I’m not entirely sure what I expected from 666 Park Avenue but it certainly wasn’t what I got. I guess I was expecting one of two things. Either somet...moreI’m not entirely sure what I expected from 666 Park Avenue but it certainly wasn’t what I got. I guess I was expecting one of two things. Either something closer to the typical modern day urban fantasy settings I’m getting used to with “independent” heroines and monster of the week, or perhaps something on the other end of the scale, a novel closer to a literary magical realism, so dry there was no way I could enjoy it, but 666 Park Avenue is neither of these things. The atmosphere Gabriella Pierce has created in her book is dark but magical, as such it’s easy to become engrossed in the story. She uses a fair few clichés which usually would have me rolling my eyes and running for the hills but strangely I delighted in them. They felt more like a cosy old blanket. It felt much like a cross between Witches of Eastwick and Practical Magic and for this I adored it.
We follow the story of Jane, a French orphan and architect who meets Malcom Doran at an art auction and they instantly hit it off. Malcolm is a wealthy New York socialite, and within a month Jane has agreed to give up the life she had built for herself (*scowl*) and move to New York with him, to be a part of his socialite family. For those of you who have watched the series, you may notice that the two sound nothing alike. Jane is a completely different character, as is the building the book is named after and Mr and Mrs Doran themselves as well, and they are the only parts that really cross over. The other things: characters, plot lines.. they just don’t exist and honestly I’m glad about this. You can read the books and watch the series and not know a thing about either.
I do wish Jane would have a little self respect.. She barely knows anything about Malcolm and is instantly willing to up and leave the life she has built for herself. It is sort of explained but you’d still think she might wonder who this guy is? Despite the niggles, I did really enjoy it and some of the characters are fab. The Doran family are easy to hate, some of the things they come out with, particularly Malcolm’s mother, Lynne, are literally jaw dropping. I personally don’t see how Malcolm is worth all the abuse Jane gets but it sure makes for a great book. And I loved her friends as well, particularly Harris. They brought a sense of fun into the novel where the rest of it was fear for Jane. 666 Park Avenue definitely made me feel something and there is no higher praise for an author.
Basically, if you like witchy stories, you’ll like 666 Park Avenue. It’s magical and intense.(less)
The first thing I want to talk about is the cover of Crave. Despite the girl on the front looking nothing lik...moreOriginally published on Once Upon A Time.
The first thing I want to talk about is the cover of Crave. Despite the girl on the front looking nothing like the image I have in my head of Savannah, and it being (let’s face it) a fairly generic young adult paranormal romance cover, I adore it. I know the UK cover (pictured) isn’t too different from the US edition but I just find those subtle differences enough to make it a stand out cover. The red and black is a nice contrast and the red leaves around the edges are foil embossed. It’s lovely.
As for the novel itself, I really enjoyed it. I was quite pleasantly surprised by Crave as I didn’t expect anything entirely different from any other young adult paranormal romance, and I suppose in a lot of ways it wasn’t, but the writing style pulled it up into a world of its’ own and I loved it. It is most definitely a gripping read and I adored the witchy elements in The Clann, and also Savannah’s half-witch, half-vampire genetic heritage. It’s a lot of fun discovering everything as Savannah does.
There are a lot of rather “meh” reviews around for Crave and because I’d seen so many, I had been put off a little from trying it for myself, and I suppose the issues these others have pointed out were present, however, I enjoyed it a lot and I may have missed out on a great read. My issues were with Savannah herself. The two perspective story telling method which varied between Savannah and Tristan’s viewpoints worked really well. They gave us a look into each character’s mind as we follow the developing romance between the two of them. Tristen I liked a lot as a character, but Savannah is one of those female characters that just doesn’t seem to have her head screwed on quite right. I kept wanting to shout at my book and tell her to just talk to people. Voice her issues, opinions, and everything inbetween because not doing so does nothing but cause more problems than it solves, whatever it is that she wants. Saying that, she isn’t an unloveable character and I did want to see her happy.
All in all I was pretty sad when I had to put Crave down as I was enjoying it thoroughly and I look forward to the next in the trilogy. If you’re into young adult paranormal romance, I highly recommend you check this one out.(less)
It took me way too long to get around to reading Grave Witch (try 6 or 7 months) and now that I have I'm kicking myself for not finding the time soone...moreIt took me way too long to get around to reading Grave Witch (try 6 or 7 months) and now that I have I'm kicking myself for not finding the time sooner because it is definitely one of the better urban fantasies out there. Kalayna Price has created this fantastic world in which faeries exist, along with witches, ghosts and reapers. Alex, our protagonist, is what is called a 'grave witch'. A person who can call upon the power of the grave to 'raise shades'. Shades are basically memories of the deceased. They are not ghosts, which are separate entities altogether, but they can be questioned and Alex makes a living raising shades to aid in murder investigations, arguments over wills, and all sorts. She also happens to be the only person she knows who can see Death, as in the Grim Reaper. A Soul Collector. There are also other types of Witches but Alex isn't particularly good with the other types of magic however we do see a lot of animosity towards Witches and Fae folk in general. This is definitely the most interesting representation of the Fae that I have read so far.
