This review may well contain spoilers for the Soul Screamers series up to book 2.
My Soul to Save continues almost two months after where My Soul to Take left off and I found it even more unputdownable. I'm not sure exactly why. Perhaps it's because we now know Kaylee and Nash, we've been through Kaylee's discovery of her bean sidhe powers, and now we're able to follow the stories and properly connect with the characters. You don't just want to know what happens next, you need to know.
We find out a little more about the Netherworld and even see a little of it. This is something I'd been looking forward to and was not disappointed. It's chilling and entirely nightmarish, and I fell a little bit in love with it. The creatures within are creepy, the landscape is like something from a Salvador Dali painting, and even the plant life is scary! It is not a place to venture into lightly.
There are more interesting characters in My Soul to Save, as well. We met a few in My Soul to Take, such as Tod, but they are built upon further in this book. Tod we know to be Nash's dead bean sidhe brother, but we start to see his human side which didn't really show so much before. He becomes a more solid part of the Soul Screamers series as opposed to simply a side character and I really like that. His personality is fun to read as he continually causes mischief to keep himself entertained. We also meet Addy, Tod's ex girlfriend who happens to have sold her soul for fame and fortune, unknowingly condemning herself to eternal damnation by demand of Dekker media. The thing I loved the most about this particular storyline was how big a pop at Disney it was! It really made me giggle until it was revealed exactly how dark it really was. Libby the 3,000 year old reaper was also pretty awesome. Despite not meeting her too much, she still made quite an impact on me which is definitely something worth mentioning. And I still like Nash.
Considering how difficult it was for me to put this series down for just a little while during March, I am very much looking forward to picking back up with My Soul to Keep!(less)
Surrender was never released in the UK and as such, we Brits had to accept that our Haunting Emma collections wo...moreOriginally posted to Once Upon A Time.
Surrender was never released in the UK and as such, we Brits had to accept that our Haunting Emma collections would look something like this:
Thankfully, it is a trilogy worth making do with mismatched covers as it’s a delight to read. And I did spend a fair while making bets with myself over the colour of book three. I think I went with orange but I guess we’ll never know!
It had been a long while since I’d read Betrayal, book two of the trilogy, and so it took me a while to work out who was who, who was where, and what was going on and get back into the narrative style all over again and I didn’t feel as though previous events were re-explained very well so I do think this series works much better if you read all three in one sitting. I also found it funny reading this as I was in more of an adult chick lit mood, whereas reading the first two I was in the mood for this kind of series so the teenage angst bothered me so much more this time around but it’s still a good read.
Aside from the masses of angst and the assumption that you have a photographic memory, I also noticed an awful lot of moments in which the characters proved themselves to be glaringly oblivious. There were things that had me screaming at the book in a, “They’re behind you you dolt!” kind of style. But I felt that the fun of reading Surrender overrode my annoyances.
The Haunting Emma trilogy is the kind of series you read when you don’t want to think. You want to sit and enjoy your fantasy world and have a well resolved ending. It feels comfortable to read, the battles are fast-paced and just a little epic, and the characters are loveable and fun. It is certainly worth reading even if just the once.(less)
Hal goes through life tormented by apparitions that nobody but him sees. As a youth, his grandiosity is d...moreDestined for greatness, tormented by demons..
Hal goes through life tormented by apparitions that nobody but him sees. As a youth, his grandiosity is dazzling, during the height of his prowess as a warrior he is bold and inspiring, only to drop off later in life after a near-fatal accident renders him unable to be as active as he once was only for him to become a sad shell of his former self.. This is the life story of Henry VIII.
Well this book was amazing. From the very beginning we are greeted with the nightmareish visions Hal sees and these only worsen throughout his lifetime. He lives his life in fear and to take his mind off of it he keeps himself busy training in the tiltyards, hunting and gambling. The writing is atmospheric and clear and his voice is perfect. By the end I was left with goosebumps. Hal’s emotions are clearly evident in the language used. His fear, his excitement, his pride. And towards the end, as the reader, you become increasingly horrified by his dark nature. He is a very strong character. Castor also explores his relationships between his family, lovers, and friends which are all portrayed exceedingly well. VIII makes you understand why Henry was the way he was by showing you what he could very possibly have gone through in his life.
