Kyana is the only one of her kind, and she is the world's best hope in stopping the Dark Breeds from wiping out humanity. She may be a Dark Breed hers...moreKyana is the only one of her kind, and she is the world's best hope in stopping the Dark Breeds from wiping out humanity. She may be a Dark Breed herself, but she has devoted her life to the Order of Ancients and protecting the innocent, despite what has been done to her in the past. She doesn't hesitate to accept the Order's mission to find the key to hell. Well, that is until she learns Ryker will be escorting her in the mission. He's the only man that has ever gotten to her, and she wanted nothing to do with him ever again. They will have to team up despite the animosity between them as a dark god is rising and they are the only ones who can stand in his way.
Greek mythology has always been one of my favorite themes in a book, so as I started reading this book and realized just how deeply rooted it was in the mythology, I became one happy girl. The paranormal aspects are perfectly blending into the mythology, making for a completely realized world, full of characters that you can't help but feel for. The fact that the gods are dying, yet are in the process of finding replacements, was really original and fascinating to me. In all of the other books I have read that have mythology in them, the gods are typically arrogant beings that would rather just die out than be replaced. Of course the gods still show some of that self-importance, especially Ares, but what more can you expect from the god of war?
I've always loved books where there is a past history between the main characters, and the current story is based on them being pushed back into each others lives. (Typically much to their dismay.) Kyana is so scared to let anyone close to her due to her past, and heck, even the present as she is treated as unworthy despite all of the good she does. The only man that has ever been able to get under her skin is Ryker, but he turned down her advances years ago. Of course he has his reasons, and they are not what she thinks they are. So when they are paired up, well she's furious, and he is scared he won't be able to say no a second time. The two of them felt like magnets to me. Sometimes they would line up and be drawn together by such a strong force, and other times their polarity would be reversed and no matter what, they just couldn't bring it together. The sexual tension between them was palatable, and made for one heck of a steamy read. I was caught between wishing they would just get it on, and wanting them to wait to make sure it would be something long lasting, as I really loved the dynamic between the two. I guess only time will tell how things play out, but I just can't help wanting to root for them.
There was one heck of a twist at the end that I never saw coming. This twist took me from really enjoying the book and being eager to read the next, to being completely desperate to get my hands on the next one. I simply cannot wait to see the characters' reactions to this turn in events, and where things will be heading. This book was a fantastic blend of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, giving you a fast paced plot with plenty of romance to steam things up. You'll definitely want to check this book out as you won't want to miss this fantastic new author's debut!(less)
Things never get a chance to calm down in Morganville as it seems like one crisis after another arises. The last few installments have proved that. Ho...moreThings never get a chance to calm down in Morganville as it seems like one crisis after another arises. The last few installments have proved that. However, now vampires are going missing, and it doesn't seem like the "rebels" are to blame this time. His very being permeates evil and he's been the last one seem with some of the missing. Yet it seems as if Claire is the only one who can see him. With the town's vampires acting quite strange, she may be the their only hope, but at what cost?
There was a slight change in the way this book was narrated from previous installments. In Bite Club there were times when we would get a direct view into Shane's head and that really helped the reader get a better idea of the whole picture. In Last Breath, Rachel Caine took that idea one step further and added in a few chapters with perspectives other than Claires. Amelie, Shane, Michael and Eve all get a little time showing their side of things. I particularly liked getting into Amelie's head as it shows a lot of her inner struggle. She's always going to do what she thinks is best for her people, no matter the cost. However, that look into her head showed how much of a struggle it was for her to make those sacrifices and hard choices. She really isn't quite the cold creature she seems to be.
After the slight let down of the last installment, I had high hopes for redemption in Last Breath. I got what I asked for and then some as Last Breath completely blew my socks off. Things started off somewhat sedately, and built so steadily until the pressure almost snuck up on me as it boiled over. It is a wonder that I have any fingernails left after that nail biting read that kept me on the edge of my seat. You would think after reading the past ten installments, there wouldn't be much room for surprise, but Last Breath was one big shocker after another. One of the biggest being the answer to a long standing question: Why would vampires build their town in the middle of a desert when the sun is so deadly to them? This complex addition to the world building was pulled off brilliantly, adding a horrific twist to things that I never could have seen coming.
While the nonstop action was heart pounding, the utter depth of raw emotion was what really cemented this as the very best of the series. The highs are so high that you feel like you are soaring right along with the characters. As for the lows, well lets just say devastation has never been more aptly portrayed. Anger, fear, loss, betrayal, jealousy, love, and desperation, all play huge roles in Last Breath. But the one emotion that stands above it all is hope, and nothing is stronger than that. To be able to feel such hope after everything that happens in this book is nothing short of amazing, and it made Last Breath a truly phenomenal read. I highly recommend setting aside a solid block of time to read this book, as once started, it will be impossible to set down. You won't want to miss this utterly captivating book that will leave you breathless in the end. Bravo!(less)
Janet, a powerful Stormwalker, has been running from her past and a mother who wants to enslave her for her evils purposes for a very long time. Howev...moreJanet, a powerful Stormwalker, has been running from her past and a mother who wants to enslave her for her evils purposes for a very long time. However, when she gets a job to investigate a suspicious disappearance near her mother's reach, she knows it's time to step up and face her "demons." She'll need the help of her long absent lover, Mick as well as some tricks up her sleeve to resist temptation and take down the greatest force of evil she's ever known.
From the start of the book it is obvious that Janet is still head over heels in love with Mick even though she left him over five years ago. So when he showed back up in her life it came at no surprise that she couldn't help herself but to let him stay. I really love the tension between the two as they both try to fight their own natures to be with one another. The heat between them practically sizzles right off the page, yet even the great physical chemistry has a hard time bridging the huge chasm between them. Janet is a very independent person who needs honesty and trust in a relationship and for her man to treat her as an equal. Mick is very secretive by nature and wants to protect Janet so much that he winds up smothering her. The couple has more than enough issues to keep them apart, but I can't help but hope they will be able to keep it together as they make for one awesome team, both in the bedroom and outside of it.
The world behind this book is really fascinating. It appears that the supernatural are "out of the closet," but that a lot of people refuse to acknowledge nor believe in it, even when unexplainable things are shoved right in their face. The characters are full of depth, both the main and the supporting ones, making me care for all of them. I found Mick's true nature to be absolutely fascinating. I won't say what that is, but I will say that it knocks his sexiness up tenfold. The twist with Nash, the hard-ass Sheriff kept things interesting. All these parts added together made this a really great read.
This book read very quickly as I just could not put it down. It had the perfect blend of romance, heat, action and character development to keep me coming back for more. Things were wrapped up well in the end, but I can't help but wonder if the solution was only a temporary one. Huge evils like the one Janet and Mick faced don't go down easy, and they have a nasty habit of coming back after you thought you already "saved the day." I'm very eager to read the next installment for hopefully some more great action between Janet and Mick. If you like a book that has plenty of spice but still has a great plot, then this one is for you.(less)
Set in a futuristic society, this book centers around a 16 year old girl named Katniss who lives in one of 12 districts surrounding a control obsessed...moreSet in a futuristic society, this book centers around a 16 year old girl named Katniss who lives in one of 12 districts surrounding a control obsessed capital named Pandem. Each district has a specialty in production, but most cannot reap any of the "fruits" of their labor as everything is claimed by the capital. Katniss keeps her family alive with the help of her friend Gale by hunting outside the district's fence, an offense that warrants an immediate death sentence if they are ever caught. The book starts on the day of reaping, the day where the capital chooses two of each district's children to fight to the death in an arena. By some cruel twist of fate, Katniss's little sister is chosen. Katniss immediately takes her sister's place and has no expectations of survival, as the games show no mercy.
Katniss has many flaws, but it is her underlying strength that captivated me. I admire her courage and determination to survive, which started long before she was thrust into the games. Her depth is amazing as she can be quite selfish at times, but the epitome of selflessness at others. I hated to see her make decisions always in a calculated manor rather than allow herself any emotion. However, this just shows one of the many consequences of survival in such a society. The will to survive at all costs can be such a nasty thing that twists and changes people. The phrase "kill or be killed" just doesn't seem to be quite accurate. Even if someone kills for their own survival some part of you dies anyway. It will irrevocably change them.
I wasn't going to review this series because the book blogger community is seriously overloaded with reviews on the series. However, after reading the books, I've decided that they really do warrant an opinion. I've always enjoyed dystopian books, with some of my favorites being George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and surprisingly considering the story centers around the burning of books, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Now, I'm not sure if I can really say if The Hunger Games is truly up to the caliber of these books as I have not read them in years, but it did remind me of them. That being said, The Hunger Games is dystopia at its best, or worst depending on how you look at it. I'm not sure why these type of books suck so many people in, myself included, but dystopian books always seem to cause a stir. Perhaps it is that small part of ourselves that would wish for a utopian society and these books show the more likely outcome of someone trying to create such a society.
