After Bianca Olivier's parents accept teaching positions, she is forced to attend the creepy and snobbish Evernight Academy--and she wants out. Bianca...moreAfter Bianca Olivier's parents accept teaching positions, she is forced to attend the creepy and snobbish Evernight Academy--and she wants out. Bianca's a loner. She's debilitatingly shy, and the move to a new town, and a new school where she knows no-one but her parents, is hard for her (and every other 14 year old on the planet). At Evernight she discovers dark secrets, reveals a few of her own, and falls head over heels for fellow student and Evernight outsider, Lucas. This despite the fact that he's a bit of an ass, a text-book wife-beater (as Bianca's new BFF, Raquel, rather astutely points out), and that the charming and 'broad shouldered' Balthazar (a classmate) seems a much more suitable match. But we don't choose who we love, so let's move along... or so you'll have to, to get through this book.
Firstly, I should say, Evernight is probably a little better than I'm giving it credit for. I have genre fatigue. It's not a bad book, it's simply that, for me, Evernight failed to stand out amongst a slew of similar books currently available in the ever-popular YA teenage vampire/supe genre.
About half way through--right as I was getting ready to give up on Bianca's insipid, droning, seemingly endless monologue--Evernight actually has a very sudden, very big, and what I personally thought was a pretty cool (though much maligned, it would seem) plot twist. It's a bit of a point of difference from the many other predictable books out there in a very similar vein (think Hush, Hush, Twilight, Fallen, etc... can I call Twilight a genre of its own?). I wanted to like Bianca, and I wanted to like Lucas, however, I found myself rooting for Lucas' opposing love interest; a problem I've never had before in what is often a very formulaic genre, and, in Evernight, what is meant to be very clearly a pretty straight forward path between our two lovers.
I do have to praise the writing of Lucas, here, though. He's not perfect, and he's not made out to be. He's a liar, at times violent, and while our brainless heroine is head-over-heels, regardless of his flaws, I like that we're seeing a genuinely imperfect hero, who's conflicted, who has, while not selfish, perhaps ill-intentioned and misguided, motivations for his actions, and a bit of interest. I don't *like* him, but, hey, at least when he's on the page, Bianca stops talking about how pretty his shiny bronze hair and brilliant green eyes.
Evernight ends up playing out as a bit of a modern-day Romeo and Juliet... but I didn't feel as connected as I'd like to be. I couldn't make myself care enough to truly be invested. I'm torn--I really want to know how the series pans out, and the secret the sinister headmistress, Mrs Bethany, is hiding, but I don't think I could make myself read through another 3 books of Bianca's narration.
While there are better books out there than Evernight, it's truly not a bad outing in the predictable YA/PNR genre, and should provide a satisfying diversion to fans hungering for another tale of the ubiquitous teenage vampire.(less)
Gail Carriger's delightfully witty 'Soulless' is a joy to read. Fun, fast-paced, and most certainly lascivious in parts, we follow Miss Alexia Tarabot...moreGail Carriger's delightfully witty 'Soulless' is a joy to read. Fun, fast-paced, and most certainly lascivious in parts, we follow Miss Alexia Tarabotti through a Victorian England populated by vampires, werewolves, ghosts.
Alexia has a knack for trouble. Firstly, she's 'soulless'--a preternatual being lacking a soul, and thus able to cancel out the supernatural abilities of vampires and werewolves; secondly, she's a 26 year old spinster; and thirdly, she is most rudely attacked by, and accidently kills, a vampire at a ball. She could possibly live with this if it weren't for the abominable manners of said vampire.
Thrust into adventure and intrigue, Miss Tarabotti must deal with mortal peril, the romantic overtures of a man who's both a werewolf AND scottish (appalling! though he is so very appealing) and make time for tea at the meantime.
A thoroughly entertaining read for romance, steampunk, paranormal fans.(less)
After a traumatic past, Elise, a vampire, has become a virtual recluse, living in abandoned subway tunnels, and avoiding humans and other vampires ali...moreAfter a traumatic past, Elise, a vampire, has become a virtual recluse, living in abandoned subway tunnels, and avoiding humans and other vampires alike. Her life takes a rather sudden turn for exciting when a demon-posessed man with a death wish turns up on her doorstep.
A fun, quick, read for Frost fans. Cat, Bones, and Mencheres all make appearances in this novella. I'm used to strong, kick-ass heroines from Jeaniene Frost, but Elise isn't. She's suffered a lot in both life and her afterlife, and she doesn't live, so much as exist. She's going through the motions, because she doesn't want to dissapoint the only person left she does care for, Mencheres. She shakes her self from her apathy and ennui, but it makes her a little less interesting to read than Cat/Denise/Kira/Isa (from Happily Never After). There's not much space to get to know her in this short read, and I felt it got in the way.
More a look into the protaganists minds and changing characters, fans used to Frost's normal non-stop action approach may be dissapointed.
I didn't enjoy this quite as much as Happily Never After, which felt like it fit alot in a short space, but it's still a nice entertaining read, and a visit to the Night Huntress world is always entertaining, regardless of any faults.
Cat's back. But now it's Special Agent Cat Crawford...
It's been four years since Cat left the love of her life, Bones, sneaking away in the hopes of p...moreCat's back. But now it's Special Agent Cat Crawford...
It's been four years since Cat left the love of her life, Bones, sneaking away in the hopes of protecting both his life, and her mother's. Screw her own happiness. It could never work out with Bones anyway, and she'll never be happy without him. So as long as they can't be together, she'll keep him safe. She's now working for a secret department of Homeland Security, dealing with the undead like only she can.