I personally thought VIII was lacking something, it needed more either as a two-part series or even just a few more pages or so because during the last half of the book many of the events in his life felt rushed over. It just dropped off a little. Sure, the older he got, the more relevant it became as his mental health seemed to deteriorate drastically and through a first person perspective it made perfect sense but certain things left me thinking, “Huh? Why was that never explored more fully?” However, the ending fully made up for any misgivings I may have had. I had of course thought about it myself but even so I didn’t think of it and found myself rambling about how unexpected it was. My poor boyfriend always gets the brunt of my bookish excitement.
VIII will be loved by fans of strongly character driven and psychological fiction. If you enjoy young adult historical fiction and the Tudor period, VIII is definitely a must read, though I thoroughly believe that this book will appeal even to those of you who aren’t big fans of historical fiction.(less)
I really enjoyed reading Flying Blind. I adore dragons and shapeshifters alike so a book about dragon shapeshift...moreOriginally posted on Once Upon A Time.
I really enjoyed reading Flying Blind. I adore dragons and shapeshifters alike so a book about dragon shapeshifters was sure to be a recipe for success. It was a joy to read with such a comfortable writing style and I'm sure that if I had had a little more time in the past couple of weeks to read, it would only have taken me a couple of nights to finish. Ooh and I didn't realise until I was grabbing the blurb from Goodreads that this is actually a series set a little further on from a previous series (Dragonfire) by Deborah Cooke which is an adult series that focuses on the parents (Quinn and Sara) of one of the characters' around Zoë's age, I shall definitely be getting hold of those when I can!
Zoë was a pretty well-rounded character, all in all. She's your typical 15 year old high school girl. Desperate to start puberty, and whilst she would never tell her best friend Meagan, hoping that puberty will finally bring with it her Wyvern powers. She seems to get crushes on any boy who pays her the slightest bit of attention which can be a little odd but not far-fetched for a hormonal teenage girl. And she's pretty big on protecting her friends and the people she cares for, which in my eyes makes her a loveable character with appropriate flaws. I also have to give an honourable mention to Jared who I particularly liked. He's good to Zoë and just a little bit yummy.
While I loved the familiar writing style that felt as though Zoë was talking to you, it also came with a couple of flaws. There were a few instances in which something said didn't make sense to me. Sometimes I can put this down to my own tiredness but not when there are more than one or two. They didn't take away from the story as a whole but they were a little jarring as I had to go back to re-read and make sure I knew what was going on. I also found the story became fairly linear towards the end. My favourite novels interweave plotlines and side stories with such intricacy that you feel as though the story is happening to you because they feel real, but Flying Blind didn't really have that and it took away from my enjoyment a little bit as one plot would be unveiled and dealt with, then another, and another..
However, that being said I still loved reading about the Pyr and following their story throughout Flying Blind. Whilst this is definitely a young adult novel that I might not recommend to folk who are exceedingly picky about their young adult fiction, I would definitely recommend it to everybody else, particularly dragon fans because Flying Blind is, as expected, very juicy on the dragons. Love it!(less)
The Iron Witch is based upon a piece of folklore sometimes called the ‘Girl With Silver Hands’ or the ‘Armless Maiden’, among many other names, in whi...moreThe Iron Witch is based upon a piece of folklore sometimes called the ‘Girl With Silver Hands’ or the ‘Armless Maiden’, among many other names, in which the girl’s hands are severely damaged and replaced with silver, though the details surrounding that change from story to story. Mahoney’s story follows a teenage girl called Donna Underwood who is not your ordinary teenager. Kicked out of high school, she is home schooled in the art of alchemy. Born into a secret order, she isn’t given much choice in the matter. She has to wear long gloves to avoid drawing attention to the silvery-iron intricate tattoos that her hands and lower arms are made up of. The story begins with her best and only friend Navin dragging her to a party full of people from her past at Ironbridge High, she doesn’t want to be there and so escapes to an empty room and finds her way to the roof where she meets Xan.