This book was shocking, graphic and shows the cruel side of human nature. It will suck you in almost from the first word, and is probably one of the most thought provoking books I have read in a very long time. You will find yourself rooting for the characters even though they are in a hopeless situation. It is definitely a must read! (less)
Domino Riley is practically the top dog in her outfit as her mobster boss has handed almost all of the reigns over to her. While this may have been he...moreDomino Riley is practically the top dog in her outfit as her mobster boss has handed almost all of the reigns over to her. While this may have been her life's admiration, it means the buck stops with her and she is responsible for anything that could go wrong. So when zombies start showing up and "reproducing" like crazy, she knows she's in trouble, but that it is up to her to get to the bottom of things. Of course the distraction of her attraction to her boss's son Adan, doesn't help things. She'll have to team up with him as well as her other allies in order to have any chance at stopping the zombie Apocalypse. Luckily she has some kick butt skills to back her otherwise, there would be no hope for this little sorceress.
The saying goes "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it." Domino learned this hard lesson in Skeleton Crew as she may have gotten her wish to lead a war effort to help people. However, it came with a horrible cost that she never could have predicted. If she fails in her efforts, millions of lives will be lost, the stakes really are that high. Domino of course keeps her cool and continues to be the driving force. She really is everything a leader needs to be. I found it amusing that the Fairy King kept taking her orders for where he was to concentrate his efforts considering he is supposed to be so much more powerful. In fact, she pretty much controlled the plans the entire book. Perhaps she has more influence than she truly realizes.
I really love the dynamic between the characters in this series. They are so fully fleshed out and their relationships are completely realized. You can't help but to care for them, and want to root them on. The Piskies continue to add a softer side that really helps to balance out Domino's outward gruffness. The sexual tension between Domino and Aden is also rather thick, perhaps more on her side, but this helps to ground her character even more. All of the characters seem to carry a certain amount of respect for Domino, and I am very happy that she continues to work very hard to make sure deserves it. She definitely is my favorite "good" bad guy.
Let me just say that while I enjoyed the first book, this one blew it out of the water. The stakes are just that much higher, however I never once felt weighed down by this, and found the pacing to be very good. Just as soon as a fight scene would start to feel a little overwhelming, it would end, proving this author sure knows how to keep the perfect balance between action, plot, and story. The ending caught me slightly off guard, but I think it set things up for an interesting future. These books are urban fantasy at their finest, and this is one author you will want to watch out for. Major kudos for another great novel that left me more than entertained!(less)
Joanne finally realizes her feelings for Morrison in this book, just in time for Morrison to have started dating someone else, a cute little thing. So...moreJoanne finally realizes her feelings for Morrison in this book, just in time for Morrison to have started dating someone else, a cute little thing. So what does she do? She jumps off a cliff and into another man's arms, specifically, the cute little thing's brother. Yes, he is quite scrumptious, but he just isn't Morrision. Later on in the book Joanne is positively green with jealously and proceeds to make an absolute fool out of herself. What is even more astonishing is that she eventually admits everything, and I mean everything, to Morrision, but you will just have to read the book to see how all that goes over.
Ahh, Gary. What can I say. He is everything she needs to support her. His utter devotion to her brought tears to my eyes at several points. Everyone else in the books seem to think their relationship is sexual, but that isn't it at all. Its more of a fatherly, best friend's, brotherly love. She wouldn't have survived this long at all without him, and the following excerpt really shows this: Gary says: "You think I'm one of the bad guys, Jo? Every vestige of good cheer drained out of me like somebody'd opened a valve, complete misery rising to take its place. My throat went tight and my eyes sting with tears, color heating my cheeks even as my stomach twisted and my hands turned icy. "If you are I'm throwing the towel in now, because I just couldn't handle that." I just think that really sums up just how important Gary has become to her, and I couldn't help putting it in here.
This series has gotten back on track in my opinion. After dragging her feet in the mud for so long, Joanne is finally stepping up to the plate to accept her responsibilities. She's always going to have some doubt since that is her nature, but as of now she isn't going to let it hold her back anymore. Its going to be a long journey into learning how to properly use her powers and I think there still will reprecussions from her magical overload back in the first book. However, this book really showed a turning point in her attitude. She admitted a lot of hard truths to both herself as well as Gary and Morrison. I think just being honest with herself and others will go a long way towards healing her. I cannot wait to see the fallout in the next book!
On a quick side note, I just have to say how much I love this cover. The colors are great and Joanne looks so sensual, something we hadn't seen from her before this book. It really works with the changes that are going on with her. I love when a cover really fits the book.(less)
Now that Jaz is possessed, she and Vayl have been scrambling to find a way to "cure" her. They may have found the way in an ancient artifact that is l...moreNow that Jaz is possessed, she and Vayl have been scrambling to find a way to "cure" her. They may have found the way in an ancient artifact that is located in Morocco. They thought it would be a simple smash and grab, but someone has tampered with Vayl's memory. He wakes up with him mind way back in the past, thinking Jaz is actually his very large housekeeper. She and the rest of the gang must play along less risk his destructive rath. It is a race against the clock to save both herself and Vayl as neither one has long to live if they can't defeat the various fronts they are battling.
This book had a slightly different feel to it as the group wasn't on an actual assassination mission. Their objective was to get a device that will get Brute out of Jaz's head as time seems to be running short. Of course complications ensued, just like they always do, yet the gang has never once thought about giving up. The beginning was slightly rough as Vayl wasn't on board with the mission as he had no memory of anything that has happened since the 1700s. I actually missed Vayl being the top dog in the situation. He is usually the one keeping Jaz's head level, yet the roles were reversed. It definitely made for one heck of an interesting situation to say the least.
Wow, talk about a major road block in Vayl and Jaz's relationship. I still can't believe Jaz didn't just wind up strangling him when he woke up thinking she was another woman, and had no memory of who she really was. I realize Cassandra warned her that she must play along with the "game" or Vayl could be permanently damaged. However, Jaz isn't always the one to see reason when she is angry and being called another woman by the mans she loves, well that is right up there in nuclear proportions to setting off her temper. I cannot count the number of times that the rest the gang had to pull her from attacking him. Granted, he was being a major jerk to her, as he was mentally stuck back in the 1700s, and apparently he was not a very nice vampire back then.
I'm giving this a four start rating due to the fact that the first third of the book was rather confusing. We were thrown into the middle of the situation with Vayl's lost memory yet not given any information. The rest of the characters were playing their parts, and they knew what was going on. So, it was frustrating to be left in the dark for such a long period of time. Otherwise, the book was everything I have come to expect in this series, full of high stakes, danger, romance, and just the right amount of humor to keep me coming back for more. Definitely another highly rated installment in this wonderful series that you won't want to miss!(less)
I'll be honest that I am little funny when it comes to anthologies. I love the glimpses the sho...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
I'll be honest that I am little funny when it comes to anthologies. I love the glimpses the short stories give into other perspectives in worlds that I have come to love. However I do not ever read them to find new authors. In fact I have several owned anthologies that I have skipped multiple stories in. Of course, I come back to them once I've read the authors main books. I only want to read these types of stories as a supplement rather than an introduction. That all being said, when I saw that Angels' Flight was going to be four stories all set in the Guild Hunter world, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Even though I was worried about my favorite couple was not being featured, I did not miss Elena and Raphael one little bit. It was truly wonderful getting to see so many different secondary characters shine. In fact while reading Angel's Flight I was overcome with the desire to re-read the entire series, and once my review schedule opens up a little I will be doing just that.
First up was Angels' Pawn which featured Ashwini and Janvier. I've always been intrigued by the dance these two have going on, and now that I have seen how it all got started I am even more desperate to have a full length novel that features them. There is just something about their cat and mouse game that really draws me in, and I'd love to see both of their hidden secrets become unraveled for one another.
Angels' Judgement show Sara right before she became the Guild Director. It also shows how she came to be involved with her very yummy husband, Deacon. It showed just how strong the pair of them are, both together and as individuals, as well as some tough choices along the way. Very enjoyable.
I really enjoyed Angel's Wolf. My heart bled for Noel in Archangel's Kiss, for what he lived through. I hated to see him so broken and have been very curious about why Raphael sent him to Nimra's court in Archangel's Consort. That question was more than answered in this story, and I really loved seeing him come back to life one small bit at a time.
The heart and soul of this anthology belongs to Angels' Dance. It showed a much different time than what has been showed in the Guild Hunter books. It is set back when Raphael was first coming into power and establishing his territory. I loved seeing how everyone came together in their roles, especially as they tested one another. Prior to this point, Galen came across as only being very cold and harsh, fitting of his position, yet in this story we got to see another side of him as he courts Jessamy. I loved getting the insight into her character as well, especially since I realized her inner strength far surpasses even the toughest archangel. To be the only of her kind permanently unable to fly, and yet still able to overcome that debilitating longing, is nothing short of amazing.
In closing I would have to highly recommend Angels' Flight as it was a fantastic grouping stories in the stellar Guild Hunter world. Some of the content was previously published, but the gorgeous cover and the new material make this anthology more than worth the purchase. This is a definite must buy for fans of the series, and will make a great addition to your collection. (less)
Merit should have known she wouldn't get a chance to fully come to terms with her loss before being thrust into the middle of another crisis. The huma...moreMerit should have known she wouldn't get a chance to fully come to terms with her loss before being thrust into the middle of another crisis. The humans in general are becoming more of a problem as they try to pass a registration act for all paranormals. Fuel is only added to the fire as Lake Michigan and the rivers turn completely black and stop flowing. Of course, the vampires are the first to be blamed as protesters come out in leagues. Merit will have to step up to get to the bottom of things before the tensions boil over, or her grief will be the least of her worries.
