Initially, as I know many were, I found myself attracted to Shiver's beautiful cover. The screen doesn't do it justice. Holding this book is like rece...moreInitially, as I know many were, I found myself attracted to Shiver's beautiful cover. The screen doesn't do it justice. Holding this book is like receiving a birthday present: it's a real treat.
But Shiver is much more than a pretty picture.
Werewolf stories are nothing new, but Shiver is. Told in the dual narratives of our two protagonists, Grace and Sam, Shiver is the story of the star-crossed (though perhaps winter-crossed, is more appropriate) lovers, and their fight to stay together against forces far beyond their control. This, to me, was one of the most interesting aspects of the story. There is really no antagonist to this story--perhaps the lycanthropic condition, combined with seasonal change, is the villain, rather than an individual being.
Shiver's wolves are a refreshing and unique take on a much loved, but much done, genre. I hate to ruin the surprise myself, because it's such a clever and absorbing moment in the story. The book is told in easily digestible sections, perfect for short sittings (if you can put it down), but the story flows beautifully, and I personally adored Stiefvater's prose (so smooth, 'flowy' and lyrical).
While one could say Shiver shares a lot in common with a great number of other YA paranormals around (werewolves, lonely protagonist, absent parents and love story), it had its own special, unique spark that, months after reading it, keeps it fresh in my mind. It should go down a treat with those who like YA paranormal, but the story is told so tenderly and with such beautiful restraint, I believe it could appeal to non-genre readers.
Gripping, hopeful and heartbreaking, I found the story kept me wondering till the very last page. I flat-out adored Shiver. (less)
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)
The more space I put between reading HTTG the more I love it (and I love the rest of the series even more).
Halfway to the Grave is paranormal romance...moreThe more space I put between reading HTTG the more I love it (and I love the rest of the series even more).
Halfway to the Grave is paranormal romance at its smoking hot best. This is not YA dressed up as PNR; Cat and Bones are on fire. I could seriously almost leave it at that.
I've heard a lot about the Night Huntress series, and was very glad to finally get my paws on the books. But Halfway to the Grave did bother me on a few levels. Sections were so cheesy they had me laughing out loud ("Don't kiss me like a woman, and treat me like a child." Seriously.), and for the first half of the book I wanted to shake Cat.
Come the second half of this book, it really hits its stride. Cat graduates from wanting to be tough, to the real thing. She goes from being a scared, naive child to the strong 'night huntress' she's meant to be. While she really bothered me at first, and I was struggling to see past her prejudices and bigotry, she makes up for it with gusto come act 2. If you're reading, and feeling discouraged, the story is really worth sticking with. The cheesiness backs of, and the story get very, very good.
The book also has some seriously funny moments and dialogue ("Lucifer's bouncing balls, Kitten, not again!"), one of the many things in the book recalling (yes, you knew we were getting there) Joss Whedon's brilliant-brilliant-brillant, Buffy.
But that on its own wouldn't be enough to make HTTG float. What is really happening here? Cat and Bones. The story works as a vehicle for the smoking hot scenes between Cat and Bones, and the fiery attraction they have for one another. I like that while the story between the two could turn into another Bella and Edward (except that Cat can throw a few punches), this relationship is not a dictatorship. Oh, sure, Bones has his opinions and is more than happy to tell Cat what to do, but she'll give as good as she gets. For every moment Bones is jealous and controlling, Cat gives back twofold. It's the fierce possessiveness the two have for each other that is so darn sexy.
In addition to kickass romance and slaying, there was in interesting side story in Cat overcoming her prejudices, and the relationship with her truly vile mother. You could complain along the lines of ‘why would she put up with that?!’, but it’s simple: the woman’s her mother, and she is all Cat has ever had. You remember what it was like to stand up to your folks for the first time, right? And this is a truly emotionally abusive relationship. Anyone who has been through an abusive relationship should be able to relate. What the relationship between Cat and her mother causes in the ending of the story is heartbreaking, but you know things are going to work out in book 2.
I don't know why, but for some reason I was expecting to be disappointed with Halfway to the Grave. I was thrilled. The book is worth reading for the Cat/SpikeBones dynamic alone, and so you can move onto the next book (One Foot in the Grave) which is even better.(less)
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)
One Foot in the Grave was brilliant, better than Halfway to the Grave, in my opinion, but At Grave's End ramps it up even more. The third installment...moreOne Foot in the Grave was brilliant, better than Halfway to the Grave, in my opinion, but At Grave's End ramps it up even more. The third installment in the Night Huntress series is breathtaking. No, these books aren't intellectual, and don't require a lot of thought. What they is incredible well plotted and paced, and have a cast of very strong, utterly unforgettable characters.
Cat and Bones are settled into a relationship. Cat's told her mother to like it or leave it, and Bones now works by her side, after they've come to an agreement with her work. But Cat's job is getting harder, as she's now more recognisable, and someone from Bone's past is emerging with a vendetta.
Once again, the book is non-stop action, but we a see a lot less of that action between Cat and Bones in the bedroom. I'd read a few people lamenting the loss of this, but I can't say I did. Don't get me wrong--these scenes are one of the things I really do like about the series (I feel like a pervert!), but we see a deeper connection between Cat and Bones here, which I appreciated even more. The energy between the two is still crackling, and I appreciate it just as much. We're seeing a deeper emotional side to all the characters here.
About two thirds of the way through this book, something heartbreaking happens, and the reaction to it left me nearly in tears. The grief is palpable, and this is as well written as anything else I've encountered in the genre. There is a scene between one of our old favourites, and new (but famous) addition which I thought was perfect. It made my heart ache.
We see a new side to many of our favourite characters, and the humour inheritant in these books that I love so much is there, absolutely sparkling. There are two notable scenes that had me laughing out loud involving Bones and Justina, and another with Cat and a new addition to the cast: Vlad. Vlad is a LOT of fun.
The showdown in the end of this book had me holding my breath. It actually reminded me of the finale of one of my favourite vampire slayin' shows, now long-gone from TV (not the first time in this series have made me recall a show involving a certain slayer, and certain sexy british vampire). This final showdown, with everyone choosing to stand their ground, and choosing their death (a reference to one of Bone's long-dead friends from the first book).
If you've read the first 2 books in the series, this installment is an absolute must-read. I don't know how she's done it, but Frost is getting better and better.(less)