampires don’t use names, and we don’t learn the protagonist’s name until we’re far into the novel. There’s this slow, steady reveal of who the main character really is that drives the connection here.
Additionally, the plot throws enough curve balls to keep you surprised. I thought I had a couple key points and character motivations figured out. One of the few times I enjoy being wrong. While the start is a little slow plot-wise, the writing is spry and the story is an undeniable page-turner.
The only reason this book didn’t garner five stars from me is I found the romance angle weak. I didn’t really see any reason why the main character was infatuated with his love interest. That arc wasn’t as clear to me, and made me question some of his choices. However, I loved the writing and will make a point to start the sequel The Prey quickly.
I don’t mean that in the obvious there’s-a-new-book wayThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
The Chicagoland Vampires series is back.
I don’t mean that in the obvious there’s-a-new-book way. I mean the energy of the series is back. Remember how OMG amazing Twice Bitten was? The eighth installment of the series Biting Bad throws back to that kind of gripping read. It’s Merit being awesome, and sometimes failing. It’s Merit and Ethan together. It’s vampire politics. It’s Chicago.
In other words: Biting Bad is damn good.
When we left the Cadogan House vampires at the end of House Rules, they’d broken with the GP and Merit and Ethan we’re officially together. If you’ll recall, those two spent quite a bit of the last book having some sort of communications standoff, making everyone wonder if their relationship would last. I’m happy to report Merit and Ethan are solid in Biting Bad. It was one of my favorite parts. There’s still sizzling chemistry between the two. Merit lives in the Master apartments with Ethan, and we get to see them as a truly united force. I delighted in their witty conversations and found myself falling for Ethan all over again. We see more of him, and there aren’t many reasons to call him Darth Sullivan anymore. I’m good with that.
The mystery in this one focuses on anti-vampire riots targeting odd places. John McKetrick continues to be an epic thorn in vampire sides everywhere, and you will get a resolution on that plot, which was timed right and left me satisfied.
Actually, everything about Biting Bad sated my hunger for Chicagoland. There’s the right doses of other supes, tons of Ethan/Merit time, a kickass fight scene and enough tension to keep me flying through the pages. This is the Chicagoland Vampires book that you will be unable to put down. Chloe Neill brought her A game, and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.
Funny and engaging with a dusting of darkness, Falling to Ash is a fresh vampire tale—and thThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Funny and engaging with a dusting of darkness, Falling to Ash is a fresh vampire tale—and that pleases me so very much. It’s my favorite Karen Mahoney book thus far. (Read reviews of The Iron Witch and The Wood Queen.)
Moth (neé Marie O’Neal) has spent the last several months in a kind of vampire lock-down situation. She’s not your typical newly turned vamp. Her maker broke the rules in creating Moth (not in an Ethan/Merit way, but in a lost control way), and so she’s had to keep under the radar until they’re ready to introduce her to the vampire Family at large. She finally has better control over herself and her need to feed. She won’t tap a vein if she doesn’t have to and tries to ration out the bagged blood as best she can. But waiting around for her maker to give the all clear is, well, not enough.
When Moth’s friends from her human days start dying, the police to come to her. She doesn’t know why they think she’d be involved, she dropped out of college and now avoids humans except her sister. Still, she has to know who did this. That means investigating. What she finds exposes a much bigger problem that could turn her life upside down and maybe change the vampire hierarchy, too.
Complicating her issues is the son of a famed vampire hunter. He’s on the trail, too, and the two must work together to try and stop more kids from being murdered. Expect serious sizzle between these two, even though neither wants to admit it. Also: Jace is hot. So, you know, selling point.
The plot throws some nice curve balls at the reader and Moth’s geek-girl nature makes me want to hang out with her. Sexual tension, humor and big fight scenes make me give Falling to Ash a big thumbs up.
I’m going to admit to setting crazy high expectations for The Indigo Spell,This review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
So. This is awkward.
I’m going to admit to setting crazy high expectations for The Indigo Spell, and then being a little disappointed it didn’t hit that mark. Yes, there’s that bold four-star rating just a few lines up. This book is definitely worthy of those stars. No question. It’s well written and the character arcs progress in ways that I think are smart.
Here’s the thing, though, I’m a bit of a Richelle Mead fangirl. I love her novels because they take big emotional risks. That’s the trademark of her third books. In each series the third novel is the one that gives great hope, then takes it away and then teases better things to come. Shadow Kiss from her Vampire Academy series has a jaw-dropping twist. Succubus Dreams from her Georgina Kincaid series made me want to throw the book because my emotions were so tangled in the plot. I may have contemplated ways to climb inside a novel just to beat up Kiyo after reading Iron Crowned, the third book in the Dark Swan series.
As such, I went into The Indigo Spell expecting a good, solid angry cry. Awful things had to happen, right? Only they didn’t.
I devoured this book. It was a delightful read. The banter between Syndey and Adrian sparks and is incredibly engaging. This book gave us all the things we wanted as readers including some Adrian/Sydney kisses and subsequent Sydney freak-outs. It was fun. It progressed the series, but there wasn’t the kind of obstacle in their path that I’ve come to expect from Mead.
Maybe she’s changing her M.O. The ending of The Indigo Spell—no, I won’t spoil it—is a game-changer. Perhaps book four, The Fiery Heart, will bring the emotional one-two punch we’ve come to expect in book three. Regardless, I continue to love her well-crafted characters and snappy dialogue.
And, really, despite my confusion over not crying while reading The Indigo Spell, I can’t wait for the next book. I’ll adjust my expectations, though, so I can glom all over it properly.