Drink Deep picked up two months after the ending events of Hard Bitten, and Merit is still in a staggering state of grief. Yet she is slowly trying to pick up the pieces and move forward the best that she can. She seemed to be making progress, but every so often the loss would overcome her and she breaks completely down. It is the fact that she continues to pick up the pieces and muster on that shows her true strength in character. Everyone of course has their own opinion about how she should be dealing, with some wanting to hurry her on, and others trying to hold her back. One character in particular incredibly infuriated me when they questioned whether or not Merit was respecting Ethan's memory. I just don't think it is anyone's right to tell her when it is time to fully move on, and Merit definitely felt the same way. Even so, Merit was able to see outside her own hurt to keep her duty to the others of her house as they are in that same state of grieving. It would have been so easy for her to forget that she wasn't the only one who lost something, but she never once did, making her truly admirable. They always say "A person's true character is defined in their darkest hour," and there can be no fault found with Merit.
The actual danger and plot of Drink Deep was a pretty much a giant wild goose chase. It was a massive case of pointing fingers, and Merit was generally led in circles as she tried to get to the bottom of things. The end result left me more than a little shocked, even though looking back I realize that I should have seen things coming. However, what made the actual build up the most interesting was the whole new depth to the supernatural world that we are introduced to in this book. Things were so much simpler back when there were only vampires, but then again simple is rarely interesting. I am eager to see where these new developments lead, and what new dangers they may possess.
The events of this book will have many political ramifications in the future, but in Drink Deep, they were merely set up. With the absurdity of the receiver placed upon Cadogan house, as well as the relations with humans, the political side of things will more than likely play a larger role than ever before in future installments, something I am both eager, yet nervous to see. While there was much grieving in Drink Deep, the overall theme of the book seemed to be hope. This honestly surprised me as I couldn't imagine how there could really be any other emotion than devastation and other negative feelings. Yet trust, hope, compassion, and even the potential for love all play their parts. This proves Chloe Neill knows how to write a well rounded book full of emotional depth that will easily suck the reader into Merit's world. While there wasn't really a cliffhanger ending, if you are anything like me, you will already be looking forward to the next installment and what the future may hold. All I can say is bravo to Chloe Neill for once again making my presumptions of what was to come be thrown out the window, making for a completely unpredictable read that left me more than satisfied.(less)
Years after the sky turned deadly with Aether storms that decimate all in their paths, the huma...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Years after the sky turned deadly with Aether storms that decimate all in their paths, the human race is still struggling to survive. Many live under domes, with no sicknesses or want for medicine and escape to alternate realms in their minds to escape feeling caged. The ones on the outside experience more freedom, but an infinitely more harsh life. Each day is lived in fear of the raging sky, disease is rampant, and food is increasingly hard to come by. Aria and Perry's lives should have never crossed being from such two different circumstances. But by a twist of fate, each one becomes the other's only hope at survival and they will quickly have to learn to trust in each other because so much more is at stake then either could have realized.
I really enjoyed the dual perspectives of Aria and Perry. There are two completely different worlds in Under the Never Sky, and it was really interesting to see them slowly start to merge as the book went on, well at least from Aria and Perry's perspective that is. At first glance you would think Aria to have been the one to go through the most change as she was torn from everything she ever knew and thrown into a very harsh reality. Yet she displays the same iron will and determination throughout the entire book. Yes it is hard for her, and a part of her wishes to give into despair, but she never once succumbs. So her circumstances change drastically throughout Under the Never Sky, but she's still basically the same amazing character from start to finish, she just now has a lot more experience under her belt. So, in the end I felt Perry changed a great deal more than Aria, especially due to her influence. At the start of the book he was angry at the world and everyone in it, with quite a set of cocky shoulders. He became a little less savage, and a whole lot more patient and understanding paving the road for a whole lot of potential. Based on the direction things look to be heading, these changes in him could not have come at a better time, and I cannot wait to see Aria's continued influence on him in the next installment.
One of the really interesting things to me was my ability to easily make references from Under the Never Sky to certain elements in movies. I'm never the one to make or even really catch similarities or references to other projects, as I always just picture something in my mind. So it was quite different to have a blatant picture reference instantly pop up. For example, the Aether storms put me in mind of the severe lightning storms found in the movie The Core. In fact, the whole idea of the Aether and the ozone idea reminded me of the destruction in that movie. The Smarteyes instantly threw me back to my childhood growing up with Star Trek and the holodecks. There is also an issue that reminds me of the reavers in the movie Serenity, but I won't get into that to avoid a spoiler. I'm not saying that I felt Under the Never Sky was in anyway a knock off of these other story elements, as they were their own unique element. It was just a unique experience to be able to put "real" pictures to a story, and definitely enriched my reading experience.
The beginning of Under the Never Sky was rather confusing as it started in the middle of things, leaving me scrambling with feeling the need to catch up, especially as I was thrown back and forth between the two worlds. Then when you add in all of the odd names, I was quite off-put at first. In fact I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to get through it for the frustration, but things started to slowly come together and I was soon completely engrossed. I think the point of no return where I could not have put the book down even if I had wanted to was when Aria and Perry start traveling together. From then on I felt like I was gripped in a roller coaster waiting for the next shocking twist or turn to leave me breathless. I expect the next installment to be even better now that I have a firm grasp on the circumstances behind both worlds. Under the Never Sky will appeal to fans of dystopian and paranormal YA fiction, and I highly recommend it!(less)
Alison lives on the fringes of society as she refuses to be cattle for the vampires that rule t...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Alison lives on the fringes of society as she refuses to be cattle for the vampires that rule the city. To survive, most humans allow themselves to be branded and their blood taken in exchange for rations of food and safety. However, Alison knows better. That promise of safety is just empty words as registered people still go missing daily. Life is hard for her as she starves a little more each day scavenging for food, but at least her life belongs to her. That all changes when she is brutally attacked and given the choice of becoming the very thing she hates, or to die with her soul intact. In her moment of weakness she chooses immortality. With nothing more than a crash course in survival with her new status, she is forced out beyond the walls that protect them from the rabids, mindless beasts who kill vampires and humans alike. Her only hope at survival is to join a rag tag team of humans with their own mission. It will take everything she has to ensure her true nature isn't discovered, for that would mean an instant death, and this time there's no coming back.
Now that I've gotten the description out of the way, let me just start off by saying that I absolutely loved the mythology behind this world. The Immortal Rules has two of my favorite paranormal elements, vampires and zombies. In fact it takes things a step further by having zombie vampires. Yep, that's right ZOMPIRES! The funny thing is that I didn't put that together in my head at first. I just saw the rabids as nasty, killer creatures to be feared. Then all of a sudden it clicked in my head that they were Zompires and I was instantly in love. Seriously, when you picture Vamps, you typically expect them to be the top of the food chain, so it was really great to see them at risk too. Granted, they still lorded over the humans, who were treated no better than glorified cattle, but that didn't make them any less trapped behind the city walls.
I really loved watching Allie's character progression in The Immortal Rules. I found it a little ironic that she seemed more human by the end of the book than she did at the start, especially since she was still mortal at that point. Granted, she did want to do anything she could to help humanity overcome their oppression, but that really was only a pipe dream, as she was really only focused on her own survival. Although we do get a glimpse of her sacrificial nature early on, it isn't until the end that it really shows. Well, perhaps that isn't true either as that protective nature is pretty consistent throughout, it's just that it gets a little overshadowed by her battle with controlling the monster inside her. Her guilt at becoming what she hated the most won't let her see past the bad, to all the good she can and will do with her new found strength. In fact, I think she may now be in a position to actually make the changes for humanity that she desired early on, but only time will tell.
I'm not really sure why, but I somehow expected The Immortal Rules to be similar to Julie's other series, The Iron Fey, when the actuality is that they couldn't possibly be more different. The Immortal Rules is so much darker, and has a gritty, raw, bare bones aspect that will literally grab a hold of you with an iron fist. I was utterly captivated from the very start, and couldn't recommend it any higher! With a killer mythology (literally), awesome characters, a little romance, and heart pounding action, what isn't there to love about The Immortal Rules? This series will definitely be going on my auto-buy list! (less)
When Claire gets passes for the four of them to leave town for Michael's audition at a major studio, She is super excited to be able to leave Morganvi...moreWhen Claire gets passes for the four of them to leave town for Michael's audition at a major studio, She is super excited to be able to leave Morganville, even if it is only for a few days. Considering their track record, they should have known things just couldn't go smoothly. To start off the crazy train trip their least favorite vampire is coming along as a chaperone. When he makes then stop in a one horse town with a order to stay put until he can get back, the gang gets extremely annoyed, and then wind up getting themselves into major trouble. However, that is nothing compared to the trouble and danger they get into when the vampire's agenda is revealed. It may just be the worst situation they have been in yet, and that is really saying something.
The four of them really didn't seem to understand just how different things are outside of Morganville. They are used to being tough, and well known in the town, basically near the top of the "food chain." Eve continued right along with her loud attitude. When it got her into trouble Michael of course steps up all "tough vampire" to protect her, putting himself and the rest at a major risk. Claire as always is able to keep her wits about her and figures out how to get them out of that first mess, and proceeds to give them a lecture on their behavior. I love how she is described as tiny little non-threatening thing, but she always surprises those who try to stand against her and her friends.