Alex herself made me gleefully happy. I've gotten so used to urban fantasy heroines being "solitary and independent". Read: annoyingly stubborn and relying on the first bad ass male that comes along. Alex has friends and she is not averse to turning to them for help and spending time with them. It was like a breath of fresh air! A heroine that actually enjoys fun and companionship! Okay so sure, she does rely on the first bad ass male that comes along when she is a self-proclaimed commitaphobe but we can't have everything, right?
What I really loved about Grave Witch, along with the fantastic world-building, is definitely the almost casual writing style. It draws you in from the very first sentence and keeps you hooked throughout. I found it an utter delight to read, especially when the Fae and their homeland came up, as well as details about modern day Witches. If you haven't read it yet I urge you to pick up a copy. I've fallen completely in love with this series to the point that I immediately picked up Grave Dance and then bought Grave Memory. There is more to this book than you might think. Don't assume it is your typical urban fantasy until you've encountered its' twists and unpredictability. And what an ending.(less)
My first thought when I’d heard about this book back when Victoria first followed me on Twitter was: Oh god I need this book in my life! I love the Tu...moreMy first thought when I’d heard about this book back when Victoria first followed me on Twitter was: Oh god I need this book in my life! I love the Tudor history period, and I love Witchy things. Combine the two and you have a book that is more or less designed for my personal enjoyment. Seconded? Then you perhaps don’t need to read any more before going straight off to your chosen book store to purchase.
Witchstruck follows the first person narrative of a young witch called Meg Lytton as she goes into service as maid to the Princess Elizabeth while she remains imprisoned within the ruined palace of Woodstock. The first thing I noticed in this book was Elizabeth being somehow involved in the witchcraft, not on an active level, but she’s definitely interested which is a dangerous stance for an imprisoned royal to take. It immediately added a sense of impending danger to the novel which makes you want to keep reading. The second thing was the atmosphere Victoria has created. It’s immersive and the only way I can really describe it is kind of like a dark fog creating a sense of mystery and foreboding. I felt as though I was well within my comfort zone reading Witchstruck and I loved that about it.
I have to admit to not enjoying the ending as much as the beginning and I can’t even put my finger on why, it just fell flat for me. It could be because, after all, this is a young adult novel and I usually prefer adult fiction, or maybe because I was only able to read it in small chunks while my dad was visiting and would have read a lot better in one sitting. I don’t really know but it’s worth making your own mind up. I also noticed a couple of inconsistencies throughout though they didn’t affect my enjoyment of Witchstruck at all because at the end of the day it’s a historical fantasy, but I don’t believe Tudor witches would have known who Hecate was with her being an ancient Greek goddess, and “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” wasn’t in the Bible until the 1600′s when the King James Bible came into being.
Even so, there is a lot going on so the novel doesn’t get boring, there’s a lot of foreboding as danger is constantly imminent and Victoria has done a fantastic job of portraying how dark these times were. Not just for accused witches but also for non-Catholics and rebels to the crown. She has encaptured the spirit of this alternate history fantastically and I urge you to give Witchstruck a read.(less)
This series is definitely a favourite in urban fantasy. I love the mix of witches and magic and faerie and ghosts and reapers and all of that combined...moreThis series is definitely a favourite in urban fantasy. I love the mix of witches and magic and faerie and ghosts and reapers and all of that combined and ... arg. It's good, okay? And by the end of this one I was actually invested in the love interest too. Mebbe soon I'll actually review them both on the blog and convince you all to give them a try if you haven't already? Promise they're worth it.
Howl's Moving Castle was a gift from Dan when he went into town and I had decided to stay home. A really lovely gesture! So when I was bumming around...moreHowl's Moving Castle was a gift from Dan when he went into town and I had decided to stay home. A really lovely gesture! So when I was bumming around complaining that I didn't know what to read and Dan said, "read Howl's Moving Castle." I did just that.
For the first chunk of the novel, it is pretty much exactly like the Studio Ghibli movie of the same name, it wasn't until a little later on when something I entirely didn't expect happened and then the events of the novel went off on a completely different tangent. I think I personally prefer the Ghibli adaptation to the novel's story of events, however, it is an absolute delight to read and I adored it all the same.
I know there are two others after this one but I honestly think Howl's Moving Castle was wrapped up well enough that you can get away with only reading the one.(less)