A job Cat's working takes an unexpected twist, and when Bones shows up at her best friend's wedding, well... will she be able to control her attraction to him? Pfft, you know the answer: hell to the no.
Cat has grown a lot in the last four years. She's now a foul-mouthed, gin-swilling, raging bitch. At her own admission. And boy, is she bitter. She's living for her job: killing the undead. Without Bones, she doesn't really have much joy in her life. Cat drove me nuts in the first Night Huntress book, Halfway to the Grave. She was immature and prejudiced, and while I understood this (and it was an important part of the story), I really appreciate that she's grown into the character she was clearly intended to be. Seeing Cat adjust her outlook on the future of a relationship between her and Bones is very sweet, and watching her finally stand up to her vindictive bitch of a mother is worth gold.
The pace in this book is rocketing--it's non-stop action. Whether it's Cat and Bones, or Cat and Bones kick ass, Frost keeps it moving along like a freight train. This installment has more action, more excitement, and more *ahem* everything than the last.
We also see much better worldbuilding than the previous installment. where as HTTG seemed to be lacking some depth (to me), OFITG has a far richer background. Secondary characters are now more than a backup cast, they're rich and multi-facted. Cat has friends, colleagues, and the added dimension these add to the story and world are invaluable. As much as I don't necessarily like him, Cat's relationship with Tate is interesting, and important, I think, in grounding her.
As was Halfway to the Grave, the book's really a vehicle for the sizzling interaction and relationship between our two heroes. It has some of the hottest scenes in it I've ever read (or scene on TV), and actually had me blushing (chapter 32--you'll know what I mean).
All the issues I had with Halfway to the Grave are gone in One Foot in the Grave. Cat's grown up, Bones doesn't push her around as much, and we have the two on much more equal footing. There are so many laugh at loud parts of this book (Bones v. Tate, and Bones and Justina). The Night Huntress series have filled a Buffy-shaped hole in my heart, and this instalment is infinitely better than the last. If you enjoyed Halfway to the Grave, you'll LOVE One Foot in the Grave. Read it.(less)
Lord Of The Abyss is a rather quirky retelling of Beauty and the Beast. For grown-ups. Grown-ups who prefer their fairy-tales with a bit of hot sauce....moreLord Of The Abyss is a rather quirky retelling of Beauty and the Beast. For grown-ups. Grown-ups who prefer their fairy-tales with a bit of hot sauce. I love Nalini Singh (she’s like caffeine and chocolate: addictive, and I know can’t be good for me), but I really wasn’t sure what to expect going in. So I'm really not surprised I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I seriously have no idea how to summarise this one... it’s a bizarre little tale. On a dark, stormy night, Liliana turns up at the gateway to the abyss. Micah, the guardian of the gateway to hell, is intrigued. Used to fear and unquestioning deference from the people around him, this strange little creature talks back, argues, and isn’t afraid of him. Well this almighty beast of a man likes a gal with backbone... but as it turns out, this girl is the daughter of the evil sorcerer who killed his parents, and she’s here to help Micah overthrow him, and return his kingdom to its former glory. Problem: Micah’s hiding a 'beastly' secret. That, and he doesn’t remember who he is.
Firstly: Lord Of The Abyss is actually the fourth book in a four-part series, each written by a different, powerhouse of a romance author, but works as a standalone. Though I haven’t read the prior three, the story was fun and easy to follow.
Once Upon A Time... Lord Of The Abyss isn’t a complex story. It’s a sweet one, a fun one, with, as all good fairy tales do, a moral twist (more on this later). The book actually reads a lot like a fairy tale. There is, of course, the obligatory Once Upon A Time, and Happily Ever After, but it has a very fairy-tale tone, present in the light, humorous, knowing narration, which carries through to the two main characters. Despite having seen his fair share of horrors, perversions and wickedness, Micah came across as very... while not naive, perhaps a little childlike. Lilianna is a little more wordly, but still has a touch of that inherent innocence and inner-purity that all good Snow Whites, Cindarellas and fairy tale heroines possess (having said this, she's scarred, ballsy, brave, and fiercly intelligent. Do NOT cross this lady). I enjoyed this, and it’s one of the things that makes Lord Of The Abyss so fun and unique. But the whimsical tone seemed, on occasion, a bit odd in contrast with what at times is a very *ahem* ‘grown-up’ (read: explicit) tale.
Pretty On The Inside:
Seriously, I kept picturing Lilianna as something like this, but slightly dantier XD
Now, as I mentioned, all good fairy-tales have a moral side, right? Just ask Disney. The Lion King has the Circle Of Life/Animals are People Too; Aladdin eventually learns to put other people’s needs, and happiness before his own, and wishes for Genie’s freedom; in Beauty and the Beast, there’s more than meets the eye/it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Wait, did I mention Beauty and the Beast? Well, in Lord Of The Abyss, yes, we have Micah as The Beast, but Lilianna’s a bit of one, too. She’s hook nosed, shaggy haired, and one of her legs is shorter than the other. Others consistently remind her she’s a crone. And she knows it. But Micah, golden surfer-boy gorgeous (most of the time), doesn’t even notice. And as he starts to love her, Lilianna learns to love herself, learns to believe that maybe she is beautiful, because Micah sees her this way. It's sugar-sweet, and I loved this.
The Verdict: Fairy tale aside, Lord Of The Abyss doesn't shy away from being very hot and very steamy. Despite the slightly sinister sounding name and intimidating man-titty on the cover, Lord Of The Abyss left me with a silly grin and a happy sigh. Well, actually, I lie. I turned the last page, kicked my cat off my lap, and went ‘Aaaaaaww!’ No sighing involved. A fun, quirky, (very) adult twist on the much loved fairy tale, Singh fans will enjoy this quick little read. (less)