While outside of Morganville, the four of them seriously entertain running off and never coming back. As much as they might want to leave the town, I think they are actually better off staying put. Call me crazy, but it might just be safer for them. Morganville changed all of them and they would really have a hard time fitting in on the outside. At least in Morganville they have earned some status that protect them. Besides, they know it is only a recipe for disaster to try and leave as Amelie would do everything she could to hunt them down. At least by staying they will be on her "good" side, if you can call it that.
The action dialed right back up in this book. The stakes were incredibly high, and I found it amusing to see just how much trouble the four of them could get into outside of Morganville. It kinda follows along with the saying "You can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl." They are stuck in this life, and I hope to see them starting on the road to acceptance in the next book. I've always been the type of person to try and make the best of things and I think that's what they need to do as well. I'm eager to see how they take this renewed idea of being trapped in the next book. It should be interesting to say the least.(less)
Ciel Halligan has the unique ability to become anyone at anytime. She steps into the lives of h...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Ciel Halligan has the unique ability to become anyone at anytime. She steps into the lives of her clients for a hefty fee to fix a problem for them that they would rather not handle. But her latest job lands her in hot water when her somewhat boyfriend Billy's little sister, Molly, turns into an orangutan which isn't supposed to be able to happen. No adapter has ever been able to change into an animal, and to make matters worse, Molly gets stuck and can't change back. This leads to a made escape from the zoo with an orangutan in tow. It quickly becomes apparent that Molly's change was no accident, and the ones responsible would do anything to get their hands on her.
At first glance I would say that the adapter element was my favorite part of this series, as the ability to become anyone else at any time utterly fascinates me. But in all honesty it is the family dynamic and character that really make this series soar. Could you imagine growing up in a family with multiple siblings where any of you could change yourself at anytime? You never could be quite sure if you were interacting with the real version or someone else adapting themselves and pretending. Think of all the blackmail or bribery that would be involve to get others in or out of trouble depending on the circumstances. A lot of that played out in QUICK FIX, and I have to admit that this extra added element to sibling squablery make for a rather hilarious read. Even with all the learned tells they have for each other, it still was pretty easy for the others to get dupped and I found myself cracking up left and right.
I have to admit despite the somewhat love triangle going on, I really enjoyed the romance in this book. For the most part it's pretty clear who she is going to with in the long haul, and I don't feel it's a spoiler to say who since it's mentioned in the description. Ciel and Billy just seem right for one another. They both have this spark that only ignites even more when they are together. And not only are their interactions steamy and sexy as hell, but there also is a huge sweet factor that should jot be overlooked. Despite Billy being largely known as a ladies man, he's so tender and different with Ciel. You can really tell how much he cares, unlike Mark, who only started showing any interest once their was competition. Despite Ciel's long time crush on Mark, the two would never have worked due to his constant patronization and ridiculous overprotection. So suffice it to say that whenever Mark tried to make moves or act like he cared romantically in this book, it frustrated me to no end. Luckily there were more than enough yummy moments with Billy to keep me (and Ciel) happy and distracted.
While I will always be a diehard fan of Vamps, Witches, and Weres, even I will admit that it's rather difficult for one of those stories to fell fresh. In this series you will find none of those things, but instead a completely fresh and new idea that will not give you that dreaded been here done that feeling. I absolutely love the world behind this series, as it is Urban fantasy at it's finest without the baggage of 100 other stories just like it. So if you are looking for something fresh and unique in this sometimes crowded genre, look no further than the In a Fix series. QUICK FIX is the perfect blend of humor, danger, and fantastic characters to make for a great read you won't want to miss!(less)
Despite her limitations from being cut off from most her magic, Rachel is still out in the thic...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Despite her limitations from being cut off from most her magic, Rachel is still out in the thick of things with her runner service. However, her latest case hits a lot closer to home when she realizes that the brutally murdered corpses point to someone trying to create their own day-walking demons, and her blood may be the key. And to think, she once thought things couldn't get worse than being shunned by the coven. Now, she'll have to get to the bottom of things fast before she finds herself in the middle of her worst nightmare.
At the beginning of A Perfect Blood, Rachel is in what can be best described as a period of stagnation. Prior to this she was living her life at warp speed, but everything came to a screeching halt when cut herself off from the lines and all of her potential via her elven bracelet compliments of Trent. However, her fear and hiding doesn't really seem to hit home until she realizes that Ivy and Jenks are moving on without her. This realization leads to some pretty hard decisions on her part as well as a good deal of growing up. Still, Rachel wouldn't be who she is without her extreme need to be in the middle of things regardless of the risk or idiocy of her choices. She is such a flawed character, but I love her so very much. It always brings a smile to my face to watch her grow and mature and try to make better decisions, but whenever danger comes about she will always run off half-cocked like an avenging angel. Her friends mean so very much to her, and yet there is still that small part of her that cannot seem to let go and for once let someone else take charge. In fact her friends know her so well that they just plan on her doing something crazy, and are just ready to pick up the pieces in the end, and I couldn't help the smile that came to my face each time.
Putting all of Rachel's other flaws aside, her biggest issue is trust. It just doesn't come easy to her, especially when it comes to Trent. However, in A Perfect Blood, we got to see a shifting in the dynamic between the two of them. It can't be described better than a dance with both of them circling each other, and testing the waters to slowly start to come together. As far as what their actual relationship is, well I'm not entirely sure, and to be honest neither of them seem to have much of clue either. They aren't lovers, or even really friends, but they aren't really adversaries at this point either. For now I think I will just say that they seem to have a mutual respect for one another with a tentative trust. Prior to reading A Perfect Blood, I was gung-ho on my hopes of them becoming a couple like yesterday. However, what occurred in this book was so much more natural, that it felt right. If something more grows from it in the future, I surely won't complain, but for now I am quite content.
Whenever anyone asks for a recommendation in the Urban Fantasy genre, The Hollows series is always the first thing I spout out. It is a true testament to the awesomeness of this series that even after ten books, I am still as in love with the characters and their journey as I was the very first time I read Dead Witch Walking. Each installment has been better than the last, and A Perfect Blood is no exception. I may seem like a bit of a fan girl at this point, but trust me, these books warrant the attention. A Perfect Blood truly was a ride from start to finish and my hat goes off to you Ms. Harrison!(less)
Kayla's life gets turned upside down when her sister is murdered and she finds out that the thi...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Kayla's life gets turned upside down when her sister is murdered and she finds out that the things that go bump in the night are real. Seattle has been taken over by a plethora of supernaturals, and in her search for answers she finds herself caught in the middle of a centuries old war. But most of all, she has caught the attention of Hart, a werewolf mercenary who will stop at nothing to make his mark. But that may change as a fragile spark flames between them even as the world crumbles around them.
The romance between Kayla and Hart seemed so unlikely and yet it somehow really worked for me. Kayla is so innocent and everything that is pure and good, while Hart can only be described as damaged with very rough edges. Unlike other shifters, he never fully merged with his animal side and cannot control it. Long ago abandoned by his kind, Hart hasn't had a moment's peace in his life due to the massive struggle to control his more deadly half. So, it is o wonder he is so angry and bitter at the world. Honestly if Hart's perspective hadn't been shown with his vulnerabilities, I would have said that Kayla is incredibly naive for trusting Hart. Yet, those glimpses into his true feelings show just how damaged he is, and how much he really needs her despite how much he fights it. Her softness and need to help others added to his rough edges really makes them quite perfect for one another.
The mythology behind Hearts of Darkness is a tangled weave of Norse, Native American, and Babylonian blended in with shape-shifters, dragons, and wraiths. It definitely made for an interesting combination to say the least. The setting may be in a modern day Seattle, but it had more of a Steampunk feel due to the wraiths destroying the power network. There are monocles, and steam powered vehicles to compensate for the lack of power as well as other gadgets. Also, the shifters seem to have surrounded themselves with rules of propriety and other controls that remind me of the Elizabethan era in a last ditch effort to keep them from fading out.
I'll admit that I was a little put off by all of the different elements together as the learning curve made things slower in the beginning. However, once things started to flow a little faster, I really started to appreciate the uniqueness of the story. I don't think I've ever read something quite like this, which can be very hard to come by in the very saturated paranormal romance genre. I have a feeling the next installment will be a little faster now that the massive amounts of world building are established. All in all, Hearts of Darkness was a decent start to the Deadglass series, and promises a solid block of entertainment. (less)
All of the major cities have crumbled, and basic rights are a thing of the past. Now control is...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
All of the major cities have crumbled, and basic rights are a thing of the past. Now control is based on a set of moral statutes, with harsh penalties for offenders. Being simply accused means a swift arrest and trial, and no one comes back from that. They are simply forgotten. Ember gets by as best she can while trying to contain her very free spirited mother. She's learned all the ways to blend in and stay unnoticed, keeping her life relatively normal, all things considered. However all that changes the day her mother is arrested for violating Article 5 in the Moral Statues by none other than her childhood love. With her life turned upside down, she finds herself in her own personal nightmare. The only question is whether she can survive it.
Ember (love that name!) is a flawed, but REAL character. Throughout Article 5 there were many times where I really wanted to strangle her for the poor decisions she was making, especially when it came to Chase. However, those mistakes only made her seem that much more real. We would all like to think that in a crisis situation we could keep our cool and know exactly what to do. Perhaps some of us could, but I have a feeling the majority of people would behave exactly like Ember. Her whole life has been turned upside down and people are trying to kill her left and right, she just isn't going to be able to accept all of that rationally, especially considering just how naive she was in the beginning. Nor would she be able to easily throw her trust into someone she felt abandoned by. She's entitled to have melt downs, and to be honest, she had a whole lot of character growth throughout Article 5, to the point where she is almost a completely different person.