Initially, I wasn’t all that impressed by this novel. It took what felt like half of the book to get anywhere and it’s lucky that I’m so adamant on not dropping books unless I really can’t stand them because then I might not have got to the part that was a joy to read. Sadly, this really was too much of the book to salvage the rating, if the entire book was as good as the last half, it could easily have been a 3.5. I found throughout that a lot of the plot points were glaringly obvious to the reader while the characters remained ignorant, which was a little frustrating, and a lot of the dialogue felt forced and unnatural – mostly that between Donna and Nav.
The story itself, although a little slow going and could have used a few more twists, is excellent. As mentioned, Donna is born into a secret alchemical order sworn to protect the secret of immortality and guard the mortal world from that of the fae, who are pretty darn sinister. I wasn’t actually expecting alchemy in this book, I thought it was a faerie based paranormal novel when I picked it up for some reason, but I was pleasantly surprised. Since watching Full Metal Alchemist I’ve been intrigued by stories based on or including alchemy, so it was a nice read. While there was a romance in it, it didn’t feel quite so bad. There were no mystical powers drawing them together, no love at first sight, just your usual budding teenage romance.. as usual as a paranormal based romance might be. It was awkward and a little shy, and that’s great, that’s how it is. In fact, it was the times that Donna was with her love interest that her voice was the strongest in my honest opinion.
Throughout the book I found myself thinking that it would really have benefitted from being written in a first person narrative because Donna’s voice is so strong, we are seeing the world through her eyes. Her voice just works as a narrative because she comes across as any other teenage girl, having the same thoughts and feelings that any of us would have felt in her position, and in the process she does her darndest to keep away from the self pity. It’s a shame that it wasn’t a first person narrative. The imagery in The Iron Witch is brilliant. Mahoney really makes the world come to life.
While I didn’t find it amazing personally, I would definitely recommend it to young adult paranormal fans.(less)
Fall of Night, Fall of Night.. not quite as bad as Bite Club, but no where near as good as Bitter Blood. In fact, thi...moreFirst posted to Once Upon A Time.
Fall of Night, Fall of Night.. not quite as bad as Bite Club, but no where near as good as Bitter Blood. In fact, this is a Morganville novel of two parts. The part where Claire is alone in this new town, and the part where everybody suddenly appears. The first part was just kind of boring.. sorry, but Morganville without Myrnin and Eve et al just isn't the same. But then the second part woke up and we have a Morganville book that is once again fast paced and unpredictable and that made up a bit for the first half.
The thing I love most about the Morganville books is how easy to read they are. No matter what mood you're in, how tired you are, they are easy, fun reads that are readable where many other books aren't at certain times and I will always love them for this.
At the end of Bitter Blood, Amelie releases Claire, allowing her to leave Morganville to seek out more at MIT. Oliver is exiled for the part he played in her potential downfall, despite him being under the control of Naomi at the time, and Shane is most definitely in Claire's bad books after seriously believing that she would cheat on him with Michael. I was pretty excited to see where all of this would lead in Fall of Night and I was under the impression that Shane would be going with Claire. I was wrong. She decided that she needed some space to get over the hurt he did her and somewhat teach him a lesson that she wasn't so weak as to just forgive him. I thought she was being a little bit stubborn but at the very least, she stood her ground. Good girl. Still, I found her whiny and ridiculous, more so than usual.
There's a whole host of new characters. Claire is to be roomates with her old best friend from high school, Liz. Though the moment we meet her, something is wrong. She's high maintenance and thus very difficult to be around for Claire, especially as she is trying to be something she evidently isn't, and seems to be very up and down with her moods. Claire can tell something has happened to this girl in the time Claire was in Morganville, and this guy stalking her isn't helping matters. There's the professor lady Claire's to be working with who was once an assistant of Myrnin's also. She seems pretty trustworthy, which let's face it, doesn't mean a thing in a Morganville book. Then there's Jesse and Pete who are an awesome pair of characters, who help professor lady and work in the same bar Shane does. Yeah, that's right. Shane ignored Claire's wishes and followed her to keep an eye on her. Kind of sweet, also kind of wrong. I'm still not sure what I think of this.