The world behind Article 5 is so chilling and rather horrific. I love dystopian books; there is just something about them that calls to me. However, what sets Article 5 apart is how very real it felt. It very easily could have been happening now in our world, or at least in the very near future. All it would take would be for one single conflict to go bad, and land a terrible war on U.S. soil, with religious extremists rising to take over in the aftermath. The whole concept of morality being the controlling factor of society absolutely terrifies me. Forget the Bill of Rights, keep your head down and don't dare to make a single misstep or you will pay dearly. My heart bled for these characters, in their desperation to survive, especially Ember as her eyes were painfully opened to the horrors of her world.
This is one of those books where you are so far sucked into the story you don't even notice the flaws until it is time to write the review. When I first finished the book I eagerly stamped a five star rating on it via goodreads, but now as I look back I realize that much of the story wasn't perfect. The idea of persecuting people for "crimes" they committed many years before there was even a law against them doesn't seem really plausible. Especially since this would impact as much as a third of the population. Also there was the issue of the too short time in the camp leaving that feeling a little undeveloped, as well as a few other things. Does that mean I'm going to now lower my rating? Absolutely not, as the reading experience was so intense, it more than warrants the five. No book is ever going to be perfect, and in the end what matters most is being entertained and emotionally attached to the story, and Article 5 certainly fits that bill. So if you like a book that is so riveting and compelling, as well as impossible to put down, then Article 5 is one debut you won't want to miss! (less)
Darian is an immortal Shaede who can slip into shadow at will. She wasn't always this way, she...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Darian is an immortal Shaede who can slip into shadow at will. She wasn't always this way, she used to be human. But her former lover changed her, and then abandoned her, making her believe she was the last of her kind. She did what she had to in order to survive and is now an assassin who never misses her mark. However, things get a little sticky when her latest job leads her to not only others like herself, but the very King of her species. Her entire world view is turned upside down as she is thrown into a nefarious plot with all sides clambering to claim her for her own. Trouble is, she vowed to never be controlled ever again, and she isn't about to start now.
I absolutely loved Darian's character. Yes in the beginning she is extremely arrogant and quite overconfident. However, even as she gets knocked down a few pegs by all that she didn't know, she never really loses that iron will. She goes through an incredible character growth as she stumbles upon all the lies she has been told, and for once in her life starts to make choices based on knowledge rather than ignorance. Of course she still has a lot of her independent nature, making it next to impossible for her to accept help when she needs it. But even there, by the end of the book she had made huge strides as she started to open herself up, making me love her even more.
There were stirrings of a love triangle possibility, although if you ask me I don't think one of them stands a snowball's chance. I just wasn't feeling anything than a desire for possession from the new guy. Definitely a turn off. On the other side of things, the sexual tension between Darian and the original guy was practically off the charts, even if she was in denial about it all. To be honest, I don't blame her one bit for being so wary and for trying to keep her distance from everyone. After all the lies she has been fed, along with everyone seeming to have an agenda to use her for themselves, it's a wonder she is able to feel anything at all besides anger and resentment. But somehow, something does slowly grow in the romance department. Of course, these obstacles, both emotional and physical, once overcome will make the final romance all the more meaningful and gratifying in the end. If something comes easily and never has to be fought for, you can't truly appreciate it. Trust me, Darian will fully appreciate everything in her relationship when all is said and done because nothing is going to come easy here. I just can't wait to see how things turn out!
As much as I loved Shaedes of Gray, there was a part of the book that became incredibly confusing for me. I was following everything well, reveling in learning everything right alongside Darian. However, in the last third of the book prophecies started getting sprouted and a whole bunch of other reveals were made, leading up to the big final fight. Unfortunately everything seemed too jumbled together and I got lost. I'm still really not sure what was going on and why certain events happened. Although, to be honest I don't think Darian or her allies have much of a clue either. It was just a little bit of a let down since I had been completely immersed into the book prior to that point, and the confusion drew me out a little. Perhaps the next installment will make things a little more clear, and in the grand scheme of things it really is only a small complaint. All in all, Shaedes of Gray is a great debut that is completely fresh and original, a rare find in the Urban Fantasy genre. I eagerly await the next installment, and I highly recommend it!(less)
Gabriel Merrick and his brothers have an affinity for the elements, and can do amazing things w...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Gabriel Merrick and his brothers have an affinity for the elements, and can do amazing things with them. Gabriel's gift lies with fire. Although sometimes it seems more like a curse as fire is very volatile and difficult to control, and that loss of control comes with serious consequences as he well knows due to the loss of his parents in one of his fires. Despite his immense guilt, Gabriel can't stay away from the fire no matter how hard he tries. This proves even more dangerous than normal when an arsonist starts setting deadly fires and Gabriel becomes the prime suspect. Even his own family thinks he's to blame, leaving him very isolated and alone. The only one who seems to believe him is a girl in his math class named Layne who he feels inexplicably drawn to, but she has her own secrets to keep. Gabriel will have to find a way to fight the fire raging inside him before he loses everything and everyone he has ever cared about.
I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't Gabriel's biggest fan in the previous installment. He just seemed to be too quick to anger for my tastes. In all honesty, I felt he was a jerk. However, in Spark, I saw him in a whole new light. Sure, he still is quite the accomplished jerk, and rather nasty to people in general, however, now that I understand him a little better I realize it is all a front to hide his massive insecurities. His element is fire, making him very volatile and really a powder keg ready to explode at any given moment. However, he despises himself for the lack of control he has, further frustrating himself and only adding fuel to the fire. He honestly cannot be described as anything other than severely damaged. Every day is such a struggle for him with his guilt and his desire to change and learn the control that seems forever out of his grasp. To make matters worse, everyone around him seems to think the worst of him, but in their defense, he doesn't exactly make it easy for them to believe in him. However, the further the book went on, the more the tide seemed to change as inch by inch Gabriel started to gain ground, and I was only cheering him on the entire way.
Layne is very damaged in her own way, but unlike Gabriel who puts out a very rough exterior, she hides deep within herself, trying to stay unnoticed at all costs. Yet, despite that she has an amazing inner strength of will that rivals Gabriel's even if she doesn't outwardly show it. It really amazed me just how similar they were deep down when you looked past the surface. Appearances definitely can be deceiving, and that definitely holds true here. I think it is that similarity in both strength and damage that really drew them to me as romantic interests. I just felt like they were on rather equal footing, an almost rarity in YA novels, making the romance very sweet and enjoyable. By having both of them damaged, but still incredibly strong, they were able to use their inner strengths to start to heal the other. I really do not think a more perfect match could have been made.
As much as I loved Storm, I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to read Spark. I'm a very loyal person character-wise, and I pretty much drag my feet whenever there is a change in character focus as I get so attached to the original ones that I don't want to let go. However after reading Spark, and getting to know Gabriel and Layne, that natural hesitance I have may very well have to change. In all honesty, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually may care for them even more than I did for Chris and Becca. So much so, that I wish there would be more focus on them in the future books. But then again, if the series trend is any indication, I'll probably wind up having a new favorite couple by the time I finish the next book. That being said, with this latest installment, Brigid Kemmerer has fully cemented herself as a heavy hitter in the Paranormal YA genre. Trust me, she will definitely be one to watch out for and I cannot wait to see what is in store next. I highly recommend Spark to anyone who loved Storm as it will definitely rock your socks off. And if you haven't check this fabulous series out yet, well what are you waiting for, trust me you won't regret it. An absolute must buy!(less)
Kara and the rest of her "task force" are given a job to guard a band because they have received demonic threats, or so they claim. Kara doesn't think...more Kara and the rest of her "task force" are given a job to guard a band because they have received demonic threats, or so they claim. Kara doesn't think the threat is real, so imagine her surprise when something does snatch the lead singer off the stage. It isn't a demon, but it reeks of the Arcane. When a string of murders pop up that have that same Arcane reek, she knows she has to get to the bottom of. Meanwhile, Kara is still bound to the Demonic Lord, Rhyzkahl, and she must keep up her end of the bargain. Of course her partner agent, remains much of a mystery and also resents her for her tie to Rhyzkahl. The tension runs high between them, and the question is whether or not they can work it out for both their own and their job's sakes.
As much as I would have loved to see Kara and Ryan get together, things are really getting frustrating between them. He continually makes her miserable by being so hateful about her tie to Rhyzkahl which is ironic considering she only accepted the tie to save Ryan's life. He also should not be one to throw stones as he has powers and a past that neither of them understand. I realize he doesn't remember any of his heritage, or why the demons call him an oath breaker. I just don't think he should be so quick to judge when he doesn't even know who he truly is. I'm still holding out hope for the two of them, but only if she gains some confidence with him and he ceases his blind hatred of her choices.
Typically in a love triangle situation I have a clear picture of the guy I want to pick for the girl in the very beginning. I very rarely change my mind, nor do I usually have an issue with choosing. At the start of this series I would have picked Ryan hands down, over the demonic lord everyday. However, after reading this book, with Ryan's behavior and Rhyzkahl showing what could almost be called affection toward Kara. I'm actually having a bit of indecision between the two. I think for now the scales are still tipped in Ryan's favor because his caring for Kara doesn't seem to have an ulterior motive like Rhyzkahl, but I have a feeling it wouldn't take much for me to make the leap over towards supporting Rhyzkahl.
There are new dangers and risks that pop up during this book that kept me on the edge of my seat. It was a nice mix of the police case, personal issues, as well as furthering the overall story arc. There were several shocking revelations that I can honestly say I did not see coming. I really love books that have twists and turns that you never see coming, and this was definitely one of them. It also ends on a pretty big cliffhanger that makes me desperate for the next one. I really like the direction the series is going, and it looks like things are going to be pretty complicated in the future. For fans of the series, this book won't disappoint, and if you haven't checked this series out, I would highly recommend starting at the beginning, you won't regret it.(less)
When Quinn escaped Vamp City, she had hoped to never return. But deep down she knew that was on...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
When Quinn escaped Vamp City, she had hoped to never return. But deep down she knew that was only a pipe dream as the vamps would never let her go since she is the only one who can save the crumbling city. This was only further cemented when her brother falls ill and must return to the city before the lack of magic consumes him. Despite her every instinct telling her not to help the vamps renew the magic hold their world together, now that her brother's fate is tied to that very magic, she doesn't have a choice. Further complicating matters is her fierce attraction to Arturo, the vampire who betrayed her. Despite knowing she can't trust him, she know it won't be long before her heart won't listen, and once again she'll fall under his spell.
Can I just say how much I love the dynamic between Quinn and Arturo? I mean every look, every touch, just smoulders right off the page. And yet, they are far from the perfect couple, if you could even call them that. Neither one is willing to give into each other and accept the relationship. They each have their own iron will, and their reasons for trying to keep themselves apart, but it's rather futile, as they fail and fail. There's just something about the pair of them together that seems right despite her not being able to fully accept him, and his terrible tendency to betray her. I will say that he made major headway I redeeming himself in A KISS OF BLOOD, especially as the reasoning behind his previous lack of emotion was revealed. That being said, it will still take some time for Quinn to be able to really open up and let him in, but I can't wait to see it.
Everything about the world in A KISS OF BLOOD was just as enthralling as the first installment, and yet it didn't seem quite so dark. In all honesty it really surprised me how much I enjoyed the first installment due to its darkness and utter lack of hope, but somehow it worked. That being said, I was rather pleased while reading this book as I realized it wasn't going to be quite so dark. Don't get me wrong, the threats are very real, and the stakes are just as high, but this time around I had hope. I think a lot of that was in part due to Arturo's turn around and fierce protectiveness of her, so I felt like she had more of a fighting chance this go round. But the biggest change I have to say is the amount of allies she had surrounding and helping her. It just turned the tides and made both her and I realize that despite prior appearances, not everyone supernatural in vamp city is a monster. Some are genuinely good guys, and it really helped give me that light at the end of the tunnel I needed.
We're only two books into the Vamp City series, and already it's shaping up to be one of my favorites. It has all the action and danger you could want plus an incredible amount of sexual tension and steamy moments that boil right off the page. Honestly this kind of hybrid between paranormal romance and urban fantasy is something I would love to see more of as it isn't something often found. Trust me, if you enjoy a kick ass world, with a stellar plot, great characters, and more than a little steam, then A KISS OF BLOOD is one you won't want to miss. (less)
No matter what Risa does, she still can't catch a break. She's lost the second key to the gate...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
No matter what Risa does, she still can't catch a break. She's lost the second key to the gate to hell and due to some shocking revelations and unfavorable circumstances, she's banished her Reaper protector from her side. Not the best of moves on her part, but a hurting heart doesn't always make for the most sensible mind. All she wants to do is sleep for a month and forget all this ever happened to her, but everyone else seems to have a different idea. A point driven home when her father threatens the life of someone she cares about deeply, and suddenly the search for the keys are even more important. Meanwhile Madeline Hunter is up to her normal games wreaking havoc and demanding the keys for herself, making things even worse for Risa. She's on a slippery slope and one false move could cost her everything.
The relationship between Risa and AZRIEL both makes my heart equally hurt and soar depending on where things are at with them. There is just so much emotion between them that it's palpable, and yet most of the time it seems like there is miles of empty space in their way. He isn't human, and while I do feel for Risa as it must be hard to not feel or hear the things she need from him, I still think she needs to accept the fact that she can't judge him by her standards. She really seems to have blinders on when it comes to his actions, and honestly has acted rather mule headed only seeing his determination to his duty, not everything else. I have to admit that the ending of the previous book just about killed me with Risa banishing him. I mean not only do we find out she's pregnant with his child, but then have to cope with her sending him away. It was devastating, so I have to admit, I largely went into this book the trepidation. I just wasn't sure how I would feel about things without him around even if I mostly assumed it couldn't be permanent. Their relationship has caused me a lot of angst, and while I won't spoil things in this book, I will say that the angst was far from over, and probably won't be until the very end of the series.
Sometimes this series really amazes me. Each installment always seems so action packed and the pacing is excellent. And yet when I look back over the book and then the series as a whole, there seems to be a lack of overall forward momentum. I mean the main series arc is the quest for the keys, with other things thrown in there as well of course. Yet, this is the 6th installment, and Risa still does not have a single key. She's lost 2 to outside forces, but still. I guess I just would have assumed the girl would have been able to catch some sort of break by this point. Don't get me wrong, the books are incredibly entertaining, and this lack of overall series arc momentum doesn't slow things down, it's just that I'm rather surprised that it's working I guess. As in I'm questioning why this hasn't frustrated me. I realize this probably sounds ridiculous as in why would I want to go looking for issues that aren't really there, but it's just something that has stuck out to me. I guess the biggest reason is that I'm not sure how long the series is supposed to be, and unless it's supposed to be a very long one, there's a whole lot of stuff that will have to be jammed into just a few books. Considering the action and danger to Risa already seems borderline insane at this pace, I can't imagine it getting worse, but only time will tell.
I think the biggest indicator of a phenomenal author is one that can write book after book that keeps the reader coming back for more, and this surely fits Keri Arthur. It's pretty much a guarantee at this point that I can pick up any one of her books and know that I'll love it, and this one is no exception. Honestly, Keri Arthur should be on every urban fantasy lover's auto buy list, which she proves yet again with this fabulous showing in DARKNESS SPLINTERED. An absolute must read! (less)
Magic Bites is the first novel in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Kate is a tough as nails, no nonsense woman who has a mysterious heritage...moreMagic Bites is the first novel in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Kate is a tough as nails, no nonsense woman who has a mysterious heritage who lives in Georgia. In her world, magic comes and goes in waves. When the magic is up, technology fails. The magic does not like large structures and as a result, most of the high rises in Atlanta have been reduced to rubble. Kate works for a magical guild doing odds and ends magical jobs. When her guardian and mentor is brutally murdered she goes back to the one place she swore she never would, The Magical Order, where her guardian was a Knight. She uses their resources to investigate the murder and finds herself sucked into the world of the Pack in a fight for dominance she cannot afford to lose. Due to some bad decisions she winds up with a personal were protector. The deeper she gets into finding her guardian's killer, the more personal the fight becomes.
The book is very vague about Kate's history, only hinting that her heritage is very important. I found this frustrating at first, but as the book went on there was more than enough action in the plot to compensate for the confusion about her past. Kate has a very sarcastic personality and is killer with a sword, literally. Her sword, slayer is very special, as it eats undead flesh. I have to say my favorite point in the book is when she sticks her foot in her mouth and says "Here kitty, kitty, kitty" to the beast lord. You would think she had a death wish, but in one of the hints about her past it was implied that she was trained to never show fear. So when she is afraid, she compensates with her wit and sarcasm. Throughout the book she continues to get herself in trouble with her mouth and sometimes the only thing that saves her is her sword. I look forward to more of her wit and revelations as to who she really is in future books.(less)
Sometimes when it comes to this series and writing reviews, I feel a bit like a broken record a...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Sometimes when it comes to this series and writing reviews, I feel a bit like a broken record as how many different ways can you express absolutely loving a book? But here I am again writing a review about a book in this series that I loved and could quite honestly turn right around and read again. Seriously it was that good. Not only is there an incredible amount of character growth, and considering the size of the cast, that's more than impressive, but there's also one heck of a main plot and side ones as well to boot. In fact, this is a game changer book, a rather major one in fact. Considering there's only one more installment left in this series, I'm almost baffled at the turn of events. Do I love the new directions? Absolutely, and a lot of them I have to admit I was hoping for, but there were many twists that I didn't see coming at all, which only made the read even better, and rather impressive to still be able to surprise me 12 books in. But that being said, the shake up will make things more than interesting, and probably rather jammed pack in the final installment as there's going to be a lot to resolve. But then again, I wouldn't expect anything less than a stellar bang from this series. Now, only to wait the year plus till it releases...
Now I realize that I've been very very vague in this review, but honestly there isn't much to talk about without spoiling, and trust me, you won't want anything spoiled. Thi especially when it comes to the many different character dynamics that you are dying to know about. (*Coughs* Rachel & Trent). So while I apologize that I haven't given away any juicy details, you'll thank me when you get your hands on the book and get to read it completely fresh and untainted.