We start hearing talk about the Daylight Foundation, who I'm unsure about. Sure they are the ultimate bad guy for the vampires, but I don't think they'll be any where near as interesting as Bishop or the Draug in my honest opinion, though they're pretty ruthless.. which is in their favour as a bunch of scary bad guys. At the end of the day, this is the last Morganville book before the grand finale and even if it's not the best instalment so far, you absolutely must read it before Daylighters, which is going to be all kinds of epic if that massive cliffhanger at the end of Fall of Night reveals anything. Oh and what was with that vicious dog bite of Shane's? It's referred to throughout the book but nothing is ever really revealed about it. Is he a were-dog now? Some kind of super vamp killer? Was it just a rapid dog? What? I felt that storyline just kind of floundered, and sure, if it's going to be looked at later on but it needed something a little more in this book for all of the build it got.
As I said on here when I finished reading Fall of Night, and I quote, "Hmm. The first half wasn't as good as usual but then it all started happening and it got pretty intense and.. blam. I just. CLIFFHANGER. Gah."(less)
I suppose I'd half forgotten what had happened to Amelie at the end of Last Breath as that seemed to be the only...moreOriginally posted on Once Upon A Time.
I suppose I'd half forgotten what had happened to Amelie at the end of Last Breath as that seemed to be the only thing that wasn't repeated to us over and over again, which is actually something that really bugged me. We're given this nice little "previously in Morganville" chunk of text that catches us up to where we were and then it's also incorporated quite strongly into the story itself as well. Reminding us of everything that has happened. One or the other would do just fine! Still, despite it taking a little bit to pick up, after the first chapter or so it jumps right back into the Morganville we fell in love with and doesn't once start to drag.
In Black Dawn, Caine keeps to the multiple perspectives she used in Last Breath and I have to say that she has really got a hang of these. Though I get bored of multi-perspective stories as there are so many around, it's great to see different parts of the series and inside character's heads that we otherwise don't usually get to. I just hope we never get to see Myrnin's perspective because I really don't think that would work so well. He works best as a conundrum. Speaking of, he is as great as ever. I definitely laughed out loud a few times at his one liners and I will not spoil them for you. They're ace. But he is still a very deep character and I cannot stress how much I adore him.
As for the other characters, yet again we see more progression. Claire and Shane have really started to give me a warm glow when I read about them. They are so in love and the lack of angst is so refreshing. Michael and Eve, on the other hand, have quite a lot of problems in Black Dawn, particularly after the events in Last Breath. Michael is becoming more of a vampire every day and Eve has been hurt quite badly, as such, she becomes strong. Not just the faux badass that she has been all along but properly strong. And Amelie is dying. Worse, she's changing and not for the better.
Black Dawn is, in my honest opinion, the best yet. At some point I just stopped taking notes while reading because I was too engrossed to remember I needed to jot things down. If you read this review despite the warning of spoilers and aren't entirely up to date with the series, I seriously recommend you pick the series back up because it gets so good.(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)
3.5 stars. Originally posted on Once Upon A Time. This review may well, and probably does, contain spoilers for books in the Morganville series up to 1...more3.5 stars. Originally posted on Once Upon A Time. This review may well, and probably does, contain spoilers for books in the Morganville series up to 10.
While Bite Club began in its' usual upbeat way, I didn't follow that sentiment for long as it started to drag for me. I'm not sure if perhaps I burned myself out on Morganville from reading too many in one block, but I think that it was more likely down to Shane's inner monologues which occurred sporadically throughout Bite Club and read very similar to diary entries. They aren't usually in Morganville and they just didn't fit, in my honest opinion, and made me feel uncomfortable. And when it flitted back to Claire's more familiar third person perspective I once again started enjoying the story. It particularly picked up towards the end.
This is the first time we see trouble in paradise as Claire and Shane have a few issues and fights and I'm waiting with baited breath to see how things go in future novelisations.. I always assumed they would be the strong couple and Michael and Eve would have their problems but now I'm not so sure and this is exactly what Rachel Caine is great at. Shaking everything up just as we're getting comfortable. And Shane's attitude in this book really made me feel uncomfortable.