So to sum things up, THE UNDEAD POOL is a must read, and Kim Harrison should be on any Urban Fantasy fan's auto buy list. If you haven't read this series, well then you don't know what you are missing, and if you have, prepare to be amazed yet again at Harrison's skills in crafting a captivatingly excellent story. Bravo Ms. Harrison. Bravo.(less)
Maxine had thought that the boys and her would always be together, completely inseparable. Well...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Maxine had thought that the boys and her would always be together, completely inseparable. Well, until they transferred to her future daughter that is. However, when they are literally torn from her body, all but killing her, she realizes just how wrong she was. She's used to being completely invulnerable to all attacks, and now she's having a hard time adjusting to being vulnerable. As the boys experience freedom for the first time in thousands of years, they start to change, and not for the better. They become more and more violent the longer they are separated. Maxine must find a way to reunite with them before they give into the temptation to return to their former glory of the Reaper Kings, before it is too late.
Even though Maxine and the boys spend a lot of time separated in The Mortal Bone, I actually felt the connection between them more than ever. I have always loved those little guys! And yes, I do know that they are really extremely dangerous, and once tried to destroy the world. However, there is just something vulnerable about them now after being tied to the women in Maxine's family for so long. Their mortal hearts have irrevocably changed the boys making them no longer what they once were. Of course they don't realize this when they are freed, which leads them to some awful behavior that they obligated to. I felt so bad for them even as they were being terrible because they also had guilt weighing them down. Their relationship with Maxine will be forever changed, but honestly I think that change will be for the better in the long run.
In the Mortal Bone, both Maxine and Grant are still struggling to adjust to their own powers. At one point in the book Rex lays it out very clear:
"Both of you, unafraid of anyone but yourselves. You have power. You have the means. But you won't take it because you think it'll change you. Of course it will change you. But is that worse than dying?"
This is said when the two of them are agonizing over how to handle a very nasty situation, one that could have the potential to destroy all of man kind. You would think it would be an easy decision to do whatever necessary to save the world, but it really isn't. It would be so easy to give into their own powers and become monsters themselves, so I understand their hesitation. However, due to the fact that they are even worried about it in the first place, shows that they won't ever become what they fear. They will have to learn that sometimes you have to make the unwanted choice in order to succeed, but that doesn't make you a monster.
I had forgotten just how much I love the Hunter Kiss series, and after reading The Mortal Bone, I think I am even more attached. I just feel such a deep emotional connection with all of the characters, but most of all, the boys. Seriously, I would love my own set. Well, only if the rest of those pesky demons stay away, that is. Perhaps I will just have to be content with living vicariously through Maxine. I cannot wait until the next installment releases, and if you are a fan of the series, then this latest installment is sure to please. If you have not been introduced to Maxine and company yet, what are you waiting for? Run right out and start from the beginning, you'll be glad you did!(less)
When all of the males, and many of the females of her pack were poisoned, Ana knew she had to s...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
When all of the males, and many of the females of her pack were poisoned, Ana knew she had to step up to protect the remaining members. But no matter how strong she is, without an Alpha male, she won't be able to hold her family's lands for long. The malicious alpha of a neighboring pack has set his sights on having both Ana, and her land for his own. Ana would do almost anything to avoid that fate, so when Connor comes back into her life, she knows she must accept him into the pack, even if it risks her heart, as he already broke it once. Connor may have left, but not without reason, and now he is back to claim what is his. But with her wariness and threats coming from all angles, his work will definitely be cut out for him.
Alpha Instinct had one of my favorite elements for shifter novels, bonding/mates. It just feels natural, and quite powerful whenever something so primal and permanent is thrown into the mix. I have an easier time getting behind the "instant" love when it stems from this type of connection, as it seems deep than mere infatuation. That being said, I did have a hard time feeling the "love" between Conner and Ana. Yes, there was an incredibly strong connection between them, as well as some pretty heavy lust. Don't get me wrong I really felt that they belonged together, but at times it felt more like a biological need rather than an emotional connection. Perhaps a lot of that was due to Connor's insecurities, and his inability to open up. Whatever the reasoning, it made it a little harder for me to get truly attached to the romance part of their bonding. As far as the physical side of things, well let me just say there weren't any complaints there. Whew! Talk about hot!
The mythology behind Alpha Instinct is quite interesting. While the focus was on the wolves, there was at least one other type of shifter mentioned, as well as vampires. I'm curious to see whether the future installments stick strictly to the wolves, or if things will branch out into the other races. I'd love to learn more about the rules for rest of them. Although the lupine shifters live in an "open" world they are still pretty archaic and secretive. They live for a very long time, and are very vulnerable to silver. The lupine women, despite their strength cannot expect to hold anything with out big bad male shifters to protect them. While this really isn't anything new for a shifter novel, it still was disheartening to see how easily the women accepted that fate. Then again, I really shouldn't blame them for accepting Connor's gang into their fold considering everything they have gone through. They knew they would constantly be under threat of take over from other packs, so it did seem only wise to accept help from a known source. It just disheartened me to see them backed into a corner.
I have to say that what really made this book a page turner for me was the foreshadowing of the different threats. The danger came from all sides, and we got glimpses into all of the "bad guys'"heads, some obvious to their identity and others not so much. It was the ones that weren't named that had me most intrigued, and kept in suspense, as it was frustrating in such a good way to figure out the culprit. I really enjoyed the fact the while a lot of the focus was on the main couple, there also was a clear plot, as well as a set up for another couple in the next book. I very much prefer a new couple's relationship to start in a book prior to their "feature" as it allows me to get attached to them, and makes the switch in focus easier. All in all, I was very impressed with this first installment with the Moon Shifters series, and I recommend Alpha Instinct to anyone who loves a good (and hot) shifter romance. (less)
Cassie may be half-goddess, but she doesn't have the power of one. While she may hold the power...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
Cassie may be half-goddess, but she doesn't have the power of one. While she may hold the power of the Pythia office, she still has human limitations. But when her half-demon mage guardian was dragged back into the demon realm, Cassie knew nothing would stop her from rescuing him. But even a trip into hell itself should be a piece of cake compared to everything else she has survived so far, and will face in her fight to keep the gods from coming back to the human realm and destroying everything in vengeance. It's a hefty job for a mortal, but she's the only one who can do it.
Let me start off by saying that I love this series. Like absolutely adore it. I even have grown to love the love triangle thing going on between Mircea and Pritkin. This is no small feat considering I typically fall for the "first" love interest, and hate the introduction of a new one in most books. So the fact that I'm so terribly torn between the two leading men is pretty impressive to me, especially since everything with Pritkin had been mostly hints up to this point. If you've read the previous book, you'll know that Pritkin had been kinda thrown out of the picture. But of course Cassie wouldn't sit idly by on this, so I was expecting her to go after him. What I was not expecting was for Mircea to completely disappear from the story. Granted he was mentioned, and there was one small possible dream sequence, but he never came "on page," not even for a single phone call or interaction with Cassie. The reason for this is guessed at, but honestly it just ticked me off. Even for "Team Pritkin" fans, this will feel like a cop out, something I'm not a fan of at all. I want Cassie to actually choose who she wants to be with, not have one of the guys bow out on their own. Granted, it's not certain if he will, but it definitely looks like it was headed that way. And then when you add in both Cassie and Pritkin's refusal to see what is right in front of them, well it led to a lot of frustration in the romance department.
TEMPT THE STARS expanded greatly on the world building of the series, and considering how strong and diverse this world has already been built to, I was rather surprised. Prior to this point the demon realm had only been mentioned in an abstract sense, only really playing a part in the series because Pritkin is half demon. Well, now it's been brought to the forefront, and not only is that realm facinating, but it has also added a whole new element to the story and plot line with the fight against the gods. Yep that's right, we have gods, vampires, dhampires, shapeshifters, demons, mages, time-shifters/future seers, and who knows what else that I'm forgetting at this moment. You would think all of that would be overwhelming and complicated, but Karen Chance has done a fantastic job weaving everything together into a fantastic story that sucks you right in. I can't wait until the next installment to see more!
By all rights this is a 5 star book, when you account for the incredible amount of action, the new world building and the stellar characters, but when my own personal preferences on the romance and the fact that it has yet another cliffhanger ending, I have to knock this down to a 4. Honestly that's something I hate to do since I know the book itself is stellar and it's my own hangups getting in the way, but in the end I guess a review is supposed to be personal, so it is what it is. Also as a side note, the cliffhanger would have been a bit easier to swallow if the wait between books was shorter, since this time around it was two years, I have to admit that adding another cliffhanger has really soured things for me. Hopefully the wait will be a bit less, but as there is no release date listed for the next one, only time will tell. But getting back to the good stuff, TEMPT THE STARS was an enjoyable read that was a roller coaster from start to finish, romance issues aside, fans of the series will be more than pleased with this latest installment. (less)
After the incidents from the last book Chess cannot stand to be alone in her head, so when Elder Griffin offers a special assignment she chomps at the...moreAfter the incidents from the last book Chess cannot stand to be alone in her head, so when Elder Griffin offers a special assignment she chomps at the bit. There's one small problem, as Chess must agree to be bound, and the penalty for speaking of her investigations is death. She also has to accept a condescending partner named Lauren, who is the Grand Elder's daughter. Sparks fly between them instantly and Chess is reminded why she always works alone. Lauren undermines Chess's intelligence and capabilities every chance she gets. Yet amazingly when trouble strikes, Chess still feels loyalty towards Lauren and saves her from death. Proving at the root Chess truly is a good person, she just has an addiction problem.
When Chess is caught in Bump's territory doing magic he tries to force her to spill her beans. When she attempts to, her binding marks start to kill her. Luckily Bump gets the point and decides to send Terrible to shadow her since she may not be able to speak about the case, but he can. Despite her fear of getting caught by the church, she agrees, with the hope at a chance to tell Terrible the truth about what happened between her and Lex. Of course, Terrible being "terrible" could not make that easy and the tension between them is thicker than water.
The saying always goes, "You don't know what you got 'till its gone." This could not be more true for Chess. Terrible now treats her like she has the bubonic plague, trying to avoid her at all costs. Regardless of his outer angry attitude, underneath it is clear he is hurting. It is clear just how much he cares for her which makes her betrayal all the worse. Chess finds herself trying to do anything she can to win him back. She knows she messed up and has no problem fessing up to it, but that just doesn't seem to be enough. The emotional angst between them is heart wrenching. The two find nothing is irreparable, but the road will be long and very bumpy. Their rocky relationship kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book.
The first two books may have been very good, but this book stepped it up to a whole new level and completely blew me away. Chess made a lot of character growth in this book, and while she still is very much a drug addict, she starts to have more depth as she allows herself to have feelings for others. The ending gave Chess some resolution and happiness, something I didn't expect for her. While I still cannot wait for the next book to released, hopefully next year, the way this one ended left me with a sense of contentment. If you loved the first two books, you'll love this one even more.
After a terrible virus called RM, created in the war with the genetically engineered soldiers c...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
After a terrible virus called RM, created in the war with the genetically engineered soldiers called Partials, decimated almost the entire world's human population, the survivors have retreated to Long Island. There have been no attacks for many years, but the danger still remains. Each day is an utter struggle to try to find a way to survive as no child has been born immune in over a decade. Laws have been passed making women little more than baby making factories in hopes of even one live birth, and not everyone is happy with this decision. As what left of society is on the brink of civil war, one young medic, Kira, steps up with the determination to change their fate. She'll have to make hard choices and sacrifices, even if it means losing everything she has ever known, for there are secrets to be found and harsh truths to be learned on the journey.
In any dystopian novel there always is going to be some sort of control and oppression. As Partials starts, you can see some of that control, but it has a pretty facade that makes it look like everything is being done in the people's best interests. However, the further you get into the story, the more that pretty facade starts to wear thin as Kira starts to see the ugly truth about the council. As I read an ARC copy, I won't directly quote the book, but one specific realization that Kira had really stuck with me. She questioned to herself whether the council could have been making the decisions they were if it had of affected their own daughters. A crucial element is missing in their leadership as no one has any familial ties left anymore. There are no sons or daughters, mothers or fathers, or any other sort of blood tie. Without those connections, it becomes much to easy to enact laws to control others. It was simply amazing to me that even with the threat of the complete extinction of humanity, everything would revolve around oppression rather than hope and determination to find a cure.
I found the Partials element to be completely fascinating. It almost reminded me of the Terminator franchise, but only in a biological creation rather than a mechanical one. There is such an element of fear on the human side, as these are the "people" they believe destroyed them all. However, after a ten year silence on both sides, you would think the survivors would have started to question why they would have been allowed to live if annihilation was the Partial's real goal. What could they possibly stand to gain? I would have thought it have been more likely for them to want a slave force. Of course a lot of the story revolves around Kira and her refusal to just accept what she is told. Her determination is nothing short of admirable as she is completely willing to sacrifice everything, even her own life, on the low chance at finding a cure. If more people like her had of been placed in power, then things would have been much different. Of course then there wouldn't have been a story to tell, and I would have missed out on an incredible book.
I'm a huge science fiction geek when it comes to movies, but for some reason, the same type of stuff doesn't typically appeal to me very much in books as I like to lean more towards the paranormal. However, Partials may very well have changed that tide for me as I absolutely loved it. I have a feeling a lot of that was due to the technology level being quite similar to our own, so it was quite realistic. Well, realistic in the sense of what could happen after 99.9% of the world's population died. Partials is the perfect blend of sci-fi goodness set in a dystopian setting that kept me utterly captivated from the very start. It will definitely be an agonizingly long wait until the next installment's release date.(less)
As a mobile racer, Ren puts her life on the line each time she gets into her craft. But racing...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
As a mobile racer, Ren puts her life on the line each time she gets into her craft. But racing is the only way she has to make money she needs to take care of her dying sister. The seawater covered Manhatten, known as the Ward, isn't exactly the most forgiving place. Fresh water is more precious than gold as they are completely dependent on rainwater for drinking. So when the government caught her doing something she shouldn't have, she quick to accept their offer to help them seek out a new source of freshwater. But she never could have predicted where her search would take her, and the secrets it would reveal. Suddenly there's so much more at stake than just water, and Ren will have some hard choices ahead of her, for the wrong ones could very well change the very fate of the world.
I loved Ren's character. She is so fierce and every emotion she goes through is so powerful that it's astonishing. I really felt like I was experiencing everything right along with her. I really felt for her determination to be the best racer despite the prejudice surrounding her as the only female in the running. Sure, she's got a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but she's more than proved her worth as a racer time and time again. And more importantly, she's racing to support her dying sister, who isn't a blood relative, but a chosen one, making Ren's love and determination to do whatever it takes to protect her rather incredible. Another thing that really impressed me was that while she had such a powerful crush on her love interest, once things started to be revealed, especially in the negative, she didn't let her judgement get clouded. She also wasn't blinded by those revelations and still kept her mind open to give him a chance to prove himself. Considering what was going, I felt this was impressive. That being said, in the overall scheme of things, the relationship really only played a very minor part, but even so, I felt it progressed realistically considering the circumstances.
I have to admit that if I wasn't such a character driven person, THE WARD probably wouldn't have been as enjoyable of a read for me as the world building is a bit lacking. I mean the world is incredible, and quite frankly terrifying. I've always had a fear of a giant tsunami wave coming barrelling into the East Coast, and movies like 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, etc have practically scarred me for life. THE WARD shows life after such an event, and it's brutal. That being said, things just weren't quite developed enough for my tastes. I wanted to know more about everything that led them to these circumstances, and where the crazy virus came from, or why it wasn't consistent in its speed of "attack." I'm also surprised that there wasn't some sort of salt water filtration used instead of only relying on rainwater. I mean there's a method of boiling salt water with two pots that can be done at home that isn't complicated, just a bit time consuming. So it did make the plight of not having a lot of drinkable water a bit confusing. I also have to admit that the racing scenes were a bit much for me. I had a really hard time following them as I couldn't quite picture the logistics in my head despite the lengthy in-depth descriptions. After the third or fourth complicated maneuver I was left scratching my head as to what bloody position the craft was in at that point. It honestly was rather frustrating, and led me to start skimming those sections.
THE WARD is one of those books that solidly keeps your attention despite its flaws. The pacing was steady, and I found it hard to put it down even when I became a bit frustrated at parts. That being said, it could have gone from good to great in my book if there had of been a bit more explanation about the world behind the circumstances. All in all, THE WARD is an interesting post-apocalyptic-dystopian world that I would like to see more of.(less)
To avoid a war between the Vampires and the Clann, Savannah broke things off with Tristan. Bein...moreReview originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..
To avoid a war between the Vampires and the Clann, Savannah broke things off with Tristan. Being separated from is the worst kind of torture, especially as she cannot seem to escape his constant presence and reminder of what she cannot have. Things are any easier outside of her romantic life either as she struggles with the complications of her vampiric side taking over, and the Clann's determination to ruin her life. Meanwhile, Tristan is bound and determined to change Savannah's mind even if it means giving up everything and everyone else. But even as he struggles to find a solution, outside forces push them further apart leading to an inevitable confrontation that will forever change their lives.
I have to admit I was worried that this book would center around a whole lot of teen angst due to the forced separation between Savannah and Tristan. Granted there is a whole lot of pining for one another, but it never tips over into that annoying state that can happen with teenagers. Well, at least on Savannah's part that is, since she was able to stand strong and steady throughout for the most part. Tristan on the other hand was another story as I wanted to smack him upside the head at times for his behavior as he lashed out in anger, but it didn't take very long to forgive him as his pain was so heart wrenching. This truly is a case of starcrossed lovers that are written incredibly well, especially as the emotions between them were so real that I couldn't help being sucked right into their pain.
At first I felt like this book was a little slow, but then I realized that there actually was a good bit happening as it built a steady pace. It's just that I was so focused on the emotional aspects of the story, (and yes I was rather impatient to see if there would be any hope for the two of them together), that I almost overlooked all of the other developments. Regardless of that, I have to say that any possible lack of intensity in the first part of the book was more than compensated for in the last third. It was almost as if a switch was pulled and the action events completely took over, spiraling closer to the ending which knocked my legs right out from under me. There was a short teaser for the next book included in my ARC copy that I read to try and alleviate some of my misery from the ending, but it only made it worse. I can assure you that the wait for the final book will be agonizing.
In all honesty, I was completely blown away by Covet. Yes, I enjoyed the first installment, but I don't remember it having quite the same effect on me. The sheer depth of the raw emotion in Covet was absolutely staggering as I felt like I was being torn apart right along with the characters. This was an absolutely brilliant follow up to Crave, and I highly recommend it. (less)