I also found myself becoming increasingly annoyed with the mentions of Gloriana's welcome party. Once or twice, fine, that's okay, but it was mentioned so often and I really can't remember this welcome party. There's every chance that it could have been part of a short story but the amount it was talked about alienates the readers who haven't been able to read that short story for some reason or another, if that's what it was.
Though, I never cease to be amazed with her use of language. I think I mentioned it in my Ghost Town review but it paints such a clear picture that I'm always impressed. I feel as though I have actually been to Morganville.
The cover is probably my favourite of the UK editions. The bright reds stand out so starkly and the red headed girl is quite striking. This alone would make me look twice in a book shop.
Bite Club isn't my favourite of the Morganvilles but I am happy in the knowledge that it wasn't quite as bad as Carpe Corpus for me.(less)
This review may well, and probably does, contain spoilers for books in the Morganville series up to 11.
I’m so happy to have finally caught up with all of the currently available titles in the Morganville series because that was fantastic. Last Breath didn’t feel the same as any of the others, not even when Bishop came along and left everybody feeling as if there was no end in sight, and not when they left town. This was something else and I liked it and I really, honestly could not put it down.
The guy mentioned in the blurb, Magnus, is very creepy. Last Breath has quite a sinister, almost nightmarish feel to it as vampires slowly disappear without a trace and the vampires in general are frightened. More so than when Bishop showed up.
We also see the return of different character perspectives in Last Breath, though unlike Shane’s passages in Bite Club, these didn’t turn me off from the story but in fact added to it immensely. As usual, the main viewpoint is Claire’s but we also get the chance to see inside Eve’s, Shane’s, Michael’s, and even Amelie’s heads and it is fascinating. We see a little more from vampire headquarters that not even the main characters see and from time to time, we know more than the characters do. It’s very odd, but also interesting to see how everybody reacts. Truly.
The parts of Last Breath that really made an impression on me are pretty big spoilers so I won’t discuss them but I do have to say: wow. If you haven’t read Last Breath yet and you are a fan of Morganville, stop what you are doing and pick it up right now.(less)
So after waiting a month or two to get my hands on books 2 and 3 of the Morganville series because *shock horror* I couldn't find them in The Works (f...moreSo after waiting a month or two to get my hands on books 2 and 3 of the Morganville series because *shock horror* I couldn't find them in The Works (for those of you who don't know, The Works is a cheap book shop and they almost always seem to have Rachel Caine's books in) and the Royal Mail lost the first 2 copies that were sent out, and when I checked the library somebody had pretty much stolen them (yes, 2 and 3, my luck is really that bad), so I pretty much jumped right into The Dead Girls' Dance when it turned up, desperate to know what happened after the huge cliffhanger at the end of Glass Houses. I wasn't disappointed. The book begins pretty much exactly where the last one left off and explains what we need to know to reduce any cliffhanger grumbling, but leaves enough open that we want to read more. And it is very successful at gripping you in.
In Glass Houses we learn that everybody has their secrets. Michael's are revealed but Shane, Eve, and even the house itself are still a bit of a mystery. They're awesome, sure, but we don't know much about their past. The Dead Girls' Dance introduces us to Shane's father and we learn about his troubled past, why he had left Morganville and returned, and why he is so closed off. His character gains a lot of depth in this book and only brings us to love him more as we see more of his sweet, caring nature.. and perhaps be just a little bit frustrated by him and his bloody stubbornness, but what is a good character without their flaws after all?
I do notice that every now and then something will happen in the Morganville books, something that the characters supposedly had fixed say, a broken door for example but I can never work out where they found the time to actually get these things fixed, cleaned, and tidied. It's just a niggling little thing, mind you, as it's completely overshadowed by how huge the stories and showdowns are. They always feel so epic. There is just so much going on, you get utterly lost in the story of the life of nerdy little Claire Danvers. And whilst all of that is happening, the entire series is kept grounded by these moments of normality in which the characters will be making and eating dinner, or something equally human, and somehow Rachel Caine can make something as plain as that interesting to read.
All in all, The Dead Girls' Dance is a great follow-up to Glass Houses and I must book bully each and every one of you to pick up this series and give it a chance because it is fantastic and if you haven't started reading Morganville yet, you're missing out!(less)